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Minor aggravation

  • Posted on June 27, 2011 at 5:27 pm

There’s nothing more frustrating than getting the call from the doctor’s office that they have your lab results…and getting the message just after they close the phones so you can’t call back till the following day. ARGH!

At least they called in my Rx refill today, for which there is finally a generic available!

Better living through pharmacology…..

Weekend Roundup

  • Posted on June 26, 2011 at 8:38 pm

First, thanks to elements for squeezing us in for a last minute, leisurely, lovely dinner in the cube Saturday night. It was TRULY appreciated and very much needed. Mattias, thank you for the swizzling! Thank you, Justin, for helping me to understand why my greatly appreciated french toast for brunch was tasting like bacon. You have no idea how thoroughly disconcerting it was. The Husband’s cardinal rule is no greens in the eggs, mine is nothing that tastes like bacon. As much as he loves it, I can’t stand it.

Next, the farmers market continues to disappoint. Maybe it’s still too early in the season (I didn’t think so), or maybe it’s that one of the vendors I’ve come to depend on doesn’t seem to be there yet this season, even though all the materials and emails say they should be. I’ll continue to go, of course, but it was a disappointment to walk away this week with just two boxes of blueberries. We’re not big veggie eaters much of the time, especially if I’m not cooking a lot which I haven’t been.  I’ve still managed to pick up some good fruits between the Amish and Griggstown, but it’s just not what I’d been hoping for. I do also have the farmers market near the office on Tuesday, which is always good for strawberries at the very least and hopefully some more shelling peas this week.

We’re starting to plan a real vacation for August. A long weekend at someplace with both a spa and fine dining. It’s hard to find some place to meet all our parameters. Maybe we’re just too picky? No, I think I just need to refine my search a bit to find what we want- and are willing to pay. We looked at the Inn at Little Washington, but to stay on site was just a bit more than we were willing to splurge for.

After that, we’ll be planning a trip to Vermont. The 3 year plan involves a move, and VT is one of the first places to consider. Aside from the ski areas. Need to find places away from all that. Otherwise maybe New Hampshire. Need land, water and solitude. Pretty much the rest is negotiable.

Trader Joe’s, New Year’s Eve, etc

  • Posted on December 30, 2009 at 8:50 pm

They opened up a Trader Joe’s in Princeton not all that long ago….summertime, maybe. I had been to TJ’s when I lived in North Jersey, when there was one closer, but parking there was SUCH a hassle that it just wasn’t worth it. Now, if I could manage to get there without getting off at the wrong exit, this one will be not all that inconvenient to get to every couple of months. It’s totally worth it. I’ve been looking at the posts on Chowhound for recommendations on good items, and most things to date have been pretty good.

We’re having a few friends over for New Year’s Eve tomorrow, and brunch the following morning, so I decided to head over and pick up a few things.  Note to self: shopping at TJ’s while hungry is a Very Bad Idea. Why else would I end up with three boxes of Joe Joe’s (ok, two different kinds), etc, etc? For brunch, we’re going to get bagels and cream cheese that morning. I’ve got some lox, chocolate croissants, mini breakfast rolls and apple raspberry pastries. I still need to do a french toast dish and an egg dish. I’m thinking eggs and potatoes and ham, top half with cheese. I’m trying to do stuff that can just be thrown in and put out on the table with minimal fuss. It’s going to be a long night, and I know we’ll be running the espresso machine in the morning, so the less food fussing the better.I did pick up a pumpkin pancake mix from TJ’s so I may have to break that out as well.

Dinner tomorrow night will be a pot luck, so people are bringing a ham, pot roast with potatoes and carrots,  pastries, cheese and meat platter, fruit. I’ve got some mini cheese souffles, ratatouille bites, some assorted hot apps, chips and salsa, crackers and dips including an olive spread and bruschetta.  A truffled pate, For dessert, some macarons, lemon bites, assorted caramels and chocolates and cookies. Not to mention the pastry platter Jim’s going to bring. If I make it up to the Amish, I have to get some pumpkin bars, half a cherry pie and a small lemon meringue. A cookie plate from them too. Oh, and I was going to make brownies! Did I mention we’re only going to be 13 people?

Tomorrow, last minute errands and shopping and chores, and then a double espresso pumpkin latte.

My foot is finally starting to feel better. I may actually be able to wear pretty shoes tomorrow night, for the first time in months. It was still Faire season when I hurt my toe. I didn’t manage to buy a new outfit, which I had kind of wanted to do, but I certainly have what to wear.

ninety acres at Natirar

  • Posted on December 6, 2009 at 11:41 pm

Ninety acres is the name of the restaurant at Natirar, the new resort in Peapack-Gladstone being opened by Richard Branson. Ninety acres is also the new home for Chef David Felton, formerly of the Pluckemin Inn. It’s also the site of the newest Viking Cooking School locations. They opened this past Tuesday and we managed to get ourselves a reservation for Friday night. Once they open the spa there, I may never leave. I was home from work that day, and figured it would be the perfect opportunity, as we could get there early (and it sounded like a good reward for getting through two doctors appointments in one day). We invited a dear friend to join us and despite my running late, we managed to get out and find our way to the estate then wind our way up the road to the restaurant.  I imagine it must be breathtaking with the snow we got yesterday, as it was certainly magnificent when we were there.

The space is interesting. We were seated at a corner table at the back of the banquette near the kitchen. This was just fine for us, as it was as out of the way as it seemed you could get in that room. As it got more crowded the volume increased; it can get fairly loud. It’s also fairly dark in spots. Our table was just fine but the table next to us needed to use the candle to look at the wine list. The tables are fairly close together. It definitely does not have the same white tablecloth romantic ambiance as the Plucky does.

To start I had the butternut squash soup with roasted brussel sprouts. The Husband had both the hamachi and the poached egg appetizer with toast and bacon. Our friend had the butternut squash soup as well as the endive and arugula salad. For mains the Husband had the “farmer’s plate” of the day which was ale battered fish and chips. I love David’s french fries, they really are some of the best and most addictive I’ve ever had. I had scallops which were lightly seared and fabulous. I can’t recall what our friend had but it was meat and she said it was delicious and took home the leftovers. We also got a side of their mushrooms with polenta which were outstanding! For dessert they both got the ice cream sampler which was vanilla, egg nog and peppermint. I only tasted the peppermint but it was delicious with an amazingly creamy texture. I had the espresso donuts for dessert and this was probably the best chocolate dessert I’ve had in a long time. It was not too overwhelmingly sweet or chocolaty, but had just the perfect flavor. The chocolate sauce on the side was just enough to bring it over the top.

David also brought us a pizza (on the house) when they brought our first course- ricotta, pumpkin and kale and it was declared delicious by all of us and devoured, and I usually don’t like ricotta.

They offered house filtered water, either still or sparkling, for free which was a nice touch, and they left the carafe on the table. They had a short specialty cocktail list with all house infused or flavored items. Our drink for the evening was called the “Fall Back” and it was cider and rum and maple and oj and the thinnest strips of orange rind and it was really really good. I think I had three of them.The breadbasket is three different kinds of bread, olive, french baguette and something else as well as homemade crackers.

Needless to say by the time we were done, we were done. The bill was very reasonable for all that we got, and everything was just outstanding. Service was professional and friendly, knowledgeable and eager to please.

There are two things that we’re looking forward to. The first is brunch come spring time. The second is “bring me food,” David’s version of omakase or a tasting menu of indeterminate length. The idea is to start with five courses for a certain price and then expand from there. They’re also supposed to have outdoor seating come spring and even now have a couple of tremendous fire pits out back where you can sit. They also have space for the Viking Cooking School and will do other classes as well. Oh, lordy, this is gonna be fun!

Full disclosure: We know Chef David Felton from the Pluckeminn Inn as well as some of the staff, though not our waiter Jeff. Additionally, dining room manager Richard Spaulding we know from Restaurant David Drake as well as the Stage House before that. Considering it was their opening Friday night, we were just blown away when David came out with that pizza for us. They were having their first party in the downstairs kitchen that night and had just gotten the equipment delivered only a couple of hours before!

I can’t wait to go back. We’re already talking about booking the smallest private dining area for mother’s day this year.

Medical update behind the cut

Headache update

  • Posted on October 1, 2009 at 7:32 am

Went to the doctor yesterday.

long weekend

  • Posted on September 28, 2009 at 9:50 pm

Thanks to the Jewish High Holidays, the Husband and I got a rare long weekend together. It’s the curse of being a consultant, you don’t work, you don’t get paid. Being back in Finance does mean that there are a few long weekends during the year, but this was the first since I started working. I may not be observant, but going to work on Yom Kippur just feels wrong.

So instead we went over to New Hope for the afternoon. We confirmed that Captain Bob would be running the boat and we were good to go. It was a great day for a boat ride, so we went twice. The river was rather choppy today, square waves, I think Steve called them, so it was a bit more of an adventurous ride than usual. We tried to get some picture of the water, but I don’t know how they came out. We actually got some ice cream before heading onto the boat, “cherries for George” for me and “orange cream dream” for the Husband. Both were rather yummy, and made me wonder why we don’t get ice cream more often when we’re there. But after two boat rides it was time for some real food. We talked about dining in New Hope but a) it was Monday and we weren’t sure what would be closed; b) it was that in-between time that many places are closed; c) we looked at the menus for a couple of places and either they were expensive or just didn’t do it for us. So we decided that it was just easier to venture over to the Plucky.

Fortunately, they are still seating outside at the Plucky, and we had the patio all to ourselves. We ordered the crab cake with tempura green beans (that even the Husband ate!), pork tostada, chick pea puree (aka hummus), and the pizzette for the Husband who also had an espresso martini. I also had an amazingly good raspberry mojito. Everything was excellent, as always. It was a wonderful way to end a fabulous day and weekend. I can’t wait till our next long weekend together.

And for anyone interested, I’m still fighting that headache. Tomorrow I need to find out about the office pharmacy concierge service and then have to call the doctor and get something called in. This has been a really viscous cycle for me, with my needing to go the full three pill combo to try and kick it. Today when we got home it was so bad I needed to go take a nap to bring it back down to tolerable. Not gone, but no longer needing to envelop myself in the cone of quiet and dark. I’m really glad we were able to get out to New Hope, though. I -hate- being stuck at home with a headache. I hate having to change plans to accommodate the headache. It’s bad enough I need to make other life accommodations to deal with my health, but that one really irks me. If I can handle it, I’d rather be out with a headache than stuck home with one. At least out I have some chance of forgetting about it for a while.

life and stuff

  • Posted on September 26, 2009 at 5:37 pm

The new job is still kicking my ass. The hours are brutal and the pace is at some times frenetic. I don’t know if I really like what I’m doing, despite the fact that I’m good at it. The Husband still hasn’t found a full-time gig yet. We know it’s coming, it’s just a matter of when, and hanging on till it does come through. It seems like I’m started in a migraine cycle. Part of it is that I don’t have an ergonomic set up in the office. Part of it is that I can’t relax the physical tension in my shoulders. Either which way it sucks. Will probably have to call the doctor next week.

We haven’t been cooking much at all. The Husband spent three weeks not feeling well where nearly all he ate was chicken soup (from Harold’s NY Deli in Edison, NJ). It turns out they make a really good black and white cookie, too. Ginormous, as all there stuff is, but very tasty. A good texture of the cookie, the icing was not just sweet glop, it was actually tasty and the chocolate was actual chocolate.

NY Ren Faire season is over, which does take some pressure off of Saturday mornings. We were up reasonably early today and I headed over to the Montgomery farmers market. It’s still in some ways summer there, with the almost last of the peaches and nectarines, but the first of the pumpkins were in the market, and that’s definitely a sign of fall. I picked up a lot of fruit today. Peaches to make what will probably be the last of the peach ice cream or sorbet for the season. Nectarines, plums, an assortment of apple varieties. The intention next week is two pieces of fruit a day in the office before I even think of the vending machines. It’s so hard for me to stay away from the tomatoes. Unfortunately, they’re one of the foods that is said to be not so good for the inflammation from fibromyalgia. (Unlike pineapple which is supposed to reduce the inflammation, and I try to get some of that at least three days a week), I’ve been trying to stay away from them but it’s hard at the market, when there are still so many varieties of them that I used to just love to eat out of hand. Maybe just a sprinkle of sea salt on each bite. So I got some cucumbers and peppers, forgot to get spinach- I prefer it to lettuce for a salad base. The market runs to Oct 16, so I have a couple of more weeks to go.

Then it was off to the Amish. It was rather crowded when I got it, not too surprising for a Saturday. I got some burgers for dinner during the week- it’s grilling weather for us. Some chicken breasts to cook for lunch for myself. I got some desserts for munching. And grapes. Which I am snacking on now.

I haven’t been cooking much. This job knocks the hell out of me and by the time I get home, I have a hard time dealing with food some days. I think I had pb and j (apricot preserves) three nights last week. I have to work on finding some easy to make dishes for nights during the week. It seems like half the time I do that, though, I have one of ‘those’ weeks, and it goes to waste since I end up being too tired to do anything with it.  It was easier when we had the personal chef service and could just heat and eat. Once things get settled again….

I got some apple cider from the Amish, too, just a small once. Hot cider with rum is one of my all time favorite drinks. That and hot chai with Kahlua.

Monday is Yom Kippur so I’ve taken the day off. I need to do some work in the morning, but after that, it’s just me and the Husband. A boat ride or two in New Hope is about all that we have planned for the rest of the weekend. And ice cream or sorbet.

So that’s that, for the most part. No food to talk of, just the day in day out staus quo. Which doesn’t suck.

life update

  • Posted on August 23, 2009 at 11:51 am

Well life has been a little busy lately and it seems that everything has slipped to the side again. I’m still getting used to the new job, both the work and the commute.  It seems that Friday is also the busiest day so there’s no slow down at the end of the week to look forward to.  But I did finally get the long overdue elements Mangalitsa post up. It’s a lazy Sunday morning; the Husband is sleeping in. I’m contemplating what to do, cook, bake, etc, and I’m not coming up with much today. I’m lacking motivation. If I could just do like Tabitha in Bewitched and just snap my fingers, or have replicators like in Star Trek, things would be ever so much easier. Either that or unlimited budget with which to go out and eat. But alas, I’m not that blessed yet. Yet.

Apropos of nothing. I got a really great custom messenger back from a company called Timbuk2. I think I’m going to be getting myself another one as soon as I can in good conscience afford it. It’s a damn fine bag, the only thing wrong with it really is that it’s too small to carry everything I might need in a work day. It doesn’t fit a 5 subject spiral  8 1/2 x 11 notebook, umbrella and cane very well. I may also look into their smaller bags to take the place of a purse when I don’t need to schlep that much stuff.

Health update behind the cut

catching up

  • Posted on July 8, 2009 at 7:45 pm

Dang it, has it really been a week again since I posted? Ugh….real life, and it’s habit of interfering in my time of leisure, rather sucks. The last week or so has been kinda sucky again. But it’s looking up, at least I’m trying to.

So the updates on the ice cream front- I’m currently freezing a batch of pumpkin pie ice cream made with coconut milk. I’m not sure how I like the flavor or texture right now, but we’ll see once it chills some more. Peach sorbet has been the hit of the season here. I think I’m on batch #4 right now. Tomorrow, apricot ice cream- I’m looking forward to that one. The bananas are taking their sweet time to ripen for their next batch. The last batch was (is) too sweet, and I’m not quite sure how to fix it. My current thought is to rechurn it with a couple of tablespoons or dark rum.

No real adventures in cooking. I made pork tenderloin again. We grilled burgers and chicken. We ordered chinese food (my comfort food when I don’t feel well).  I think I had PB & J one night for dinner too, with orange marmalade.

We’re having company on Saturday and again on Monday. Saturday, a pair of vegans. Monday, a sous/pastry chef and his wife who is also the FOH manager. It’s been a bit of a struggle for me to plan menus. I made marinated mushrooms today. That should go well for both, since the Husband won’t eat them. If the vegans are staying for dinner, I’m going to make the quinoa, peas and asparagus dish again, with chicken for the Husband and I. Otherwise we may go out for dinner. Some veggies, pita and humus, chips and salsa, maybe buy some mini egg rolls I can heat in the toaster oven. Maybe make gazpacho, another thing the Husband won’t eat, but I can’t really make just for one.

On Monday, the plan is to grill, if the weather permits. As of right now, the weather says we should be ok, but I don’t yet have a plan B.

On the health front

rant: damn headache

  • Posted on June 26, 2009 at 5:09 pm

I was supposed to go into NYC and meet the girls tonight and can’t because I have a nasty headache. Bugger.