New York, New York Part 2

If you missed part 1 click here.

After an event filled Saturday we took it a little slower on Sunday.

We had a late breakfast at a little diner by my sister’s house. I had a bagel which wasn’t worth photographing but I will say the service was exceptionally good. It made up for Saturday’s brunch and then some.

In the afternoon we met an old co-worker and friend for a walk in Central Park. She is pretty much Eli’s favorite person in the whole world so we couldn’t let the opportunity to meet up pass us by, despite the very cold day.

We walked around in the park for a while as Eli nearly passed out from happiness. He LOVES Christine!

Eli and Christine

After our walk we headed home to meet up with Sarah and discuss dinner.

We knew that after eating out all weekend we would want to cook on Sunday night. I perused the blog-a-sphere and offered up a few options for dinner.

We settled on veggies burgers with fries.

I used this Oh She Glows recipe. They were very tasty but not perfect. They didn’t hold together very well and were missing some seasoning. I’m going to make some adjustments to hopefully perfect them. In the meantime here are a few pictures of the process.

veggie burgersveggie burgers mixingsveggie burgers mixforming veggie burgersveggie burgers on the grillveggie burgers

In full disclosure, Will lit and set up most of the above shots. He was also kind enough to give me an idiot’s photography 101. I haven’t totally master the tutorial. You should see last night’s dinner photos, bleh.

photography tutorial

Please excuse my awesome outfit.

After dinner we decided to play Jenga. Everyone was a little skeptical but it was ridiculously fun and intense, even if I lost…both times.

jenga

Thank you for the lovely weekend NYC. We’ll be back soon.

Times Square

Enjoy and Exhale!

New York, New York Part 1

I really love New York. Partly because my sister is there but also because of the energy. That city really is like no other.

We had an amazing visit and were really sad to see it end yesterday. I wish we could have birthdays all the time!

I’ll do my best to swiftly recap the weekend without boring you all but we crammed a lot in the two days so this may seem like a photo bomb.

We drove down on Saturday morning. I’m so used to the long state of California where you drive for 4 hours and are still in CA that it always surprises me when we cross state lines so quickly. It’s like you blink and you’re in Connecticut.

We quickly headed to brunch after dropping our stuff and Eli off at my sister’s place. I would show you brunch photos but to be honest that food was sub par and the service was even worse. We left the meal hungry and disappointed, not a good start.

We were on the Upper West Side so we explored that area for a bit and then stumbled on the Empire Hotel. Considering we’re all huge Chuck Bass fans and we were right there, we stopped in for a drink.

I loved this bar, classy, ornate and relatively quiet. Maybe that’s because it was 3 in the afternoon 🙂

Empire Hotel

Here’s the birthday girl showing off the new watch her beau gave her.

birthday girl

Couple shot.

Michael and me

And a pic of the good company I was in! The conversation was just so exciting. Can’t you tell?

Phone Obsessed

After a drink we decided to go bowling down at the Port Authority. I thought it would be ghetto but it was super swanky! The lanes were really nice and they played top 40 hits with coordinated neon lights and huge screens playing music videos at the end of the lanes.

bowling sisters bowling

I managed to lose best out of two against Michael and am now washing a weeks worth of dishes. 😦

I wish I had taken a picture of the snacks we had. The menu was great for being a bowling alley. We had a huge bowl of hummus with carrots and pitas and some edamame fritters.

We headed back to my sister’s after bowling to get gussied up for dinner. We had dinner at Monument Lane in the West Village. The restaurant was adorable. Loved the decor and the vibe. The food was hit and miss. The brussel sprout appetizer was amazing (you can kind of see it in the background), I hope to recreate it somehow. Michael’s fish was apparently very good and my veggie hash was fine but very expensive for some parsnips, carrots and sweet potatoes. It also reminded me of something very familiar…this!

vegetable hash

The company was lovely, of course.

Sarah and Me at dinnerMichael

This post is getting a little long so I’ll recap Sunday tomorrow which includes a delicious veggie burger and Jenga. That’s right you read correctly, Jenga!

Have a wonderful Tuesday.

Enjoy and Exhale!

You don’t know Jacques!

What an amazing evening. As Sarah and I walked home from the event, on an unbelievably warm November night, we couldn’t stop grinning from ear to ear. We proclaimed it the best sister-sister night of our lives, narrowly eking out a whirlwind evening in Barcelona when the football team won the Champions League, but I digress.

We started the evening with dinner at Candle 79. We’d been meaning to make it there for a really long time and the event and the restaurant were both on the upper east side so we decided the time had come. I’ve been hearing about how good the food is on numerous blogs forever and it did not disappoint. There were so many things we wanted to try but managed to not over order, a minor miracle.

It was really dark in the restaurant and the pictures are almost impossible to make out so I’ll just share a quick list of what we had.

They started us with an amuse bouche of white beans with a poblano sauce. Perfect mix of savory and spicy. I could have eaten an entire bowl.

Sarah had the wild mushroom squash risotto which was creamy and delicious. I ordered the grilled kale salad with lentils, squash, sunflower seeds and spelt berries. I all but licked the plate clean! We also shared the polenta fries which were crunchy golden brown perfection.

Had the photos turned out I could have done a whole post on the service, menu options and the drinks but there are more important things to discuss.

An evening with Three French Chefs in NYC was put on by the 92nd Y. If you live in the area check them out. They have a great line up of chefs and actors come through. Sally Field is speaking tonight and Rachel Ray on Wednesday. If the tickets were anything like ours, these lectures cost less than dinner out.

We got there 45 mins early but it was worth the wait when we got seats in the second row!

There were some late changes to the speaker list so we had the pleasure of listening to Andre Soltner, Jacques Pepin and Jacques Torres speak. We also grew up watching Jacques Torres so we were thrilled to see him on the panel.

The discussion centered mostly around the history of French kitchens in New York. Andre Soltner is an old school chef and brought a level of tradition to the panel. It was interesting to see him juxtaposed to Jacques Torres who is much younger and less traditional. The moderator was pretty awful but it didn’t really matter because the q&a at the end was the most interesting part.

They were asked what made a good chef and it was no surprise they all felt strongly that technique, knowledge of the basics and experience were important but that there must be a love of food and talent present as well. I forget which one said this but it resonated with me for its simplicity. “You need to love food in order to know good food from bad food.”

After the panel there was a champagne meet and greet with a book signing. This is when the real fun began. We bought both Jacques Pepin and Torres’ books and had a chance to talk with both of them. Torres is a ball of energy, he came out from behind the signing table to personally greet us in line, sign our book and take pictures. He also invited us to tour his chocolate factory today, we’re hoping to make it down there this afternoon.

As for Jacques Pepin, well, he was just as fabulous in person. Soft spoken, incredibly knowledgable and lovely. He also gave me a contact for the woman who coordinates his cooking demonstrations at BU. Apparently you don’t need to be a student to attend!

We were true groupies and hung around until the very end at which point we sadly had to say goodbye.

We ecstatically called our mom on the walk home and pretty much floated all the way home.

Such a great night. Happy Tuesday to all.

 

 

Hurricane Sandy Aftermath and Spicy Rice Noodle Soup

Thank you for all your texts and emails yesterday. We were not very affected by Hurricane Sandy except for some rain and heavy wind. From the looks of it, poor New York and New Jersey took the brunt of the storm. My sister sent me some crazy pictures of the flooding in Manhattan. Here’s one, courtesy of her friend Sam.

This is of her hospital, NYU, which was evacuated late last night. She luckily wasn’t working but many of her friends were. Good thoughts go out to everyone dealing with the aftermath.

This morning here in Boston it’s bright and sunny.

But yesterday, with the winds whipping and the rain pelting the window I started thinking about soup.

I stumbled upon this recipe on Foodgawker which I used as the base for my own recipe. I added a bunch of other ingredients I had on hand following an aimless wander through the grocery store after subbing a yoga class last week.

Don’t let the length of the ingredients list deter you. It seems long but it’s a lot of dashes of this and handfuls of that. This soup is stupid simple to make and takes no more than 10 minutes. Perfect for a quick lunch or dinner.

Spicy Rice Noodle Soup (gluten-free, vegan)

1 tablespoon peanut oil

1/2 white onion, thinly sliced into half moons

1/2 block of extra firm tofu, sliced into 1/2″ cubes

2 tablespoons minced garlic

pinch of red pepper flakes

7 cups vegetable broth

1/4 package of rice noodles, I used the Thai Kitchen brand stir fry noodles

1 tablespoon tamari

1 tablespoon white miso paste

1-2 teaspoons sriracha

1 can water chestnuts

big handful of mung beans

big handful of mini mushrooms

big squeeze of fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar

1 green onion, chopped

————

Heat oil over medium high heat. Saute onions for 2-3 mins until they start getting soft. Add in tofu and saute until browned, 2 or so more minutes. In the last minute add garlic and red pepper flakes.

Pour vegetable broth over the onion mixture. Add rice noodles, tamari and miso paste.

Bring to a boil then reduce to medium heat until noodles are soft. These noodles cook fast so you probably won’t need more than 5 minutes.

While noodles cook in the soup, place some water chestnuts, mung beans and mini mushrooms in a big soup bowl. Ladle soup over the chestnuts mixture. Top with lime juice, rice wine vinegar and chopped scallion.

Enjoy!

A Yoga Photo Shoot

When I decided to try my hand at teaching yoga in Boston I realized I was in need of some marketing materials, after all, I did work in advertising for 10 years. So I did what any good account person would do…I enlisted the help of my most creative friends.

It started with a logo. A very talented co-worker at my old agency, Christian Haas, @chaas, created the below for me in his spare time. He captured exactly what I was envisioning, something that speaks to the playful and calming aspects of my practice. Thank you Christian and happy birthday!

Then I decided I needed a bio picture or two. I was planning a trip to NYC last weekend and figured what better backdrop for a photo shoot than Central Park? My sister’s friend Will kindly agreed to take the photos. What we thought would be a few shots turned into many. The weather was perfect and we were having so much fun we kept shooting until we ran out of light. Here’s one of the trusty lighting assistant.

And below is a sample of the photos we took.

Which do you like best?

And staying in the yoga vein, my latest article is up on MindBodyGreen today about the side effects of yoga.

Have a great weekend everyone and if you’re on the east coast, stay dry!

New York City Bound

Happy weekend.  I’m on my way down to New York to see my sister. She had a long weekend off from the hospital and Michael will be at work prepping for a big meeting all weekend so it seemed like the perfect time to get away.

One of the things I was most excited about when we decided to move to Boston was being so much closer to my sister. It’s only a 3.5 hour train ride from Boston to NYC and there’s no waiting in a security line or checking baggage or any of the other headaches that come with air travel. Plus, free wifi, albeit super slow so we’ll see if I can even publish this post.

We have lots of fun on tap for the weekend.  Hitting up some yummy veggie restaurants, brunch with my sister’s best friend and mom, watching football, possibly some apartment hunting for Sarah and a yoga photo shoot for me.

I’ll recap everything on the train home on Tuesday but until then I’ll leave you with a recipe for a parsnip potato mash.

With Michael’s hours so crazy I’ve been making foods that will stay in the fridge for many hours between the time that I eat dinner around 8 and when he eats at 11 or 12, sometimes 1! Mashed potatoes are one of his favorites but I often can’t leave well enough alone. I bought some parsnips at the store earlier this week and thought I’d marry the two.

Garlic Parsnip Potato Mash:

If you’re not familiar with parsnips they are a root vegetable.  They taste sort of like a cross between carrots and celery and tend to be fairly sweet. I like the combination of their flavor with the creaminess of potatoes.

10-12 red potatoes (I’m sure yellow potatoes would work here as well)

4 parsnips

1 tablespoon garlic, minced

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 cup unflavored almond milk (or whichever milk you prefer)

2 tablespoons Earth Balance (or regular butter if you prefer)

1/2 tablespoon salt

Wash and chop parsnips and potatoes so they are roughly the same size. Place in a pot and bring to boil.  Boil until tender. 25 minutes or so.

Drain veggies.

In a pot, over low heat, saute garlic in olive oil.  Watch the garlic really closely, it will burn quickly. A minute should be enough to get it golden brown.

Add parsnips and potatoes into the pot with the garlic.  Add milk, butter and salt.  Mash with a potato masher to desired consistency.  I’m a fan of lumpy mashed potatoes personally.

Enjoy!