The Dinner Project: New York, New Jersey & Beyond
June 5, 2011
I’ve missed a couple Dinner Projects here these last few weeks. But rather than go back in time, I figure we might as well skip ahead to the good stuff: New York. Delicious, delicious New York. And New Jersey.
Saturday, May 28
Dinner at Aunt Jean’s! Roasted chicken, mixed green salad with tomatoes and capers, seaweed salad and corn bread. Apple pie and ice cream for dessert. The best way to end a long day of driving.
Sunday, May 29
Breakfast: Whenever I’d spend the night at my aunt Jean’s house in Rutherford, NJ, I’d wake up to Entenmann’s Crumb Cake. It was one of those New Jersey specific memories, something we could’ve also had in Michigan if we’d wanted to, but never did. Like Lemon Italian Ice on the Jersey Shore. So on Sunday morning, my aunt Jean, Drew and I feasted on crumb cake, eggs, bacon, peaches, english muffins and coffee while sitting around the kitchen table sharing stories and catching up on life. It was lovely.
Lunch: That afternoon we drove down to Spring Lake, on the Jersey shore, where we used to go most summers as kids. Other than there being giant houses where years ago there were none, it was just as I remembered. On our way out of town with my sister Laura, we picked up some subs in Belmar, the next town over. Oh man, that was the best sandwich ever. I now understand why New Yorkers freak out over Zingermans.
Dinner: We spent the night at Drew’s friend Sal’s place in Queens. He and his wife Sam cooked us chicken and rice with homemade peanut sauce. Delicious.
Monday, May 30
Breakfast: We got up that morning, walked to Dunkin Donuts for coffee, picked up a few things at the store and came back to Sal and Sam’s apartment and made them breakfast: scrambled eggs with feta and mushrooms, french bread and grapefruit.
Lunch: That afternoon we drove out to Long Island where Drew grew up from 7th to 12th grade. We had a slice of pizza in Northport, it was piled high with fresh mozzarella, roasted red peppers, basil and roma tomatoes.
Dinner: We spent the evening at Drew’s old friend John’s place. He and his wife Jaclyn went all out and grilled up a feast. We had kabobs with spicy sausage, peppers and french bread (grilled bread is kind of super delicious); grilled squash, mushrooms, campari tomatoes and corn; wild rice and feta salad. Oh, and for an appetizer we had grilled feta. You should make it. It’s incredible. Take a piece of tin foil, dribble some olive oil on it, place a big block of feta on top, strategically place some fresh thyme on top, fold the tin foil all around, grill on low heat until all warm and melty in the middle, serve with toasted pita.
Tuesday, May 31
Breakfast: The quintessential New York breakfast sandwich – eggs and bacon on a kaiser roll. I still dream about it. It’s all about the roll.
Lunch: That morning we took the train into the city and had lunch with Laura near her office in the Financial District. This little street reminded me of something out of Europe, we sat there under an umbrella and ate pizza with mushrooms and spinach alongside a Corona.
Late Afternoon Snack: After lunch we walked from the Financial District along the East River, over the Williamsburg Bridge and into Brooklyn where we ended up at a little hole-in-the-wall and ate Korean BBQ tacos and kimchi. Yum.
Dinner: We met up with my brother Dave in Williamsburg where I had a pulled pork sandwich. It was good times!
Wednesday, June 1
Breakfast: We spent the night at Sal and Sam’s again. That morning Sal cooked us scrambled eggs and homefries. I love breakfast.
Lunch: That afternoon we took the train back out to Long Island to pick up our car. We had to have one last deli sandwich on our way out town so we stopped in Cold Spring Harbor and sat on a bench overlooking the water, sandwiches in hand. Is there anything better than prosciutto, provolone, oil and vinegar on delicious bread? Maybe an egg sandwich on a kaiser roll. Or pizza. It’s a tough call when picking favorites in New York.
Dinner: Our last night on the East Coast was spent eating sushi with my Aunt Jean and cousin Mary Beth. It was such a great feast with seaweed salad, tuna rolls, tempura, edamame, eel, etc. Best dinner to end our trip, just as the dinner we had when we arrived was the best way to start our trip.
Thursday, June 2
Breakfast: We had a leisurely breakfast with aunt Jean; eggs, bacon, english muffins, coffee, cherries and peaches. She said she didn’t want us to leave hungry, so we didn’t.
Dinner: We took the Blue Ridge Parkway for about 70 miles through Virginia and camped along a creek. It was some of the most beautiful camping I’ve done in a long time. If you’re ever driving through Virginia you should hop on that parkway for a while. It’s absolutely breathtaking. Oh, and for dinner we made smoked salmon sandwiches then sat with our feet soaking in the creek for a while.
Friday, June 3
Breakfast: Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, gas station coffee.
Lunch: Veggie sandwiches from Subway
Dinner: Home sweet home! It’s always nice to cook for the first time when you’ve been away for a while. We didn’t have much food but we scrounged together a sort of asian vegetable lo mein type of meal. We had a bag of frozen asian veggies, a teriyaki-ish sauce and some angel hair pasta. Then our neighbor Dani made the best vegan blackberry cupcakes with chocolate icing. She is the best baker ever. No joke.