We had been up very late the night before and here it was going on 8:00 when we got to the restaurant Jason had chosen. While we were en route, my sister Mei-Lee called from JFK Airport to let me know that her plane had landed and she and Frances (my other sister from California) were going to try and find our mother. They hadn't taken the same flight but were arriving in New York about the same time at different gates. They would drop their things off at hotel and meet us at the restaurant later.
We walked in Blue Smoke and found Jason and Jordan waiting for us. It was good to know that we would just be able to sit back, relax, and enjoy some good food and good company.
We ordered some drinks and some fresh BBQ Chips with Blue Cheese dipping sauce and their Three-Sausage Sampler for appetizers, plus the waiters gave the kids some unbaked cookie dough cut into shapes and some baking decorations. While we were eating, the chefs would bake their creations for eating with dessert. (Quite the cool idea!) We knew that it would be a while before my mother and sisters would be at the restaurant, so we went ahead and ordered.
I, being a rib guy, ordered the Memphis style baby back ribs while Laura ordered the pan- roasted halibut with some kind of sherry-bacon vinaigrette and served with smokey mashed potatoes. My kids both ordered the same thing- a kid sized order of ribs (GT went Memphis style, Aly did Kansas City style) and macaroni and cheese. I didn't really hear what Jason and Jordan ordered, but I was more concerned with how long it would it take for our late arrivals to get to the restaurant and thinking that I hope get there it o.k.
While I am no restaruant critic, I must say that the food was fabulous. I was a bit skeptical when I found out we were going to a BBQ joint, but getting a taste of those Memphis style baby backs gave me complete respect for the state of New York barbecue. They were seasoned perfectly with no sauce, and were very tender coming right off the bone. A lot of restaurants tend to cook ribs too fast at too high a temperature, which make them tough and too chewy. Not at Blue Smoke. They were as good as if I had made them myself.
Laura was also extremely pleased with her Halibut, and the smokey mashed potatoes (which I tried) were outstanding. My kids weren't as pleased with thier choices- neither really liked the macaroni and cheese (but then again, to them- Kraft is the standard) and while they ate all their ribs, they both said that they were just "O.K."
We spent dinner getting too know more about Jordan and talking about the trip both to Nigeria and New York. Jordan had done the fact checking for the story in GQ, so he knew as much as anyone different aspects of my adventure. It was as if he made the trip with us.
When we were halfway through our main course, I got a call from Mei-Lee who let me know that they had made it to the hotel and would be leaving for the restaurant soon. They arrived just as we we getting done. I was really glad the see them. I hadn't seen my sisters in person for almost two years. Plus, it had been over a year since I had seen my mother. They looked great for people who just got off a six hour flight.
We all made it to "Blue Smoke." (Photo by Laura, of course)
We got in our hugs and they ordered their food. Lots of conversation. Lots of laughs. It was great. A few shared desserts. Then we caught cabs and went back to the hotel. It had been a long day for all of us, and we had an early day scheduled. We had to be at the studio at 7:00 and in make-up by 7:20 to be on Good Morning America.
To Be Continued...