Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Craig's Place

I had the perfect lunch today with a gentleman, and I mean that in every sense of the word, who happens not only to be my friend, but my lawyer as well. He had some papers for me to sign so instead of doing it in a stuffy office, we had lunch at Craig's place.

It is actually The Cosmopolitan Cafe, 95 West Broadway in New York--way downtown for me. Craig has way of creating even a small space into a patch of charm. Victoria readers will remember Anglers and Writers and The Treehouse among Craig's restaurants. My personal favorite was The Treehouse--it had the playfulness that one would create if we had a treehouse of our own. My family spent several Thanksgiving dinners there, entertaining friends.

This current endeavor is in The Cosmopolitan Hotel, a very old and venerable place. Craig discovered it had once been the ladies waiting room. It is so low key, you almost feel like you are at home. There might be apples fresh from an orchard in a bushel outside--or a miniature herb garden. Craig must just be snipping a sprig of this or that for his farm fresh menu. Fresh greens and fruit accompany many dishes. I've never had breakfast at Cosmopolitan, but the offerings make my mouth water. And the dessert case--tucked at the rear of the cafe--makes one want to come back for tea and indulge. Craig's mom used to make all the goodies for his restaurants. That wonderful Wisconsin native knew her way around a cherry pie that's for sure. Craig learned from her how to serve sweets.

We decided not to have dessert, but that just was not to be--as two sundaes topped with fresh peaches and blueberries arrived. Well, they disappeared pretty fast, I might add.

Papers got signed, lunch got savored, sundaes destroyed. Along the way, we discussed what each of us did over the summer. Visiting with Craig about the old days was fun, too. He stays busy, but never to busy to tell a lady she looks swell. Two gents in one day!

If you're in Craig's neighborhood, stop by and step back in time for a an hour or so. And if you encounter a slim chap who moves like lightning, say hi for me.


  1. Now, I know EXACTLY where I'm going to go when I'm next in town! How delightful this sounds. In fact, I was just re-reading the story on the Anglers & Writers in one of the early September Victorias, possibly the 92 issue? At any rate, long live Craig and his tribe. There is something restful, isn't there, about encountering a true gentleman? They are increasingly rare and therefore, treasured...
    Thanks for this recommendation and glimpse into your neighborhood, Nancy!
    Think I'll bake up a pie this weekend!

    Love, Karen Marline

  2. Oh Nancy, thank you for sharing your special lunch. You found two rare treasures in one day in the middle of the busy city. I know these times and places are there for us, we just sometimes do not take the time to recongize and relish them.

    Your day reminded me of another day in my memories with both a gentleman and a unique and lovely place. I know I am blessed, but I truly am married to a gentleman. It is an inside joke over our 51 years of marriage that if I leave him alone in a strange place, a woman or women will find him. It just always seems to happen if we are on vacation or shopping. I must say that he draws people to him because he almost always is sporting his signature Stetson western hat and boots. He not only usually acts like a gentleman, but he looks like one.

    This particular memory came about when we were on vacation returning from Florida on the day before the 4th of July. We stopped in Vicksburg, Mississippi because I wanted to see the cemetery and also explore this unique town. My daughter and I were going to take a tour in a really unusual southern mansion. He decided he would stay on a bench in the yard relaxing the shade. Our tour took much longer than we expected and when we returned his bench was empty.

    This street in the historical district had a lovely tree lined median with beautiful homes lining each side. We found him across the street at a tea parlor with a wide front verdana. As he sat there waiting for us he noticed two older ladies trying to hang a flag bunting from the porch. Being the gentleman he was, he walked over and offered to help them. He told me later they were very hesitant at first and asked him if he was from the north. Of course, he had to admit he was and they turned down his offer. They talked longer and he must have earned their trust (they later told him they didn't know if they should trust him since he was from the north.) He climbed the ladder and the bunting was stretched across the porch.

    By the time we found him he had completely won these two delightful ladies over. They invited us into their lovely tea parlor with fine antiques and beautiful china. We felt as if we had stepped back in time to the old South. They asked us to stay over for the 4th, but we did have to leave. Upon leaving, one gracious sister stated, "we have never met such a gentleman, and imagine he is from the north." The sisters were so enchanting and they come have come off a Victoria page. We left Vicksburg with smiles and memories of an unusual and happenstance treat.

    This is just one experience of living with a gentlemen. In Scotland, perhaps on a mantle, is a picture of my gentleman with two Scotish ladies because they wanted their picture taken with him so that they could tell friends they had met a real American cowboy. He really does raise cattle so I quess it is true.

    Thanks Nancy for helping us to recognize the times in our lives when live is good. Sincerely, Jean

  3. Sorry, Nancy I didn't make it to the bottom page proofreading before someone came. "The sisters were so enchanting they looked like they came straight off a Victoria page." Jean

  4. Oh My-Nancy- I used to spend a lot of time in New York when I was young in my modeling career. How I wish I could go there again just to see all the sites and eat at this "Craigs place"/Cosmoplitan restaurant too.

    Karen/Marline is so lucky to live near, and be able to do lunch there.

    Just last night I was reading in the April 1993 Victoria,& was especially glued to the article on page 72 through 75 of the two sisters that modeled professionally also in New York and met once a week to eat at "Chanterville", the elegant little restaurant. It looked so wonderful!

    Today I posted also on Marines Return to loveliness site, about two books that I have that might be helpful to another poster, who is blessed with two little girls, and is looking for "Finger-bowls". I immediately recalled two more "Victoria books" that may be helpful for things like this to do with her little girls- one is called "Table settings" & the other "The New Napkin folding".

    Do you have any idea how much I love Victoria books & magazines, & you too, Nancy? A HUGE wonderful influence in my life!--Sincerely with love,Valery

  5. It's delightful to hear about what those once featured in Victoria are up to now! Like many other devoted fans, I re-read my Victorias each month and if I have an especially busy schedule and only get to maybe 5 or 6 issues before my "month" runs out, I just tuck them away for next year when they'll be even sweeter with "newness". I find that since you started your blog, Nancy, I am enjoying my vintage issues all the more. Having you here has brought an even brighter sparkle to those magnificent pages! I hope you can share with us many more details and updates about the people, places and shops you once introduced us to in Victoria!

  6. What a lovely lunch with two gentlemen it sounds as though you had... and embellished with a sundae topped with fresh berries (I have the most scrumptious picture in my mind). You really can't beat that. I wish I lived close and could stop by for a delicious bite. I often wonder why resaurateurs do not incorporate more creativity into their decor/ambiance (as in The Treehouse). The Cosmo Hotel restaurant looks fantastic... classic, adventurous, and very European. But the real gem, as you attest, is that the people who run the place are genuine and welcoming.

    For a few years there was a beautiful restaurant near me called Rue de Provence. It was one of the most charming I have ever been in. Located in a local shopping village, from the outside it appeared just another eatery. But once you stepped under the canopy and through the blue, wooden front door you had entered a charming "outdoor" French cafe. On three walls there were painted scenes of storefronts, striped canopies, and real shop windows with shutters flung open and window boxes brimming with flowers. In one corner was a coffee bar, and then along the fourth wall there was the Patisserie case. Oh my what lovely French pastries there were... fresh berry tarts, eclairs, pithiviers, madelienes, Napoleons, creme brulee, and even fresh breads. Their lunches consisted of salads made with fresh local greens and soups (tomato bisque being a favorite.) And of course there was the French music playing while you dined. It was a feast for the senses in every sense. It couldn't have been a lot more expensive to decorate that way, but what a delight it was! It was owned and operated by a lovely French couple who had come here with the express purpose of opening the place. It is no longer there, and I am left waiting for the next local "Craig" to come along and bring us something which delights and transports as Rue de Provence did. Thanks for sharing your local treasure with us.


  7. Craig's Place would definitely be on my list if I were traveling soon to New York. It sounds amazingly delicious.

  8. Oh, those experiences are certainly to be cherished, and even relived. The older I get, the more such experiences uplift me and carry me forward.

    As for gentlemen, well, nothing is more attractive than a man with manners!

    And yes, we Badgers know our cherry pies!


  9. Just a shout out from Arkansas about the blog in general--much appreciation from a Natural State Victoria reader and a Return to Loveliness reader with only the fondest memories of Victoria during the Lindemeyer years. Truly my favorite magazine of all time--I was bereft when she folded.

    Thank you for sharing yourself with us.


  10. Dear Nancy,

    I remember The Treehouse well! Oh how I wish I could spend more time in New York!

    I would like to take this opportunity to thank you...first, for opening yourself up through this blog to those of us who adore you. And I do. To me, it's like a promise of better times...after a long drought. Also, I want to say thank you for all the years you devoted to Victoria. Victoria was like a permission slip to be myself. When I first saw the premier issue, I suddenly knew who I was, who I had always been but in many pieces, like broken glass. Victoria pulled all the pieces of me and arranged them into one identity. It showed me that I wasn't alone, that there were others like me, who loved what I loved.

    I wasn't blessed with the gift of writing as you have been but please know that I cherish all that you did over the years through the pages of Victoria. Those past issues have helped show me how I want to live my days, how I want to present myself to the world, and how I want to raise my daughters. There is a new generation, in my older two girls, ages 10 and 6, of Victoria fans. If for no other reason, I thank Victoria for presenting loveliness and bliss to them.

    I look forward to reading more here, Nancy, and I wish you well.

    Blessings, Dee Ann