Hello, hello! There have been quite the days here, and while I'm sorry to say I don't have a proper recipe to pass along, there are stories to tell, all the small things that filled the hours in between our last conversation and now. For the record though, I've been making a lot of radish sandwiches lately and, in case that's your thing, I'll take a moment to tell you about them.
Fergus Henderson, in a favourite article from Bon Appétit (seriously, the words, the photographs, the menu, everything is bang-on great, and it's where you'll find the recipe for this showstopper of an ice cream), suggests serving radishes whole, with the classic accompaniment of sweet butter and crunchy flakes of sea salt. That's a no-brainer, everyone knows that'll be delicious. What makes the suggestion smart is that he tucks the radish greens aside to dress with a Dijon vinaigrette — it's a peppery and pungent combination, the sort that catches and tingles at the edge of your mouth.
I've taken his idea and put it into a sandwich, as afternoons right now are story book made for picnics. I fancy up some butter with grainy Dijon and lemon zest, then smear it across lightly-toasted pumpernickel. The radish greens get torn into a bowl with a bit of olive oil, juice from that lemon, Maldon salt and cracked blacked pepper. Sliced radish goes on top of the buttered toast, then the salad, and then another toast. Along with my recent fondness for avocado toasts, which I'll get to momentarily, radish sandwiches are one of the quickest, nicest routes between hungry and lunch that I know of.
One day in late May, we lit up sparklers for no better reason than the fact that the evening was warm and the grass green, and that sparklers are the best of summer's magic. In the softness of that indigo hour, the frizzling trails lit up smiling faces, and sparks flew and burst like the laughter that accompanied them. It was celebration of everything, yet nothing in particular, and we've still got some sparklers left and I want to do it again.
Something that deserves a celebration of its own is an announcement that's not mine, but belongs to some people who I think are pretty special. I've talked about my friend Nikole before, more than once, actually. She and I first began really talking around the time her father made a baby spoon for my son William — a lad who is turning 4 years old in a few days, so if you do the math you'll find we've had some years of cakes and conversation between us. She and I are sometimes collaborators, often with the exceptional talents of Michael Graydon to boost up our own, and those projects represent some of the work of which I'm the most proud.
Nikole and her father Lance are the pair behind Herriott Grace. You've surely heard of their shop before; it's a heartfelt effort between those two. They've got a great story behind all that lovely and, lucky us, they have decided to share their thoughts and history in a new endeavour. They've put themselves on film, in association with John Cullen and Industry Films, and resulting portrait is breathtaking.
Congratulations, NH + LH, and to all involved. xo
Here's the biggie. I snuck away for a few days and made my way down to New York City. It was a brilliant, overwhelming trip, and I'm endlessly thankful to the dear, dearest friend with whom I shared it.
We walked bridges, navigated subways, and chatted up taxi drivers. We took the train out of town and I sat at a table I best remember in a snapshot taken when I was maybe five years old. We went to a party that filled up a room with admirable folks, and I wish I could have spent days in their midst. We toasted the city with cookies, and had sandwiches at Saltie for lunch. We poked around Union Square Market with fine company, and sat in the most charming bakery I've ever seen, with an equally charming (and talented, and funny) friend. There were chocolate buns as part of the deal. We people watched at Café Gitane and I became obsessed with their avocado toast. How can something so simple be so good? I've made it twice in the last week.
We sat in a restaurant on the edge of Central Park, just before a storm. We were served pickled strawberries on fresh mozzarella, and tiny sips of watercress soup. We cooed over crispy rice cakes underneath tender scallops. We blatantly eavesdropped on conversations, listening to mothers talk the serious business of the weddings of their children. We politely spied on a group of women catching up after years apart, each of them in cocktail dresses with the baubles and rings to match. And everyone heard the man who announced his presence in the room with an order for service; he strode in like he ruled the world. All of us could be his court.
When my friend and I walked outside, the wind had picked up, and we looked at a skyline dramatic against the clouds.
In the early hours of one morning we made our way to Grand Central Station. It was grey and pale out, the streets slicked shiny by a fine, misting rain. We snuck into the building as though it were a secret. Without the crowds, in that faint light, we stood beneath the turquoise arc of the painted heavens above, and it was like a scene from about a million movies. The irresistible wonder of place, the undeniable awe, saved it from cliché — we were left alone with the quiet potential in the space around us, the weight of what had been before.
The chandeliers shone like sequined planets. And maybe we laughed at ourselves.
I came back full of ideas, and full of reasons to be grateful. We got to meet so many inspiring individuals, it's hard to know where to begin. I'll tell you this, yesterday I made a vinegar-kicked strawberry conserve with that one meal in mind. I look forward to sharing it all with you.
Hip, hip for the weekend, for being home, for new lessons and old reminders. Let's talk soon.
The top two photos were taken with my camera, the rest were taken with my phone, using Instagram.