Hopefully you’ve read my piece on the cool cookbook store, because if you have, you would know I spent my Memorial day Monday with my dad, cruising Manhattan on bikes. It was a warm, sunny, breezy day, as close to meteorological perfection as I’ve ever experienced. We started on the West Side Highway, looping south, around the tip where hundreds of dogged and assuredly crazy people stood in line for the ferry to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. We laced through the crowds, enjoying the freedom and speed a bike allows you, and within an hour had hit South Street Seaport on the East River. It was just past two, the sun was high, and father and daughter looked at each other. It was time for a break. AKA, cocktail.
The crowds were intense along the wharf, and across the street in the Seaport, throngs of people thick as oatmeal (and looking as sticky) filled the area around the big chain restaurants that had descended unto the Seaport. I beckoned Dad to drive a bit north, at least one more block.
Lining the cobblestoned parking lot just north of seaport madness are a few really charming spots. We pulled up in front of Acqua and scored a table for two outside, under a wide blue umbrella. Dad ordered a bloody mary, for me a campari and soda. The fresh air, the sun, the drink, the bike riding…hunger ensued. I tried the burrata with heirloom tomatoes, a special that day. The burrata was creamy, delicious, and the tomatoes surprisingly sweet, particularly the orange heirloom. Dad ordered beef carpaccio, topped with greens and truffle oil (yum). Everything was simple, delicious, clean. It reminded us both of Italy. If the cobblestoned parking lot were absent of cars, it would be easy to imagine us sitting in a piazza, just enjoying a light summer lunch alfresco. It was heaven.