NYC part 1: Almanac

For many, many years, I have made a Spring pilgrimage to NYC to take in the culture, style, and attitude that is uniquely New York – and, of course, to visit my dear friend, Kiki, and her wonderful husband, Scott.  My bite from the Big Apple always includes a meal at one of the city’s finest (Alain Ducasse (closed), Le Bernardin), most iconic (The Four Seasons, The Rainbow Room), or buzziest (Cipriani Downtown) restaurants.  While I am privileged to delight in such gustatory pleasures and sumptuous surroundings, my favorite NYC boites are those of Chef Galen Zamarra.  Mas (farmhouse) is my most favorite restaurant, in the world, ever. The food is divinely elevated French fare with a touch of California a la Alice Waters. The ambiance is a perfect balance of elegance and hipness (two concepts that don’t usually go together). When I am at Mas, I am at home.

Given my spiritual connection to Mas, I could not wait to try Galen’s newest restaurant, Almanac. Galen is a Northern California boy who grew up surrounded by the beauty of the Santa Cruz mountains and coastline.  His love and appreciation of nature is present in every aspect of his cooking. You won’t find rabbit tortellini with Thumbelina carrots (adorable, right?) anywhere else but Chef Galen’s kitchen. The idea for Almanac grew from Galen’s own “almanacs” – journals he kept of his daily trips to farmers markets while a chef at Bouley. In his almanacs, Galen recorded what foods were fresh, seasonal, and complementary. These culinary observations were the foundation and inspiration for Almanac.

Almanac. You are now entering a zone of deliciousness and sophistication (two of the CCC’s favorite things).
Kiki excited to enter Almanac. (Even though it was Spring, it was still chilly!)
There is something for everyone on Almanac’s wine list. If you are not sure what to choose, a charming sommelier is always nearby.
The leather banquette in the bar with the sweetest embroidered cushions. Who wouldn’t want to enjoy a cocktail here?
Oh, and I did mention that Galen and his beautiful wife, Katie, are friends? Aside from the fantastic meal, the best part of the evening was spending time with Galen and Katie. 🙂
Watercress and scallop soup. This light and effervescent soup was also hearty and comforting. How is that possible?
Nobody does chicken like Galen – perfectly tender and the perfect size! Here, it is served with grilled spring onions, morel mushrooms, and potato. Again, Galen balances refined cuisine with easy deliciousness.
As is the CCC way, Kiki and I were both happy and tipsy at the end of a wonderful evening. (Photo by Scott.)

Almanac.  Counting the minutes until I can worship at the Shrine of Chef Galen again!

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