Much a-do in NYC

For those of you who have employers who give a damn about Columbus Day, congratulations. I get to work on Monday while you sleep in and somewhere in your subconscious thank Mr. Columbus for doing what he did and giving you another day off in the year.

On that note, it’s Friday! And I’ve decided to start a weekly tribute on fun/exciting/different things to do in NYC each weekend. This is an amazing city filled with so much culture, food, and spontaneity… and there’s always a ton of events happening around town. It’s a happenin’ place ya know. You just need to see your options!

And here they are in no particular order…

1. NYC Wine & Food Festival
Celebrity chefs such as Bobby Flay, Rachael Ray, Guy Fieri, Tyler Florence, and many more put on a display of culinary demonstrations, discussion panels, book signings, etc… If you get lucky, maybe they’ll let you taste their More details at http://www.nycwineandfoodfestival.com/2010/

2. Park Avenue Armory‘s Indoor Carnival I haven’t been to an actual carnival in years! And this just sounds bloody brilliant. Carnival junk food, carnival games, rides, and theatrics! What more do you need? Oh yeah, and it’s in New York City. Pow. Take a date on a ferris wheel ride, watch some magic tricks, and top it off with some cotton candy or funnel cake. Admission is only $5 for adults, but rides are additional. I recommend to get an unlimited ride wrist band for $20! You can’t go wrong with that. I convinced my husband to go check this out this weekend! Woohoo! More details at http://www.armoryonpark.org/index.php/programs_events/detail/carnival/

3. The Wizard of Oz
For the kids this weekend, the Children’s Museum of Manhattan lets you and your kids experience the wonders of the classic 1939 movie, The Wizard of Oz. First of all, 1939?! Wow! I still remember where I was when I first saw this movie. It was a “lock in” (you guys remember those right?!) at the YMCA with my entire 4th grade class. The entire gym floor was filled with sleeping bags and they put up a giant projector screen and played the Wizard of Oz! LOVED IT! Anyway, the museum has setup a tornado making machine, The Wicked Witch’s Castle, and even the man behind the curtain. Super cool! Check out more details at cmom.org

4. New York Comic Con/Anime Festival
Calling all geeks! Who needs Halloween when you can dress up in your favorite fictional comic and anime characters for an entire weekend? Riiiight. More details at newyorkcomiccon.com.

Alright New Yorkers… go get em! And have a great weekend!

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Restaurant Review: Cucharamama Hoboken, NJ

I generally don’t do restaurant reviews, but this is necessary.

Cucharamama: the name alone is intriguing. The website looked amazing – described as Artisanal South American Cooking. Empanadas, tamales, crochetes… mmm my mouth was watering just looking at the selection!

I arrived late to meet my girlfriends (stupid conference call for work), but they were almost through their 1st bottle of Riesling so I knew I was ok 🙂 As we caught up on our lives and chatted for about 30 minutes, I realized that our waiter hadn’t come by even once. I needed a wine glass dammit! So we asked the hostess and she said she’d get one for me.

Another 15 minutes went by, no wine glass, no waiter. The bus boy came by to clear the appetizer plates. No wine glass. The hostess walked by again, no wine glass.

Friend: “Excuse me, can you please find our waiter? We haven’t seen him in about 45 minutes and we need to order our entrees.”

Hostess: “He’s currently with a larger table, but he’ll be with you shortly.

Geez, I guess a small table of 4 is worth nothing these days.

Bus boy brings me a wine glass!! YES!

Waiter finally shows up! We order another bottle of wine, and our entrees. The wine bottle comes out quickly, and we’re chatting and drinking away. The food also shows up in a decent amt of time, brought by a different waiter, so we’re content for now. Food cures all moods temporarily.

Random waitress puts an empty wine glass in the middle of our table. Seriously? I needed that like an hour ago lady. And can’t you see that there are 4 of us with 1 wine glass each? Why in God’s name would we need a 5th?

We finish our meals – no waiter. We finish the 2nd bottle of wine – no waiter. The plates get removed by bus boy – no waiter. The 5th wine glass remains.

Good lord man, can we just get our check and get the heck outta here! I go inside to use the LGR (Little Girls Room) and think I see our waiter at the bar, just hangin out. Interesting. Head back to the table, and still the waiter hasn’t shown. Ugh.

We see the hostess again – “Mam, can you please find our waiter??”

10 mins later he shows up. Check please. PLEASE. He brings it, we pay cash and plastic. 10 mins later, he comes back to tell us the machine was down, and he just wants to confirm how much on the plastic. UGH. Repeat.

Ok receipts are here, sign, tip done.

Here’s the clincher. The dude has the nerve to come back with the remaining cash and tell us that it’s only 12% tip. “Fine, leave it and we’ll take care of it.” It wasn’t 12%. It was 15%. It was calculated on the total prior the tax. He calculated it after the tax. And even if we wanted to leave 12% he should be so lucky. The service was shit. Pure shit. And he has some nerve to question it.

So we decide to write all over the bill the following phrases:

“It’s not 12%, it’s 15%, which is more than you deserve for the poor service.”

“Hope the ‘larger’ table got better attention than we did.”

“Thanks for checking on us during the apps and entrees. Oh wait, you didn’t.”

Final review:

Price: moderate

Food: excellent

Service: shit

Never going back there again.

Girly, Bi, or Manly?

I was listening to the radio the other day and the DJ was telling the listeners that he went to a Mexican restaurant with 2 of his buddies, and they ordered 2 strawberry margaritas each. He had an issue with this. Not about the fact that they ordered margaritas, more so that the margaritas were pink, and therefore a girly drink vs. a manly drink. He started going through his opinion of what constitutes an alcoholic beverage to be girly, bi, or manly.

So I decided to make my own list:

Whiskey on the rocks: MANLY

Whiskey Sour: GIRLY

Mojito: Bi (debatable)

Cosmopolitan: Girly

Beer: Once considered Manly, now Bi

Dirty Martini: Once considered Girly, now Bi


Funny how drinks that were once considered manly or girly have now switched to the other team and are acceptable for both kinds. 🙂

Share your thoughts on other beverages that are considered Manly, Bi, or Girly! I’m sure I left out a ton!

Disclaimer: this blog in no way supports the consumption of alcoholic beverages to underage adults… unless of course you’re in college and then you’re screwed, because peer pressure will test you and your desire to be liked by others.

“I am not a glutton – I am an explorer of food”

For a while now, I’ve been meaning to get a better control of what I eat on a daily basis. I tend to snack a lot throughout the day, which is generally something you’re supposed to be doing anyway, except for the fact that it’s generally snacking on chocolate stolen from people’s candy jars. Not to mention the box of pepper jack Cheez-Its on my desk that’s at an arm length away at any time of the day. Sigh.

Also my lunch is not always the healthiest option… I could (and should) do better. I’m not a huge fan of salads unless they are super flavorful, and even then, I don’t like a lot of stuff in it. I could do without the cranberries and orange slices and nuts and all the extra toppings that just stray away from a classic salad. But then for lunch, a classic salad is just too bland. I’m a hard person to please when it comes to salads. I tend to be drawn into pastas and sandwiches that probably have a ton of gunk in them that can’t be good for me. I’m totally aware of that, but putting it back is a different story (for a different post). I could take myself to a local restaurant to eat something freshly made, but that takes too much effort at lunchtime.

Dinner is my best place of eating [somewhat] healthy because of my husband’s help at home. Even that can go astray from time to time, and he know he’s guilty of it too 🙂 Indian food is always a good healthy option because I know what I’m putting into it, but pair with a giant bowl of rice and you screw it all up.

So I did it. I started a daily calorie counter. Now I have to just remember to maintain it on a daily basis! Another thing on my overgrowing daily to-do list.

My daily reminder to watch what I eat

It’s funny when you sign up for stuff like this because they ask you what type of newsletters you’d be interested in and you think to yourself… “what are ALL the things that I should probably be working towards besides eating healthy, which is difficult enough, but let’s tack on a few more unreachable goals with daily newsletters and reminders that will be deleted while they remain unread. Awesome.”

So I’m on Day 1. I added the cereal that I’ve been munching on and the Starbucks decaf Americano that I needed on my way into work.

But now it’s lunch time. And I know this daily calorie counter is going to hover over my head.

What to eat....?

Let’s just hope that I can keep up with this enough to get to my target. Then on to the next self improvement project.

Paper or Plastic?

I have had this experience one too many times…  you’re absolutely starving. You ravage through your pantry in hopes to find a morsel of food to satisfy the monster growling in your belly. You open the refrigerator and find… a few slices of cheese, some yogurt, leftovers that you should have eaten (or thrown out) a week ago, and some weird juice that looked tempting at the grocery store, but you were dead wrong once you brought it home.

It's a sad day when the fridge is empty...

What to do?

9 out of 10 times, you head to the grocery store ready to restock all the necessities. Wrong move! This almost always results in over indulging at the store. You end up with items in your cart that just sound so delicious at that very moment. But you’ll never touch them. Trust me, I know.

I strongly believe that it’s a vicious cycle… this whole phenomenon of grocery stores. They purposely stock way too many options so you get completely disorientated and end up getting more than you really need, which ends up going to waste and then you have nothing to eat and you find yourself back at the store!

Grocery store overload!!

When I moved to Brooklyn, I came across Fresh Direct and it was by far the most ingenious thing ever. I got only what I needed and I didn’t even have to leave my house to lug grocery bags down 2 avenues! On top of that, they deliver the items in a cardboard box so there’s no need for grocery bags of any sort. Win.

Courtesy of willgoto.com

On my many trips to India and even when I lived there as a child, I don’t ever recalling stepping inside a giant “grocery store”. There are open air markets everywhere with fresh fruit and vegetables directly from the farms. People bring their own cloth bags and carry the fresh items back home. I don’t recall ever seeing anything “canned” in the cupboards at my aunt’s house for that matter. Why stuff things in cans when you get them fresh down the street? No wonder their eating habits are all so healthy. Well, I can’t really say that for the entire country. Overindulgence is an issue wherever you go – whether it’s with boxed foods, canned foods, desserts, beer, etc.

Speaking of overindulgence, I’m ashamed to have lived in the 2nd fattest country in the USA for most of my life – good ol’ Houston, TX. Yes, there is a LOT of good food in Houston, don’t get me wrong. Their BBQ and Mexican food cannot be surpassed. But so many people just don’t know when to say enough is enough. So many fatty foods, so many preservatives, it’s so wrong. It doesn’t help that the portions at restaurants in one meal can sometimes feed a family of 4.

Moral of this winding story:

  1. Eat something before you go grocery shopping! Your wallet will thank you.
  2. When you go to a restaurant, think about how much food is served to you and whether you could take half of it home. Stop eating at the first sign of being full. That’ll also leave some room for a light dessert 🙂
  3. Take your own grocery bags to the store! They’re easier to carry out and you’re doing your part in saving the planet – one grocery bag at a time.
  4. Stay away from boxed and canned foods. The amount of preservatives, salt, and calories in those things are just plain awful.
  5. If you have the luxury of being surrounded by amazing fruit, veggies, and meats, take it slow and take the time to enjoy it.
  6. Give back to the community. Volunteer at food banks, meals on wheels, and soup kitchens whenever you can. Those who don’t have the luxury of having a warm meal every night deserve something too!
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