Yasuda: Still The King

Lili loves sushi and her favorite is Yasuda in midtown west, so I took her as a belated Christmas gift. It’s pricey, though have to admit worth it. Each time it’s been amazing and this last time was no exception. Stellar from start to finish. It you like sushi you owe it to yourself to get to Yasuda. You won’t be disappointed. Here’s a photo rundown of what we had:

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Westbrook & KD

For the first half of the year the NBA has been gushing over Russell Westbrook. Could he average a triple double!? “Impossible!” in today’s modern game the ‘experts’ say, yet there is a very good chance he’ll do it.

And it will be completely meaningless.

Take last night. The hype surrounding Kevin Durant’s return to OKC was off the charts. And the game lived up to the hype. At least for the first quarter. Westbrook would evently scrap his way to a game-high 47 points to go with 11 boards and eight assists. And if you looked at the stat line your jaw would drop. However, if you actually watched the game you would have seen a guy off the hinges. A mad man on the court, though in all the worst ways. Westbrook turned the ball over 11 times though beyond that, lost all sense of what team basketball can be. And oh yeah, his team lost by 26.

And that is why Kevin Durant left. Westbrook doesn’t get it. And it doesn’t look like he ever will.

But, in the 24-hour hype cycle stats lead and the winners take a back seat. So what if a team is down 20 – show the killer dunk in the highlight reel, right ESPN. (Sidenote: remember when ESPN was relevant?).

Last night the OKC fans booed Durant incessantly. It was tired after five minutes (and I’m saying that as a Philly fan) and yet they persisted. Booing Durant, really? A guy who put your franchise on the map. Literally. A guy that bled for your team for eight years with barely a squeak of complaint. Are the OKC fans’ memories that short?

So now Russell Westbrook is showered with effusive praise while trying to lock up the eight seed in the West to ultimately get bounced in the first round, while most fans chide a guy like Kevin Durant as a bum “chasing a title”.

I say chase, KD… I’m rooting for you, and it’s a beautiful thing to watch.

Pasquale Jones

It’s rare for a NYC restaurant to live up to its own hype. PJ does.

The crew behind PJ (and Charlie Bird) are hitting all the right notes. They’ve got the menu dialed in. Their spaces are quaint, but not crowded. Just the right size and perfectly designed. It’s on point without being trendy. And the staff is dutiful, while not being in your face (It’s also nice to see a front of house that is predominantly latino). I also like that gratuity is included in the price.

PY and I sat and the bar – always my fav way to dine –and got to speak with the chef throughout the meal. He walked us through the menu and we decided to go with a lot of smaller plates, and no mains. It was the right call. The wine was stellar, too.

Here’s a rundown of what we had:

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Cuttlefish with chorizo and radish – top notch (9/10)

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Burrata with anchovy – lovely (8/10)

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Scallops with hazelnuts and tangerine – star of the night (10/10)

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Brussel Sprouts with Proscuitto. Solid. Prosciutto could be a better grade (7/10)

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Clam Pizza – Phenomenal crust. Perfect char. Their most popular dish (8/10)

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It’s really interesting to see the ebb and flow of the NYC restaurant scene. A few years back it was definitely the Gabe Stulman posse that was king of the hill. Then Major Foods took the crown, but they’ve slipped of late. And now the Charlie Bird/PJ crew is on top (in my book at least)*. Will be interesting to see if they can keep it up.

I’ll definitely be back to try some mains. There’s a wood-fired bone-in ribeye waiting for me with my name on it.

 

* Lilia is still my number one restaurant out there right now.

Happy 80th Mom!

It’s two days early (the 10th) but today we’re headed down to my mom’s to celebrate her 80th birthday. Kind of amazing.

She’s an unbelievable woman. Wife. Mother. Friend. Person.

I cannot begin to express how grateful I am for all she has done for me and our family and what an inspiration she has been on how to be a kind, sacrificing, caring, loving, tolerant, patient, humble, giving person.

Happy Birthday, Mom. I love you very much.

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Off The Clock.

Saturday mornings are great.

Sure, you can file that in the DUH department, because of course Saturday mornings are great. Though for me I want to explain why.

For me there is no greater luxury in the world than not having to be somewhere at a specific time. It’s also such a rarity for me at this stage of my life, I’m keenly aware of when it’s occurring.

Ironically, time slows down considerably for me when I’m off the clock. I walk slower, sit longer, relax more. It’s also the time I most enjoy with my kids. There is no hurrying. No rushing to get to them or myself somewhere. There is just the moment together.

I really value that time. It’s the best feeling in the world and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.