Saturday, January 27, 2007

A Truly Global Meal (Lunch at the UN)

A couple of weeks ago, my friend S asked us if we’d like to join him for lunch at the UN; both P and I looked at him a little oddly – have people actually said ‘No’ to that question.

How cool would it be to go and eat where the ambassadors, etc. eat. We wanted a Friday as that allows a little more flexibility in everyone’s schedule to spend time talking and enjoying the meal. And so today, I spent the morning looking forward to lunch (that’s actually pretty normal for me, but usually I'm looking forward to the food, today it was to the event).

I will say that while this is not the first time I wondered about picture-taking protocol as I approached a restaurant, it was the first time I had to go through a metal detector for a restaurant (airport restaurants don’t count as you’re not going through to eat, you’re eating there because you have no other choice). That said, I put my purse (camera inside) on the belt, sailed through the metal detector and picked up my purse with no problems.

It turns out that that was step 1. Then we had to get a temporary card, temporarily handing over our driver’s licenses. S told me I had to wear the badge – which is so much cooler than the badge at a normal company or the tour stickers that most other people were wearing – so I slipped it over my head and pretended (to myself) that I was a high-ranking government official (Empress of the World, for example). We then walked down the hallway and through another checkpoint. We then got in the manned elevator (not too many of those in NY, lots in Tokyo when I lived there, but here’s it’s definitely an oddity) and rode up to the fourth floor.

We walked over to the maitre d’ and the first thing I noticed was a Zagat’s plaque. Apparently I hadn’t found quite the exclusive place I had thought. That said, it was really cool!

It’s on the 4th floor of the short white building (not the tall, glassy building) with a wall of windows looking out on the East River (which is actually a tidal strait, not a river) and the plethora of construction going on around Long Island City.

Friday was a beautiful day (from inside), it was in the single or low double digits (Fahrenheit), but the sky was a beautiful, clear blue. And so we sat down (P and I took the river view seats, S gets to go more often so we let him look at us).

The food at The Delegate’s Dining Room (as it is properly called) is a buffet. An international buffet. And I will say, that, not unexpectedly, I enjoyed the meal more for the event and the company (both absolutely excellent) than the food (fine). I spent a little time making sure I knew all the options (a buffet is like a 3-D menu, and I’m a very slow reader of menus as well) and then started filling my plate. I went first for the cauliflower with pepper gratin (because I adore cauliflower), then added some squash that looked like it had been baked in butter, I took the Korean barbeque beef (because I love meat, and I love a good Korean barbeque) and finally I took the Wild Bass with Veracruz sauce (because it had olives in it – and I love sauces with olives).

We sat back down. As our discussion ranged from Nobel Prizes/micro-lending and cell phones to free will to software and on, I dug into the meal. The cauliflower and the squash were both very nice, the beef was a bit of a disappointment (not really surprising as I’m pretty particular about food in general, but I know I’m fussy about Korean barbeque, so I had hesitated a bit when taking it), but the surprise winner was actually the Wild Bass – the sauce was good (nice tomato base with olives, little onions and a bunch of other things providing good flavor without overwhelming the fish) and the fish was excellent, very moist and tender, flakey yet rich (and I’m not usually a Bass fan).

After a rather filling lunch, we still had to go to the dessert table. I got a small bite of a cheese that I’m kicking myself for not being able to remember (Port something, it was a semi-soft cheese, probably cow’s milk, really nice), 2 slices of cake (couldn’t decide which looked better – turned out to be the one with the caramel on top, but didn’t actually eat much of either – I’m not a huge cake person), and a whole bunch of berries (mainly blueberries (maybe my favorite food in the world), but also some raspberries and strawberries – now clearly these were all out of season, but they tasted so good to someone who hasn’t had berries in months – I ate all of them).

I then got a decaf cappuccino with a very impressive foam topping and sat back to enjoy the rest of a leisurely lunch, a very nice view, fantastic company/conversation and the fact that I was in the Delegate’s Dining Room.

And then I went back to work, but definitely with a spring in my step.


Post a Comment

<< Home