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July 20, 2004

a nibble of the big apple

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Last weekend Mr. & Mrs. took a lil' nibble out of the delicious Big Apple. He took us there in style and for this I am most appreciative as I've been feeling less than stylish as of late. We wisely brought our own air fare- a delicious creamy pate, d'affinois cheese and slices of proscuitto to spread on Semi Freddie’s hearty olive bread accompanied by apples and peaches all from our favorite little San Francisco grocery, Bi•Right. Plus he had surprised me the night before with Citizen Cupcakes so we brought a couple of those too, good lord let the weekend of feasting begin... The flight was unremarkable, thankfully. The film? A stupid, yet I managed to cry anyway, "Jersey Girl" blame the hormones since I cried watching the in-flight film on the way back as well, "Fifty First Dates" how embarrassing. I managed to wipe my eyes and sob silently over the death of J-Lo and the amnesiac accident of Drew Barrymore. I’m hoping I went unnoticed. Pathetic.

We arrived via taxi to the Hotel Gansevoort. Turns out we are staying in THE HOTSPOT of the week. The hotel has just opened and has a chic roof bar with a 270 degree view of the city and a skinny, shallow, not open at night swimming pool. Think NYC's version of LA's The Standard Hotel. The line to get into the hotel was down the block as I waddled my 28 week preggo belly by the hordes of gorgeous scantly dressed twenty somethings. The five streets that intersect in this trendy meat packing hood were also filled with an endless array of beautiful city people as there are about a dozen hot bars and clubs in a block radius including, Pastis, Spice Bar, APT, Cielo, Meet and PM. I'm thinking great, I'll belly up to the bar for a stiff double ginger ale eh?

Our room turned out to be quite lovely. It was No. 1007 on the 10th floor and it best feature was a huge square-shaped bay window that went all the way to the ceiling showing off the river and the New Jersey skyline. It was beautiful and given that over the next few days there were scattered thunderstorms it was breath taking and quite romantic to lay in bed and just gaze out the window. After we freshened up (aka took off squishy comfy clothes and shoes) we headed out for a late night dinner. We got a few recommendations from the concierge, who my man wasn't so happy with due to her lack of actually knowing restaurants in the area and of the ones she did vaguely seem to know she wasn't sure if they were open or if they took reservations, uh hem?! Obviously the hotel staff is really new and doesn't have their act together yet. We headed out down 14th Street and a few blocks later settled on Bistro Cassis. My feet were starting to really ache since I choose to be oh so summer evening sexy trying to fit into the scene by wearing a strappy kitten heeled sandal. My feet were swelling by the minute due to the heat, humidity and the extra 24 pounds I'm lugging around aka "The Bean." I ordered a typical bistro special coq au vin and hubby had the lamb shank. Both were yummy, the waiter was sweet and the wines by the glass he suggested were perfect with the meal. Sitting outside just below the sidewalk on a warm New York evening is quite lovely. Of course we managed to turn the conversation into HEAVY career discussion meets OH MY GOD we are going to be parents and how the hell are we going to do this, panic??!!

Friday am we perused the roof top breakfast buffet at the Gansevoort but since it was unremarkable I talked him into heading over to this darling Belgian waffle shop filled with Tin Tin books and posters we had passed by the night before. It wasn't a hard sell since he worships Tin Tin and his little dog Snowy too. Turns out this location of Petite Abeille was only going to remain open for a few more days. Their evil landlord wasn't renewing their lease (I'm sure it's because of how over the top trendy the rents have become - what with Alexander McQueen and Stella McCartney having huge boutiques across the street how's a cute little waffle shop to compete?) During breakfast it began to rain. It was fairly light so we thought no big deal we can still cruise around the streets and make our way through the village towards our lunch appt. HA! Do not under estimate the rain capabilities of NYC. Fortunately we each had our own umbrella ( thank the Gansevoort for providing the accessory) as my husband is 6'4" and when he holds the umbrella I still manage get thoroughly wet.

We wandered through the west village and at almost every block the rain poured harder and harder. I gave up fighting to stay dry and just surrendered to getting wet and dealing with what were once comfy flippy shoes becoming truly disgustingly soaked sponges. We ducked from one awning to another and even spent some time in a random open apartment lobby we happened upon. Most of the stores don’t open until noon so there were few places for us to hide out. After spending many, many minutes under a good size yet leaking awning near our destination and watching my man do his usual hourly routine of checking all the email and voicemail on his Treo (seems like he's just pushing every button twice and listening to hundreds of beeping noises), we finally decided it was ok to be a few minutes early and we rang the studio bell of Mr. Clifford Ross.


I don’t want to digress too much and go on and on about the glorious Treo, but basically the reason we are in NYC is because my husband is promoting this telephone extraordinaire and Mr. Ross is one of the recipients of Palm's marketing efforts. We met Clifford and had an amazing time viewing his work and studio. His studio is my heaven. It’s 3 stories, perfectly clean and organized. The first level has his office, with a manager and a huge viewing room filled with built in storage, a center work table with flat files, endless wall space and the gargantuan dream camera he built. The second floor is a digital darkroom again with lots of wall space and many G5 Apple computers, flat screen monitors, Epson printers and color corrected viewing monitors. There are also two diligent employees silently working away correcting his outrageously HUGE landscapes oh and more flat files and storage. The third floor is my wet dream, well if girls had those wink wink, sorry to be so crass but you really get the point this way. It’s a black and white darkroom ready to print murals and yet again with state-of-the-art everything, enlargers, tanks, washers and of course endless magnetic wall space to hold up the photo paper. The other side of this floor contains an electronic ceiling drying system, viewing room and again more storage and flat files. I just can’t express the jealousy I felt and that continues to haunt me now. Turns out Clifford is also a really nice man doing very interesting work and is filled with integrity too. Geeezus. He then took us out to lunch at a local Italian place he frequents. Caffe Rosso did not disappoint. Sure the wait staff seemed liked they smoked a bowl or two before opening (I watched our waiter take little colored glass baubles and make various designs accross the counter amusing himself endlessly and never thinking we might want to order food) but they were charming and helpful after they noticed us, the only table, waving our arms in the air. The food was delicious. I had a paperadelle with an amazing rabbit and wild mushroom sauce and Man Bun had gnocchetti with wild boar ragu. The rain continued to pour down in buckets. Must thank Clifford again and again for the scrumptious lunch and the well intentioned but torturous studio tour.

Next we wandered around the village some more. We stopped by the Magnolia Bakery at 401 Bleecker Street for cupcakes. Apparently cupcakes are a hot food item these days. The better of the two we tried was the chocolate devils food cake with cream cheese frosting. And man these people to do not skimp on the frosting, it’s just as tall as the cake part. I was shaking about twenty minutes later from the sugar high. Our little bean will defiantly be an addict, sorry baby. We shopped a little, mostly for men's stuff since he is always in need of shoes (size 13 is ridiculously hard to find). We made our way back to the hotel to dry off, change clothes and met up with more Treo friends, Alan of Wind Up Records and his wife Christy. We had drinks up in the rooftop bar. Our waitress couldn’t name the scotches they served, then when she came back after finding out what they offer she had to come back yet again and say oops we don’t actually have the McCallen I said we did, and then finally when she brought our drinks she couldn't remember which of the four of us had which drink (though clearly it wouldn't be hard to guess that I had the bubbly water since they all had REAL drinks and only Man Bun ordered the scotch, duh), lord help her and strike two for the hotel staff. We then had a much needed albeit quick rest and were off to dinner at yet another Treo hookup Babbo.

July 7, 2004

singing praises

I’m still on the fence about the ongoing debate over whether technology is really advancing society. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no luddite (I needed to work that word in since I love it so). There are plenty of good arguments on both sides. Sure I’m thrilled about the fancy machines that save lives, the ability to map DNA and figure out which genes are wrecking someones health and other such medical marvels. However, when it comes to my job I seriously wonder most of the time if the good old days of paper and pen would be more efficient and secure. The odds of the office burning down are far less than that of my machine crashing or corrupting itself or someone hacking in.

That said, I’ve recently been immensely pleased with technology. Each morning when I’m just about ready to leave the house to catch the MUNI’s J train I check NextBus.com to see precisely when the train is coming (or in the case of MUNI – not coming). It shows me the next three trains arrival intervals ie. 3, 10 & 25 minutes. It’s ridiculously accurate too. Apparently all trains are connected to a GPS satellite so the site knows exactly where each train is at all times. It’s so fun!! I can continue to lounge about in my lovely warm kitchen knowing that the train won’t be there for another 10 minutes. I keep marveling at how lame the olden days used to be when one would just walk to the train and simply wait. I used to gamble waiting for the J train at the end of my alley against walking the three blocks to the underground where I could take any KLM or S in-bound train. At least fifty percent of the time I would choose to walk the extra blocks (having already waited five or so frustrating minutes) and of course half way there the J train would roll by mocking me for having made the wrong choice yet again. How I love NextBus and yes, how I love the Treo 600 that my man gave me and programmed a bookmark for the in & out lines so I know whether to run or saunter down the alley (or give up on MUNI altogether and take BART). Thank you Markie Mark, xoxo.