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

Call Me Joe Biden

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My Thursday commute home today is a trip from Boston to Brooklyn on Amtrak.  I make this trip at least once a month for work and love visiting my beloved Beantown.  A surprising — and slightly terrifying — result of my trips and my love of chatting it up in the cafe car, has been an unusually close relationship with the Amtrak crew.  Joe, Rita and I have had good times over cheap wine and hot dogs.  Over the years, I’ve come to love this ride.  Here are a couple of my favorite, predictable – but never dull – moments between these two cities.

Connecticut Sunset:  I always grab a seat on the left side of the train so I can catch the exquisite sunset over the water in Connecticut.  I tried to take a few pictures as it went by this afternoon, but pictures just don’t do it justice.  It’s really breathtaking and always serves up a much needed moment of calm from the universe after busy days.  AND if you look closely before New London, you can see an ADORABLE little duck family.

GE Employees:  If anyone rides the train more than I do its those damn GE employees commuting between CT and Boston.  Most of them are pretty docile, but there are always a few that cause a ruckus, provide entertainment, and make me feel lucky to be married to someone who’s much nicer than they are.  Whether it’s screaming at each other their various theories why Obama has ruined the world, the true magic behind Jack Welch, or whether Heineken is superior to Bud Light, there’s always a good reason for a solid eye roll.  They don’t notice.  (Disclaimer:  I don’t believe that all GE Employees are republican bros.  Just the ones that ride Amtrak.)

Passing New Haven:  I moved there kicking and screaming in 2010, but I grew to love that town. Now I love when the train pulls into the old Have.  I get a dose of nostalgia for the mash up of pizza, yoga and Gossip Girl gatherings I had with my lady friends during those years.  And then I continue on home for the next THREE HOURS.

Rita:  Rita is my homie.  She staffs the cafe car.  She knows my scene.  Get on the train in the late afternoon — hot chocolate and a granola bar.  Early evening — Sauvignon Blanc to bring it home (she gives me the larger size for free because she is a little angel sent down to earth by the transportation gods).  All I have to do is approach the counter, and she smiles and serves it up.  When she doesn’t have customers, she comes to hang out with me at my cafe car table and helps me write alternative (angrier) versions of the emails I’m sending to clients that have been misbehaving.

There’s still nothing better than arriving home.  Pulling into Penn Station… ’til next time…!

&d