Archive | August, 2011

Come On Irene

28 Aug

It’s 6.30pm and all the excitement has died down, people are back on the streets and some businesses are open.

While it seems like a damp squib now it is worth noting that had the worst happened and we were to have been hit by a category 3 hurricane we would not be laughing, but at the same time, it is quite amusing that this city that mocked London’s inability to cope with a snow storm last winter is now the one at a standstill.

From 12pm on Saturday the entire MTA transport network was shut down leaving the streets empty and offering the vast majority of businesses little option but to shutter. So while Friday saw mass panic in the supermarkets, Saturday was eerily deserted streets with last-minute duct taping of windows and Sunday, some strong winds with the odd fallen tree.







All in all nothing to panic over and time enough for people to have a little fun.

TREE FALLS and yes we heard it so we know it happened



Thankfully whatever the weather GOD goes to work……



A Perfect Evening

26 Aug

Perfection is something you strive for but never reach, unless you were never striving for it in the first place.

Plans are great, but mostly they involve a lot of effort and it is difficult to judge the results objectively once you have invested so much. Last minute is obviously unreliable and has potential for disaster but it also lowers the bar allows for the magic of chance.

Saturday last was that perfect evening happened upon with as little organisational effort as is possible when meeting friends.

I wish to clarify the ‘magic of chance’ quickly as there is nothing worse than getting to the point where everyone is hungry but no one knows where or what to eat and invariably you end up at the lowest common denominator which is never a good place to be.

I only leave eating out to chance when I know a neighbourhood well enough to be aware of the options, or that I trust the people I am with  to leave it up to them…..a rare occurence as anyone who knows me will testify.

On this occasion I had the luxury of both options. My original thought had been to return to the Good Fork a restaurant I really enjoyed on my last visit, but our friends had other ideas and thanks to them we had a delicious dinner in the garden of HOMEMADE.

The menu is simple, broken down into snacks, salads, sharing platters and open sandwiches. It is perfectly suited for sharing and as soon as the first snacks arrived we knew we would be happy for the rest of the evening. This was no culinary masterpiece, the  food as the name suggests is reminiscent of a meal you would put together at home having stopped off at some nice food store. Good olives marinated in warm oil with citrus zest, a garlicky artichoke dip smeared on a baguette, potatoes roasted with garlic and a spicy chipotle aioli. The salad was refreshing and light, with slightly tart granny smith apples, rocket and fennel.

The setting was idyllic, in some ways we could have been nowhere else other than Brooklyn, yet it also reminded me of a tiny Italian trattoria. We sat in candle light surrounded by walls on three sides and looked out onto a rough garden growing tomatoes, herbs and veggies used by the kitchen.

It is worth being reminded that all the finest food in the world cannot improve the company you are with but the opposite is true, as good friends and tranquil setting can turn a good meal into a great evening. We finished dinner and took a walk around Red Hook, which is like no other place in New York.

A perfect evening……..

All The Posts I Did Not Write

18 Aug

This post is mainly about not wanting to post and in some way an explanation into the diminishing number of posts I have written over the last couple of months. I got married in July and in going through all the things that I did not get done in the run up to the joyous occasion I discovered a trove of photos all taken with blogging in mind.

It would be a lie to say that the build up to my nuptials meant that I did not have the time to blog, in fact a lot of the non blogging was due to a paralysis of thoughts. Every time I sat down to write something I came to question its worth: why would any one want to read it? I would go as far as to say I have become reluctant to blog. I have always been doubtful as to the value of one persons thoughts over another, especially when one is not even a professional (in the sense of not getting paid for it), yet here I am back again.

I am determined now at the very least to make it 12 months as a blogger, so here is a selection of posts that never quite got written up.

This slushed ice drink immediately took me back to those heady school days where you could pop into the newsagent and buy a neon Slush Puppy and get the best sugar rush going. The Kelvin Natural Slush Co has taken the concept and upgraded it. All natural flavours, no additives just good old fruit puree. You start off with a base, such as the lemon one I chose and add secondary seasonal flavours, such as strawberry, for full menu and truck location see there website. It really is a delicious treat on a sweltering day.

The best tuna sandwich in the world, well in my opinion. I have been trying to perfect this for years and I still struggle to get it spot on every time. These are my choice ingredients and top tips; spend money on good tuna (in fact only buy good tuna), make it a day in advance the flavours come together much better, and use slightly more of everything than you think you should. There really are very few things finer than a great tuna sandwich!

Homemade lemonade cannot be beat. Recipe, 1 litre boiling water, handful of mint leaves, 250 ml  sugar, mix together and allow to cool. Add 500ml freshly squeezed lemons and mix well, again this actually tastes better the next day. Feel free to add a little more or less sugar and lemon to taste.

I Have no green fingers, the best I could do was to try to keep my brothers herbs alive as he willfully ignored them. But as the heat cranked up here salads became the only home eating option the expense of having to buy fresh herbs began to grate. So I began my own little garden. The basil was a random experiment that happily worked. By snipping a healthy stem and giving it water and a little sun it sustained itself until it went into a rooting cycle. At this point I simply planted it and gave it some organic fertilizer and watched it shoot up. I now have basil, coriander, thyme, parsley, mint and rosemary all growing on the roof.

I have decided that my corner of Brooklyn is in the midst of a burger war. In the last 3 months four fast food style burger joints have opened within a mile radius, with two more due to open. The real lines will be drawn (quite literally) when Shake Shack opens in autumn. In the meantime Smashburger came out on top against Five Guys (they opened 2 different locations) and 282 burger.

Last but by no means least is Blue Marble Ice Cream, which definitely deserves its own post.

Thier strawberry ice cream is so good that come July, when they still had no stock of it (all flavours are made seasonally), I was forced into emailing them to find out when it would be returning. Fortunately the answer came back as the following day, I was ecstatic and first in line. It is a 3 time a week habit right now, so hard to ignore when it is literally feet from my doorstep. I feel like I am ruined for all other ice cream, certainly strawberry wise, this simply is the best I have ever had!