Drinks and Dinner at Chow Bar with my husband – started with a saketini and finished with a romantic toast of sake. I had tuna carpaccio and vegetables while he had calamari and steak – both of us left very happy and content.
We then headed over to Bowlmor Lanes on University and 13th Street to meet our friends for a friendly game of bowling. I, unfortunately, didn’t help my husband at all with our score – I like to blame it on a-a-a-a-al-co-hol and the fact that the only ball that fit my fingers weighed about 50 pounds! I nearly threw myself down the lane every time…
HAIR APPOINTMENT at the Whittemore House Salon! 3.5 hours of grooming and pampering with some of the coolest people I’ve met in awhile. The salon is amazing – from the warm welcome to the amazing massage when washing my hair to the cucumber water – I could have stayed for another 3.5 hours. I was lucky enough to have my color done by Larry, one of the owners, and he used an amazing “painting” technique that he is well-known for. He and his partner travel around the country training other salons in the technique – he’s considered a “hair guru” and I will be happy to only let him touch my locks from now on. Jamie cut my hair, and she added such amazing layers to create a healthier look that frames my face – I even trusted her to give me LONG BANGS and I love them! Very happy, definitely going back!
Dinner at Faustina at the Cooper Union Hotel for Family & Friends night. It’s always an honor to be invited to Scott Conant’s restaurant openings to have a chance to try the food and see the restaurant before the public is allowed. Faustina does not disappoint! The decor of the restaurant is perfect for the hotel. The small plates allow you to try lots of different things while still feeling content yet not stuffed in the end. They’ll be serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, which I think is amazing and opens Scott up to a new realm of dining. Faustina feels like it may turn into the next spot to dine for the young, jet-setters – and having the hotel rooms right upstairs makes it even easier!
After a busy and COLD weekend, my husband and I wanted to do something good for our bodies and minds – so we decided to try YOGA for the first time! We went to a yoga and pilates studio on 3rd Avenue between 17th & 18th Streets. The place was great – very zen. We didn’t realize that the class we went to was intermediate level yoga, but the instructor was so patient and sweet with us. I think we did pretty darn well considering we didn’t know any of the poses and the class was an HOUR AND A HALF of fluid movement through the poses. I thought I might die when I found myself standing on one foot with my other foot straight out in front of me holding my big toe with my other arm straight up in the air – forget about the breathing I was supposed to be focusing on! My husband was a whole other story… 🙂 In the end, we were so happy to have survived and the meditative portion at the end brought us down to a calm place we never reach post-running. We’re going to continue with the yoga on Sundays, but today I am feeling that darn pigeon pose!
We cooked dinner at home with my brother – we made polpette di zucchini (meatballs stuffed with zucchini). It was my first go at this recipe, so there were some hiccups – brother burning is hand on the pan, husband burning his elbow on another pan, me getting testy when my husband made a comment about my polpette not looking like the ones he’s used to in Italy. hahaha. In the end, we all thoroughly enjoyed the dinner, and I am confident I will only perfect it the next time I try. That’s my method of learning to cook – the first time is a trial and the second time I have it pretty down pat!
Wow – that was a full weekend now that I look at it…I hope you enjoy my weekend updates – I think this is the best way to sum it all up each Monday! ♥
In honor of “Turkey Day” (as my Italian husband calls it), I thought it would be appropriate to share a Thanksgiving-inspired video. Since I love Mr. Bean and I love Thanksgiving, this is perfect:
Happy Early Turkey Day!!!
Filed under cook, entertain
After our wedding in Tuscany, MM and I flew from Bologna to Casablanca in Morocco and then took another plane to Marrakesh. A close family friend gave us her home (aka palace) in Marrakesh for a week. This gift also came with a full staff – personal guide, chef, and cleaning crew! It was just the two of us in a house that would literally cover an entire New York City block!
Since we’ve been back and we’ve been telling everyone that we went to Marrakesh, we have realized how few of our friends even know what country it is in…and then, they ask where Morocco is! So, I feel it is my duty to shine a light on this fanastic cultural experience and destination.
Marrakesh is known as the “Red City” because of the redish color of nearly all of the buildings – it is an important and former imperial city in Morocco. Like many North African and Middle Eastern cities, Marrakesh contains an old city (the médina) and a modern city (called Gueliz). Marrakech is the third largest city in Morocco after Casablanca and Rabat.
Marrakech has the largest traditional market (souk) in Morocco and also has one of the busiest squares in Africa and the world, Djemaa el Fna. The square is constantly bustling with acrobats, story-tellers, water sellers, dancers, and musicians. By night, the square turns into food stalls, becoming a huge open-air restaurant. The smell and sounds alone will make you feel as though you’ve transported to another planet.
Although midday was deadly hot to wander through the souks, we did buy a beautiful leather suitcase, some ceramic jars, two huge carpets (it would make ABC Carpet cry at the price we scored), some traditional Morrocan dresses for me, and some leather shoes for both MM and me.
We were spoiled with our own personal chef for the entire week, so we didn’t go to a restaurant once. We were told that in Marrakesh, to go to a restaurant is sad to the people who can cook for you at home. (Although there were certainly some fantastic restaurants for the tourists.) From wild chicken with curry to seven vegetable cous cous to freshly pureed strawberries…we were in heaven!
There’s more to share about this experience, but I will leave you with that to get your tastebuds slightly moist for all things Morrocan…
Filed under cook, entertain, etc
MM is in L.A. for work, so I decided to take a weekend trip home to Pittsburgh. One of my other sisters is coming home from D.C. and we are going to celebrate her son’s second birthday. I am told it is going to be a Diego themed party – Diego is the Spanish speaking friend of Dora the Explorer, which is a very popular children’s cartoon character who exposes little kids to the Spanish language. The party will only be our family, but two of my sisters who live in Pittsburgh have six children in total, so the party will be full.
When I asked my sister what she was doing for the theme, she only had a pinata in mind. Being that I LOVE planning parties and making themes for everything, I was shocked. What about the menu? What about decor? What about music? My sister mentioned that she was worried the little kids wouldn’t be experimental with Mexican food, and she was thinking of having pizza…I had to find a compromise.
So, in addition to a few normal pizzas for backup, I am going to make a MEXICAN DIEGO PIZZA! Hopefully, I can fool all of my nieces and nephews into eating it because I know once they try, they will love it.
1/2 pound stir-fry beef strips
1 pound frozen pepper stir-fry, thawed
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons taco seasoning mix
1 (12-inch thin) pizza crust (recommended: Boboli)
1/2 cup lime-garlic salsa (recommended: Pace)
2 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese
Sour cream, for serving
Refrigerated guacamole, for serving
Fresh cilantro, for garnish
-Set up grill for direct cooking over medium heat – oil grate when ready to start cooking
-In a bowl, combine beef strips, pepper stir-fry, oil and taco seasoning
-Grill beef and pepper strips on hot oiled grill about 5 minutes total
-Remove pizza crust from package and place on grill
-Top with salsa, cheese, beef and pepper strips
-Turn heat down to medium and cook pizza covered for 8 to 10 minutes or until cheese has melted and starts to bubble.
-Serve hot garnished with sour cream, guacamole, and cilantro.
INDOOR: Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Combine and season beef and pepper strips as directed. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large frying pan. When oil is hot, saute beef and pepper strips for 5 minutes. Remove from pan; set aside. Remove pizza crusts from package and top with salsa and cheese. Top with beef and peppers and bake in preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until cheese is melted and begun to bubble. Garnish as directed.
Last night, MM and I were treated to a full course dinner in a loft prepared by a personal chef. I know, I know. That sounds faaaaancy…but we were actually invited to help the chef organize his idea of having a loft where he can make private dinners for groups of people, parties, etc. He is also Italian, and he would like to create a “restaurant” in his loft so that people can have that feeling of privacy and exclusivity while eating a fantastically homemade meal.
He is from Umbria, so the menu he prepared primarily consisted of dishes that are native to his hometown. It was more elaborate than I was expecting, but I wasn’t complaining. He served a salad with carpaccio, bruschetta, pureed garbanzo beans with pancetta, asparagus lasagna, filet of pork and tiramisu. The menu was more detailed than that, but I accidentally forgot his hand-written menu to share all of the delicious details…
Most everything was fantastic – homemade pasta in the lasagna, the filet cooked in red wine, roasted garbanzo beans on top of the puree, and many other finely planned details that made a big difference. The only comments I had were minor and usually related to salt, which I will admit – I like too much.
Just to be sure that I would like to try to help him in his endeavors, we planned another dinner for next week! This time he will be serving pesce (fish)…I think it is only necessary for me to try both land and sea dishes.