Yesterday I began celebrating my birthday doing several of my favorite things around the city that I love so much.
It began with delicious coffee and croissants from Joyce Bakeshop on Vanderbilt Avenue. It's a great neighborhood bakery that always tempts on the way to the subway to work. Their full-bodied and rich Stumptown coffee is the perfect way to start the day. And their croissants are some of the best I've had in New York.
Then I met up with my friends Eff and Sarah for a behind-the-scenes tour of the Frick Museum, led by our friend Heidi. We got to see all sorts of hidden treasures in the basement and top two floors of the museum that the public never gets to see. I wish I could post the details, but suffice to say the Frick family knew how to live the high life.
The Frick is one of my favorite museums in the city because of both its
grandeur and its modest size, making it a delightful but manageable
visit in an afternoon. It's both public and personal, as the expression
of the desires, whims and enormous wealth of robber baron Henry Clay
After touring the Frick, Eff and I headed to a lavish lunch at the ultra-exclusive University Club. How he became a member of this classic "old white man's club" is still a mystery to me. But I'm not one to question a three-course lunch in one of their ornate dining rooms, with the "ladies who lunch" and the captains of industry sitting all around us.
I decided to meander through Central Park after lunch. I ran into Peter of Baby Soda, one of my favorite swing bands in the city. We chatted about gigging, literature and the benefits of treating folks decently. It was a gorgeous afternoon for hanging out on the Poet's Walk with someone I don't normally get to talk to that much — cause I'm usually dancing to his music.
The highlight of the day was a fantastic feast at one of my favorite restaurants, Umi Nom in Clinton Hill, presided over by Chef King Phojanakong.
We had so many dishes, I'm not sure I can remember them all. The pork adobo was as always a standout, as was their addictive chicken wings. The Thai beef salad was a surprise, with a neat blend of rare steak, cool salad, and heat from the Thai chilis. Their lightly fried calamari are perfectly salty, crispy and fresh. As a finale, we ordered several dishes of the amazing molten chocolate cake, infused with thai chilis, and an arty bowl of Filipino halo-halo pictured here.
The birthday celebrating doesn't stop, of course. More later…