The heart and soul of jazz lives in this tiny basement club in New York City.
The end of March found me with packed bags and a plane ticket to New York, which after 6 visits isn’t so new anymore. But then again, there is always something new to see and do each time I go. This time around, I was set on eating cupcakes and hunting down New York real estate seen in movies/tv.
After checking into my hotel, the first order of business was a jaunt to Chelsea to seek out the famed brownstone that served as Carrie’s apartment facade in Sex and the City. 66 Perry Street is currently for sale by Sotheby’s for $9.65 million. (The Friday night news alerted viewers to Sarah Jessica Parker’s move to Brookyln Heights…for privacy which is only slightly ironic that her intent to move made the nightly news).
I was fortunate enough to happen upon a group of girls posing for photo ops, relishing in the fact that I wasn’t the only one still enamoured with Sex and the City. The next day, I stumbled upon the Lexington Ave restaurant, Lumi, where Charlotte curses the day Big was born.
The line for Magnolia Bakery is still long.
Cupcakes are still all the rage and clearly not a passing trend as some critics would have you believe. In fact, I sampled 4 cupcakeries in 3 days.
First, a strawberry cupcake from Crumbs eaten (with a fork) in the middle of Bryant Park. I didn’t appreciate the posted calories next to each giant cupcake. Ignorance is bliss, they say.
Second, a sampling of Baked by Melissa’s bite size creations. The best one was the tie-dye. One dollar for one tiny cupcake?! The biggest rip off in town. No one is going to order only 3, so you end up spending $5.50 on 6 mini morsels. And certainly no one is going to eat all 6 in the privacy of her hotel room.
Third, a Billy’s Bakery yellow daisy cupcake. I appreciated the visible vanilla beans in the cake but was otherwise unimpressed.
Fourth, a Magnolia Bakery classic cupcake. There’s no line at their Grand Central Station location.
Of all the cupcakes I’ve tried, I still find a favorite in Butter Lane. There’s a cupcake-sized hole in my heart that can only be filled by Butter Lane.
I spotted Food Network chef Anne Burrel on her bike, cruising along Bleeker Street. She wasn’t wearing a helmet so her bleach blonde hair provided a beacon as I casually followed her on foot to snap this picture. She’s doing pretty well for herself since her bike basket held a shopping bag from Jimmy Choos.
I also spotted Rachel Maddow walking along 42 St. How did I know it was her? She looked like a teenage boy.
Speaking of teenage boys, I spotted stars of the Bucket List outside of the Today show Monday morning.
Since watching When Harry Met Sally, I’ve wanted to crunch through Central Park leaves in autumn and go to Washington Square Park near NYU. Faking an orgasm in a deli is on the list for my next visit.
The Big Piano at FAO Schwartz. You can stand in line to play it. And you can purchase a souvenir photo of yourself playing the Big Piano.
A giant Patrick the pup. Why not make a stuffed animal dog that looks like Ray?
Xian (pronounced Shen) Famous Foods, an Anthony Bourdain-approved noodle bar. A plate of spicy oil-seared noodles, a steal for $6. Cleaning out my sinuses, no charge.
Hb Burger (next door to the Town Hall where I saw the Civil Wars perform last year). The turkey burger was nothing to write home about, but the tater tots were not your old school tater tots. They were fried morsels of mashed potato with cheese and herbs. Who knew tater tots could be so refined?
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and my hotel room package at Hotel Mela offered a free breakfast at the Saju Bistro next door. A hearty platter of scrambled eggs, bacon, toast, hashbrowns, delicately dressed greens, fruit cup, OJ and Illy coffee kept me full for hours, well beyond the lunch hour.
Also included in my room package was a free drink at the Long Room, Hote Mela’s other neighbor. A sex on the beach as I watched UNC fall to Kansas, not that I would be winning any March Madness brackets after Duke lost.
For the city that never sleeps, it sure takes its sweet time waking up on Sunday morning. Most shops opened for business at 11 or 12, if at all.
The High Line, an elevated renovated train track, offers a reprieve from the bustling streets below- in addition to some spectacular views.
The Occupy Wall Street movement has moved to occupy Union Square. Passing through, I heard one protester say, “Joshua got arrested again”.
Barrios sculptures along Park Ave. Depending on how you look at them, they appear either flat or 3-D.
Brooklyn for a pizza with Laura at Grimaldi’s. (Notice the Tiffany&Co. bag. The most expensive mug I have ever purchased is also the cheapest item you can buy there. It was the most magical feeling getting to walk the streets of Manhattan with a little something from Tiffany).
Cash only, no slices. Not the most friendly of staff, but the doorman is one to chat up. If you make nice with him, he’ll give you a card with his number to call for a table, since they otherwise don’t accept reservations and there is more often than not a long line.
Shake Shack for dessert. Salty chocolate frozen custard.
A walk to Brooklyn Heights, a neighborhood of manicured brownstones very reminiscent of The Cosby Show. (No Sarah Jessica Parker sightings). The best view of New York? Brooklyn.
I opted to not take the subway to most destinations, deciding to enjoy the brisk spring weekend weather above ground. After a mini walkathon of the city, I have a giant blister as a nice souvenir to remember the 17.5 miles of tread I wore out on my shoes.
Ray had to go to the vet today for a dental cleaning. While he was there, the vet alerted me to a fractured tooth that had to be removed. Any visit to the vet is pricey, but a vet visit coupled with a tooth extraction is uber pricey. The first time I took Ray to the vet, I left with a $250 bill. Imagine the tally I’ll be met with this afternoon when I collect him. Ray is worth every penny though. And one day, I’ll make it all back…once I find out how to get him into commercials.
On the commute to and from work, this song can be heard pouring out of my car. Former member of Nickel Creek, Chris Thile, is now part of the Punch Brothers (who opened for Ray LaMontagne once upon a time). Truthfully, the only thing I’m looking forward to about The Hunger Games movie at the end of the week is the soundtrack. Featured on the album are two songs by the Civil Wars (saw them last year at NYC’s Town Hall-amazing!) and one by the Secret Sisters (whom I met last June when they opened for Ray LaMontagne), and a tune by 15 year old British import Birdy who did an amazing cover of Bon Iver’s Skinny Love.
Irish or not, there is no better way to celebrate the seventeenth of March than with green drinks, green food and great friends.
Burger King offered green ketchup with which to dip a free order of fries in celebration of St.Patrick’s Day.
After lunch, I loaded up Ray and booked it to Winston-Salem, the birthplace of Krispy Kreme Doughnuts. The “HOT NOW” sign wasn’t glowing upon my arrival so I had to settle for a doughnut that wasn’t fresh from the assembly line. It was okay. Just like sex, it’s not worth it if it’s not hot.
It’s not St.Patrick’s Day without Guinness. It’s more fun in the kitchen while baking and drinking, pretending to be Hannah Hart of My Drunk Kitchen.
It’s also not St. Patrick’s Day without leprechaun poop, a.k.a meringue kisses dyed green with food coloring.
A post St.Patrick’s Day feast a half a world away. Tucked inside a Winston-Salem Harris Teeter is a Thai restaurant, Thai Sawatdee.
I’ve never before seen a restaurant inside a grocery store. Not pictured are the samples of rosemary olive oil bread and wine while waiting.
A filling lunch for $7 that includes soup/salad and two mini egg rolls. Their pad thai is orange.
No visit to Winston-Salem would be complete without a visit to H&M.
I was here in November and didn’t buy a thing and I didn’t buy a thing this visit either. Fickle mistress that she is, I’ll go and want everything in the store and other times I will shake my head in bewilderment at some of the things that are hanging from the racks. H&M=hit or miss.
I have a couple months to go until I reach the big 3-0. This means that I only have a couple months in which I can continue my carefree 20′s lifestyle. There are certain things you can get away with in your 20′s, not so much in your 30”s. Of all the 30 year olds I know, they seem to be certified adults. Most are married and have kids. Most have paid off their student loans because they have careers and not just (dead-end) jobs. They celebrate birthdays with minimal fanfare, if at all. Perhaps a nice quiet dinner and some gifts. They don’t use their weekends to catch up on their drinking. They certainly don’t show up to work hungover.
At 30, maybe it’s time for me to finally get my shit together. Maybe I should stop sleeping on the floor. Maybe I should stop sleeping around. Maybe I should stop eating Lucky Charms for dinner. Maybe I should stop letting my parents pay for some bills. Maybe I should stop asking to crash on friends’ couches when traveling. Maybe I should stop drinking chocolate milk before reaching the checkout counter. Maybe I should always keep my car clean. Maybe I should stop shopping from the junior’s department. Maybe I should stop wearing flip flops to work during the summer. Maybe I should get a new job where I can use some percentage of my degree. Or maybe I should go to grad school and master in something more useful than liberal arts. Maybe my savings account should be greater than my checking account.
Maybe I should grow up…or maybe I should live it up for the next couple months.
No damn plastic forks in the staff kitchen! Had to eat my salad with a spoon.
Would love to leave for lunch to dine at an establishment with available cutlery, but I would not have a parking spot to return to.
It’s “grammar”, not “grammer”! For crying out loud, you are an educator! Learn the difference!
After receiving a company-wide invitation to a co-worker’s engagement bash, wondered if an accidental pregnancy would still warrant a company-wide baby shower. ( Just curious, not intending to play fast and loose with my birth control to find out).
Having to endure lengthy and detailed conversations from a 30 year old co-worker about her boyfriend’s erectile dysfunction. At least she has stopped stopped talking about nipple clamps. (Thank goodness for small favors).
Receiving emails from my boss about a colleague’s absence. I’ll find out eventually who is here and who is not…during my tour of the floor to announce to one and all that we are out of forks.
I was asked to babysit this weekend, both Friday night and Saturday night. No babies were involved since the 2 year old was asleep by the time I arrived at 7:00 pm. Nothing to do but sit on their couch and watch their TV. I don’t have cable at my house, so I feel as if I should be paying the parents for letting me watch theirs.
The first night, I finally got the chance to watch Charlotte’s The Landmark featured on the Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives”. It has been years since I’ve patronized this Charlotte institution but I remeber it being the prime spot for middle of the night cuisine and desserts as big as your head, made fresh in the basement.
The second night, I watched TBS’s edited version of “The Hangover” (not nearly as fun without the swear words so I added them in myself, kind of like how Cooking Light recipes tastes much better after adding the fat back in). Pertinent research for Las Vegas which is happening in less than 4 months.
After babysitting Saturday night, my dog and I were invited to join my neighbors around their campfire. Having the urge to roast marshmallows since The Grove Park Inn, I was happy to combine the marshmallows I purchased earlier in the day with their flame. My lady neighbor enjoys the roasting process, but not so much eating them. She was more than happy to roast some for Ray. My neighbors LOVE my dog. They even have a leash with which to lead him out of my backyard into theirs. So yes, Ray was fireside hours before I was done babysitting. And I had to roast my own marshmallows.
Kellan Lutz and Mandy Moore made a movie that you have never heard of, Love Wedding Marriage. It was free from the vendor fair. I watched it over the weekend. At the end, 90′s teen heartthrob Andrew Keegan appears!
He looks like this now: