When Summer (or the Upper West Side) Gives You Lemons...

Summer in the city used to mean having an Iced Cappuccino with Chocolate Italian Ice at La Fortuna on West 71st Street. That a hardware store now occupies that site is very sad indeed, the only consulation being that it is a small business and not a big chain. I still mourn the loss of that place, and I’ve come to realize that the New York that you encounter when you first arrive becomes permanently etched as the way New York is supposed to be. So there shouldn’t be a Brooks Brothers on my old corner. That’s supposed to be a Chemical bank. But of course, if I had gotten there a few years earlier I would have longed for the space to be a car show room.

And Hadleigh’s is supposed to be a few blocks down on Broadway. That was the place to go to choose chocolate to sneak into the movies or Lincoln Center. It was the place to sit outside and have a paper cup of coffee and a cinnamon roll on Sunday morning. Hadleigh’s has been gone for a few years too, and it has been replaced by something more appropriate to the new neighborhood: Bar Boulud.

My friend Amy and I decided to stop there after a matinee the other day, and we indulged ourselves with a decadent cheese plate for lunch. Your first look at the platter makes you think that they might have made a mistake, no, we didn’t order the mouse meal (something they would have at Alice’s Tea Cup). But when you start in on the cheese you find you get nicely fed.

This is a long story to tell about their lemonade. They had two specials: basil and rosemary lemonade. They infused their simple syrup with the herb, then added the lemon juice. You poured in your own Pelligrino. It was like an herbal citron pressé, and perfect for a warm summer day.

I made some at home yesterday, just as described. I picked some rosemary, muddled it with a mortar and pestle, wrapped it up in cheesecloth and then let it simmer with the sugar and water.

The rest is just lemon juice and bubbly water to taste. Perhaps it will become a new summer tradition, she said with just a small amount of uncertainty.

Thanks to Jim in Times Square for the UWS photo from his flicker page: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jim-in-times-square/2259528804/


Anonymous said...

So funny — "mouse meal" — I'm glad it was good though.

Great picture — not that long ago, was that like no more than ten years past? Somehow though it already seems so far away.

Deb said...

The photographer puts it at 1993, the year before we moved onto that block. Remember Opera Espresso? Cosmetics Plus? That was before Starbucks and Sephora (and MAC, and Lancome, and Clarins) moved into the nabe.

Mom of One said...

I loved Cosmetics Plus!

Deb, you have been on a tear here. I just read backwards down to the place where you got into family dinners again. I love it.

Though I read Pollan's book, and shopped our local farmer's market with renewed enthusiasm, that's about as far as I went.

I look forward to reading more of these inspiring posts--maybe they will even inspire me.

Mom of One said...

PS I believe in rice cookers for rice.