Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Frito Pie

The woman serving us at Magnolia Bakery in Greenwich Village said quite matter-of-fact that she had been born with an extra finger on each hand and that her parents had instructed the doctors to surgically remove both digits, which they had done.

Now, I don’t know if you’ve had the experience of someone telling you something like this, but it is odd banter while standing in line for a slice of apple pie. She showed us the spots where the ostensible pinky-ettes were, and we all kind of craned our necks to see. Ooooooh. Woooow. Look at those…spots.

How many people had she told? How many years had this story been in existence? At any point, did she or anyone she knew have equal to or greater than fourteen fingers. That’s what I wanted to know. That would be something.

The lovely K’s friend Doug had told us about Magnolia Bakery, on Bleecker Street in the West Village. True to reputation, it did not disappoint.

About eleven years later, K and I were meeting Doug once again down in the Village, this time for brunch on Saturday of the weekend we had escaped to New York for our 10th wedding anniversary. We were supposed to meet him at a restaurant on the corner of 9th Avenue and 14th Street, “in the heart of the meat-packing district,” a neighborhood that combined a somewhat bizarre mixture of cool and animal slaughter. Once we got there, however, we saw that a high-rise was going up on the spot where this restaurant once was, so we waited for Doug across the street. He found us and we walked down to Plan B restaurant: Paris Commune at 99 Bank Street.

Years ago I recall visiting a friend who lived on Bank Street. She and her husband, a top manager at Calvin Klein, had no children, but instead had a bird, a cat and four dogs, including a Great Dane, a Newfoundland, and two golden retrievers. Their loft was fortunately about 3000 square feet, which also meant that when you visited them, the enthusiastic canines had a running start at you coming through the front door. You basically put one leg back and braced yourself. And you didn’t wear clothes you didn’t plan to send to the cleaner the next day. In addition to the apartment, they had purchased a seven-bedroom, 100-year-old house along the St. Lawrence River in upstate New York sight unseen: the previous owner had allowed them to view it only from a helicopter ride. They decided to go for it. They found that it was furnished exquisitely with antique linens, beautiful mahogany furniture, original fiestaware from the 1950s, and so on. Oh: and it was situated on its own private island in the middle of the river.

Just down the street from Paris Commune was Cowgirl, another restaurant we went to when K worked at Donna Karan. They feature a classic southwestern meal – Frito pie, which is a bag of corn chips slathered with chili and which really should have been kept in the southwest and not allowed to cross the Hudson River.

One of my most memorable though is China Fun, a fairly standard Chinese restaurant on Columbus and 71st. K and I would go there in 1996-97, chat about our work days, and then take in a movie over at Sony-Loew’s/Lincoln Center. Somewhere along the line, she said she’d be my wife. It was five blocks from the studio we lived in for two years before the first baby came.

We don’t go to Chinese restaurants much. We see maybe two movies a year.

But we’re still married.

photo: shOdan

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