Wednesday, December 28, 2011

New Year, New Site

Have you been missing me here?  I haven't gone far, just a new website with all things Jill:

And to tease you a little, come check out my Christmas Cookie post!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011



I've moved, but not far.  You can find me over at my brand new site,

Still lots of New York City and lots of food.


Sunday, November 6, 2011

Destination: Wordpress. And Another Doughnut

I've been with Blogger/Blogspot for over 2 years now.  And it's been great.  But I've been using Wordpress for another little project and really like the functionality.  So the goal this week is to move Jillie of All Trades over there.  I'll be honest, they make it sound pretty easy, so figure I can import it in about 5 minutes.  I'm not sure what that means for my email followers or anyone reading via RSS.  But will figure that out and provide the link to the new site.
In the meantime, why not end the weekend with this week's doughnut?  The Pumpkin Cake Doughnut from Doughnut Plant.  Not really pumpkin-y enough for me, but still enjoyed it with my Lavazza at Eataly.  When they put out a seasonal doughnut, I feel the need to try it (if you remember, I had the pumpkin yeast doughnut a few weeks ago).  But still need to get to the Tres Leches and a few of the other standards. 

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Book Club: The Lotus Eaters

Book Club again, a small group of us, but we are continuing on!  This month was The Lotus Eaters, which follows a female photographer in Vietnam.  I thought it was very fascinating for a fiction piece.  And I had to speed read through the end to find out what happens.   So there was no talking over coffee last Saturday.  I'm Type A and like a good student, read the book...even if we never talk about it.
I hosted this month, so neatened up the little apartment, bought some more plates (I am short!).  And made Elizabeth's Pumpkin Pie Squares.  I realized too late that I had thrown away my 9x13 and didn't replace it.  So at 5 am that morning I had to go with the 9x9 pan.  I might reassess the topping amount in a smaller pan.  And then Deb's Chicken Square's for dinner.  
And my guests were so sweet to bring more tasty desserts, macaroons and cookies.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Noodles in Chinatown: Lam Zhou Handmade Noodle

Our Sunday lunch discussion started with Red Farm, a new dim sum place, in the West Village.  You know, Chinese food that appeals to the professional Chelsea/New York crowd.  It was closed for lunch.  So we jumped right to very authentic, in Chinatown.  Lam Zhou Handmade Noodle.

4 stars on 228 reviews?   That's pretty darn good.  4 stars on at least 100 reviews is Mark's minimum.  We jump on the F train and head south.  We get to 144 East Broadway and think "this is it?".  But they had an "A" rating, and the cool little wine bar near us got a "C".  So it can't be that bad.  I'll admit, the beef had some beef parts there were chewy, which I kind of expected after having eaten calf's calf muscle soup in China.  But I left some broth to cover that at the end.  The noodles and broth were so good, though.  The dumplings were great.
They rolled out handmade noodles on the table next to me (it's loud, the banging of the dough, sort of a "thwack thwack" every time it hit the counter).  And they wrapped dumplings behind me.
And you can't beat the prices.  Now, I hear the place to go for really authentic Chinese is Flushing, it's not even Chinatown.  But we are starting to test the limits of our comfort zone.  You basically pay by walking to the back of the store when you are done and handing over cash.  I'm not sure a tip is even really necessary.  Prices are great. How can you not order a dozen dumplings for $3?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Wedding Cake: Peanut Butter!

I like cake. Plain and simple.  And Sarah lined up something right up my alley.  Peanut butter and chocolate, in cake form.  Kudos!
It doesn't end there, though.  We had a table of desserts to enjoy.  This is after the sorbet between courses at dinner.  
Enough of the food the reception!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Wedding: Wine & Chocolate

S&S's wedding weekend continues...
Between the ceremony at St. Christopher and the reception, all the guests were invited to Rustico on Love Point (how appropriate!) for wine and cheese and chocolate.  Right up my alley!  I tried 2 of the reds and a white, starting with the Sierra Collado above.  I really liked the red by the little roast beef toasts, I think it was the shiraz.  Anyhow, loved having glass in hand and catching up with friends I hadn't seen in a while!

And look at the chocolate lobsters and buckeyes!  You know I couldn't say "no" to these.
 Guests spilled out to the patio area, lingered in side, sipped and ate.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Wedding Weekend: Sarah & Steve

Wedding weekend.  A beautiful weekend.  The setting was perfect, the couple was obviously happy, and it was a crowd of friends and family.  My dear friend Sarah got married this weekend in Maryland.  It's crazy for me to think how long we've known each other now.  Nearly 10 years, since it's 10 years since we applied to Darden, and we were roommates that first year.  Sight unseen, just an exchange of emails and maybe a phone call.  And clearly worked out quite well.
The flowers at the church and the reception were gorgeous.  I couldn't help but take a few shots.  And the bridesmaids bouquets were pretty in pink.
 We were right on the water, so sipped champagne while the sun set.  
And I'll have a whole week of posts because I can't just sum it up with these pictures. More to come!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Pumpkin: Trader Joe Pumpkin Bread & Muffin Mix

This is my test of the TJ's pumpkin bread mix.  I actually wasn't allowed to buy the mix.  It went something like this:
"If you make it, I end up eating it all"
So to be supportive, I just sampled the pumpkin bread with chocolate chips at the sample station (three samples, I'll come clean).  That counts as enough for a pumpkin report out, right?

Last year I bought three boxes to stock up.  I do really like it, but love 2 recipes: one from his mom and the other from my mom.  Clearly, moms are good at homemade pumpkin bread.  I may have to make so I can report back with the recipe!

And I'm off to Maryland on Friday for Sarah's wedding!  Lots of picks to come, will be a great weekend with some very very good friends.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Apples Are Fall

It couldn't get any more "fall" than bins of apples.  I grew up in Ellington, CT.  We apple picked all the time, riding the tractor up to the orchard (or just walking), and filling a tote full of apples.  As it became September, then October, new varieties were ready for picking.  I took it for granted, apparently, because people spend hours trekking out to NJ or Westchester from the city for the same experience.  Just more crowded.  Good 'ole Johnny Appleseeds.  I think some of the orchards have become developments and it's not quiet the same experience, but good memories.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Pumpkin: Pumpkin Doughtnut @ Doughnut Plant

Our Sunday mornings usually start with a walk to the Doughnut Plant on 23rd Street, where we pick up our doughnuts.  Then we head over to Lavazza at Eataly for coffee (and our doughnuts).  If you remember on Friday during my pumpkin macaroon post, I mentioned that I really hoped they were making pumpkin doughnuts.  I actually checked the menu on Saturday, but no luck.  

But as we approach the store, I see the sign...
And it's confirmed inside when I see the display case and the girl is putting up the flavor signs...
I'd say it was more of a overall fall "spice" with notes of pumpkin, cinnamon, and goodness.  There were some toasted seeds on top of the glaze, which were delicious.  Overall, a good way to start my day.  I like the yeast doughnuts.  Nice and light, with a sweet glaze.  I may have to give the pumpkin cake doughnut a try, that might be more of the pumpkin I was looking for.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Madison Square Eats, Get There Soon!

In the fall, the pedestrian area near the Flatiron Building and Madison Square Park becomes a little festival of foods.  For about a month, vendors sell their goods.  And people like me buy them to eat.  For the most part, it's all food and beer, but the spice table was too colorful not to capture.   Marimekko also just moved in next to Eataly, so they must have provided the umbrellas.  I recognize the print.
Both trips involved just wanting a snack as we were walking through.  Two weeks ago, we stopped for a vegetarian bun from Hong Kong Street cart.  Today it was a snack on the way to Restoration Hardware and ABC Home in Union Square.  We've had the pretzels from Sigmund at the cart outside of the Met, today we tried the Truffle Cheddar.   Sigmunds is in Brooklyn if you want to visit the original location.
I love the activity, the people eating, sitting in the pedestrian friendly area...but you better head there this week.  It closes up this Friday.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Pumpkin: Macaroon

I love October because I think it gives me a license to eat all things pumpkin.  Cookies, candy, drinks, muffins, bread.  Anything.  So lets get started with the pumpkin items!

I just started out on my pumpkin eating adventure today.  I was supposed to make Attempt #2 to Lauderee for the macaroons today (look back at Attempt #1 in September).  But the threat of rain stopped AK and me in our tracks, and we just walked a few streets to Macaroon Cafe. 

So cute!  I mean, I've been here before for lunch.  But was reminded how cute it is.  And they had pumpkin macaroons.  So of course I had to get one.  Just the right cookie and amount of filling.  Not too sticky or gummy.  So doubly delightful treat today:  pumpkin AND the start of our official macaroon tasting adventure (not that I wasn't already on one, I will always eat one given the opportunity.  

What I'm really waiting for is the pumpkin donut at Doughnut Plant.  Please make one for me.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Zoe's Chocolates

In September I was at my friend LC's for Sarah's bridal shower.  I was lucky enough to be there when she opened the box of chocolates she received as a thank you gift.  I proceeded to taste a few from Zoe's Chocolates of Waynesboro, PA and Frederick, MD.

There is really nothing I have against any chocolate.  Sweet and creamy, salted, filled....I'll pretty much eat them all.  Too dark and I'm not as excited, but I'll eat it.  
But Zoe's were really very very good.  I honestly think I could have devoured the entire box.  Zoe comes from a long line of Greek chocolatiers, and the business is still family run.  Sarah has a special connection to Waynesboro as this is where her husband-to-be hails from.  You can find them in Whole Foods in MD and select stores in other states.  As a side note, I like how Whole Foods will feature local brands.  Not that I've ever bought a Mast Brothers chocolate bar from Brooklyn (where they literally sailed the cocoa beans from South America on a sail boat, I'm not kidding).

She makes lots of yummy flavors like pomegranate, honeycomb and orange flower.  Thank you, Sarah!  I will see you soon for the big day!

Monday, October 10, 2011

More caramel sauce.  What's wrong with that?  I picked up this litte jar at the Hester Street Fair earlier this summer.  After sampling a few flavors, I picked up the Chai right from the the owners of the business.  They use the same basic ingredients in all of their caramel:  organic cane sugar, organic cream and butter.  Herbs and spices come next.  And it's made with love in Brooklyn.
It was tasty, especially warmed and over ice cream with Morello cherries.  My favorite way to eat caramel sauce these days.  I'm a huge fan of the Fleur de Sel from TJ's, but this was a nice change.  It was a little spicy.
Check out their site:  Herbin' Spoonful  and catch them at the Hester Street Fair.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Last Summer Fruit & Bees

The weather is beautiful and it's shaping up to be another nice day.  Just some grapes and fruits from the Greenmarket.  There were bees swarming all over the Concord grapes, so make them a tough sell.  But maybe a selling point.  It means they are super sweet, right?  If you look closely, you can see the bees all over the grapes.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Breakfast in Mad Sq Park: Doughnut Included

My really big pink doughnut from Doughnut Plant.  Today it was fresh Raspberry.  Mmmmm.....We picked up our doughnuts, continued on to Lavazza and found ourselves a table in the pedestrian area near the Flatiron building.  The weather this morning reminded me of mornings in California.  Cool.  Nice.  We watched the tourists, watched the dogs in the dog park, and sipped our coffee.  Perfect start to the weekend.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Olive Oil: A Familiar Face in a New Place

Last night I mentioned we were in Eataly (for a fresh loaf of bread).  We were browsing the aisles of olive oil, talking about how hard it was to pick.  We we schooled in the under notes of grass and pepper from the sales person at O&Co last year.  Well, what do you know, he was at Eataly doing a little sampling!  I recognized him from the glasses.  Nicholas Coleman did a few classes for Mario Batali, and apparently created his own role at the mega Italian store/restaurant.  He is the official Olive Oil Specialist.
He told us they have great oils for half the price at O&Co, and you don't need the $7 spout they sell (thanks, we bought one).  These are all Italian olive oils, from a variety of regions.  We tried a great oil that starts out grassy and ends with a nice peppery finish.  It's bold, I guess you could say.  And is great with bread.  So we decided it needed to live at home with us.  
Nicholas runs a class at La Scuola di Eataly.  He takes you on an Italian tasting tour of oils, and you sample some dishes cooked/made with the oils.  Something I'd definitely consider in the future.  

Monday, October 3, 2011

Panettone Time, Already?

We were in Eataly this weekend, and I saw the display.  I read the sign.  Can it be true, is one of my favorite holiday treats already back in stock?  It seems so early, I was just about to embark on my Diet of All Things Pumpkin for the month of October.  Panettone might have to wait a month, but I do love the way the Italians think (see sign below).
A recap of Eataly Panettone from last year:  December 2010 Post
And my sampling of other brands:  More Panettone


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