Saturday, April 3, 2010

Double Your Pleasure

There is a reason why they call it Good Friday. First, I had a day off from work. Second, I had a fabulous day out in the city with friends and family. I ate back-to-back restaurant meals and had an absolutely fantastic day.

My day started with lunch. I met Sue at Gallo Nero on 44th and 9th. We were trying to choose a restaurant where neither of us had eaten before and was located in midtown. One of the reasons I suggested Gallo Nero because Menupages listed it as a place with outdoor seating (the wine list didn't hurt either) and we were expecting a beautiful spring day.

It turned out to be a perfectly charming spot inside and out. The seating was not really outdoors though. It just had garage doors that were fully opened so it gave the feel of an open-air restaurant, as many restaurants in NYC do these days.

Sue and I settled in with glasses of proseco and lots and lots of good conversation. There is a reason we enjoy each other's company so much. We're both really good talkers! We talked about everything from marriage, to crazy friends, to crazy family, to my upcoming trips to Wyoming and Paris this year (I was very eager to pick her brain about Paris since I've never been there before).

The menu had a very tempting list of bruschette and crostini. We considered splitting two orders, but decided to stick with one so we wouldn't stuff ourselves too much (you'll find out why this was important in a few minutes). That's a good thing. Our "crostini" were more like a small pizza! We had beautifully grilled and crispy squares of bread with gooey melted fontina, crispy bits of prosciutto (yes, I'm Catholic, haven't been to church in years), and nice chunks of tomato.

The entree offerings were simple Italian classics. Sue went for gnocchi. I opted for a grilled lemon chicken breast topped with tomato and arugula. My chicken was nice and moist and delicately flavored. It perfectly suited my desire for a lighter entree. I took a taste of Sue's gnocchi, which she felt were undersalted, but they were nice and light and came in a very delicious sauce.

We forgot to take a photo of the tiramisu` we split until we were down to the last bite. I guess we were too excited to pause before diving in and enjoyed it too much to remember the cameras.

Service was not always on the ball. Our server had horrible timing. We took a long time to decide what to order and he came over 3 times while we decided. Once we had decided, he made himself scarce! That seemed to be the theme of the day. On the good side, they allowed us our leisurely lunch. We met at 1:30 and didn't leave until 4!

Parting is such sweet sorrow, but I still had some fun laid out for the evening. My father and stepmother had secured tickets for Love, Loss, and What I Wore for the evening. We all met up with the hubby for a pre-show dinner. Our restaurant of choice was...RACHEL'S! Yep, NYC is home to a namesake restaurant.

It's a cute place, but it's rather small and cramped. I didnt' take any photos of the interior because you sit in rather close proximity to other diners and I felt it would be a bit too intrusive.

Sue's gnocchi had me craving pasta, and Rachel's, a restaurant that boasts of comfort foods, had several tempting options. I chose ravioli stuffed with sausage and pepper in a tomato cream sauce. There was a nice spicy bite to these and the sauce was good too. It was unfortunate that these were a special. They deserve a place on the regular menu. There weren't too many on the plate too, which is good since I wasn't terribly hungry after lunch. The dish was fortunately not as heavy as it could have been.

My stepmother ordered the macaroni and cheese. I was so tempted to order it even though I didn't have the stomach for it that evening. It was crusted with panko and macadamia nuts. She couldn't finish it, so she sent her leftovers home with me.

For dessert Kevin and I split a strawberry shortcake. I figured that I had half a dessert at lunch, I could have half a dessert at dinner and then say that I had only eaten one dessert that day. ;-) Tasty, but to me, real strawberry shortcake is make with biscuits and not cake layers. It was a very nice strawberry cake, but it wasn't "shortcake".

The play was excellent (Dad and Kevin saw another, manlier play) and I went home late in the evening with a full belly and a big smile. I could not have asked for a better Good Friday!


Bellini Valli said...

An excellent beginning to the weekend!!!

Sue said...

Gosh, are you speedy! I LOVED getting together! That WAS the perfect place. You did good. I loved the open doors and the open space. It reminded me of a couple of my favorite places in Boston.

That Crostini was fabulous! Next time, two crostini and a salad and we'll be all set. Let's start looking for our next place!

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

Sue - If we look for another place, we won't be able to do the 2 crostini and a salad. ;-)

Emily said...

I'm jealous! I hope we get all can get together in May. :)

Everything sounds delicious! I could you a cheesy crostini and some Prosecco right now.