When it’s as hot as it’s been the past few weeks, restaurants meals and takeout replace home cooked. Usually, it’s take out but last week, I ended up with several more restaurant meals than take out as we celebrated a promotion, friends visiting and a friend leaving New York City temporarily.
The first part of the week found us at Birdland, a jazz club in midtown. My friend, Lorraine, a singer was visiting and wanted to listen to live jazz. There are several locations to listen to jazz in New York City but Birdland was close to where she was staying. We were chatting so much, I forgot to take photos of the meal when it arrived, and photography was not allowed when the Loston Harris Quartet, with special guest singer, Monica Behan, took the stage.
Later in the week, we celebrated our friend’s Judith’s promotion with a meal at Aba, a Turkish restaurant on Manhattan’s west side. I chose the Doner Kebab. I had read about doner kebabs in a post that Jan at Budget Travel Talk had written a while back. When I saw it on the menu, there was no question what I’d have for my main course.
If you’ve had gyros, you know exactly what doner kebab are and most importantly, how it tastes. Very flavorful, succulent and plain delicious. I ate every slice.
Another friend is due to leave shortly on a fellowship in southern Africa. When she requested Jamaican food, I mentioned a few of my favorite restaurants. I don’t remember exactly how we decided on Ripe Restaurant in Mount Vernon but early Saturday afternoon, we were sitting in their “backyard” – Ripe is a small restaurant with maybe 15 tables so the backyard, which is open during the summer, extends the space – sipping a glass of their rum punch.
I had been salivating over two of my favorite appetizers at Ripe – the Strawberry Hill Codfish Spring Rolls and Cuban Plantain Boat – and undecided which I should order. Honestly, I would have ordered both but I decided on the spring rolls. Not your typical spring rolls, these are bullets stuffed with codfish and served with a vidalia onion mustard sauce.
I always have a difficult time deciding on what to order when I go to Ripe because I like just about everything on their menu. I was tempted to order the curried shrimp but I decided on the Jamaican Beachside Style Fried Fish. Ripe’s fried fish is so crispy, there’s nothing left on the plate when I’m finished. And yes, they leave the head on. I know, some people are squeamish about that but I love a crispy fried fish head.
My friend chose the “Big Ass” Jerk Rib Eye Steak – yup, that’s exactly what it’s called – and she loved it!
We ended the evening in Harlem listening to the New York Flamenco Jazz Project at Silvana.
What’s your go-to restaurant / food when you have out of town guests?
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