Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Naples...I'm Coming!

So as I write this post, I realize that my initial plan of sticking to technology, baking and triathlons was a little limiting. I've covered donuts and coffee and picture taking...lots of random things over this past year. I've realized it has become more a way to share what is going on with my family and friends. And it's nice to look back at my experiences. So maybe I'm just doing this for me, and my few readers.

I'm off to Naples, FL for a wedding on Friday! I'm very excited and ready for a little getaway. Just to get in the mood, here is a picture from our Naples girls weekend last July. I'm hoping to get some nice shots, though I've only made it half way through the manual and am not sure what the Tv settings is for yet!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Buon Italia!

This is one of my favorite New York grocery establishments. Deep in Chelsea Market is Buon Italia, an Italian grocery. It's a little goldmine of good Italian food, imported food stuffs and homemade sauces and dishes.

When you walk to the back, there is a full kitchen making chicken parm, pasta, raviolis. It's like being in my Italian grandmother's kitchen (if I was Italian, I'm not!). You just want to step behind the counter and take a taste of the sauce.

This is just one spot for Pannetone during the holiday season. Yes, we gave in and tried this once just to see what it was like. I had heard from Giada (of the Food Network) that it can be dry and makes great french toast.    And then one time became about 20 as we sampled every brand we came across.  But take a look at the giant pannetone:

I haven't tried the marzipan candy yet, but doesn't it look good?

We love the pasta sauces. Honestly, for a jar of sauce, you can't beat Buon Italia. The bolognese tastes like you just made it (except someone else did). We've have a few dinners care of Grandma Buon. She also imports great Italian pasta. And it does seem hardier then the regular version from the store.

Buon Italia
Chelsea Market

Sunday, April 25, 2010

BBQ, Custard, Jersey Boys & Bagels!

Ahh, the Shake Shack.  After a full day of Jersey Boys and Hill Country, we ended the evening with vanilla custard at Shake Shack.  The special Saturday flavor was pancakes and bacon, which we all passed on.  Just a quick shot of the lights and setting in Madison Square Park.  Thanks for visiting, Mom & Dad!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Beauty of the Square Doughnut

Picture: handmade doughnut tiles in the store

I have a soft spot for Brown's doughnuts in Ocean City, and Jerry's in Ellington. But for the most part, a doughnut is not a go to part of my diet (probably a good thing). But I had been eyeing the square jelly filled doughnut at Joe's for a while and we finally gave in and had one in February.

See the one left, there in the back? It had my name on it. Yes, it's a square donut with a hole in the middle, yet is still jelly filled. And it was finger licking good. And they were from this place called Doughnut Plant....

And when I found out there was a store front, there is only one thing left to do: Make the trek. And it was a 3 mile trek over to the very east side of Manhattan, through Soho, and Chinatown and to the Lower East Side...

And there it was. It's like the Magnolia Bakery of doughnuts, with a steady stream of people and even a line at certain points. It looked to be a mix of locals and tourists like me. Here I am, longingly looking in from the outside.

And then I had one in my hands. I know, it looks messy, and if you saw the chocolate all over my chin, you might be afraid to dig in yourself. I had to go with the chocolate, although the glazed and jelly filled are awesome. It was super light and fluffy and not the least bit greasy. The doughnuts are all trans fat free (he was from Day 1, before New York City banned it) and don't use any preservatives.

And this one was a hit, the banana pecan:

Doughnut Plant sells both yeast and cake doughnuts, using fresh seasonal ingredients and things like nuts in the glazes. The jelly for the filled doughnuts is homemade (and not the sickening sweet jelly you might find at DD). Flavors change daily and are sold, well, until they run out each day (around 5-7 pm). Today, the menu had strawberry glazed, banana pecan glazed, Valrhona chocolate, coconut creme and creme brulee. Blackout and Tres Leches are the cake doughnuts always on the menu. Clearly, I'll need to go back to test the cake doughnut.

Mark, the owner, started Doughnut Plant in 1994 after moving back to New York. He comes from a long line of bakers, and initially baked his doughnuts in the basement of the building and sold them to Dean & Deluca's, Bloomingdales (just this year) and other shops. Finally, in 2000, he opened up a store front above the basement bakery. He worked on his cake donut recipe for 5 years and the first one was sold December 7, 2005.

He earned the Bakery of the Year honor in 2008 (BakeryBuyer) and was just featured in March's issue of Bon Appetit.

Mark has leased space in the Chelsea Hotel on 23rd street for his 2nd New York location (there are 10 in Tokyo and 10 in Seoul, which he opened with a partner there). This might be dangerous, because this location is just about 10 minutes away. That 3 miles between me and the doughnut might have been a good thing!

Doughnut Plant
379 Grand Street
Open at 6:30 and close when the donuts run out!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sidewalk Music in Soho

It's been great weather since we hit April.  Does it seem like spring is here earlier this year?  The leaves are out, the tulips blooming, and allergy season upon us.  But it's great weather for walking and seeing the sights and sounds.

After my 5 year old point and shoot died on me (the viewing screen went black), I decided to step it up with a Canon s90 after much researching.  It's a point and shoot with advanced functionality, so you can play with the aperture and settings, but keep the camera size small and easy to fit in a pocket.  For me, this is key.  If I have to carry a big camera, I just won't have it with me all the time.  As it is, I take a lot of random pictures with my iPhone so knew a big step towards a big camera was too soon.  Also, I need to really learn how to play with depth of field, the aperture and lighting.  So I bought an app that allows you to play with settings on your phone and gives you "recipes" on how to achieve a certain look in photos.  It's great for just reminding me of the key points. 

So tested it out and captured a few performers last weekend down in Soho.  Testing out some nostalgia shots:

This group must have been from somewhere down South.  They had quite a crowd watching them and were definitely collecting some serious donations.

I've been trying to get the shot with the near item in focus and the background blurry.  Yesterday I finally got a good one.  I was working with what I had around (M and his sunglasses in the park).  But was excited to finally get it right!

I know, I know, for you photographers out there this is going to seem so simple.  But for a point and shoot girl like me, I was very happy.

It was a gorgeous day -  sunny, but not hot.  Lots of people out and about.  Wonderful day in New York.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter to my family and friends! Spring is upon us, and hopefully the nice weather stays.

A snapshot from our walk yesterday afternoon. We took a walk through the farmer's market and the potatoes are still in abundance, but feel a little closer to those yummy tomatoes!

Post lunch update:
I tried to hold off on buying any Easter candy, since it's a case of "buy a bag, eat an entire bag". And I know my mom & dad will be bringing my coconut egg when they visit later this month. The black jelly beans I bought at Target 2 weeks ago? If it took 2 weeks to eat the bag, that shows some restraint, right?

But I felt like I was missing out without some Cadbury Mini Eggs and Creme Eggs. So we had a little easter bowl. And it was just like I remembered.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

iWant the iPad

I claimed to be a techie girl, but haven't posted anything techie related in far too long. So, to show my dedication, I thought I'd share my iPad release experience from earlier this morning. To say I'm part of the Apple family is an understatement. I'm a mac fan-girl! While there was a moment where I wondered "why do I need another device?" I knew I'd be the owner of an iPad at some point in Q2 2010. I haven't committed yet, but did want to check out who else committed...

This is from last night as we walked home past the Meatpacking Apple Store. One lone future owner and the security guard:

But we knew it would be busy this morning, so instead of our regular Joe trip, we went to the Apple store first. Not only was there a crowd in line, there was a crowd watching the in line crowd.

I really wondered whether the Friday night guy made it through the night, and he did:

It was interesting to watch employees more excited about a product and company than I have ever seen. Wouldn't it be nice if everyone felt that way? It makes you wonder why you'd buy it at Best Buy today, it's so much more fun at the Apple Store. As a plug for my video further below, you can hear the roar of the crowd below.

This is me looking in, still iPad-less.

I just loved this picture of the crowd hanging out. It's 8:30 am, she clearly has make up on, and her cigarette (unfiltered?) and coffee:

It does make you feel a little special when you watch this and know it will be yours very soon. Unfortunately, I didn't capture our red haired friend bound up the steps, but this is still entertaining:

Victory is Ours:


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