Scenes from the E train

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One of most frequent questions I get about this blog is “Who is the Holly and who is the Folly?” It is usually accompanied with a little smile because everyone seems to assume that I’m the folly. Humph.  That’s not necessarily true. However considering the inspiration that Danielle’s latest post, SCENES FROM MAISON KAYSER, provided seems to point in that direction.

Last Friday I met up with some old coworkers. We had a really fun time. I tried to finally forgive them for moving on and getting fun new jobs and also making me come to east side. Wine helped with the forgiveness process.  Happy hour was long over by the time we left the bar but that was when the real adventure began.

It all started on the E train around 1ish AM. The first encounter was with a middle aged woman, who was definitely on something hopefully wine, trying very unsuccessfully to make it down the escalator alone. To her defense it was an unusually long and steep escalator. My coworkers were a little scared. The normal protocol for drunk strangers is a solid ten foot radius but in the spirit of we’ve all been there I offered her my help, linked arms and somehow made it down the stairs.  When she started to ask for help getting to NJ that was when I started to get scared.  I had to point her in the right direction and hope for the best, the escalator was all the help I was willing to offer.

Once I split from my friends I was on the platform waiting patiently when I started to eavesdrop on the couple next to me.  NYC is the best city to people watch hands down.  One of my favorite people watching game is trying to decide whether it is a first date or not.  Major flirting was happening but no touching. I was choosing between first and second date when out of nowhere she dropped the boyfriend line in the middle of the conversation.  Another we’ve all been there moment.  Poor kid.

The train finally came and I realized how amused I was and started thinking about everything that I’ve seen on the subway in the past years.  Once I saw a girl faint and completely face plant on the platform, I saw a guy with a huge tree branch that he refused to take off a seat, a kind stranger informed me of a “medical incident” and told me that I might want to pick another seat, baby carriages filled with everything but a baby.   It was only three quick stops to Hell’s Kitchen.  I put on my headphones and power walked home to the new Fitz and the Tantrum’s “Hand Clap”.   All in all Friday was a quiet NYC subway ride.

&t

Scenes from Maison Kayser

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Yesterday, my conference ended mid-afternoon and I had a couple of hours to kill (read: work) before my dinner plans.  I headed down to the West Village, which is one of the most charming neighborhoods in NYC, and found Maison Kayser.  MK is one of my favorite NYC mini-chains.  An adorable little French Bistro, it was the perfect non-Starbucks option for a few hours of typing away.

All the waiters are French, the menu is traditional Parisian fare, and it has an amazing little boulanger in the front to grab something yummy for later on your way out.

I ordered a Quiche Lorraine and a Vanilla Roobios tea, and started responding to the backlog of email that had built up after being out of the office for the past three days.  In between emails, I took in some good people watching and listening.

Behind me were two female friends, debating everything from refugees, to politics, to fashion.  They were cursing at high volume for about two hours straight.

  • “I do think there are f*ing smart people in the world, I just don’t think Bernie Sanders is one of them.”
  • “I look at my neighbor with four kids and I’m like ‘What the f**k are you doing living in the West Village?!”
  • “I thought this tea would taste like s**t, but it’s f**ing delicious.”

Entertaining.

Next to me was a group of editors of some fashion rag, all polished with bright red lipstick and tight black buns.  It was like a scene out of Devil Wears Prada.  They were discussing their salaries and how they deserved to be making more money because they totally brought back flannel.  It made me want to sell out for just a minute.

In front of me were two tech-start up guys with laptops open in front of them.  They didn’t speak to each other, except to argue back and forth a bit out loud about a conversation they were clearly having with each other through email or chat on their laptops.

Then there was my waiter, who ended his shift and went to change in the bathroom and came out in drag to head out to his evening plans.  Amazing.

I love this town.

&d

Thursday Cocktail Night: Butter

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It’s been a long week, and this particular Thursday has taken an especially long time to come around.  So, for those of you who are with me and may be on the hunt for a way to unwind with a good cocktail, I have a recommendation for you.

NYC delivers up some solid cocktails and as long as you stay away from Times Square and Murray Hill, you’re usually able to get a really quality libation.  One of my strategies for getting a good cocktail (i.e. yummy, smooth and won’t floor you in one sip) in the city has always been to visit the bars of upscale restaurants or hotels.  They usually have some of the highest quality bars and a quieter atmosphere.

It’s usually hard to get the Mr. to go out in general, but this weekend Ben and I were in midtown for a show (Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime – P.S. GO!) and stopped by Butter for dinner before heading home.  Butter is one of my favorite restaurants for a nice dinner (the work of master chef Alex Guarnaschelli).  But after seeing and sampling thier cocktail list, I’m definitely going to start frequenting the bar section of the restaurant even if I’m not sitting down for a full meal.

Some pluses:

  • It’s not crowded:  Most people are there for dinner, so  are just waiting to get their spot at the table.
  • It’s a non-scene scene:  It’s got the swanky atmosphere and touches of comfort that I need to feel good about a $17 cocktail, but without the scene-loving people (read: hipsters and tourists) that makes scenes so annoying.
  • The winter cocktail list is delicious:  I’m usually more of a wine girl, but Ben and I devoured their savory cocktails.

My recommendation in The Holy Basil, which is a delicious combination of gin, muddled cucumber, basil, canton and black pepper.  For those who fall on the whisky and bourbon side of life, I tried Ben’s Tall, Dark and Handsome and it was one of the smoothest drinks I’ve had in awhile.  Ben refused to order it by name, but liked everything else the drink had to offer – a combination of aged bourbon, chocolate bitters, stout, and carpano antica.

For those who work in midtown and are starved for a bar with personality and without crowds, Butter should be your jam.

See what I did there?

&d