Off to Antwerp, Madrid, London and Paris!
Sunday, March 27, 2011
My friends often ask me, "What is a typical Saturday for you in New York?" The great thing about this city is that there isn't a typical day any weekend. In fact, I have to consciously calm my hyper-activeness after reading Time Out on line, because there are always 1000 things to do! It's just a matter of choice.
So today, while my grey-haired wonder was away in Puerto Rico with his troubled sixteen year old, I decided to explore the multi cultural riches of this city and share them with you.
AM: Got out of bed and walked around the corner to buy a warm, just-out-of-the-oven pain au chocolate from Patisserie Claude. This true french patisserie has been a part of the Village for over 20 years. The croissants are famous all over town. Unfortunately, the gruff Monsieur Claude of said patisserie, departed at the end of 2008 with his signed photo of Stephan Grapelli under his arm, but thankfully his sous chef has handled the croissant transition seamlessly.
Late morning: After contemplating yoga for as long as it would take for the time to become too late to allow me to make the class, I wound my way through the far too frequent madness of the roving street fair to drop off my dry cleaning at the local Korean cleaners. After being asked by the over friendly owners for the umpteenth time if I had a boyfriend yet (I clearly never got around to sharing the news about the grey-haired Dr), I made a beeline for the mexican corncob stand at the street fair. Covered with lashings of butter and vigorous shakes of the cayenne pepper, this yummy mid morning snack made me question my frustration with the street fairs.
Lunch: Met a friend, her baby and a dog that looks like a rodent for lunch at my new favorite eatery, Edie and the Wolf. Located in the East Village, it is a wonderfully rustic Austrian restaurant with wooden communal tables, banquettes covered in natural colored linen and lots of metal and rope elements - and a few too many dried flower arrangements, but that's by the by. We feasted on schnitzel burgers with a side of "spatzle" (brussel sprouts and wild mushrooms) and a chilled glass of Gruner Vetliner.
Mid afternoon: I was beginning to feel lost in a sea of ethnic diversity, so I popped into the Edward Hopper exhibition at the Whitney to ground myself again in the Great American Loneliness.
Late afternoon: 2 hour spanish conversation class at the wonderful Queen Sofia Spanish Institute on Park Avenue. 'Daniel' was from Peru and encouraged conversation about the merits of Almodovar's films. He lost me after 'Javier Bardem' and 'Penelope Cruz'.
A chilly walk back across Central Park. This was a "no language" zone. I listened to the music of Estonian Arvo Part instead.
Evening: Headed down to Tribeca for a night of Persian arts and culture at 92Y Tribeca. This is an incredible cultural centre whose mission is to "serve the community and the world in a remarkable way by providing exceptional programs across the spectrum—in the arts and culture, Jewish life and education, health and fitness and personal growth and travel." Tonight there were readings of the great Persian poet Ferdowsi, followed by an uplifting set of traditional sufi and folk music from Iran. 'Amir Vahab' is apparently considered a most distinguished and celebrated composer/vocalist of this type of music. Judging by the reaction of the mostly Iranian crowd, he seemed to be the Persian equivalent of Elton John. Below is a link to his music.
Late evening: To top off a thoroughly multicultural day, I grabbed a yummy Belgian waffle from the 'Waffles and Dinge's' food cart. A perfect end to a trip around the world in a day!
Images: (2) flickr, (3) new york times, (4) yun photo, (5) nymag, (6) jinhwafication, (7) whitney museum, (8) wikipedia, (9-11) mine
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Saturday, March 19, 2011
Oh, can it be true? Today was a heavenly day of a balmy 22 degrees celsius! How delicious! Finally spring has broken through and the city is about to be bombarded with white! White buds, white blossom, white fashion. If you haven't already guessed, it's all about white this spring/ summer. And isn't that the most universally flattering color? Whether you're nestled amongst white calico cushions or wearing a white cotton dress, wrapped up in an oversized white bath towel, sleeping in crisp white cotton sheets or smelling of white flowers like gardenias and lilies, white makes you look and feel feminine, flirty and light as the summer air.
The trend has already started in my apartment thanks to a work event this week. I have a profusion of white flowers in my kitchen and living room.
And I've started to dust off my spring wardrobe. That white suit must be dry cleaned and the DVF top dipped into bleach. I need to add a minimalist Jil Sander white skirt and fingers crossed, a Derek Lam linen dress. This season there is every white dress possible to choose from; sexy, flirty, playful, lace, cotton, silk, bell shaped, hip hugging, long, short, belted or kaftan. Here is a round up of my faves via style.com:
Cushnie et Ochs
And in case all white looks too bland, why don't we add a flight of fancy with these incredible Christian Dior confections? Perfection!
images: shoes: fashionurbia
Saturday, March 12, 2011
Have I banged on alot about why I love living here? Cant' remember, but a couple of incidents this morning prompted me to write a list of 10 practical reasons why I adore living here. Some of these reasons apply to the US in general, but here goes:
- When you call the New York Times, instead of being put on hold if there is wait, you can leave your phone number and they will call you back when your place in the queue comes up. My call came in less than 5 minutes
- The department stores and most other stores give full refunds even on sale items. That means there is absolutely no excuse for wardrobe mistakes. The salesperson at Lanvin (ok, the only reason I was able to shop there was because there were price reductions of up to 75%) told me how a good customer brought back a dress 4 seasons old. You have to admit that is taking serious liberties.
- If you log onto delivery.com, you can have anything you dream of delivered to your front door in an hour. Try tampons, tulips or Timberwolf dog food!
- opentable.com allows you to reserve even the most prestigious table in Manhattan without having to ring around to all the individual restaurants to find a table.
- All online purchases arrive at your door with complimentary return shipping. Ralph Lauren arrives in a heavenly dark navy gift box with gold foil lettering and grosgrain ribbon!
- With the ease of a magnetic card, Zipcar lets you rent a car where you want, when you want. So if I suddenly decide I want to drive to the country at 11pm at night, all I need to do is make an online reservation and then pick up my car from the location around the corner with a swipe of the card.
- The subway runs 24 hours a day.
- Duane Reade is also open 24 hours a day and is found on every corner, so you are never out of flu medicine, midnight snacks or toilet paper.
- Netflix means no ugly DVR on your TV console. Instead, you can stream all your favorite films straight to your computer or TV for as little as $9 a month
- Doormen. The rest is self explanatory. Wish I'd met mine earlier in life.
What does all this add up to? Making life easier. And goodness knows, we all need that!
Monday, March 7, 2011
I had never heard of a mimosa until I got here either. (For those who are like me and had no idea what this drink is, it's cheap sparkling wine mixed with super pasteurized orange juice from a carton.) But now it's all I hear on the weekend. "As many mimosas as you want" with your brunch menu. So short of having a piece of toast at home before 10am, it's better to join the hordes and dine on eggs and hash browns all day with a mimosa or five. Here are 10 of my favorite brunch destinations if you ever come to New York:
This has to be the granddaddy of brunch venues. Started by restaurant legend Keith McNally, you have to come here at least once, even if there are more tourists than locals. Forget the mimosas and splurge on the bloody mary's. Resplendent with celery stalks and loads of tabasco sauce, they are to die for.
Another Keith McNally fave. He just knows how to do brunch! This restaurant is brilliant for any meal becuase you feel like you are sitting in a really homey, rustic trattoria, and Sunday's outside on a spring morning are fabulous.
I just adore the atmosphere here. It's on the corner of cobblestone West Village street and is cosy with rickety wooden floors, low ceilings and large windows overlooking the street. They're famous for their short rib hash, but I always have the french toast.
If you walked past this cafe you wouldn't look twice. With lino floors, green formica tables and red vinyl bar stools, you would be forgiven for thinking someone's grandmother had opened her never-renovated-since-the-fifties-kitchen to the public. But the French-Moroccan food makes up for the lack of atmosphere. The cool factor is brought by way of the effortlessly hip twenty and thirty something Nolita locals. Make sure you wear designer jeans and read the latest issue of Interview or W magazine.
They have also recently opened another cafe in the far West Village hotel, The Jane. Its superb because you are almost in the Hudson River, so you have light galore streaming in the tall windows and a feeling of faded grandeur, like you are eating in Fes.
The owners of this gem own a number of other gems around the West Village. But this restaurant prides itself on using organic and local produce. The space is very open so you don't feel like you're eavesdropping on other people's conversations and they bring your bill in a book. They also have a produce counter at the entrance, so you can buy your organic coffee beans or local olive oil.
This is one of my perennial favorites for brunch, lunch or dinner. I was there yesterday when it was wet and grey outside. But you can cuddle up in a red leather booth and feast on oysters, waffles or eggs benedict. When it's warm, try and bag a table outside.
Vinegar Hill House
On the other side of the Manhattan Bridge, this is the perfect summer brunch hangout. I wrote about it here and not only is it in the most remote location, they have the yummiest menu and a gorgeous courtyard that is shaded by fruit trees. This is a place you could hang out in for hours with the Sunday Times.
Love this place for a number of reasons. It has a tiny entrance on the end of a very narrow building. Once inside, it is still tiny. It sits under the incredibly noisy Williamsburg overpass but inside it's a low key haven. They have live music - usually a jazz trio - on Sundays and they pass around a red enamel fire bucket for tips. And beacuse its not in Manhattan, brunch is about half the price.
Let me know if you ever have brunch in NY and find your own favorite places.
images: (1) martha stewart, (2) guest of a guest, (3) wine chap, (4-5), morandi, (6-8) cafe cluny, (9) ny mag, (10) trip advisor, (11-13) katrina kelly (14-16) market table, (17) ny daily news, (18) emilies, (19) telegraph, (20) we could grow up together, (21) brownstoner, (22) free williamsburg