Fabulous Girl's Boudoir

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Who eats the entree anyway?

Midwest Medved was in town this week, and to celebrate various and sundry events, we made a reservation at Blue Hill for dinner. It's appropriate that, now that I've been here a year, I had the experience of giving a cab driver directions - not /take the Midtown Tunnel versus the Williamsburg Bridge/ directions, but /this is how to get to the other side of Washington Square Park from the East Village/ directions. (And yes, that's an entirely walkable distance, we were late, not lazy!)

On arrival, our waitress was little brusque, and it was immediately clear that something unrelated to us was up, as we overheard another server telling her that she /really needed to let it go/. An inauspicious beginning. She returned to take our cocktail order, and we asked to order appetizers first and dinner later, when we'd decided what to have (did I mention it was a 9:30 reservation, so long past kitchen crunch time?). She said yes, and then immediately said she'd be back to take the food order all at once, as the kitchen couldn't handle that (or something similarly mumbly). Hmmm. She did send over the sommelier, who approved our selected Oregon pinot noir, and came back for the order. The pumpkin tortellini were seasonally divine and the Maine crabmeat with marinated fennel and green garden gazpacho was lovely and light. Happy were we.

We'd selected wild striped bass, served on a pistou of local veggies and basil, and the Stone Barns Berkshire pork with creamy baby basmati rice, titian parsley and salami toscana. Let's ask MM how he liked his dish.

The pork itself was clearly very high quality, and cooked well, but was virtually flavorless. It was honestly the most bland pork tenderloin I’ve ever had. It was served on “creamy, baby basmati rice,” although I actually had to look at the menu to see that it was rice…I thought it was some sort of creamy corn pone…it was so “creamy” and “baby” it was just mush. It didn’t really function as a sauce, nor a side, and due to its beige color on a beige piece of meat, it didn’t really cut it as a garnish, either.

When I ordered, I asked how the bass was prepared, and was told it was pan roasted. So I was surprised, three bites in, to find that, while it tasted pan roasted, it was more on the seared side of things. I like fish seared, but in this case, it was just wrong. A waiter noticed my hesitation and came by to enquire. We had a typical foodie discussion on various bass preparation techniques (and I did not mention the Bass-o-matic, although I was tempted). It was agreed that over cooking fish is one of the worst crimes a chef can commit, but also that pan roasted doesn't mean seared. To their credit, they offered to bring me another entree, but that would have been too much food at that point in the evening. And later, the same waiter returned - apparently when they took it back to the kitchen they were able to determine that it had been improperly cooked and they took it off the bill with apologies. Which was exactly the right thing to do.

Dessert was the most delicious molten brownie cake you could have imagined (and I've had many a molten chocolate dessert, as well as making them from scratch) with a single candle on the side of the plate, and two glasses of port. Divine.


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Shuesday: Skinnamarink - e - minky - mink

You've seen mink here before, and you've also seen this (arguably the NYU version of today's shoe, albeit two years ago) but I think this takes the cake. (I suspect that the standard warning about only ordering 3 pairs in a 30 day period is probably unnecessary when they only come in black and the only size available is 6B - which also means I won't be wearing them at The Blue Fairy's Annual Dinner Party.)

And it's a relief from the t-strap mania we seem to be experiencing this evening shoe season, sometimes even more unfortunately combined with a peep toe. Less, less is always more, for the love of the gods!

And it reminds me of one of my fav New Yorker cartoons, Gucci Gucci Gucci! Love Marisa Acocella Marchetto's work.

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Saturday, November 24, 2007

L-l-l-long weekend

The goal for this weekend was to catch up on sleep, and so far, so good. Scheduling events in the afternoon helps, (since I'm not quite over the not going to bed on time issue).

Thursday featured an afternoon train trip to Tarrytown for Thanksgiving - my cousin the Entertainment Mogul and his wife have family just across the river in Nyack. The trees were beautiful by the Hudson on the way up, the wine bottles were open when I arrived, and the children were clad in velvet and rambunctious as usual. The house is perched up high above the river with remarkable views east. We went for a walk before dinner, shortened by anticipated rain, and then sat down to the traditional dinner, generously served, and with three kinds of pie for dessert and real whipped cream. Yum. Home to enjoy food coma and get to bed at an hour anyone would consider reasonable.

Friday I slept long and late, then grabbed my camera, suited up in sweater and puffy vest and went to Central Park to catch what's left of the fall foliage on a sunny day. I think several turned out well, but I need to work on developing my eye for a good shot. I crossed the Park heading Northwest so as to pop into Zabar's - the goal was H&H for bagels for the imminent arrival of Camerooned, but what could possibly happen at Zabar's, right?

Spotting one of my all time fav cheeses, Pont-l'Evêque, I took a number and entered the Zabar's cheese line. Reminiscent of the Cabbage Patch Kid Emergencies of the early 1980's, it is a highly competitive exercise, and success is based on your ability to hear the quiet voices of the cheese distributors calling the next number, sometimes two at a time, and keeping out of the way of those just trying to get past the cheese counter entirely (who knew so many were lactose intolerant?) and those in line ahead of you. I was patient, and even managed to avoid the two little girls yelling, "46, 46, we're 46!," and scrambling to the front like they were getting the last cheese on earth, almost taking out #47, whose age was easily twice his line number.

Almost $60 later, but happy as a clam, having found Ribena, Pont d'Eveque cheese, likely candidates for replacement vacuum cleaner bags, (I didn't actually buy those), and managing to avoid the truly unnecessary and ridiculous $14 jar of Tiptree Little Scarlet Strawberry Conserves that haunts me, I picked up aforementioned bagels and hopped the 1 train south.

Turned around and was back at Columbus Circle at 9 for a brisk walk to Terminal 5 to see the State Radio show - which was great, btw. I appear to be learning how to dress for such occasions - there will be a coat-check, so wear the heavy coat, with a medium weight jacket and a camisole underneath, so that once the coat is off, you can strip to the camisole for most of the show, and then slip the jacket back on as you adjust to the temperature or after the hordes of screaming, crowd-surfing teens (and one lone dad!) are gone. Then you can slip back into the heavy coat for the walk back to the subway. This is particularly handy when you misjudge the location of the 50th Street 1 train station and end up walking to 42nd street, where you wait far too long for an express to 14th street and then walk to the East Village. Ahem. I picked up pierogi at Veselka on the way and headed back to the Land of Couch. Stayed up too late, but you knew I was going to didn't you?

I'm hoping to get some of the actual errands done today, and hit the Stephen Kellogg show tonight at the Bowery, but we'll see if I make it on /the list/.

I am also now convinced that my cowboy boots are pressuring a muscle on the outside of my right leg. Not cool.

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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Requisite celebrity sightings 3

In the past two weeks:

Ricky Martin, walking south on Lafayette, almost in Soho.

Michelle Williams, last night, having dinner at Pure.


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Shuesday: d'Orsay, chante

The nice thing about winter in the East is that, when it comes to event shoes, we don't have to worry about the weather outside. We just pop on our snow boots and toss the shoes in a nice shoe bag, and change when we arrive. Or we send someone to the corner to hail a cab, and then tiptoe down the block.

Try these to add a little something to a standard black dress.


Friendly? I can be friendly ...

I am not predisposed to make conversation with those I consider to be strangers. Blame my Ms. Manners mother, blame my uber-polite Canadian streak, but I don't chit chat with store clerks, those with whom I am standing in line, or those seated next to me on airplanes. We aren't friends, we're victims of circumstance, and I don't presume that they're interested in me any more than I'm interested in them.

It's not that I'm rude - I say hello, please, thank you and excuse me when appropriate - but I don't want to hear how much they're dreading spending the holidays with their family, are unprepared for their sales presentation a mere four hours away, etc. I'll make the occasional exception to this rule, but, particularly now that I live on a small island with a zillion people, I'm saving my energy for the people I actually care about.

That said, one of the things about living on a small island with a zillion people is that you're forced to occasionally interact with strangers - for example, when 25 couples are squeezed into 25 tables for two that, along any other banquette in any other city might accommodate 12 (and people wonder why New York women are so thin - they have to be to get in and out between the tables!). My indigenous friends are culturally competent, and I'm warming to it occasionally. Occasionally. Don't believe me? I've got witnesses ...
  • Coat shopping this weekend: The Pastry Chef and I were making our way up the stairs at BR. There's a landing that overlooks the men's dressing rooms - not that far, breathe, ladies - and one guy was asking his male friend's opinion on a pale blue v-neck sweater - the one every man owns, that brings out the colour of his eyes. He was in the middle of an /I'm not really sure about this/ sentence, so I leaned over the railing and said, "Actually, it looks pretty good." Not exactly an Angel of America moment, but we enjoyed it, and the Chef agreed that he was cute.
  • Later that day, at the cleaners: They identify laundry by phone number, and I heard the guy behind me say "206". I couldn't help myself, I turned around and said, "Seattle?" I then discovered he was a) cute, but young, b) born and raised in 206, and c) loves the 'friendly, open people' and 'the best lifestyle in the USA'. When I mentioned the rain, and that, as an outsider, friendly and open hadn't exactly been my experience, he scoffed. Needless to say, we quickly parted ways.


Monday, November 19, 2007

This just in: SimpliFLY this, JRM method acts

The TSA, not content to out the contents of my make-up kit and hole-y sock drawer, now wants me to use a clipboard when I pack. And just in time for the holidays!
Messy travelers could spend more time in line if their carry-ons are cluttered because such bags are more likely to be pulled aside and searched by hand, TSA spokeswoman Ellen Howe says. "If you eliminate clutter, it helps us get a cleaner look at the contents of a bag" on checkpoint X-ray machines, Howe says. The faster that screeners can figure out what's inside a bag, the quicker they can clear it.

After racking up 30,000 miles on airplanes this year, making things easier for the TSA isn't really at the top of my to-do list. But then, I've been flying for years. Perhaps we can add neat packing to the public school curriculum and get kids when they're young and impressionable? There must be time in the schedule, now that we're not teaching music or art anymore. (And forget the clipboard, this way is much faster.)

Speaking of art, who in their right minds let recovering alcoholic Jonathan Rhys Meyers into Ireland? Surely he's just practicing for Henry VIII's ongoing swan-dive into debauchery?

Protecting the friendly skies


Sunday, November 18, 2007

Outerwear options

A new, real winter coat was one of the first things I bought when I arrived here last year. Not having lived through an East Coast winter in a decade, I went with simple. It is long, black, boring wool, and it got me through the winter. But it only has three buttons, so it flies open in the winds of Lower Manhattan, it's not warm enough for the really cold days, it's not waterproof, and besides, an FG needs options.

The Pastry Chef took pity on me and came coat shopping with me during the Macy's one day sale this weekend. Truly a supreme act of friendship. And we found one that met all the requirements - puffy, but not in the Stay Puft sense, covered zipper, cozy wrists, knee length, water resistant - except price, but we did what we could on that count too.

Before we got to the coat we knew we were buying, we hit a few other stores, and I am now in a conundrum. The off white coat to the right is beautiful. It is shorter than my boring black wool coat, and would be great with pants.

But. There is always a but in these situations. There was a woman at the store also trying on coats, and she was wearing this. This has a gorgeous collar, and a hidden flounce, and it looks so good on - at least it did on her - it looked like a gorgeous party dress.

This was not even on the agenda. And do I really need to quadruple my coat wardrobe in one week? Anyone?

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Friday, November 16, 2007

When in Cleveland ...

honour Anne of Cleves, is what I say. And there's no better way to honour another woman (especially one who was anyone's fourth wife, and managed to escape the executioner's axe) than by buying yourself a lovely necklace like this one.

For much, much more on aforementioned Anne (and other wives of H8), and a(nother) smart, fun blog, visit WendyB.


Thursday, November 15, 2007

The glamourous, glamourous

You know you're watching it, don't even pretend you're not.

I'm so over moany Meredith and her sappy friends - they're officially banished to eye-candy land. I miss Buffy and The OC. I want funny, bitchy writing, fabulous wardrobes, and cocktails in every hand. I want to see my city on television, now that I'm here. And GG (you know you love me), is taking care of my TV-lite needs (along with ANTM, but that's another story).

But don't just take my word for it, these people do it for a living. And they are so right about the Project Runway issue!

Everything old

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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Shuesday: Stylish sheen

There's something just pretty about the subtly detailing on this shoe, and it's good to have your shoe-drobe in order before the holiday party season beings. Click the link to see the detailing on the heel.


Saturday, November 10, 2007

Oh the Places You'll Go: Seattle, again

I know, I've already been to the Emerald City this year, but who could miss the event of the season?! I flew in on Hallowe'en, natch, moved into the Andra, and met up with The Flapper, The Fisherman, a former intern, and Our Lord & Saviour. I kid you not, he walked into Purple dressed as Jesus. As always, He made quite an impression. After a couple of appetizers and a glass or two of red wine, we headed up the hill to Chez Gaudy for more of the same, along with new friends in fun/witty costumes.

The next evening involved a working dinner at Brasa that was disappointing to say the least. Fortunately, I had Second Dinners to attend at Quinn's, the new gastro-pub from the people who brought us Zoe. And Quinn's is next to Caffé Vita, so I picked up some beans for myself and for a colleague who's never had real Seattle coffee (but has listened to me missing it for the past year). The friends were plentiful for Trivial Kate's b-day, the drinks promptly delivered and well made, and the waiter just the right combination of saucy and professional, if that makes any sense. The following night, we met at The Scot's house for pizza and Bollywood! Yes, you've been missing out, and no, Bride and Prejudice doesn't count. So good to see so many of those who remain in the Emerald City (for now).

The event was on Saturday night, and it was fantabulous, as predicted. I wore a new dress, which reminded me that it's OK not to be over-dressed, especially on the Left Coast. And, ladies, a reminder - there is never, ever an occasion not to wear black. And the best part was that after the dinner and the awards, a group of women under 35 gathered in the hotel bar to listen to Helen Thomas hold forth. She was gracious, intelligent and delightful. I spent the rest of the trip with the out-laws, which was lovely, as always.


Friday, November 09, 2007

Tis the season

SO pleased to see the return of the egg nog latte at S'bucks, it turned my morning around. My wish list for this fall includes a puffy coat for the truly miserable days in Lower Manhattan, a pretty pattered wrap/scarf, a new black hat, a delicate and wide bracelet, and a humidifier for the apartment.

I'm also still waiting for my accessories fairy.

Most wonderful time
Wanted: A Fairy

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Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Shuesday: MIA

I know, I know, where in the world is the FG? Here, chew on this in the meantime.

Ugly Shoes: A Brief History

I'm leaving out the photos for my sensitive readers.


Monday, November 05, 2007

Le Blush

While reading Tabula Rasa's post about fava beans, I was sure I'd blogged a similar experience I'd had several years ago while preparing one of Martha's springtime pasta recipes, but searched for fava to no avail. Then I searched for pasta and discovered this and this, featuring another vegetable.

To be fair, it's a really good recipe, and the photos are different. Perhaps it's become an annual event?

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