These snowflake light adornments on the lamp posts in our neighborhood are very cool. They look amazing in the wintry dusk light.
November 29th, 2013
November 29th, 2013
We cooked our 7th Thanksgiving feast yesterday – started back in 2006 (hoping for an urban family tradition in NZ after having been in the States the prior year getting married when it was Thanksgiving!) and our first one cooking in the States was 2 years ago in San Francisco with Kara (last year we went to Bev and Dan’s).
We had a possible posse of 5 lined up but in the end it was a true family occasion with us and Cousin Grant. We had the usual menu lined up:
Thanksgiving Dinner 2013
Roast turkey with wild rice & cranberry stuffing
Homemade cranberry sauce
Kumara & orange gratin
Apple pie & cream
We finally got our hands on the turkey we’d ordered – thankfully not the 18 pounder (read that drama here!) and oh what a wonderful place America can be – the supermarket on Thanksgiving morning has LOTS of everything anyone could need – fresh cabbage, fresh bread, plenty of dairy, sauces, pastry, flowers etc etc – not like a New Zealand supermarket running out of things when a food-based event rolls around the same time every year!
We cooked throughout the day with a couple of rest stops to catch up on The Mentalist and other than setting off the smoke alarm because the gas grill caught our crostini on fire, the food all turned out great and Cousin Grant was very impressed
Menus and run-sheets from previous years were consulted to check cooking times and reminisce
Out to get the fresh supplies in -1 deg C
Made cranberry sauce from scratch – was a great batch this year
Ninja knife skills for the kumara (yams)
Bit of a rest and a small lunch snack
Best husband in the world went out for afternoon coffee (mind you we were too scared to leave the oven unattended in case the gas caught the turkey bag on fire!)
Proud of the turkey!
Finishing touches on the crostini (luckily we had a long enough baguette and could make some more!)
November 27th, 2013
Long-time readers will know of our troubles with automated voice systems and the New Zealand accent (per this trouble we had with United Airlines scroll almost to the bottom where I transcribed a previous conversation (and still laugh now reading it!)) and now we’re having turkey troubles for Thanksgiving … we ordered a turkey for Thanksgiving while in the supermarket, we wanted 10 lb. We were told the brackets were 8-10 or 10-12 – in the true spirit of over eating we went with 10-12.
However, some guests are unable to make it so we needed to change the order to 8-10 which they told us in the store we could do by phoning with 48 hours notice and quoting our order number. So The Mister phoned this morning (I should’ve done it, alarm bells were going off when I realized they were asking him to leave a message with details of the change) but I didn’t want to be the bossy wife, so left him to it. Nice and clear, my order number is yada yada, I’d like to change my order from the 10-12 size to the 8-10 size.
Well …. thanks to AT&T he missed a call back from the supermarket, so they left him a message … “thanks for letting us know you want to change your order to an 18 pound turkey, larger size turkeys are very hard to come by this year so I hope this is big enough and you don’t change your mind again.” WTF??? Sigh. 8-10 sounds like 18 I guess. So he’s had to phone them back, alas, the answer phone again.
God I hope they get it this time, he shouted words like DOWNSIZE and SMALLER down the phone. I don’t fancy paying for and wasting all that turkey!! Happy Thanksgiving!!
The Mister finally circumvented the answer phone service at the supermarket and spoke to a real person. Explained we wanted SMALLER … apparently by now there are no small turkeys left so we’re back to the original 10-12 for our small table of 3. We’ve found some good looking recepes for left-overs: Turkey Pot Pie and Turkey & Arugula Sliders so we’ll see!
November 22nd, 2013
It was pretty special to be in New York on our 6 years married anniversary and even special to be here again for 8 because this time, we live here. We only dreamed of this 8 years ago We wandered from our Astor Place office over to the East Side to Ninth Street Espresso, their original location that we’ve only been to 2 or 3 times. We got there in time for our 10.20am coffee. We had to leave our little coffee group – the entire New York office as it stands now at 5 – behind. Hope we’re still here next year!
November 13th, 2013
November 13th, 2013
So hard to capture actual falling snow on camera but it *was* snowing yesterday morning. Started out as sleety rain then turned into snowflakes. They didn’t stick to anything and they were gone by the time we had to walk to the subway. I was still excited to see it!
November 12th, 2013
One of my favorite photos from the last couple weeks. We went up to Central Park 3 weekends in a row in October waiting for the trees to change color and the first weekend in November there was a fair amount of color. We had this quiet spot to ourselves for a while.
More color in the park:
Now 2 weeks later we’re bundled up in coats and hats with temperatures between 0 and 10 degrees C!
October 31st, 2013
After recently discovering the local supermarket chain Fairway we’ve been going up to the Chelsea area some weekends to shop there (selection is huge and not totally organic like Wholefoods so you can still get regular toothpaste etc). Wandering around this area gave us the chance to get to the 3rd Birch Coffee location – in the foyer of the Gershwin Hotel in the Flatiron district.
There was the usual menu lunch selection and quite a few tables in the cafe joined to the lobby of the hotel but I believe a draw card is this hotel library upstairs where you can take your coffee and borrow a book – with all our groceries with us we didn’t venture up, just parked in a corner table.
I struggled through a very very healthy blueberry muffin – I think I’ll stick to muffins made with regular flour, this one had flax seed and some other healthy kind of flour and was a very tough struggle. The flat white was good and strong as usual. And they have a bathroom in the hotel lobby that can be used, thank god, a lot of these tiny cafes just don’t have one. (Errrr, just realized that’s a rather odd thing to point out straight after my muffin comment … my constitution didn’t struggle with it that much!!)
Birch Coffee, 5 East 27th Street (between 5th & Madison Ave) @birchcoffee
Visited: October 2013
October 31st, 2013
The second and only other cafe we visited for coffee in Paris was near Le Bon Marche when we had a day shopping with SDF. I was a little concerned on the way there that it wouldn’t be of the same ilk as Kooka Boora because it had a French-sounding name so I thought it may be French and that their attempt at ‘contemporary’ coffee would fall short of the mark. However when we got in there it smelt right, had a roaster in the back, a coffee plant growing in the sink, a case of pastries and New Zealand, Australian and American accents behind the counter and at all the tables!
No flat whites on the board though so we went for small lattes – they came in the small glasses like they do in Australia and we subsequently learned that the owner is Australian. We had the breakfast pastry selection (croissants really are that good in France) as well. The coffee was a little milky and again, had that Australian taste.
We went back for a late lunch/afternoon tea with SDF after the shopping expedition and this time ordered small cappuccinos after seeing someone at neighboring table get them, they looked a lot darker – they were much better. The lunch food (warmed buns made into ham cheese or chicken curry sandwiches) was amazing (bread really is that good in France). We talked a bit with the barista on the way out and he said they definitely do flat whites if you ask.
I loved this photo of an espresso extraction on the wall …
… and this very cool way of presenting the coffee menu
Visited: September 2013
October 31st, 2013
Well, goodness me, my kind of coffee is coming to Paris. Thanks to a couple of articles from SDF and The Mister we had half a dozen places worth traipsing around to find – judging by the pictures it looked like we were going to be able to get an espresso with velvet milk rather than the searing bubbly airy re-used espresso extractions that we’re used to.
This article in Time Out Paris gave us hope although these places are really springing up in the central area.
The first place we tried was one we chose because it was open on a Sunday before we were to meet Mother and Father and SDF at the Louvre – it was a 20 minute metro ride from our apartment and after we wiggled through a few streets dodging the dog poo we came upon an odd little market with old—vintage jewelry, gramophone players, coffee tables and books on a corner and the cafe we were looking for was there, Kooka Boora.
It was absolutely jam-packed – tables, chairs and stools around a milk crate inside and 8 or so tables outside. The place was jam-packed and there were quite a few Australian accents in amongst all the English being spoken by customers. There were a few pastries in a case so we got a couple of scones to go with our flat whites (yes flat white and long black were on the menu). There were bags of beans everywhere and a chemex and small pour over station. We hovered around the milk crate. The scones were just plain, dry, but OK and when I had the first sip of my coffee I said to The Mister ‘Oh, it tastes Australian.’ Not sure how to describe that taste but slightly on the hot side, slightly watery or something. But decent. And my first coffee in over 24 hours since we’d left London the morning before!
Kooka Boora, 53, avenue Trudaine (9th)
Visited: September 2013