Happy Jar


The Happy Jar is a collection of events in my life that make me happy.

Okay, I’ll get right to the point: I think four-hour lunches should be de rigeur in this country. Or at least three-hour lunches, doncha think?

This revelation comes on the heels of a most spectacular birthday lunch on Friday at Momofuku Ko, David Chang’s 12-seat foodie mecca on First Avenue.

First of all, there is no number on the door, just the tiny signature “lucky peach” (which is what Momofuku means in Japanese).

We were the first to arrive for lunch service. The place is literally my closet times three, with a long bar for dining and the three chefs creating their dishes right there in front of you. Within half an hour, all 12 seats were taken, and we…


RESTAURANT REVIEW: Blue Hill at Stone Barns

For the past few months, Matthew has been taking a magic class on Thursday afternoons. When I pick up “Matthew the Magnificent,” as I now refer to him, he performs his new tricks for me before we even leave the classroom. As the weeks have gone on, he has gotten more adept at sleight-of-hand and his tricks have become more sophisticated. When he did the disappearing hanky trick last Thursday – over and over – I swear I had no idea how he did it. Like Matthew says, “A magician never reveals his secrets!” And to be honest, I really didn’t want to look too closely and ruin the magic!

Such was not the case, however, with the enchantingly magical…


Goodnight, Shea

A sweltering July night. A pregnant orange moon hanging precariously over Queens. 63,000 sweaty, delirious fans. A bottle of red. A bottle of white. It was a farewell celebration like no other. It was the “Last Play at Shea.”

New York’s own Billy Joel performed the very last musical event ever to be held at Shea Stadium (the Mets’ new home, Citi Field, will be completed for the 2009 season). The three-hour show was an electrifying extravaganza of Joel’s stunning catalog, and the Piano Man pulled out all the stops to bid a most unforgettable farewell.

Joel truly made Shea Stadium’s history and his beloved New York the guests of honor. He sang a bit of “Spanish Harlem” as an interlude…


“Memories light the corners of my mind.”

“What are you doing the rest of your life? North and south and east and west of your life?”

“Time…I’ve been passing time watching trains go by…all of my life.”

You no doubt recognize these classic lyrics to love songs written for the big screen. The songs are shmaltzy, cheesy, nostalgic, sappy, touching – but whatever your bias, you have to give props to the Oscar- and Emmy-winning lyricists, husband-and-wife team, Alan and Marilyn Bergman. And I proudly chose to spend my birthday last night hearing the Bergman songbook performed by the charming Michael Feinstein at his intimate supper club at the Regency Hotel on Park Avenue.

Yes, I was by far the youngest…


“Gypsy” in My Soul

WOW! WOW! WOW! It doesn’t matter how many previous productions of the musical “Gypsy” you’ve seen—this one, starring Patti Lupone, is, without a doubt, the ne plus ultra. It even managed to knock “Jersey Boys” out of my top spot for favorite musical ever.

You know the story: needy, greedy stage-mom-from-hell pushes her daughters into show business so she can experience it vicariously. From the moment she enters down the aisle, Lupone is mesmerizing. Riveting. Electric. Every syllable, every note was crystal clear, thanks to a truly remarkable sound job. Lupone, of course, is a legendary powerhouse, and she makes every moment she’s on stage meaningful and magical. She is part of a tiny, elite group of stage actresses who…


Night at the Opera

Yup, I said opera. I was an opera virgin until last night, and after the hilarious, resplendent performance of Candide, I can’t truly say I’ve been to the opera per se – but the New York City Opera’s staging sure was a treat.

The show itself is an operetta – more like a “musical-plus” rather than an opera. Written in English with a score by Leonard Bernstein, this two-week engagement was produced by the legendary Harold Prince. And oh, what a glorious production. It was lush and cheeky and teeming with Vaudevillian charm. Daniel Reichard (who originated the role of Bob Gaudio in Jersey Boys) sang the title role with soulful optimism, and Richard Kind (Dr. Pangloss and others) and…


During the curtain call at Curtains last night, after David Hyde Pierce hopped off his wheeled horse and took a bow, he complimented the wonderful audience and told us that the very first Broadway show his parents took him to was Kander & Ebb’s Zorba back in 1968, and here it was 40 years later, and he was actually on the stage performing a show by the legendary Kander & Ebb. Why would he tell us all that? Because last night was “Kids’ Night on Broadway,” and he was hoping to inspire many of the young audience members to keep on coming back to the theatre and to follow their dreams because you never know how far they’ll take…


In teaching Torah yesterday as he became a bar mitzvah, Ben explained that you only truly understand certain things (in this case mitzvot) when you actually do them. As an example, he said, “I could stand here today and tell you all about this cool roller coaster called Boulder Dash I went on at Lake Compounce last summer on my trip from Eisner Camp. I could tell you that it’s almost a mile long, it goes up to speeds of 60 miles per hour, it dips and climbs, its biggest drop is 115 feet, and the ride lasts for two-and-a-half minutes. But unless you experience it yourself, you’re never going to feel the thrills, the chills, the butterflies…


On an expert recommendation, we sat at the exclusive counter at L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon at my happy place, the Four Seasons Hotel in NYC. The small space, which seats 46 diners, is exquisitely contemporary, appointed with sleek honey-colored walls and floors, black banquettes and red accents that pop in a very sexy way.

It was just the two of us, and we kicked off our evening with some spectacular rosé champagne and then decided to split an astonishing array of share plates. The sublime standouts were sea urchin in a warm fennel broth, langoustine carpaccio with poppy seeds, and exquisite tiny beef and foie gras burgers topped with lightly caramelized bell peppers and served with the most ethereal, fluffy,…


Last Ones to the Spelling Bee

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