ny checklist: the fall 2015 edition

Forget setting yearly resolutions or quarterly goals — every season I sit down and sketch out everything that I must eat, make, see, and do to take total advantage of the nice (or not so nice) weather, produce, and brooklyn living. And so, Fall 2015 is officially the season of…

  • japanese bars: for years we've been obsessed with visiting japan (the food! the people! the culture! the short-lady clothes that will fit me! the food!), and lucky for us, there are a growing number of izakayas and bars specializing in japanese-inflected cocktails, sake, or just a straight up great whiskey selection. Top of my list right now is Bar Goto (plum sazeracs!), but there's always my favorite Decibel, guaranteed to be a total scene in the east village. 
  • fresh pasta: there's nothing like a big old bowl of handmade pasta, but so few times when I'm read to expend the effort. In the summer, it's far too hot to stay inside a stuffy kitchen, and in winter, well, I'm just ready to eat the giant platter, not necessarily to make it. Fall, on the other hand, tempts me in with all the possibilities: butternut squash ravioli, sage brown butter sauces, ragus... so many festive things await.
  • west village jazz: envision: a leather jacket, giant scarf wound about, a glass of scotch, and a dark little bar with all the music. I may not know much about jazz, but I know it's the perfect autumn-in-new-york activity.
  • duck confit salad: one of those dishes that is far more fabulous-looking than it is hard to make. Grab a couple legs, crisp 'em up, and shred into dark greens with pomegranate and spiced nuts, or add slivers of fig with lots of balsamic, or even some cherry preserves.
  • picasso sculptures at moma: let's just say that the nytimes called the just-opened exhibit "once-in-a-lifetime." Bonus? Landing up near central park and hopefully getting a glimpse of the leaves and possibly eating a packet of only slightly questionable honey roasted nuts sold from all the little carts.

  • roast chicken with white wine, fennel, and onions: a house specialty. For years, a weekly staple was this perfect (and perfectly easy) quick roasted chicken with a crispy skin, caramelized vegetables, and on occasion, maybe a little bit of pancetta. This recipe is one of the only reasons I feel comfortable with the end of summer.
  • apple cider whiskey concoctions: a big old jug of bourbon. A big old jug of fresh pressed apple cider. For refreshment: mix them on a giant ice cube and add a cinnamon stick. For comfort? a quick heat with a splash of lemon. The happiest of evening hours awaits.
  • dia beacon: for years, I have sworn I would make it to this upstate beacon of art (...jokes, jokes) and there is no better excuse (or lack thereof) than a meandering fall train ride, with plenty of leaf peeping and picnicking to be had.
  • crepe nights: possibly the best and most memorable meal of last year. Galettes with cheese and french jambon and carefully placed eggs all covered in caramelized onions and accompanied by cider competed with classic nutella and simple sugar. The contest was tough: each required three rounds of testing until a tie was declared and rematch set in 2015.
  • a visit to joe's & the ifc: one of the true pleasures of NY: a quick visit to Joe's, standing up and dripping hot grease as you devour a perfectly triangular slice of cheese or pepperoni, and then an old-school matinee next door at the IFC.

And so, as white wine turns red and cold brew to cappuccinos, do not fret my child. Fleeting fall is here with all its joys.