New York City has mood swings. Really, really bad ones. One moment it can be sweet, seductive, nearly—dare I say it!—tranquil and the next it can be capricious, defiant, and impossibly, impenetrably aloof. The unfortunate fact of the matter is that you have a better statistical chance of winning the Powerball Jackpot (1 in: 292,201,338 in case you were wondering) than predicting which mood you’ll encounter on any given day. This can make planning an infuriating exercise in futility.
Such was the case during one of our recent excursions. We set out late on a Sunday morning with an established agenda: a whimsical visit to a nearby gallery, followed by a properly gluttonous brunch. So easy! And yet the City, from the get-go, simply wasn’t having any of it and wasted no time gesticulating a spirited rendition of it’s signature, passive-aggressive response: thumbs in ears, fingers splayed, eyes glaring, blowing a raspberry.
To start, not one but two buses jumped the schedule. Then, once we descended the steps into the subterranean depths of the station to switch to a train, we immediately noted the ubiquitous MTA Service Advisories, with their prosaic, Helvetica-esqe typeface, haphazardly posted along the platform declaring numerous “service disruptions”. Finally, when we reached our destination—significantly later than anticipated, mind you—the door to the gallery was locked.
Peering through the glass into the dimly lit space, with only the faintest light penetrating the threshold and illuminating sparkling flecks of wafting dust particles, there was the reception desk, with its seat pushed in, empty. We read the stenciled hours of operation on the glass: Wed-Sun, 12-7pm. Then, we revisited their website on our smartphones. Same hours posted there. It was Sunday. It was past noon. What gives? Only after L. (clever woman that she is) called the gallery’s number, was it revealed on their voicemail that they had abruptly changed the days and hours of operation: Sunday—Closed.
We skipped ahead to brunch where the massive number of calories soon extinguished the fire of exasperation in the pits of our bellies. We emerged somewhat pacified, but as we made our way through the East Village down into SoHo, we discovered the following masterpieces along the way:
Well, then. I guess we ended up in a street gallery instead. Whaddaya know. A…
Pair (what you thought was) a bust with:
Brunch at Narcissa
When considering the innumerable brunch options New York City has to offer, you will undoubtedly cross paths with the trendy concept of “farm-to-table” cuisine. Now, as this article artfully conveys, the term and its well-intended meaning should be taken with a substantial grain of salt, but that’s not to say it should be dismissed outright. Take, for instance, Narcissa, the joint venture between hotelier, residential developer and restaurateur André Balazs, and Michelin-starred chef John Fraser located in The Standard hotel. Named for a now-retired dairy cow residing on Balazs’ Hudson Valley farm, Locust on Hudson, Narcissa’s entire concept is founded upon the symbiotic relationship between Fraser and the farmers, the restaurant and the farm.
“We’re able to take the term “farm-to-table” to another level. I work closely with the farmers, and we have a continued dialogue about what we would like to grow and the harvesting process. For instance, they can harvest some ingredients “young” or “overwintered,” which can impact their flavor profiles. You are not just sourcing from them, but also part of the process.”
– Chef John Fraser, from 2014 Life+Times article by Kai Acevedo
Though Fraser’s skill with vegetables is well-documented, he’s also received much praise for his Skillet Burger, having made numerous Best-Of lists in 2014. The generously seared, short-rib and brisket patty is topped with mashed guacamole, Manchego cheese and seasonal greens, then slipped between a toasted brioche bun. It is as satisfying and filling as it sounds, and it was just what the doctor ordered that Sunday.
For menus and other information, visit their website here.
25 Cooper Square (corner of 5th St and Bowery)
Monday – Friday: 11:30am to 3:00pm
Sunday – Thursday: 5:30pm to 11:00pm
Friday – Saturday: 5:30pm to 12:00am
Saturday – Sunday: 10:30am to 4:00pm