Sunday, December 16, 2012
Well, you can't say nobody told you. We hope you remembered to mark 12-12-12 in some enjoyable way, because the next 12-12-12 won't come till 2112. (Doesn't 2112 have a great symmetry to it?)
We were delighted to discover that we are not the only ones with number fixations. News agencies reported that the number of weddings was something like double the usual. Click here for a slide show of 12-12-12 weddings around the world, from the Huffington Post. Some people attended the 12-12-12 Concert for Hurricane Sandy. Click here for 140 concert photos, also from the Huffington Post.
As for us, we got small, to use the old Steve Martin phrase. We got together a very small group of people, joining three of our friends for marvelous cocktails to celebrate the auspicious date.
Above, Jean, Susan Troxell and Helen Uffner. The venue for our little get-together? 2nd Floor on Clinton, a lovely cocktail lounge and speakeasy located on the second floor at 67 Clinton Street on the Lower East Side. In true speakeasy stye, you have to enter through Barramundi, walk through the bar to the back, go through an easy to miss doorway on the left marked "Private" and ascend the staircase to enter. (http://2ndflooronclinton.com) We had previously reported on a cooking class and birthday dinner on the rooftop space by the Dumpling Diva, Marja Samsom, and owner of the space, Tony Powe, with JR, Shawn, Mark and George.
Above, Valerie joins Susan and Helen for a photo. We had a lovely table at the front of the space overlooking the street below. It was quite the international crowd: Susan is from England; Helen hails from Belgium and Marja Samsom, as everyone knows, is from Holland. Rather than being intimidated, we (the Brooklynite and the Washingtonian) felt right at home. Below, Marja, Susan and Helen.
It made for rather eclectic conversation with overlapping versions of Six Degrees of Separation. 2nd Floor on Clinton was the perfect locale, because you can actually carry on a conversation and hear what everyone is saying. How novel!
The setting is sophisticated but not overdone. Tables are situated just far enough apart that you aren't listening to the conversations of other patrons but close enough to be intimate. Comfortable seating with sufficient table space for drinks (see opening shot and photo below), a wide selection of heavenly alcoholic and non-alcoholic drink concoctions, and wonderful background music that sets the mood but doesn't dominate the space? What a simple recipe for a memorable evening! Go to bottom of post for descriptions of some of the cocktails. The wonderful pine scent of the holiday wreaths and Christmas tree added to the holiday atmosphere.
Unbeknownst to us when we first accosted Susan Troxell last September on Lafayette Street, there were myriad connections among the three of us and mutual friends. We saw Susan walking up the street looking like a million bucks (or in her case, a million British pounds) and asked if we might take her photo for one of our Silver Foxes features. She'd just been to the Diana Vreeland documentary The Eye Must Travel at the Angelika and recommended it so highly, we had to go.
Avid readers will recall that is where we met dandy Patrick McDonald, illustrator extraordinaire Robert Richards, performer Joey Arias and society hairdresser Steven Knoll. (Here's a link if you'd like to have a look: http://idiosyncraticfashionistas.blogspot.com/2012/09/diana-vreeland-eye-has-to-travel.html)
Imagine our surprise to learn that Susan not only knows Marja from the Kitchen Club but also knows Tony Powe from their hometown of Devon. An added degree of separation? Helen Uffner (who readers will also remember owns Helen Uffner Vintage Clothing, the costume rental service) is friends with one of Tony's business partners from one of his West Village eateries. What are the chances that all three of them would converge with us and Tony on 12/12/12? Here we frame the Dumpling Diva herself, who regaled us with tales of her recent trip to Moscow!
Oh dear. We seem to have neglected to mention the cocktails and how delicious they were, and how beautifully presented. To give you some idea, below is the Kyoto, with a fresh leaf of shiso both flavoring and decorating it. (Scroll down to the bottom to see all the drinks and their ingredients.)
A champion bunch shepherded us through our evening - Ektoras Binikos, our mixologist, flanked by Susan Miller (left) and Karen Whitelaw (right), who knew the drinks inside and out, and made sure we had everything we needed.
When "the dark prince of mixology" himself, Ektoras Binikos, came to the table to chat, it turned out that he was a total pussy cat and that Helen Uffner had traveled to the Greek Islands of his birth and Susan is scheduled to do a Greek Island cruise later this year. Our heads were spinning trying to keep track of all the inter-connections. The scent of the preparation of spicy mulled wine added another holiday element to our visit. Mulled wine is hard to come by, since it's so labor intensive. Everyone has his or her own preferred wines and spices to use, so in New York you're unlikely to come across exactly the same flavor twice. Below, a cup of mulled wine, steam still rising.
Jean enjoys the aroma of the apricots, cherries and spices in the mulled wine.
And just before we departed, Tony treated us to little tumblers of home made egg nog.
What a jolly evening it was. As we were leaving, we noticed the marvelous, large, decadent floral arrangement on the bar, the scene of the crime.
With a lot of laughter, we descended the stairs into the night with Susan, Helen and Valerie sharing a cab uptown and Jean and Marja walking together across Rivington Street before heading home to their respective abodes.
What we're wearing:
Jean is wearing a Maria Del Greco hat with vintage bakelite pin; Top Shop jacket; black resin skull necklace (gift from Jodi Head); brass and pearl skull earrings by Kirsten Hawthorne; Brigitte harem pants; Underground creepers; and vintage bakelite rings.
Valerie is wearing an unlabeled vintage white leather hat; black and white plastic target earrings; white print jacket by Brigitte; black shirt by Issey Miyake; black pants by Comme des Garcons; black suede shoes by Arche.
Cocktails at 2nd Floor on Clinton:
The Kyoto: Shiso infused vodka, cointreau, lime, yuzu, shiso, pasteurized egg whites, yuzu bitters.
2nd Floor Sparkler: Cava, Aperol, Orange Curacao, Verjus, Orange Bitters.
James Delancey: New Amsterdam Gin, Velvet Falernum, Verjus, Orange Bitters.
Frida's Thorns: Herradura Blanco, Cointreau, Sour Cherry Juice, Lime, Yuzu, Ginger, Gum Arabic, Cherry Bitters, Smoked Sea Salt.
Apricot and Cherry Spiced Mulled Wine: Red Wine, White Wine, Moscato di Asti, Apricot Brandy, Cherry Brandy, Oranges, Cherries, Apricots, Anice, Cloves, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Home Spiced Bitters.
Holiday Egg Nog: Cognac Pierre Ferand Amber Fine 80, Rhum JM VSOP, Michter's Bourbon, Cream, Eggs (pasteurized), Cinnamon, Cloves, Nutmeg, Orange Zest, Jerry Thomas Decater Bitters.
MANY THANKS TO JODEL MINTEL, WHO HAD THE PRESENCE OF MIND TO CAPTURE 12:12 ON 12/12/12 ON AN INSTAGRAM (OUR SECOND PHOTO), AND KINDLY SENT IT TO US!!!!