Weekend in Maine – Part 2 – Cundy’s Harbor

We  arrived mid-afternoon and got ourselves settled, then set off for a scenic drive to Orr’s and Bailey Islands, and back in time for cocktails and a dinner of mussels and lobsters.

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The next morning we drove up the coast to Damariscotta, another picture-postcard town, where we had lunch at King Eider’s Pub, including the wonderful Pemaquid oysters, crab cakes, and lobster BLT’s.  Then we took a ride to Pemaquid Point, where we climbed to the top of the lighthouse (featured on the obverse of quarters representing the State of Maine), and to Boothbay Harbor.  Back in Cundy’s Harbor we prepared a delicious dinner with the oysters and halibut we had bought in Damariscotta.

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Sunday morning, Rick took us for a ride on his boat, exploring the many islands of this gorgeous area. Then we packed up our stuff so we could leave directly from lunch, and headed over to the Dolphin Marina, where we had another superb lunch of lobster stew, fried clams, and their famous blueberry muffins, while basking in the stunning views all around us. Waiting for our table, we strolled on the lawn running down to the ocean.  A helicopter appeared and landed on the lawn.  The pilot jumped out and ran to the “modern convenience,” returned and took off again, proving that “when you gotta go, you gotta go”.


After lunch, it was time to get in the car and head home, having enjoyed a fabulous weekend in one of the most beautiful places on earth.

FYI, Rick’s house is available for weekly and monthly rentals:




Weekend in Maine – Part 1 – Portland

Friday morning, we got up bright and early and took the train to Bronxville, where we were picked up by our friends Arthur and Al, and off we went to Maine, our destination being Rick Wohlfarth’s house in Cundy’s Harbor.  On the way, we stopped off in Portland for lunch and a quick tour of downtown and the old port.  This city has come a long way from what I remember in the 1970’s, when it was a rundown backwater.  It has turned into a trendy, vibrant place with lots of cutting-edge restaurants, and a surprising number of new and architecturally interesting hotels.  Since Al is a vegan and would be spending the rest of the weekend watching the rest of us gorge on lobsters, mussels, oysters, crabs, clams and halibut, we decided to treat him to lunch at the Green Elephant (photos above from their website), which I had found in my research to be a highly-regarded vegetarian restaurant with Asian-style dishes, many of which were vegan.  Though I would have preferred some meat or fish in my Thai ginger noodles, the tofu was not bad at all, and the rest of the flavors made it a multi-dimensional dish that I really enjoyed.  It did need some spicing up, so I asked for Sriracha sauce, and it did the trick very nicely.  They had a good beer selection, too.  I liked the Shipyard Old Thumper, a dark amber ale, very much.

After lunch we pressed on to Cundy’s Harbor, a seaside village outside of Brunswick that oozes charm.  Continued in my next post.


Designer Showhouse at the W Downtown


Yes, this is an actual example of an apartment at The W, located at 123 Washington St. in the Financial District.  This room is part of an apartment being touted as a “bachelor pad”, one of the 10 units on the 55th and 56th floors that were staged by a total of 22 different decorators.  They could have all been done by one person for all the originality they showed.  How about  that neon “PULSE” sign over the bed.  Seriously?  Fake fur throws and flokati rugs showed up all over the place.  It was as though they had slaughtered a flokati elephant and scattered its hide throughout the showrooms.


Okay, I have to admit, the views are pretty spectacular.  They have to be to make up for the tiny rooms.  The very commendable purpose of the Showhouse is to raise money for Lenox Hill Hospital, but it was also a vehicle to promote the unsold sponsor units.  There are currently 25 or so units on the market for sale (not all sponsor units) and most of these are also for rent.  I’ve been to other promotional events where they plied us with Champagne and delicious hors d’oeuvres.  At this one, the “drinks and nibbles”  were screw-top wine, various salumi and a couple of cheeses, definitely a low-budget affair. 

The view from the roof, though, was unarguably sublime, especially as the sun broke through the clouds and illuminated the Brooklyn highlands.



Anyone thinking of buying one of these needs to have a highly skilled negotiator on their side (moi, for instance).  Many of the sold units went for as much as 25% below the asking price, and the current availabilities are sitting there unsold, in a market where properties that are priced correctly go within days.


Cocoon art project fund-raiser

On June 5, I attended a fund-raiser for COCOON Goutte d’Or, Paris, a public space sculpture by the artist Kate Browne. Cocoon is a crowd-and locally-sourced outdoor sculpture performance project that Kate has produced in Cragsmoor, New York, Mexico City and in  Greenwood and Jackson, Mississippi.  Another has begun in the South Bronx, and the Paris Cocoon is planned for October 2014. Kate organizes local residents to build the cocoons, with the idea of promoting the interaction of people of various races, ethnicities and cultural backgrounds within a neighborhood.  The Goutte d’Or is a working-class area in the 18th Arrondissement with a large North African and Sub-Saharan presence, along with Eastern Europeans and native Parisians.  It’s not the Paris most tourists would venture into, but if you have plans to be in Paris in the Fall, you might make it a destination.

The event was held at the home of Kate and her husband, photographer Eric Etheridge, in the West Village.  For more information about the Cocoon project, view this link:



The event also featured a talk by Bob Zellner, a civil rights activist and author of Wrong Side of Murder Creek, who shared his experiences of local organizing in the 1960s South and today with Moral Mondays.  Bob has been an inspiration to Kate in her efforts to organize communities to participate in the Cocoon projects.


 There were about 40 or 50 people in attendance, and it was a very lively and engaging crowd.


Dinner at Riverpark this past Thursday was a wow! We’ve been there a number of times, and the food just seems to get better and better.  Started with a pea flan with peekytoe crab salad, which was the essence of Spring, and crispy sweetbreads.  Stanley had brisket ravioli for the main course, and it was scrumptious, but the piece de resistance was my Southern style rabbit.  This was an assortment of various rabbit parts, each prepared in a different way.  The various flavors blended harmoniously while offering an interesting contrast.  We drank Sierra Nevada Porter, which was a perfect match for the food.  For dessert we shared a banana peanut sundae.   This was heavenly.

With its out-of-the-way location on the East River at 29th St., it’s not the easiest place to get to, but it is worth the trek.  The prices are not low, but for the quality of the food and the innovative combinations, it’s well worth the tariff.

Website: http://www.riverparknyc.com/

Scallop crudo – a wonderful summer appetizer

This is a simple recipe I developed that has been a big hit every time I’ve served it.   The tartness of the grapefruit contrasts beautifully with the sweetness of  the scallops to make a refreshing and light summer dish.

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For 4 people:

1 lb. scallops, each scallop sliced into 3 thin rounds

2  red grapefruit, cut in half and sectioned

1 jalapeno pepper, diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

1/4 cup olive oil

Salt and fresh-ground pepper to taste

Put the grapefruit sections in a small bowl.  Squeeze the remaining juice from the grapefruit into a larger bowl.  As the sections sit, occasionally drain juice from them into bowl.

For the vinaigrette, add the olive oil, garlic, cilantro, jalapeno, salt and pepper to the juice, and whisk the mixture together .

Spread scallop slices on plates in a single layer. Mix grapefruit pieces into vinaigrette, and spoon over scallops. Let sit 5 minutes before serving.

Note: vinaigrette can be made in advance and refrigerated, but don’t add the cilantro until shortly before serving.