Sunday, September 10, 2006

In my defense, it did have rats on it

Last weekend we went to New York, to catch MOMA's Dada exhbit before it closed, to shop, to eat everything in sight. MOMA is one of my favorite museums (along with the Tate Modern, the Brit Mus and the Louvre, which has my most favorite sculpture in the world, a piece I like to think of as Man Getting Bit on the Ass by a Cat). As well as the Dada pieces, I loved Douglas Gordon's Play Dead; Real Time, a 21-minute worm's-eye-view of elephants moving in a stark white room.

The eating was fab, as always, though our unexpected four-hour delay at Logan (yeah, we decided to fly because it would be better than the five-hour drive. How smart are we??) meant we missed out on our tradition of arriving in the city and heading straight to lunch at
Margon. We finally got to the hotel with 45 minutes to spare before our 7:30 reservation at Wallsé, and so just had time to force the lock on the suitcase (because someone who wasn't me lost the key), throw on clean clothes and take a cab down to the West Village.

The Boy had scallop ravioli in a saffron cream sauce, then a pork belly dish that was all delicious melt-in-the-mouth fat. I had a simple salad of really fresh greens, and then a rich, peppery-sweet Hungarian goulash. The wine list was almost all Austrian varietals, and the sommelier, for some reason, decided I probably spoke German. Luckily, I was able to fake it.

On Saturday night we went to
Havana, Alma de Cuba, a busy, cosy place in the Village with a menu of traditional comfort-food dishes. The Boy went for the lechon, which probably could have used more salt but was pretty tasty. I had the rabo encendido, an oxtail stew that was almost the Caribbean cousin to the previous night's goulash, with a little less of a bite. The rice likewise needed salt (and for me to say that, it's gotta be serious!). Dessert was tres leches cake. I need to make that some day soon.

The one thing I don't yet have the hang of in New York is shopping. I know it's out there; I just haven't quite figured out where "my" stores are. And when I do poke around and find occasional items I love, they're completely out of my range.

Case in point: in some random boutique (populated by three employees and four customers), I found a beeeeyooootiful shirt. Soft, delicate jersey, with grey and black stripes--and a perfect circle of rats chasing their tails on the front. They were velvety-suede silhouettes. There was another rat at each cuff. I was in love. And then I looked at the price tag: $222. Sigh. The Lenny Kravitz-bewigged salesguy told me it was by a really great designer (of course she's great! She puts rats on a shirt!) but I just couldn't bring myself to pay more than I spent on my last two winter coats on something so frivolous.

Naturally, this became the source of that weekend's Nichtkaufenbedauern. "Maybe I should have got that shirt," I mused aloud as we wandered up to Union Square. "We'd spend that much on dinner, and that only lasts a few hours," I reasoned over breakfast the next morning. "It had rats on it," I sighed as our plane soared out of JFK.

The Boy rolled his eyes.

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