February 27th, 2009
New York is easily one of my favorite cities. The last time I was there I had the privilege of eating some really delicious Thai food, drink at an authentic Irish Pub, and scarf down 4,000 calories worth of White House burgers. Where else can you do that?
The Thai food that we had was at Thai Basil on 9th Ave. and W. 56th St. Thai Basil is, or rather was, what seems to be, a repurposed hallway or stairwell turned restraurant with a few small tables. The decor is clean, simple, and in typical asian style. The service was proper, prompt, and delicate.
Chris and Jon had either never had, or seldom had, Thai food before that day. So we were all in for a treat. Chris got squid and something curried. I can’t even remember, now, what I got. But it was delicious. Although 9th Ave. between West 54th and 56th streets is riddled with what I am sure is excellent Thai food restaurants – I can recommend Thai Basil on Manhattan.
The Irish Pub (which could have been either McGee’s on W. 55th or Connolly’s on E. 47th or maybe even a different pub altogether) all I know is that we walked, and walked, and walked before we stopped here for a couple of appetizers and some beer. Speaking of beer Jon had some sort of light beer. I had to fight off the entire staff to keep them from throwing Jon out by his neck and belt loop. While I was wrestling with the barkeep – I managed to scarf down a bunch of stuff mushrooms. Shhh, do you hear that? Ireland is absolutely screaming for Eliza and I to visit.
And the day was just getting started.
We had a lot more walking to do this day. You see, we’re not from New York City and so this is sort of a novel thing. Walking. Everywhere. To the library (which was closed). To another library (which was lame). To the pub, to a restaurant, through Times Square, back to our hotel, to the parking garage, back to the hotel, and ultimately – late at night – to White Castle.
I know what you might be thinking. Isn’t this post supposed to be about No Reservations? Anthony Bourdain’s show about traveling the world and eating some of the best food ever made by human hands? Yes. But if I know Tony. He digs a late night White Castle burger binge. So, off we went. Twelve blocks to the nearest White Castle. No problem. We had already walked miles and miles that day – why not a few more footsteps? We all ordered the exact same meal. Ten burgers and two fries. We ended up giving some of the food to a beggar sitting outside of White Castle (smart man). But most of us finished our double-portions of the greesy, grimey, and some would say disgusting little burgers that leave a wet spot on any table you set them on. I was sick.
In case you didn’t know the sign that you had a successful visit to White Castle is if you leave feeling like you want to puke.
Overall we had a very good time in New York. I always do. That is why I enjoyed seeing a different side of New York than the one I typically get to see in the latest episode of Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations. Tony’s side. In this week’s episode Anthony shows us a portion of New York City that is slowly disappearing, being replaced, rebuilt, torn down, or put up for sale. Sad? Maybe for people like Tony who grew up in and around New York and have a history there. But for those of us that come into the city on occasion to soak up some of the city life, the culture, the food, the architecture, the noises, and again the food – New York is always changing. Always disappearing, being rebuilt, replaced, torn down, or being sold. It is what makes New York, New York.
Photo credit: Jon Christopher.