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July 21, 2014


a recipe and a trip to Belvedere Castle

on the 4th of July I made these pretty amazing things. they’re essentially peanut butter & chocolate no-bake bars, with a saltine cracker base. i found the recipe on Food 52; it was a Community Pick winner. (great community-contributed recipe website, by the way, moderated by former NYTimes Food Writer Amanda Hesser). they turned out delicious and make a ton, so I had to share. it’s been a while since i’ve shared a recipe here anyway so it was about time :) 

the only note I would make is that the recipe calls for an amount of chocolate that just felt like too little to cover the entire pan, so I doubled my chocolate and it was just right. plus, I like the chocolate coating a little thicker on top so the additional chocolate amount was perfect. ENJOY! 

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something that i’ve wanted to do is go check out Belvedere Castle in Central Park. there’s nothing entirely special about it but it just felt weird that I’ve lived here almost 7 years and had never been. so, on a lovely Saturday Clif and I wandered into the park and spent a few minutes giving it the once-over.

I am realizing now we didn’t take any pictures of the exterior but you can see it here. it was built in the mid-1800’s and now it’s just used as a weather tower and is home to the NY Meteorologist society. there’s all sorts of bells and whistles at the top of it and when you see on the news that "it’s currently 85 degrees in Central Park," you can know that they’re taking those readings from right here at Belvedere Castle. 

verdict: not all that exciting so don’t go out of your way to see it. but if you find yourself next to it, take a few minutes to enjoy the nice vistas from the top. 

^^just enjoying central park and making a flower crown. flower crowns are so in right now, aren’t they? Clif just doesn’t understand. (ps. don’t Clif’s new sunglasses make him look like FDR? I just really think so :))

^^oh you mean not this kind of flower crown made out of weeds? whatever!

^^lucky 4-leaf clover found in Central Park!^^

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good eats central park belvedere castle flower crowns

July 16, 2014


TOTALLY.
cute series of “Summer is…” answered by famous chef’s on Tasting Table. 
mine would be similar to this, but…. something more like: sun on bare shoulders, cool breezes, bike rides, swimming pools, coronas with a lot of lime, burgers, corn, berries and ozark sunsets. ahhh yeah!

TOTALLY.

cute series of “Summer is…” answered by famous chef’s on Tasting Table

mine would be similar to this, but…. something more like: sun on bare shoulders, cool breezes, bike rides, swimming pools, coronas with a lot of lime, burgers, corn, berries and ozark sunsets. ahhh yeah!

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July 13, 2014


that one time i graduated from culinary school

well, a few weeks ago i graduated again. from culinary school, that is. didn’t know i was even in culinary school? well, i was. for almost a year. one of the best years of my life, too. so thankful to have had this opportunity. the things i’ve learned and experienced and the group of friends i made while doing it all is so priceless. we truly became a family and i miss these folks like crazy already. 

the “graduation” was really just a small celebration in one of the classrooms at ICE (Institute of Culinary Education). a speech was made (by me), there were lots of good eats and drinks, some awards were given out and it was a neat opportunity to meet everyone’s family and friends. a speech? you might be asking. well, yes. before we graduated our teachers told us someone typically gives one but no one in our class was feeling particularly led. so, i suggested we all collaborate on writing one together and i would read it. everyone gave me two or more sentences about our time together this past year and i worked them all together. miraculously it all flowed together quite amazingly. it was fun to read it and have everyone know that we’d really all taken part in writing it together - it felt like an appropriate close to our time as a class (i will paste the speech below, if you care to read). 

^^not a great photo but this is my wonderful class. there were nine of us and i love every single person in this photo. everyone is so different and creative and driven in their own way. i look forward to seeing everyone step out in their own ventures soon!^^ 

^^i felt honored (and slightly awkward) to be awarded the “top student” award, which was voted on by my classmates and teachers. two other awards were also given out - Leadership award to Shawn and Most Likely to Succeed to Dyanne, who already has her own pastry business and makes the most amazing desserts! 

^^Nandie, Sam, me and Dyanne 

^^with Julian, my french friend & fellow Harlem-dweller. 

^^with Marian and Shawn. 

^^this is Brian, our amazing teacher. we had another teacher, Alan, who was also wonderful and sadly couldn’t be at our graduation. Brian is such an amazing guy who’s a true fixture in the NY restaurant scene. he’s been a chef, worked everywhere in NYC and France, and has his own restaurant consulting firm. we learned so much from him and he is hilarious on top of it all. (seriously he used to also do stand-up comedy in NYC in his earlier years) 

^^we were given a limited number of “tickets” to invite people to our graduation. most people who were local invited lots of family but I felt lucky to have my husband and my close friend Sarah Jo come and support me. 

^^another classmate, Joe. love this guy! 

afterward some of us headed to a nearby bar called Lillie’s for more celebration. it was such a special, fun night and i am so sad it’s all come to a close. this past year flew by…i remember thinking that my program would feel like an eternity but, now that it’s over, it felt like just a flash. funny how the best things always go by too quickly… 

^^Katrina, Marian and I. these two girls are now some of my closest friends. so thankful to know them :) 

^^and here’s a photo I stole off the ICE twitter page. love these people!

speech below… 

The end of class marks the beginning of a new adventure in our lives. Interestingly, we are never limited to what we learn and know but we’re actually limitless in what we do with it. It’s been many years since I’ve been in school, so when I first started management class I was really scared and nervous. Now, 9 months later, besides learning a lot I feel like I have new friends for life. For three hours, three days a week, we sat in a classroom and learned. Learning consisted of a bit of ServSafe, some menu design, tons of financials, a bit of wine..well, actually tons of wine and pizza from Lombardis, experiencing the day to day activities of a staple like Le Cirque, Union Square hospitality group, delicious Malaysian food and a graduation dinner that we’d only be able to afford once we’re established. Great lessons, great classmates and even better teachers. After nine long months of stress, hard work and endless laughs, we became a family.

The real value in education comes when we truly test it out in the real world environment and adjust it to our benefit. Then, the seed of that knowledge can truly blossom into successful endeavors in the future. This course gave us all the knowledge and courage we need to pursue a career in this industry. We especially loved our outings, everywhere from going to see an indie movie about the restaurant business to dining at the fun and exciting Hakkasan. You are all an amazing bunch of people, with heaps of motivation, inspiration & courage. Unique individual’s, strong in character and a dream in store.  I am truly happy to be a part of this class and will miss each one of you even more.

We are a bunch of crazy nuts that fit well together. Speaking of nuts, how much cheese do you think we consumed this year? We learned that Marian loves a cheese called “explorateur” and can’t say her V’s. Julian loves his dumplings and hey, where’s the duck confit? Dyanne and Nandie kept us all fat and happy with their delicious confections throughout the year. Katrina is well on her way to becoming the next Danny Meyer and Shawn, what can we say? Except that our meals without your connections would’ve been dire. Joe has a heart of gold and we look forward to his future pig roasts and Sam, though she may be young, much courage and passion she can boast.

It has been an amazing nine months with you guys. I can’t wait for the time when I walk into your restaurant and we laugh about our rookie days.

Oh, and… When the pressure hits, sake bombs!

Three nights a week for 41 weeks, we met here in our room, number 602. We talked about our weeks, our dining experiences good and bad. We learned about some diseases that hopefully none of us ever have. At times we might’ve wondered if we would make it through, but here we are today, we’re all well on our way, and I know we would say that we’re a little bit richer from spending this time together. To our fantastic teachers, Brian and Alan, the experiences you’ve shared with us will stay with us for a lifetime. Brian’s jokes got us through, Alan’s stories… are they all true? To our wonderful teachers and a very special class, thank you for your friendship and congratulations to all of us, at last…

(Clif just testing the camera light but I kind of love this one of me and Marian <3)

Farewell, ICE. thanks for the memories! 

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institute of culinary education ICE graduation culinary school

July 12, 2014


our lovely 4th of July included lots of good friends on our rooftop, an evening on the cooler side, delicious pulled pork sandwiches and actually not seeing any fireworks and being okay with it. we had a low-key day and a relaxing weekend overall. thankful to have spent it with so many friends. 

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^^Brendon, Theresa, me, Clif, Christian and Chris. (Kate, Paul & Charlie left a little earlier)^^

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^^charlie bear loves doggies^^

on Saturday, July 5 Clif and I enjoyed an amazing meal at Wallse. the parents of one of Clif’s students gifted us with a meal out at their favorite restaurant. we’d never been here before so it was fun to get dressed up and try something new. the food was really outstanding and the desserts were even better. the restaurant was in the West Village so afterward it was just a quick walk over to the Hudson River where we sat outside for a while and reveled in the cool breezes.

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on Sunday we enjoyed a bike ride through our neighborhood and brunch with some friends on the upper west side. 

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fred says to tell you guys that he’s thankful for his freedom and also that he’s doing just fine. holler! 

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July 4, 2014


Happy Birthday, America!

a few weeks ago when Clif’s family was in town, we took a Saturday morning to go out to see the Statue of Liberty. in my time here I had actually never done this, so it was really cool to experience the statue close up and get to walk inside it up to the pedestal. they had free audio tours that you could take with you, which i found really informative.

we left via boat from battery park, which was crowded with tourists and really rocky, but the view of manhattan once we got out into the bay was amazing. 

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^^this cracks me up. this must be my these tourists are killing me face.^^

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^^finally off the boat and on solid ground on Liberty Island. ready to explore!^^

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^^super windy from the statue’s pedestal, as you can see^^

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it really was so moving to be so near the statue and to think about what this symbol meant to so many immigrants coming to the USA for the first time. the audio tour had some interviews with people who had come to New York by boat and seen the statue… I almost teared up hearing some of their memories. just that symbol of freedom and opportunity, and after such a long and gruesome journey by boat, for so many people and their families. that feeling of what seeing this statue meant to them is just so profound.

i found out that I had a few ancestors who came through Ellis island — we didn’t get to the Ellis island part but I look forward to going back and trying to find some of their names in the immigration books. so amazing! 

Happy 4th of July, everyone! 

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liberty island statue of liberty happy 4th of july happy birthday america

July 3, 2014


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(what I’ve read and enjoyed since January 2014) 

where’d you go, bernadette?

eating the dinosaur (short stories; very strange) 

the goldfinch (love, love, love so much)

salt: a world history 

love in the time of cholera (really tough read but forced myself through and enjoyed it in the end) 

divergent series (all 3…don’t judge)

the great gatsby (for the 7th time)

good to great 

I read a lot of non-fiction this past 6 months. that’s pretty rare for me but somehow they were the books that I was most drawn to. I think I’m diving back into some novels this summer. here’s what I have queued up next: Rules of Civility; Provence, 1970; The Interestings; The Hundred Foot Journey

Let me know what you’re reading, too! I am always looking for new books to add to my reading list. 

happy reading! 

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July 1, 2014


June 26, 2014


life as of late, according to iPhones

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we have been basking in the glory of summer and of finally being at home for more than 3 consecutive days. so thankful to have the bulk of our traveling and chaotic summer days behind us (just one more busy weekend to go…) 

we’ve been enjoying things like our rooftop, having friends over, morning coffee on our “patio” and a tiny bit of world cup soccer. in my culinary class we’ve been doing our wine appreciation section, and we had our graduation dinner out at Hakkasan. three classes left and i can hardly believe it. i cherish my classmates and our last 10 months spent together. 

some of our other good meals out have been at The Smile (with Clif’s sis and bro-in-law while they were in town) and at Minetta Tavern. helloooo, black label burger. additionally, we’ve already managed to hit up the Boat Basin twice since May so that feels like a win. my good friend Kristen was in town for a few days with her sister and cousins and I loved getting to see her a few times over the course of their visit. Clif had his final recital for some of his guitar students at Riverdale Music Studio two weekends ago and my big work event, our volunteer appreciation dinner for lots of people, was super successful. 

somewhere in the last 6 weeks i did manage to come down with strep and then get another virus in which my throat felt on fire and i needed to stay pretty much hopped up on advil 24/7. thankfully i am past that, i think with the aid of an immune booster which i proudly bought from a health food store called health nuts. i just felt healthier even being in that store so, placebo effect maybe… ?? all that to say, we’ve been going non-stop and it’s been a grand ‘ole time but i am thankful to have some days of rest and leisurely summer plans ahead of us. welcome, summer! 

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June 21, 2014


my brother’s wedding: Cary + Kelsey Rehearsal Dinner

we threw the rehearsal dinner down by the barn at my parents house. we’d never done anything down here before but my parents worked so hard all spring to clean this area up and it really paid off. it was such a beautiful spot and all the little details of this dinner, from the rustic barn, the lights in the trees, the hay bails with blankets draped on them, bbq for dinner and s’mores over an open flame, just made this a really special and fun night. 

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June 11, 2014


a blog post about the minutiae of life

this blog post is dedicated to those small moments that happen every day. the things that don’t usually get documented but are responsible for making the minutes fold into the hours…

thankful for pets and coffee and friendships and birthdays. for good food, chances to travel, muffins from neighbor’s mill and my funny husband. for tree swings with my mom, my yoga-lovin’ best friend and for that huge jug of laundry detergent that literally lasted us three years…

these are the small moments of life that make all the big, special and fun moments work. thankful for these things and so many more… 

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June 3, 2014


and so, with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, i had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.

f. scott fitzgerald, the great gatsby 

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June 1, 2014


all of the memorial-day-beachy things (aka Newport and Cape Cod)

our time on Cape Cod and Newport, RI was fantastic. the weather turned out to be just amazing, after an all-rain forecast was predicted. immediately upon arriving on the Cape we headed to the Falmouth Yacht Club, where we met up and had lunch with Brendon’s cousin and niece. eventually the Paik’s made it into town (Kate, Paul and our favorite little one, Charlie). Charlie was such a hoot in her little sun hat, she was so excited to be there and kept doing a little tap dance all over the place. it was the perfect backdrop to visit, soak up some sun and enjoy the views. 

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^^our hotel in Falmouth was directly across the street from this old school DQ that only sold ice cream. we definitely partook in a blizzard before leaving town, don’t worry. also, Kate had never had Dairy Queen so that was fun :)^^

that evening was Alice and Kyle’s wedding. i didn’t take my big camera so as not to be super annoying so I will include a few iPhone photos at the end of this post. their wedding took place outside on the water and the reception was held inside the Flying Bridge. Alice looked so beautiful and it was really special for some of our community group to be there. the reception was tons of fun, good food, major dancing and sweet toasts from their friends and family. 

the next morning we headed out for Newport, which was a short 1-hour trip from where we were. Newport is amazing and I had always wanted to take a trip there. I’d still love to go back and stay in a cute B&B there and do the proper Newport things, since we only spent the day. but I still felt like we got a good feel for this adorable town. 

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^^we had delicious lobster rolls, because…when in Newport, right? 

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^^this was Charlie’s first taste of lemon. SOO cute! she loved it.^^

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^^beautiful old church in Newport where JFK and Jackie O were married (interestingly enough on my birthday)^^

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^^the sweet Paik family :) they headed back a little before us since they had a little one they needed to get to bed at a decent time. i guess i understand ;) here we are parting ways and Charlie is trying to blow us all a kiss^^

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^^The Breakers was beautiful. this picture does not do it justice and the view of the ocean from right here was stunning^^ 

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^^had an awesome weekend with these three dorks: clif, brendon & theresa. brendon grew up outside of Providence, RI so we drove back to his parents house and stayed the night, which proved to be uber convenient.^^

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^^i guess this was a pretty self-explanatory sign^^

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…and yes, here I am doing my thing on the “cliff walk” in Newport.

iPhone shots (ps. Del’s Frozen Lemonade is a famous (& delicious) Rhode Island treat)

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happy memorial day (very belated) and thank you to all of our troops who have served and are currently serving for our county and the freedoms that we are beneficiaries of. 

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cape cod newport memorial day lobstah roll

May 29, 2014


a million things to do and no time to do it all…

we got back from our weekend on Cape Cod and Newport around 6pm on Memorial Day and enjoyed the rest of the sunshine that day offered by biking down to the grocery store and making a delicious salad that we enjoyed on our rooftop under the evening dusk of the holiday weekend sky. 

on Tuesday night our community group met to bid farewell to one of our members and favorite Opera singers, Tiffany. she is moving away to Wisconsin and she will be missed. here’s our silly group (with Tiffany in the middle). i am so thankful for these jerks…

last night my culinary class had a dinner outing to Laut, an amazing Malaysian food restaurant in NYC that’s the first of its kind to be awarded a Michelin star. the food was amazing, the sake bombs made me feel like a 22 year old again and the laughter and conversation around the table with friends who feel almost like family made me so grateful. new york has such a special way of doing that… of bringing together such different people and uniting them with a special bond that couldn’t be replicated elsewhere. 

ps. I definitely recommend Laut

tomorrow morning we have a 6am flight to Jackson, MS where we’ll go to take part in Clif’s best friend Aaron’s wedding. we’ll fly back on Sunday at 6am and then be in NYC about 36 hours before heading out (on another 6am flight) to Harrison on Tuesday morning. wowza!! bring on the coffees that I will most definitely need to keep me awake. but I look forward to it all — so much to celebrate and be grateful for!

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May 22, 2014


Chicago, you treated us well. First of all, your weather was amazing (which was a true surprise given the forecast predictions). Your food is fantastic (see below for where we ate/some recommendations) and the NRA conference was successful and fun! 

The conference, as you can see from one of the photos above, was massive. There were almost 10,000 vendors and the word “overwhelming” would not do justice in this case. After getting past the initial shock of the sheer scope and size of this thing, it was really fun to walk around and see what there was to see. At every turn there was free food to inhale (Coke had a full set-up with free drinks anytime you wanted them; Nathans hot dog’s were giving away full-size hotdogs, gelato stands and fro-yo machines abounded. On the last day we even found beer vendors giving away Stella…) and lots of “swag” to take, just for the fun of it. We came away with probably 12 stress balls, copious amounts of pens, tabasco samples, nutella samples, weird things like powdered peanut butter and a necklace with shrimp on it (see photo). The best prize of all, however, was the iPad air that i WON in a raffle from one of the vendors. amazing day!! 

Apart from the “free stuff,” we talked to tons of companies and came away with good ideas. We attended a few seminars that were interesting and saw a demo by Andrew Zimmern, which was really neat. 

Apart from the conference we didn’t have a whole lot of time. We managed to eat at Gino’s East, Mindy’s Hot Chocolate, Lyfe Kitchen, Bowtruss Coffee and Little Goat Diner. All of which I would recommend. We also stopped at Firecakes for a donut and tried three times to get a table at Frontera Grill, with no luck (such a busy, happenin’ place). Of course we found time to check out Millenium Park and pose in front of the Bean. On the last morning we wandered over to Neiman Marcus on Michigan Ave. where we found my mom a beautiful dress to wear for my brother’s wedding next month.

The most fun of all, of course, was just getting to be with my mom, brother and husband. We had so much fun just laughing, being silly and making fun of weird people ;) And breaking bread and sharing beers together, too. That’s always good. Thanks for a great weekend, Windy City! 

{as always, click the photos above to enlarge and see captions} 

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chicago nrashow2014 national restaurant association

May 21, 2014


hi guys, just checking in. how are you? 
we&#8217;ve just gotten back from chicago after a long weekend at the national restaurant association conference. it was an awesome experience and chicago is such a lovely town. we had some good eats and learned a lot. i have way more photos to share (+ i WON an iPad in a raffle! that&#8217;s a funny story) 
can you believe it&#8217;s already almost Memorial Day?! i am having a hard time wrapping my mind around that. two of our good friends get married on Saturday and we&#8217;re excited to head out to Cape Cod for that on Friday evening. more soon! 

hi guys, just checking in. how are you? 

we’ve just gotten back from chicago after a long weekend at the national restaurant association conference. it was an awesome experience and chicago is such a lovely town. we had some good eats and learned a lot. i have way more photos to share (+ i WON an iPad in a raffle! that’s a funny story) 

can you believe it’s already almost Memorial Day?! i am having a hard time wrapping my mind around that. two of our good friends get married on Saturday and we’re excited to head out to Cape Cod for that on Friday evening. more soon! 

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