Freemans Love

New York did not disappoint.  A full recap of the weekend’s adventures will come, but I could not wait to share our favorite night at my favorite spot in the city: Freemans.  Rustic, chic, dark, cozy and intimate, Freemans serves the most amazing cocktails alongside perfectly portioned, mostly-American comfort food.  Let’s start with the drinks (shouldn’t we always?):

The Winter Blanket was exactly that – cozy and enveloping.  Made with Jamaican rum, allspice, ginger, orgeat and lime, it had the perfect amount of spice, sweetness and warmth.  Next came the plate of Devils on Horseback.  Divine little dates stuffed with blue cheese and wrapped in bacon.  Thank goodness the smart folks in the kitchen only give you five, because we could have eaten many, many more.  And room had to be saved for dinner!

I chose the Hunters Stew.  A game lover’s dream, it was rich but not overly so, with perfectly done medallions of venison, boar and elk in a dense broth.  Enjoyed with a side of creamed kale and a great, full-bodied glass of Cab.  Amusing aside: a man approached and tapped me on my fox gilet-covered shoulder and asked what I was having.  When I explained the above dish, he exclaimed, “you are eating that AND wearing fur?  PETA would have a field day with you!”  But I digress.  Back to the food, which brings us to dessert.  Bananas Foster with Rum Butterscotch served over vanilla ice cream.  Our only complaint of the night was that the bananas-to-ice-cream-ratio was off, but it was still insanely good.  And though we were stuffed, we ordered an after dinner drink as we did not want to leave the warm atmosphere and spirited bar conversation.  I asked the bartender to surprise me with something involving coffee, and this is what he brought:

I don’t know if it was truly the best coffee drink I have ever had or if it just tasted that way because I was blissful, but I found it fitting that the thick sweet cream melted down the inside of my glass into dreamy heart-shaped dollops.

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At the bar with friend Amy Stigler of Monograham.  I said it was dark and cozy!

Freemans. 8 Rivington Street. 212-420-0012

New York State of Mind

As the sun rises over Chicago, I will be off to New York with a great friend for the weekend.  I’ve packed.  Repacked.  Edited the repack (what is it about New York that turns me into a complete style schizophrenic?).  The plan is to soak up as much art as possible – we met as museum education interns at the Art Institute of Chicago, after all.

Everything at The Frick: http://www.frick.org

Unusual and fascinating at Marlborough Gallery:http://www.marlboroughgallery.com/exhibitions/le-cabinet-de-curiosits

Wild and amazing at Luxembourg & Dayan:

http://nymag.com/listings/art/grisaille/

Last but not least, I cannot wait to see this in all its new glory:

http://www.metmuseum.org/en/collections/new-installations/american-wing

And in between, there will be new restaurants to enjoy, drinks at a favorite spot or two, lunch with a college friend, and hopefully a run through Central Park!

Vintage Victory

Last weekend in an unassuming corner of Jacksonville, Florida,  true sartorial serendipity occurred.  While exploring a tucked away neighborhood,  my sister Julia (who had recently been transferred to this sprawling city) and I wandered into a clothing consignment shop.  Most of what we saw was unremarkable, but one glass case held the Holy Grail of accessories – a gorgeous, mint condition, vintage Hermes Kelly bag.  The beautiful patina of the cognac leather drew us in, and upon closer inspection, we noticed it had been monogrammed in gold, though the initials had been rubbed out.  Heart palpitations ensued.  We knew there must be more.  Pressing the shop girl for information, we found that the best pieces, held upstairs, were seen by appointment only.  With five minutes until close and clearly no appointment, we kicked our powers of persuasion into high gear.  I pled my case – that I was to return home to Chicago the next day and that we were educated lovers of design.  She relented.

So many truly fabulous pieces.  Racks of vintage Chanel jackets.  A perfect Carolina Herrera cocktail dress.  An 80’s era Lagerfeld nautical striped top.  A true fashion fanatic’s dream.  Nothing, however, could have prepared us for the shipment that had just arrived from a recently settled Palm Beach estate, untagged and still in plastic. For the next two hours, Julia and I tried on almost every piece in this collection.  Breathtaking Galanos and Oscar de la Renta gowns, dozens of custom-made day dresses and cocktail dresses, Pringle and Ballantyne cashmere sweaters in a rainbow of colors befitting the nameless Palm Beach heiress.

Yesterday, the box arrived on my doorstep.  Each painstakingly chosen piece was wrapped in tissue and tied neatly in a bow.  Some will integrate easily and seamlessly into my wardrobe (the kelly green Ballantyne cashmere cardigan, the custom cream herringbone hacking jacket) and others will sit in the closet cue awaiting the perfect occasion (the wild Pucci-esque silk jersey cocktail dress, the black floor length Lloyd Klein gown with a blush-inducing high slit).  All will bring me back to that perfect, serendipitous afternoon with my sister – and you cannot put a price tag on that.  Well, you can.  But I’m trying to block that part out.