Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Work of Art: The Next Great Artist

Yes, I was a bit skeptical when I heard
BRAVO would be airing a reality art competition.
After watching episode 1 of the Sarah Jessica Parker-
produced series, all skepticism was gone. The
little doses of creativity and watching the artists'
processes are enough to keep me interested —
then there are always the personalities that
come into play with these types of shows.
Episode three was especially enjoyable as the
contestants created new book covers for
classic pieces of literature. Here is the
well-deserved winner of that challenge
(The Time Machine, John Parot). I just
wish Penguin had placed the BRAVO "strip"
somewhere less distracting.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


I just finished The Bucolic Plague last night
after reading most of it on the flight home from
NYC. What a hilarious and inspirational read!
Check it out and discover why I am a little
obsessed with tomatoes today.
Summer Tomatoes recipe via

Whether you use heirloom, beefsteak, or cherry, this simple dish is all about the tomatoes. Be sure to use the ripest ones you can find for the best results.

3 tablespoons extra–virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons malt vinegar
3/4 teaspoon packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt (preferably flaky sea salt or fleur de sel) 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 lb ripe tomatoes, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices
1 scallion, thinly sliced diagonally

Whisk together oil, vinegar, brown sugar, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Arrange one third of tomatoes in 1 layer on a large plate, then drizzle with some dressing and sprinkle with some scallion. Make 2 more layers of tomatoes, drizzling each with dressing and sprinkling with scallion.

Cooks’ note: Tomatoes can be sliced and dressed, without scallion, 6 hours ahead and chilled, covered with plastic wrap. Sprinkle scallion over tomatoes just before serving.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Goodbye NYC...

It has been an amazing trip.
Hope to see you again soon.
(image via London Editons)

Saturday, June 26, 2010

NYC Day 7 and only one full day left...

OK. We've been anticipating this the whole trip. Day 7
and it was time for a totally creative food experience.
Anthony Bourdain said Momofuku was one of the top 10
food experiences to enjoy before you die. We took his
word for it and had our first Momofuku moment last
summer. We simply couldn't wait for round two!
Honestly, I promise you cannot compare any dish to
anything you have ever tasted before. These are
geniuses we are talking about here. The following
details what we shared for lunch; every bite
unbelievable. I had the spicy pork sausage and
rice cakes with Chinese Broccoli and crispy shallots.
I know what you are thinking... Rice Cakes? Throw
away everything you know about them. These looked
like little delicate marrow bones among the delicious
crumbled sausage and Chinese broccoli. They were
crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.
Texturely fantastic. Randy had the diver scallops
with xo, bok choy, and black garlic. Wow!
We shared two small plates as an appetizer --
the steamed pork buns with hoisin, house made
pickles, and scallions + the Newman's Farm BBQ
rib sandwich with pickled red onion slaw. For
dessert we shared a slice of Grapefruit Cream Pie (!)
and a Thai Iced Tea Parfait. Nothing ordinary
about anything here. Truly a dining treat.
Please visit if you ever have the experience.
The place is very casual and unassuming,
but filled with one surprise after another.
OK, I'll shut up now.
Another re-visit was The Strand. 18 miles of books --
rare, old, and new! If you are book lover, you could
easily spend hours here. Some great finds today!

I'd been reading rave reviews for Ricki Stern's new documentary, Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work, so I've really been looking forward to seeing it as I am a longtime fan. I knew it would probably be a long time before it reached my neck of the woods (if at all), so we decided to check it out while were were here. It is fantastic! If you turn up your nose at Ms. Rivers, I urge you to watch this documentary and not be converted. Now I love her even more!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Love, Loss, and What I Wore...

Just got back from the show. Love, Loss, and What I Wore
has a rotating cast, so we weren't sure who we'd be seeing.
Well, here is the cast we saw tonight.
Sherry Shepherd from The View,
Rachel Harris from The Hangover,
and Cobie Smulders from How I Met Your Mother.
Diane Neal (Law & Order SVU, 30 Rock) and
Penny Fuller (Tony-nominated Broadway actress)
also starred. Fun show. I've never been a big
fan of Sherry Shepherd (probably more to do
with The View than anything else) -- but she
was great tonight!

Another Beautiful Day in NYC...

What a way to start day six in NYC! We had
an amazing lunch at the beautiful Locanda Verde.
I had their Orecchiette with homemade duck
sausage, broccoli rabe, and piave cheese.
Randy had a ravioli filled with veal stock,
pork, and beef. The sauce was one of the
most velvety and truly flavorful tomato sauces
we've ever had. For dessert, Randy had
the Rissoto Dolce with strawberries and meyer
lemon sorbetto. I had the pistachio gelati.
We were both very, very impressed.
As we were enjoying our meal, guess who walks in?
Yes, that is Bobby Flay with the pink collar!
After lunch, the excitement, and a visit to the Guggenheim,
we decided to take advantage of the fantastic weather and
take a walk through a portion
of Central Park.
The Guggenheim was impressive, of course!

Randy is napping as I blog.
We're going to see Love, Loss, and What I Wore
tonight. Probably some more nightlife.
Maybe another late night bite!

NYC Day Five's Theme: Shopping + A Food Cart

We noticed Cortney, Bob, and the Novogratz kids eating
at Cercle Rouge on their Bravo reality show, 9 By Design.
We thought we'd give it a try for lunch. We sampled their
Monte Cristo and Croque Monsieur. Tasty.
Then it was time to start a full day of shopping.
First on the list, another Novogratz spot --
New York City's premier vintage clothing resource.
Photographs were not permitted, but let me
tell you it is worth the trip just to view all
the fixtures. Some brilliant lighting too!
(snagged this undescriptive photo from nymag)
An exterior shot of What Goes Around Come Around
(also via nymag).
Next, the beautiful Ochre. I love this shop's rough-hewn,
but serene aesthetic. I bought an amazing Tatine candle
from their Seasons of Enchantment collection. From
essence lot no. 9 comes Forest Floor -- earthy beyond
belief and smacking of mossy rocks, ferns, and rich dirt.
I love it! (image via nymag)
The next three photos are from a fantastic
little shop in the same area of Soho. Sorry
I forgot the name, but I can tell you it is a
female namesake. We spotted many items
we carry at Finderskeepers Market, but I
loved this chalkboard globe.
This unusual cabinet also caught my eye.
There were several of these wonderful
shadowboxed collage pieces.
The highlight of the day was discovering the
newly opened All Saints Spitalfields. You might
already be familiar with the All Saints website,
but if you are ever in the city you simply must
visit this store. It has to be one of the most
impressive retail concepts I've seen in a long time.
I guess you could call the look Old Time
Industrial Sewing Factory. I call it beautiful!
Just look at some of the shelving. I literally
had a hard time looking at their fantastic clothes.
Want this table! Settled for a handsome
leather wallet instead.
I loved this installation created from
vintage shoe forms.
The forms also act as a backdrop
for their shoe collection.
Vintage stacked spools act as shelving supports.
A wall of sewing machines.
I meant to say a BIG wall of sewing machines.
Later we had tickets to see Leslie Jordan
(Beverly Leslie for all you Will & Grace fans)
starring in his one man show,
My Trip Down the Pink Carpet.
Is there a more likeable man in the world?
After this experience, I think not.
After the show, we decided to enjoy some
nightlife -- and then at 2:30 a.m. found
ourselves at one of the most wonderful
discoveries during this trip so far.
The Kwik Meal Cart. Yes, one of our
favorite meals so far! The Kwik Meal Cart
is one of the most popular in the city. They serve
an interesting mix of Indian, Middle Eastern, Greek,
and Pakistani dishes. Triple-DELICIOUS --
and we didn't regret it in the morning.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A relaxing day 4 in NYC...

We opted for a relaxing day 4 in NYC as we had tickets
for two shows and were ready for a day without so much
walking. We slept late, grabbed a bite from Wichcraft,
and found a spot in Bryant Park to watch a few games of
Bocce. There were old men wearing their lazy summer
garb and young guys in their suits and ties on their
lunch breaks -- all there to show off their impressive skills.
The weather was perfect, the trees shady, and the seats
good for watching the games.
Finally, a sport I think I could enjoy.
Here are some photos of the shade trees in
Bryant Park. I love they way they look
handpainted. You know I'll be stealing that
beautiful color scheme for some future project.
Beautiful, aren't they?
After lunch in the park, it was time for Everyday Rapture.
Sherie Rene Scott is a unique talent and her story of
Mennonites, Half-Mennonites, Judy Garland, Fred Phelps,
magic, and Mr. Rogers is a doozy. What a voice!
Later, we hit Ruby Foo's for dinner. Yes, it is
somewhat of a tourist mecca -- but Randy loves
their sticky rice! The Pad Thai was pretty good too.
After dinner, it was time for Promises, Promises
with Kristin Chenoweth and Sean Hayes.
Kristin was good, Sean was great, but the real
treat was Tony-winner Katie Finneran in a
supporting role as Marge MacDougall.
So much fun!

Wonderful Day 3 in NYC...

We started the day off with Jean-Georges Vongerichten's
newly-opened restaurant, ABC Kitchen. ABC Kitchen is
located inside one of our favorite spots, the ABC Carpet & Home
department store. The theme of the restaurant is
sustainability. Even the menus are made from recycled paper
and creatively affixed to pieces of cardboard repurposed
from ABC's delivery boxes. Sounds blah, but it really
was rather pretty.
A view from the bar.
The dining room, and even the wait staff, have a somewhat
Jean-Georges meets Little House on the Prairie vibe. The
decor and the food are definitely "fancy country house" --
and that is an absolute compliment. We started off with
sandwich-sized slices of grilled toast, drizzled with olive oil
that tasted as if it had been infused with green apple, and
piled high with mounds of fresh peekytoe crab and
lemon aioli. Outstanding is an understatement.
Jean-George is the architect of this creation, but
Dan Kluger is The Man in the kitchen here. Randy had
the Akaushi Cheeseburger with herbed mayo and
pickeled jalapenos. I had bowtie pasta with veal
meatballs in a broth that tasted like a french onion
soup reduction. Thumbs up on both!
Another shot of the dining room.
Here's that peekytoe crab toast.
(ABC Kitchen images via Melissa Hom)
Shopping the floors of ABC came next. You could literally
spend an entire day in this place. We bought a handsome
Matteo duvet and some great window panels.
(ABC Carpet & Home image via Business Week)
It was hard to pull myself away from ABC, but I
knew John Derian's shop was next on the list.
That certainly made things a bit easier. Can you
say kid in a candy store? We bought some cool
textiles, vintage flash cards, and a few other things.
Once again, just like last summer, John was
there working the shop.
(image via Country Living)
We headed back to the room to freshen up
before La Cage au Folles. While walking the
Theatre District on our way to the show, guess
who we passed by? Yes, Neil Patrick Harris!
I know it sounds odd, but he actually looked
younger in person.
Once we got seated in the Longacre Theatre,
guess who walks in and sits down just a few
rows in front of us? Yes, Jesse Tyler Ferguson
from Modern Family!
(Jesse and Neil photos via google images)
Guess it was Night of the Stars, or something!?! We
nestled in to experience one of the most enjoyable shows
I've seen to date! La Cage was wonderful and its
Tony-winning star, Douglas Hodge, was brilliant
as Albin. Kelsey did a fine job as Georges!
Kudos, kudos, kudos to all involved.
After the show, we stopped by Un Deaux Trois for
a quick bite before calling it an evening. This is where
we spotted Alice Ripley (Next to Normal) last summer.