The Frick Museum and Bistro Chat Noir

Last week, on a day with China-blue skies and temperatures in the upper 60s, I headed for the Frick Museum to see the exhibition: “Coypel’s Don Quixote Tapestries: Illustrating a Spanish novel in Eighteenth- Century France.”

To celebrate the opening, nearly 600 guests, the Young Fellows, had attended the black tie Don Quixote ball, sponsored by Lanvin, with many of the women wearing gorgeous full-length gowns, and some with lacy mantillas and decorative combs. One young gentleman in a silver and black matador's jacket looked as if he had stepped out of the novel.

The exhibition was delightful, but there was a snag, one I had not anticipated. It's that photography is prohibited in the galleries. The only place you could take a photo was in the garden room.  What to do?  At MoMA , for instance, there is a simple on-line procedure for journalists and bloggers to gain access to the museum’s digital prints, but at The Frick Collection one needs to submit forms in duplicate...and wait. Which is what I am doing.

Hopefully, I’ll hear back this week and will be able to offer you a few glimpses of this delightful small show, which runs until May 17, 2015. How could it be anything but delightful, when based on Cervantes tales of Don Quixote, the errant knight tilting at windmills.  Having read it first in Spanish, for a Spanish  Literature  course in college, I'm tempted to read it again-- if this time in English.

After visiting the Frick Museum, it was on to meet a friend for lunch at the light and lovely Bistro Chat Noir (Black Cat) at 22 East 66th Street, steps off Madison. Rounding the corner, my eyes searching for a sign, what caught my attention was a café table out front, its white cloth flapping in the breeze, with a menu meant for passersby to inspect. Is that not inviting?

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Then,  too, there  were a few outdoor tables, where a couple was having drinks. Coming on the heels of a winter that had held on too long in New York, the sight of people sitting outdoors and enjoying themselves was most welcome. Venturing in, it was as if spring had sprung.

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Spring is here! and knowing that we wanted nothing more than we did fresh greens, we asked about the wines by the glass.

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My friend chose a Sancerre, a light-bodied, minerally wine from the Loire, but I hung back, thinking it might be too crisp for the crispy greens I had in mind. The waiter, congenial and professional, recommended a Chenin Blanc (here's how to say it: Shay-naN-BlaN).

Waiting for thewines to arrive, I looked about, thinking how civil the restaurant felt. How unlike so many of the downtown hot spots with their tin ceilings, tiled walls and stone floors-- all guaranteed to amplify the decibel count. How pleasant to be having a conversation without having to raise your voice.

The Chenin Blanc was lovely, a light-to-medium bodied wine with a hint of apples. Or was that a floral note? At any rate, the sign of a good glass of wine is that when you finish it, you find yourself wishing you had sipped it more slowly.

What's more, it went well with a chopped chicken salad, one made with crisp greens and fresh-cooked still-warm chicken beautifully presented. Something magical happens to mixed greens and endive when they come in contact with warm chicken. The salad was picture perfect, and I wish I had a picture to show you, but when dining with others, it's a bit awkward to be staging a photo shoot, rather than toasting one another and wishing your companion: Bon Appetit!

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On this score, have you any suggestions for your less-than-intrepid photographer?  What to do? What to do?   At any rate, after a lovely lunch, sealed with an excellent espresso, I returned home to find an invitation to the opening of a women's' clothing shop in my neighborhood, one featuring young French designers. Everywhere  you go these days, the French are staking outposts on the Upper East Side. But that's a tale for another day. May this note find you with Spring on your doorstep and in your heart.

Jusqu'à la semaine prochaine ...until next week. And please remember...sharing is caring.  Merci beaucoup.