9 March, 2014
Katie’s foody foray
“One thing that never disappoints when we tour to the USA is the food. From enormous pepperoni pizzas to racks of BBQ ribs, clam chowder in Boston to ‘grits’, the savoury corn-based porridge popular in the mid-Western and Southern states, there is always something to surprise even the most well-travelled of tastebuds.
“We have had some extraordinary culinary experiences on our travels here, and, unsurprisingly, New York always delivers the goods. There is an overwhelming range of restaurants and cuisines on offer in the city, from good old-fashioned home cooking to the glitziest fine dining. People quickly establish their favourite haunts, and a trip is not complete for me now without a visit to the legendary family-run Manhattan deli Zabar’s, to pick up some of their signature blend coffee and yet another set of coffee cups to clutter up the kitchen back at home.
“I won’t forget my first visit to New York in a hurry for many reasons, but one moment in particular sticks in the mind. After our concert at Smokey Mary’s, we strolled through downtown in the warm spring evening rain to the Armani Ristorante on Fifth Avenue. After being wined, dined and treated like celebrities with plenty of fizz and some delicious canapés, I could hardly believe that the touring life could be so glamorous. (You can imagine my horror when I found out that this wasn’t a regular activity for the group.)
“I had high hopes for a typically extravagant American breakfast whilst in NYC. Thankfully, our newest recruit had been busy before leaving the UK, managing to book an early spot for Sunday brunch at the insanely popular Central Park branch of Sarabeth’s (Thanks Tom!). Any residual feelings of jet-lag were quickly forgotten when we were presented with fresh coffee, a fluorescent array of fresh juices and a couple of cheeky breakfast cocktails for two of the other altos, who shall remain nameless. (Ahem.)
One side-effect of touring is that we don’t always get to see very much of the towns and cities we travel to, so a really good meal can sometimes make or break our lasting impression of a place. Peering at the rest of the group over an outsized plate of green eggs and ham, it occurred to me how crucial good food can be to the successful running of a tour. It fuels us before concerts, sustains us through long days of travel and, perhaps most importantly, brings the group together for some well-deserved down-time.
I think that’s enough for now – I’m starving.”