New York

bisous1.jpgI've never been the type to have a candy drawer or crave chocolate. Growing up, I would rather have a savory snack than give myself a sugar rush. There was one sweet spoonful that sent me swooning, ice cream. But as my love for tea grew, the chilled scoop wasn't always the best companion to a hot cup.

A few months ago I stumbled on a very special petite treat, a macaron. It was love at first delicate bite. Whenever I'm craving a nibble, my Miss Macaron Mode guides me to the nearest bakery for a sweet fix and a steeped sip.

Although during a recent trip to NYC, my macaron moment was carefully planned as I followed my GPS to bisous ciao.

As soon as I stepped into the sweet shop, the glass case of jeweled sweets seemed to lure me over with its beautiful rainbow glow. Telling myself I would be back again soon, I restrained and ordered the two flavors that made my heart sing, Lavender & Honey and Jasmine & Green Tea. Each fragrant bite sent me on a floral journey as the petal parade marched about on my taste buds. Delicate and enchanting, I savored the macarons until I was only left with an empty wrapper and a few photos.

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littlerascalsWe went to the Lower East Side the other night to see what the young people are up to. Our son, Max, was playing a gig at the Bowery Ballroom with a great band called dinowalrus. They totally killed — awesome. Jill and I were the oldest people in the neighborhood by at least thirty years.

We didn’t make reservations for dinner before the show because we always assume we can get ourselves fed when it’s just the two of us — often at the bar. I did have a destination in mind, though — Xicala, a tapas/wine bar that looked online to be properly LES. It was raining, so we scurried from the Grand Street subway across Bowery to Elizabeth Street, where Xicala promised to be and it was closed. Locked shut. I later checked their website, which says they’re “undergoing a makeover.” Good luck, Xicala. See you next time.

We were now wandering aimlessly in the rain, looking to grab a quick bite before the show. It was definitely an any-port-in-a- storm situation. We saw little orange lights coming out of a dark front window and crossed Elizabeth Street to see what was up and it was a restaurant called Little Rascal that serves Turkish food. Yeah — Little Rascal — Turkish. It made no sense to me, either. But our interest was definitely piqued — and our appetites as we’re both partial to Turkish food.

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murrays2.jpgIt is the tail end of another Manhattan winter, and my boyfriend and I have started hunkering down on extravagant costs. Everyone, as we know, is in a bit of a financial panic, but for us, it’s just a fact that after the holidays and before the advent of spring, we have to reign in our budgets. When we forego seeing Broadway shows or buying concert tickets, one thought still remains supreme: The belly feeds the mind. Financial constraints cannot possibly mean a want for good food. For me, cheap eats is really all about more bang for your buck. Sometimes that means quantity can outweigh quality, but in a city like New York, that fortunately never has to be the case.

My perfect fix came by way of a suggestion from my Alex (the boyfriend), which turned into a ritual Sunday activity. Before we would hit up the Chelsea Cinema for a matinee show, we would grab two everything bagels with scallion cream cheese and tomatoes from Murray’s Bagels on Ninth Avenue. Now, we hit up Murray’s at least three times a week, but instead of purchasing a twelve dollar movie ticket all the time, we sometimes just watch pre-recorded movies on the IFC channel. The bagels, not the entertainment, really do the trick on their own.

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mono_large.jpg I have yet to go on a date in New York without breaking into a mental sweat.  When scouting for potential mates, I have learned pretentious is better than shallow, irritatingly intelligent better than vapid.  But every time I find myself two blocks away from any appointed date destination, panic ensues. I literally go through the syllabi of every course I can remember from NYU and every legitimate news article I have come across in recent memory.  A friend of mine once told me she discovered the best conversation starters from a semester seminar she took called 'The Darwinian Revolution.'  To this day, I regret not enrolling in that class.  I could be married by now. 

Recently, I went on a second date at Casa Mono in Gramercy Park with a screenwriter.  As we sat at the crowded bar, reviewing the tapas menu, all I could think of was the impending birth of the "Brangelina" twins. 

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BarRoomMy friend, Barbara and I were escaping the icy tundra of Maine for a long weekend in New York City to indulge in great food, theater and art.

We started our Sunday morning at the MOMA as the doors opened. Up to the fifth floor we flew. As I walked into the first gallery I was overcome with the ‘scent’ of a museum. I love that smell. My soul was being ‘refilled’. I was free floating in art heaven when I noticed Barbara looking at her watch so we wouldn’t be late for the lunch reservations she made. I looked the other way and thought about disappearing into the crowd. We had 2 more floors when it was time to go. I thought, today lunch is such an interruption.

Our greeting from the Maitre D’ was warm, friendly and he was impeccably attired. He led us to a nice table with a stellar view of the printed glass mural by Thomas Demand, Clearing II. I was concerned that only two tables were occupied-why was this not a popular place? At that point, I had no idea there was a restaurant worthy of a Michelin star in the MOMA and we had lunch reservations at it. Yes, it was the Bar Room at The Modern. I hadn’t asked a single question about our Sunday reservations. A simple, quick lunch and back to exploring two more floors of art was exciting enough for me.

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