Happy Birthday, Aron!

Today is Aron’s 31st birthday; we’re headed up to the Catskills today, after work, for a weekend of leaf-peeping, cider tasting, and fireside reading (at our favorite inn, The Kaaterskill). The weather calls for rain on Saturday, but we’re not too disappointed—it gives us good reason to take it easy at the inn and the other days should be much clearer.

Here’s a photo from last year’s trip:

and from our first fall visit to the Catskills (Aron’s 29th birthday):

Last night, we started celebrating early, with dinner at Savoy in SoHo. Savoy has been a forerunner in sustainable, locavore cuisine before “locavore” and “new American seasonal” became de rigueur in New York—it’s been around for nearly 20 years. We’ve been meaning to go for a while; we’ve been to their sister restaurant, Back Forty, many times. The meal was wonderful. We started with some delicious (and somewhat bizarre) drinks: Aron had the “Root Cause,” a take on the Manhattan, with housemade beet liqueur, punt e mes, and Tennessee whisky. I tried “The Grapes of Wrath,” with mashed concord grapes, rhum, and peanut liqueur—it tasted like an alcoholic pb & j. Aron loved his appetizer of roasted lamb belly and my roasted squash was so surprising: they’d roasted mushrooms and squash with almonds and then served those parts undressed with bitter greens that had been dressed with brown butter. Delicious. Next, I had the roasted wild striped bass and Aron tried their classic dish–salt crust baked duck with mashed turnips, poached plums, shaved carrots and bush basil.

During dinner, we recognized a guy that we had routinely seen at our favorite spots—Diner and Marlow & Sons. We learned his name is Tom and that he had recently become the general manager at Savoy after years as the GM at those spots. We all reminisced about our respective first times at those Brooklyn eateries and Tom sent over a second dessert along with Aron’s birthday candle-adorned pear butter crêpe (with almond milk granita, roasted pears and pear thyme caramel). The other was a special pumpkin cheesecake—wonderful with Concord grape sauce.

Yesterday was a beautiful, warm day (temperatures in the 70s!), but I think we’re both looking forward to going back sometime when it’s colder and when the fireplace is all aglow.

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