I was up early today, and had a light breakfast in the hotel. The Cafe serves pastries and bagels from Balthazar and Ess-a-Bagels, both famous institutions in themselves, so I am in breakfast heaven (ironically I ordered steel cut oats!).
I headed down to Le Labo in Nolita for custom mixed fragrances from Grasse (the home of French perfumes) and ordered two scented candles and a musky flavored spray.
Next I managed to get a seat at Balthazar for a bar lunch of scrambled eggs and mushrooms in a puff pastry and a glass of champagne.
I ripped back up to the Theater District to catch “the Heidi Chronicles”, then returned by subway with relative ease to the Ramen Lab for a quick dinner. After waiting outside in line for over an hour, I finally was able to get a seat at the bar at the Ramen Lab (what’s with these “labs”?). It was worth the wait, since I wasn’t dying to get home or go anywhere else. The noodles were decent but the miso soup and the pork belly were superb. The seat at the bar was moot, as the restaurant is so small. All 10 seats are “at the bar”, with no chairs, no stools, nada.
When the chef heard I was from San Francisco, he asked me if I had heard of the Ramen Shop in Oakland. He had worked there last summer for three weeks. The hostess told me she loves Tartine and Bi-Rite. She goes there every time she’s in SF. I was tempted to ask her if she had imported the idea of long lines from there to create hype for this place.
People in photo above showing the noodle bar appear to be seated, but in fact they are standing. The bowl of noodles looks innocuous, but was delicious, particularly after waiting in the cold outside for so long. A guaranteed thumbs up no matter what the food tastes like, eh? All of these food and mood shops are within walking distance of the Spring Street Station Number 6 line near NY Chinatown.
My last destination, the Storefront for Art and Architecture, was no where to be found. In its place, I discovered a spanking new building just before hitting Nolita. It looked a little out of place among the old brick warehouses along the Bowery. It turned out to be the new campus of the Cooper Union.
I ventured inside and asked whether anyone knew who the architect was. The guard and a student shrugged their shoulders and one finally out of desperation uttered that they thought it was some blankety blank architect from CALIFORNIA. The style and design looked familiar, but the name danced on the tip of my tongue. When I found out later who it was, it seemed obvious. Anyone willing to guess?!? (Hint: we have a building in San Francisco by this well-known architect).
Photos above: exterior and interior of the Cooper Union, by___.
Footnote: the Heidi Chronicles started out on a light note, but ended up being emotionally draining for me. In that respect I enjoyed it. It’s a boomer story of a woman who studied art history at Vassar (hmm…). After recounting each decade of her life with familiar friends, the lead character tries to make sense of being a woman in a male-dominated world. Maybe not for all, but I could relate to this story.
On the menu tomorrow: “It’s Only a Play” with Martin Short” and Blue Hill with Rik