Pretending We’re in Paris (in NYC)!
My absolute favorite mommy memories are mother/daughter weekends in NYC, packed with jaunts to the ballet, museums, the American Girl store (never thought I’d miss that kooky place), fancy lunches and afternoon teas. Those days are long gone. So, I was wildly excited when my daughter said she’d like to go to NYC with ME for her birthday. My inspired idea was to install ourselves in Greenwich Village and make pretend we were in Paris (she inherited my Francophile tendencies). We came very close. Here’s our list.
The Marlton Hotel
This teeny weeny, sceney newcomer is modeled after a Parisian Hotel de Charme. If you don’t mind mini but like a bit of luxe, this is the place for you. I’m a girl who appreciates the details, and Sean MacPherson (of Bowery, Maritime and Jane hotel fame) is all about them: heavy aged brass hardware, bold moldings, abstract paintings and a wee but sweet marble bath (the Cote Bastide products were a nice Frenchy touch). You won’t be spending much time in your room anyway. The oak clad lobby beckons, with a communal table for working and cozy nooks around the fireplace for canoodling. As antiquey as the place feels, it is decidedly twenty-first century. The espresso bar proffers soy, almond, skim and whole milk and the restaurant serves up a mix of vegan, vegetarian and Mediterranean treats (although our favorite was their burger!). Be forewarned, the lobby, restaurant and bar are lively from 4pm on, but the sunny solarium at the back of the hotel is a peaceful spot for an early breakfast of whole grain toast with avocado mash. The prices match the size, a full room was $175 and a queen, $200. Check Tablethotels.com for rates starting at $150.
photo credit, lobby and bedroom: Annie Schlechter
Rotisserie Georgette, 14 E. 60th
We’re always on the hunt for a yummy lunch in midtown and we found it at Rotisserie Georgette. I’m sure there are other nuggets of deliciousness on the menu, but for us it’s all about crispy chicken and a pile of frites. Georgette is a jolly place, filled with exhilarated shoppers (Barney’s is handily right across the street) and, next to us, an elegant mom and her stunning daughters blabbing away in French. My daughter was typically horrified when I struck up a conversation (given a chance to test my mediocre French on unsuspecting strangers, I will) but it added to our overall Parisian fantasy. The plates are enormous, the service delightful and the charming Georgette herself keeps tabs on the front of the room. Beware the “Never Enough Potatoes” section of the menu. Expensive. www.rotisserieg.com
photo credit: my daughter, bobbie!
Buvette, 42 Grove Street, NYC
If you’re considering leaving the confines of the hotel for morning coffee, there are plenty of options: Le Pain Quotidien is next door and hipster hangout, Stumptown, is on the corner. But, please, save your fix for Buvette. This packed and happy outpost of the Parisian gastrotheque, is an authentic slice of all things French in the West Village. I wedged myself onto a stool at the marble-topped bar and breakfasted on two perfect mini croissants and a cappuccino. Later, I dragged my sleepyhead daughter back for a lunch of Croque Monsiuer or crepes Nutella, but no dice. The wait was an hour. Go for small plates at any time of day (avoid lunch hour) and you, too, will be transported. A reasonably priced don’t miss. www.ilovebuvette.com
Il Buco Alimentari & Vineria, 53 Great Jones St., NYC
We dispensed with our French fantasy for family dinner at buzzy Il Buco Alimentari. This new sibling of the beloved Il Buco, is part marketplace, part fun and casual trattoria. Make your way past the racks of freshly baked bread and house cured salumi for a seat in the lofty brick-walled room at the back and get ready for a meal of spot on Italian. My starter of shaved foie gras on that glorious bread was heavenly and I loved the small primi of spaghetti with oceany, pungent bottarga. Salt-baked, whole Branzino was a standout and we simply could not get enough of that bread. Pick up a few loaves on your way out. Reserve well ahead.
Here’s our handy “Paris in NYC” map, including some of our favorite French boutiques to visit while you’re in the neighborhood.
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