Sunday, November 23, 2008

An Ode to the Local. (No Carpets in Sight)

Last Friday night, Kitty's friend M. who had flown out to NY with us, asked if we wanted to join herself and R., the friend she was staying with, for dinner. We sure did, eager to find out where real New Yorkers hang out since R. had promised us a place that was "very Sex and the City!". He hadn't lied as the dimly lit dining area of the Hotel on Rivington was the epitome of coolness, which arguably justified the prices on the menu. Kitty and I were glad we had changed at the hotel before venturing out into nightlife again in view of all the effortlessly chic, bright-toothed, svelte people around us.
hotel on rivington (onemorehandbag)When I was in NY earlier this year, l'Italiana also took me to really nice places. She is the one who took me to Jamie Oliver's Fifteen restaurant in London some years ago, which impressed the more food-obsessed among my friends a great deal. We didn't even have a reservation, we just walked in and had Sunday lunch. The food was excellent and quite modestly priced for UK standards, by the way.

Don't get me wrong, I actually don't mind (much) what I eat on vacation and would rather hop into the next McDonald's than take a great detour to get to some exclusive eaterie I circled in my guide-book, but it's so much nicer to be taken to places by a local, be it food, culture or just any place to wouldn't have discovered yourself.

That's one of the main differences to package tours where "authentic" adventures often consist of being carted to a charmless restaurant off the motorway which run by the tour-guides brother-in-law's step-sister twice removed whose cousin incidentally owns the carpet store you're going to visit right after your meal.


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