Spent Saturday celebrating my birthday with Theresa. First stop was Annie's new knitting shop. Oh.my.god. It's wonderful. The walls are lined with lovely, colorful, touchable yarns. In the middle of the spacious room are comfortable club chairs for sitting and knitting, and a large country table like the ones upstairs in the needlepoint store. The staff are friendly, helpful and enthusiastic. I admired the lace-knit tank top one of the girls was wearing, and she eagerly showed me the book the pattern came from -- Lace Style -- which just happened to be on my Amazon Wishlist. Click on "customer images" to see the tank (image no. 14). I want to knit practically everything in this book. I'm considering the wrap sweater (no. 11) for myself and maybe the cropped Katherine Hepburn sweater (no. 12) as a gift for my niece, although I think this one is rather ambitious for my skill level. Needless to say, I bought the book.
It was soon time to head downtown for lunch. We had reservations at Fleur de Sel in Chelsea (photo at right from restaurant website). After an initial snafu with the hostess, who said our reservations were for Sunday and she didn't have any tables available, we were seated. (The restaurant obviously made a mistake taking the reservation, and Theresa wasn't having any of it. Besides, we could see an empty table for two right inside the door. It was definitely available since no one came in after us needing this table.)
I wouldn't hold that little misstep against the place since the food was wonderful. They ask that everyone at the table order either the three-course or five-course menu. We opted for three-courses. The five-course menu includes a second appetizer and a cheese course, which didn't seem worth it for the money.
There were two choices per course, but we had the same things. Unfortunately, I didn't write down the names and descriptions of everything. The first course -- Sweet Corn Soup with Basil Ravioli and Corn Silk Tea -- is the only one I have since it's on the sample menu on their website. Very delicious, smooth and flavorful. (The soup, that is, not the website.)
No pictures of that, but I got shots of the others.
The main course was a lamb "dumpling" with fingerling potatoes and baby carrots. The lamb was tender and tasty. We finished with carrot cake topped with vanilla ice cream.
Then as we were eating our dessert, the waiter brought out a small platter of bite-sized cookies and candied fruit -- with a candle. Of course, I blew out the candle and made a wish.
Next we headed to a movie, "Becoming Jane" about Jane Austen. Yes, it's a fictional account of a relationship between Jane and Tom Lefroy, who is mentioned briefly in two letters to her sister. Hollywood romance notwithstanding, I enjoyed the movie, particularly how the characters and events mirrored those in her books. Supposedly Mr. Darcy may have been influenced by Lefroy. While Lefroy is no Darcy, in my opinion, he has his charms.
I'm not giving anything away by saying that the ending is bittersweet since Jane doesn't end up with the guy. The romantic in me wanted her to live "happily ever after." But then I thought, there's nothing to be sad about. She wrote some of the greatest, most loved novels of all time. That's certainly uplifting and worth celebrating. But given the times she lived in, she didn't receive the acclaim she deserved. That's what is sad and unfortunate.
The movie did put me in the mood for more Jane Austen. So I came home and watched Persuasion, which is one of my favorites, to get my happy ending. And I started rereading Pride and Prejudice. All in all, a well-spent day.