Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Culinary weekend!

I love food! (even though that is not an association people make when they first see me :) ) So, a weekend where almost every meal was soul-satisfying needs to make it to the blog.

The lucky streak started on Friday. The husband was working from home and so I stirred myself to make more effort over lunch. I am very happy  when I get a chance to put leftovers to use.There was some rice sitting in the fridge, the default accompaniment to every Seamless delivery. Turns out this slight hard, slightly old rice is perfect for quick fried rice. This is the expedited path I followed: Stir fry finely chopped ginger, garlic, onions and then any veggies you might have on hand. I never skimp on the ginger - important to add that punch. Remember to add some sugar as well to help the flavor and add color. Add the rice and the soy sauce soon after. Since soy sauce is salty, taste before adding the salt. Some recipes add in the vinegar at this point. I like to have vinegar separately on the table - in a bowl with chopped green chilies and more ginger.
All of this took me around 20 minutes. Topped off my plate with some stir-fried shrimp as a reward for my efforts while the husband got a sunny-side on his.

Ventured into Williamsburg later in the evening to look for baby clothes for my husband's new nephew. Decided to eat at St. Anselm on a whim. Now, we have visited and liked St. Anselm before. Being vegetarian, however, a restaurant specializing in grilling isn't going to be at the top of our regulars list. But this experience changed that for us. Despite their prohibitive wait-list (2 hours! which we used to find parking and browse baby stores) plus a further 30 minute wait for proper seating (no, I don't want to sit on a hard, tall stool at the bar - not after such a long wait anyway!) St. Anselm delivered. We decided to order a bunch of their appetizers and small plates to get a taste of everything.The peach-tomato salad, the haloumi-pea leaves salad, the spinach gratin were all worth the wait. The charred cauliflower brought back memories of my Dimma's phulkopi jhuri bhaja. The wine, though a tad expensive, perfectly complemented the flavors.We also managed to squeeze in some dessert (what a blessing it is to have expandable tummies!) - vanilla ice-cream with peach pie. Pure bliss! Exactly what a randomly special meal should feel like!

On Saturday, we pigged out at a special rakhi lunch cooked by the m-i-l. Lotus roots (bhe) in a light curry, saag paneer, a very toddler friendly red salad with beets and a great halwa.

Partly out of guilt and partly out of boredom (from over-eating!), we ended up walking all the way from 46th street to 14th. We did make a few pit-stops but since those pertained to shopping, our poor feet did not get any rest. When we finally reached Williamsburg, we were thirsty (and hungry again.) A quiet, airy pub beckoned. Williamsburg has tons of these cute establishments. Ordered wine with a small appetizer of Welsh rarebit. Really savored both the refreshments and the ambiance.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Day 1

Tampa/St. Pete's for the New Year's! I wanted to have an unplanned vacation this time. So it feels good to have such an unplanned, fun, first day.

1) Took an early morning walk on a beach. This is an all-time favorite of mine. Correction: It wasn't really early, more like noon. But pretty early for the 1st of January :) It wasn't even a beach really. Just a stretch of sand overlooked by a much-frequented local bar/cafe on the water. We had sea-gulls for company. And a variety of other shore birds, in fact. The ice-cream lady was just setting up her stand. Another holiday couple held hands and whispered. A few older groups parked on the far side and chatted. Later, we grabbed a drink at the cafe as people came in for brunch.

2) Explored a 'vintage' house at length. Our base here is a spacious and cozy outhouse built atop a garage in an old part of St. Pete's. The interiors are a treasure trove of vintage furniture and knick-knacks collected by the hostess over the years. Everything from the ceiling fan to the can-opener is quaint and old-worldly. There are tons of quirky books (I spotted a 1940s edition of the Girl Scout Handbook!) and a 'sewing room' with a closet full of vintage chic! What more can a girl ask for! There is also a ukulele with a manual for quick learning. I don't think I can go back to staying in a hotel room again. Strongly recommend AirBnb to add character to your holiday!

3) Drove around at night and watched beautiful homes. Now this makes me sound voyeuristic  and creepy but I am sure this is a common enough sentiment. This part of town is packed with gorgeous old houses. I love lit windows, cozy living rooms with lamps and bookshelves and paintings, Christmas decorations, people dining at set tables with vases...Besides, every once a while we took a turn and reached the glimmering water. What's not to love?

I also did some things I loved yesterday. Namely: read a good book straight through the flight (Murakami's book on running, if you must know). I rarely get the luxury to read at a stretch, having to break away to keep an eye on dinner or the subway stop. We also made and enjoyed a nye's plan with minimal research. I am always thrilled when that happens. (Dinner at the hotel restaurant which was exceptionally good and a movie in bed - NightCrawler which was good too. Perfect for the weary traveller.)
 And my last favorite thing for today? I wrote my first blog post of the year :)