Kate and I started out our Saturday of gustation and debauchery by heading to Montclair. I had to get a haircut. Following that, we needed some coffee and a snack to tide us over till Babbo. We hit Raymond's on Church Street, which I had never been to before, despite P & E's raving. The 1930's style diner was completely charming, and the food was simple but quite good. I will definitely be a regular when I head back to Essex County later this year. We split a grilled ham and gruyere sandwich. God, I love gruyere cheese.
So, it was off to the city, where we checked into our hotel for the night - the Grand Hyatt, attached to Grand Central Station. We had gotten the room through priceline. The room was very nice, and in fact the entire hotel was pleasant, with a few caveats. As Kate pointed out, it's no Rihga Royale and that's the truth. And not surprisingly, the hotel was very crowded with lots of tourists. But for what it's worth, it was perfectly fine for us. We went off to Babbo, having thoroughly trashed our room in a matter of minutes with clothes and makeup spread everywhere.
Following Babbo, we walked out towards 7th Avenue. Given the nature of my shoes - contrary to popular belief, 4-inch stillettos are not made for walking - I was not in the mood for a stroll through the Village. I had made tentative plans to meet up with Philly and his lady friend at a bar on Avenue A called Hi-Fi. Phil was busy in the outer burroughs, celebrating the trek across the Red Sea and making sure that Elijah had plenty of wine in his glass. Annnnyway, Kate and I hopped a cab and headed to Hi-Fi. It was a bit after 9 and the bar was shockingly crowded. Kate and I typically choose to sit at the bar and occasionally talk to the bartender. But there was no room. We managed to find a couple of seats elsewhere.
When we first arrived at Hi-Fi, there was a nice grouping of Villagers - plenty of punk kids, who beat a fast path to the door when we walked in. But as the night progressed, Kate pointed out that the crowd had decidedly turned Bridge & Tunnel (an expression I typically bristle at, but it was appropriate for this crew). The women, most of whom were in their late twenties and early thirties, were dressing like the sorostitutes of my college days. And there were an awful lot of striped shirts in the joint.
The best thing about Hi-Fi is that they have an mp3 jukebox with over 2,100 albums on it. It was incredibly impressive. Of course, the downside of this is that you may never get to hear your songs on a crowded night because everyone is taking advantage of the selection. We spent about two hours there, and neither of us heard our picks. Oh well.
The greatest sin, though, occurred when the overzealous bar staff whisked away my beer which was still about a quarter full. "Hey!" I yelled after the barkeep. But it was too late. Gosh, don't they know better than to touch a Mc's drink before she's finished?
Kate and I gave up on Hi-Fi and went across the street to Orologio, a small Italian restaurant. There was a petite bar with about five seats and given that it was now after 11, the restaurant was relatively quiet which suited us after the din of Hi-Fi. By this point, we were ready for some more dessert, so we settled on the tiramisu. This was Kate's favorite spot of the night.
We met up with Phil and his lady friend at Bar Veloce in Chelsea - it's a wine bar with some other interesting liquor on the menu. Kate and I both had clementine-flavored grappa in keeping with our Italian night. It was truly delicious. I really enjoyed this joint - they were playing Miles Davis (Birth of the Cool, FYI), there were plenty of places to sit and it wasn't too crowded. The quirky bartender was wearing a suit and tie. All in all, thumbs up.
After thoroughly embarrassing ourselves in front of my sober friends, Kate and I headed back uptown. Although, to be honest, Kate and I don't act much differently together when sober as when drunk. We are ridiculous together on a pretty regular basis.
The next day was filled with Dunkie's coffee and egg & cheese sandwiches, as well as the typical sad Megs when Kate headed back to DC.