Thursday

Day 2

We’d finally gone to bed at 9.00pm and staying in bed as long as we did was a real struggle. Nevertheless, by 8.15am we were across the road at au bon pain for breakfast. I had oatmeal (porridge) with fruit – unexpected but very nice. We then set off for Ground Zero – which we never found, just a huge construction site. However, we did find the ‘greenway’, which is a long walkway alongside the Hudson. We started at the point closest to the World Trade Centre building site and walked down to the Staten Island Ferry terminal (decided not to go on it – too full) and back. Later we met Gail, sister-in-law, at Grand Central Station for lunch (late lunch – 3.00pm).

We walked back to the hotel then and realised that we were just up the road and opposite the Waldorf Astoria. There were a lot of extra policemen around and roads were ready to be closed – we found out later that Barak Obama was due to stay the night and later still we witnessed the closure (but not the cavalcade).

We later met Jaime (friend) in a bar on 3rd Avenue before going to a ‘southern states’ restaurant just around the corner. This was different!

FOOD

I had ‘Antebellum shrimp grits with Andouille’!!! There were so many things wrong with this menu title that I just had to try it.

First of all, my previous experience of grits was not at all exciting, in fact it was positively bland, and having ‘shrimp’ in grits (a type of cornmeal porridge) seemed beyond strange. Yet, having grits and shrimp together became even odder with the addition of Andouille. This is a very French, French sausage which anywhere else in the world wouldn’t spend time on the same plate with either ingredient but to share top billing with shrimps and grits? Well I had to try it.

To be fair, I’d suspected that if the dish came from the deep south, it would be spicy. Furthermore, if it was Creole based, which I suspected it would be; it would be the sausage that injected the spice and – for once – I was right. The Andouille was so much like Chorizo that I’d say they were the same – but the combination of tastes and flavours in my ‘Antebellum shrimp grits with Andouille’ was delightful. Well done (insert name and details of restaurant)

For lunch I’d wanted to attack one of the wonderful New York Deli’s but each one we went into was in need of air conditioning so we ended up not eating until we met Gail in the food hall at Grand Central Station. Here, there was no Deli, but enough food to feed a small third world country. And choice! I’d wanted salad but the salads down here were so HUGE that I was overfaced. I ended up with a small pack of Eel and Avocado Sushi, which was nice. Gail’s sandwich was so full of meat that we couldn’t eat it between us. These people really need to look at their portion control!

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