Eat uP: Cafe Gitane at the Jane Hotel

29 01 2010

As I’ve said many times before, I have a love-hate relationship with the Meatpacking District restaurants.  I generally find them to be overpriced, Eurotrash pre-game hangouts or crowded mid-week sausage fests, and  I tend to take my culinary business elsewhere. But last week my friend Scott and I went to Cafe Gitane at the Jane Hotel on a recommendation from a neighborhood client and renewed our love for eating on the far west side.

Some may already be familiar with the Cafe Gitane in Nolita–delicious, affordable French-Moroccan cuisine, steps away from SoHo shopping and usually packed to the gills with weary travelers.  The west side location boasts a similar (if not identical) menu and Parisian-chic vibe, but as you enter the somewhat creepy Jane Hotel and walk into the gorgeous cafe space to the left of the lobby, you feel as if you’ve discovered something incredibly special that nobody but the neighbors know about.

Food ranges from breakfast to salads/sandwiches to the house specialty cous cous (vegetarian and meaty, both) with prices pretty much under $15. The wine is completely affordable with most glasses under $10 and they are not chintzy with the pours. Specialty cocktails are also available as well as a wide range of teas, so nobody feels left out.

Reservations are not required…yet.  But I have a feeling that once the word gets out that could change.

Front area of Cafe Gitane. Yes, that IS a Foosball table.

Cafe Gitane @ The Jane Hotel

113 Jane Street

New York, NY 10014



Fess uP: Booze is Making me Fat

28 01 2010

We all know that alcohol is nothing but empty calories and that we’re probably better off eating a movie theater sized bag of Sour Patch Kids than drinking 2 or 3 margaritas on a Friday night. But we still keep on drinking, knowing that tomorrow’s treadmill will counteract our bad behavior from the previous night.

I treated this holiday season like it was my own personal 21st birthday party-eating and drinking like it was my occupation and thinking little about the consequences of my actions. It wasn’t until a yearly doctor’s appointment this week that made me seriously consider my behavior.  I had been doing so well post-Christmas (or so I thought) until my doctor informed me that I had gained 9 pounds since last year’s exam. Since I had been eating well and exercising regularly, it could only be one thing: my considerably boozy behavior.

Now I am in no way, shape or form in need of an intervention or a long time abstinence from alcohol but my recent weight gain has got me thinking: Is booze making me fat? And do I need to do something about it?

Starting February 1 and ending March 1, I plan on abstaining from alcohol to see if it makes a difference in my weight loss.  I will continue to eat and exercise exactly as I have been, but I want to see the size of the dent that alcohol puts in my weight loss regime.  Stay tuned for updates…

Dress uP: Golden Globes Fashion Report Card

19 01 2010

I look forward to the Golden Globes each year like most people look forward to the Superbowl. As a matter of fact, while my husband was watching the Jets advance to the playoffs on the flat screen, I was huddled in the bedroom, armed with a blackberry, laptop and a miniscule TV to be a part of the red carpet promenade.

This year it was raining in LA and as everyone knows, celebs are not supposed to eat after midnight or get wet, so it was even more exciting than usual.  Unfortunately, I think the rain washed away most of the style this year, especially in the hair department,  making for even juicier commentary (many thanks to my mom and the McGuire girls for adding their valuable insight).

And so, without further ado, I present my Golden Globes Fashion Report Card.

A+  Jane Krakowski

Jane Krakowski

The fashion star of the night, Jane got everything right from the beautiful amethyst colored gown to the soft, Old Hollywood hair. Extra points for not looking like an emaciated girl-woman bobblehead.

A Marion Cotillard

Marion Cotillard

Even though I have a secret girl crush on Marion Cotillard, that does not give her a free pass with her awards show garb. She took a risk with this Dior gown and made the A-list on her own accord.

A- Emily Blunt

Ms “one stomach flu away from my ideal weight” Blunt looked ravishing in this Dolce & Gabbana gown. I only wish she had put as much thought into her hair as she did everything else.

Emily Blunt

B+ Jennifer Garner

Jennifer Garner

Despite the fact that Mrs Garner-Affleck is in desperate need of a burger, her Versace had just the right amount of sparkle so as not to look like a left over Dynasty extra (cough, Toni Collette, cough).

B- Cameron Diaz

Cameron Diaz

I may be alone in my love of this red bias-cut gown, but Cameron really stood out among a sea of neutral and she’s probably the only person in the world who could have made this work.

B- Lea Michele

Although I feel as though this dress is better suited for a taller woman, I love the old school glamour and the touch of color in the earrings.

Lea Michele

C+ Kate Hudson

Stripper pumps? Check. Dress made completely out of dinner napkins? Check. The only reason Kate wasn’t bumped into D-town was the beautifully styled hair and makeup, the classic jewelry and the fact that she didn’t land flat on her face trying to walk in that getup.

Kate Hudson, the human origami

C Tina Fey

Tina Fey

I think I get what you were trying to go for here: that sexy, saucy 50’s housewife thing. Sadly, that Mary Poppins meets the Tin Man debacle took a detour right into ugly town.

C- Drew Barrymore

Drew Barrymore and Sonic

I hope Drew had her shots before that wild hedgehog attached itself to that flimsy ass gown.  And do we even need to address the fact that her support garments are shining through for all to see? Thankfully, Cover Girl helped a sister out with her makeup and sent over a few extra Lash Blasts.

D+ Julia Roberts

Why didn’t anyone tell poor Julia that the Golden Globes dress code has not changed to business casual this year? With the exception of the stilettos I would probably wear this outfit to work

Julia Roberts

D Chloe Sevigny

The only reason Chloe didn’t get the D- spot was because she took a chance on the color. Otherwise, this gown looks like it was recycled from Ariel’s closet in Footloose. All she needs is a side of Bacon and some crazy dance moves and we’ve got a senior prom.

Chloe Sevigny

D- Julianne Moore

I think I made something like this in 8th grade Home Ec.  Who in their right mind would waste a gorgeous figure on what looks like a bed sheet with a feather boa stapled to it? I’ve seen Julianne walking through the West Village looking better than this.

Julianne Moore

F Mariah Carey

I don’t know what was more painful: Mariah being stuffed into that gown like a Polish sausage into casing or my eyeballs being assaulted by her angry, lopsided implants. All that talent and yet none can be channeled into her wardrobe.

Mariah Carey and the twin terrors

Honorable Best Dressed Mentions: Christina Hendricks (Mad Men), Olivia Wilde, Jennifer Aniston (minus the hair hanging in her face), Sigourney Weaver

Honorable Worst Dressed Mentions: Halle Berry, Patricia Arquette, Anna Paquin, Cher (surprise, surprise)

Be sure to check back in March for the fashion parade to end all fashion parades: The Academy Awards!

Many thanks to for the photos.

Listen uP: Two for Tuesday

12 01 2010

Michael Franti and Spearhead

My friend Krista, lover of all things that help us get our groove on, was the one who first recommended Michael Franti to me. I was looking for some motivational workout music and she seemed to think he would fit the bill. One month later, the album “All Rebel Rockers” is still on continuous play and these are two of my favorite songs.

Download #1: “Say Hey (I Love You)”- I’m so afraid this song will be played to death once everyone realizes how infectious it is, but right now it’s my #1 morning commute tune, transporting me from the icy cold New York streets to a warm Caribbean island filled with frozen girlie drinks and free-for-all dance parties.

Download #2: “A Little Bit of Riddim”– This is like a pure funk mash up of Rob Base & DJ EZ Rock and Stereo MC’s Connected; kind of like an 8th grade dance for grown ups. Put it on the iPod and pimp on down the sidewalk like it’s your job.

I’m anxious to get to know more of Michael Franti and Spearhead but this has been an excellent start and the entire cd is a winner. Listen. Love. Groove.

Drink uP: Cleaning House

5 01 2010

To say that I overindulged during the holidays would be the understatement of the year. If it had sugar, frosting or sprinkles on top, it went in my mouth. If it had any French written on the label, I drank it. Basically if it wasn’t alive or nailed down to the table I helped myself to seconds. It’s now January 5th and I’m trying to take back my life with the help of my favorite seasonal detox: The Blueprint Cleanse.

A client turned me on to the Blueprint Cleanse a few years ago and my husband and I have done it two or three times a year ever since. This all-juice cleanse can be done for 1 to 7 days and basically consists of 6 different numbered bottles of juice that are consumed in order throughout the day. There are three different cleanse levels to choose from, depending on your health and lifestyle. One can expect to drop a few pounds over the course of the fast, but we primarily do it to get back on track after one too many bad judgment calls.

Although we have completed the 5-day cleanse before, Frank and I opted for the 3-day this time. Day One was a breeze until I decided to go to the movies at 5:30 and was tortured by the smell of buttered popcorn and the urge to urinate every 30 seconds.  After a good night sleep, however, I woke up feeling refreshed and raring to go. We’re currently on the second day and I’m wondering (as I do each time) why the hell I chose to do this to myself again. Day Two is the absolute worst for me as the toxins are releasing and the desire to chew is making me want to punch anyone I see eating on the subway. In between juices we’re allowed to drink water or tea and, only in dire situations, are allowed to nibble on a few cucumbers or celery stalks.  This means I’ll put myself to bed early tonight since I’m already on Juice #4 and it’s only 5 pm. Day Three will suck until around 4 pm when I’ll start to feel amazingly light and clear-headed and wonder why I didn’t sign up for the 5-day. This is what we like to call “Cleanse Bravado.”

So why do I do it year after year? For me, it pays off to go balls to the wall after a month of bodily abuse. The strict cleanse shows me how much unnecessary snacking I do on a daily basis and helps me make smarter choices going forward. Upon completion of the cleanse, your body doesn’t want processed foods and you’re no longer experiencing sugar cravings like before. When I start to feel like I’m slipping back into old habits, I’ll do another one (probably right before summer).

I like Blueprint Cleanse because it’s easy, convenient, straight to the point and delicious.  It’s also expensive and may not be in everyone’s budget but if you sign up for the Blueprint email list, you’ll receive frequent discounts and specials.  For more information on the Blueprint Cleanse, visit their website: and choose the cleanse that’s right for you.