I arrived @JFKAirport at 3PM after a pleasant @JetBlue flight. I jumped on the A to the F to @BryantParkNYC to meet the self-proclaimed socialist banker @sammyasoli who graciously offered me his luxury apartment in Park Slope. Bryant Park was alive and well, there must have been 10 suits per square foot. We walked, we talked, and sat on the steps of the @nypl discussing things I care not to share. The conversation quickly dissolved into wallpaper music as the anticipation of bubbles in my mouth swirled in the windmill of my mind. I jumped back on the F to West 4th, scurried across West 3rd, passing the infamous Blue Note and the ghost of Bleecker Bob’s. I turned the corner and my internal GPS alert went off, “you have arrived”. Exhausted from little sleep. Dirty from plane and train. Dragging my ass as well as a small suitcase. I reset myself and proceeded down the stairs at 127 Macdougal St. As I stepped through the doorway @riddlingwidownyc I was greeted with open arms by the host. She graciously stored my suitcase, and within moments poured me a glass of bubbles.
The Riddling Widow was opened by Ravi DeRossi in 2015 and currently being operated by Ariel Arce. It’s an intimate basement space. A low ceiling, beautiful floor, and dimly lit. The appeal for me is that you feel like you’re in someone’s living room as opposed to a business. In this case you’re in Ariel’s living room and she is a special host.
Ariel treated each of her guests with love and care. This didn’t feel like a business. It wasn’t a forced effort of customer service. It was heartfelt. When you walk into the Riddling Widow, you’re in Ariel’s home. This is the definition of true hospitality. This became clearer after listening to the recent Danny Meyer interview conducted by Levi Dalton. Danny Meyer said he returns to the places where he felt most loved. This is what you’ll experience at Riddling Widow.
It was very much a family affair that evening. Ariel’s father was in the kitchen preparing food and made a an excellent pâté. I was fortunate to have a great conversation with him regarding photography and technology. I appreciated the insight as a former professional photographer. Her mom also a photographer, was busy documenting the evening.
On to the wine. Five sparklers were served. There were two I still haven’t been able to stop thinking about. The opening sparkler was “Horse”, an exciting and flavorful sparkling Cabernet Franc (#PetNat) made by Gabriella Macari from @macariwine out in the North Fork of Long Island. And as good fortune would have it, Gabriella stopped by and I had the opportunity to speak to her about her wine. Although this vintage is sold out, she will be making another.
I fell in deeply love with sparkler number two. It was a Champagne, ‘Extra Brut’ by Marie-Noëlle Ledru from Ambonnay. Each bottle is hand-riddled, hand-disgorged. She works naturally. No insecticides or herbicides used in farming. No filtration, no sulfites at disgorgement. It was chalky, smoky, textured, great minerality, lively acidity, and a bit lemony. Paired with caviar equals a smile.