Thursday, January 25, 2007

City of Brotherly Love

I'm in Philly on business for a few days and was working 12+ hour days in the lead up to my trip, which is why the blog has been lacking a bit. But never fear, I think I am in for the business trip of my life (is that an oxymoron?) and am having a blast! Diplomacy, Brits, Scots, white tie, police, history, politics...

One of the strange parts of being here is exploring my adopted hometown as an adult. The layout of the city makes much more sense having now walked all over town. The city is no longer the semi scary place we would drive through to get to the Liberty Bell. It's affordable, livable and hip...certainly cleaner than NYC! It's also fun to try some great Philly restaurants, such as Continental Midtown, tonight's restaurant of choice. It's hipster fusion comfort the chairs are either car seats or swings...great fun!

More in a few days. Have a great weekend!

Sunday, January 21, 2007


August 1998-- a Midwesterner from PA, a “flashy girl from Flushing” New York and a bossy Bostonian get assigned to live together in Lafayette Hall at The George Washington University. Three peas in a pod in many ways, and polar opposites in other ways, Erin, Heather and Stephanie lived together in varying levels of harmony during the year. But in the end, we were bonded by the experience and remained friends during college.

Heather and I on the set of The West Wing during college

Fast forward a few years; I am thrilled that Heather and I are once again living in the same town!

Heather turns &@ this week, so to celebrate she reserved a table at Stitch in the Garment District on Saturday night and friends and colleagues showed up to packs help her celebrate. Reserving the table was a great idea! It was the perfect spot for us all to enjoy the bar, without having to stand for hours. The music, though loud, really added to the atmosphere. What’s better than a whole bar breaking out in song when Bon Jovi’s “Living on a Prayer” starts pumping through the speakers!? It was also great to catch up with Dana and Howard, two other friends from my GW days. Though I didn’t try one, Stitch had a whole line-up of sewing related cocktails. Cute idea!

I had so much fun that, shock of shocks, I stayed out until 2am. What can I say…I want to wake up in the city that doesn’t sleep…New York, New York….!

Friday, January 19, 2007

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow

I'm dreaming of a white January!!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


I’ve had a couple of revelations in the last few days that help me to begin to crack the big mysteries of living in New York City.

First, you should never EVER take the 4-5 subway during rush hour. Outside of rush hour, it’s great—I got from 89th street in Manhattan to Brooklyn Heights in 30 minutes on Monday night. But during rush hours you stand smooshed next to a bunch of strangers, praying that no one sneezes on you and that everyone remembered deodorant! What’s more, you can cut the tension with a knife. As each stop whooshes by you can feel that riders are getting more and more irritated to be standing in such cramped quarters. New Yorkers with an attitude are the worst! In 2 moments of stupidity on Tuesday, I took the 4-5 to and from work. NEVER AGAIN. Now it is back to the “E”rin train…which may take a few more minutes, but I get a seat and the New Yorkers are tolerable.

My second revelation of the week is that life in New York might really just be a mix of Seinfeld and Sex AND the City. I’ve always been a huge Seinfeld fan. From riding the crowded subway to Yankee Bean Soup and "man hands" I see Seinfeld everywhere I go. But I recently caught a few episodes of S.A.T.C and am now hooked! While I don’t relate to absolutely every part of the ladies’ lives, their friendship dynamic as well as the dating dynamic seems to be right on! Scary! Perhaps I need to have a S.A.T.C on DVD marathon this weekend to confirm this theory.

Monday, January 15, 2007

What was the District Attorney investigating in midtown?

A: Well-known chef Bobby Flay

Okay, let me explain...

My parents and the Chrystals came to town yesterday to see Wicked. (Maybe I'll get my mom do write a guest review.) But before they headed to the theater we all met at Bar Americain, Chef Bobby Flay's American brassiere on 52nd. In a sentence, the food was great! My pancakes were light and fluffy and dad's crab and crayfish cake with eggs and terragon hollandaise sauce was very tasty. The restaurant also serves Brooklyn hash brown potatoes. No clue what makes them "Brooklyn"-style, but they were great too.

My dad casually asked the waiter if Bobby Flay ever ate at his own restaurant. "Absolutely, he's here now, table 32," the waiter replied. Of course this led my whole table to twitterpate like a group of high school girls who catch a glimpse of the BMOC (big man on campus.) It was fun to speculate about what he was eating and how often he eats there, but we were most interested to know more about the attractive blonde by his side. We all got even more excited when the couple visited the table next to ours and we realized the woman was Stephanie March, who plays Asst. District Attorney Alexandra Cabot on Law & Order SVU. A quick Wikipedia search revealed that the couple is married...and Bobby proposed to her while ice skating at Rockefeller Center a couple of years ago (good job Bobby!)

In other celeb news, I would bet money that I saw David Evangelista at Penn Station this morning. Hair stylist to the stars, Evangelista is often on the CBS morning show and was a guest judge on a Bobby Flay episode of Iron Chef. This sighting is a bit confusing because I'm surprised he wouldn't be covering tonight's Golden Globe Awards from LA. But who else is bald, walks with flare and thinks he's so cool he needs sunglasses on a rainy day.

Saturday, January 13, 2007


I had the opportunity to take the Acela Express from New York to Philadelphia this week. For those who don't know, Acela Express is Amtrak's newest type of train. It's supposed to be super fast, the cars are new and quite often the train only stops in DC, Philly, New York and Boston. Think German ICE or ICE Sprinter train on the East Coast of the US.

The cars were super nice-- glass doors, good lighting, foot rests, lots of leg room. The bummer, however, was that my train stopped in Newark, Metro Park and Trenton. Three stops in New Jersey...PLUHLEASE! What's up with that? The New Jersey Transit Express for $11.00 doesn't even stop in Metro Park.

The tickets are pricey so I don't think I would take the express train if I didn't have to for business. Still, it was a fun experience. In the words of the Great Ferris Buller: "It is so choice, if you have the means I highly recommend it."

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

As long as I don't see you doing it ON the subway

Monday, January 08, 2007

The restaurant tour continues...

(Since a number of people found the blog when they Googled the title of the last posting, I thought that perhaps I needed a title change for the second entry about the weekend:-))

Anyway, we all met Daniel in the “South Heights” (ooooohhh, the South Heights) for dinner. The restaurant of choice was the Waterfalls Café on Atlantic Ave. We noshed on falafel, hummous, grape leaves and yogurt…very tasty and very reasonably priced!

The second stop of the evening was Black Door in Chelsea to meet 2 more GW gals, Heather and Dana. The bar didn’t have a distinctive vibe or crowd but was chill and a good place to meet up with friends. I hadn’t seen Heather since the week before I left for Germany, so it was wonderful to finally chat in person and catch up!

My favorite discovery of the weekend, however, came on Sunday: DUMBO!! Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass is the neighborhood just north of Brooklyn Heights that is loaded with restaurants, a park, a theater and more! While we wanted to have pizza at Grimaldis and then dessert at Jacque Torres, the line at the pizza place was too long, so we headed over to Front Five for brunch. From my waffle with carmelized bananas and blood orange syrup to Rachel’s challah French toast and Erica’s roasted veggie and chevre sandwich, everything was superb! I will definitely be back to DUMBO!

Sadly, the end of brunch meant the end of Erica and Rachel’s weekend in NYC. But we had an awesome time and I am already looking forward to a weekend in DC in February!

Sunday, January 07, 2007

DC Girls Gone Wild

My first full weekend in NYC and I was thrilled that Erica and Rachel were able to come up from DC to visit! DC girls gone wild, okay maybe not, but we did have a great time;-)

Though Daniel claims the cool places in Brooklyn Heights are only in the “South Heights,” he agreed to cross Montague Street and meet his old GW pals for dinner and a drink at the Henry Street Ale House on Friday night. The mac n’ cheese got the Erica seal of approval and Rachel said the burger was great!

We were hard to catch on Saturday as we crossed the Brooklyn Bridge, walked through Chinatown, SOHO, Greenwich Village and Union Square. Honestly, until recently, it never dawned on me that walking across the Brooklyn Bridge was a “thing to do.” But now I am hooked…the views of the city were great and the bridge is stunning from up close. I could have people-watched all day; the bridge was abuzz with runners and a ton of tourists (of course the 70 degree weather helped too!)

The stink and crowds during part of our stroll quickly reminded me why I didn’t want to live in Manhattan. Gag! That said, I forgot how cool SOHO is! Galleries, shops and an Apple store next to J Crew…what more could you want!? On the other hand, I am still looking for the fun and hip part of Greenwich Village. I am always told how cool it is to live in “the Village.” Either I am closer to Ugly Betty than I think and just don’t get it or we missed something. The only thing I saw of note was this building that reminded me of a German Plattenbau (communist apartment building) due to its clean lines and balconies with orange and yellow colored walls.

We munched on Belgian fries and dipping sauces from Pommes Frites (2nd Ave between 7th and St. Marks Pl.) in the Lower East Side for lunch. French fries for lunch…it’s great to be an adult:-)

DC Girls Gone Wild Part II in a couple of days...

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Life in the Heights

While eavesdropping on a conversation in the subway, I learned an interesting piece of trivia about the Clark Street subway stop. I've always wondered why everyone takes an elevator from the street level to the subway. Supposedly there is a staircase, but I've never seen anyone use it. Anyhow, long story short, apparently my subway stop is 10 stories below the ground. So between living in the "heights" and probably that we are the first stop after going under the river, the elevator isn't a lazy American thing, it is actually needed:-)

In other news, my local bodega sells Kinder Schokolade!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It probably tastes different than it does in Germany and they only sell the little sticks, not the larger ones or the eggs, but in a moment of need it is good to know that I need not go further than across the street to satisfy my addiction.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Colonial New Year

To celebrate 2007, the Taylor’s headed back to the 1700’s—pre-Revolutionary War Colonial Williamsburg to be precise. My Aunt Barb and Uncle Larry were in charge of our third family reunion and they packed a ton of fun activities into our 1.5-day gathering. Our first planned event was on Saturday evening: the illumination of the town square. A group of soldiers marched around playing music and lighting torches outside each building as a narrator explained each building’s significance. Afterwards, a regiment of hungry Taylors walked to Chowning Tavern for a traditional colonial meal. There were obviously not many vegetarians in the 1700’s but Katie and I did find some great corn chowder and a crock of cheese on the menu (what is not to love about a whole pot of cheese?!) Everyone else had spareribs that were apparently to die for. The waitress stayed in character throughout the meal and taught us 3 different dice games to play with the baskets of peanuts that were on each table. Finally, in an event that you probably had to see to believe, we boarded a bus back to our cars and actually started a “Found a Peanut” sing-a-long. Taylors, yeah we’re different:-)

We spent New Year’s Eve morning walking around Williamsburg and touring the governor’s palace. Lunch found us as the King’s Arms Tavern trying more tasty colonial food, including peanut soup, which was incredible (like the inside of a Reese’s Peanut butter cup!) The surprise of Williamsburg was that you could rent traditional costumes (adults, not just kids) and wear them around the park. Let’s just say that some people pulled off the look better than others. (I took pictures of the fashion don’ts but have resolved to be less mean this year, so think I better not post them)

We rang in the New Year with a progressive dinner, moving between our 3 condos as the evening went along.
Course One: appetizers at “The New Generation” condo. Appetizers also included a rousing game of Taylor Family Trivia (ie. Q: Which two Taylor Family Members used to move the furniture out of the family room when their parents were away so they would have more room to sumo wrestle? A: me and Katie:-)) The funniest moments came when certain parents didn't know about things that certain children had done:-0

Course Two: salad at the middle generation’s condo.

Course 3: Pasta, dessert and champagne at the, let’s just say, most mature Taylor condo.

The evening also included two more sing-a-longs (no joke), presents, pictures and a great fireworks display courtesy of First Night Williamsburg.

I am still in the phase of my readjustment from Europe where I enjoy asking myself what the Europeans I know would think about certain brash displays of Americana, old and new. I myself wondered whether Williamsburg might be Americana run amok. I can honestly say, though, that the park is tremendously well done and is something for one and all to see!

As 2007 begins, I feel blessed that I have such a wonderfully close family and wish you a happy and healthy New Year!