Living La Vie En Rose!

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F. Scott Fitzgerald said, “The best of America drifts to Paris. The American in Paris is the best American.”

I’m pretty sure he could have been talking about the American expat writer,  Sara Lieberman. Sara came to live in Paris almost on a whim, which I think is just the best way to move to Paris. The story goes (and I may get some of the details wrong because she told it to me over several glasses of wine), that after wrapping up a year in London writing for UK’s most-read Sunday glossy Fabulous, she went to Paris to visit friends, had one of those once in a lifetime nights on the town, came home, and typed into her Facebook page, “I’m moving to Paris.” When she woke the next day to many, many excited comments from friends and family, she decided it was destiny. That was over three apartments ago.

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Me and Sara only a few hours after arriving in Paris (my justification for how I look in this picture).

I got to meet Sara this past January while on a spontaneous trip to the city of light. We happen to have a good friend in common, and so when I emailed asking if we could sit down over a glass of wine and talk, she said yes. I’ve been an online fan of Sara’s bi-weekly newsletter, Overthinking It for a while, and I’ve always felt that if we met in real life, we’d be fast friends, and I was right! Her writing voice is completely authentic to who she is in person.

If you aren’t acquainted with her newsletter, which you absolutely should be (click on the link above to sign up), odds are you have read her writing in some of the best magazines and newspapers around the globe. If you’ve used Google to find information about visiting Paris concerning style, food, beauty, fashion, nightlife, pop culture or entertainment, you’ve “met” Sara. You can read some of her best pieces here.

I love Paris. It is the first city in Europe I chose to visit when I was 18, it was the city I studied abroad in, and it was where I celebrated my 25th wedding anniversary. If I die without ever living there, it will be one of my regrets. So having the opportunity to speak to a fellow writer, New Yorker, and expat was a thrill. Here is a smattering of some of the soundbites from our conversation…

“In Paris, you’ll always have to ask for a menu, a glass of water, to order, and for a bill.”

“Dairy is very confusing. The cheese and the yogurt have so many complexities.”

“Paris is actually affordable, more than NYC. Utilities are low, and you can have a great three-course meal for 20 euro with tax and tip included.”

“For first-time visitors, planning is everything. You can’t just pop in anywhere and expect to get a good meal. You need to do your research. You are not going to get that amazing cup of coffee or the unforgettable steak frites at any terrace on the street. Make reservations, and know when places are open and closed.”

“Walk or take the bus and look around.”

“Take a risk. Find a new neighborhood. Stay somewhere new.”

“Paris is small, much smaller than NYC. First, cut the city into left and right. Going across banks by public transport is not easy, and requires a transfer.”

As an ex-expat, I asked Sara what she missed about living away from home.

“Bagels, pizza. I’ve had good pizza here, but it’s more of a restaurant outing and not a snack like in NYC. I miss the idea of the customer always being right. The French have not figured out customer service, and they say no a lot. Returns are always an issue. They are big into their policies, so always check them out before making a purchase.”

Sara’s blog is called Overthinking It, and I asked her why?

“I’m a bad decision maker. Part of me is super shameless, and I tend to overshare about everything, but on the same level, I’m conscious of what people think of me, and that makes me overthink.”

Her last words…

“When visiting try to plan less, let things happen more. Because sometimes the best nights are when you have no plans.”

I texted Sara throughout my stay, and she recommended some of my new favorites places like Ellsworth, a real gem. When I asked for an authentic brasserie, she suggested Bofinger, and it was exactly what I was looking for. She was so on point, I asked if she ever did bespoke, customized experiences for curious, adventurous travelers, and she said to send them her way. So if you are interested in an insider scoop through the lens of a seasoned New Yorker, consider hiring Sara. She can be reached at me@saralieberman.com. 

Merci mon ami!

Have fun. Be Bold.

 

 

 

What’s The Story?

IMG_4587I love stories. I spend a lot of my time either telling them or trying to get others to tell theirs (in 650 words or less) in their college application essays (shameless plug). I remember the low-tech days of yesteryear fondly, unfurling the knots in the extremely long phone cord, dragging it through the kitchen, down the stairs, and into my room. The best stories were swapped holding that hard piece of plastic to my ear, with nothing else to take my focus away. And I think that with all the ways we have to distract ourselves today, personally told stories are even more critical than ever. They take time and care to craft and tell well, and they require the focus and attention of others. If you have a story to tell, I want to hear it. Last Friday night, I sat in a little quiet nook at the Yale Club and told my story to Kim Berns for her new podcast, What’s The Story with Kim Berns  available on iTunes (although my episode is not up yet). We talked about what it’s like to pivot at a certain age and find fulfillment by taking an unexpected path. We spoke non-stop for about twenty minutes, and then I earned my fee; a well-made Tanqueray and Tonic.

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I was able to sneak in a quick Broadway show with Toni on Wednesday. We saw A Choir Boy, which we both thought was fantastic. It’s a 2 hour, no intermission drama, but it’s also got great music due to the subject matter. And even though the play is twenty years old, it is still extremely relevant, sadly, today.

Did I mention I have a sister who’s a vegan? She’s been opening my eyes to a culinary world where you can’t cook with anything that makes food taste good. We met for lunch at Nix, which boasts a brand new shiny Michelin star. I took a picture of the gorgeous beet salad with quinoa, but the real star of my meal was the mushroom veloute that was so creamy I wanted to go back into the kitchen and have them prove it was vegan.

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I took my first yoga class at Humming Puppy. We can all agree the name is ridiculous. I’m even embarrassed typing it, but the experience was nothing to laugh at. It’s a new way to yoga, brought to you from Australia. The main difference between this yoga studio and all others is the humming. Throughout the practice, there is a constant hum in the room that comes from surround sound speakers. It sounds like the tones made from Buddhist temple bowls. Something like this. I will return, but it won’t be my go-to spot due to the temperature in the studio. Women going through menopause have no business doing yoga in 80-degree rooms.

I’m always keeping an eye out for a fun, casual restaurant on the Upper East Side with decent food, as most of my friends live up there, and I feel bad always recommending restaurants downtown. Last week I went with friends to The Writing Room. I chose it because of its hugely storied literary past (as in Billy Joe’s song Big Shot “…they were all impressed with your Halston dress and the people that you knew at Elaine’s…”). There was a great buzz in the room, it was packed, and the food was really good. I’ll keep it on my short UES list.

Saturday we killed two little birds with one round-trip Amtrak. My oldest son was in Philly visiting his girlfriend at med school, and my youngest goes to Penn. Tom and I got on a late morning train, arrived in Philly 1 hour and 15 mins later, just in time for an incredible brunch at Wm. Mulherin’s Sons in Fishtown. The restaurant is located in an old rye whiskey distillery and has four extremely cool hotel rooms upstairs. I am already planning on renting these rooms for Annie’s graduation in a few years. Sshhhh don’t tell anyone with a sophomore at Penn. The food was fantastic, and after we ate, we moved to the couches in front of the wood burning fire for coffee.

We had some time to kill before the next meal, so we walked up Frankford Avenue which is one of the main streets in the Fishtown neighborhood. This street looks so freshly gentrified, it’s almost as if the paint is still wet.

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There are a number of fun restaurants and bars and an inordinate amount of vintage clothing stores, all carefully curated to the point where you don’t know if the clothes are new or used. Here are a few we stopped into: Two Percent To GloryJinxed, and Urban Exchange. We also passed at least two open breweries on our way up the road. From there we ubered to another fun neighborhood, Queen Village. We started with happy hour cocktails at Tatooed Mom, a place we all loved. From there we walked to Hungry Pigeon a restaurant that has been on my radar, and I was excited to get a reservation (albeit 5:15). The menu is small, and is meant to be shared family style. We sat at this beautiful communal table and enjoyed everything we ordered.

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But I want to return for lasagne season. You need to pre-reserve with 24 hours notice. You get your own lasagne (classic bolognese or vegetarian) with a few accompaniements for $80 PER ORDER. It feeds 4-6 people or 2 who like leftovers. I’m intrigued.

I love Philly, and I’m grateful that I get to continue to explore it over the next 2.5 years while visiting my daughter. It’s a city of neighborhoods and stories – my favorite kind of city.

Have fun. Be bold.

 

 

Paris By Numbers

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Last winter I spent a week in Paris with my husband that I’d planned months in advance. Each meal was chosen with care, and we found ourselves running from one side of Paris to another like the proverbial chickens without heads, and it was cold and rainy. I vowed that the next time I returned, I would do it differently; I would use math. Since I’m a writer and not a STEM girl when I say math, I mean numbers; specifically arrondissement or “districts.” I culled together all of my favorite “eating, drinking, shopping and seeing” lists from over the years and created a Google document to use as a roadmap so that I wouldn’t miss something fabulous just around the corner (a dreaded fear). I have to say, it worked like a charm, and I will continue to build on it and take it with me when I return in May with my daughters for Mother’s Day, and their first trip to Paris.

The trip began with a semi-stalker moment. One of my favorite bloggers, Sara Lieberman, is a NYC expat living her dream in Paris and writing about it. Her newsletter, Overthinking It is fabulous and one I look forward to reading when it arrives in my inbox on a bi-weekly basis. Many of my past Google searches about all things Paris have her name on the by-line, and now I understand why – she is a FONT of knowledge. More on Sara and her many talents in next week’s blog. Sara suggested we meet for wine at La Cave du Paul Bert. I have to thank my friend Syd for the personal introduction!

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Me and Sara only a few hours after arriving in Paris (my justification for how I look in this picture).

This is a picture of the special ladies that shared my week. Kylie (on the left) was in Paris working on the branding of her frozen yogurt shops, California Bliss , which help to fund her non-profit Global Glow an incredible organization that helps young girls in 27 countries around the world (and my school in the Bronx, The Bronx Academy of Letters) to find their voice and tell their stories. And Lisa, Efrot and I were there to eat and shop and TALK. We all accomplished what we set out to do!

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We ate at L’ami Jean Bistrot Belhara Les Philosophes Cafe Charlot Bofinger Ellsworth and La Societe where we were joined by Candice Kumai, a food and wellness influencer with a HUGE following.  We had yummy margaritas at Candelaria the speakeasy in the non-descript taco shop (thank you Tori B for the great rec).

And we sang into the wee Paris hours at Aux Trois Mailletz a past favorite from Maria. We took advantage of the twice-yearly sales, where almost everything was 50% off, (see Google doc mentioned above for names) and spent our last day together combing the stalls of the Vanves Flea Market.

This buyer’s paradise has always been on my Paris To Do list, but I was never able to get there. I’m thrilled with all my purchases, especially my new coupe glassware that I’ll use to make my current cocktail, the French 75 (thank you Jacqueline) and my cool coasters, from 1924 that say Liberte*Egalite*Fraternite.

There is no place like NYC, but Paris is my happy place. Every time I leave, I can’t wait until I can return. A tout de suite!

Amusez-vous soyez audacieux!

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We Were Stuck In A Blender And Now We’re Saving Lives?

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An old friend and reader of my blog sent this to me this week saying it reminded her of me. I love that.

Wednesday morning while playing bridge my wrist buzzed with an incoming text. It said, “Do you have time for a quick trip to Paris? K has an apartment with an extra bedroom.” As much as I’d like to think I get texts like this all the time, I don’t. It made sitting at the Bridge table, defending against a 3 No Trump tricky. All I could think about was how I could say yes. As an empty nester, these are the opportunities you talk about having the ability to take. “When the kids are gone, I’ll be able to travel on a moment’s notice…” But the reality of life, at least for me, doesn’t work that way. There are always obligations and bills to pay. But this time, with the OK from Tom, I said yes. “We were playing bridge, and now we’re booking last minute tickets to Paris?”

Speaking of last-minute tickets, I knew that to justify this trip to myself and my husband, it had to make sense financially. I’m the type of person that if I collect enough frequent flyer miles or points, I book a trip immediately, so I didn’t have any in the “bank.” I did have two amazing tickets to The Ferryman on Broadway that I knew I could sell in a minute, which I did. I tasked myself with finding a flight that my new found wealth would cover, and it came very, very close. I found a non-stop, round-trip ticket to Orly from Newark on Level Airlines. Level Airlines a new-ish long-haul, low-cost airline that started in 2017. The planes are brand-new, and my round-trip flight cost $370! The ticket originally cost $270, but I draw the frugal line when it comes to a week in Paris in winter with only a carry-on. I leave Monday night. C’est tres tres bien.

I’m writing this blog entry while sitting in front of my new Nature Bright Sun Touch Plus.  My sister-in-law, who happens to be a font of wisdom and knowledge, said it is doing wonders for her January blues. It was only $39.99. I bought two; one for me and one as a gift. Thirty minutes every morning, while reading the paper or answering emails or making To Do lists is something I can easily work into my daily routine. I’ll keep you posted on results!

I’ve written in the past about my excitement when there are new additions to my neighborhood, and this week there were two. On the corner of 20th and Broadway, a massive space that has been vacant for a long time, is now a collaboration between BlueStone Lane Coffee and WeWork only this WeWork is a little different. Instead of having a membership, you can rent space by the MINUTE. And, they sell goods produced by their members. It’s an interesting concept. I don’t see myself ever paying to sit there, but now I have three choices for excellent coffee on my block.

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On Thursday, Ole and Steen, a bakery/cafe from Sweden opened their doors to hordes of bread lovers. The concept is similar in scope to Maison Kayser, but without table service. It’s all-day dining, with bread as the main ingredient. I’m not complaining. I’m a fan of good bread. Tom and I went for lunch on Saturday, and the counter service was frenetic, but the food was very good, and they have a nice amount of space to linger, both on the main floor and in the basement. I’ve read that they are baking on premise, so the freshness factor is high. I know that once they get the kinks out, it will be a go-to option for me during the day, where I won’t have to pay to sit and take my time.

Friday was the kick-off to restaurant week(s) in NYC. Last year I tried two spots, and neither were any good. Friday night I made a reservation at a place around the block I’d passed and never tried. I wanted to like it, I really did. Unfortunately, no. I’m officially giving up on restaurant week. I think it’s a misnomer. It should be called Restaurant Fail Week. If you feel differently, PLEASE tell me where you ate and what you loved.

Last night Tom and I went to see The Invisibles at The Landmark 57 Theater (one of my favorite theaters in the city). It was a docu-drama about four of the 7000 German Jews who tried to escape deportation to the camps by living in full view of the Nazis. The four stories were of teenagers, and of course, it made me think about what if that happened here, now, would our “soft” kids be able to have the prowess to hide in plain sight? I’m not sure. The bonus of seeing the movie in this theater was the free Q&A afterward with the director and one of the “stars” of the movie! One of the four survivors, Hanni, took questions from the audience. She was incredible. It was an emotional viewing in a packed audience. Thankfully the bar in the theater stays open late and their happy hour starts at 9 pm.

I’m so excited to invite my readers to the annual Bronx Letters Foundation “Food For Thought” benefit! This year our host is the food God Eric Ripert, one of the greatest chefs in the world today. We will be honoring the life of our school’s patron saint, Anthony Bourdain. Tickets are on sale now, and you can buy them here!

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Have fun. Be bold.

 

 

 

There Are Many Places Where I Belong – One Of Them Is Not the Gym

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I love my new mug – a gift from my youngest daughter’s college roommates. It makes me laugh. I’m almost always early, so it really tells you just how much exercise I get. There are many places where I feel right at home – a library, almost any type of restaurant, cafe or gourmet market, a book store, a speakeasy, a bridge table, a NYC subway, and at the five-way crossing in Shibuya, but put me in a packed gym on a holiday Monday, and I look like a newly arrived alien from the planet Xena. I’m 53, so I don’t have any hope that will change. I’m failing terribly at my attempt to get my body in better shape, but I am killing it in my brain stretching and flexing attempt.  Last week I spent three mornings playing bridge at Honors Bridge Club. I’m obsessed and utterly hooked. But it’s all in pursuit of staving off dementia, so I don’t feel too guilty about spending countless hours playing with a deck of cards – can you say grand slam?

In addition to my card obsession, I have been looking for new ways to get my hygge  on – the only reason to live on the east coast in January. This recipe was from last Sunday’s New York Times Magazine, and they had me at “one cast iron pan”. Side note, I love to cook and have for decades, but just purchased my FIRST cast iron pan when I moved to the city 18 months ago. I use it almost every night I cook. I bought Smithey at Food52, and I LOVE it. The recipe was for Stock-and-Cider-Brined Chicken Over Stuffing. I think mine looked exactly like the picture, and it was seriously delicious (and easy). I cook a lot for my city kids, but I’ve never received a text the next day from my son telling me how good the dinner was, until now. Make this, and if you don’t have the cast iron pan, buy one, you’ll thank me. img_4549

This week was filled with art because it’s the perfect thing to do when it’s cold and rainy. I spent a fabulous winter afternoon at the Guggenheim with an “old” friend immersed in the revolutionary art of Hilma af Klint. The story of this fierce turn of the 20th-century painter is pretty incredible. She was a fan of the spiritual occult, and not only is it evident in her forward facing artwork, but she also writes of having her art displayed in the future in a circular “temple.” How did she know?

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After making our way around the exhibit, we had craft cocktails at Jacques Bar in the Lowell Hotel.  It left me wanting to return to eat at Majorelle. The menu is expensive, but I like their economical $40 lunch in 40 minutes. Sounds like my kind of work out.

Friday night, Tom and I were in the mood for noodles and went to Hunan Slurp in the East Village. I’d been for lunch but wanted to return for dinner. I do love a noodle shop that takes reservations! NB, they don’t have a liquor license, but there is a store across the street. Tom ran out to stock up on large Sapporo beers, while I ordered. We loved it all, including the walk home via St. Marks. Not much has changed on the famed block since I was a freshman at NYU, and that is a good thing. It’s nice to see that not every downtown neighborhood has been gentrified.

 

 

There was a lot of talk this week about the weekend storm arriving on Saturday, and MB and I had plans. Initially, we thought it might be fun to get out of the city and find a fireplace, but the snow estimates made us change our plans and stay put. We started the day at the Outsider Art Fair at the Metropolitan Pavilion. I went last year and loved it. Outsider art is defined as art produced by self-taught artists who are not part of the artistic establishment. Many of the artists represented at the fair have mental illness, are autistic, were once incarcerated, or have other incredible life stories. The art represents their experience, and if I didn’t live in a 1600 square foot apartment that is already covered in art, I would have been a purchaser instead of an observer. Here are a few examples:

 

 

It was the perfect “snow is on the way” activity. Unfortunately, the snow never came, but that didn’t stop us from watching movies, ordering in, and pretending there was a foot outside.

Sunday was spent watching the Patriots do exactly what they always do, come from behind and win. As we are not Patriot fans, and we are pretty sick of them always landing on the right side of the scoreboard, we’ve decided to now become fans hoping this will be the end of their winning streak. Just kidding.

Monday reminded me that yes, it’s winter. It was f@#$%$#*& freezing! There was only one thing we wanted for lunch, and it was another bowl of steaming noodles. The closest spot was Bao Bao Cafe that claims to have the spiciest ramen in the city. Judging by the medium spicy, I’d say they might be right. The sign outside says, “If you hate someone, bring them here for ramen. Ours is the spiciest in the city.”

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Have fun. Be bold.

 

 

A Refugee Camp Grows in Brooklyn

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Tom and I went to see The Jungle Friday night at St. Ann’s Warehouse in Dumbo. This original play, hot off the stages of London, is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced.        St. Ann’s is known for physically transforming the theater to meet the needs of each play, as well as their ability to make the audience a part of the experience. For this play, a replica of an Afghan Cafe inside an actual refugee camp in Calais, France comes to life. You’ll sit side by side with the residents of the camp, and learn about their journey from war-torn countries to the promised land of the white cliffs of Dover. It is a play that everyone, everywhere should see. But, fair warning, it is not a pretty experience, and you aren’t going to have “fun.”

Before the show we ate at Gran Electrica, a mexican restaurant with a healthy slant. Of course, we chose the most unhealthy of dishes, pork belly tacos, and they were very good. They make a nice spicy marg, and the walk to St. Ann’s is about 4 minutes long, which is ideal when it’s 20 degrees outside.

Do you like pho? I am a huge fan. I love it because it’s a big bowl of noodles, and yet it eats healthier than ramen. This past week I had lunch at Sai gon dep a new restaurant that just opened by the chef of Hanoi House. I went during the soft opening when the menu was limited, but I thoroughly enjoyed their chicken-based pho and spring rolls. I look forward to returning and trying the rest of the menu. It is the perfect antidote to a cold winter’s day and might rival a bowl of chicken soup if you are suffering from a cold.

 

My youngest daughter is days away from returning to college for her second semester of sophomore year, and so we have made it a point to do as much as possible together before she leaves. We had a great afternoon wandering around the meatpacking district, shopping at Story, a retail store that “takes the point of view of a magazine, changes like a gallery and sells things like a store.” They completely reinvent themselves from design to merchandise every four to eight weeks, highlighting new trends. I dare anyone to leave without purchasing something. We had a late lunch at Restoration Hardware in their rooftop restaurant. I’ve written about this spot before, and I said it was meh, however, if you go with a Generation Z young adult, it looks more impressive through their eyes. I took her to the new Camp on 5th avenue, because even though she’s 19, and Camp is really for humans under the age of 10, I knew she would love it. It’s hard to describe, but if you have a young child in your life, you need to go and make sure you try the edible bubbles.

We also passed by the new Starbucks Roastery Reserve, which is unlike any other Starbucks. It is on my short list to return. We found this gorgeous creature in the window as we walked by.

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Saturday night we returned to Brooklyn (yes, twice in one weekend) to meet friends for dinner at Frankies Spuntino. The last time I was there, it was a tiny hall of a restaurant with a fabulous garden. The tiny spot still exists (for walk-ins), but the reservations are now seated down the block in the old Prime Meats location. It’s a beautiful space, and the menu is the same as I remember. We enjoyed our meal, despite the significant flooding in the kitchen. They kept calm and carried on.

From there we went to “the” spot to sing karaoke in Brooklyn, The Old Carriage Inn in Park Slope. Judging by the talent in the crowd, and the wait to sing a song (2 hours) I’d say it is definitely the place to go. Just make sure you get there early if you want to sing. We stayed for a few beers and sang along with the ringers.

On Tuesday, when Annie leaves for school, our apartment will return to empty nest status…at least for a month or two – having her home this past month has been a gift.

Have fun. Be bold.

 

700,000 Hours

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That’s the average amount of time we get to spend on this planet. I don’t know about you, but that struck me as not that much. The day I read it, I was sitting on my couch going through the stack of magazines I hadn’t read since November, and I could almost hear the clock ticking. It made me think about how I spend (or waste) my time. I have no problem sitting on my couch on a rainy day with my head in two books, nine magazines, and the Sunday New York Times, and look up four hours later, surprised to see that the sun set long ago. Obviously, not everything I read is a good use of my time, but I almost always unearth nuggets of information that inform my life. The 700,000 hours came from an article about the first “wandering hotel” in the world 700,000 Heures. If I had the means, I would become a member today. With less than half of those hours already spent, I’d want to spend the rest of them traveling the world and staying in incomparable locations curated by a staff that aimed to “astonish” their guests.

Here’s a look at some of my best hours this week:

 

I love it when fellow city friends introduce me to their favorite places in their neighborhoods. I have to thank MB for showing me William Poll, the Upper East Side’s tiny gourmet food store. It’s the type of place that I would have walked right by, but I am so happy I know exists. Need delicious appetizers for a dinner party? Dips for days? Soups in cute little containers? Stop in, but bring your $$$$.

 

This week I went back to yoga. I’m not sure why I stopped. I always feel better when I’m walking out of the studio than when I walk in.  I go to, Yogamaya. It’s bare bones and totally yoga focused with minimal ohms and scattered skylights with a view of rooftops and watertowers.

A 2-hour winter walk in Central Park. It doesn’t matter your path, where you start or end, the park has so many gifts to give, in any season, at any time of the day or night. It was an exhilirating way to start the year. Marybeth and I kept walking until noon because we both had started intermittent fasting and the lunch bell wasn’t going to ring for us until noon. But, it was worth the wait. We had the juciest burgers (without a bun, over a tossed salad) at JG Melon a New York institution that’s still got it.

I went to my first drop-in supervised bridge play at Honors Bridge Club. Two hours of supervised shuffle and deal – $20 and it includes breakfast. Those were two very well spent hours. I could literally feel the synapses in my brain firing on all cylinders. You don’t have to be a member to attend.

I’ve mentioned Silver Mirror before – my favorite place for derma planing! But it gets another mention because they just opened a new location in my neighborhood! What could be better than your favorite face shaving facialist now located within a five minute walk?

Speaking of what could be better…I have to say one of the best things about living in my apartment is having an AMC Movie Theater around the block. When January roles around, it becomes my go to destination. And with assigned seats I leave my apartment 3 minutes before the credits role. This weekend I saw Vice and Green Book, two movies that on the surface seem so different, and yet they both make you feel equally bad about being an American, granted in different decades.

Saturday night I finally made it to Ichiran, one of the best ramen shops in Japan, now in NYC. Considering there are over 50,000 ramen shops in Japan, that says a lot. I’m a huge ramen aficionado, after living in Japan for 6 years, I feel I have an educated palate. When I first moved back from Japan, I tried many ramen shops in NYC looking for something that felt like Tokyo, but they all fell short for various reasons. But I was holding out for Ichiran. Arriving on Saturday night at 6pm, we found a line, which was a good sign. We waited for about 20 minutes and then were seated at conjoining booths.

 

All I’ll say is that its a unique experience – don’t go with a group, it’s actually better to eat here alone. The menu is limited to one type of ramen – what? And two bowls with two draft beers cost $73. Yes, I said $73. If you eat at Ichiran in Tokyo, you won’t pay more than $10 a bowl. But, was it good? Yes, it was very very good. But still.

After I was completely stuffed with noodles, I went to see The Cher Show on Broadway. If you, like me, grew up watching Sonny and Cher on the Sonny and Cher Show, if you thought Chastity was the cutest baby of all time, and if you lived in the same apartment building as Cher and Rob Camiletti when you were in college (oh, that was just me) then you will want to get tickets to this show. If not, then I suggest you get tickets to The Ferryman.

One last tidbit…brunch at Cafe Cluny in the West Village. It’s not new, it’s not hot, but it’s very very good. You’ll walk in and feel the vibe immediately. The food is delicious and I highly recommend ordering a drink called the Cluny. They don’t take reservations on the weekends, but it’s worth the wait.

So, what are you going to do with your hours this week? I’ve got a few ideas up my sleeve…stay tuned.

Have fun. Be bold.