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: Read more
It’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.
A few weeks ago, I interviewed Fany Gerson for The Latin Kitchen about La Newyorkina on New York’s High Line which has become my favorite stand at one of my favorite city spots over two seasons. I love the way the park cuts into the sky line, but I hadn’t appreciated what the expanding line-up of food stands brings to the space until Fany described seeing her incandescent pops walking along the railway paths. Read more
A few weeks ago, I set out to find shaved ice vendors on the Lower East Side for Edible Manhattan. Not only was it early spring, but it felt like years since I’d come across the kind of traditional, wooden slat push cart I was hoping to find. When I did set out to look for them one Saturday, it was the kind of hot where the pavement trembles in front of you, so it was a very real relief when I met Andres Fabré on the corner of Clinton & Essex. Last week I filmed this Edible segment for NY1 with Rachel Wharton of Edible Manhattan featuring Andres – all the assurance I needed that it was more than a mirage.
I always love coming across a copy of Edible Manhattan so I was thrilled when they asked me to contribute two pieces to their first ever dairy issue (March/April 2012). Tasked with finding the city’s best tres leches, all signs pointed to Daisy Lebron at Bizcocho de Colores in Upper Manhattan. On what seemed like the only cold day this past winter, I made the treck to the opposite side of the island and was rewarded with an amazing tres leches (or two). It was a treasure in a plastic clam shell. Click here to read Uptown, a Dominican Confection Makes Life Three Times Sweeter which includes an extended photo gallery by Elizabeth Leitzell. Read more
When I was little and knew I was going on a trip, the first thing I did was pack my bags. It could be days, weeks or even months away, but getting ready made me feel like I was already on the plane. Sadly, I’ve completely lost my pro-active packing impulses. Almost from the moment the itinerary hits my inbox, I start running through the list of things I need to do here before I’m allowed to go there. This weekend, after booking my Easter trip to Puerto Rico and facing dementor-like winter temperatures outside – the kind that make you feel like you’ll never be cheerful again – I felt a little of the old packing impulse when I decided to make this stew of habichuelas blancas. Read more
I realized today that it was August, not that it was much of a secret. I had a hint of it last week when I went to the farmer’s market to stock up on fruit and there were no peaches anywhere. I’m sure there will be plenty in the weeks to come, but it was the first sign that end of summer was in sight. Summer Streets, the three days in August where the city closes Park Avenue to cars and opens it to just about everything else has become my end of summer consolation. Read more
A few weeks ago, a friend gave me a list of Puerto Rican classics to try that included asopao de pollo. As she described it, it’s a Puerto Rican risotto that’s not quite soup and not quite stew. My soups often go to gumbo by mistake so I was curious to know what would happen if I made it that way by design. At Jennifer’s suggestion, I checked my Puerto Rican Cookery book first. I realized after additional searches that there were thousands of recipes for asopao, a one-pot, comfort food solution for family dinners and leftovers. After reading them over, I finally circled back to Carmen Aboy Valldejuli. Read more
Like most people, I’ve been overwhelmed by the perfect storm of holidays we’ve had this weekend. Being stared down by Cupid, I could barely make out the Metal Tiger and Abe Lincoln standing behind him. Throw my birthday into the mix and I barely have enough time to get my guilt in order before Ash Wednesday. Nevertheless, I wanted to commemorate the Chinese New Year in some small way. When I first came to New York for school, Chinese-Cuban restaurants were my link to authentic Cuban food. Chinese staff speaking hyper-speed Caribbean Spanish serving roast pork with bean curd or fried rice with maduros over Cuban map placemats. I realized this winter that the reverse was also true. When I was considering buying some heavy tropical fruit to bring back with me from Miami, I realized I’d be better off looking for the same items closer to home in Chinatown. Read more
I’ve owed my teacher Steven Shaw a rave since I took the first food blogging course at the ICC this past year. He’ll be teaching the course again starting February 18 at the French Culinary Institute, and I absolutely recommend it to anyone interested in new media, starting their own blog or food writing. I browse listings for writing courses and workshops all the time. While they sound interesting, the fear is always that you’re going to pay for a teacher to ignore you and your fellow students to analyze you, at best a writer’s group and at worst group therapy with deadlines. Absolutely, none of these fears materialized in Steven’s class. A founder of eGullet.org and James Beard award winning writer, he was beyond generous with his time both in and out of class, so that you saw real development in everyone’s blogs from week to week (plus the speakers were great and the class drew together a perfect mix of writers, chefs, and starters). Click here for more information and here for five more reasons you should take this class!