life in and around NYC is insane

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Jeff Dunham, P.J. Clarke's and the Big Apple Circus

So New Year's Eve . . . The plan was to have a small get-together at Drew's house. Just a few friends. And then Drew was looking at Stub Hub . . .so at 3PM on 12/31 we found ourselves at the Nassau Coliseum, in front row seats, waiting for a show to begin.

We love Jeff Dunham. My favorites are Achmed the Dead Terrorist and Walter. I loved his joke with Peanut -- Peanut said "I'm going to hell." And Jeff responded "Well, we are near Levittown." Drew, who lives in Levittown, nearly fell off his chair. Great show.

After the show we raced down Hempstead Turnpike to pick up our order for the party.
Zorn's Famous Chicken & Ribs on Urbanspoon
We have been Zorn's customers for years. I can remember when we lived in East Meadow in the early 60's my parents would pick up chicken from Zorn's, and Drew tells me his parents would drive all the way from Deer Park to pick up food. Back then there were live chickens in coops on site.
This was the second year we'd ordered catering from Zorn's for New Years. The package we ordered is supposed to serve 15 but could be stretched to serve 20. Three entrees and three sides. We chose chicken francais, Swedish meatballs and cocktail ribs, accompanied by baked ziti, garlic mashed potatoes and turkey rice pilaf. The cocktail ribs are smaller than the ribs on their regular menu, but are served in the same BBQ sauce. Drew loves the Swedish meatballs, but the most popular item with our guests was the chicken francais. The mashed potatoes were very good, but I would have preferred it if they didn't include pieces of the potato peel.

The butter cookies were very light and sweet; there were no leftovers.

Saturday night we headed into the city. First stop was P.J. Clarke's.
P.J. Clarke's on Urbanspoon
I'd been here with Becca, Drew had been here with Becca, but we'd never been here together. This place is very loud, very noisy and justifiably popular. We got there very early in the evening and had a five minute wait for a table; when we left the lobby area was extremely crowded with patrons waiting for a table.

We were seated near the windows and had a beautiful view of Lincoln Center. We skipped the appetizer. Drew ordered the skirt steak and a side order of onion straws (everything is a la carte -the steaks used to come with a side of fries). I considered the baked macaroni and cheese as an entree, but thought it might be too rich, so I ordered a skirt steak and asked for the macaroni as a side dish. I was right about the macaroni -- it's spiral pasta with bacon and peas in a rich sauce, very good but too rich for an entree. The onion straws were very delicate and not at all greasy. The steaks were tender and cooked perfectly to order (remind me to order my steak "medium" not "medium rare", my tastes have changed over the years.)

I think our waiter must be new on the job. He forgot to ask which sauce we wanted with our steaks, never refilled our soda glasses and didn't offer us a dessert menu.

Then it was time to head over to Lincoln Center for the Big Apple Circus. Kind of weird to find a circus tent buried between the opera house and the ballet theater, but in NYC anything is possible. This is an old fashioned circus, single ring under a tent, we no seat further than 50 feet from the ring, so it's all very intimate. The focus is on acrobats and aerialists, and clowns. They do have animal acts -- oxen to pull the circus cart, performing horses and a dog act where all of the performers were rescued from shelters. Loved the show.

Kudos to the young man playing the sax in the subway station. Perfect choice, Entry of the Gladiators.


Suzanne said...

So, THAT'S what my favorite NYC restaurant has become! My best friend Donna and I were in NY at the same time, she had tickets to the Daily Show and after taping, I tried to bring her to O'Neals Balloon-across from Lincoln Center.

It was gone, at that point Cafe Merlot and I was bummed. (We ended up at the Bennigans/Fridays just across the way at Columbus Circle.)

That evening wasn't a total wash. We walked into the hotel next door to use the phone and restrooms-and ended up getting an earful of Davey Jones at a Monkees fan convention...

Sounds like PJ Clarke's is selling similar far to O'Neals. They had the best chicken pot pie I'd ever had, even better than the one at RayNoors.

Suzanne said...

Oh, and I went and looked at the pictures. They changed the rounded glass at the corner of the building that you saw Annie and Alvie sitting at in Annie Hall!

For the most part, though, it maintains a lot of the original O'Neals elements.

songbird's crazy world said...

Yes, exactly. P.J. Clarke's is a NYC institution, an old fashioned pub, but this is a relatively new location.

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