this, that and the other - including some early bird specials (who knew?)

first, a few dinners: Restaurant Daniel, on East 65th Street in New York, has 3 Michelin stars and is quite well-known for its fine cuisine, delicious choices, impeccable service, and, sadly, prices to match. Did you know, however, that Daniel has its own version of the Early Bird Special? Who knew? It's a pre-theatre dinner, still costly but nowhere Daniel's regular prices. Hours for this 3-course meal (plus the lovely freebies at beginning and end) begin at 5:30 p.m. Naturally I wouldn't suggest something without trying it myself, and this was an elegant solution to spend some lovely time with friends who were in town for a quick visit and needed to feel pampered. Delicious, many choices, generous portions, you can have the wine "pairings" they suggest or you can order from the wine list, or you can go without wine. I think if you are visiting the city and have had a light lunch to leave more time for exploring and shopping, an early dinner so you can stroll around at night or get some rest, as you see fit, might be a good idea. I'd call to make the reservation and specify "pre-theater" or "early dinner."
picturesque entry from gigantic parking lot
my steak, fried onions, mashed potato & sprouts
and the other night I was driving out to Flintstone Manor and stopped for a right-after-work drink and dinner with a friend whose office is not far from Coolfish in Syosset (talking Long Island, people!) -- Coolfish has a peculiar location, in that it's in an office park, and you don't see the restaurant from the main road. You have to watch carefully for the little fish sign and the driveway. On the other hand, once you've gotten yourself into the office park, there's plenty of parking without the worry of what a valet is really doing with your car. Coolfish is one of Tom Schaudel's places, he's one of the godfathers of the Long Island restaurant industry.
dessert at CoolFish

Again, because the evening started "after work," we qualified for the Early Dinner - 3 courses, my starter was a just OK quesadilla, my steak and mashed potato main was quite good, and my dessert was a mighty and well-constructed fortress of chocolate. These portions were not shrunken for the early diners either.

And finally, Himself and I rode out to Flintstone Manor the other night to make sure that what needed to be turned off, was, and what needed to be left on, was, before the approaching voyage. We stopped at Main Catch in Commack -- I'm assuming that if you're reading this, you have a computer and can look up maps and directions if you're so moved.
I am thrilled to report that I had Real Fried Clams for the first time in -- way too long. Really, real fried clams, the whole baby littleneck clam was removed from the shell and fried! They don't make 'em like this any more. We happily, um, maybe not that happily, drive to Ipswich Mass for fried clams when the yearning strikes, but old-fashioned Long Island fried clams? Whole baby Littlenecks? named after Little Neck, the town that F.Scott Fitzgerald immortalized as Little Egg? (and yes, there is a Great Neck...) I felt like the guy who opened King Tut's tomb. I just knew that if I persevered in my quest... And my main course, a whole roasted Branzino, was delicate, buttery, and fileted perfectly at tableside. Interesting wine list, too. Too full for dessert. Again, we weren't certain how long it would take us to find the place and so it was on the early side when we arrived, but we were quite happy with our meals. This is a new place on our horizon, and I wish them well, because I want to go back. Oh, disclaimer time: if you think fried clams are breaded deep-fried rubber bands with salt, you may be in for a shock. But there's plenty of other stuff.

the tnny silver buttons don't show
you'll have to take my word for it
they're not very nice.
some shopping notes: my friend xoxo of the amazing will work for shoes directed my attention to the Best Flannel Pajamas Ever, for which in our 16* Fahrenheit weather - feels like Minus 2, says the Weather Channel - I am madly grateful. I haven't seen these in stores, so ordered them from the Sundance Catalog, so now I can put on thick flannel pj's and when Himself raises an eyebrow, I just think "huh, Robert Redford liked them." Details: thick, soft 100% cotton fabric, seams that stay sewn, the little retro print of cowgirls is cute but not soppy. This picture is from the Sundance catalog, for some reason they didn't show the top, but they are in fact a 2-piece PJ, not sleep pants. Thank you, xoxo! I returned my J.Crew liberty print pajamas, fortunately it's been too cold to wear them and I found the fit
uncomfortable anyway.

I'm distressed by what may be a trend - cheap metal buttons on perfectly nice blouses. Most recently, this one, which is a nice silk blouse with a really nice collar, but because of the buttons it's going back to Banana Republic this very afternoon. I thought the buttons might look "not terrible" out of the store, but then I reminded myself that "not terrible" is not the standard to which I aspire.

And now we must turn our minds to Downton Abbey. Yes, we must. At the risk of sounding like those old geezers who claimed to read Playboy and other "gentlemen's magazines" for the articles, I watch DA for the clothes, not the plots, which nevertheless continue to astound with new heights of "utterly preposterous". And of course I would happily watch Maggie Smith read the IRS instructions on computing the AMT. I may not get that opportunity, but life is just one trade-off after another. Here is an excerpt of an utterly delightful recap of Episode 2. Season 3. You can find the entire thing here, and on that page is a link to the delightful recap of episode 1 of season 3. So far I haven't found any more of these, and if you should come across any, please let me know. If I meet the author, I know just what to say: "I love your mind."

oops. almost forgot: this is a J.Crew sweater from days of yore. Cashmere, still soft and thick and happy-making, still hasn't pilled (crosses fingers and toes).




17 comments:

  1. Okay - that Facebook page is funny!

    Glad you got your clams and I have noted the restaurant for my upcoming trip to NYC! I am actually looking for flannel PJS today but it is so cold i cannot wait for them to mail out! Heading into town right now!

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    1. hi, WMM, the Facebook parody just made my day - cold and gray here, and packing is starting to look like a project.

      If you're only going to do one splurge meal in NY, I'd vote for Daniel.

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  2. I'm envious of your wonderful variety of restaurants. I need to move out of the one pony town I'm living in. Glad you found great PJs - so important!

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    1. hi, Sulky, I'm snuggling in them tonight!

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  3. Those meals look delicious. So glad you got the pajamas and they measure up to your standards. They are so soft and cozy and the print is just the right amount of cute. I may order a backup pair, I like them so much. Thank you for the link love too. :^)

    The metal button trend is everywhere now, I noticed some of the Brooks Brothers casual tops and sweaters have these and it's not an improvement. I long for the days of real shell buttons.

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    1. hi, xoxo, delighted to have found the pjs and thank you again.

      since I wound up not going out this afternoon, the blouse is still here, and I'm considering changing the buttons on the blouse to little dark or black pearl ones.

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  4. LOL, I've had breaded deep-fried rubber bands with salt. I was just lost in a fantasy, what if blogs were experiential ... oh my goodness I am drooling, excuse me. Moving on, I will be getting some of those jammies you and xoxo recommended, I can't get enough of cozy. That FB recap is hilarious, I'm missing out on some good stuff. I hate the new standard of it's disappointing but I can live with it if only a minor annoyance. Even with that standard, I recently returned two patterned coats and a couple of Collection sweaters.

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    1. hi, tr, speaking of minor annoyances, I went to return something and came home with the Collection Waffle Cashmere Henley, from $268 to $52.99 or thereabouts. I honestly had no intention of buying a sweater for Hawaii, but you never know.

      Delete
  5. I just checked out the Downton Facebook link-- hilarious! Such a great role for M.Smith; her "what's a weekend?" quip was the best yet.

    We have a clam shack here once featured in Gourmet; I don't eat them, but Mr Lane is allowed once a year.

    I wonder what the food is like in Hawaii; hopefully you are having Kona coffee at the source.

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    1. Hi, Lane, yes, according to the Mitford sisters, the correct ("U") expression is "Friday to Monday," and "weekend" is "non-U."

      I am assuming that the food will be fabulous, and Himself is giving me lots of very boring information on the life cycle of the pineapple. I now feel that I and the pineapple are too well acquainted for cannabilism to be appropriate. Live and let live, I say.

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    2. I don't think that pineapple from Hawaii makes it east any more. Most of the fresh ones are from Puerto Rico, I think. Enjoy!

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  6. PS-- I recall the first time I donned PJ's instead of a night gown. ML looked at me and sighed " I guess we're midddle-aged now". Staunchly in the flannel PJ camp.

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    1. I am adding thick socks these days as well. Peripheral neuropathy is not my friend.

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    2. Oh, not the progressive kind, I hope?

      Delete
  7. So I am heading back East for a long weekend visit with a girlfriend in February. Eating in New York is high on my list. I have already sent her my Broadway play picks. Sulky Kitty I know what you mean there are no decent restaurants in my town, wait there is no town. Seafood, huh not much of that in the Denver area. While many of you are freezing, we are unfortunately experiencing hot weather for January, high this week was 70. It needs to snow or we will be in for a bad wildfire season again. But it gets cold at night so I wear flannel PJs most of the year. Need to check those out. Thanks. WFF

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  8. Well since our trip to Hawaii is bracketed by a few dats in Seattle at each end, I tried to pack the pj's. No. So thick and fluffy that there was no room, had to bring a pair of thin JC flannel pjs.

    You are intrepid to take that long flight for a few shows and a few meals! Oh, wait-- I've done stuff like that too!

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  9. I just watched "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel." It's worth it just for Maggie Smith and Judy Densch (sp?).

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