When Jonâ€™s Dad came to visit us, heâ€™d look up at the buildings and sigh. He pretty much could not believe that people would want to work and live piled up on top of each other in boxes.
He lives in an old farmhouse surrounded by green in the middle of Scotland. It was a bit of a shock.
Personally, I like living stacked up like Lego. Firstly, because weâ€™re packed so densely, we can support a bodega, a bar and a cup cake shop on pretty much every city block. Secondly, because you never know what you might see going on in the building opposite.
In our old apartment, we lived across from the obligatory Man in Pants. White ones. Heâ€™d come in from work and take off everything but his pants. Every day. Heâ€™d make dinner, watch tv, pace up and down while on the phone, all in his pants.
Then, a year later, Big News. Ken and Carrie, next door neighbors, saw it first. Pants Man had got a boyfriend â€¦ who also liked to come in from work and take off everything apart from his pants. We all gathered in our living room window to look over the road, and there they were, arranging books on a shelf. Pants Men.
This kind of thing, or a variation on this kind of thing has happened to pretty much everyone in NY.
Recently, while waiting for a table outside a soup dumpling restaurant in Chinatown, I bumped into Molly who was collecting take away food with her friend. It turned out, the friend worked in an office opposite a deserted office floor, only ever day, a woman turned up, took off all her clothes, opened the window and sunbathed on the floor for about an hour.
â€œItâ€™s the most peculiar thing. For one thing, there’s the timeÂ commitment. Youâ€™d think sheâ€™d have a job to go to or something.â€
â€œUnless that actually IS her job, and the guy in the office above you is paying her to liven up the view every day.â€
Anything is possible in the Big Apple.
When I first started coming to New York, about 10 years ago, Appletinis were The Thing to drink. They were vivid green. AndÂ whollyÂ awesome. Then Cosmos came along, and that was the end of that. And then Cosmos too were over and people who care about that sort of thing were reduced to ordering them in bars with a surreptitious whisper.
But this? This is a terribly trendy appletini because it uses infused vodka, which is something of a watchword in NY at the moment – I recently received an invitation to an apothecary cocktail party that promised lemon verbena martinis, for example.
Honestly, “spice infused” sounds fancier than it really is – we’re just putting some apples and spices into a jam jar, covering with vodka and shaking it up a few time a day for 2 days.
(For 1 jam jar)Â¾ jam jar vodka (something smooth that you would drink anyway) Â½ an apple 1 clove 1 cinnamon stick 1 inch piece of lemon peel Cointreau Â
- Slice the apple, then put everything in the jam jar
- Keep in the fridge
- Shake up when you think about it
- Let everything infuse for 2 days
- Strain through a coffee filter. Keep cold in the freezer
- To make the appletini:
- Shake 1 measure of the vodka with 1/2 measure of Cointreau, then serve with a twist of lemon
Grilled Cheddar, Apple and Walnut SandwichÂ
This is serious finger food to go with a pretty serious cocktail. You could leave these as whole sandwiches and call it dinner, but for cocktails, I cut them into thirds long ways to make finger sandwiches.2 slices bread Grain mustard Â¼ apple 1.5 oz sharp cheddar Walnuts (4 or 5) Butter Â
- Spread the bread with mustard then layer some cheese, some apple slices, some walnuts and some more cheese. Top with the bread and press down
- Heat up a pan on a medium flame
- Butter one side of the sandwich and drop it butter side down in the skillet
- Carefully, butter the top side of the bread
- When the bottom side is golden brown (a few mins) flip the sandwich carefully. Press down to make sure everything sticks together. Cook for a few more minutes until the bread is crunchy and the cheese has melted
If You Can Make That You Can Make This
- Add cooked bacon to the sandwich
- Try using blue cheese rather than cheddar and swap out the apples for pears
- Leave out the walnuts and use walnut bread instead
- Try your hand at a different kind of infused vodka;Â
- Try this rosemary lavender version
- Or leave out the apple but keep the cinnamon and clove and add orange peel and some fresh ginger to make a very spicy Autumnal drink
- Use pears instead of apple
- Use dried figs instead of apple
- Experiment with bourbon instead of vodka and try making cherry bourbon