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

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Last Bike Ride of the Season: MS Bike Tour

At the finish, with about 6 Pure bars I picked up along the way
I had big plans to do the 50 mile ride this week, I felt up to it.  And then I was cold at the start and realized I had a bunch of things I needed to do before I head out to CT this afternoon.  So 30 miles it was, but a fast 30 miles around the perimeter of Manhattan and I finished in about 1:45.  The FDR and West Side Highway were shut down for us, and I was focused on pushing hard for a good time.

Inwood Park, near Columbia
Again, no rain this week!  Next year, mental note to remember the long sleeve shirt under the short sleeve one.   Now that I've done the two 30 mile rides with ease, ready to tackle something longer.   Next year.  I'm tired of the bike leaning against the wall near the door so want to take the tire off and store it under the counter for the winter.  The issues of a tiny NY apartment.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Free Foodie Things, Back at Gansevoort Plaza

It's the NY Food & Wine Festival this weekend.  We didn't plan ahead for any events I don't have E here to try wines (especially those at the $10 price point for a certain retailer).  So, we checked the schedule and opted for a few random pop ups to stop into on our way to lunch.  

First we stopped at the new Dream Hotel.  It's right behind the Maritime Hotel, is a new hot spot for celebs, and pretty nice inside.  The pool is above the lobby ceiling, so you can see through the glass holes into the pool.  We are definitely coming back here for a drink just to enjoy the space more.  I'm not sure you'll catch me hanging out at Ph-D, though.

Then we moved on to a discussion with old and new chefs.  I recognized Daniel Boulud immediately, so we sat for an hour and listened as they discussed the restaurant business.  This was in the same plaza as the Singapore Takeout I reported on 2 weeks ago.  It's always a go to for something new and interesting.  A nice space in the middle of the meatpacking.  You never know what might pop up here, especially in the fall.

Last was a stop back at the Dream Hotel on our way to the Greenmarket, and post lunch at Bill's Burger Bar.  Arianna is definitely all over the place these days.  I sampled a blueberry beet smoothy, watched yoga in the event space (too full from burgers to participate) and heard all about this guy's artisan bottled tea.

We were supposed to go to the Bronx Zoo with our Google Offers (have I mentioned they have some really good deals for some of our favorite NY places?), but with the threat of rain, we postponed that venture.  But we will make it, M. really wants to see the red pandas!


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