Woke reasonably early and had brunch at a little Frenchie place around the corner -- croissant french toast! -- before heading to Grand Central for the train back to Stamford. Subway took forever (should've cabbed) so we didn't have time to get a shoe shine in GCT, but we did buy our tix with the cool ticket machines that give back dollar coins for change.
Back in Stamford we immediately headed out to Westchester so I could get my altered pants and sport coat from Nordstroms. Did some final final shopping and headed home. Dinner at the City Limits diner where I scared myself by eating an entire monster turkey burger and all the fries (note to self: when able to finish US portion, time to leave US.), then home to pack. Had to borrow a couple of extra bags to fit in all the purchases!

five points

The troops rallied this evening for dinner at the unstoppable Five Points, just down from aunt Emy's on Great Jones. We got the table in the back by the kitchen, and the chef started everyone with a stunning pasta dish that made the tongue tingle. The pork chops were thick, the salads refreshing, the meat juicy, the flat bread crunchy...I never tire of the place.
After dinner we headed up to the loft (new elevator!) and arranged ourselves around the various pieces of furniture. Will came by and we forcefed him jewish desserts as Lee relaxed sloth-like in The Comfy Leather Chair. After recovering from food coma we headed back to Gramercy Park South and watched the last of American tv.

calverts in italy

Lily took mom and dad to Rome, Italy.


Hiroko and I took the 6 down to SoHo and did some damage. We cleaned out Anthropologie, J Crew, and Banana Republic before heading back home. My taste in clothes for Hiroko is getting much better; she actually bought a few things I picked out. The shiny gold skirt is cool, as is the flowery jacket, but I really groove on the green sweater with big buttons.
Lee and Charity then took us around the corner to Piccolo for some neighborhood Italian. The veal -- Sinatra and Pacino -- was awesome, and my homemade meatballs were delicious. Finished off with a glass of dessert wine and I was asleep at the table.

beck engrish

Kevin finally got an Engrish submission accepted!

hanging in manhattan


Hiroko took the bus up to Grand Central, then walked up Fifth Avenue and picked up her shiny clean rings from Tiffany's.
Meanwhile I was hanging with Lee in downtown. Had a nice lunch at Ise with Steve and blew the waitress away by ordering off the menu. Before coming back up to have an order-in dinner of Indian curry we had a beverage or two at The Full Shilling with Steve and George, having water as he's in training for the San Diego half-marathon and the Boston full marathon.


Took the two o'clock train into Grand Central with mama and Hiroko and immediately got my boots polished. Then we took the Lexington bus up to Fifth Avenue and hit Fortunoff and Tiffany's. Lee joined us after his haircut and we looked for a gold watch for mama and cufflinks for me. I couldn't decide on what to get, so I finally took home three pairs: black beans, atlas bars, and knots.
Lee went home to get Charity and we proceeded to The W. Papa and then CJ showed up, so after a wee chat we headed around the corner to Smith & Wollensky's for some steak dinner. Eddie P got us the Guzofski Table right by the kitchen window and we had a mighty feast. In proper Small World fashion, CJ and Lee worked together in Morgan Stanley many moons ago, and we were trying to determine if CJ ever dated Kurt.
After dinner they brought a piece of chocolate cake for papa's birthday (tomorrow) and Hiroko got her own slice, too (since they're smaller now.)
We finally headed back to Lee and Charity's awesome new apartment on Gramercy Park South and exchanged silly gifts. They loved their "Jesus is My Homeboy" "Mary is My Homegirl" t-shirts, and my scorpion-in-amber Mexican belt buckle is a true show stopper (will go great with my new cufflinks.) Lee was all fired up so went around the corner for "just one drink" but ended up heading to karaoke next and doing some damage until 3 am.

return of the pasta

Hiroko and I went to see the final installment of Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. Loved it. Long and grand and huge and epic and a decidedly non-Hollywood melancholy ending. Todd will hate it because it's exactly as he describes: it's like watching a Dungeons & Dragons adventure unfold. So if you like that kind of thing (or liked the first two) you'll love the third.
After the movie we met up at John's Best for dinner. Cheap, big Italian food with a menu chock full of English and Italian spelling mistakes. Yuko's lobster ravioli in pink sauce was the winner, but the pizza is good, too.
And once again Papa's Principles of Palate #2 was in full effect: he put salt on his pizza.
For those who are not familiar with all of Papa's Principles of Palate:

  1. Never drink water.

  2. Food tastes better with more salt.

  3. All the carbs you ever need can be had from wine.

  4. Salad goes in its own salad bowl.

  5. Order what you want to eat and eat what you order: no sharing.

  6. The quality of the food is inversely proportional to the number of spelling mistakes on the menu.

  7. The quality of the food is inversely proportional to the ease with which the reservations were made.

  8. The waiter is most likely an idiot.

  9. The bill is probably wrong.



Got up at five am and papa drove me to La Guardia. Checked in immediately and then sat waiting for my flight to Dulles, with all the other zombie'd morning flyers. We landed early and I found Rob, so we hopped into The Red Mustang and shot over to his dojo. By noon we had about 20 people, including alot of kids, and we got to work. Managed to run through all twenty kata by five pm, and I was impressed most by the kids, one dude 9 years old, who managed to stick through all five hours at a mad pace without going bonkers.
After the seminar we drove (I love America!) across the parking lot to Durango's for some steaks and chicken and crap-talking before Rob drove The Red Mustang back to Dulles. We missed the exit so I got a quick tour of DC from the freeway: saw the Pentagon, Washington Monument, and the Capitol.
Since I had been given a boarding pass for my return flight when I checked in this morning, I went straight to the gate, turned on the iPod, and zoned for an hour. The flight back was half empty and landed early at White Plains. Papa even called the airport and was told my flight was on time, but for some reason he arrived early, passed the Orange Alert checkpoint manned with M-16 carrying National Reservists, and picked me up just after I landed.