Three courses of a lovely French meal in a café garden as the sun sets, a glass of rosé and good conversation. The perfect formula for an evening that can end in many ways. Need I say more? (OK, in fact, I was out with one of my best friends, but that's besides the point.)
Imagine my surprise then when I found that my post-dessert activity turned out to be buying two new pair of glasses at Tina Catherine, the coolest store on Eighth Avenue in Chelsea we just happened to fall into on our post-dinner promenade to the #1 train. Well, they do say that alcohol lowers the resistance; so true...they should hand out beer and wine in department stores.
But I am not at all unhappy - quite the contrary! These glasses are the best, the boutique is sleek and easy to shop, and the young proprietors are lovely. The team consists of two great guys with excellent taste and an optician who is relaxed and knows what he's doing. They all make it way too easy to select a pair (or two) of beautiful, well-fitting - and very cool - glasses.
Of course, after I made my purchases and then left them there for the prescription lenses to be ordered, I wondered on the street (and the morning after) what the heck I'd just done (you know, the usual remorse in the aftermath of dining, drinking and spending).
I need not have worried. My glasses are now a week old and I still can't bring myself to put in my contacts rather than wear these amazing glasses.
What I loved most, aside from the owners themselves, is the tight and well-edited collection. Tina Catherine is not full of the designer names that are stamped on everything from perfume to shoes and towels. The glasses they offer are names one may or may not know - Cutler&Gross, Dita, Lafont, OliverPeoples and Persol. These are styles that are beautifully crafted and simply designed (but not trendy in a way that will no longer be so in a month). I could have walked out with everything in the shop; that's how good they are.
But no need to take my word for it. Go "see" for yourself.