I’ve been debating how to honor the new Sex and the City film as it hits theaters this week. Why honor such a silly movie on a food blog? Well, duh! If you don’t know, SATC didn’t just bring fame to fancy shoes and pink drinks. SATC brought recognition to the West Village, its eateries and to my favorite community cupcake joint, Magnolia Bakery. (Magnolia is the cupcake joint that started cupcake joints. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Seriously.)
Last month, I was at a fabulous conference in New York City. As part of the conference, I signed up for an authentic foods tour around the Village. We ended the tour in this beautiful spot, Jefferson Gardens. These quaint gardens, which once housed a woman’s prison, was the set for Miranda’s wedding to Steve.
Our tour host, Sarah Endline, was quite gracious as she explained the connection between this authentic garden and all the sweet little food shops we had hit along the way. Sure, SATC is a crazy, big, silly movie, but it did bring love back home to NYC and specifically called out the glory of all these little boutique locations across lower Manhattan.
Sarah walked us through several great spots. We hit the highest volume Whole Foods in existence, the Union Square location on 14th Street. Their head of marketing walked us through the store and gave us perspective on how they deal with such crazy demands. We then strolled down to City Bakery, a great local spot bringing green design and building methods to coffee and cake. As part of our tour, we got to sample a large cup of hot chocolate. I’ve only experienced a comparable taste in Paris!
After City Bakery, we took a long, long walk further down the isle to Birdbath, a tiny neighborhood cafe that is little sister to City Bakery. We sat through a great talk by Birdbath’s manager who explained how the entire focus is 100% green. Their site explains it all. But the photo of cookies along the back wall shows it all.
The food tour wasn’t perfect. It was a bit long, and the day was quite warm. But that said, I felt very special to experience these sweet little spots. I lived in NYC for years, and grew up just outside Manhattan – so I’m no stranger to the city. But it’s a privilege to be able to experience brand new spots year after year, especially the ones that remain despite economic downturns, exoduses from the city and major explosions. When I watch SATC this week, I will fall in love, all over again, with Manhattan – a spot I consider both home and brand new each time I visit.