Let me start this by saying that I have eaten in some shit places. I mean, I have accidentally eaten raw chicken from a chicken shop in London (a place where the sole purpose is to cook chicken). I have written the word chicken a lot. Chicken. I’ve eaten at a pizza place in Hove that had a 0 rating by the Food Standards Agency. I’ve eaten pancetta 10 days past it’s use-by date. It’s fair to say my stance on reheating food is lax to say the least. Yet, here i am. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
It has now accidentally become a tradition for Lauren and I to eat in one fancy restaurant when on holiday, and then to budget for the rest of our time away, so it sort of evens out. In Berlin, we ate at a Michelin star restaurant, then went back to our hotel room and drank beer which cost 20p from Aldi (which was delicious, by the way).
We bought the Lonely Planet guide book for New York before we went, and when flicking through it one day Lauren happened upon an entry for Eleven Madison Park. It (as the name would suggest) is located on Madison Avenue and has 3 Michelin stars (which is the most you can get) and a whole host of other food-related awards. Being the suckers we are (you may remember I impulse-purchased an upgrade to Upper Class), we decided to book a table for our visit to NYC. I actually made the booking about 10 minutes after booking Upper Class. I don’t remember a lot because my mind ascended to another physical plane (no pun intended, but lol ✋🏻) at the amount of excitement that was happening.
Fast forward to the day of our booking and we got to the park by the restaurant like half an hour early. I have never been so nervous to eat a meal. WHY WAS I NERVOUS?! I felt like I was going into an exam. This is what happens when you go to places that you clearly don’t belong. I was nervous they were going to find out about the time I stood in my kitchen whilst drunk and ate macaroni cheese using salt and vinegar crisps as a spoon (also delicious).
We went in – I had told them it was our anniversary hence why we were at the restaurant, which was SORT OF true – and they greeted us by name and took our coats. They also wished us happy anniversary, which was cute. I was awkward, obv, and probably said something like ‘you too!’ Well done me.
We sat down and got the wine list, which – I am kidding you not – was about as thick as Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Clearly we were looking a bit clueless because the sommelier (I don’t really know what that is) came over and offered to help. She said the name of a fancy sounding French wine which was one of the cheaper ones (not THE cheapest one, obv) and I couldn’t pronounce it so I just said ‘yeah, that.’ Fortunately, it was very nice. They brought it over for us to taste and I made a cursory effort to smell it before deciding that yes, it looked like and tasted like wine. Good enough for me.
What followed was 14 courses of absolutely incredible food. We had scallops, fois gras, duck, rare tea, it was amazing. My favourite was their take on the classic eggs Benedict – they made it in a little tin and had done something magical with the egg, then put caviar on top and served it with mini english muffins. MINI ENGLISH MUFFINS. SUPER CUTE ALERT. The waiters came out and spooned the sauce on the plate whilst it was on a table, with a flourish.
As the last course, they served us some chocolate covered pretzels at and brought out a bottle of apple brandy – I think they bring out liquor based on where you’re from, because the American people adjacent to us had whisky – poured us a glass and then JUST LEFT THE BOTTLE ON THE TABLE?!!!! If I didn’t hate brandy so much, I would have ended up next level drunk. I had one sip and the inside of my mouth basically fell off, so I quit whilst I was ahead.
Oh also, when you need to go to the loo, they have some sort of sixth sense and a waiter rushes over to pull the table out for you. They then give you a new napkin whilst you’re away, and rush over and pull the table out for you when you want to sit down again.
Just as we were about to leave, and we thought the fun was over, they brought over a little Eleven Maddison Park themed gift bag which included a beautiful glass jar of granola (for our breakfast) and some chocolates with a little ‘happy anniversary’ label on them. CUTE. We haven’t eaten either yet. I feel like eating them in my bedroom doesn’t really have the same effect as it did in the beautiful, high-ceilinged dining room back in NYC.
The meal was beautiful. That’s the only way to describe it. We were there for 4 1/2 hours but it absolutely flew by. I now can’t afford to eat until Christmas (all I’ve eaten today is 2 croissants which were in the reduced section – lol) but not gonna lie, it was totally worth it.
Then we got the subway back to our hotel and ate some Cheetos. Life goals.
Oh man now I’m hungry.