That’s right! I’m back on the road… this time sticking to my time zone, but crossing the border… NYC… I have arrived!
See… all the girls live in NYC. Which girls might you ask? The Edinburgh girls: Abigail, Katie and Sunny. These are the same ladies with whom I spent a year; living in Edinburgh (we danced a whole lot… yes, alcohol was consumed… we were living in Scotland after all!), supporting one another through the ups and downs of writing a dissertation. Great friendships were built. It was… one of the best years of my life.
I realized that it was time for us to meet up again – a mini reunion of sorts. Am I ever excited to be spending a long weekend with them!
First stop: Abigail’s apartment.
Second stop: The Asia Society’s Garden Court Café. BRILLIANT IDEA!
First of all – there are TREES in the middle of the café! Seriously… beautiful, real live trees. Plus – the decor is simple: clean lines; white walls, windows in the ceiling (allowing loads of natural light to filter through), greenery (well trees are green non?), and streamlined tables and chairs. Very Zen. The perfect place to take a break from the hustle and bustle of NYC (just one little break… otherwise, hustle and bustle HERE I COME!).
Abigail and I crossed central park to get to the Asia Society – she was anxious to share her little gem in the middle of the city with me.
…You should know that I absolutely ADORE dining with Abigail (following are some of the reasons):
1. We share similar tastes… so I always know that her recommendations are going to be good ones.
2. She is a believer in sharing dishes… you know… order loads of food and share it among the group; that way you can sample a little of everything. Yeah… that’s a good friend to have.
3. She makes me laugh… the conversation is always easy, we never run out of things to say… and if we do, the silences are comfortable.
4. She has absolutely no problem with me whipping out my camera, sticking the lens into the food and taking a picture… or five. Amazing.
We walked into the café and sat next to a tree. It feels like your having a picnic outside… only, without having to deal with sitting on a hard, uncomfortable, rocky surface… or sharing your meal with bugs. Nice eh?
The Garden Court Café prides itself on offering a wide variety of teas: both hot and cold ones. This is such a staple that they actually have an iced tea of the day. Today’s special – passionfruit & grape – bright purple, tart, completely unsweetened (yes!), and the blend of fruit is slightly startling… in a good way. Topped off with a slice of lemon – an ideal drink to combat the summer heat. We ordered that… no discussion necessary.
We then turned to the menu. Just like the ambiance… clean, simple, exact. Abigail raved about the green apple and thai curry crab cake / apple-fennel salad and cilantro aioli. Oh… that sounded good. But so did the special – cabbage slaw / red & white / sweet soy ginger dressing. And then I saw the waiter carry out the thai vegetable spring roll / sweet chili dipping sauce… and that looked good too. Really good. We decided to order one of each.
The ultimate winner and rock star of the three (without question): the crab cake. OMG. Perfectly cooked in a panko crust. Not oily or greasy… it feel apart when my fork pierced it. Dipped into the smooth and creamy cilantro aioli; the crab cake was perfectly accompanied. Once finished the sauce was even better tossed on top of the apple-fennel salad. The green apples lingered in your mouth, balancing the raw fennel and cilantro. Sigh. Happy little sounds ensued.
We then also shared the warm salmon wrap with baby spinach / sweet chili sauce / chips. Again… really good. Accompaning the perfectly cooked salmon was fresh avocado, warm sautéed mushrooms, and baby spinach. It almost tasted like a large sushi roll (excluding the rice of course). The sweet potato chips added some colour and crunch to the plate, complimenting the freshness of the wrap with some salty goodness.
Abigail was right – the entire experience was lovely… and unlike any that I’ve had in NYC – where, in the past I’ve always enjoyed dining in bustling, jam-packed, high energy cafés or restaurants. It was the perfect spot to start this mini reunion… very, very zen. Sigh.