A Visitor.

Last week Andrew came to town. Video games were played and meals were had. On paper it doesn't seem like much, but what really, what more is there? 

I would go to work and Andrew would play video games. He beat Firewatch, Uncharted 4, and about half of Metal Gear Solid V. Pretty impressive.

Wednesday night we met at Shake Shack for dinner. I tried ordering the Chicken Shack without all the lettuce and the intense dill mayo to try to ease off on the strange greenness of the sandwich. It's better that way, but could be better still. Andrew got the immaculate Smoke Shack. And then we split a Smoke Shack. What a life!

Thursday night we went to the Momofuku Noodle Bar. We ordered no noodles.

But here is our wild scallop crudo with corn and chicken skin dish getting finished up.

Pea shoots with kimchi vinaigrette. I realize now I've had these before, but didn't recognize them on the menu. They're good, though. I'm not complaining.

Shaved fennel on ricotta. To me this tasted a little like corn dogs. Andrew didn't think so.

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Rice cakes with hozon and roast corn and lots of black pepper. Nice.

Gigantic slice of bacon with molasses and blackberries. Compelling.

Here's Andrew.

And, well, this is me. Look at that rainbow reflection.

Wrapped up the night's outing at Big Gay Ice Cream. You know I keep it simple with a chocolate dip sprinkle twist cone. A Berlin or a Merlin, depending on who you ask.

Ok, Friday. Friday I didn't have work. We went out to Queens to try a cemitas place ("Cemitas El Tigre) that sounded interesting.

Saturday, though, we did put up the controllers and spend a lot of the super hot and sweaty day out of the house.

We met up with Patricia at Fuku. Andrew and Patricia hadn't seen each other for 11 or 13 years, but they got right to talking.

Then we went over to Superiority Burger and they talked some more

Meanwhile I ate my yuba sandwich and blanched broccoli rabe

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Look at this great doggo we saw on the street! 13/10, would stare at all day!

And check out this Masters of the Universe window display. It's like they've got everything in there! Lots of toys I haven't thought about for a long time, but recognized right away.

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Then we met up with Victoria and saw this movie Hunt for the Wilderpeople. OH MAN! What a movie!! You guys, you've GOT to see Hunt for the Wilderpeople. Best movie I saw this summer I think, I mean, what a summer full of lame garbage movies we've had, but Wilderpeople makes up for it all.

After the movie Andrew realized he had cut his finger. But guess what? Patricia comes prepared.

Then I took everyone down to Soho because I had a surprise treat for Andrew. But it's harder to make surprises happen on blogs, so let me tell you what it was: We went to the Magnum Bar pop up store where you make your own fancy Magnum bar because Andrew loves Magnum bars, that's nearly the first thing I learned about him in London back in 2000.

This is mine. Dark chocolate over vanilla with mint chocolate chips, sea salt, chile flake, butterscotch crunch, and milk chocolate drizzle. I picked my toppings like a madman and it was good. Fun treat. No big need to do it again, but sure, do it once. 

Sunday supper, absolutely killer meal at the Ssam Bar. Dude, it had definitely been way more than a year since my last dinner at the Ssam Bar, which is crazy. Think back to 2008/09 when I was eating there, uh, 2-3 times a week? Times have changed! But the wait was worth it, food was out of control. Pictures aren't the best, but please, don't stop reading now.

Heirloom Tomato Salad and Plums with buttermilk and shiro dashi. This dish was like the restaurant saying "Yo, what's up? We mean business."

Little Gem Lettuce salad with beets and radishes. Great.

Benton's Country Ham is a must.

Shishito peppers with the yuzu mayo they used to serve along with the Jonah crab claws. So simple, so good.

And finally, Smoked Seven Spice Brisket with carrots and white barbecue sauce. Ask Andrew how this was and he might faint at the memory.

For dessert we went to Oddfellows, no pics but listen: Best ice cream of the summer? Forget Morgenstern's, forget Ample Hills, Oddfellows is quietly getting the job done. (I had carrot cake cream cheese and buttermilk honey blueberry after sampling nearly every flavor. So patient, the Oddfellows workers).

In the wake of so much heavy eating, Andrew and I wrapped up his visit the next day with salads at Sweetgreen. Just trying to take the edge off a little bit. Little tiny bit.

This post is dedicated to Andrew's sister, Sarah, who likes seeing his picture on the internet. Sarah, come on out to New York, bring Barry, you will have fun.

July Summarized

Nothing says "second week in August" like posting my final July wrap-up. Here's what I was up to when I wasn't in Chicago or at a rock festival in Chicago or in Utah.

I can't remember if I told you I went to Katz for a hot dog on the 4th of July. Fact: It was the second time in my 13 years living in New York to set foot inside Katz and my first time buying something/eating there. It was a fine hot dog, no bigger than a Grey's Papaya dog, but yeah, I'd say tastier. 

Look at this, the Second Avenue Subway really is coming. This is the cover across the new side to the 63rd Street subway platform.

You may have wondered if I went to the Martin Creed show at the Park Avenue Armory. Why yes, of course I did.

This is just what the Armory looks like all the time

And here's the most famous thing about the show: The room full of great big balloons. So many balloons! Such a strong latex smell! So hard to get a correct exposure!

Everyone knows about the balloons at the Creed show but from there it gets weirder. There's a room where the lights flash on and off while the door opens and closes slowly on its own--in fact, slow openings and closings are a recurring element of the show. Out in the main hall there's a giant curtain that opens and closes slowly on its own. But in the great big gigantic parade room they've got the biggest opening and closing. Up on this gigantic screen they play videos of the camera slowly zooming in on still figures who then open their mouths (slowly) to reveal mysterious gunk or goo. And then, even more slowly and less frequently, the door way down at the other end of the room opens up to the street and sunlight outside. Art!

Off to the side from there there was a gallery of smaller video installations of things like dogs walking around, passages getting highlighted, and, uhm, people throwing up (not pictured)?

Throughout the rest of the Armory it was harder to tell Creed's art from what was already in the museum, but there was this white grand piano that slammed its own lids open and shut. Which you can't tell from the photo. But that's what it did.

Let's talk about visitors? Scott came for a conference and stayed with me for a week while I was gone the whole time working, but we had some good 12:30am meals. He's down with dollar slices and up for Baconator fries.

And I managed to get back from Utah just in time to catch Jessica at the tail end of her New York trip. So good to see Jessica, hard to believe it had been ten years!

Last Saturday of the month I met up with Mary and Kim at the Metrograph to see Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. After that we grabbed some lunch at Mission Chinese...pro-tip: Place is EMPTY at 1pm on a Saturday and I gave my old neighborhood a little bit of a walking-around.

And, in conclusion, two creations I am proud of for July: this roasted vegetable salad and my BB8 watercolor.