NYC Birthday Dinner for Restaurant Manager Son

I am also sorry to hear about your bout with Covid. You are right to point out that people are still getting Covid, still having serious illness, some are still hospitalized and dying. Still the risk of hospitalization and death is low with up-to-date vaccines and treatment options. We are in a different place than we were in spring of 2020 (when I caught Covid) and need to assess individual risk accordingly. The people I know who have high risk are not eating in restaurants. As you point out, even a relatively small, private dinner where people take precautions can still spread Covid. I guess I am just saying that people should not be shamed for any reasonable choices they are making. The Covid response in our country has been ridiculously politicized, and it would be good if we could support each other in our choices, as long as we are following public health policy. There are risks to prolonged social isolation, for example, that for some people are risk to life at this point.

My issue is with how many people have been trying to convince me to lighten up, to tell me I’m not living my life to its fullest. I’ve been hearing that from over half the people I’ve spoken to, when I ask if we can meet outside on a patio.

I shouldn’t be expected to put myself in a situation where I’m uncomfortable to make my friends who are less risk adverse than me happy. They should be making me feel comfortable. It shouldn’t even be a halfway thing. People who like eating indoors right now should bend to make the person who is feeling anxious or vulnerable as comfort as possible.

I choose restaurants with plain or good but relatively unexciting food when I meet up with my friends who are fussy or close minded eaters. I figure I can eat things that interest me more when I’m with other people or alone.

I don’t push people into situations where they will be uncomfortable, whether it’s exposure to Covid, or a risk of eating a fried pigs’ ear or offal! I expect the same from them.

@Pan Adam Platt, NY Magazine’s restaurant critic, just gave El Quixote a positive review:

El Quijote: NYC Restaurant Review (


I don’t plan on shaming anyone, but I also won’t support people for engaging in behavior that spreads the disease. A decision has been made in this country to leave these kinds of decisions up to each individual, so everyone has to make their choice, but we don’t have to agree with other people’s choices.

Yes, we’re in a different place than we were in 2020. Considering how serious my case was after I had had 4 shots, with the knowledge not to lie on my back, and with Paxlovid available, I’m very glad I didn’t catch any of the strains that spread before a vaccine existed, because my life probably wouldn’t have been at a knife’s edge. But the reason I didn’t catch those strains, though partly luck, is substantially due to my having worn N-95 and stronger masks in enclosed spaces since late February, 2020 and limiting my exposure. And it helps people to consider that they or someone they expose themselves to could get a severe case or one that at least is extremely unpleasant if their calculated risk assessment fails. Having said that, I’m done and plan on focusing on food.


Couldn’t agree more!

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Pan, I’m so very sorry you had such a severe case of COVID despite taking all the best precautions. I’m glad you have recovered and hope you will not experience any long-term effects. We have been very lucky so far and will continue to be extra-cautious.

Yes, everyone here should all go back to discussing food!

I’m pretty much recovered now, just working on regaining stamina and sleeping enough. Thanks! And I just noticed a typo in my last post: I meant that had I not had the vaccines, my life probably would have been at a knife’s edge. My case was not life-threatening, just pretty bad.

I’m then a little bit older than you. Have crossed to the next decade. Fortunately I have no health issues. Strong like bull as we say in my world.

Feels like at this point most people I know have had covid. I don’t personally know anyone who has had symptoms that were worse than a flu or cold but I know people who have lost relatives or friends to covid. From what I have been told, they had health issues that made them vulnerable.

I’m a data driven sort of person. That’s how I make a living. The data indicated that I have low risk. My experience with getting sick confirmed that. So I have been getting on with my life. Works for me. Others will have a different perspective and experience.

Hi there! So, I wanted to circle back and thank you for all of the suggestions. In the end, we ended up at Wallsé where neither of us had ever been. We had an amazingly wonderful meal with incredible service, and my son definitely felt pampered. It was just the right spot for us. Not white tablecloths, but seriously good food (and wine).

We both had the Weiner Schnitzel as mains, which was excellent, but I would be hard pressed to choose a favorite dish. We ate our way through four courses and shared all the rest. First: Perfect beef tartar served with thin rye crisp and the foie gras terrine on a thin layer of fresh rhubarb and a dollop of rhubarb sorbet on top that was inspired. Entree: We had the white asparagus (I finally understand the draw) with hazelnuts and little spring pea stuffed ravioli and the rabbit spätzle. My son said this looked like some bland kids dish with peas and carrots, but it was anything but. Subtle, yes, but every bite delicious. For dessert we had the apple strudel and the chocolate/hazelnut confection. I am not usually a dessert lover, but these were just the right bites for me, and my son was in heaven.

Here’s a link to the pictures:

Thanks again!


Thanks for reporting back! So glad you and your son enjoyed Wallse. Interesting that nobody here suggested it. We’ve been there several times. Always a top-notch experience.

I agree. I never would’ve thought of Wallse, but it seems to have been a perfect choice. Now, all I have to do is remember to go back myself.

Sounds like a lovely meal and a wonderful evening - thank you for circling back to share.

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Bessarabsky Market, Kyiv. Ukraine
Credit: Juan Antonio Segal, Flickr