Yesterday had an early dinner at EAK Ramen (thanks, Mark), 469 6th Ave., rich ramen along with Kawaba Sunrise Ale. This morning I took the subway to the East Village and went to Abraco, thanks to tip from my friend Doug. Unique coffee shop, great coffee and pastries, long lines that never abated, no stinkin laptops allowed, wonderful place, good vibes, latte as good as it gets. When I left, I gave the manager, a cool guy who was moving around with alacrity and humor, a mini-copy of Tiny Homes. When I was out in the street, he ran out and said: “Lloyd, this is brilliant.” So good when people get it.
I walked around the corner, and there was Do Kham, a Tibetan shop with elegant things in the window. Serendipity at work. I went in, and everything was just right. The owner, Phelgye Kelden, is a former Tibetan monk, who has assembled a shop of totally wonderful things. His specialty is Tibetan hats, which he designs, and which have been featured in Vanity Fair, Elle, and other major fashion magazines:
I had vowed not to buy anything on this trip, but, ahem…a beautiful wool scarf, a necklace of prayer beads, a rock carved with Om Mani Padme Hum: “Tibetan Buddhists believe that saying the mantra (prayer), Om Mani Padme Hum, out loud or silently to oneself, invokes the powerful benevolent attention and blessings of Chenrezig, the embodiment of compassion.” So as I walk around today, I’m chanting it to myself.
It’s been hot and muggy this week here, like it usually is in August. (Global warming is a hoax, right? )Walking along St. Mark’s place, I spied St. Dymphna’s Pub, and it looked authentic, cool (in both senses), and I went in and had a pint of Guiness and talked to the bartender and the guy next to me, a director of plays, and a native of Philly about a variety of subjects as we watched Serena Williams in the French Open. A good restaurant? They recommended Cafe Mogador, across the street, Moroccan, and crowded, and good.
I’ve finally learned to overcome shyness when traveling and ask-ask-ask. I think 90% of the places I’ve eaten, visited, or had coffee at on this trip were by following recommendations of friends and strangers.