Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Travel notes: New York City

Back from New York with lots to share!

Dining pleasures:

Gotham Bar and Grill ~ Greenwich Village ***

A visit to the bar with a chatty and friendly barkeep began the evening. Superb service awaited us at a white-clothed table. Starting with a yummy chilled English pea soup, I chose the salmon entrée to follow. The Colonel settled for sea bass followed by a flourless chocolate cake which appeared more like pudding in a solid form to me, although he enjoyed it. Seriously consider making a reservation here for sure.

Bouley ~ Tribeca/SoHo ****

Straight away, the aroma of apples is revealed as wooden fruit boxes containing freshly plucked apples, still with leaves and stems (envision the orchard scenes from The Cider House Rules) align the right side of the vestibule. The opposite side features a shelf also arranged with rows of apples. Where oh where can apples so fragrant be located in the summer months?? Nice surprising touch. Though dim and cavernous with a sort of rathskellar replication, the ambiance is pleasing with walls painted a deep red and gothic architecture within. Definitely located over the subway line; one can feel the thunder of the passing trains under the feet. This is the restaurant that “keeps on giving”. Served on Havilland china, additional courses of palate cleansing sorbet, a supplemental plate of mashed potatoes and a take-home sized, rich lemon pound cake from the bakery appeared, all good wishes from the chef. The Colonel requested a bread pudding for dessert. Although not ordered, a crème brulee arrived for me, yes, also compliments of the chef. All delicious, by the way. Order modestly here; lots of gratis offerings. Service at Bouley is stellar, though somewhat over-bearing. At times, a minimum of 4-5 servers hawk the table and watch your every move awaiting the fulfillment of their duties, be it replenishing drink or bread or clearing plateware and flatware. One more thing. Blazers (jackets) are a requirement for dining here. Bouley is definitely worth a second visit another time.

Tao ~ located next to The Four Seasons Hotel **

A youthful, club-bound clientele will be found here. A humongous Buddha and koi pond is situated at one end of the main dining room. Skipping wine this eve, we opted for Red Dragons, specialty cocktails made of Absolut, grapefruit juice and a splash of pomegranate juice. Tasty and refreshing, a nice alternative to wine as a precursor for Asian cuisine. Food was average, not necessarily exciting. Spring rolls were large and heavy. The Colonel tried the sushi which he found to be tasty. I pass. None for me, thanks. Sushi = bait. Following the meal, a plate topped with two chocolate fortune cookies arrived along with an advertisement suggesting the purchase of a CD featuring the deep, pulsing music which is being played while one is dining. Too much marketing for my experience and slightly tacky, no?

Locale highlights:

Paul Poiret exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art- Observations here include: empire waistlines, lowered waistlines, parasols, “outrageous for the era” harem pants, Greco-Roman and Oriental influence, whale-bone stays, lack of corsetry, tunics, cloaks, chitons, caftans, bold colors, beaded and plumed head wear and slippers, hoop skirts, bullion and fur trimmings, padded hip rolls, sweeping front and back necklines, slender and graceful lines with very little stitching , lavish galas and parties, richly detailed perfume bottles containing a fragrance called “Rosine” named for his daughter. Poiret has been credited as the first couturier to utilize inventive marketing strategies for his fashions and products. Lovely exhibit and well worth a visit.

NYPL on Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street- Two guarding lions, pensive and regal, greet and escort visitors inside. Beautiful oak library tables with numbered spaces once meant for books, pencils and paper, are now lined with laptops, PC’s, IPods and assorted other wired and wireless tools… and a few books. Gorgeous architecture worth viewing.

Charlotte Moss townhouse- Visitors may peruse the 1st through 5th floor of this opulent, well-appointed and renovated home, skipping the fourth as it accommodates offices. The Colonel sat, reading the book he brought along in the stunning library which features volumes of design, gardening, fashion , hospitality, biography and even a copy of Charlotte’s Web, while I wandered. Areas of interest to me: Terraces on 1st and 5th floors with black trellises and ivy topiaries, bistro/ wicker furnishings…simple, yet inviting. High gloss lime-colored paint decorates the walls in the dining room. Subtle grey wallpaper in stairwells is meant to resemble brickwork. Lovely. Glass fronted, built-in cupboards in most every room, showcasing Ms. Moss’s signature items. A guard stands sentry at the front door, so behave yourself, please. Located close by Central Park; don’t miss this treat as you stroll the Park.

Ralph Lauren flagship store on Madison Avenue- This club-like showcase offers limited items for purchase, although an ample selection of men’s suits await tailoring. I even overheard a salesperson suggest to a shopper that they could visit the RL outlet to purchase towels of a certain color! :/ Nonetheless, an elegantly restored home by Mr. Lauren. Notably featured was the nautically-themed bedroom filled with a antique oak bed and cabinetry, baskets, surfboards and a hanging skiff. Silver beaded dresses on mannequins resembled renditions of Poiret’s fashions as seen earlier. Stop in for a peek, absolutely, and be sure to ride the elevator and climb the stairwell while there.

Jersey Boys- As a child of the 60’s and 70’s, I thoroughly enjoyed this chronicle of the climbing of the ladder up to fortune and fame for Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, although tickets to these Broadway productions are way over-priced.
This was a fabulous journey to a most beautiful city for me and the Colonel.


tut-tut said...

Bouley! Didn't NY Times give it 4 stars?

I miss the city; thanks for your post and great picturse to boot.

Rhoda said...

Hello, Teaorwine! Thanks for stopping by my blog. I enjoyed your NY pics..have only been there once & loved it. I had a fun time reading about Carolyn Roehm's tag sale. What fun that would be!

Southern Hospitality

Farrell & Lauren said...

The lions are named Patience and Fortitude. Just a fun fact.

teaorwine said...

tut-tut.... yes, Bouley is a very well-regarded dining venue.

farrel&lauren....perfect names. Thanks for adding trivia!