As today is 11-11-11, it bears noting that you can have your elevenses at Alice's Tea Cup which has three glorious locations in Manhattan: one on the upper west side (102 W. 73rd St.) and two on the upper east side (156 E. 64th St. and 220 E. 81st St.). Elevenses, in case you're not a raging Anglophile like me, is (according to Wikipedia) "a snack that is similar to afternoon tea, but eaten in the morning. It is generally less savoury than brunch, and might consist of some cake or biscuits with a cup of coffee or tea." Alice's presents a yummy menu which includes eggs, French toast, homemade granola, or salmon and scones. They also have a completely awesome selection of tea and many wondrous gifts for the holidays ahead including the "We're All Mad Here" gift box which has to be seen to be believed.
Speaking of food, if you're looking for something fabulously different, fresh and delicious, you could do a lot worse in this town than taking your repast at Warique, a Peruvian restaurant that opened a few months ago at 852 Amsterdam Ave. and has built a devoted following. The food is, well, amazing. Located close to popular similars like Pio Pio and Flor de Mayo, this place has it all over both of those well known destinations. Try their Causa Peruana appetizer; it's beyond beyond. The ceviche is also great. Their rotisserie chicken is succulent and tasty. And if you want comfort food, Aji de Gallina has to be the Peruvian equivalent of Chicken a la King; it's soooo good. For dessert ask for the alfajores; Peruvian shortbread cookies filled with dulce de leche and sprinkled with powdered sugar. TDF.
The New York Historical Society at 170 Central Park West reopens today after three years of renovation and is free all day for veterans (and pay what you want after 6 p.m.). New York's oldest museum, it was founded in 1804 and is also one of the first cultural institutions in the U.S. There are a number of new exhibits including Freedom Now: Photographs by Platon (documenting the African-American struggle for civil rights) and Urban Visions: Views of American Cities from the Museum's own collection. They are open today until 8 p.m., Saturday from 10 to 6 p.m., and Sunday from 11 to 5 p.m.
Speaking of history, the venerable Norton Records celebrates its 25th year of existence this week with Norton Records 25th Anniversary All-Star Spectacular at the Bell House in Brooklyn. The party started last night and continues through Sunday (it's sold out but I urge you to try to get in anyway -- it's more than worth the effort!). Tonight the bill includes Gino Washington, Andre Williams, Melvin Davis, Dave "Baby" Cortez, the Reigning Sound, and more. Saturday is headlined by a rare appearance by Question Mark and the Mysterians, and Sunday night the Sonics will rock your socks off among others (the Sonics will also play Maxwells in Hoboken tomorrow during the day). The coolness continues with early shows in the front room each night (tonight Andre Williams and Kim Fowley will read from their tomes published by Norton's fabgear new book publishing arm, Kicks Books).
Saturday and Sunday you can Harry Potter it up at the Fifth Annual Quidditch World Cup at Randall's Island from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Fox News called this "a cross between the Superbowl and a medieval festival." While games take place on ten fields, musical and circus entertainers will be performing continuously at the main stage area and scattered throughout the event site. Performances include over a dozen Wizard Wrock bands, local NYC bands, Coney Island sideshow performers, fire jugglers, sword swallowers, contortionists, and live animals. There will be 100 college and high school teams from 22 states and four nations competing in Icahn Stadium. How can you not want to see over 2,000 uniformed, caped, broom-riding athletes? Not to mention butterbeer, turkey legs, Bertie Botts beans, barbecue, chili, hot chocolate, and real beer. Plus wands, brooms, robes, scarves, and other wizardly gear for sale. Expecto Patronum!
If International Pickle Day is more your speed, you can attend the Peck Slip Pickle Festival this Sunday at the New Amsterdam Market (South St. at Fulton St.). Many samples of briny snacks will be there for your enjoyment from more than 20 local pickle and fermented food producers. Acclaimed food writer Mimi Sheraton will discuss her search for the authentic bialy at noon at Pasanella & Sons (115 South St.) The Pickle Fest kicks off at 11 a.m. and goes until 5 p.m. As we all know, Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers. Now you can too.
Baroque rock was invented by a New York-based band called The Left Banke back in the late '60s with a huge hit, the soulfully ethereal love song "Walk Away Renee." Even Leonard Bernstein was impressed. The band has been experiencing a bit of a renaissance in 2011; they played a few shows earlier this year (their first since 1969) to wild acclaim and their first two albums (long out of print) were lovingly reissued by Sundazed Records, mastered from the original two and three track mixes. Original band members Tom Finn and George Cameron will take their undisputed magic to the stage again Saturday night in the East Village at Drom (85 Avenue A between 5th and 6th St.) for two shows (amazingly some tickets are still available). They will be joined by Charly Cazalet, Paul Alves, Mickey Finn, Joe McGinty, Rick Reil, and vocalist Mike Fornatale along with (natch) a string section.
You can watch actress Emma Stone host SNL on Saturday night, and on Sunday afternoon hear the SNL writers discuss their craft at 4 p.m. at the Paley Center for Media (25 W. 52 St.). At Live from New York... A Discussion with the Saturday Night Live Writers Seth Meyers, Erik Kenward, John Mulaney, Colin Jost and Markia Sawyer present a special panel discussion that offers a rare backstage look at how they come up with the classic bits you're probably still doubled over about. This event is in association with The New York Comedy Festival. We've never needed SNL as much as we do right now, methinks, with the latest political crazymakers taking center stage (there are three reasons why I'm mentioning politics: it's a mere year away from the Presidential Election; the GOP has never been funnier; and I forget the third one. Oops).
If your taste runs more to the rest and relaxation mode, you really need to make a trip to Queens and check out Spa Castle (which by the way is running a 20 percent discount for veterans). They are open 6 a.m. to midnight every day of the year, and your admission fee ($35 on weekdays, $45 for weekends and holidays) gets you a pass to pure bliss. It's an entire 10,000 square foot building full of saunas, steam rooms, hot tubs, wading pools, waterfalls, massage and beauty treatments (a la carte), along with a full cafeteria with fantastic Korean, Italian, Japanese and American food. I can't even express how great this place is. You have to experience it for yourself. You can get there easily by public transportation by taking the #7 to Flushing -- Main St. where free shuttle buses run all day to and from the facility.
Perhaps the Bard is more to your liking. No matter! Tomorrow at 1pm you can participate in Coriolanus: An Instant Shakespeare Company Reading at the Epiphany Branch of the New York Public Library (228 E. 23rd St.). The Instant Shakespeare Company believes that Shakespeare is for everyone. The company organizes annual readings of all of Shakespeare's plays using original Folio & Quarto texts. Coriolanus is believed to have been penned between 1605 and 1608 and is based on the life of legendary Roman leader Gaius Marcius Coriolanus. As per usual with writings by William S., there's plenty of politics, war, exile, banishment, vengeance, and betrayal. So you can see not much has changed.
And finally, you can celebrate 11-11-11 tonight by laughing your A.O. at the Triad Theatre (158 W. 72nd St., above the Turkish Grill Restaurant) at the clever cyber-comedy You've Got Hate Mail. Written by and starring comedy writers/actors Billy Van Zandt and Jane Milmore (they've written over 23 plays which are in constant production all over the world as well as several television shows including Newhart, Suddenly Susan, and The Hughleys) this breezy 80-minute farce about the real toll the computer-driven world we live in is taking on our intimate relationships is a laugh a minute or more. The New York Post called this play "the perfect bedroom farce" and you can take their word for it. Curtain time is 7pm and the play has an open ended run every Friday night. Tonight Cerina Vincent (Not Another Teen Movie) guest stars.