Christmas Week 

309 dusted and ready for Christmas

With the weather dropping well below freezing, it finally began to feel a bit more like Christmas. Stacy and mom descended on New York for some week-before-Christmas wedding dress shopping on what has got to be the coldest day ever.

Two jackets. 2 sisters. Kleinfeld.

My baby sister Stacy is getting married June 10th on a vineyard in Virginia, and as we quickly learned to the horror of our stylist, it was well past time to get this dress thing locked down. If you’ve never seen “Say Yes To the Dress,” lucky you. But if you have, you’ll know Kleinfeld’s.

They have a great showroom with undoubtedly some really lovely dresses, but the entire experience felt forced and a bit sleezy. Upon waiting to meet with our Jersey (a guess) stylist we were approached by a woman selling hotel blocks. Upon telling Jersey that we “yes, love the dress” but no “will not be paying right now as this is stop numero uno,” she instantly went from super enthusiastic to cold and dismissive. Who needs that shit? This is wedding dress shopping!

Luckily we took a mid morning break for breakfast in Tribeca at Two Hands, an Australian cafe I’d been wanting to try, and it was nothing short of crackalicious. Australians don’t fuck around with breakfast and every one of our avo toasts, bowls, and assortments of mush were spot on. Peas with fresh herbs, ham, homemade ricotta, and a poached egg paired swimmingly with Gruet, New Mexico’s most famous sparkling wine. No joke.

Then it was off to stop #2, Lovely Bride, as recommended by Emma and conveniently located across the street from Tribeca Wine Merchants.  What a difference. We had a lovely young woman who listened to what we were looking for, wasn’t watching her watch, and made suggestions even though they may have been a little outside of what Stacy had initially wanted. And guess what!? She said yes to the dress and put that card down.

Later that same day…

Argonne is Champagne hedonism at its best.

Argonne was my favorite discovery of 2015. At Ginsberg + Chan I had tasted the 2004 on several occasions and was blown away by the complexity and totally heady nature of this full dose Champer. Think Bolly RD on steroids.

A customer of TWM has been in and buying up cases of the 2002 and very kindly opened up a bottle. This was the second time I’ve tried the 02 which I find to be a tad pulled back from the super robust 04, yet still embodies the richness and style of the house. I later learned that Henri Giraud is hugely popular in Korea, which was congruent with the fact that the customer who opened it was Korean. It always comes back to Korea.

The usual suspects: Larry, John, Kati, Brandon, Megan…


Saturday Tribeca Wine Merchants hosted our annual Champagne tasting complete with 2004 Dom Perignon, 2002 Bollinger RD, 2004 Bollinger La Grand Annee, a range of Paul Etienne St Germain, Gosset, and some Egly Ouriet and Billecart Salmon Roses. 100+ people over 3 hours + awesome Champagnes + Brandon’s private stash of 2006 Faiveley Chambolle Musigny Orveaux (which is so so so so delicious right now)+ some samples + friends and family = a solid day of work.

The sub 20 degree weather continued on…

Stacy, Mom and I rounded out our McPhate (one of our last all as McPhates!) women weekend with a lovely little brunch at Westville.  

What’s the week before Christmas without some merry cookie making? Jason, Emma and her mom hosted a wonderful Sunday cookie extravaganza where I learned I’m much better at eating cookies than decorating them.

My cookies: seal & technicolor butterfly. Stacy = gingerbread man. Professional interior decorator = dreidel & shoe.

Followed by a  mag of Champagne at Rebelle with Abe later. It’s an awesome little wine bar where they pop one bottle only of something special every night. One bottle, and one bottle only, until it’s gone. We had a glass of 2015 Julie Balagny Moulin a Vent mamouth which was just red juice jammed, bright, brambly, and exactly what you would hope for with a MaV. 

Followed by Monday night at the Musket Room with new friend Sarah. This NZ Pinot was just delicious. Rich in fruit yet with a great acid line. New Zealand is making some of my favorite non-Burg Pinot Noirs. The Musket Room was fab, by the way. 

Ben, Brian, Theodore and I wrapped up the pre-Christmas busy season with a chalk filled rose from Bruno Paillard and more robust strawberry doused Billecart rose. I think I’ve drunk more Champagne in the past 2 weeks than the past 2 years, which makes me think I need to drink more Champagne. So good la.

Merry Christmas!


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