Sunday, September 11, 2016

In Which We Visit a Sanatorium and a Prune

Aided and Abetted by the Inimitable Sue Kreitzman!

We started off our long Labor Day weekend with a bang!  To be precise, we had an adventure with Sue Kreitzman, artist, author, documentary film star, ex-TV cooking star and woman-about-town visiting her native New York City from London. First stop on our adventure: Sanatorium, the newest establishment by the legendary Austrian mixologist, Albert Trammer, and his son Jakob, just opened at 14 Avenue C in the East Village. The tag line alone is with the price of admission:  "healing through alcohol"! We had admired Albert's creativity at his previous Manhattan outpost, Apotheke, located in a former opium den on tiny, crooked little Doyers Street in Chinatown. Longtime readers may remember that we took Style Crone there in April 2012 for our first ever get-together. While geting to know each other, we sampled beautifully presented drinks with unusual flavorings in a setting fitted with the accoutrements of an old apothecary shop. That experience was amazing, so we were thrilled to invite Sue to accompany us on our maiden voyage to Sanatorium.

Loosely based on a medical clinic setting, Sanatorium features stylish, verrrry comfortable seating among various medical instruments and equipment. Under the beautiful glass top on the table above are a number of medical and surgical instruments. In the shot below behind Sue, you can see the industrial green walls and ceilings of the bar and lounge areas.

Oversized, glistening, low hanging Austrian crystal chandeliers in the lounge are in stark contrast to the various operating room lights over the bar area work space.

Here is the handsome team running the joint on the evening of our visit: Jakob Trammer (l) and Chris Nolan (c) are Bar Chefs/Managers and Jan (r) is our attentive waiter. We were there on the night before Jakob's 22nd birthday, so there was a holiday mood in the air. One of the big New York stories about Albert Trammer was his arrest at Apotheke by the New York City Police Department for violating Fire Department rules with his famous flaming drinks. Jakob not only confirmed the veracity of the story but added that he had flown into New York the same day and was left stranded at the airport: his father was not available to meet him since he was cooling his heels in jail.

Sue Kreitzman never fails to amaze and amuse.  She wore an African fabric jacket of her own design on which she collaborated with her trusted tailor. Her neckpiece is by outsider artist Anothai Hansen. The large face is hand-painted on a mirror from a Harley Davidson cycle.

Bottles of homemade elixirs and infusions take pride of place at the front of the marble-topped bar.

The tongue-in-cheek menu, also in institutional green, resembles a medical chart, with individual pages for cocktails, wines and spirits.

Valerie studied all of the ingredients of the drinks listed in the menu and consulted with Jakob on the creation of a customized concoction.

After discussing Valerie's likes and dislikes and possible combinations of ingredients, Jakob took it upon himself to come up with something to "surprise" her.  (We all tried each other's drinks, and Valerie figures she got the best of the lot, but doesn't quite know what she got.)

Truth be told, the names of the drinks are hilarious. Sue ordered "IN THE AMBULANCE" which combined gin with thyme elixirs, lime-infused sugarcane, fresh rosemary and orange peel.  Jean opted for "TURN YOUR HEAD AND COUGH" which added California strawberry, lime, vanilla elixir and sage to tequila.  Below is a shot of Jean's drink, in a beautiful crystal coupe.  All too soon, the time of our reservation for Dinner at Eight (ten points if you saw the movie, can name the stars, and summarize the main plot points) loomed large, so we bid our hosts a good night and headed east across East 2nd Street.

Our final destination of the evening? Author and celebrity chef Gabrielle Hamilton's Prune, of course. Where else would one take a former TV cooking show star?  (Yes, we said author.  Read her fascinating book Blood, Bones & Butter.)  It was a balmy night and the doors to the small restaurant were opened out onto the street.  We scored a table with a great view of passers-by, the open kitchen, the serving staff and other diners (of course).  Over delicious meals (linguini and clam sauce for Jean, corn on the cob and a zucchini tian  for Sue, branzino for Valerie, and after dinner coffees for all), we chatted, solved the problems of the world and vowed to meet again soon.

Final tally?  We think we went two for two. Both locales were winners.