When I crave more than just a good meal, I find myself heading over to the Asia Society at 725 Park Avenue. As wonderful as New York's cultural institutions and museums may be, at times they can be overwhelming (both the collections and the crowds).
However, the Asia Society is the ideal size. Besides the society's always-thought provoking exhibits, I do love their Garden Court Café. It is a tranquil and harmonious place to lunch or snack. The café is enclosed in glass, peppered with live trees and climbing vines. The food is freshly prepared by Gracious Thyme Caterers with an Asian flair. I went for brunch and had the (heavenly) French toast (I couldn’t resist); for a weekday lunch, I would have ordered the warm salmon wrap or the bento box. The Garden Court Café is open from 12:00-3:00 for lunch every day except Monday.
|The Garden Court Cafe.|
|Hesh Sarmalkar, Director of Events at Asia Society.|
|Fluffy french toast.|
|Iced fuji green tea with cranberry and orange juice.||Vegetable samosas filled with spinach and feta.|
|Curried shrimp with jasmine rice and chinese broccoli.|
|Bento box lunch.|
|The Asia Society is a triple threat: wonderful exhibits, a respite of a café, and a fantastic shop. Museum gift shops are typically underrated. At the Asia store specifically, you can pretty much do all of your holiday shopping. Choose between tea sets and cookbooks from vases to ties. Skip Hermes and do your tie-shopping here. The busy holiday season is no excuse to skimp on culture. This we must remember, lest our minds will turn into fruitcakes or panettones.
The Asia Society
725 Park Avenue (at 70th Street)
|For some more dining and culture: Try The Wright, which opened at the Guggenheim last week. The Wright is a stylish restaurant named for, you guessed it, the great American architect, Frank Lloyd Wright (of the Gugg). The restaurant's opening coincides with the 50th anniversary of the museum. The décor of The Wright fits perfectly within the museum's exterior. And it's also cozier than one would expect with a communal table that is rather inviting. I went for lunch last week and had flatbread with cured salmon and a cappuccino. So you see, you really can’t go wrong at The Wright. They are open for lunch and will start serving dinner in January.
88th and Fifth Avenue
|The entrance to The Wright and its menu.|
|The Wright's interior.|
|My lunch, consisting of flatbread with cured salmon and a cappuccino.|
|The Bazaar by Jose Andres is thriving. Located in Beverly Hills on the ground floor of the SLS hotel, the menu fare is composed of small plates. There are no entrees or appetizers, just innovative tapas and cocktails. It appears as if many of the restaurants that are surviving in this economy involve a large bar area and small plate selection. Customers like this because they can sample many types of food without shelling out for one or two mains. We shall see if the Bazaar is any indication that hotel dining as a whole is making a comeback. [The Wall Street Journal]
Pannettone is a sweet Italian bread made with dried fruit, typically popular around Christmas time. Many celebrity chefs have been using Pannettone in recipes lately and its demand outside of Italy is on the rise. So much so, that bakers are working hard to meet the demand. [The Economist]
It's good to participate in food drives, but better to donate money. Many food organizations can use the funds more efficiently, yielding much more for those in need, than an expired or unwanted can of food can offer. [The New York Times]
Until we eat again,