City Pulse


So, as I’ve reminded you all constantly, Sunday, March 12, is my birthday. It totally doesn’t matter how old I am – it only matters that it is the day I was born and it is finally getting the recognition it deserves. So what if that recognition is because the Sopranos are premiering – I’ll take what I can get.

So, if you care at all, you’re probably wondering what dear young me will be doing to celebrate. Well, I’ve come up with a bunch of things I’m going to be doing, some I’ve told y’all about already and some new things – they’re all tres faboo though, so…shut up and listen because it’s the week to say “hoorah! Erika was born!”

So, Friday night I’m thinking that I’m going to cook a nice, healthy dinner in my teeny, tiny cramped apartment for my hubby and some friends. Yes, I do buy groceries on occasion at Whole Foods, but…so does everyone else, and it makes for a terrifying experience, especially in grocery rush hour. I say “F-that” and I go to the Garden of Eden on 23rd St. Think UNBELIEVABLE fresh, delish produce and products in a boutique market environment. It’s like the Intermix of supermarkets. Of course I’m waiting with bated breath for Trader Joes ( to open in Union Square – $2 buck Chuck is my life – but then, I’ll be so torn between that and Garden of Eden! OH THE PAIN AND INHUMANITY!

So, Saturday, I’m going to drag the hubby to Top of the Rock ( I haven’t had a chance to get up there yet, and I figured, what better time to be at the top of the world than when you’re celebrating your…oh, see, you almost got me to tell you how old I am…sneaky you…

Oops, forgot to tell you that before Top of the Rock, we’re going to do a little brunchy poo at ‘Ino, my FAVORITE wine and panini joint. It’s on Bedford at Downing in the depths of the West Village – super small joint, with some of the best food you’ll ever have. And…it’s cheap! Gasp. It’s sheer perfection.

I also feel like doing a little shop, shop shopping on this grand day. Since I’m downtown, I might go and see what’s on tap at Biche de Bere ( Her stuff tends to be on the eccentric side, but let me tell you – I found one of the most FABULOUS tops there, and if I actually got more compliments on it, I’d have to start paying people for them. Eccentric, peut-etre, but absolutely unique. The top I have is black on black print, and the print is a mélange of subway stops from around the world. I always love seeing what she’s got maintenant.

So, a little strolling here and there, and voila, it’s time for dinner. We’re going to go to Matsu (, my new FAVORITE sushi restaurant on the UES. Actually, it’s my new favorite sushi restaurant anywhere. It’s super duper small, but worth every minute that you may need to wait. The fish is the freshest I’ve had anywhere in the city, and I’ve had my share of sushi, let me tell you. Gary, el chef de sushi, is a pure genius and turns this into an art form – you must get the Chef Special anything, and he’ll whip you up something, just for you, according to whatever whim he’s feeling. Oh, and it won’t break the bank either. If you’re not impressed, I’ll do the hokey pokey and turn myself around into the depths of confusion.

Saturday is finit, which brings us to…SUNDAY! MY BIRTHDAY! YAY! Brunch we’re going to head over to Bin 71, the best petit treasure on the UWS. What’s even more of a little treasure if their brunch – salmon/tomatoes on crostini, frittatas, nutella on crostini – um, can we say “yum?” Oh, and … since people don’t think to go there for brunch, it’s usually quiet and getting a seat isn’t a problem.

Puis, we’re going to go over to Our Name Is Mud ( – it’s kind of a bummer that we can’t paint our own pottery anymore…IN GENERAL, but you can still do it at their Amsterdam location! Whether you DIY it, or buy their pre-made stuff, I absolutely LOVE their designs, and I’m telling you, I can always find room to fit one of these things in my house. Right now I have my eyes set on their Irish ring holder (even though I don’t have an Irish bone in my body). I’m also a HUGE HUGE HUGE fan of their New York cookie jar – check it out, it’s HILARIOUS and sooooo me.

I think I’m also going to drag the hubby to MOMA ( – he’s not big on modern art, but…we’ve not seen the new building yet, and they have two exhibits going on right now that I’m DYING to see – One is Edward Munch, and the other is called “Without Boundary: Seventeen Ways of Seeing.” The exhibit focuses on artists living in the US of Islamic origin, and focuses on emphasizing diversity while also questioning origin in relation to the artists’ work. Totally interesting, and totally need to see it.

For din din on the big day we are going to go to my all time favorite restaurant in Manhattan called Celeste on the UWS. Northern Italian Cuisine is what you’ll eat, and Carmine (pronounced Carminay) will WOW you with what he’s done with this local favorite. Carmine is the owner, in case you were wondering. There are new specials every night, and…I have had literally everything on the menu, and have not once been disappointed. The almond crusted chicken is stupendous, the steak is perfection, the pastas will make you not even care about carbs – oh, and…the cheese…there are no words in the English language to explain the level of “I LOVE THIS” that we’re dealing with when talking about the cheese. Makes me want to sigh just thinking about it…

So, if you decide to pop by any of these places, you’ll see me and maybe even some of my posse – yeah, I roll like that…

Garden of Eden: 162 W. 23rd (btwn 6th and 7th)
‘Ino: 21 Bedford St. (212) 989-5769
Bin 71: 237 Columbus Ave. (212) 362-5446
Celeste: 502 Amsterdam Ave. (212) 362-5446

Originally published March 2006
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