Couples BBQ Baby Shower Fun

Last Saturday was friends, family and fun at what I would call a BBQ celebrating the upcoming birth of Baby Brooks.  Friends, family and kids.  Had my Darden Girls, my UVA ladies, the Lopez Family, and friends of friends.  There may have been the red velvet cake Mark requested and some spiked watermelon lemonade for the adults.  And just 1 Kim Kardashian over the shoulder pose.

Picnic Time!

Picnic time again!  This is the 4th one, this year it was a carnival theme.  Mark enjoyed the wild boar sausage.  I enjoyed the pulled pork and the pigs roasting on the pit.  Oh, and 2 ice cream cones.  It was a beautiful night and we ended up staying later than we have in the past.  I can’t say I’ve ever tried a ride.  Those mobile rides always seem a little…unsafe.  So I watched.

On the way back, I tried to get a shot of the rainbow Empire State Building (as did lots of other people).  But the pictures don’t do it justice.  Happy Pride Day/Weekend in NYC!

Summer Picnic: Randall’s Island

It was our annual company picnic on Randall’s Island yesterday.  The weather couldn’t be more perfect for a day outside.  Cool and blue skies.  The picnic is on Randall’s Island, a short 25 minute ferry ride to an island off the north east side of Manhattan.

I spent some time by the chairs along the “boardwalk” and watched the rides, and people walk by.  There must have been over 5,000 people there over the course of the day.  Plenty of beer flowing, with lots of good things to eat.  Loved the brisket, elote corn and kale salad.

We couldn’t snag a hammock, and it seemed rude to tell someone they had spent enough time on it!  You’ve got to love that all containers were compostable, and only NYC’s finest was served for water.  No bottled water here.  And no beverages over 16 ounces!



Superbowl Sunday

Superbowl Sunday!  Which for me means good food with friends.  We traveled up to Ridgefield, CT to spend the evening with the Miles family.  After talking about authentic Mexican food in New York the week before, M said she would make us Chile Rellenos.  M and I were game.  I watched the entire process, through the batter and frying…to a finished plate with rice.  They were a good spicy, and I devoured both.

I brought the Smore’s bars for dessert (thanks, Amy, they are always a hit!).  But what would a game day feast be with out guacamole, so won’t forget that.  We were visiting real cooks because we had homemade truffled potato chips.  I’m not kidding, J sliced the potatoes and fried them!

Pink. Pink. Pink.

I was a lucky girl this weekend, getting to spend time with my UVA roommates and the Darden Girls.  On Saturday, it was time to gather for all things pink and cute at LC’s house in Alexandria.  We decorated bibs for the baby…

Of course, opened lots of cute little things, too.  It’s always an opportunity for me to learn what is necessary for the little ones these days (swaddling blankets, these little boxed socks, bottle warmer and baby food maker).

A candy bar based game (a huge crowd pleaser) and some delicious items to eat.  Oh, my friends that know food always do such a nice job!  I really liked this salad so will need the recipe.  Care of SG!

Sat Nite: PBR

PBR.  Professional Bull Riding. Or Pabst Blue Ribbon (the official sponsor of the PBR circuit).  I’ve watched them bring in the bulls every January now but never really investigated tickets.  This was the year.  And you know what?  It was really really entertaining.  And cringe inducing.

The 2012 circuit kicks off for 3 days of competition in NYC.  It’s the oddest mix in New York, too. People who clearly are into cowboys and bull riding with real hats.  And 25 year old banker types breaking out the flannel shirt.  These guys are tough, I don’t know how they stayed on those bulls.  Lots of core strength?

The night ended with a Pistol (yup, that IS his first name) being carried off the floor on a stretcher.  I checked today and he was having surgery on both legs (the bull stepped on him).  The highlight?  Cord from The Cowboy team of the Amazing Race!!

Oh, No, Irene

I have been on a bit of a hiatus while I started my week at the Outer Banks and decided to go offline.  But I’m back in New York City and bracing for Irene.  I’ll have to report on the beach this coming week, while I reminisce about my vacation cut short.  Chased off the beach and robbed of my full 7 days.

Everything was closing early or closed by 8 am.  I think mostly because the people who work in the shops couldn’t make it in with the subway system shut down.  La Bergamote, the little French place past Joe, took in the Joe refugees after we saw this sign.

M braved the NSA to get us the essentials Friday afternoon. We added more water, a can of Chef Boyaredee and Deviled Ham (my request later that night after dinner out).

We ventured out for lunch.  The Flatiron building was taking precautions.  And Eataly was “sort of closed” as the sign said.  So we gathered up some cheeses, meats and bread for lunch before they really shut down.  Now we are really in, and I’m already bored.  I said it would be a great chance to catch up on movies like St. Elmo’s Fire and Working Girl.  I didn’t get a good response to that one!

Smorgasburg: Tasting Brooklyn

It started with the Shorty Tang noodles at noon.   M said we had to go to Smorgasburg, we just had to go.  He went earlier July when I went to Ellington.  He raved about all the good things to eat, the view of Manhattan, being near the water in Brooklyn.  I love a good view, and I love to eat.

Smorgasburg is a weekly food court and market in Williamsburg, land of the hipster.   Over 100 vendors took over a vacant lot, in an extension of the Brooklyn Flea Market.  The place was popping by 1 pm and if you don’t get there before a certain point in the afternoon, what you want might be gone.  Things aren’t cheap, but they certainly are tasty.

So the Shorty Tang noodles.  Cold sesame noodles mixed on the spot to order.  Shorty Tang was a real person in Chinatown (of Hwa Yuan restaurant).  Tang died years ago, but his recipe has been picked up and carried on. And it’s available here.

Next we moved on to the main course.  M was going to get the raved-about chorizo sandwich.  I was pulled in by the Country Boys tacos.  They looked authentic.  This vendor has won a Vendy and usually sets up shop at the ball fields in Red Hook.  A chicken and pork taco with everything was soon handed over.  On corn tortillas.  This was what really sold me, and if you’ve seen my Austin post you know I can’t say no.

Delicious.  So delish, M had one and we didn’t get to the chorizo.  You can see a little of Manhattan from our shady lunch spot.

The whole thing is great.  Lots of seating and great people watching.  I loved the Charlotte- Hornets-trucker-hat wearing tattoed-to-the-hilt, skinny-jean-wearing guy pushing his Maclaren.  Who says you have to stop being a hipster when the kids come?  

We didn’t stop with the main dishes, but I’ll save dessert for tomorrow.  Let me rephrase that.  DessertS because we couldn’t have just one.

We Love Desserts, Twice a Day

There was a little bit of birthday celebration going on as well this weekend. Another year older, but I don’t feel it, maybe a little wiser, maybe still excited by what all the years ahead will hold. Maybe it’s being around good friends.

So we couldn’t escape without cake! The big cupcake and wine awaited us at the hotel on Friday night.

And maybe just one wasn’t enough because the 2nd birthday dessert was Saturday night. We supplemented this apple tart with yummy chocolate filled donuts.

But those of you who know me well can probably guess that these weren’t our only desserts. Let’s continue on….

The Ritz offers Smore’s by the outdoor fire. How could we refuse? Outside, by the ocean, warm fire and childhood treats? I wasn’t particularly skilled at melting my marshmallow. E was the most patient and achieved just the right amount of toast on the outside. Again, delicious.

It’s really hard to pass up that fire. On Sunday night, L and I shared “Tic Tac Toe” cupcakes fireside. No one won the game, but we were both winners because we shared the cupcakes. Cupcakes accompanied by a chocolate martini and glass of Malbec.

Oh, and I almost forgot Sprinkles! Triple Chocolate post lunch on Sunday. This makes the cupcakes the second dessert of the day!

These kinds of posts make me laugh. Should I be laughing when I review all these desserts over three days? It was wonderful, plain and simple. Back to the 4HB on Monday.

Someone’s Getting Married!

My sister is getting married! We had her shower in Durham, NH this weekend, with family, friends, work friends and even our neighbors from Ellington. It was great to see so many people there to help celebrate. I apologize for this being short and quick, but I’m off to the airport momentarily…and my picture uploading will have to wait for 2 weeks.

Here is the blushing bride!

My sister is a baker, so I thought there were appropriate. They are heart shaped measuring spoons with little phrases, like “a pinch of love”. Granted, the “Love Beyond Measure” on the tag is just a teeny bit cheesy. But my creative juices were not flowing and borrowed it from the tag that came with the spoons. I didn’t think it was cute enough so we needed to do hearts instead.

The wedding is in February in Key West, so in honor of the destination wedding, we ordered this cake to celebrate. Isn’t it pretty! And it was very tasty, too.

The next wedding post will be from Key West! And then again post party in New Hampshire (lots of celebrating to do). Actually, this is kind of like Amy’s Birthday, the number of times we celebrate.