It’s a rainy day in NYC, and I’m in a melancholy mood. Last night I helped one of my favorite people in the entire world – the man who lives(d) upstairs from me, who I’ve spent several days a week with making good food and drinking excellent wine until far too late in the morning, whose chef position I’ve now taken over and whose shoes I’m frantically trying to fill – do the final cleaning on his now-empty apartment. I hugged and kissed him goodbye as he got into a truck to drive to Denver. We’ll see each other in August, but the summer of working 14 hours a day in the Hamptons and then drinking wine on the beach beside his empty chair is going to make it feel like a long one.
I’ve got Nina singing “my man is gone now… ain’t no use in listenin’ for his tired footsteps, comin’ down the stairs”.
Despite housing 8 million people, New York City can be lonely when you’ve got a heavy heart. This man pulled so many good people into his home simply with generosity, a huge heart, and a love of good food and drink. Last night one of our makeshift family said, “it’s the end of an era”. So many of us have gathered at his apartment multiple times a week, and seemingly at random – we’ve woven in and out of each other’s lives, and know that our weekly meetings will now, most likely, be yearly ones. There were four apartments of friends in my building. Now there are three. In such a big city situations like ours, where you have keys to each other’s apartments, walk each other’s dogs, bring someone dinner while they work at their desk, and can paddle from an empty apartment to a full one in bare feet and sweatpants, is rare. Forging those connections without having known each other prior to moving into that building… exceptionally rare.
Sorry, it’s a rainy day, I’m waxing on and on.
Point being, I’m missing another incredible Milk Bar Mondays swap because a bunch of things got me to the point where I was grocery shopping like mad too last minute, and couldn’t find the gluten and dairy-free ingredients to adapt this week’s recipe. Which stinks, because it looks amazing. I’ve spent the past two weeks trying to fill my buddy’s big chef’s crocs, and spending as much time by his side watching how he cooks, clinking glasses and staying up far too late, not wanting to leave. I haven’t blogged my own recipe on this site in almost a month, and am barely keeping up with Easy Eats and my Serious Eats interviews! Life is insane, and lovely, and full of goodness. I just have to figure out how to juggle it all.
Soon, I’ll be back in dusty baking style. Soon.