EATALY Aficionada

I don’t even try to hide it. I’ve always been a Batali enthusiast. First came Babbo, Lupa, Esca, Otto, Del Posto… not necessarily in that order, but I’m such a sucker for his work that when I saw him pass me by in the village a couple of years ago (yes, in his orange clogs) I shamelessly saluted him with my right palm up saying “Ave Mario.”

When I first heard about the gourmet food emporium that would only sell Italian food I was uncertain. What? With all the open-air farmer markets, whole foods popping up around town, why would anyone go into a windowless mall to buy only Italian food and kitchen merchandise?

Then my mother in law went. She is from Milan and obsessed with food, like every true old school Italian mamma. “Incredibile”, she was so excited and impressed, I had to go check it out myself. Once again, hail Mr. Batali, the ambassador of Italian food, and now products, in NYC. Yes, incredible indeed. You have to go when you visit. I like the lack of a big fat sing at the entrance, love the food at Manzo, the pizza or standing up at the wine bar.

To get a feel for it, here is a little clip I made this week at my last visit:


200 5th Avenue, entrances on 5th Avenue and 23rd Street

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New Soulcycle on Union Square: Vacate notice?

Photo: Olivia Bam Olson

I've always been skeptical when my friends told me about how much they adore spinning classes. Their eyes would sparkle and the speech would quickly take on that preaching tone, which I immediately associate with obsessive cult followers. Now, yours truly will humbly admit it: I get it. I’ve taken four classes at the brand new Soulcycle in Union Square, just a few minutes walk from my apartment. With my post-pregnancy fat butt I had no excuse and let my friend drag me for a 20 dollar first-comer class (after that it’s 32 per class, or buy 10 for 31 each). After one minute of a deafening pop song drumming in my ears and the adrenaline starting to rise and sweat to drip, I felt how that could be addictive and creep under your skin. Yes, I drank the cool-aid of Soulcycle and understand.

So, to my shock this morning there was a city “Vacate” notice tagged to their front door. The staff assured me they have all the permits, but are ironing out some issues. “Does it have to do with the fact that there’s no egress or fire exit in the basement where you have your showers and locker rooms?” No answer to that specific question.

A New York Insider reveals:"We had a conversation with the firemen next door- they say that the residents in building and right next door complained as it wasn't really soundproofed for 6am classes- I guess that led to inspection...Got to think you're stupid not to check it out before you putyour studio there... Oh well..."

Whichever the reason is, I really do hope they fix this soon. Classes are still going on and the friendly staff is still chatting merrily behind the reception desk. And I’ll continue a happy bike rider, nasty notice at the door or not.



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Escape NYC to Saint Barthelemy

It's old news. It’s been a record cold and snowy winter in the city. For me, it’s about time to end this long hibernation. I would like to blame the winter storms, my newborn daughter, all of my three girls, or family matters for my hiatus, but I won’t. Truth is life dumped a lot of stuff on me - some sad, some good- and forced me to check out of this blogosphere. But now I’m back.

Talking about the cold, I did manage to escape it, as I traditionally do every January or February to Saint Barthelemy, a quick plane ride from JFK. This French island is my favorite in the Caribbean for several reasons: the food, the scene, the stores, the service. The latter comes as a surprise I know, (let’s face it, the combo service + French are not to be taken for granted), but compared to other islands in the Caribbean, they are so much more professional and friendly in Saint Barts.

This time we took a day trip to Anguilla, to Cap Juluca to be precise, and were greeted by the worse customer service I’ve ever encountered. Our concierge at Eden rock reserved tee times for our husbands at their property and made sure my friend and I could use their beach chairs while they played golf and before we had lunch there (awful, btw, or ok - if you go by Aruba standards.) We were treated as if we were fugitives arriving on an illegal boat, and had to beg to sit in one of their many empty chairs. And when asked for a towel, were told they were not authorized to do so. And that coming from the concierge! Wow. No comments.

Bad experiences aside, here are my top tips for St Barts, after a decade of yearly short visits:

Rent a boat: Best way to go snorkeling and visiting all the beaches in one day. Do NOT use Master Pilou, bad experience as well. This time we met the guys from St Barth Sailor. Our captain actually left Master Pilou because he “was tired of unhappy customers”. I have to second that. +590 690 18 60 66

My list is in order of personal preference. Everything on here is fantastic. You have to see for yourself.



Maya. The most authentic and delicious of all. My favorite by far.

Tamarin : magical atmosphere in the garden, have a drink under the tamarind tree before dinner

L’esprit de saline: nice outdoor seating, all open and relaxed

L’Isola: very good Italian, but feels like you are in a posh city restaurant

Le Gaiac at Le Toiny: formal, around the pool, romantic

Pacri: Italian in a cute villa (same owners as Villa Pacri in the Meat Packing District)

Dearly missed: Francois Plantation, which closed a few years ago. Is there a sign up sheet requesting resuscitation somewhere?


1 Nikki Beach on a Sunday. Party time.

2 La Plage

3 La Case at L'Isle at Isle de France

4 Do Brasil. Casual and beachy


1 Top $tars:

2 Eden Rock

3 Le Toiny

4 Isle de France

5 Le Sereno

6 Guanahani

Chic décor, lovely properties:

1. La Banane

2. Christopher

3. Emeraude Plage

There are more than words to express what St Barth represents. I made a small movie that tries to capture the unique ambiance of this special piece of heaven in the ocean. I hope you enjoy it.

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