Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Week In Review - 4.30.12

Alternate Title - MomW's Update

A good week to be in NYC.
  • Sunday 4/23 - at home with Amazing Race - go team Bopper! And grocery delivery for the week from Fresh Direct. We've been using the free delivery promos and keep extending our 'delivery pass'. Usually Fresh Direct has a $6 delivery fee, you can pre-purchase a delivery pass, $99 for one year. Last year we bought the pass and have saved over $150 on delivery fees. Recently they have been sending out free delivery promo codes just about every week. If you already have 'delivery pass' they extend the end date by a week. So far we've been able to extend our 'delivery pass' end day by 8 weeks!
  • Monday 4/24 - turned out to be laundry night. The laundry room was empty and we were able to get everything including 3 sets of sheets washed.
  • Tuesday 4/25 - Counting Crows! Great show! It was general admission and we stood pretty close to the stage the entire time. The opening act was interesting. Young, passionate, and full of angst. The Counting Crows did a really nice set list with plenty of favorites.
  • Wednesday 4/26 - MW had a work function and KO went to the Tribeca Film Festival to see 'Knife Fight'. It is a political thriller staring Rob Lowe! I saw him promoting the movie on the Today Show and even though tickets were sold out, I was able to get a seat thru the reseller market (scalper). About 10 of the actors from the film were there for the wold premier of the movie. I enjoyed the movie but not sure if I would recommend it. And if you are wondering, Rob was looking pretty darn fantastic on the big screen and from the brief glimpses I got in person.
  • Thursday 4/27 - late night after the party and movie, kind of dragging today....pushed through and had dinner at home.
  • Friday 4/28 - we started the day with space shuttle Enterprise flying over the city. I was able to get photos from our roof deck and MW caught it from work. It was an awesome sight and very exciting to see in person.  We enjoyed dinner at a new place in the neighborhood 'Seahorse Tavern'. Good food but very slow service. It took 2 hours for dinner and we started with a plate of oysters and had one entree each. Michael had one of the fish specials, grouper with asparagus and something else that was tasty but we can't remember what it was! I had a grilled shrimp salad that was wonderfully grilled shrimp over romaine with soy crisps and a sesame dressing.
  • Saturday 4/29 - kind of a lazy day. We had to get cat food, we were down to one can and I'm always surprised there isn't cat mutiny when the supplies get so low. We started the day with breakfast at the Mansion and finished with dinner at somewhere new - 'Mole' (as in the Mexican sauce, not the little critter, I can't type the accent on the 'e' correctly). For dinner, we decided to eat dinner at 'Taco Taco', a Mexican food place in the neighborhood that is acceptable and relatively easy. We went to 'Taco Taco' and they were closed! And just down the street one of our favorite Thai food spots 'Sala Thai' was also closed!! (MomW, this is where we ate and had the wonderful mango sticky rice.) What is happening to the neighborhood....we noticed across the street from 'Taco Taco' there was a new Mexican food place that was busy. We decided to look at the menu - it looked pretty tasty so we got a table and ordered. As it turns out the owner was walking around the restaurant and chatting with customers. The new 'Mole' was the old 'Taco Taco' but in a nicer space and a spiffed up menu. The setting was much more vibrant and the food was delicious, a great improvement over 'Taco Taco'. The service needs some help, it is the kind of place where lots of people are trying to look busy but no one is really doing anything other than run around but the good food definitely wins over the slow service.
  • Sunday 4/30 - what a nice day. Breezy, but bright and sunny with no clouds in the sky. We grabbed egg and cheese breakfast sandwiches from OK deli and headed to the Carl Schurz park (we call this Peanuts Park - because Schurz sort of sounds like Charles Schultz and he penned the Peanuts comic strip). We ate and watched the East River for a while and then decided to head to Central Park, the Sheep's Meadow. Central Park was packed! After hanging out in the Sheep's Meadow enjoying the fresh air we made our way to Fish down on Bleecker. We started off with oysters and clams and then MW had the chopped salad with lettuce, tomato, blue cheese crumbles and blue cheese dressing. The salad kind of wants to be a wedge salad but it is chopped - this time it needed more dressing and even though we asked for more our server forgot to bring it to the table ( wuh wuhhhh). MW had the crab cake for his main and I had the fish market stew  (a spicy tomato based broth with pieces of shrimp and white fish) with lobster mashed potatoes (regular mashed potatoes topped with a big scoop of lobster bisque and lobster meat). The potatoes were on the cool side and not my favorite, I wouldn't order them again. The crab cake is good and the fish stew is one of my favorite items on the menu. Tonight it was really spicy, but still very tasty. After dinner we stopped at Murray's Cheese Shop and per usual had great service. We went home with a tasty blue cheese and nice aged Mahon Curado cheese. Time to see Phil on Amazing Race!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Best Thing I Saw Today - Space Shuttle Enterprise!

This morning space shuttle Enterprise flew from Dulles to JFK, eventually it will be on display at the Intrepid.

NASA was nice enough to do a few loops over the city and Mother Nature was nice enough to give us a beautiful blue skies.

There was a small crowd up on the roof of our building and we tracked it as it went up and down and back up the Hudson.

And then over the Bronx and RFK bridge before touching down at JFK.

It was an awesome sight.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Best Thing I Read Today

"Be yourself is about the worst advice you can give to some people."

By Thomas L. Masson, 1866-1934, American editor and author

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

The Final Frontier

We have become official Natural History Museum members - thanks to a Groupon making the cost a very reasonable $60 for the year.

Our first visit was last Sunday. As members we get to enjoy many of the special ticketed exhibits for free. We spent the afternoon walking through the special exhibit: Beyond Planet Earth: The Future of Space Exploration.

Here we found out about, "robotic missions to explore our universe and what it will take to build a lunar elevator, deflect deadly asteroids, and travel to Mars."

In fact, if Michael were to travel to Mars this is what he would look like:

This Mars exploration photo inspired my blog post title. It is a very obscure reference to the song that was played by JPL as the Mars rover first landed. It is also the song used for the show "Mad About You".

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Move over cake balls - time for Push Pops!

Thanks Pinterest for yet another great idea!

I was never really a big cake ball fan, but I have quickly adopted the push pop craze.

Basically tasty treats are loaded in to the push pop form factor (yes, thanks to my technology background this is the word I choose - 'form factor' - keep your 'dork' comments to yourself please).

Once packaged up in cello bags with a little bit of ribbon they are pretty darn cute!

I've made a ton of them with various Easter related treats. I do realize they have a novelty factor, so I'm not sure I'll make push pops treat again - but you never know! They were easy and I liked how they turned out so the odds are ever in their favor for a repeat performance.

Monday, April 02, 2012

Cinderella is proof....

A great pair of shoes can change your life!

No, I didn't get a new pair of shoes but I made 29 pairs of cookie shoes for a party.

They were all pumps, but I made about 10 different colors and designs.

This design looked like wedding shoes to me, white with sparkling white sanding sugar.

Next I made a pale yellow with iridescent glitter - they were my favorite but the glitter really doesn't photograph well.

The dark green shoes were studded with gold dragees.

This style was a bright orange coat of royal icing with pink sanding sugar in various shades - very Boca!

I was not so pleased with the yellow and pink dragees, but I wasn't going to change anything.

This style was my attempt as a Tiffany blue. They are covered in a very light Tiffany blue sanding sugar.

And in honor of Princess Catherine with her Prada navy pumps - I made navy pumps studded with silver dragees. Probably a little too 'rocker' for Kate.

Of course I needed some in purple, this is a light purple royal icing topped with sparkling purple sanding sugar (brought home from my recent trip to Seattle. I knew the jar would set off the baggage scanner so I put my two jars of sugar in a separate bin - sure enough they had to be searched!)

This style did not photograph well, but they looked really cool in person. I covered a darker purple royal icing with an iridescent smoky amethyst luster dust. I use luster dust on my gum paste flowers, it was great to find another use for it!

And finally the greens - the first shade of green I made was a little off and then for some reason I added pink dragees. This pair looks like a pair of prickly pear cactus.

And the final two styles - a darker green with white sanding sugar and the same green but coated in gold luster dust. I liked the gold pair, it reminded me of the statue of liberty with it's green patina.

The cookies were mailed to California and unfortunately they were a little delicate and many didn't survive the trip. Luckily the shoe cobbler on the receiving end used white melting chocolate to get them back in one piece for the party.

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Muppet Cake!

Last year Chef Lodge had an edible version of himself 'muppetized' on display. It was so cute, I immediately knew I wanted to take that class when I had the chance.

Lucky for me that chance was this spring. I flew to Seattle to take the Lauren Kitchens 'muppetizing' class held at Mike's Amazing Cakes. Both Lauren and Mike have been on the show "Food Network Challenge".

Lauren took us step-by-step through the process. Due to the size of the finished product, I was not able to take the cake home with me. I made my friend's nephew and she made her niece. It was really cute to show them off to the kids the next day.

The muppets are sitting on a dummy cake and they are made out of rice crispy treats, modeling chocolate, and fondant.

First we rolled modeling chocolate in to the head.

Next we attached the body to the dummy cake with a wooden down and added some modeling chocolate to the neck area.

From here we added a fancy 'splat' for the muppet to 'jump' out of (so cute, love this idea - thanks Lauren!) and we covered the body in rolled fondant.

Now time to add the arms.

Next we attached the hands. Doesn't my muppet look excited to be bursting out of the cake?

Lauren was so cute she came around and used our cameras to take a picture of us working. She said her students are so busy they never get a photo of themselves, so she made sure and took a photo of each person in the class. Did I mention how cool she is? If you ever get a chance to take a Lauren Kitchens class just do it - don't think about, it will be totally worth it!

After the hands we started to add some unique features to our muppets. I wanted my muppet to be wearing a warm up jacket because he plays baseball. I added the crew neck to the jacket and knit cuffs at the sleeves. The jacket was finished with stripes down the arms and a snap front.

Forming the head and mouth was probably the hardest part of the entire process. Lauren was right there to ensure we completed each step perfectly.

The eyes and nose really give the muppet it's personality. Lauren showed us how to create eyes and noses for men, women, and children.

Last step was the hair. I was able to get it done with one single piece of modeling chocolate!

Lauren helped me make a baseball hat and with the baseball securely attached in his hand, my muppet was complete!

Lauren is a great teacher and just an overall fun person. The class was a blast and I'm so happy I had the chance to learn something new.

Now who is ready to order their cake muppet?