Familial Surprise!

My uncles are here!  They surprised me by not telling they were coming until last night–although they were going to not tell me until today around 1:00, but I called them last night and they spilled the beans.  Which is good, otherwise I would’ve bought theatre tickets or something similar for tonight and I wouldn’t have been able to spend the evening with them!

I’ve been pretty low-key these past few days as I’ve recovered from the long weekend.  Monday and Tuesday consisted of work, gym, home, hence the minimal posts.  The long weekend was rough and I needed some downtown, so I was really happy to have places to go and people to see tonight.  More fun for me, more reading material for you.

At work today my supervisor Diana told Theresa and I that we would be shaking things up a bit the next few weeks.  We’ll spend much of next week in the Whitney’s off-site storage unit in Chelsea (we are visiting the site tomorrow as an intern group), we have the following week off (yay!  Although there are a lot of intern group activities that week so I’ll be busy) and we’ll be spending our last week in the downstairs subcellar working on cataloguing.  The next few weeks will fly.

After work I came home to find a restaurant for dinner.  Sam and Larry were relaxing after having seen the Richard Avedon exhibit at the International Center of Photography as well as the matinee of Blithe Spirit, so I told them I’d search the SeriousEats files and find us a place to eat.  I settled on Kashkaval, in Hell’s Kitchen, which has received rave reviews from  SeriousEats and the ever-fickle commenters.  Kashkaval is a low-key neighborhood secret: a really lovely, romantic, rustic little restaurant located in the back of a cheese shop.

I decided to walk to Hell’s Kitchen rather than take the subway.  The weather was perfect, it would take about as long as the subway, and I wasn’t going to be able to make the gym so I figured I needed to get some activity.  I entered Kashkaval to find Sam and Larry (yay!) drinking wine at the bar and talking to some lovely Russian twenty-something who lived in the city.  Our table was ready almost as soon as I arrived, however, so we said farewell to the Russian and took our seats.  Kashkaval is really unassuming: brightly lit cheese and cold-foods shop in the front, candlelit romantic exposed brick and wood furniture restaurant in the back.  Really really lovely and unlike anywhere else I have been in New York City except perhaps for August.  Kaskaval specializes in tapas and anything involving cheese (plates, fondue, etc.) but also has some main courses.  We ordered a cheese plate with a really lovely smoked cheddar, a manchego, and some monastery cheese whose name I can’t remember.  The cheddar won, it was excellent and nutty.  I ordered some baba ganoush to split with the table, which was really garlicky but could’ve used a bit more of a kick.  For dinner I had the spinach borek, sort of like a spinach pie but in a spiral (you’ll understand when you see the picture) with a Greek salad.  Sam had a spiced paprika chicken and Larry had the mustard chicken.  Both came with a really fabulous side of mushroom bulgar.  I had a bite of each of their dishes: Sam’s was really well spiced and Larry’s was mustardy but not overly so.  I have some of their leftovers to eat over the next few days, so we’ll see how the chicken actually is.  The mushroom bulgar was awesome–I only had a bite, but Sam and Larry both raved and each finished their portion.  I was pleased with my spinach borek and really pleased with the creamy cubes of feta in my Greek salad.  Apologies for the badly-lit photo; I didn’t want to disturb the other patrons with a flash.

See, a spinach pie in a spiral.
See, a spinach pie in a spiral.

After much eating and drinking of food we left in search of more food, particularly, custard.  I’d been really craving Shake Shack’s custard ever since reading a slew of custard-based posts on SeriousEats, so we decided to walk to the Upper West Side location on Columbus and 77th.  Again, the weather is really cool, dry, and not summery, so it was an excellent walk.  Sam also told me how Columbus was his “haunting ground” when he would visit the city–he and my mother had an aunt and an uncle (I think?) who lived on Riverside Drive back in the day.

Custard was a win.  Sam and Larry both really enjoyed their chocolate and chocolate and vanilla, respectively.  I was extremely pleased with my vanilla with caramel on top.  Last time I was at Shake Shack I was a glutton and ordered a sundae, but the custard is incredibly thick and rich and the toppings they used are also rich so a small with one topping more than suffices.  Even a concrete (like a Blizzard, but with custard) would be a little intense, I think.  Anyhow, I am really pleased to have satisfied my custard craving this evening, otherwise an impromptu trek to the Upper West Side would’ve been necessary.  You know me, I will go long distances for food.

A truly beautiful site.
A truly beautiful sight.

I walked with Sam and Larry back to Columbus Circle before deciding to be lazy and grab a cab home.  Unfortunately it would have been convoluted and time-consuming to take a subway from the Upper West Side back up to the Upper East Side, and I just don’t know the bus system that well; I should figure it out.  Anyhow, I wanted to get home semi-early because I have to wake up fairly early tomorrow for the Intern Adventure in Chelsea.  I am looking forward to seeing the off-site storage and to gallery hopping, but I am not looking forward to waking up early so I can get to the off-site storage at the appointed time.  I should be seeing the uncles again tomorrow as well.  Yay uncles, thanks for dinner etc.; Sam and Larry are awesome and I am extremely glad they are here for a few days!

3 thoughts on “Familial Surprise!

  1. Ooooh, Sam and Larry!!! (Yep, they get three exclamation points woo!)
    Please send my fondest regards to the rockinest uncles around.

    Oh, and I am more than a little envious of your cheese/dairy-filled adventures. You are weakening my resolve. 😦 Nah, not really. But I do drool at every post, waaaaaah!

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