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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

SoHo Rocks (End)

Nick spent all day Saturday holed up in the hotel room reading a Christopher Moore book and (I assume, based on prior evidence) laughing out loud and nearly falling off the bed every five pages or so. I, on the other hand, pulled a social butterfly and headed out in the drizzle to meet a couple of college/publishing friends for brunch at the Tasting Room. Despite its being a short, simple five-minute walk from the hotel, I got lost (SoHo is super confusing to me--I'm used to the clear, well organized grid uptown) and wandered for a bit before finding it. But eventually, after a helpful point in the right direction from a nice salesgirl at Lush, I found it. The brunch was fantastic (a perfectly fried fresh hen egg with celeriac, salsify, and spinach over grits) and the company was even better than that. We dished and gossiped and got caught up, and it was lovely. I then headed up to midtown to visit with another friend (used to be a sci fi editor, and now works for DC Comics, so he's always full of interesting, weird insider info, not to mention tips on the best video games and upcoming movies and stuff). The hours flew by, until finally I decided I'd better head back to the hotel if I wanted to have any chance of getting cleaned up and changed before our early dinner reservation before the opera. When I got there, Nick was finally feeling relaxed enough to want to go out (plus, he'd finished his book) so we took the opportunity to check out a wonderful independent bookstore, McNally Robinson. Big, beautiful, great, idiosyncratic selection. I found a couple of good research books, and Nick got the new Steven Pinker. They played good music, too! Nina Simone.

I wore a pretty dress, got my resuscitated heels back from the hotel folks, and hopped a cab up to Dovetail, a new local market restaurant on the Upper West Side. Tasting Room was a local market restaurant, too, by the way--check out the photos. Notice anything in common? Yeah. And it's not just the two of them. Every local market restaurant (meaning a place that promotes fresh, local ingredients and seasonal preparations) I went to in New York has an exposed brick wall as part of the decor. There must be some interior designer out there that thinks exposed brick symbolizes a back-to-basics way of relating to food. Or something. Anyway, Dovetail was very nice (I had a brussels sprout salad to start, continuing my campaign to have brussels sprouts every day in NY) although we didn't end up loving it as much as Telepan, another new market restaurant on the U.W.S. The vibe at Dovetail is a little colder, a little more formal, a little more--how to put this nicely?--a little more gummer brigade. We were the youngest diners by twenty years, at least.

The opera crowd, as always, was more diverse. I love how you see anything and everything at the Met, from jeans to floor-length satin. Not as many little kids attended Otello as we saw at Die Zauberflote, however. Otello isn't one of my favorite Verdi operas, but the voices in this otherwise fairly mundane production were phenomenal. The ever-luminous Renee Fleming sang Desdemona with heartbreaking humanity, while Johan Botha was a very pleasant surprise as Otello, with a strong, resonant tenor. Iago, always the best character, was a baritone whose name escapes me, but he was plenty sly and clever, lots of fun.

And that's Saturday! Sunday was the first pretty day we had, bright and sunny and cold, quite windy. We skipped church and met Meg for brunch at Jane, where I had a BLT & E on brioche with lemon ailoi. Meg had the most horseradishy Bloody Mary I've ever tasted! Oh, by the way, I finally found a great homemade from scratch Bloody Mary recipe. Remind me later, and I'll share. That's really about all--we made our plane on time (despite some dicking around with which terminal we needed and so on) and finally arrived home--only to find we couldn't make it into our driveway because of the massive snow that hammered Ohio while we were gone. Snow plows had collected all the snow from our street and deposited it in front of our driveway. There was at least a four foot wall between us and home. But a few shovels and a little help from our neighbors, and we were in. And that's the March '08 NY trip!


Sounds fabulous and wonderful and dreamy. Love love love reading about it. Thanks for sharing!

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