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Catching Up in July

During the summer, it’s easy to drift into your own world enjoying long days and longer weekends, but there was an intensity to this July that didn’t allow for easy disconnect. There was tragic and terrifying news , too soon goodbyes, and on a personal note – friends facing unthinkable and unexpected challenges. On the other extreme, I got to spend last Sunday at City Hall with two other friends who’d just won the literal lottery, allowing them to make it official after 27 years on the first day that it was legal to do so in New York City. Swinging between high anxiety, deep sympathy, and pure excitement, I couldn’t say the news has been all good or all bad but the past few weeks, I’ve been constantly reminded just how fragile it all is, or maybe it was the heat making everything tremble.

I don’t normally like lists unless I’m the one making them (and then I can’t stop). Fun to read but sometimes grating, they make me feel like I’m keeping score. Still, for weekends when I’m staying close to home, Eater’s 38 Essential NY Restaurants had a decent round-up with the usual intense commenting on who made it and who didn’t. They also had a quick guide to the City’s best (I assume no longer) “secret” restaurants. I’ve had a few out of town guests this summer so I flagged Serious Eats’ roundup of tourist spots actually worth eating at as well as their Museum Mile guide (though my list begins and ends with Café Sabarsky my all time favorite). Meanwhile, Tasting Table fills in the blanks on where to go after the High Line which I plan on tasting out when I finally make it to the new skating rink.

Farther away but closer to home, Anthony Bourdain took No Reservations to Havana. Having read the coverage leading up to it, I was cautiously optimistic. Overall, he went further than I expected though it was disappointing that the show focused mostly on cars and baseball, not surprising considering the severe food shortages there. Interesting for what he didn’t say, his twitter thread throughout the premiere was illuminating. This response by Achy Obejas and her ongoing coverage from Cuba offers more insight on eating and traveling through the island.

Finally, now that it’s officially closed, the documentary El Bulli: Cooking in Progress” playing at Film Forum looks back at the restaurant that was constantly pushing things forward. Though this Times review is mixed, I saw it a couple of months ago at a MoMA screening and loved being a fly on the wall of their test kitchen. For more profiles, Claudia Roden discusses The Food of Spain with Epicurious, Manny Valdes talks about the detours between his family’s bodegas and his current position as CEO of Rick Bayless’ Frontera, and the Daily News featured Eliana Ramos from A Chica Bakes.

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