Saturday, February 5, 2011

Island, New York

Island is all about proximity. We ended up there because it's proximate to the famous SOLOMON museum, seen here in an arty shot.

Further, we ended up at Island because it's right next to the famous brunch spot Sarabeth's. I believe this is the same branch I visited with Mayu and OJ years ago; it was predictably heaving when we arrived at 12:30 and we were forced into the overflow parking next door, where they also offer brunch to doctors, lawyers, bankers, their blond wives, and their brand-attired children. I just don't think I'm an Upper East kinda guy.

Here's the overflow parking. Who's this gentleman? You can probably guess by the politness-blackout that I know him (strangers don't rate that sort of courtesy).

They'll start you with a basket of popovers. Are popovers meant to be eaten hot? I have a feeling they're at their best that way. These seemed competent, but a bit tough with the cold and thus uninspiring compared to the air-filled delights they could be.

Eh, the rest of the food was pretty uninspiring too. Maybe this passes for brunch on the Upper East, and I confess I couldn't make this at home. All the elements are in place - the eggs are nicely poached, the hollandaise is just fine, the potatoes are nicely crisped...Geez, I just don't know why it didn't come together. Maybe because it wasn't hot.

The plum (and berry?) cobbler thing was hot though, and was decent. I miss having abundant supplies of fresh fruit. I'd be cooking stuff like this all the time.

One other thing (along with artisanal boutique cocktails, New American food, hipster facial hair, and my friends and family) that I wanted to see in New York was Red Velvet cake. Here it is. I dunno, it just seems like cake to me. But it's red, baby, it's red. And I like cream cheese frosting, be it on a carrot cake or a red cake.

I tell ya, Todd G's review here does it for me. And with more irritation than even I could muster. You know I adhere strictly to standards of decorum and professionality in all my writing for this site.

As a little vengeance on the zealous policing inside the SOLOMON, here's the view from the top of the corkscrew. Honest to god, a guard was on me 2 seconds after I got this shot, and there was no question that I wasn't photographing of the art. Mom chatted up another guard who opined that they're worried about people using pictures to plan heists. Riiiiiight.

It's a really cool view though, isn't it? The experience of being inside the museum for the first time was about as good as the art. I loved reflecting on the different standards that prevailed at the time, like the height of the railings around the corkscrew (low, low enough that I actually didn't like being near them or leaning on them) or the finishing on the pool at the ground floor (bulky and rough, more gestural than anything, "Let's carve out a volume and put water in it"). The space-age futurism of it reminds me of Los Angeles and the Jetsons and Taliesin West at once.

I haven't been to Taliesin. In fact, I'm not sure I've ever been to Wisconsin. Cheeseheads.

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