New York, New York…It’s A wonderful town….

 

I love writing about New York after I have visited there, because then I get to go back ALL over again as I write to you!

The funny thing is the first thing I did when I arrived in New York this past trip is the first thing I do when I arrive in Paris.

I went to Laduree for a hot chocolate or as the French call it a Chocolat Chaud. I just love it! I had Dulce, my pooch, with me and we walked the streets of Soho, where I lived when I was a New Yorker and I sipped my favorite French hot chocolate. Bliss! I highly recommend it!

LINK to Laduree

I then took Dulce to Washington Square Park. THAT was my favorite dog park in New York. We went and it was a lot of big dogs and Dulce was intimidated. When we were leaving there I noticed that after I moved they created a smaller dog park in the park for smaller pooches and like Goldie Locks discovering the right chair…it was just right! I let Dulce run and there was a group of regulars chatty about this woman’s love life and how this woman she met wasn’t interested and she was crushed and it was SUCH a New York moment. All the dogs were in sweaters. It looked like a group of Woody Allen friends or fans…and then a dog that caught my dog’s eye came through the gate. PEPPER. My dog was instantly smitten with him. His dad happened to be someone I knew from the US Open tennis and my old neighborhood, Patrick McEnroe. It was really fun to sit with Patrick and hear about his wife, kids, his one daughter who has gotten bit by the tennis bug. His brother John has met me at LEAST 20 or more times and never has face recognition with me. Patrick always remembers me. So, I obviously think he is such a nice guy! And his wife and I sat on the front stairs in the hallway of their old apartment YEARS ago and chatted one day. Nice gal. Great voice. (She is a singer.) So, it was a fun, New York visit to the dog park.

That evening, I met my old, dear friend Eric for dinner at a place called Lafayette on Lafayette Street.  It is a Chef Andrew Carmellini restaurant, and I was introduced to his food years ago, when my friend Kristen took me to a place where he cooked long ago, and here I am years later in one of his restaurants.  I actually ate in another one of his restaurants my last night in town called Little Park down in Tribeca. We had yummy dinners in both spots, with different friends.

Eric started with the Gem Salad, which had avocado, which I ate, with poppy seed dressing and Manchego cheese, which was simple, but very good. I ordered the Brisket Burger with caramelized onion and raclette.

Lafayette burger

It was very good! Then we sat and talked over coffee. And then we did something really fun. I started to walk him to the subway for him to head home. He asked me how in the world I knew where this subway stop was located. It was a subway stop I walked an old boyfriend to many, many times, many, many years ago. Funny how old memories spring back to you when you hit certain spots. Eric and I wanted to keep talking so we ended up walking all over the West Village and landed at another subway stop further up the road. It was such a nice evening. It was so fun to be back in New York.

 

Next day, I returned to the dog park with Dulce. A new cast of characters. She is the only one below not in a designer sweater or jacket. It wasn’t cold enough for her to put hers on and she is a Midwestern dog and is just not that fashion conscious.

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It is fun to have a dog in New York! Then I went and met my friend from Connecticut at Bouchon up at Columbus Circle. I just love Thomas Keller’s cooking. I can’t resist his quiche. NO ONE makes a quiche like he does! It is so rich, creamy, heavy and light all at the same time! I love it! It is by far the best quiche I have EVER had!!! I’m not even a quiche person and he turned me into one!

BOUCHON quiche

 

Then we went to Jacques Torres for hot chocolate.

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CT and I are hamburger and hot chocolate friends. When I lived there she would come to the city and we would go try hamburgers. Later, we switched over to hot chocolate. Which do you think we like better? You got it! So, Jacques Torres has in the past been voted the #1 chocolatier in the COUNTRY!!! He makes a great hot chocolate among other things, but that day it was not up to par, but it was one day in many and we all have off days. It was still good and fun to eat there and look out the window and chat.

 

Then I had to zip across the park and go meet my friend Jillian for coffee at FIKA a new coffee joint that has sprung up all over town. Then I had to get back to the pooches!

FIKA- Swedish Coffee

I rarely spend a night home relaxing, but I did that night. I did venture out to two places to pick up food. One was a place called BAOHAUS over in St. Mark’s Square that was touted the best dumplings around and the only place that you could find better were in Shanghai. I had AMAZING dumplings in Shanghai and I must confess. These were pretty good too!

BAO dumplings

 

The gal at BAOHUS said this would not be enough for dinner so I walked back to SOHO and went to Peppe to Go and ordered the eggplant Parmesan. I have only had eggplant Parmesan better at a restaurant I worked in one summer in Providence, Rhode Island called Triangolos, which was owned by an Italian couple. NO ONE made eggplant better, but Peppe’s is a close second and I have finally learned to make a pretty good eggplant parm. I don’t make time for Peppe’s because I always want to try new foods, but I forgot how yummy it is!!

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I then walked back to St. Mark’s Square to get dessert at Chickalicious, but the wait was too long and I came back home. In other words, I do eat my way through New York, but I do walk it off! Or most of it!

 

Saturday morning, I broke down and went to Bob’s Bagel’s on University for an Everything Bagel with Cream Cheese. MY FAVORITE!!! I love H & H Bagels but Bob’s is good and a lot closer and I just relished eating a New York bagel. I stopped and got a fresh squeezed orange juice. I walked through the Greenmarket at Union Square with Dulce, eating my bagel with cream cheese and sipping fresh oj. It was quite heavenly.

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Then I subwayed (yes, that is a word in NY) up to Central Park. I went to Dean and Deluca and got a large iced cappuccino and took Dulce for a walk around the Reservoir and then the baseball diamond loop I used to walk when I lived there. It started to drizzle, but it was relatively warm for a January day and I was just happy to be in NY, in Central Park with MY dog!!!

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I went back down to the Washington Square Park where I met the perfect man except for the fact that he was married. He was so lovely. SO lovely. It reminded me of the neat men one can meet. He was an international photojournalist. Neat, neat, nice man. We talked about New York and Bali.

 

Then I came back to my friend Michael’s and took a nap with his dog and mine.

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Never do that in New York either. It was rather fun to be staying back in someone’s home so I could feel like I was living there again and act like a resident rather than a tourist.

 

My Connecticut friend, who does not want her name in the blog, who here forward will be CT, short for Connecticut…came to get me and I introduced her to Laduree. CT is a die-hard City Bakery hot chocolate fan, but I wanted her to try Torres’s and Laduree.

Then we took the dog to the HIGH LINE in Chelsea and we walked a bit of it until we discovered no dogs were allowed and we left.

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Then we walked all over the Meatpacking District, window-shopping, one of my favorite things to do, and so much cheaper, and then we wandered through Artists & Fleas next to Chelsea Market.

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Then a friend from Cincy named Kris told me that David Chang was opening a new joint in Chelsea at 6pm that night. CT and I love his joint in the East Village called Momofuku and you have heard me write about it. So, I thought, we go at 6pm and we beat the NYer’s, who don’t believe in eating before 8. Well, we got there and the line had formed at 4:45pm and was at LEAST 50 people long and around the block.

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I guess they do go out for a famous chef opening. Oh well, next time. Made for a fun story to share with all of you!!

When we left there…I walked by a shop and saw these books on the ceiling and had to take a picture!

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Then we went shopping. We never or rarely do this….we went to Broadway and we went to CB2, Muji, Joe Fresh, and Uniqlo. (We just call it Djokovic clothes, because we are tennis folk and he sponsors them.)

 

Then we went to NOBU. We waited and waited for this horrible threesome to leave and they weren’t budging and we later found out they had been at the table for OVER 3 hours! NO JOKE and they were just playing on their phones. But we bellied up to the bar. I love to sit at the sushi bar and watch them create! Love it!

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A really nice gal named Maureen from Newport Beach, California came and sat next to us. She was college hunting with her daughter who came to look at NYU and wanted to ditch mom and so she was dining alone, but not with CT and I around…we totally kept her company, because it is a toss up about which one of us is chattier…I think it is her!

 

As always, Nobu doesn’t let me down…Black Cod with Miso, and lots of yummy, fresh sushi. My belly leaves there HAPPY!!!

 

Then we went up to Chickalicious.

CHICKALICIOUS

 

They were sold out of the floating Fromage Blanc that they are supposedly known for and we waited in line and tried a bunch of other stuff.

Fromage Blanc

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Some was good. Some mediocre. We decided it was overrated.

We sure tasted a lot….are you ready…I’m going to let the pictures speak for themselves…they screwed up the order so we got a lot of extras…we tasted everything and CT took the rest home to her hubby!

Dough’Ssant…

Chick- Dough

 

Tiramisu Mochi

Chick-Mochi tiramisu

 

Bun Chika Bun Bun…I think that was my favorite…

Bun Chika Bun Bun

Petits Fours- boston cream

Chick- boston creme

 

Mille Crepe Cake- HONEY-JASMINE flavor…

CHICK- MILLE

That was a late glutinous night. I walked a lot but probably not enough to combat the sweets I consumed that day….

 

Next morning, I took Dulce to Washington Square Park. I am now seeing some regulars and we chat. So fun. I do love the dog parks in NY. It is like the beach on Sanibel in Florida. The regulars and their dogs! Then we went back to Michael’s. I sprawled out on the couch and read The New York Times. It was a very common to a New Yorker lazy Sunday morning.

 

I went up to Maison Kayser to meet my friends Sabrina and Natalie and Natalie’s daughter Belen for breakfast. I was so tempted by the pain au chocolats (chocolate croissant), but I somehow resisted. However, I ordered an egg dish that came out in a crock. I tried to eat it three different times. It never seemed to cool down. It was so hot that a WEEK later when I went to the dentist, she told me I had SIX open blisters on the roof of my mouth from burning it. She asked if I ate pizza. I said no eggs with cheese. She said cheese holds in heat and lots of folks burn the roofs of their mouth on too hot cheese. It hurt like hell to eat from that morning and for more than a week. Didn’t stop me, of course, but definitely slowed me down. It hurt like hell. I had NO idea at the time! Despite the suffering roof of my mouth burning, I had a wonderful time with those three. We walked up Central Park West (CPW) and Belen jumped in rain puddles in her totally cute rain boots and the three of us chatted. We promised to go to Tavern on the Green when I am back in the fall for cocktails outside under the lights so I could see the revisions to the place.

I went back home and hung out with the dogs and relaxed.

That afternoon CT. and I went to City Bakery for hot chocolate. I know…I know…a lot of hot chocolate is consumed when I am in NY and CT is in town!

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Oh my goodness gracious, I am now craving a hot chocolate! Figures!!

 

Then we walked and we landed at Little Park down in Tribeca. We shared everything! It was my second meal in a week at one of Chef Andrew Carmellini’s restaurants. I liked both places where I ate and both were so very different. I loved the simplicity of the décor at Little Park more. The food was a tad bit more adventurous. It was good.

LITTLE PARK

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We started with the RAW + CURE menu and had red snapper, squid ink, jalapeno, and Buddha’s hand. I can’t remember what Buddha’s hand is…it is a fruit that looks like a hand. Picture below….

BUDDHA'S HAND

Here is the dish it was incorporated in…

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Then for a vegetable we had beetroot tartare with horseradish, rye, smoked trout roe. That was good not great!

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For dinner CT ordered green spaghetti, walnut, fennel and ricotta. I am not a fennel person, but I liked it. I was told that if you cook fennel it becomes less strong. It actually caused me to come home and buy and cook it on my own. It was fine but I wouldn’t go out of my way to buy or make it again. But at least I tried it!!!

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They were out of the seared scallops so I ordered the long island duck with turnips, watercress, and kumquat. It was very good. The duck was a great consistency. I love duck.

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For dessert we shared pumpkin cake with spiced cranberry and nutmeg ice cream. It was great! Not killer, but very good. It came out the dimensions of a foot long hotdog. Long and skinny. Presentation was pretty cool. Sorry we ate half before I remembered to take a picture of it.

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After dinner, we drove around the Southern tip of Manhattan near Wall Street. I wanted to see it because I heard there were a lot of changes. I didn’t notice a lot, but I noticed some of them.

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CT dropped me off at home and I went up and walked the dogs and then curled up with a book.

 

On Monday, CT came into the city to hangout with me until I went to the Stephen Colbert Show. He is my favorite! I always say John Oliver is my mom’s favorite and Colbert is mine.

 

I had to eat a pastrami and corned beef sandwich from Eisenberg’s before I left town. I picked up two and went to meet CT for a picnic lunch. Then I went to the crazy long line that went around the corner for Colbert’s.

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I got a stamp, a number and was told to come back in 1.5 hours. So, we walked up to BOUCHON Bakery. Here is the view from where we sat. He cooks and has a view!

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We both got coffees and shared a TKO. I looked at it and I thought what kind of Oreo is this….TKO and what does that stand for? Terrific Killer, Tantalizingly Killer…and then I asked and found out it stands for Thomas Keller Oreo. Oh the simplicity of it all…

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It wasn’t too sweet. It was good. Nice crispy wafer.

And I always get his coffee….

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Then CT walked me back to Colbert and in I went.

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I had a ball. It was so much fun! They played upbeat music, his friend Paul starts us off with jokes and laughter. We watched a video and then out came Colbert.

 

His guests were: Jane Lynch. I like her. She’s funny. And for the politician it was one of the Castro brothers, the one that is the Mayor of San Antonio, Julian, who is rumored to being considered as a VP for Hillary Clinton.

 

That day we had discovered that Bowie had died, so they flashed pics of Bowie before the show started and then the band performing sang Bowie’s Let’s Dance. I knew every single word of it.

 

Funny thing is that I took care of a cat that lived around the block from me in Nolita (North of Little Italy), and one of the neighbors (of this cat, that lived in a $10M penthouse) was David Bowie.

Here is the condo where the cat and subsequently I resided for 3 months at a time and also the building where Bowie lived…

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I know, I know…it was a rough gig living here, but someone had to stay with the cat and get paid to do so….

So, I thought about going over to the building to see if our beloved doorman was there. Bernard. Bernard loved my mom. (My mom preferred staying in this condo with me rather than my apartment. I can’t imagine why?) He looked like the hit man from the hit TV series Spencer for Hire, but he was just a big, lovable guy. I thought there might be Bowie fans there and then I thought…how the heck would they know where Bowie lived?

 

I met CT after Colbert and we walked to the subway together and then I went back to meet Michael for dinner.

 

We went to Washington Square Hotel to eat at North Square. The place was crowded when we arrived and empty when we left. We were like two chatty Cathy’s catching up after not seeing one another since October.

 

I ordered the Pan Seared Sea Scallops with Spinach, Grape Tomatoes, Quinoa, Pine Nuts, Caper Relish and Orange Sauce. It was yummy! Michael ordered the Filet.

 

For dessert, we are both gluten-free so we shared an Apple and Cranberry Crisp with Almond Milk ice cream. It hit the sweet tooth spot!

 

No pics, too dark to do them justice!

 

We went back to Michael’s and I decided that I should walk over and say hi to Bernard. When I arrived there were TV crews and candlelight vigils and lines of people in front of the building behind a barricade.

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I hesitated about crossing the barricade, but you all know me. I did. A HUGE man was at the door acting as a bouncer. He stepped back when I entered and noticed that the other doorperson knew me instantly. I did live in this AWESOME condo in the building for months at a time over a 4-year period. It felt like home to me.

I asked about Bernard and the doorman said, “I hate to tell you this, but he had a massive heartache and died almost two years ago. I always try to come see Bernard when I am in town. After all, he calls my mom…mom; he bought her an Apollo Theater t-shirt, mug, etc. He was trying to get my mom hip on Harlem. But sometimes I would catch him at the door and other times I wouldn’t. I did ask about Bowie too, but we weren’t friends! However, rumor in the building was that he was super nice and really great to the building staff. Her on the other hand…I saw her ALL the time in the lobby and she was NOT so nice to ANYONE!

And with that, the ABSOLUTELY HUGE bouncer came over to me with a voice of that of a gentle giant and said, “You are having a bad day. First you lose Bowie and now this Bernard fella. I’m so sorry for your loss.” It was pretty priceless.

 

I went back to Michael’s and read and he worked and then he came out to the living room and we chatted till after one when we both announced we were so tired we had to go to sleep.

 

Next morning we met for bloodies at NOHO STAR. Best bloody ever…with my friend Carolyn’s a close second…different from Noho’s, but really good. We ate breakfast and chatted and I was sad to say goodbye.

 

I took Dulce for one last romp at Washington Square Park. I walked up and down the streets of Soho where I had walked so many times over the six years I had lived there. If I had the money, I would go back to New York tomorrow!

 

I went back to Michael’s place and hung out with the dogs and then it was time to get a cab and head to LaGuardia.

 

Sadness overwhelmed Dulce and me as we drove through the Midtown Tunnel and out of town.

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Until we meet again…

Enjoy! Eat, travel, laugh…often….

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