On May 3, 2019, a group of seventh graders (“the Spaniards”) led by Mr. Rodiño, Mr. Kitson, and Mr. Barrientos enjoyed traditional foods from Spain at the newly renovated La Nacional restaurant on 14th Street and Eighth Avenue.
Before serving the food, Mr. Rob Sanfiz, the Director of the Spanish Benevolent Society (the non-profit that runs the restaurant), explained the history of his organization. According to the group’s website, since 1868, the Spanish Benevolent Society has been “promoting, encouraging and spreading the spirit of fraternity and solidarity among Spanish and Hispanic-American residents of this country.” The organization connects Spaniards who want to gain work experience in the United States with employers via networking in the event space above the restaurant. After learning about the Spanish immigrant experience in New York City, the boys tasted Spanish tortilla, patatas bravas (spicy fried potatoes), gambas al ajillo (shrimp in garlic sauce), and paella. It was delicious and an educational experience for all.
That same day, another group of seventh graders (the “Frenchies”) led by Mme Boyer-Robert, Ms. Greenhill, Mr. Bowcock, and Mme de Haugoubart ventured to Benoît, a French restaurant located on West 55th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues. The mood at Benoît was jovial and festive. Most boys chose escargots for appetizers and entrecôte with pommes sautées or saumon bio et asperges as a main course. Béarnaise sauce was served to accompany both the beef and the fish. Students delighted in trying profiteroles for dessert. As one of the boys said after lunch, “It was the best dessert I have ever had.”
This annual outing is a celebratory event that allows the boys to discover culinary aspects of France and Spain. It was a wonderful way to start the month of May.