nyc + 3.94 + spring = grateful

May 13th, 2009 · 28 Comments

buon italia on a late saturday afternoon. a view from their cafe while having a piece of pastiera and a coffee.

so i was recently in nyc for a week. and then i came home to my daughter’s college graduation party. at my house. and i’m happy to report that i’m back on the bike, taking full advantage of springtime and all of its rain induced lushness. the honeysuckle is intoxicating… plus, there’s a 3 day cooking gig coming up next month that i’m preparing for. all this to say that i’ve been preoccupied. but i wanted to catch up and say hello and mostly – before i forget, fill you in on ”THE FOOD”, because there sure has been quite a lot of that. <— understatement.

i barely took any photos of anything. but i thought i’d list my itinerary – just so you could see what i’ve been up to – and the magnitude of food. because really, in retrospect? it’s amazing i didn’t keel over and die from caloric excess. well, i almost did once, but then i somehow made a splendid recovery at dinner the next night.

this was something along the lines of braised rabbit over farro risotto. scott conant – scarpetta.

but first and foremost, my beautiful and amazing daughter graduated on saturday from middle tennessee state university with a 3.94 – suma cum laude. and in case you need the translation, that’s latin for "with highest honors" and we are all beyond proud. lauren, you are awesome and i love you. (she reads my blog, unlike the rest of my family… not that i’m bitter.)

and at some point, i somehow managed to convince the talented, wonderful and sexy heidi robb (she’s one of those yoga chicks and it shows) to fly in and cook for us, and then chris was kind enough to come over and be heidi’s sous chef. without them i could never have pulled off this kind of dinner and be at the graduation and then come home and still get to wear a pretty blouse. so before i launch into the nyc trip, here was the menu for lauren’s graduation party:

small nibbles
rosemary marcona almonds – trader joe’s
some kind of buttery swirled puffed cheese sticks – whole foods
botija dried olives – raw guru
2 pizzas
caramelized fennel with
chris’s homemade pancetta
mozzarella, fontina, tomato sauce and fresh basil
penne w/ red onion, garlic and guanciale – batali recipe from
molto italiano – page 186
main dish and sides
chicken and italian sausage with sweet peppers, garlic and lemon
grilled asparagus with walnut crema –
A16′s recipe
roasted little yukon potatoes with chives and lemon
sliced heirloom tomato salad
tiramisu –
heidi’s recipe – authentic and perfect
and…the now very famous
chocolate chip cookies adapted from the one, the only – jaqcues torres by david leite

as you might expect, the food was just excellent and lauren could not have been happier with the day. she starts teaching 7th grade language arts this august.

ok – on to new york…

also from scarpetta – the most beautiful bread – a stromboli filled with fresh and smoked mozzarella, mild sopressata, tomato and basil

and to go with it – olive oil, caponata and mascarpone butter

thursday – dinner with mom at ouest. tom valenti is a fine chef and a very lovely guy. it is said that he single handedly brought short ribs to the party. and that right there is a reason to worship him.

friday – hair appointment at warren tricomi at the plaza. dinner at del posto with amy, stephane and claire.

saturday – ‘reasons to be pretty‘, chelsea market with a serious shop through buon italia, dinner at scarpetta. thanks for a wonderful day, momma!

sunday, brunch at aquavit with nick. dinner at convivio* with michael.

monday – laid in bed until 2pm in a semi-food coma, then shopping with a purpose in soho. dinner at esca (amazing food) with robin and jim, marc, maggie and amy and jonny

tuesday – great exhibit at the met, and then dinner at otto with cooper

wednesday – a stroll through the guggenheim, lunch at centolire and a black and white cupcake from dean & deluca to cap it all off. which sucked. which was a crying shame…

and now, as peter would say, my linking finger is very broken.

but i’ll be back with more cooking of my own – and soon.

*convivio was incredible. hands down my favorite dinner of the trip. you must go… a huge thank you to chef michael white.

Tags: other · restaurants · travel

28 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Becky and the Beanstock // May 13, 2009 at 1:58 pm

    Ah, I opened my Google reader today and was thinking “I have a feeling there will be a Claudia post today” Of course, I was wrong but this showed up just now and it’s still today so… told ya. Your food adventures make me hungry/dizzy, and also make me feel so… young (but, unfortunately, that’s only young in a food sort of way). I loved all the photos. Please tell us more about the mascarpone-filled bread.

    Congratulations Lauren! What a lovely celebration feast!

  • 2 claudia // May 13, 2009 at 2:06 pm

    becky, yes – the guilt was weighing on me! so finally.. and you are psychic, wow – who knew? i took so few shots in nyc. scarpetta has a huge skylight which allowed for decent photos early in the evening. and i won’t use flash in a restaurant as it’s annoying and blows out the food. i had to call scarpetta’s PR company to get the bread info but i’m glad i did. i had it all wrong and was able to correct early on.

    lauren’s graduation was wonderful. but not one photo of the food. if you knew the guest list – you’d know why. it was somewhat of a bizarre event. but i had fun!

  • 3 maggie // May 13, 2009 at 2:12 pm

    A fabulous NYC week for a fabulous lady. Sorry that it rained.

    Congrats to your daughter!

  • 4 Jennifer Hess // May 13, 2009 at 2:30 pm

    Whew – I was beginning to think NYC had broken you! So great to hear about all these exciting happenings and wonderful meals, and WHOO HOO to Lauren! You must be so incredibly proud. Cheers!

  • 5 Donald // May 13, 2009 at 2:52 pm

    Sounds like another wonderful adventure in the Apple. I am sure that it was the usual foodie paradise you always describe. It makes us want to vaca to the City just for the food, but I would never be allowed that close to Philadelphia without my mom monopolizing as much time as she could.

    A big congratulations to your baby girl. I know the proud mum is beaming ear-to-ear. :-)

  • 6 Lesley // May 13, 2009 at 2:56 pm

    That’s awesome for Lauren–I didn’t realize she was summa cum laude. That’s quite a feat, particularly given that she’s got a lot going on to take her attention away from studying (not the least of which is dinner at your house).

    So glad you made it out of the food coma to tell us about the trip. I can’t wait to go back to NYC and I’m happy about the Southwest flight direct to LAG starting at the end of June!

    ps–guess who’s got pasta rollers now?? ME!

  • 7 Lauren // May 13, 2009 at 3:03 pm

    all i can say is, if you want good tiramisu in nashville…you gotta make it yourself. or be lucky enough to have professional connections cooking for you.
    the nyc food sounds great too. nothing tops a big plate of tiramisu with your GPA on it though.

  • 8 lisaiscooking // May 13, 2009 at 3:24 pm

    What a whirlwind of great food. The graduation menu sounds fantastic.

  • 9 elzorro // May 13, 2009 at 4:09 pm

    Welcome back babe!

  • 10 Heidi Robb // May 13, 2009 at 4:17 pm

    The blouse was pretty, but you were STUNNING as the quintessential hostess – the epitome of style and grace.

    Highest praise to Chris and his way with the curing of the pig.

    I will cook for and with you anytime.

    I wanna know – what kind of special do they put in the water of Nashville that makes everyone so cool?

    Congratulations again, Lauren – brava!

  • 11 Melissa // May 13, 2009 at 4:57 pm

    Congratulations to Lauren!! 3.94 is an amazing achievement. Good for her and I wish her all the best in her new career.

    Kept up with much of your restaurants on FB, but to see it all laid out like that, wow. You had quite a trip. I can’t even begin to imagine all the amazing food and charming company. And Heidi came out!! *Squee!*

    One note… I’m more jealous than I care to admit, of one thing… you and Robin and Jim all got to meet one another. =( *Sigh* Someday.

  • 12 claudia // May 13, 2009 at 5:44 pm

    melissa – robin and jim were exactly as you would think – only better. this is heidi’s second time to visit me in nashville and i’ve been to cleveland once. there will be more trips in both directions!

    heidi – love you, mean it

    lauren – i forgot to say that we stenciled your gpa into the tiramisu with the cocoa powder. how is it that i didn’t photograph that? geeshk…

    santos – let me cook for you, honey

    lisa – i’m pretty much on protein shakes and watching it carefully. enough is enough…

    lesley – i am so far behind on what’s up with you! pasta rollers. you go girl. i expect to be hearing about some incredible dishes…

    donald – just don’t tell her you’re coming? ok maybe not…

    maggie – meeting you was a highlight. i look forward to following your life – both through food and otherwise…

    jen – wished you could’ve been there for some of it. maybe another time. soon. i hope. i miss you!

  • 13 The Italian Dish // May 13, 2009 at 5:59 pm

    well, first of all, congratulations on your daughter graduating with such honors. That’s so great. After reading your post (with all that great link love!) I feel like a had to take a nap. You know, like how you feel after Thanksgiving dinner! What fabulous places you went to! I would love to go to Del Posto. And the graduation dinner sounds spectacular.

  • 14 Robert // May 13, 2009 at 7:26 pm


    I had begun to notice a growing imbalance in the blogshere , a cosmic ‘shimmy’ if you will, which seems to have smoothed out completely now…..

    Welcome back girl.

  • 15 we are never full // May 13, 2009 at 7:36 pm

    had such a nice (and delicious!) time out with you. esca was fabu! i’m still craving that crudo. nice wrapup and congrats to your daughter. nice spread!

  • 16 democommie // May 13, 2009 at 8:52 pm


    Congratulations to you and your daughter.

    I am so glad I like you so much. I would be so envious otherwise. NOT the food, the peeps! Wow what a smorgasbord of relationships! Of course, I would not have turned down ANY of that chow, either!

    And how is the Amazing Grace?

  • 17 rachel // May 14, 2009 at 12:39 am

    Check out that menu…but then it’s hardly surprising considering it was you and HR at the cooking helm.
    Auguri lauren x
    New York sounds great – cool blogging club me thinks – is it true are Amy and Jonny never full or is that a fib ?.
    glad you are back.

  • 18 Marco in Italia // May 14, 2009 at 7:55 am

    When I come to visit, will you please be my tour guide of New York? I would love this please and you are very pretty. I will talk about all the Italian food with you and tell you if is authentic! My english is very good! I am 43 and a lawyer of property and structures.

  • 19 goodfoodmatters // May 14, 2009 at 8:18 am

    What a long, fabulous culinary adventure!
    Details are needed! These kinds of food journeys always fill the well.
    Looking forward to see how you’ll draw on this recent spate of good food experiences and what great dishes you’ll create.

  • 20 Heidi Robb » Procrastination in Layers of Cream // May 14, 2009 at 10:41 am

    [...] sitting open and messy since returning from Nashville last Sunday. My gorgeous and gracious friend Claudia of cook eat FRET asked me to come down and help her put out a beautiful celebration dinner for her daughter [...]

  • 21 Lauren // May 14, 2009 at 10:42 am

    i just have to add that heidi and chris are awesome. everyone keeps drooling in remembrance of the fennel pizza. the food was JUST SOOO GOOD!

  • 22 rebekka // May 14, 2009 at 7:42 pm

    You are so lucky. For everything, and especially for the bike.

  • 23 ponyboat // May 15, 2009 at 6:48 am

    OMG you just got hit on!! Have you been dabbing caponata behind your ears again??

  • 24 Peter // May 15, 2009 at 2:34 pm

    I wish I’d known that you were at the Chelsea mkt… it’s one block from my Bro’s place…

  • 25 Aunt Flora // May 15, 2009 at 5:58 pm

    What great news about Lauren’s achievement with such high honors at graduation. May her dreams continue to be fulfilled in the coming years ahead. Your time in NYC sounded great – loved reading your blog and seeing the graduation party’s menu. Grandma Julia must be looking down on you with a big smile, another family member who absolutely loved good food and entertaining family and friends with a generous spirit.
    -Love from Atlanta !

  • 26 Rachel (S[d]OC) // May 16, 2009 at 9:07 am

    Congrats to DD!! Sounds like a fabulous meal.

    It must have been nice to be out biking in beautiful spring weather. You certainly didn’t get much of that in NY. I’m sick of this cold and rain (as my Facebook updates can attest to).

    I envy your meal at Scarpetta. I was supposed to have a meal there with some friends a few months ago, but they neglected to make a reservation, or made it too late, and we ended up having to scrap the idea and go somewhere else. On teh good side was saved money since we went somewhere way cheaper.

  • 27 Ethel // May 16, 2009 at 6:57 pm

    Since I am “da momma” how proud am I of my girls.
    Lauren who proved she can DO IT all the way to the top and to you Claudia who keeps on amazing me in many directions.
    I always feel like a celebrity when I am dining with you with all the extra attention and gifts of food from the chef. NYC just isn’t isn’t the same without you and the restaurant industry really misses you too. But most of all it is I who misses you the most.

  • 28 Maggie // May 21, 2009 at 7:02 am

    I can’t believe we were both in NYC and missed each other. Next time!

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