Welcome to The Next Great Meal– a forum for those who appreciate food, dining and may be looking for where to have that next great meal. There are a number of reasons I decided to write about food, and, for those of you who know me, this requires no explanation. But for those of you who have no idea who I am or what I may know about food, let me give you a brief introduction.
My passion for food and restaurants started at a young age and is probably a result of my proximity to New York City. I have lived in the New York City area for most of my life, and it is an epicenter of high food culture. Each neighborhood consists of an abundance of cafes, restaurants, diners, food trucks, etc. to choose from, making a choice can seem daunting at times. Not only that, but the restaurant scene is constantly evolving and staying up-to-date on recent openings and closings is not an easy task. However, choosing a restaurant should not feel complicated or overwhelming. The seemingly endless supply should only excite you, both in your home city and wherever your travels take you. I know that is the case for me, and I always welcome the challenge of finding my next great meal.
I think most would agree that a really great meal entails more than eating “good food.” That really great meal has as much to do with the overall experience restaurant ambiance, the occasion, the people you are with, location, service and the stories that get told after – as it does with how you feel about the food served. I can remember even the smallest things that have made my dining experiences more memorable. Like the waiter at ABC Kitchen who always remembered me when I came to the restaurant. Even if he wasn’t assigned to my table, he would greet me and have one of those tasty flatbreads sent out as a complimentary appetizer. Too bad he has left the restaurant. Or going up to Red Rooster in Harlem for brunch when the whole room is full of life and soothing sounds of live jazz serenade you through a meal of Biscuits and Gravy.
Whether you consciously think of all of these things or not, I am certain that you get nostalgic when thinking of some of your greatest (or even the worst) dining experiences. Speaking of the worst (I am going to digress for a quick sec). … There was one time when I was quite a bit younger and my family went to eat lunch at an unnamed establishment in East Hampton, New York (the place still exists). Still a child, I ordered my favorite at the time – deep-fried chicken fingers. When I took my first bite into what looked like hot, juicy, fried goodness I tapped my mom on the shoulder and said, “Mom, this chicken isn’t cooked right.” Not only was it not cooked right, but it wasn’t cooked at all. Funny how that memory sticks. Maybe that’s why Mom stopped eating poultry altogether. …
As a result of my insatiable desire for a food adventure, I am frequently asked by friends, family, co-workers, and acquaintances where I would recommend going to eat. I always have fun with this, and take care in determining exactly what people want.
I am not quite sure when I became the “source” for these sorts of things, but after countless “restaurant consultations” I decided, with a bit of encouragement, that it would be even more effective if I wrote about my own restaurant discoveries. So for those of you who have been coming to me for years, and you know who you are, this will be a running series of everything restaurant and food-related. So, I hope you’re hungry!
As the title suggests these entries will be reviews about dining experiences, wherever I go. My primary goal is to give readers a sense of occasion. What can each of these places (or recipes) provide for you? As this is meant to be an open forum, I welcome (and strongly encourage) comments, feedback and, of course, your own restaurant recommendations and/or cautionary tales.