Best Western Convention Center, 522 W. 38th St., Room 605, 8:30 a.m.
The clock radio just barked into life, shouting something in Chinese. I'm hooked to the Internet with a balky Ethernet cable. It's grey and nasty outside the room and I can hear denizens wandering in the corridor outside.
Manhattan is happenin'! All the way through our drive from Newark airport--a nasty one-hour job through rush hour ending in the Lincoln tunnel--I marvelled at all the New Yawk signposts. Hoboken . . . Frankie!!!!! Empire State Building poking through everything, sadly on its own once more.
Hotel: Fanfuckingtastic! Very Japanese, approaching one of those micro-rooms for businessmen. Frill-less (viz: Ethernet cord) but ideal for a road warrior like moi.
Yesterday: priceless. Cab drivers in this city should each have their own reality show. The guy who took us from here to Peter Luger in Brooklyn was at turns surly, friendly, accommodating, and finally, expansive--an Egyptian bundle of Manhattanness that warmed the cockles of this cynic's heart. Once he heard us speak French, he realized we weren't the insects of the tourist world, and all his stories of learning French came tumbling forth.
And, Peter. Luger.
When Indiana Jones finds the Holy Grail, there's a big production with Nazis and whirling Visitations from Above plunging down and bad guys' shrieking skulls and lots of noise.
This was Peter Luger. The Holy Grail!
I can honestly say I can now die, content. My last breath will be "I . . . went . . . to . . . Peter Luger." (Note: This properly belongs on my steak blog, but I'm so amped that it will be here first; when I get home and analyze the photos/video, I will post it there.)
Forget everything you've heard about Peter Luger, and start from scratch. At 7:30 last evening, it was an insane zoo.
My tiny boy was dwarfed by legions of men--yes, mostly men--swarming the entranceway and bar area, with waiters bustling through carrying trays of this and that, murmuring Excuse-Me s at every turn, but never was he in danger of being trampled. A more gentle crowd of gentlemen I have yet to encounter.
And oh gods, where should I start? Should I start at the perfect Martini (actually a Gibson, issued with nary a hairy eyebrow) that sent electric shudders of recognition for what it was: the preferred nectar of superior beings, with the exact combination of gin and vermouth, fairy-dusted with miniature orbs of holy cocktail onions? Exquisiteness is not a word that does this glass of magic justice. However, it was like being felled by a silver sledgehammer. On version 2.0, I was reluctantly forced to stop drinking for fear of ending up among the legs of my companions.
Then: bacon. The Bacon. The Exquisite Bacon-not-Bacon. And the Tomatoes. (Had to try these. "Daddy, these are the biggest tomatoes I've ever seen!" Yes, son, they were. Six inches across, I'd warrant. And every angstrom a taste treat.)
The bacon was superlative: meaty, juicy, thick and ultralounge. I'm sorry, there are no ordinary adjectives to describe it.
Then, the steak. The steak for two, medium rare, and the steak for two, medium. Of course, I cough in the plate of those who prefer their steak anything more than just sliced off the cow, but at Peter Luger, it doesn't matter. You are going to get The Perfect Steak.
And perfect it was. Oh, the regret! That I don't have a refrigerator to keep the leavings in. If ever there were a celestial doggy bag, this would have been it.
The sundae . . . I would go on, at length about the magnificence of this creation, but at that point the second martini kicks in and everything becomes somewhat hazy. I think I had an Irish coffee--that should tell you everything about the sundae. But creamy, world-class gooiness is what remains on the myelin sheaths of my dendrites this a.m.
And the famous surly waiters? Gimme a fuckin break. Our main guy almost went through hoops to give us a great experience, grabbing my SLR and video cameras at various points in the evening to document this historic event. Everyone at Peter Luger was a total joy to deal with--please toss the myths.
So, Holy Grail #1 accomplished. Where to now? Maybe the ultimate burger quest . . . trouble is, if I have an ultimate burger for lunch, will it leave the proper amount of room for Luzzo's?