Category Archives: The Cougar

The True Story of how the Cougar was born


Dining out with former colleagues last week at a restaurant in LES, The Sons of Essex, was a great way to spend a summer Thursday evening. I didn’t even mind the subway commute on the C train from Tribeca eastward. At first glance, I wasn’t sure I was thrilled at the prospect of another Mac n ’cheese with truffles inspired menu. However, the organizer chose the spot with me specifically in mind for the rap and hip hop music the DJ spins during dinner. Maybe I’d see some Def Jam artists at a neighboring table. What I liked was its reputation for being a reflection of the diverse melting pot of cultures in the LES. Despite some negative Yelp reviews, I was stoked….grub on!

We started with drinks and some shareables as they are called here. Honestly I didn’t want to share the truffle mushroom pizza with a three cheese blend, roasted mushrooms and arugula. Although delicious, I was happy to leave the lobster tacos to the rest of the table. I paid homage to the history of LES by eating a succulent Manischewitz braised short rib nestled on a bed of pureed root vegetables and leeks which did not disappoint. In the end, as the website suggests, I just might plan my next party here.

After some of my favorite Macallan scotch followed by a Hennessey cognac nightcap, I felt like it was ole times with my former work buddies. Since we were listening to my kind of music, I felt compelled to share some of my favorite lyrics such as “my dick work girl; I don’t need no mic check” or “I’ll f*ck you like I’m fresh outta jail” which sounds much better in the context of music. Next I knew we were giving dating advice to JMo who pulled out his…. Tinder app. Although every human being is unique, JMo is a special case. Everyone is convinced that his brilliance stems from his Asperger’s. He’s loaded, got a great pad, lives vicariously through hip hop lyrics and is certainly a 40-year old virgin. He was getting confused between Blondie’s gloom and doom warnings that the dating scene was hell and my advice to make it fun. I’d predict that he’s at dinner with some eager 20-something brunette right now.

Of course I take my own advice. Years before, after the divorce that would never end, I found myself signed up for an online dating site. Although hard to believe in this era obsessed with selfies, I had no suitable photos for my profile. JaJa, still living at home and a talented photographer, snapped a photo of me right after yoga class which seemed like a good idea – until an online guy admired my nipples in the white tee. Despite my pleas, JaJa continued to refuse to take photos of me on my best days. Fed up with her lack of interest in my dating prospects, I turned to Craigslist, where, ever a trusting soul, I had made a small profit selling my used household goods. This time I placed an ad for a creative photographer to make me the classiest and sassiest woman on the internet.

Who knew that boudoir photography was a niche as over the course of a few days, I received several hundred replies from bona fide photographers. I enjoyed reviewing every single portfolio sent to me, settling finally on an unknown female photographer because I saw joy in her photos. I packed up all my favorite clothes in a suitcase and took the train to her studio in CT for my photo shoot. In case you don’t know, it’s not easy to strike a sultry pose naturally. With my contact sheet of photos back at home, JaJa politely asked “Maman, you realize that you are in your underwear?” It appears that my photographer, a lesbian, somehow made me comfortable enough for deshabillage in a thong with a chinchilla boa covering the nips. In that brave moment the cougar was born.

Although many of the photos were unsuitable for sharing in a public forum, the ones I posted made me too successful for my own good. Twice Eastern bloc women stole my profile and were receiving wire transfers of money sent from my admirers. Although I didn’t discover the love of my life from this experience, I didn’t consider it a failure. I learned an important lesson about men that I had failed to learn in all those years of marriage. Just accept that guys see everything through the prism of sex. So the next time a guy doesn’t bother to talk to you or reply to your online profile, it could be because in his mind sex isn’t on the table. Seeing me in a straddle pose unleashed an avalanche of beautiful words from previously shy, uninterested guys who suddenly became super motivated to share these tender messages that still give me a boost. These unknown guys will forever have a place in my heart.

“you are insanely beautiful!”

I am a frist time looker I love what I saw. You are very unforgetable in pics and profile. I am back for more. Terry

You are fantastic Girl….You know how to be a sensual Female! Philip!

What looks and a body girl I commend you yummy yummy ur just great. John



Nancy, You say oooh..  all i can say is wow.  You look fantastic. Great legs!!  Thanks for writing and letting me know that you exist. Kirk

I know your presence would soothe me like the sighs of an enchanted forest.

If I had you near me I would think only of soft things… JIM


Honey..  your pictures are really turning me on!  Lets chat!  Dan

You know Nancy….the more I look at your pics …the more I want you. You are one sexy woman !             Bob

come out to phoenix you can call me and i would be proud to have you by my side, thank you for making my day    hug  rose  john   wink

you have a vary sexy body your hot



hi how are you. after seeing  your photo display. my day got a  whole lot better. i swear i smell the sweet nectar of life flowing from your body.  joe

hi .nancy, the photos were great but without you there nothing

43bigbob wrote:Those legs need to be wrapped around someone as he kisses you and makes passionate love to you ! Got a boy friend ? Do you want one ? Someone that could love you and cherish you.. Someone to fill your nights with ecstacy and wanting more………… Interested ? ? ?                                                                                Bob

spaman2200 wrote: You would be GREAT in bed…

Subject: I travel, will buy you plane tickets any day!
Date: 2009-12-27 / 01:20 PM  

You’re reminding me why I am glad to be a man who con enjoy a hot, sensuous, sexy lady for you, I’ll fly you out here, make you my girl, dress you in the bests fashion. I’ll even baet someone up for you if you’ll go to the beach house just once with me, but you can’t blame me if I try to convince you to make me your only lover, truly want to hog you for myself. I am Drake, want to give you a complete body and foot massaje, and then a lot, lot more. Your healthy and dynamic lover who thinks you look so good that you are edible

I would love to worship you sweetie !!

So ladies, why not let a guy worship you on the altar of sex? It could be fun and it’s been said that men usually look for sex but often find love. Us silly women look for love but usually find sex. Although I’m not sure what could top the poetry shared above, I’ve got the idea for an artfully tasteful nude photo shoot with a special lover that might involve strategically placed Hermes scarves and/or animal print.

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Ten Guys in One

Like a pop quiz, here’s a surprise question for you — what do you consider an aphrodisiac, i.e. what arouses your sexual desire? There is no right answer so I’m waiting for your interesting replies. For Henry Kissinger, the ultimate aphrodisiac was reported to be power; the Porcupine notices confidence; I know that Brian swoons at an Australian or New Zealand accent. For me, I find the guy who is capable of surprising me impossibly sexy. In fact, the one who never ceases to surprise me will win my heart. Sometimes I surprise myself. Quelle surprise when I realized that I occasionally prefer the guy way of talking, that is, silent communication. Since summer is my season, lately I’ve been enjoying the shy smiles of approval that random guys have been throwing my way. To my astonishment, I seem to make their day just by walking by and in return, they make mine. For mutual gratification, I smile back. In case you didn’t know it, it appears that being validated is primordial to our happiness. In Oprah’s final T.V. episode she highlighted the importance of validation. “I’ve talked to nearly 30,000 people on this show, and all 30,000 had one thing in common. They all wanted validation.”

I must still be looking for the approval from guys that I never received in high school, rooted in my sad ass experience of never having a date. Hard as that is to believe as I now shamelessly prance around in a white unitard while trying to make my left cheek jump, then my right cheek jump, a la Ying Yang Twins, I was a certified wallflower in high school. Seriously intense and usually crying in some corner, especially at sorority meetings, I had very little fun during those years. Anyone notice how I’m always having fun now? It’s because life evens out. If you are ever in my bedroom, check out the framed article from the New Yorker about life evening out. Some people get through their divorce with Ben & Jerry’s; the humorous words of this essay buoyed me along with a heavy dose of sassy P!nk lyrics.

The experiences in our formative years have the power to stay with us. I remember that my BFF made the cheerleading squad in high school. Not me as I wasn’t even remotely athletic. Life is now evening out as I kick butt in Powerstrike. Doing all those high kicks helped her find a boyfriend but I didn’t. I did get a surprise one day, though. I recall my brothers snickering in the background as JB stood on our front porch asking me to the senior prom. I was so stunned that I abruptly turned him down. He was the weirdest guy in the entire senior class with a wild white boy afro and epilepsy. Most people didn’t notice his brilliance. Wish I had sooner.

So life is evening out now as my daughters are immune to my brilliance as I make lemonade from the lemons of my life. They routinely withhold their approval and hence, their love. It seems as if as complicit as we were formerly, we are equally estranged presently. Despite my deep sadness, I refuse to live my life according to someone else’s rules, not even my daughters’. Feeling bad about myself in their presence, I am enjoying less and less being in their company.

This realization helped me understand how one gets over unrequited love and when we “could have loved someone like the one I see in you.” How do we stop loving when someone doesn’t love us back? I came to understand that the psychological need to feel approval – getting that positive feedback from people that one is acknowledged and appreciated for who we are – is something we can’t ignore forever because we need it deeply. Over time it becomes too disheartening to be with people who don’t approve or validate us, who ignore our needs, and don’t see us for who we are. We eventually will seek someone who does and it’s then goodbye to you!

So I promise myself to ease up on that desire for approval, give up on it raining men who adore me. Anyways, who am I kidding, I don’t have time for an army of men. As I wait for life to even out in the department of love, all I need is ten guys rolled into one. But then, that would be Superman.

The Emperor’s New Clothes


Sometimes the Porcupine reminds me of an unruly boy who just can’t stop getting into mischief. He reminds me of other things too. I secretly desired (not a secret anymore…) to have coffee with him just to see how long he could make conversation before bolting out of the café like a wild stallion bursting out of the corral to run free. I would have some fun stealthily timing how long he would allow himself to be contained. Perhaps the Mona Lisa knows the limits of his endurance for polite social conversation.

He does have a habit of being a bit un-PC – like noticing a woman’s white wet tee-shirt in one steamed up TM class which resembled hot yoga. Since I consider myself French I find this charming rather than offensive but then again, another secret desire of mine is that the guys take off their wet tee-shirts in exercise class. It appears however that he recently offended someone’s sensibilities with his tenue at the gym. That’s a fancy French word for what he wears or in this case – what he wasn’t wearing. Alas, the Mona Lisa stepped up to give him some fashion advice regarding his package. Learning that hitherto his wardrobe selections would be policed by his employer put him in a foul mood as his mojo was in jeopardy. Even a wet white tee-shirt contest among us girls didn’t cheer him up.

Ever empathetic, I really feel his pain on this one. It is not of little consequence what we wear. It’s one of the first decisions we make every morning and in my case, can affect my entire day. When I look great, I feel great. It’s as simple as that. However, one can’t realistically expect to look good all the time, although the Cub somehow manages to. I look good sometime, like everyone especially in the summer. Picture a recent summer day in August. I’m wearing a summer tan and my white suit because I’m meeting JuJu & JaJa after work for a restaurant week dinner en famille. They are ruthlessly critical of my appearance – I guess because there’s always the risk that you will become your mother. At 7:30 am I’m in the doctor’s office and a woman with purple hair tells me I look great. I reply that maybe I’ll find my guy today and she says, “No girl, he’s gonna find you!” What would I do without the random black woman in my life giving me unsolicited commentary? Later that day at work, the video tech (tall black dude with dreads) tells me I look great in white – “Miss – that suit really does look good on you but then again you look good all the time”. (Maybe I should learn to like guys in finance?) Alternately in the winter when I wear my Davy Crocket hat, I routinely get a compliment within 15 minutes of leaving my apartment. If you ever see this hat, you’ll realize that it’s the hat, not me that is being remarked because it’s so unusual. However, it must be acknowledged that there is an art to wearing clothing that suits you. It’s something I take seriously. Part of my cleansing of late has been to have only clothes in my closet that I love, to make a commitment to systematically only wear what looks great on me. Everyone could follow this rule and look great. People I haven’t seen in ages often say to me “well you’re looking good. “ No reason to be haters girls….

So it goes that the Porcupine needs to feel good in what he wears when he’s working – in his case, body-hugging spandex from head to toe, enhancing major body parts. Although I could tell him that honestly he would look good in whatever he wears, I know that he wants to make his own fashion choices as clearly the guy who wears different color sneakers doesn’t want to be dictated to.

This brings to mind Brian and I paying it forward by matchmaking our friends, although ill-advised, it is sometimes an irresistible urge that is well intentioned. I sincerely hope that my dear friend who I’ll call Matlock (recently widowed lawyer) finds love with one of my besties who calls herself Cher. There’s a good chance he’s interested as he coyly remarked that she “wore turquoise”. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I rest my case about the power of clothes.

Ride the Wave

I’ve been wondering of late if the universe gives us exactly what we need but not as often what we want. As I face more job upheaval, something I thought surely impossible given the sheer amount of prior chaos in this sphere of my life, perhaps the wisest piece of advice I’ve received lately is to “ride the wave” at work. So I’ve been thinking a lot how flexibility is critical to creating happiness for ourselves.
Facing the bleak prospect of working in New Jersey and losing Tribeca as my spiritual base makes me want to spit nails! I just got here and love everything about it. The random cobblestone street, the pocket parks I traverse on my walk from the subway, the unconventional coffee shop (Kaffe) where the swag wait staff knows my name and the playlist is awesome, the access to sky, the wind from the Hudson that reminds me of the renown Mistral wind in Provence. How can life be so unfair to deprive me of these daily pleasures — F*@#$&^%ck!! The only thing I’ve ever liked about New Jersey was “The Sopranos” which you can tell since I can curse like Carmela.
Despite this set back, I realized that I’ve gotten many things that I wanted….just not in the form or timeframe desired. Take cooking for example. Although cooking was a big part of my prior life – as La Mamma for my family creating a tradition of Italian, French and Cambodian food ties that bind, it was an art that had gotten lost in the divorce transition. I longed to get cooking back on the front burner in my life. Actually a happy by-product of my marriage was an exposure to Asian food. So sitting at my desk at lunchtime, I consider the option of a tasty banh mi sold at the food truck outside 388G on Tuesdays in the warm season – a shrimp summer roll, Vietnamese iced coffee, alternatively, a Vietnamese sandwich. Sometimes I meet JuJu at Viet Café down on Greenwich St where we sit at the bar, share a pho and catch up. It’s good to enjoy food again.
Eating out notwithstanding, I was a great cook back in the day. In my spare time, I am creating a personal cookbook of all my favorite recipes to pass down to my daughters. The Cub is perhaps a better cook than me, being fearless and adventurous in the kitchen. Faithfully following the Paleo diet, he has created some awesome dishes such as cauliflower rice. Cooking, though, takes time and between my exercise schedule, class at Hunter and work, there’s not much to spare. As the Cub and I are often weirdly in sync, we both expressed a desire to cook for the “someone special” in our lives. As there’s no one special in our lives, that experience hasn’t materialized. Instead of lamenting that fact, we decided to be happy cooking for ourselves. If you thought Brian was in his 20s, think again! Ever the perfect 40 year old role model, he shops, preps and cooks his weekly meals every Sunday. A bottle of wine might be shared as we bring the weekend to a close.
Cooking for others may sound easy but not! I have noticed with some despair that not all of my friends appreciate a dinner invitation and fewer still reciprocate. Providence appeared in the form of a classmate who lives in my ‘hood. Finding ourselves with 15 technical competencies to complete prior to graduation from Hunter, we started reciprocating dinners each time we got together on a Sunday evening to work on another competency. A recent menu chez moi started with a respectable & properly chilled Sauvignon Blanc, soppressata and wafer crackers, followed by my favorite Cipriani lunch – arugula salad with chicken Milanese. The bite of the bitter arugula is balanced by the sweetness of ripe summer tomatoes, the chicken cutlets are fried to offer a counter balance of fat; season to taste with some freshly ground pepper and dress simply with an ample squeeze of lemon. Dessert was my first attempt at granita something I discovered in Sicily when JuJu and I would watch the elegant Italian women appear at the breakfast buffet and take a healthy helping of coffee granita topped off with a wallop of whipped cream! Accompanying my mango granita, I added extra blueberries to a crumble cake which Brian agreed should be a new addition to that personal cookbook.
So in the end, I remembered that it’s all about riding that wave and taking advantage of what comes along. I may not be cooking for my lova! but I am cooking for myself and sharing food with people who enjoy it with me. As faithful readers may know, I am fond of a particular food analogy – the slow braise as relating to love. The art of braising – the French elevate everything to an art – is a simple, economical and efficient cooking technique with huge outcomes. It is characterized by searing quickly at high heat, followed by a long, slow cooking not requiring much attention. The meat magically becomes tender through a steady low flame that is no less intense than a roaring fire. This method of cooking is suitable for tough cuts of meats (like people who are oppositional maybe?!) Remember that braising takes time but you get a deliciously satisfying result in the end. So my advice is to let love simmer below the surface, enjoy the surprises on the journey of life even if they detour through New Jersey.

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CHEAP EATS (#1) – BurgerFi

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It’s clear that the Cub and I enjoy food – creating special moments breaking bread with friends and family and enjoying the best restaurants NYC has to offer. Always the odd couple, the Cub trends older and I trend younger. It’s a secret of our successful relationship. While he is writing insightful reviews about “The Marrow”, I’m dying to get myself to “Porchetta “as a savory reminder of my time in Rome with JuJu.  With the recent publishing of New York Mag’s “Cheap Eats 101” and inspired by the movie “Julie & Julia”, I decided to see how many cheap eats I could sample in one year’s time. Not being able to devote each day to a new restaurant, I will pick out a random restaurant on the list which happens to fall within walking distance of a neighborhood I find myself in. I may throw in a few cheap eats from JuJu’s list of taxi driver recommendations.

So it was a perfect confluence after Titan Ride at Equinox on the upper east side that I realized I could walk to my first cheap eat – BurgerFi located at 1571 2nd Ave at 82nd St. Since being forced to renounce my 6 am spin habit of 10 years, I’ve had to find alternatives. Although some people think I’m crazy to devote time on a Friday evening to a spin class, they don’t know Titan Ride. I am so energized by the music that I feel like I’m pre-gaming for a club outing later…. which I usually am! But that night I decided on another option and after burning a thousand calories, I went to eat a thousand calories. To start let me say that BurgerFi is trademarked and has its “story”. Quite simply, BurgerFi claims to “change the way we think of the burger” and provide a unique experience. I think I will love this place as they devote a page on their website to the various alias they’ve been called. My Burgerfication was about to begin….

I enjoyed a leisurely stroll to 2nd avenue which is ugly beyond description even on a balmy summer evening as the avenue is disrupted to expand the subway line. While noting the plethora of restaurants all alive with people, I wondered if I could ever live on the UES if life made me do it. Since life is making me do things these days that I am not in sync with, this is not such a random thought. Although I am about finished with the UWS, I doubt the UES would be my choice despite providing better dining options.

My first impression was this franchise was modelled after McDonalds, only trying harder. Beer was displayed artfully and as I placed my order I considered a Corona instead of a milkshake. Wine is an option as well as specialty soft drinks such as Coke de Mexico (who knew?) To end the mystery, my order consisted of the BurgerFi Double Cheeseburger (650 calories), Parmesan Cheese and Herbs Fries (650 calories) and a strawberry shake (720 calories) = 1430 calories! Good thing I didn’t have an appetite until 3:30 pm the next day.

Really there’s not that much to say about a restaurant (big word) that is mostly fast food leaning towards upscale and hyped with a folksy online marketing campaign. Nonetheless I am never one to refuse the challenge to eat a burger, especially in the summertime. The burger itself was tasty being natural Angus, you know; the fries were trying too hard to be special and I don’t need whipped cream with rainbow sprinkles decorating my shake. Although I wouldn’t say no to another BurgerFi, I also wouldn’t go out of my way to dine here again. Then again, I’m not a hamburger connoisseur just a hungry girl after spin class.

Do any readers know what the French call McDonald’s? A correct answer and I’ll buy you a BurgerFi.


The DJ’s in the house!

That the Porcupine is into music should come as no surprise. His classes are driven by the beat of his playlists covering diverse genres from house & rap classics to soulful R&B love jams to a Latin beat. Ladies – if you listen closely, you’ll know when he is love jones-ing. Like a DJ in training, he knows what’s trending in the music world and shares it with us. Awhile back, during his “in therapy” phase, he confessed his intent to show us more of himself – all sides of him. Although I think that he always showed himself through his music, I see that he is following through on that promise and expressing himself more openly through his tracks. Or maybe the music is just louder. Either way, it’s speaking to me with the intensity that defines his M.O.

It’s useful that the Porcupine is fueled by his passion for music, as it’s sometimes hard to understand his verbal communication. I’ve made a study of watching his interaction with others before class, as people line up ready for his workout. Actually as much as I enjoy talking to the Porcupine, I don’t have the desire to speak to him in the company of other people. But that’s another story for another day. Before class, it’s enough for me to notice that he’s there – yeah, the Porcupine’s in the house… life is good. Let’s do it.

After some unscientific observation, I’ve concluded that he has four levels of communication with people.

#1 Hostile

This is reserved for people who are clearly bothering him and for whom he has absolutely no time. This is related to the infamous – “if you don’t work hard, you are dead to me” statement. Honestly, sometimes it’s just better to stay out of his way. That’s what I wanted to say to the woman he was bitching out as I sat next to them. So sorry for you…. and you made him take off his Beats!

#2 Abrupt

This includes people like me who always want to steal a moment of his time when he’d just like to go home after a long day leading his tribe of followers. Like that time I thought it was hilarious that I knew how to say the word “hangover” in Ecuadorian Spanish dialect. Honestly, I was so thrilled to share that with him; him…. not so much. But I don’t take it personally as I’ve noticed that he is a good listener, just not a big talker in my company. In truth, I like telling him private thoughts that I’d be embarrassed to share with other people. Somehow I know that he won’t judge me so I can trust him with my secrets.

# 3 Nice… kinda

Yes the Porcupine can be nice. I guess this is reserved for his B-level people. People he acknowledges, maybe likes but he still might ignore you. That lovely girl who I’ll call Pocahontas falls in this category. It was her birthday and he acknowledged it very nicely thank you. Nonetheless he said it as he was walking away with his back to her – bad body language if you want to show you are really interested in someone’s birthday. This category tells me that there is hope that the Porcupine is working on his interpersonal communication.

#1 Affectionate

Although we know that big guys can have a special gift being gentle and the bigger they are the harder they fall, it was especially poignant to witness the Porcupine unexpectedly displaying douceur. Actually I’ve never before seen him speak to anyone with such tenderness as he did to the Mona Lisa (or La Gioconda if you prefer) who is of course, his front row, inner circle, in the promised land. She is also gentle and kind and peaceful which is probably why she inspires the same in him. I guess someone angelic exerts a quiet power to make him an angel, an archangel (chief angel) of course!

How lucky we are – not just the Porcupine – to have such a variety of people in our lives to stir us up in many different ways. I’m going to end this with something for the girls because it’s not only the Porcupine who’s lucky to have some variety in his life.

10 Kinds of Men Every Woman Needs in her Life

  1. The doting father figure.
  2. The ex you know you can still call.
  3. The ex you know you can never call again.
  4. The totally platonic male best friend.
  5. The man you love, but would never have a relationship with.
  6. The man who has encouraged you in your career.
  7. The man who you can call to move your couch.
  8. The man who adores you exactly the way you are.
  9. The guy who flirts with you but doesn’t expect anything in return.
  10. The man who gets your jokes.

Since I’m trending toward simplifying my life, I’ll let Whitney tell you in song the only kind of man I need.

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Mother/Daughter Lunches – Bubby’s Tribeca

A part of motherhood I especially appreciated was the general sense of complicity I shared with my daughters. Time has a way of altering that dynamic as they grow up and inevitably leave the nest. I have fewer opportunities to experience this feeling now so I cherish each and every one of them.

One nice perk of working in Tribeca is my proximity during the work week to my eldest daughter. Since she now lives in Brooklyn and it’s a hike and/or a pricey taxi from the UWS, we don’t see each other frequently. She’s been working in Tribeca longer than I have so she is the undisputed fount of food knowledge for our lunch outings. She is a typical foodie of her generation having been immersed in the French culture’s worship of food and having grown up in Manhattan. Girls who went to the French Lycée weren’t afraid to walk into Chanel just to window shop or book a table at the hot new restaurant and order only desserts.

So we mutually agreed to embrace the carpe diem theory and seize the day by making the most of our time working near each other. Scheduling impromptu lunches periodically, it’s mostly JuJu who suggests the venue. This time I made the recommendation to try Bubby’s, a restaurant I had overheard co-workers rave about and which I walked by daily from my subway commute.

Every trip to a new restaurant involves the requisite menu viewing pre-visit to check out the options. Bubby’s announces its mission is nothing less than defending the American table. It is decidedly a unique place as it highlights not only a Map of Corn on its website but includes links to essays about corn in America. Much of the food is as fresh as possible, farm-raised and derived from local producers upstate. I was admittedly curious to find out if they really “squeeze the cane sugar for their freshly pressed sodas”. A restaurant that goes to the trouble to use stealth to “steal recipes from Grandma” is definitely worth a visit.

Since a butcher on the premises grinds beef daily for the burgers, my choice was pre-ordained. The balmy spring day gave promise for warmer weather reminding me of my ritual of making homemade iced tea from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Not finding the lemonade to be adequately “peachy”, the waitress cheerfully offered to adjust the balance as it’s all homemade. I embarrassed myself by wolfing down my burger with gusto. My daughter chose the ubiquitous kale salad which appeared at the table as green as a harbinger of spring. My burger contrasted nicely to the freshness of her salad with its own lightness.

Bubby’s offers so many options – pie and coffee for an afternoon pick me up, midnight brunch after downtown clubbing, and certainly would be an warm and inviting place to enjoy a Thanksgiving meal for a pay what you buffet with proceeds benefiting a local charity. If I ever make it to Japan, I am comforted to know that Bubby’s was chosen as the quintessential restaurant to represent America at the Yokohama’s Sakuragicho Station. I not only recommend eating at Bubby’s but check out their website which offers a wealth of good information.



Top Ten Things I Like about the Cub

10. He’s smart.
9. He’s good on the eyes.
8. He’s a great cook.
7. He has great style.
6. He’s like me but unlike me.
5. He’s articulate.
4. He can be alone.
3. He loves Paris.
2. He’s ambitious.
1. He’s a great friend.

Happy Birthday from the Cougar!

A Birthday of Consequence


What does one do for a birthday of consequence? Milestones are traditionally celebrated with family and close friends. Although I am frequently the exception to every rule, in this respect, I was no exception. My daughters and the Cub colluded to put together celebrations that were fitting for me and for the special occasion.

The kickoff celebration was a home cooked meal chez JaJa & the Chief Optimist, thoughtfully prepared by my two daughters and attended only by my inner circle. The food choices reflected our cultural influences and spanned Italian, French, and Polish cuisines. Starters were a choice of meat or potato baby pierogis as a reflection of my Polish heritage. An architecturally constructed ratatouille tarte paid homage to my life-long obsession with French, followed inevitably by pasta smothered with chicken marsala in tribute to our longtime take-out favorite from Carmine’s. Our family’s favorite chocolate cake topped with strawberries and a la mode completed the meal with a class of champagne in hand. This was perfection – a reflection of the past as I looked forward to my next decade. No birthday is complete without a surprise and the more unexpected the better. A collaborative video was orchestrated by my daughters as together we viewed many family and friends offer their best wishes and memories of the past. I cried.

Leave it to youth and the Cub to suggest that I not merely celebrate my day, week or month but the entire decade. The celebration beginning my decade continued the next evening when a larger group assembled in the comfy Bubble Lounge in my new fav ‘hood – Tribeca. Conversation flowed with the bubbly until we finally made the short walk to the club M1-5 since no birthday would be complete for me without dancing. All I remember is later that night being put into a taxi with $20 in my hand as a thoughtful friend gave my home address to the driver.

It’s also wonderful to have a friend who decides to spoil me with a birthday lunch at Jean-George. It made me feel like a lady who lunches in style. The food prepared and served with such delicacy, the serene décor in a soft palette, the effortless conversation with my bestie all worked their magic to make me feel bathed in happiness on my special day. Further food delights awaited me later in the week as my daughter and I had an impromptu lunch at Sushi of Gari on West Broadway. Letting go was the order of the day as we choose the omikaze menu and the chef made inspired food choices. We tasted and compared each morsel thoughtfully, patiently and lovingly. I left that meal with the singular experience of feeling complete – my palate was sated. I could not imagine any other food passing my mouth with the exception of perhaps an excellent Bordeaux later that evening.

Is there the expectation that by the time one reaches a birthday of consequence one feels like a person of consequence? As I reflect on my past, I have no sense that I’ve achieved anything of consequence. Rather I feel like I’ve achieved small victories – surviving personal heartbreak, absorbing loss, continuing to put one foot in front of the other daily. As I think about the Cub, I’m sure that he has more lofty goals as reflects his youthful optimism. My mature optimism is trending differently – towards more celebratory lunches with friends, finally getting that leather jacket I’ve coveted, upp-ing my yoga game, loving like I’ve never been hurt. At a particularly low point in my past life, I vividly remember in hip hop class wanting long hair that moves seductively. I’ve got that now and it’s not inconsequential. I feel exceptional.

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C&C Dinner Party Series: Year of the Horse

It never ceases to amaze me how the cub and the cougar intersect.  We recently discovered that we both were born in the Year of the Horse. Since this includes the majority of Brian’s posse, of course we decided to celebrate in style with a Chinese banquet.

Researching the Chinese zodiac is always entertaining. As with all horoscope reading, you can take or leave what you like. You can choose to interpret these animal signs as how the world sees you or how you wish to represent yourself.  So does this description of Year of the Horse people describe the Cub and/or the Cougar?

People born in the year of the horse are said to be a bit like horses: animated, active and energetic – they love being in a crowd. They are quick to learn independence – foals can walk minutes after birth – and they have a straightforward and positive attitude towards life. They are known for their communication skills and are exceedingly witty.

The Cub had never experienced a Chinese banquet with 10 succulent courses to degust.  He rounded up (forgive the pun) his people and we headed to Jing Fong restaurant in Chinatown.  Of course, his betches came appropriately dressed for a Saturday evening – short shorts, stilettos and fishnet stockings. If I was similarly attired, the Fashion Police would label me a high class hooker. I was clothed rather decorously in a long sleeve, albeit sheer top over a bustier. The Cub was fashionably attired according to his usual standards.

From my previous Chinese banquet experience, the food goes down well with the hard stuff. That’s how a few bottles of bourbon ended up on the table and were quickly consumed.  It is safe to say that a little alcohol buzz spiced up the conversation around the table. Blake, who is Chinese, directed the meal with his orders in Cantonese to the waiters. The un-initiated were fairly game to try whatever was served us as attached photos attest. All the betches were out, with Éva, Cameron, Ivanka and Naisha making an appearance.

As the meal wore down, conversation turned to after party plans such as Tinder Men waiting for meetups, birthday parties to make an appearance at, dancing to be considered.  A short brisk walk in the cold January air found us at a nearby club and the night ended in typical fashion for us horses – being a bit impulsive, seeking life’s adventures, surrounded by many friends at a party.

Perhaps this Year of the Horse can serve to remind us all to act fast, love self-expression, follow your hunches  — to take a leap and fly.  We all have a chance at wild good fortune and sudden gain this year.  Let life be all or nothing!

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