Archive for the ‘Favorite haunts’ Category

All this remembering of years past has got me really thinking. Like when we first moved back to the East Coast. Not that I remember the first go around, was but wee thing when we left NYC for California.  A bit of a culture shock to say the least. Friends were like~ oh wow NYC is right next door! Yeah, right 1  hour and 20 minutes by train, door to door, providing all went according to plan.

My first trip into GCS ( that would be Grand Central Station), I thought, this truly bites~the big apple that is! Although, I soon came to see the error of my ways and appreciate all that NYC had to offer. Also, after realizing I could be in Manhattan in less than 45 minutes if I drove in, I fell in love with New York.

The amazing Jazz being played at clubs in the Village really made this summer something special. The Bottom Line, The Blue Note, The Village Vanguard, the bar at the Algonquin Hotel. Some truly memorable music. Most are gone now, a faded distant memory, but damn! It was a good time.

Dean & Delucca, the start of the NYC gourmet food world. Me, getting an overpriced hair cut ( I think it was $80.00) at the salon at Henri Bendels. My mother almost fainted when the credit card bill arrived, but hey! I looked super hot. Finding cute Japanese toys at FAO Schwartz ~ Hello Kitty! She had just recently landed state side, and was the cool ticket item. Got you immediate entry to the hip set.

Bloomingdales day of the week underwear, coveted by millions of women, plus those brown bloomies bags, a warm NYC pretzel. Times square when it was gritty and scary, before it became a mecca for Disney and MTV. Seeing a Chorus Line on Broadway.

My first incredible restaurant meal in NYC, it was salmon, tied in a knot. Thank you Marianne & Little Gray, what an evening that was! I will never forget it. Drinking, clubbing, art gallery openings, the parks, long walks, crashing in a friends studio/art room on Christopher street.

Gone but not forgotten, Chock Full O’ Nuts Coffee Shops, Brew & Burger, getting on a non air conditioned subway car ( this does still happen), going by the Dakota  to see where John Lennon lived and died. Spending the night in the Plaza Hotel, having late afternoon tea, and then cocktails in Trader Vics! ( the birth place of my nic name! aka Vic!)

Carriage ride through Central Park, seeing Yes at Madison Square Garden, visiting Arista Records with my best friend ( her dad was a vp), couldn’t tell you who I met, but the swag was cool. Going up in the crown of the Statue of Liberty, before they closed it. ( it did just reopen).

Oh, what a short, sweet summer it was. Then college beckoned and my first fling with NYC was at an end. But it has another chapter to tell.

Acid Jazz Singer by The Fratellis

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Burger Maven Havens!

Was talking with some friends about their favorite burger haunt. Sadly, most said Hmm, don’t have one, but Mickey D’s, or Duchess ( fast food made to order on the east coast) will suffice in a pinch. Blech! Who wants to eat a sodium laden cardboard hockey puck. Not me! Now while I do not eat alot of meat, I love a good juicy burger. The 5 napkin kind with the drippings running down your chin. ( Kind of the same way I feel about ripe peaches, but that is another Blog!)

So got to thinking about my favorite greasy spoon type out of the way burger joints! I was pleasantly surprised by my list , which I whittled down 4 times! Criteria had to be, great meat, inexpensive ( no $25.00 short rib-foie burger), underground following no frills kind of place, clean and quick.

So here are my top picks, in no particular order, and where they can be found.  And yes, I have consumed many a burger at each place.

CT: Louis Lunch, New Haven , CT   This is my all time favorite ( okay I am biased) it is  a  hamburger, fairly thin, broiled in an original contraption from 1890,( don;t think to long about that one!) sideways, so lots of fat drips out, served on white toast with American cheese and onion slice. That is it. Don’t ask for ketchup, mustard, etc. They will escort you out the door. I buy about 6 at a time and am lucky if I arrive home ( it is a one hour drive) with 3 intact for my father.

The Sycamore Drive-In, Bethel, CT  A very old fashioned drive- in with great burgers, out of this world onion rings and the creamiest milkshakes you will ever drink.

NYC: The Shake Shack in Madison Square Park, seasonal only. So get your burger loving buns down there before summer is over! Or, wait till next year.

The Burger Joint in the Le Parker Meriden Hotel, costly, but so worthwhile. Plus Carnegie Hall is next door! Go have a great burger and then go listen to  some really wonderful music.

SF: Taylor’s Refresher in the Ferry Plaza Market Building on the Embarcadero.

In & Out Burger on Fisherman’s Wharf. Order the double-double. Just look for the line.

LA: Father’s Office in Santa Monica, hands down the best burger in LA!

2nd Place goes to The Apple Pan on West Pico. Been around forever!  Eat there and you will know why.

Last , but not least somewhere you would never think of!

Ollie’s Trolley, on South 3rd Street in Louisville, Ky! It is but a tiny place, an old trolley car, no seats, , just a window where you order. The burgers are marinated  in 23 herbs & spices ( hey this used to be the home of the KY fried chicken dude) served VERY rare and with a special secret sauce . So, the next time you are in town for the Derby, give yourself a down home southern treat. You will be glad you did.

Just a note: When I make my own burgers, I like a 70-30 , but if that scares the crap out of you with the fat content, go with 80-20. Get an iron skillet searing hot! Or fire up the grill, season the meat liberally with kosher salt & fresh ground black pepper. Do not try to “mash ” or compress the patties. Slather a brioche bun with sweet butter and griddle. Cook the burger about 3-4 mins per side. Top with good old American cheese and a slice of red onion. Whatever other  condiments you desire, ( leave the avocado & tomato for guacamole) bread & butter pickles on the side. Bacon optional. Some Ruffles potato chips and bingo, that’s all she wrote!

Now I want a cheeseburger!

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