Tales out of school…from the kitchen….
March 5, 2009

My sweet daughter gets home Friday for spring break…..”my last spring break “, she says mournfully….she graduates this year, so it is indeed,  the “last” spring break. And there are no great trips this year…in the past couple of years we have traveled en famille to Charleston, which I’ve written about here before….. Let me just say….I love that week, that we are all together in that lovely city. Love it. Great food, lots of fun…but let’s be honest, it is also a lot of money. Even if you’re cooking a lot, and we do, we eat out a couple of dinners, and with the house rental, food, blah, blah, travel…..it’s just a lot, you know?

So this year Cada and I are gonna Megabus it up to New York for two nights….we found a pretty inexpensive place to stay on a website I’ve never seen before…Antique Cafe B & B….rents apartments in the Chelsea/Greenwich Village/Sohoarea. And they’re renting them for quite a bit  less than the prices on the website. But for the same money as a hotel room, you get a one bedroom apartment…cute…wifi, flat screen tv, tiny kitchenette(NY style) with a separate living room. Looks nice, so I’ll let you know how it goes. It might be a real find, to have a little more room than a small hotel room. Especially with a daughter who likes to stay up LATE.

 Another time, and this one much more memorable, I asked her to put a roast in the frig, in the oven, for dinner that night. “Put it in about 4:00, and at 350 degrees, ok? Just salt and pepper it a little…. thanks sweetie “, says me.  She calls me about 4:30…”Mom, the roast is really smoking in the oven..” I assured her that sometimes meat did that when it is roasting, but she said “No I mean REALLY a lot of smoke is coming from the oven!” I asked her could she tell what the source of the smoke was…and she replied…”It’s coming from the stuff dripping onto the bottom of the oven!!”  That’s correct….she had not put the roast ON A PAN!  My girl. But as she pointed out, “You didn’t say to put it on a pan…you just said put it in the oven!”……..and that’s exactly what she did.

The perfect roasted chicken....a thing of glory...

The perfect roasted chicken....a thing of glory...

Otherwise, I’ll probably have my girl do some shopping and cooking for me next week…but I’ve learned to be quite specific with my instructions, after a few culinary mishaps. Once, I sent her to the store to get a small, whole chicken(a perfectly roasted chicken is one of the best things in the world). “Not one of the huge oven-stuffer chicken…the smallest chicken you can find.” She returned with….a turkey breast. She had mistaken it for…. a small chicken. My baby girl.

Lost jobs, lost dreams, and tears hit close to home….
September 30, 2008

Scary headlines in real life....

Scary headlines in real life....

My son… you know, the one who lives in New York and we borrow his apartment,  called me last night to tell me about all that had transpired at his office that day. He knew it was coming…I knew it was coming…they had all been told, that the company where he works would be “shrinking it’s way to profitability“.  That phrase always means one thing and one thing only…lost jobs, lost dreams, and tears.

Hey, it’s tough times everywhere, but no where more so than in New York right now…where some businesses will soon be called something else, others are waiting to see what happens with the government rescue plan.  The business where my son works is not a bank, but like many businesses which have investors…nervous investors right now…people want their money, their cash, their “liquidity”.

So about one-third of the employees, walked out the door yesterday with their belongings….and fortunately for him, my son was not among them. But the experience shook him to his core. How could it not? As one of many 20-somethings who have never seen any bad times…not really…watching over a hundred people getting their pink slips one by one marching into an office to get the news, is an awful, sobering experience that you never forget. And you hope you never see again.

He said that many people were crying…partly for a lost job, naturally,  but also because they loved working there…loved it. And no one really knows what’s ahead for the company. Will the cutback work? Will the company be sold? The road ahead for now for this company and many, many others is uncertain brambly path, through which we all have to find our ways. Together.  I hope we figure it out…and quick.

A Day In New York
March 25, 2008

Miss me yesterday on the news? No? Whatever….I was in New York for the day after a busy, busy Sunday…

The day started early….up before 5 am(soooooo much earlier than my usual start to the day) to catch a 6:30 train to the Big Apple. Photographer Chuck Cochran  met there at the train station…me, as usual, with only moments to spare. I really don’t liketo stand around at the airport or the train station, so  I try to cut it as close as I can, but yesterday….well, let’s just say it was good the Acela was a couple of minutes late. Still, all’s well that ends well, right?

sarnoWe were on our way to talk to Dr. John Sarno of the Rusk Institute at NYU…he’s 84, but  an energetic 84…and has written four books and countless articles about the mind-body connection…how our brains can often be the source of much of the pain we feel in our backs, and elsewhere. Chronic back pain, migraines, all caused by something going on in our brains. He was fascinating….that story will be on in May….I think you’ll find it quite interesting.

One of his patients was there to speak with us (also a fascinating interview), and Stephanie directed us to a  place for a late lunch…called Artisanal Bistro at 2 Park Avenue, and we were starving it must be saidmenu…as we hadn’t had much breakfast. Obviously my eyes are glued on the menu. Now, if you’ve never straggled into  a nice restaurant with a photographer and all his gear in tow, then let me tell you how it is. Perhaps something like coming in with 3 toddlers, or maybe a couple of bikers…..the looks from the maitre’d and hostess…ummm…kind of sideways glances as if to say , “Do we really have to seat these people and what will we do with all  their stuff?” Thank goodness for coatrooms, though Mr. Camera, which isn’t small, goes everywhere we do. (Expensive you know…it wouldn’t do to come back and report to the boss….oh, by the way, we lost the camera in New York.)

But we finally get to a table, plunk down in our seats and heave a big sigh, make Mr. Camera comfy, and look over the menu….if you like cheese, you’ll be in heaven, after all it is a fromagerie…says so on the sign. Endless cheese flights(groupings of cheese tastings, not  cheese flying through the air, thank goodness)…and on another day I might have had one…but today it’s just lunch. As beet lovers,(seriously what are the odds that two people at lunch would both like beets?), we both choose the beet, endive, walnut and goat cheese salad, and it is divine. Really, really good. I mean, if you’re gonna go to New York, the least you can do is have a nice lunch, oui?

Then we cab it back to Penn Station, haul the gear on-board the train(OK, Chuck did the hauling but I did hold the doors),catch the Acela back to Baltie…and I went to sleep, even listening to Kanye West on my nano. That seems impossible I know, but there it is. Shows what early rising will do for you.

January 29, 2007

I had a very….sisterly weekend…on many levels. Both of my sisters, Audrey and Jan, who both live in Alabama came up to the colder climes …usually I go there. But this time, we were also making a quick trip to New York, as my son had vacated his apartment Saturday night to go to a wedding. Free place to stay? Let’s go!!!! And we did, on the train , Saturday morning early…to the Big Apple where we proceded to walk our fool heads off. Only one of us truly had the shoes to handle that much pavement pounding….and I wasn’t that sister. Still we trudged through the Village, around Fifth Avenue, through H & M…Central Park. Audrey wanted to visit a place called Serendipity on the East Side, 60th Street, with famous frozen hot chocolate(location of John Cusack movie too).
We finally found it, but they told us the wait for lunch was an hour and half, so we put our name on a long list, and found a place for pizza across the street. About an hour later, we went back, and presto, our name was coming up soon, we were told. And about ten minutes later we were ushered upstairs by a nonchalant young man, into a little room, crammed with paintings and knickknacks and STUFF. Quaint. We weren’t really hungry by then, so we thought we would split one frozen hot chocolates($8.50 each), as they really are pretty big. But the people at Serendipity were more than prepared for cheap tourists like us. “I’m sorry but there is an $8.50 minimum per person charge. But if you get the Forbidden Broadway Sundae(chocolate Blackout cake, ice cream, hot fudge topped with shipped cream 13.50) and cup of coffee…you’ll be covered.” Now, we really didn’t want all that but, we had schlepped all the way there, and waited. Sooooo, we went for it. And I must admit, we did justice to it all. And there was much sundae envy in the room. All the tables surrounding us, ooohed and aaaaahed and demanded to know what was that big fudgy, cakey whipped cremey thing? Yes, it was absolutely delicious. Try it yourself…And the frozen hot chocolate, though a little overshadowed by the Forbidden Broadway Sundae, was really good. By itself, we would have appreciated it more, I think.
Enough about the food….we would have had a good time, no matter what. My sisters and I have always been close…..not like best friends as kids or anything, but we are great friends as adults. We all get along…ok, the occasional little snipe, but it’s always in good fun. They are the only people in the world I think I could move in with this very day, and be happy living with them. We are so much the same, just little variations on a theme. We laugh a lot, and know how the other will feel about something without needing to ask. Just a very comfortable….sister thing, you know?
And someone here at work, said, “That’s so nice…lots of sisters don’t get along, you know.” That is so sad to me….I can’t imagine not having my sisters around, or arguing with them. We just don’t do that. They left this morning for ‘bama…I miss them already!

Cupcakes anyone??
December 31, 2006

OK, after dinner in the West VIllage, join the crowd at Magnolia Cupcakes on Bleecker St. and 11th….you will almost always find a line, and it’s the only place I know that limits the amount of cupcakes you can buy. 12 to a customer please. But I only need a couple….delicious buttercream frosting mounded high…They also have Banana pudding, coconut cake, and other goodies but their cupcakes are the claim to fame. Take a few out, and don’t feel bad standing outside eating them on the street licking your fingers. Everybody else is doing the same thing.
But you should know, the same quality cupcake can be had here in Baltimore, on Fort Ave in Locust Point…The Baltimore Cupcake Company is in a cute pink building with black and white awnings…they make so many different flavors of real buttercream frosted cupcakes….and actually I rate them better than Magnolia Bakery. Seriously.
And if you have a birthday party or other special occasion, they will make for you a cupcake tree….with full size or mini cupcakes….You’d have to see one to appreciate how cute they are.

Cafe Cluny…great village dinner!
December 31, 2006

Greenwich Village I find an easier to handle part of New York…smaller, buildings not so tall, little streets. If you venture there….don’t miss Cafe Cluny…a cute little bistro at 12th St. and West 4th St. that feels like a neighborhood hangout. I had read something about it…so I booked a table for dinner…and you really should call for reservations, though many Village restaurants don’t take them.
This village brasserie is just….lovely really. All cream colors, pretty flowers at the bar…the wait staff knows their stuff and their food, and they’re friendly. This goes a long way with me. But the food is good too!
Had the beet salad with aged goat cheese….fabulous, especially if you like beets…for me it’s more like love. And for Pete’s sake, if you’ve never tried anything but a pickled beet, give roasted beets a chance. They bear no resemblance.
Like any self respecting bistro, they have steak-frite though the potatoes aren’t fries, and they are good. But the dish to order is the beef short ribs with foie gras…luscious reduction sauce, and the foie gras with it is just so decadent and rich…almost over the top, but not quite. I wish I had some right now!
The wine list is pretty much French, and you’ll be happy too know you can get a nice glass of wine for 8 bucks, maybe 9. Not bad for New York.