The Super-Star & the Sandwich: Cotillard & Tartinery



The 2015 Oscar buzz for Best Actress includes the award-winning Marion Cotillard as the  depressed wife in Two Days, One Night. Having previously won an Oscar for her spellbinding performance as Edith Piaf in La Vie en Rose—only the second time an Oscar was awarded a woman for a non-English speaking performance—she’s up against stiff competition that includes Reese Witherspoon, Julianne Moore, Rosamund Pike, and Felicity Jones.


The are in competition: While attending the Academy Awards nominees luncheon in Beverly Hills on Monday, the Best Actress hopefuls - (from left) Marion Cotillard, Reese Witherspoon, Julianne Moore, Rosamund Pike and Felicity Jones - all pretended to be best friends as they posed arm in arm for a photo in front of an oversized Oscar trophy

When playing Piaf, she bowled me over with her performance, and did it again as the charming Adrianna—“That Paris exists and anyone could choose to live anywhere else in the world will always be a mystery to me”—who,  in Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris, steps out of the 1920s to beguile Gil. it was I trotted off to the Lincoln Cinemas with high expectations. But not before checking with Rotten Tomatoes, where critics gave the film a whopping 96%, the audience coming in at a respectable 79%.

The problem with the film was the premise. After being laid off from her job for having missed work for a few months due to depression, Sandra, played by Marion Cotillard, is given a second chance. She can get her job back is she’s able to convince her co-workers (how many were there? twelve?) to give up their bonuses on her behalf. Only then would the company rehire her. And set out she does, going door to door for the next 90 minutes, begging her co-workers to help her.

As you might suspect, some of them agree to give up their bonuses, others refuse. That said, the idea that one’s co-workers would decide one’s fate didn’t ring true. What’s more, as she goes from one to another, it begins to feel redundant. Marion Cotillard gives a good performance as the depressed Sandra, but after a while, what with all the pill-popping scenes in the bathroom, the film begins to drag.

Within months it should be available on Netflix, and you'll be able to decide for yourself.  If you, by chance, are reading this post on Sunday, what are your picks for the Oscars tonight?

Finding myself siding with the 79%, I amble on down Broadway, heading east on Central Park South until I reach the Plaza Hotel.

Plaza Hotel

Entering the hotel on East 58th Street, straight ahead is the escalator leading to the Food Hall, where my eyes scroll a directory reading like a Who’s Who in New York and Paris—Epicerie Boulud; FP Patisserie Francois Payard; Kusmi Tea from Paris; La Maison du Chocolat; Vive La Crepe; Pain D’Avignon—to stop short at Tartinery. I knew there was a Tartinery on Mulberry Street in Nolita, but had no idea there was this close to home.


To the Food Hall

What's a tartine? An open-face sandwich. But a tartine at Tartinery rises to another level, beginning with the bread. With only 10 seats at the counter, I snag the last one.

Plaza Hotel Food Court 015

The menu even lists the breads—Balthazar country, Eli’s multi-grain, and Poilâne sourdough. Yes, Poilâne from Paris. The thought of a tartine with smashed avocado, asparagus and pumpkin seeds sets my taste buds quivering—if all too soon. The waiter apologizes, saying they’ve sold out for the day. Switching adroitly to the Croque Madame, he tells me they make it with the country bread, as it goes best.

And it did! Move over Jean-Georges. The bread, crispy along the edges and spread with a thin coating of Béchamel, comes topped with a slice of tasty ham, Gruyere cheese and a fried egg. With a cup of coffee Americano, it’s sublime. I linger long watching Joe, my waiter, opening a bottle of wine, stopping to sniff the cork.

Plaza Hotel Food Court 021He sniffs once, sniffs twice, and then, as if for good measure, sniffs a third time. Not a bad idea, as wine producers admit that on average 10 per cent of wines are corked. But have you ever seen a waiter do that at a fast food place? That Tartinery serves wine at the counter elevates the whole concept of fast food, doesn't it? Gives it a European vibe, a bit of French flair.

At which a refrain from Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” starts bopping  in my synapses. And I am having fun-- enjoying the tartine and watching the passing scene. By the way, they’re open Monday to Saturday from 8 AM to 9 PM and on Sunday from 10 AM to 6PM. I’m a fan.

Plaza Hotel Food Court 016 Even though it’s past two o'clock, the Food Hall is mobbed, with many lined up for take-out orders. All around, people are eating lobster rolls, Japanese sushi, Chinese dumplings, Italian pizza, and French tartines.

If you think back over all the fast food places you’ve been to—McDonald’s, Chipotle Mexican Grill, White Castle, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Pizza Hut, Subway, to name but a few—do you have a favorite you'd like to tell us about?

Plaza Hotel Food Court 033Plaza Hotel Food Court 028In closing, I’d like to thank those who have forwarded any number of good ideas for the blog. The other day, a reader suggested we include an email notification to alert anyone who   left a comment on the blog when a response was waiting. Done. So, be sure to keep those ideas coming, be they about technical enhancements or personal preferences.

As an aside: I'm happy to report that Eloise still lives at the Plaza, currently housed in a suite of passionately pink digs off the Food Hall.

Plaza Hotel Food Court 029

Will you take a second to share this post? Hoping to see you next Sunday when BonitaBabs will still be desperately seeking Paris.