extended stay recap

I was supposed to return to Austin on Sunday, but when I received a text from Phil encouraging me to stay in New York, I had to take him up on it. "Encouraging" is the right word. "We all of course miss you and want you here, but we also know how much fun you’re having. So stay a few more days if you’d like." I was relieved. I’d arrived on Wednesday evening, just in time to hit Haru on Park. "Nowhere in Austin would it be this crowded on a Wednesday night." I missed New York the moment I sat in it, and yet It was somehow still as if I’d never left. Come my first full day in New York, I was in back-to-back meetings from Noon to 7:30pm. Bridesmaid dress appointment at Vera Wang (hated everything, and the beautiful bride agreed). It was all heavy and hot satin, and really I only look good in V necklines, but boobies are a problem in a wedding party (even a little church booby), so there will be no Vs. Then off to book-related meetings, followed by another bridesmaid appointment at Jenny Yoo, where the dresses were much lighter (though I was trying on mermaid dresses), and when the fabric was too thin, even in their largest size, it looked horrible on my body. I might as well have been wearing horizontal stripes and the thinnest pale fabric available. Dress shopping can be worse than shopping for a bathing suit, because you know people will actually be looking at you in public. With a bathing suit, there’s always a cover up. You can ease your shorts off while you’re already lying down. There are maneuvers. There is no maneuvering when it comes to bridesmaid dresses. Thankfully sakitinis followed promptly at Kittichai.

The next day began with a manicure and hair blowout (simultaneously!), with a stop at O Magazine! It was really dreamy being there. I can’t elaborate, other than to say I saw Gayle King’s office and a book of plus size models, none of which had a single fat cell to spare. They all looked like Hawaiian Tropic models. It didn’t seem fair, really. They made plus size seem like a real plus. I needed to give this more thought. I headed over to SAKS for lunch, then slipped over to NBC studios for another meeting. It was Friday. There were kids putting in the hallways. It was comforting, and it made me miss office life. Then I finally made it back to Alexandra’s pad, where I crashed until dinner at Islero, where I remained, to my surprise, until 2:30 AM. "I’m only ever up this late if someone poops."

10:30 AM Balthazar brunch on Saturday geared me up for some serious soho shopping with friends. Snow fell, making it all seem magical. They went back to their apartments for naps and showers. We had dinner reservations at 9pm, Spitzer’s Corner. I had to still get my white pizza fix. Ino! There were things to be eaten dammit! I walked to Foley & Corina and finally decided I’d crash at Inoteca for my truffle egg toast and red wine at the bar. While there I managed to bump into four different readers, none of which were actually together. It was lovely really. It made me feel like I was home, which maybe sounds weird, but I always love when people introduce themselves like that. It makes me feel blessed to have this blog, to be able to connect with so many people. I could either head back to Alexandra’s to drop off my purchases (my favorite was a fabric counting stories book from Soho Baby on Elizabeth Street), or I could say fuck it, I’m staying here until dinner. It was 5:30pm. I’d been going strong since 10am. Fuck it, indeed. I ordered another round and invited friends to come join me a bit before dinner.

Dinner was a disaster. Every single item at Spitzer’s Corner was slicked with pork fat. Had I asked for a napkin, surely they’d have slapped on a slice of raw bacon and oinked at me. The mac ‘n’ cheese had a clump of white bacon "lardon" in the center, ribbons of it–what I imagine a tapeworm looks like inside the body. It was appalling. I’d talked up chef Wayne Niche from the time I’d interviewed him when he was working at March, and with what appeared to be the gelatinous lining of human skin on my dinner plate, I regretted ever singing his praises. The pork popcorn was overly paprika’d, to the point where my half of the table was hacking away. Though many would be pressed to notice, as it was hoarse-loud in there, each of us screaming over the other to be heard. But there was something that would make this all worth while: homemade donuts. I’d been sure to order two bags for our party of twelve in advance, because it seemed they were out of the wine I’d ordered, out of the pickles, and–well, I didn’t want to hear they’d be out of donuts by the time dessert came ’round. So when we were presented with brown paper bags spotted with grease, we each inhaled, thinking back to our San Genaro days of zeppoli. I noticed some filling on the edge of mine. It had been injected with cream, I assumed. Everyone else cracked their donuts open and began to lap up their filing. Then the faces of my friends began to squint and tilt, looking at one another for confirmation on what they tasted. "Ew, it’s yeast." The donuts were raw inside and tasted as if they’d been laced with the aroma of barn stall. There was a sting, almost. They brought out some champagne, gratis, but I couldn’t stomach anymore (which says a lot).

Sunday I slept in, then hiked my way to Century 21 where I spent way too many hours and effort for far too few things. I made my way up to Bloomingdale’s Forty Carrots just for the plain yogurt. I felt surrounded by Gossip Girls. I was invited to dinner at Giorgione, a restaurant I adore, but I was fooded out. I went to bed early.

Monday I returned some things to SAKS, purchased more, shipped things tax-free, free-shipping, etc. It was grand. Then I met up with friends, grabbed my white slice, and contemplated picking up a black and white cookie for Phil. "No need," he said, "It’ll just be hard by the time it gets here." I contemplated bagels and decided against it. If anyone wants New York bagels, you order them, via H&H. The shipping is reasonable, and I had enough to schlep. That night, I met friends for dinner at Craft on 19th street, where everything tasted perfectly seasoned, coated, and cooked. We ordered too much dessert. But I didn’t mind at all. I felt as if I’d done what I came to do: I ate New York.

Tuesday morning, I had one last business breakfast meeting at Country (where Philip proposed). And then I was off in a Lincoln towncar.  "Wait, can you make one stop?" I headed to Lady M on 78th Street for a slice of bliss. There is nothing better than their crepe cake. Nothing. I’d pay the $75 to ship it here on the next holiday. It’s that good. And then I was back on a flight to Austin, a place I still resist calling home, even if it’s supposed to be. New York will always be home, no matter where I live.



  1. I have to say, I feel really badly for the bride, your friend. All you have done is bitch about this wedding.

  2. H&H??? Please tell…? I've been living in Philly too long and miss my NY bagels.
    Oh how I miss NY..I'm so with you on always being a New Yorker. There is nothing like it.

  3. Jaime — ha, i was going to say the same thing and I'm also here in Philly. Thanks for letting me live vicariously for a minute, Stephanie.

  4. You sound like me… talking about trips in terms of food. We're going to NYC on the 15th, staying for a week, and I swear all we're going to do is eat our way through the city. Luckily I just got a cute pair of walking shoes because we'll have to walk off all that deliciousness.

    I don't know when a place starts really feeling like home. I'm from Austin, but have lived in the Dallas area for 2.5 years now. I'm betting that even if we stay here and raise a family here that Austin will always be home to me…

  5. I'd say Spitzer's Corner is doomed, as perhaps it should be, after that review…

    Loved hearing how you spent your time. "I ate New York." As it should be!

  6. I hated Spitzers when I tried it last week, but didn't want to chime in when you said you were going there. They really need to serve JUST beer. Their cheese plate was a damn shame (it was like a cabot tasting), and when you can buy cheesse wholesale from Murray or Artisnal, they have no excuse.

  7. You sound disappointed with parts of your trip. (crap food). I guess the most important thing was seeing your friends. The crepe cake takes a close 2nd.

  8. Add another reader sighting of you Ms. Klein. The funny thing is I didn't think it was you b/c your hair was straight! And even more amazing: My husband saw and recognized you first!

  9. Glad to hear you had a fabulous time in NY. What happened to going to Death & Company? My girlfriends & I looked at your list of places to go in NY since we are always looking for new places to wine and dine and are planning to go this Tuesday after work. Thanks for the suggestions….any others?

  10. Loved this post – and not to jump off the food bandwagon, but your dress shopping is very timely. My almost 16 year old got asked to the prom last week, and we're going prom dress shopping this weekend (she'll be 16 by the time the dance rolls around). This is a beautiful child – but she's extremely boobalicious – and this is a VERY bare year in gowns…I'm worried about finding something she'll a) love b) feel good in and c) I won't have to shoot every boy that looks at her.

    Funniest thing – her dad wants to be 'involved' in buying her dress – but good god, a MAN helping a boobalicious daughter find a dress? Sorry. Not happening. So we're 'pre-shopping' this weekend to find something that she can then direct her dad to the following weekend.

    Glad you had a good time!

  11. mmmm H&H. My sister went to Barnard as well. When I would come to visit her, I would raid the cafeteria for H&H salt bagels. Too much salt, but so good. I have to check into ordering them. Thanks for that tip, I never even considered having them shipped.

  12. I always feel so upset after a meal I was anticipating is a letdown. Betrayed, even! Oh well, I'm glad you didn't let one bad meal get you down. I hope to one day make a group of friends in this city like you have. Sharing a good meal and good wine with people you love is one the best things in life. Hands down.

    PS, going to have to try that cake now!

    FROM SK: Oh, it is the best, best cake. Get the original, just cream and crepes baby. So light and layered and perfect.

  13. Oh, it sounds like a lovely time in New York. How great you got to have an extended stay! I am actually off to New York on Saturday (through Wednesday,) and then fly to Austin on Wednesday (through Sunday) for spring break. I am SO looking forward to it! Again, glad you had a good time!

  14. I loved this post. It made my heart ache for NYC.

    The man and I will be there in May and I can't wait to try some of your favorite things. I always absorb peoples favorite things into my favorite things.

    If y'all make it to down to San Antonio, there is an unbelievable wine and tapas restaurant tucked into the back of an artists' shopping center on Bitters Road. It's called Bin 555.

    They serve tiny quail legs, truffle gnocchi, cheese plates with honey, and veal meatballs with a peach brown sugar sauce. I only stop eating once I embarrass myself with the quantity I've consumed.

  15. Dean & Deluca ships H&H bagels tooo. I sent some to my parents in Florida for the holidays. Along with some salmons too. They loved!
    Glad you had fun – I think we may have been in Sak's at the same time on Monday. :)

  16. AH! I'm so soad I didn't get to run into you too and sing your praises, I was hoping we would cross pathson some pusy street while you were in town and I culd tell you how much I adore you. Boo. But I'm glad you had a good time and now I have a few more restaurants I need to visit in the city!

  17. AH! I'm so sad I didn't get to run into you too and sing your praises, I was hoping we would cross pathson some pusy street while you were in town and I culd tell you how much I adore you. Boo. But I'm glad you had a good time and now I have a few more restaurants I need to visit in the city!

  18. I had to blink twice when I spotted the word 'gratis', I first didn't realize that I switched languages inside my head – it's Dutch meaning 'free'. How do you know that word, is it used in yiddish too or something?

    And it truely sucks when dinner you were looking forward too turns out to be crap. Been there, and it's the ultimate mood-killer.

  19. I'll say it again. You look MUCH better with the curly hair. It just does something for you – not many people have that lovely wavy hair – but lots have long straight red hair.

  20. I love multiday food binges like this, but my waistline doesn't.

    How do you cope with the inevitable pound or two of weight gain? Do you go on an immediate diet, commit yourself to a week or two of gym workouts, or simply wait patiently for your body to readjust itself to a lower weight?

    FROM SK: I no longer make myself crazy over my weight. It will come off. I don't live like that daily. I am not a nut about it. On days when I've been excessive, I dial it back a bit (nothing extreme) on other days. It all evens out. If I wanted to lose this ten extra pounds I've got, I'd need to work really hard. I'd look great, but really, all the work isn't worth it to me right now. Sometimes it is, but right now, eh.

  21. So after reading this decadent post, I stopped at Lady M on the way home from work and got two pieces of the crepe cake to go (one for me, and one for my husband). Not surprisingly, I scarfed them both before he got home :) It was to die for! Thanks for the recommendation.

  22. Kim: Gratis is….wait for it…a word in ENGLISH! Can you BELIEVE it? Golly gee! Check out Webster's online:
    And no, it is not used in Yiddish, and that implication smacks of bigotry and ignorance. Why would you assume Stephanie would only know words used in Yiddish?
    Sorry to go off-topic here; comments like this make my teeth clench.

  23. Kim, hi, have you met Stephanie? She's from New York. Have you met New York? New York, the world's unofficial melting pot? We know words in other languages. By the way, gratis is a Latin word, not a Dutch word.

    Thanks – that was pretty funny to read first thing in the morning.

  24. Do you really like Austin or your life there? Everytime you write about New York or your pre marriage pre baby life… you write as though you are now in a prison and long for those days back. Girl you don't know what you have! I have to work full time, because we just can't pay all the bills on my husband's salary… I miss being able to stay home and be a wife and mother… learn to enjoy this part of your life… learn to love what is here and now..not what is in the past. All too soon this time in your life will be the past too and you may one day be writing about babies and poop the way you write about New York today.

  25. Glad you had what sounds like a delicious trip. And ignore all the haters who want you to enjoy your trip less because you could have been with the family in Austin. I'm glad you manage to keep a self and a family. I hope I'll juggle the two as successfully one day.

  26. There is "home" and there is "back home". That's how I define where I grew up from where I've made my adult home.

  27. Ruth, come on, maybe Kim is Dutch and was surprised to read a word she knew but thought wasn't universal. And newsflash, Einstein (if I may use your own tone against you), gratis, as Sam pointed out, is not an English word, but rather Latin.

    Wow. I love when people try to fight so-called ignorance with an even bigger portion of it. I think we've finally found the real definition of irony.

  28. I have to ask again- Where was that cake from in that pic and what was it? it was huge but looked so good.

  29. Take it easy Green, she's just asking a question – btw, it is the Dutch word for 'free'.

  30. I must must must have your red top/dress!!! May I ask where you found it?

    FROM SK: Anthropologie. I practically live there. There and the apple store.

  31. My husband was in the Air Force for 20 years, and we learned early on that any place is what you make of it. Our first assignment when our boys were small was Germany, and although I had never been away from our families, we learned to love it and took advantage of any activities we could afford. I'd love to see it again, but with more money! Someone told me early on in those days "Bloom where you are planted" and I really believe it's true that a person must make a conscious chioce to enjoy the time and place they're in at any given time. -although it took a move to Montana's beautiful big sky country and nearly 20 years to refer to a different place as "home". Glad to hear your trip was (mainly) wonderful!

  32. The whole bacon fat thing is so trendy right now. Everywhere, all of these restaurants are making "comfort food", which is tasty most of the time but absolutely horrible for you. Sometimes its downright gross and makes you feel sick. The only place I've found the pork fat binge to be worth it is Momofuku Noodle Bar. I could eat everything in that place. Their pork buns are the most amazing thing ever. The texture of the pork fat is so divine, I want to spread it on toast.

  33. All right, not to beat this to death, but to respond to Rachel:
    Gratis is DERIVED from Latin, but it is one of those terms that has by now been fully incorporated into the English language, such as pro bono and bona fide, to name a couple. Check it out: http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/gratis
    What annoyed me about Kim's comment was the assumption that Stephanie would only know a "foreign" word if it was in Yiddish. I found this offensive, period.

  34. Posts like this remind me why I want to live in the city and need to get the frick out of Michigan. All of the New York culture amazes me, and is something I need to experience. One of my close girlfriends moved to the city after graduation, and she never tells it like this. She got sick of it all and moved back. You've reminded me of what I wanted my entire nineteen years, and that I'm not going to get it anywhere but New York. Thank you.

  35. Ruth and Green, seriously, lighten up. I am South African and the word Gratis means free in Afrikaans too. I myself was surprised when I first heard it being used in English. It has nothing to do with "bigotry" and yes I was probably a little ignorant, you know growing up on the Dark Continent and all. She was merely asking a question. Sheesh.

  36. Gratis is also a Spanish word, so it's probably also a Dutch word. The uses of both words are probably derived from the Latin.

    Your description of dinner at Spitzer's Corner made me almost-gag. That's a compliment. :)

    The crepe cake – is it just crepes layered with whipped cream? Please please share – I'm totally intrigued.

  37. Stephanie, Please recommend your favorite places to eat in Austin. I have yet to have a meal here that compares to New York.

    It would be appreciated.

  38. you know, there are also folks out there that don't know many jews or know much about jewish culture. even here in nyc i have folks find out that i'm jewish and and then ask me all sorts of surprising questions. i can see how, in a different context, these folks could come across as anti-semetic, just by displaying ignorance, which is why i'm happy to talk about being jewish, instead of shaming folks for what they don't know.

    so many folks have thought that because i'm jewish i'm kosher, and had really funny ideas about what kosher is. i also had one guy convinced that sukkot was like thanksgiving — turkey, pilgrims, pumpkin pie — because it's the jewish harvest holiday, and i bet someone told him that it's a type of thanksgiving (except that it took place a couple thousand years before europeans came to this continent). all i'm saying is that while i can see how the yiddish part of her comment is offensive, it doesn't have to be anti-semetic. there are folks out there who, shockingly to us in the know, are not familiar with jewish folks, and perhaps its best to educate before we attack.

  39. I love a good vacay or get away but I also love coming home. I missed that part of your post, it seems like all you do is yearn for the past.

  40. aaah! the fact that you hit 'inoteca, out of so many choices, on your trip here warms my heart. I hit it every year for my birthday. It was a random find for me – and ever since one of my true favorites.
    Glad you got to "come home" and "go home" too. Some people may or may not understand your incomplete comfort with Austin. I am the same. Some days Dallas (hometown) is absolutely home, other days NYC (current/possibly permanent home) is. It's the conflict that we are allowed to actually love both (unlike in so many other relationship scenarios). But still, every time, I go back to Texas – I feel like I should be choosing and apologize to my TX family and friends for NYC – and vice versa when I return. But in the end, here's to extended stays… whenever we get to linger a bit longer when we want to. :)

  41. I don't think Stephanie is yearning for the past.. I think she just misses the city that has her heart. I don't blame her one bit.

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