Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Cold weather occupations

I am impressed when it gets this cold. True cold still feels foreign.

Today was one of those days where I kept making loud breathing noises outside that made Vince look at me and say, Are you alright? I was. Very cold, but fine. Just impressed.

We walked to the subway, hopped on the welcome (warm) train, got off at Rockefeller Center. Mission: Saks Fifth Avenue. I can't say that I have ever set foot inside. But Vince has, last year, when he escorted my mother to buy my father's supply of Penhaligon's Blenheim Bouquet after shave balm and Eau de Toilette. My father is punctilious in his grooming habits. It is unavailable in South Africa and will fly to Cape Town with me soon.

We surfaced near the 70 foot Christmas tree, a crush of becoated tourists and many cops keeping 50th Street clear for a shoot. I had called ahead and the smart package was waiting for us, courtesy of Edison at the Penhaligon's Counter. I hope customs  in Johannesburg does not have scent beagles.

Stopped in the middle of Fifth Avenue to try and shoot St Patrick's Cathedral from cab level, but was chicken in the face of five lanes of traffic. I got no spires. 

But I did get hot chestnuts on 50th and 6th Avenue. I peeled them on the subway platform, back under the city, waiting for the Brooklyn-bound F.

Dinner?  Fondue of course.

 Please note the expression of rapture in the background, above.


  1. I don't know what it is. When I was a child, I remember always feeling warm even when it was frigid outside. Now it seems as if I can feel the cold right down to my bones. What I wouldn't give to be hot blooded again!

  2. One of my sons sometimes does that freaky deep breathing/ rumble noises when he steps out into freezing cold weather - like he's checking out how the cold feels in the bottom of his lungs!! Same thing??! Have a wonderful time inS.A.

  3. I love your expression "a crush of becoated tourists"! I served fondue for Christmas Eve last year and nearly killed both sons and one girlfriend by gagging. It was box fondue. Then I had the real stuff in Zurich this past September. What a difference... it was wonderful, especially the crusty burnt stuff at the bottom. Is your fondue recipe the genuine Zurich thing? And what makes the genuine Swiss fondue so good??

  4. I'm curious, how does your father shave? Does he use a straight?

  5. Back home after spending 6 glorious days in the Cape.Fresh fish in Kalk Bay and stunning Chapman's Peak and cocktails in Camp's Bay. Sun and turquoise seas. Enjoy your holiday.
    And enjoy the Cape and the wonderful people. Take lots of photographs and remember, we want wonderful stories of your holiday.

  6. I remember Montreal winters, when the wind rushing between buildings would literally catch my breath away, feeling like a fish out of water gasping for warmer air...

  7. I loved growing up in the Montreal suburbs, and making snow forts and snow tunnels in the winter, but I never had to go to work in the freezing weather. This was before the Metro, and I don't know how my father did it, sometimes crossing the Jacques Cartier bridge on foot with the wind howling because there was too much ice for the buses to run.

  8. Thomas, perhaps then we just never stopped running?

    Belinda, Ha! Um, let's see, I breathe out really fast in a sort of whooshing way and sometimes utter a sort of yelp at the end. Not constantly, just when I am really cold-impressed :-)And thank you.

    Laurrie, brace yourself: it's from a BOX! Well, a vacuum-packed envelope in a box: "Alpenhaus", made in Switzerland. I've made proper fondue quite often, using white wine, Kirsch, a rub of garlic, Emmenthaler and Gruyere, and a little slurry of corn starch. This box one is a favourite of the Frenchie's, and it's easy, so I acquiesce :-)I think it is good, having had the real thing in Switzerland and...Whistler (does that count!?)...

    George, I believe he uses an electric razor, judging by the buzzing I have heard. Then he applies the balm :-)Judiciously, I hasten to add.

    Hi Petro, dankie! Did you buy a fish off the boats at Kalk Bay or eat at one of the restaurants? Where in Camps Bay was the cocktail? Soveel vrae.

    Anyes, yes, you describe it perfectly!

    Hi Bruce - on foot over the bridge, good heavens! I have never made a snow fort. I hope to remedy that one day.

  9. Saks used to be such an icon. I guess it still is, but now there are stores in other cities, so some of the shiny has definitely been rubbed off.

    When my 8th Grade class too our trip to NYC the one souvenir that I bought was a dress from Saks - orange, A-line, with a stand up collar. No one could believe I had done it, but that was my dream... to shop at Saks. have no clue where the dream came from, since I hate shopping. Weird. Guess your dad and I share part of a gene, or something!

    Thanks for taking me back with you.

  10. Ah fondu, what an excellent idea. Perhaps Friday night.

  11. Oh my heavens, how brave that you were in the Rockefeller Center area. The crowds this time of year makes me always feel overwhelmed.

  12. You may not have the spires, but you did get them. The reflection in the office tower!

  13. Marie,
    We ate at Kalky's, with the locals. Take knives and forks and wineglasses and wine. You sit at wooden tables and listen to lekker local Afrikaans. It's not for everyone, but we love it.
    Cocktails at The Pepper Club, close to the Bay Hotel. Sit on the terrace to have a nice view of the ocean. They have specials on sushi and their "special" cocktails are R25.00 each.
    Passing parade is free of charge.

  14. The coldest I have ever been was walking from the F Train's Carroll Station to Henry Street. I actually cried.
    Fondue.... Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

  15. webb, it's still a stunning place but I would need a sackful of money to have fun there. I'm also not a big, bigtime shopper, though I love to buy presents. It's still a good place to be for short time on a cold night, with lots of lights and window dressings.

    meems, wasn't too bad. I think you'd be OK.

    Ellen - now I want meat 'fondue', too. Haven't had one since I was little. My dad loathes them. I'm thinking of all sorts of sauces: chimichurri, Bearnaise, mustard...

    Frank, ha! Thank you...

    Petro thanks. I'm glad the Kalky's fish was good: I'd only had it once and it not good. Batter about 2" thick. I love bringing your own wine. That's hard to do, here. Maybe we will try again.

    Poor Monica - I'd forgotten you lived in Brooklyn!

    The coldest I have ever been was on a whale-watching boat approaching Victoria, in BC. Wow.


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