NYC visit features famous people, fine French food

Occasionally, certainly not often enough for Wife L, we eat upscale. 

Such was the case a couple weekends ago when the family did the tourist thing in New York City. We met Brother M, Sister-in-law B, and Niece K at their abode in Westchester County and traveled to the Big Apple for two full-throttle days of exploration and eating. 

Many villages and towns in CNY that I visit have two or three restaurants and diners from which to choose. The trick is to not drive too quickly through town (the proverbial blink and you’ve passed it syndrome) and to not be afraid to walk in anywhere. 

We met Vincent van Gogh at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. (self portrait, 1887)

In NYC, it is quite the opposite, so Wife L spent countless hours perusing restaurants so we weren’t left wondering after tournig the Metropolitan Museum of Art, “Where do we go?” 

Where we went was a French bistro called Mon Petit Cafe, at 801 Lexington. It was a short  cab ride from the Met and turned out to be a cute, cozy restaurant on a busy corner.  We ate crazy early for being in New York — 6 p.m. — but it worked out great for us as the wait staff had plenty of time for us and a nice table set up in their simply decorated dining room that looked out on the outdoor eating area and the pedestrians bobbing and weaving their way somewhere vitally important. 

Wife L shared, barely, her pork paté served with toasts and cornichons. It was a coarse textured pate that had great flavor and helped us settle in with our wine, beer, and lemonades. 

I had the Crevettes Style Scampi, which featured eight perfectly cooked shrimp in a tomato-based garlic and brandy sauce.  Served with rice and a vegetable medley, it was wonderful. The sauce was rich and creamy and gave me that warm glow that comes with a fine meal.

Mon Petit Cafe on Lexington Avenue

The sautéed sole in a lemon-butter sauce and the grilled salmon in white wine and butter sauce also were big hits. The lone meat-eater of the evening, Niece K, enjoyed her steak, though she wished it were a little less done and a little more pink. 

But she had plenty of room for the layered chocolate cake that had an incredible icing that made us all slavering fools. The chocolate mousse, two mousses actually, were passed around and sampled. The dessert was incredibly light and sweet and topped with homemade whipped cream. A delicious lemon tart was a nice addition, and Daughter B sang its praises. 

You pay for the privilege to eat so well in NYC, but no regrets from any of us as we then tramped down to Dylan’s Candy Bar, on Third Avenue, to ogle and ahh over the thousands of varieties of candies that line every inch of available space. It was funny, at least to us, that the only item we bought was sugar-free candy for our father-in-law, who was on pet duty back home. 

We peeked inside the Serendipity3 dessert haven that we had seen in the John Cusack movie by the same name, and we took the subway down to Times Square to see the now pedestrian-friendly crossroads of the world. 

Besides the Met, we also took the NBC Studio tour at Rockefeller Center and visited the Strand bookstore, which promises 18 miles of books and might just be right about that. 

And, it being the Big Apple, we stumbled into a street fair on Sixth Avenue on Saturday that featured as many kinds of kabobs as sunglasses, and then walked into the Gay Pride parade on Sunday, which was loud, colorful, and fun to watch as we walked toward Greenwich Village and Washington Square Park. 

We also met our 30 Rock heroes Tracy, Liz, and Jack


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