Grand Central Terminal: a one stop mini vacation and grocery store

Let’s just say you have a four year old, and let’s just say that this particular four year old has an amazing amount of energy, more than I would have thought possible to contain in such a small body, but for reasons unknown to me, within minutes, and sometimes less, after leaving our front door, he cannot walk any further and claims exhaustion has overwhelmed his feet and they are no longer functioning.
You might have to shorten a trip, consolidate, and make the possibility of carrying someone on your back who is half your size and with big shoes, not as threatening. I can get to Grand Central Station in 4 minutes. It is one stop from my house. You can’t believe what is available at this place. I can get dinner to make from scratch, or dinner ready to put in the oven, or dinner to eat on the way home without leaving the four walls of the station. Grand Central Terminal is located on 42nd Streeet and Lexington Avenue, and is accessible by the 7, 4, 5, or 6 trains. It has been beautifully restored, and as soon as you walk into the main terminal any little kid is amazed by the massive stretch of blue above, sparkling with constellations. If you log onto, click on guided tours, and you can sign yourself up for a great way to sneak in a little history lesson. Don’t forget that the $10.00 suggested donation, is just a suggestion. On the ground floor, there is a European food market full of fresh fish, meat, fruit, vegetables, spices, cheese, baked goods, chocolate and I’m sure I’m forgetting something. Very easy to puruse, since you just have to go down one aisle, with everyone wide open to you. Bless them for not making me go into individual stores with my child.
Downstairs if you would rather sit, there is the infamous Oyster Bar, open as long as the terminal itself, or Junior’s, a Brooklyn institution that makes the best cheesecake ever and a whole lot more NY classics (don’t leave without a black and white cookie), there’s Two Boots pizza and a pretty good Mexican place. On the upper level you have the oh so very classy places (not for four year olds) but nice if you get a minute on your own. There is Charlie Palmers, Cipriani, and Michael Jordan’s Steakhouse. If I had the chance for a date with my husband, I would skip all of these and go right for a drink at the classic Campell’s Apartment. The crazy businessman Campbell in the 1920’s, decided he was going to transform his office into a the likes of a 13th century Florentine palace. It is now exactly as it was when he finished, and I would just call myself contessa and soak it all up with a martini.
I’m going to buy a piece of salmon and in the New York spirit, make a recipe from the NYT Dining Section (2/2006, because it takes a mom awhile to get to the clippings from last year). Stir together 1/2 cup of Coleman’s mustard powder, 1/2 cup of water and 1/2 cup of sugar. Set aside. Sear four separate center-cut fillets in a hot and heavy pan coated with olive oil, over medium to high heat, without disturbing, until the underside begins to look pink around the edges. Flip and sear on the other side. Brush with a little olive oil, and then your mustard mixture. Set the oven, preheated to 300 degrees, and let the fish roast in there until just done in the center, about 10 -15 minutes. Do not overcook.
For a side, I this sounds crazy, but give it a try, peel the outside leaves off of 8 little heads of bibb lettuce. Rinse and dry, without removing anymore leaves. Rub the bottom and sides of a heavy casserole (with a lid), with butter. Then line the pan, bottom and sides, with the leaves you pulled off. Set the heads of lettuce in there, and dot them with butter. Season them with salt and pepper, and then put the lid on. Set the pan over a low heat, and cook for about an hour, pushing the heads around a bit with a spoon everyonce in a while to let the butter ease down to the bottom. Serve with mashed potato.

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