Eight-hour pork roast sandwiches, brown rice salad with deli sandwiches (but not all at once).
Before I left town we managed to squeeze in a little dinner party with my old friend Holly and her husband, Brian. Holly and I haven't seen each other for ten years but we've gotten back in touch through Facebook. And then one day, we bumped into each other at the tree nursery and realized we live about a mile and a half apart and isn't it stupid to be friends only inside the computer? I can't take credit for most of this dinner, though: I popped the roast in the oven and went about my day and then set out bread and condiments and quite a lot of gin. Holly, on the other hand, brought homemade salsa, a dish of delicious rice with peas and coconut milk, and a decadent rum cake. We had a great time visiting, sitting outside (at the end of July! Can you believe it?!) until I realized my early flight would be calling my name before I knew it. It was a great start to my vacation.
While I was in New York, I didn't cook much. My college buddy Jenna
lives in a neighborhood that must be the most ethnically diverse in the U.S., if not the world. Why cook? We feasted on Indian and Nepalese and Cantonese food. It was even more fun to walk around and chat with my dear old friend.
We got rained on a lot, hailed on once. This is a rainbow over the Seven train.
Oh, also? I got to have lunch at Richard Gere's restaurant in Bedford. A very cool pick by my grandmother. It was okay but I wish (a) they had brought my sandwich when they brought my grandparents' lunches, not because I cared that much but because that kind of thing seriously pisses off my 86-year-old grandfather; and (b) they had timely served the appetizer we ordered. Nit-picking, right? But I always feel let down when I go somewhere famous and then my experience there is ordinary. (Not like the last time I visited Jenna, when we went to Lupa for one of the most terrific meals I've ever had.)
After a few days I left the city and drove upstate to visit more relatives. My maternal grandmother is 92. I think she looks better than ever.
While I was there, my aunt and uncle and cousins took care of me, which is pretty remarkable considering my aunt is recovering from a broken leg (and I know she will hate this picture, but I think she looks pretty damned good all things considered):
To help out, I put together dinner on Wednesday night--just deli sandwiches, with which I would ordinarily serve pasta salad, but these particular relatives are gluten intolerant. Hmm. Would brown rice work in place of pasta? It would! Sweet peppers, English cucumber, chick peas, scallions, pine nuts, feta cheese, and vinaigrette. Yum. I didn't take pictures of dinner, but I have a good excuse:
I got to meet my newest cousin, Eliana, for the first time! Isn't she adorable?
Much fun was had by me, at least; I can't vouch for anyone else. People were mighty nice for putting me up and feeding me and showing me around. Hopefully everyone there knows they can always expect a comfy bed and a good meal if they come to my house.
When it was time to go, I had to drive back downstate to return the rental car to the La Guardia Airport Enterprise lot. My GPS tried to kill me by sending me through Manhattan, in which I had been, and kind of remain, terrified to drive. But if the Garmin says "bear left over bridge," then by God, I listen. I am clearly alive to tell the tale.