Saturday, March 30, 2013

perfect saturday morning city schlep.

...on that OTHER island, you know, the famous one. ;-)

Jay Cardinal had to work in midtown on the one Saturday I was ironically off from work, so I drove him in and took advantage of the chance to visit my old stomping grounds downtown. (As a teenager I used to get some work done on professional equipment at a place in Tribeca, and while waiting I'd explore Chinatown, Soho, etc.) As ever-changing as the complexion of Manhattan is (and as mixed as the blessings of those changes have been), I'm glad to see that Soho still retains some of its grittiness and neurotic paradoxes, some old (like how can a place right off Canal Street feel sleepy?) and some new-ish (beautiful twenty-something store clerks selling wares most mortals can't afford.)

The benefits of looking up

Stunning building, almost diphanous fire escape

Bricked-over doorway
I loved the composition of the fire escape,
the overhead construction, the little tree

Street corner

Karma (or should I say, Car-ma) was with me today. Parked right on Broome! (Which was good, because I was afforded 35 minutes of Soho schlep--- had to use it wisely...)

1. TopShop. 478 Broadway. Britain's seminal design-within-reach store was stocked to the gills with clothes and accessories. Since it wasn't the main focus of my trip, I didn't dally, but there were a lot of great individual pieces that could augment an existing wardrobe. A lot of the jewelry was a cariacature of the eightie's--- the sort of stuff that a college girl can pull off, but it won't have longevity. Some of the clothing was adventurous but more versatile--- for example, a beautiful lacey empire-waisted maxi dress and a stretchy black & white graphic "LOVE" skirt. At retail price, it's not quite worth it (think a few steps up from H &M) but with a 75% sale going on right now, you can't argue with what's on sale.

2. Kate's Paperie. 435 Broome. What's not to like about this place? If you are looking for remarkable paper, it's here. The wrapping paper is truly frame-able. I had to stifle myself not to buy the whole place. My only regret was discovering they don't sell their color-coordinated paper line in store anymore; that's only done through the website.

3. Harney & Sons Tea. 433 Broome. Having been weaned on the Millerton shop for years, it was time to give this NYC location a try. Though it was spacious and modern, it still posessed that same Harney feel--- rows of boxed teas in cubbies and knowledgeable, helpful staff. Tried a new Darjeeling ---Thurbo, 2nd flush--- beautiful and balanced, with a hint of citrus.

Bistro Cassis on Urbanspoon

Then it was time to pick up DH from his gig. Once again, had fluke luck with the parking (!) and landed somewhere in the 70's and Columbus. We happened upon Bistro Cassis, a delightful discovery which was Old World through and through, from the Art-Nouveau details to the gracious server to the supremely wonderful French cuisine. The Bistro was spacious, and arriving on the early side of Brunch, we were blessed with a quiet meal and a large table. My french toast, which was gently carmelized on the tips, was possibly the best I've ever had. Bacon was substantial and cooked to a perfect degree. My Mimosa was good; Jay throughly enjoyed his Sancerre and his Salmon entree. For dessert, we went with Blood Orange Sorbetto (excellent!) and Creme Brulee, which my dear husband of exacting culinary standards concluded was the "best creme brulee I've ever had". We look forward to returning for dinner soon!

Some people love going into the city. Some people hate it. I don't like to demonize or idealize it; it's a truly fun place to visit, and I respect it. On the other hand, it's nice to be home now and swap dresses and textured tights for some very-comfy, very-suburban sweatpants. :)

Do you take advantage of the fact we're rubbing noses with NYC? What are your favorite haunts, Long Island?

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