Cveta is a gorgeous Bulgarian girl, and, funny thing – our lives somehow seem to intertwine, but it wasn’t till NY that we’ve talked a bit more. Both me and her are from Bulgaria, both love salsa – she’s a teacher and performer, back in the days in Sofia, and afterwards in Belgium. We both ended up in Brussels, where she has a school and I was working and also dancing salsa. But. We never spoke longer than couple of minutes, because 1. she’s a teacher and teachers notoriously get tired of dancing every day for work, and they don’t go out at salsa socials and 2. she teaches LA style, while I prefer the NY style, so I never went to her classess. The twist is that we have both decided to spend our summers in New York this year, taking classes amongst other stuff (she’s an actress now), and we’re both queens of our time and relatively free during the day (most my classes are in the evening).
We started off with a walk and a great lunch at the “Vietnamese street” – somewhere around 25th. Lunch was great, relatively cheap, cheerful and with friendly service. Eveyone around us was asian, so I think we got a good place. Then a beauty sample-hunting followed at Macy’s (Macy’s is a huuuuuuge store – it actually takes a whole block of ave/st in the middle of Manhattan). Not much luck there, though, the “beauty advisors” were mostly tired, grumpy and not very knowledgeable (one just stopped talking to me after she figured out I know a lot about the brand she was presenting, instead of taking it to a higher level and convincing me to try out something I hadn’t before). I’ve had better service at Sephora – still my fav beauty spot in the US.
We followed with smoothie and frapuccino (inevitable in NY); and then headed to the People’s Improv Theater, to meet Mladen and go to the RISK! storytelling show, organised by my teacher at the Story studio. Great stuff, they actually have a podcast and videos they record during the show. Some are brilliant!
To top it all up – we decided to have a drink after the show, and stumbled upon the funkiest weirdest bar ever! But before that we helped a dead-drunk thirtysomething yuppie who was side-sleeping on the sidewalk close the 5th ave (in a good suit and a tie) to get up and get a cab. First I tucked his iPhone under him, so noone steals it, and then after a quick consolidation we came back, woke him up, hailed him a cab and ushered him inside. He insisted we took a twenty for “saving him” and threw the money at us, pointing at an invisible danger in the air, to distract our attention. So funny!
Back to the bar: It’s called Nasha Rasha (means Our Russia in Russian), and it turned out to be one of those rare finds of places where you get the atmosphere, the mood, the quirkyness and the bunch of ppl that happen to be there all flowing. We had a great evening, we drank more shots of vodka courtesy of our bartender, than paid by ourselves (I ordered only one, and actually had 5! shots), and met some quirky people. At our arrival, Sasha? insisted we put on some old russian uniforms and hats, to “feel the vibe”, and poured us a welcome shot. He asked if we wanted “Borscht” vodka shot, or ginger-appleshot, or “whatever’s on your mind” shot. So the thing is – that bar homemakes a hundred tastes of vodka – flavored with whatever they can think of. There was cucumber flavor, bacon, honey and mint, beef, chicken and jalapeno flavors, black truffle (which i tried), sour pickle, olive, garlic, mango, mushroom… to name a few.
There were a couple of slutty-looking russian girls, couple of suits from offices nearby, and a couple (real couple) of restaurant owners – a Moroccan guy and Italian woman, whose resto was just closed a month ago for issues with their landlord (it’s a NY thing), and they decided to go to vacations in Istanbul (and I still haven’t visited, damn!). Phrase of the evening? One of the half-drunk yuppies came to chat, and to something slightly naughty I said, he replied with a playful grin: “You, salty pony!”. If that’s not funny, I don’t know what is, you salty ponies, you!
At a certain moment we begged Sasha to stop pouring vodka saying we’ve had enough, to which he just said (with a serious face) “This is a Russian place, it’s never enough!”.