Unfair trade: evening of pleasure, 24 hours of pain
I Survived the Big Apple. That’s what my t-shirt should say. Now, I will say this: I’m a NYC veteran, having lived in NJ most of my life. I’ve been to NYC a million times, even worked there/commuted into the City for several years back When I Was Young. But last Saturday, I guess NYC had had enough of me, and tried to do me in. Oh the City is wise, my friends. Crafty even. My near-demise was made to look like it was self-inflicted. But I know the truth.
The evening started out well enough. We had plans with another couple, J&C, to go to dinner and then to see “Rock of Ages,” a Broadway show full of 80’s music and an American Idol cast-off named Constantine. One of my standard pleas to my husband whenever we plan to go to New York is, “Can we get a car?” as in, “Can we not drive but instead be driven around, so that we may sip cocktails in the back and have witty conversation that is not interrupted by swearing in foreign languages at other drivers?” And of course, he usually tells me, “Umm, no.” But this time, he agreed! (Could have been the fact that I wore him down — yes, the kids do teach me a few tactics — but more likely it was that we were going in with friends to dinner and a show and this car idea of mine would make it fun for all. Either way, Hooray!, a car.)
Earlier in the week, J and I went out for dinner to a restaurant in Princeton called The Alchemist and the Barrister. (This, if nothing else, can tell you what kind of college town Princeton is. We’ve got no Hooters, but someplace called The Alchemist and the Barrister.) At that dinner, we had the most delicious peach sangria and so I decided to recreate this happiness for the car ride.
Suffice to say that while I didn’t recreate the magical elixir from the earlier night, what I did make was pretty good — thank you Bobby Flay and the Internet. More importantly, I neglected to recall that wine gets all up in my sinuses and wreaks havoc…so that by the time I got to the restaurant I was a bona fide mouth breather with no capacity to taste, and some serious tissue needs.
The restaurant is one of my favorites ever: One If By Land, Two If By Sea on Barrow Street. I love it there. I love it there particularly at Christmas time (it’s decorated so beautifully), but I love it there all the time. This night was no exception, although I was severely hampered in the enjoyment of the menu (see above, “no capacity to taste,” and “serious tissue needs”). But I got through it: some kind of Jersey corn chowder (with croutons sauteed in duck fat) and Beef Wellington (house specialty). I had a couple of spoonfuls of what was probably the greatest coffee ice cream on earth, but I’ll never know because…you know why.
We went to the show — had a great time. “Rock of Ages” is for those of us who high schooled or colleged in the 80’s; lots of references to the music of Journey, REO Speedwagon, Poison, etc. Very fun — in between nose blows. (Although between appetizier and entree, my husband ran out to a CVS nearby to get meds for me, they didn’t really kick in until the ride home. Boo.)
And now you’re thinking, “But Alyson, sounds like a great evening aside from your own self-inflicted congestion issues. Why are you blaming The Big Apple?”
Because Sunday, rather than nursing a hangover, I was an unwilling participant in a major gall bladder attack. So major that I brought in narcotics later that evening in order to be able to sleep. So major that I have eaten little since then but whey powder and saltines.
Certainly it’s not *all* NYC’s fault. After all, no one forced Beef Wellington down my gullet. But how many other places on earth would find a vehicle to provide croutons sauteed in duck fat to their patrons?
Croutons, you were delicious. Even in my mouth-breathing state I could sense that. But the moment of pleasure was not worth the 24 hours of pain. (Jeez, ain’t that the truth about a lot of things.)
Until next time, NY. Until next time.