The 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.
Posts from the ‘City’ Category
Last year I took what felt like a slightly selfish trip to New Orleans. My excuse was book research, so I decided beforehand not to post or take too many pictures. It felt like if I stopped to post or take a picture every time I saw something beautifully strange or strangely familiar in New Orleans, I’d do little else. Strange because it’s a city so completely itself that it makes you come all the way there to experience it and familiar because I’d always heard stories from my family about New Orleans when it was a short jump from Havana. There were so many parallels that it wasn’t surprising that so many of my relatives settled there when they left Cuba in the 1960s. Read more
When my last and final book deadline came and went this month, I found myself heading back to Miami again for the South Beach Wine and Food Festival. Now one of the largest in the country, the festival is essentially held in my own backyard though I’d never gone down for it before. After interviewing a few of the chefs who’d be participating for The Latin Kitchen, I was excited to be there for the event itself but had not idea what to expect. Read more
The weather is defrosting, but I spent Sunday half inside my freezer where I found the nearly forgotten bag of moras. Also called Andean blackberries, moras are a little more tart, firmer, and brighter than the blackberries commonly found in the US. I’d picked them up in an amazing Latin American market in Jackson Heights. Well-stocked with incredible variety but hard to get to, I brought back as much as I could carry. A few months later, I’ve barely made a dent in the frozen guavas, jarred loroco, or guasca leaves I stockpiled. I was looking to change this and remembered a dessert my friend’s mother, Mari Ines, made when she was teaching me how to make ajiaco Bogotano. In the time it took her to finish the ajiaco, she simmered the berries in syrup and served them with queso fresco. After calling Mari Ines for the recipes and ratios, I quickly made it for friends that night. There are so many things I’m looking forward to this summer, but in these in between days, it felt good to take advantage of what I already had. Read more
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 went for a run this morning when I decided to go left to the Brooklyn Promenade instead of my usual route over the bridge. Because of the day, I stopped to take a few pictures of the Statue of Liberty but couldn’t get close enough with my iPhone. Heading into Brooklyn Heights, I found this Lady Liberty in tree grate and loved her Patti Smith slouch as she holds up the torch – a little tarnished perhaps but very much who she is. Have a happy fourth of July wherever you find yourselves!
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
Waiting out the rest of the year, the last week of December feels something like the end of a great night. The pressures of bringing together family and friends are over and you have a few extra days before the New Year to make plans, go to stores or avoid them, see friends, see movies, or just drift a little. After hosting my first complete Noche Buena this year, I was ready to drift. There was little food left but tons of chocolate – in the drawers, in the cabinets, on my mind. I decided to do something. Read more