sunday breakfast

In the words of the 1996 lyricst, DJ Kool – let me clear my throat.

Hey friends, how’s it going? Been a while, yeah I know. You know how it goes – life gets in the way, curveballs get thrown and there is a struggle to evaluate, reorganize and continue on. I think it’s fair to say this happens to just about everyone. As a writer, it’s particularly easy to lose focus and become lazy. I think about all the things I’d like to write about and share, but then, in line with the whole ‘becoming lazy’ thing, I just put it off for another day. As it is with blogging, ideas felled at the hands of procrastiantion often become dated and irrelevant. Or they feel that way.

Another issue I often struggle with is finding the balance of what to share and what to keep private. I imagine every blogger goes through the same battle. Not so much a matter of privacy, but more on the lines of relevance. Do you care about my heartbreaks, my latest obsessions, what I’m reading and watch shows I just can’t turn off? The last thing I want to be is another person with access to the internet, a keyboard and a diluted understanding of what people find interesting. Work in progress, friends – work in progress.

So let’s keep rolling, shall we?

We’re nearly four months into the new year, a third of the way through 2013 and I’d like throw in this humble brag – I’m doing alright by my resolutions. I sort through my mail in a timely manner, and avoid any situation that might involve my health insurance (that’s the same as figuring it out, right?). I finished How to Be a Woman, which was hysterical and something every woman really ought to read. I’m nearly finished with Grace, an intimate view into the world of fashion as told (and occasionally illustrated) by the striking Grace Coddington. For laughs, I devour Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, a memoir I don’t believe I’ve even scratched the surface of, but one that’s had me saying, “Okay, okay, just until the end of this chapter” three times a night. At minimum.

But onto the meatier stuff – While I haven’t exactly entered into a long-term relationship with my elliptical, I recently took up Soul Cycle. When I say “took up”, I mostly mean I’ve become addicted. I go as often as I can. I wake up early on my days off. I forfeit my blow-out budget for an extra class and honestly, how could I possibly justify a trip to Drybar when a Soul Cycle ride will have me looking like Simba after a swim in Lake Hakuna Matata? I can’t remember the last time I was so excited to work out. Moreover, I can’t remember when an exercise routine has had me so carefully watching what I eat, not because I want to diet, but because I want to make the most of every 45 minute sesssion. Did I make the unbelievably wise decision to have lobster risotto at the Penninsula Hotel three hours before class last Saturday? Well, let’s just call that a lesson learned. I certainly hope it is, anyway.

Last Sunday was St. Patrick’s Day, a day most often spent wearing green, drinking and celebrating a culture the majority of us know nothing about. I have no right to condemn the holiday, as I relish any opportunity to occupy a barstool at one of my favorite local Irish bars, drinking Smithwicks or Jameson & Gingers for as long as I like. If there’s one thing I can’t stand, though, it’s an overcrowded bar where people drink like they’ve never seen or may never see beer again. So instead of playing “who can throw a sharper elbow” on Sunday afternoon, I decided to participate in Soul Cycle’s annual St. Patrick’s Day ride. To get myself in the spirit, I wore a green t-shirt.

Then I went home and had a green breakfast.

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By now it should come as no surprise how much I love avocado on toast. Love love love. As a person who likes her food with a bit of added heat, I covered my toast with ground cayenne. Who doesn’t like a kick in the mouth at breakfast?

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For some extra protein, and just because it’s oh-so-tasty, I smashed up my soft boiled eggs and spread it out on top of my avocado toast. Divine. The Wren on the Bowery offers a brunch dish similar to this, with smashed avocado on toast with two soft boiled eggs in a mason jar. Add a layer of crisp, thick-cut bacon to the combination because hey – bacon is love, especially on weekends.

And in case you’re wondering, I think I’m finally figuring out economics. Third time’s a charm.

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sunday breakfast

Breakfast doesn’t always have to be complicated, particularly weekend breakfasts. Just because there is time to devour gluttonous forkfuls of butter, cream and egg yolk, and subsequently recover for hours on the couch with magazines in hand, doesn’t necessarily mean one should be doing all these things.

Although, hey, a little gluttony now and then is cherished by the jolliest of men. And me.

Sometimes a simple breakfast is really all you want, or in this case, really all I want. One of the most basic kitchen creations that gives me an unreasonable amount of pleasure is a just-ripe tomato with good quality olive oil, salt, and pepper. That’s it. And once all the tomato slices have been picked up and the leftover juices blend with olive oil, I am not above wiping the plate clean with my finger. If no one is looking, it’s highly likely I will lick the plate clean.

Whatever, whatever, I do what I want.

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So that’s what I had for breakfast this afternoon- tomatoes in olive oil with salt and pepper. A few slices landed on a 12 grain toast with a delicious Spanish goat cheese to keep it company. The vast majority were picked up by my fingers before a fork was gently suggested and generally ignored.

Let me tell you – this was one of the best Sunday breakfasts I’ve had in a while, and that’s saying something.

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attn: le parker meridien (nyc)

To Le Parker Meridien, specifically the manager of Gravity Fitness:

I have long been a fan of the Parker Meridien hotel in New York City. As an establishment of hospitality, you guys have your shit together. The addition of the DryBar was an excellent idea, and the neighboring manicure bar? Genius. Throw in a shave and barber shop and you’ve got something for the whole family, kids. When a friend took me to the not-so-secret Burger Joint, I swore I found milkshake nirvana. Who would have guessed it was tucked away in a posh hotel on 56th Street?

So you can imagine I’m little saddened to say, I am not coming back.

It has often been said that, during times of hardship and duress, New Yorkers band together. We rally around each other, offering support as we can. Most recently, during Hurricane Sandy, strangers became neighbors. Power and warm water was shared. Manhattan gained a new neighborhood moniker – SoPo, South of Power. On Friday, February 1st, sometime around 11am, SoPo became SoRuWa – South of Running Water, and this is what the Financial District looked like for the earlier part of the afternoon.

Twitter user: Facelessnyer

Twitter user: Facelessnyer// Click pic for Atlantic Wire article – “Lower Manhattan Can’t Go to the Bathroom Right Now”

Not pretty, is it. The Department of Environmental Protection shut off the water. Makes sense, right? The best way to curtail the flooding caused by a burst pipe is to stop the water gushing out of it.

I was sitting on the bathroom floor, wrapped in a towel, and patiently waiting for the water to come back. I had an important meeting uptown at 5pm, so as long as the water was restored with enough time for me to shower, dress and commute, I wasn’t concerned. I hope you’ll forgive the pun when I say I threw in the towel at 2pm. I couldn’t wait much longer, so I called the DryBar hotline, begging for a last minute appointment to tame my lion’s mane. The woman on the phone was sympathetic to my waterless plight and booked me for 2:45 at their location in the Parker Meridien. Perfect! All I needed now was a shower.

I called the Parker Meridien immediately and  was connected to a desk attendant at Gravity Fitness. I asked if having an appointment at the DryBar permitted me to use the hotel’s gym showers. The attendant spoke with his manager who responded with a quick no. Of course, I was expecting this and so, I explained my dilemma, my day of toil, my extreme circumstances. I explained I had no water. I explained I had a potentially lifechanging meeting. I explained I would already be using services offered by the Parker Meridien so maybe, just this once, you could do me a solid.

I’m really sorry, I explained your situation to our manager but unfortunately he said no. The only way for you to access the gym for just today would be to purchase a day pass for $70.

Now. I understand the thought process behind adhering to policy and procedure. I understand the Parker Meridien caters to hotel guests paying, on average, $240 per night (before taxes) and guests who are willing to spend $1000 on a lobster fritatta. I understand the mentality behind fearing an opened flood gate (too soon?). What if I came back and said, Oh, but I did this before… Or worse yet, what if a friend of a friend came in, saying, Oh, but I know you let someone else do it. Please? This is what I imagine is going through the mind of any manager.

But another scenario could have played out here. Instead, a new wave of patrons could have visited the hotel for dinner or lunch or a manicure or a spa day, each saying, I’ve heard such wonderful things about the hotel. Granted, I’m not saying I am a stronghold of publicity by any means, but I do believe in the snowball effect, and I absolutely believe in karma. In the business of hospitality, hospitality needs to be the factor held to the highest regard, not profit. Imagine what the loss of  $70 would have bought the hotel – undeniable gratefulness and undying loyalty. I was already coming to your establishment as a guest paying for a service – was it such a hardship to extend this one kindness?

So thank you, Parker Meridien, for offering me the DryBar’s services, incredible burgers and delicious milkshakes. I can only hope the hospitality you extend your past, current and future guests far exceeds the hospitality you showed me.

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forty minute dance party

Music is an amazing thing. It has a way of communicating directly with its listeners, whether it says, You are now indulging in a guilty pleasure or You must be feeling like a total badass or Let’s cry together or, and this is my personal favorite, Get off your ass and dance!

And that’s exactly what I did last night, mes cheries. I had a Get off your ass and dance! party, occupants, YO. Just me, with my headphones and obnoxiously bright shorts bopping around the family room like a fool. Except, I’d like to think Mr. T wouldn’t pity me – he’d be proud.

I’ve been using Songza lately to discover new music and while it occasionally throws out a tune I have no interest in, I like the app’s concept and it really nailed last night’s mood.

Here are the highlights for your listening pleasure (aka – click the pic for a jump to some old school YouTube jams) –

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This was how the night’s festivities kicked off. This was how I knew I was in for a good forty minutes of jumping around. This was how I knew it’s time for a new sports bra.

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I know I’ve heard this before, but regardless – this is a song that warrants a lot of hip thrusting. Go on, get up. Hand gestures required. Just be aware of how loud your gutteral “UHS” come out – mine brought a motherly figure (sometimes known as my mother) running to make sure I hadn’t killed myself. (This photo doesn’t link to what Songza gave me exactly, but the classic version of Edwin Starr’s hit is phenomenal without being remixed)

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Hey, this song may not be for everyone and their mothers, fathers, dogs (because you’re all crazy, I take it), but I cannot get enough. I want to learn all the dance moves. I really want Songza to play it again today. And I want to know how many codpieces Larry Blackmon owns and in what other colors.

Have a rockin’ Tuesday, friends. Get up and dance a little.

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sunday breakfast

What, don’t you want to know about last Sunday’s breakfast five days later?

Of course you do. Sillies.

In all honesty, I’ve been trying for days – DAYS – to find the right words to describe just how satisfying Sunday’s breakfast was. How exciting it was. How gratifying, especially since I had been asking for it for months. Everything about it was luxurious – and the clean up was a dream.

Enough with the build up.

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I had soft-boiled eggs. In a cup.

Seriously. That was it. Soft-boiled eggs.

Okay, not seriously, there was more than that. Also in this white ceramic mug, nestled into the bottom, an equal player in all things breakfasty was a wad of butter. Rich, glorious, churned-with-love, Irish butter. Real butter, yes you can believe it’s true.

It’s very important, in this situation, that the egg be immediately chopped and smashed with a fork so as not to cook within itself and to allow the butter to seamlessly melt throughout. So, if you’re a finnicky food photographer, this might not be the dish for you. As for me, well, I admit my moments do come now and again, but not in this case. I smashed these eggs within an inch of their life and just when they couldn’t tap out any louder, I smothered them in the soft curls of microplaned parmesan cheese. Some might want to spread these eggs on a crispy piece of hot toast. I just wanted to spoon it up with a child-sized spoon because the funny thing about eggs is they always seem to disappear too quickly.

Layla, meanwhile, halved her egg and decided to dunk the pieces in a mound of parmesan. Evidence #932 she is, indeed, my cousin.

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When she proved she couldn’t wait for a photo to be taken and decided to photobomb her own breakfast, well – that’s #933. All that aside, have you checked out the color of the yoke? How it’s still a bit wet? THAT, my friends, is one hell of a gorgeous soft boiled egg. 6 minutes in a bath of boiling water, no more, no less.

Have I mentioned how much I love All Good Things yet? I do. I love them hard. This TriBeCa based food market brought me Blue Bottle Coffee, a butcher, cheeses, chanterelles, Orwasher bread and pastries… oh, and the occasional two dozen shucked West Coast oysters, to go. I mean, we’re not talking La Boqueria level market, but it’s still pretty special. On most Sundays, I like to walk over and pick up a cappuccino, a few chocolate croissants and, if I’m feeling particularly gluttonous, I’ll walk over to Dickson’s Farmstand Meats, get a half-pound of medium cut bacon and throw it into the oven so it comes out looking like this –

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And then, maybe, I’ll even put a piece or two on toast with avocado. I love the creamy buttery goodness of avocado on toast, and when I add a slice of crispy smoked bacon, all hell breaks loose on my tongue.

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Have any of you tried this? It’s a guaranteed party in your mouth.

Hey, I know it’s Friday and this post is a few days late, but I hope, in some small way, this might boost the morale of your Sunday mornings.

Stay warm out there.

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happy friday!

Whenever I take my youngest cousin Layla to the Museum of Natural History, we have a little routine we like to follow. We start with the African dioramas, then move to the dinosaurs and finish up in the Blue Whale Room, which is, by far, my favorite room in the museum. Hell, it’s one of my favorite places in all of New York, underneath that Blue Whale. But I digress. At the end of it all, Layla and I walk over to the gift shop, repeating the one clearly stated rule of the entire outing – only one toy.

And then we buy two. Predictably.

I like to think I’m approaching this exercise the smart way. If we walk in there without some notion of restraint, we’d walk out with arms full of toys, balancing a giant, stuffed octopus on our heads. Well, that’s how I would walk out, anyway.

In the same manner, I am rarely allowed into a grocery store without a shopping list. You say buy smoked turkey. I buy smoked salt chocolate caramels, radishes, and a triple cream cow’s milk cheese. Oh, and smoked turkey. I’m like a five-year-old in a toy shop, I just can’t help myself. I put my blinders on, go in, grab what I need, and get the hell out of there.

So, when my mother texted me a list of necessities to pick up from the market, I turned on my tunnel vision and started grabbing. Grabbing, grabbing, grabbing – until I went for the grapes.

The grapes are $3.99 a package, I swore to my mother. I don’t know why they’re so expensive, but they are. Yes or no?

Only, here’s the thing. These grapes?

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Well, these were not the grapes I was looking for.

Take a closer look, friends – these here grapes are cherries. Now, I have nothing against cherries. I like cherries, especially Rainier cherries and especially in the summer. What I don’t like is cherries when I wanted grapes. I particularly dislike having cherries when what I picked up was very clearly labeled grapes. And, when I go back to the same market two weeks later and see the cherries still masquerading as grapes, I have to wonder how many other people suffered at the hands of incorrect labeling. Okay, I don’t have to wonder, but I do. Just like I have to wonder – are cherries even in season?

If you’re going to be sticking in your gob, do yourself a favor by checking the labels, amigos.

And try Lou Bergier Pichin (availble at Whole Foods) – it’s an aged raw milk cheese from Italy. It’s also gorgeously creamy and the right amount of stinky to please both sides of the aisle. I like it on toast. I like it on crackers. Mostly, I just like it in my belly.

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2013

Oh hello there friends. It’s been a while.

This being the second year of my blog’s existence, I feel like I have come to the point where I can notice trends. I’ve studied engineering and mathematics and this spring, when I study economics (for real this time, I’m serious), I will be able to label such trends in an authoritative manner. But, for the meantime, you’ll just have to play along.

Every year, come the holidays, I lose track of “things”. It seems almost inevitable. There are so many holiday parties, dinners out, dinners made and dishes washed. Shops are scoured, lists are drawn up, lost, and drawn up yet again. Holiday traffic is sat in and tourists are angrily cursed as you try to pretend New Yorkers really are nice, truly. If you’re like me, you decide that now is the perfect time to start reading four different books on four completely different tracks, and really, when isn’t it?

I realize, in the grand scheme of things, an apology for a month-long disappearing act isn’t truly necessary, but the fact is this blog holds me accountable, in its way. I have to write, I should be writing and honestly, so should you. All of you. The way I see it, we all have a voice or a story to tell and unless we want to be that constant blabbermouth at the table (a comment generally, okay, mostly self-directed), some stories are better left to be written. So says I, anyway.

So it’s 2013 and readers, I’d like to get more organized. Admittedly, these plans haven’t extended as far as this blog, but I’ll get on that. Soon. I promise. In the meantime, I do resolve to

  1. open my mail in a more timely manner. Paper-free banking for all! Look, I can’t help that I have little-to-no interest in opening bank statements that will only reaffirm how much money I spend on a monthly basis.
  2. pay my bills on time. Okay, it’s not as bad as I make it sound, I just have this thing with deadlines. I know they’re there. They know they’re there. And then, come 12:02am, palm meets forehead and I have to put on my best Marcia Brady airs and call customer services…again.
  3. figure out my health insurance. There’s a lot be said for health insurance in the US and none of it something I’m interested in discussing beyond this: why is it so damn complicated?! Most people don’t see the doctor because of the poking and prodding. I hate the sorting of the bills to follow. On that note, I really need to see my dentist. And optometrist.
  4. finish books. This is may seem small potatoes, but in reality, it’s big time. Man oh man oh man do I love books. LOVE. There are so many things and people I want to learn about and bring up in casual conversation to draw attention to just how clever I truly am. So I buy books. Then I start one, find another that is equally interesting and immediately dive into a new book before finishing the first. It’s an awful habit, and to make matters worse, I don’t have nearly enough bookmarks. Reader, looking at my bookshelf now, there are 8 books within easy eyesight I have started and not yet finished. On my iPad, there are 4: How to Be a Woman (Caitlin Moran – hysterical), Living History (Hilary Rodham Clinton), No Easy Day (Mark Owen), and, ahem, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (Seth Grahame-Smith). Take it easy there, Judgeypants.
  5. use the ellipticalDad, this one’s for you. How many of you enlisted your father and/or brother to help build an elliptical in the family room during the scant daylight hours in the middle of the great Sandy-induced power outage, swearing left, right and center that you would be using it every single day? Just me then?
  6. love myself more. Oh, did I get a little personal? Sure did. Cliches exist for a reason – a lot of people are standing in the same room where one person just said exactly what everyone else is thinking and they all gave a mighty fist pump a la Bender in The Breakfast Club. My Instagram feed is clogged, daily, with users who like pictures of kittens, Justin Bieber, sunsets, Harajuku girls, and quotes about the importance of self worth. With pictures of sunsets in the background, of course. There is enough debate and cultural discussion on the topic of self confidence in women without me throwing my two cents into any official ring, but it’s as simple as this – I need to love myself more. Whether it  means not ordering extra cheese, humoring the creep at the bar just to be polite, or speaking up when shy, it boils down to one point – I matter. And sometimes, I think, having a blog is the most surefire way to remember this.
  7. learn economics. I mean it this time.
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