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February 21, 2007 08:25 PM Food & Wine  |   Link
Filipino Home Cooking

So I don't usually get all nostalgic except now I have my mom's handwritten recipes of her traditional filipino dishes. I never thought to check online websites since I wanted to get a feel for my mom's own cooking. Well tonight I experimented with kari-kari. The peanut butter stew with ox tail. I'm fortunate enough to have a pressure cooker which definitely cut down the cooking time. And strangely enough I found ox tail at Costco.

J really enjoyed it and the house still smells like the stew. It was all yummy goodness with a small patch of white rice. We made enough for two dinners so I can't wait to have it again. All the ingredients were basically the same as the above link but somehow I changed it bit after reviewing my mom's notes. I can't wait to share this dish with our friends. I'll take photos tomorrow.

February 16, 2007 10:34 AM Food & Wine  |   Link
NYC Places to Eat

Sunday late afternoon
Highline (Meatpacking District) nychighline.com
Cripsy duck crepes, coconut crusted shrimp, virgin strawberry margarita

After walking a few blocks passing so many Scoop shops, we wandered the streets to find a lunch place. We passed up a few of R's regular stops but opted for something that had a retro modern design and not so crowded so that we could catch up. The decor was really nice and with a view of some construction which we didn't mind, we enjoyed the nice waterfall display and the really relaxing trance/lounge music playing. The food was a mix of pan-asian fusion and we both opted for the tapas styled prixe fix meal. R had the scallops and these really good dumplings and lychee martini.

For an afternoon respite, we stopped into one of the cafes connected to ABC Home near R's old flat, for an apple & almond dessert along with hot belgian cocoa. The cocoa was absolutely amazing. They basically give you a cup of hot milk and a little canister of the pure rich liquid cocoa. It was absolutely beautiful to pour it and stir. The bakery was really down home with nice long wooden tables, nice lighting all around and locals just hanging out for afternoon break. We had a great time hanging out and and just chatting about living in Union Square. I really liked the long tables, I've been thinking about getting a built in bench/table setup in our kitchen. So we can fit more folks around the table. I like homey it felt like we were at home.

A Voce, dinner at 9pm was so European ;)
41 Madison Ave (at 26th St.), New York
3 star NY Times, 1 star Michelin

Right across the street from Madison Square Park. We grabbed a cab over to the restaurant and wandered around. We thought it would be on a corner but with a quick pan of where we were let off I spotted the restaurant. I really enjoyed the ambience and the music(trance/lounge). We were hungry and we definitely devoured the bread on the table with its amazing evoo and sweet balsamic vinegar. This had to be the really good balsamic because the sweetness was just like something you'd put on a dessert. The guys had wine and I had my club soda.

For our apptizers we got a mix of things, Vegetable Antipasti
mozzarella di bufala DOPeggplant agrodolce sweet pepper con capper, (the eggplant was amazing!), Crispy Calamari giardiniera vegetables, lemon sauce(lightly breaded and fried just right, and M had some brussel sprouts. I enjoyed it all and I was glad I didn't stuff myself too much on the bread.

For my main entree I had Braised Veal Soffritto creamy polenta, gremolata, orange. The polenta was amazing and veal was so tender and sweet. For dessert we shared Bomboloni
Tuscan doughnuts with chocolate sauce. They are basically creme-filled mini sugar doughnuts. M only ate around the edge of his and passed it on to R. R and I enjoyed it so much we could have licked the chocolate sauce out of the container.

We wandered over to SOHO to check out Mirabelle's but they were closed and we were cold and hungry. So we hopped into a quaint place a couple blocks away, Le Petite Cafe. Nothing out of the ordinary but it was a nice down home more local type cafe. We enjoyed our time sharing stories and catching up on missed times.

71 Irvine Place Coffee & tea Bar
Lentil soup, Salami Panino, cup of earl grey tea

Known for the best coffee in town by New York Magazine. A short distance from Gramercy Park and only across the street from a tea place that was in an inn that was unfortunately closed, we got a recommendation for 71 Irving. It was a bit crowded but we managed a window seat and for extra space for our coats and bags. The ambience was more local and down home than anything else. I really like the coziness although when the lunch crowd invaded it quickly got snug. The lentil soup was amazing, we both ate in silence to the hearty cup of soup. R also had a half sandwich but I waited for a full on panini since I knew I wouldn't be eating for a long time because airlines don't really feed you meals. I devoured everything and washed it down with a nice cup of earl grey.

However we were still craving hot cocoa, so we ducked into The City Bakery for sugar domes and their hot cocoa of the day which was Earl Grey Tea infused hot cocoa. We took it to go since we had to get back to Chelsea and get me to the airport. The drink was amazing. The City Bakery is having their 15th annual hot chocolate festival with a whole month of flavored hot cocoa. I'm looking at the card right now and it's a pretty wide range of flavors, ginger, beer, chili pepper, tropical, licorice, banance peel, bourbon, lemon, and malted milk.

The City Bakery, 3 W 18th St

So with all the eating there was equally lots of walking for the whole weekend. I went up as far as Lincoln Center to visit J & P and as far south as Lower East Side to hang with the girls from church who were also visiting, but also wandered with F to Tavern on Jane to meet up with folks and accidently ended up at another place somewhere in Greenwich Village(I think?). Anyhow, going up and down the stairs for the subway and wandering all over NY was a great way to get my exercise in since I was indoors for most of Saturday because of SCBWI.

I guess I miss NY now, let's see how I can get out there again.

February 15, 2007 03:53 PM Travel  |   Link
NYC in the Winter

Went to NYC this past weekend for multiple events.

SCBWI NY Conference, notes to follow.
Met with my client.
Met with potential contractors.
Visited with friends and family.

I was semi-prepared for the weather. When I first stepped off the plane it was a very balmy 20 and when I left it was around 33. My cousin recommended ski jacket and gloves over long wool coat. I'm so glad since along with my rain/snow thinsulated boots I was nice and toasty while we walked around. For the most part the skies were clear. I left Monday evening and very glad I did since a storm hit the city just after I left and has had bad effects on the airlines since then. I'll post photos shortly.

What I heard  |   Link
Praise vs Effort

Very interesting article in New York Magazine by Po Bronson.

"How Not To Talk To Your Kids."

I'm wondering if this could have brought about mediocrity in the next generation. I remember growing up comeptition was fierce to work hard and finish school and do well in the world. There was hardly any praise, only you have to do better next time even if I did really well in the assignment or test. At some point I didn't even share because I would still be reprimanded to do better...there's no such thing as A++ ;) But I guess I just trudged along my classmates and just "worked harder." I don't even remember anyone telling me I was smart growing up.

February 06, 2007 09:34 PM Business & Finance  |   Link
Big Cars for Now

So after 2 accidents with the Volvo wagon J plunked down some cash for a midnight blue 1996 LS 400. The car is so much nicer than the wagon, with a really nice previous owner who took care of it. The interior is light beige and it feels like my old Camry which was a 1994 XLE. I have to admit I like the leather but I'm not sure I care too much for how big the car is. I haven't even attempted to drive it since it feels like a boat, (i.e. Lisa is too short to drive the boat). It's a super bummer that J has had some bad experiences with the wagon, and since he commutes ALOT up and down the peninsula, I gave in to him getting another big car. I think since we've been married we've pretty much bought a car every year. I guess we buy cars more often than he buys shoes. I couldn't really say we...since I actually buy shoes quite often which I hate to admit.

Let's see what have we had in our stable?...Toyota Camry, Honda Civic, Porsche 911, BMW 3, Yellow Mazda Miata, Black Mazda Miata, Volvo wagon, now a Lexus LS.

Now that things are taken care of with the insurance he has decided to sell the wagon. If anything he really wants to sell it for parts. He's encouraged folks to buy it only for parts. So now we're selling the banged up wagon. I'm not even considering a new car unless we really need one. I'm hoping for a prius but with the civic getting good mileage(manual) and it's already rated as a very low emissions vehicle, I don't think we'll need a new used car anytime soon. I'm hoping that we can even reach 100K on it.