Continuing with the theme of comfort food, do you have restaurants you return to time and time again? I must be a creature of habit as I have favorites that I love and return to again and again. One of those favorites is the restaurant on the seventh floor of Bergdorf Goodman in New York. The store is a regular stop for me on any visit to the City. I love to visit Carmen at the Chanel make up counter for a refresh on my look, there is the amazing shoe salon, and the restaurant. Note when you have a small and narrow foot, there is no better place to visit than the second floor of BG. This is also a favorite place to meet a friend for lunch. What better than a cozy restaurant where you can chat, laugh and generally catch up on everything happening.
The restaurant on the seventh floor is conveniently located with a wonderful view overlooking Central Park. I’ve been fortunate enough to have lunch in the prized whisper chairs and been there when it was so busy I was just happy to eat at the bar. The service and menu are excellent. The croque monsieur is a perennial favorite. Who doesn’t love a toasted ham sandwich covered in a cheese bechamel sauce? The greens that accompany the sandwich are the perfect complement to the meal. Other repeat favorites include the tomato bisque soup, the butternut squash soup, and the lobster mac-n-cheese. I’m usually full before I get to desert but have indulged in a serving of cookies. The menu also has several figure friendly options if you prefer. One thing that I love is that the portions are such that I don’t feel bad about opting for something like the lobster man-n-cheese.
The next time you are in the City, stop by and enjoy the restaurant on 7.
As Thanksgiving approaches I have food on the mind. Food, friends, family and memories all neatly come together for me recalling wonderful times in the kitchen and around the table. The other night I was thinking about comfort food. That favorite dish that you love no matter the calorie count. I noticed that my comfort foods all seem to be cheese related. Grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato soup and a side of chips were a classic Mother/Daughter lunch growing up. I don’t think I will ever forget watching Perry Mason re-runs on the tv with Mom while eating a grilled cheese. To this day I love Perry Mason and tend to flash back on those wonderful lunches with her. Her vegetable soup and homemade chili are on the list and tended to have grilled cheese sandwiches served with the soup. To my list I’d also add mac-N-cheese, deviled eggs, egg salad sandwiches, the potato chip, Granddad’s cheese straws and, last but not least a cheese soufflé.
My grandmother made this wonderful cheddar cheese soufflé for “ladies lunch”. Where my Mom related comfort food is soup and a grilled cheese sandwich, with Grandmom, it is a cheese soufflé. At my request, she dutifully passed along the recipe. As a novice cook in my first year of law school, I attempted to prepare my first soufflé. It was a disaster. I needed to back up and learn some cooking basics, like making a white sauce. My next attempt was slightly more successful thanks to coaching by Mom on some of the finer points of cooking. Over the years I’ve mastered my soufflé recipe and even branched out to include variations on the original recipe. I can now do a Roquefort cheese variation that is to die for.
Yesterday, I decided to treat myself to a cheese soufflé that was on the menu at Cognac in the City. Wow, it was beautiful as well as delicious. I think the bar has been set again. Their soufflé was poofy and airy and delicious. Taller than any I’ve ever coaxed out of the oven. I’m not certain what the secret is but I’m going back to the kitchen and I may see if I can find a re-run of Perry to keep me company. Grandmom has been gone since I graduated from law school but there are moments I feel her around and she may even decide to pop in to keep me company. Back to that food, family, and friends theme!
Photo caption: Ljubljana dragon
This time last year I was enjoying a week-long vacation in Slovenia. What an amazingly beautiful country with a rich history from Rome to independence. The country has Alps, the sea-coast, hot springs and everything in between. A former communist country that was once part of Yugoslavia under Tito, it is this splendid secret get away. The people were gracious and spoke English! Another plus, the trip was relatively inexpensive.
I took Delta to Paris with a hop to Ljubljana arriving on Halloween. If you travel at this time of year remember that All Saints Day is a national holiday and most things are closed. Slovenia was part of the Austro Hungarian empire for hundreds of years, then part of Yugoslavia and recently wound its independence. Located in Central Europe it is an easy drive to Venice or you can enjoy Lake Bled, a glacier lake, Postjana Cave, multiple castles or the wine making industry in Piran. One of my favorite stops was a church in an olive grove with amazing frescos known as “Dance of the Dead”. Incredible!
One of my tricks when traveling is to find one spot and use it as my home. I then use trip advisor and the internet to seek out small and eco friendly tour groups. The eco friendly groups tend to be small so that works well. From my home base I can explore the highlights of the area and given the selection of smaller tour companies you get individual attention. I spent a week in Slovenia, more than most as the general trend is a day or two stop on the way to another, larger, destination. I got to see it all from Lake Bled, the glacier lake with hot springs and a medieval church on an island in the center and the Slovenian version of a gondola to take you there to the wine industry.
This was an incredible trip. If you are looking for an adventure, think outside the box and consider the treasure of Slovenia.
October ended in a blaze of color with trick or treaters, jack o lanterns, and small goblins of varying sizes. November ushers in Thanksgiving and the prelude to Christmas. As I put my terra cotta pumpkins away for next year and started pulling out my glass pumpkins for the Thanksgiving table, I kept thinking about blessings. I usually count my blessings on Thanksgiving, but I’m doing it early this year.
I count among my blessings: faith, family, friends, puppies, a home I love, health, happiness, travel, work, and a love of life.
What do you count among your blessings?
My Mom’s vegetable soup is a favorite. I have fond memories of a bowl of soup, a grilled cheese sandwich and a rerun of an episode of Perry Mason with my Mom.
I’ve never quite mastered Mom’s recipe for her soup. I think part of the reason is she used leftovers. Ever the home economist, nothing was left to waste. At the same time, my Dad was not fond of leftovers. He called them reused food inferring that it was less than appealing, even when it was. Mom’s trick was to repurpose her leftovers in a disguised manner that would pass muster for even the most discriminating, thus pot roast became vegetable soup.
I’ve come to appreciate Mom’s thrifty character. Her table was always wonderful and healthy. She was rail thin and I credit that to not only her genes but the way she cooked. Her ability to create wonderful meals that were inexpensive was brilliant and led to many “extras” as I grew up. She was born just before WWII and her parents instilled in her that Depression era thriftiness and waste not philosophy. I think she was on to something, spend wisely and save for a rainy day.
Mom’s vegetable soup / pot roast
1 two-pound roast, salt and pepper to taste and flour lightly
Place in Dutch oven with beef stock and cook slowly for several hours until done. Serve for dinner. Refrigerate left overs in pot over night. Shred remainder of roast with a fork. Add two large cans diced tomatoes and juice, beef stock, one bag frozen mixed vegetables, one bag frozen white corn, one medium diced onion, one large potato diced, one rib celery diced and additional carrots, salt and pepper to taste. Cook on low for several hours.
How do you celebrate Halloween? The weekend before Halloween, I enjoy my horror movie marathon of Halloween, the original, followed by Halloween 2, and the Fog. Then it is off to the pumpkin patch to score a pumpkin to carve for my jack o lantern. On All Hallow’s ceEve it is candy time. I love lighting the candles and waiting for the kids in costume, of course, to ring the bell for a treat. Even better are the pups, also in costume, who accompany their little masters. I’ve taken to stocking candy with nuts (so I will not eat it) and milk bones for the pups. After all it is a celebration!
Carving the jack o lantern is a tradition that goes back to my childhood. My father would always come home from work with a magnificent pumpkin perfect for carving. Together we would select the perfect angle for the face, draw it on and create our pumpkin lantern. Mom would always come through with a candle and together we would carefully place him on the front porch to signify to all the ghosts and ghouls that we were open for business. My Dad loved answering the door and handing out treats.
Meet the latest jack o lantern!
Trick or treat! Have a happy Halloween.
I have to present at a conference next week and I’m trying to decide what to pack. This is a professional engagement and that means either suit or sheath dress and jacket. I tend to be cold natured so I always travel with a sweater or a jacket to cover my arms.
Business trips tend to be quick so I always try to minimize what I’m taking. I usually opt for either navy (is that a Southern thing?) or black. By electing a color scheme I minimize shoes. I also opt for having an extra outfit that I can pull out in emergencies. That is a lesson I learned after being caught unaware on two separate occasions. I’m leaning towards a wool, navy shift dress from Tory Burch and a navy pant suit, also Tory. I will accessorize with a scarf and my everyday jewelry of watch, earrings, necklace, rings and bracelet By electing two Tory pieces, I can use the jacket with the dress and have the pants as my “just in case” feature. It also saves on shoes. I’m short so I always opt for heels. For me that is a professional thing even in today’s climate of casual dress. I am projecting an image of confidence and authority when I present so I try to consider presenting the complete package, thus the suit and heels. I’m going with CL’s for the day.
My travel outfit is inspired by a wonderful TSA agent at Laguardia. She advised me to wear a warm up suit to make the TSA line easy. Since I have far too much of my mother and grandmother in me to go with a warm up suit, I opt for pointe leggings and a long cashmere sweater. I’ll complete the outfit with flats and a scarf.
To round out my packing, I’ll take leggings and a long sleeve exercise top, a nightgown and unmentionables with an extra set thrown in for the just in case things that happen when you travel. My toiletries, Bluetooth speaker, conference information, laptop, and notebook with my conference papers will go in my tote with room for my handbag.
My goal is to avoid checking my bag and by opting for minimal packing and a uniform color scheme I may just make it.