City Pulse

By Amber Roniger

Every day when noon rolls around, I turn to my co-workers with glazed-over eyes and pose the same nagging question: what are you getting for lunch? As if it’s never occurred to us before. And so every day, the same monotonous question is broached with no sensational answer.

Midtown Manhattan is not the easiest place to find lunch every day. The diversity ranks at ‘eh’ on my patented lady-who-lunches scale. Midtown is chockablock with either fancy-schmancy corporate-card, executive type places, or schlocky to-go joints. Woman cannot lunch on pizza and bagels alone, and this vegetarian won’t be caught dead buying hotdogs and gyros from the street carts.

And so today, with that dreaded question looming, I decide to try something new. I’ve heard rumors of a terrific salad place. Of course the cynical luncher in me wonders, what could be so damn innovative about salad? And not to dish, but what really gets this salad snob’s goat (I know all you other veggies out there will feel me on this) is when the meat toppings are positioned in the back row and plip-plop into the pure veggie tubs in the front, oh the bastardization of greenery! And then, to add salad insult to injury, these poseur salad artists use the same tongs to grab the veggies as the meat, WTF?! Okay, I know by now you’re thinking I’m a completely freaky-anal salad veggie militant, but consider this, if obvious little things like these aren’t addressed, then what about the big things, like properly toasted almonds and perfectly prepared edamame? No thank you. I’ve walked out of many a salad shop due to the establishment’s lacking proper salad etiquette; even the simple salad is a true art form and should be approached with delicacy and refinement.

So yes, we agree that I’m a bit of a salad erudite, but that’s fine by me. So I’m constantly on the look-out for superior salad joints. And today I decide that it’ll be worth my while to amble the few extra steps outside my usual three-square block sphere of corporate influence and investigate CHOP’T Creative Salad Company, which is located at 60 East 56th Street & 24 East 17th Street.

There is loooong line outside the salad spot. Okay, admittedly a good sign, though perhaps a teensy bit annoying (if I’m even a minute late returning from lunch, I find boss-man flapping and clucking about refilling the printer paper). But the line advances pleasingly fast and I’m within the tangy green walls in no time. Once inside, I observe the place running like a well-oiled Salad Shooter. An orchestral line of blue-uniformed men practice syncopated Kabuki-style chopping maneuvers on the salad greens. I have never before seen tae-kwan-do salad technique performed live. Que impressivo!

The validity of the soup nazi’s rules now seems clear: keep the line moving, step to the left, have your money ready. No, there is no salad radical to shame me, but there is a superior system in place at Chop’t. Numerous salad stations align in a neat row, and I can now see why the line progressed so quickly.

I sit and enjoy my lunch, chopped, diced and sliced, custom ordered to perfection, with oh-so-heavenly avocado in every single bite (all hail avocado dressing!). And now when I return again and again, I revel in the unique and super fresh ingredients. Truth be told friends, it’s by far the best chopped salad depot in town. And I love the fact that I can enjoy my lunch without cowering under the fanatical threat of ‘no salad for you!’

And so I leave you with a few random quotes from the video screens mounted on the lime green, espousing uncommon salad philosophy:

“Europeans traveling to the New World used avocadoes as their form of butter.” (One word: brill!)

“There is a celery museum in Cortage, Michigan.” (Ok, sooo did not know that!)

“My salad days, when I was green in judgment.” William Shakespeare. (Aaah Billy, ever the cunning linguist!)

“The ancient Egyptians worshiped the onion believing that its spherical shape and concentric rings symbolized eternity.” (Ode to the onion, see, me not the only crazy one!)

Chop’t Creative Salad Company
60 East 56th Street & 24 East 17th Street
www.choptsalad.com

I DO Believe in GHOST
By Amber Roniger

Pull up a chair and mull with me why someone might name a clothing line GHOST. Where lies the hidden meaning? Don’t you find it fascinating that the mention of ghosts elicits such a range of emotions from pure enthrallment to absolute terror? I, for one, have had too many friends inundated by “ghosts” to simply write them off as some sort of fabricated apparition.

There is something deliciously ironic about naming a clothing line after a non-being whose costuming is so damn commonplace: one bland sheet with cut-out eyeholes for all of eternity, please (unless, of course, it’s in some really high thread count of divine Egyptian cotton from Barney’s). But on the whole, no thank you, I crave variety way too much! Let’s face facts: ghosts are fashion hacks.

Yet there is another perspective to consider, the relative comfort and ease of floating around weightless in a flowing sheet (unless some peeping-ghost is positioned under me, shooting phantom video of my phantasmal girlie privates, hate that!). There is certainly something to be said for wearing fluid flowing fabrics that swish as you move, never tight or restrictive, never searing indelible marks into tender un-flesh (like those jeans you wore today that have left your mid-section looking like a Hot Wheels racing track). There is something innately feminine (dare I say fey? there, I said it) about floating around the ozone in a loosey-goosey white dress. When it comes to comfort, ghosts certainly have it down pat in an Age-of-Aquarius sorta style. It’s hard to hate on that. Read more

When it comes to the colors of the actual Ghost line, they certainly have the un-color palate of legitimate ghosts’ wardrobe beat hands down. Gorgeous shimmering pastels float balletically around the body, rendering all different shapes and sizes looking swishy-fabulous, femme and free; lit-up with flighty movement and floating on air. The British clothing line is produced through a special process rendering the resulting vintage crepe, satin, georgette and velvet pieces with a beautifully unique feel. The otherworldly colors are produced through unique dyeing, leaving the clothes blissfully machine washable, an absolute must for the modern ghostettes-on-the-go.

Toward the end of every winter all I can think about is wearing clothes so ecstatically light they feel like they’re not even there. And now, thanks to springtime and Ghost, I know where to find them. Once you don them, you’ll think you died and went to heaven.

Ghost NEW YORK
28 Bond Street, NYC
(646) 602-2891
www.ghost.co.uk

SURF THE WHALE’S TAIL TO BENDEL’S
By Amber Roniger

I know you. You hear the words trunk show and are rendered instantly paranoid. You lock the bedroom door and hurriedly pull out the wooden trunk from its ‘secret’ place to check on Aunt Sadie’s ashes. Phew, they’re still there! Don’t be daft darling. I don’t give a damn what you have stowed in your silly little hideaway trunk tucked behind the trundle bed (unless it’s a life-sized Ken Wantanabe blow-up doll, then we can haggle, sister). Ridiculous! Trunks aren’t just for dirty little secrets anymore, but rather for stashing yummy delicious skin care and home accessories away from grabby friends and houseguests’ gaping duffels. (This ‘aint the Four Seasons!) No seriously, they are if you’re at the MALIE KAUAI TRUNK SHOW at HENRI BENDEL’S (May 18th – 21st).

Malie Kauai? That reminds me of this one time, in Hawaii, when I was dancing in my grass skirt on the tiki bar… as if! Malie is actually a scrumptious high-end luxury brand from “The Garden Island” jah, you know the one, where they film “Lost.” Malie products are combobulated from the most luxe naturally indigenous Hawaiian ingredients that puba shells can buy. These premiere luscious personal care and lifestyle products for the body, spirit and abode are derived from floral hydrosols, the truest essence of flower and fruit, good enough to slurp from a coconut, my dear. So grab your conga drum, dance your mango tango, track the sweet flowery smell and surf the whale’s tail over to Bendel’s for some choice Malie Kauai products. Aloha!

www.malie.com
The Malie Kauai Trunk Show at Henri Bendel’s
May 18th – 21st
10am-8pm

Originally published May 2006
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