Day: September 6th, 2006

Real Life Entertaining

Wednesday, September 6th, 2006 | All Things, Books, Classes, Events, Friends

SN and I met up after work so we could attend together NYU’s Open House/information session being held at the nearby Woolworth Building. The lobby is one of the most beautiful interior spaces in New York City. Sadly, like so many other public spaces, it too was closed off for security reasons after September 11. We were required to come into the building through the Barclay Street entrance, completely bypassing the grand, high arches I remember from those pre-2001 days.

SYB was already there, considering the offerings at the School of Continuing and Professional Studies. After a quick tour among the tables, I spied IG, the superstar of our Russian I class, by the refreshments table. After some quick catching up, I left her with SN to discuss course registration strategy. I hope to see them both again in two weeks, when Russian II starts up for the Fall. NYU requires a minimum enrollment of six people to hold the class; after tonight, we’re already halfway there. Fingers crossed…

SYB was leaving the event also, so I invited him to tag along to the book party for Jennifer Rubell’s Real Life Entertaining. (SYB is all about the real life entertaining, after all.) We took the subway uptown to The Conran Shop, in Bridgemarket, tucked in the shadow of the Queensboro Bridge. This design-conscious home furnishings store opened in 1999, but I’d never had an occasion to make the special trip out there until now.

Conran Shop

According to last week’s New York Times profile about The Conran Shop, the foot-traffic unfriendly location results in the cavernous, bi-level glass and steel space remaining empty most of the time. Technically, the store may have been open for shopping, but almost everyone there tonight seemed to be there for the party.

Jennifer Rubell is the niece of nightlife kingpin Steve Rubell, who co-founded the legendary Studio 54. Professional entertaining is her legacy: her family runs three Miami-area hotels (The Beach House, The Greenview and The Albion) and The Rubell Family Collection, a museum housing the world’s largest private family collection of contemporary art.

By the time we made our way past the clipboarded name-checkers, the cooking demonstration had already started downstairs. Rubell seemed to be about five minutes into the preparation of her quick and easy “Summer Tuna Spectacular,” featuring seared tuna with diced olives, tomatoes and capers. She talked the audience through the demonstration, offering creative ideas and helpful tips. (“Always cut meat against the grain for maximum tenderness!”) Though she probably caters to a similar demographic, I found Rubell far, far less grating than Rachael Ray.

Fair warning: any comments which include the terms “E.V.O.O.” and/or “Yum-o” will be deleted — no exceptions. Violators will be scorned.

Jennifer Rubell

One of the party sponsors was Rose’s Cocktail Infusions: purveyors of multi-colored fruit-flavored drink mixers. After Rubell’s segment, a bartender came up front to demonstrate the recipes a couple of prettily-hued specialty drinks featuring Rose’s mixer, both of which were also being served up at the bar stations around the floor.

Watermelon, Cranberry, Mango, Apple, and Blue Raspberry. I’m sure I do not understand the reasoning behind this quiz, but you can take it anyway to find out which Rose’s Cocktail Infusion suits your personal style. I’m a “Watermelon Trendsetter!”

Roses Infusions

After the two demos, there was plenty of time to wander among the cool Conran stock as the trays of hors d’oeuvres circulated. I actually found quite a few items I liked… if I had at least thrice the space and ten times the money I do now.

Conran Lighting

Dinner at English pub Baker Street, and then we crossed town to meet CS at our long-neglected local watering hole. Things there got pretty interesting, despite the absence of our friend, Bartender Paul (who is only on duty Mondays, Tuesdays and Saturdays.)

At one point in the evening I approached the bar to request a glass of water, and two men (both named Rob) sitting nearby began to strike up a conversation with me. One seemed vaguely familiar-looking, and as he and I continued to chat, a few details began to emerge from the haze of my memory. Yes, Riverside Drive, Morgan Stanley, Canadian…. Finally, after a pause, Rob commented, “You know… uh, we’ve met before.”

“Oh? Hmm, I thought so…”

“Yes. The last time, you were here with your lesbian friend.”

Ah. I should note here that “the last time” was well over a year and a half ago, and that although this was the first occasion she has been referred to me as such, I immediately recognized that the woman Rob was talking about was M. Dear M – from here on, known as my lesbian friend, haha! M(LF) and I were at Peter’s that late night so long ago, no doubt post-morteming our respective love life disasters.

Needless to say, she must have made quite the impression.

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