The TCQ&A: “We Had Our First Date at Mr. Chow”

Originally from Philadelphia, Meredith Gonzalez is a vice president for marketing at a European equities group and a new volunteer with Art in All of Us (AiA), a nonprofit group that promotes tolerance and cultural exchange to kids around the world. On Thursday, AiA is holding a “Yogathon” benefit in Soho with Boomerang Yoga; donations are most certainly welcome. Gonzalez lives on Laight Street with her fiancé, David, who is an investment banker, and their dogs Izzie (above) and Lillie.

How long have you lived in Tribeca?
Two years and I’m pretty sure I will never leave.

Which restaurants do you frequent most often?
Before we moved to Tribeca I used to have major anxiety about repeating restaurants in Manhattan too often. I wanted to constantly be trying something new. Being in a neighborhood like Tribeca has completely changed that for me. For drinks and a quick bite we love going to Dylan Prime’s bar. I’m in love with the burger (and will often order it out, too) and the Pepper Basil Caipirinha. David gets the Laight Eight which I think is cute since we live on Laight Street. For a while we couldn’t go a week without going to Sushi Azabu. It was like an addiction. It’s truly some of the best sushi (and sake) we have ever had, but we realized that was getting a bit excessive as a weekly habit. Some of the others we frequent are Macao Trading Co., Nobu Next Door, Ivy’s Bistro, Walker’s, and Max. We have so many Tribeca favorites now that it’s hard to pick!

Mr. Chow

Which restaurants do you tend to go to for special occasions?
We had our first date at Mr. Chow so we find ourselves back there every so often.  In fact my parents were stopping through town over their anniversary a couple weeks ago so we went there with them. It was a really nice impromptu celebration—and in true Tribeca fashion, on the walk there we passed by John Stewart, which was fun for my parents.

This year we went to Corton for my 30th birthday and that truly was amazing. We went on a Thursday night around 8:00 and did the full tasting menu after a week of already celebrating quite a bit, so I’m afraid we may not have enjoyed it as much as we would have if we were properly rested and warmed up for the meal. I’m eager to go back without having eaten all day to try it all again. The food is so amazing you have to eat every last bite and we were doing so until about midnight when, to our surprise, we saw that Morimoto was among our fellow diners. The staff told us later that apparently he’s a pretty big fan of Chef Liebrandt’s—yet another reason to go back!

Where do you order in (or get take-out) from? Are there dishes you always order?
I’m a bit embarrassed to say that we order out pretty much every night because of our work schedules. We usually use Seamlessweb because it’s easiest, but not all of our favorites are listed on it. Some of my staples include Baluchi’s (lamb vindaloo), Dean’s (baby arugula salad), Ivy’s (turkey burger), Petite Abeille (mussels), Kitchenette (comfort food), and Papatzul (fish tacos).

Which shops do you find it hard to resist popping into when you pass by?
I often find myself doing a Duane Park area “trifecta” of Working Class, Shoofly, and Dudley’s Paw.

My sister and all of my friends have just had babies, so I find myself stopping in Shoofly quite often. They are always so friendly about helping with sizing (since I’m clueless) and they are always happy to wrap for you!

I just recently discovered Working Class the other day and I’ve been back several times. I always spend tons of time just exploring and always end up walking out with something! They have a cool little book on the history and architecture of Tribeca (The Textures of Tribeca) that I picked up for the coffee table—I haven’t had a chance to read it yet but I’ve skimmed through it and it’s great because it has lots of great old pictures of the neighborhood.

On my way home I usually end up stopping at Dudley’s Paw to pick up a treat for Izzie and Lillie.

What was the last non-essential item you bought in Tribeca?
Beautifully delicate porcelain bud vases from Just Scandinavian that have both since been broken by our puppy, Lillie—well, to be fair to Lillie, one was actually technically broken by David.

Are there any services (salon, fitness, etc.) that you’re particularly glad are in the neighborhood?
I’m not much of a salon person but International Plaza Nails is conveniently located for us. I will go there for a quick mani/pedi, while my fiancé goes for a 20-minute back rub.

Smith & Mills

What’s Tribeca’s best-kept secret?
I’m not sure it’s a secret but one of my favorite things in Tribeca is the bathroom in Smith & Mills (maybe that’s something I should keep a secret… J).  What they’ve done with that place is amazing—it really feels like you’ve been transported to another time and place. I only wish everyone remembered to lift the sink to empty it when they’re finished!

Where do you always take out-of-towners?
Locanda Verde for dinner because it has yet to disappoint for people with all different tastes, and pretty much always Bubby’s for brunch!

Which neighborhood building do you wish you lived in and/or owned?
There are so many—how do you choose? I think the old American Express stable building has a unique charm and now that it’s been redone I’m sure it’s incredible inside.

Laight Street

Your most memorable Tribeca celebrity sighting?
Our most memorable sighting was a while ago when we were with a large group of friends for Sunday brunch at Bubby’s (some were out-of-town guests, of course). We were seated at one of the large round tables in the middle of the restaurant, and Jay-Z and Beyoncé were in the booth just to the right of us! It was hard not to stare—she is the most gorgeous thing I have ever seen. Her skin just glows! They seemed so low key and relaxed and happy—and surprisingly they had no entourage (or at least none that we saw). This was a pre “Empire State of Mind” sighting, thank goodness, or I’m sure I would have embarrassed myself by singing something like, “Now I’m down in Tribeca, right next to Jay-Z….”

If you could change one thing about the neighborhood, what would it be?
If I could I would complete construction tomorrow on the dog run that’s going to be part of Pier 26!

What’s changed in Tribeca that you like? That you don’t?
I like that there is change. It’s great that it seems like there is always something new popping up, and moreover I love that there are people here who care about creating change and continuing to improve the neighborhood and community.

Why Tribeca?
See all of my ramblings above!

Any questions you wish you’d been asked?
How do I donate to the Art in All of Us Yogathon? ;)

Recent TCQ&As:
Wickham Boyle: “We Used to Close the Streets for Cookouts”
• Matt Schneider: “Life Just Keeps Getting Better and Better”
• Judy Dunne: “Last Halloween, a Client Dressed Her Son as a Lobster in a Pot”
• Donna Marotta: “The Number of Nail Salons Baffles Me”
• Susan Bernfield: “I Almost Invited Jon Stewart Over on Passover”


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