Friday, July 29, 2011


 Tuesday night’s classic fried chicken at Seersucker claimed the throne as the best I’ve ever had. It was plump, moist and absolutely delicious, served with a tart and dilly coleslaw and next to a classic potato salad.  The pleasure I experienced wasn’t limited to the chicken and the whole evening was stellar.
 Seersucker, a 40-seat neighborhood spot inspired by the food and hospitality of the South, has received some great buzz and it was called “small, but brilliant” by and the  New York Times remarked, “It’s urbane, soft spoken and modern, the kind of place where actual residents of Chapel Hill, Nashville or Birmingham might go on a Saturday night.” I agree!
I was greeted with a friendly smile by a sweet server, who informed me that my friend was waiting at the bar. We were quickly brought to our table and handed the menus. Eager to order their well-known sampler platter of deviled eggs, fresh chips with pimento cheese, house made pickles and crudités, we were informed that that is no longer on the menu. Not to worry we were told, and we ordered the eggs and chips individually, in addition to a fried catfish appetizer. All was very good (though I must admit that I do prefer my own deviled eggs), but the catfish really stood out. And what’s even better is that they fish came with house made hot sauce, which was the perfect blend of sweet and spicy; a true winner!
Both of us thoroughly enjoyed our entrees, too, and my friend chose the Rib Eye, which was delicious, as was my chicken.  And while we were full, we couldn’t resist the bourbon, caramel, salted ice cream, served a top a fudgy, dense brownie.  
Another star on Smith Street, Seersucker will draw me back again for their Wednesday night special of fried chicken!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Crosby Street Hotel

A tea tower + mini brunch treats = a delicious meal at the Crosby Street Hotel
While that menu item seemed like a little too much food for me, Rob (with a better appetite) ordered the signature High Breakfast. Not only did the food look delicious, but it presented wonderfully, as well, and boasts all of the brunch favorites including:
-       Spinach and goat’s cheese crossiant
-       Mini eggs Benedict and mini eggs Royale
-       Bacon sandwich on buttered white bread
-       Brown toast fingers with smoked salmon and black pepper
-       Mini seasonal fruit bowl, mini crunch pot, mini house-made granola bar
-       Pain au chocolat with banana and maple syrup
-       House made mini muffin
A lesser eater, who gets full very fast, I ordered the Crosby Breakfast, which included any hot menu item, in addition to seasonal fruit, yogurt and pastries from the buffet. The buffet, while not ridiculously huge, was very nice (though not nearly as special as Wall & Water’s) and included a plentiful fresh fruit bar with special treats like cloud berries, star fruit and long-stem strawberries. The pastries were gorgeous and I enjoyed a fruity bran muffin as I waited for my hot plate. Naturally, for my hot plate, I chose eggs benedict, as it’s one of my favorites. A huge fan of the benedict (and frequent orderer of such), I was excited to try theirs. Unfortunately the yolk was quite overcooked (hard actually), which really detracts from the dish. That said, the Canadian bacon was especially nice, as it wasn’t too salty and was quite flavorful. 
Despite the sub-par benedict, I thoroughly enjoyed our meal at Crosby Street. The décor is eclectic and great with some large, slightly creepy and interesting pieces of art on the wall. Additionally, there are rotary telephones, which have been converted into lamps, interspersed on tables and clustered on the wall.  The seats were large and cozy, always a plus at any meal.  
I was also pleased to see that they offer a high tea, and look forward to bringing my mom there in the near future. We’re both very fond of tea time and I have a feeling this place does it right. 
Crosby Street is really everything a hotel restaurant should be – welcoming, relaxing, un-rushed and pretty. A great place to have a bite, read the paper and enjoy the morning, I look forward to visiting again soon. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Shake Shack

After nearly seven years of anticipation, I finally enjoyed the burger mecca that is Shake Shack.  
Knowing that it would likely be quiet on a hot day in mid-summer, Rob and I strolled over to their newest location in Battery Park City and were pleasantly surprised to find no wait! We each ordered a cheeseburger, soda and fries and proceeded to a booth, with buzzer in hand. Fully prepared with plenty of ketchup (I enjoy excessive amounts) I was ready to enjoy.  
After short time, we were a buzzin’ and Rob went to retrieve our order. 

We were greeted by happy little burgers with impressively fresh veggie condiments (lettuce, onion and tomato) and I particularly liked how each sandwich was placed in a paper “purse” to prevent drippings. The burger itself was a tiny bit greasy (it’s cooked on a flat-top skillet), but the purse came in handy, as did the fluffy and delicious potato bun, which soaked up some of the drops.  The fries were a stand out and were perfectly fried, crispy and hot. 
While it’s no BLT Burger (my favorite), it certainly didn’t disappoint and I look forward to returning again!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Fulton Market CSA

While out of town, a friend graciously let me pick up his weekly CSA; and Wednesday evening, I happily walked home with two bags of freshly harvested produce. 
For your background, the Fulton Market CSA, or  Community Supported Agriculture, “connects New Yorkers who live and work in Battery Park, The Financial District, and The South Street Seaport area with fresh vegetables, fruits and other goods (eggs, milk, cheese, honey and meat) directly from upstate New York farmers.  Members purchase shares upfront, and each week during the harvest season (June-November), the farmer brings that week’s harvest to us in our neighborhood.”
The CSA is set up as self-serve and each basket of veggies has a sign which instructs you to how much each shareholder is allotted.  I quickly went through and weighed out my pound of zucchini, ¾ pound of broccoli, pound of beets, 3 peppers, and so on. 
I arrived home and inspected my wares, admiring the beauty and freshness of the produce. In fact, the produce was so fresh, I even found a little friend, who came along for the ride!
I am seriously considering purchasing a share of my own for next year as it’s a great way to support local farmers, get some great, fresh produce and experiment in the kitchen!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Random Songs

Growing up, my mom frequently tuned into Country Music Television (CMT) for background music, and I vividly recall dancing to the songs in the living room. I’m not a country fan as an adult, but for some strange reason, yesterday, three old songs from the late 80’s snuck into my head (and have been on repeat since).  
First was the Roseanne Cash version of “Tennessee Flat-Top Box” from 1987.

That brought about Tonya Tucker’s “Strong Enough to Bend” from 1989.

And finally was the sad, but beautiful, “Where’ve You Been,” by Kathy Mattea, also from 1989.
Do you know any of these songs?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


Question:  What is Accomplice?
Answer:  Part game, part theater, part tour. Using the sprawling backdrop of the city as its stage, utilizing elements of improv theater and scavenger hunt, Accomplice will make you laugh, think, and experience the city in a whole new way. Who's in on it? Who's not? Each production a unique adventure!
Minor Spoiler Alert (though I try to keep the big details out)….
We partook in the adventure of Accomplice on a sunny Saturday with friends and had a blast finding out “who done it.”
Beginning in a bar on Barrow Street, with a friendly “tour guide” Linda, she began to give us the lay of the land, explain the mission and assign roles.  Just as Linda was mid-sentence, a clearly intoxicated patron fell off a stool with a thump. We were all jarred and worried, as this drunken lady proceeded to roam aimlessly around the bar, only to approach our group. She quickly mistook her bag for that of our tour guide, pulled a half eaten apple from her pocket (along with dog biscuits) and was extremely confused and disorientated. As such, Linda decided to take the woman to a local clinic…
Little did we know that we were embarking on Accomplice.
Some of the other group members were initially very worried about the impaired patron and asked with concern if this was part of the show. Linda dodged the questions, told us she was taking the woman to get help and instructed us to go find the house (which was on a postcard in the bar) that the patron pointed out as familiar.
We quickly made our way over to the house only to find a dumb, yet kind, caretaker sweeping in front. We explained how a woman in the bar identified this place and soon witnessed the mystery further unfold.  
Exploring places around the Village, we were off on a hunt to find who stole a priceless painting from the family parlor.  From visiting with a fortune teller, who was intently reading a crystal ball, to a redneck in Washington Square Park, who provided us a bag with clues (and other characters in between) we were searching for the answer and having lots of fun along the way. 
Finally, we got to the bottom of the case in a quiet, dimly lit bar on Houston Street and all cheered as we unraveled the mystery!
It was a really great time, and these experiential shows seem to be a growing trend for NYC theater (or at least I’m just catching on to them now). Either way, I’d recommend this for a fun, mildly challenging activity and a good excuse to get outside, meet new friends and test oneself.

Monday, July 18, 2011


 Once again, the “No. 1 Heavy Metal Tribute to the Bee Gees in the Tri-State Area” decimated Brooklyn City.  As expected, Tragedy put on another fun-filled, cheeky and raucous show at the sweet venue, Brooklyn Bowl!
A big fan, I was super stoked to have a group of friends join us for the show and there were even a few Tragedy virgins, which is always the best as there’s nothing like experiencing Tragedy for the first time.  
Mixing it up a bit, this set was performed in reverse order and “Tragedy,” filled with chicks on stage dancing, was the first of the night. While I’ve wanted to get on stage in the past, this week I was feeling spunky (must have been my hot pink “R.I.P Robin Gibbens” shirt) and when I was pointed at, quickly climbed aboard. It was a great time, and as a big fan, was super stoked to rock out with the band! 
Very blurry, but there I am in the back...
After they were through and we were told to “get the F off the stage,” they proceeded through their fast paced, metal-riffic set which includes tons of Bee Gees hits like “Stayin’ Alive,” Jive Talkin’,” and my favorite, “How Deep is Your Love.” 
 Tragedy, in my humble opinion, is a must see band and I’ve yet to find anyone who doesn’t have a ton of fun at their show. It’s a guaranteed good time of costumes, glitter and crude comments, which always makes for a laugh or ten. 
 For anyone that’s dying to see them (and you should be) they’re playing BK Bowl again this Friday (and the following) and I highly recommend you go because it’s a damn good time. 
And, as the great brother Barry would say, “You’re welcome so much.”

Friday, July 15, 2011

I Heart Frank Gehry

I continually enjoy our unobstructed view of the new and gorgeous New York by Gehry, which is just a block away on Spruce Street. I’ve watched this building from inception and have seen it grow and near completion over the past few years. It’s really a magnificent, commanding structure and as many times as I’ve seen it, it’s still as exciting and meaningful as the first.
According to the site, “at 870 feet tall, New York by Gehry is the tallest residential tower in the Western Hemisphere and a singular addition to the iconic Manhattan skyline. For his first residential commission in New York City, master architect Frank Gehry has reinterpreted the design language of the classic Manhattan high-rise with undulating waves of stainless steel that reflect the changing light, transforming the appearance of the building throughout the day. Gehry's distinctive aesthetic is carried across the interior residential and amenity spaces with custom furnishings and installations.”

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Baking with Blueberries

Summer is in full swing, and among other wonderful things, that means fresh berries.  Mom, who lives upstate, generously brought me about three pints of blueberries (that she hand-picked) and I used it as an opportunity to try a couple new recipes.
First, I made blueberry oatmeal muffins from a recipe I found at My Recipes.
The lemon zest adds a nice fresh flavor and the buttermilk contributes to its wonderful, moist texture. While the muffins came out nice – light, moist and flavorful – the recipe called for cinnamon which I would eliminate next time. While I love cinnamon (and the muffins with it aren’t bad) it’s more of a fall/winter spice to me and prevented to deliver the summer-time muffin I was hoping for. 
Next, I was on to scones. Using an Alton Brown recipe that got great reviews, I made these delicious treats.
For the scones, I wouldn’t change a thing and they really came out lovely. Light, sweet (but not too sweet), slightly creamy and bursting with berry goodness; I would certainly make these again.  We enjoyed the scones with my homemade ricotta and it may have been even nicer than clotted cream.
I have a bit of the berries left, but think I’ll save them for snacking, as we have quite the lot of baked goods at home, including banana cookies, too.  

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Still Learning, Indeed

In the excitement of finally making my blog public, I realized I let a major typo slip in my Facebook and Twitter posts which announced it. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize this until about 12 hours later, as I scanned Twitter as I lay in bed, last night.

Instead of saying “Ever wonder how to make ricotta?” I wrote “Every wonder how to make ricotta?” I am still kicking myself for missing this and can’t believe I let it slip. If there was a typo in the post itself, I’d have been much more okay with that, but a typo in a social network post (especially one with big news)…unacceptable.
Yes, I know we all make mistakes and typos happen to everyone, but the thing that gets me is proofing/editing is a major part of my job (as is managing our social channels- aka, posting things correctly). I spend a lot of time reviewing documents, award submissions, copy, etc. and have come to consider myself a good proofer, which is why this is especially bothersome.
I know it’s all due to the fact that I was so excited to get the blog out there and share it with friends, but it’s still no excuse. I’m trying not to be too hard on myself, but having a difficult time letting this one go. I know the sting will wear off soon (it’s better even today, following my major freak out last night), but it’s not easy or fun. Granted this is nothing major in “real” life, but it’s pretty major in mine.
As the title of this blog indicates I’m still learning in this life – Still learning to write, still learning to proof, and still learning to get over the relatively small trip-ups.
Did you notice the typo? And if so, what did you think?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Adventures in Making Ricotta

Who knew it was so fun and simple to make fresh, delicious ricotta?
After watching Alex’s Day Off on the Cooking Channel, I was inspired to try my own and shocked to learn, not only how easy it is, but how few ingredients are needed too. You can check out the recipe here.
Three ingredients are all that it calls for – whole milk, buttermilk and heavy cream.
Mix together in a saucepan. Bring to simmer for about 3 mins. Let cool for about 20.
Prepare a mesh strainer with cheese cloth over a bowl.  
Spoon solids into strainer and then pour remaining liquid over it.

Let drip in the fridge for a few hours.
Squeeze out excess water to finish and mix in a little bit of salt.
We enjoyed this batch on crostini with honey and black pepper. It was creamy, fresh and MUCH better than any cheese you get store-bought, out of a container.

This Week's Lunch

I’m a big fan of making and bringing my lunch for work and, this week, I wanted something light, low-fat and summery. As such, I’ll be enjoying this salad of corn, chili-lime shrimp, peppers, avocado, jalapeno and feta.

More Street Art

More great stuff from Shepard Fairey.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Randall and The Honey Badger

If you’ve never seen this hilarious video, please do yourself a favor and give it a watch. This animated narrator, Randall, gets me every time and I’m always impressed by what a “badass” the Honey Badger is.

Some fast facts, for those who are yearning to learn more about this fierce creature (thank you Wikipedia):
-          Honey badgers are intelligent animals and are one of few species capable of using tools.
-          The honey badger is most closely related to the martin (not badgers).
-          The honey badger possesses an anal pouch which is reportedly "suffocating", and may assist in calming bees when raiding beehives (and you’ll see this guy raid a “house of bees” in the video).
-          Captive individuals have been known to live for approximately 24 years.
-          The voice of the honey badger is a hoarse "khrya-ya-ya-ya" sound.

Vacation Reality!

We just booked our trip! Can’t wait for tropical relaxation in just a few weeks.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Vacation Dreams

I’m feeling very excited about the prospect of going on vacation and it seems vquite promising that it's going to atually happen. A vacay is MUCH needed in my world and this is almost as exciting as Christmas for me!
I’ve spent the past days thoroughly researching where and when to go somewhere (as I’m wont to do), and anyone that has painstakingly perused Expedia, Priceline, Orbitz and the sacred TripAdvisor, know how that can consume hours and hours of time. Fortuinately, we’re really come into summer at the office, so I can afford some non-work activities.
While not officially booked yet, I just got the approval to take the first week in August off and my husband has graciously agreed to accompany me to a beach resort.  This is a big deal. While he loves the water and swimming (or smimming, as I like to say), he really doesn’t like the beach (the sand, predominantly) and is very active, so lounging in the sun for hours on end is not his idea of ideal. While I think he’ll really enjoy it, I also think he knows how much I need this with all that’s gone on over the past year – good things, mind you, just a lot (which can be taxing).
As with most hard-working NY folk like myself, a vacation is much needed from this fast-paced, frenzied life and I welcome the opportunity to relax, be waited on and just spend some quality time, outside of the city, with Rob. He and I have never been on what I would call a “real vacation” together and have only traveled a few times (it’s been me tagging along for his business trips or our short and crazy time in Vegas for the wedding). Last time I was on a vacation-vacation was 15 months ago with my mom to the wonderful Royal in Mexico and I still keep those memories close for when I need a little desk-time escape.
We’re planning to visit Jamaica and are hoping to stay at Couples Hotel, Tower Isle. From the photos, it looks absolutely stunning and according to the site it was a playground to Hollywood celebrities in the 1950s.” Now, it’s open to we non-celebs and is located on 19 acres of beautiful beachfront property. Couples Tower Isle “engages you with the promise of elaborate active days or hours of uninterrupted privacy. Perched on the lush terrain of Ocho Rios, Jamaica—the resort seduces with breathtaking sea views, a wide sandy beach and century-old palm trees. Discover the joys of snorkeling among the reefs, windsurfing on the waves, or sailing into the sunset on a catamaran, rum punch in hand. Enjoy a refreshing dip in one of the three swimming pools, or a leisurely soak in the Jacuzzis scattered about the resort. Take in a game of tennis, a round of golf or while away the afternoon on a lounge chair by the sea.”
That sounds like the perfect vacation to me, and between their attractive site, the inclusions (hiking, horseback riding, sunset sails, etc) and the reviews, I was quickly sold. A big fan of spas, both at home and while traveling, I was also pleased to know that theirs was recognized as "Best in the Caribbean" by Travel+Leisure.  Another selling point was the opportunity to indulge in “au naturel” sunbathing on the private island, Tower Isle, and while I’ve never done it before, I’m not opposed and think it sounds liberating and fun.
The reviews are glowing and people say that the food, service and grounds are stellar (and it was nice to read that they just did a $30 million upgrade a few years back). In fact, I read a TripAdvisor review from a couple who had visited 12 times. That certainly says something about a resort.
The place boasts 6 restaurants that all sound lovely and it seems as if there are many opportunities for alfresco dining, which is nice anytime, but especially while on the beach. I’m already reading up on everything, trying to figure out where to eat, what to do, etc. and always like to be prepared for vacations (or anything for that matter). Perhaps I’ll even take their hat-weaving or wood-carving course, which I spotted on the well proportioned schedule of activities.  
More than anything, I just want to get away from the same old, explore a new place, meet new people and learn new things – all while spending quality time with Rob (all of that just sounds like the best thing ever).
I hope to book this tonight and am just waiting for Rob to get clearance from work, as well. I can’t even express how grateful I would be to have a vacation and get teary just thinking about it. All I could hope for is nice weather and a magical time with my love.
Stay tuned and I hope to have a good update in the near future!