Pretzels are the New Bagels? Yes, Please!

Check out the above sandwich is Bresaola, Arugula, Mustard and Mayonnaise on a sesame pretzel. How yummy does that look? It comes from the brand new Sigmund Pretzel Shop on the Lower East Side. Ingenious! I never thought about making a pretzel into sandwich bread before. I will have to somehow try that at home– I just have to figure out how to make pretzels first. No sweat, right?

One step forward…but…

Damir and I went down to beautiful Delray Beach, Florida this past weekend to check out potential wedding venues. We were so grateful that my parents could also meet us down there and help lend us some moral support– I am not sure we could have done it without them!

The good news is: we found a place we both really liked! Tropical, unique, interesting, yet close to bars, restaurants, airports and a great beach not too far away. Perfect! We haven’t signed the bottom line yet, so definitely it isn’t a done deal yet. But at least we both could agree that we liked the venue and the location!

Delray Beach is a funky little town that we really enjoyed. Situated between Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach, it has a funny mix of culture and style. Great for people watching! A bevy of restaurants, bars and boutiques to choose from, and a certain old-Florida style that I like. There is a free shuttle bus that goes up and down main street and to the beach. People were all incredibly friendly, and we ate some really great food!

There are, unfortunately, a few logistical problems we have to tackle about the reception space. We need to come to terms with what is realistic, and not throw our budget out the window. Tricky since of course I want everything that I want and it will be tough to scale back and not go into oodles of debt. We have a good chunk of time to plan, but these first big decisions are the most tricky. I can’t wait to get to the fun part of planning!


I like Oysters.
I like oysters a lot.

This is a relatively new favorite of mine. The first time I had oysters was when Frankie was visiting from London and we went out for seafood one night. The waiter brought us a selection of his favorites, and I have been a fan ever since. But only recently, have they become an addiction of some kind. Blame Victor, it’s all his fault.

We went out to the Union Oyster House on Monday and sampled their goods. Suprisingly, they only had 2 kinds. Some from CT and some from VA. They had more complicated names, but I don’t remember now what they were. I was suprised for an “Oyster House” that they were not teeming with all sorts of exotic varieties, but Vic and I settled in at the cozy bar with our shuckers Mike and Dave for a few hours of entertainment, basketball (on TV, Pitt vs. WVU) and oyster-lovin’-goodness.

I won’t lie to you, I kept trying to find a way to incorporate the line “mother shucker” into the conversation. I never found the right opening.

Eventually, dear Mikey let me come behind the bar and take some pictures. He also gave me a “lucky” oyster shell (dutifully cleansed in the dishwasher before being wrapped in tissue and put in a gift bag). I like the photos that came out as a result. Have a look.

[Look how giddy Vic is at his Oyster pile]

Question (for those of you who like raw seafood of any kind): if you could have only sushi OR oysters for the rest of your life, which would you pick?

Where did February Go?

I am looking at my calendar and cannot believe it is March 2nd. MARCH!

Was I abducted for the month of February? Do I have amnesia? I cannot believe the whole month has slipped through my fingers. The only way to know what I did last month is to look inside my trusty little camera. There must be some evidence there of what went on… Let’s see…

Looks like the month started off with a party of some sort. That’s RIGHT! It was ashbloem’s birthday. We had some fondue! And as usual, our girl Ann was THE LIFE of the party. She kicked it off hard core when she tried to see how many pieces of fondue bread she could stuff in her mouth at once. I think she got to 10. Check out dearest Dabney in the background. You know what she is thinking, right?

Nothing says HAPPY BIRTHDAY like a candle in a round of cheese. Right, girls?

Oh! And then Ash and I had a rare night out to ourselves! ALL BY OURSELVES! It was glorious, really. I can’t remember the last time we did that. We laughed and chatted up the friendly bartender, Ski, who was not the bartender we were hoping to find that night. Ah, well. He tried on her hat, though, and we liked him for it.

Maybe I had a baby.

No, that can’t be right. I think I would remember that. But what a cutie!

Oh, check this out. Now I remember… the bloody mary bar crawl with Vic and Chris. We started at Harvard Gardens, on to Kinsale, over to Spire then across the river to Cambridge where we hit Noir (even though they had no bloody marys as we had been promised), go kicked out of Grendels, had some thai food, and ended up at John Harvard’s. It was a full day. We had a few drinks.

Then it appears that I was abducted by strange asian garden gnomes:

Noooo. That’s just Ann again killing me with her crazy antics again. She had a grand old time with my hot pink cashmere hat at the Lush Lounge, where we were hanging out with Dabney and the lovely Francesca.

[Ladies… I am telling you that guy at the bar was STRAIGHT.]

The month ended with a trek through arctic temperatures (I swear there was an Emperor Penguin following me down Tremont) to the Union Oyster House, and no I did NOT order the “Ye Old Chili Nachos”. Vic and I feasted on oysters, cheerystones, and mussels. Yummmmmm! I totally charmed the shuckers, Mike and Dave, behind the bar and they let me come back and take some great shots up close and personal. I am actually going to save them for a separate posting since I like them (the pictures, not the schuckers) so much. No, they were really cool guys who kept us well entertained.

Well, that brings us more or less up to date on my social schedule. Sure, there’s been more than bar hopping and parties… but who wants to hear how I did my laundry the other day, or just how comfy my brand new sheets and duvet are?

Back to more regularly scheduled blogging… Promise.

Cheeky Indeed

I first learned about olympic speed skating when I was living in Holland. It’s a pretty big deal over there. No, that is an understatement. It is one of the country’s most popular sports and the major players are revered as demi-gods. During the last winter olympics I was dating a dutchman who knew all about the sport, and we spent what seemed like hours in front of my TV watching the matches. At first I thought it was boring and difficult to follow, mostly because I couldn’t really follow the rapid fire commentary in Dutch (and he was often too engrossed to take the time to translate). But then, quite suddenly, I quickly learned to appreciate the sport…

And it’s easy to see why:

Meet Dutch speed skater Dennis Kalker

And let me present to youDutch speed skater Erik Jan Spijkerman

And finally wouldn’t you like to get to know Dutch speed skating olympic champion Gerard van Velde?

So, I ask you… what’s not to like about this great sport? But NOW, I have to tell you about my new skater crush: Mr. Joey Cheek. Sadly, US speed skaters don’t seem to have the same penchant for posing in the buff like our Dutch friends (maybe we should send a formal request or something).

How adorable is this guy? He just won a gold medal for the US in 500M:

And not only is he cute, but he is a good samaritan. He is going to donate the $25,000 awarded to him by the U.S. Olympic Committee for winning the gold medal to children in African refugee camps so they might have a chance to play sports. Wow! Wait a second, did you know that medal winners were awarded cash from the USOC? I didn’t. That’s just the beginning of his philanthropic effort though, he said he will ask his sponsors — Nike and Oakley — and “all of the Olympic sponsors that give hundreds of millions of dollars” to match his donation. And, if he wins the 1,000 meters coming up on Saturday, he said he will donate that $25,000 as well.

Anyway… the good news is it looks like he has a crush on ME too! Look! Look! Look at this article. I am just sure the flowers will be arriving any day now. Yippiieeee!

Sadly, however, based on what his mom thinks her son will tackle next, I doubt we’ll be seeing shots of Cheek’s cheeks anytime soon (ugh, sorry couldn’t resist that one). Ah. well. We still have the Dutch… like Ralf van der Rijst…


OK, I am totally addicted to Yelping!

I am finding that I really love writing reviews on all kinds of places, from where I got my last pedicure to what I thought of the mojito I had the other night.

Once you start dishing out your opinions it’s hard to stop– especially when the other “yelpers” are so encouraging. This is particularly fun since I never really thought of myself of a very good writer. Surprisingly, I haven’t contributed any photos to Yelp reviews yet, but I do plan to soon.

Ahh, just another way to fry my brain on the internet.

OK! So about Key West!

As I was walking from the T to the office this morning, in 19 degree weather, I was dreaming of the recent days spent in Key West and trying not to think of the massive snow storm heading our way.

So, let me break it down for you.

First let’s talk Oysters. Are you a fan? I had only had oysters a few times in my life before this trip, but holy crap did we eat a lot of them. In one day alone I think Vic and I shared around 3 dozen oysters and cherrystones when we ordered the “tower of power”. Damn. It was good stuff.

Pictures of oysters are not really pretty– let’s face it, they look pretty disgusting. I have to wonder who the first person to open an oyster and say: Yum! Look at THAT! Yeah! Now lets add some horseradish and maybe a little sherry! Awesome! But for the sake of my documentary, you must see them to believe them:

(that was the top of the tower of power)

Next, let’s talk drinks. We had some. A few, in fact. Of course there were bloody marys. We had some beer. And one evening we even imbibed in some fruity tropical drinks. They were all tasty.

And hey, did you know that in Florida, you can buy BEER at CVS??? They know what they’re doing down there for sure.

So, how did we spend our time? Mostly in or around this, our pool which was all of about 5 steps from our cottage:

Speaking of our cottage, that’s a shot of it above. Here is a picture of the inside:

Victor is a very fun travel companion and was a great conversationalist, that is when not engrossed in his cell phone:

No seriously, he IS really a fun person to travel with. We had good times riding our rented bikes around town and generally laughing it up.

We even got to see some native Floridian wildlife!

All in all… it was an awesome trip. Finally got a chance to put my feet up and relax.