Saturday, June 20, 2009

Eating & dating: My first week back in Manhattan

I’ve been back in New York for ten days, & it’s rained every one of those ten days. Fortunately, as wellies are obviously impermeable, they are one of things that weren’t ruined in the employee-caused flood at Manhattan Mini Storage in Chelsea, so I fished them out of my locker and have been wearing them every day to splash around the streets.

That said, I’ve also been dating and, whilst my wellies are certainly practical, I’m not wearing them to dinner. This has led to several near arse over tit, knickers in the air moments as I’ve picked my way Downtown over wet, slippery cobblestones in stilettos.

Date number 1 was through my online dating site, & was the first person who’d got in touch with me for several months that I wanted to meet. We’d arranged a drink in New York whilst I was in Lausanne, which I then promptly forgot.

Still, I’m glad that he reminded me on the day as we had a hilarious conversation, fuelled by rather too much Pinot Noir, and I actually lost track of time, so much so that I ended up dashing from our date at SHO Shaun Hergatt's bar at The Setai by Wall Street to Café Select on Lafayette to meet a charming & brilliant English architect friend of a friend for dinner. I arrived a shockingly rude 45minutes late. Fortunately he had a friend from London in tow, and managed to recognise me when I finally pitched (I didn’t have a clue what he looked like), and we ended up having a hilarious evening of beer, perfect rosti and god knows what else.

A group of girlfriends & I convened at Double Crown on the Bowery for dinner on Tuesday. I gave the restaurant a rave review for a US publication when it first opened but it’s gone steadily downhill since. Sometimes the food is good, but the service is execrable, which takes the shine off the whole experience. Notable ballsups have included a two course meal which took 2 ½ hours to be served and was cold when it did arrive last November, and the sloppy, graceless service and tasteless shredded green bean salad on Tuesday. The whole sorry affair was rounded off by this episode at the bar afterwards.

(I should add though that I still believe that Double Crown’s interior is one of the best in NY. The bar is great for drinks, as is its sister bar Madame Geneva next door. Just order carefully in the restaurant and maybe take a good book & a sense of humour for the longueurs in service.)

Wednesday had one of the few sunny interludes of the week, and was warm enough for Francoise & me to take to the roof deck at Soho House. I live two blocks away & there's wireless access, so we’ve decided that it will be our summer office, and, when it finally stops raining, will be found most days under the third umbrella from the left, by the pool, in our bikinis, with laptop (me) & sketchpad (F). Was also very pleased to bump into charming architect & friend from Monday on adjacent sun loungers.

Having spent a large part of the previous days dealing with the aftermath of the storage container flood, I spent Thursday & Friday writing like a fiend, and emerged, blinking, for al fresco drinks with JK on, yup, the roof at Soho House. I know this is getting repetitive, but it is lovely up there, the people watching is second to none, it’s practically next door to my apt, and they do a sublime chili cilantro margarita that knocks your socks off after a hard day. So much so that we ditched our smart dinner plans and retired to PopBurger for burgers & fries instead.

And that was my first week back in Manhattan.