Three Days in Manhattan
Just returned from three days in the big apple. That’s right, was there for what the forecasters were predicting to be the worst Nor’easter of the season. Not sure it lived up to the hype but, by all accounts, it was a doozy of a snowstorm and, oh, worth mentioning—unexpected to boot. Let’s just say my Girl Scout troop leader would have been less than pleased at my lack of preparation. Made the best of it by tucking my jeans into my knee-high (now unquestionably worse for the wear) non-H2Oproof leather boots, borrowing my friend’s hat and making my way in 20 degree weather from the East Village to Chelsea to Columbus Circle. I know, I know…most people would have opted for cabs or the subway under those conditions, but I just can’t help myself from walking everywhere when I’m in NYC…there’s just so much to explore and I love every moment of discovering something new. And, in my humble opinion, walking is hands down the best way to do it. Cold? Yep. Worthwhile? Absolutely. Here’s some of my old and now new favorites—all worth a walk-by next time you’re in the city.
Five Points Restaurant: Met a friend for brunch on Sunday at this great spot located at 31 Great Jones Street. If you believe the press (and we always do!!), Five Points is widely considered to be one of NYC’s best brunches. It didn’t disappoint. Airy, sun-lit room, ample bar (where waiting for your table is pretty much expected) and really good food…like eggs benedict with pork fennel sausage on homemade biscuits—delish!
Cookshop: Another restaurant by Marc Meyers, owner of Five Points, this one in Chelsea. Not my intent to do the ‘group’ thing; randomly, my respective (and unrelated) dining companions were responsible for both suggestions. Nonetheless, another great space, warm and welcoming. Most amusing—knew our server from her days at Temple Bar in Cambridge and the GM used to be my neighbor. Small world theory, defined.
Chelsea Market: A few blocks from Cookshop, so stopped in to use as on-the-go office (warning, cell phone service spotty). Love visiting Bowery Kitchen to check out all of the cooking equipment (equipment, admittedly, that I never use!), Chelsea Market Baskets to be inspired by all of their creative products (hey—mm/c’s always cool mailing concepts have to be sparked somewhere!) and 202 (Bostonians, think Achilles Project/Persephone, but with merch that is simply above and beyond).
Dizzy’s Club Coca-cola: All I knew going in was that I was supposed to be at Dizzy’s at the Time Warner Center at 6 pm. What Dizzy’s was (jazz club with breathtaking views of a snow-covered Manhattan) and what I’d be doing (surprisingly good Southern menu paired with 21 year old Jonathan Batiste Quintet) remained a mystery. Fortunately—for this trip and many more to come–mystery solved!
Death & Company: Anyone who followed the Prohibition celebration at Eastern Standard last year knows how much we love our classic cocktails. And no place does the whole prohibition-era speakeasy thing like NYC. One of the most hard-core is Death & Co. To wit, a passage from their website:
“In 1919 the Volstead Act brought a swift end to nightlife, and the refined craft of the American bartender was outlawed. It was thought that to drink alcohol was to live a life shadowed by death. It was thought by some that these were death and company. It’s taken us nearly a century to restore flavor to the drink and class to specialty cocktails. In our time, a night to celebrate life’s simple pleasures with fine wine, exquisitely crafted cocktails, beautifully prepared food, and impeccable sipping spirits is a rare gift. To those who shun the night, we tip our hat. To those who shine after dusk, we offer a warm embrace. Welcome to the new golden age, Welcome to Death & Co.”
Whatever. All I know is that my Pit Stop Flip (Lairds bonded applejack, rainwater madeira, cream, maple syrup, organic egg yolk, grated nutmeg) was the perfect end to the evening. And in the end, isn’t that what it’s all about, regardless of the decade from which your libation hails?
Hummus Place: The original is in the East Village, but now this hummus-centric operation has outposts in Greenwich Village, West Village, Upper West and soon to come Upper East. Fresh, preservative-free Israeli food, all centered around the best hummus EVER! I buy a couple Hummus Fava (hummus, fava beans, hard boiled egg, pickles, olives, onions and pine nuts w/ whole wheat pita) before coming home, literally working my schedule around their 11 am open time (if I have to leave earlier, I buy it the night before. Is there a 12-step group for hummus addiction?). My dreams would come true if they would open an outpost in the Back Bay (and when I say Back Bay, I mean, downstairs from my office).
21 Club: The original reason behind this particular trip was the 72nd birthday of a close friend. The lunch celebration that’s been on my calendar for at least 8 months now called for about 15 women to meet at the venerable 21 Club. Once we had all arrived, they took us back through the kitchen and down a narrow stairway, where we gathered in front of a seemingly benign gray-painted brick wall. Ah—but what a wall! Following a brief history lesson, a thin piece of wire pushed into a hole and the heavy brick wall slid away, uncovering a wine cellar in what was once—yep, you guessed it—a speakeasy during Prohibition (okay, safe to say this goes beyond “sensing a theme”!). Walking through the ancient cellar (there was a bottle of wine with a sticker proclaiming ownership by President Nixon!), we ended up at a table in what is now an infrequently used private dining room. The menu at each place setting proclaimed it “A Sixties Feminist’s Dream Come True Lunch.” Fabulous. The best part of the day came, however, when I was waiting for the ladies room. Walking by, a server (who, not for nothing, looks as if he’s been there at least since the 1940’s) said to me: “Now I know why Halle Berry cancelled her reservation. She heard you were here and couldn’t handle the competition.” So much for feminism! I love New York!
Posted by Marlo