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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

First Day of School

I had a fantastic first day at work! It was sunny and pleasant outside, and I wore a black sweater dress with black and white beads so I'd be properly attired for my phat evening meal. (More on that below.) Since I wasn't sure how my commute would go, I headed down 12th Street in my trusty black coat and baby blue scarf, wearing flats and carrying my hooker boots in a bag.

There is a subway entrance about a block and a half from my doorstep. (Yet another reason I totally scored with my living situation. Thanks, boys!) I had to walk a few blocks underground to get to the train I needed, so I'll probably stay outside in nicer weather, but it was good to know I could be inside if it's raining or cold.

I rode up Sixth Avenue and got off at Rockefeller Plaza, my new office. I wasn't sure exactly how to exit the subway, and I ended up taking a route that had me walking right past the staging area for the Today Show. The crowds had dwindled since it was already after 9, but that was definitely a cheap thrill.

My plan had been to get in a few minutes late because I wasn't sure my building access had been worked out yet (long story). So, I sat down, changed shoes, and emailed my friend Noelle, a gal from Charlotte who moved up here in November. She came downstairs to meet me. We picked up some coffee and then she helped me get settled on the 6th floor of 50 Rock. It is mostly a Marketing floor, but Noelle and one other Communications colleague are also working there, and one of the Marketing teammates who sits near me is someone I know from working in London.

I managed to get onto the bank's wireless network (minor miracle) and felt relieved I'm not starting a new job. Given all the other change, it's pretty awesome to be working on the same thing on Monday that I was doing on Friday. Around noon, Noelle came by to see if I wanted to grab some lunch, and we went back downstairs to the same area where we'd gotten our coffee.

There is basically an underground mall beneath Rockefeller Plaza. All of the office buildings have escalators to connect to it, and it's this subterranean world with all sorts of shopping, services and restaurants. Best of all, it's on the same level as the ice rink, so you can watch the skaters through the huge glass windows. We hit one of the places with a salad bar by weight, and I loaded up my clamshell with all sorts of goodies: roasted brussels sprouts, roasted butternut squash, tuna salad with capers, pasta salad, broccoli, corn, etc. Then I got to the cash register saw it would be $9 a pound and realized I had probably overdone it. Um, yeah. I bought a $16 salad. Welcome to New York!

The afternoon flew by, and around 5:30 I left to meet my manager, Sarah, who is in town for some meetings this week. Our PR agency partners invited us to meet them for dinner at Monkey Bar, Graydon Carter's restaurant in the Hotel Elysee. It's on 54th Street between Park and Madison, so it was an easy walk from my office. The description on the website is pretty apt: The dining room's lush red leather banquettes and dim, attractive lighting have restored the fizzy thrill of dining in a restaurant -- both glamorous and cozy -- and harken back to a bygone era when a gentleman never left the house without a tie and a lady always had a pair of white gloves in her purse.

Sarah and I got a drink at the bar while we waited for our dining companions, and I enjoyed a perfect cocktail. I think it was called a Monkeytini? I may honestly have to return to have it again. It was a bit like a mojito: tart and refreshing, but with a hint of ginger.

I started with the roast beet salad with goat cheese, walnuts and orange. I'd forgotten my camera, so Ben played photographer with his BlackBerry.
Sarah and I both got the Chatham Cod, which I found to be absolutely scrumptious. The menu was very understated, which I think fits the "old school" approach of the whole place. So, all I can tell you about it was that it had tomato, broccoli rabe and fennel sausage. There was also a nice dusting of some sort of dried herbs for a bit of a crust on the top of the fish. I loved it!
Ben's grilled chicken paillard with arugula, tomato and lemon was so lovely, I made him get a shot of it too.
For dessert, we ordered Eton Mess (my pick; I'd never had it before and was dying to try it...and it seemed like a perfect spring dessert since it's berries and meringue) and a chocolate chocolate-chip layer cake. I loved the Eton Mess. (Hypothesis: Banana pudding is to the American South as Eton Mess is to England. I bet you even get some people who like their meringue mushy and some who like it crispy, just like people and their 'Nilla wafers with banana pudding.)
We finished off the meal with cleverly presented malted mint balls. Big thanks to Kim and Ben for making my first day at work so special!
Now, here's where the day went a bit downhill. It was so pleasant outside that I decided I'd walk the few blocks back to the subway and just ride home. I was enjoying the challenge of finding my way around. This is one for the bad idea file. I had on my boots, and they are not made for walking. I accidentally got on an express train, which skipped right over my stop. It was a bit frustrating but a good learning experience. Fortunately, my neighborhood is quite lively (and safe), and there were still lots of people on the street at 11 p.m.

I climbed the five flights of stairs and made a beeline for the bathroom. New York Lesson Learned: Never leave a restaurant without availing yourself of the ladies' room. You do not want to hold in your Monkeytinis for 40 blocks. 


Grayson Munroe Touchton said...


I plan to live vicariously through you....until further notice!! You're my foodie hero!!



Neil J. Young said...

you have passed one of the most important first tests of living here: getting on a train and it accidentally being an express when you want it to be a local. everyone does it! now you've gotten it out of the way and can be a subway pro going forward. :)

Elyse {Pretty. Happy. Busy.} said...

I have done the express train mistake too! Mine took me to Harlem at midnight, but I obviously live to tell the tale...:)

Love the updates! I have always wanted to go to Monkeybar! Looks divine. Xo, e