What could be more self-indulgent than a quick trip to NYC for no real good reason at all?
Sachertorte, that’s what. I mean, when you’re off the rails already, why not?
Let me explain.
“Um, we were just there,” said the CE, giving me the side eye, when I started murmuring about running off to New York. Yes, I know. According to the calendar we had been there just a month ago. But according to my heart, I had left a few things undone.
Like being there to see the trees begin to change color.
Like walking across the park one last time before it snows.
Like squeezing in one more dinner with son Daniel since we won’t see him for Thanksgiving. I mean, who wouldn’t fly across the country on a whim to see this kiddo?
I wasn’t there long enough to settle in, but I did check one thing off my long “must do” list: The Neue Galerie and Café Sabarsky.
A tidy little jewel of a museum, the Neue Galerie is, per the mission statement, “devoted to early twentieth-century German and Austrian art and design”. The gallery is best-known for its permanent display of Gustav Klimt’s Portrait of Adele Bloch Bauer I and she is a treasure to behold in the walnut-paneled drawing room where she presides.
No photography is allowed in the gallery, and anyway, a camera can’t really quite capture the richness of the textures in this painting. You just have to see it, and see it again. I can’t wait to take the CE to visit!
There are other gems on display – I came across the Austrian painter Egon Schiele in my reading last year and was thrilled to see his Town Among the Greenery (The Old City III):
Best of all, the works of art are not confined to the gallery. The adjacent Café Sabarsky serves up Viennese classics like Bratwurst mit Sauerkraut & Rösterdäpfel and Wiener Rindsgulasch mit Spätzle. When pressed to pick a personal favorite, my waiter named the Wiener Schnitzel mit Erdäpfel – Gurkensalat & Preiselbeeren (Wiener Schnitzel with Potato-Cucumber Salad & Lingonberries) so that’s what I ordered.
And he would not let me depart without sampling the café’s famed Sachertorte. And yes, it comes mit schlag. You can only imagine how hard it was for him to convince me to order it. I mean, what choice did I have?
I enjoyed it with what must be one of the best double espressos in the city.
The café is small but evocative. I haven’t been to Vienna but it felt the way I imagine Vienna to be from the way it is portrayed in books like Edmund de Waal’s The Hare With Amber Eyes and Selden Edwards’ lovely novel of fin de siècle Vienna, The Little Book.
A perfect solo excursion. A perfect November week in the city. Sweet indulgence, indeed. Lucky me.
If you go: Neue Galerie is located on the Upper East Side at 1048 Fifth Avenue (at 86th Street), just a few blocks north of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays. General admission, $20. Café Sabarsky is adjacent to the museum. Lunch reservations available only to members so come early as I hear you can end up waiting in line otherwise. Open daily 9 a.m. to 9 p.m, dinner reservations available to the public.