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eG Foodblog: Megan Blocker - Food and the City

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#31 tejon

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Posted 22 February 2006 - 01:12 PM

Try something with raw garlic (bruschetta, perhaps). You should be able to taste something , and the raw garlic helps kill all kinds of bugs quite effectively as well.
Kathy

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#32 Chufi

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Posted 22 February 2006 - 01:20 PM

when I have a headcold like that, it sometimes helps to do a steambath right before dinner (you know, the oldfashioned one, where you sit with you face above a pot of very hot water, with a towel over your head to keep the steam in). If you have something menthol-like to put in the water, even better! and it's good for your skin too!

#33 HVRobinson

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Posted 22 February 2006 - 01:35 PM

Megan-
I'm so happy that you're doing a guided tour of my favorite food city. If you get the opportunity to take a photo of a canolli from Ferrara's, please post it. You may not see me licking the monitor, but none my friends have brought them home yet. I've gotten greasy, empty boxes... but no canolli.
On my many trips past I have never made it to Central Park near 72nd East for the Alice In Wonderland statuary. I promise not to lick them.
Mostly, have fun and know that I'm living vicariously through your words and pictures. Thanks for the blog.
HVR :rolleyes:
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#34 lesfen

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Posted 22 February 2006 - 01:41 PM

This is fantastic. I'm really glad to see you're blogging! You have a very clear and easy going writing style that is so appealing! It's going to be really fun to check in with you every day! Getting to see NYC again doesn't hurt either.

#35 Ling

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Posted 22 February 2006 - 02:15 PM

Yay, my favourite NY girl is doing a blog! :wink: Hope your cold gets better. Like everyone else, I'm excited about Babbo and thanks for the shots of Eli's bread! I saw Eli profiled on Martha Stewart many years ago and she kept raving about his breads and sandwiches...they certainly look very good!

Suggestions--have you had lunch at Jean Georges? I've read about a 3 course prix fixe menu for $20. There are so many amazing bakeries in NY--I'm so jealous! What is your opinion of Payard? I've read negative things about Magnolia on EG--what is your opinion? The (apparently) overly sugar frostings don't really appeal to me. What about Blue Ribbon? Buttercup?

I would love to see Jacques Torres' magic... :wub:

Have you been to Room 4 Dessert? :smile:

#36 I_call_the_duck

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Posted 22 February 2006 - 02:34 PM

Megan,

I'm loving your blog so far. That soup looks sooo good. I'm sorry you can't taste it. :sad:

Have you visited the Central Park Conservancy at 105th & 5th? It's a little off the beaten path for tourists and New Yorkers alike, but it's a genuine oasis within the oasis of Central Park, and I'd like to see what it looks like this time of year.

The more I read this, I'm getting more ideas for you. Can you show us Kitchen Arts & Letters at 93rd & Lex? Admittedly, I've never been, but I hear it's a great bookstore devoted to food books.

Edited by I_call_the_duck, 22 February 2006 - 02:41 PM.

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#37 jamiemaw

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Posted 22 February 2006 - 03:09 PM

Megan,

You have been such a wonderful contributor all over this site and now you so graciously welcome us into your home. The timing of your tour is terrific for us as it anticpates our next visit to New York - we look forward to following in your footsteps.

Cheers aye,

Jamie
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#38 Beanie

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Posted 22 February 2006 - 03:26 PM

And, for those of you who really want to see where the magic happens ( :wacko: ), here are some shots of my kitchen.

It's small on an overall scale, but for your average Manhattan kitchen (and especially in a studio), this is pretty big. 

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Megan,

This looks exactly like my kitchen on E. 78th Street when I lived there in the late 60's-early 70s. Only a New Yorker would consider this a "big" kitchen (you're a New Yorker now, right? :wink: ) Those tiny stoves next to the wall so there's no room for a pot handle. I always considered this to be the landlord's revenge for rent control :hmmm: Seriously, I'm thoroughly enjoying your blog and the memories it brings back. When I lived in your neighborhood, it was pretty much a food wasteland ... except for a few Hungarian and German restaurants and bakeries (but lots of good bars to hang out in.) I would love to see photos and read about the food shops and eateries in the neighborhood today. (Is Orwasher's bakery still on 78th? I loved their pumpernickel rolls.)

Slightly off topic, if you ever walk down 78th between First and York, take notice of the street trees. I was part of a community group that raised money to plant them. :biggrin: I hope they are still alive and well. Thanks again for the blog; it's really generous of you.
Ilene

#39 Megan Blocker

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Posted 22 February 2006 - 03:28 PM

Try something with raw garlic (bruschetta, perhaps). You should be able to taste something , and the raw garlic helps kill all kinds of bugs quite effectively as well.

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when I have a headcold like that, it sometimes helps to do a steambath right before dinner (you know, the oldfashioned one, where you sit with you face above a pot of very hot water, with a towel over your head to keep the steam in). If you have something menthol-like to put in the water, even better! and it's good for your skin too!

Good ideas, both! While I was washing the dishes from my late lunch, I thought I felt the decongestant kick in a tiny bit, and I could smell the leftover soup...so, hope remains! I'll be taking a shower before I gussy myself up for the opera, so hopefully that will help, too. And bruschetta will be a great way to use up some of that leftover bread. :biggrin: Thanks for looking after me, guys!

Suggestions--have you had lunch at Jean Georges? I've read about a 3 course prix fixe menu for $20. There are so many amazing bakeries in NY--I'm so jealous! What is your opinion of Payard? I've read negative things about Magnolia on EG--what is your opinion? The (apparently) overly sugar frostings don't really appeal to me. What about Blue Ribbon? Buttercup?

I would love to see Jacques Torres' magic...

Glad you enjoyed the pics o' bread, Ling! And, I have to admit, I already have a few activities in mind that make me think of you...however, to address your requests:

- I do like Payard - especially if you want a sort of full-service, upscale bakery experience. It's not the sort of place I bring something home from, but I do love to go with a friend and have a cappuccino and a chocolate something.

- As for Magnolia, I'm sort of "eh" about it. You can get decent cupcakes all over the city, and there are plenty of places far closer to me (Magnolia is kiddy-corner across the island from my apartment, far south and west) where you can get one. The frosting doesn't bother me (with cupcakes I often find myself licking the frosting off first no matter how much there is, anyway), but I do know it bothers some of my friends. My friends Miles and Hall, who live in the West Village and therefore are close to Magnolia, are very divided over this issue. I'll see if I can get them to weigh in for your edification! :wink:

- Buttercup is a lot like Magnolia - they did, however, do a great cake for me last summer. I ordered a big sheet cake from them for a colleague's wedding shower, and they did a good job. Chocolate cake with mocha buttercream - it was delicious, and I did not find the buttercream too sugary.

- Lunch at Nougatine (the more casual room at Jean-Georges) is indeed a bargain. However, the last time I ate there (admittedly, for dinner, and for a far higher price) I was really underwhelmed, so it's not on the agenda right now. That could change, though!

- Blue Ribbon is fantastic. It's not often that I find myself there, but when I do, it's usually late at night, and it's always fun.
"We had dry martinis; great wing-shaped glasses of perfumed fire, tangy as the early morning air." - Elaine Dundy, The Dud Avocado

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#40 hathor

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Posted 22 February 2006 - 03:36 PM

Very nice to have you bloggin'! :biggrin: Don't you love that separated egg emulsion thing with the garlic soup? My husband was convinced I used heavy cream. (oh...I love it when I can prove him wrong!! :laugh: )
Feel better!!

#41 wattacetti

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Posted 22 February 2006 - 03:36 PM

- Blue Ribbon is fantastic.  It's not often that I find myself there, but when I do, it's usually late at night, and it's always fun.

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Ooh! If you find yourself there in the near future, would you mind trying to get a photo of the steak tartar that Luckylies has been waxing eloquent about?

That is one tiny kitchen: makes my galley kitchen seem enormous in comparison, but it's skill and not size (sic). Think I'll make your soup the next time I'm called upon to cook.

#42 Megan Blocker

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Posted 22 February 2006 - 03:38 PM

Have you visited the Central Park Conservancy at 105th & 5th?  It's a little off the beaten path for tourists and New Yorkers alike, but it's a genuine oasis within the oasis of Central Park, and I'd like to see what it looks like this time of year. 

The more I read this, I'm getting more ideas for you.  Can you show us Kitchen Arts & Letters at 93rd & Lex? Admittedly, I've never been, but I hear it's a great bookstore devoted to food books.

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Karen, it's like you can read my mind! I will definitely be hitting Kitchen Arts and Letters at some point this week.

As for Central Park Conservancy - yes, I have been, but only once! : :shock: Almost two years ago we had a gorgeous early summer day, and my friend Miles and I walked from 77th and 3rd up to 105th and 5th - and ran into a high school friend of mine on the bridle path in Central Park! The Conservancy was beautiful, and I can't believe I haven't been back. It was relatively crowded, since it was the first really nice day that year, and since it was a Sunday, but I can imagine how peaceful it might be on a day like today...

When I lived in your neighborhood, it was pretty much a food wasteland ... except for a few Hungarian and German restaurants and bakeries (but lots of good bars to hang out in.) I would love to see photos and read about the food shops and eateries in the neighborhood today. (Is Orwasher's bakery still on 78th? I loved their pumpernickel rolls.)

Hey, Beanie! Yes, there are still some Hunagrian and German spots around. Andre's Cafe, a Hungarian bakery and restaurant, just opened in my block last year, and Heidelberg is a few blocks away at 86th and 2nd, still going strong. Then, of course, there's the venerable Schaller and Weber, where I buy my bacon and have been known to eye the tins of goose fat. :wink:

Not sure about Orwasher's, as I don't walk down 78th Street very often, but I'll try to take a peek sometime this week and let you know!
"We had dry martinis; great wing-shaped glasses of perfumed fire, tangy as the early morning air." - Elaine Dundy, The Dud Avocado

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#43 weinoo

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Posted 22 February 2006 - 03:42 PM

Orawasher's is still there - just east of 2nd Ave. on 78th St.

Great blog. Feel better...my wife had a terrible cold and I force fed her hot fresh ginger tea with honey and lemon in mass quantities...cleared up in 2 days!
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#44 judiu

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Posted 22 February 2006 - 03:44 PM

OK, Megan, when you can start to sense smells again, you're in the homestretch!
Glad you're feeling better. I sure wish I could be in NYC with you; I grew up on the edges of the city (Long Island and Northern New Jersey) so I made the city my "playground" where I went to concerts, bars (it used to be the age was 18, back then, and I'd ALWAYS looked older than I was ...) various be-ins and assorted doings, etc. I haven't been back in many years, an am certainly enjoying this new view of my city. Thanks for the tour! :biggrin:
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#45 Daniel

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Posted 22 February 2006 - 04:05 PM

Miss Megan Miss Megan,

I was pleasantly surprised to see you blogging! Cant wait to see whats happening on the other side of the Park.. :biggrin: Garlic soup looks great.. Lucky you with the week off..

#46 prasantrin

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Posted 22 February 2006 - 04:20 PM

Here's the final product, with a hunk of that bread!

Posted Image

As predicted, I could not taste a thing, even when I added loads of salt and pepper.  The texture of the soup was lovely and velvety, though, and the bread was great.  I can't remember the last time I had such a huge head cold!  Hopefully this symptom will pass...I may be forced to pour chiles on everything... :wink:

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That soup looks amazing! I think I'll pick up a bag of garlic tonight at Costco and make me some soup!

About the head cold...ever try a neti pot? There's a very scary video here. It looks horrible, but it works really well for clearing out congestion!

#47 Genny

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Posted 22 February 2006 - 04:35 PM

Megan! Wonderful to see you blogging, you're off to a compelling start for sure. My alter ego is an urban girl living in the city...even though I've never been to NYC...yet. :biggrin: I'll get there some day.

I'm in love with the idea of the little cheese shop and the Italian deli with the real Italian meats/cheeses/products. Are there any of these convenient to you that you can work in? Also, is frozen hot chocolate at Serendipity too "touristy" these days? Any chances of gaining kitchen tours of your favorite eateries?

Feel better, have fun this week (when do you go back to work?) and keep up the good blog job!

Genny

PS: FFB- dreaming of Mario??? Ooh, do tell. I hope it was platonic :blink: Maybe you should sub in Jaques Torres?

#48 tejon

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Posted 22 February 2006 - 04:39 PM

About the head cold...ever try a neti pot?  There's a very scary video here.  It looks horrible, but it works really well for clearing out congestion!

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I'll second that recommendation! I know, it looks scary, but the feeling of getting the gunk out is just wonderful and it helps increase circulation and healing in the sinuses. And, to keep this food related, a clear nose means you can actually taste what you're eating :wink:.
Kathy

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#49 daniellewiley

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Posted 22 February 2006 - 08:54 PM

About the head cold...ever try a neti pot?  There's a very scary video here.  It looks horrible, but it works really well for clearing out congestion!

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I'll second that recommendation! I know, it looks scary, but the feeling of getting the gunk out is just wonderful and it helps increase circulation and healing in the sinuses. And, to keep this food related, a clear nose means you can actually taste what you're eating :wink:.

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I'll third the neti pot recommendation - you will instantly be able to smell, taste (and even hear) better. And, it uses salt - keeping it food related.
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#50 Pan

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Posted 22 February 2006 - 09:31 PM

Feel better soon, Megan! Lots of colds going around; I have some symptoms, too, though I can taste fine (but my flute playing is suffering).

Megan, do you like Two Little Red Hens? I love to go there whenever I'm in the area. Great bakery specializing in American sweets (New York cheesecake, brownies, lemon squares, etc.), and I don't think out-of-towners know much about it. The only drawback is that it's small and it might be hard to take photos without getting in the way.

Enjoy your blogging! I'll be following along.

#51 Smithy

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Posted 22 February 2006 - 09:45 PM

So far, that interactive map isn't working for me, so I don't know whether I'm asking a ridiculously easy or ridiculously broad question. At any rate, here goes:

My friends and I will be in Jersey City for a few days, next month. If we make it over to Manhattan for dinner - or lunch - or terrific food/kitchen gear shopping - where would you recommend we go? Can you show us? Photos? Ideas? Where would you take a guest if you only had 1 day to show off your adopted home?

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#52 Sugarella

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Posted 22 February 2006 - 09:49 PM

Oh Megan I'm so glad you're blogging! You have such a warm, inviting writing style and you're doing a terrific job of showing us around the city. I'm going to really enjoy this week. :smile:

I only went to NYC once, when I was 4. I can't wait 'til I can return for a good long holiday and really experience it. I don't remember anything from that trip long ago except that my Mum kept the back of a chair pushed up underneath the doorhandle to our hotel room so nobody could break in and kill us in our sleep. But then, my Mum's always had a way with kids.... :hmmm:

But YOUR New York sounds MUCH better! :biggrin:
Feel better soon........

#53 Megan Blocker

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Posted 22 February 2006 - 10:13 PM

Hi Megan, although you mentioned you were off this week I wonder if you might elaborate on what you do when you are working.  I'd also love to know where you picked up your cooking skills, at what age, and any "defining" moments in your culinary adventures if that's not asking too much!

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Prepare to snore, Jake! I work in vendor management for a management consulting firm. Basically, my job is to help manage the firm's relationship with the vendors they use to outsourse their IT development work, both here in the U.S. and abroad (India and Europe). I have nothing whatsoever to do with the technical stuff, but am pretty involved in all the management, legal and financial stuff. Boring, I know.

I'll be back at work on Monday, so we'll have two days of my normal life (bad midtown lunches and all) before this is done with! :laugh:

As for where I picked up my cooking skills - mostly, from my mother and my au pair, Lori (who came for a summer and stayed for 11 years, so "au pair" doesn't really do her justice). My mom has always been an excellent cook, but didn't have a lot of time to use her skills when I was little. I saw her cook on weekends (when I wasn't at my dad's house) and holidays, but Lori did the cooking most weeknights. She taught me to bake, which was what really got me interested in cooking. It seemed almost like alchemy to me - why do the cookies come out better when I do this instead of this? I loved it, and I couldn't get enough. From there, I just watched and listened and learned.

About six or seven years ago, I spent a day with my grandmother, learning to make pie crust. Nonie is not a big cook - everything she makes is good, but her repetoire is pretty limited. Her apple pie, though, is out of this world. When my grandparents sold their Connecticut house this fall, I took the rolling pin I learned on with me. That afternoon was most certainly definitive for me.

And someone asked about Artisanal - I think it was Lady T! I am not a huge cheese eater, and so have never made a visit to Artisanal. However, I have heard mixed reviews in recent days, whereas a couple of years ago the feedback was almost universally positive.
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#54 Megan Blocker

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Posted 22 February 2006 - 10:23 PM

About the head cold...ever try a neti pot?  There's a very scary video here.  It looks horrible, but it works really well for clearing out congestion!

View Post


I'll second that recommendation! I know, it looks scary, but the feeling of getting the gunk out is just wonderful and it helps increase circulation and healing in the sinuses. And, to keep this food related, a clear nose means you can actually taste what you're eating :wink:.

View Post


I'll third the neti pot recommendation - you will instantly be able to smell, taste (and even hear) better. And, it uses salt - keeping it food related.

View Post

:hmmm: Hmmmm...we shall see, ladies. I can actually see how it would be really cool. I have a history of ear troubles, so I'll need to run this one by my ENT doc before proceeding. I love anything that involves salt!!! :laugh:

Megan, do you like Two Little Red Hens? I love to go there whenever I'm in the area. Great bakery specializing in American sweets (New York cheesecake, brownies, lemon squares, etc.), and I don't think out-of-towners know much about it. The only drawback is that it's small and it might be hard to take photos without getting in the way.

Thanks for the healthy vibes, Pan! There really are some nasty bugs going around...this is the second bad cold I've had in a month, and I rarely get sick.

As for Little Red Hens - again, you people are reading my mind! I really like it there - it's a cute little place, and the sweets are pretty good. I sampled something ridiculously good there the other day, some sort of tea cake with a maple frosting. I was planning on stopping there for a VERY healthy snack or breakfast treat tomorrow morning. I'll do my best to snap a few photos - it shouldn't be too busy on a Thursday morning, so we may be in the clear!

I don't remember anything from that trip long ago except that my Mum kept the back of a chair pushed up underneath the doorhandle to our hotel room so nobody could break in and kill us in our sleep. But then, my Mum's always had a way with kids....

Well, for both good and ill, the New York I live in is a very different one from the place I visited as a child. I don't know how old you are, but this is pretty much the case for anyone over the age of 20, I would suspect. Though I doubt you were in much danger in the hotel room :laugh:, there was a time when being mugged on the street in NYC was a rite of passage for all New Yorkers, something they just expected to happen at least once. These days, the city has an incredibly low crime rate (we're ranked something like 220 for crime per capita in American cities), which makes things feel more comfortable, but also somewhat sanitized.
"We had dry martinis; great wing-shaped glasses of perfumed fire, tangy as the early morning air." - Elaine Dundy, The Dud Avocado

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#55 Lady T

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Posted 22 February 2006 - 10:30 PM

:sad:

Awwwwww fooey. Cheese is one of my favorite things in the entire Western universe (along with fondues and souffles and all the other glorious things one can do with cheese!), and I really wanted the concept of Artisanal to work, and work sensationally well.

I wanted it, at least, to get better. When last I was at Artisanal, the staff were working their gracious and conscientious tails off to offset an inconsistent kitchen, and I hoped that that would improve.

Nuts. Drat. Unwashed diapers.

:sad:
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#56 Megan Blocker

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Posted 22 February 2006 - 10:30 PM

So, tonight I went to the Metropolitan Opera to see Camille Saint-Saens' Samson et Dalila. The tickets were a very generous Christmas gift from my friend Louisa and her husband Nick, and I had a wonderful time. I brought my little (ok, he's 23) brother with me - he'd never been to the opera before, so it was really fun to see his reactions. He's in grad school, getting his MFA in theatre management, so he's no stranger to various kinds of performance - but this was his first full-on opera.

We were originally going to meet up for dinner, but since our mom was here over the weekend, we were both a little restaurant-ed out, and decided to eat at our respective apartments before meeting up at Lincoln Center.

I wasn't that hungry, so I decided to go for a cup of tea (Celestial Seasonings' Sleepytime) and a thick slice of that bread I bought this morning. I spread half the slice with blueberry preserves and the other half with raspberry. I could just barely taste them both, and they tasted gooood.

Posted Image

Posted Image

Now, it's off to bed. See you all in the morning - sleep tight!
"We had dry martinis; great wing-shaped glasses of perfumed fire, tangy as the early morning air." - Elaine Dundy, The Dud Avocado

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#57 rjwong

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Posted 22 February 2006 - 11:15 PM

As a native Californian now living in LA, I'm willing to give NYNY chance. Mind you, do you know how much food you can buy for a one-night's stay in a decent NY hotel? I just might have to visit New York vicariously through your blog! So, keep blogging ...

Do get better from your cold, Megan. It's not fun being sick on your vacation ...
Russell J. Wong aka "rjwong"

Food and I, we go way back ...

#58 scott123

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Posted 23 February 2006 - 12:48 AM

The Upper East Side, huh?

I lived in the UES for 2 years and I have to say that while I was living there, I never associated it with food. Most of my fondest memories involved traveling from the East Side to other parts of the city for culinary adventures. In the middle of the night, I'd walk across Central Park to get to still warm H&H bagels. I get a lump in my throat just thinking about it. One Sunday a month it would be pierogies in the basement of a building across from St. Georges church in the village. If you haven't had a homemade pierogy prepared lovingly by a Ukranian grandmother, trust me, you haven't lived. Are there cheesecakes in Manhattan? I can't imagine it ;) Back when I was worshipping cheesecake, Brooklyn was Mecca. And then there was Ethiopian food in Hell's Kitchen. I use to be covered in the stuff until I watch the locals and learned how to eat without making a mess. When I wasn't getting my bagel fix in the middle of the night, I'd be walking down Columbus to Little India and cavorting with surly cabbies while feasting on clouds of the puffiest naan and choice of 3 veggies for $4.

This was a few years ago, so I wouldn't be surprised if the East Side had evolved into it's culinary own. Megan, I'm ready to have my preconceptions obliterated.

Edited by scott123, 23 February 2006 - 12:50 AM.


#59 fou de Bassan

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Posted 23 February 2006 - 02:29 AM

megan,
I'm so glad you are blogging! You have such a relaxed way of writing and drawing people in. Anything, anything from NY would be wonderful!
If only Jack Nicholson could have narrated my dinner, it would have been perfect.

#60 prasantrin

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Posted 23 February 2006 - 03:37 AM

:hmmm: Hmmmm...we shall see, ladies.  I can actually see how it would be really cool.  I have a history of ear troubles, so I'll need to run this one by my ENT doc before proceeding.  I love anything that involves salt!!! :laugh:

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Good idea. I have a history of inner ear infections, too. So far, so good, but sometimes (I'm still new at it) the water shoots to the back of my brain and gives me something like a brain freeze.

About the salt--make sure it's sea salt or kosher. No iodine allowed.

Has anyone asked you to go to Jacques Torres' chocolate shop, yet? I'd like to see that if it's anywhere near anywhere you'll be.

I'm now going to back to see if there's any mention of pets we should be seeing pictures of... :biggrin:





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