Tuesday, June 30, 2009

weekend fun with the birthday boy

Lately, one of the reasons I most enjoy the weekend is because I can spend the entire day with the boy rather than a few hours here and there between our working schedules.

Last Sunday I drove up to PK for a visit. Before I left I fueled up with a "Green Monster" a la Angela. Mine included 3 huge handfuls of kale, 1 banana, 1/2 cup of blueberries, a tbsp of almond butter, and 2 tbsp of flax. Yummmy and quite filling too. My new blender is amazing, I have got to show you :).
What beautiful weather we had... perfect for a car show ;). There were some awesome rides there!

Quite impressive, don't you think? My car knowledge is about nada but my boy was totally in his element, it was so cute :). I did enjoy myself though... until the end, when the beating sun and my grumbling tummy had finally gotten to me. I needed food and once I get to that point, there's no turning back.

A few long moments later we found ourselves at Gigi Trattoria for "Hudson Valley Mediterannean." The place was adorable with a nice sidewalk seating area but I didn't notice at the time. Immediately upon sitting down I ordered water and checked out their spectacular menu. Seriously people everything sounded amazing, but maybe that was my hunger speaking ;). We began with two delicious appetizers.
Fried Calamari and Eggplant for him and Gazpacho for me. I seriously have been dying for some cold soup lately and this hit the spot by far. It was absolutely incredible, perfectly spicy and wonderfulyl refreshing! I just loved it. And after that I was set, feeling oh so good and happy again. Then "My Girl" came on to the restaurant soundtrack and my day got even better. Just see for yourself:

Ha, I love that song and I seem to act silly when I hear it ;) that is, until eating got in the way of singing. (Hopefully the video works now so you can properly laugh at me, sorry to the earlier commenters.)
Scrumptious! As our main course we split our Gizzi Skizza Mama, a flatbread pizza with asparagus, vidalia onions, fontina, and truffle oil. By the way, just for accountability's sake my half of the pizza was five slices... and his was three :). Hope you're enjoying your Tuesday darlings! And if you get a chance, please wish the boy a happy birthday, he turns 22 tomorrow!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

working woman

That's me :) I'm working the hours of a full-time job so as I've mentioned before I never have much time to cook .or much patience to do so when I'm feeling hangry... that means that 9 times out of 10 I need to be raw meal ready and stat.

Thursday evening my mom noticed that we had quite a few nearly overripe avocado, the ideal guacamole-making situation. Using her classic and incredible recipe (which I'll be sure to provide later if you're interested) she created another huge bowl of Mom's Guac and graciously left me half of it alongside a salad her and my dad had eaten earlier in the evening. By the time I got home from the train station my amazing dinner was already served... that's one perk of living with my parents :).

I was a nice happy-full when I finished this bowl that I've got to say was big, huge even, but I'm not sure that you could tell from either of these pictures. Also, there are two because I couldn't decided which looked better, with flash or without. What do you think? Anyway, onto more random things! If anyone of you have worked in the publishing field you know all too well that PR people are wonderfully generous.

This past week, for example, I tried the Spooky S'mores Z-bar. At first I really enjoyed the taste, it was like a yummy treat, but as I got further into it I could taste "fakeness." Although it is made with wholesome organic ingredients, there were much more than that in the Lärabar and Pure Bars that I've been snacking on. These bars are a better choice than making s'mores everyday but I wouldn't buy them myself. Nonetheless, I appreciated the sample because I had forgotten to pack an energy snack before our office workout at Equinox and the bar fueled me right through.

Speaking of exercising, check out these bad boys! I haven't been running very consistently lately but my new Acoustibuds were enough to get me out the door and on my way, jamming the entire time. I've found that the standard iPod earbuds were constantly falling out of my ears so while I was abroad I mostly stuck to running without music. I think my inner ear is oddly formed or something ;) even so, these little grips are comfortable, flexible, and keep me connected to my musical motivation. I highly recommend them.

And that's that. Kind of a random mix of updates in the my life. Above, you'll see my final use of Mom's Guac, once again over a salad, and this time eaten at my desk during my lunch break. I usually do leave the office to sit outside or take a walk at least once a day but the weather (muggy, cloudy, and rainy) has held me back from my fresh air enjoyment lately :(. On the bright side I just bought a new blender! Not that those two things are related at all, ha, but I thought I'd mention it. Happy Sunday everyone!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

the perks of being an intern

Good morning lovelies! Just a moment ago I woke up in one of the best moods, and, for the most part, I have you to thank for it! My gosh, when I sat down to write my post the other night I did it because I needed to and I thought that the feeling of relief alone made it all worth it... but I could not have anticipated how much better your comments and e-mails would affect me as well. Is it possible that I could have underestimated how amazing each and every one of you are? I think so! I was nearly brought to tears by how thoughtful, encouraging, and positively complimenting you were. I should reach out more often ;) but seriously, I should, because you, my dears, are apparently better friends than I ever could have hoped for. Thank you, thank you, and thank you again, it really meant and means so much to me.
This smile reaches even beyond me being thankful for you, however, because of the recent wonderful days I've had. 1) I attended a magnificent tasting lunch with the chef, restauranteur, author, and award winner, Michael Schlow. 2) I had a blast having Fitness fun in the new and exclusive Jukari class. 3) I assisted in shooting nutrition web videos for Fitnessmagazine.com with a fantastic registered dietician. 4) I had the pleasure and honor of meeting some of my favorite bloggies, including the ever-incredible Veggiegirl! 5) My best friend safely and finally arrived home today. So many reasons to smile :).
I don't want to overwhelm you with too much excitement, though, so I'd like to begin with number one. Before meeting the master himself I made sure to do some research on Michael Schlow (which you can read about in this post) but I could not have prepared myself for the spectacular meal, company, and overall experience that I had on your average NYC-humid Thursday afternoon.
I was one of the first to arrive at the craft's private dining room, and, let me just say right now, that the ambiance alone was absolutely gorgeous. I was surrounded by muted lighting, warm woods, heavy silver accents and soft music for the ultimate in comfort and class. Within a few moments I had met all the guests: two of his PR representatives, two people in publishing, one in broadcasting, and one of the most down-to-earth talented men I've ever met.

Water was distributed (it was only lunchtime) and the appetizers were promptly brought out. My favorite, above, was the Crostini of Chickpea Puree with Crispy Sopressata. The puree was similar to the obvious hummus but without strength the lemony tahini and was complimented by the red embellishments (crispy sopressata). It is at this point that I have to apologize for the unfortunate qualities of my photographs. I was allowed to snap away but in our small and intimate company did not have the nerve to turn on the flash. My apologies :).

Then we were led to the table where I was greeted with a beautiful menu and place setting. Yes that is my name up there followed by Fitness Magazine... I felt so special ;). Michael explained his fusion of Italian and French cuisines and his use of the freshest local ingredients he could find. We were able to look directly into his kitchen as he prepared our first course served alongside a delightfully dry white.

The Hamachi Crudo with Fennel, Ruby Red Grapefruit and Mint was a mind-blowing combination and it was from then on that I couldn't have been more impressed with this generous man. As we ate he sat and spoke with us about his restaurants Radius, Via Matta, and Alta Strada in Massachusettes and another Alta Strada in Foxwoods moving into a lighter conversation about his experiences in reality television.

For a brief moment the bad economy and it's effects on all industries came up and he was quick to offer his opinion, "No matter what our goal remains the same: to provide customers with the ultimate in service and dining experience, never skimping on the quality of yesterday."Our next course, a Homemade Chittara with Spicy Lobster and Fresh Peas was delicious although in an attempt to save my appetite I made sure to stop myself half way through the spectacular plate.

In our third course we were able to taste his classic low temperature cooking which certainly did result in "succulent, tender dishes." The Slow Roasted Rib Eye with Grilled Zucchini, White Beans, Black Olives and Tomato was too incredible for words... and I cannot remember the last time I wanted to eat meat, let alone ate it! I absolutely devoured half of the serving alongside our delicious glasses of Pinot Noir.

I had the best time, I wish every lunch hour were this good :). Afterwards I walked quickly back to the office but not empty handed. I had a gift bag filled to the brim with goodies: a complete press kit and baked goods that included biscotti, chocolate chip & macadamia nut cookies, caramel popcorn, and his homemade Italian Oreos with a sweet butter cream.

I also generously received his book, It's About Time, but I left it at the office so my boss can take a look at it. I will most definitely tell you all more about next week :). I could not believe how lucky I was to have been invited to one of those events and I still can't. As for the remaining numbers on my list of the latest happy things in my life I will tell you more about them as the weekend continues. For today I have to catch up with my best friend, have a French "ladies who lunch" meeting with my grandmother, and celebrate a very special 21st birthday of one of my childhood friends. Have a wonderful Saturday!

Friday, June 26, 2009

growing up big & strong

Why hello there, how are you doing on this gloomy NY Friday? I'm home from work because I'm not feeling too well :(. I've been fighting off this cold for a while now and it appears as though it's gotten the best of me today. Don't worry about me though :) with excessive rest, a touch of medicine and good food, hopefully I'll be feeling my quirky self again soon.

Anywho, I made a fantastic dinner last night! I chopped the remainder of my farmer's market spinach, (have to stock up on that tomorrow, there's nothing quite like it,) cauliflower, and zucchini (one of my favorite summertime veggies) and tossed it into a pan with EVOO and two cloves of garlic.

Delish, especially served alongside a shy baked yam. The weather hasn't been too nice, as I've mentioned, so I wanted something warm and comforting. A few hours later I curled up in front of the TV with peppermint tea, a square of dark chocolate, and the boy. What a perfect ending to a Thursday. We watched the Hurricane and half of Wall-E. Both are great movies, one more kid-friendly than the other :).

For now I'd like to share some magnificent freebies I've recently picked up from the giveaway table at Fitness. The first, a very large container of my beloved steel-cut oats. These are going to last me all winter. Wonderful :). Plus two new books! Being that the magazine is very much focused on fitness (obviously), nutrition, and health we get a lot of goods of the sort. I'm loving these perks!

The right one has yet to be released (it's a fun read about self-esteem and -confidence, look out for it,) however it's friend on the left, the Whole Foods Diet Cookbook, is. This fabulous book explains the importance of eating, you guessed it, whole foods as an introduction to a good-for-you collection of family-friendly recipes I assume any child would love.
Yes, I'm thinking about the kiddies again, enjoy the PSA and feel free to share your thoughts!
I haven't always loved healthy food as much as I do now but I never hated it. I suppose I actually have somewhat of a simple palate... I was raised eating Crispix or plain Cheerios for breakfast, having a piece of fruit with my packed lunch, and always enjoyed at least one vegetable at dinner. Since then I've obviously became more nutrition-oriented but I think it was my upbringing that made it so easy.

By the way this was lunch: a humongous salad topped with EVOO and lemon juice and the remainder of last night's yam on the side. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that all those vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants work their magic soon... I'm supposed to be babysitting tonight! Take care :)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

a slice of nostalgic paradise

Thank God it's (ridiculously early on the morning of) Friday! I apologize for my absence... I've been trying to post this for a while but blogger has had other things in mind. Ahem, technical difficulties. Anyway, a few days ago, my wonderfully thoughtful boyfriend met me after work and took me out for dinner at... Cafe D'alsace.
It was amazing. I was so happy to be surrounded by good Alsatian food, wine, and beer again! I felt right at "home." (Thank you again to my boy who found this place and thought to bring me here... you're the best.) I got the same thrill out of this culinary nostalgia as I had at the Chilean restaurant him and I went to in December, Pomaire.
Before we sat done I found this postcard by the hostess station. It's adorable, titled Tour de France and complete with a guide on the back listing French restaurants in New York City based on the various regions. I know I'd love to take it some day ;). The boy was starving, I was not, but we both began with a brewsky.

He had a dark Belgian lager. It was delicious, rich and creamy and it was called Delirium which is pretty cool in and of its self, ha.
Blonde beers are my favorite though, so I got a Chimay. It was perfect, light with a bit of sweetness and a lovely reminder of my semester in France. Living in Alsace I really developed an appreciation for great beer... kind of like my wine appreciation from Chile ;).As an appetizer we split a tarte flambée. I was super excited about this one because it is such a staple for college student in Strasbourg. Sadly, I found that although tasty, it was far from authentic. The flour base was too crispy, the bacon pieces were too large, and the crême fraiche was just different. Good effort though, New York :) I greatly appreciate it.Next came the Soup du Jour, a creamy leek and potato soup topped with garlic croutons and dill. Heavenly, indeed.Alongside it I had an arugula salad topped with roasted red beets and tomatoes. I'm just loving the soup and salad combo lately, it's filling enough without being too heavy. Plus I can eat tons of veggie veggies! Perhaps I should give the boy some tips? ;) He had probably the most typical Alsatian dish on the menu, Choucroute Garnie, a casserole of sauekrat with sausages, pork, and potatoes, alongside spicy Dijon mustard. Bottom line is that he really enjoyed it, (he likes his meat!) and I suppose that's what matters after all. Dinner was perfect. And afterwards, on our way back to Grand Central, we enjoyed the summer night air with a stroll. We passed by countless adorable Upper East Side boutiques in doing so, like this one that apparently created many pieces for the Gossip Girl series. Pretty cool :). We also walked right past this interesting exhibit, Infinite Light, by Laurent Grasso at Hunter College. The phrase "day for night" is from American filmmaking but it was the purpose that struck me most. "Although we focus on the long term, it is the daily passage of time that cumulatively makes up a lifetime." That's one fantastic reminder if you ask me! Goodnight beautifuls!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Gosh, anyone else exhausted today? I don't know what it is but I've been looking forward to going to sleep again from the moment I woke up this morning! Even my energizing afternoon walk wasn't enough to keep me charged at work today. I was productive though, and happened to stumble upon one of my uploaded "articles" in the process. I put it in quotes because I didn't have much heavy writing but my work is officially live on Modelinia. Check it out, I like seeing my name ;).
In other news, I tried kale for the first time today... and loved it. I made a reformed massaged kale salad for lunch and, although my mom teased me about massaging my farmer's market greens, she admitted that it was pretty delicious as well :). Here's my method :
  • Wash a bunch of kale and five large spinach leaves (to offset kale's bitterness, just in case.)
  • Chop the greens into small pieces and throw them into a large bowl.
  • Sprinkle in a tablespoon (to soften the kale), squeeze the juice of a half a lemon, and drizzle 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil onto the kale and spinach.
  • Cut an entire avocado into small cubes and add to the bowl.
  • Get to work, you masseuse you, for at least two minutes. The salad should shrink to nearly half it's original size.
  • Allow the freshly-tender greens to sit for another few minutes as you prepare a couple of other raw vegetables to add to the salad. I chose yellow pepper, zucchini, and onion.
  • Toss the greens with your additional raw veggies in a new bowl and... bon appetit!
Another less new raw food favorite (although badly combined) meal of mine is sushi. Last night I enjoyed a few pieces of three rolls: California, salmon, and red snapper alongside sesame broccoli in soy sauce that I made beforehand. I also had a nice glass of pinot noir from this birthday bottle that my best friend gave me. I would assume that white wine would technically pair best but my parents and I prefer reds. No matter what, wine and food is one of the most wonderful treats ever. It's enough to make any regular meal special, a fact that the French and Italians seem to know well. Hopefully it catches on here too ;).
This just in! If the whole med-school doctor thing doesn't work out, the boy is considering becoming a city bus tour driver. His inspiration? A kiddy ride. I'll let you enjoy that :) my bed is calling. Sweet dreams!