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Sunday, October 24, 2010

An Artist Date

In the book, "The Artist's Way," by Julia Cameron, the author recommends those who are in "creative recovery" find time once a week to explore something that interests you on your own. Having read the book at the recommendation of a friend, we have bent the rules to include each other in an annual Artist Date. This time, I broke the rules a bit more by bringing my sons and one of their girlfriends along to New York. Combining a love of art, food, friendship and family, a trip to the Museum of Modern Art has become a cherished memory.

We begin in the Museum at Cafe 2 for lunch. Who can appreciate art on an empty stomach? Guests wait on line and review menus or simply read the large print version on the wall. After placing your order, you find a place to sit with your party and are given a numbered place card - the food will find you. Our orders range from baked salmon, rigatoni, 3 cheese pannini and my selection of mushroom tart. I also ordered a Bellini as a celebratory treat. I simply love the way things are done in New York - we are brought our drinks by an aproned man holding a round tray and it somehow just feels special. Lunch arrives and though I am normally not a fast eater to begin with, today is a day for appreciation and enjoyment and so food is to be savored and truly tasted.

The mushroom tart is served warm, not hot next to a small salad of mixed greens and cheery cherry tomatoes. The tart crust is light enough that it almost disappears on the tongue and though the tart is rich and creamy, somehow, it is not heavy or too dense. I have made my friend Michelle's fabulous tomato tart recipe and am now wondering if I will add mushroom tart to my repertoire - could be a wonderful appetizer or brunch offering.

At the end of the meal we begin our separate journeys. My friend and I are off to the woman's photography exhibit, then photography of 2010 and the Abstract Exhibition. My older son and his girlfriend can be seen breezing through the photography then they are off and on to their own adventure. My younger son makes no attempt to disguise that for him, this trip means he can immerse himself in his love for custom sneakers by visiting Flight Club and the Nike Town stores. To him, these sneakers are more than footwear, they are art.

Discussions about art and life, walking and photographing some of the exhibits, my friend and I decide it is time for a sweet bite and head to Terrace 5. This cafe offers an exhilarating view of the garden and I am further intrigued by a tree which seems to be strung with papers. My friend first pointed it out when I was photographing the Warhol's and we made a list of the sights we still wanted to see after our break. What to order? Simple seasonal fruits, a warm apple tart? No, indulge and have the chocolate tart with sea salt and vanilla ice cream.

The tart shell is chocolate then a layer of creamy caramel topped with chocolate. The sea salt is sprinkled on top to add not only depth of flavor, but it quenches the desire for sweet and salty snacks much like a chocolate dipped pretzel with a more gourmet flare. The lush ice cream rests on a bed of chocolate crumbles reminding me of the crunchy bits that separate the layers in a Carvel ice cream cake. Bliss and decadence.

We weave through the crowds and our day is almost over when we make a wish on the Yoko Ono Wish Tree.

The wishes are simple and loving left by people who mostly want love and happiness. In this Artist Date, I found it long before I left my wish...

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