August 5 – “Devine” History

4422 8th Ave – Brooklyn, NY

After a delicious brunch at Rue 57 we sluggishly walked back to the car, full and hot. This was not a good day for walking around the city, and I was so glad mom and dad drove to NYC.  Our first stop: Brooklyn. 4422 8th Ave to be exact! Now a Chinese restaurant, this was once the home of Joseph Zingale, my Nana’s dad when he lived in NYC before moving to Rhode Island sometime before 1920.

It’s crazy to think about how much recent history depended on Joseph’s move to RI. If he hadn’t, he wouldn’t have met Victoria, would not have had Diane (my nana), who would not have met my Poppy.  And they wouldn’t have had my dad who wouldn’t have met my mom, and they wouldn’t have had me or my sisters! So… thank you Joseph for moving to RI. There would be NO V LIFE! Oh my…

After exploring Park Slope until it was too hot to wander around, we drove to Di Fara’s pizza -well work the hour wait, as long as you walk around and avoid their hot indoors. No AC- how do they do it!? We took our sausage and pepper topped pizza to Brooklyn Promenade where there was a great view of lower Manhattan. One more food mention of the day – we stopped at One Girl Cookies Cafe and boy oh boy, do they do it right!  Well, their cookies were a bit small, but in their iced coffee, they have COFFEE ICE CUBES. I imagine them saying “Duh” to other coffee shops because it is so simple and so smart! No watery coffee! Genius!

Thanks for a great day Mom and Dad!

-V

August 3 – BlogHer 2012

Voices of the Year 2012

Today was my first time at BlogHer! It’s like no conference I’ve ever been to – the women (and men – yes there were a few!) were so friendly and supportive and I had a great time chatting with people from all over the country.  Our lunch keynote was none other than Martha Stewart! I’m a big fan of her Everyday Food series and I have to say, hearing her talk in person made me like her so much more.  She was honest and funny, and wasn’t afraid to show us a more personal side. Something she said that caught my attention: “Being an entrepreneur is the most exciting career.” I’d have to agree.

The best part of the day was listening to the bloggers who won Voices of the Year do a reading.  The stories were so wonderful – touching and humorous. I love stories, especially from talented writers.

Madison met me in NYC and we went to dinner at Basso 56, a great little Italian place just south of Central Park.  I ordered homemade spaghetti with a lamb ragu and tiramisu to top it off. I practically fell asleep with my face in my food, conferencing is tiring!

-V

June 24 – The Bakehouse

Walking to brunch – a shot of the Freedom Tower construction

This morning the four of us walked to the West Village for brunch at The Bakehouse, managing to stay on the outskirts of NYC’s Gay Pride Parade.  It was a long walk, but we were rewarded handsomely with outstanding food. I ordered a fine herb and goat cheese omelet with a latte and a pain aux raisin to go and was full until dinner at 6! Best pastry I’ve had since France, and tasted very authentic.  Also, the barista poured a peacock into my latte – beautiful work!

We said goodbye to Sarah and Pete and headed uptown to visit the Calverts. It was a quick visit, but very nice seeing everyone.  We also stopped by to say hi to Marie – she was so full of happiness to see us, which of course, then made our day! Before we left she stood up to sing us a song – you can watch her perform here – I (with her permission) videotaped the special event: http://socialcam.com/v/RAQmggQX.  She still has so much life in here, it is wonderful to see!

Thank you to Sarah and Pete for a lovely time and for being wonderful hosts! Thoughts and prayers go to the Calverts as they mourn the loss of Missy’s Uncle Billy, and Brian’s best friend, John.

-V

June 23 – The city at my fingers

Walking along Third Ave

Today was my first time exploring NYC solo. What I have to say to that: YOLO! I began with a bagel (duh) and a latte (double duh) and set out to discover! I bought a Times and walked up the steps to Bryant Park for a cultured, relaxing morning. No sooner had I found a shady table, but a distant boom echoed throughout the park. I stood up straight and looked around. It sounded like an explosion, or something very heavy dropped in a construction site. I seriously hoped it was the latter. No one sitting around me seemed to care, so I opened my paper. Another boom. I mouthed “wtf.” Again, no one reacted. Was I the only one hearing this? Before I could ask someone, I heard Jurassic Park music coming from the trees around me, increasing in volume. I looked up, half-expecting a pterodactyl to come hurtling out of the leaves.

Then, a man’s voice began to speak. I was at a performance, and a weird one at that. Whoever gave this guy a mic needs to reconsider their career choice. I was relieved that they city was not under attack, but was deprived of the peaceful morning I had hoped for. This guy was “50 shades” of messed up. For at least three minutes he chanted: “cats and dogs and cats and dogs and cats and dogs.”

I got through the paper’s news blurbs before I couldn’t take anymore and got up to leave, huffing as I went. As I was passing the New York Public Library, I saw a sign for an exhibit that I had just read about in the paper. I decided to go in, and I am so glad I did! The exhibit is called Lunch Hour NYC, and details a history of lunch dining, beginning with the NYC power lunch to the introduction to cafeteria dining. It was so interesting! They had wonderful images and facts – did you know that when peanut butter first came out, a peanut butter and chili sauce was the popular way to eat it?

My favorite quote from the exhibit was about pickles: “The fact that so many people are given to eating them is no reason why they should form an article of the diet. This fondness for such indigestible green trash only argues there is something wrong somewhere” -Herald of Health 1864. Why all the hate? =) If you are in NYC, definitely stop by this exhibit, it’s not that big, but it’s full of surprising fun facts. Also, I think we should bring back the power lunch! Wednesdays maybe – to break up the week?

I shopped around for the rest of the afternoon, before heading over to Sarah and Pete’s. They have a great building and cute apartment down in the Financial District. After drinks on their roof we went out to Mad Dog & Beans for some Mexican. GREAT guacamole – some of the best I’ve ever had – very citrusy!

What a great day exploring and then catching up with friends!

-V