Tuesday, September 30, 2014
It seems that no matter where we live,
dining quickly becomes monotonous.
Prior to shifting full time to Central
Montana our endless search was for
some place new to eat. Hence always
the terrifying question, "Where shall
we dine tonight?" In ages past we've
bitched about limited options in all
sorts of places - Chicago, Columbus,
Minneapolis, Dallas, and yes, even
Manhattan. Our dichotomy of needs
means I'm happy with the same old
whereas Frank's a culinary adventurer.
Tried and true
There's something wonderful about
a familiar spot but frankly, it can be
tiresome. In Lewistown we frequent
two local establishments on a much
too frequent basis. Even a sedentary
soul can become as glazed over as a
piece of salmon by a lack of variety.
Plus half the time half of what is on
the menu is off. Hence it's easy to
understand why we can now barely
abide a bite of sauteed zucchini. Yet
whenever there's truly a special it's
akin to someone is serving CRACK!
What's odd is that there is one item on the
menu that I never tire of - BOOZE. More
specifically, Bourbon Manhattans. I simply
adore sipping my favorite mix wherever we
dine. Fortunately, at the places we frequent
those who stand behind the bar are fully
aware of my mixological preferences. Thus
heaven on ice quickly arrives at our table in
an old fashioned glass post arrival. One may
ask if I will ever tire of such an intoxicating
concoction? Not to worry... the chances of
that ever occurring are highly doubtful. If
you've found paradise, why travel elsewhere?
In short order
You see... by the time I've had enough,
I've had more than enough. And hence
the next morning I'm raring to go again
given I've forgotten most of what was
said, done, or consumed the evening
prior. Don't be concerned. Such nights
are rare as we rarely dine out on the
town more than weekly. Given we've
been there - done that - and we're both
good cooks - it's more exciting to dine
at home. While not chefs, our menu
rotates on a fairly regular basis! Now
if only one could say that about...
Same time tomorrow
The one phenomena we can't replicate
at home is the club like atmosphere of
our favorite joints. Each time we dine
it seems we run into everyone in town.
The forced camaraderie of very limited
venues conjures up that old saying -
"Familiarity breeds contempt." Maybe
that's why Manhattans are so fabulous.
Their medicinal benefits make what's
old look new and suddenly been there
done that is transformed to let's do this
again! The rude awakening is when one
has to order the same entree once more!
Boys gone wild!
Part of me gets why establishments
stick to what they're best at. However
I must admit that when my choices
are limited, said lack of variety causes
me to hunker down rather than go out.
My wish is that some of our favorites
would try something new. Rather than
micro manage their fridge - JUST GO
WILD! Throw local venison or elk on
the fire. Osso some bucco. Give me
any reason not to cook and justify us
dining out more. Go ahead, wow me!
And along the way, have some fun!
Monday, September 29, 2014
The other day was a damp one here
in Manhattan. Dodging drops made
me realize just how different our
lives are in rural Montana. For most
of us it's rare that one has to actually
brave the elements. Beyond running
to/from somewhere to get into one's
car, most of us are more than used
to staying dry. However that all
changes when you live within an
urban jungle. Most everyone walks
from here to there in the Big Apple
and when it rains we all get wet!
Whoever invented the umbrella
should be canonized. Walking
under one's own tarp is bliss as
as long as there's no wind. It's
rather easy to get carried away
when one sports the equivalent
of a portable parachute down a
concrete canyon in Manhattan.
I marvel at fools who purchase
flimsy bumbershoots on street
corners. It's rare if they don't
invert within minutes only to
be tossed curbside in a heap!
There is a code of the urban jungle
when it comes to wet weather. Said
law is simple - step lightly and carry
a big stick. You see, once the sky
opens it's virtually impossible to get
a cab. Therefore the sidewalks are
flooded with more than just water.
During times like these one is at risk
of being pushed, splashed, doused,
and poked. Therefore one must be
constantly aware of what others are
doing and more important on the
watch for errant flights of fancy.
The only way to avoid getting wet is to
stay inside and many locals do just that.
However after paying a fortune for a
visit to New Amsterdam, most tourists
opt to tough it out. I only wish that their
voyeuristic inclinations would stay back
at their hotels. Instead they continue to
walk arm in arm down the sidewalk and
stop dead in their tracks without notice.
The only difference is that anybody who
is foolish enough to walk behind them
risks losing an eye or ruining a pair of
Guccis upon being thrown into a puddle.
Victim of circumstances
Excess agua can transform any corner
into a pit of despair. Seasoned citizens
know it's best to position oneself far
behind the line of fire given a passing
taxi or truck is sure to douse the front
row. During a dewy day it's important
to look before one leaps given there
may be an insurmountable moat
awaiting you at Fifty Fifth and Fifth.
And if one seeks shelter beneath a
scaffold be certain to watch for fools
with open umbrellas bouncing off
each other. It's a jungle out there!
That said, there's nothing better than the
moments immediately after an urban
deluge. For a time all seems new. The
pavement is clean and the air is fresh.
Whatever is green is greener and many
don togs that counter the prior gloom.
For a few hours everyone smiles as the
sun shines down from high above. Then
the humidity hits as the thermometer
rises and soon all complain about how
"muggy" it is. New Yorkers are never
truly happy and thank God! That's why
I LOVE NEW YORK!
Sunday, September 28, 2014
Autumn in New York...
Masses of mums outside the buildings on Fifth
are indication that while certainly not full fall,
autumn has arrived in Manhattan.
Even if it's still quite warm,
Autumn has started to show it's true colors everywhere.
So wherever you live,
it's time to say goodbye to summer
and welcome all that's autumnal.
Whether it's hot cider, a pumpkin,
or the smell of burning leaves...
FALL IN LOVE!
Saturday, September 27, 2014
Everybody knows that deep within
every man of my ilk lurks a show
tune. Right or wrong if there's a
piano bar within a fifty mile radius,
I'll be there. Growing up I seemed
to have almost every cast recording
of almost every Broadway musical.
I listened to them endlessly and to
this day all it takes to release my
inner Barbra is the tinkling of some
ivories and melody by Sondheim.
And baby... when that happens
"don't rain on my parade!"
Frank is equally an aficionado of the
Broadway stage. Slightly more high
brow - he's been there, seen that. For
the few days we're back in Manhattan
my better half wanted to be more than
dazzled by the footlights. However
his plan to see as many plays as was
possible has been challenged by the
lack of viable options worth their price.
Tonight we'll see "It's Only A Play"
which has already garnered raves in
previews. Depending on it's all star
cast's performance, I'll clap or... nap!
There is no better people watching
than at the theater. New York's seem
to always be filled with people from
somewhere that has an "I" in it. Be
that Idaho, Iowa, Indiana, or... Long
Island. You can tell the artistic types
as a "Met" sticker is stuck somewhere
on them. The last minute seat taker
always has a bulky coat plus several
rustling shopping bags. Whereas the
true theater hounds have a program,
Playbill, and pen always out and
ready for a stage door autograph.
I used to abhor those folks from the
far off provinces. However now that
I'm one of them I'm somehow quite
proud of them. You see, it takes a lot
of effort to get out of a small town.
Sticker shock aside, a indecent pile
of cash is required to get a decent
seat at a decent show. Finally only
the brave are willing to brave the
Long Island Expressway or train
for a few hours of entertainment.
I say BRAVO to those willing to
support the arts - BRAVO!
Not up to snuff
Given the opera season just opened,
we felt Puccini beckoning from the
upper west side. Franco Zeffirelli's
famous production of La Boheme
was beyond divine. Lincoln Center's
crowd was quite different. Black tie
abounded although it must have just
exited the closet given the scent of
mothballs. Add unwashed academics
and patchouli swabbed aesthetes and
it's no wonder the elite prefer their
private boxes in the Loge. Sitting
en masse simply STINKS!
Reel to real
Living in the boonies, what we miss
most is the Paris Theater on 58th.
Whatever is playing there is most
definitely not going to make it to
the Judith in Lewistown. Netflix
aside, nothing is like sitting in a
plush seat next to fellow film buffs.
Somehow we all feel special just
because we're watching something
special. Being part of an ardent
throng is the ultimate in audience
participation. So get out of the
house and ON WITH THE SHOW!
Friday, September 26, 2014
My Mother was a snob. There's really
no other way to put it. Deep down she
felt that her genetic lineage stretching
back to the beginnings of this country
gave her more than an unfair advantage.
But actually it wasn't "breeding" as she
put it that separated the wheat from the
chaff. Rather in Ethel's book it was one's
manners and demeanor that were the
keys to acceptance or rejection. And
nothing was worse than when Mother
smiled that smile that anyone in the
know knew was a death sentence.
An aesthete, I have strong opinions
about what is proper and what is not.
And what I consider most improper
is treating any one else as a lesser
being. I truly enjoy all types. Under
whatever facade we each opt to hide
behind lurks a soul just waiting to be
hugged. Everybody at one point was
somebody's baby and hence most of
us are actually softies underneath it
all. We simply want to be loved, fed,
pampered. and occasionally adored!
And some are willing to pay for it.
When do we get there?
Maybe that's why I love First Class.
It's not about being a member of the
upper echelon. Rather, it's all about
being treated with respect. Recently
after a series of mechanical failures
we ended up losing our First Class
seats and sitting in the back of the bus.
Frankly it's been a long time since we
sat in Coach. Each of us have our own
personal priorities and mine is to earn
as many miles as possible to insure my
ability to leverage said chits into seats
that comfortable. Coach is HELL.
It's obvious that today's world lacks
class. In my youth a First Class fare
was a true indulgence. Sadly what's
called First Class on most modern
aircraft is the equivalent of Coach
in ages past. Given our recent trip -
I've decided to rename Coach Class,
Cattle Class. After being herded into
a tiny stall, some people yelled at me
and then threw some slop (which I
paid for) over the fence. Like lambs
being led to slaughter everyone just
sat there and uncomfortably took it.
Now I know why everyone dresses
like slobs when they travel. Frank
and I were dolled up in posh togs.
With no place to hang, my Cucinelli
cashmere lined leather blazer had to
sit atop my lap for five hours as my
Birkin was crammed under the seat.
Who else finds the idea of having to
abuse twenty thousand dollars of chic
as offensive as I do? If ever I travel
in steerage again, I may wear a track
suit rather than risk endangerment of
my sartorial investments on my way.
Fare is fare
Why were we punished for someone
else's mistakes? Just because your
plane is broken doesn't mean my last
straw should be broken by airline
abuse. If I book a First Class ticket -
I should be seated in First Class even
if the idiot behind the counter gave
my seat away while I was in the air
on their delayed flight. Bureaucracy
and courtesy apparently don't mix.
That can be the only reason why a
paying customer was forced to sit
in purgatory from Denver to NYC.
At your service
Civilization still rules in some places.
Upon arriving at The Soho Grand we
were treated with courtesy and respect.
After we were installed in our lovely
suite (courtesy of Miss "B") we slowly
calmed down. While well after midnight
a soothing repast of culinary delights
soon arrived on a tray. Nothing is quite
as comforting as comfort food and...
a big glass of a good French red. The
perfect antidote to a rather déclassé
foray. My only question is... when do
we have to get on a plane again?