Monday, August 17, 2009

A Light Summer Dinner at Le Grainne Cafe

I was back in the Chelsea section of New York City for meetings at my old office, so I treated myself to dinner at Le Grainne Cafe, where I lunched on occasion with a good book for company and Edith Piaf, Vanessa Paradis, and Carla Bruni, among others, providing the French soundtrack on my iPod.

A bottle of New York City's finest tap water, free, and bread (no butter, s'il vous plaît). I was very tempted to have an apertif: Rose Regal, a sparkling wine with notes of roses and raspberries, which I once sampled at Chelsea Wine Vault. But with tax and tip, this would have added about $13 to my bill. Better to pick up an entire bottle for my next picnic or summer meal.

A small organic mesclun salad, $4.50. I love these simple green salads with julienned cucumber and carrots.

Ratatouille is one of my favorite food films, and it's also one of my favorite dishes, especially in the summer. Their version, $6 for a side, went so well on the bread. Learn more about "confit biyaldi," an interpretation of ratatouille by chef Thomas Keller made popular in the film, as well as the traditional version.

Apple tarte tatin with crème fraiche, chocolate mousse, crème brulee: so tempting. But not vegan, sigh. So I went with a trio of sorbets: raspberry, mango and coconut, $6. A delicious way to end any summer meal.

Visit Le Grainne Cafe, 183 Ninth Ave. (between 21st & 22nd St.), NYC.

On the walk back to Port Authority, I passed this billboard.
I cannot wait to see this film. I've actually seen warnings on some eco-sites to stay away from this movie, with an old quote from People magazine referring to Julia Child's dislike of vegetarians.

I, for one, do not want to be exposed to views of the world that are exactly aligned with my own. Child influenced millions of cooks. Is it not worthy to see how she did it, and how we can harness some of that influence for our own path?

Babette's Feast is another one of my favorite food films, and they have the most un-vegan feast you'll ever see at the end. If you can get beyond the food, it had powerful take-away messages, such as enjoying food can be one of life's great pleasures and need not be associated with such guilt, and most importantly, food not only satisfies the physical appetite, it feeds the spiritual appetite as well.

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