I SPY: My Shorty

Oct 30, 2015

Are you an Eddie Murphy fan?  I am!  I especially LOVE his Coming To America movie.  It's one of those that I can watch over and over again and gets me into hysterics every time. A super funny man!

Well, with all the Mets baseball hype in the news lately this image of him in Coming To America popped up on my Instagram feed last week.  It was love at first sight, and I had to rush out and get a jacket similar to his!  Couldn't find anything as retro and cool looking as Mr Murphys leather sleeve bomber, but you can see where my thought derived from.

To think that I've been inspired by Eddie Murphys fashion is quite a hoot.  Especially since I'm a hater of logos on clothes.  But sometimes I'm unpredictable!  It's not for me though.  It's for my lil' guy who has become obsessed with the Mets ever since we went to the Subway Series game last month.  I'm not sure if he is truly in love with the team or if he's just loving the attention he gets from others when he wears his Mets jersey.  I'm leaning towards the latter, because yup he's an attention seeker!  Well now he can continue to steal the show decked out as the die hard Mets fan.

Feeling it?  My shorty was definitely hamming it up in his overload of paraphernalia!  I just need to find him more cheesy button pins to add to his jacket.  Otherwise he's set for Fall and ready for the 2015 World Series finale today and tomorrow in NY.  Woo hoo!  Let's go Mets!!!

P.S. Anybody that still doesn't have a costume?  You could always go as a hard core Mets fan!  HA.  Happy Halloween everyone!

I SPY: Nail-ing It

Oct 29, 2015

Have you noticed that nail art is trending?  In the past few months I've been seeing many walking around NYC with their nails decked out in bling or an intricate design.  I finally caught on that these designs are not decals, their hand painted.  WOW.  This is what I've been admiring of late, because I'm amazed by how much detail can fit on a tiny nail.  That takes some skill man!  Thank God for some very talented nail technicians out here, with a super steady hand, who are becoming artist in their own right.  I met one yesterday, Ian from Bling Spa, and decided to skip my usual minimalist black french mani and be adventurous.  HA, you know I'm a sucker for these things!  I went with a Mets team spirit theme, hence the navy, orange, baseball and Mets logo.  Nail-ing it for the World Series this weekend in NYC.  Let's go Mets!!!

Crazy?  I feel like I'm 16 again!  HA.  It's fun.  It was $10 more then a regular mani to do 3 nails with designs, so not overly expensive.  Time spent to do artwork was an extra half hour added to a regular mani.  So not bad, and no reason why I wouldn't do it again.

How about you?  Maybe try something for Halloween?  Look at this site for 45 great halloween inspired nail art ideas.  Add some flair to your costume, or even if your just going as yourself this year then allow your nails to be in spirit so your not a total deadbeat!  Halloween is a time when anything is excusable no matter how old you are.  So use it to your advantage to try these crazy trends!  Please send me photos if you do.  I would LOVE to see everyone's spark of creativity.

I SPY: Bombay Dreams

Oct 28, 2015

Ever been to India?  I've been dying to go for years now.  The closest I've gotten to my Bombay dreams is their food.  This was last nights spread…Take Out Tuesday's!

Are you a fan of Indian food?  I have to be in the mood for all the spices.  Can't eat it every week.  However, I could drink their Mango Lassi's everyday, and I basically do already.  It's really simple to make if you have a blender.

1 cup frozen mangos
5 oz plain greek yoghurt
1 Tbsp honey
1/2 cup organic unsweetened apple juice
Pinch of ground cardamon

I like to use frozen fruit to give the icy texture.  If you use fresh mangos then you'll need to add ice cubes.  Add more apple juice or water if consistency is too thick.  SLURP.  The kids and I are addicted.  Now I need to figure out how to make my Bombay dream come true, and have a Mango Lassi over looking the Taj Mahal!  GOALS.

I SPY: In For The Win

Oct 27, 2015

Have you carved your pumpkins?  It's Halloween in 5 days.  You better get to it if you haven't started!  Not going to make you feel bad.  We were also EXTREMELY late in getting our's done.  Partially because I know when I say it's a 'we' project, it really is a 'ME' project, and I've been busy kids!

But this year since we've gone a little baseball crazy in this house and the World Series happens to fall in NY on Halloween I decided we should show team spirit.  So we carved one pumpkin New York Mets and the other Kansas City Royals.  That was my little spark of creativity for the week!  Nice change to our usual ghoul faces.

Notice our Mets pumpkin is bigger?  Purposely!  They're in for the win and are going to bring it home for New York.  I feel it!  I'm also noticing the signs.  The candle in the Mets pumpkin keeps glowing bright, while the Royals pumpkin can't keep it's candle burning!  Spooky?  HA.  Let's go Mets!!!

I SPY: Dining With Flynn

Oct 26, 2015

What were you doing when you were 16 years old?  Cooking up a storm?  Yes, being a pain in the you know what to my parents at home!  HA.  But not literally cooking in the kitchen, unlike Flynn.  This is the teenager I had the pleasure of dining with yesterday for lunch.  A 16 year old boy from Los Angeles, who's opened a pop up restaurant in the West Village…EUREKA.  It's named after his LA homes street name where his chef skills all began.  To learn more about the history of Flynn's career read this.

Look at the eight course tasting menu he whipped up for a party of 11 people.  Simply AMAZING.  It was all very tasty, but not overly rich in sauces.  Everything was fresh and cooked to perfection.  We were stuffed upon completion of the 8 courses, but not feeling sick which I'm thankful for!  It was mainly vegetarian plates served which helped to keep it light, with only the 7th course being meat.  A good balance.

1st Course: Peanut Ritz Crackers, filled with Foie Gras and Quince chutney.  Think gourmet after school snack!

2nd Course:  Cabbage with tomatillo and olive.  Who would of thought that something so simple could be delish.

3rd Course: Bread grilled with cheese fat.  Anything with fat is YUM.

4th Course:  Hamachi warmed over embers with radish and chicories.  This was my favorite dish.  I just loved the tart, and sashimi - esque lightness and freshness of the whole dish.

5th Course:  Sunchokes with pistachio, asian pears and barigoule.  First time eating a sunchoke, which is similar to an artichoke.  Do they sell this at the supermarket?  I like it.

6th Course:  Grilled beets, dry aged for 3 weeks, over embers, its own greens and beet bordelaise.  The beet was so meaty it was filling on its own.   I could be a vegetarian if someone cooked for me like this!

7th Course:  Rib eye, grilled mustard greens, eggplant and preserved lemon sauce.  I was pretty stuffed at this point but still walloped this plate down!  It was that good.

8th Course:  Spiced parsnip cake, buckwheat ice cream, pickled pear and black sesame.  When this dessert was presented I curled my nose up.  It sounded weird but was delish.  I loved how it wasn't to sweet, nor heavy.

Is that talent or what?  This kid made me feel bad about my cooking skills, and I'm not even that bad in the kitchen!  But definitely not as creative.  Flynn's talent stemmed from both his parents being terrible cooks, and always ordering take out.  HA.  So for all the take out I order possibly one of my sons could become an overnight chef?  I won't object.  I could use a chef in my life!

To reserve a seat to dine with Flynn click here.  You can select lunch or dinner.  I'm definitely going back to try dinner now!

I SPY: Give A Day

Oct 23, 2015

Every year I do something to give back to the community, do you?  If you remember, last year we helped out Henry multiple times.  This year I think my kids and I will do THIS when we're in Mexico for Thanksgiving.

Heard about this service Give A Day Global?  I think it's awesome!  Travelling for me is a passion, because is the best way to learn about the world, meet different walks of lives, broaden our horizons and can be life changing.  That's why I choose many times to go off the unbeaten path with my children and visit less developed countries such as Cuba, Colombia & Egypt.  It's an education that can't be taught in books, only experience, and I feel is essential for us to see with our own eyes.  Especially since we live in fluffed up America, and are spoilt brats!

In the past when we've travelled our interaction with the local community has been to the limited extent of dealing with the locals on the streets, shops, restaurants and taxi's, but not actually socializing with them in an intimate setting.  However, when we were in Brazil this last summer 2015 we had the amazing experience to visit a Favela.  Otherwise known as their slums.  We ate lunch with a family who prepared a meal for us in their home.  Then my boys played soccer with the kids in the Favela community, whom ran around kicking a ball in flip flops or even barefoot.  No fancy sneakers or soccer cleats.  If you ask my kids this was the highlight of our 2 week trip in Brazil!  It was a beautiful sight to see two very extreme walks of lives, naturally playing and interacting in a different language and setting with little fluff.  Yet there were no barriers and no judgement.

This is how the world should be.  This is what we need for world peace.  This is what we need to do more of to understand the differences in cultures, realize how fortunate we are, appreciate what we have, and make us see that we all need to make an effort to continue to reach out and help those less fortunate.  Not only in education, monetary and material ways, but also in emotional ways.  At the end of the day we're all humans.  The cost of giving someone a hug, making someone laugh or feel loved in order to have a brighter day doesn't cost a thing.  So sprinkle that happiness everywhere!  Not only will it make them a better person, but will make you better too.  Honestly, what is one day or even a couple of hours to give up out of your busy schedule?  Nothing.  With Thanksgiving and Christmas around the corner, there is no better time then this season to give back.  Even if it's just in your own local community, that counts too, because yes, even in America we have many of our own in desperate need.  Give a day and help make yourself and this world a better place.  

I SPY: Something Blue

Oct 22, 2015

What color are you wearing this Fall?  Black, Grey and Beige do not count as a color!  In the fashion world Orange, and Green tones are big in stores now.  But how about this Blue color?
Photo Credit: www.theliverspot.com

Have you seen it around?  I was walking through Barneys yesterday and saw multiple designer accessories: bags, fur, and scarves in this color.  I think it looks fresh.  It's a color!  But muted enough to work with my monotone wardrobe, and not too loud a pop of color to be glaring either.

What do you call this color?  Celine calls it 'Baby Blue'.  Hate the name!  It's not baby.  It's chic.  It looks a little Periwinkle too, but not really.  Whatever color it is, I like it!  I need to get something Blue…besides Navy.  But before I can wear this new color I have to come up with a better name for it first!  HA.  Suggestions?

I SPY: My Rice Boy

Oct 21, 2015

I've told you before that my lil' guy is nicknamed 'Rice Boy'?  That's because he eats rice for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  It's an Asian thing!  But since white rice is now frowned upon because it has no nutritional value I've been convinced that it's time to try to get healthy, and kick bad habits.  Especially after I was at the Asian supermarket and saw two chinese families walk out with a bag of brown rice in their cart...It made me get thinking!  Always room for improvement.  So we started tonight!

I mixed rice with quinoa in the rice cooker tonight - 1 cup of quinoa to 1 cup of white rice, and 1.5 cup of water which is a little more then the regular cup I usually add just for white rice.  Cooked it in the rice cooker as usual, with no added ingredients.  When I opened the rice cooker I curled my nose up.  Looked weird!  But honestly it tasted fine.  Really fine!  I  thought the kids for sure would disapprove it when served, so I was prepared to hear a lot of whining.  But surprisingly they didn't care!  My rice boy did ask why the rice looked different and I told him that's the new rice the store sells.  LIE.  But now that I know the kids do eat it willingly I wish the Asian grocery stores would start selling 25lb bags of rice mixed with quinoa, to stock in my pantry, just like they do with plain white rice.  Yes we go through rice fast in this house!

So this was a break through in my house that I had to share!  What healthy changes have you made in your household diet?  Maybe this story will inspire you if you haven't made any.  It doesn't hurt to try does it?  Next I'll try adding brown rice together with white rice and quinoa, and gradually weed the white rice out all together.  You think we can do that?  CHALLENGE accepted!  HA.

I SPY: First Memories

Oct 20, 2015

Ever win the lottery?  It felt like I did scoring tickets for Dominique Ansel's dessert tasting…7 weeks ago!  Yup, I patiently waited over a month and a half to finally experience last Sunday this one of a kind event U.P. that stands for Unlimited Possibilities.  Crazy?  YES.

When you arrive they bring the whole group upstairs to the production kitchen all at the same time.  There is a secret knock the host does on the door before the kitchen door will open!  HA.  Once inside everyone stands against the back wall and they drop the suspended long table from the ceiling, attach legs, and everyone gathers around the table in the middle of the kitchen.  To begin with I thought this was a genius concept!  Perfect for NYC tiny apartments that have no room for a dining table, but if you need one to entertain guests you could easily drop one from the ceiling into the middle of your living room.  Pretty cool right?

The theme for the tasting menu is all about your first memories, that brings your back to your childhood and different stages in life.  In an intimate and casual setting, along with talented Chef Kary Logue and her team we were seated in their presence as they prepared each plate.  Open discussion flowed through out the night, questions were encouraged, they explained the thought, ingredients and process of each dish as we were served, and we got to know our neighbors pretty well!  It was a fun night.

First up we were told that we had to eat our veggies first.  Did your mother ever tell you that?  I know I have said that on occasion to my kids!  Himalayan salt sprinkled butter, served with micro veggies: Carrots, Radishes and Cucamelon were laid out.  The most interesting was the Cucamelon, a hybrid between a cucumber and melon.  I've got to try and find this in our local supermarkets!  

Then the eight courses began!  The most beautifully plated food I've ever eaten that has had so much thought go into every single detail.  Not only did it look too pretty to eat but it also evoked every other sense of your body, from sight, to taste, to smell, to feel.

Sweet pea ice cream, with carrot cake reminded you of baby food and the meringue question marks to pop what was your first word.

The bowl it was served in was either smooth, or pebbly rough to resemble a beard!  The inside of bowl was gently spritzed with CK one cologne.  The inside liquid was cream soda pearls, with a dollop of ice cream that felt like a tongue sliding in your mouth as you swallowed it.  Mimicked a French kiss…the best!

Looks like pasta, but it ain't!  Noodles were made from crepes that almost gave it the same texture as pasta.  Egg yolk was creamed corn, and candied smoked toffee bacon bits all layered together worked perfectly.  The first meal I ever cooked on my own was definitely not as creative!

I guessed this because of the quotes on the match boxes.  Each box had a different quote.  Beyonce's famous, put a ring on it, and the one that gave it away to me was 'It's not you, it's me'.  How many times have I said that?  HA.  The matches were given to light the coil of paper under the petals to give the meringue petals burnt edges.  Tasted similar to burnt marshmallows, another childhood memory.

An Orchid filled with a shiso salted lime sorbet.  Perfect way to cleanse your palette.  How beautiful, and we got to take home our Orchids.

The urgent memo was the give away.  Then when you open it it looked like a power point presentation inside, with chocolate, nougat, praline, cardamom.  With caffeine being the winner.  Yes, I definitely was drinking loads of coffee and running on very little sleep at my first job.  But nothing like how I lacked sleep in the beginning of mother hood!

Made to resemble beef wellington.  Puff pastry, chocolate mousse, black currant and a red wine butter sauce, topped with a dollop of creme fraiche.  Who knew dessert could look like that!

This I thought would be more appropriately called "First Pop The Cherry".  HA.  Excuse me!  But that made more sense to me then first dance.  It was strawberry mascarpone and elderflower.  My least favorite.  But I'm not a fan of the jelly texture.

Finally the last course!  Don't laugh but I thought the plate was edible!  It looked like pavlova meringue, but it was specially designed pottery for this dish.  That's how good it looked!  The edible parts were plum, sake leaves and lychee icy.

When we thought it was all done, it wasn't!  We were served our last drink together with the bakery's famous DKA (Dominique's Kouign Amann).  Think a caramelized croissant.  It's light, flaky, not overly sweet, and oh gosh this is something I will be definitely back at the bakery during store hours to get.

Have I allured you?  This particular menu will remain the same till February and then they will switch it out in Spring.  Tickets go on sale online every Monday at 12pm sharp, for reservations made 7 weeks in advance.  Only a handful are able to get tickets because there are only 8 seats per seating time, that are offered at either 6:30 or 9:30pm on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  I did the math for you…Total of 48 tickets only available for sale every Monday.  I was told by the staff 1200 - 1500 people log on every Monday for the mad rush!  Boy was I lucky!  The stress was real, because even though I went on a few minutes before 12pm, as I was trying to click and purchase the tickets they were selling out so fast that I wasn't able to secure a reservation of my first or second choice.  But low and behold I finally got to get through and score!

So worth the try.  Would make a perfect gift for a special occasion.  Beware though, this mega sugar rush will have you stuffed by the end.  So eat light before you go.  Don't be fools like us who ate Bar-B-Que before we went!  I honestly felt sick when I left and could hardly walk out.  HA.  They gave us a goodie box to take home attached to the balloon.  Inside were duck fat chips.  I saved them for the next day.  Oh - em - gee delish!  But of course…what isn't that comes out of Dominique Ansel's kitchen?  You must try EVERYTHING!

I SPY: Mets Colors

Oct 19, 2015

Have you been following baseball?  Our NY Mets are kicking ass!  In a city that usually wears black, were suddenly seeing a surge of color.  Blue and orange to be precise, and a bunch of Harvey jerseys.  Or is that only my son who has been living and sleeping in his for the past week?  HA.

Even our nature has been sporting the same team colors!  Blue skies, and orange, yellow, and red leaves have sprouted.  It's screaming AUTUMN.

Time to take a drive to catch the Fall colors in bloom?  I love doing that during this time of year.  This in my opinion is nature at it's best.  The autumn colors are intense and oh so picturesque.  These photos were taken this past weekend in our neck of the woods, in Westchester County, where the Fall foliage has only just begun.  Further north has already reached near peak, so imagine that!  Here is a site where you can keep up to date on the Fall Color Reports in our NY area.  You've only got a few more weeks to catch this before all the leaves drop.  Don't miss it!  
i * SPY CANDY. All rights reserved. © Maira Gall.