Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Dining In Comfort And Completing My Mission

The terrace complete with candles

Dylan's, it's not just for kids

Pecan Pie Joy

Well my dear friends, I've almost completed my final full day in New York. The weather was kind, and it been a very sunny and humid day. I was up at 7 am re-potting and planting - well only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun - not streetwise Geordies.

Typically I ran out of large containers, so a trip to 'Home Depot', America's answer to B&Q, except it's not out of town it's in town, and you can't find anything you want. I'd like to say the staff were helpful, but afraid they weren't, they were mostly as lost as I was, language problem I think - it reminded me of the sketch by the 'Two Ronnies' in the hardware shop. Ronnie Corbett asks for something and gets four candles, when he wants fork handles - yeah you got the picture - well I thought I was going to have to draw one. The staff were of course polite, as everyone here is, and finally I found what I wanted.

After that Amanda and I walked a few blocks to 'The Comfort Diner', an iconic 50's style diner, complete with chrome trimmings, free coffee and cold drink refills, waitresses chewing gum and as they collected tips or took your order on their little pads. The 'bus boys' delivered the orders and refilled any glass or cup that looked remotely empty, and the manageress surveyed the waiting public - yes there were queues, and hollowed out her instructions in a brassy New York manner. there were booths, and tables and you could even sit at the counter, just like the cops do in cheesy movies.

The menu was beguiling, the talk of others close by kept me amused. Requests for eggs over easy, or sunny side up, bacon on the side, hold the greens. I felt like I was on the set of Thelma and Louise for a moment or two. Then, when I saw the blueberry pancakes delivered to the lady across from us, I nearly died - there were enough to feed a family of four, and she wasn't very big, and that was before she smothered them in butter and the maple syrup. We were awoken from looking at the menu by two glasses of iced water, and then iced tea, before 'Betsy' asked what she could get for us - Amanda plumped for the BLT sandwich deluxe, which means a sandwich that comes with coleslaw and chips made out of sweet potatoes. I decided to go for the club sandwich, just hoping it wasn't the size of a club house. Fortunately it wasn't, but Amanda's plate was kind of full. As it was my last day, and so far I haven't had dessert, I bravely asked for the menu. Betsy informed us that they had everything but pumpkin pie - shame as that's what I wanted to try, so I decided to go for American cheesecake instead, and Amanda went for pecan pie. Mine was perfect, So was Amanda's except it came in apiece that must have weighed about two pounds - see photo. haha. No way could she eat it all so we asked for it to be wrapped.

When we left we went in search of another New York icon, Dylan's Candy Store, which as it turned out made Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory look somewhat second rate. I'm sure if you are a kid in Manhattan Dylan's is kind of like heaven on earth, with three stories of candy of every imaginable style and colour. My personal favourites were the bacon flavoured mints, tequila flavoured lollies complete with worm inside, and peanut butter flavoured toothpaste - it's ok I bought them as presents, so it could be yoooouuuuu - haha.

Having waled about forty blocks we arrived back home and did a quick trip to the hardware store for the items I couldn't find in B&Q USA, then went back to work on the terrace. When I'd finished and tidied up I had the bright idea of getting some jars and candles so it could be used at night, so had to go back out to yet another New York institution ' Jack's 99c Store. A bit like 'Poundland' but even more chaotic. However I had seen preserving jars in there sometime this week so I bought 12 of those, and when I got back home I removed the lids and filled them all with candles and placed them on the ledges and in a large as yet un-planted flower pot, so in the evening there is a soft glow on the terrace, to unwind in the evening with a quiet drink or dine alfresco. And so my gardening mission is completed finally, Amanda approves of the terrace now, and the birds very much approve of the new cafe on the corner with built in swimming pool, with Mrs Blue Jay splashing and chirping loudly, as I cracked open a celebratory beer.

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