So managed to fit some awesome places in to the last two nights in New York. I thought ‘I need dinner’, so on recommendation of two separate people, I made my way to Crif dogs, a hot dog place on St Marks Place. Now, get ready for this, I walked there and wasnt sure I’d made the right place, but sure enough it was Crif dogs…It was just your standard hot dog place. Or so I thought.
You enter this little unassuming place, and go into the phone box to your left. Dial the number “1”. I stood there for a second waiting for someone to answer, when the wall of the phone box opens up, and a lovely server comes out and asks how many? ‘just me’, I respond. She tells me there is no room, but hands me a card, takes my number and says I’ll get a call when theres room, the wall closes. Now already I’m intrigued…what could there possibly be waiting for me behind there? I can hear the chitter chatter of New Yorkers filling, from what I can tell, is a cosy space. In a wall.
So I hang up the phone (as in my surprise at the wall opening, it lingered in my hand), and walk out of the phone booth in to the hot dog restaurant, and out of the door onto the street. I spot a bar next door, so go and order a pint and wait with my book. Only 10 minutes pass, and my phone rings. I make my way back over to the phone box, and dial “1” once more, again the wall opens (much to my delight and awe) and I am shown to the bar. This place is based on prohibition era america, and is called “Please don’t tell” if your ever in the East Village….GO.
The cocktail menu is like nothing I have ever seen before. I wish photos were allowed. ALAS nope. I order a ‘coriander refresher’; a gin based drink with coriander infused oils and limes etc., and a ‘Chinese mission dog’, which for me is perfect. It was spicy and covered in coriander, melted american cheese and crispy onions. I was torn between this one and one wrapped in bacon and deep fried, just to give you an idea…I tried to take a sneaky picture… but it was too dark. The next cocktail I tried was called ‘East Indiaman’, it had black tea syrup and chai infused bourbon…need I say more. While I was there made friends with a pair of fashion graduates, Nancy and Alex. Nancy invited me to a 1920’s themed garden party on Governor Island on Saturday (which I had to turn down but sounded awesome-EVERYONE dresses up in a 1920’s style and has a picinic), once we’d chatted a little more about the cocktails and New York, i.e. what there is to see – Nancy recommended a place called Joe’s Shanghai in Chinatown, which serves dumplings filled with soup!- we left to go home.
However, when we got to the corner of the road Nancy insisted we go to the oldest bar in NY… McSorley’s. All original decor, wonky and crooked, full of trinkets collected over years of service. The floor, covered in sawdust….reminded me of Amsterdam bars where the sawdust allowed the patrons of the earlier centuries to spit wherever they so wished. Anyway, I made friends pretty fast as Nancy had to go…one of which said he was about to go a little farther up town to the original Kyote Ugly….for life of me I cannot remember the name of!!! (sorry guys, but got to McSorley’s and the owner will know). This guy is really sweet, pays for the cab and says he’ll make sure I get home safe…so feel no unease. Get there and this bar is a “real american bar” The girls are hot, one of which couldn’t have looked more like Angelina Jolie if she tried! We just sat at the bar and drank some beers. The girls do dance on the bar…but it was a Monday night so I think things were slow :(….They did have a megaphone however…which I found out by (lets call her Angelina), Angelina shouting “Are you gonna buy a fucking drink, or just sip soda water all night?” at two guys. haha.
I know what most are thinking picture??? but of course, no pictures allowed!! but I did ask and got one, not of the girls unfortunately, but of the collection of bras over the bar, that has been accumulated since the opening.
. Anyway, what more can I say about it? The interior was exactly like Kyote Ugly, the girls were hot, the music was the same old classic rock….you can picture it 🙂 Before long I get tired and hop in a cab back to the apartment and go to sleep dreaming of a strange mix of prohibition and rock ‘n’ roll America haha.
So the final day before the FINAL day comes. I wake up late…was really not my plan. But anyhuuu. Maura and I hit the town to do last minute shopping. (back to Zumiez, of course) and to ‘The Strand’…a HUGE book store…its selling point reads (pardon the pun) “18 miles of books” and I was trying to figure this out… I genuinely think they mean it. Only in the very literal sense, if you add all the shelf space used for books, I reckon it would add up to 18 miles. But then again, I am useless at guesstimating. I bought “Rebecca” by Daphne Du Maurier (I cannot put it down), it is one of my all time favourite movies. Alfred Hitchcock’s first, but as tends to always be the case, the book is better, and I’m only three chapters in!
Maura had tickets to a premiere of “The Grandmaster” directed by Wong Kar Wai, who is renowned as an auteur for his highly stylised, visually unique and stunning pieces, such as Chungking Express. His new masterpiece (and it really lives up to it) stars Tony Leung, and the captivating Ziyi Zhang, and is set in the tumultuous republican era, just after the fall of China’s last Dynasty. It is an epic action film inspired by the life of Kung Fu master, Ip Man. For those of you who don’t know…he was Bruce Lee’s master. I had no idea what I was going in to, or what it would be like…but I was excited.
A quick trailer: scrap that… I couldn’t decide which to show you….one had so much impact…as did the film, but was too much. As is typical of trailers these days, too much was let on, they revealed far took much of the good stuff. I think people should just do what I did, go without any preconceptions.
Having said that, really wanted to write a full review, as I was taken aback by the visual immensity of the whole piece; but having said that I have left it a few days and so, will only give a sum up of my thoughts on this stunning film. Wong Kar Wai has presented the story as if in shards, so if you are not a speaker of Mandarin Chinese, Japanese or Cantonese, or a fan of Kung Fu films, then you may get a little lost, but only a little and its worth it. Also as I know little of Chinese history and historic culture, I was a little baffled at some points. BUT PLEASE DONT LET THAT PUT YOU OFF. Each frame has a certain stillness, and powerful thoughtfulness that reflects the Kung Fu philosophy. There are certain parts of the film that I cannot get out of my head. Wai uses up close camera shots and fractured frames in fights, which made me feel I was in the fight, being hit by each move. I like kung fu films, but this one has a delicacy and focus like no other I’ve seen. It has reignited my interest in learning martial arts and I will. I wont go on much more in risk of not giving it justice, or saying to much, but the opening scene throws you right in to an epic fight scene; and the film is packed with all different styles of Kung Fu. My favourite fight is the one between the the two main characters…amazing is all I will say. One bad thing though…after they ‘finished the film’ they had a Hollywoodesque ending, and it really didn’t need it. There are some really cinematographically inspirational shots, to put some of the best films shots (in my mind) to shame, from the snowy plains of the north, the tropical lands of the south to the new world of Hong Kong (from the films viewpoint).
Right enough about the film. The premiere was amazing (if you didn’t guess) with free popcorn and drinks, as well as two red carpets…the full cast, director and producer (Harvey Weinstein), there was an introduction from producer and director…in which they exclaimed the actors and done all the own kung fu, VERY impressive.
After the film ended, we went to the loo and Ziyi Zhang came out of one of the cubicles! Even more beautiful in real life. Managed to get a cheeky picture (not really with her, but she photo bombed it 🙂 )
What else happened? you may ask, as it didn’t end there…who else popped up other than Lou Reed and Laurie Anderson….they also went to the premiere, and they photo bombed our picture. We definitely didnt run ahead of them and ‘take a picture’ of five guys burgers haha.
After all that excitement, we buzzed off to meet Pete at Momo Fuku, another place recommended by many people. I went for the momo fuku ramen, which had pork belly, noodles and miso, but it really wasn’t as plain as all that. I just wish they served ramen like this in England….I tried to upload a picture, but the internet is really not liking it 😦 ill try one more time for luck. NOPE. We all then tried a strictly desert place, ‘Spot’ and i had a green tea tiramisu and a passionfruit bubble tea NOM before heading back and conking out expecting a busy day ahead.
sorry there wasn’t a lot of pictures this time round the wifi is being a stroppy cow…but hey ho, if you know me… you’ll probably hear about it all non-stop and see all the pictures till you’re blue in the face. (with envy mind).
OH! also forgot (I really dont know how), in the day went to this place called ‘S.Mac’ where they did the best mac n cheese. I had the matador, which was constructed out of goats cheese, spinach, olives and garlic…YUM. They had the most extraordinary flavours, its really opened my mind up to mac and cheese….really I went here for Emma, but I came out of there a new woman, (again I have pictures 😦 but it no worky, sorrrweee).
OKAY UPDATE: they all just uploaded so I’m gonna stick them at the end here, and put a lil caption (in no particular order sorry):
<a The momofuku ramen, the egg (in the middle) was THE best poached egg in the world and really brought out all the porky flavours
My matador mac n cheese…by the way it comes in 4 sizes, this is the smaller and the one up is silly….as I dont know how a human could finish it…theyre that good (lots of cheese…okay maybe Americ could…he likes cheese)
my green tea tiramisu.