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Posts from the ‘New York’ Category

A Brooklyn Boy

photoA blog by its nature is a revealing, intimate view into someone’s every day life – some would say too intimate, and many more would say its the end of civilization as we know it. Not with a bang, or a whimper, but with lots of over-sharing until we’re all sick of each other.

But as much as we share, there’s a lot we leave out. Lifestyle blogs in general, and food blogs in particular are often cited as the worst offenders. Transparently opaque, we filter images and stories to present a just so life. While I’m always honest about my stumbles in the kitchen, I’m selective about whatever private troubles I bring into my posts. Regularly telling people about your breakfast, lunch, and dinner can be personal enough so I always reserve the right to leave some things out.

That changed for me this weekend, when I lost Orfeo, my sweet pup of 13 years. His illness came on suddenly, so I’ve spent the last few days apologizing for last minute cancellations and no-shows while I focused all my energy on making him as comfortable as possible, showing him all the love I wouldn’t be able to give him in the years ahead, and being strong enough to let him go (he was stronger). What I hated was how apologetic and even embarrassed I felt while this was going on. I worried that the person I was making excuses to, wondered what all the fuss was about. I soon realized there were people who appreciate what that bond is like and people who didn’t quite understand how important our animals become to us. Luckily, I now know that I have a lot more of the former in my life. Read more

Arepas de Queso con Huevos Escalfados y Perico

IMG_4522I find an excuse to visit the Publix near my mother’s house almost every day that I’m in Miami. And it’s not for the daily free chocolate chip cookie their Danish bakery has for every child (and shameless adult) who asks – though that doesn’t hurt. When every recipe I attempt in New York turns into a scavenger hunt or compromise, I love the everydayness of seeing these things in a large chain grocery store. Most markets have strong Caribbean or Central American sections, but only in Miami do you see Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela, Peru and the West Indies represented as well. It’s like shopping in the a pan-Latin future as imagined by dancing dolls of  It’s a Small World. Read more

Catching Up in Winter

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It has been a long time since I’ve written one of these catch up posts. It’s probably only because we’re deep into the snow-globe months that I’m able to now.  Seeing the links I’ve flagged over the last few weeks, it’s clear that each one has been an escape from black and white (or blue) days:

Since virtual travel is my only option these days, I’ve been spending a lot of time getting lost in Roads & Kingdoms. There’s an amazing scale to the photographs and balance in the stories that’s really lovely.  This Colombia’ Bloom Boom story is just one example.

I also loved reading this story about Puerto Rican chefs, purveyors and activists reinventing farm to table in the tropics (via the New York Times).  I had no plans to visit but this has me plotting a return.  In the meantime, there’s this Saveur round up of recipes from the island.

I’ve never had a problem with French waiters. I personally enjoy their polished but short-fused manners. But if you do, this article in their defense provides some context for the haughtiness.

Trying to go beyond understanding to actually making myself understood, I’ve been flipping through the Farm to Table French Phrasebook by Victoria Mas. It’s my latest attempt to build on the spotty movie French I’ll likely never use with some solid food French that I absolutely will.

I stop to read anything by or about Patti Smith but this brief interview in Medium ended with a surprisingly powerful description of her mother and her famous potato salad.

I rarely want to go out when it’s this ugly-cold which means I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about changing up anything and everything in my apartment – #cabinfevermakeover.  For inspiration, I’ve been looking here, also here, and sometimes here. When it’s time to actually time to do something about it, I’ll want to go here but will most likely end up here.

I’m also obsessing over DIY/start from scratch projects. I keep pricing pasta makers then remind myself in Carroll Gardens you’re always a block and a half away from freshly made pasta by people who know what they’re doing.  Low tech tortellinis,  however, are still on my list.  Tasting Table has been putting out great videos lately but this tutorial featuring Giovanni Rana has become a favorite.

Everyone was talking about the dress last week but it seemed like minor news compared to the discovery of tetrachromats among us, capable of seeing 100 million colors at once. I can’t imagine what that must be like but the incredible exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic gave me some idea of what it could look like.

Finally, it’s Lent but I haven’t decided what I should give up (though apparently I’m in good company).  My sister Carmen is doing a #somethingbeautiful series on instagram this year. I’m always amazed at the quiet moments she captures – especially when she hits Brooklyn. You can follow here.

Mendl’s Courtesans au Chocolat

FullSizeRender.jpg-4Film was my first love but it was never an easy relationship.  Early prep days were always my favorite time, when you were crewing up and you could anticipate any and all problems – or not.  No one ever sets out to make a less than perfect movie but there are so many elements that can get away from you that it can be a heartbreaking process.  It’s lovely to see good work  rewarded and I’m excited to see friends making movies being honored this weekend.  What’s isn’t so great is not seeing it recognized, and it was equally disappointing to see so many frozen out this year. Read more

Edible Everywhere

Page 1It’s Christmas Eve and I have a bag of sour oranges waiting for me on the counter of my mother’s home in Miami to make the mojo.  My family of 50+ and counting takes turns hosting Nochebuena and this year it fell on us (collectively known as las Peláez) to plan and my cousin Cecilia to host.  Ceci and I used to spend the weeks before Christmas looking for hidden presents after school and now we’re texting each other centerpieces and searching for the least plastic-looking plastic plates at Party City.  It’s been a lot of work but grudging fun.  With each run to find the best turrones or tub of manteca, I can appreciate how much easier it is to plan Cuban Christmas in an essentially Cuban city.  Still, living between New York and Miami, I always have the sense of missing home while being home.  This year I got to write about Bringing a Cuban Christmas -Mojo and All – to Brooklyn for Edible’s joint holiday issue (Manhattan, Brooklyn, Long Island, and East End) so in some way I got to experience both at the same time.  Wishing everyone and peaceful and happy Nochebuena!  On a side note, the planning committee nixed my idea for a snow making machine but that will just give me something to look forward to next time around.

Capitolios

IMG_0754Some posts take longer to write.  That’s how it was with these capitolios – vanilla cupcakes topped with meringue, dipped in chocolate, and shaped like Havana’s Capitol building (hence the name). Our parents used to buy them for my sister and I and for years she’d been asking me to make them.  Since her birthday falls in May, she always plans something outside and this year she chose a spot under the Brooklyn Bridge and next to Jane’s Carousel for a picnic.  I had no idea what to bring when she reminded me that I’d never gotten around to the capitolios.  Read more

Mast Brothers Mole

IMG_0369The recent signs of spring are so small that, if I wasn’t desperate, I might not have noticed them at all. A little more light, a little later in the day, and I’m a completely different person. Once a layer comes off, I find it impossible to put it back on.  Even with the frequent temperature drops, I stubbornly leave my gloves at home and my puffy coat is not coming out again until next year.  All of which leaves me cold but determined.  I’m also taking advantage of the break in the weather to enjoy my neighborhood in a way that I haven’t for a very, very long time. I reference Brooklyn in my posts often but the changes in the last few years can sometimes feel like a cautionary tale about getting everything you wish for.

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