Monthly Archives: April 2009

weekend festivities…the big and small of it!

This past weekend was great! The weather, my brother visiting, MM’s and my bachelor/bachelorette parties…it doesn’t get much better.
My ladies’ night turned out to be a huge success…Corio’s burlesque show was amazing and all of the girls thought it was the best way to get together and enjoy some fun entertainment. I even competed in a dance-off on stage with another bachelorette, a bachelor, and a birthday girl…it was rigged and the bachelor won because his friends had very loud and obnoxious Jersey voices.

We continued the night by stopping by Le Cirque to pick up a girlfriend at a birthday party. Le Cirque didn’t impress me with it’s thick carpet (how can you dance on that?!?) and annoying model agency crowd. So, we left and headed to the new club, Griffin, in PM’s old location in the Meatpacking District.

Griffin had opened on Friday, so we were there on their second night being opened. They did a good job a redoing the place – nice new wood floors and a very nice chandelier affect with a mirror to reflect all of the dim lights and make the ceiling look much taller. Nick Cannon was the DJ – he’s Mariah Carey’s husband in case you have no idea who that is. I didn’t know he was DJing until Monday, and I don’t recall being overly impressed. But, I did have a good time tearing up some rug in my tutu skirt and feather head piece.

MM and a few of his friends showed up at Griffin after finishing bowling with the “small man” (I still don’t know if midget is PC or not) I hired to hang out with them. Weird, I know, but MM has a fascination with the idea of a “mini-me” assistant, so I thought that would be much more fun for him than the other typical bachelor party options. Scott, the small man, was an awesome guy, and he ended up hanging out with them for nearly two hours instead of the one hour I paid for. He is a great entertainer, and you can hire him or any other entertainer from this site – clowns, characters, etc.

I had a great time, but I am happy to be done with the bachelor/ette events – I’m ready to move on to the wedding…

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Corio – The Best Burlesque Show in NYC!

This Saturday is MM’s and my bachelor/bachelorette night! I have been struggling with the plans for us ladies…I had a nice dinner planned, but then what?!? I wasn’t into the idea of trying to hit a club right after dinner, and I also didn’t want to try to wander into a lounge or bar and have any small issues due to being unprepared – I am a seasoned event planner, so I am well aware of the “little issues” that almost always arise if you don’t preplan as much as you can.
So, I did a little research and I came across Corio. The perfect solution for our ladies’ night! Corio is the home of “This is Burlesque!” – which is said to be the best burlesque show in the city. This Soho spot is named after the legendary burlesque performer, Anne Corio. Tickets are impossible to get, and a celebrity sighting is more normal than Bungalow 8.
Our show will begin at 9:30pm, which puts a wrench in my other dinner plans…BUT, Corio also has a great menu full of Mediterranean fare! We can sit on our velvet couch, eat small dishes, and watch some fabulous entertainment up on the raised stage. It doesn’t get much better! After this show, I am sure we’ll be roaring to go…or meowing…

Corio

West Broadway & Grand Street
212.966.3901

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The Umbrella & NYC…

I broke yet another umbrella today…wait a second…I didn’t break it – the abnormally strong winds on West 34th Street did!

What is it with NYC winds and umbrellas?!? I mean really! I don’t recall breaking an umbrella in any other city, but broken umbrellas flood the NYC streets like old Metro Cards on the floor of the subways. It’s a phenomenon, and I think it’s either the crazy amount of pedestrians walking the streets or really cheap umbrellas sold on every corner the second a rain cloud hits the sky.

Well… problem solved…Rain or Shine is here to save us! The only umbrella store in Manhattan sells umbrellas parasols, walking canes and more. With every color and style you could ever imagine, you can use your umbrella to make a stronger statement than your shoes or purse – because we all know all you see on rainy days is a wave of black umbrellas.

Not only will you be saving yourself from spending $10 every time it rains on a cheap umbrella that will break one block down the road, but you will have a strong and relaible protection from the elements…and a new fashionable addition to your outfit. Stand out amongst all of those black umbrellas…this is truly one accessory that you NEED!

Rain or Shine

45 East 45th Street(beteenw Madison & Vanderbilt)
(212) 741-9650

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The Gates – is this really a time for expensive exclusivity?


Enter through the gold gates…on May 8th, The Gates will open in the old Biltmore Room. The owners of Naked Lunch and Gemini Lounge will be opening this lavish space and using a PR guy from nightclubs Home, Guest House and Cain to create an ultra-exclusive membership system.


The “ambassador” program will award keys to 125 members of the New York City “elite” – these keys will double as pens or bracelets, but won’t actually open “the gates.” This select group of individuals will also have access to a computer program that will give them the ability to add 5 to 10 “members” who can then show up with guests – thus, filling the quota for each evening. The elite will also carry a gold swipe card that will give them the ability to earn back money or donate to charities, which is meant to eliminate the need for promoters. They hope this “membership program” will also eliminate the guesswork for the doorman, who is assured will be “one of the city’s top 5.”
The servers will wear Maggie Norris corsets and pencil skirts as they serve $16 drinks. One such drink will be “the Ambassador” – naturally. There will be happy hour on Tuesday through Sunday, and they will offer bottle service in the evenings, but they will not be driven by the need to sell bottles – according to the owners. They would like the exclusive crowd to not be weighted down with things so below them.

The food menu will be simple and include:

  • Bacon and Oyster Hushpuppies with Tabasco Tartar Sauce
  • “The Gates High Tea Sandwich” – Martini Pickled Cucumber, Whipped Mascarpone and Caviar
  • “Lobster Thermidor” Grilled Cheese, Smoked Cheddar, Green Apple, Tarragon Mayo
  • Flat Iron Steak Slider, Roquefort Aioli, Crispy Shallots
  • Mac n Cheese Lollipops – Champagne Gruyere Fondue
The Gates
290 Eighth Ave., nr. 25th St.

212-206-8646

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Shoegasm

This weekend was a winner as far as NYC weather was concerned. The sun was out, the air was warm, the blossoms were out, the Soho House pool was packed…it felt like summer.

Keeping with this mindset, I decided it was time to find some sandals for my honeymoon in Marrakesh, Morocco and Formentera, Spain. Both of these places have that hot, raw, Mediterranean, exoticness to them, so my thought was that I would want some gladiator-inspired leather sandals and some simple yet chic sandals – maybe some with jewel flair for the evenings!

When I need shoes, my favorite store to go to is Shoegasm. This store has all of the hottest trends and even many new styles that no one is wearing yet. I can always find what I am looking for, and I usually find a lot more. There are three locations, which also makes it nice if I’m heading from a different direction. My standard store is on 23rd Street between 5th and 6th Avenues. The oriental rug and comfy leather couches make me feel much more comfortable than the stark, white, blaring music shoe stores everywhere else…and a comfortable shopper is a better shopper!

I got two pairs of leather sandals – one simple red pair and one black pair with some fancy beading. They’re perfect for the honeymoon, and they’re also very comfortable. AND…the best part…one pair was $29.99 and the other was $39.99! Check!

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The Bubble Lounge…pop some bubbly!

Tomorrow night, MM and I have a couple of social engagements: first we are going to see an off-Broadway show for our friend who is the head of the theater company, and second we are going to a birthday party at The Bubble Lounge in Soho. I will have to give a review of the show next week because I haven’t the faintest idea of what we are going to see or what it is about. I can, however, give the low down on The Bubble Lounge
With over 300 Chapagnes and sparkling wines, this bar is the premier champagne salon. It is certain that you will feel a sense of refinement lounging here, which can be refreshing in the New York bar scene. However, the feeling is on line between tasteful and tacky with hundreds of backlit bottles, bubbly posters, shiny black framed pictures, and, more than anything else, the businessmen who have apparenly caught on to the fact that young females gather there. Sometimes, these men can lure a young lady to the Krug Room downstairs where couples can recline and sip their bubbly.
One big positive for The Bubble Lounge is the array of plush sofas and chairs that sprawl throughout the room. It can be very hard to find a lounge with some nice and comfortable seats. Exposed brick and nigh ceilings bring more of the comfortable vibe, which is perfect for intimate conversations.

The menu also follows suit with the impressive drink list offering plates such as oysters, caviar, gourmet cheeses, fresh fruit and chocolate fondue…all adding up to one bubbly, sexy, fun night…the perfect birthday venue for my bubbly, sexy, fun friend…

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Fage Yogurt – perfect for recipes!

Relating to a recent article in the NY Times – Yogurt Recipes – I would like to discuss my growing obsession with Fage Greek yogurt. I began eating Fage yogurt a couple of years ago, but it was very hard to find in delis around the city. I knew of only a few that had it, but I couldn’t always make special trips just for the yogurt. Thankfully, Fage USA was born, and Americans fell in love. Demand = Supply = more delis carrying Fage!

This yogurt is thick and plain and very different than the Dannon versions of thin and sweet yogurt. Fage can substitute as a cereal sidekick and alternative to mayo or creme fraiche in almost any recipe.

Yogurt is receiving a lot of attention from health-conscious individuals and nutritionists because it has shown to provide many health benefits – protection against intestinal/vaginal infections/bowel cancer and it increased calcium absorption and enhances the immune system. It also contains a prebiotic inulin, which is a nondigestible ingredient that helps the growth of a healthy bacteria in the lower digestive tract. People on antibiotics are advised to eat yogurt to restore the bacteria that the medicine kills. Yogurt provides protein as well – as much as 13 grams in a cup.

To receive any of these health benefits, though, the yogurt must contain live, active cultures. If a yogurt has been pasteurized by the manufacturer or has been heated, the bacteriaare dead. The bacteria should be listed in the ingedients on the container right after milk.

You can find plenty of yogurt recipes here, but this recipe is one good way to incorporate it into PASTA!

Pasta With Smoked Salmon and Yogurt

Ingredients
Salt
1 box gemelli pasta
1 cup Greek yogurt (preferably Fage)
1/2 pound smoked salmon, cut into bite-size pieces
1 clove garlic, smashed and chopped
Zest and juice of 1 Meyer lemon
2 cups packed arugula
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh dill
Coarsely ground black pepper

Preparation
1. Bring a large pot of salty water to a rolling boil. Add the pasta. While it cooks, combine in a large serving bowl the yogurt, salmon, garlic, lemon zest and juice, arugula and dill. Just before the pasta is finished cooking, scoop out 1/2 cup pasta water and reserve.
2. Drain the pasta and slide it into the bowl. Using two spoons, toss the pasta and sauce as you would a salad. If the sauce is too thick, add a little of the reserved pasta water. Season to taste with salt and grind a generous amount of pepper on top.

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Follow nycsunflower on Twitter!

I’ve done it…I’ve caved in and joined Twitter…notice the new “Twitter Updates” in the right column…

At first, I had no idea what the purpose of Twitter was – it looked like a strange platform for bored people to inform others on meaningless tasks of their day. Being that I pride myself on being informed and on top of the new digital technologies and social networks used affectively for marketing, I was determined to understand its benefits.

The benefits I have come to understand, if used correctly, are that it gives you the ability to read the conversation between people with the same interests. It is a fast, easy and cheap way to monitor the trends within certain niches. For nycsunflower, this means following and having followers who also care about the city of New York, food, restaurants, entertaining, planning, etc. Here is a brief exaplanation of what I am talking about and how it works:

Twitter is another social network that enables users to send and read other users’ updates – known as tweets. Tweets are text-based posts of up to 140 characters in length – displayed on the user’s profile page and delivered to other users who have subscribed to them. Subscribers are called “followers” – a term I was fond of at first given it’s negative conotation from junior high school. You can restrict delivery of your tweets to your inner circle of friends or allow anybody to access them. You can send/receive tweets on the Twitter website, text messages on your phone, or specially created Twitter applications such as Tweetie, Twitterrific, Twitterfon, Tweekdeck and feedalizr. The service is free to use over the Internet.

The advantages of Twitter have certainly been noticed by political groups, governments, businesses, social groups, and special interest groups. For instance, Israel was the first government to hold a worldwide press conference via Twitter and took questions from the public regarding the war in Gaza. The LA Fire Department used it during the wildfires in October 2007. NASA has used it for updated on space shuttle missions and on the International Space Station. Several 2008 Presidential candidates used Twitter in their campaigns, and President Obama continues to use it during his Presidency.

I mean…if the President is using Twitter…it has caught on!

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St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral

When MM and I were debating on wedding location – Italy or NYC – we asked our close friend, who is also engaged and from NYC, for a Catholic church that he liked. He recommended St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral. Although we are getting married in Italy, we love this church and visited it for Easter this past weekend.

For over 200 years, this beautiful cathedral has been serving Nolita with faith, hope and love. It is grand and protective, yet not overpowering – just the way you would hope the church to feel. This church attributes to the beauty and safety of a newly popular and quiant area of Manhattan – even though it has been in the same spot since 1809. It has weathered many eras of Manhattan on the corner of Mott and Prince – now an envious location of most any New Yorker.

St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral has always offered Catholics as well as people of all ages, cultures, races and religious backgrounds a place of worship and peace. They even offer services in English, Spanish, and Chinese. It had served the new diocese of New York as its first cathedral for seventy years before becoming known as the “Old Cathedral” in 1879 with the opening of the larger and more grand edifice at Fifth Avenue and 51st Street. To visit this cathedral is not to only visit a church, it is a visit to the heart of Old New York.

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Easter Dinner – Honey-Baked Ham

Last night, I wanted to do something special for MM for Easter dinner. Although Easter is an important holiday in both of our families, we have to choose our holidays wisely because we need to use our vacation to get to Italy and Pittsburgh throughout the year. Which means that Easter tends to fly under the holiday radar, so we need to create our own special traditions.

MM’s typical Catholic-Italian Easter is slightly different and more mature than my American version. We both agree that my colorful version with died eggs, chocolate bunnies, jelly beans, Peeps and dressing up for church is pretty exciting, so MM let me entertain us this year. Although, we did go to a Catholic church, which was my way of reaching out to his family’s Easter traditions.

For our dinner, I decided that a honey-baked ham, roasted red potatoes, roasted vegetables, and squash would be perfect for both of our tastebuds! MM doesn’t like squash, so I was happy to make that for my own enjoyment. We added candles to add to the special occasion, and dessert consisted of jelly beans and delicious bread pudding from Whole Foods…it was great! I think next year we’ll have a hard time topping this year’s dinner, but we will certainly try!

Honey-Baked Ham

Ingredients
1 boneless country ham
2 cups honey, for glazing ham
2 tablespoons Spice Rub, recipe follows
1 tablespoon thyme, chopped fine
6 celery stalks
Directions
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Place ham on an open brown paper bag for easy clean up. With the tip of a paring knife carefully score a 1-inch grid pattern around the outside of the ham. Brush the entire surface of the meat on all sides with some of the honey.
Season the entire surface of the meat on all sides with the toasted spice rub and thyme. Add about a half cup of water to the base of the roaster. Place ham on several celery sticks in the roasting pan.
Cook for 1 hour. Every 15 minutes, baste ham with juices that collect in the base of the roaster and the honey. Let rest for 15 minutes before carving as desired.

SPICE RUB:
1/4 cup fennel seeds
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon peppercorns
1 1/2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
1/4 cup (1-ounce) pure California sweet chili powder*
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
If you have a small spice mill blender or a coffee grinder dedicated to grinding spices, grind fennel, coriander, pepper, and chili flakes. Pour into a bowl and toss with the remaining ingredients.

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