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Thursday, December 26, 2013

3 on Thursday

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas yesterday!  I'm spending my X-mas break in Vail so it's sure to be a white one - even more so than today's background pic of NYCs first real snow of the season.  Happy holidays!

  1. As a Southerner, I didn't grow up watching hockey but am happy to adopt the sport.  It's easy to follow and [particularly when fights break out] fun to watch.  Go Rangers!
  2. I recently went on a work outing where I was able to pick up these fab Dolce and Gabbana sunglasses.  There is actual gold leaf in the frames.  I feel like a lady of leisure wearing them.
  3. My lobby gave a nod to both the Jews and the Christians in my lobby with a menorah and a tree.  I had zero decorations in my own apartment so I was very happy to have a festive lobby to walk into.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Smoked Mozzarella, Broccoli, and Greens Panini

I know I wrote about Dominque Ansel Bakery yesterday but who cares - here we go again.  This time, we're talking savory.  While the bakery is famous for their desserts, they serve a couple soups, salads, and sandwiches that are, apparently, not to be knocked.  One such sandwich was profiled about eight months ago and it is pure coincidence that I re-created it at home on the same day I went to pick up sweets at the SoHo shop.  (Coincidence, because I forgot the bakery was the source of the sandwich in the article I had read so long ago.)

Since I've never actually had the sandwich at Dominique Ansel, I can't say how it compares, but I can say that I thought my version was delicious and hearty, be it vegetarian.  I made a couple changes: first, instead of using fresh mozzarella, I used fresh smoked mozzarella to give it a little something extra.  The smoky flavor reminds you of meat (since that's the usual beneficiary of the smoker) which sorta makes you forget that this sandwich is vegetarian.  Second, I swapped the spinach for sunflower microgreens.  Why?  Because I have never heard of sunflower microgreens before.  Have you?  Of course you haven't, which makes me baller for being the first to use them.  They sound fancy and exotic, making me fancy and exotic by extension.  They actually tasted great, too.  They're mild in flavor, but the leaves are firm so there's something to chomp on.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Monday Reads

  1. There are plenty of women willing to be a surrogate.  Here's why.
  2. I hurt just thinking about female circumcision.
  3. Binge watching TV has become standard.  Since success of a show is often based on live ratings, I'm worried this is why so many of my favorite shows get cancelled.  I still miss Happy Endings.
  4. Apparently people are kinda racist when they shop online.

Dominique Ansel Bakery - Part II

I try to refrain from blogging about the same place twice, but when I can't stop thinking about a restaurant you deserve to hear me sing its praises. Dominique Ansel Bakery is my favorite bakery in the City, maybe even my favorite bakery of all the bakeries there ever were. This is huge considering how obsessed I've been with Milk Bar over the years. I still love Milk Bar and see it as a close second, but Monsieur Ansel has secured a special place in my heart.

I would like to do anything as well as Dominique Ansel does pastry. The magic soufflé is the perfect example.  I don't know a ton about baking, but I do know that soufflés have a reputation for being temperamental and difficult to pull off.  You have to time and measure everything just so if you don't want the whole thing to collapse.  Somehow, Ansel manages to do this with the soufflé INSIDE another cake.  How the soufflé retains it's light texture all while an entire second cake has to bake around it, I have no idea.  I've decided Dominque Ansel has voodoo powers and that's the end of the story.

The soufflé part of the magic soufflé is chocolate grand marnier flavored and is encased in an orange blossom brioche.  I'm not big on orange desserts but the flavor is not overpowering and it's not too sweet, which is good because I have a theory that super sweet desserts are trying to compensate for something.  I ate the whole thing in the street like an animal and feel no shame.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

3 on Thursday

Yes, I know we're racing towards Christmas, but I still can't get Thanksgiving out of my head, which is why my Thanksgiving plate graces the background of today's post.  I suppose it's time to stop living in the past and start thinking about the other major holiday that's almost here.  If it's half as good as Thanksgiving, we're in good shape.

  1. On the Friday after Thanksgiving, Mark and Allison decided to host a wine tasting party.  They went to their favorite vintner and selected six wines (not too shabby for our group of eight drinkers), each chosen to represent one of those snobby wine terms that's always spouted at restaurants.  We had grassy, smoky, buttery, spicy...all of the Seven Dwarfs.  We sat around and discussed whether the descriptions were real or b.s.  Getting drunk, all in the name of science.  I'm sure there are plenty of times you sit around drinking wine - at least make a game out of it like we did.
  2. Bagatelle brunch gets crazy.  3 PM there feels like 3 AM in Vegas.  It had been a long time since I last went but I found out when Steph and I recently partied it up in the afternoon with some out of town gal pals that it's just like riding a bike.  We made friends with a table of guys and the next thing you know we're getting bottles upon bottles of Dom.  I'm not a club kinda girl, but every once in a while it's good to make an exception...especially when that exception leads you to drink wine out of a really long straw.
  3. I may have been one of the youngest people there, but Elton John can straight up play the piano.  At his recent MSG concert he played all the hits and I crocodile rocked with the best of em.  

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Book Review: Tough Jews

The mafia is a rarely discussed piece of Jewish history, one that is overshadowed by major events like the Holocaust or minor events like "my son, the doc-tah".  When most people think of Jews, they think of the stereotypes.  The smartypants.  The weaklings.  But guess what: in the 20s, 30s, and 40s, it was a group of Jews who ran a large portion of the mafia.  They were as ruthless as the Italian mafia that is publicized and even glamorized in the media, but most people have all but forgotten they existed.

The only mob boss in history to be executed was Jewish.  Outwardly, most Jews will wince at this fact, ashamed at the black mark the Jewish mafia has left on our history, afraid it unravels all the accomplishments the Jewish people have racked up ever since.  But a small part of [most of] them is happy to have the mafia on their ethnic record.  It defies the stereotype of the nerdy Jew and makes them a little more like everyone else.  The men Rich Cohen describes in Tough Jews: Fathers, Sons, and Gangster Dreams are ones who made things happen.  People answered to them, not the other way around.  Is this behavior ok?  Absolutely not.  But is it exciting?  You bet.

4 out of 5 stars.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013


For my December restaurant pick, I wanted someplace that was similar enough to Albert's choice of 5 Tacos so we could make a fair [enough] comparison between the two.  It didn't need to be tacos or even Mexican, but I did want it to be someplace casual with only a few chairs that served simple, authentic food.  With a total of six chairs and only about two items on the menu, Porchetta seemed to fit the bill.  The pork sandwich has appeared on many "best of" lists so it gets packed, but since I don't live around the corner, it's preferable to actually sit inside.  The solution, apparently, is to go at 5:30.  That's octogenarian supper time and those old fogies aren't frequenting small East Village sandwich shops so you'll score a stool.

The greatest compliment I could have received was Albert telling me I won the December battle of the restaurants.  I had a feeling he was going to tip his hat to me when I looked to see him hunched over his porchetta plate, inhaling his food.  He went silent as he stuffed pork, greens, and beans into his mouth with fervor.  Porchetta is basically Italian bbq and since bbq is Albert's fave, I should have known it would be a hit.  He stopped only when he realized there was a bowl of porchetta salt (made with herbs and fennel pollen) that he could sprinkle over his plate.  Side note: porchetta salt is used just like regular salt, but it tastes so much better.  While Albert got the porchetta plate, I went with the sandwich and was very happy with my decision because the ciabatta bread was perfect.  I guess it just depends on what you're in the mood for that day.  If you order to-go, your sandwich will be wrapped in butcher paper and if you eat in, you'll be eating off toile patterned china.  Both options will leave you feeling like you just had a meal prepared by your nonna.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Spinach Artichoke Soup with Ravioli

I have consistently posted on this blog every weekday for a while now which means if I'm slacking I must be reeeeeally busy.  That's why when I had almost all of Sunday free, I thought the best thing I could do for myself was to cook up something yummy so I would have a fresh post on Monday.  I spent Saturday locked indoors afraid of the snow that didn't let up all day.  After weather like that, there's only one thing to cook: soup.

I found this recipe and couldn't find a single thing wrong with it.  The only change I made to it was using small half moon mushroom ravioli instead of cheese tortellini.  The soup is already so cheesy that I figured I would be fine not using cheese tortellini and I was right - just use your fave stuffed pasta and you'll be fine.

This soup is creamy goodness.  It's like the spinach artichoke heart dip you love ordering at your favorite chain restaurant but when you're there, you feel obligated to eat it with chips or bread.  Here, you're free to shovel it into your mouth with a large spoon just like you always wanted.  The only way this recipe could be easier is if it came already cooked and you just microwaved it.

And it's cozy.  This is fireplace food.  I only wish I could have been eating it on Saturday while I watched the snow fall.  But that would have required me to leave the house in that gross weather and there was absolutely no way that was happening.

Monday, December 9, 2013


Have you ever been disappointed in something when the outcome wasn't even that bad?  That's how I felt about Alder.  The restaurant had been #1 on my list for about seven months and for good reason: it earned a 2-star review from The New York Times, is currently on at least three "Best of 2013" lists, and it is an attainable avenue to try the food designed by molecular gastronomy master Wylie Dufresne.  With so many important people pulling for it, it seemed highly unlikely it would be bad.  And it wasn't bad - let me be clear - I just didn't have the culinary epiphany I thought I would have.

There were a couple of hits, the drink menu being one of them.  The Dr. Dave's Scrip Pad had the strength and earthiness I love from whisky with the tartness of yuzu.  It was a beautifully made drink.  I also like that they offer "shorts," half the portion for half the price.  It allows you to get a little taste of something which I like for two reasons: I didn't worry about committing to a $12 drink that I may not like and also because it gave me the opportunity to try several things on their well rounded cocktail menu.

I also really enjoyed the french onion soup rings.  From what I have heard about Wylie Dufresne, it seems his specialty is confusing the taste buds.  These are onion rings, thick, beer battered, and fried, just like at the best of sports bars.  But they taste like french onion soup.  If food could be a pun, this is the ultimate corny Mom joke.  My favorite dish of the night, however, had to be the dessert.  That's a very rare statement for me as I don't have much of a sweet tooth, but the peanut butter cake was perfection.  The cake formed a thin shell around peanut butter and chocolate ganache lava.  I don't want to say lava because that makes it sound like just another molten lava cake from a chain restaurant which it sooo is not.  So let's call it magma.  Peanut butter magma.  When eaten with the sliced grapes, it was like a peanut butter and jelly that wasn't too sweet.

Now I feel required to warn you of the misses.  The fois gras was served on a graham cracker and was advertised as being served with pumpkin pie, pomegranate, and maple flakes.  The problem was that the fois was mixed with those ingredients to form a mousse.  It kind of ruined a beautiful ingredient.  Fois gras is very rich and therefore usually served alongside sweet ingredients, but if it's all just mixed together, you lose the richness and can no longer taste the liver.  When it comes to fois gras, I think you should get as creative and funky as you want with its sweet counterpart - just don't mix them together.  Another lackluster dish was the scotch quail eggs, which had a little too much marmalade,overpowering the sausage.

The other items fell in the middle - certainly not bad but not mind-blowing, either.  The pigs in a blanket were definitely better than anything you find at a tailgating party.  We tried the rye pasta with pastrami that bared a remarkable resemblance to a sandwich from a Jewish deli, just lighter.  We also tried the beef tongue, beets with coconut ricotta, and octopus with chorizo, sweet potato, and banana.  The octopus was probably my favorite, followed by the pasta.  Again, all was very good and worthy of multiple bites...maybe I just let all the good reviews put the restaurant on a pedestal.  Maybe I just need to stop doing that.  Pedestals are for sculptures, not restaurants.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Jalapeño Sausage Pasta

I bought some jalapeño chicken sausage with the intention of making some sort of jambalaya inspired rice dish. Intentions are great, but when you get home late with no time to buy any of the other necessary ingredients, intentions mean absolutely nothing. I opened up my fridge to see if there was anything I could turn into a meal and saw about 3 ingredients staring back at me. Not a large selection, but it just so happened they were items I could work with. 

While I boiled pasta, I heated up the [sliced] sausage in a pan and added some frozen peas for color and, you know, healthiness. When everything was almost done I added some heavy cream and grated cheese. I had some goats milk Gouda on hand and took a chance with it. Turns out it was great but plenty of cheeses would work, like parm or white cheddar. Toss in the cooked pasta with some salt and pepper and maybe a little pasta water to get to the right consistency. 

This meal may have started as a way to avoid ordering takeout, but it worked its way into something I'd be happy to eat on a regular basis. 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

3 on Thursday

I hope everyone is still stuffed from Thanksgiving.  Spending the long weekend in Savannah with my family reminded me just how much I have to be Thankful for.

  1. I recently had the opportunity to tour the Good Housekeeping Research Institute.  I may not work anywhere near the science field but it was cool to see how they test every product that goes into the magazine like vacuum cleaners, shown here.
  2. By now I'm sure you've heard that the first day of Chanukah and Thanksgiving fell on the same day this year.  It is an impossibly rare occurrence that my Mom honored by making latkes, a traditional Chanukah treat, out of sweet potatoes, a Thanksgiving flavor.  It's great when two worlds combine.  We lit the candles on these menorahs my brother and I made as children.  I think they're way cooler than "real" menorahs.
  3. Matt and Karina threw a holiday party and Yankee swap this year with a gorgeous spread.  Having the menu on a butcher paper table cloth and using greenery instead of flowers gave a distinctly Fall vibe.  

Tuesday, December 3, 2013


I mentioned the wonderful holiday that is #GivingTuesday in yesterday's "Monday Reads", but I want to make sure you know I'm not all talk and no action so I am confirming that I have, indeed, made a donation today and am encouraging you to do the same.

The holiday season is all about excess.  We all compare who can eat more on Thanksgiving, who can shop more on Black Friday, and who can drink more at the Christmas parties.  In the span of a month we are very self-indulgent and it couldn't hurt to make one day about others.  

Once I found a charity that meant something to me, giving was an easy and natural next step.  I made my donation to the Joyful Heart Foundation, an organization devoted to ending domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse.  It was founded by actress Mariska Hargitay, whose work on Law & Order: SVU showed her the lasting and devastating effects of abuse.  This cause is personal to me but may not be for you.  I don't really care; I just care that you give so find a cause that matters to you and make a difference.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Monday Reads

  1. If you think dating is hard, try living in Hong Kong.
  2. I am committing to #GivingTuesday tomorrow and you should, too.  But don't listen to me; let Kevin Bacon convince you.
  3. I thought the Highline was cool but it looks lame compared to these floating couches.
  4. Did you participate in Black Friday this year?  I hope the deals were worth it!  

Five Tacos

While we may have barely squeezed in our monthly restaurant picks in the past, Albert got in his December pick on the first of the month.  Every time we walked past Five Tacos we were on our way to another restaurant, but it looked good enough that I did a little research online.  That's where I discovered they had five different sauces for their tacos.  I love love love dipping sauces so I fully supported Albert's December restaurant choice.

We got four tacos - chicken, pork, beef, and chorizo - and split them all.  I was least excited about the chicken because it just sounded boring, but it ended up being my favorite of the four.  It's not the cubed chicken breast you find at most Mexican restaurants.  It is hand pulled and so tender.  We actually watched a guy pulling the chicken while we were eating.  He'd been at the task for an hour by the time we sat down and that time and effort showed in the final product.  My favorite of the sauces was the coconut curry masala.  These tacos are authentic - not fusion - but adding this sauce makes it different without overpowering the taco's Mexican identity.

$4 tacos and $4 beers.  And it's a pretty good selection for both.  The shop is small but its location on St. Mark's and A makes it great for takeout to Thompkins Square Park.  A little taco-to-go?  Don't mind if I do.


Friday, November 29, 2013

Gobble Gobble 2013

This holiday never gets old to me.  I get the warm fuzzies just thinking about all the tradition.  And as is tradition in my family, I am in charge of the appetizers.  Since the caramelized onion dip I made for book club was devoured, I decided that would be my backup.  I've learned to always have a backup.  Plus, the Konters are big eaters who warrant two appetizers.

For my second appetizer, I made a Brussels sprouts and parmesan crostini.  I used this recipe and it came out perfectly.  Four heads of garlic may sound like a lot, but you'll need every bit of it and it's sweet once it's all roasted.  Yes, there's parmesan in this but it's not a ton and that doesn't really count as a real cheese anyway so this is a great way to lighten up the regularly heavy, cheese-laden appetizer spread.  It was also super easy to put together.  The only thing that takes time is roasting the garlic, but that's not anything that takes any effort - you just stick it in the oven and forget about it.  I actually recommend doing it the night before so you really don't have to worry about it.  Once you've cut the sprouts into slaw, the whole thing takes about 15 minutes to cook and assemble.

My father, who complained all day while I was cooking that he hates Brussels sprouts and I should have prepared something that he would eat, actually said this was "actually pretty good."  It may not sound like a rave review to you but considering his extreme detestation, it was a pretty high compliment.

We had a smaller crowd for Thanksgiving this year, but we didn't really know how to cook any less than we always do.  In Konter fashion, we took that as a challenge to still go through just as much food with fewer people and this appetizer was no exception.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

3 on Thursday

Happy Turkey Day, bloggies!  I am thankful for so much; even my daily subway ride makes me smile.
This week's background is the heavy door to Quality Meats restaurant.

  1. This guy was just DJ'ing away in the middle of the Times Square subway station.  Street performers make the commute far more entertaining.
  2. I've been attempting to do NaNoWriMo.  Since November happens to be an incredibly busy month at work, it's not going so hot, but the writing always seems to flow better when I'm sitting in my neighborhood coffee house with my favorite Stumptown coffee.
  3. I recently took [another] Murray's Cheese classes.  I learned a lot about wine and cheese so the inner nerd in me was happy.  And since I got to try a bunch of new cheeses, the inner mouse in me was happy.  Everybody's happy!  Don't you just love when that happens?

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Alpine Grilled Cheese

Experimenting with grilled cheese is fun.  I'm a purist so I don't believe you can add more than one non-cheese ingredient and still call it a grilled cheese.  However, that doesn't mean you can't play around with different cheese varieties.  This time, I wanted a cow's milk Alpine cheese and went with Appenzeller Kaserei Tufertsch.  I have no idea how to pronounce it, but I do know how to say "yum" so after tasting this cheesemonger suggestion, I told her to wrap it up.  It tastes like a nuttier version of Swiss and melts well - perfect for grilled cheese.  I thought it went well with the rye bread I had at home and then threw in some sopressata for good measure.  I think speck would have been a better match, but the sopressata was still quite tasty.  Swiss cheeses are pretty sturdy so they can handle a flavorful meat.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Piccolo Cafe

Italian food is not usually quick service.  If you go to an Italian restaurant, you know you'll likely be sitting there for a while, eating family style, sipping wine, and having good conversation.  That's why, when it comes to take-out, it's usually forgotten.  Piccolo Cafe is more of a coffee house that serves Italian food.  That means it's small and intimate - prime for grab and go.

Coffee house fare is usually in the pastry castegory and there is plenty of that here, but because Italians just want to feed you and then feed you again, they is a full list of salads, paninis, and pastas.  I ordered the mozzarella and tomato salad as a starter.  The mozz was perfect in texture but the salad needed a bit more salt (maybe in the oil and/or balsamic?).  The fettuccine was cooked nicely but stuck together a bit.  The bolognese sauce only had tiny pieces of meat, not the larger chunks I was hoping for.  Was it amazing?  No, but it was good in a pinch, pretty inexpensive, and came with good bread.  Those are three things I look for when it comes to take out so I was satisfied.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Monday Reads

  1. Online dating may be a viable solution for people on the Autism spectrum.
  2. If you're Hunger Games obsessed like I am, you'll probably like to know a little about what's in store for the next installment, Mockingjay.
  3. Do you care where your filet mignon grew up?
  4. How does your Thanksgiving meal compare to that of the pilgrims?  I think I prefer our current overindulgent celebration.

Perry St.

If you were Jean-Georges, you would build a gorgeous restaurant in the bottom of your apartment building, wouldn't you?  And then you would make your son the head chef, right?  I certainly would.  It's the epitome of convenience.  Well, it is for him.  For me, it was less than easy to get a cab all the way over on the West Side Highway.  I didn't really care, though.  I was hoping that while waiting for a cab I would spot one of the building's other famous residents, like Hugh Jackman, Calvin Klein, or Nicole Kidman.

I need to stop talking about celebrities.  Onto more important things: the food.  I loved the amuse bouche - a mini french onion soup.  It warmed us right up on the first really cold and windy night of the year.  Everyone at the table started with the burrata...except me.  Dare to be different.  I got the grilled octopus with hibiscus romesco, potatoes, and pickled peppers.  The spice came from the sauce and since that was sort of off to the side, you could dial the heat up or down to your liking.  Sauce is something they do very well at Perry St.   I went splitskies on two entrees with a fellow diner and both had amazing sauces that really made the dish.  The first was grilled lamb chops with olive crumbs, black olive oil, and artichokes.  I am not sure what the brushstroke of sauce was, but it was delicious.  Brushstroke of genius.  It toned down the saltiness of the olive crust so you could really appreciate how the chef had turned them into crumbs.  The fried chicken was served with Brussels sprouts and a Brussels sprout puree.  It was not too much sprouts for one plate.  It was just enough.  The chicken had a honey chipotle glaze, something I'm sure most diners will think is nouveau but that I recognize as a nod to how Southerners like to eat their fried chicken, with a drizzle of honey.

Perry St. is a fancy place.  One look at the menu, which features an entire section for truffles and you would figure that out on your own.  Not a ton of young people, but I don't need to see young faces to enjoy my food.  This is the kinda place you take your parents or work colleagues (if you have an expense account).  With so many restaurants under his belt, you would think Jean-Georges' food would start to become tired, but it's almost the opposite here.  There are still many components to each dish so I wouldn't call any of it simple, but both the flavors and ambiance of Perry St. have calmed down from some of his other restaurants, like Spice Market, and the simplicity is refreshing.


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Book Review: The Paris Wife

"The Paris Wife" is a work of historical fiction that brings Ernest Hemingway's first marriage to life in Jazz age Paris.  It paints the picture of Hemingway as a rabble-rouser and charming as hell.  Hadley Richardson, his first wife, is a quiet girl about eight years his senior whose previous life was incredibly different from the one she led with Hemingway.  After being bedridden for a year as a child, she was sheltered, first by her mother and then by herself after her father's suicide.  Meeting Hemingway was a breath of fresh air and she was swept away clear to Europe.

Their life in Paris was consumed by hard partying among literary geniuses like Gertrude Stein and F. Scott Fitzgerald.  Hadley and Ernest seem to be the only ones among the group who value monogamy and family, but their bond can only remain strong for so long before someone breaks.

I know this book was on the best seller list for a while, but I just didn't fall in love with it like the rest of America.  It sells this picture of their marriage as perfect until it's not.  That though brief, it was incredibly romantic.  I have to think that was the more fictionalized part of historical fiction.  Based on the way Hemingway tore through women after Hadley, I doubt he was ever really faithful.  There were also plenty of times where Hadley and Ernest are corresponding, but none of the content was taken from their actual letters.  I wish there could have been some primary sources utilized to add some validity to the story.

As a story of a whirlwind romance in the 20s, it's lovely...but it loses something when I'm wondering how much is accurate.

2.5 out of 5 stars.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


I think they nailed it in "There's Something About Mary" when they marvel at how there should be more food on sticks.  Food on a stick is portable and fun to eat and shouldn't be limited to corn dogs.  Stick food doesn't have to mean ballpark, as exemplified by Stix, a restaurant that focuses on - you guessed it - food on stix.

Even when the cuisine isn't All-American, I still think of stick food as fast food.  After all, it's meant for speedy eating when you don't have to slow down to use a knife and fork.  Stix goes the Mediterranean route and though the food may be eaten on the go, the food is fresher and the flavors more complex than the street cart or gyro place in the mall you typically go to for Mediterranean fast food.  I went with the chefs special, which is a meatball of sorts made with ground lamb and beef, red wine, cumin, and garlic.  I ordered it as a Stix Plus meal which comes with two sticks, a chopped Greek salad, roasted potatoes with rosemary, tzatziki, and pita bread.  The pita bread was a little oily but everything else was great.  The tzatziki was flavorful and perfect as a dipping sauce for the potatoes.  The salad was meant to be there, not some after thought of day old tomatoes and cucumbers thrown together with onions and feta.

Other than the pita being greasy, the only thing I didn't really like was the cheese spread.  It looked like pimento cheese so I got all excited, but the feta it was made with was just too salty.  No matter, my Stix Plus meal provided an ample portion so I didn't really need the cheese spread anyway.  Plus, the cheese spread isn't on a stick so I'm not sure it deserves a home at Stix anyway.

I like when you're able to order a meal and it comes as a meal.  You have the protein, a starch, and a salad/veggie.  So often when I order food, especially delivery food, I get one item.  A sandwich is just a sandwich, no side dish.  This lady needs sides to feel satisfied.  The food also held up well throughout delivery, which is nice.  No sogginess here.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Monday Reads

  1. This is probably the best argument for a female, black SNL cast member I've read.
  2. Can we please institute this form of payment for the NYC Subway?
  3. Tons of my friends are participating in Tough Mudder races in an effort to prove how badass they are; but with one death and plenty of injuries on the books, are these races just too dangerous? I promise I'll still think you're a badass if you run a 10K without going under an electrified fence.
  4. A study shows we're born with a moral code and we choose how to follow it. It also examines how our "groups" define what we perceive as good and bad. Plus there's chimps.

Autumn Harvest Salad

One if my great new cheese discoveries is dunbarton blue. It's a blue cheese with cheddar as the base. The texture is more like cheddar so it doesn't crumble the way you may be accustomed to. Even the people I was with who don't like blue cheese liked this one. I had to have more if it and thought a salad would be the best way to put it to use. 

Since cheddar goes really well with apples I figured they would also work with this cheese. I went with a sweeter apple (I used honeycrisp) to appeal to the blue part of the cheese. Finally, I threw in pine nuts because that's what I had on hand, but walnuts would really be great here. Top with a light vinaigrette and you have a great salad full of Fall flavors in only a few ingredients. 

Friday, November 15, 2013


This New York Times article got me all sorts of pumped.  I love a good Irish pub when it's filled with patrons.  It's not too stuffy and I can get my whiskey on.  I'm also into mixology because I think there is an art to crafting a good cocktail.  [Anything I haven't yet mastered is considered "art" to me.]  Grace combines both in one place.  And the best part: the entire menu was designed by female bartenders from the city's most well know craft cocktail bars.  Chicks are underrepresented in this scene so it's nice to see them getting some respect.  As Beyoncé would say, "Who run the world?  GIRLS."

We tried out Grace as my November pick immediately after going to Albert's pick, Whitman and Bloom.  Liz met up with us as soon as her Megabus pulled into town, suitcase and all.  She and I both ordered the White Seahorse because I can't get enough of cucumbers.  It packed a punch...though you couldn't taste it.  Liz knew Albert and I were a couple cocktails deep and wanted to catch up so she ordered a Fireball shot.  Unfortunately, they don't carry Fireball so the bartender used Jameson and bitters to create something that tasted just like it.

It could be because I knew the bar's background or it could just be because the drink was good, but I thoroughly enjoyed Grace.  It's hard to beat the casual atmosphere of an Irish pub with the bespoke cocktails of a downtown hipster bar.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

3 on Thursday

I am so far behind my NaNoWriMo goal it scares me.  Thankfully, I have a relatively low-key weekend planned so I intend to hole myself up in the coffee house and crank out some serious writing.

  1. While most people get bored of the heat and welcome the crisp Fall air, I would be happy to have an eternal Summer.  That said, I have to admit that the foliage has been gorgeous.  Seeing the leaves on this tree as I approached Grand Central made the chilly walk to work more bearable.  Because it was just too pretty to feature one picture, Fall is featured in today's background as well.
  2. In one of the coolest meetings I've had in a while, I made my own bitters.  From scratch.  It has to incubate for another two weeks, but I can't wait to create some fun drinks once the flavors have infused the spirit.  I made mine with orange peel, candied ginger, dried cranberries, and a few fresh spices like coriander and allspice.  
  3. I spotted this fabulous walk of shame recently.  She's sporting her shoes, jacket, and clutch [out of frame] from the night before but has completed the ensemble with the shorts and t-shirt of her latest conquest.  I snapped this pic as she literally ran for bagels (and away from judgmental eyes).  Aw, honey.  We've all been there...well, not me - I'm a good girl.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Whitman and Bloom

When I walked by Arctica (a douchy typical Murray hill bar) and noticed it was now Whitman and Bloom I thought...oh good, Arctica 2.0.  But when Albert said that's what he wanted for his November pick, I couldn't argue.  You see, we're trying to establish a tradition where we each choose 1-2 new restaurants or bars each month to try - no vetoes allowed.  When he said that's where he wanted to go I made no complaints even though I suspected it would be overrun by Yankee frat boys.

I was floored with what they've done to the place.  You would never be able to recognize that it was once a place for sloppy make-out sessions over cheap well drinks...not that I know about that from personal experience.  The tables and chairs are dark wood while the walls are all white but in different textures.  Low lighting makes it feel romantic, not a word I would ever use to describe for the "love" connections made there.  Again, I don't know from personal experience.

The food is small plate style so Albert and I went to town.  We started with olives and then moved to a meat and cheese plate, followed by the mac and cheese, the roasted cauliflower, seared calamari, and the pulled lamb sliders.  We may have over-ordered a tad.  My favorite was the roasted cauliflower with homemade cheese though there was a bit too much of the tough stalk, even though it did make for a cool presentation.  Downsides were my overly sweet drink (the Smoked Pina) and that the waiter didn't really know anything about the cheese selection.

This is the kind of place I want to go to with my girlfriends before a night out on the town.  For the first time, I don't have to leave my neighborhood to do so.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Parmesan Chicken

My Mom recently told me about a recipe she made that was a super simple version of chicken parm.  It wasn't quite simple enough for me so I tossed about half the ingredients and made parmesan crusted chicken.

Mix mayo, fresh parmesan, and a bit of milk in a bowl.  Thinly spread this mayo mixture over both sides of chicken cutlets.  Use the mayo as the glue to secure a mixture of bread crumbs, garlic powder, and a little more parmesan.  I also had some chives leftover so I threw them in there, too.  Place the cutlets on a wire rack coated with cooking spray and then put the rack on a baking sheet.  My mistake was just putting the chicken on a baking sheet because the bottom wasn't able to get crispy.  All because I was too lazy for a little extra clean up.  Bake at 425 fro 15 minutes or until the chicken is done.

Not only does the mayo help stick the breading on there, it locks in the chicken's juices.  It was a great complement to some pesto pasta.  It's pretty hard to beat a meal that comes together in less than 25 minutes.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Quinoa Stuffed Tomatoes with Pesto and Goat Cheese

I love stuffed peppers but plenty of people seem to think tomatoes are totally interchangeable when it comes to a meal of filled vegetables.  There are about as many stuffed tomato recipes as there are stuffed pepper recipes so there must be something good there.  I didn't want to use the same recipe I usually make for stuffed peppers (rice-based, either Southwestern or Greek flavors).  If I was going to change the vehicle, I was going to change the recipe.  Since I always stuff them with rice, the first change was to use quinoa.  Then I just looked for the easiest quinoa stuffed tomato recipe I could find.

While the quinoa is cooking, hollow out tomatoes, sprinkle some salt inside, and turn them upside down on a paper towel to draw out the extra moisture.  Once the quinoa is cooked, stir in prepared pesto and crumbled goat cheese.  Spoon the mixture into the tomatoes and bake at 375 for about 20-25 minutes.  I like putting a couple extra goat cheese crumbles on the top with a little lemon zest.  The cheese will get a little brown while cooking, which makes the dish extra pretty.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

3 on Thursday

I'm glad I had two relaxing nights at the beginning of the week because I have been busy since last night.  With the rest of the week/weekend being filled by dinners, volunteering, and a visit from Liz, I'm busy but happy.

  1. My friend Marilyn is lucky enough to have a balcony off her room with a sick view of the East River/Long Island City.  I would love staring at that Pepsi sign each night.  I got to see a similar view from Riverpark restaurant last night, whose bar serves as this week's background.
  2. Ubons is a famous bbq restaurant that has branched out into the bloody mary game.  Their mix is nice and smoky - great for tailgating.
  3. I was so happy to have my first ever trick or treaters a week ago!  There aren't a ton of kids in my building but they were adorable - it's quality not quantity.  

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Carnitas Tacos

This year was the first year I had trick or treaters.  Ever.  When I was younger, I was always the one going door to door for candy and once I was old enough to stay home and answer the door, my family had moved to a house that stood all by itself.  No neighborhood means no trick or treaters.  After college, I lived in walk up buildings for five years so there was no opportunity to pass out candy.  When I moved into my current building, equipped with doorman, elevator, and all owned apartments, I thought last year would be my chance.  But no, Halloween was cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy.  I was devastated.  Thankfully I had about 15 pounds of leftover candy to ease the pain.  You'd think I was a pedophile based on how badly I want to hand out candy to children.

But this year was the year.  I was so excited to finally have costumed children knock on my door that I wanted to make a little event out of it.  I invited Albert over and we had taco night.  He brought chips, queso, and Mexican beers while I made carnitas (pulled pork) in the slow cooker.  I used this recipe as a base and made a few small tweaks like adding chopped onions and the juice of a lime.  It really did fall off the bone in the most delicious way.  It was the perfect recipe to cook because the crock pot did it's magic while I was at work so I didn't need to be in the kitchen when the kiddies came a knockin'.  All I had to do when I got home was prep the fixins.  For the side dish I threw some rice in the rice cooker and warmed up a can of black beans on the stove (adding salt, pepper, and my Mom's secret, dried oregano).  Then I filled lots of little bowls with taco toppers.  Avocado, tomato, sour cream, hot sauce - those are all standard.  There are a few more I highly recommend throwing out there to have a supreme taco bar: queso fresco (the white crumbly Mexican cheese), cilantro, and sliced radishes.  If you serve those ingredients with mini corn tortillas, your tacos will seem way more authentic.  Trust.

One parent taking her children around asked what we were cooking and told us three times how good it smelled.  I really thought I was going to have to set another place at the table.  If she thought it smelled good, it tasted that much better.  The meat was super flavorful but didn't require any ingredients uncommon to my pantry.  It's also a really cheap cut of meat so you can make this whole meal to serve four people for about $5/person.  The kids got candy, but this meal was a treat for us adults.  I use the term adult loosely.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Scallops and Herb Butter Pasta

My brother is a great eater.  If you go to a restaurant with him, he'll order the most out-there item on the menu.  Vegetables pose no threat to him and strange food combinations are exciting rather than gross.  But that wasn't always the case.  Growing up, my brother's diet consisted of three items: chicken fingers, peanut butter sandwiches (no jelly), and pasta with butter.  How boring.  It took about 22 years, but I'm glad my brother grew out of his picky eater phase.  He may, however, have been onto something with the pasta and butter.

I had some leftover garlic and herb butter from my radish and herb butter toasts that I wanted to use up and some linguine in the pantry.  Not only was I able to avoid wasting the butter, I was able to build a recipe that required almost zero effort, a necessity since I knew it was going to be a late night at work.  After the pasta was cooked, I tossed it with the garlic herb butter, salt, and pepper.  Tons of flavor, no work.  I said it in the radish and herb butter toast post, but I want to reiterate how easy it would be to make this butter yourself.  Basil, parsley, chives, and garlic.  Yum.

I topped the pasta with four large scallops.  Are you a little afraid of cooking scallops?  I was, too.  They always seemed to come out over or under done.  Fear no more because I've mastered it.  If you follow these steps, they will be perfection.  1) Pat the scallops dry 2) sprinkle with salt and pepper 3) once butter has melted in a pan (medium-low to medium heat) add scallops 4) cook two minutes per side.  That's it.  Two minutes is the magic number here.  And don't move them around in the pan.  If you let them sit, the butter will give them those yummy brown sides.

I give my Bubba some credit.  This version of butter pasta with scallops is a great meal.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Monday Reads

  1. Fashionably late has become the new on time and obnoxiously late has become somewhat acceptable. I hate it and am embarrassed that I have been an offender. My main new year's resolution is to be on time. It's punctual for me from now on.
  2. Amazon/Kindle is staying a step ahead by getting into the content creation game with their new literary magazine.
  3. It's nice to have a pattern on a bag that's not part of a brand's logo. This guide is great for inspiration.
  4. This ad is causing a stir in India. The brand is going out on a limb by saying neither second marriage nor dark skin tone is something to be ashamed of or treated differently. And it's really sweet.

Caramelized Onion Dip

The day before last week's book club I Googled "make ahead appetizers" and the first article to pop up was "6 Make-Ahead Appetizers" at  I've made many a Real Simple recipe that turned out great so I knew I was bound to find something easy and delicious there.  I was drawn to the caramelized onion dip because I'm a fan of caramelized onions...but really because this recipe looked dummy-proof.

This recipe doesn't really require any work; it just takes time.  35 minutes total.  Don't try to speed up the caramelization process, the onions will just burn.  Low and slow is the motto here.  I hope you like the smell of caramelized onions (I do) because your apartment will smell like them for two days.  The dipping vehicle makes a difference here, too.  I stumbled upon waffle cut Cape Cod kettle chips, which were even thicker than a normal kettle chip.  Thickness is key.  (That's what she said - nailed it.)  Vegetable chips (like taro) would also be great with this.  I was concerned I made too much but the whole batch was gone by the end of book club.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Madison Bar and Grill

Madison Bar and Grill does a crazy brunch buffet with seafood, eggs benedict, hanger steak, a chocolate fountain, and more.  It's $25 and comes with a cocktail and unlimited coffee.  It can be a bit overwhelming so when Steph and I met at this uptown Hoboken establishment, we ordered off the regular menu (the fact that it was 2 PM and we wanted non-breakfast food had something to do with it, too).

I'm not knocking the buffet, but by ordering off the regular menu we got to try the french onion soup dumplings.  The onion-filled dumplings came in an escargot dish and were topped with a generous layer of gruyere.  They were as good as I hoped.  We both ordered the cobb salad for our entree, and I liked that they served it with a light vinaigrette instead of a thick dressing.  Solid continental food with a live jazz trio playing in the corner is a great way to spend a Sunday.    

Thursday, October 31, 2013

3 on Thursday

Happy Halloween, bloggies!  This week has been very busy so I am glad it's more than halfway over.  I'm looking forward to some QT with a bottle of wine tomorrow.  This week's background is a shot of the old escalators in Macy's Herald Square.  Even after a major renovation, these remain and I love them for that.  Don't ever change, Macy's.

  1. It's ridiculous how long it's taken for Steph and me to hang out.  For months we have been out of town on opposite weekends making it impossible to get together.  For two best friends, this is unacceptable so we took advantage of the first Sunday we were both in town and spent the entire afternoon together in Hoboken drinking wine and gabbing away.  Reunited and it feels so good.
  2. Terry (the UGA business school from which I graduated) does an annual Chick-fil-A picnic in the park.  I'm always in heaven sitting in Central Park, but doing so with an impossible-to-get-in-NYC sandwich was extra special.
  3. Though I love Halloween, I didn't have any costume parties on the agenda this year.  Some years are just better than others, I suppose.  But at least I wasn't sitting home on Saturday while everybody was prepping their best Miley Cyrus at the VMAs costume.  Instead, I went to Brooklyn Heights for a bar crawl.  I may not have been dressed up, but I did get to drink in bars that had put up spooky decorations so it still felt like Halloween.    

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Floyd's and Their Beer Cheese

I figured beer cheese was basically my beloved pimento cheese but with beer.  If anything, I thought it would just have a whippier consistency.  Unfortunately, Floyd Beer Cheese was a bit too crumbly for my taste.  The flavor was spot on.  A little hoppy from the beer, smoky from the bacon, and just a bit spicy.  I thought it would soften up when it got to room temp but it just wasn't the case.  The people who buy and sell it at Smorgasburg would tell you it's the texture I was looking for.  Maybe I got a bad batch?  If it was just a bit more spreadable, I would be eating it daily.

Though the cheese didn't quite reach my high hopes, I was a big fan of Floyd, the bar.  It's divey with an indoor bocce court and baroque couches for reading.  It was a perfect second stop on our Saturday bar crawl around Brooklyn Heights.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Bourbon and Vine

I recently had my first bar hopping excursion in Astoria.  I don't know if it's considered a full hop since I only went to two bars, but that's two more than I'd been to before.  The second bar we went to really struck a chord with me.  The whiskey chord.  I hear it now as if from a pitch pipe.

Bourbon and Vine may have hipsters at the bar and bourbon behind it, but everything feels nice and relaxed.  The chalk wall behind the booths encourages participation from the bar's patron's and it's hard to take a bar too seriously when somebody has scrawled a Miley Cyrus "Wrecking Ball" joke on the wall.

I surprised myself by ordering a glass of wine instead of whiskey.  I was further surprised when the bartender topped me off with a little extra.  The only disappointment was that they stopped serving food at midnight, 24 minutes before we tried to order.  I was really looking forward to trying the Cap'n Crunch breaded spiked pb&j.  Next time.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Monday Reads

  1. Is Tumblr making it cool to be depressed?
  2. A little less creepy than prisoners' last meals, this chart of famous final bites is intriguing. I wonder what I would eat...
  3. I was shocked to discover there's a pill to prevent HIV. I was even more shocked to learn that no one is taking it.
  4. I'm wondering if I have an Oreo addiction.


There's something to be said about breaking from the routine.  Something good.  I have my go-to Thai spot for delivery (don't we all?), but while I was walking home last Sunday night I stopped in Thainy for something new.

I ordered the chicken dumplings and the street noodles.  The dumplings only come four to an order, but they're large so don't stress.  They definitely needed the flavor of the sauce, but once they got a good dunking I liked them.  Not the best ever, but definitely satisfying.  I was a big fan of the street noodles.  Crispy bean sprouts and lettuce gave it a nice crunch and there was the perfect amount of bean sauce.  This is a great dish for someone with an aversion to spice.  I enjoyed it as a replacement for my typical pad see ew.  I'm not saying I plan to stray from my regular spot altogether, but it looks like Thainy made the case for a Sunday night deliver alternation.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Boozy Cherries Over Cheese

Two things were standing in the way of dessert at last week's dinner party: 1) I'm not big on baking and 2) I was low on time.  Thankfully, I remembered something Murray's Cheese posted on their tumblr a while back.  As I just mentioned, I didn't have a ton of time on my hands so I couldn't soak the cherries in booze myself.  I lucked out and found some in the store, but I recognize they're not readily available.  I did some research and learned they're actually very easy to make, the just take time.  Take fresh cherries and pit them.  This is what takes time.  A cherry pitter is a handy doodad so I would recommend picking one up from a kitchen store before starting this project.  It will still take a while to pit them all, but this will at least seriously reduce the labor.  Once they're pitted, put them in a jar along with the alcohol of your choice.  Brandy seems to be pretty popular.  Some people toss them with sugar before jarring and soaking them, but that's your choice.  Then just store in a cool place for a couple days.  It seems like they can last a very long time so it seems worth it to put in the effort to pit them to have these around for the subsequent months.

Boozy cherries would be great over ice cream or in a fresh Manhattan cocktail.  I went with Murray's suggestion and poured them over a triple crème and served it with fresh baguette slices.  I'm sure chocoholics will doubt that cheese can be a dessert, but when it's done like this...oh baby.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

3 on Thursday

I've been lucky enough to have a couple short weeks in a row.  It feels a bit strange to now have a full, 5-day work week.  On top of that, the cool weather has hit New York and is finding its groove.  I'm sure I'll be very sick of it soon; but now, with the cold in it's infancy, I'm enjoying the richness of Fall with all it's warm colors.

  1. The Food Network NYC Wine and Food Festival recently took over the city.  There were demonstrations and seminars for days and I was lucky enough to get a ticket to the grand tasting.  Upon arrival we received a wine glass on a lanyard, which is just too convenient not too love.  I would consider wearing this daily. 
  2. New York is full of wacky people and wacky people make wacky signs.  I'm not sure if this sign was advertising an open house to adopt cats, to look at an apartment, or to generally celebrate Octoberfest.  Whatever it's selling, I like it.
  3. If you've read the last few posts, you know I hosted a dinner party on Friday night.  After Matt and Karina had Albert and me (and Shawn who unexpectedly tagged along) over for supper a couple months ago, we realized how amazing dinner parties can be.  As long as you call it a dinner party, you can get wasted and still be considered classy.  Matt and Karina read our minds and brought Cards Against Humanity with them again because it's a great game that is guaranteed to provoke laughter.  It doesn't take much to take a dinner table from everyday to party.  Mini pumpkins invade grocery stores in October so I put a little sharpie on em and instantly had festive place settings for very little money.  Flowers befitting the Fall theme (seen in today's background) finished off the table and a signature cocktail brought it all together.  For the cocktail I just mixed caramel vodka with Simply Apple juice.  It tasted just like a caramel apple - thanks for the idea, Pinterest!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Salad with Pomegranate Seeds, Fennel, Gorgonzola, and Avocado

I wanted to use some very Fall flavors in the salad at Friday's dinner party and that meant pomegranate and fennel.  This is an incredibly easy salad to put together.  Simply dump the lettuce into a bowl and top with chopped avocado, crumbled gorgonzola, shaved fennel (a mandolin comes in handy here), and pomegranate seeds.  It's as simple as that.  I offered two dressing options: a champagne vinaigrette and a mango vinaigrette, neither of which was homemade.  

Many grocery stores are selling pomegranate seeds in little tubs.  You can usually find them near the pre-cut fruit and vegetables.  It's definitely a seasonal item so they will be harder to find in warmer months, which is even more of a reason to incorporate them into dishes now.  Whatever dish they find themselves in, they look like little gems.  They glisten.  If you don't go through the whole tub in the salad, they're great to have on hand.  I like tossing them in with Brussels sprouts and maple syrup or using them as a topping for ice cream or yogurt.  They won't go to waste.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Herb Butter and Radish Toasts

Appetizer number two at Friday's dinner party, her butter and radish toasts, was another easy one.  Here's a tip that will make your life significantly easier if you're the kind of person who entertains: bakery counters slice bread for you.  This is a great thing to know if you ever want to use a loaf of sourdough for your lunch sandwiches, but it's even better for a party.  Toasts or crostini are a major crowd pleaser at any gathering.  They can be topped with virtually anything and are relatively easier to put together.  The only thing that can get annoying is slicing the baguette.  It take time, the bread usually gets smushed, and you're left with crumbs all over your kitchen.  Well if you just take that baguette to the counter, they'll slice it right up in perfect little rounds.  With that bit of the process taken care of, you can stick them on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, and let them get toasty while you make the topping.  Sooooo much easier.

It's not so big in the US, but in France, radishes with butter and salt is a snack akin to our carrot sticks and ranch dressing.  I decided to up upgrade it a bit by using herb butter, which is easy to make.  Just mix herbs into butter and put it back in the fridge to set.  At least that was my plan.  But then I found ready made herb butter at Trader Joe's.  That made things even easier (and tastier since they put garlic in theirs).  Simply spread the butter on the toasts and top with thinly sliced radishes (I like using a mandolin to get them the right thickness).  Since my appetizers are usually heavy and cheese-laden, it was nice to have something a little lighter on the buffet.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Monday Reads

  1. It's not all like the movie "Taken". There's human trafficking going on right here in the US.
  2. The new trend in talking (yes, there are trends to speech) is the Vocal Fry. It's invading our culture and I must admit I'm guilty.
  3. I often eat lunch at my desk, but I think I owe it to myself to walk away for a bit.
  4. Fall = football and you don't want to be the lame one at the bar talking about celeb gossip when everyone wants to talk about the game. This guide will get you up to speed with the basics so you can speak to more than just which team has the better uniforms.

Brussels Sprout Prosciutto Skewers

On Friday I hosted a dinner party that went off without a hitch.  Because the guests were arriving at 8:00 and I wasn't going to get to my apartment until almost 7:30, I had to make sure I filled the menu with easy to activate dishes.  I also knew I would be doing all the work for the main course (sausage lasagna with smoked mozzarella and a side of roasted cauliflower) once everyone was already there so I needed to have a couple appetizers ready to go.  That way, people could snack and mingle (mingling is always easier when there are snacks to mingle over) while I finished off the cooking.  With food to pick at, I knew they wouldn't miss me while I spent a few minutes finishing everything in the kitchen.

The first app was brussels sprout and prosciutto skewers.  The last time I made this app was over Thanksgiving last year.  I promised I would take a pic and I am now making good on that promise.  Much like anything else made with prosciutto, these guys went quickly.  They also taste fine at room temp so they're a great item to put out at a party.

Friday, October 18, 2013


Everybody in NYC has their neighborhood slice place.  If you don't, it means your realtor lied to you and you're not actually living in New York.  I hope Minnesota is nice this time of year.

One of the pizza joints in my neighborhood is just a teensy bit nicer than normal.  It's not significantly different than what you would find elsewhere, but the floors are nicely tiled and it's too clean for massive eyesores of parmesan jugs.  I love the grimy pizza joint, but it's nice to have something a little cleaner every once in a while.  Along with the cleanliness at Garlic comes some great pizza toppings.  Don't get a slice from the one round pizza in the case - that's what they make for those silly doubters who are too afraid to try something new.  The rectangular pizzas are where it's at.

Have you heard of chicken bacon ranch pizza?  If you have, you're far more worldly than I am.  I'm a fan of that one but really love the buffalo chicken and the upside down (sauce on top of cheese) pizzas.  Those are the two I went with last night, though I was tempted by the artichoke and ricotta white pizza.

They stay open late and they have an iPhone app.  What more do you need?

Thursday, October 17, 2013

3 on Thursday

It was so nice having Monday off for Columbus Day.  I know most people weren't so lucky so I was sure not to waste my good fortune.  It felt great to be so productive.  This week's background: the lamps on the wall at Public.

  1. I spent this past weekend in Connecticut for Albert's sister's wedding.  The whole weekend was lovely, but the best part was the surprise of hand rolled cigars in the middle of the reception.  All the men were so happy.  It was a great I will probably steal one day.
  2. I have been obsessed with Valley Nails ever since I saw what they could do in the way of nail art.  Looking at their Instagram is like falling down the rabbit hole.  I have wanted to get mine done for a while and just as I was about to suck it up and pay for it myself (these ridiculous nails don't come cheap - why would they?!) a rep offered to take me to celebrate my promotion.  Since I was going to a wedding I wanted to do something fun while still erring on the side of conservative.  I got a gel mani with light to hot pink ombre and a light glitter overlay.  The whole thing came to $70 (not including tip) so I don't even want to know how expensive some of the crazier designs are.  For a fun occasion, though, I think it's worth it.  
  3. When I hear persimmon, I think the name for the color of a sweater found in a catalog.  I knew it was an actual thing but the details were hazy so when I saw a stack of them in Fairway with a description, I thought I might try it.  It eats like an pear but tastes like pumpkin/squash.  Not too bad!


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