Sunday, December 5, 2010

Italian Feasts and a Paler Shade of Blue

LK finds her perfect ad for the holiday season in the subway

Yesterday was a subway day as we wanted to check out a place that sounded like foodie heaven and then do a little holiday shopping (but more about that in a moment).

So we walked the two blocks to the F Line and rode up to the Gridiron district to check out Eataly. That's the combination food-and-wine marketplace and restaurant courts bearing the name of celebrity chef Mario Batali.

Hitting it just around lunchtime was probably a tactical error, as this massive place was shoulder-to-shoulder with shoppers and diners. The line for the pasta and pizza eatery was very long, but we were able to get only a 30-minute wait time for the fish section so pesce it was.

Now, half an hour away from eating. Hungry already. And wandering around a store crammed with some of the yummiest foodstuff in the world. We committed the mortal sin of shopping for food with our bellies rumbling.

And the food was our sort of stuff - yummy cheeses, sausages, crusty breads. Remember how we found a great dinner for less than $50 the night before? Well, even though we ate these Eataly goodies instead of going out to dinner last night, it was still twice the price!

What happens, of course, is that when you tell the clerk to cut a wedge of cheese a certain size you don't factor in the fact that diamonds cost less per pound. Picking little loaves of bread from the bakery ignores the fact that they average slightly more per slice than, say, macarons.

Oh, by the way, it was worth it. The food was delicious and we overbought so badly we have at least one more meal out of it plus gifts with use-by dates for most of our family  and friends.

By the time we had got to the lunch table we were ravenous, but showed great restraint in only sharing a starter and ordering two whole-fish main courses. They were outstanding and very creative dishes, which made it all the more remarkable that we were sitting in what was essentially a food court. You gotta love New York.

LK splashes out on my gift
Outside again, it was starting to get pretty cold. LK insisted on buying me a cap to keep me warm. She then suggested we jump back on the subway and go up to 57th Street to shop at a place called Tiffany & Co.

And so I did my first real Christmas shopping at the Pale Blue Palace. It was only my second time here, but I think I impressed LK by remembering a way of getting to the counters while avoiding the crowds squeezing into the elevators. Which probably says heaps about what I was paying attention to last year.

On the premise that it's the thought that counts, I don't know how much my gifts are going to count since LK picked out what she wanted and my contribution was to take the credit card out of my wallet. The clerk asked us to choose which ribbon we wanted on the box, and I didn't even get to make that choice.

That's all right. At least I know she won't re-gift my present or tell everyone about what an awful gift I bought her for Christmas - as she still does when telling people about the pasta maker I gave her more than 20 years ago.

So there you have it. I got my present, and she got hers.

It will be a blue Christmas for LK

No comments: