In the midst of the pre-Christmas rush, I stole away to NYC for a quick visit. I was in town for a meeting, so I tried to maximize my time in order to see see friends, eat great food. We checked ourselves in to the Pierre , an old favorite.
Because I booked so late, and it was prime Christmas season, my choice of rooms was limited. The Pierre doesn’t really break new ground with their rooms, but their staff is top notch. Every person I encountered during my stay, from Bellmen to Reception to Waiters to Elevator Operators were exceedingly polite and unfailingly cheerful. It is rare (especially in NY) to find such a stellar staff.
Small, but clean!
The amenities are on point.
The highlight of the room is most certainly the view.
As soon as I dropped my bag I set off down Fifth Avenue to take a look at the Window Displays at some of my favorite stores. Bergdorfs always wins in my book.
Louis Vuitton brought a smile to my face!
And Cartier is always perfect.
I waited for a good while in hopes of getting a clear shot of the tree at Rockefeller Center, but it was not happening.
Fast forward to lunch the following day, I had booked a table at L’Avenue in Saks with an old friend. I have always been a tried and true patron of Freds at Barneys, but as they recently closed I was hoping L’Avenue could fill the void. I have been to the original in Paris, and it is indeed a great scene.
The restaurant is on the top floor of Saks, and the long entry hallway is quite dramatic. The atmosphere was buzzing with many groups of ladies who lunch, as well as many tables taking a break from their holiday shopping. We were handed menus, and I have to say that at first, it didn’t really appeal. I think I was hoping for a French interpretation of Mark’s Madison Avenue Salad from Freds.
I ordered a King Crab Salad with optimism that it might fill the void Fred’s left, but alas, it was much too delicate and not altogether satisfying. The service was good, and the presentation lovely, but I think it lacks some soul. It is also exceedingly expensive. I enjoyed the energy at lunch, but I definitely have to continue to hunt for a Fred’s replacement.
It was a nice surprise to find a small outpost of Pierre Hermé as I exited L’Avenue. Since I was still hungry, a couple of macarons were just the thing.
The weather was spectacular for a little more strolling as I left Saks and passed St.Patricks.
I had to do another stop at Bergdorfs for a little retail therapy.
The saddest moment of the day was when I swung into Barneys to take a last look before it closes for good. It was so upsetting I could only stay for a short bit before I left.
I enjoyed soaking in a lot of holiday cheer, and had worked up a hearty appetite. Just around the corner from the Pierre is one of my favorites, Rotisserie Georgette. If you had a very fancy Parisien grandmother who was an incredible chef, then you can imagine the smells and food produced at Rotisserie Georgette. It is very much an Upper East Side clubby atmosphere, which I happen to love.
The restaurant was packed, even though we were meeting at 6:30. The UES definitely has an earlier time-table than restaurants downtown. It was so warm and cozy inside that we quickly settled in.
The rotisserie chicken is of course the star of the show, but they do have several vegetarian options, including a warm farro salad that was very satisfying. The prices are fair for the UES, and the quality of the food can’t be beat. It should be on your list if you are heading to the City.
After catching up with one of my favorite old friends, I went next door to the Pierre to collect my bags and head to the Airport for our Bangkok adventure, which you can read about here.