Just kidding. Instead, I was sent to chilly Minneapolis - where, despite the cold and snow (yes, snow!) I most definitely ended up enjoying Mary Richards' hometown.
Foodie delights that made me want to throw my hat up into the air?
*The moan-illiciting fare at 112 Eatery- most especially the Foie Gras and Lardon Frisee Salad. Mmmm...A gorgeously balanced dish...The rich goose liver, smoky lardon and crisp lettuce offset by a golden gush of warm oozing yolk, compliments of a poached egg delicately balanced atop the salad.
*Devilishly good Peanut Butter at a quirky cafe called Hell's Kitchen.
*The comforts of dinner with an old friend at a comfortable spot call Restaurant Alma - where even the soul-satisfying bread was made on premises.
Last night I had a pair of hazel eyes on my mind. And to be honest, I wasn't sure if continuing to think about them was a good idea. I needed a distraction right quick.
Then I saw the light - or lights as it were. My friend Paula called suggesting a roadtrip to Jackson Heights, where we could partake in Diwali - the Indian festival of lights.
Armed with directions from Mapquest, we hit the road like Thelma and Louise - hoping for a better ending before the credits rolled and some quality Tandoori while we were at it.
Foodie that I am, I'd been to Jackson Heights many a time - but always by subway. This was my first time by car. And, Paula had never been there at all. So, we were counting on Mapquest to show us the way.
Good ol' Mapquest. It most certainly showed us the way - WAY out of our way - by about 45 minutes to be exact.
After several twists and turns though, we finally landed in the midst of tree-lined streets festooned with colorful light, stumbling into a 74th Street fave, Delhi Palace. Settling in, we ordered an oversized bottle of Taj Beer, crisp Samosas, a heaping platter of mixed Tandoori meats, creamy Raita and Sambar Vada (pictured below), a specialty of deep-fried lentil donuts.
Mid-way through our celebratory feast, a caricature of a man at the next table started to offer us a taste of his Dal pancake. Then he insisted on getting a taste himself - a taste of my lips. Either drunk, crazy, or a wee bit of both, he rambled on about how I was his sister, he was my brother and that he was owed a kiss.
After a few more feeble attempts, he moved on to accost another table and we breathed a sigh of relief. Now we could enjoy our meal in peace.
Before either of us could take another bite, there was another man whispering in my ear.
"Is everything okay? Are you enjoying yourself?"
My mysterious whispering admirer was none other than the restaurant's manager, waaaaaay too close for comfort.
This evening was getting more bizarre by the minute.
WHAT THE HELL WAS GOING ON!?!
Paula looked at me in disbelief. OK. I know I asked for distraction, but this was ridiculous.
We ran out of there like bats out of hell. But sadly, the experience at the restaurant left a sour taste in our mouths. It just wouldn't do. We simply needed to explore more of Jackson Heights before heading home.
It was time to investigate one of the area's Indian grocery stores, Apna Bazaar. Chock-a-block with a dizzying array of rice, lentils, chutneys, spices, jars filled with foreign delights like Pickled Tumeric (pictured below), breads aplenty, and a myriad of frozen dinners that clearly arrived in Queens by way of Bombay, it was a treat for the eyes.
But had all of the evening's events served to distract me from the memory of those hazel eyes?
The next set of lights I saw summed up my state of mind perfectly.
Quite a prophetic festival of lights to say the least.
For those of you who are longtime readers, you know full well that I never miss the annual Tre Bicchieri wine tasting event at the Puck Building - an orgasm of an event, packed to the rafters with wine aficionados, wine that deserves their admiration - and a veritable smorgesbord of drool-worthy men, sporting Armani suits, devastating smiles and Italian accents.
So, how could I pass up the chance to attend a similar event at the Puck last week - a Slow Food benefit called ViniPortugal?
Did it live up to the glories of its Italian cousin, the Tre Bic?
No eye candy of the male variety and not much by way of wine to my liking either.
A light, fizzy glass of Espumante Quinta do Ferro from Portugal's Vinhos Verdes region was one of the few wines to lift my spirits.
Oh, well. Only five months till the Tre Bicchieri returns to New York...
And washing your hands before working with food means with soap and hot water and for a long enough period of time. Sing a verse of "Happy Birthday to You" while washing. When that verse is done, you've spent enough time washing.
Who says all the good journalists went into broadcast news or the Internet?
Believe it or not, I was hoping to return from The Motor City with tales of delish ethnic fare - and a newfound respect for Detroit and its culinary offerings.
Well, let's just say my hopes were dashed.
Even ventured into the city's famed Greektown district (pictured above), having researched the heck out of it to determine that Pegasus Taverna would be a good bet for dinner. Apparently, the night the Tigers won against the Yankees this flaming Saganaki hot spot was packed to the rafters, taking in more moolah than any night in its 24 year history. A good sign - or so I thought.
The place looked dumpy enough to be a Chowhound find. The waitstaff was friendly too. They had an amazing array of beers from Greece. But, the Inglenook wine on tap should have been a tip-off.
The food was resolutely nasty. Even the Greek Salad was a sad mess.
I was disappointed not to be part of my colleagues' business trip down to New Orleans. But I decided to beat their Southern supping by a mile - or several thousand to be exact.
Yesterday, I grabbed a pal and meandered over to the Red Hook soccer fields to chomp on homemade Latino delicacies - from Pork and Queso Pupusas (pictured above) to mammoth Beef and Nopales stuffed Quesadillas (pictured below).
The sidewalks around Bay and Clinton Streets were lined with booths featuring cuisine from Mexico, Guatemala, Chile, Venezuela, and more. We're talking REAL Southern food.
Everywhere I turned there were mouthwatering plates of authentic Carnitas; Ceviches; Taquitos; skewers of various types of meats; Chorizo; grilled corn on the cob slathered in mayo, grated cheese, lime and chili pepper; Tacos; mind-boggling collections of homemade salsas; fresh mangoes spiked with hot chili;and oversized glass jugs of fruity Aguas Frescas and creamy Horchata.
Needless to say, I'm still stuffed.
Good thing too. Cause my annual Yom Kippur fast starts at sundown!