Category: wine bars

Catching Up With A Dating Blitz Bachelor

September 16th, 2011 — 9:53pm

Last weekend, I enjoyed a long-awaited second date with the first bachelor from my European Dating Blitz, Ireland-born Pete.

In the year since we met in Dublin, Pete and I have kept in touch via Facebook, email and instant messaging. He even sent me a postcard from Paris, confirming my initial impression of him as one of the true good guys.

I broke out a brand new LBD for our date, a decision I was doubly glad about when I spotted him running across the street toward me. Clad in a gray suit and fedora, he looked even more handsome than I remembered him to be.

Luna Piena: Pete and I enjoyed a delicious dinner at this Midtown bistro

After a quick hug, Pete and I settled into an outdoor table at Midtown Italian bistro Luna Piena. Over dinner, we filled in the blanks about where our lives have taken us over the past 12 months, reflecting on career shifts and milestones both happy and sad (his recent 35th birthday, the 13th anniversary of my mom’s passing).

Pleasantly full from our respective entrees and shared profiteroles for dessert, we walked over to the Pod Hotel where Pete was staying. He led me up to the paved roof deck, for a glorious moonlit Gotham view of Midtown. As we took a seat so we could take it all in, Pete said–

“I think we should pledge to meet up like this every year.”

“I agree.”

Our last stop of the night was Sofia Wine Bar, for some cozy conversation about favorite bands — and when and where we might see each other again (a return to London is on my radar for early 2012). Pete walked me to a cab. We embraced, reiterating how happy we both were to have seen each other again.

As the taxi pulled away, I found myself marveling at the randomness of how we’d met (Pete reached out after reading about my Dating Blitz in a local newspaper). And feeling thankful all over again that geography is no match for a genuine connection.

| second dates, The European Dating Blitz, wine bars

Rediscovering The Power Of One

June 7th, 2011 — 5:05pm

One of the great things about living in New York is it really is a place that celebrates the power of one. Over the last couple of days, I found myself rediscovering this attribute of my hometown.

It started over drinks at wine bar Riposo 46 in Hell’s Kitchen with Nicki (aka moneymaus), a lovely twentysomething bachelorette newly transplanted from San Diego.

With most of her friends back home settled in serious relationships, Nicki is finding the NYC single’s way of life to be a breathe of fresh air. Though I couldn’t help thinking the solo living reigns supreme mantra was decidedly easier to embrace when I was Nicki’s age, some of her enthusiasm rubbed off on me — especially the next night, during a visit to O’Flanagan’s.

Galpal Bobbi joined me for a drink here after tapas at UES bistro El Porron. After she left, I opted to stick around and enjoy the sounds of fabulous cover band East Coast.

Readers of this blog know O’Flanny’s is my favorite neighborhood dive bar and East Coast is one of the big reasons why. They know how to create a vibe that’s a cross between a wedding and a good friend’s house party.

As I took to the dance floor and shook my booty to energetic covers of Lady Gaga, Cee Lo Green and Katy Perry, I felt something I haven’t in awhile — completely happy to be out and about on my own. For once, I wasn’t wishing away my single status, I was appreciating the freedom to go wherever the night takes me. 

Who knew singing a different tune could be so much fun?

| being single in your thirties, East Coast, O'Flanagan's, wine bars

Girls Night Out: Rockefeller Center

May 19th, 2011 — 8:51pm

As a native New Yorker, I’m always happy to be reminded that even here, it really is a small world. So I discovered yesterday during a girls night out in Rockefeller Center.

Joining me was fellow single gal and British expat Antoinette. Antoinette and I connected through a mutual friend, immediately discovering we are both Columbia Journalism alums of the same class and that we worked for a financial newspaper publisher at the same time.

Morrell’s Wine Bar: this cozy bistro in Rock Center has a fabulous menu (photo:

Over a delicious dinner and dessert at Morrell’s wine bar — risotto with shrimp, sticky toffee pudding — Antoinette filled me in about her experiences working for one of the top entertainment magazines. My favorite tale — George Clooney proving he’s a real charmer when Antoinette interviewed him at a red carpet event. Swoon.

We also talked about why texting kills romance more often than not, how Europeans have a much better work-life balance and whether a dating hiatus is worth doing (in a word, yes!).

Antoinette’s charm and wit reminded me why I have a soft spot in my heart for the British. There’s a good chance she’ll join me when I round up some friends to do speed dating en masse. Stay tuned…

| Girls Night Out, Rockefeller Center, text messaging, wine bars

Celebrating The Season With SingleEdition

December 8th, 2010 — 7:07pm

Monday night, I headed over to Ardesia wine bar in NYC’s Midtown West for SingleEdition‘s first annual holiday party.

Celebrating The Season: founder Sherri Langburt and me

The cozy gathering featured delicious wines and hors d’oeuvres and a veritable who’s who’s of the dating blogger scene here in Gotham. I had the chance to catch up with SingleCityGuy, JackFromBklyn, Cece of The Big Girl Blog, and Issa of SingleMamaNYC.

Simone, Issa and I shared our top blogging pet peeves — the tendency of some anonymous readers to post mean-spirited, unsolicited advice. Like the random weirdo from Indiana who somehow got a hold of my cell phone number and texted me his tips for finding Mr. Right (in a nutshell, lose 40 pounds and color my hair. How insightful!).

While mingling, I also had the pleasure of meeting Kim, founder of DatingDivaDaily. Kim and I quickly hit it off, talking about the perils of dating a friend, the bizarre allure of reality show fame and the joy of connecting with fellow singles who understand the quirks of dating in Gotham.

The longer I’m here in my hometown, the more convinced I am that good men reside outside of the metropolitan NYC area — i.e., not in Manhattan. Which is why I’m looking forward to my date this weekend with a Bronx resident.

Coming up…a former serial dater turned happy husband shares his take on happily ever after and a look at two top dating advice books.

| dating bloggers, holiday parties, Sherri Langburt, Simone Grant, wine bars

Revisiting May-December Romance: Part Two

November 6th, 2010 — 5:14pm

Not too long ago, I blogged about going out with twentysomething bachelor Jay. It was another kind of age difference during my subsequent date with business exec/actor Jeff, 47.

When it comes to May-December romance, I’ve always preferred being the younger one. Older men tend to know what they want and not waste time playing games. Over drinks with Jeff at cozy wine bar Riposo 72, he showed me how engaging it is to be around someone who is truly comfortable in his own skin — the kind of confidence that only comes with years of life experience.

We talked about our mutual affinity for family bonding and European travel — and about the high standards we have for happily ever after because of the examples set by our respective parents. Jeff spoke candidly about not wanting to settle, and I found myself appreciating the subject, something that’s (understandably) off limits with Jay because he’s so young. Younger, in fact, than he first led me to believe.

Just before date number two, Jay admitted that he’s not really 25, he’s 21. I was floored. Partly because he exudes more maturity than his thirtysomething peers, mostly because, well, I think that officially makes me a cougar. How can I spend time with a guy who’s just graduated from college when I’m in the second half of my thirties?

But then, I think about my first two boyfriends. They were 16 years older and I was Jay’s age when I dated them. I would’ve missed out on two great, life changing experiences had they dismissed me because of my age. It’s what connects two people that matters, not the years between them — as both Jeff and Jay have reminded me.

| first dates, May-December romance, wine bars

Girls Night Out: Celebrity Autobiography

October 21st, 2010 — 3:08pm

Cheers: Rach and me at Wine & Roses

Monday, my good friend Rachel and I enjoyed a girls night out on NYC’s Upper West Side. It began with a delicious dinner at Wine & Roses, a cozy wine bar that serves up delicious food and warm hospitality (co-owner Jennifer Klein came over to say hello). Rach and I shared melt in your mouth caprese salad, followed by truffle pizza — if you order a pizza here, this is the one to have! — and then red velvet cake drizzled with chocolate sauce and raspberry coulis. An added bonus — fabulous live music from a talented singer who performed in London’s “We Will Rock You.”

Happily satiated, we walked over to the Triad Theater to see “Celebrity Autobiography.” The hugely popular long-running off-Broadway show features a rotating cast of performers reading from, as the title suggests, actual celeb memoirs. Monday’s outing featured excerpts from, among others, Miley Cyrus, David Hasselholf and Tommy Lee. Monday’s talented cast included Rachel Dratch, Kristen Johnston, Richard Kind, Michael Urie and Scott Adsit.

Celebrity Autobiography: (from left) Kristen Johnston, Scott Adsit and Rachel Dratch were part of the fantastic cast

The laughs come non-stop as these talented actors perform lines like this one from Sylvester Stallone’s bio–

“Do you ever talk to your muscles?” This is what I call body dialogue.”

Kristen Johnston outdid herself with an excerpt from Mr. T’s musings, while Richard Kind was deliciously over the top with Vanna White’s description of how much harder her job is than it looks. Without a doubt, though, the night’s biggest laughs went to Eugene Pack for his deadpan delivery of Tiger Woods’ “How I Play Golf.” Needless to say, the golfer’s more notorious activities came to mind as Pack read the following excerpt–

“Like a lot of 20 year olds, I had never seen a putt I didn’t like. I would get up there and bang the ball hard…My equipment is fairly traditional.”

Truth really is stranger — and even more comical — than fiction.

Single Gals In NYC: Actress Kristen Johnston and me after the show

After the show, I had the pleasure of chatting with Kristen Johnston, who is disarmingly tall and funny in person. We had a good laugh about being single in New York. I admired her opening gambit when she got on stage.

“I’m single…woops, did that just come out of my mouth?”

If you’re looking for a night of non-stop laughter, don’t miss “Celebrity Autobiography.” for more info.

| Girls Night Out, Off Broadway, Upper West Side, wine bars

First OkCupid Date

July 15th, 2010 — 3:21pm

Last Friday, I went out with fortysomething bachelor Steve — my first date.

Buceo 95: Great tapas and wine menus, slightly rushed service

Steve and I met up at Buceo 95, a wine and tapas bar on NYC’s Upper West Side. A Philadelphia native and recent transplant from LA, Steve told me about his work as a documentary filmmaker and graduate student in social work. We fell into easy conversation, eventually moving on from Buceo to The Parlour, an Irish pub.

Steve was funny and easy to talk to, but it was clear our chemistry was of the platonic kind. At one point, I found myself recalling another first date at The Parlour — with British then-boyfriend David twelve years ago. It hit me that I never imagined at the time I would still be single in my thirties. To paraphrase Charlotte from “Sex And The City,” dating can be exhausting. One of the major plus sides, of course, is having the freedom to shake things up whenever and however you see fit.

Coming up on Monday…the full scoop on my adventurous next move.

| first dates, OKCupid, online dating, Upper West Side, wine bars

Final New York Post Date

July 5th, 2010 — 6:39pm

Thursday, I went out with Dan, the fifth and final bachelor who reached out to me after the New York Post story mentioning my Great Dating Blitz.

Ayza: This cozy bar in Midtown West serves up delightful wine flights

Dan, a fortysomething attorney from Long Island, and I met up at Ayza, a cozy wine and chocolate bar in NYC’s Midtown West. Over a shared plate of hummus and selection of scrumptious chocolates, we talked about my travels and his life in the suburbs.

Like the other New York Post bachelors, Dan was very curious about my 8-week journey — and kind enough to say it was brave of me to undertake it. I couldn’t help thinking that dating in New York is what takes courage. Taking a breather from it to experience single life in other cities was easy by comparison.

It didn’t take long for me to know that Dan would fall into the same category of other recent first dates — nice but no sparks. Thankfully, not all of the dates were a total loss. I’ve remained friends with one of the guys and he’s introduced me to some of his fabulous single buddies. Sure, they happen to be female but broadening your social circle is always a good thing.

If only it was a little easier to do that with the opposite sex.

| first dates, Midtown NYC, New York Post, The Great Dating Blitz, wine bars

Girls Day Out: Gina La Fornarina

May 29th, 2010 — 12:06pm

Thursday afternoon, I met up with my dear friend Rachel for a late lunch at wine bar Gina La Fornarina’s Upper East Side location.

Gina La Fornarina: The charming wine bar and trattoria has UES and UWS locations (photo courtesy: Gemelli S/

Gina La Fornarina offers warm and friendly service in a sleek, modern setting.

Rach and I hadn’t seen each other since before I left for my Great Dating Blitz, so we had plenty to catch up on. We talked about how failed relationships tend to produce great stories, the tricky question of who pays on first dates and our current summer travel plans (Rach’s hometown of Sydney for her, road trip to Atlantic City for me).

To cap off the day, we went back to Rach’s apartment and watched a few classic episodes of “Sex And The City.”

In one of them, Carrie talks about letting go of the past so you can become who you’re meant to be now. Her words had great resonance for me, as I continue to feel the impact of what I learned from my blitz — most importantly that it’s never too late to shake up your life and reinvent yourself. And there’s no better place to do it than in the Big Apple.

| Carrie Bradshaw, Sex and The City, The Great Dating Blitz, Upper East Side, wine bars

Fun First Date

November 8th, 2009 — 7:00pm

The other night, I went out with book publishing exec John — one of the guys I met during my recent HurryDate experience.

Tall, adorable and easy to talk to, John planned a perfect evening of drinks and live entertainment. Our night started off at Aroma, a cozy wine bar in the East Village. Upon asking him how his day was, John said–

“It went quickly having this to look forward to.”

Aroma: a cozy wine bar and great date spot

Over drinks and a couple of appetizers (including a yummy cod-filled ravioli), we shared a laugh about the HurryDate hostess assigning the same number to multiple guys.

We also talked about our respective stints as Toronto residents, a shared affinity for freelance writing and where our international travels have taken us.

From Aroma, we walked over to the Public Theater to see “County of Kings,” playwright Lemon Andersen’s riveting one-man show. Based on his tough upbringing in Brooklyn, Andersen’s intense, brilliantly staged tale covers everything from AIDS and drugs to death and first love. It captivated through to the final curtain call.

After the show, John and I wanted to see how the Yankees were faring in the World Series so we headed to a nearby sports bar. The effortless conversation continued — and so did the flirting as we started leaning in closer and closer to each other.

By the time we said goodnight, it was no surprise when John bent down to kiss me. John said he’d love to get together over the weekend and I told him that would be great.

Since our date, John reiterated in an email what a great time he had. Curiously, he never followed up about getting together again. But that’s the great thing about speed dating — I’ve got plans with two other HurryDate guys. There’s definitely something to be said for dating in numbers.

| Aroma, County of Kings, East Village, first dates, HurryDate, New York Yankees, speed dating, sports bars, The Public Theater, wine bars, World Series

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