Monday, March 29, 2010

nyc yippeee

The last time I was in New York was over a year ago to celebrate Mark and Kathleen's engagement. Over a year! They're married now. Now we're married too. We went back down to New York last weekend for another engagement party—this time for Spencer and Courtney.

I love going down to New York to see Courtney & Spence. They always show us a good time and bring us to some tasty restaurants.

On Friday night, we got in to the city and went for a late dinner at The Redhead. It's this tiny little gastropub in the East Village specializing in southern comfort food. We got snacks at the bar while we waited for a table: bacon peanut brittle (yes, believe it!), house-made potato chips and french onion dip. For dinner, I got a green goddess salad with fresh spring asparagus and peas. Then the most amazing shrimp and grits I've ever had, albeit a tad salty (Oh well, a little swell in the feet won't hurt, I reckon.) Colin got fried chicken and cornbread. Spence and Court got burgers.

And we all shared a taste of the buffalo-style sweetbreads. Tasted just like chicken! Mmm. I actually liked it.

Saturday morning for brunch, we went to The Breslin at the Ace Hotel. Another gastropub kind of meal, but with more of a Brit style. It was super excellent. Get this: segmented grapefruit with ginger sugar and mint. Grilled 3-cheese sandwich with ham and toad-in-the-whole egg. (That's what Spencer & Colin got. Insane.) I got yummy poached egg atop curried lentils. Can't remember what Court got.

We shopped around for a bit to walk off brunch. Walked through a farmer's market. Courtney left us to get ready for the party. It was hot and sunny—even in mid-March. I had to strip down to a tank top.

Lots of walking. Visited the Burton store in SoHo so Col could flex his muscles. Grabbed some Cuban coffee on the way home—iced cafe con leche. Papa would've loved it.

Then it was time to get ready!

We dolled ourselves up and headed to Gemma at the Bowery Hotel for the engagement party dinner. The others were there when we arrived. Everybody looked so pretty and dapper and ready for a good time. Couples were seated opposite each other. Very proper. We decided to get tons of little plates and pass them around. Perhaps I was distracted by the company and conversation, but I can't really remember much of what I ate. The one thing I do remember was the chicken pate, which was very good. And the atmosphere was lovely.

After dinner, we went to the Bowery Electric for the party. When we arrived, there were buckets with champagne all set out in a private room. There were cute little napkins printed with Spencer and Courtney's names. There were other guests too. We danced and danced and danced. Spencer's sister earned the official title of Breeze, rightfully so. I couldn't live up to that performance. Everything else went off pretty much without a hitch with some excitement mixed in: the prom queen bachelorette entourage crashing our party, a late-night excursion up to the rooftop, some karate kicks, a few cuts and scratches, and a purse full of hot sauce:

(I can't believe that's the only photo that came out from the entire weekend.)

Woke up the next morning. Grabbed some bagels, some hot coffee. And it was time to go. Already. Boo! We'll have to go back again real soon. Love you guys.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

me day

Ah, finally a Saturday morning at home. I can't remember the last Saturday when we stayed home and relaxed. All winter, it's been either out-of-town or to the mountain as soon as we wake up and, while I bet it could be a good day of snowboarding today, I'm taking this day for myself.

Colin's out west for work. This is his first work trip since we got married—the first time away. I always miss him when he's gone, but after a couple of days, I do eventually get off the couch, dust myself off and do as many ME things as I can fit into a day.

For now, that means lots of fresh coffee and 3 new magazines I've been saving to look at. It's a sunny day. I'll sit by the window and soak it in. And later, I might walk into town. Or go to a sugar house. Or cuddle with the cats.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

date night tostones

Col and I went out on a limb last night for date night and, forgetting that it was St. Patrick's Day, decided to check out a new restaurant in town, Duino Duende. It's new small restaurant next door to the Radio Bean that serves street food from around the world. We didn't have a reservation, but come on, it was just a Wednesday night. Well, wouldn't you know, the wait for a table was 40 minutes. We decided to wait.

But it didn't feel like a wait at all. We went over to Radio Bean to hear some funky avant garde jazz music and have a drink. We were very relaxed; we chatted about the day. It was lovely.

Finally, we were seated at a window table (so the wait was worth it!) and guess what was on the menu? Tostones! Papa makes these for us—they're plaintains that are sliced into chips, fried, squished and fried again. Well, let me tell you, Papa, yours are great, but the ones at Duino Duende will give you a run for your money. We ordered some for an app and they came with a smoky aioli dipping sauce that was out of this world.

For dinner, Col got the ceviche, which he liked. I got the Korean noodle soup, which was so spicy that my nose started running and I started sweating. But I powered through and finished the whole thing. Dinner for two, plus beer, was just $32. Not bad!

Really, though, I would go back any night of the week just for the tostones.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

in the middle

Lately, in the last few days, I've been sitting here—in my big chair by the window—wondering what I should do next. I get home from work and it's still light out. I sit down and grab my lap-top with ambition, only to realize that there's nothing that I must do right now. What a strange feeling. I don't have my check-list I've gotten so used to over the last year. It's too early to go out in the garden (isn't it?). Too late to go running before dinner (isn't it?). And then it occurred to me: maybe I should get in the habit of writing again. I used to do it every day! Can you believe it?

Now that I think of it, there are other things I'd like to do (is it weird I always get that nesting feeling in the spring rather than the fall?): I'd like to paint some more rooms. Start some tomato plants. Make a photo book from the wedding and honeymoon. Start drawing again. We'll see how long these goals last...

In any case, see? I just wrote 2, now 3, paragraphs about nothing.

At least I wrote. There's 4.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

fresh Vermont maple syrup, mmm, that's pure livin'

Can't believe it's March and the chimney stacks at the sugar house are chug-chugging to high heaven. That's a sure sign that the sap is flowing and the first fresh batches of maple syrup are on their way.

Lots of Kev's farmers boil sap, so when he does his rounds this time of year, instead of stopping by the farm, he stops by the sugar house. Today, at one of those sugar house stops, one of the guys collected a water bottle full of maple syrup from the vat and gave it to Kev as a gift to bring home. Kev was so kind enough to share his treasure with us tonight after a yummy dinner of lamb stew and crusty bread.

"First maple syrup of 2010," Kev said as he brought it out to the table for dessert. "This stuff is so fresh; it never even went to the barrel."

If you're lucky enough to get your hands on syrup so fresh (which is easy enough, by the way, if you stop by a sugar house when there's smoke coming out of the chimney), the only thing to do—the proper thing to do—is to drink it straight up. So you can enjoy it's every complexity and sweet, caramel nuances.

So Kev poured us each a shot. We clanked our glasses together and toasted to maple syrup, the sugar season and to the farmers too. Chin chin. Mmm that stuff is good.

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