One of the places I love to frequent in New York is Balthazar. I know I’ve talked about it before so I won’t go into great detail. On the Monday I was scheduled to fly out I was roaming the city on my own and decided to stop in for a late lunch. As is normal I sat at the bar and decided to order their version of Duck Confit. While sipping a glass of wine and relaxing the man next to me struck up a conversation. I was thrilled for two reasons – first this man was very handsome and he also saved me from the guy on the other side who seemed to be a bit unusual. Now you know I will talk to just about anyone anywhere but I had a feeling the unusual man was going to try even my social skills.
Luckily for me George, the handsome man, saved me. Not only was he handsome but he was very interesting. An ER pediatrician (sort of like the other George – you know, Clooney!), he had a slight accent which I learned was from a combination of living situations. He was most recently from Austria but his real background was Greek and there were a few other countries thrown in there in the middle. Well, the conversation soon turned to food (probably after I took a photo of my lunch…) and since he both lived and worked near Balthazar we talked about many of the places in the area.
Just a quick summary of my lunch – yum! It occurred to me that I might want to be a bit reserved in my eating while talking to my new friend but that notion went out the door after the first bite! While I didn’t finish the entire dish that was only because there was an amazing amount of food on my dish.
And then he mentioned somewhere I didn’t know, DiPalo’s (if you follow the link scroll down the page just a bit). And how, although it was a tiny place, he often ended up in there for an hour or so between waiting in line and then sampling everything the owners wanted him to taste. He told me a bit more about it and where it was located and I decided I had to check it out before I left town.
So we said our goodbyes – dang it! – and then I made my way to this new, old place. It was just a small place, as many New York shops are, but it was packed to the gills with all kinds of things that called my name. Not only were there stacks of cheese everywhere you looked, but there was also prosciutto and salami, pastas and sauces and I’m sure if I had looked longer and harder I could have found all kinds of little Italian treasure tucked in the corners.
The owner was working the counter and after I told him that I wouldn’t be buying anything that day but explained that I was scouting it out for my next trip to town, he started telling me the whole history of the shop, handing me postcards sporting photos of his Grandmother standing outside the shop in the early days as well as more recent photos of the shop!
I liked the shop, I liked the owner and I would certainly like to go back next time I’m in New York. And I’ll do it early in my trip so that I can buy a few things to sample during my visit. And I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed that George just happens to be shopping the day I stop by.
206 Grand Street (near Mott)
4,5,6 to Canal
80 Spring Street (corner of Crosby)
4,5,6 to Spring