Last Wednesday I went to Radio City to watch one of my best friends (and future travel partner to Norway) Diana graduate from The School of Visual Arts with a BFA in Graphic Design. Congratulations, Diana! YER FREAKIN' AWESOME! And a note to everyone else: HIRE HER, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD!!!! Graduating inside a ginormous art deco theater with temperature control is much nicer than sitting outside in sweltering heat like my brother's graduation in St. Louis, where the school provided us with water bottles so we wouldn't...die. Not right away, at least.
I took Diana out to Blue Ribbon Bakery, one of my favorite restaurants that I had only been to once, for her graduation dinner. I had actually made reservations at Eleven Madison Park the day before, but realized 1) I wasn't in the mood for something that formal, 2) I wasn't that hungry and 3) HOLY CRAP, IT COSTS MORE THAN MY SOUL. The cost wasn't the biggest factor—hell, you only graduate once...as an undergraduate—but it didn't feel like the right place to eat. I love Blue Ribbon because the environment is cozy, warm, and comfortably "upscale" (if you've been there, maybe you know what I'm talking about) and, of course, the food is great. I had only been to Blue Ribbon once before as other visits had been thwarted by long waits (due to too many humans wanting to eat food, damn em), but the restaurant wasn't crowded at 6 PM and we got the prime "food photography" spot by the window looking on Bedford Street.
Do two people really need three types of bread and a tub-o-butter? NOPE. Of course, I tried all of them anyway. Of course, they were all good. If it sucked, they wouldn't serve it.
Diana went with the salmon dish, which came with asparagus, uber-smooth mashed potatoes, and ridiculously thin-cut fries (or potato chip strips). Her first reaction was "Mmmmm mashed potatoes so good"...actually, those probably weren't her exact words (sounds more like something I'd say), but she expressed much satisfaction with the mashed taters. After the waiter informed us that the salmon would be prepared rare, she asked for it to be cooked well-done. To me, salmon tastes good at any state of protein degeneration...figuring it's not burnt (can't say I'm a fan of eating plain carbon). I guess Diana was in a cooked mood, as I know she also like sashimi. She devoured everything aside from the potato chip strips (fried foods aren't really her thing), and since Diana isn't known for having a voracious appetite, the food must've been hella tasty.
Nine out of ten times when I eat out with Diana, my dish ends up being 100000 times less healthy. WOOHOO, I WIN!!! Since I heard so many good things about it, I went with the four-piece fried chicken, gravy-splodged mashed potatoes and collard greens.
The fried chicken was perfectly golden with a thin, non-greasy crispified skin to keep in those juicy muscles of poultry-based goodness. Mmmm. Of course it was delicious, and even better when dipped in the accompanying tub-o-honey.
I'm notorious in my family for my inability to gnaw off every last bit of meat from bones (I think this inability brings down my level of Chinese-ness into the negatives). Upon seeing the fried wing I though, "What the hell do I do with this shizznit?" I got most of the meat off the other pieces, but if my brother had eaten this the bones would be licked clean, maybe to the point that he'd also eat the bones...although I hope not.
Man, that was good.
...But there's more.
While it doesn't explicitly say so on the menu, Blue Ribbon's desserts are always for two (or more) people unless one person has a sugar-loving stomach the size of a giant penguin. Diana (as in not me!) wanted to try the banana split since she had never eaten one before. I'm not sure if I've eaten one before either, but I did know that a banana split was like a sundae...with a banana. There are a few possible origins of this dessert, a topic of hot debate. I guess if any fruit had to go with ice cream, the hearty banana is a good choice (on my raw food diet I used to freeze bananas and shove em through a crushing-type juicer for something that vaguely tasted of ice cream, at least in consistency), but I can't imagine inventing this dish while thinking that bananas obviously go with ice cream. Cos...I don't think they do.
But it's definitely tasty, and perhaps the inclusion of a banana makes the dish seem mildly healthier than it would be sans-banana. The long, glass boat held three tennis ball-sized spheres of strawberry, vanilla, and chocolate ice cream nestled (yeah, I said nestled) between a length-wise sliced banana topped with what seemed like the entire contents of a can of whipped cream, drizzled with chocolate and caramel sauce, a smattering of crushed walnuts (could've used more!), and a single maraschino cherry of questionable edibility (for some reason, maraschino cherries have always freaked me out a bit and made me ponder, "My god, this used to be a real cherry?"). The ice cream wasn't the most flavorful I've ever had, but the texture was almost perfect in pliability, softness, and density. Mmmm...creaaaaminesss.
Obviously, I didn't eat the whole thing by myself. (God, my mouth is friggin' huge.)
...Alright, I probably did eat most of it, but Diana mainly ate the strawberry, while I went for the chocolate.
Blue Ribbon Bakery is more expensive than most places I go to (and despite my over-expenditure as documented in this blog, I can be kinda cheap), but for whatever reason it feels worth it. Why else would I pay $12 for a banana split? It's not just the food, but the environment you eat it in, along with the service. Water was regularly filled, table was cleaned and silverware was changed after finishing the entrees, and one of the waiters poked fun at me for my excessive photo taking. Hell yeah! Um.
And of course, the fun-ness of eating also depends a lot on who you eat with.
I have at least two more entries to write, if that's anything for you to look foward to. Thankfully, living in NJ gives me nothing else to do besides sit on my bed with my laptop all day long, especially on Sundays where a lot of places aren't open. Then again, even if they were I still wouldn't feel like going. NJ really isn't my kind of place. (sigh)
I know I'm gaining a bit too much weight, so perhaps the food blogging will die down a smidge in the summer. A. Smidge. I'll be working in NYC on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays during the summer besides the times when I'll be on vacation, but I probably shouldn't treat every one of those days as a possible eating opportunity. Maybe once a week I can go out with an NYC-based friend? ...Or maybe I should just go on a diet. Today for lunch I ate fruit. And cookies. Oops.
THIS IS A NEW FEATURE! SPARKLY AND FRESH! HERE IT COMES.
S-s-s-somethin' from the comments
Yes, that's a completely rip-off of zefrank, who has the most addictive show ever. Granted, I don't watch Lost, but zefrank...is pretty damn addictive. Watch some of his episodes to understand the comments reference. (I think it'd be awesome if someone made a zefrank-like show recapping the going-ons of food bloggers in a totally stupid manner, like "Today, Robyn ate this banana split and nobody gave a crap. [insert random sound effect]")
I know some people have noticed that I reply to comments on the same page of the entry it's been written on. I used to reply to comments through email, but it got kind of annoying...not that this other way isn't annoying either. I don't know about you, but I don't usually check back on blogs to see if the writer replied to my comment. I bet I'm writing all these replies for NO REASON. I'd only stop if I got more comments than I could handle, which is kind of unlikely since most of my comments are spam offering free calling cards and every kind of porn in the world. Then I baleat them.
Uh. Anyway, I'll point out a few choice comments.
Maria explains those special fish eating utensils at Nougatine. "...the pinty knife is designed to help you separate the fish bones from the meat." They're all the rage in Portugal! However, the three-pronged fork is still a mystery and as far as we can tell provides no special benefit in the fish-eating process. THE LACK OF PRONG DOES NOTHING! Jean Georges is just messin' with you. Hoho!
jswansails is happy that I'm not starving myself to death. Hahahaha hahaah! Haha. But wait, there's more. "After reading your blog I realized I DO NOT EAT ENOUGH! I cannot wait to dig in like you. Keep on eating!"
Nonono, you probably eat enough! Oh my god! I EAT TOO MUCH! Don't dig in just because of meee!