Saturday, July 18, 2009

A gazpacho conversion at Danal

Early Monday morning after JF and JA's wedding, I made my way, with some effort, to TL's apartment. It had been a hectic weekend: on Friday I had slept only few hours in order to catch the shuttle for my 8am flight from Denver International on Saturday morning; I had spent Saturday afternoon and evening with friends having dinner and partying at the beer garden in Astoria; and I had spent all of Sunday at the wedding, traveling between Hastings, NY and Chelsea for the ceremony, reception, and after-party. By the time Monday rolled around, I had gotten maybe four hours of sleep a night and was feeling dead tired. TL was wiped out too, having just returned from Vancouver that morning on a red-eye flight.

But we had errands to run, such as delivering a special package to FoodMayhem headquarters (more on that later), so before we could take a nap we had to take the train from Astoria to Union Square. After dropping off the goods with JL, we asked if she knew of a good place to get breakfast and she recommended Danal.
Danal is definitely a restaurant full of charm: the decor is very French parlor, with menus presented in picture frames and all sorts of quaint knick-knacks and decorations around. Our cozy little banquette belonged more to a house in the countryside than to a restaurant in the middle of New York City.

TL went for the poached eggs with chicken-apple sausage and hollandaise on top of an English muffin (pictured at top). I asked for the lunch special of a tomato, mozzarella, and basil sandwich paired with the soup of the day, which that morning was gazpacho. I had always dismissed the cold Spanish soup as being some kind of watered-down salsa, but this version made me completely change my perception. I loved its clean, bright flavor and lightness, and each sip made me feel rejuventated.
The other half of my lunch special was less exciting. While the sandwich had arrived warm and with marks from a panini press embedded in the bread, sometime between the press and the table the cheese had solidified again mid-ooze. Unremarkable tomatoes and a slightly tough bread didn't help matters, but in the end it wasn't a bad sandwich, just not an amazing one. And it provided just enough fuel to get me back to TL's apartment for a much-needed snooze.

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