Sunday, June 29, 2008

Brunch and Boating

group-boatAmanda came to town and we celebrated with a girls’ day.

Sara wasn’t with us because she was hosting a day-long, double bachelor party for our friends Andrew and Carl, who are getting married later this month. We found out later that the event included venues as diverse as an E. Village winebar and a gay strip club in Jackson Heights, Queens. Sara was the only female in the boy-on-boy party train that was the double bachelor party. Andrew’s Maid of Honor, she’s taking her duties very seriously. Under her stewardship, the party was a marathon of homolove.

The day the ladies spent together was lovely for the company and shared laughs, horrible for the heat. 99 degrees in the concrete jungle! When we assembled for brunch at Danal, we were each sweating our asses off, dabbing our top lips with our linen napkins and ordering round upon round of iced tea. Even Amanda, somewhat of a central air opponent due to a childhood spent in the perpetually temperate Bay Area, was praising the modern convenience of pumped-in cold air and drinking ice in her water (another oddity: she typically prefers her drinking water at room temperature—yuck!).

akDanal has recently moved to 5th Avenue and 12th St. from its longtime location in the East Village. The atmosphere at the new spot is very similar to the old location—Provencal charm, rustic but refined. The new space is larger than the old, which means more light and a lovely private dining area upstairs, but also means no more gorgeous garden dining and less coziness than before. The food, thankfully, tastes exactly the same. Erin and Amanda each went for omelets, Amanda substituting Jack for goat cheese, of course. Celest and I both ordered the smoked salmon served with dill pancakes (!) and crème fraiche. She declared it a perennial favorite brunch item, but I’d never had it before. Except for the tiny scoop of orange “caviar” I had to scrape off the top, the fact that I had to cut the green onion accompaniment myself (why not serve the onion diced?), and the need to order extra crème fraiche, the dish was a success. The savory pancakes were light and perfectly browned and the salmon not the least bit “fishy.” Amanda declared Danal’s complementary, dark, raisin walnut bread her favorite in the city. My Bloody Mary was forgettable. As was the stoned service. But we agreed with the stranger, a woman who was obviously a few mimosas into her Saturday when she approached our table, who declared that if any one of us pretty girls was planning a bridal shower (yeah, right) or a baby shower (ha!), we should host the event at Danal because the luncheon she’d just thrown had gone so well.

We smiled and said we’d keep it in mind. For 2013.

yachtAfter brunch, we hailed a cab as quickly as possible, still getting sweaty just standing on 5th Ave. for a total of 1.5 minutes, and shot down to Battery Park. Amanda had made arrangements for us to beat the brutal heat by taking a late afternoon sail around the southern tip of the island. We slathered on the sunscreen (I was still a little pink from Texas), Amanda donned a sunhat, and we embarked the Shearwater. For two glorious hours, the water and wind provided relief from the heat and we sipped glasses of prosecco as we got all the juicy details about Amanda’s new guy back in L.A.—he’s hot, has a Southern drawl, takes her for rides on his motorcycle, is kind to her dog Oscar. California is, apparently, treating her well.

A little buzzed from the wine and touched with a bit of heat exhaustion, we made our way off the boat and around the pier to SouthWestNY for margaritas, chips and guacamole, quesadillas, and fish tacos. Not surprisingly, the fare and drinks were pretty mediocre, but they were decent and salty enough to quell our snack cravings. And the location of the restaurant is great—we sat outside with a view of the docked yachts and the harbor beyond.

toesWhen we got into a cab to head back to the Village, our cab driver became the third person of the day (1. restaurant manager, 2. boat captain, 3. cabbbie) to ask us, “You fancy girls on your way to see Sex & the City?”

“What makes them keep asking that?” I thought, annoyed at the assumption. I mean, we’re all enthusiastic fans of the show and the characters; we’ve all seen the movie. Some of us have seen it twice! But, we’re not the women who wear cute shoes just to go see a movie about Manhattan women who wear cute shoes.

We’re brunching on 5th Avenue, sailing past Lady Liberty, sipping cocktails with a view of the Hudson River Women. We’re women who talk new loves, breakups, politics, poker strategies, travel, and yes, sometimes, sex. But we’ve got our own style.

HBO we love. But darlings, we’re living our own episodes, thank you very much.

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