Tumblr, meet Ares.

Two weeks ago, Justin and I went to Koneko Cat Cafe on the LES to meet a cat named Sammy who seemed like he’d be an awesome fit for Playbill. He’d been at the cafe the longest, and I felt bad for him because he was (is) super adorable. We arrived to hear that an application for him had just been approved but we were hurried in nevertheless and introduced to a four-and-a-half-year-old Tabby named Ares. We fell in love as he licked the dried tuna treats off our fingers and stared at us with his permanently grumpy face and said OK. I filled out an application and we picked him up from the UWS Petco last Sunday.

I didn’t know how hard it would be to integrate him into my apartment with Playbill, but it’s been a process. We were told to let her smell him in his carrier when we got home and we did. And she hissed so we rushed him into the bedroom, let him out of the carrier, and he immediately fell asleep on my bed.

Playbill’s area of the apartment has always been the living room, so he obviously gets the bedroom. He has his own food bowls, cat tree, and litter box in there. Justin stayed over most of the week to keep him company in the bedroom while I slept out on the couch with Playbill, so she’d know I was still here and she wasn’t alone, or being replaced. 

We bought a baby gate this weekend and that’s been helping. I try to feed them both at the same time on opposite sides of the gate and I always close the door when I leave the apartment. I have a (clean) sock that I will occasionally rub on Ares and then give to Playbill to smell. Oh, and I’m also using Jackson Galaxy’s ‘Stress Stopper’ serum. 

Playbill is still stressed, but Ares is a big loaf. He came from the cat cafe where he dealt with other cats all the time so he is not phased by her very occasional hissing. He will literally fall over and sleep anywhere (okay, mostly the bed right now). We might rename him Loaf, but his grumpy face just says ‘God of War,’ right?

So, it’s an ongoing process. If you have any stories to share, I’d LOVE to hear them! 

PS: If you’re looking for a cat, Sammy’s application sadly fell through and he’s still available for adoption through Anjellicle Cats! He was a sweet and active little kitty.

Cat/Cow Pose with Actual Cats

Last Thursday, I headed down to the LES for yoga and kitty time at Meow Parlour. I haven’t been back since my first trip there in the winter and I was look forward to it a lot. Before the yoga class begins at the Meow Parlour, everyone gets 45 minutes of kitty time so I first got to know the cats I’d be hanging out with. 

There were two ginger wobbly cats there (cats with a neurological disorder that makes it hard for them to balance, hence ‘wobbly’), as well as two tortie kittens, an older white cat, an adorable tabbie kitten, an older ginger cat, and Willie, an adult tabbie who has been at the Meow Parlour since the very beginning and probably hasn’t been adopted, according to the folks at Meow Parlour, because he takes longer than usual to warm up to humans. I loved him instantly.

As soon as the yoga mats came out, the cats that had been sleeping in the front of the store came running to the back. For some reason they love the yoga mats. 

The class was an advanced beginners class for the most part. It made me feel good but didn’t tire me out. It was definitely the most distracted I’ve ever been in a yoga class though, with the cats walking around and brushing up against us. Distracting and adorable

For $20 and a long ride down to the LES, it was totally worth it to get my downward dog on with the cats and support a great organization. 

Excuse My French (Lower East Side, NYC)

After my friend’s husband’s concert on Saturday night, J and I headed over to Excuse My French. I had decided I absolutely had to try the little French cocktail and tapas place on Elderidge Street that I’d seen in Time Out New York a couple of days before. The drink was purple. I wanted to see it in person.

We took seats at the bar, ordered a cheese and baguette platter, and some drinks. I had the L’Antonieta and I was given a history lesson as it was poured by an extremely friendly bartender, too. The L’Antonieta “pays homage to 20th-century Mexican intellectual Antonieta Rivas Mercado, who shot herself on the alter of Notre Dame in the name of unrequited love.” The drink itself is made of mescal, Cointreau, and a syrup of butterfly pea flowers. It was smokey and sweet at the same time. 

We ended the night with glasses of rose colored hibiscus champagne. Mine had an actual hibiscus in it which was edible and I totally ate it. The cheese platter was also delicious.

I’d give this place five stars for a lovely atmosphere, well-crafted drinks, and unexpected history lessons.

Meow Parlour (Lower East Side, NYC)

As I mentioned in a previous post, my dude and I went to Meow Parlour, the new cafe full of fully adoptable cats on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. I really want to adopt a cat soon but I haven’t met the right one yet and I thought that maybe this was the right low-stress environment to find my future pet. 

We arrived and were immediately put on a list and told it’d be a 45-60 minute wait and we were welcome to wait in their actual cafe around the corner. We walked in and when the only other people in there had already been to the Parlour, I knew that the 60 minute wait would be much shorter. 

It was. As soon as we sat down and started sipping our lattes, the manager of the cafe let us know that we could go over after we signed the waiver. We walked in, took off our shoes, purelle-ed our hands, and went to chill with the cats. They have a generously sized play area full of wooden boxes that they can run in to if they feel like they need to hide (not pictured in any of the photos below). There are a handful of clear-topped boxes that cats can sleep or relax in, too. 

The assistant manager started telling us about some of the cats, what shelters they came from, their backstory of where they were found, etc. We were told that we could pet the cats, take their photos (sans flashes), but not to pick them up. They see a lot of people every day and they’re still getting used to routine. 

The front of the store. The cats hang out where ever they damn well please. One even spent a fair amount of time sitting on the managers’ laptop.

This cat on the floor walked over to these humans and literally rolled over to get scratched. It made an audible thump as it hit the ground.

This is Matt. He wasn’t super friendly but he let me pet him for a few minutes when he was sitting in a basket in the front window. 

There was one cat, Stovetop, that did not like the other cats at all. It would regularly walk up to other cats and start swatting at them. Stovetop claimed a human, sat on her lap, and when another cat sauntered over to join in the fun, Stovetop saw this other cat approaching and hissed until the cat retreated. It was also an obese cat at about 25 pounds. It liked humans enough, it just hated other cats.

It was totally worth the price of two lattes and $5/person/30 minutes. I’d suggest making a reservation before going, but even if you don’t, the wait probably won’t be very long. 

Totally follow them on Instagram. Cutest Instagram ever? Yup. 

Saturday Wanderings

One of my favorite things about New York is wandering. You never know what hole-in-the-wall restaurant/bar/bakery/shop is around the corner just waiting to be discovered. 

Saturday started out almost exactly like every other morning: get up (though a couple of hours later, of course), go to the gym, shower, eat, etc. Of course it was all much slower and more relaxed because I didn’t have to go to the office, duh. Anyways, I digress, around 1:30 I made my way to Times Square to meet Justin and see when the earliest date we could buy tickets for Hamilton was. Spoiler alert: It was far away, so now I’m planning on going through my contacts to try to pull strings for house seats in a couple of months. We’ll see what happens.

We walked over to 44th and 10th Ave to try pizza from Claudio’s after hearing it was good on RG. It was good, don’t get me wrong, but probably not worth the walk to 10th Avenue to Times Square. Still: good to check it off the list.

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mmmmmmm, health food. 

After pizza, Justin wanted sneakers so we headed down to SoHo to Under Armour. After successfully procuring the aforementioned basketball sneakers. we wandered down and around SoHo. I saw the graffiti below somewhere south of Houston and Mercer but I can’t remember the exactly location. Can someone do this in my apartment? I couldn’t get a good photo of it either because some tourist was trying to take her best casually-walking-with-my-latte-in-front-of-some-gritty-street-art-how-cool-am-I selfie. Spoiler: tourist + selfie-stick = not cool.

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We wandered to Broome Street to Black Tap Burger and thought there was no line when we walked in, but the line was actually outside around the corner and down 6th Avenue. So completely ridiculous. We aborted mission and popped into Broome Street Bar for sustenance instead. 

Our last stop on our wanderings we decided would be Meow Parlour. I had no idea what the wait would be like but we wandered for a while (it’s probably a mile or maybe more from Broome/6th to Hester/Ludlow), passing through streets and around corners that we were both unsure whether or not we’d ever passed through before in 10+ years of residency in New York. It’s definitely gritty in some parts, hipster-ish in some parts, and gross in others. Upon arriving, we were told there was a list and it could be up to 45 minutes to an hour. They had a cafe you could wait in around the corner, we headed there and a few minutes after receiving our lattes, we were called back. 

This place is worth a separate post, but here’s one photo to hold you over:

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That’s Matt, a Maine Coon cat and so pretty. Here are the other cats we hung out with. I wanted to take him home with me but he was kind of skiddish. He’d give you a few minutes of petting time before running away. 

We journeyed home on the D train and stopped for dinner and a drink at Amsterdam Tavern before calling it a night. As the weather gets nicer again, I look forward to having more of these days because I think if you’re living here and not exploring on a regular basis, you should probably just save your money and live in the suburbs.

Macbar & Gimme Coffee!

There are so many independent cafes and restaurants down on the LES and I hate that I never get down there to try them.  A couple of weekends ago when I went down to Rockwood Music Hall, I made an evening out of it and decided to cross these two off my list. 

First there was Macbar, a tiny macaroni-shaped establishment located at 54 Prince Street.  It’s been open for a few months now and being a lover of all-things mac’n’cheese, I couldn’t resist.  I tried the “Classic,” I believe, which is made with American and cheddar cheeses.  It was delicious though quite heavy, and despite having ordered a small, I still had some to take home for lunch the next day. 

Next was Gimme Coffee, another hole-in-the-wall coffee shop located at 228 Mott Street (though they have several upstate locations and one in Williamsburg too).  I ordered a small chai latte and though I wasn’t overwhelmed, I wasn’t underwhelmed either.  A second tasting might be in order, but for now, I prefer the chai at Joe or Think

Next on my list is Earth Matters, then I’ll have to consult my list to see what’s next.  Any suggestions for LES restaurants or cafes?