Wanted to share these great photos I snapped on my phone this morning. I was standing alongside a woman with a tripod and a big lens with an odd stance (I figure she was doing time delay and didn’t want to bump her tripod) so I didn’t think my photos off the phone would be that great – but I think they’re impressive! And quite orange Reminded me of marveling at the first New York sunrise I saw last year.
Entries from September 2011 ↓
September 28th, 2011 — Orange
September 27th, 2011 — Travels
Someone asked us for a top 10 to do in New York – The Mister came up with this amazing list of a dozen things in a few minutes – just had to share it. It’s a great list.
- Shake Shack in Madison Square Park
- Wine & dine at Eataly
- Broadway show (at least one – and do one near Times Square since you obviously need to go there as well)
- Sit in Central Park and people watch (make sure you visit the Bethesda Fountain and maybe row a boat on the pond)
- Go to a Yankees game (Mets suck)
- Go up Rockefeller Center (you’ll want to do the Empire State but the Rock is cheaper and gives you views of Central Park and a view of the Empire State)
- Go on the Staten Island Ferry (it’s free – takes you past the Statue of Liberty and gives you great views of the Financial District)
- Visit Ground Zero – make sure you book for the memorial site – you can’t just go there (I believe it’s free to book)
- Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge (and then have dinner at Henry’s End in Brooklyn Heights)
- Walk the Highline (in Chelsea) and then visit Chelsea Market for a coffee (Ninth Street Espresso is amazing)
- Do a Circle Line boat tour around the whole island (not just a half tour – get the full Manhattan experience)
- Shop (5th Ave, Tiffanys, Macys, Bloomingdales etc)
Oh, better post a nice memory of New York while I’m at it (July 2010)
September 25th, 2011 — Out and about
Drove over to Sausilito on Saturday with Lance who was visiting for a couple of days – guess you don’t really take your brother-in-law for a wander around the shops so after the obligatory tour of the Ferry Building and a cup of coffee we decided that we’d get a Zipcar for a day and take a trip over the Big Orange Bridge and to Sausilito. After a stinking hot day on Friday when we took an afternoon walk down to Fisherman’s Wharf, Saturday was really foggy and it just didn’t lift all day on that side of town. So other than the occasional glimpse of the bridge I’ll have to go visit it another time.
Sausilito is a small seaside town essentially, a bit like Eastbourne I guess, about 10-15 minutes from the other side of the bridge – you’ve got to make the trip out there, it’s not on the main route. I think it survives entirely off tourists – the guy with his orangey parrot insulting passers by, stores of hideous trinkets, jewellery stores, icecream stores, porta-loos, guy singing to his sausage dog in it’s sunglasses, winding lines of people waiting for the ferry and no good coffee as far as I could work out – didn’t try any!
I think the town has stunning views back to the city but no go when we were there. You could actually see the line in the fog as it moved from one side of the sky to the other. It was a really pleasant couple of hours, and we had great sandwiches from a deli and some delicious cookie dough icecream in lieu of a coffee for afternoon tea.
We had a rather mammoth drive back through San Francisco – we had the car for a day and when coming back into town we managed to get onto this huge triple carriage way through the northern part of the city that had no left turn signs for blocks and blocks and blocks and that of course was the way we wanted to go! It was the first long drive through the city that The Mister had done and all went well – even hill starts – just a bit of confusion at 4-way stops regarding who’s supposed to go first!
September 19th, 2011 — Out and about
Have been for a couple of walks in the morning before work during the last week. Lots of people out running and walking their dogs. It’s quite hard to walk passed the Ferry Building without going in for a coffee! We’ve been told that September and October are beautiful months in San Francisco, that we finally get the summer that other places have already have. And that summer seems to have arrived on schedule – during the last week the temperatures have been in the mid-20′s instead of mid teens as it has been the whole time we’ve been here. And there’s less and less fog around in the mornings and evenings. Here’s how beautiful the waterfront was this morning which opened out to a day that hit 30 degrees! Lucky it was only about 25 when we were walking to and from work.
September 19th, 2011 — Out and about
This weekend we saw one of the seals up reasonably close that lives down at Fisherman’s Wharf that all the tourists flock to see. We wandered further down the waterfront than we have before and came upon a couple of them sitting in the marina – the bigger one was quite bullish and barked at a deck-hand that was squirting him with water – not sure if he was offering him a cooling shower or shoo’ing him off the marina.
Further around we saw the main colony of them – I think the port folks have left all the old pontoons in place to give the seals somewhere of their own to sun bathe rather than having them camp out on people’s boats! Drew quite a crowd that we could see across the inlet.
September 19th, 2011 — Wannabe chef
Made our first tiramisu since moving to San Francisco on Saturday. The only thing missing was a tiny sieve for sprinkling the cocoa on the top. Also, the egg yolks here, even though they claim to be organic and from free and happy chickens, are a kind of fluoro yellow, not the almost orange color of free range egg yolks in New Zealand.
It came out well. It had perhaps a slightly watery taste because I had to use strong plunger coffee rather than espresso. But it still tasted excellent and impressed our restaurant owner guest.
I also realised when I needed the recipe for making this, that I only had my dog-eared recipe originally printed from the Internet in 1997 when Geo-cities still existed!
So it’s about time I put it here for safe-keeping. The original site has gone I’d say, but the recipe is nice and basic and now that I live in America, I see it’s actually from the back of the Bel Gioioso pack of mascarpone! My personal tips in perfecting this over the years – go fairly heavy-handed on the brandy (cognac gives quite a different, sweeter flavor that I’m not so keen on), use 3 shots of espresso making up about a cup of coffee liquid, and definitely make it at least 24 hours in advance for a truly alcoholic coffee hit.
- 3 eggs, yolks and whites separated
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 8 oz/225g mascarpone
- 20 sponge fingers / lady fingers
- 1 cup espresso or strong coffee
- 2 tbsp brandy (or Cognac)
- Cocoa for sprinkling
Combine 3 egg yolks, 1 tbsp espresso, sugar, and brandy into a large mixing bowl – beat (electric) 2 to 3 minutes (I always give it the full beating at every stage as it ensures a smooth and fluffy filling). Add the mascarpone and beat 3 to 5 minutes until consistency is smooth.
In another bowl, combine 3 egg whites and a pinch of sugar – beat until mixture forms stiff peaks. Gently fold into mascarpone mixture.
Pour half of the remaining cup of espresso into a flat dish, dip one side of each sponge finger in coffee, and layer on bottom of serving dish, coffee side down. Spread 1/2 the mascarpone mixture on top and sprinkle with cocoa. Repeat once more. (The original recipe seemed to indicate that you could achieve 3 layers, but with the dish I use (oblong) and the size of one packet of sponge fingers, 2 layers works fine.)
Refrigerate for at least 24 hours.
September 16th, 2011 — Out and about
I decided today that even if I wanted to dress a bit more lady-like it’s ridiculous. Today I had a rare visit to a client site. I had to go on the bus. Shoes and socks a must! Had to walk to the bus stop. Get down the aisle of the bus as the guy lurched off up a steep hill. Wrestle my way out of the bus after a couple of stops in Chinatown trying not to trample all the Chinese senior citizens in the aisles clutching their little bags of strange smelling vegetables from their market day. Storm through all the tourists milling around in Union Square to get to Williams-Sonoma. Tromp up 3 flights of stairs at Williams-Sonoma. Walk back to work, several blocks through the day rapidly warming up. Walk home at the end of the day. I know SDF will say no pain no gain but blisters just aren’t worth it. Perhaps another day I could try flats or something but you just never know when you’re going to have to walk to the bank or if the day is going to heat up making my feet all hot and squishy. I’ll keep wearing Chucks!
September 11th, 2011 — Travels
Yesterday we had a great day of mostly drinking coffee and sitting in parks people watching – this is one of the busiest cities in the world yet we seem to find plenty of time to relax, sitting on park benches and taking an hour to travel from one coffee spot to another. I know we’re essentially on vacation for a few days, but we did a fair amount of sitting on park benches when we lived here as well.
First stop after brunch with Cousin Grant in Tribeca was Saturdays Surf – great to see the place hadn’t changed much although the plants out the back had grown heaps. We drank our coffee and watched a hairy caterpillar scurry around for a while (video here!).
Spent a couple of hours eating a sandwich and watching people wander along The Mall in Central Park. We still haven’t seen The Mall in fall colors but I took another photo from the same spot as ones last year to add to the collection – you can see them all here tagged The Mall.
Then it was back to Shake Shack in Madison Square Park for burgers, fries and a shake. Man the burgers tasted better than I remember. I was so great being back there sitting under the lights with bits of acorn falling on your head from squirrels in the trees above snacking.
We visited Eataly afterwards – it’s Mario Batali’s Italian indoor market that was being built when we lived here last year. The place is huge and has every Italian food and ingredient you can think of – a pasta section, cheese section, gelato section … wines, fish, fresh pasta, coffee, chocolates, sweets, books, desserts, meats, pizza and lots of restaurants or standing bar places where you can get food to eat.
There’s a ‘vegetable butcher’ too – after you’ve selected your vegetables you just give them to him and he’ll wash and chop or prepare them any style you want – 3 pounds of carrots julienned please … we got a small tub of gelato and sat in the window looking out at the Flat Iron building for a while.
September 10th, 2011 — Reviews
Friday night we went out to Brooklyn with Cousin Grant to a new restaurant just opened, Kiwiana. By it’s name you’ll guess it’s a New Zealand-themed place. Someone had tweeted about it a month or so ago so I emailed Cousin Grant and suggested we try it if it was open by the time of our visit. It was further into Brooklyn than we’d been before and when we got there the place was jam packed. When we walked in I expected to be overwhelmed by Kiwi accents but I only heard it once or twice as we were shown to our table at the back nearest the kitchen.
I’d seen the menu before we went but wasn’t sure what to have – all I knew was I needed to save room for a lamington! We had an American waitress who figured out we were all from New Zealand pretty quickly so she didn’t need to explain to us what milo or lamingtons were! I chose the vegetable pie and it was DIVINE! Lovely light pastry with a filling of slightly minted peas, zucchini and potato. Yum. The boys had a kiwi burger and ribs – both reported excellence. The only dampner at the point of ordering was that they didn’t have their liquor license yet so The Mister had to run to a wine shop down the street to get a bottle – while we understood the situation, it would’ve been nice to be told that when we rung to make the reservation so we could’ve brought something with us.
After our dinner the waitress brought someone over to meet us – Mark Simmons the chef. Felt famous like we were back at Capitol in Wellington when the chef sometimes stopped by our table! After hi’s and names and compliments on the food were given, The Mister surprised me by saying to Mark “Where do I know you from? Have you been on television?” After Mark saying “mabye” The Mister did that wagging/pointing finger thing he does and said “Yes! You were on Top Chef!” Mark seemed surprised it had aired in New Zealand. The Mister impressed him even further “Yes yes – you made that deep dish and used marmite.” I remembered that but how he did right in that instant I don’t know! Anyway Mark seemed pretty impressed.
Then it was time for dessert – of course I was way too full because the lamingtons came served in threes. However, Cousin Grant came to my rescue and volunteered to eat what I couldn’t manage. Yaaaaay! The waitress seemed bemused by my excitement. My god they were good. It’s been years since I’ve had a lamington and they were lovely and soft which I was quite surprised by – I’d seen them bringing cake boxes out of a pantry from time to time and assumed the sponges were made offsite and if made by Americans using American ingredients I thought they might be a little more solid. I managed to eat one.
When it came time to pay the bill we realised how reasonably priced the meals were – not New York prices at all! And my lamingtons were free seeing as I’d been so excited to have them
Photo from Kiwiana’s Facebook page. And more pictures on the Here’s Park Slope website including one of the shelf at the back of the resaurant with all sorts of New Zealand items on it including a set of collector tea spoons, a jar of marmite and a tin of Edmond’s Baking Powder.
September 10th, 2011 — Reviews
Obviously being fans of the Blue Bottles in San Francisco, getting to their cafe in New York was one of the first things to sort out on our first trip back there since coming to live in the States. Meant we had to go out to hipstery Brooklyn on another very hot day – always SO hot when we’re wandering around Williamsburg. However, we found it slightly off the main path which meant walking in the heat a bit to get there.
Saw this giant squirrel on the way.
I almost didn’t feel like coffee (what??) but of course it was all kind of Blue Bottle deliciousness. The Mister had an iced coffee, cos that’s what you actually do if you’re a serious coffee drinker in the summer.
Blue Bottle Coffee, 160 Berry Street, Brooklyn, New York