Monday, 16 April 2007

"The Sturgeon King"

The torrential rain that hit the Northeast yesterday did not keep me from enjoying an otherwise perfectly good Sunday. We met friends for brunch at Barney Greengrass on the Upper West Side and then headed to MoMA for some cultural stimulation.

Barney Greengrass was a NYC favourite of mine before I even moved here. I liken this institution and another old-school Jewish stalwart, Schwartz’s in Montreal. In my four years of studying in Montreal I tried a lot of smoked meat, but nowhere drew a comparison with Schwartz’s quality or atmosphere, and I feel the same way about BG. It’s simply a really enjoyable place to eat fantastic smoked fish. The staff are understatedly hilarious, friendly and efficient. The restaurant and store don’t seem to have changed for years, and they don’t need to - the art deco cabinetry and kitsch wallpaper are part of the attraction. Most of all I love the sturgeon and Nova Scotia salmon platter (Barney himself was, after all, "The Sturgeon King"). For about $30, it comes with a couple of bagels or bialys and enough fish for two to share. It's just what you need to set yourself up for a long Sunday in the city.

My brother says he would fly to New York every weekend just to have some sturgeon (he's also fond of Schwartz's). Now that I’m living here, it’s going to be hard to convince myself to go anywhere else. Luckily both Barney Greengrass and Schwartz's have been around for some time (99 and 79 years respectively), so I doubt they'll be going anywhere soon.

The highlights at MoMA were classics of a different sort - a display of design classics and how they have influenced other products. My favourite were the Wilhelm Wagenfeld's Kubus Stacking Storage Containers (1938) (right), clever and practical square glass containers that are a perfect marriage of form and function. They were paired with Constantin Boym and Laurene Leon Boym's Use It Containers (1995) (left), a modern system with clear similarities to Wagenfeld's Bauhaus product. With both systems the variety of sizes ensures that you always have the right size for the job, and you can pile them high on the counter or in the cupboard to save storage space.


Amy said...

Stacking storage containers make me happy.

Anonymous said...

what! no potato thingies with apple sauce?

Myfanwy said... has some ceramics on a simlar theme - sort of reverse t.....ware!

pia said...

waynie would be proud!

***Joanna*** said...

Anonymous - Yes, you mean potato latkes! Also excellent at BG, but only available on the weekends. Apparently they don't have a deep fryer so they have to have someone stand in front of the stove to make them... they are definitely worth all the effort.