Thanksgiving: Just in time for New Year’s!

Dear kids and rest of family,
Since we could not be with you this holiday season, I am bringing part of our holidays to you. This year we were blessed enough to see The Macy’s Day Parade live AND from above! We also had not one but two amazing dinners AND a bagels and lox breakfast. (For more info on the glory that is bagels and lox, click this sentence.) I won’t bore you with a bunch of words and sentencey things, so without further ado I present, pictures:
The starting lineup

The starting lineup

Snooooooopy, Snooooooopy, Snoooooooopy come home

Snooooooopy, Snooooooopy, Snoooooooopy come home

I just love that kid

I just love that kid

THIS guy

THIS guy

Helloooooo!

Helloooooo!

his big blue butt was even more conspicuous

his big blue butt was even more conspicuous

reminiscent of Ghostbusters? Why, yes it was. #terrifying

reminiscent of Ghostbusters? Why, yes it was. #terrifying

because you can't have Snoopy without pumpkins?

because you can’t have Snoopy without pumpkins?

much like Spiderman, the Red Power Ranger wants you to get out the way and has no qualms expressing this

much like Spiderman, the Red Power Ranger wants you to get out the way and has no qualms expressing this

my favorite (aside from Snoopy)

my favorite (aside from Snoopy)

my two favs :-)

my two favs 🙂

ta ta, Papa Smurf!

ta ta, Papa Smurf!

can you imagine a Spongebob voice as big as this Spongebob? A thought perhaps more terrifying than the giant Pillsbury Doughboy.

can you imagine a Spongebob voice as big as this Spongebob? A thought perhaps more terrifying than the giant Pillsbury Doughboy.

weird white character

weird white character

Pikachu!

Cheeeeezzzze!

front of fireman

For Uncle Joey!

Adventure Time(??)

Adventure Time(??)

Elf on a Shelf

Elf on a Shelf

Santa doesn't roll without the elves

Santa doesn’t roll without the elves

The big man

The big man

Of course you are probably more interested in the parade pictures than dinner pictures, but no family Thanksgiving is complete without dinner. Now I will share our meals with you. On Thursday night we enjoyed the cuisine of one of NYC’s hottest chefs (*that last part said in the voice of SNL’s Stefon*), Marcus Samuelsson, at one of his two restaurants, Ginny’s Supper Club. Ginny’s is the jazzy nightclub located in the downstairs of his other restaurant, Red Rooster Harlem. Here we partook in a phenomenal Thanksgiving buffet. To start we had cornbread with tomato jam (which is quite delicious and not as weird as it sounds) and a butternut squash soup. Neither of us had consumed butternut squash soup prior to this and we were a little skeptical, but it was really good! Following we enjoyed unlimited turkey, ribs, potatoes (with the best gravy I’ve ever had), brussel sprouts, and other stuff. Marcus and the folks at Ginny’s are genius and they realized that people would still want dessert even after stuffing themselves into a sweat. So, for dessert there were mini tarts and cakes (also unlimited) and coffee. I didn’t get pics of this, but believe me they rocked my socks. I’ve never liked pumpkin pie, but the pumpkin tarts were so bangin’ that I still haven’t kicked the cravings.

otw to dinner (and super stoked about it)

otw to dinner (and super stoked about it)

FOOD! (we were so hungry it's amazing that I even got this picture)

FOOD! (we were so hungry it’s amazing that I even got this picture)

The day after Thanksgiving we somehow found a way to rise from our buffet food comas and get our tree. It was glorious and done via Subway, as are all of our endeavors.
Christmas tree creeper

Christmas tree creeper

On Saturday we made dinner together and it was the BEST. We had cornish hens (with bacon, of course), scratch rolls (Brenden’s first baking endeavor and they were DELICIOUS), roasted brussel sprouts (with more bacon), rosemary beets, dressing, and mashed potatoes (duh). Oh, and I made pecan pie tarts for the first time. It was so fun and novel going out to dinner on Thanksgiving night, but our team-cooked at-home Thanksgiving dinner was, in my eyes, perfect. We had a blast cooking and decorating together throughout the day, and this translated into a divine! dinner.
rockin the Arab-style seating

rockin the Arab-style seating – note the tree in the background!

cornish hens

cornish hens

potatoes

getting closer to mom’s potatoes…

pecan pie tarts

pecan pie tarts

 

FEAST!

FEAST!

HAPPY HOLIDAYS FROM BRENDEN, CODY & ME!!!

HAPPY HOLIDAYS FROM BRENDEN, CODY & ME!

As usual this blog is over a month late now, haha, but as we approach a new year know that you are in our hearts and thoughts and we love you very much. Very, very much.
Always,
(Aunt) Cat[ie]
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Ess-A-Bagel, Lower East Side

Dear kids,

I’ve lived here for awhile now and in that time I’ve consumed many a bagel. Yet until I went to this place, Ess-A-Bagel, I didn’t really get the hype. Maybe my spot in RVA was that awesome (yeah, it really was that awesome). The coffee shop that served as my second kitchen for five years, Harrison St Coffee Shop, sold RVA-local Cupertino’s bagels that were always so freshhh. So I started off my journey here with already high standards. BUT ALAS! After almost nine months, I have enjoyed the most epic, delicious, mouth-watering, crave-inducing, can’t sleep until I have another BAGEL. Auntie Katrina and I went last week. Read more about it here –> yaybagel yaybagel yaybagel yaybagel yaybagel

Image credit: Jennifer Feuchter via Melissa Stanger @ Business Insider

Image credit: Jennifer Feuchter via Melissa Stanger @ Business Insider

Don Antonio, Theater District

We are greeted by friendly faces. Not in an overbearing in-your-face way that’s contrived and obnoxious, but I get the impression that this is truly a family place.

The pizza is divine. The hubz and I get the classic Montanara Starita to split. The slightly fried crust makes for a unique and distinct taste, the pizza sauce is delicious, but the cheese – holy cow, that smoked mozzarella is THE BEST cheese I’ve ever had. So flavorful, and it pairs perfectly with the crust and sauce.

The pizza is just big enough for two hungry people to be sufficiently full, but I think it’s more typical for people to order one per person because of the way the manager(?) man lingers around our table somewhat uncomfortably after we tell him we want the pie … to share. If you’re shamelessly frugal like us though you can eat here for about $25, including +20% tip, for two.

All in all a fantastic culinary experience. We will return.

We got the Montanara Starita Pizza (Photo credit: Layla L. Yelp user)

We got the Montanara Starita Pizza (Photo credit: Layla L. Yelp user)

Marvin Van Peebles at the Lincoln Center Atrium – February 25, 2014

Dear kiddos,

Last Tuesday I jammed out to Marvin Van Peebles wid Laxative [sic] at the Lincoln Center’s free(!) AtriumFlix show of the season.

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Hybrid arts (whether visual or aural) are among my favorite, and this group was that indeed. Their fusion of jazz (I ❤ saxophone), funk, and spoken word offered just the heat that the frozen night called for. The free(!) show was followed by a discussion with Marvin and his son Mario, and a showing of Mario’s documentary, Baadasssss!, which is about a legendary documentary his father, Marvin, made in 1971 called Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song. While I was at the Lincoln Atrium, Uncle Brenden went to Brooklyn for a seminar on hot peppers. You guys probably don’t know this, but Uncle B loooooves him some hot sauces and within the last year or so he’s started making his very own. He’s got this fascination with hot peppers I guess. I’ll have to get him to post about his experience at the talk.

All for now–

xo,

Cat

Geographical Revisions: A word on the east side of Manhattan

Kids,

Remember this: never think you’re too right about something.

I just had to school myself a little. Here I was, feeling smug and clever for my maps and my knowing about midtown and Chelsea, when I re-visited my blog Friday night and noticed something amiss with my Lower East Side Map. I noticed that one of the bars I mentioned visiting, Otto’s, was located way above the boundaries I’d drawn for Lower East Side. I though, “crap, I drew it wrong.” Then I thought about it and realized I’d drawn the LES boundaries perfectly fine, but I’d actually gotten my easts mixed up! My favorite part of Manhattan was in fact East VILLAGE – not Lower East Side! Lower East Side is cool, don’t get me wrong. It’s right next to Chinatown (or maybe Chinatown is a part of it?) and there are some really cool spots. But, East Village is where it’s at. Within East Village you have Alphabet City, named after its A, B, C-named streets.  That’s where it’s at, folks. It’s a good crowd, decent prices, and a little less hipstery than Greenwich Village (but just as cool and eclectic).

EV

Until next time-

Aunt Catie

PS: Don’t worry, this is not my attempt to show off my graphic design skills. I used Microsoft Paint and took less than a minute to draw these fancy lines.

Saturday, Feb 22: adventures on high with free fancy coffee (plus a monster mash & Ukrainian bar!)

Hey, folks!

Last weekend, B and I took advantage of the warmest temperatures we’ve experienced since moving to NY and spent the day exploring Central Park and Chelsea. I’ll have to save the Central Park trip for another post, because that was a lovely endeavor in itself, so let’s talk Chelsea.

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part one

Our first stop in Chelsea was the High Line Park. This story behind this park begins with my beloved NYC Subway system. Before the train was underground in the olden days, it was above ground. Above the streets, above many of the buildings. Up high. Then the glory of the underworld was unleashed and eventually all of the old trains moved down below. The advent of the NY underground left several high line tracks high and dry. Instead of demolishing the tracks completely, a group of awesome citizens came together to turn the landmark into a park.

Not surprisingly, the park is very narrow. It’s more or less the width of the train tracks. Last weekend NYC experienced a brief relief from the harsh frigidity that has beaten us up all winter, so you can imagine that this place was packed tighter than Fifth Avenue and 34th Street during the weekday rush hour. The crowd made picture-taking very difficult, but I’ve included some photos and a video below, courtesy of Time Magazine, New York Guest, Colectiva TV, and Urban Splatter. I hear the High Line park is quite beautiful in the springtime, and I look forward to visiting again soon when the weather brings us all back to life.

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part two

As daylight started to dwindle we wandered into the Robert E. Rauschenberg Foundation Gallery to see Shirin Neshat’s exhibition, “Our House is on Fire.” I don’t know if you guys have yet picked up on this or not, but I’m kind of crazy about art. Furthermore I have a special appreciation for Islamic art as a result of the time I spent studying the Arabic language and Islamic history. Shirin is a very talented Iranian artist who often mixes black and white photography with Arabic and/or Persian calligraphy to capture the complexities and contradictions of the human condition. I have a particular love for her because so much of her work is focused on the experience of women, in particular Muslim women. Her exhibition, “Our House is on Fire,” spoke to what has been lost in Egypt as a result of the war. It was a fascinating collection of work.

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We strolled along for awhile after the exhibition until we stumbled upon free coffee. Not just any coffee- “sexy coffee” (as [Uncle] Tim calls it). Nespresso has created a new pod-based coffee machine (kind of like a Keurig) that gives your coffee a lovely foam. Best of all, they were dishing it out for free in fancy plastic cups, which we have now turned into our daily coffee to-go cups.

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epilogue

After a pit stop home for dinner we headed down to Lower East Side East Village, which has become our new favorite spot.

EV

More about that later.

When we stepped off the L train and onto 14th street, we headed toward “Otto’s Shrunken Head” to enjoy their epic weekly monster mash with a couple of friends.

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On our way to the bar we passed a Ukrainian bar, the Sly Fox, which offered even cheaper beer than the stuff at Otto’s.

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Our friends were still about 20 minutes out, so we said what the hell and popped in for a round. We chatted it up with a group of people we met, who were gathering for a kind of unofficial high school reunion, finished our drinks, and met up with our people. We finished out the night with two $1 slices (how else?).

And that was our Saturday.

For next time: Central Park & jazz at the Lincoln Center Atrium

Lots of love,

-Cat

End of January Recap

Dear kids,

A lot has happened in the past few weeks! I’ve combed the city: from northern Manhattan, which is where I live, to southern Manhattan, which is where Wall Street and the World Trade Center are located. There’s so much that it’s difficult for me to write in depth about each place, SO- I want each of you to pick one spot and I will write more about it. Here are some highlights. By the way, this list is in no particular order.
  • Greenwich Village: Thrift shops, coffee shops, bars- oh my! This home of the show, Friends, is the epitome of fabulous.
  • Riverside Library, near the Lincoln Center (see below), where I did yoga on a Saturday morning and made a new friend 🙂 Let me tell you something- as a yoga lover and a word nerd, doing yoga in a library was pretty much heaven.
  • Bagels!!! NYC is the motherland of bagels. Hot & Crusty in Greenwich Village & Mike’s Bagels in WaHi (=Washington Heights, where I live).
  • Chinatown, where we paid only $1(!) for yummy dumplings at Prosperity Dumpling. And they said this city was expensive… When in Chinatown we also saw the Dragon Fighter Fire Squad. No, seriously. That happened.

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    “Chinatown Dragon Fighters”

  • One World Trade Center, which is supposedly the tallest building in the U.S., but in my opinion it’s not because they cheated by adding this giant antenna that’s not actually usable space. Kind of insulting, actually…
  • Nancy Whiskey Bar, where Uncle B and I stopped in for a drink when we came back from a long voyage to VA to visit Cody and family.
  • Times Square– went again one day after work because it was snowing. And by snowing, I mean blizzarding. We got a foot! The most snow I’ve ever seen in my life, and it was absolutely beautiful.

    A foot of snow, and it kept on coming! It was wonderful.

    Me & B 1.21.14

  • New job, which is right next to Radio City music hall, and very close to Fifth Ave. And by very close, I mean one block away. (sidenote: more on this new job business later)

    En route to work

  • Wall Street where I had to do some stuffy boring business, but I did see it for a few minutes.
  • The METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART!! I’ve dreamt of going here since I was very young. Younger than most of you. I was not disappointed. I visited this Islamic arts collection, the Impressionists collection (where I saw many Van Goghs), and the Modern Art collection. Faaaabulous!
  • The Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, which is where Cher and “Nick Cage” hang out in the epic classic, Moonstruck (ask Auntnet or Becca about that one).

    That’s me in the background, with the pink yoga mat.

Well kids, now it’s up to you. Tell me what you want to know more about! If you don’t, I’ll harass you like I did last time. 😉

In the next few days I’m going to start posting a map of all this. I would’ve done it in this entry, but I’m having technical issues. Thanks so much to your Uncle Tim/dad for the awesome idea!

Love you all.
xoxo