Sunday, February 16, 2014

Galentine's Day Party

Since Puck and I never celebrated Valentine's Day on general principle in the four years we were dating, it's been a long time since I've had any use for Valentine's Day. Last week I contributed some thoughts on how poly people feel about the day in this article on, "How Polyamorists Celebrate Valentine's Day."

However, I was looking forward to it this year because Liz invited me to a fancy ladies night party that she called a "Galentine's Day Dinner" (from the TV show Parks and Recreation: "Ladies celebrating ladies. It’s like Lilith Fair, minus the angst.") So it was a nice excuse to be dressy and posh without buying into the whole V-Day thing.

Partly to get ready for that and partly because I just needed to spoil myself, Friday night after work I went to Hand & Stone in Princeton and got a massage and my first facial in a long time - both were long overdue. I have one of those memberships that adds an hour-long session each month, and I had three hours banked, so I still have another hour to use this month.

Saturday I met Becker to look at an apartment - a penthouse duplex at 54th and 7th Avenue. It was a good layout, with two bedrooms upstairs, each with their own private bath, and a half-bath downstairs for guests, a large common area and a semi-private roof terrace on a 12-story building. It was a beautiful view of the heavy snowfall that day. However, the bedrooms were a little small so it would have been tight to have desks and other furniture in private areas. Later in the evening we decided to call off the apartment search, at least for this year, so we can just settle into our respective situations - mine being another year at Times Square Movie Club (TSMC, my present space).

So in a way, it's a relief to have certainty on what's going to happen in the near future. On the other hand, I'm disappointed we couldn't make it work, especially since we got close with the co-op (that turned out to not allow cats). So I have another year to think about what I want to do with my long-term living situation and the experience of looking at apartments in NYC has been valuable for the future.

After Becker and I parted ways on Saturday afternoon I went to get my hair and nails done for the party and trudged down in the blowing snow to Beauty & Essex on the Lower East Side. I actually walked right by it without stopping because it's like a speakeasy with an outer room that looks like a pawn shop. Liz called me and sent me walking back down Essex Street and from across the street I could see the brightly lit sign. Luckily there were channels cut into the snow drifts or else I'd have had to walk around the block again.

After checking my coat and umbrella, we went downstairs to the ladies room, where they were serving free champagne and hung out in the lounge for a bit before going back up the bar to wait for our table to be ready. They seated us at a round table in the middle of the room between the bar and the rest of the restaurant under a skylight that looked up into the upper level of the restaurant.

Here's a picture of our table and what the rest of the room looks like:

 And here's what we looked like last night sitting at that round table in the foreground (from left, it's me, Lytle, Liz, Chryssi, Andrea and Katy):

Our meal consisted of several shared appetizers, starting with an amuse bouche of Eggplant Caponata on a rice cracker, then the Prime Beef Carpaccio and the Grilled Cheese, Smoked Bacon and Tomato Soup Dumplings:

Next up was Lobster Tacos, Creamy Barley Risotto and Salt and Vinegar Fries:

Our last savory course was Citrus Kissed Salmon Ceviche and New York Pretzel (shaved NY Strip, mustard aoli and crispy shallots on a slice of pretzel):

One of the servers recognized Chryssi and sent us a couple things for dessert, in addition to the box of donuts (really mini-beignets) we had: a plate of Petite Cupcakes (red velvet with cream cheese frosting and Guinness cake with Bailey's frosting), a Molten Chocolate Bread Pudding with hazelnut ice cream and a Black Bottomed Butterscotch Pot de Creme with coconut chantilly and spoons made of crepe batter:

The food was all delicious and the company was engaging and Liz is a wonderful hostess. I'm very lucky to count her as one of my closest friends. Since I was seated next to Katy, I talked with her the most during the course of the evening, in addition to joining the table conversation. The one knock on the place is that the music was rather loud, which made it hard to converse across the table without raised voices. But I guess that's what hip places in New York do to let everyone know how cool they are.

Today is a rest and recovery day. Puck is going to stop by on their way through the city back to Long Island, and I'll probably go out to see The Lego Movie with friends, since everyone's telling me to go see it (Becker gushed about it yesterday, and he doesn't usually gush about anything). But since the next two weekends will be full of stuff (Wicked Faire, followed by the Oscar marathon and viewing party), I aim to get as much rest in today as I can!