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Friday, August 29, 2014

ABC Beer Co.

As we were walking into Bobwhite Lunch and Supper Counter, Albert and I noticed a beer store next door.  We thought nothing of it at the time (after all, there are beer stores all over the city), but when we finished supper, we noticed there were people inside.  It was a little late to be shopping for beer and, besides, they didn't look to be shopping.  They were just hanging around having an all around good time.  At that point we realized ABC Beer Co. is much more than just a beer store.  It's a hangout.

It reminded me a lot of Good Beer because both places sell a ton of different craft brews in the front (make your own 6-pack style + growlers) as well as offering 12 rotating beers on tap.  And make sure you look at the taps themselves here.  They were custom made by a vendor found on Etsy.  The clip on tags are a great way to note the always changing selection, along with the beer's origin, ABV, date tapped, and price.  The difference between the two places is that while Good Beer may have more actual beers to take home, ABC Beer Co. has a stronger emphasis on the bar part.  They may not do beer flights like at Good Beer, but they stay open later and there is more space in the back for casual drinking - enough space to throw a party, even.  They also have a nice menu of snacks like meats/chesse plates and sandwiches.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

3 on Thursday

Labor Day came at me fast this year.  I didn't realize until Monday that we had already reached our four day weekend.  I'm not complaining because I could certainly use the time off, but it does make me a bit sad to realize that my summer this year was dreadfully short.

  1. A couple weeks ago we discovered a bar that stocked plenty of games to make the drinking experience even more enjoyable.  My Jenga skills were pretty good...I guess that's because I'm just a big kid at heart. 
  2. After a Friday happy hour in the Madison Square Garden neighborhood, Albert and I decided to take the walk directly across town towards my apartment since it was nice out.  Since Koreatown is at the halfway point on the walk I thought it would be the perfect place to stop for a fun supper.  I seemed to have forgotten how easy [Korean alcohol] Soju goes down so I paid for my fun with a pounding headache on Saturday.  I still think it was worth it. 
  3. I am a BIG fan of going to see movies in the park during the summer.  My favorite is the Central Park Film Festival.  The screen is big, the lawn is slightly sloped for somewhat stadium style viewing, and it is just the right amount of crowded.  Unlike the other movies in the park, which show one movie per week, the Central Park Film Fest shows one movie every day for a week, set to a theme.  This year's theme was "Scenes From Our City" and the movies spanned decades.  The Friday flick was Hitchcock's Rear Window, which I had never seen.  Hitchcock is a master of suspense, but don't worry because this one isn't too scary.  Grace Kelly was perfection.  Now I see why she was courted by a Prince.  Like last year, we attended the movie with Seth and Danielle, but this year Matt, Karina, and Rebekah also joined us so we had a great group.  We also had a picnic spread that was the envy of everyone else in the park.   

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Bobwhite Lunch and Supper Counter

The menu is small at Bobwhite Lunch and Supper Counter.  They're pretty much telling you "get the fried chicken, dummy!...but in case you're a vegetarian we got catfish, too."  So that's what Albert and I did.  We both ordered the fried chicken platter (only $11.50), which comes with three pieces of chicken, a biscuit, and some really good cole slaw (and I am picky picky about my cole slaw).  We also ordered sides (average $4) of mac and cheese and collards to split.  The mac was nice and creamy and the collards were good, though they could have used a teensy bit of vinegar (I still ate all of them).

The food is great and the prices are pretty cheap for such a large dinner.  But the best part was just a small little thing that most people probably won't notice; and if they do, they may find it strange.  Before our meals arrived, the waitress brought a bottle of hot sauce and a bottle of honey to the table.  Albert, bless his heart, is a Yankee and was very confused by the honey.  The hot sauce can go on the chicken, the collards, pretty much anywhere...but what to do with the honey?  It's great on biscuits, obviously, but that, my friends, is the condiment that will make your fried chicken better than it's ever been.  You get sticky and crispy all at once.  If you don't eat your fried chicken like this, you are missing out.  Just bringing honey to the table made Bobwhite one of the most authentic Southern spots in the city.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

30 Before 30: #4 - Get My Hair Done at the John Barrett Braid Bar

A few years ago, the fancy pants John Barrett Salon began offering braiding and ponytail services.  I always thought it would be a great way to do something different before a formal event and a great way to make something like a simple LBD stand out and command attention.  The problem was I didn't have too many local events that call for fun hairdos.  As a Southerner, most of the weddings I attend are out of town and the weddings that have actually been in the city are ones I was in and therefore had no control over my hairstyle.  Since I don't have too many any red carpet events, I figured this wasn't going to happen and I would just end up always wearing my hair down.  Boring!

Just before starting this list, I went to John Barrett for a blowout courtesy of a friend.  Though I knew I probably would not have the opportunity to ever utilize the service, I was still curious about the braid bar and started asking questions.  The receptionist told me that as long as I came to the salon with my hair already washed and dried the price was a set $50.  No matter what.  $50 for a basic side braid.  $50 for a milkmaid style updo.  $50.  That's just $10 more than a blowout from Drybar, which people must think is cheap based on Drybar's rapid expansion across the country.  And it can be way more intricate than a blowout!  How this exists in such an expensive salon, I don't know, but when I realized a fun hairdo was well within my price range, I decided I had to get this done, even if it meant creating an event just so I could get my hair done.

As luck would have it, I was not attending the rehearsal dinner for one of the weddings Albert and I had on the calendar and would be taking the train to Connecticut day-of.  This was my perfect chance!  I woke up on Saturday with a few ideas in mind but nothing set in stone.  The salon had an inspiration book that I flipped through as I spoke with the stylist about the kind of look I wanted.  If I'm going to be geting my hair done, I wanted to make the most of that $50 and wear it up because weddings are the few times you can get away with an updo (also I didn't want anything falling flat in transit).  I knew I didn't want it too tight or "done" because I didn't want to look like I was trying to be in the bridal party.  I had never had a fishtail braid so I said I'd like to incorporate that into the look, perhaps in the crown style, which I was gravitating toward.  I told the stylist I trusted her and to just do what she thought would look best with my hair type.

She totally got me.  Sue, the stylist, was incredible.  She created the whole phenomenal look in 20-25 minutes.  She understood that I wanted something slightly bohemian but needed structure so it would last all night.  Honestly, this could have lasted the whole next day, too.  It looked totally light and free, without a pin in sight, but I found out the next morning that there was enough hairspray and about 40 bobby pins holding it all in place.  If we weren't going to a cookout with all the other wedding guests on Sunday, I totally would have worn the hair again with a maxi skirt for a totally different look.

I loved how my hair looked so much that I may still just create an event so I have an excuse to do this again.  Also, a thanks to John Barrett Salon for setting me up with complimentary makeup touch-up upon realizing that I was heading to an event.  My eyes looked fabulous!

Date of Completion: 8/9/2014

Monday, August 25, 2014

Monday Reads

  1. I try my best not to curse but appreciate this chart depicting the evolution of swear words.
  2. A group of college guys is creating a nail polish that will change colors when it comes in contact with a drink that's been drugged with Rohypnol or GHB.  Though I've been lucky enough not to have been slipped a roofie, my boyfriend likes to remind me how easy it can happen and that I may be a bit too trusting.  We should always remain on high alert, but any help detecting nefarious deeds in the bar is welcomed by me.
  3. The 6.0 level quake that struck California this weekend (the worst in over two decades) will result in an expensive recovery since 88% of Californians don't have earthquake insurance. Bloomberg Businessweek examines why people living in such a high risk area are choosing to chance it.
  4. $1,000 may sound like a lot of money, but it's really not in the grand scheme of things.  Here are 35 things you could do with just that amount that could have major long term returns.

Pesto and Sausage Bake

When you think of baked ziti, it's always marinara and mozz.  You'd be amazed at what a difference switching to pesto can make.  It's still the same process of opening up a jar of store-bought sauce...the only difference is the sauce being green instead of red.

Cook up 1/2 a box of ziti (this recipe should probably fill a 2 qt. dish and serve 4-6).  It will take about 9 minutes to cook, which is exactly how much time you'll need to get everything else prepped.  Slice up three links of pre-cooked chicken sausage.  Just about any flavor will work except the jalapeno type ones.  If you want yours to be on the meatier side, slice up all four sausages in the pack, I won't judge.  To the bowl, add grated mozzarella.  I grated a ball of fresh mozz and I like to think it made a difference, but who really knows these things.  When the pasta is ready, toss it with the sausage, mozz, and pesto sauce to taste.  Pour it all into the casserole dish and then top with a mixture of melted butter, panko breadcrumbs, and grated parmesan or asiago.  Stick it in a 325 oven for about 30 minutes, til you see the breadcrumbs start to brown.

I didn't put a ton of mozzerella in there so mine wasn't as glued together as it could have been, but that's because I just wasn't feeling an extra cheesy dish that night.  More mozz = more glue.  The reason baked ziti is one of the most popular Italian side dishes is because it is so simple to throw together.  This version is just as simple but a little less predictable.  Also, adding sausage makes it appropriate for a full meal instead of just a side.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Book Review: Cyrano de Bergerac

If you ever want to read a classic but don't want to devote all the time and brain power needed to digest a stuffy and old novel, I recommend a play.  "Cyrano de Bergerac" was my choice when I found it in the discount bin at The Strand for $0.48 ($0.52 with tax - big spendah).  Cheapness aside, I was interested in reading this play for a while since it is constantly resurrected and modernized.  (The movies "Roxanne," "The Truth About Cats and Dogs," and "The Ugly Truth" are all based on it, to name a few.)

Sure there's tragedy.  Some of the main characters die at the end, but the parts leading up to it are cute and funny and even the deaths at the end come with closure for the characters so it's not too sad.  If that was too much of a spoiler for you, I'm sorry but this play was written over a century ago so I don't think it's a big deal.  It's also not the most important part.  Here's the stuff to care about:

Cyrano is a gallant guy who can take on 100 men in a fight, no problem.  But he's also a real softie.  He's got the makings of a real catch.  Except he's got this huge shnoz.  He's pretty self conscious about it, which keeps him from declaring his love for Roxanne.  It doesn't really matter, though, because Roxanne and [another dude] Christian see each other across a room and fall in love.  When it comes time for introductions, however, Christian is worried he'll come across as a fool because he's not really good at expressing himself.  Cyrano, convinced he has has no chance with Roxanne, helps out his boy Christian because he's got a way with words.  When she hears Cyrano's beautiful sentiments coming from beautiful Christian, Roxanne is all the more in love.  As the men go to war, Cyrano holds onto his love in secret, confident that he is doing the right thing by bringing two people together even if it means he will never, himself, know love.

3.5 out of 5 stars.  (I think I would have liked it better in its original French where the verses rhyme.) 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

3 on Thursday

Somehow every "calm" event this weekend turned into an aggressive boozing activity.  Happy hour and date night on Friday and Saturday left me begging for more sleep the next morning and brunch on Sunday escalated into me passing out at 8 PM.  I'm not sure why I decided to act 19 instead of 29 but it can't be terrible to [every once in a while] have a crazy weekend that leaves you thinking "what the...?!?!"

  1. My everyday purse this summer has been this perforated bucket bag from Target.  My Mom knew I had been on the hunt for a bucket bag in a fun color and when she found this one, she texted me a picture and said I would have a treat when I arrived in Savannah a week later.  I've worn it almost every day since.
  2. My new stationery from naomilynn just arrived and I am obsessed!  Having something nice to write on just makes me want to send letters.  Hopefully my friends enjoy receiving snail mail as much as I do.
  3. I recently saw Avenue Q for the second time.  I forgot how much I loved it.  It is a hilarious show and now that it's off-Broadway, tickets are easier (and cheaper) to come by.  I strongly suggest seeing it if you haven't already.  Or see it again.  Trust me, I laughed just as hard the second time around.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014


In all the times I had been to Rathbones, it was only ever for drinks.  I actually always wondered who would possibly ever eat there - the food can't be that good.  This is a place where softball teams gather after a game and fans go to watch sports on the many tvs.  It's neighborhoody, a little divey, and looks just like the local watering hole it started as 30 years ago.  Turns out, they do actually have great food.  And really amazing deals.

Tuesdays are 2 for 1, not just on the drinks but on the burgers and sandwiches as well.  Considering nothing is all that expensive to begin with, this is a steal.  Nothing was going to stop me from ordering the burger.  I didn't even need to look at the menu.  Albert has been pushing to add Rathbones' burger to the list as a contender ever since we started scoping out the best burgers in the city so it was absolutely necessary for me to try it.  That said, when someone suggested getting a large order of wings for the group to share, there was no arguing from my end of the table.

Many burgers have a gimmick, and in this case it was the bun.  Instead of a regular bun, they used an English muffin.  I thought it was a great change of pace.  It's just a bit sour and its pockmarks soak up the burger juice nicely.  The wings were also very good, especially if you request them extra crispy like we did.  The large comes with 16 wings and is only $9.95.  Can't beat that...except you can.  On Tuesday they do $0.35 wings.  Do you understand how many wings that'll get you?  All the wings.


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

30 Before 30: #22 - Write a Children's Book

I just turned 29 in June and it felt a little weird.  I have no ill feelings about getting older, but 29 just sounds so close to 30 which sounds so much more adult.  By the time my Mom was 29 she was popping out me, child number two.  What have I accomplished?!  Since lists and projects have a way of getting my mind back in order I decided to make a bucket list of 30 things to do before I turn 30.  And it's working!  I'm motivated to explore and expand my horizons and seeing myself do all of these fun things makes the road to 30 more fun than scary.

In this new series, "30 Before 30," I will be taking you with me along my journey to cross each item off my list.  I'm hoping my list will give you an idea or two for activities because we should all get out there and do something.  Don't worry if you don't live in New York; only 1/3 of this list is NYC-centric.  Maybe this project will even inspire you to make a list of your own.

When I was struggling to flesh out my list, my friend Brad gave me the idea to write a children's book for my nephew who was, at the time, about a month away from joining us in this world.  (Turns out Brooks was born 15 days early, putting this specific item on the fast track.)  A new uncle himself, Brad knew that some of the best baby gifts are the personalized ones.  And since he knows I enjoy writing, he thought this would be a fun thing for me to do.  I spent hours writing out the perfect story incorporating family members and an inside joke or two as well as doing all of the illustrations myself.  I had to stay up late to complete it, but I am so proud of the finished product, especially when I saw how happy it made Mark and Allison.  We're even looking to get it published!  

This project was deeply personal and [I hope!] will be treasured for years to come.  I highly recommend doing something like this if you're going to be an aunt or uncle soon.  Or better yet, hire me to do it for you!

Date of Completion: 7/28/14

Monday, August 18, 2014

Monday Reads

  1. You've probably heard a lot about a kid named Michael Brown recently.  Here's what you need to know about the unarmed black teen who was shot by a police officer in a small Missouri town and the riots that have followed.
  2. The ALS ice bucket challenge has taken over everyone's facebook feed.  For those unfamiliar, once challenged by someone, you have 24 hours to dump a bucket of ice water over your head (and then tag someone else in the challenge) or else you must pay $100 to an ALS charity.  With so many videos of people accepting the challenge (and therefore not required to pay), can this viral project has actually raise any money?  YES.  Bravo to all.
  3. The history behind why some items are always tied to certain colors is interesting.  I, for one, am glad I now know why pencils are always yellow.
  4. In response to the uproar occuring since the Michael Brown incident (see first link), three teens from Georgia (yay for my home state!) have created Five-O, an app to record interactions with local law enforcement.  First off all, let's give these three teens a huge round of applause for 1) being awesome enough to get after it and get trained in coding at such a young age and 2) seeing a problem and finding a solution.  The app will hopefully show trends of police brutality so problems may be addressed as well note officers who do an outstanding job and should be commended.

Book Review: Freakonomics

My sister in law has been referencing "Freakonomics" for years and even incorporates some of its chapters in her classroom.  I finally decided to read for myself what makes the [somewhat boring] subject of economics so interesting and found it more enlightening than much of what I read as part of my college curriculum.

Levitt and Dubner use piles of data to discover the simple answers to complex questions, like Why did lynchings die down when the KKK was at its strongest?  or What can parents do to raise a successful child?  The authors are able to boil each issue down to a eureka moment.  It will have you looking at age old issues in a new way and make you wonder if you've been looking at everything else all wrong, too.

5 out of 5 stars.

Friday, August 15, 2014

22 Square

A few years ago, Savannah started doing restaurant week and, more than anything, it motivates my parents to get out of the house and spend a night out, dining at a fun place.  Since restaurant week was happening while I was home, I got to crash their date night.  When it came to choosing from the list of participating restaurants, it was a unanimous vote.  Not only had none of us been to 22 Square, it also had the most extensive restaurant week menu (six options for each of the three courses).

They call it "farm to fork," but let's not get any more pretentious than the farm to table concept already is.  There is no difference between farm to table and farm to fork.  22 Square's version just utilizes alliteration.  Cute.  I'm overlooking how hard they're trying to make themselves stand out with that phrase because the food was wonderful and, to be honest, sourcing all the ingredients locally did seem to make a difference.  That difference started with the bread basket.  Sure you can have sourdough french bread, but even better is the bread right next to it.  It looks really similar but is actually made with beer from Moon River, the brewery around the block.  Down at the bottom of the basket is a flatbread, sort of like a fluffy crust pizza without the cheese, made with heirloom tomatoes, and it is not to be missed.

For my appetizer I went with the pickled vegetables, ham, and egg.  This dish was so much more than what the menu listed.  First of all, the egg was deviled.  I didn't know what type of egg I was going to get when I ordered it and figured I would like it no matter what.  But I was only kidding myself by not admitting deviled is the best way to eat an egg.  It truly was a mixed bag of pickled veggies, including cauliflower, green beens, and cucumbers, each in different brines.  Then the ham was like a thick prosciutto and wrapped crispy greens and a piece of cheese.  Nowhere on the menu did it describe that preparation.  If it had, I wouldn't have debated between that and another app - it would have been this all the way.  For my entree I ordered the duck with zucchini hash and a peach elderflower reduction.  It wasn't overly sweet and everything from the hash to the texture of the duck breast was buttery.  We all thought three of the desserts looked particularly good so we got one of each and put them in the middle of the table to share.  I never would have thought to serve peach halves with a bit of honey, walnuts, and basil (of all things!), but it worked and was certainly refreshing.  The blackberry cobbler was not a cobbler.  At first that was disappointing, but then you realize it was just an issue of mislabeling.  Once we realized it just should have been called a bread pudding, all was good.  My father's favorite was clearly the chocolate mousse.  My Mom and I were more focused on the other two desserts and when we looked up, he had polished off the mousse on his own.  They didn't even need to wash the bowl after he was done with it.

This was the first time I have ever eaten a restaurant week menu and didn't feel like it was restaurant week.  Nothing about this menu was "less than."  Every dish was thoughtfully prepared in a way to make the local ingredients shine.  

Thursday, August 14, 2014

3 on Thursday

After yet another wedding this past weekend I'm looking forward to having the time free to relax.  Because I've been traveling a lot recently, I'm hoping this weekend affords me the opportunity to catch up with friends around here.

  1. The door to the kitchen at Cohen's Retreat is pretty much better than any restaurant swinging kitchen door I've ever seen.
  2. For his bris, Brooks wore the very same onesie my brother wore at his.  I love that circle of life stuff.
  3. Knowing how much I love deviled eggs, Rebekah gifted me my very own deviled egg platter recently.  Having the proper platter for this appetizer is kind of a game changer and makes me look like a real hostess.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Cohen's Retreat

My father does NOT like to eat the same thing two times in a row.  He is decidedly anti leftovers.  So I was surprised when he wanted to take me to lunch at Cohen's Retreat my first day home when he had just had supper there two nights before.  If he is not only willing to go back but is actually the one suggesting it, it must be good.

The restaurant occupies a building I have passed nearly every day of my life but never noticed.  It's on a stretch of road with little more than a church or two and lots of droopy Spanish moss.  The building never jumped out at me because it had nothing to do with my life.  Until it was converted to a restaurant, it served as an old age home for men.  Even now, there is no actual signage for the restaurant, only the original "Cohen's Retreat" letters built into the facade and the property's gate (the gate still calls it a men's home).  Not just a restaurant, Cohen's retreat uses the back buildings as artists' cottages.  These artists are producing the beautiful artwork that covers the restaurants walls and is all for sale.  The main building has about 12 rooms.  Three of these are dining rooms.  One is large and more formal, another is more like and airy café, and the third has a private feel.  Then there are about eight small rooms displaying knick knacks like picture frames and pillows (though the items are much nicer than my description as "knick knacks" would imply).  Each room is organized by color scheme.  Naturally, I gravitated towards the green and blue rooms.  The final room is an event space and I can hardly think of a better place to throw a party.

With such a unique concept for the building I am just happy to be there, but it helps that the food is delicious as well.  I ordered shrimp tacos with corn and crema.  There's a little cilantro but not too much, which means my father (anti leftovers and also anti cilantro) would try a bite...if I had let him.  Sorry, all mine.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

5 Spot

5 Spot feels like a cross between a cafe and a regular restaurant.  To me that means it has the low key, neighborhood-y, artsy-ish feel of a café but with a more substantial menu.  There is definitely something for everyone here.  In addition to the large plates, the menu has 14 sandwiches, 8 burgers, 5 quesadillas, and 6 salads to choose from.  Almost all of these items are under $10 and come with a side.  I ordered the po boy with fried shirmp and spicy slaw along with a side of collards.  The sandwich was huge and the shrimp were not overbattered.  The collards had such a great smoky flavor, like they were sitting on the smoker while bbq was being prepared.

Without a ton of restaurants right next to the Ardsley Park neighborhood, 5 Spot is a nice addition, particularly since it features a bar (which, now that I think about it, hasn't really existed in the immediate neighborhood before).

Monday, August 11, 2014

Monday Reads

  1. My boyfriend always works on his best man speech while he's in the shower, but he's not the only one who gets their best ideas while scrub a dub dubbing.  Thanks to a state of mind called the default mode network, we really do get some of our best ideas in the shower.
  2. This handy guide will make it easy for you to know when to use "who" and when to use "whom" so you'll speak like the intelligent person I know you to be.
  3. The CDC has ramped up their response to the ebola outbreak to "Level 1 Activation."  This is reserved for the most serious issues.  All the Nervous Nellys out there need not worry because the plan is to send more people to Africa, meaning they don't see any issues here in the US.
  4. Many cities have been building casinos in hopes that the tax dollars and jobs openings they generate will boost their economies.  Outside of Vegas, however, this doesn't seem to be working. 

Book Review: What Remains

Carole Radziwill has become a household name thanks to her participation on the reality show "Real Housewives of New York City."  I have always found her to be the sane one on that show with a biting sense of humor.  Maybe that's because she doesn't need Real Housewives to make her interesting so she doesn't try so hard or find it necessary to cause drama.  In fact, Real Housewives is probably the least interesting thing about Radziwill.

Let's start with her name: the Radziwills are a royal Polish family.  Little Carole DiFalco from working class Suffern, New York married a prince, making her a princess.  But even before that, Carole Radziwill had led a life worth following.  She worked her way up the ladder at ABC, producing pieces on the Gulf War and the Khmer Rouge, earning three Emmy Awards in the process.  While working there, she met and eventually married Anthony Radziwill.  This marriage carried with it much more than the title of princess for though the Radziwills are actual European royalty, they also married into what we consider to be American Royalty: the Kennedys.  Anthony's mother was Lee Radziwill (née Bouvier), the sister of Jackie O.  That means Anthony was first cousins and best friends with JFK Jr.  Now we're talking juicy, Page Six type stuff since John Jr. and his wife Carolyn Bessette were spread across the gossip columns daily.  But to Carole, these were just her best friends.

This book could have been a salacious look inside the life of high society folk, but it's not.  It is about the power of hard work and the enjoyment that comes from doing what you love.  It is about friendship and will remind every reader about the one person in each of our lives who can see into our soul.  It is about the life of a caretaker, a life that Carole is completely honest about.  When Anthony is diagnosed with cancer around the time of their marriage, Carole steps into the role of caregiver.  It was a long battle and Carole takes us through each stage.  She is at times in denial and at others simply tired.  We read as she reaches acceptance of her husband's death...just in time to be blindsided by the death of her two best friends a mere three weeks before Anthony succombs to cancer.

As a journalist, Radziwill is interested in learning getting to the bottom of the story and she describes her family, friends, and the progression of disease just as she would attack a news piece.  It is this somewhat objective view that makes her come out seeming strong, not vulnerable.  This strength of character - and not her "fabulous" life - is what intrigues me most about Radziwill and makes this memoir so nice to read.

Friday, August 8, 2014


My final stop at the "Taste of Jewish Culture" street fair was Peck's where I sampled pierogis.  They were huge and only $4 for two of them so I would have to say it was the best deal of the day.  I decided to get one of each flavor: the kasha and mushroom as well as the brisket and onion.  The kasha was very good but that brisket was out of sight.  The afternoon went by quickly and all I really remember saying was "This pierogi is serious.  Serious."  First off, the brisket itself was juicy and flavorful.  Then the pierogi was pan fried like a Korean dumpling, getting it just a bit browned and crispy.

Peck's is a food truck that remains in a single spot in Brooklyn.  But if they're in truck form, they must be able to drive to I can eat more of there food.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

3 on Thursday

Everytime I come back to NYC after being home I have the desire to go back.  This is nothing new.  But now I really reeeeally want to go back because I've gotten a taste of my Brooks.  He's a newborn so he's not doing much, but even in the week that I was there I could see him growing and changing and I don't want to miss a thing.  I'm sure he'll be a completely different boy when I am back for Thanksgiving.

  1. I love oyster shell decor because it reminds me of my Lowcountry roots.  This chandelier is the perfect example.
  2. Though I planned to spend a lot of time on the river and in the pool while I was home, there was only one day when the weather cooperated so I squeezed in an hour of tan time.  Chloe enjoys soaking up the sun so she laid out in the pool chair across from me.
  3. At least for a while, Brooks will be spending all his time at his own house or his grandparents' places (both sets of grandparents live a quarter mile from my brother and sister in law).  Every one of those homes comes equipped with a dog so it's important for Brooks to become acquainted with his canine counterparts.  We all got a kick out of Chloe sniffing out her new friend.   

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Shelsky's of Brooklyn

Every NYC summer street fair looks exactly the same.  Lemonade stands, gyros, Italian sausage, and Oriental rug booths repeat one after the other for blocks on end.  But two weekends ago, the Workmen's Circle took up one block of a Madison Avenue street fair and turned it into "A Taste of Jewish Culture."  A klezmer band played, the host educated us on Yiddush, and there were about ten booths that were a great reprieve from the regular vendors.

One of my favorite booths was Shelsky's, which served latke boats.  Mine was fried in tons of fat and topped with chopped liver and apple horseradish.  (They also had a sweet potato version topped with whitefish and sriracha.)  It was a bit too much horseradish for me (though I liked that you really could taste the apple) so I scraped some off but that was mostly because I didn't want anything to come between me and the chopped liver.  It was legit.  I told the chef and owner (Shelsky himself) how similar it was to my grandmother's and he said that was the best compliment he could receive.  He's a young guy who seems to really appreciate how things used to be done in old school Jewish kitchens but wants to incorporate a few new twists to get the new generation interested, as evidenced by the hashtag he posted on his chalkboard menu: #JewishFoodRenaissance.  He's not the first Jewish chef to have a butcher-style tattoo of a pig, but given the type of food he's cooking, his may be more than just the ironic hipster Brooklyn tat; it is a nice commentary on new and old worlds colliding.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Bitches Who Brunch

For today's post head on over to Quarterlette to read my latest piece.  It's an interview with Cori Sue Morris, co-founder of Bitches Who Brunch, a lifestyle site that focuses on my favorite meal.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Monday Reads

  1. I used to get so so many bug bites when I was little.  My Mom said it was because I'm "just so sweet."  I believed it for a while but in the end recognize that moms just love spewing that kind of B.S.  Here's the real reason(s) mosquitos like some of us more than others.
  2. OxyContin is known to be an amazing pain reliever; however, it is often abused long after the healing is done.  The FDA has now approved a new form that is not addictive.  The catch: it only blocks the habit forming tendencies if it's swallowed whole.  As soon as it's crushed, the euphoric effects kick in.  It's not perfect, but since so many abusers become addicted after using the drug for legitimate reasons (vs. actively seeking it out for a high), this could prevent misuse.
  3. At certain points in the year I work really weird hours, which makes it difficult to get a good night's sleep.  A study now shows that you can get your circadian clock back on track with a few tweaks to your diet.  
  4. Apple once led the music industry with iTunes, but that's grown boring now that streaming services like Spotify are preferred.  They hope buying Beats will bring them back to the foreground.


Britney Spears' "Toxic" called to me like a siren song.  After hitting up two bars, Liz was ready to dance.  Unfortunately, my go-to dj spot in the East Village had a line so we figured we would just walk around until we found someplace fun.  "Follow that music," I said and we walked in the direction of the beats. There wasn't even a real sign on the door, but the small decal of a bird's silouhette indicated we were at Blackbird.

The first room is a bit more low-key so you'll see half the people sitting in booths.  But just hang a left and you'll find a second room with its own bar and the dj who attracted us in the first place.  There is still a booth or two back here, but you won't find anyone sitting in them.  Everyone here favors standing while shaking their hips a bit.  The prices are reasonable and the music was lifted right off my iPod, which means it went from pop to classic rock to motown.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Cafe el Presidente

Usually places serving tiny and authentic tacos are tiny themselves.  Not Cafe el Presidente.  The Flatiron space feels more open than just about anything in NYC.  It's enough room to house a juice bar that I thought was for show until I tried the spiked sandia cocktail - fresh watermelon juice with tequila.  Que fresca!  (Did I use that right?  I only pretend to know espanol.)  Albert went with the spiked horchata cocktail and enjoyed it so much he had three of them, which is a lot for a guy who almost exclusively drinks beer.  It tasted like Christmas in a glass but it was thin like a caramel macchiato and served on ice so it still felt appropriate in the summer.

We tried the carne asada and the carnitas tacos.  Carnitas was my preferred taco, but when they're this small you really can order several different types and try them all which is why I recommend going with a group.  Whether it's a group dinner or date night (and we saw plenty of both), my biggest recommendation is to order the esquites.  Grilled corn with chipotle mayo and cotija cheese is a hugely popular side dish at taco restaurants but I am just not a fan of getting corn in my teeth and mayonnaise on my cheeks.  Not sexy.  This was the first time I've seen this type of corn cut off the cob and served in a cup.  You still get all the same toppings and the corn got a really spectacular char.  At $3.95 this is by far your best bet on the menu.


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