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I had checked the box for ‘car service’ as my preferred mode of transport from Laguardia as I know it’s better than a taxi. My driver Laurence was an eloquent man from Nigeria. I was going to ask him how he felt about the Nigerian prince soliciting help from me via email in transferring his millions outta the country but equated it to asking someone from London what they thought about English Muffins.
I must have a ‘go ahead and ask me a lot of personal questions’ sort of face because there is no one I know in the world who gets into deep discussions with taxi and limo drivers like I do. Laurence was a perfect gentleman, but it never fails that a foreign man will ask me how many children I have, and then upon hearing I have none, is visibly saddened as if there must be something wrong with me. I then find myself explaining that it my choice to not have children – to a stranger. It must be me as on the way home, I had the same conversation with Mohummad. ‘Are you married? Do you have children? You do not have children? Is it your husbands wish? arrrggghhh…
When Emily of Porter Novelli, the corporate event specialists, made my travel arrangements, I asked if they could fly me in one day early and out one day later – to take full advantage of our venue for three nights. Laurence could not find the hotel as there IS NO SIGN, so he left me in the back seat, car running, drivers door open, to go in and check address. NOTE TO LAURENCE: This is blueprint for carjacking in Miami and I am sure similarly in NYC perhaps. He returned, this was it. (If you are a COOL location, people know where you are. If you are really cool, you don’t have a sign as if people don’t know how to find you, they don’t need to come – got that?)
I was in the lobby of the Mondrian by 10:30am on Wednesday – all by myself. Not a shot at early check in, the restaurant stopped breakfast and lunch did not begin for an hour, the bellman who was really an actor stowed my bags for me, and the concierge who was really a model was busy and I could not get a primer on where I was.
I sat at the atrium bar and chatted with the bartender who was a backup dancer. I sucked down a couple of iced teas – I have a phobia about drinking liquids and flying; I was dehydrated. I had nothing to do until 3pm, when I thought HAIRCUT! I was in NYC, home of top salons. I dashed upstairs to the concierge desk and she was happy to oblige me with a fabulous salon. The Ric Pipino Salon works with Mondrian guests (I’ll take supermodel husbands for $2000 Alex. This hairstylist was married to Heidi Klum. Meep meep. Who is Ric Pipino, Alex?) When she said ‘Frederic Fekkai’, my heart stopped. (Concierge model called me to say she got me in, in 30 minutes, and the salon was ten blocks away. No time for lunch, I opened the box I shipped to myself at front desk to retrieve a BELIEVE Mocha Latte (ahhhhhh tasty!), fixed my makeup, and headed out the door. I was ready to be a blank canvas for one of the world greatest stylists.
I enjoyed my brisk walk – my father’s NYC words of wisdom from when I was five echoed in my head each time I waited to cross a street, ‘Suze pay attention! Those taxis will run you over and you’ll be DEAD!’ Thanks Dad – I probably need therapy for that.
The salon was fabulous, the Man was fabulous, my haircut experience was fabulous, my hair was fabulous – cut in long shaggy layers and blown out big.
Leaving Fekkai, I passed the yellow entrance to Cipriani. Back up; let’s do lunch at Cipriani! I asked to sit at the bar, but the fabulously white-tuxedoed waiters would not hear of it, and insisted I take a table. Bella! Sit here; we have a table for you bella. Would you like some prosecco bella? Ummm… let’s see, I had fabulous hair, I was in Cipriani, with waiters fawning over me and there is question to whether I wanted prosecco with my lunch? PREGO por favore!
I say, if your knees aren’t green by the end of the day, you ought to seriously re-examine your life.” ~Bill Watterson, Calvin & Hobbes
The tables in this restaurant were practically touching each other so you had to make believe you were not four inches from the person at the next table. I don’t sit that close to people that I am actually sitting with, and here I was sitting alone and having to ignore the woman next to me who had traveled from Mexico to meet this man she had met online – it was a very uncomfortable date and I was on it by virtue of my seating. (Silly girl took out her credit card and SHE paid their lunch check!!!)
I chose Tuna Scotraro, from the ‘Sushi ala Veneta’ appetizer section – perfect slices of bright red tuna, barely seared edges – arranged in a circle, with a pile of absolutely amazing braised fennel in the center, drizzled with fruity olive oil! A glass of pencil thin crisp breadsticks. Great lunch. The waiters kept swarming, smiling and filling my glass – I had a feeling one of them was about to ask how many children I had!
On the way back to the hotel, the names were familiar – Dolce and Gabbana, Chanel, Catherine Malandrino and I felt great! Time had escaped me and when I got to the front desk my room was ready and an actor who was also a bellman was ready to lead me to my room.
SHEER BLISS for people who are neat. I am not. PANIC. Who on earth wants the responsibility of a completely WHITE ROOM? Ekkk… I sleep with my makeup on. The room was very feng shui, which means there are no drawers, no furniture, no places for your makeup bag on the sink, and no shower door – so that the good spirits can move THROUGH the room without getting caught on anything from the door right on out the window.
I unpacked, headed back downstairs where the back up dancer bartender suggested that I try a No. ONE which is prosecco with an amazing green Cucumber Foam filling the top third of the champagne glass. It was yummy. So was Sam Talbot who kept walking through his dining room! I can’t tell if he was giving me a sexy look, or a stop taking my picture look. I prefer the former. Muah!
If you watch Top Chef you certainly know him – now he’s Top Chef at Mondrian Imperial No. 9. I took it to my room, (the No. ONE not Sam Talbot) looked at my hair in the mirror a lot, contemplated my view and ordered room service. The boy who delivered my food was, you guessed it, an actor who was also a hip hop artist. Sam Talbot cooked me a perfect sous vide steak medium rare all the way through, topped with chimichurri sauce, with peanut potatoes cooked in duck fat and arugula salad. Well played Sam. I enjoyed the food and yes, I had some of the tiny peanut potatoes – if I am going to eat carbs, they are going to be spectacular.
Early to bed as the girls would be arriving tomorrow and the games would begin. Seriously, it has been a long time since I didn’t have the pressure of running BE. I felt relaxed and blessed – I had a great day. Ingrid our BE Director would be arriving in the middle of the night as her flight was delayed plus we had an early morning appointment with my editor at HarperCollins Publishers to sign my new book deal. And I had great bed head hair!
Obesity Online: Bariatric Blogger Influencer Symposium * Hosted by Ethicon-Endo Surgery (EES) and Obesity Action Coalition (OAC) * New York, NY * April 14/15, 2011 * Mondrian SoHo Hotel * Manhattan
DISCLOSURE – EES/OAC generously sponsored my trip and paid for my travel and lodging expenses and I thank them.”