Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Bar Dining and Good New Friends

I've never expounded on my love of bar dining here, have I? Now, I'm not a huge fan of eating alone at a restaurant, but if I've got no one to go with me, I'm heading out alone if there's a place I want to go. But if that place serves up the full menu at the bar, I am one happy camper, and I am very much happily dining alone. Very much.

First off, it's not at all unusual to sit alone at a bar (well, not for me, at any rate). I typically find the bartenders friendly, your next door neighbors friendly enough--they will either welcome chat or not, but they are never unfriendly.

Friday night, I felt like I had it all--good seat at the bar, great bartender, friendly bar mates. I felt as though I'd met new friends, although I may well never hear from any of them again (although I do hope they stop in to check out the blog, which we did talk about at length)--I talked technology and business and food with one other diner. Then dished about fabulous Apalachicola and Apalachicola oysters (and tupelo honey and St. George Island) with another couple.

Where was I? Wow, how could I get this far and not say: Blue Hill NYC at 75 Washington Place, where the motto is Know Thy Farmer™.

Oh, Blue Hill knows thy farmer, all right. Straight from the restaurant's website:

Blue Hill's menu showcases local food and a wine list with producers who respect artisanal techniques. Ingredients come from nearby farms, including Blue Hill Farm in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, and Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, a forty-five minute drive from New York City. Guests can choose from the regular menu or opt for the "Farmer's Feast," a five-course tasting inspired by the week's harvest.

Do you want to guess what I had? That's right, the Farmer's Feast. I couldn't say what I loved best, but the simple palate cleanser of fresh cheese sorbet with a rhubarb thyme "soup" (a clear broth/sauce) was so full of clean flavor. Then the poached egg with pork belly

(or was it lamb belly?I regret not asking for the menu then and there) with a bit of salad made me so happy--some of my favorite ingredients. There was fish, there were fiddlehead ferns, there was guinea hen...for me, there wasn't an off note.

Start to finish, the meal was superb--foodie friends had been there the night before and the restaurant found out one of them was also a food writer (they Googled her resie!!) and cooked off the menu. While I could say I regret not having been at that dinner, that would have meant missing out on one of the most memorable dining out experiences I've had in a long time had I not taken myself out to the bar last Friday night.

So to the friends I made at Blue Hill bar last Friday night, cheers--you made my night! And to my readers who haven't sometime just taken themselves out, alone or not, for a dinner at the bar? Go on, try it. And may your evening be as wonderful as mine was.

My final treat? Walking back to my midtown hotel--I got this fabulous shot on one of the most beautiful buildings in the world, the Empire State Building.


Sandra Hume said...

What a great post! You know I share the love of bar dining with you, though I don't do it as often as I should. Next time I'll make the decision in your honor.

Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial said...

Your words remind me of a scene from Cheers..although I'm sure the (imaginary) food there was never so good! :)

Walter Helena Photography said...

Such a gorgeous blog; thank you for sharing!

If you’d like, please stop by my blog for a chance to win a fine art photographic giclee print...by me :)

Babette said...

Walter, thanks for stopping...love your photos..

Celia! Miss you! I need to stop by foodlovers more often...

And Sandra...ah, kindred spirit...bar dining totally rocks.

joene said...

Locally grown/raised food is the best.

Sheryl Kraft said...

What a perfect photo of the Emprie State building!And it sounds like the meal was just as perfect. Good for you for dining alone. It's something I do when I have to- though with hesitance. Sounds like you not only did it, but did it very well.