Jackson Hole is comprised of an incredible list of attributes that make it undeniably special. Things such as access to pristine wilderness, a vibrant community, good eats and entertainment, and whatever else it is that makes this place special to each of us.
That said, it is a hole and therefore has its limitations.
Because I’m insatiable, I occasionally do find the limits of this valley and then I get restless, which brings me to my trip to New York City. Oh how sweet the smell of sweaty taxi cabs and toxic city lights. I love New York because it is everything Jackson is not, and offers everything Jackson does not.
Green Point is a small piece of Brooklyn nestled into a bend in the East River across from the bright lights of Manhattan. When my cab driver dropped me in front of a converted, turn-of-the-century bath house, a friend from Jackson was there to welcome me with open arms and rye whiskey.
At around 9 p.m. we set out for the evening.
Our first stop, Spuyten Duyvil, is a beer bar that specializes in imported micro-brews. The narrow space is dimly lit. Hanging on the brick walls behind the weathered bar, long lists of exotic beers are scratched into chalkboards. When the barman with the twisted moustache asked me what I wanted, I took a shot in the dark.
“You have any English style bitters?”
“I got a great one,” a smile curled out from beneath his mustache.
Of course they’ve got a great one, it’s New York. English-style bitters are a type of pale ale. They are creamy, served warm and often flat. Traditionally a pub beer from England, they are good for steady drinking.
To get to dinner, all we had to do was go next door. Spuyten Duyvil and St. Anselm sit side by side, and share a wall and owner Joe Carrol (Carrol owns a third restaurant in Green Point called Fette Sau ).
St. Anselm serves top-notch steaks and seafood in an old-world atmosphere. We bellied up to the wooden bar in the confined brick recesses of an old Brooklyn building. Our stools looked into an open kitchen that was dominated by the restaurant’s fiery grill. The sizzle of steaks, the warmth of the kitchen, the hum of conversation swept me away, back in time to another world.
The food was delicious. We shared wine-braised octopus and a salad. I had New York strip au poivre. The sauce was creamy brown and dotted with full black pepper kernels, the way my father always insisted it should be. For dessert I had the chocolate and salted caramel pot de crème.
We digested on a Brooklyn sidewalk. Spumes of exhaust trailed out of yellow cabs into the cool night.
Eventually arriving at Achilles Heel, a sparsely furnished retro-bar with a fireplace and DJ, we huddled around the candle light of a small table and drank whiskey and beer.
In the end, it was just a really fun night with close friends and probably could have happened anywhere, but New York certainly left its touch on that memory and I am always grateful for it when it does.