My favorite part about traveling is eating! There is nothing better than experiencing a city through its food culture. Recently we traveled to New York for a long weekend and decided to make it a food extravaganza.
We were awake 46 hours, went to 19 different food establishments, 5 coffee houses, and 7 bars. It was awesome. The bonanza began with Eleven Madison Park! We started an eating festival with a 12 course meal, can you think of a better way to let the games begin???
Eleven Madison Park is gorgeous. Imagine the inside of a classic New York skyscraper, what you would see in a 1950’s film…that is the dining room!! That evening 3 Michelin Star Chef Christopher Kostow was visiting his mentor, Chef Daniel Humm, from Meadowood to take place in a collaborative menu. It was truly amazing. The meal began with an interpretation of a New York Black and White cookie. It was savory with a beautiful blend of truffle and parmesan. I wish I had an entire box of these whimsical delights. It progressed from there. One of our favorite courses was a smoked apple tea. So simple yet so complex. Chef Kostow presented a whipped yogurt dish with black sesame, shiso and pickled plum. It was utterly surprising. If I could find a way to eat that every day for breakfast I would be a happier person.
The menu flowed from there integrating cucumber, goat cheese, cauliflower, foie and sunchoke in such a clean presentation. One of the funnier moments in our meal was when our friend Ben tried squab for the first time. As a New Yorker, Ben couldn’t quite get over the vision of pigeons in the park to truly enjoy the squab. The beef course with wood sorrel, bone marrow, and marble potatoes was a gorgeous as it was delicious. The cheese course was a chevre cheesecake that was to pretty to eat.
Towards the end of our evening we received a lovely surprise, we got invited into the kitchen for a cocktail! My kitchen was beautiful but favorite touch were the pictures of Miles Davis on all the walls. When I inquired why, I was told that a critic had written a review that while the restaurant was good it lacked a certain Miles Davis quality. Challenged, the chefs analyzed what it meant to have that quality and created a mission statement around adding more Miles Davis to the experience. The pictures act as a constant reminder of what to aspire towards.
Back at our table we entered into the desert courses a twist on an egg cream, another goat cheese cheesecake (this time sweet), a chocolate sorbet, and finally a sweet black and white cookie!
The meal was sublime but what struck me most was the quality of service. You could feel how excited the wait staff was to have a collaborative menu. They truly wanted you to have a good time. Typically these meals can be stuffy, wait staff can feel disconnected and somewhat robotic. This team was easy-going, making jokes and enjoying their work. Even the two chefs came around to all of the tables.
All in all, this was the top 3 meals of my life.
Don’t worry there will be more to come on the other 19 restaurants!