"Shall we partake in libations?"
That was Jamario last night after an amazing dress rehearsal of Drama Group 36's showcase, in which every actor broke many, many legs. The Juilliard seniors will take their showcase from New York City to Los Angeles over the next few weeks, and I'm looking forward to following the careers of my (bias-based) favorite Juilliard class. But for that moment, it was Easter, it had been a long week for all, and the night was ours.
I had joined Tokii, Jamario and his girlfriend Stephanie for Easter brunch yesterday afternoon at Mobay Uptown, a Caribbean restaurant in the heart of Harlem. You know a restaurant is good when you're looking over the menu and already planning the next meal for your inevitable return. I love coming upon the hidden treasures of the city. The almost clandestine entrance - that one might easily overlook - conceals a dimly-lit, rich ambiance creating a trendy and comfortable chill spot suitable for a formal brunch or a casual evening with friends. I'm sure Mobay Uptown will be a favorite of mine for years to come.
"It's places like this that actually make me like New York," Tokii - the L.A.-bound, anti-most-things-NYC - said.
"I know. Places like this are such ..." I began to agree, searching for eloquent words to complete the thought.
In signature goofy-Tokii style, she interrupted me with eyes bulging: "A burst of fruit flavor!"
One probably wouldn't guess it from the above description of her guess-you-had-to-be-there hilarious intrusion, but she is one of the most beautiful women that many people might ever see in real life. In fact, when showing pictures of her (taken during a city outing) to my family in the Philippines, my tita would say, "And this is Katie's friend, the one who all the men kept taking second and third glances at on the street."
Beautiful, extremely funny and extraordinarily talented - even among the company she keeps at Juilliard. But my description is somewhat subject to a best-friend bias.
Following my afternoon city walk and their evening dress rehearsal, I went with Tokii and her classmates to Dallas BBQ on West 72nd Street, where I had the biggest, best wild berry pina colada ever. I think it will be my new favorite drink.
A lot of new favorites yesterday in my favorite city ... keeping in mind though that I have a lot of biases regarding the people and places that I love.