Tag Archives: NYC

Happy Holidays!

 

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I hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday season!  Thank you for reading Roseofbohemia.com.  I am taking a short break to focus on some other projects, but I look forward to seeing you all again next year.  May 2013 bring many wonderful things.  HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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Back to School: Bumble and bumble University

I recently got a free blow dry at Bumble and bumble’s hair school, Bb. University, as part of the Bb. U Model Project.  All services at the Bb. U Model Project are free of charge.  Models also receive a $10 product credit for each styling session they attend, so I was excited to not only get a free blow dry, but also Bb. products to try!

Models checking in at the reception desk

Bb. University is located in a large industrial space in the Meat Packing District.  Upon entering, I was impressed by the sleekness of the facilities and the floor-to-ceiling windows, which offered stunning views of the surrounding area.  The school was actually fancier than most salons!

Views of the MPD

In order to enroll in the Bb. U Model Project, potential models must attend a model call, where their hair type is assessed to determine if they are appropriate for upcoming classes.  If so, the models can get free haircuts and/or styles (Bb. University also offers free coloring, but models have to get a free haircut first).

Before

After my assessment, I was offered the Long Layers Razor cut and several styling services such as a Round Brush Blow Dry, Flat Brush Blow Dry, or an Updo.  I opted for a Round Brush Blow Dry, since I usually have my hair blown out with a flip at the end.

Upon arriving for my styling session, I was given a Hairmiles Booklet and one Hairmiles sticker as part of the Hairmiles Frequent Stylers Club, which is an incentive program that rewards models with Bb. product credits once they accumulate enough Hairmiles.

Models awaiting the start of class at Bb. University

At the beginning of the class/styling session, I met with an educator (a Bb. stylist) and my student stylist, Paula, who evaluated and discussed my hair type.  Paula was friendly and also very experienced, since all of the students at Bb. University are licensed hair professionals with a minimum of two years experience (the program is the equivalent of graduate school for hair professionals).  Paula works at an upscale salon in the South and was visiting NYC to attend the two-day styling workshop.

Paula washed my hair, blow-dried it, and then methodically wrapped it in loops and pinned them around my head.  While I have had my hair blown out many times, I have never experienced such an intricate procedure.  The process was longer than I am used to (about 1.5 hours), but at the end result was the most voluminous hair I’ve ever had.

the process

I don’t think the after photo shows just how full and glamorous it was…I felt like I was ready for the Oscars!

After

At the end of the session Paula wrote down Bb. product recommendations for my hair type and notes on how to use them.

The only downside to the Bb. U Model Project is that I had to wait between my assessment and my styling session, since the Round Brush Blow Dry class was not offered for several weeks (however, I did receive emails whenever there were openings for other styling sessions).  On a related note, Bb. U is only open during weekday business hours, so the program works best for people with flexible schedules.

Based upon the price (free!), the professional level of styling, the gorgeous facilities, and the incentives program, I would definitely recommend participating in the Bb. U Model Project.  I look forward to trying more styles and maybe even a cut in the future!

If you are interested in participating in the Bb. U Model Project, please visit www.bbumodelproject.com for more information.  Happy styling!

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Window Watching: NYC Fall 2012 Trends

I am interrupting my regularly scheduled Panama posts for a fall  fashion post.  As stated previously, I love trend-spotting and I wanted to share some styles I’ve noticed lately in NYC store windows:

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Polka dots – this classic print is featured in the windows of the more feminine and conservative stores (Kate Spade, Ann Taylor, etc…).

Autumn tones – forest green, camel, orange, deep red, burnt sienna, and brown are the oh, so seasonally appropriate colors for everything from shirts to pants.

Fur vests – I am m not in love with this look, but they are all over.

Leather, leather, leather – Leather EVERYTHING!  Leather jackets, particularly motorcycle jackets are super hot right now, as are leather pants, leather skirts, leather tops, etc….

Studding – studded shoes, studded bags, studded shirts, studs continue to be omnipresent!

Animal prints – not my taste, but still popular for shoes and bags.

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Nom Wah Tea Parlor

1920’s Signage

I recently went with my cousin to the Nom Wah Tea Parlor in Chinatown for a late lunch.  Nom Wah has been in business since 1920 and was Chinatown’s first dim sum parlor.  I wanted to try Nom Wah since I saw the restaurant featured on a show about small business owners in NYC (gotta love the NYC channel!).  Nom Wah was recently taken over and renovated by the owner’s twenty-something year old nephew, but he kept all of the traditional accents, like the antique register and formica bar and stools.

The restaurant’s decor was cute and old fashion.  Upon arrival we were given laminated menus with photos and a paper checklist to select what we wanted.  The menu identified vegetarian dishes and even gluten free.  Almost all of the plates were $3.50, although the vegetable plates were $7.95.  Tea was $1 to $1.50 per person depending on the flavor.

Love the antique cash register!

Shula at Nom Wah

We didn’t know what to expect because the dishes were so inexpensive.  We selected five and ended up with A LOT of food:


Egg Rolls – I don’t usually like egg rolls that much, but they are a house specialty, so we ordered them and they were really good!

Scallion noodles

Vegetable Dumplings – These were actually my least favorite of the dishes.  There was a vegetable I didn’t love inside.

Very unusual dish – this tasted like a donut inside a noodle.  I probably wouldn’t get it again, but it was interesting to try.

I also ordered shrimp and scallion dumplings and they were actually my favorite dish, but I forgot to photograph them.  Next time I would be curious to try one of the vegetable dishes too.

Nom Wah’s famous almond cookie

We also ordered jasmin tea, which was delicious and very fragrant.  I got the famous almond cookie to go, but I ended up not liking it (I was hoping it would taste like marzipan, but it didn’t).  The cookie was fresh though, so I have a feeling I just don’t like almond cookies and it’s probably not reflective of Nom Wah.  Overall I really enjoyed the meal and the old world setting.

Nom Wah

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Window Watching: NYC Spring Trends

Sometimes I feel like I live in a mall…not that I’m complaining (though I did prefer it when there were more boutiques and less large chain stores around NYC).  One benefit to living in such an environment is that I’m constantly window-shopping and trend spotting.  Here are the most popular styles now:

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  • Espadrilles – the timeless summer shoe is back, year after year.
  • Bright colors, particularly neons – extremely popular, but I wouldn’t invest heavily unless you desire to look like a highlighter.
  • Coral dresses – this orange/red color is being shown for all dresses, from gowns to shifts.  I bought a coral day dress last year at Anne Taylor Loft and I find it funny that they are selling a dress of the same color and fabric this season, but in a slightly different cut.  It’s either still really popular or they bought too much fabric.
  • Navy and white-stripped dresses, shirts, etc. – not flattering on most, but very classic and very French!
  • Lace dresses – long and elegant or short and cute!

*This post may be followed up with a street style post at some point in the future.

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A Bohemian drink in a not so Bohemian setting: the NoMad Hotel

Last week I visited the NoMad Hotel, which has received a lot of great press since opening several weeks ago.  First, I must say that I can’t stand the name, which is a portmanteau of North of Madison Square Park.  Perhaps it’s because this area existed almost my entire life without such a name that I find it forced and pretentious.  I wonder if people thought the same thing about TriBeCa years ago?

The NoMad Restaurant

Despite my dislike of the name, the NoMad Hotel is a welcome addition to the neighborhood.  Midtown between 23rd and 32nd street is a wholesale jewelry district that was desolate at night until the opening of the Ace Hotel in ’09.  The NoMad Hotel is owned by the same developers as the Ace, but it’s more upscale and less hipster.

The Jacques Garcia designed décor is “Parisian-inspired” and while I don’t find it to be reminiscent of Paris, it is quite luxurious.  The hotel actually reminds me of old New York, since it’s in a turn of the century building and Madison Square Park was home to NY’s best hotels during the Gilded Age.  Unfortunately my photos of NoMad’s interiors are so poor they are almost embarrassing because it was dark and I only had my iphone.  Also, as I was attempting to photograph the lobby, the concierge motioned to me from across the room to stop.  I don’t understand why.  There were no celebrities in the room (the lobby was empty minus a seated couple who were not in my shot) and it’s not like I’m planning on copying the furnishings.  I was trying to give them free press!

The NoMad Restaurant and Bar in the background

The bar and library rooms are at the back of the restaurant, which have all received rave reviews.  The restaurant looks nice, but the fact they serve an $78. chicken entrée makes it a lot less interesting to me (in all fairness the chicken entrée is meant for two and stuffed with foie gras, but both of those factors only add to the lack of appeal).  Beyond the restaurant is a mahogany bar/lounge, which was too crowded and dark for me to attempt to photograph.  The next room is the library bar with table service drinks and snacks.  The lovely two-tiered room reminds me of Pierpont Morgan’s historic library at the close by Morgan Library & Museum.

The Library Bar

The cocktail menu is extensive with some classics and many more inventive drinks.  Alcohol-free “soft cocktails” start at $8. and the prices go up, but the cocktails average $15 (if you’re outside NYC this will probably seem high, but it’s actually a bargain compared to the Rose Bar at the Gramercy Park Hotel).  I had only just started perusing the menu when I saw the “Bohemia” cocktail (Genever gin, Chambery blanc vermouth, aquavit, and maraschino liquor).  Despite having lukewarm feelings about the ingredients, I had to order it.  Well, it turns out maraschino liquor is nothing like the somewhat sickly sweet maraschino flavor of my beloved childhood Shirley Temples and I ended up not liking the cocktail.  I was going to drink it anyway and just call it a loss when the manager came around and asked my thoughts.  Upon hearing that the drink was not what I was expecting, he graciously offered to get me another one.  He returned with the Badminton Cup (red wine, moscatel sherry, maraschino, lemon, cucumber, mint), which was both pretty and delicious.  I was extremely impressed with the service!

Just one page of the very long bar menu

The Bohemia

The Badminton Cup

Between the Ace and the NoMad, I predict the Madison Square Park vicinity might not have had its heyday yet (and that the NoMad will be impossibly packed by summer!).

At the Library Bar...seated next to Martha Stewart cookbooks 🙂

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Happy Holidays and a “Progressive” Seder at Joe Doe

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!  I hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend!

All of my favorite holiday things (chocolate bunnies, egg matzo, pretty flowers).

The largest Easter bunny ever at Jacques Torres Chocolate Shop in Chelsea Market

This evening I attended a “progressive” Seder at Joe Doe, which is the first time I have ever celebrated Passover at a restaurant.  For my non-Jewish readers, Passover (Pesach in Hebrew) is a Jewish holiday that commemorates the Exodus of the Jewish people from slavery in Egypt.  The first two nights of the eight-day holiday we observe by holding Seders, which are meals where we retell the story of the Exodus.

The first night of Passover I attended a Seder at my relative’s house.  For the second night my friend Bunny and I decided to go to a restaurant together.  I did some research and picked Joe Doe after reading this NYTimes article.  The ironic thing is that neither of us likes traditional Jewish food much, but it felt wrong to go out for sushi tonight.

The dinner was $65 per person, which is more than I usually spend on a meal, but it was a good price for four-courses in NYC and the atmosphere was great.  I had never been to Joe Doe before and found it very cute.  The bar was decorated with household Judaica to add a homey feel.  They played a lot of traditional Jewish music, a Debbie Friedman camp song, and a couple prayer songs (two versions of the “Four Questions”).  There were Maxwell House Haggadahs  (Seder books) available, but it was optional if you wanted to use them.

The food itself was good.  It would have been nice to see more vegetables, but it veered closer to traditional Jewish fare, though presented better than I’ve seen at any home Seders.  I have retyped the menu below and posted some photos of our fun meal.

Joe Doe ‘Progressive’ Passover 2012

$11 Elijah’s Punch…Chateau de Montifaud Cognac, Manichewitz, lemon, soaked cherries

First Course

Joe Doe Seder Sampler….maror, charoset, chicken liver, fried matzo

Second Course

Jewish Wedding Soup….chicken meatballs, matzo balls, pickled vegetables

Third Course

Slow Roasted Brisket….horseradish potatoes, parsley, upland cress

Fourth Course

Komish Cookie Sandwich….dark chocolate, cherry filling

Festive decorations

Bunny and the first course (Seder sampler)

Second course (Jewish Wedding Soup) - note I have never heard of Jewish wedding soup before...I think it is a spin on Italian Wedding Soup

Third course (brisket) - sliced thinner and with more visible fat than I'm used to, the presentation was also better than I'm used to.

Fourth course (dessert!) - I'm attributing my flush cheeks to heat from the kitchen and/or a single glass of Manischevitz AKA grape juice

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The Anthony Bourdain Fan Club Post

Dinner at Les Halles

I recently read Kitchen Confidential, Anthony Bourdain’s memoir about working as a chef in the restaurant industry.  This was my first book by Anthony Bourdain and I really enjoyed it.  His writing voice sounds just like his speaking voice!  There were some funny parts and he’s very likeable, despite his disdain for vegetarians and people who order sauce on the side (I’m afraid he wouldn’t like me much because I have a tendency to do the latter).

The book received a lot of press for exposing the dark side of the restaurant business.  He does make the typical restaurant kitchen sound like a more savage place than I would have imagined, but somehow I already knew that breadbaskets are recycled and you shouldn’t eat fish on a Monday, so those parts weren’t shocking revelations.

My only gripe about Kitchen Confidential is that I would have liked to know more about Bourdain’s personal life and the gaps between his cooking jobs.  He mentions multiple times that he is a recovered heroin addict, but he doesn’t discuss this in depth.  I realize Kitchen Confidential is a food memoir and Bourdain has free rein to write about whatever he likes, but it would have been interesting to know more about how he recovered, since so few people survive heroin addictions.  I was also curious to know more about his wife (now ex-wife) who he occasionally mentions and to whom the book is dedicated.

Steak tartare

On a recent evening I was reading the book when my dinner plans fell through.  I was on the Les Halles chapter and had wanted to try the restaurant for a while, so I decided to go there solo.  Les Halles is a traditional French brasserie in Murray Hill where Bourdain worked as executive chef until the publication of Kitchen Confidential, which launched his career as celebrity chef/author/foodie extraordinaire.  He is still considered the “chef-at-large,” but I doubt he spends much time there.

I arrived around 9PM and was surprised that the restaurant and bar were very crowded, although I took the one available seat at the bar.  I’m hesitant to order my favorite French entrée, steak tartare, unless I’m in a very reliable establishment, but Les Halles fit the criteria.  I read online that they are known for making the steak tartare tableside and to order.  Since I sat at the bar I missed the show, but the bartender did ask if I wanted it hot, medium, or mild.  I picked medium and I think it was the largest portion of steak tartare that I’ve ever seen and also the best that I’ve had in NYC.  The steak tartare came with a side of French friends and a small salad.  Les Halles is known for their French fries and while I thought they were good, the steak tartare was more impressive.  After the meal the gentleman sitting next to me bought me a baby Guinness shot (Kahlúa and Baileys).  I had never had one before and while I found it a bit overly sweet, it made for a nice ending to a lovely meal.

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A trip to the Museum of the City of New York and Grounded Cafe

Museum of the City of New York

I recently went uptown to the Museum of the City of New York to see the exhibit, “The Greatest Grid: The Master Plan of Manhattan, 1811-2011,” which celebrates the 200th anniversary of Manhattan’s grid system.  The exhibit features antique maps, photographs, and prints that show the commissioner’s original grid plan and its development.  The exhibit was interesting, though very text-heavy.  I particularly loved seeing old maps and photos of my neighborhood!   The show is on until July 15, 2012.

C. Bachman, New York, view looking south from Union Square, 1849.

Flatiron

Looking south on 5th Avenue from 25th Street, ca. 1904

After the Grid exhibit, I saw the show “Cecil Beaton: The New York Years,” which highlights the work of British photographer and designer Cecil Beaton.  The exhibit is comprised of Cecil’s beautiful celebrity portraits, fashion photos, and colorful stage costumes from the 1920’s to the 1960’s.  I learned that Beaton was quite the man about town and a master self-promoter.  During his time in NYC he stayed in a series of luxury hotel suites, which he decorated, used as settings for photo shoots, and stayed in at discounted rates.   The suites were marketed as Cecil Beaton-designed and rented out when he was away, so both the hotels and Beaton benefited.  I was disappointed to learn that Beaton was anti-Semitic, although not surprised based on the time period and his social circle (anyone who hung out with Wallis Simpson loses points in my book).  The exhibit is on until April 22, 2012.

The Museum of the City of New York always has great wall coverings that coordinate with each show.

Hall leading to the Cecil Beaton exhibit

Stage costumes by Cecil Beaton

Beaton's costumes for La Traviata, photographed by him for Vogue, 1966

Beaton, Self-portrait, ca. 1929 (Is this not the coolest self-portrait ever?!)

Back downtown I went to Grounded, which is a cute café in the West Village, located at 28 Jane Street.  I ordered an iced black tea rose latte because I love the flavor rose and it’s unusual to see it on a menu.  The drink was good, though not the best rose incarnation I’ve tried (rose macaroons are better!).  I really liked the cheery yellow walls, abundance of plants, and laid-back atmosphere.  If it was closer to where I live, I could see Grounded being my go to coffee shop.  As is, it’s a nice weekend walk and makes for a pleasant change of scenery.

Grounded specials

Iced black tea rose latte

Grounded Cafe (it's brighter in person)

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A Chat with My Favorite New York Poet: Monica E. Wendel

Monica at the Blue Stove

I am extremely proud and excited that my very good friend, Monica E. Wendel recently had her first poetry book, Call it a Window, published by the Midwest Writing Center as the National Winner of the 2011 Mississippi Valley Poetry Chapbook Contest.  The book is a chapbook, which is a pocket-sized pamphlet book of poems.

In celebration of the chapbook, Monica and I met up for coffee at the adorable Blue Stove bakery and cafe in Williamsburg, where we chatted about her writing process, inspiration, and favorite New York places.

iced coffee, iced chai latte, and Monica's chapbook Call it a Window

Rose: What is your favorite place to write?

Monica: I actually don’t know.  For me, the process of writing is really long because I do so many drafts.  Even if I write in one place, I always need to revise it in a quiet place.  After that, I usually bring it to a group of people for workshop, so it ends up getting written in three places.  I tend to write in the mornings first thing when I wake up, usually in my bedroom or living room.

Rose: What tools do you use to write?

Monica: When I was spending more time on the subway, I was writing in Mead composition notebooks, but now I drive to work.  As a result, I haven’t been writing in notebooks so much.  I also find it useful to switch up how I write every once in a while in order to keep it fresh.

Rose: What poets inspire your work?

Monica: My poems owe a lot to Sharon Olds, in terms of their subject matter and their autobiographical nature.  My more political poems have a humor in them that I saw in Charles Simic.  I don’t think that they sound like his poems, but the wit that he has in his poems and the biting nature of his poems is something that I aim for.  There is a clear eye in his poems.  They are honest and they cut through a lot of political BS.

Rose: I noticed a lot of your poems seem very autobiographical and also sexual in nature, to the extent that if I was you, I might be uncomfortable sharing them with my family.  How do you deal with that?

Monica: The only people who I really care about it with are my parents.  The reason I am able to not care about it so much is that I think the poems are successful.  I really respect my parents because even when I write poems that are provocative, they are able to see what is successful in them and they are also able to relate to them.  To me, they are all the same amount autobiographical.  There are definitely things that are less autobiographical.  There are things that didn’t happen to me, but the feelings are always how I felt

Rose: How did you decide to organize the poems by geographical locations?  Did you start out with that in mind?

Monica: Jon, who I dedicated the book to, always told me that I should try to write poems that take place on different streets in NYC.  That project didn’t happen, but I did make a zine called Poetry Maps, where I took poems that I had already written and placed them on a map of NYC.  Queens, Man, Long Island.  The zine never really went anywhere, but from that the idea of organizing the poems by geography always appealed to me.  Where the poems take place is really important to me.

Rose: What is your favorite way to spend Saturday in NYC?

Monica: When it’s nice out and warm, Smorgasburg in Williamsburg and maybe a ride on the ferry afterwards.  That’s a really good way to spend Saturday.  I love the whole Williamsburg waterfront.  When it’s cold out, my favorite way to spend Saturday is probably at the Met if the subway is running from Brooklyn.  I also love P.S. 1 in Long Island City, Queens for when the L train is not running to Manhattan.

Rose: In your opinion, what are the best restaurant, café, and bar in New York?

Monica: Restaurant – Candle 79 on the Upper East Side.  Cafe – Variety Cafe in Williamsburg (editor’s note – we tried to go there first, but there were no seats).  Bar – probably Grassroots.  The bartender there is really really nice and there’s always good people watching and popcorn.  Also, there’s a good falafel place next door (Mamoun’s).

Rose: I think of you as an unofficial poster girl for your neighborhood.  Can you tell me about it for readers?

Monica: I live in Greenpoint (Brooklyn), near Williamsburg.  It’s in a lot of ways still a Polish family neighborhood.  I live next door to a Catholic Church.  There’s a poem in the book called “Pope John Paul II Square.”  There’s also a ton of writers and artists who live in the neighborhood.  It’s relatively cheap, especially for NYC.  This is in part because the Newtown Creek borders it on one side and the Newtown Creek is heavily polluted.  I live with writers and artists in a house and a lot of my neighbors are writers and artists.  The neighborhood cafe, Donia used to have an open mic night and over the summer when I was working on the manuscript I would go there and read poems.

Monica, her chapbook and the Blue Stove's namesake piece of furniture

I read Call it a Window before the interview and of course I might be biased, but I really enjoyed it.  Monica is a phenomenal writer and while sometimes it seems as though she lives in an alternative fringe universe (one filled with radicalism and extreme sexual liberation), the poems are intriguing and leave you wanting to know more.  Many lines in the poems resonated with me, even if I occasionally felt outside the world of the narrator.

Monica’s chapbook, Call it a Window can be purchased on Amazon here or directly from the publisher here.  Some examples of her work can be found here and here.

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