Archives for posts with tag: Ladies Who Dine

I’m always happy to go to New York City – to walk through the different neighbourhoods, exploring whatever the city has to offer that day. It is always a treat. To visit with my Ladies Who Dine, made it even more special. Let’s see how my LWD book would have evolved, had I written it. Let’s call this an experiment in the LWD Book Of Life.

Wednesday. Arrive in NYC. Dinner at Bareburger followed by drinks at Dear Irving.
I arrived first, as I flew in from Montreal and Laura and Vicky were flying in from Vancouver. This meant I was the first one to check into our VRBO apartment in Grammercy – just around the block from the Park. A perfect location for exploring all that Manhattan has to offer.

Veuve in the fridge

I picked up a little something at duty free in Montreal. There was plenty of time before Laura and Vicky arrived for it to be perfectly chilled for a celebratory pre-dinner drink. What were we celebrating? Being together of course, that is ALWAYS cause for celebration!

Once the Ladies arrived, we settled into our apartment. One of us feels the need to completely unpack and get organized before going anywhere, so the other two did the same. I was in the loft bedroom upstairs, Laura and Vicky each had their bedroom on the main floor. No one needs to set themselves up in the bathtub half way through the night…we all have our own rooms. I haven’t seen my ladies since April, so there’s some catching up to do before we head out to dinner. I have been in Montreal, experience what life in that city is like as I ponder whether to make an official move there, so Vicky and Laura want to be filled in. Vicky is completely remodelling her house, and we want an update. Laura…well, she’s busy being promoted to VP. There’s a lot of ground to cover while sipping La Veuve!

As it’s our first night, we opt for something casual and close to home. We make our way by Grammercy Park (unfortunately we are not staying on the park, so we can not access it, but it is beautiful – surrounded by brownstones that I would oh so like to see the inside of! One day….one day.) On we went, through one of my favourite spots – Washington Square Park.

Washington Square Park 2

Washington Square Park gate. Love this place.

 

Washington Square Park

Bare Burger, Washington Square Park for dinner. One of our guests for dinner asked…”why Bare burger? It’s good, but why?”. Well, because the LWD do not always need to be at a 5-star, and the burgers and fries are fabulous!

Post burgers we made our way to Dear Irving. What a lovely surprise – from the reception desk at the top of the brownstone entry stairs, through the curtains, along the bar into a second seating room. It felt like discovering a secret club with private rooms and seating areas. We were taken to the back room where we settled into our seats and admired the decor, the drinks, and the young couple across from us who clearly didn’t have a private room to go back to. Oh to be young and in love with no place to go!

Dear Irving

The beauty of Dear Irving. Beautiful surroundings, great drinks.

Before heading to NYC, Vicky put together a very detailed spreadsheet of what we were doing and when – she wanted to make sure we didn’t forget about anything and that we all got to see and do what we wanted to see and do. The schedule was nicely broken down by area, making it easy for us to walk our way around Manhattan and Brooklyn. However, Mother Nature had other ideas in mind. With heavy rains on the horizon, we regrouped when we got home and threw the schedule out the window in favour of doing all the outdoor/walking items on what was going to be the sunniest day.

Thursday. Our Sunny Day. Put your walking shoes on.
We started with a quick coffee and breakfast at our neighbourhood Think Coffee. From there we walked ourselves to the Chelsea Market for a quick browse, and then up to the Highline. The Highline is always a highlight for me. Whomever thought of taking over the old, high rail line and turning it into a walking park was brilliant.

Water Towers_Highline

I don’t know what it is about the water towers, but every time I am in NYC I come home with a whole stack of water tower photos. I just love them. And the Highline gives you plenty of water tower viewing opportunities.

From the Highline we made our way to Central Park.

Laura_Central Park Beauty

Oh that saucy Laura! Enjoying some of Central Park’s fine musical offerings. He really was good.

Central Park

The beauty that is Central Park.

Vicky the Star

A star is born. As we were walking though Central Park we were approached by a group filming women reading about motherhood (Mother’s Day was quickly approaching). In this time of intense negative so-called “news”, they were on a mission to deliver a positive story about mums, our love for them and their love for us. Vicky read an excerpt from a book and nailed it – emotion and all – while Laura and I watched with tears in our eyes. Oy….

We stopped for lunch at Tavern On The Green, where this princess became a little picky…The first table was too close to the table beside us, which made it difficult for the servers. So we moved a couple of tables down. But then with the warm sunshine streaming in the glass wall….it was like a green house. So we went outside. 3rd table was just right. Hmmm…princess? Or Goldilocks? In either case, it was a beautiful day and a welcome break.

Tavern salad

The Tavern Cobb salad…this was just half…a big, yummy salad!

From the Tavern we stopped in for a quick walk through The Plaza Hotel, then hopped into a cab to the Manhattan side of the Brooklyn Bridge. I always recommend people walk over the bridge into (or back from, or both) Brooklyn. The walkway in the middle of the bridge, above the cars gives you amazing views of the city.

Brooklyn Bridge

A trip to NYC would not be complete without a slice of NY pie…so pizza in Brooklyn it was before heading back to our Manhattan abode. We had noticed a very festive German restaurant next door, apparently permanently decked out with Christmas decorations, and wanted to go in for at least a drink. It looked so inviting and such fun! Unfortunately though, Rolf’s wasn’t quite what we wanted it to be. I am not sure if we were just too full, or if it was an off day at Rolf’s, but the smell…….I have been to Germany many times, and no restaurant has ever smelled that foul! Sorry Rolf’s…but we high-tailed it out of there and “Rooolllfff” became an inside joke – a word used when we weren’t all that pleased or when something made us want to…you know…..Rollff….

With all the walking we did that day, we opted for a drink in the apartment and an early night. As there was only one couch, we decided to open it up into a bed (it was a hide-a-bed) so that there would be more room for the 3 of us to sit and chat. The chairs with the dining table are fine for eating, but not for getting comfy and talking. Vicky had taken her seat and I crawled onto the couch to take mine…and…well, I clearly put all my weight in the wrong spot, as the couch started to fold in on itself, with us stuck in it. I wish I had a photo of that! The two of us, stuck in the middle of a hide-a-bed. Luckily Laura came to our rescue…and we folded the couch back up. So much for that idea!

Friday. To Met….Or Not To Met….
We decided Friday deserved a full sit-down breakfast, and headed over to Friend of a Farmer. Delicious! If you are in NYC and looking for a great little breakfast spot, give it a try. It wasn’t raining when we walked over, but upon leaving we exited into the rains. Luckily we had come prepared with umbrellas. We hopped into a cab and asked the driver to take us to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Might as well be in a museum on a crappy rainy day! When we got there however, we saw a massive line-up of people waiting to get it – it went down the block and around the corner. In unison we all said “no way”. And this is why are are such good friends. None of us wanted to wait in the deluge and get soaked. I have never been to the Met and I am sure it is fabulous….but not that day, not that day. So off to Bloomingdale’s we went.

Magnolia treats

Magnolia Bakery. I first discovered Magnolia while in Abu Dhabi. Yes, that is true! It is a New York City bakery, with an outlet in Abu Dhabi. And I have to say….although the original is from NYC, the cupcakes and cake were better in Abu Dhabi. I would not have guessed that would be the case….but so far, it has been. Still a tasty treat though.

After hiding from the rain at Bloomingdale’s for a while, we headed to the MoMA. Luckily there were no line-ups and we were able to walk right in. It was my first visit and I loved it. Having spent a few years in the art industry, it was wonderful to walk through a place where you could see the work of so may amazing artists. From Van Gogh to Picasso to Monet to Basquiat….it was all there.

Ladies in Moma

My Ladies at the MoMA!

Van Gogh

Van Gogh’s Starry Night. Truly a masterpiece!

Moma

One of the reasons we wanted to go to the MoMA was their decision to feature artists from the nations who citizens have been denied entry to the US in accordance with recent presidential executive orders. Supporting this was important to us. And it felt great to see signs like this one throughout the 5th floor exhibit.

From the MoMA we high tailed it to the lower east side for the Tenement Museum Tour. If you haven’t done this…you should. To accurately describe the experience would take too long for this post – but let me assure you, it was amazing to hear stories of the challenges that immigrants had (and likely still have). We were able to see how they lived by walking through apartments restored to the era of the family whose life we were getting a sneak peak into. Using real families, showing us photos of their lives, historical documents, and their modern-day families makes this an experience that is hard to forget – and really, should not be forgotten. Super recommend!

As our nicely mapped out plan for discovering Manhattan’s different neighourhoods had been thrown out…we found ourselves headed back uptown for a night on Broadway. Thankfully our friend Tracie was waiting for us at Bea, where we were having a quick pre-theatre meal. We let her know what we wanted to eat and drink and she ordered as we made our way there. When we arrived the food had just been delivered to our table. Perfect timing!

Kevin Kline

Our choice for Broadway night was unanimous. We all wanted a comedy, and Kevin Kline is IMPOSSIBLE to resist. He is amazing – such talent, from the way he speaks, to the facial expressions to the body language. I’d see in him anything. And shout out to our Canadian Cobie Smulders who is also in the play. It was a super fun show, although the theatre itself was fricken freezing. What’s up with that?

Happy after another full day of fun, food and laughs, we made our way back home – with a pit stop at Almond Bar for a drink. It was just about closing time, and although the place was almost empty and the bartenders had started cleaning up for the night, we were welcomed and able to share a drink and more laughs.

Saturday. Soho, the Village, a Comedy Club and a Piano Bar.
Friday’s torrential rain had passed, and Saturday proved to be a sunnier day than expected. This allowed us to walk over to the Flat Iron building, and then down to the Village and Soho for a little shopping and strolling. It was a fairly relaxed morning and afternoon compared to the previous two days, and a nice reprieve before a busy evening. We headed home to freshen up and change before meeting Tracie at Beauty & Essex for dinner.

As much as dinner and drinks at Beauty and Essex was good…the Comedy Club, not so good. It’s hit and miss with comedy clubs and this wasn’t their best night. So to top the evening off we headed back to the Village, to the Duplex piano bar. Show tunes and other favourites by the piano singer and wait staff. Extremely entertaining.

late night food

Late night snacks post drinks at our neighbourhood diner before heading off to bed. Another full, fun day comes to a close.

Sunday. What…we have to go home???
And just like that it is almost time to go home. The first in was also the first to leave – my flight was late afternoon and Vicky and Laura’s was early evening. Still, this gave us time to get up, hit Think Coffee for a light breakfast and go for a leisurely stroll. My favourite spot in Manhattan is Bryant Park. It never fails to please and to amuse. There is just something about this little park right in the heart of it all. We hadn’t been yet, and we hadn’t been to the Empire State Building either. So we walk to the Empire State, but opted not to wait in line to go up. From there we made our way to Bryant Park – where Laura had found out the restrooms had just been re-opened after a fancy renovation. Although I don’t have the photos to prove it (prospect of taking a photo in the washroom felt weird) I can report that they are indeed very lovely!

From Bryant Park we walked to and through Grand Central Station, then the Chrysler building. It was my first time in the Chrysler…not sure why I waited so long! There are some seriously beautiful buildings out there, and this is one of them.

It was now time for me to head back to the apartment and gather my bags to head to the airport. Our LWD in NYC “weekend” was coming to a close. Another great trip with my ladies, filled with laughter, food, drinks, discoveries, heartfelt talks, and all that best friends share. Here’s to the next trip and more discoveries!!!

 

 

LWD_the ladies2

Ladies Who Dine – in the Okanagan

It all started the summer of 2005. For over a year I had been spending a fair amount of my evenings out at the Lumière Tasting Bar in Vancouver (sadly, it no longer exists). After hearing about one of my evenings there with some friends, two of my newest (and soon to be closest) friends decided they wanted to go as well. That first evening at Lumière started something that the three of us had never imagined. Twelve years later we still get together regularly for dinner, drinks, heartfelt conversations, laughter and the love that three close friends share.

Oh how I wish I had written all of it down. I can see it so clearly. When we started on this road we had three rules:

  1. We do this once a month (at a minimum)
  2. We go to a different restaurant every time (what a great excuse to experience Vancouver’s immensely diverse and wonderful food scene)
  3. NOBODY ELSE JOINS. Admittedly we did have a couple of ‘guest appearances’ in the early goings, but we quickly decided against those. It completely changes the dynamics of the evening. So it’s a protected evening (or lunch, or tea) now. Nobody else is allowed in.

And eventually we started calling ourselves The Ladies Who Dine.

What I should have done from the outset was document the restaurant, the food, the wine (or other drinks) and the conversation. Looking back now I believe all of this would make for a great read. Each evening its own chapter. We’ve covered just about every topic over the years.

There have been tears shed over a multitude of life’s challenges: relationship issues; we all lost our mothers; one of us lost our father; fertility issues; the agonizing decision of whether or not to have children; being told that bearing children is not something you will ever be able to do; being a busy mum of a beautiful little autistic girl; health scares (thankfully nothing serious); you name it.

There have also been many a celebration of life’s achievements: new jobs; travels to various parts of the globe; anniversaries; birthdays; books we have enjoyed; new discoveries that put smiles on our faces; again, you name it.

There are increasingly discussions on the state of the world and what we want for our lives – not only for ourselves, but for everyone and for the planet.

And there has been laughter. Oh so much laughter!

We even took the Ladies out on the road. Our first trip was to BC’s Okanagan region, for some wine tasting. Our first weekend away gave us an even deeper glimpse into each other’s little idiosyncracies – one of us travels with our own blanket and pillow; one of us is a very light sleeper; one of us occasionally snores; one of us sleeps with earplugs; one of us doesn’t care about showering and walking around the rented apartment naked. And the best part is, we are comfortable being ourselves because we know there’s no judgement, just acceptance. Well…with a well-timed joke here and there!

That first road trip ended up with my little Escape blowing up on the highway in the middle of nowhere, on our trip home. After what felt like an eternity on the side of the highway with cars speeding past us, the tow truck showed up and the 3 of us huddled into the front seat with the driver. We asked for the finest hotel Merritt had to offer (it was the closest town) and we were taken to a motel where the morning breakfast area was also a pizza joint by day/night. It’s the only time in my life I have seen a hotel room with 3 queen beds…all lined up in a row. After asking the tow truck driver which hotel was the best in town, Lady1 asked him “and does it have a spa?”. We broke down laughing, but the driver, not so much. It remains to this day my only “trip to Merritt”. I don’t think I could top it! And I certainly couldn’t top our rescue. I am extremely lucky to have many wonderful people in my life. Two I call my “surrogate parents”. They allowed an 18-year old university student to live with their family as a live-in babysitter my last year of university, and they remain my second family to this day. I’m a wimp when it comes to car trouble. I don’t know the first thing about mechanics and I always think it’s obvious and I’m being taken advantage of. One call to David and he offered to come and pick us up – that is a 4 hour drive to get us, help me sort out getting my car back to my trusted mechanic in Vancouver, and drive us home. He was our knight in shining armour that day, we told him so and we still refer to him as such.

On our second road trip we discovered that we need more than one room in a hotel – after one of us spent much of the night sleeping in the bathroom tub (she insists it was quite comfortable) while another snored away. Suffice it to say that we booked a second room for the following night.

Over the last 5 years this lady has spent much of her time working internationally. So our Ladies Who Dine evenings have become less frequent. We get as much time as we can  when I am in Vancouver – it could be dinner, lunch, tea, even a movie. The LWD outings are one of the first things I schedule when I book my trips back to Vancouver.

And now we approach road trip #3! The Ladies are Dining in New York City! Next week we take on NYC for four nights. One of us has put together a spreadsheet outlining our daily itinerary. There is, of course, a broadway show. There is a comedy club night. There are dinners with friends (it is a welcome exception for someone two of us know, and don’t get to see very often – and well, over 4 days we can include a guest or two to some of the outings). And there will certainly be stories to tell (hmmm, and quite possibly some to keep secret). Stay tuned!

SO MUCH LOVE FOR MY LADIES WHO DINE!