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GFHerald food critic Hagerty enjoys first day in Big Apple

Marilyn Hagerty and Chef Alex from Dovetail NYC.

NEW YORK CITY - Grand Forks Herald food critic Marilyn Hagerty on Tuesday spent her first day in New York City savoring the city's street food and its elite cuisine and fitting in a tour of the New York Times, where she was greeted in some quarters like a celebrity.

The longtime columnist and restaurant reviewer lit up the Web last week with her matter-of-fact review of Grand Forks' first Olive Garden restaurant. The Internet greeted the review with jeers initially, followed by a tidal wave of "awwws," many of them on Twitter.

This week, Marilyn is touring NYC to review the city's food, including Times Square's Olive Garden.

Here's how Tuesday unfolded, as told by Ryan Babb, a Forum Communications multimedia producer who's serving double duty as Marilyn's personal assistant this week.

Babb, whose Twitter handle is Lostincentralia, documented every move made by the Herald columnist:

* 10:42 a.m. - NYC's Village Voice reports Marilyn coming to review Le Bernardin and Olive Garden. She got a reservation by way of a fan, Anthony Bourdain, a friend of the chef-owner.

* 12:31 p.m. - Marilyn lands in NYC. She avoided the dreaded middle seat on the flight from Minneapolis-St. Paul.

* 2:09 p.m. - She arrives at her hotel in Midtown Manhattan. It's about 60 degrees.

* 2:57 p.m. - Marilyn visits the New York Times and enjoys a hot dog from a cart in front of the New York Times building. The Times reports on the event in its story, "For a professional Midwest palate, a first taste of a dirty-water dog."

* 3:34 p.m. - Marilyn sits in on a news huddle at the Times, where staff figure out what to put on the front page. She says it's always been her dream to work for the Times.

* 4:22 p.m. - Carolyn Ryan, Times metro editor, tweets: "Wow. Just shook hand of Marilyn Hagerty, 85, Olive Garden reviewer from N.D. Couldn't be lovelier. She's reviewing nyc hotdog."

* 5:39 p.m. - Marilyn is at Dovetail in the Upper West Side. The Times gave it 3 of 4 stars in a 2008 review. Babb takes pictures of many tiny servings of appetizers framed by very large plates.

There's a mid-course consommé, a type of clear soup, to cleanse the palate.

* 7:42 p.m. - The meal seems to be careening pleasantly out of control. Babb tweets: "Things are coming out now that we didn't even order."

* 8:14 p.m. - Marilyn declares she is full, but not uncomfortably full; the proportions were perfect. But dessert is next.

* 9:09 p.m. - The meal is over, and Babb reports that Marilyn is "very impressed with service tonight. Nicely choreographed. Great meal at Dovetail NYC." So ends the evening.

Tags: grand forks, marilyn hagerty, news