Hello, friends. Short story short: I decided to start a blog detailing my events in NYC this month. I don’t intend for it to exist any longer than the length of this month, but just sort of wanted a way to record my adventures.
Summary of events so far:
David and I arrived Friday evening. We had dinner at craftsteak. Was divine. The steak was awesome–probably one of the best I have ever had–while I could have selected something else than the gnocchi and creamed spinach for sides. My favorite part of the meal was dessert, of course–chocolate souffle with banana chip ice cream. And they gave us little crumb cakes for the road. I highly recommend.
Saturday: we walked around. Thrilling, I know. Up Fifth Avenue, over to Madison Avenue and the Ralph Lauren store, which I hadn’t been to before, lunch at Mezzaluna (exquisite tuna salad on greens with a touch of lemon). Dinner was at Sapa–a highly recommended and swanky new place that had interesting Asian fusion dishes. My favorite part–the luscious little warm chocolate chip cookies they passed around after dinner.
Sunday was pizza and ice cream day. Heading towards Soho, we discovered that although the neighborhood maintains fantabulous retail establishments, including the Kate Spade flagship store (can you imagine my delight?), it offers little in the way of food, street vendors and sidewalk cafes alike. We stopped in for brunch at Balthazar, perfect in a French-artsy-twenties sort of feel–the hydrangeas in the lobby entranced me. Vintage tile, brass in the bar, a limited, but divinely French menu, and well-oiled, seemingly ancient woodwork was all a treat. In the true bent of tourists, David and I headed to the Upper East Side and downed a Totonno’s pizza and then headed over to Serendipity for a frozen hot chocolate and the smaller (but still humongous) portion of one of their signature ice cream sundaes.
Monday, my first day of class began with an orientation, followed by a brief review of the syllabus and a short jaunt to the Cooper-Hewitt, which I immensely loved, if only for the architecture. It was exquisitely high Victorian, and I hated the fact that they had turned it into a museum. When I was little and we toured the antebellum plantations on vacation, I could always envision myself clip-clopping down the wide halls in silk slippers. It always seemed a grave disappointment that later generations had to come in and transpose the buildings for second purposes. The Cooper-Hewitt did not fall short in this category: while beautifully restored, it held no recollections of a home, with the exception of the floor plan. I appreciate that they preserved at least that, so I could imagine myself swirling down parquet floors in a silk gown. (The ballroom was divine).
Monday night we went to dinner at Bobby Van’s. I was there, once, a couple of years ago, and the waiter had suggested the beef wellington, one of their signature dishes that they served regularly but did not list on the menu. Beef wellington is one of My Favorite Things in the Whole Wide World, so of course I ordered it, and of course it was divine. However, they appear to have several locations, and the one we went to on Monday night did not serve beef wellington. Swallowing my disappointment (which often registers in the way of frustration, but on this occasion, was bordering on tears), I decided to be a big girl and order fish or chicken, when the waiter came back saying the chef had offered to make us beef wellington. Sheer ecstasy followed. We skipped dessert in lieu of a pile of green beans and mashed potatoes.
Tuesday, class was interesting. We discussed dysfunctional design (around us, everywhere), and then headed to Fifth Avenue to dissect retail stores for the purpose of a final report. I couldn’t pick one to analyze (though I do enough of that anyway) and wandered through Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Blanc de Chine and Tiffany’s wondering why they were such morbid feeling retail spaces. I wanted to head over to Banana Republic where the music was jazzy and dance my way through a bevy of unneeded retail purchases. I abstained.
Tuesday night we went to dinner at Rosa Mexicano, the resident NYC Mexican restaurant. I had a scrumptious tuna salad with some mint/mango dressing and David ordered a chile relleno, stuffed with spinach and mushrooms, which I think failed his expectations.
Today, the fourth, has been no less of an adventure, with a trip to ABC Carpet and Home (warning: takes hours to devour) and Fish’s Eddy (warning: Marshall, I sent you something). Dinner was at Paul and Jimmy’s, which is a perfect, quiet, reasonably priced local Flatiron haunt.
I’m learning the neighborhoods, how to keep my bearings (N, S, E, W), have four books to read, and two assignments weekly, plus a large paper due on the fourth week to keep me busy. I’ve never been the best student, but I sheepishly admit that I hope the more relative standards of the East Coast will bear in favor of my grade. I have two flatmates, May and Aliah (more on them later) and a dorm the size of a postage stamp. Also, have met several neat classmates; there are 18 in my class total and while we are a smorgasbord of individuals, I think it is a lovely sampling of experiences, and we have an excellent instructor who seems to be able to pull it all together and values every one’s ideas individually.