Spend a Couple Hours »AMNH (and Shake Shack)

200 Central Park West

Going to the American Museum of Natural History on a crowded Sunday with a toddler doesn’t exactly allow for casual, relaxed browsing, but as we rushed through some areas, I noticed the museum, which I’ve always loved, has benefited from some lovely make overs (Hall of Asian Peoples for one).

While we only saw some exhibits in passing, we did thoroughly enjoy the updated and fantastic Hall of Ocean Life. The familiar giant whale is still here, but there are new additions like a life size collage of ocean life and Van pleasing dioramas of seals, manatees, walruses, dolphins and polar bears.

The classic animal halls are still as awesome as ever, and made even more so when Van would “roar” at the lions and snort at the rhinos.

Crowds are unavoidable on the weekends, we even skipped dinosaurs completely because of them, but the museum is still a thrilling experience, any time.

And of course, we had to finish the afternoon off with Shake Shack burgers from across the street which surprisingly took a fraction of the time to get versus the original stand in Madison Square Park. There we discovered we might not be perfect parents after all (ha) after getting Van hooked on their cheese fries.


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Posted on March 4, 2012

Spend a Couple Hours »Selected Shorts with Miranda July

at Symphony Space

Miranda July is a marvel. Her work is poignant, funny,personal and universal.

She recently read along with some superb actors excerpts from her non fiction book It Chooses You as part of the Selected Shorts series.

By way of procrastination, July began reading the Penny Saver and eventually called and met sellers, documenting it all with a photographer.

The resulting conversations are at times silly, creepy, hilarious, touching, heart breaking and exhilarating.
Not only did the evening strengthen my respect for her but it introduced me to the Selected Shorts radio program whose archives I plan to explore soon.

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Posted on November 18, 2011

Spend a Couple Hours »ABT Opening Night Gala

at Lincoln Center

When Stacy and I decided to attend an ABT ballet this season, the Opening Night Gala sounded the most fun. It was sure to offer the best audience attire and we certainly saw a bit of everything: from the absolutely elegant to the absolutely awful (short shorts and a see through top are not the way to go). Watching the parade of dresses was almost as fun as watching the performances. Though I have to admit I kind of failed you all by not taking more pictures of the audience.

The ABT announcement of the event kind of made it sound like Michelle Obama was going to be there (sadly, no dice) but we made do with a glammed up Carolyn Kennedy and some of you would be psyched to know we saw one of the Housewives of New York, but I can’t remember her name and wouldn’t have known who she was.

The real stars of the night, aside from myself who felt wonderful having an event to get dressed up for (I wore faded gold scalloped lace with rhinestones and a pink early 1920’s jacket), were the incredible dancers.

We got to see a mish mash of pieces, sort of a best of for the season along with some unique pieces only performed for that evening. It was maybe the best ballet experience I’ve had and I highly recommend you keep an eye out for Opening nights in the future to get the best of the ABT.

The highlights of the evening for me (aside from enjoying an outrageously priced flute of pink champagne with a dear friend during intermission) were:

Tchaikovsky Pas de Duex with Gillian Murphy and David Hallberg – this was a showcase of just how effortless seemingly and transcendent ballet can be. Spare and beautiful, both dancers were incredible, and Hallberg my favorite male dancer all evening.

Swan Lake Act II Pas de Deux with Paloma Herrera and Alexandre Hammoudi – a lovely, little girl dream sight. A stage filled with elegant ballerinas from one of the art’s most beloved stories.

Splendid Isolation III with Irina Dvorovenko and Maxim Beloserkovsky – this one blew me away with it’s inventive choreography which featured a huge skirted gown. Truly stunning, but sadly for anyone not in attendance, a performance solely for the opening night.

Lady of the Camillias with Julie Kent and Cory Stearns – this was the most romantic of the performances. Julie Kent, an experienced dancer with the ABT literally took her hair down and became one of my favorite dancers with just a few moments of graceful movement. At forty she is as perfect a dancer as I’ve seen.

If you are looking to purchase tickets to the season, The Bright Stream looks fun and unusual with fat ladies on bicycles, fake moustaches, and some sweet printed peasant wear that looked very Prada-esque. If you want to go more classic, the Swan Lake is surely lovely (and I recommend seeking out a Julie Kent performance).

Hope to do this again next year, it’s the kind of event that makes me love New York.

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Posted on May 17, 2011

Restaurants »Jean Georges (Best Restaurant)

jean georges foie gras brulee Here's what I said then (on January 5th)

I have always wanted to eat at one of the big ones, New York's best eating establishments like Le Bernardin, Daniel, Per Se, or Jean Georges, but they were simply too expensive… Enter Jean Georges' phenomenal $28 lunch, a comparatively economic way to enjoy the finest foods in a refined environment. It was the perfect spot to celebrate my sister's engagement and with much excitement we all headed over to Trump Tower one Saturday afternoon.

We decided to each get three dishes and a dessert and of course had to try their cocktails, especially when one contains Makers, seltzer, passionfruit juice, and chili – yum. I'll tell you now, with drinks and additional dishes, the bill will balloon before you know it, but I will also tell you know that it is completely worth it – and if you don't believe me, listen to this phrase “Foie Gras Brulee“.

But I am getting ahead of myself, lets begin with the setting: a large airy room with giant ceilings, tall windows, gleaming whites, the greatest two seater chairs I have ever seen, and attentive service. A classy, clean and simple yet elegant backdrop for the delicious food to come.

It all began with an amuse bouche of smoked salmon, warm cauliflower soup, and tangerine. Next Meghan and I opted for the Sea Trout Sashimi that came displayed like abstract art with trout eggs, lemon, dill and horseradish. It was wonderful and fresh tasting. Adam was thrilled with his brussel sprouts with avocado, pistachios and mustard vinaigrette.

My sister and I agreed again on second courses, along with the rest of the table, with the delectable Foie Gras Brulee. One of the single best dishes I have ever had. The crisp sugar shell with the creamy richness of the liver atop the toast was balanced perfect with just a bit of tartness from the Pineapple-Meyer Lemon Jam. Truly heavenly. Jim had gulf shrimp with silky pumpkin, ginger and basil – a dish clearly so good, it was gone within seconds of this photo.

For mains, we ordered (Meghan) sweetbreads with licorice, grilled pear and lemon, (Jim) veal with quince-pineapple compote and roquefort, and (Adam and myself) Black Cod with Honshimehi Mushrooms and Lemongrass Consomme. All were truly excellent. These items are currently still available on the autumn menu, but the dishes changes seasonally, so you may find a whole new world of flavors available pretty soon.

Already the lunch dessert menu has changed slightly, so my apologies if my recollection of the exact ingredients is a bit shaky from here on without the menu to guide me. My sister and I had a taste of Autumn dessert which included a berry mousse with meringue and a cinnamon doughnut. Jim had the “caramel” which included a chocolate pop, coffee-cardamom ice cream, caramel curd, dehydrated sponge, and roasted pineapple sorbet while Adam went chocolate crazy with chocolate cake, vanilla bean ice cream, warm chocolate gnocchi, grapefruit and basil. To top it all of we were given tasty chocolates, tiny cookies, and hand cut vanilla, banana, and berry marshmallows.

Some other Jean Georges restaurants have begun a Winter promotion due to the economy where lunch is $24 and dinner $35. Call the restaurant to make sure they are participating.

London Roundup
Spicy and Tasty
Hiroko's Place

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Posted on November 2, 2009