First things first… as many of you have noticed, there is a change of address. Please send all checks and correspondence to this new address: The Single Gourmet, 151 E 3rd St #2G, New York, NY 10009.
Second, many people have been asking what the role of Aaron (the owner of The Single Gourmet from 2014-2017) is now that I have purchased The Single Gourmet from him. He is a friend of mine (as I know he is to many of you), and he won’t totally disappear; he will be an adviser and host the occasional dinner for when I’d like to get away for a weekend.
Third, yes, I know… my efforts to get The Single Gourmet newsletter out in a timely manner could still use some quite a bit of improvement. I’m working on it!
This summer is going by more quickly for me than years in recent memory, time flies when you’re having fun. And honestly, I am having fun getting to know members of The Single Gourmet… but my memory is not what it used to be (to be honest it never was!), so please don’t be offended if I ask you your name two or three times (or four, or five…).
We start our August on Sunday, August 5, with a live jazz brunch at the Cecil Steakhouse. Known for the jazz musicians who perform there, this Harlem institution also serves a great food. August continues the following Sunday, the 12th, at a restaurant that’s new or the group: Tavern62 by David Burke. We have been to other David Burke restaurants, but not yet this one. The next dinner is on Saturday, August 18, at Paname, a charming midtown east French bistro owned by Bernard Ros, a NYC chef for 45 years. The Harvard Club events have been popular, and recently they announced a “Shore dinner” special that includes lobster, so we will go back for that on Friday, August 24. Our final dinner of the month is a mid-week dinner on Wednesday, August 29 at Villa Berulia, a family-owned restaurant in the heart of historic Murray Hill, serving Northern Italian and Croatian cuisine.
For our travel events, 3 out of 18 spots remain for the Iceland trip, with just the restaurants and some evening activities remaining to be planned. The price has risen slightly to $5195 because airfares have risen. However, there is a promotion for these last 3 spots: if you refer someone who is not a current member to join us on this trip, you will receive a $99 credit, AND your friend will receive a complimentary one-year membership to The Single Gourmet (normally non-members have to join and pay the $99 membership fee before they join us for a trip). Your $99 credit is applicable toward the Iceland trip (I will refund you $99), your upcoming membership dues, or any dinner(s) you attend within the next 6 months. Note: you do not have to go on this trip to refer a non-member and receive the credit.
Cuba for New Year’s Eve 2018-2019, is set! We will leave NYC on December 27, for an 8-day trip, returning on January 3. This time we will go not only to Havana, but to other parts of Cuba not explored on our last trip such Cienfuegos and Trinidad. We need 15 people for this trip, but as of yet, have only 5. Do NOT book a flight until I confirm that we have 15 people.
For any of these trips, please secure spaces ASAP. If you have not received an email or a phone call from me confirming your interest in a trip, please let me know. If you have already paid a deposit, there is no need to re-confirm.
The following August events are available for
The Single Gourmet Members and their guests:
Cecil Steakhouse (Live Jazz Brunch)
210 W 118 St (corner of St. Nicholas Ave)
Sunday, August 5
12 noon optional drinks, 12:30 pm brunch
$59 prix fixe includes 3 courses, 2 brunch drinks OR
1 brunch drink & coffee/tea, tax & tip
Zagat rated 4.4, they say “A happening place with an outstanding, inventive menu, this Harlem hit puts together foodie-approved Afro-Asian-American dishes highlighting flavor combinations that are hard to find elsewhere; it’s great for groups and also has an exceptionally good weekend brunch.” James Beard-nominated chef Joseph “JJ” Johnson opened Cecil Steakhouse in 2013 with Richard Parsons and Alexander Smalls. This Culinary Institute grad worked in New York’s most esteemed kitchens including Centro Vinoteca, Jane, and Tribeca Grill and then took off for Ghana to explore the country’s exotic markets. Cecil Steakhouse is a chic brasserie with leather banquettes and the food on the menu will turn your head. Listed in Harlem’s Best Restaurants, brunch includes 3 courses of amazing food: family-style starters (Argentine empanadas: choice of chicken, beef or vegetable, and the Cecil salad: mixed greens, fresh fennel, tomatoes, peaches, green olives, feta cheese, lemon balsamic dressing); for entrées, a choice of steak & eggs with sweet potatoes au gratin, chicken & waffles with mixed berries, or Minton’s Pangasius (fried pangasius filet, marinated tomatoes, chipotle sauce, salsa fresca, cilantro, onions, fresh serranos, salt, lime juice, sweet plantains); and dessert (tres leches or brownie a la mode), 2 drinks from their brunch selection (or 1 brunch drink and one coffee or tea), and live jazz music.
Tavern62 by David Burke (Modern American)
135 E 62 St (between Park Ave & Lexington)
Sunday, August 12
5:45 pm optional drinks
6:30 pm dinner
$92: 3 courses, 1 glass of wine, coffee/tea, tax & tip
The Single Gourmet has been to other restaurants by award-winning Celebrity Chef David Burke, but not yet Tavern 62 (this location actually used to be Fishtail). Situated on the first two stories of a stately townhouse on New York City’s Upper East Side, the restaurant showcases Burke’s creative and contemporary approach to classic fare – often with show-stopping presentations. Signature dishes highlight seafood, steakhouse staples and beyond, including livid lobster dumplings with spicy tomato and BBQ bison short ribs.
Appetizers (choice of):
- Steamed angry lobster dumplings spicy tomato, lemon confit, basil
- Caesar salad soft egg, croutons & parmesan
- Asparagus, burrata, prosciutto salad watermelon, tomato, balsamic
Mains (choice of):
- Wild mushroom cavatelli prosciutto, peas, asparagus, pecorino & black truffle mousse
- Roasted branzino artichoke puree, vegetable vinaigrette & crispy artichokes
- Chicken paillard pistachio ravioli, 3 peas & carrots, pistachio chimichurri
- BBQ bison short ribs shrimp & cheese grits, fava bean piquillo pepper succotash, pickled peach
Dessert (choice of):
- Creamsicle creme brulee candied orange
- Strawberry panna cotta sugar crisps
Sorbets & fresh fruit macerated fruit & berries, 2 scoops sorbet
1068 2nd Ave (between 56th & 57th St)
Saturday, August 18
6:30 pm optional drinks
7:30 pm dinner
$79: 3 courses, 1 glass of wine, coffee, tax & tip
Named after the most famous and hip nickname for Paris, which originally came from the Panama hats worn by French men back in the early 20th century, Paname is the brainchild of French Chef/Baker Bernard Ros formerly of Le Deauville and Meli Melo. With over 47 years of experience as a NYC chef, Chef Ros knows his way arounda kitchen. Having first started in his parent’s restaurant in Paris, Chef Ros has spent his entire life dedicated to French food. Paname is a classic, neighborhood style French bistro and has received 4 stars on Yelp and 4.5 stars on TripAdvisor. The décor of Paname is French simplicity and the atmosphere is warm and inviting. Ros personally shops for every menu ingredient daily and is the pastry chef for the restaurant. Our menu includes: escargots de Bourgogne, crab cakes, Caesar salad, organic chicken breast with compote d’aubergines, beef Bourguignon, codfish à la nicoise with tomato fondant, sautéed shrimp vadouvan, and Chef’s selection of French desserts.
The Harvard Club (Shore dinner, lobster entrée available)
27 W 44th St (between 5th & 6th Ave)
Friday, August 24
6:30 pm optional drinks @ Kellari, 19 W 44th St
7:30 pm dinner at The Harvard Club
$119: 3 courses, 1 glass of wine, coffee/tea, tax & tip
Yes, we’ve been to the Harvard Club a few times this year already, but tonight join us for a special evening with what they are calling a “Shore Dinner” in the Main Dining Room. Executive Chef David Haviland and his culinary team will delight us with summertime favorites like New England Clam Chowder and Grilled Sirloin. Our Summer Cocktail list will provide welcome relief from the sizzling summer heat. Cap off the perfect summer evening with live music for your dancing and listening pleasure. Please note: cash and credit cards are not accepted at the club, and you cannot order drinks at the bar unless you are a member. I will, however, accept orders for drinks or additional drinks (wine or cocktails), for which you can pay me for that night, or I will bill you later. No cell phones in the main dining room and no photographs anywhere in the club. Dress code: no jeans, “business casual” attire (men must wear a shirt with a collar, jacket and tie are not required, but preferred). This event is limited to 30 people MAX, so please RSVP early.
Special cancellation policy for this event: NO REFUNDS WITHIN 7 DAYS OF EVENT.
First Course (choice of):
- New England Clam Chowder
- Grilled Stone Fruit-Paisley Farm Greens Salad Honey-Sheep Milk Yogurt, Toasted Sunflower Seeds, White Balsamic Vinaigrette
- Steamed Littleneck Clams, Mussels & Chorizo Tuscan Kale, Grilled Sourdough Bread
Entrées (choice of):
- Baked Herb-Crusted Chatham Cod Stewed Heirloom Leeks and Tomatoes, Swiss Chard, Scarlet Runner Beans
- Grilled Sirloin Sautéed Mustard Greens, Potato-Cheddar Stuffed Onion, Herbal-Horseradish Butter
- Clam Bake Platter Steamed Maine Lobster, Jumbo Shrimp, Littleneck Clams, New Potatoes, Sweet Corn
Dessert (choice of):
- Warm Peach Cobbler
- Goat Milk Gelato
- Boston Cream Pie
- Old Fashioned Banana Split
… and coffee (can be cappuccino, latte, or espresso) or tea
Villa Berulia (Italian)
107 E 34th St (between Park Ave & Lex)
Wednesday, August 29
6:15 pm optional drinks
7:00 pm dinner
$82: 3 courses, 1 glass of wine, coffee/tea, tax & tip
Since 1981, Villa Berulia has been serving delicious Croatian & Italian food in a hidden gem tucked away right out in the open on 34th street. Zagat rates it 4.5 and says, “exceptional hospitality is the strong suit of this Murray Hill family affair that follows through with excellent Italian fare.” The elderly brother and sister owners will insist on shaking your hands and offering a very warm welcome and thank you. Recommended by many members of our group over the years, it has 4 stars on Yelp and 4.5 stars on TripAdvisor. It will be an amazing meal in a classic, tuxedo service old-school restaurant. Our menu starts with eggplant parmigiana, mozzarella & tomato caprese or baby kale salad; our entrees include chicken rollatini, linguini with mussels in a white wine sauce; meat-stuffed red peppers veal Solano ($8 supplement), and baby lamb chops ($15 supplement), for which they are known. We finish with chef’s selection of dessert and coffee or tea. Note: supplements will be paid directly to the restaurant.
To attend an event, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, call (646) 825-0268, or mail a check to: The Single Gourmet, 151 E 3rd St, #2G, New York, NY 10009.
REFUND POLICY: Due to restaurant deposit and guarantee requirements, cancellations for dinners are accepted up to ONE WEEK prior to the event. If you cancel 4-6 days prior, you will receive a credit toward a future event, but there will be no refunds for cancellations made 0-3 days before a dinner. Ticketed events (tours, shows, and ANY non-dinner event) are non-refundable within 7 days of the event.
ALL menus listed are subject to change without notice due to restaurant supply.
TRIP: ICELAND & THE NORTHERN LIGHTS
6 days, 6 nights
(3 spaces remaining as of July 24)
FULL PAYMENT DUE upon reservation
includes airfare, hotels, tours, most meals,
1 glass of wine with dinner, tips,
and entrance to The Blue Lagoon
minus $350 if flying on your own
minus $300 if sharing a room
This itinerary is 95% complete, and we will go all around the island to survey the spectacular scenery that the island has to offer. This includes amazing waterfalls and black sand beaches, huge craters and small geysers, the classic Golden Circle, a whale watching expedition, and we will end the trip with a day of luxury at the Blue Lagoon.
By the way, yes that is me (John) in the photo on the bottom right; I visited Iceland for a week back in the summer of 2009, during the time of year when they call it the land of the midnight sun.
DAY “ZERO”: FLIGHT FROM JFK AIRPORT IN NEW YORK TO KEF IN ICELAND
NOTE: this will be a 6-hour, non-stop, red-eye flight, leaving JFK at about 9 PM, on October 8, arriving at about 7 AM October 9. We will check into the hotel in the afternoon after a tour of Reykjavik. Early check-in is available for an additional fee, as are upgrades to larger hotel rooms.
Day 1 – Wednesday, October 9: Reykjavik
Arrival in Keflavik airport early in the morning and transfer to hotel in Reykjavík. After arrival in Reykjavik, a 4-hour city tour. Part of it is on foot stopping at restaurants tasting Icelandic cuisine at various restaurants. Overnight: Hotel Alda, Reykjavik.
Day 2 – Thursday, October 10: South Coast of Iceland
Here the journey to the countryside starts. Today we’ll enjoy the beautiful south coast of Iceland. We’ll see two waterfalls, Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss. After lunchbreak we are going glacier hiking on Sólheimajökull. After the glacier we will head to the black sandy beach of Reynisfjara, stop at the village of Vik, and experience the moss in Eldhraun lava. Overnight: Hotel Hekla, Vik.
Day 3 – Friday, October 11: Glacier Day
This is glacier day, with a drive east from Kirkjubæjarklaustur to Skaftafell and Jökulsárlón. We take a boat ride duck boat on the Glacier Lagoon, and explore the Diamond Beach, with icebergs on black sand. Overnight: Hotel Hekla, Vik.
Day 4 – Saturday, October 12: The Golden Circle
Today we’ll head west and explore the sights of the famous Golden Circle. First we stop at Kerið crater. We’ll see the big and beautiful Gullfoss waterfall and visit the nearby Geysir geothermal area with the spouting hot spring Strokkur. Further west we’ll visit Þingvellir, where Icelanders established their parliament in 930. The parliament is located in the Rift Valley, between North American and Euro-Asian tectonic places. Overnight: Hotel Hamar, Borgarnes.
Day 5 – Sunday, October 13: Snæfellsnes Peninsula
On this day we’ll drive to Snæfellsnes Peninsula, where we’ll see magnificent beaches, and possibly some seals at Ytri Tunga, lava formatted bird cliffs at Arnarstapi, and a black pebble beach at Djúpalónssandur. In the northern section of the Peninsula we’ll see Kirkjufell, the most photographed mountain in Iceland. Overnight: Hotel Alda, Reykjavik
Day 6 – Monday, October 14: Blue Lagoon and Walewatching
Today we are going whalewatching from Reykjavik harbor. In the afternoon we will dip into the biggest hot tub in the world. A visit to The Blue Lagoon visit is an experience of a lifetime. Overnight: Hotel Alda, Reykjavik.
Day 7 – Tuesday, October 15: Reykjavik and Departure
Leisure time in the morning in Reykjavik. Transfer to the airport early in the afternoon
December 27 – January 3
$4695 + airfare, visa, Cuban medical insurance
minus $375 if sharing a room
Includes all meals, hotels, transportation, and tour guides in Cuba
does NOT include airfare
Hola Senõras y Señores, we are returning to Cuba for New Year’s Eve! Two years ago, Aaron pioneered this trip and everyone raved about it. On this trip we will land in Havana, and travel to cities that we did not visit the last time.
The doors to Cuba are not as open as they were before the change of administration of the US government, but it is still possible to go, and it is a privilege to be able to go now while Cuba is still open to us. However, as time goes by, it probably will be more open to tourists, and things will change as more Americans go down to visit. If you missed the trip two years ago, come this time so you can say, “I got to go while it was still, well, Cuba!”
While the trip we have planned is going to be amazing, Cuba is not a luxury destination. It is still very much left as it was decades ago. There are no chain stores, no ads, few signs, and it is basically a commercial-free zone. Cuba is culturally, historically, and politically rich, but not in terms of standard amenities you might expect. There is little internet connection, and international cell phone service is minimal. US credit cards don’t work in Cuba, so converting cash at the airport is necessary. So much is happening now, and it is a going to be one of these trips where you’ll tell yourself “wow, so close and yet, so far…” OK? So, now that this is out of the way, go get yourself a Cuba Libre and read on the fabulous itineraries we have for you!!
ITINERARY (subject to minor changes)
HISTORY AND CULTURE PRIVATE TOUR
- Discover the heart and soul of the Cuban society
- Eight days and seven nights in the Pearl of the Caribbean
- Thursday December 27, 2018 to Thursday January 3, 2019
- Accommodations: Hotel Nacional 5 stars, Havana; Hotel Jagua, 4 stars, Cienfuegos; Hotel Meliá Cohiba,
5 stars, Havana
- Fully escorted by full time expert English-speaking Cuban guide
- Luxury tour coach and full time chauffer
Day 1 – Thursday, December 27 / HELLO CUBA
- Arrival at Havana’s José Martí International airport
- Change money into Cuban Convertible Pesos while waiting for your luggage
- Meet your guide and bus driver after you exit Cuban customs
- Enjoy a group welcome dinner with your guide and tourmates at restaurant La Guarida
Day 2 – Friday, December 28 / FUSTER STUDIO / MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS
- Breakfast in hotel
- Visit Partagás Cigar Factory
- We’ll feast on a delicious lunch hosted by José Fúster, one of Cuba’s most important ceramists and painters at his whimsical studio in Jaimanitas, just outside of Havana.
- Visit the National Museum of Fine Arts of Havana, which exhibits Cuban art collections from the colonial times up to contemporary generations. Its first director and well-known architect, Emilio Heredia, founded it in 1913. After frequent moves, it was finally placed on the block once occupied by the old Colon Market. In 1954, a new Palacio of Bellas Artes was opened. The original Palace was recently reconstructed and a second building was taken over for the Museum.
- Return to hotel
- Dinner tonight at private restaurant Mediterraneo Habana
- Evening highlight: We witness a most dramatic ceremony – El Cañonazo – the Firing of the 9PM Cannon at the Fortress of San Carlos de la Cabaña. This enchanting reenactment dates back to 1519 when Havana was enclosed by a tall thick rock wall to protect against pirates and the English. The cannon firing signaled the closing of the city gates for the night. If you were outside at the time, you were in “vedado” or the forbidden zone. Today Vedado is an important cultural hub and beautiful section of modern Havana
Day 3 – Saturday, December 29 / HAVANA / CIENFUEGOS / Trinidad DE CUBA
- Breakfast in hotel
- Early departure to Cienfuegos, a beautiful city of French colonial architecture on a scenic ocean bay.
- Visit to Palacio de Valle upon arrival. The eclectic building was erected at a cost of 1.5 million pesos. French, Arabic, Italian, and Cuban artisans worked with marble, alabaster, brass, glass, and ceramic imported from Spain, Italy and the US. The entrance is primitive Gothic style and leads to a dining room of Mudejar influence, which imitates the famous Patio of the Lions, of Alhambra, in Granada.
- Lunch at Casa Prado private restaurant.
- Coach tour of the city of Cienfuegos
- Guided walking tour of Cienfuegos historical center: Paseo del Prado, Plaza José Martí, Tomás Terry Theater, Casa de la Cultura, The Cathedral
- Check in at hotel Jagua
- Dinner at a private restaurant
Day 4 – Sunday, December 30 / CIENFUEGOS / TRINIDAD / UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE
- Breakfast at hotel
- Departure to Trinidad. Walking tour of Trinidad. Declared a national monument by the Cuban government and World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1987, this city is very much as it was four centuries ago; the beauty of its baroque architecture and cobblestones squares harking back to a bygone era when Trinidad was a key player in the Caribbean slave trade. It has the spectacular Valle de los Ingenios, a unique Sugar Mill Valley, beautiful churches and public squares, the most important of which is Main Square, considered the second most important square in the country, after Havana’s Cathedral Square.
- Stroll around beautiful Plaza Mayor, visit Museo Arquitectura Colonial. Enjoy time at a local artisan street market with splendid woodcarvings, fabric art, crochet pieces, and straw work.
- Lunch at Sol Ananda private restaurant
- Meet with the Santander family, well-known potters who have made unique pottery for over 100 years. Break into small groups to talk with different family members as they complete their pottery and/or ceramic items, and ask questions about the different techniques and offer comments about the resulting products.
- Visit the Valle de los Ingenios where once Sugar Mills stood.
- Return to Cienfuegos
- Dinner at Villa Lagarto private restaurant
Day 5 – Monday, December 31 / CIENFUEGOS / BAY OF PIGS / HAVANA
- Breakfast in hotel
- Departure to Havana
- En route visit Playa Girón (Bay of Pigs)
- Visit Museo Playa Girón to learn about the CIA backed invasion of Bahía de Cochinos
- Lunch at Hostal Enrique in Playa Larga
- Continue to Havana
- Check in at hotel
- Special: Enjoy a ride in old American classic cars to New Year’s dinner and show at the Cathedral Square
Day 6 – Tuesday, January 1
- Breakfast in hotel
- In Hotel Florida special presentation and dialogue: “Overview of Cuba’s Society” today by a Havana University Professor.
- Group lunch at La Bonita private restaurant
- Departure to Santa María Beach to enjoy the afternoon
- Dinner on our own
- Evening highlight: Enjoy a performance by Buena Vista Social Club at Café Taberna
Day 7 – Wednesday, January 2 / HEMINGWAY
- Breakfast in hotel
- Visit Finca La Vigía (House and farm of Ernest Hemingway Museum)
- Visit Cojímar, small fishing Village one of Hemingway’s favorite’s places
- TOUR HIGHLIGHT: Cooking class and lunch prepared by private restaurant El Ajiaco
- Return to hotel.
- Farewell dinner at private restaurant La Foresta
- Evening SPECIAL “¡Noche de fiesta Cubana!” party and dancing class with live music at Club Chévere
Day 8 – Thursday, January 3 / ADIOS HAVANA
- Breakfast in hotel
- Check-out of hotel.
Transfer to José Martí International