My cookie contribution.
My cookie contribution.
The victors! Grace for her shortbread with raspberry jam and Mary for her peppermint ganache tartlets. Yum!
The 4th Annual Holiday House holiday bake off!
My dad told me that he was sick of looking at the bowl of peas. Here a new picture. I’ve been on extended blog hiatus due to work. I’m considering coming back in time for the Fourth Annual Holiday Bake Off at work.
Maybe not the best lunch I’ve ever made myself.
Sandwiches and Shakespeare in Battery Park on a beautiful evening.
On Friday night Molly and I set out to partake in National Doughnut Day. We took the train to Chelsea, aiming for the famous Doughnut Plant. We were surprised that we had trouble finding it, despite having poked our heads in once before. It had been rumored that doughnuts were the new cupcake (this was before the NYTimes declared that pie was the new cupcake), but National Doughnut Day was the impetus we needed to get out and see for ourselves. We realized we had walked too far, but couldn’t imagine how we could have passed it; we expected that others would also we celebrating the holiday. Upon looping back, we found the place and a sad, sad sign:
The Doughnut Plant, it would seem, underestimated New Yorkers’ zeal for doughnuts. Heartbroken, we turned to Yelp, hoping to find a back up. And, similar to the doomed night of the cupcake that resulted in a late-night trip to Fairway, we learned that most bakeries close at nine. It was 9:22. Not to be thwarted, we wracked our brains. Where could we find something satisfy our dessert craving? Ah ha! Eataly! So off we went, only two blocks east of where we were and closer to the subway.
I had never been to Eatly at night. In the past I found myself there during prime tourist time, in the mid-afternoon on the weekends; Eataly felt quiet.
Molly opted for pistachio gelato, which was delicious and very pistachio-y.
I settled on almond mousse filled with dark chocolate. I hadn’t even tried it yet when this photo was taken. Clearly I was excited—and I was not disappointed.
We enjoyed our desserts in Madison Square Park and only got rained on as we went downstairs to the subway. We will have to get doughnuts another time.
How To Know if an Avocado is Ripe
Squeezing the fruit is a good way to determine its doneness—the flesh should yield to moderate pressure—but it’s also a good way to mistake a bruised avocado for a ripe one. To be sure, flick the small stem of the avocado. If it comes off easily and you can see green underneath it, the avocado is ripe. If the stem does not come off or if you see brown underneath it, the avocado is not ripe.
Here’s something I learned while Nick and I were on vacation: I could never really be a food blogger. I find it much too embarrassing to take photos of my food when I’m not in the comfort of my own home (or that of a close friend). The only photo I took of food during the week was this one:
This, clearly, I took on the airplane last night. Nick and I were thrilled to learn that alcohol on airplanes is much cheaper than it is in NYC bars. This half-bottle of decent Pinot Grigio was $11 and it was three glasses worth. I guess these are my true colors shining through: I will take a picture of what I’m consuming only if it’s a seriously awesome deal. But really, the personal-size cans of Pringles on this flight were like $5. We got the better deal.
In general I’m not huge fan of taking photos, preferring to experience the moment firsthand rather than on the screen of my iPhone. But I recognize that this is short-sighted of me, since I also know that I love having photos to look at later. Plus, there are my loyal blog followers to consider. So, as I did for last summer’s trip to California, here’s a photo essay of our trip to Colorado.
We flew into Denver and spent a night visiting with my aunt, uncle, and cousins. Here is Nick, my cousins, and their kids scaling a steep hill at Red Rocks, the beautiful outdoor amphitheater. This was an adventure in itself, seeing as my cousins’ kids are almost two and three and a half.
This is a high school graduation that we crashed at Red Rocks.
Ah ha! There seems to be a pattern when it comes to consumption-related photos: I take them when I drink! This was taken at the Avery Brewery in Boulder, where Nick, my cousin, and I sampled many beers for very little money (there’s that money thing again).
Then we went to Breckenridge, where we stayed at an awesome bed and breakfast and rented mountain bikes. This was taken after we pedaled up a mountain for a solid two hours. I am happy here because we had reached the top. Ten minutes later, though, as we rode back down, Nick looked back at me and asked, “Are you OK? You look terrified.” And I was. I thought I was going to break my neck navigating a bicycle down a narrow dirt path covered with large rocks and roots. It was not my bravest moment.
Here is Nick with helmet hair standing on the balcony of our room. Not a bad view, eh?
The next day we rode bikes again, this time on a mostly flat, paved road. Then we went for a hike.
Yes, Breckenridge is nice.
The next day we went to Steamboat Springs, where we hiked to the top of a waterfall.
And after dinner, we walked to the Botanic Park. (Not pictured: all the food we ate in between these two adventures. There was carrot cake.)
The next morning, after a positively delightful breakfast of Californian Benedict (poached egg, sprouts, avocado, tomato, Hollandaise, with potatoes on the side), we went to Strawberry Park to swim in the hot springs.
Then, we returned to Denver for a tour of the Great Divide Brewery and then dinner with my family. Yesterday we came home. Aside from realizing how much I dislike taking photos of what I’m eating, Nick and I also learned just how much we want to live somewhere with access to nature activities. Of course, figuring out how to manage this while remaining employed in New York City will be a feat.
Awesome vacation? Absolutely.
I don’t often have reason to go to Brooklyn. In fact, on the weekends, I admit to being one of those Manhattanites who says, “Brooklyn? Can’t get there from here.” But on Saturday work called me to a Brooklyn bookstore for an event. One of our authors was reading her latest picture book during story hour. I’m not going to complain about how, of course, neither the 4 nor the 5 train was running to Brooklyn, and how I had to trek over to the 2 and sit on the train for an hour, nor will I complain about how I had a terrible cold so the last thing I wanted to do was go to God-forsaken Brooklyn. Ahem. That’s not what this post is about.
I do a lot of babysitting. I used to think that I was pretty well acquainted with the average New York City parent. Turns out, I’m actually really only acquainted with the Manhattan parent. Or maybe I should be even more specific and say that I’m really only acquainted with the Upper East Side parent. I’m speaking only from experience, I should emphasize, but usually when I arrive at an apartment, I meet the kids’ mom. Dad is usually at work still, and I meet him only later when the parents come home. He’s always wearing a suit. The kids are always impeccably dressed—always. Oftentimes, they have better fashion sense than I do, and they’re like three years old. But on Saturday morning I encountered a whole new kind of New York City inhabitant: The Brooklyn Dweller. Saturday, it turns out, is mom’s morning off. With two exceptions, all of the kids were accompanied to the book store by their dads. First, let me tell you about the dads. These were not the loafer-shod, khaki- and sweater-clad dads of Manhattan. These dads, and I’m not making this up, were wearing an entirely different uniform: jeans, black hipster glasses, New Balance sneakers, and track and field sweatshirts from colleges like Bowdoin and Swarthmore. Each dad had messy, greasy-looking hair, giving him the appearance that getting his child to story hour and putting on his hoodie was as much as he could handle this morning. And the moms? One had short dark hair with bleach blond streaks and a nose piercing. The other was wearing baggy jeans and clogs.
Now the kids. These kids looked to me like kids should look. They didn’t look like they came straight from the Crew Cuts or Mini Bodin catalog. They looked like they dressed themselves: fairy wings, sparkly dresses, striped leggings, tights. Their hair, too, was messy. While I found the uniformity of the dads pretty odd, I found the kids strangely comforting. (When I was little my favorite outfits always included white tights and jellies. Remember jellies?)
I described the scene to my mom on the phone today. “Sounds like the Brooklynites are your people,” she said. I hadn’t really thought about that, but I guess she’s right. I do feel more at home with the sweatshirts and sparkly dresses and nose piercings than I do with the world of the khakis and picture-perfect kids. Oy. Does that mean we have to move to Brooklyn?