Friday, March 2, 2012

one day

At the very end of the my New York trip I had one of the best days there when I met up with my friend Abby and we roamed all around New York taking each other to our favourite haunts in the city. Abby and me first met during my last trip to New York, when we paired up to go to a La Roux concert and to have late night tofu salads at Yaffa. It's funny to think that it's been two years since we saw each other and yet nothing - or everything! - has changed. This time we knew we only had a day and a night and a morning together, we were splitting a beautiful room at the Lafayette House and we wanted to make the most of it. So we packed a whole lot of New York and a helpful respite sitting in our room eating macarons and drinking tea into one day and it was absolutely glorious.

Lunch at The Smile was one of those spur of the moment decisions that turns out to be absolutely fantastic. We both opted for the Penne - a delicious wriggle of pasta and ricotta with a massive helping of parmesan over the top with the crunch of sugar snap peas throughout. It was something quite magical. After, we wandered up 6th Ave to the famed location of C.O Bigelow chemists and spent a long time perusing through everything that they had on offer, especially their own-brand range which is stocked at the Lafayette and smells like a dream. I picked up a little treat, a bar of the Mentha exfoliating soap that smells like dewy, garden-fresh mint. After that we hopped on the F train - takes me anywhere I want to go! - uptown to check out Abby's favourite bookstore Rizzoli. This is how bookstores should be, with creaky staircases and sales assistants who talk to each other in French and ladders to reach the top top top shelves high from the floor. Abby picked up a heap of things but I was at the end of my trip and money was running low. But when I got home I saw that mum had bought me one of the books that I was mulling over from amazon. It's a tale of New York City in the 1930s, speakeasys, dive bars and fast cars. I can't wait.

After that we strolled right up Madison Ave for a pilgrimage to Laduree. It's right next to the freshly opened Celine store and it's well worth the wait. I had forgotten, really, what a proper macaron tasted like. There are many imitators and there are some that are very good. But no-one makes a macaron quite like the French. crispy on the outside but soft as anything on the inside. We picked up Salted Butter Caramel, "Incroyable Amande" which was an almond flavour with a mashmallow (YES, MARSHMALLOW) filling and is my new favourite, grapefruit and vanilla, and then raspberry for me and rose for Abby.

Dinner was at Lucky Strike at the bottom of Soho. This was a fantastic meal. We shared the polenta calamari with spicy tomato sauce and then ended up with burgers after seeing the people at the tables around us consume theirs so happily we had no choice but to order them. I loved this poky little bistro. I remembered it from that garance photo, and Abby had seen a recommendation on one of her favourite blogs. I'm glad we ended up here for dinner too, since it turned out to be another of those surprise great meals. I rarely dined at the same place in New York more than once, partly because I'm greedy and I wanted to try something everywhere, just once, but also because there is so much on offer in that city you need to keep roaming around. Finally, a nightcap at The Bowery Hotel. I asked the bartender to make me something with ginger and makers mark, and the result was something so perfect I only wish I had paid more attention to what he was doing. I know that some kind of bitters went in there but other than that it was a blur of cocktail shakers and up-ended bottles of bourbon.

Just another perfect New York day, really.


The Smile - 26 Bond St, Soho
C.O Bigelow - 414 6th Ave, Greenwich Village
Rizzoli - 31 West 57th St, Midtown
Laduree - 864 Madison Ave, Upper East Side
Lucky Strike - 31 Grand St, Soho
The Bowery Hotel - Corner of Bowery and East 3rd St, Noho



Sophie said...

This post is so lovely it makes my heart ache! New York, what a dream.

Vincent said...

Lovely lovely photos! You've got me craving macarons now, grapefruit and vanilla sounds amazing.

catssaymeow said...

I love love your NYC posts - they are getting me so excited.
Ever since I started baking macarons it's been my dream to taste real French ones. I got my dream a few weeks ago when a friend bought some back from France from Gerard Mulot. What stood out for me in comparision to the Aussie ones was the filling! Can't wait to taste the Ladurée ones in NYC :)

Mandi said...

Great photo's. My stomach is growling with all that fabulous food!

xx Mandi

becca said...

hannah, your blog has quickly become one of my favorites! it's just my luck that you've ventured stateside as i'm going on my own new york adventure in 3 months and am complementing my own to-do list with tips from your recent entries! thank you so much!

Alice /// VESTIGIAL WINGS said...

Sounds like a perfect vacation! Marshmallow macarons, who would've thought! living in Kansas i really doubt I've ever had a proper macaron before, t

Alice /// VESTIGIAL WINGS said...

sounds like a perfect vacation! I've been attempting macarons in my kitchen but I never tried a real deal before. Maybe i shoudl do that before i keep trying to make them haha

Anonymous said...

If you don't mind my asking, what was the book on 1930's New York called, and who was it by?

I absolutely adore your blog, and all your new york recommendations. It is my very favorite city in the world and I cannot wait to live there!

Brin de fantaisie said...

Ladurée in New York sounds good but try Pierre Hermé macarons in Paris or Tokyo...

kuri said...

Brin de Fantaisie is right... If you ever come to Paris, I swear you have to taste the macarons from Pierre Hermé. They're the best I ever ate, with a real research of tastes combinations.

hannah-rose said...

Sophie - oh thank you... New York really was a dream, it feels like it hasn't happened now!!

Vincent - thanks! Oh yes, grapefruit and vanilla was fantastic. it was a special valentine's day number.

cattsaymeow - you'll be there oh so soon - you should be excited!! Yeah macarons are really really hard to get right when baking. my mum is an actual MASTERCHEF and she can't make macarons. She can make a profiterole tower filled with lavender custard cream but she can't make macarons.

Mandi - oh it was so fantastic. that pasta was so simple, but so good!

becca - ohhhh you've just made me super jealous! I want to go back now.. I hope that you've liked the new york posts! you should definitely post some tips on your blog too. I love hearing peoples favourites from the cities that I love.

Alice - I know! It was such a surprise to find that chewy filling. Incredible indeed.

Anon - thank you! It's called The Rules of Civility by Amor Towles.

Brin - I've had pierre herme and indeed they are something special.. unfortunately no pierre herme in new york! What I love about pierre herme - especially that store in the 1st, I'm not sure if the other stores in paris have the same - but they have the christine ferber for pierre herme jam! My mum is mad about christine ferber - she must be the only person in the world who gets crazy obsessed with jam makers - and I bought her a jar from the pierre herme store which was... wait for it... raspberry and violet. It was magical! I remember once I had a macaron from pierre herme that was like... pea and mint or something! It was incredible, savoury and sweet, all at the same time.

Actually there's this guy in Australia called Adriano Zumbo who makes macarons (he's one of the 2 good macaron makers haha) and he does wacky flavours! He does vegemite and beetroot.. haha.. but he also does a damn good chocolate!

Kuri - it's the flavour combinations that make them! I think I like pierre herme the best as well, I only wish there was one in Hong Kong even - because I go there a lot to see my grandparents - There are millions of macarons makers there, there are jean-paul hevin shops and maison du chocolat and all that.. but no laduree and no pierre herme! I'm keeping my fingers crossed since pierre herme went to japan that he'll make it over to HK.


The Velvet Scientist said...

Ahh, so lovely to see Abby's descriptions come to life! I can't wait until she takes me to these new favourite hangouts!

xx D

hannah-rose said...

the velvet scientist - you are going to love lucky strike.. it's straight out of paris, chalk on mirrors and all. I hope you enjoyed your macarons in their fancy black box! :)


Fashion Tidbits said...

What's it like walking into a celine store? Impressions?

Anne said...

Aren't those Laduree macarons heavenly? They're the only good ones in NY; too bad it's so Uptown. Though Incroyable amande seems to be worth the trip.