What I learned on my summer vacation...


The first blush of summer: Restaurants need to add more roses onto their wines lists during the hot months. (Tim Carman/The Washington Post)

Other lessons I took home from my week in the Big Apple and upstate New York:

* Don’t try to eat late in Manhattan’s Financial District, even on the weekend. You’ll end up at a Marriott sports bar, staring at old movies and ESPN, while passing around plates of calamari. Conversations will be as fractured as the food.

* The bomboloni at Sullivan Street Bakery in Hell’s Kitchen might be the perfect breakfast pastry: light, fluffy, not cloyingly sweet, and, if you want, with seasonal fruit filling piped inside. Best of all, it’s small, no larger than a Parker House roll (and just as airy). Unless you order them in blocks of four, like sliders at White Castle, you can keep the calorie count down.


Heat treatment: Don't let the oppressive temperatures steer you away from the pleasures of radishes dusted with freshly cracked black pepper. (Tim Carman/The Washington Post)

* Restaurants need to offer seasonal wine menus. Too many lists are stagnant, particularly during the warmer months when heavy reds are about as appealing as a cup of hot cocoa in a sauna. I’d love to see a much wider selection of roses during the summer.

* With that said, the best rose I sampled was the 2011 Parusso at Il Pesce inside Eataly. The nebbiolo-based wine tasted like fresh strawberries in liquid form.(See photo above.)


Bone-in octopus: The fusilli with red wine-braised octopus at Marea comes with a sauce made rich with bone marrow. (Tim Carman/The Washington Post)

* At more than 100 miles away, Hudson, N.Y., has become a defacto suburb of Manhattan. The latest evidence: Two former chefs from wd~50 have opened a modernist restaurant, The Crimson Sparrow, in the town of 6,700 residents.

* The latest evidence that Hudson has not become a suburb of Manhattan: The Crimson Sparrow is open for dinner Wednesdays through Saturdays only.


White Castle sliders: Best served with beer. Lots and lots of beer. (Tim Carman/The Washington Post)
Tim Carman serves as the full-time writer for the Post's Food section and as the $20 Diner for the Weekend section, a double duty that requires he ingest more calories than a draft horse.

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