One of Richard Thompson’s most haunting songs is “When the Spell Is Broken,” and it was ricocheting around my cranial sieve after I met one of the few bonuses for a bad break for a late lunch on the Lower East Side. Charbon, where we had planned to rendezvous, turned out to be closed, so I suggested Schiller’s, where I had not been in donkey’s years and had always loved the look. Visually nothing had changed, but I warned my inadvertently acquired friend that the food would not be as great as the bathrooms. Even I was surprised, though, at what arrived sans the French fries I specifically ordered as insurance against dejection. Her “seared tuna salad” looked to be mostly a mess of onions; my “tartine” was a slab of baguette alongside a mound of vapid portobello slices, Parmesan and arugula. Right as our tiny tumblers of wine were running out, Patsy put down her fork and said: “It’s just a diner, isn’t it?” Funny how Balthazar never makes you feel as if “love letters you wrote/are pushed back down your throat.” To paraphrase Richard Thompson, you can’t cook if you don’t know how.
Learning that Jacques Pepin’s latest cooking series will be his last reminded me of this sadness, over on the East Side, which I passed sometime last winter on the way to lunch with a friend that I don’t recall Trailing. I don’t know much about real estate, but you have to wonder why a historic brownstone is just sitting there turning to dust. Time to start a Soltner Foundation?
Just noticed the apple my consort picked up when he ran downstairs for coffee one morning at the Palomar in Philadelphia is still sitting, firm and fat, on the kitchen counter. And he picked it up nearly a month ago. Just around the corner, meanwhile, this restaurant claimed to be selling out every day. Nothing builds demand like scarcity . . .
While the war drums are pounded harder, and wingnuts say we can’t afford Ebola research but have a blank check for bombs, this tells you (nearly) everything you need to know about the biggest threat to the “homeland.” H/T @tomcolicchio