A Lovely Love Story

One day the facebook was all a buzz about Just Kids by Patti Smith. I finished it just in time for Valentine’s Day. Mmmmm. Perfection.

Just Kids chronicles the lovely, lovely love story between Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe. It has everything you want in a lovely, lovely love story – unconditional support and absolute belief in each other in the best and the worst of times. The beautiful thing about this book is that Smith and Mapplethorpe are real and this love that you are reading about is real.

Their love, that protection from the world and the unwavering belief in each other cultivated two true artists. What I loved most about their story is that while the constructs of their relationship were fluid over the years, their love for each other never changed.

Patti Smith is a poet and Just Kids, told in brief bursts of time and short stories, is poetry. I finished the book on a plane and when I got to this passage I burst into tears*:

Dear Robert,
Often as I lie awake I wonder if you are also lying awake. Are you in pain or feeling alone? You drew me from the darkest period of my young life, sharing with me the sacred mystery of what it is to be an artist. I learned to see through you and never compose a line or draw a curve that does not come from the knowledge I derived in our precious time together. Your work, coming from a fluid source, can be traced to the naked song of your youth. You spoke then of holding hands with God. Remember, through everything, you have always held that hand, grip it hard, Robert, and don’t let go.

The other afternoon, when you fell asleep on my shoulder, I drifted off too. But before I did, it occurred to me looking around at all of your things and your work and going through years of work in my mind, that all of your hard work, you are still your most beautiful. The most beautiful work of all.


(*Sidebar – If you didn’t know already, airplanes are great places to cry. For the most part no one is paying attention and even if they are, they don’t REALLY want to talk about it. They’ll just stare straight ahead and pretend like nothing is going on. Other great places to cry include in the shower and while driving alone, particularly if it’s nighttime or you’re wearing giant sunglasses. You’re welcome.)

Surf City Half Marathon 2011: Proof Once Again That I Am Indeed White.

“In life, there are certain milestones of physical activity that can define you. To a white person, the absolute pinnacle of fitness is to run a marathon. Not to win, just to run.

When they finish the marathon, they will generally take a photo of themselves in a pair of New Balance sneakers, running shorts, and their marathon number with both hands over their head in triumph (seriously, look it up, this is universal).

They will then set goals like running in the Boston Marathon or the New York Marathon.

If you find yourself in a situation where a white person is talking about a marathon, you must be impressed or you will lose favor with them immediately. Running for a certain length of time on a specific day is a very important thing to a white person and should not be demeaned.

–Stuff White People Like
: #27

The Greek’s List

I love New York. I do. I LOVE it. I have had some amazing times in New York. Shopping with Mom and Janaan on Canal street. Shopping with Mom and Janaan in Soho. Shopping with Mom and Janaan on 5th Avenue. Eating at Mesa Grill with Kent way WAY before Bobby Flay was Bobby Flay. Sitting in the lobby of the Hyatt at Grand Central station with Kent and seeing a colleague of ours roller-blade through the lobby to the elevator, without a shirt on. (Yeah, that really happened.) Wandering aimlessly through The Met. Kissing on a bench in Central Park. Yeah. UH-maze-ing times.

But my most epic, off the hook New York experiences have been brought to me by The Greek. The Greek introduced us to Gray’s Papaya. The Greek took us to the downstairs restaurant at La Esquina before Regis and Kelly said it was one of their favorite places to eat in New York. The Greek took us to Buddakan for drinks way before Carrie and Big’s wedding rehearsal dinner. The Greek took us to Socialista before the Ashton Kutcher birthday Hepatitis scare put it on the map (no, we did not get Hepatitis and yes, the food and the cocktails were delicious).

The Greek got us into Marquis, where I experienced the heady rush that is known as a private table with bottle service and the not-so-heady rush of accidentally finding myself semi-dirty dancing with a very sweet, but very innocent (and very sober, for the record) young woman, which signaled a cheeky Wall Street type to think it was OK to put his hand up my skirt. (Cheeky, cheeky bastard.) This is one of the most unexpected, most fun nights of my life and one my favorite favorite stories to retell again and again.

The Greek, being the ultimate New Yorker, ran the New York Marathon last year. The Greek is actually the person that gave me the confidence boost that I needed before my first ever half marathon. He told me: “If you can run 5 miles, you can run 13.” And you know what, he was right.

What I’m saying is, The Greek knows his shit when it comes to New York and has always shown us a fantastic time. So I was super excited to get the updated “Greek’s List” today and I wanted to share it with everyone.

New, Hot Off The Presses, Unedited, Unabridged: The Greek’s List.


Gramercy Park

Best Place for Sangria

38 E. 19th St. (bet. B’way & Park Ave. S.)

I start here because this is one of my favorite places to get a drink in all of Manhattan. Great atmosphere and fun. Get there before 7pm if you want a space at the bar. I love the tapas there. Go any night except for Sunday and Monday.

In Pipa’s neighborhood: ABC Kitichen, Bocca Restaurant, Bar Jamon, Gramercy Hotel or Flute

Best NY Italian Near Pipa

Can you tell how much I love Pipa for a drink? Get your Sangria here and go across the street to Bocca.

Best Champagne by the Glass
(aka Best Place to Always Find someone smooching in the corner)

Flûte (around the block from Pipa)
40 E. 20th St. (bet. B’way & Park Ave. S.)

Best Place to Feel Like You Are In Madrid

Bar Jamon 125 E 17th St
Spanish wine, jamon and cheese makes this tiny spot irresistible.

Last Place I Saw Ashley Dupre’s XXX co workers

Gramercy Park Hotel
Watch out for the ladies in red stilletos otherwise it is a good place for a drink.

Upper West Side

Best Greek in Manhattan
That would be me of course, but my cooking hours are sporadic. Kefi is the place to go because Michael Psilakis rocks. His main restaurant, Anthos, is the best Greek food in America, but don’t go to Anthos unless your company is paying for it. It’s pricey. Kefi is the same food at a moderate price.

Columbus Avenue and 84th Street

East Village

The Best Grilled Kalamari this side of the Atlantic is at Cafe Mogador.
You think I’m joking. You have to go to Kostas on Mykonos to get better. This is the place your vegetarian friend will kiss you for going. Their hummus and tabouli rock.

I Came to NY to Eat Fantastic Food in a Hole in the Wall

Great Jones Café
If you eat something other than the blackened catfish I may have to slap you.
54 Great Jones St. (bet. Bowery & Lafayette St.)
Best blackened catfish in NY.

West Village

Best Chicken Wings and One of My Favorite Dive Bars in the Village

Down the Hatch
Get ‘um crispy and medium. You get them hot and your lips will fall off. Get them nuclear and you will be in tears. The place is loud, obnoxious and young. Sometimes I have to have that.
179 W 4th St between 6th and 7th avenues

Best Burger

Spotted Pig
This is where you turn to your friends and say, “you will get the burger with Roquefort cheese and like it.” Never go during normal hours 6pm – 11pm. You will wait for 3 hours.
314 W. 11th St. (Greenwich St.)

Best Neighborhood Italian

Bar Pitti
NY used to be filled with these places. Small, awesome food and a cost that doesn’t break the bank. Never go during peak hours. You won’t get a seat.
314 W. 11th St. (Greenwich St.) 6th Avenue, just south of Bleecker

Best New England Style Fish House

Watch out about the spice in this place. The cook is from Louisiana and he goes crazy sometimes. The fish is as fresh as it gets and the prices are reasonable. It’s not cheap, but do you want cheap fish?
280 Bleecker (just off 7th avenue between Jones and Commerce)

Start at the Standard Hotel. Why? Because it’s the hottest place in NY right now. Try to get into any of their restaurants or bars. Total scene.

Head down Little West 12th and hit Pastis at the end. What was meatpacking before Pastis? Well…meatpacking. They are the ones who started it all. Yes, there are a ton of people there, but elbow your way to the bar and get a drink. It’s a must.

After you are done with the beautiful foreigners at Pastis, hit up the beautiful Americans in the Gansevoort Hotel. Walk in and go to the rooftop via the elevator. The bar/lounge is called Plunge. Great views of the city.


Best Atmosphere for Sushi

369 W. 16th St., downstairs (9th Ave.)
It is right across the street from Buddakan. I love the sushi there and I always run into models there. Right next door to Meatpacking.

Best Sex and the City Tour Stop

It’s still worth a trip even though it is all tourists now. I love the food.
9th Avenue at 16th Street

Best Pizza in NY – better than Grimaldi’s

Ovest Pizzoteca by Luzo
No, this is not NY Pizza. This is where you bring your cousin Salvatore when he visits from Italy. I love the pizza here.
27th Street just west of 10th avenue


Best Sushi

Sushi Azabu
Debating if you should go to Japan for sushi? If you are that type sushi freak, you need to go to this hideaway. It’s in the basement of the Greenwich Grill and it is the freshest sushi in NY. How do we say…it’s not cheap.
428 Greenwhich Street (between Laight and Vestry)

Best Carriage House

Smith and Mills
This place was a mechanics shop before some genius realized that it simply rocks. Yes, I know everyone loves One if By Land, but this carriage house probably fit one horse. If you are looking for the coolest tiny spot in Manhattan this is it.
71 North Moore Street on the north side of the street at Greenwich (yes, keep staring, that’s the place – no sign or number to help you)

Lower East Side

Because Ceviche Excites Your Inner-self

Rayuela – it is one of my favorite restaurants in Manhattan. This is not for the steak and potatoes crowd. Small dishes. Pan Latin food. The best ceviche in Manhattan. You have to get there 6pm or before. Unfortunately the word is out about this place. The food is to die for.
165 Allen St. (bet. Rivington & Stanton Sts.)

Best Meatball

The Meatball Shop
Those of you who realize that the meatball is an essential food group will love this place. Get the meatball sliders. All of them. You questioning me?
84 Stanton Street (bet. Allen and Orchard)

Best Doughnut This Side of The Milky Way
I’ve been going to this place since it opened in 2000. I am fascinated by how few people know about it. The peanut butter and jelly doughnut is worth the flight to the US just to try it. They close every day when the donuts are gone. In the early years it was sporadic. Now it’s around 5pm.

Doughnut Plant
379 Grand Street (near Norfolk)


Because You Have To
While you are shopping in Soho you feel the need for a real meal and a little bit of a scene. Go to

80 Spring St. (bet. B’way & Crosby St.)
Same owners as Pastis. It is one of the best French Bistros in Manhattan.

Best place to feel majestic while eating sushi

62 Thomas St. (bet. Church St. & W. B’way)
The sushi is good, but the surroundings are majestic.


Best Hotel Bar

Ace Hotel
I love the atmosphere in this place. If you don’t like the lobby bar walk into Bar Breslin which has a great spin on pub food (different spin) or walk to the John Dory Oyster Bar next door. April Bloomfield (of Spotted Pig fame) has done a fantastic job of putting this nowhere’s land of Manhattan on the map.
20 West 29th Street (bet. B’way & 5th avenue)

Best Chinese Diner

Mooncake Foods
Everyone in NY loves their Greek diner and if you mention that you’ve been to a Chinese diner people will look at you in a strange way. And sometimes you need to do that. Try the avocado appetizer and let it melt in your mouth. This place is perfect for yummy, cheap food. It’s not pretty on the inside, but the food is outstanding. You have to go to Brooklyn to get a similar experience. 30th Street just east of 8th avenue

Done spending your money? Suck it up and head to Brooklyn for

Best Bagels in This Universe
Terrace Bagels
224 Prospect Park W
Brooklyn, NY 11215

La Bagel Delight
252 7th Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11215

You can only understand the NY obsession if you try one of these. The are close to each other. Hint: know what you want before you get close to the counter or you will really have a NY experience.

Best NY Pizza
Because you love pizza and you have to try NY pizza. Grimaldi’s is the best, but it’s in Brooklyn. Suck it up and go. If not, John’s on Bleecker is the best in Manhattan, but the line is always long. Patsy’s Pizza is ok too. Never go in anything that has the name Ray. Not Original Famous, Famous Original, Original or Famous Ray’s. Stay away from them all. If it has Famous or Original or both it means its crap. The real Ray’s Pizza is on Prince Street and there is only one. That one is the only one with Ray in it’s name that is ok.

19 Old Fulton St.
(bet. Front & Water Sts.)

These Cookies Taste Like Heaven

You know how it is when someone that you love looks into your eyes, and sees YOU? I mean, really, really sees you? And it feels oh SO GOOD, it feels AMAZING, and you never ever want to let go of that gaze because you don’t get these types of gazes very often. They are very special and very rare, those gazes. You want to imprint that feeling on your memory and hold on to that beauty forever. It almost makes you uncomfortable, all of that love and all of that beauty.

That feeling, of someone seeing your soul and loving you completely, I bet that’s what heaven feels like all the time.

And French macarons from Bouchon Bakery, that’s what they taste like. They taste just like heaven. Yes, heaven is the closest approximation that I have for these gorgeous bites of delectable, delightful, divine sweetness.

These macarons are perfection. Perfectly delicate. Perfectly chewy. Perfectly flavored. And the way that the buttercream hits your tongue and melts away…well…it’s just perfect.

In my mind, the perfect Vegas evening starts at Bouchon. Have a crisp glass of champagne and some pommes frites at the bar (and if it’s on the menu that evening, have the tomato bisque soup, because it too, tastes like heaven). And then wander down and pick up a macaron at Bouchon Bakery. Then wander back to your room at the Wynn, the sexiest hotel in Vegas. Open up the blinds in your room and look at the lights on the strip as you enjoy every.last.bite.

Oh yes, heaven can be found in Las Vegas (and Yountville and New York City too).

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