Not only can you actually FIND a taxi when you want one in New York, but you can pay with credit card AND watch TV at the same time. It’s quite extraordinary really. And special shout out to my Haitian taxi driver who THOUGHT I WAS FRENCH and is now my new favorite person in the world.
2 Whole Foods
Because, quite simply, it’s the greatest place on earth.
3 Mani/Pedi- love
I had the best manicure and pedicure of my life this trip to NY. It was also the most expensive (literally cost an arm and a leg...or at least a hand and a foot), but worth every penny. Iris Nails on the Upper East Side is the caviar of manicures. I may not be able to pay my rent next month, but my hand and toenails have never seen such beauty and comfort. Not to mention that NYC boasts nail salons on every street corner, most of which are affordable, clean and efficient. While I do love OPI’s new salons in Paris, it just doesn’t compare to the NYC nail salon experiencej. They’ve nailed it in Manhattan.
4 Snow Plows
Yes, they DO exist. And Mayor Bloomberg, though harshly criticized for the blizzard aftermath a few weeks ago, knows how to use ‘em. Imagine the concept- It snows. Large machines remove the snow from the streets so people can get on with their daily lives. Again, incredible. Perhaps the French government might think about investing in such innovative technology? Whaddaya say, M. Delanoe, put it on the budget for 2012? I hear it might snow. It does that sometimes in winter.
4.5 Snow Days
While snow plows do make life efficient, the lack thereof can make for some wonderful memories. I may have been cursing the snow when my flight to NY was delayed for hours and hours, but I absolutely loved the snow days home with my family this year - magical ! (Just don’t snow again please - I have another flight to catch tomorrow :)
5 The Bread Company, Montclair
I confess that after more than six years of living in Paris, France, aka the bread capital of the world, I am un snob de pain* (*a bread snob.) They just don’t make crispy, doughy, magical baguettes in the US like they do on nearly every street corner here in Paris. That said, the Bread Company, a tiny shop offering organic breads and pastries in Montclair, NJ, has won me over. Their spelt, six-grain and olive and oregano loaves are delicious and their muffins are healthy, not-too-sweet and always tasty. They also have options for the gluten-free or dairy-free among you, though I can’t get enough of their gluten-icious wheat loaves and rolls or their incredible challah bread. Not to mention, the staff are always warm and friendly and greet me with a huge smile (not always the case in Paris, as good as their bread may be!) So merci to the Bread Company for feeding me well when I’m in the Garden State and, if you’re near Montclair, definitely spend your dough on their dough.
6 Banana Republic
A sale...on sale. 50% off of 50% off of the sale price. For no apparent reason. Great sweaters for $50. A down jacket for $35. G-d Bless America.
7 The Today Show, The New York Times Crossword Puzzle and American breakfast
There’s no better combination. I’ll miss this moment in the day the most.
8 Blue Mountain Organics
I arrived back in New Jersey with a package waiting for me. The box was filled with almond butter and cookies. Who was responsible for this? Santa? In fact, it was from Blue Mountain Organics who sent me two of my favorite things in the world in one box - namely, almond butter and cookies. The raw almond butters - the italian version and the classic version - are delicious, and deliciously healthy, and GMO offers a “butter” for pretty much every nut you can think of under the sun (but only the sun, none of the nuts are roasted, just soaked, rinsed, dried and cooked at low temp). The cookies are addicting, namely the vanilla snackaroons, the “love bites” (both for their taste and their title) and the chai and protein cookies. Just call me Raw-becca. Blue Mountain Organics has a fabulous website and they’ll even deliver internationally for those people (cough cough) nut butter-deprived overseas. Definitely one Mountain I’ll be climbing for awhile!
9 Candle 79/ Candle Café
Oh Candles, how I wish I could blow you back to Paris with me. 79 for lovely ladies lunches and the Café for the best (and most efficient, may I add - thanks to all who managed to feed me well and allow me make my train the other day) takeout ever.
10 The Colbert Report
Yes, I watch this show on my Slingbox in Paris, but it doesn’t compare to the real thing. Stephen Colbert lives in Montclair, NJ, he “went to Dartmouth” (OK, he actually didn’t, he went to Northwestern, but his TV persona went to Dartmouth) and he pretends his last name is really French though it’s not, so already we have so much in common. He’s officially the funniest man in America (sorry, Jay Leno and Eric Stonestreet, I still adore you). Cher Colbert, you should absolutely film an episode - or deux - in Paris. I mean, what’s funnier or more politically incorrect than the French? ;)
11 Pure Food & Wine
I went to one of the best restaurants in NY the other night ... and my food wasn’t cooked! Scandal? Mais non! Pure Food & Wine is a raw vegan restaurant - the food isn’t supposed to be cooked. That said, it’s magnificently prepared. While I’ll admit that “raw vegan” ostensibly involves tasteless vegetables, Pure has taken a unique culinary approach to the movement. The slick dining room was filled with a lively, young clientele, far from the grungy hippies often associated with that style of cooking. Plus, it is called Pure Food & WINE so cocktails and le vin were flowing. We were lucky enough to sample many items on and off the menu including individual mushroom tartlets, a salad with endives, pecans, cashew cheese and huckleberries, hazelnut crostinis with a “caper béarnaise,” small pizzas with almond rosemary crusts and “cheese” (I don’t know how they do it, but I swear it tastes creamy, salty and très cheese-like), tomatoes, mushrooms, olives and pesto and their signature dish (and my favorite), a raw lasagna with pesto, tomato and cashew cheese, a spanikopita and a mushroom with turnip puree and root vegetables. And for dessert, a delicious tarte tatin with caramel sauce, plus an extra scoop of their to-die-for vanilla ice cream (made out of cashews) and, I confess, a stop next door at their take-out counter for a ginger cream cookie to top off the meal. The staff were friendly and informative and I love that they don’t judge non raw foodists (I did happen to be wearing a fur coat when I arrived and may have told the waiter “oooh this lasagna tastes like the one I made last night oozing with real cheese” and he did NOT respond, to my surprise, “what? you eat from cows? you WHORE.”) Pure is definitely an out-of-the-ordinary experience both for your taste buds and your health. Hey, if it’s good enough for Bill Clinton, Gisele and Tom Brady, Gwyneth Paltrow, and [insert your favorite movie star here, he/she has likely dined at Pure] isn’t it good enough for you?