Tag Archives: NYC (there)

Tipsy Parson

Here’s what: maple bacon. Here’s what else: fresh biscuits with lemon curd and scrambled eggs with chives. Here’s where: Tipsy Parson.

I had my second meal at Tipsy Parson a few weeks ago when I was back in New York and it solidified its place on my list of places to get happy, comfy food for brunch or dinner. It’s a southern place, so comfort food is exactly what it should provide, in addition to generous hospitality. None of our servers had southern accents but they were quirkily cheerful and solicitous, so good enough!

The avocado toast – greens and tomatoes and avocado piled on toast – and migas – a scrambled huevos rancheros – are my friends who live around the corners’ favorites for brunch, but I’m partial to the traditional bacon, eggs and carbs. Those biscuits are to die for – little, fluffy, warm – and that’s coming from someone who has tried and tried to make exactly those biscuits (and failed, let’s be honest).

For dinner, I don’t know where to start. Maybe the top of the menu? Just work your way down. Deviled eggs?? I love you, Tipsy Parson! I thought I was the only person who still made those and I love them only a little less than pigs in a blanket. You can also get homemade peanut butter with crackers and apples. I wouldn’t order it, but it’s adorable that they have it. You should try one of their ribs – appetizer or entree – and, naturally, order the buttermilk chive biscuit with honey butter to accompany whatever you settle on. If you’re not a big meateater, try the catfish. And if you’re ready for the full southern, get the chicken and dumplings and plan on having a lie down when you get home. Grits are available in four different combinations, but I can’t get past the consistency of even the best grits, so I can’t speak to Tipsy Parson’s execution. I just keep rolling on back to those biscuits.

The front bar and dining area are library cozy, but I prefer the back room where you get a little more space, some minor topiary action and a glimpse of a tiny, charming back garden.

Go. Enjoy. And bless your heart.

Tipsy Parson, 156 9th Ave. btwn 19th and 20th
Brunch: Sat + Sun 10 – 5:30
Lunch: Mon-Friday 11:30- 3:30
Midday: Sun – Sat 3:30p to 5:30p
Dinner: Mon – Thurs 5:30-11, Fri – Sat 5:30-12AM, Sun 5:30 – 10

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I Am a Rock Star

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So you know how you get those notifications when someone new starts following you on Twitter? If it’s someone I know, I go, “Huh,” and delete it. If it’s someone I don’t know, I go, “Huh,” and delete it. I used to go check out the strangers – a holistic healer, a crackpot preacher, a marketing firm – and try to puzzle out how they found me, but I couldn’t ever sort it out, so I stopped bothering. It’s just something about my magnetic personality, I’m sure.

Monday was different. On Monday, I got a notification that the Guggenheim Museum was following me. That’s right: THAT Guggenheim. The round one in New York. My favorite museum. Is following me. (Not literally – I’m still talking about Twitter. I’d have noticed if a block-sized museum was lumbering after me in the street.)

I’m sure it’s not personal – I just posted something that caught their spider or whatever – but I’m choosing to ignore that practical knowledge in favor of irrationally basking in the fame that goes along with being followed by a major world institution. I just know someone important – maybe the Director – is sitting in a curve of that rotunda checking his iPhone every few minutes to see if I’ve tweeted.

Don’t ruin my dream. It could be true. You don’t know.

Holiday Homesickness

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To be clear, despite nearly ten years in San Francisco, New York is home. I mean, yes, of course, home is where R is and I do feel at home in our west coast apartment, but this city by the bay with its lack of drive, diners and dead of winter is discouraging come December.

Where are all the holiday markets and the Christmas buzz? Snow, please? Pretty please?

I need some tourists crowding in front of the Saks windows on 5th Avenue and snaking out of Radio City Music Hall so that I can look native and disdainful while secretly feeding off their excitement. I would like to be caught without gloves in Central Park so I can jam my hands in my pockets and dodge into an overpriced cafe on the Upper East Side for a cocoa to go so that I won’t lose my mind while I shop for boots and gifts at Bloomingdale’s. I need some weekday time on the street in SoHo to do some strike team snatching of holiday baubles before heading to the Angelika to catch some uplifting film on otter breeding that no one outside New York even knows was released. I want to wander the West Village in the winter chill and a long coat, thinking about the exciting year ahead, feeling the pull of Right Now! and What’s Next? I miss my Christmas market in Union Square with its red stalls and garland, and its mix of happy treasures and useless trinkets.

Home. Mmmm.

This happens every year and I usually dash off eastward in mid-December to get my pre-Christmas fix so everyone doesn’t have to listen to me whinge about the seasonally inappropriate sunny days and lack of aggressive Christmas cheer here in San Francisco. But this year we’ve been on the road for what feels like the better part of the last six months, plus my holiday heart is pumping an extra four quarts of shiny red Christmas blood around for this baby of ours, so I may be bound to the snowless slow lane for the time being.

If I were going to New York, here’s a list of what I’d do. If you’re there, you should too.

  1. Hit as many holiday markets as possible. Key one: Union Square. I’m also really fond of St. Bartholomew’s on Park Ave. because I grew up going to that church. You can score a silk tie for dad, jewelry from Brooklyn for your best friend, and a ridiculous overpriced hat for yourself because your mama didn’t dress you warmly enough. Full listing of markets, here.
  2. Check out Manhattan User’s Guide (MUG) listing of blogs covering holiday doings. Especially the events on the skint and Brooklyn Based.
  3. Seriously consider schlepping up to St. John the Divine for one of their Christmas concerts (they got Sting – apparently dressed in a cowl, no less – this year). Dress warmly: that place is freeeeezing in the winter.
  4. If it snows, take the A up to the Cloisters and wander about in the park a little before or after to get some winter stillness. Have tea. Maybe duck into a concert. Come to think of it, this is a good thing to do in January too. Maybe save the stillness for post-holidays.
  5. Go see a non-Christmas show. Screw Scrooge and the Rockettes: get cozy at Joe’s Pub (Happy Endings reading series is tomorrow), catch theater divas Lynn Redgrave at MTC or Anna Deavere Smith at 2nd Stage, or any of MUG’s 5 Off-Broadway Shows to See (see bottom of page).
  6. Get a good night’s sleep and head to midtown. Mind you, I never go to midtown unless I can help it, but the Grand Central Terminal shops, including the MTA store for New York-centric stocking stuffers (see also: New York Public Library gift shop), are a good place for gifts. And cheer. As long as you’ve had your coffee and not a lot of stress before you show up. Likewise wandering up 5th Avenue to furtively glance over the tourists’ shoulders at the windows at Saks and Barney’s and the tree at Rockefeller Center. If I’m feeling deranged with festive spirit, I might even go into FAO Schwarz for a few minutes. A word of caution: only brave this outing if you can feel happy window shopping and picking up the odd inspired gift. If you’re on a buying mission, the crowds and price tags could be your downfall.
  7. Hit Wollman Skating Rink. Think ahead re: crowds and events, but yeah, skating outside in Central Park is excellent.

If you’re there, I’m jealous, so maybe don’t tell me about it. Or you can tell me about it but you have to bring/send me a gift to accompany your tales of joy. That seems fair.

In the meantime, I’m sorting through New York First to see if I can import everything I like and set up a mini Manhattan in our apartment. Wish me luck.

C’est Moi

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‘Nuf said.

San Francisco v. New York

The Marina = the Upper East Side.

The rest of San Francisco = Queens.

Poster at Ork Posters.

Shout-Outs

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  • I’ve been recklessly optimistic recently with my change in career (corporate to not-corporate) and now my optimism is floating around in a pool of optimism over at The Optimist Conspectus. Read here. Yay optimism!
  • I love My NYC’s photos. Make me homesick. I wish San Francisco had some edgy attitude to bring to the table. And, “Bring me my vegan muffin!” doesn’t count.
  • Marc Johns has a new piece up about lightswitches and traffic lights. I’d love to have a little room of Marc’s stuff that I could play in when I’m feeling distracted or low.
  • If your Twitter herd has gotten a little dull, check out Favrd and re-acquire your enthusiasm for the medium. They list the tweets most commonly tagged as favorites. (“I’ve decided start watching “Lost.” Can someone catch me up? There was a plane crash, right?”) Simple. Elegant. And a reminder of why Twitter is excellente, mis amigos.

Getting By in New York

On one side of the argument, there’s the contention that New Yorkers are not friendly. On the other side is the reality that they are to friendly so shut up already.

I hear enough of the reality (in person, in print and in conversation) that I think the contention is actually a straw man standing in for the fact that New York, as a city of enormous physical size, can be intimidating for the newcomer. Also, New Yorkers can be aggressive, even with their friendliness. But I don’t see why you’d have a problem with that. Or why you would even bring it up. What’s the matter with you? Don’t you like friendly?

Last week was a case in point.

  1. Situation: Me at the Bernard Jacobs Theater half an hour before the performance starts. No tickets available, even though there were a ton that morning online. I stand in line with five or six other people (including someone I thought was Jon Tenney but just realized was actually Carlos Gomez) hoping someone cancels their seats.

    Woman with weird hair: Is this the line for tickets?
    Me: Yup.
    Woman: Are you alone?
    Me: Yup.
    Woman hands me a ticket for the first row of the mezzanine and walks away.

  2. Situation: Me at the Public Theater less than an hour before the performance starts.

    Me: Do you have any rush seats left?
    Dude behind the ticket window: How many do you need?
    Me: One.
    Dude: We have one. Last one. $20.
    Me: Sweet.

    Strictly speaking, this is math + luck, not New York being excellent, but you know, positive experience and all.

  3. Situation: I show up at Studio 54 at 9:45 in the morning, stand in line for 15 minutes and snag a seat for the newly opened, high profile, Tony-nominated Waiting for Godot for $21.65.

    Again, math + luck. I feel a pattern coming on.

  4. Situation: Me at the Barrymore Theater half an hour before Exit the King starts.

    Me: Could I get a seat somewhere in the middle range?
    Ticket dude: Well…[points to $116 seats in the mezzanine]…I can give you one of these for $74.50.
    Me: Yeah you can!

    (Looking at all this, I’m wondering about the whole showing up late = karma thing. That can’t be a healthy behavior re-enforcement, can it?)

  5. Situation: Me at JFK mid-panic attack. (I don’t like to fly or do anything associated with it, like be in an airport.)

    Me: Excuse me, where is the water fountain?
    Cleaning girl: Right there.
    Me: Thanks.
    Cleaning girl: You don’t want to drink that though. [Goes into her supply closet, pulls out a bottle of water which sells around the corner for about $97 and hands it to me.]
    Me: Wha…? Thanks!

New York is a wonderful town. Especially when you’re running late.

New York: The Theater Season of Spring 2009

It’s spring theater season in New York. I know, for most of you, this is a thrilling time. You break out your best dresses and can hardly sleep for the excitement. You planned for it six months ago, you have your seats booked for planes and in the orchestra (recession be damned!), and you can’t wait to get to Times Square to rub shoulders with all the sophisticates from around the world.

No? Really? You didn’t? You have no plans?? You don’t know what to see or who’s in it?? You’re not getting on a plane to New York just to catch a show? What?? You are not one of the eight people outside New York who watch the Tony Awards? Not possible! Are you being honest with me or are you putting me on??

Huh. Well, that hurts me a little. It pains me, I won’t deny it. But I’m here to help. Really. I saw everything. Nearly everything anyway. And I have things to say about even the things I didn’t see (naturally), so let me help.

Let’s get one thing clear right up front: I loathe musicals. I see them because R’s brother is an actor, a successful one and a good one, and he is sometimes in musicals and we love him, so I go. (See here, for Manoel’s latest.) Some of the voices are amazing. I can appreciate that. But all the stopping and dancing and singing about feelings gets in the way of the narrative and drives me batty. Which is to say that I didn’t see anything musical in New York, so if you’re looking for my thoughts on Shrek: The Musical or 9 to 5 (even though it does star Allison Janney), you’re out of luck.

Also, while we’re on the subject, let’s be clear about a couple of other things I can’t stand. Times Square and the tourists who crowd the sidewalks gawking at the things that are not cool about New York, the terrible restaurants up there, people who wear printed T-shirts to the theater, and the new trend of clapping at celebrities’ entrances and exits and speeches and so on as if they’re doing something above and beyond by just showing up.

There. I’m done. Now let’s move on.

Getting Your Hate On

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One of my favorite movies ever is The Grass Is Greener, with Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr. (Bit of video here.) No one’s seen it except for me and I’ve only been successful in talking a handful of family and friends to watch it. It’s not that it’s boring or tragic or anything else that would dampen the mood. It’s just old school: it was a play, so it’s chatty and even though it came out in 1960, it talks like it came out in 1940, a la The Philadelphia Story.

You should watch it. You’ll love the butler. Everyone loves a clever butler.

At any rate, that’s not the point I was getting to. The point I was getting to is a throwaway line near the beginning. As the parents pack their kids off to stay with an aunt (conveniently getting them out of the way of the promiscuous hijinks to follow), Hilary advises the chaperone about her small daughter’s diet: “There’s a hate on against milk puddings.”

I can only imagine what milk pudding is and I refuse to look it up because it sounds bad enough as it is. I love that phrase – “There’s a hate on…” – and I’ve kept it and used it and never gotten a second glance when I have because the meaning is clear even if the usage is antique.

Where am I going with this on a Saturday morning? Well, I’ll tell you. I’ve had a hate on all week. Against wealthy moms ignoring their noisy children in Chelsea Market (spoken to), against the New York drizzle (unaddressed), against WiFi charges in expensive hotels in D.C. (I am not alone, apparently), against Amtrak noisiness (grrr), against matinee audiences on Wednesdays, against cheap acting and bad playwriting, against our messy apartment, and the pressures of (not) planning a wedding, against going out and against staying in, against being on the road and against being home.

It’s a pretty universal hate I’ve got going on. Can you tell?

It’s very irritating being this irritated.

So that’s why I’ve been a little absent from the writing this week and last. Well, not absent from writing. I’ve been writing. It’s all just crabby writing, that’s all. And there’s no point in taking others down with me.

Onward and upward though, right? Today’s the day. Time to buck up, straighten the spine, pull up the socks and face into the wind (or is it the other way?) Anyway, excelsior!

(That means, “Ever upward,” and it’s the state motto of New York. Which I think is cool. And appropriate.

You know what the state motto of California is? Eureka. As in, “I have found it.” Lame, no? They got here and they’re staying. No further effort required. Geez. This place. Man.

Sorry. That’s the hate coming out again. Never mind. Let’s get back on track.)

Excelsior! Saturday! Hooray!

New York: Why Torture Is Wrong, And The People Who Love Them

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Why Torture Is Wrong and The People Who Love Them by Christopher Durang at the Public Theater

My evening with Christopher Durang started on a happy note: I scored the last rush ticket after tearing up from Washington, ditching my bags at the apartment and sprinting across town to get there.

It turns out that that rush ticket saved me more than $50. It saved me the pain of regretting spending an extra $50 to see what is, let’s be honest, a wildly uneven offering. David Mamet got away with bringing November to Broadway last year just on the strength of his name, and Durang’s following suit.

I can’t blame him. If I were famous and could get anything I doodled on a napkin published and produced, who’s to say I wouldn’t take advantage too? This is why you have to make honest friends before you get famous, so they’re there to tell you you’re writing garbage but that they love you anyway and you should go back to your desk and work for another month or so to tune your jokes and get it right.

The characters are supposed to be absurd, over-the-top stereotypes (the earnest daughter, the possible terrorist, the out of touch suburban mother, the rabid Republican dad, etc.) in an absurd, over-the top plot about (what else) torture in the Bush years, but, what with the script being so weak, everyone founders. Only one of the cast – Kristine Nielsen, a Durang favorite as the mom – is able to raise her performance above the script’s faults and be truly bizarre and entertaining. She made it worth the price of admission, but barely, and I wouldn’t recommend the show to anyone but a die-hard theater go-er.

(If you are a die hard theater go-er, by the way, you will enjoy the mother’s dumptruck of insider references to recent plays by other playwrights. The audience I went with did, as did I, but I knew while I was giggling knowingly that those kinds of references, like the political ones elsewhere in the play, have a short shelf life and a limited audience.)

To top off my disappointment, I did not run into Oskar Eustis (profile here), the artistic director of the Public. I like his hair and I have a crush on his steamroller energy, but no such luck. Not that I’d have had anything to say to him if I had seen him. I should come up with some cocktail patter for those situations. Like, “I love your hair. My, you are energetic!” Do you think that would work? If someone said that to me, I’d probably let them into my Emerging Playwrights program. Wouldn’t you?