Monday, August 10, 2009

new york city adventures

My sister Diedra and I decided to take the bus to NYC this last Saturday to spend a day together. Since we no longer live in the same city, this was a great way to get together and also have a little adventure. We both boarded a Bolt Bus early in the morning and arrived in NYC around 10:00 am. The weather was 78 degrees, sunny, and not that humid. We couldn't have asked for a better day to visit NYC. After throwing away the terrible books we both brought with us to read (mine was a library leftover which cost me 25 cents), we headed over to the fabric district.

Our friend (and roommate over five years ago) Mel gave us some quick suggestions of where to shop while in the fabric district. Mel has lived in NYC for over the past year and has just loved it. We wanted to meet up with her, but our schedules didn't work out. Our first stop was Mood, made famous by Project Runway. There are no signs outside the building, but we had the address to find the door. You enter what looks like a building lobby and then ride this incredibly old elevator up to the third floor. The elevator was so old that a man actually had to operate it! That might have been our favorite part.

Once getting into Mood we first wandered around just to look at all the amazing fabric, and then we headed over to find some lining that Diedra wanted to buy (since we can never find the right stuff in any other fabric stores). We both found some amazing fabric that we can't wait to use.

The fun thing about wandering around these fabric stores, is that they were filled floor to ceiling with every kind of fabric you could ever want! (We even saw a section for Alpaca fabric.) We loved looking at the silks and some of the most adorable cotton prints you have ever seen. We also checked out the notion stores full of buttons and trim. I found this incredibly carved button that should be the perfect finish to a jacket I recently made.

After a few hours in the fabric district, we grabbed some great pizza, ate some delicious cupcakes, and then headed over to the Met.

The Met says that it costs $20, but that is actually a recommended donation. Most people don't know that they can actually pay whatever they would like. The first time I did this I was pretty nervous, but they actually will let you in for even $1 (which is what the guy in front of us in line paid). We walked through the Roman and Greek section, then over to Modern Art, where Diedra got approached by this man 40 years older than her who tried to hit on her, then over to the American section. Our favorite part was actually this display of original rooms from hotels and palaces in Paris, Vienna, and other cities in Europe in the 1600s and 1700s. They had dismantled entire rooms (walls, furniture, layout, lighting, etc) and rebuilt then in the museum. It was really interesting to see these complete room, some with the natural lighting, which was quite dark.

After two hours in the Met our feet were pretty tired, so we rested in Central Park and planned our next adventure. We wanted to walk through China Town and look at fake designer purses next, so we hopped on the subway. The idea of designer purses was a lot more fun that actually looking at them, since most were quite ugly. We saw a few that we liked, but not enough to actually buy. After being accosted by enough people trying to sell us stuff, we decided to walk over to Little Italy, and I found a great little pizza place to have dinner. We ordered a margarita pizza with buffalo mozzarella and basil, along with some gnocchi, which was incredible. We ate our delicious meal while our feet rested.

By this time it was practically time to head back to catch the bus, which we were just fine with. We were both really tired and were ready for a 3 hour nap. I got back to the bus 10 minutes before it left and slept the entire way back to Boston. I highly recommend taking the bus to NYC for a day trip. The ride was less than 4 hours and it was nice not to have to drive or pay tolls.

Monday, August 03, 2009

herbs de provence

A few years ago my sister Rixa bought some much beloved herbs de provence while she was in France for the summer and mailed it to me. I had been using this a lot in my cooking, and I needed more for my supply. I can't remember which mix I preferred more, but here are the two kinds she gave to me. I am on my last bit, so pretty soon I will need to make my own mix.

But for anyone who loves herbs de provence, here are the ingredients to make it at home:

Mix 1:
26% Oregano
26% Rosemary
26% Sariette (Winter Savory)
19% Thyme
3% Basil

Mix 2: (package that says "for grilling")
37% Rosemary
18.5% Sarriette (Winter Savory)
18.5% Serpolet (wild thyme)
6.5% Oregano
6.5% Marjoram
6.5% Basil
6.5% Thyme

I put herbs de provence on grilled zucchini and yellow squash, grilled salmon with mustard and tomatoes, pasta with a little bit of Parmesan, fresh french bread with olive oil, roasted potatoes with mustard and pepper....the list goes on and on.