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  • Keyaira Boone

Adventures in Kekeland: "Curlfest" Reunion at Ayza Wine & Chocolate Bar

I go out, like a lot. Sometimes when I’m out I click with people. We laugh, we joke, we kick around names of mutual people and places we know and love. We swap contact information, make plans to follow up then...someone loses someone’s card, someone can’t remember how many underscores were in someone else’s Instagram handle and the spark that seemed so strong fades until we inevitably run into one another and embrace like long-lost sisters who haven’t only met once before. I thought this phenomenon was just a Kekeland occurrence but it’s actually pretty common for creatives.

That’s why I was so delighted to hear from Non-Corporate Girls host Delaila Catalino after we spend the day forming a makeshift #squad at this year’s Curlfest.

Catalino was familiar with just how easy it can be to fail to follow-up so she created a group chat to make sure we stayed connected.

Not too long after she hosted an informal reunion so we could take our connection offline at Ayza Wine & Chocolate Bar.

I didn’t know anything about this intimate midtown space expect that it was walking distance from Penn Station which was enough of a selling point for me to be down.

In attendance that evening were Urban Girl Magazine’s Desiree Hadley, Director of Business Development and Partnerships at Claim it! Shimika Clarke, feminist writer and former producer Arielle Egozi, stylist and founder of The Social NY Stephanie Redhead (not pictured), and current beauty and wellness expert for The Insider Brianna Arps.

The food was surprisingly awesome for a place that specializes in desserts. I LOVED my lemon and mint chicken with orzo. I legit couldn’t stop talking about it for days.

But what really made my day was the fondue. I don’t do camping so fondue is the closest I get to s'mores. I was glad Arielle agreed to pig out with me so I was able to curb my calories while satisfying my cravings.

The staff was tremendous. Anyone who has ever planned a birthday dinner in Manhattan knows that getting several twenty-somethings together is no small feat and they showed us great patience as we waited for everyone to arrive and be seated.

They even held our booth (something unheard of in Midtown where space is at a serious premium).

Everyone shared their experiences over salads, sandwiches, and chocolate covered strawberries.

We spent so much that they ended up serving us unsolicited snacks including chocolate covered pretzels with shredded coconut and an upscale take on trail mix.

While everybody at the table had cool titles on their business cards the conversation was more about people’s journeys than their jobs making for a perfect Friday night of female empowerment.

Thank you to Marcy and everyone at Ayza Wine & Chocolate Bar for helping to make it happen!

What You Should Know About Ayza Wine & Chocolate Bar Nearest Parkway Exit: N/A Parking: Midtown garages are available but

if you cherish your coin transit’s your best bet!

Service: Above and beyond. Marcy (above) is the realest.

She was so good we all made a pact

to post positive Yelp reviews singing her praises. Who to Bring: Your crew, co-workers you’re cool with

and first dates you’re not quite sure about Decor: Instastories Worthy Dress Code: That all-purpose dress Jody was talking about in Baby Boy Wait Time: Zero but happy hour ends early so make the most of it Food: Decadent desserts and surprisingly savory entrees made up

for the modest portion sizes Price: They definitely cater to a commuter crowd

so it’s not sky high but I wouldn’t skip that happy hour if I were you

#fondue #chocolate #wine #rose #reisling #meetup #meetup #dinner #NY #midtown #AyzaWineChocolateBar

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