By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
Chapter Two in the chronicles of Perdita Woo, a crybaby with the constitution of a prune and a cat named Seymour Hersh: On January 3, Perdita was jilted by Carnold Carbuckle, a hot tub vendor with prominent nose hairs. "Carbuckle, you rat fink," she thundered. "I shall never love again." Then Perdita phoned her friend Minerva McNamara and asked to meet for cocktails and ex-innamoratovivisections at the East Village bella tropicanaBAMBOU(243 East 14th Street, 358-0012).
Now, Minerva McNamara was the sort of citizen who clipped her fingernails too short when they didn't even need clipping in the first place. She was a teetotaler who dismissed bars as vulgarian conventions. But Bambou was a revelation, with its teak chaise lounges, pillowy almond brocade sofa, French doors, and candelabras. Perdita arrived to find Minerva at the copper bar, sipping a luscious blend of mango, banana, and orange juices ($9). The palm trees and vanilla-colored curtain reminded her of the Delano Hotel in South Beach, which reminded her of Carbuckle . . . so she ordered a boozy Grey Goose vodka and cranberry ($9). "A thousand poxes upon you, wretched former heart's ease," she cried, then commanded the courtly bartender to pour her a Bailey's over ice ($8) for the sake of excess.
After Perdita polished off her confections, she dragged Minerva toward the affordable, generic pageantry of XANDO CAFE & BAR(841 Broadway, 614-8544), across from the Union Square movie theater. "Here my beloved brought me after K-Pax," Perdita whispered, choosing an Oatmeal Cookie Latte ($6.75) from the "Coffee Cocktail" list. She weepily guzzled the Frangelico, cinnamon schnapps, and Irish creme whisked over plain latte mix while tears gushed down both cheeks, gathering powder, dripping white. "What a ninny!," Minerva thought, and asked for a grande Oregon Chai Tea ($3.75), a restorative brew of black teas, honey, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, and steamed milk. Xando, with its Ikea lamps and couches, smoking section, and Rue de Cheersbar scene was similarly comforting.
"Per favore, confidant, can we not stop for last call?" Perdita pled, then hailed a cab before Minerva could decline. They sped west to the COWGIRL HALL OF FAME(519 Hudson Street, 633-1133), a kitschy, Nash Vegas dream den. Vintage baby banjos dangled from walls and chandeliers were strung with antelope horns. Perdita picked merlot ($6) and imagined she was Johnny Cash's boy named Sue, while Minerva settled down with a virgin strawberry daiquiri ($6). It tasted like tangy, slushy sorbet served in a mason jar and did not remind her in the least of Carnold Carbuckle.