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Paola’s Restaurant

February 1, 2010 1 comment

Last Monday — a week ago — we took Amtrak from Wilmington, Delaware, to New York and a taxi to the Hotel Wales, which sits runs along the east side of Madison just north of 92nd Street. It had been a busy day and we hadn’t eaten well. A good dinner would be welcome. Two Octobers ago, the first time I stayed at the Wales, I had a great dinner at an Italian restaurant just around the corner on 92nd. (It actually sits below the hotel, but has a separate entrance.) I didn’t think we could do much better, so that’s where Gail and I headed. The name had changed, which confused me. It’s now Paola’s. But it proved to be as good as I remembered. Better even.

We walked in around 7:45. It was pretty crowded. But a two-top had just opened up by the window facing Madison and we were sat almost immediately. The menu looked similar to many we saw in Italy in November and I ordered what had become my standard meal when we were there. To start, the Amatriciana, described on the menu as Traditional Roman thick hollow Spaghetti with Plum Tomatoes, Apple Wood Smoked Bacon, and Onions. Yes, bacon, not guanciale, but it was absolutely delicious. I didn’t miss the guanciale. For secondi — oh darn, it’s not on the on-line menu, so I can’t quote the description — but anyway, it was basically Chicken Milanese. The menu didn’t call it that, but from the description, one could see that that’s what it was, and when I ordered it, that’s what the waiter repeated back to me. Maybe not the fanciest dish in the world, but a favorite, and it was prepared perfectly, just a simple piece of breaded chicken with some greens on the side, much like what we had in Milan celebrating Gail’s birthday in November at Trattoria Milanese. For dessert, how could I resist the chocolate tartufo?

A perfect meal.

Let’s see. What did Gail have? For the life of me, I can’t remember. I was far too absorbed with my own meal. She had one of the pasta dishes as her main course, and maybe a beet salad for her appetizer. Yes, maybe the beet salad described in the menu as Slices of Roasted Fresh Beets with Montrachet Goat Cheese, toasted Hazelnuts, Orange segments, and Watercress. That’s it. Her pasta dish, whatever it was, looked fantastic. It had some kind of meat sauce.

Can’t wait to go back.

Categories: Restaurants

We’re Back

February 1, 2010 Leave a comment

Madonna and Child, Giotto (National Gallery of Art)

Three weeks of extensive travel came to an end on Saturday — two days ago. I have such a blog backlog that I hardly know where to begin. (Or should I use the phrase blog klog that I introduced last May as a parallel shortening of weblog backlog?) There are the two overdue Dallas posts that I described a few days ago from New York, where I also suggested that I should write about our landing at Washington National airport and a fabulous Italian dinner in Manhattan. I can now add more to the list, after another day in New York and two and a half days back in Washington. State of the Union address. J&G Steakhouse. National Gallery of Art.

I’ll get to all these items in the coming days. Please be patient.

Categories: Art, Restaurants, Travel