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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Birthday Brunch at Asiate

Here we are at Leigh Ann's birthday brunch at Asiate in the Mandarin Oriental. Getting there was quite a saga. I am a bit of an obsessive planner, and an event like a birthday really throws me into overdrive. I made and canceled two other reservations before I settled on this one (and that's not counting my attempt to go to the Boathouse, which was booked for Saturday brunch).

Since my sister is not as much of a foodie as I am, I knew atmosphere would really count. After much Googling about which of the city's finer restaurants are open for Saturday lunch (not many of them, it turns out), I reserved a table at The River Cafe in Brooklyn. Then I realized Leigh Ann would want to sleep in and go for a jog, and we wouldn't want to be rushing over to Brooklyn. I found out Jean Georges has a prix fixe lunch that's considered one of the best deals in the city. I booked that, but Neil and Nate said they thought the atmosphere at Asiate was a much better choice, with its views of the skyline and Central Park. So, I changed the reservation, and I do believe the boys once again guided us to an excellent location, although it would have been even more delightful on a sunny day.
Hilary was in town for work, so I asked if she'd like to join us, since Leigh Ann always enjoys her company.
The prix fixe menu started with a gourmandaise tasting plate. I forgot to take a copy of the menu with me, so I'll have to wing it. I believe this is tuna sashimi, a mini goat cheese and roasted tomato fritatta, cream of asparagus soup with truffle oil, and a chicken lollipop.
For our main course, we all got to select two dishes from a list of eight or so smaller plates. I had the poached egg BLT on brioche (so good -- one of those dishes I think I'll be savoring in my mind for ages) and hand-cut pappardalle with pancetta, mushrooms, peas and Parmesan.
Leigh Ann had the steak and the arctic char.
Dessert was some sort of carrot cake with a really delightful citrus filling (where is my menu?!?) and a Milky Way tart with whipped caramel.
We chilled out for the rest of the afternoon. I'd decided there was no need to plan any post-brunch activities, since nothing would make my sister happier than having a free afternoon for a birthday nap. I was able to meet up briefly with my friends Anne and Christina, who were in the city with another one of their college buddies for a girls' weekend.

That night, we saw "Love, Loss and What I Wore" at a small theatre on the west side. The play is performed by a rotating ensemble; our cast included Susan Sullivan of Falcon Crest, Dharma and Greg and The Castle, along with Emme, the famous plus-sized model. There was also this woman. I couldn't figure out where I knew her from, and it was driving me bananas.
Her speech pattern was so distinctive...I knew I'd seen her somewhere. Where was it?

I pulled out my program to look, which was kind of rude since we were on the front row of the tiny theatre.  And then I found it!

Hint #1: Rydell High.

Hint #2: Beauty School Droput.
It was Frenchie! Also known as Didi Conn.

The play has lots of funny lines about clothing-related topics such as what mothers say to daughters about their outfits, so Mom called it the perfect mother-daughter outing. She also loved the fact it lasted only an hour and a half!


sherry said...

I have always wondered what happened to her...and now I know she is alive and well...and what a great show for you and your mom. My mom has been gone for years, but I still remember many of our outings as some of the most precious moments of my life. I just have it documented with the flair you will.

Molly said...

Do check out the River Cafe some time. I really enjoy the food and the view from Brooklyn is lovely. Their brunches and dinners are divine. They also have a terrific dessert that features a chocolate Brooklyn Bridge. Yummy!!!