Hello Fellow Travelers:
Welcome to our world of business information, museums, adventure, birding, botanical gardens, good eating and fine wines. This newsletter provides you with “The Welge Report for Manhattan.
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Recognition: We extend special thanks to the people who manage and/or own the institutions, museums and restaurants featured in our guides. In some instances we have relied on their descriptions and photos.
Birding Opps: Info for our birding friends.
- New York City Birds (nycbirds.com) – is an informative blog by Phil Jeffrey that will help your birding adventures.
- As you would expect the NYC Audubon (nycaudubon.org/go-birding) weights in with birding sites in all of the boroughs.
Botanically Yours – Interesting gardens for our horticultural friends.
- Wave Hill – Tu-Su, Nov-Mar 14: 9-4:30, Mar 15-Oct 31: 9-5:30, West 249th Street and Independence Avenue (Front Gate), Bronx, 718-549-3200, Wave Hill is a public garden, which is very different from a park. Gardens are all about experiencing nature—flowers, plants and trees that are carefully cultivated and arranged.
- The New York Botanical Gardens – Tu-Su: 10-6, Jan-Feb: 10-5, 2900 Southern Blvd, Bronx, See spectacular seasonal exhibitions inside a landmark glasshouse that also features a tropical rain forest and cactus-filled desert with plants and discover the 50-acre Forest, Rock Garden, Home Gardening Center.
Farmers Markets – Fresh local produce protein and craft items.
- Grow NYC (grownyc.org) is a non-profit organization involved in green markets, community gardens and education
- The Union Square Greenmarket is a part of GrowNYC. We are mentioning it because we have been visiting it for 40 years and watched it grow.
Grape Experience – Local wineries.
- New York has hundreds of wineries that produce 200 million bottles of wine yearly. Close by are regions that include Long Island (liwines.com) and the Hudson Valley found on a more comprehensive website (newyorkwines.org)
Transportaion: Traveler Alert and a NYC Metro tip: If you are a Senior Citizen be sure to find out about and get an Easy Pay MetroCard Account. It’s a prepaid card that gives you big savings. For information call 1-877-323-7433. For all the info you need on getting around NYC go to (mta.info).
Amtrak – (www.amtrak.com) – Your connection to more than 500 stations in 46 states. For online information and train schedules visit www.amtrak.com or call 1-800-USA-RAIL (1-800-872-7245)
Day One: We have enjoyed dining at Union Square Cafe - L & D: Daily, 21 E 16th St, 212-243-4020 since Danny Meyer opened it.
Danny had a contest on the 10th anniversary of USC for your most unusual experience. Dee wrote that she had received three USC cookbooks that had just been published for Christmas. The reward was a bottle of Billecart Salmon champagne on your next visit. Wow!
Actually everyone who entered the contest won exemplifying Danny’s philosophy of giving the customer more than they expect.
For lunch we shared the fried calamari with spicy anchovy mayo. Dee enjoyed the Spaghettini Siciliano with swordfish meatballs, spicy tomato sauce and lemon zest. I had the Cavatelli with Berkshire pork and vegetable ragu.
Dessert was the pumpkin cheesecake. Our wine was one of the least expensive on the menu – ’13 Dona Blanca Armas de Guerra.
If you’re not looking for a great wine, Somms have explained to me the least expensive wine in your category, for instance Spanish Red, can be an excellent choice. Restaurants can’t have a bad or even mediocre wine on their menu, but they need a lower price point.
After lunch we walked to MTA and caught the # 4 to 86th St. where we had a short walk to the Metropolitan Museum of Art (metmuseum.org/) – Tu–Th: 9:30 –5:30, F – Sa: 9:30 –9, Su: 9:30 –5:30, 1000 5th Ave, 212-535-7710
This is the world’s greatest art museum. One of our favorite areas at the Met features the Impressionists. We have been fortunate to visit the French Riviera where many of the impressionists painted, and left a legacy of their work. One of the most memorable for us is Matisse and his famous chapel in Vence.
Another favorite museum is MOMA - Daily: 10:30-5:30, 11 W 53rd St, 212-708-9400l.
After MOMA we stopped for a glass of wine at Morrell’s Wine Bar - M-Sa: 10-7, 1 Rockefeller Plaza, (212) 688-9370
Dee had a glass of Paul Goerg Brut Rosé, NV and I had a glass of Steele Zinfandel, Pacini Vineyard, Mendocino County, 2008.
Dinner was at one of our favorite places for lunch or dinner, Perry Street – L & D: Daily, 176 Perry Sy, 212-352-1900
Chef Cedric Vongerichten, son of Jean-Georges, is a super star. We shared the grilled Spanish octopus with potatoes and pickled peppers in a hibiscus Romesco sauce for our starter.
For our mains Dee had the grilled lamb chops with olive crumbs and crispy artichoke with black olive oil. I had the artic char with savoy cabbage, seaweed, green chilis and mint.
A nice wine is the ’09 Domaine Prieur-Brunet Santenay-Maladiere. For dessert we shared the green apple confit with orange zest, sablease cake and green apple sorbet.
Day Two: The next morning we had a power breakfast at Michael’s New York – B & L: M-F, D: M-Sa, 24 W 55th St, 212-767-0555
The blueberry pancakes come with Vermont maple syrup. As a peon to his original Santa Monica restaurant Michael offers a California omelet with shiitake mushrooms, tomatoes, onions, bacon, avocado and sour cream.
The artwork is very special.
One of our favorite walks is along 57th St., where we we stop at McKenzie-Childs and continue down 5th Ave. past many famous stores and boutiques such as: Bergdorf’s, Harry Winston’s, Tiffany’s, Saks 5th Avenue and many more.. St. Patrick’s was resplendent.
The crowd at Rockefeller Center was huge. Patience and Prudence were still guarding the library.
After a few stops we arrived at our lunch spot ABC Kitchen - L & D: Daily, 35 E 18th St, 212-475-5829
The entrance on 18th St. is almost invisible, but once inside the door it’s cacophony. We’re early, as usual, and the wait was about 15 minutes.
We told the hostess that we would look around the store and come back. When we did we were promptly seated at a very nice table.
The last time we were here Tony Bourdain was seated nearby, but he didn’t ask for my autograph. I don’t know how many chefs and food operators have had restaurants here, but Vongerichten has it nailed.
We share the same things every year – the calamari, the spinach goat cheese pizza and a bottle of the Pinot Blanc, Cuvee Georges, Jean Gingliger, from Alsace.
After lunch we walked through the Union Square Green Market – “holy turnips” – It was amazing!
There were so many different potatoes I thought we were in Peru. It’s really crowded for good reason, and it has become a tent city for locally sourced food.
At 14th St. we caught the uptown # 6 to 72nd St., and walked over to the Frick Collection – Tu-Sa: 10- 6, Su: 11- 5, 1 E 70th St, 212-288-0700
In their permanent galleries they have Vermeers, Rembrandts, Picassos and much more. The Frick is a magnificent mansion and a wonderful time piece for New Yorkers and its 50+ million visitors.
After dawdling in such elegance we decided to stop for a spot of tea at The Ritz Carlton New York Central Park that was a relaxing interlude before we returned to our flat.
Our next MTA experience to dinner included a jazz band where we changed trains at 14th St. We all showed our appreciation, and rewarded their effort.
The man playing the coronet also played a French horn at the same time, “believe it or not”.
Dinner is at Via Carota - B,L,D: Daily, 51 Grove St, 212-255-1962
Let’s start with a glass of Drussian Prosecco and the crostini with chicken livers, sage and capers and an order of the fried olives with pork sausage.
Next you’ll share a plate of beets, pickled apples and goat’s milk feta. Your main is the seabream with grilled escarloe or the fried rabbit with rosemary and garlic.
Your wine is the ’08 SardusPeter Carignano and dessert is hazelnut semifreddo or their panna cotta..
Day Three: Our Cousin Louis suggests a leisurely breakfast at Balthazar - B,L,D: Daily, 80 Spring St, 212-343-1274
This is also a good place to have a business breakfast or discuss your stock portfolio. We enjoyed the sour cream hazelnut waffles with warm berries and a roasted pepper and carmelized onion quiche.
We had lunch at The Modern – L & D: Daily, Museum of Modern Art, 9 W 53rd St, 212-333 1220,
This has become a favorite as a result of not being able to check luggage anywhere since 9-11. Here they graciously check our bag hence getting our lunch business.
We dine in the bar area, where we enjoyed a great table and professional service. The wine list is immense and pricey, but we found a reasonably priced Petite Chablis. Chef Tracy joined us for lunch.
We started with the Modern Liverwurst with four pickled vegetables, not your mother’s liverwurst.
Dee had the Saffron Tagliatelle with cider braised rabbit, chanterelle mushrooms and kale and I had the Atlantic Grouper “en Matelote” with champignon mushrooms and applewood-smoked bacon followed by perfect espressos.
Finally a taxi to Penn Station and our train back to Philadelphia.
Our lagniappe for Manhattan is a French wine bar Racines – D: M-Sa, 90 Chambers St, 212-227-3400
Order a glass of ’11 Dom de St Pierre Arbois Chateau Renard to go with your chicken liver pate and pork rillettes.
For your main the razor clams over squid-ink spaghetti in a lobster bisque or the hanger steak with a smoky eggplant puree will make you feel Parisian.
The ’07 Jerome Chezeaux Clos de Vougeat is your wine and dessert is their strawberries layered over basil panna cotta.
Until next time, best wishes and safe travels,
Dick & Dee Welge
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