Hi y'all! It was my birthday last Friday - yes I share a birthday with Canada Day (jerk always overshadows me) - which means that I got a whole three day weekend to celebrate. SCORE!
On Friday, I got outta work early and Johnny and I went to see the new Woody Allen movie, "Midnight in Paris". It totally exceeded my expectations. Who knew it involved time-travel? Not this chick! It was very cute and trés romantic. Then we came home and it was time to open prezzies!! I had been receiving packages in the mail all week from my family and friends back in Arizona and it was REALLY hard to not tear into each of them as soon as they arrived. But I restrained myself until my actual birthday and it was sweet relief to finally be able to tear into those suckers! Here's what I got: "Crazy, Sexy Diet" by Kris Carr, "The Liars' Club" by Mary Karr and a salad spinner from my parents; some ridiculously delicious smelling Fig Coco lotion by Sabon from my sissy; a great book that holds Playbills from Broadways shows from my parents-in-law; a gorgeous sweater from my Auntie Debbie; and some beautiful flowers from my BFF Jen and her husband Dave! Johnny got me a record player and albums by Nina Simone and Billie Holiday! Let me just tell you, we've been enjoying listening to them SO much. There's just something so amazing about the sound of an album... I dig it. And now we get to hunt for and collect records! Sweet! Thanks to everybody for the lovely gifts, you made my day so special! xoxox
|The gifts have been freed!|
|He even made a cute pattern with the tomatoes and avocado... he's adorable!|
|Pondering life and hot dogs...|
|Hot dog on the left, veggie dog on the right and WAFFLE FRIES!|
Next up, we walked over to Barcade. You can probably discern what it is from the name, but just in case you can't: IT'S A BAR AND AN ARCADE. Oh mama, this place is awesome!!! They have all the classic games from childhood including Centipede, Paperboy, Tetris, Donkey Kong, Frogger, Marble Madness, etc. and they all only cost a quarter a play! They serve some tasty craft beers for $6.00 a pint (Happy Hour is 5-8 everyday and beer is only $5 - hey, for New York that's pretty good). This place totally reminds me of Tucson, it would be right at home on 4th Avenue. Definitely check it out if you're in the area.
Our final destination was the famed 4 Course Vegan. For those of you not familiar, 4 Course Vegan is an awesome dinner club hosted by Chef Matteo at his loft every Saturday night. For $40/person you get four amazing, creative little dishes prepared by Matteo and the chance to mingle with some friendly people. We sat with the sweet Erica of Un Petit Oiseau, an amazing blog that features vegan and gluten-free baked goods. Here's a breakdown of the dishes we were served: an amuse bouche of jicama ravioli stuffed with cashew cheese and topped with pesto; chilled corn chowder with pumpkin seeds and cilantro créme fraiche; new potato terrine with fresh favas, micro máche and sour cherry marmala; black bean quinoa croquettes with stewed tomatoes and mustard seed aioli; and strawberry 'shortcake' with thyme biscuit, cocoa butter cream and lemon nectar. All I can say is WOW. As soon as the amuse bouche hit my bouche I knew we were in for a delightful evening. Johnny loved the ravioli and the corn chowder best. I was also a slave to the soup and also adored the croquettes. I thought the strawberry shortcake was divine - the perfect mixture of savory and sweet - but Johnny thought it was a bit too far on the sweet side. I did note that he cleaned his plate, however.
|New potato terrine|
|Black bean quinoa croquette|
The quality of food is what you would find at the most expensive vegan restaurants in NYC and for $40 the meal is quite a bargain. You can bring your own wine or beer to enjoy which also keeps costs down. And Matteo sells his own line of homemade goodies - I got take home home a complimentary package of raw coconut and chocolate macaroons as a birthday gift. YUM! We will definitely be back to 4CV in the near future!
|Israeli couscous tabbouli, tofu lettuce wraps and salad with avocado dressing. YUM!|
On Monday we ventured to Park Slope to hang out with our rad friends John, Katie and Annie. They cooked up a gigantic birthday/ July 4th feast! We had crudités with avocado dip, mixed greens straight from their CSA, tofu lettuce wraps with fresh mango salsa, and Israeli couscous tabbouli. They even had stuff to make micheladas 'cause they know those are my favorite! So cute! It was the perfect light meal for such a hot, hot day. We then migrated to the roof to watch the fireworks take place all over New York and New Jersey. The main show on the Hudson was a bit obstructed, but we got to see quite a good display from the Chinatown area and from the crazy neighbors who were lighting bootleg fireworks all night.
|Sweet pic of the New Jersey skyline|
|Our new camera has a "Fireworks" mode. How crazy is that?!|
|I was careful not to spit on the cake.|
|Honey badger would freak out over this cake|
And now for Johnny's delicious recipe!...
|He made a heart out of the sauce! I think he's better at this stuff than me you guys...|
Serves a small army
2 red peppers, seeded and finely chopped
1 yellow or orange pepper, seeded and finely chopped
2 medium onions, finely chopped
1 container mushrooms, finely chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
3 cloves garlic
3 fresh tomatoes, diced
1 package Boca crumbles
1 jar marinara sauce (we used Newman's Own and it was superfantastique!)
Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Warm the olive oil for a minute or two then add the peppers, onions and mushrooms. Sautee on medium-low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Push the veggies to one side of the pan, and add the Boca crumbles to the other side. Cook for another 10 minutes or until browned, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and sauce and stir everything together allowing to simmer for about 5 minutes. Stir in the fresh tomatoes and cook for a few minutes more.
Serve over your favorite pasta - we used bowtie. Mangia!