November 25, 2013 in Chocolate! (and other less exalted food experiences), Reflections on Pop Culture

Inspired by Oprah’s List of Favorite Things and my recent trip to New York City, here is Part 3 of My Favorite Things—New York City style—just in time for your holiday shopping! (Read Part 2 here. )

Most Fascinating Clothing Store I’ve Ever Been To: UNIQLO

I’ve never heard of UNIQLO, but my sister had and was curious, so we popped into their SoHo store to take a look. I can honestly say I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s more than a clothing store: it’s a whole new way of looking at clothes. “UNIQLO clothes are MADE FOR ALL–highly finished elements of style in clothes that suit your values wherever you live.” Every item comes in a wide variety of colors and patterns and styles, so that anyone can create their own look, whether it be one that matches or one that is a no-holds-barred display of color.

And they have everything, from leggings, undergarments, and pajamas to skirts, dresses, and jackets, and many of their clothing staples are neatly packaged into little plastic bags, just perfect for wrapping and placing under a Christmas tree. With so many choices available, a gift card might be the way to go so that the person on your Christmas list gets exactly what they want, like this little skirt that I was enamored with:

It’s reversible, and they suggest pairing it with leggings and boots…how cute would that be? Here’s the best part: it’s only $29.90! All of their clothes are reasonably priced.

You do have to sign up to browse their online store, but it’s free and it’s worth it to see what they have available for women, men, and kids.

Favorite Restaurant: Restaurant Marc Forgione

Tucked away on a little side street in TriBeCa, Iron Chef Marc Forgione’s restaurant is a warm, homey, candlelit fairyland. The décor is simple yet charming, our waitress was a pure delight, and the food…whoa, baby. Think high end fine dining without the pretentiousness.

We were invited to try several amuse bouches during our meal, and you’ve got to love a restaurant that offers their upscale take on an everything bagel (sooooo good) and a Dorito.  When our waitress announced that Marc Forgione himself made our starters, we almost fell out of our chairs!

The Chicken Under a Brick dinner that my sister and I shared was deliciously moist and flavorful and I’ve never had roasted potatoes as good as these ones: crispy on the outside and perfectly done on the inside…divine.

Then along came dessert…my God, the dessert! We ordered two: a  rich, chocolatey riff on the popular S’mores treat, complete with a toasted marshmallow on a stick, and a Bananas Foster cheesecake that was…wow.

I can’t imagine a future trip to NYC without a visit to Marc Forgione’s Restaurant, but in the meantime, I’ll have to settle for his cookbook, releasing April 2014. What a great gift for the foodie in your life, plus it contains the Chicken Under a Brick recipe!

Favorite Part of Central Park: My Dad’s New Bench

No one loved New York City more than my dad. Even though he lived in California, he made it out to NYC twice a year, every year. He saw shows, movies, and museums, he ate at simple delis and fancy four-star restaurants, and he roamed through bookstores and music stores. But every morning before he did any of the above, he would run on the city sidewalks, weaving through the pedestrians on his way to Central Park. There he would settle into his rhythm, chugging along through the trails and around the Reservoir, looking like he could run forever. I know, because he’s kicked my ass around the Reservoir more than once.

With how much our dad loved the city, my sister and I couldn’t imagine a more fitting way to remember him than by adopting him his own bench in Central Park. After spending half a day traipsing through the park trying to find him the perfect bench, we ended up selecting first one we saw: a great location where you could sit and look into Central Park, watching joggers, bicyclists, and dog walkers pass by between the bench and the lake, and knowing that all you have to do is turn around to see the iconic New York skyline. He would have loved it.

Thank you, Sister, for a fabulous New York trip!