Thursday, December 30, 2004

A farewell to one of New York's finest...

Jerry Orbach

Today, one of the great names in New York theatre, television, and film left us following a battle with prostate cancer. Jerry Orbach was one of those rare talents who was truly gifted and underrated. He will be sorely missed.

Saturday, December 25, 2004

A very kosher Christmas Eve

It started with a trip into the city to meet our friends Matt and John, and Matt's parents, who were visiting for the weekend. We were meeting them for dinner at the 2nd Ave. Deli, to which I had never been, but had always wanted to go. Once there, I feared it would be a bad experience: we had to wait almost 25 minutes outside in the freezing weather for a table; but once we got inside and seated, it was really a delightful meal.

We started off with chopped liver. Now I have to tell you, I am not a big chopped liver fan. I can count on one hand the number of people or places who have served it to me and I considered it good. Jess' grandmother could make it. Matt can make it...but restaurants just don't make it to my liking. Well, that was before 2nd Ave. Deli. It was fantastic. I also had stuffed derma, a roast turkey sandwich with russian dressing, and dill pickles that were truly deli-worthy. Overall, a great meal - and our server, Marsha, was truly outstanding. It all would have been even better if we hadn't had to listen to the screaming BRAT at the next table, who was letting out shrill ear-splitting shrieks while his parents just sat there.

At any rate, with dinner over, we sent Matt's parents back to their hotel in a cab, and we took a walk in search of some coffee. We didn't have to walk far. A block south of the deli was a little Ukrainian place (the East Village is filled with many Polish and Ukrainian immigrants and restaurants) called Veselka, at the corner of 2nd Ave. and 9th. We weren't really looking for dessert, but the desserts in their case certainly looked delicious. The problem is that most restaurant desserts look a lot nicer than they taste - but surprisingly, that wasn't the case here. Jess and I ordered a hot chocolate, and Jess ordered a piece of chocolate mousse cake. I ordered the baked chocolate custard. John and Matt split a Valrhona chocolate tart, Matt had an espresso. Everything was positively magnificent.

The subways and train were quite empty, this being Christmas Eve, so it was a pretty relaxing ride back to the Island, where we came home to our doggies, who were happy to see us.

It wasn't exactly the Christmas Eve I have come to know, but it was wonderful nevertheless.

Happy holidays, everyone.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

We're getting there...

Sorry I have been so long between posts. Lots of things going on around here. The house is coming together, albeit slowly. Here are a few of the kitchen pictures. You can't tell too much by these, since only a couple of the appliances have been installed, but you can kinda get the idea.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

It's that time of year...

The holidays are just around the corner, and that candy. But it's different this year. Because we have too much other stuff going on, Jess and I will not be making the usual 150 lbs (seriously...150 lbs!) that we usually make and ship to friends all over the country (along with two 20 lb. trays for my work, a 10 lb. tray to Jess' office, et cetera, et cetera). Peanut brittle, cashew brittle, Chocolate Crash (chocolate-covered cashews and Craisins), fudge, peanut clusters, chocolate-orange-covered marshmallows, cherry bon-bons, spiced pecans, coconut dipped chocolates, peanut butter dipped chocolates, chocolate chocolate chip cookies, peanut butter cookies, and white chocolate peppermint bark are just some of the kinds of candy and cookies we produce.

But it's far too busy this year to do that, what with house construction, trying to move and sell Jess' grandmother's apartment, and a hundred other things, so I'm just making about 30 lbs. to give to friends and family...and no mailing it out this year.

People at work are asking "when's the candy coming?" because they have come to expect it the last five winters, and I just love the look on their faces when I tell them that there won't be any this year. It's this incredulous look, like "how can you do that?!" It's so touching. As if I am obligated to make this candy that costs me more than $250 in ingredients alone, to say nothing of the time it requires to make that much candy. What's more, only about twenty percent of the people who eat it bother to thank me for it. The way I'm looking at it now, I may never bring candy to work again!

At any rate, we've finished the first three batches, with about six more things to go - but the weather has not been cooperative! Candy is best made when the outdoor humidity is about 15% or less, and that hasn't been the case for the last few days. And time is short - there are only a few days left before the holidays and candy-making is time-consuming work. So we'll have to work quickly and nearly every night to get it done.

So, do you feel sorry for us? No, of course you don't. See if you get any candy this year! :P

Monday, December 06, 2004


This weekend a number of bloggers got together in the city and the result was fun, fun fun. Saturday, Jess and I got together early for a dinner with Byrne at Brothers' Barbecue, where we enjoyed barbecued brisket and chicken fried steak. Then we headed over to therapy-bar where we met up with Michael, Famous Author Rob Byrnes and Brady (Bradykins), Patrick, Karen, Wayne, Todd, Brian, Matt, Deirdre, Wayne (the non-blogger Wayne) and several others whose names or blogs I can't remember. It was a fun evening, even if we did have to leave early so that we could get back to Long Island at a relatively reasonable hour. Leaving at about 10:45, we hit traffic from the theatre district that gridlocked the city from 8th Avenue to 2nd Avenue along 57th. Just to go seven avenues and 18 blocks south to the Queens Midtown Tunnel took 45 minutes, and then it was another 45 minutes home. Driving in the city sucks, but we didn't have much choice, having gone shopping for light fixtures for the house earlier in the day down in the Bowery.

Then this evening, we met up with Byrne, Brian, Todd, Patrick, and Jere for a nice Thai meal at Wild Ginger, and then trotted on over to Marie's Crisis a couple of doors down, where we again met up with Rob, Brady, and Wayne for drinks around the piano bar and a night of singing showtunes. There were some fabulous voices there and the best of the numbers had the whole place singing "Summer Nights," "Hopelessly Devoted to You," and "That's the Worst Thing I Could Do," from Grease. But there were plenty of other good numbers that were performed, and we will definitely be going back to Marie's again. I see why it's one of Byrne's favorite places. Sadly, we had to end the fun around 8:45 and head home, but it was a fabulous weekend overall and one I will not soon forget!