Monday, July 21, 2014

on my weekend in pictures.

you guys! i'm back! the world rejoices. i was emailing a bit with a blog friend (you know who you are), and she perfectly summed up that summertime, and all it's fun activities, leave a little less time to blog. and i agree. i love having a record of what i've done, but if i'm spotty, i'm spotty. oh well. i'm still here though, promise!
this weekend was a quintessential brooklyn summer weekend, which means we went to coney island. i also made buckwheat pancakes before our sojourn to crazy town, as you can see in the appetizing picture below where they look like huge black hockey pucks. they tasted great though, so i promise you it's just in looks that they stink (and i used this recipe). i'm already looking forward to making some more next weekend.
through an amazon deal, my mom scored brian and i some cheap tickets to the brooklyn cyclones game (a minor league team for the mets), so we made a day of it with my cousin, glynis, and tina. coney island is always an adventure - the people, the rides, the food. the cyclone remains my favorite roller coaster, ever, since i'm partial to wooden roller coasters and it's just a classic thrill, and we also rode the steeplechase and the soarin' eagle, just like last time. i can report back: still good. with some time to kill we decided to venture a few blocks off the boardwalk to go to a pizza place, totonno's, and suffice to say we had one of the more bizarre experiences of our lives. i don't even know if i can tell it properly (you kind of had to be there), but the place is known for having staff that's a little cantankerous. ok, that's fine. and there's often a line outside to get in. that's also fine. what we didn't expect was for the line to be so hostile. we were joined in line by a few other couples and they made it clear that they were unhappy there was a line, and there was so little information on the wait time. people were going in and asking questions, coming out and giving reports on what tables were eating and what tables weren't eating, an old man thought that a young lady thought he tried to cut in line and he started screaming "I DID WHAT YOU COULDN'T DO! I ASKED THE QUESTIONS YOU COULDN'T" i mean the guy was screaming like we were in a war zone or something. when i asked her if she was ok she icily told me "I'M A NEW YORKER" and can take care of herself - i guess an old podunk like me from kansas just came off wrong. this young lady also started to rearrange tables inside so couples could share a table, larger groups could get their own table, and she asked for everyone's input before she got management's blessing. because i guess she thinks she can manage the restaurant better? i mean people, it was bizarre. we probably waited ten minutes in line, just ten minutes (!),  and these people acted like they had never been to a restaurant or stood in a line before. we were the most laid back people there, which is saying a lot because that never happens. the line was capped off with a young lady asking me if they were taking names for the wait list, i responded they would come out and just see she was new and take her name then, and she yelled "I COME HERE ALL THE TIME, I KNOW HOW IT WORKS" then why did you ask? so. much. hostility. all in this tiny little line. mercifully, we were soon called in. rest assured - they are better places for pizza in  new york, and better places to wait for pizza, too. i realize that's all rambley and makes no sense, but guys this shit was cray. we spent the rest of the night re-living those crazy town people and laughing until we couldn't breathe.
we ended the night with a beer at the cheapest rooftop bar in nyc, that is right on the ocean, so score one for coney, then the baseball game, followed by a classic nathan's hot dog. and finally, in the ultimate twist only new york could pull off, we rode the subway back with some very loud people, the kind of people you remember because you listen to their whole conversation, who happened to get off at our stop. the next morning i had to wake up early and get to penn station and when i got there, who to my wondering eyes should appear - one of the young ladies who rode the train with us late in the night. suffice to say, it looked like she had a rooooough night, and i was shocked by how small and fateful this world can be. of all the gin joints in the world...
thanks for a crazy weekend nyc. keep it up.

Monday, July 7, 2014

on my weekend in pictures.

oh my weekend. my long, long weekend. i hope everyone had a lovely fourth - per tradition, brian and i headed south to charlottesville to spend time with my parents (and at the pool). it's one of our favorite traditions, and i look forward to it far, far more than i should. luckily for us our little regional flight to charlottesville was cancelled, and we refused to be rebooked the next day, knowing it would be cancelled again (thanks arthur, and yes, it was cancelled again). thus began a long night where we hopped a train to BWI, where rental car counters are always open, and made the three hour drive to charlottesville, getting in at 4 AM. did i mention how dedicated i am to this trip? i thought so. the next day we spent napping at the pool, however, and that is definitely the best way to recover from a long day (and night) of travel. over the weekend we did the things we always do, without fail - lounged by the pool, ate at some favorite restaurants, enjoyed the fireworks, enjoyed the vineyards, fired up the grill, made s'mores, slept to the sound of complete silence, enjoyed central air conditioning...it was, and always is, grand. virginia, and charlottesville in particular, will always be so special to us for a multitude of reasons - so nice to be able to go back, relax, and enjoy all summer has to give.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

on my weekend in pictures.

last weekend was the best! i feel like i keep saying this but it's summer - good weather and lots of sunshine means after a week of sitting in an over-airconditioned office, i'm happy.
this weekend brian and i did a bit of exploring by visiting a new brewery in brooklyn called the other half. they make very delicious and distinct beers, and the $5 flight tasting was enough for us to be...um...laid-back, shall we say. to put it nicely, i suppose. if you're looking for a brewery with more flavor and something different, come here. it's definitely not our last visit. andddddd...since we were a short walk away from the restaurant and bakery that we recently discovered have the best meatballs and cannolis (just a few weekends ago) we thought - well, i guess we should go and have some meatballs and cannolis!! we also had a slice of sausage pizza and wine because hey, it's the weekend and i'm gonna have me some fun. but don't worry, heathens we may be, we still made it to saturday night mass...before we went to go have more pizza and wine. it's like on the weekends we are possessed by beings that will only eat pizza and drink wine. i'll take it.
and finally, sunday. ohhhhhh sunday. what a glorious day you were. the weather was perfect, we had a low-key picnic in the park with tina surrounded by wine and bread and salami and artichoke dip and mozzarella and tomatoes and maybe cannolis again? we are creatures of habit. we live right next to a park and we fully took advantage of it on sunday and it was perfect. you know what was also perfect? the random guy doing various yoga poses, most importantly the 'child pose' , at which point an errant beagle went up and sniffed the man's bum. the owner was mortified, we died of laughter, and yoga man had no reaction. wish you guys had been there, it was pure comedy. and then tina and i ended the night at a favorite italian restaurant across from the park when brian went to go watch the world cup - have i told you lately that i love italian food? have you picked up on it? yes?
hope you had the best weekend, and ate at least one cannoli.
 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

on my weekend in pictures.

this past weekend brian and i went out to shelter island to celebrate his birthday (happy birthday, b!) i found a deal online for a hotel by the bay, and it would take only a train and a ferry ride to get there. no planes or cars? we're in. what we weren't in for was to to fall head over heels for this place. wow wow wow. shelter island a special place. a tiny island off the north fork of long island, it has zero stoplights and encourages a laid back kind of life. while the weather wasn't perfect when we got there, it didn't rain, allowing us to take some bikes to a local b.y.o.b. seafood restaurant (that serves the best fried chicken and smoked ribs, to boot), and end the night with some red wine around our hotel's fire pit. saturday was decidedly nicer weather, which we started off with a breakfast sandwich at a little countertop tucked inside the local pharmacy, and ended with a few laps of paddle boarding before watching the sun set. sunday we soaked up as much as we could from the day, ending our stay with a glass of rose and oysters at a bar that sits right on the bay and right next to the train station. perfect.
going to shelter island was like taking a step back in time and a big, deep breath - it's remoteness (yet still easy to get to!) and laid back attitude is really something special (if you're looking for a local honeymoon, this is it.) i can't recommend this gem of a place enough - brian and i are truly hoping we make it back before the end of the summer. if you ever find yourself in greenport, the town that you take the train to and board the ferry, or shelter island, let me know - i have lots of recommendations for you. i have honestly never been somewhere quite like this - i'm sure some new england towns come close - and i can't recommend it enough. consider us smitten.

Friday, June 13, 2014

on a summertime sauce.

one of my favorite flavors, particularly during the summer months, is lemon. from pies to pasta and everything in between, i find it hard to resist a dish when lemon is involved. as we are still - STILL - without cooking gas (three months baby), this was also a simple dish i could make on our hot plate. what a life.
i looked over quite a few recipes and i liked this one the best. i also found one using yogurt, but some comments mentioned curdling once it was in contact with the lemon juice. however, my interest was piqued - if it works for me i'll share the low fat version of this here, too. for this sauce you don't need many ingredients - lemon, heavy cream, salt, butter, white wine and some pecorino (or parm) cheese.
as you start to make the sauce, begin to heat your water for the pasta. melt the butter in a saucepan and add your lemon zest. let this cook until it's sizzling, then add in your lemon juice, salt, and white wine. bring it back to a simmer, cover for a few minutes, then whisk in cream.
stir it occasionally, letting it cook until it reaches a thickness and consistency you like. keep the sauce simmering as you cook your pasta, then drain the pasta and toss together, adding the freshly grated cheese and a little reserved pasta water if necessary to loosen the sauce. my sauce wasn't as thick as i would like (but i can't wait all night for the damn hot plate to cook it), but tossing it with the cheese and pasta while keeping the burner hot helped thicken it right up.
a lot of the recipes i saw added some veggies - peas, argula or spinach that wilts when stirred in, topped with chopped tomato, etc. this sauce is a great base, feel free to personalize however you like with whatever may be in your kitchen.
season before serving (i like a lot, A LOT, of black pepper), then enjoy! i look forward to making this a few times this summer, it was great.
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