Monday, October 23, 2006


“Discipline is remembering what you want.”
Just as the first glass of Barbera was poured–before I even had a chance to order myamatriciana–my friend Megan and I were off, talking about love and the choices women make. You see, many of our girlfriends have enviable resumes, Rolodexes and 401k’s but just can’t seem to get it together when it comes to men. Professionally brilliant, emotionally stunted. Without the brilliance or the 401k, I can be that woman as well.
New York City breeds this dichotomy in the fairer sex; we fight through our days on the asphalt and in the cloud-skimming skyscrapers and then throw up our hands come twilight. We can’t be “on” all the time. We don’t want to have the same discipline with our boyfriends that we have with our careers. In some aspect of our lives, we want to be naive, trusting, loving–blindly confident that everything is going to work out despite the spreadsheet numbers and facts.
There, sitting, listening on the banquet at “Lupa,” I heard Megan utter one of the most emotionally intelligent–and Big City, in your 20’s relevant–expressions I’ve ever heard. “Discipline is remembering what you want.”
We women have to be proactive to accomplish our professional and sentimental dreams. Don’t sit back and wait for him (Would you sit back and wait for a job?). Remember the full life that you want, and always go after it.  
(And if you need something to warm you on these chilly, October nights, stick to this warm chowder instead of any ol’ warm body…  I promise the soup won’t cause an awkward ’morning moment…’)

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Caviar at “Christie’s”

“Matador”—a brilliant red shade of “Chanel”— coated the bottom of my chopsticks. My short black wool dress, angle-grazing velvet coat and gray suede Christian Dior heels were a bit much for late night sushi on a Tuesday but, it had been one of those “Uptown/Downtown” evenings that needed to be digested—alongside an order of fried oyster maki roll— before washing off the war paint and crawling into bed. (Note to self: always buy a copy of the “New York Observer” before going solo to a SoHo sushi counter—the leering Italians can ruin any girl’s appetite.)
Last night’s agenda (ahem, before the fried Japanese fare): “Simon & Schuster’s” party for “Why Smart Men Marry Smart Women” at the very elegant Flatiron-district “Sapa” and then off to Rockefeller Plaza and “Christie’s” auction house to celebrate a certain adolescent French queen’s killer fashion sense (“Queen of Fashion: What Marie Antoinette Wore to the Revolution”). The former and the latter required very different garb—book parties tend toward the stuffy and the tweed whereas “Cartier”-sponsored events at famous auction houses can make such time-intensive wardrobe requests as “18th Century Chic.” Powdered wigs and “Dangerous Liaisons”-like decolletage (remember Glenn Close’s bosom?!) were encouraged. My god, what’s a girl from the Redneck Riviera to do?
Neither party disappointed nor did one completely fall into clichéd territory. The “Simon & Schusters” were fashionable, young and loving the champagne and mojito bar. And, “Christie’s”…well, all right, one friend wryly observed the “octos and anas” were out in full force (the octogenarian men and their nutritionally-starved socialite counterparts). But everyone was sweet and gracious and the scene… lordy.  I digested a week’s worth of cholesterol (foie gras toasts, caviar points, beignets) whilst perusing the main gallery’s wares—the objets d’art and the objects of men’s affections. Just how much did these husbands spend on their lovely lady’s ensembles? The hair stylist, at-home makeup artist, cumbersome jewels, yards of silk, throws of fur… Is it gauche to ponder such things? Sorry. A fete down South (at least on the Gulf Coast) is a mullet-tossing competition that requires cut off jeans, a bathing suit and slather of 30 SPF.
My very fashionable, very down-to-earth date for the evening had to get back to her two babies on the Upper East Side. Did I want to stay behind? she asked. Enjoy a few more flutes of champagne? Nah… I just needed a few fried oysters—hopefully from Appalachicola—and then to get back to the real world.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Test Kitchen

Do you cook? Would you like to help me perfect the Country Farm Egg Salad with Pancetta, Parsley and Frisee? I’d love it if any of you home chefs would test the recipe and send me your thoughtful feedback.
Click here–Farm Egg Salad–for the recipe and step-by-step photos.
I think you’ll find it to be a wonderful, super simple brunch dish that’ll impress friends or visiting dignitaries (aka, mom & dad).

Monday, October 9, 2006

There Were 3 Women in a Bar–2 Single, 1 Taken

Gorgeous, crisp, cool Sunday. Liver toast, French wine and girl time at the “Spotted Pig” (yummmm, I swear you’d love Batali’s take on the classic pub fare). Gossip, career advice and big laughs from our sun-dappled corner table. Set to the back, we were in perfect position to spy on Jimmy Fallon eating his eggs and hash, check out the Catherine Malandrino and Stella McCartney runway show streaming through the door (trust me, you’ll always leave “The Pig” feeling slightly frumpy) and then quickly resume our private conversation.
And, then? Our table for three began flirting with their table for two. Girlfriend 1 can be described as nothing short of ballsy (any other word would shortchange her bravado)—she teased and taunted the neighboring table until they were totally flustered AND smitten. Girlfriend 2 introduced herself into the conversation but in her own coy, flushed-cheek manner.

And, then? Then, there was me… I’ve never been the “attached girl,” the one with a boy back at home, watching NASCAR, turning the apartment into a smokehouse while he sautees pancetta in the cast-iron, devising as many swine-centric recipes as possible for our cookbook proposal. To tell you the truth, I had wasted a bit too much brain space trying to imagine the scenario and gauge my subsequent reaction.
But, there I was, lounging on the banquet, sunlight playing across the table and the handsome men’s faces… wanting to be home, watching my boyfriend flip his baseball cap around when he’s in serious “chef mode,” kissing the top of a head that smells a lot more like a butcher shop than a bottle of shampoo, remembering how long I’ve wanted to be in a serious relationship (and seriously in love).
“I’m gonna go. Call me later,” I mouthed to my friends, slipping out of the table and single Manhattan on a Sunday afternoon. Chef and I met up on the corner of Lafayette and Broadway and strolled through late afternoon cityscape, watching the water towers fade into Houston Street’s twilight sky.
(Dinner, you ask? The fruit of his copious notes and bacon grease-splattered kitchenette: Country Farm Egg Salad with Pancetta, Parsley and Frisee. A bottle of Sancerre. A Balthazar baguette. When Chef is good, he’s very good…When he’s bad? I have girlfriends that are even worse…)

Wednesday, October 4, 2006

Job Security

Fabio? Si, ho detto Fabio. Once-upon-a-time Emma was one of those highly specialized models that couldn’t do runway (too short), wasn’t right for print (still too short, asymmetrical features) and didn’t quite measure up for lingerie work (read: flat-chested, white girl’s rear). The gray area in between? Carefully ripped bodices and prairie skirts whilst straddling a horse and falling helplessly into Fabio’s arms. For verisimilitude, they fell in love and moved in together.
Whose life is that anyway?
That, of course, was after she and A.Z. had a brief flirtation back in the early 80’s. This dalliance, affair—call it what you will—was the reason she landed the 6-figure “marketing director” position with A.Z.’s company. Back in the day, if she coughed, he came running. Now, the tables were turned. Emma wasn’t a nubile 21 year-old and A.Z. was a self-important “husband of” that had begun to build his hip hotel empire from wifey’s Rolodex. Suddenly, he was someone. 
But, Emma had a long memory— and videotapes—of the early days so she was comfortable, an office fixture that would never be updated for a younger, sleeker model. Forget contracts and professional performance: Emma soon showed me (patience, dear readers) that in the Big City, VHS tapes are the best job security of all…

Monday, October 2, 2006

The Minnow and The Marlin

It was one of those minimalist spaces—lines, lines, lines, no comfort— that I had seen in big Hollywood flicks and Scavullo fashion layouts. The plasma screens, refrigerated pyramids of Sancerre, black and white shots of a naked Nadja Auerman (legs, legs, legs) and strangely shaped furniture both mesmerized and bewildered this new Manhattanite. I had just come from swivel chairs, mice along the floorboard and cheap coffee (fake creamer, generic “Sweet & Low”). Now this. SoHo and trendy office spaces were a long way from 6th Avenue and the conservative’s budget.
“He’s in St. Barth’s recouping. He requires 2 faxes a day—morning and night—and an evening phone call. Tell him everything is smooth as silk and we can’t wait for his return. Bastard. Breaks his leg skiing in Aspen so he takes downtime in ‘the islands,’” the diminutive blonde said, adopting a posh British accent for the conclusion of her diatribe. “In by 10:00 out by 7:00 and lunch runs about an hour. You can go out or order in—lotta great places around here. Most of us just get take-out and watch movies on the flat screen, you’re more than welcome to join.”
Her name was Emma and I’d grow to adore her, trust her. The state of Mississippi, “Studio 54,” and Fabio were the major influences in her life. She was like no one else in the office and gave me a run for my Confederate money with her accent and occasional use of double negatives. Between her blonde, silken bob and tales of racy sex with Fabio on their romance novel cover shoots, she pulled off the fish-out-of water shtick with élan. Once again, I was the minnow trying to keep up with the trophy Marlin.