Saturday, January 30, 2016

Annual (?) Epic Brunch 2016 Edition

What a difference a week makes. 
Last Saturday was a Blizzard - yes, with a capital B!
What a beautiful Blue sky.

It took months of scheduling but I was heading into NYC to my OTHER Upper West Side 'hood, near the former Mannes Library building, for brunch with Matt and Ruyi, friends from the Big J years. We're all over the place these days - geographically in NY and professionally, so we rotate neighborhoods for brunches. 

In previous years, we've had crepes on the Upper East Side, brunched at Sarabeth's on the Upper West Side, and brunched at home on the Upper East Side (see future post). Somehow though, I haven't persuaded them to come North to Westchester or to Caramoor/Katonah. ONE OF THESE DAYS! It is TIME.

I can't quite do justice in describing the hipster vibe of the southern pickle, biscuit, booze, and chicken place that is set in the middle of the Upper West Side, looking lost - as if it should be in Brooklyn. Even at 10:30, there was a line spilling out onto the street. Waiting list parties were paged by texts, hung out in front of wall freezers full of citrus and bottles of hand squeezed juices, and started drinking before they got to sit down.

Brunch portions were ... LARGE.
Fried - Artisanally, of course ...
with Beverages for the Boozy Folks and Bills Served in Mason Jars...
served by Waitstaff in Beanies, Man Buns, or BMIs that were too too low.

Ya'll -- Fried Pickles are good.
Fried anything is good.

I think this is Matt's Sausage Gravy Smothered Fried Buttermilk Fried Chicken Biscuit Sandwich with a side of Cheesy Grits.
Ruyi's introduction to America's Southern cuisine, Biscuits and Gravy: Biscuits and Mushroom Gray with Scrambled Eggs
And - can we just talk about this Southern BLT?
I'll break it down for you - because that's how I had to attempt to eat this 8 inch tall "sandwich":

Nitrate Free Bacon
2 Panko-Encrusted Fried Green Tomatoes
Pickle Slaw (mostly coleslaw)
A Buttermilk Fried Chicken Breast
a Biscuit
with a 
Side of Cheesy Grits

As we were being served, three different people (dudes, mostly), were asking me - WHAT IS THAT?

What is was, was a way to measure the pretention and hipster levels of my pretentious hipster brunch location aka HIGHER than this no-need to eat for the rest of the day meal. I didn't finish all the biscuit, slaw, OR grits. Or eat, for the rest of the day.

Also, to note - of COURSE we all took pictures and Instagrammed/Tweeted them. I think the fine print of the menu told us we had to, to tag the restaurant, to #hashtag the meal, and to Yelp it. I am POINTEDLY NOT mentioning the name of the restaurant, or a bunch of that other stuff. NO!

After brunch, on the way back to Grand Central, Ruyi and I looked back fondly at our time at Lincoln Center, 
 HEY! We worked near there!
 We were those goobers in the subway taking funny photos. Sorry locals. 

(Though to be fair, I looked enough like a local that I had two different people ask me for directions on my way to brunch. What is it about my face that says, Ask me for directions? -- Is the "L" on my forehead for "Librarian" flashing and I don't know it? I did help them out, however.)

I miss these characters. We need another meet-up soon. We didn't get to spend as long as we needed to catch up. Not like last year.

Artwork is part of Arts for Transit installations throughout the City:
This station has an artwork installed in 1989 entitled Westside Views by Nitza Tufiño. The artists are students of Manhattan Community Board 7 and the Grosvernor House. Scenes include 72nd Street, medians on Broadway, FDNY, kids at play, Ida Straus memorial in Straus Park, boats at the 79th Street Boat Basin, New York Buddhist Church Street vendors, and a New York City Bus. A poem entitled West Side Views by student Pedro Pieti is also featured.

per Wikipedia 

~ photos by iPhone

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