Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Les grandes bouffes

I really don't feel particularly splendid today. I'm known for my dormouse habits, (head in teapot, tail wrapped around face) yet I just don't seem to be sleeping soundly right now, and I awake early too. I also feel somewhat bilious. This is not good. I had an Americano on Monday and, as I never drink coffee, I'm wondering if that has buggered up my system.

Then again, I have been living the life of Riley since last week. Friday my beautiful friend F was back in town (almost recovered after being precipitated down the stairs at The Mercer Kitchen), so six of us convened at Waverly for Champagne in the tiny, noisy bar before walking down to Bar Blanc for an exceptionally good meal. My risotto primavera was probably the best I have eaten anywhere. Certainly on a par with Neil Ferguson's at Allen & Delancey. The addition of a bright green spinach and cream puree made every mouthful taste like spring. I drank too much of a fantastic Pomerol, & we ended the evening drinking cocktails in Soho House until 2.30am

Saturday I headed to Beauty Bar on 14th to meet two old friends from the Condé Nast magazine I laboured on for five years back in London. I do like Beauty Bar, but a drinking spot whose USP is manicures whilst you drink and drying hoods above the seats was an odd choice for a Saturday night with boys in tow. Wonderful to see my friends though, although I had to leave to go to a party at a loft in Nolita, followed by bar hopping with sexy S in Soho. I walked home singing to myself from West Broadway in four inch heel black patent ankle boots. Christ, my feet hurt the next day.

Sunday has already been discussed, and last night I hopped on my bike down to Nolita to meet Sexy S at 24 Prince for a party to celebrate the restaurant's second birthday.

The restaurant is in the public eye right now as chef Nikki Cascone is competing on Bravo's Top Chef at the moment. I never, ever watch reality TV in the UK, but Top Chef has changed my viewing habits: talented & interesting chefs cooking amazing food. What's not to like? I was introduced to the absolutely charming Nikki (very pretty, tiny, wee in the flesh) and ate an outstanding salad of grapes & grated ricotta.

Then it was back on my bike to the West Village to Waverly again for supper with a recovered X, her sister & L&J. Lovely round table in the corner of the main room so we could people watch, and a close encounter on the way to the loos (so small they should be counted as a triumph of optimism over reality) with Salman Rushdie. On the way back to our table I spotted two plates of the off menu $90 mac and cheese being showered with grated truffle for a couple of over-entitled Euro types.

Not being in the market for $90 plates myself, I really wish they'd change the standard menu: there is only one vegetarian main course, a creamy curried quinoa risotto. It was very good first time around a year or so ago, but I can't face eating it over & over. Our lovely waiter took pity on me and produced some delicious off menu fat grilled porcini on spring onions with sea salt for my first course, so I could have the grilled vegetable salad for my main dish. All excellent and very healthy. Pud was a glass bowl of immaculate berries with a little porcelain jug of rosemary infused simple syrup. Clever.

We drank French Bulldogs at the bar, and then a bottle of Rioja with the meal, which meant I was sober enough by the end of the meal to bike home again. A vain attempt to ameliorate the fat-making effects of the meals I keep eating.