In the space of one day - I took two people for their first visits to two different restaurants! I met Captain Marty, a pilot of private aircraft, via Twitter. He publishes reviews of vegan restaurants he encounters in his travels in his blog, Marty's NYC Veggie Review.
We met up for lunch at Gracias Madre and talked our way through a delicious meal. He had been at Millennium the night before and had noted that the recent death of sous chef Jason Dunbar had, indeed, cast a shadow over the quality of his experience though he had not heard the news.
Our lunch at Gracias Madre was in a mostly empty (!) restaurant and our service was impeccable - all the servers were friendly and chatted with us. We shared scrumptious small plates:
- empanada del dia: on a small puddle of delicious mole, crispy and filled with sweet, caramelized plantain
- sweet potato quesadillas: perfect tortillas - just enough crispy/soft and filled with sweet mashed sweet potatoes
- gorditas: potato & masa Mexican version of a latke, served crispy on the outside and topped with shredded lettuce, green salsa, avocado and cashew creme
- guacamole & corn tortillas
We were pretty well stuffed on good food and very large horchatas (I think we each had 2!), then headed across the street to Duc Lo vietnamese market where Marty stocked up on all sorts of things he can't find in NYC (imagine!) such as Thai basil, curry leaves, key limes and other delicacies. Marty has all the pictures so hopefully he'll get his blog posting up now that mine is up!
Later, I took a friend visiting from Florida to Cha-Ya where we had all manner of yumminess - he loves Japanese food and was totally stoked to try all the dishes. He picked out some rolls in addition to my recommended avocado urumaki, agadeshi tofu and we shared a nice bottle of sake. He was stuffed and glowing with pleasure as we strolled out of Cha-Ya -- I guarantee both friends will be back to visit those restaurants again!