My “neighbor”, Ces, had written a rejoinder to something I wrote about putting up my own boutique in SoHo, but it was her comment about going around SoHo that inspired me to write about one of my favorite places to while away a day in this busy city.
So where would I take you, Ces, if we had the luxury of stealing a day away from our motherly and wifely duties and just have a girls’ outing downtown? I’d start with brunch at one of my favorite Asian fusion restaurants owned by a Filipino (UP alums both, I heard) husband and wife chef team — Romy Dorotan and Amy Besa — called Cendrillon. While their breakfast fare is very close to what we would call traditional (tapsilog, logsilog, daing na trout), be aware that their entrees for lunch and dinner are sometimes quite a departure from what we are used to. (Take note of their lumpiang sariwa which is not rendered in typical fashion, but worth trying nonetheless. I personally go for the ukoy, though. Crunchy and as ukoy as ukoy gets..)
For dessert, we have two options. If we have room to splurge (meaning we didn’t have the buko pie at Cendrillon), I’d take you down to The Cupping Room Cafe for some sinful treats and a pot of tea or a cup of your coffee of choice (espresso? latte?) — but not before you and I check out Gourmet Garage one of my favorite stops whenever I am in this part of the city. They claim to be “New York City’s favorite neighborhood marketplace for fine foods,” and I must say I agree that they are in the same league as Zeytuna and Grand Central Market Place although each has it’s distinctive appeal.
If, however, we are, too full — let’s stop by Cafe Cafe and enjoy something lighter and less sinful in a very casual yet cozy atmosphere. (I wouldn’t worry about the calories, though, because we will walk it off.)
After all that food, we’ll take our time exploring the streets and shops — take your pick — Kate Spade, Pearl River (a huge Chinese/Asian themed emporium where you can find anything from chopsticks to fabrics and a ton of other stuff), and knowing your culinary inclinations, we cannot not go to Broadway Panhandler (I always like browsing in kitchenware stores and look at all these fancy gadgets) — maybe find our dream location for our dream store, because after all, it costs nothing to dream. It’s making that dream a reality that might cost us an arm and a leg but what the heck?! We might win the lotto in the next draw!
Now I don’t know if you’re into wine or not but whether we go on a weekday or Sunday, we can stop by Vintage New York which sells only wines made in New York and is just about the only wine store in the city open on a Sunday. I get my cooking wine from their stocks and always find their cheese offerings very interesting. Alan is the one who chooses the wine for our racks to consume when we feel like splitting a bottle between us or when we entertain friends. (They are part of the same group which runs the Rivendell Winery in upstate New York but let me save that for another post.)
So many things to do and see in this most interesting part of New York City.. make sure you wear comfortable walking shoes, though, and be ready to walk, walk, walk.
Need to fish them out of my archives!