Fabulous Girl's Boudoir

Friday, June 29, 2007

Oh, the Places You'll Go: DC

There was a rally in DC on Tuesday, and who doesn't want to be in a swamp on a lovely June day when it's 95 degrees with 80% humidity? I donned my indestructible skirt, comfy flip flops (hey, I wasn't going to the White House), my sun hat, and several layers on top to deal with anticipated temperature extremes. I boarded a bus at Union Square at 5 am (you heard me) and rode to the nation's capitol with a crowd of rabble rousers. Fortunately, they let me sleep most of the way down, and even more fortunately, there was a Starbucks at the rest stop in Delaware.

The rally was fun, and well attended, but when Josh Lyman tore himself away from his hearings (and the Rhode Island delegation), and mentioned oysters, I decided I'd done more than enough for an unwanted immigrant. We were off to Johnny's Half Shell for a late, languorous and luxurious lunch. Oysters, of course, and barbequed shrimp with asiago cheese grits. With a few glasses of white, it was perfect. Josh went back to saving this country from itself, and I met two co-workers for a short stroll through parts of the National Gallery. We were just exhausted after the first hour, so returned to Johnny's for a pre-bus ride cocktail, and had the distinct pleasure of hissing at Ann Coulter, taping Hardball just outside.

Back on the buses, y'all and home to bed, many many hours later. I was frankly exhausted, which resulted in a snappy retort to the idiot who commented that it was probably too dark for a hat as I crossed Union Square on my way home at midnight, in lieu of my usual /ignore the imbecile/ policy.

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Thursday, June 28, 2007

Everyone else is doing it ...

The Blue Fairy and The Vintner have arrived!

We're doing our best to spread ourselves liberally over The City - some in Bay Ridge, some on the Upper West Side, some in the Villages. We might be too much all in one neighbourhood.


Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Oh the Places You'll Go: The Jersey Shore

There's nothing like packing it up at the end of a Friday and hopping the train to the burbs for an evening spent sipping cocktails and wine, occasionally tending to the BBQ, and discussing politics with someone who's truly on the other side, but makes intelligent and reasonable arguments for less government across the board.

We awoke early the next morning (a friend received an email at an ungodly hour and exclaimed, /what have you done with the real FG?! The FG I know is never up at this hour on a weekend!/), procured coffee and decent bagels, and hit the road for Spring Lake. An early departure makes for an almost traffic free trip and prime location scouting on arrival. As you can see, we were among the earliest to arrive.

And then we sat in the sun. There was reading, there was rolling over, there was listening to the iPod. There were occasional trips into the Atlantic Ocean, followed by liberal (but imperfect) re-application of sunscreen before returning to the chair/towel for further relaxation.

We headed home mid-afternoon for a manicure-pedicure session (the ladies were a little surprised at our appearance until we explained we'd come straight from the beach), and another evening of excellent wine, food and conversation. The next morning I slept in, then caught the train back to Town mid afternoon. As much as I love the luxury a back-yard affords, I'm committed to the city life for now. Because you can always visit someone else's and you never have to mow.

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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Shuesday: Ronds de jambe

A glimpse of my neighbourhood

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Friday, June 22, 2007

It's the service, stupid

Two experiences this week reminded me that a failure in service excellence can almost ruin a lovely occasion. Almost.

Having been to butter for fantastic cocktails and nibblies a month or so ago, we made a reservation for dinner this week. We were seated promptly and provided with menus, and then ... we were abandoned. Not even a cocktail order could we place. Midwest Medved was not amused. We determined to make our decisions and then draw the meal out by refusing to order all at once. Eventually we flagged down a server and ordered a house martini and cosmopolitan, and appetizers of tuna tartare and a warm goat cheese and spinach puff pastry tart. Our server became more attentive at this point, but we said we'd prefer to order dinner after we'd finished our appetizers. We were thrilled to find Bethel Heights Pinot Noir on the wine list, and ordered lobster salad (delish) from the appetizer menu and (undercooked) salmon with snap peas and spinach for dinner. Full, borderline unhappy and uninspired by the dessert menu, we headed home. The meal, service aside, was not spectacular, especially for the prices, so butter has been relegated to a place to grab a drink on the way to someplace better.

Michael Ondaatje was reading from his new novel, Divisadero, at the B&N at Union Square. My love of Ondaatje began not with The English Patient, but with one of his poems, The Cinnamon Peeler, introduced to me by Alex, a fellow undergrad. I always think he should play King Lear. After the reading and Q&A, event attendees lined up on the right wall of the top floor to have their books signed. MM and I strolled up the left wall in search of a "True Crime" book for a birthday gift for his brother. (It is, after all, a book store.) We were approached by a short, low talking woman, who told us that if we wanted a book from this section, we could ask at the information desk. We replied that we were browsing for a book from the section. Again, she directed us to the desk, saying that /there was an event going on/. I said, yes, thank you, I'd been to the event, and now I was shopping for a book. This is a bookstore, is that permitted? Again, she asked us to leave the section, although we were not in anyone's way, and were clearly shopping for a book. In a book store.

We left.

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Thursday, June 21, 2007


Where were these when we were in high school? Not that we'd have had the wherewithal to send them ...

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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Just a spoonful of sugar ...

Like desserts that blow your mind?
By summer’s end, when Sam Mason opens Tailor in SoHo and Jehangir Mehta opens Graffiti Food and Wine Bar in the West Village, Manhattan will have at least six small, quirky dessert-centric restaurants. All but one — the Japanese-inspired Kyotofu in Hell’s Kitchen — will be owned and operated by pastry chefs.

(...) With his co-chef, Fran Derby, (Mason) developed a selection of savory dishes with one foot in the pastry kitchen, including a foie gras cupcake, pork belly sauced with a miso butterscotch sauce and a foie gras and peanut butter terrine sprayed with unsweetened cocoa about which he can barely hide his glee.

Come for a visit, ChikaLicious is right up the street.

Pastry Chefs, Refusing to be Sweet [NYT]

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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Shuesday: Louis louis

In royal colours, indicating your need for a complementary bank account to carry you around town on your 1 inch platform, 5.25 inch heel.


Sunday, June 17, 2007

Oh the Places You'll Go: Seattle

There are few places worth a 90 minute ride to the airport, three and a half hours in a metal tube on the tarmac and six in the air, with only water and trail mix for dinner, and, as much as I love the people who live there, Seattle isn't one of them.

Fortunately for the city, the other 599 people making their way into town for the conference were more than happy to enjoy the mild sunny weather, good coffee and beautiful views from the Royal Argosy (including a submarine rising).

I managed to sneak in a few personal visits between educational sessions on surveillance, the horror that is immigration, post-Katrina injustice, and torture. Met the gang Wednesday night for cocktails and flamenco at Ibiza (where I actually told a fellow patron to zip it after the musicians had asked the audience in the performance area to keep it down for the umpteenth time), followed by wine and sleep (in TK's case) at Barolo. Friday night I had a working dinner at Elliott's Oyster House, where we ate oysters on the half shell, crab cakes, Copper River salmon and individualized apple pies. Sunday brunch I returned to Lola, for grapefruit juice, poached eggs, a (slightly disappointing) Dahlia Bakery croissant and coffee.

This time, I ate dinner before I got on the plane.

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Friday, June 15, 2007

The Green eyed monster

Absinthe arrives in New York.

Because what I need is an excuse to spend more at Astor Wine & Spirits ...


Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Shuesday: Tory, Tory, Tory

Yes, she's fantastic (although the whole /Lucite/ shoe thing is not good for real women who exist at temperatures above 60F), but these are cute, and I love the combination of silver and taupe.

Busty Satan is right, of course, noting in "Living Ghosts" that accessories and restaurants pale in comparison to the devastation this country is wreaking on the country of Iraq, its peoples, and on 25,830 US soldiers (officially), and how easy the media and the government have made it for us to forget and ignore. She's right, of course. I watch "In Memoriam" on This Week regularly, reading the names of the dead, and work for an organization that is taking the long and arduous path to right this ship, the USA, from its current jib.

This blog is an outlet for my sillier side, although I think outrage occasionally peeps through. It's not enough, and I don't know what more to say, but I hear you, BS.


Sunday, June 10, 2007

Oh the Places You'll Go: Chicago

Wednesday took me back to Illinois for another set of meetings, beautiful weather, and excellent meals. We began with a barely acceptable Bellini at Naha (I wouldn't go back), and then hit our stride at Ben Pao for far better cocktails and appetizers. Then off to the favourite Cafe Iberico for delicious sangria and tapas style entrees including gambas al ajillo and the pulpo a la plancha. Grilled octopus is my new universal favourite.

Thursday was a work day, with lunch at Cafe 28 and a busy afternoon. MK was the scene for that night's meal, and the service ranked it in my top two restaurant experiences of all time. It wasn't just that we were well taken care of. The staff were seamless in their attention to detail, and we never felt hovered over. The food was good, but we agreed that there was at least one unnecessary ingredient in every dish. Grilled octopus again, this time with fava beans, romesco and braised baby leeks, and a soft shell crab with lemon almost-curd, tomatoes and capers. Like I said, one too many ingredients. Then it was on to peppercorn crusted yellowfin tuna seared rare, spinach, shiitake mushrooms, garlic whipped potato, red wine syrup, and roasted rack of berkshire pork, mustard greens, fingerling potatoes, and whole grain mustard natural pork jus. All with a bottle of my favourite New Zealand sauvignon blanc, Cloudy Bay.

Friday featured lunch at a Chicago institution, Miller's Pub, where I had a surprisingly good grilled swordfish salad (passing on the world famous bbq Canadian back back ribs, and not just because I was wearing a cream suit). Then I spent the afternoon in the sun at The Terrace at Conrad, sipping champagne cocktails. Dinner took us out to Devon Avenue to Tiffin for fantastic Indian food, with Kingfisher to wash it down, of course.

Saturday morning I picked up a softball glove, packed up my things and walked the Magnificant mile through Millennium Park to the Art Institute for a whirlwind tour before heading to O'Hare for the trip home.

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Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Clothes were made for you

is exactly the compliment you want to hear from someone with excellent taste. You can enjoy it in the moment, and savour it later that day - it's a classic.

And you can remember in during for moments like the one I endured yesterday, standing in the middle of Houston waiting to complete my jaywalk, when a car service driver slowed down long enough to tell me my fly was undone.

Which it was not.


Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Shuesday: Summer summer summer

Calls for espadrilles. I saw a pair just like these on Giada DeLaurentiis on her visit to Austin, TX, and (while she makes me crazy), the shoes were darling with a black shirtdress.


Monday, June 04, 2007

Le weekend: Can you keep up?

Oh it was a busy, busy weekend, my darlings. Friday night was spent quietly at home, resting up in anticipation of the insanity to come, drinking gin & tonics and watching Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest. I know, it came out last summer, but I wasn't sure then that I wanted to see it. I'd made plans to see Part 3 with The Artist and The Actor on Sunday, and they strongly recommended seeing 2 before 3.

Saturday morning I was up and in Soho for a 10:30 brunch at Balthazar with Josh Lyman, in town for the weekend. Our waitress was outstanding, having arrived six months prior from Portland, Oregon, seeking a better home to ply her trade as an architectural photographer. The bus staff seemed eager to flip the table, so we dawdled and asked for the dessert menu, as we were so enjoying ourselves. Then off for the long subway ride (made longer by accidentally boarding the express train) to the American Museum of Natural History. We explored the Fossil halls (where we saw Spike Lee with a group of kids), perused the Northwest Coast Indians Culture hall, and refused to pay additional fees for the Frogs exhibit, while we waited to see
Dinosaurs Alive!, narrated by Michael Douglas (appropriate much?) . Then to NorthWest for mid-afternoon cocktails, a delish cheese plate, and more conversation. I think we could have sat there all evening

Josh grabbed a cab back to Columbus Circle and I headed to HiFi in the East Village to meet my former co-worker, Desperately Seeking NY (who's undergone a remarkable transformation in terms of facial hair), and his crazy friends for a drink (or three) before flying home, changing my shoes and top (in cactus, not espresso) and out AGAIN - this time to Blue Ribbon for the first time. I've been to their Brooklyn establishment (also with East Coast Guy, and also after a trip to a museum), but not to the Soho brasserie. Dinner was a delight - oysters, grilled fish over mashed potatoes and another cocktail (I think). But the night was young, so we wandered Soho (I love walking around New York on a warm summer evening) and dropped in at The Yard at the Soho Grand for fantastic people watching (tourists, bridal parties) and their refreshing cucumber and mint Spa martini. A dab of chocolate sorbet and I was off to try to stay awake through the last 45 minutes of Pirates and cat nap before it was Sunday.

Scheduled softball glove shopping and practice with The Lead Singer turned into coffee and conversation on her new Brooklyn front stoop (which was more than fine with me), followed by a midday dash from Park Slope to Chelsea to meet the boys for the movie. They'd been to another all-you-can-drink brunch, so my perennial lateness was less disturbing than it might have been. The movie was overstimulating, but it was what it was. As it started to rain, I made plans to meet DSNY at the bar again, and we all ran through the downpour to Cafe Mogador for a prosecco-laced dinner and unusual topics of conversation. Finally peeled myself away from the crew and home to bed much later than made any sense at all. I swear I'm going to bed at 10 tomorrow night, but oh it was fun!

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