it is still july?

last week sometime, we ate this:

Cherry tomatoes with tiny balls of mozzarella, olive oil, and basil harvested from my little neglected plant. However long I leave my little plant, it just takes a dose or two of water for it to perk back up.

I was planning to make a cake from not-scratch for the little one's birthday, but when I cracked one of the eggs into the mix, it was full of bits of blood.

I think that it's supposed to be ok like that, but it looked so gross that I just couldn't, so I threw the whole mess away and started over with this recipe for simple white cake - adding 1/4 a cup of milk and beating the egg mixture for 10 minutes like all the comments suggested. 

It was so good! Every time I make a cake from scratch I am surprised by how good it is, and how easy it is to make. [Except for the chocolate cake I took out of Better Homes and Gardens Cook Book. Actually, maybe the trick is not to get them out of the cookbooks, but to take the ones that people have already made and commented on a zillion times on Allrecipes.]  

I wonder why people bother with the boxes? I like it when birthday cakes don't look too perfect. Or even a little bit perfect:

Every time I bake, I think remember that I love these timers so much:

From Anthropologie, I like looking around the store, but it's not really my style. Always some cute kitchen stuff though, like these little measuring cups I bought for my sister a while ago:

Here's my new neighbor... you can barely see him, but he's laid out on on the branch with his limbs hanging down: 

I thought he was sick or something, because he was there all day.  But the next day he was fine:

new orleans

A cancelled trip to DC was replaced with a surprise trip to New Orleans last week...

and now I know for certain that our scale is wrong because it says I lost a pound when we ate so much (really good) food.

Franky & Johnny's for stuffed artichoke, mufalettas, huge boiled shrimp,  and (disappointing) bread pudding: 

Tony's Po-Boys (in Chalmette) for super fresh seafood platters with the best mac and cheese ever (drenched with oil):

Tony's has a twist on the deer heads you see everywhere in the south:

All washed down with Abita Amber...

and snowballs!

We also ate at Voodoo BBQ (the corn pudding!), and Ralph & Kacoo's (more fried seafood platters), but no pictures. I have to get in the habit of taking pictures of food and restaurant name at least. New Orleans is my food heaven, I have a list of places I want to again sometime:
  • Bayona (my birthday place!)
  • Matt & Naddie's
  • Jacques-Imo's (need to see if this is true)
  • Upperline (I haven't been, but it looked cute)
  • Pandora's
  • Jack Dempsey's (haven't been since I was a kid, stuffed flounder!)
  • Tony Angelo's (my favorite stuffed shrimp anywhere)

longest post ever, long overdue...

Here is, finally, our trip New York/Boston:

Day 1: 

(my favorite thing: clouds below you)

Wake up way before daybreak to catch a plane to Newark - yay for direct flights and first class upgrades! Cab ride into Manhattan isn't too bad - some are so scary. Check into our hotel -  Hilton in mid-town

(view from Hilton window)

Walk to the diamond district to do some shopping -  replace my wedding band (I loved my delicate silver band we picked up downstairs for like $10 a few hours before wedding, but it turned embarrassingly black from swimming all day on the fourth of July), find a couple of sellers that have black diamonds, and one who had a perfect little band of them. I love the story behind these, even if it's still hypothetical.

(tiny row of black diamonds. iphone macro shots suck.)

At night, we take the subway - which I still find so exciting - to the East Village. For hubby's birthday, he picks Cafe Mogador restaurant...

an Afghan place on St. Mark's Street with the best food (order the tangines) and drinks (mango martinis for me and blueberry mojitos for him). a perfect afternoon to sit outside: the weather was gorgeous. 

I always thought the East Village was a little bit shady, but this time it seemed completely different; I would totally live there: cool shops, good cafes and restaurants, and really good people-watching.

Day 2:

Wake up late, walk to cutest cafe for breakfast...

(I feel like a New Yorker!)

window shop down Fifth Avenue - crazy sales!, husband tries on a white Armani suit and actually buys it (doesn't get the concept of window shopping), they give you tiny expressos on a tray while you're waiting, long bath in the hotel, walk to pick up my new ring, get a falafel sandwich from the street vendor downstairs because you are starving and it is maybe the best you've ever had, get dressed for business dinner: Italian food at Nanni's, which was very good (although the lobster ravioli here is way, way better) and very quaint, walk home, few drinks in the hotel lobby, bed. I love that you can walk all over, and even though you eat so much you still feel healthy from the walking.

Day 3: 

Wake up super super early to check out of your hotel and take a taxi to Penn Station, which is not at all what you thought, it just looks like nowhere, and you were imagining the giant bus station in Amsterdam. 

Get your train tickets - easy - then wait for a few hours until the sign tells you where to go, get in line first so you can sit together, the train is not like a train train, it's more like a subway train with comfy chairs and it's own little coffee shop where you get bagels and coffee. 

(she got the ocean side)

Read magazines, watch out of the window as you go up the coast past all the little states. Look in the tiny backyards in Brooklyn, and it is not what you thought it would be either, definitely you will stop teasing your husband that you want to live there, picked up on the other side, relax for a while, drink some beer, have a dinner birthday party, learn a new recipe, with presents and ice cream cake, drink some more beer.

(presents for him - and me)

Day 4:

Watch marathon of Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations, and he is funny and amazing, now you just want to travel to crazy places and eat your way through them, Blue Ginger for early dinner of seafood pasta something...

and grapefruit martinis, maybe? then more beer and talking and music in the backyard until everyone calls it a night. perfect. we so often are just husband and i, it's nice to spend time around people that you like.

Day 5:

Train up (down?) to Penn Station, taxi to Meatpacking District, where you've never been but it is adorable, really - cobblestone streets and concrete parks in the median, and old buildings, and really cute designer shops on every corner. 

Check into Hotel Gansevoort, try to take a bath with your new stuff, but the tub is yucky and the water has flecks of crud in it no matter how long you run it, not what you would expect from a nice hotel like this, but they do bring you a little coffee maker when you ask for it. 

Take a shower instead, then go over to midtown to pick up the tailored suit, stopping on the way at a mediterranean restaurant, but you wish you had picked the street vender because it was so much better, for the subway home you get off a few blocks early to do some shopping: dunkin donuts coffee and a notebook. Dinner and drinks at the hotel restaurant, which has plenty of atmosphere, but the worse tuna tartar ever, sitting outside in the perfect night weather looking at the little lights and listening to people talk drinking a sapporo.

Day 6:

Husband off to his big meeting, you sleep extra, extra late, drink coffee, read a book, look out of the window for hours pretending this hotel room is your studio apartment...

take a shower, get dressed and it is 4 pm, husband is home, walk to The Diner for the best tuna sandwich ever and a pitcher of raspberry margaritas to celebrate the meeting...

then back to the hotel for a nap, meet with some friends for drinks on the roof - you can see forever from up here, everyone looks so cool and fashionable, leave and go bar-hopping around the neighborhood stopping here for a beer and lamb pizza (yum) and there for a beer or cocktail, so many quaint neighborhood bars, and then unfortunately Hogs and Heifers, which was a really lame coyote-ugly wanna-be bar where men had to take off there ties to get in and everyone stood in a clump by the door watching a 19 year old in a gold bikini make a fool of herself, i had to help, right?

(sad, but true, fact: I'm not even a little bit drunk in these pictures)

Day 7:

Pack up, check out, walk around town a little, another beautiful day, have lunch, sit in the lobby people watching for a few hours because you are tired and they are interesting looking...

Go out for coffee, back to collect your bags, then in a taxi to Newark because you are going home (first class, of course)... 

This city sucks!

Our trip was awesome, I have so much that I want to post about it
before I forget. But, yesterday, I just wanted to hang around and try
to get the house cleaned (which was/is a disaster from being away for
pretty much the last two weeks). When I started to leave to pick up
some groceries I got a nice surprise: someone had broken into my car
(in the gated parking garage). M'f'ers! I was so happy to be home, and
that completely ruined iidle me. They stole the kids' old playstation
and new portable DVD player, which was worth such little money, and
their DVD case with years of collected boy movies and playstation
games, which will cost thousands of dollars to replace. I am so mad!
But, on the bright side, I discovered Rock Band (came bundled with the
psp's we got last night to replace the stolen stuff for these long car
rides) and it is so much fun! I'm not very good yet, but am already
totally addicted; we stayed up until one last night playing!

I love this view

This is what I want: a sofa in front of a window where I can watch the
city spread out beneath me. I could sit here all day just watching
people and taxis. Last night we skipped dinner, walked to the corner
grocery, picked up a pint of Ben & Jerry's Turtle Soup ice cream, and
ate all of it in bed with plastic spoons.

new york and boston

Packing, again, for the next week of New York and Boston to include my first train ride (and second through fourth)! The trip should be fun but since I just came back from New Orleans yesterday, I am in the mood to just be home for a while... oh well.

Not looking forward to the early departure, but I am looking forward to (free!) upgrade to first class, which means I'll be sipping on some Bailey's and coffee while everyone else is still fighting for overhead space:

I'm also really excited to see the Avedon Fashion exhibit at New York's International Center of Photography, and maybe the Model as Muse exhibit at the Met:

Now onto some random stuff: 

1 - The cutest little computer for the kids to surf the net and watch lego star wars videos on youtube. I think it's about 7 inches across:

2 - Audio download so I can keep up my walk from the ipod when I'm not at home. And, theoretically, now I can go outside for walks but that's never actually going to happen. (I checked the temperature when I went outside a minute ago because it felt so much cooler than normal, and it was 99 degrees instead of 109 like last week. This heat is so ridiculous.)

3 - A new iPhone app that seems to have some great filters, although I haven't played with it too much yet: