SATURDAY NIGHT I put on my new shoes and my red dress and we headed to Pranna Restaurant. It had some mixed reviews on Yelp, but my friend told me it was one of his favorite places in his neighborhood.
I was impressed with the clean, modern look. Suitably for old people (that is, over 24), we got there early - around 10:30. We sat at the bar and had some delicious food - my friend had some rice noodles with pork, we both ordered satay and devoured two servings of delicious wok fried cashews with green onions and chilis. My smoked tempeh satay with shitakes was totally delicious. I also enjoyed the "Crispy 5 Spice Mushroom Stuffed Tofu" with tomatillo salsa - very delicious and tasty. Eric picked out a delightful bottle of wine and we enjoyed our food at the bar.
Somewhere around 11:30, the place started to fill up with very young people who could not possibly have been drinking age. One young woman wearing very short denim shorts and a lot of St Patrick's paraphernalia explained that it was St Patrick's day in Hoboken and gave us the run down of a week's of St Patrick's day activities that were not to be missed. We decided to leave when we realized we were being regarded as creepy old people...
On our way out, we went by the Armory on Lexington Ave - there were big, big banners for an art show called "Art for Afghanistan" to support "Operation Homefront" organized by Samson Contompasis and soldier Tamara "Gabby" Gabbard. It was after hours, but we were allowed in anyway - and had a look at some giant installations and talked with the artists. Samson's dad, Pete, was very outgoing and helpful. When I asked if they planned to take this installation to Burningman, he lit up and said that he wanted to go to Burningman on his motorcycle from New York!
Sunday morning, we went to the gym - after 20 minutes on the cardio bike, I decided my time would be better spent getting a (very pricy) massage. I packed for the flight and then we went for a stroll around Madison Square Park to see what sort of lunch we could find to bring to the park and share with the chickens (pigeons) and squirrels. A pizza place named Papou's spoke to me - and I ended up with a gorgeous calzone with no cheese, full of spinach, mushrooms, onions, red peppers, olives and sauce. It took longer for it to bake than to make! Amazingly, the pizza joint gets terrible reviews on Yelp but what I had was so simple and unscrewupable that it was very satisfying.
Eric ended up at a place next door called "Organique" which had a lot of nice looking offerings but the worst and slowest service on the planet. I wanted to get some vegan truffles - but apparently it takes 4 people to make two sandwiches for one person. Seriously. And they got good reviews on Yelp.
After a nice lunch in the park in 65 degree weather - sharing chips with the squirrel and drinking a Sam Adams Boston Lager with my calzone, we headed off to the airport... back to San Francisco for Jenn!
My friend Paul met me at the airport and we headed to another "new to me" place - Waterbar. Though it was after dining hours, we were seated at the bar and had a nice late dinner of a super thin crust pizza with asparagus (yum) and mushrooms, the best frites I have ever had in my life (since Tallulah closed, anyway) , some broccoli rab with olive oil & chili flakes, delicious wine and a glittering view of the Bay Bridge and the bay. The restaurant is pretty and our bartender/server Stefan was attentive and friendly.
A weekend trip to NYC with delicious meals in SF on either end is not a bad way to live. Or to go off diet. Back to diet now.