Today was the stowaway’s monthly checkup, which means a trip to the Upper East Side. All is well and I got to glimpse the little guy. He is currently hanging out facing the ground, bobbing about with arms and legs dangling about.

starwich.jpgAfter my appointment, I decided to stop for a decaffeinated coffee at the remade Starlight Diner. The Starlight Diner no more, used to perch on the corner of E75th and Lexington Avenue. Peeling formica tables, cracked coffee cups and somewhat surly service were the order of the day. But it was one of those places that seemed straight out of a movie.

So I was a little hesitant about trying out what the diner had evolved into: a high-styling Starwich outlet selling coffees, sandwiches, cookies and salads (seen above). What’s more, the Chippendale-styled seating is set up so diners can enjoy their drinks or meals… as performance art. Yes, you are seated in the “shop window” complete with a backing wall and attractive art, while passersby and traffic look on.

But with the comfortable seats, selection of newspapers, free cellphone charging station and wireless… what can I say but thumbs up. (You can see where the chain is expanding on the Starwich website.

lasagna.jpgTo put it in perspective though, Starwich has nothing on my favourite coffee location: the Belgian chain, Le Pain Quotidien. (Those fabulous cups of decaf lattes, cappucinos and mochas rule! Oh yes, and the stowaway loves them too!)

After that I headed home inspired to make lasagna. Between pasta bolognaise last night, the osso bucco on the weekend and tonight, this week is turning out to be the most beef-rich one we’ve had in years! (Inspired by the opportunity to use the osso bucco gravy.) Lasagna was great (based on more objectives views of the other two diners), topped off by a slice of apple or sweet potato pie from the Little Pie Company (a personal favourite for hot chocolates, iced decaf cappucinos and chocolate chip cookies.)

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