New York minute/Early February 2010

The reliable: Fairway’s upstairs cafe, yet again, where we strode straightaway after respectfully enduring “The White Ribbon” and needing a couple of glasses of cheap wine, stat (plus good food, of course). At an earlyish hour the place was pretty empty, so we got a window table and relatively snappy service. And, of course, $5.50 gruner and $5 sauvignon blanc (for me), which inspired almost as much discussion as the movie did. Why don’t more restaurants sell wine for less? Warm flatbread with herbed oil was irresistible even after popcorn, and my butter lettuce salad with smoked salmon etc. was the same as it ever is. Consort’s cornish game hen also delivered, big time, especially with respectable fries. Afterward we were able to do some shopping in the unnervingly serene downstairs. No wonder the wine stores are so terrified of supermarket sales. If you could eat, shop and stock the rack with one bargain stop, they’d be dead.