EAST SIDE ENCOUNTERS
BY ARLENE KAYATT
Have grade, will travel — Several weeks ago I bemoaned the closing of commercial establishments from 86th and Third to 89th and Third. I was heartened at the time when a worker told me that Uptown restaurant, located mid-block between 88th and 89th, was coming back, maybe under new owners. And right he was. Now known as “TDT” — which stands for Two Door Tavern — the restaurant/pub reopened in late September. There are two doors with access to the restaurant but not sure that’s the reason for the name. There’s another location in Brooklyn. The inside is freshened up. More televisions. A communal table. A little more rustic. Nice. Inquiry as to whether TDT is a successor to Uptown ownership-wise is a little iffy. The woman who managed Uptown said that she’s the new owner and that TDT has nothing to do with Uptown. OK. However, there’s a Sanitation Inspection Grade with an “A” rating displayed in the window. Not unusual that Uptown, which was at the location at that time, would get the “A” rating, but after gutting the restaurant and not being inspected or re-inspected, why is TDT claiming the “A” grade? Huh? Even if the ownership is the same, there has to be a new inspection. The one on display is dated 01/13/16 and was issued to Uptown. In any event, an old inspection grade has no bearing on the newly opened, reconstructed restaurant now known as TDT. Even if TDT had returned with the Uptown name, they would not be entitled to display an earlier report when there was a subsequent closing and reconstruction. I’m sure TDT can make the grade on its own.
Bingo bus(t) — Woman and man get on bus in the East 70s. He sits in the single raised seat immediately behind the driver. She sits on the opposite side leaning into her walker. Male voice intones, “Give me the numbers.” Female voice calls out, “I can’t tell. I think it’s 2, 6, 8, 5.” “Can’t be, can’t be, look again,” as she takes out a magnifying glass to look more closely at the numbers on her pill prescription vial. “For god’s sake, I still can’t hear you,” the man shouted after several more unsuccessful attempts to hear the numbers which, it turns out, he was texting to the pharmacist. Whereupon the bus driver called out, “Damn it, you two, this is no place for Bingo.” What? This is New York where anything can happen and most everything does.
All in together — Life’s getting really really compartmentalized. A dad,seated at a table in a local food shop with his 5-year-old son and maybe 7-year-old daughter, dutifully kept an eye on the stroller/carriage alongside his table with his several months’ old baby in it. Between sandwich bites and a few pliés, big sister climbed into the carriage and played with the baby. She was soon joined by little bro. He slid himself into a seat just beneath the raised carriage with the baby and big sister. When dad was finished drinking his coffee and texting, he got up, turned the wheels, pushed the carriage and, voila, the family was gone. A heavy push but at least the family’s all in one place. Would love to be around when dad and the stroller meet up with mom/pop and the family pooch.
Bialys take center stage — Growing up it was bagels and bialys. In that order. Nowadays, not so much. Bialys are finding — or have found — their own niche. They’re smaller than bagels and instead of having a hole in the middle, there’s a depression, or indentation if you like. Bialys are made of a chewy yeast and baked. Bagels are made of yeasted wheat dough and boiled. When a bialy’s cut in half, you get a flat bottom and raised top. Somehow, with its hole in the middle, a bagel just doesn’t make the cut for pizza. So find your way to the newly opened Bagel Café on 93rd and Third for fabulous bialy pizzas made on oversized bialys — standard bialys are a 6-inch circle. The cafe’s always busy with all manner of Upper East Sider — from kids with and without parents to singles, couples, oldsters, teens, millennials — in an airy white-tiled, all windowed café. Bialy pizzas have names and ingredient descriptions — from pepperoni, cheese, tomato sauce (aka “Sergeant Pepperoni”); grilled chicken, cheddar cheese, black bean, corn, pico de gallo and pickled jalapenos (aka “Fiesta”) to garden veggies and tomato sauce to plain mozzarella cheese and tomato sauce (aka “Say Cheese.)” Best of all, though, is the Hail Caeser, piled high with romaine, grape tomatoes, artichoke hearts, black olives, parmesan cheese and croutons and drizzled with Caesar dressing. OMG, bialy heaven. Great for leftovers. And cheap — $6.95 to $8.95. Note to our Mayor: Bagel Cafe’s a short sprint from Gracie Mansion. Have a bialy pizza. They’re perfect with fork and knife.