Friday, July 20, 2007

A Weekend in New York

I recently spent a long weekend visiting my brother Erik and his wife Eppu in New York.

Erik is not as interested in eating-local-as-a-hobby as I am, but he says that he does enjoy getting local produce and fish at his nearest farmers' market when he can. He is an enthusiastic cook, and while I was visiting, he prepared several dishes that were largely locally sourced. For instance, there was this berry tart, made with berries from the farmers' market and every bit as delicious as it looks:

There was also a scrumptious vinaigrette-type potato salad that included a mix of local vegetables; some local asparagus (last of the season!) wrapped in prosciutto and grilled; and a melange of other local vegetables (plus some non-local ingredients) to go with the asparagus. And we had bread from local bakers, although I imagine they get their flour from somewhere far away.

I arrived too late to share in the dairy goods from Ronnybrook Farm that Erik had gotten on an earlier market day. Here are the glass bottles:

On the Sunday that I was there, I got to go along for a visit to the neighborhood farmers' market, which is held just down the sidewalk from the gates to Columbia University. This photo shows more of the environs than of the market itself, but you can just make out the white pop-up tents of the vendors' stalls in the middle of this scene:

At that market, I bought four pints of gooseberries, which looked beautiful and were attractively priced. Erik helped me pinch off the stems and blossom ends, and I froze them in Erik and Eppu's freezer before transporting them back to Charlottesville with me. If I can get my act together, I should be making gooseberry jam or jelly soon.

In addition to chowing down on largely-local goodies at Erik and Eppu's place, we ate a few meals out, notably at Pisticci and China de Puebla. Both were really, really good, but I must single out the Green Jade Gazpacho at China de Puebla. It was amazing. This cold soup was made with coconut, zucchini, cucumber, jicama, honeydew and mint. Although I've been enjoying eating local in Charlottesville, it was a treat to savor this simple-yet-complex, fusion-y food made of ingredients from, presumably, far-flung places. (Don't see many coconut trees in New York.) The key word, I am starting to think, is treat: my diet is getting to be dominated by locally-produced foods, but I can still enjoy, on occasion, savoring a dish that brings distant corners of the world together.

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