36 hours in new york with lulu

mission chinese

I went to New York for a little over a week recently and my friend Lulu graciously hosted me in her West Village apartment. The only thing was, she was hardly there. An unexpected event took her out of the country for about a week so we crammed all of our fun together into a little over 36 hours. That looked something like this…

saka mai and todd's mill

Pillowy uni toasts and carefully crafted cocktails with aged Japanese liquor at Saka Mai. And since we had two hours to kill in the neighbourhood, more cocktails at Todd’s Mill. Funny, they had a cocktail named the “2 hour wait”… Ahem.

Finally our table at Mission Chinese is ready. The room is full, red, loud, which is exactly how we are when we leave a quick hour later. The food arrives fast and is as in-your-face as the environment its served in–everything was fantastic, especially the salt cod fried rice and “Tiki” spare ribs. The “explosive chili” chicken wings were almost an assault. I regretted not planning better–I wasn’t hungry enough and we left too much food behind and I’ve been thinking about each abandoned morsel ever since. We drowned that soft failure in arty drinks at Attaboy.

maison premiere

A slow start to the following day, for which I blame the intense heatwave, not a hangover. To prove it, Chablis before even a bite of food at Maison Premiere. The place is the embodiment of upscale French bistro except for the vibe–decidedly welcoming. We started with a flight of fresh oysters served in a round from east coast to west and ended with poached oysters and eggs with caviar and periwinkles. As you do. Nothing left but to roll over to Mast Brothers to cleanse the palette with unadulterated cocoa.


The only way to work up an appetite for Montmatre later that day was to walk non-stop until our late night reservation. The “Pot au Pho” didn’t come across as a play on anything, it was so good that pot au feu with pho-flavoured broth should be a thing forever more, including the braised meat that you are meant to dip into hoisin sauce. It was hot and loud in there though…

big gay ice cream karoke frankies 570

Good thing Big Gay Ice Cream was open late. Get the “Bea Arthur”. I know, but what about the “Salty Pimp”, but, and, just get THAT.

There might have been a dive bar after that, in which I started selecting Fleetwood Mac from the jukebox. And then karaoke after that. And then lamb on rice in a styrofoam container from a food truck at 4.30 in the morning, but that is ALL on Lulu.

Packing at 5.30 in the morning and still getting up on time for your early afternoon departure sucks. A last lunch with Lulu at Frankies 570 was a good consolation. I am still recovering.