My little cousin Jennifer has a bun in the oven! (Don’t worry: she’s now a bit older than she was in the photo below.)
When she asked if I’d attend her baby shower, the answer was obvious; after all, Jennifer’s always been more like a sister to me than a cousin. Along with my big sister Fiona, we were basically raised by our grandparents while our parents were at work.
Poor Jennifer. Because she was an only child starved for companionship, it was easy to cajole her into playing servant to my queen or shoe salesperson to my snobby shopper. I spent a large chunk of my formative years bossing Jennifer around. I’ve been trying to make it up to her ever since.
I couldn’t miss Jennifer’s baby shower. So bright and early on Friday morning, I kissed the kids and hubby goodbye, hopped on a plane, and flew to the opposite coast to help celebrate the little one’s impending arrival.
I can’t say I was looking forward to the flight – which included a layover in Phoenix – so I made sure my carry-on was stuffed with shelf-stable food for the skies: SeaSnax, macadamia nuts, canned Ventresca, a couple of clementines, and various Paleo treats from Steve’s Original.
Somewhere over Kansas, I cracked open the can of tuna and belched the ripe, fishy fumes directly into my Big Mac-eating seatmate’s face. (Okay, not really. I ended up eating only half of the food, and saved the rest for my return trip. And the can o’ fish — which ain’t stinky at all — stayed with Jennifer, so she could try it in the privacy of her own home.)
It was already dark by the time I arrived at Jennifer and JC’s apartment, and I was cranky and tired. Luckily, my food-obsessed cousin knew exactly how to raise my spirits: She arranged for a huge delivery of porchetta and sides from Sara Jenkins’s tiny Porchetta shop.
Delivery food often suffers in transit, but not this meal. I couldn’t resist picking at the crunchy skin wrapped around the tender, juicy porcine goodness as we waited for Jennifer’s other guests to join us for dinner.
To accompany the porchetta, we also had salad, braised greens and garlic…
…and roasted cauliflower with pomegranate.
It makes me sad that I live in the ‘burbs, where delivery is never quite this revelatory.
On Saturday, we all woke up early to prepare for the baby shower. For breakfast, I made everyone a quick frittata with leftovers from the fridge: porchetta, braised greens, sautéed onions, and chimichurri sauce.
The rest of the day was all about the baby shower. Again, the food was fantastic: catered trays of chicken and meatball parm, roasted turkey sandwiches, beet salad, and roasted Brussels sprouts from Parm. None of the grub was Paleo, but I managed to eat clean for the most part by sticking with the vegetable sides and devouring the innards of a turkey sandwich. (Truth be told, I did break ranks and indulged in a few bites of bunless meatball and chicken parm, but I’m unrepentant ‘cause it was totally worth it.)
At the end of the night, we caught a cab to the East Village to swan-dive into a pile of succulent, slow-smoked meats at Mighty Quinn’s Barbecue.
Although there were only four of us and we’d been eating all day, we nonetheless ordered enough to feed a battalion. We sampled the brisket, pulled pork, a full rack of short ribs, and Brontosaurus ribs (beef ribs, not dinosaur ribs — and besides, Brontosauruses never existed in the first place). Oh, and we piled on the sides, too: Sweet potato casserole, slaw, and pickles.
Man, that was finger-lickin’ Texalina ‘cue.
On Sunday morning, our heels crunched along snow-dusted concrete to Locanda Verde for my last meal of the weekend in NYC. As soon as we queued up at the hostess desk, I heard one of the staff members yell at a patron for taking pictures. Score! That meant I could savor my steak tartare and fire-roasted garlic chicken without the added stress of having to document my food for this here blog. I’m sorry, gang. (But not really.)
And that’s a wrap-up of my super quick, blink-and-you-missed-it trip to the Big Apple. Thanks for all your dining suggestions on Facebook and Twitter! I love my readers.
p.s. If you’re looking for other awesome New York City eats, check out some of my previous posts on dining in Gotham:
*These three were written by Henry and posted on his blog back in 2010. At the time, this site was still a few weeks from hatching!