Some months ago, Valerie discovered that June 19th was National Cocktail Day (well, sort of - more in a moment), and we began impatiently awaiting its arrival, the way children await Christmas. (Remember we reminded you about it a few weeks ago?) National Cocktail Day is the kind of celebration we can get behind. As a matter of fact, to make sure we were ready, we tried a warm-up round on June 18th at Plunge, the rooftop bar on the Gansevoort Hotel. Luckily, it wasn't until a week later that we realized that June 19th is actually National Martini Day. Since neither of us drinks Martinis, it wouldn't have been a holiday we would have celebrated. Three cheers for misunderstandings! Although - Valerie says, rationalizing - hey, a Martini is a cocktail, after all. What's a little poetic license between friends? For purists, there IS a National Cocktail Day: May 13 [which is also National Apple Pie Day. Go figure.], so mark your calendar for next year.
In this city, where everything is cheek to jowl, it is often worth it to pay just a little extra. At Plunge, we got this marvelous cityscape with a sunset view of the Hudson River. (Not twenty feet away from us was a rooftop pool for guests. Oh, my! or rather, Oh, our!)
While at Plunge, we encountered a very cheerful group of Dutch tourists who were celebrating the Netherlands' early round FIFA World Cup victory. They wanted to adopt Valerie as their mascot!
Here is the talented bartender at Plunge. He made an Anejo Pacifico for Jean (on the left, consisting of Patron Anejo Tequila, Passion Fruit Puree and Fresh Lime Juice) and he indulged Valerie by substituting ingredients in one of the featured cocktails, using Prosecco instead of Hendrick's Gin.
Across the street to the right was another rooftop pool, which looked like it was right out of an episode of Sex and the City. This photo was taken after sunset, when they'd retracted the individualized cloth covers that shaded each guest. When we looked earlier, it was like looking at Rome's Coliseum in its heyday. The things that look like a row of neatly folded white towels (lower left corner) are the retracted covers.
But what really attracted our attention was this place immediately in front of us. Before the sun had gone down, we noticed that this rooftop restaurant was already shaded, and better yet, it wasn't standing room only. It was civilized and quiet. Dare we say lady-like? The name on the building read "Catch". That's where we wanted to go, and made a mental note to follow up.
The next night - National Martini Day - we went to the Peninsula Hotel's rooftop bar, Salon de Ning. The Peninsula Hotel (longtime readers know it from previous posts) was actually our fourth choice (no slight to the Peninsula - we were trying for a location equidistant to both of us), World Cup mayhem had broken loose at two of our first three rooftop choices, and there was a private party at our other chosen place. Even at the Peninsula we had to wait forever just for an elevator to take us up, but once we arrived, the view was great and the air was cool.
No crowding at all, and great city views all around.
And we haven't even mentioned the luscious drinks yet. Jean had an Anejo Atlantico (Patron Anejo, Passion Fruit, Cointreau, Lime Juice on the right). Different ocean but a very similar drink to the one at Plunge. And Valerie had a… ummmmmm… oh, a raspberry margarita.
After cocktails, while waiting for the elevator back to the lobby, we couldn't resist indulging in our usual hijinks. Yeah, yeah, heads are tilted in the wrong direction, we know. See? This is why we need an intern, or a photo assistant.
When we traveled to Philadelphia on Saturday, June 21 for the Patrick Kelly show at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, we extended our cocktail week celebration to include cocktails at R2L, a lovely space in a high rise with great views of the University of Pennsylvania's stadium. Jean's drink in the martini glass was a delicious tequila concoction. Valerie's drink included a basil leaf and a touch of jalapeno (the red dot of liquid jet fuel) on the drink in the champagne glass.
After getting up early and traveling to the City of Brotherly love and viewing the exhibition and then walking across town ('cause we couldn't figure out where to catch the bus), it felt soooo great to sit down and relax.
Remember that rooftop restaurant we spied from Plunge? It really was named Catch and had a terrific patio. We met two friends from Baltimore (Anne and Beth) on Sunday night. We were so revved up about the beautiful weather and seeing them and listening to the cheers from all the fans at all of the surrounding outdoor restaurants cheer Team USA at FIFA that we totally forgot to photograph our drinks! By the time we remembered, it was too late and we were already having dessert (which was fab-u-lous!).
Can't wait til next year!
(And since we can't wait till next year, we'll have one next week.)