Category: Il Cantinori


January 22nd, 2014 — 4:01pm

There are some milestones in life you can’t help but celebrate with great fanfare and reflection. The big 4-0 is one of them—and it’s been a celebration even sweeter than I could have imagined.

The festivities began over a week ago, during a lively dinner with my fellow turning 40 galpal Bobbi and several of our friends. We enjoyed a delicious three-course meal and dancing at sprawling Meatpacking District hotspot Manon.

Birthday Girls: Bobbi and me

This past weekend, I continued the fun with family. My brothers and sisters-in-law came in from Dover and Boston respectively, joining my sister, aunt and cousins for a very special meal at .

Best brothers in the world: (from left) Ray, me and Steve

There’s good reason why Il Cantinori has such a storied reputation (and, natch, was the location for Carrie’s 35th birthday non-dinner on Sex And The City). We were well taken care of in a private room downstairs, which was beautifully adorned with flowers and candlelight. The ambience, food and service were all fantastic. But the best part for me was being surrounding by the people I love most.

There was something magical in the air that reminded me of the many happy family occasions we were so blessed to have when my parents were still with us. Though I will miss them forever, on this night my heart felt nothing but joy and gratitude.

After dinner, I joined my cousins at for 80’s cover band ’s first gig in their new home (the awesome closed a few weeks ago, *sigh*).

Family Bonding: Me and my cousins (from left) Carla, Dana and Alexandra

As always, they rocked it out, this time with an assist from American Idol and “Rock of Ages” alum Constantine Maroulis.

Constantine wowed the crowd

Yesterday, my actual birthday, was quieter but equally wonderful. After a delightful lunch with good friend Vicky at Midtown bistro Gente, I pampered myself with a massage at Bliss 49. The evening was spent with my beloved cousin and soul sister Alexandra, enjoying dinner at Baraonda on the UES (yes, I can never get enough Italian food!) followed by drinks nearby at Bounce.

Happy Birthday to me!

During my massage, the therapist and I talked about turning 40. Now 45, she shared some of the wisdom and growth that has come to her in this decade. At the top of the list — feeling completely comfortable in her own skin. It’s a sentiment similar to what I’ve heard from many of the fabulous fortysomething women I’m so fortunate to know.

Nurturing that self-assuredness is one of my goals for this milestone year and decade. I feel like I’m beginning an exciting new chapter in my life. And I’m so thankful to have wonderful family and friends to share it with.

40 and fabulous indeed!

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February 1st, 2009 — 10:28pm

Last night, I enjoyed a belated birthday dinner at trendy East Village bistro .

Fortunately for me, I fared much better than Carrie Bradshaw when she dined here alone on her 35th, as some of my best gal pals and my Delaware-based cousin Chris joined me for the festivities.

Celebrating With My Nearest and Dearest: Me with (clockwise from left) Caroline, Amanda, Chris, Sara and Leila

After raising our glasses and enjoying a complimentary antipasto of grilled vegetables, we talked about everything from current events and recession-related job uncertainty to adventure travel and what destinations each of us would visit if we get laid off. Eastern Europe, Ireland, South America and, of course, Australia (for me) topped our-post pink slip wish lists.

As I enjoyed a Caprese salad appetizer and some heavenly osso buco, the conversation turned to affairs of the heart — specifically how the dating scene varies according to where you reside, and how much easier it would be to meet someone special if attached friends would pay it forward and play matchmaker.

Enjoying a candlelit slice of Tirami Su and an operatic birthday serenade at Il Cantinori

To my great delight, I was treated to a birthday serenade by Il Cantinori’s talented wait staff that surpassed any of the ones we heard for other celebrants over the course of our three-hour meal. There’s something about the way “Happy Birthday” is sung at an Italian restaurant that gives me goose bumps — especially when the adorable waiters call me “Bella.”

A plate of Tirami Su ended the evening on a delicious high note. I was reminded once again that dessert, much like milestone birthdays, is always sweeter when it’s shared with family and friends.

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February 1st, 2009 — 5:28pm

Last night, I enjoyed a belated birthday dinner at trendy East Village bistro .

Fortunately for me, I fared much better than Carrie Bradshaw when she dined here alone on her 35th, as some of my best gal pals and my Delaware-based cousin Chris joined me for the festivities.

Celebrating With My Nearest and Dearest: Me with (clockwise from left) Caroline, Amanda, Chris, Sara and Leila

After raising our glasses and enjoying a complimentary antipasto of grilled vegetables, we talked about everything from current events and recession-related job uncertainty to adventure travel and what destinations each of us would visit if we get laid off. Eastern Europe, Ireland, South America and, of course, Australia (for me) topped our-post pink slip wish lists.

As I enjoyed a Caprese salad appetizer and some heavenly osso buco, the conversation turned to affairs of the heart — specifically how the dating scene varies according to where you reside, and how much easier it would be to meet someone special if attached friends would pay it forward and play matchmaker.

Enjoying a candlelit slice of Tirami Su and an operatic birthday serenade at Il Cantinori

To my great delight, I was treated to a birthday serenade by Il Cantinori’s talented wait staff that surpassed any of the ones we heard for other celebrants over the course of our three-hour meal. There’s something about the way “Happy Birthday” is sung at an Italian restaurant that gives me goose bumps — especially when the adorable waiters call me “Bella.”

A plate of Tirami Su ended the evening on a delicious high note. I was reminded once again that dessert, much like milestone birthdays, is always sweeter when it’s shared with family and friends.

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January 23rd, 2009 — 10:01pm

Wednesday night, I enjoyed a low-key birthday celebration at home with Morty, one of my best friends, and my dear cousin Alexandra.

In addition to being two of my favorite people on Planet Earth, Morty and Alexandra have something else in common – they’re both talented singers. Alexandra is classically trained with a background in opera, while Morty is a songwriter/guitarist with a flare for contemporary tunes.

After making me smile with a makeshift “cake” of ice cream sandwiches arranged to form an M, they indulged my request for a duet, delivering pitch perfect renditions of songs by Mariah Carey, Lauryn Hill and, of course, my beloved Ricky Martin.

Eventually, I joined in, belting out Whitney Houston’s ’92 power ballad “I Have Nothing” with Morty and Alexandra at the top of my lungs (and, with apologies to my neighbors, accompanied by the CD blaring from my stereo). Despite lingering jetlag from my Australia trip, I felt energized – and thankful to be sharing my 35th with two of my nearest and dearest.

The celebrating continues tomorrow, with dinner at NYC’s Il Cantinori – the restaurant where Carrie Bradshaw ended up alone on her 35th in “Sex And The City.” My friends have assured me they’ll be more reliable than Carrie’s inner circle. I can’t wait to connect with my inner party girl. After all, 35 is the new 25, right?

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January 23rd, 2009 — 5:01pm

Wednesday night, I enjoyed a low-key birthday celebration at home with Morty, one of my best friends, and my dear cousin Alexandra.

In addition to being two of my favorite people on Planet Earth, Morty and Alexandra have something else in common – they’re both talented singers. Alexandra is classically trained with a background in opera, while Morty is a songwriter/guitarist with a flare for contemporary tunes.

After making me smile with a makeshift “cake” of ice cream sandwiches arranged to form an M, they indulged my request for a duet, delivering pitch perfect renditions of songs by Mariah Carey, Lauryn Hill and, of course, my beloved Ricky Martin.

Eventually, I joined in, belting out Whitney Houston’s ’92 power ballad “I Have Nothing” with Morty and Alexandra at the top of my lungs (and, with apologies to my neighbors, accompanied by the CD blaring from my stereo). Despite lingering jetlag from my Australia trip, I felt energized – and thankful to be sharing my 35th with two of my nearest and dearest.

The celebrating continues tomorrow, with dinner at NYC’s Il Cantinori – the restaurant where Carrie Bradshaw ended up alone on her 35th in “Sex And The City.” My friends have assured me they’ll be more reliable than Carrie’s inner circle. I can’t wait to connect with my inner party girl. After all, 35 is the new 25, right?

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October 7th, 2008 — 5:41pm
Saturday night, I headed down to trendy East Village bistro Il Cantinori for the celebration of my Aunt Lydia and Uncle Joe’s 40th anniversary.

With a 25-year history that has included visits from many famous faces and a cameo on “Sex and The City” (it’s where Carrie was stood up on her 35th birthday), Il Cantinori is known for scrumptious Tuscan fare and impeccable, gracious service. The restaurant delivered plenty of both for Saturday night’s family soirée.

Tuscan Delight: NYC’s Il Cantinori

Hosted by my beloved cousin Dana, the festive 18-people affair took place in Il Cantinori’s downstairs wine room. An event planning maven whose style could give Martha Stewart a run for her money, Dana selected a positively scrumptious menu for us.

After passed hors d’oeuvres that included bruschetta and asparagus wrapped in prosciutto, our meal began with an appetizer plate of grilled calamari and vegetables, and mozzarella and tomato. Next came a pasta sampler featuring rigatoni in tomato sauce, spinach ravioli, and some of the best spaghetti carbonara I’ve ever had. Of three entrée options available, I selected mouth-watering chicken Milanese.

Somehow, I managed to find room for dessert — a decadent chocolate cake celebrating this month’s other milestone, Uncle Joe’s 65th birthday.

As all of us reminisced about memories past and milestones to come (my cousin Melanie, the youngest of all of us, is expecting a baby boy in November), I felt a heart full of gratitude for my beautiful family. And equally grateful that we could be together for such a happy occasion.

Family Bonding: My sister Hilary (front, second from left) and me with our fabulous cousins. From left: Derek, Melanie, Carla and Dana

The celebratory atmosphere continued when, just before leaving, we were informed that a rather high-profile couple was expected shortly.

Sure enough, in walked none other than Katie Holmes, dazzling in an all black ensemble and, with her head tilted coquettishly to one side, smiling warmly as she made her way to Il Cantinori’s back dining room. Minutes later, Katie was followed by Tom Cruise, carrying adorable daughter Suri in his arms. Flashing his signature megawatt grin, he said a warm “hi” to all of us before joining his wife.

Il Cantinori has long been a favorite of Tom’s—he’s also dined there with exes Mimi Rogers and Nicole Kidman. With its intimate, candlelit ambience and five-star cuisine, it’s the perfect spot for a romantic rendez-vous. Or, as both TomKat and my nearest and dearest experienced on Saturday, for a family affair.

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October 7th, 2008 — 12:41pm
Saturday night, I headed down to trendy East Village bistro Il Cantinori for the celebration of my Aunt Lydia and Uncle Joe’s 40th anniversary.

With a 25-year history that has included visits from many famous faces and a cameo on “Sex and The City” (it’s where Carrie was stood up on her 35th birthday), Il Cantinori is known for scrumptious Tuscan fare and impeccable, gracious service. The restaurant delivered plenty of both for Saturday night’s family soirée.

Tuscan Delight: NYC’s Il Cantinori

Hosted by my beloved cousin Dana, the festive 18-people affair took place in Il Cantinori’s downstairs wine room. An event planning maven whose style could give Martha Stewart a run for her money, Dana selected a positively scrumptious menu for us.

After passed hors d’oeuvres that included bruschetta and asparagus wrapped in prosciutto, our meal began with an appetizer plate of grilled calamari and vegetables, and mozzarella and tomato. Next came a pasta sampler featuring rigatoni in tomato sauce, spinach ravioli, and some of the best spaghetti carbonara I’ve ever had. Of three entrée options available, I selected mouth-watering chicken Milanese.

Somehow, I managed to find room for dessert — a decadent chocolate cake celebrating this month’s other milestone, Uncle Joe’s 65th birthday.

As all of us reminisced about memories past and milestones to come (my cousin Melanie, the youngest of all of us, is expecting a baby boy in November), I felt a heart full of gratitude for my beautiful family. And equally grateful that we could be together for such a happy occasion.

Family Bonding: My sister Hilary (front, second from left) and me with our fabulous cousins. From left: Derek, Melanie, Carla and Dana

The celebratory atmosphere continued when, just before leaving, we were informed that a rather high-profile couple was expected shortly.

Sure enough, in walked none other than Katie Holmes, dazzling in an all black ensemble and, with her head tilted coquettishly to one side, smiling warmly as she made her way to Il Cantinori’s back dining room. Minutes later, Katie was followed by Tom Cruise, carrying adorable daughter Suri in his arms. Flashing his signature megawatt grin, he said a warm “hi” to all of us before joining his wife.

Il Cantinori has long been a favorite of Tom’s—he’s also dined there with exes Mimi Rogers and Nicole Kidman. With its intimate, candlelit ambience and five-star cuisine, it’s the perfect spot for a romantic rendez-vous. Or, as both TomKat and my nearest and dearest experienced on Saturday, for a family affair.

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