Guess what? We went out to eat. Again.

As I sit here about to write up another restaurant we visited recently, I’m noticing a trend. We go out to eat a lot.  At the same time, I feel like I’m constantly cooking! What the what? I think it’s because we don’t do fast food so it’s basically, cooking, cooking, sushi, cooking, restaurant, restaurant, cooking. I guess that’s not terrible. Right? RIGHT??

Just south of Prospect Park is an area called Ditmas Park (I think). It’s up and coming so it’s a blend of hipster restaurants and bars and bodegas. There are some spectacular homes off the main roads so if the weather is nice, take a stroll. We ate with our cousins at The Farm on Adderley. Loved the decor, loved the service, loved the food, loved the prices, loved the outdoor seating we eventually took advantage of. Did NOT love how warm it was in the restaurant. Our server said the air conditioning was on but with the kitchen going full blast and it being a very hot evening, the a/c didn’t have a fighting chance.

image: thefarmonadderley.com
Image: thefarmonadderley.com

Between the four of us we had chicken, pollack, ceviche, roasted asparagus, chilled asparagus soup, mackerel, delicious all around. The food is locally sourced, fresh, and seasonal. Three of my favorite things.

Thanks for the recommendation, Katy!

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North Fork Bliss

What’s better than a beautiful Sunday afternoon? A Sunday afternoon that’s really a Saturday because you have the next day off – woo hoo!

Matt and I took a quick trip out to Mattituck for lunch at one of our favorites, Love Lane Kitchen. We ate outside and enjoyed a delicious lunch (breakfast for me). Lemon Ricotta Pancakes – yes, please!

Speaking of lemon pancakes, add the zest of a lemon to your pancake batter next time, so fresh and delicious.

There was a flea market going on right down the street so we walked down there and I snagged this little plant stand/side table for $15! It was $18 but I talked him down. The flea market line to use is, “Could you do it for (insert price you want to pay here)?” Works every time.

Our favorite vineyard Sherwood House has their little outdoor tasting room up and running but they also have a brand new one at 1291 Main Road in Jamesport that is really beautiful.

The decor is straight out of a magazine and I’m ready to move right in. The tasting room shares a space with Material Objects, a home decor store that obviously provided much of the furniture and accessories.

Nice bag, honey!

There is plenty of seating, both inside and out


The Sherwood Manor blend is AMAZING. It’s one of their most expensive, probably around $55 a bottle, but it’s worth it for a special dinner.

Even with a little Memorial Day traffic it only took us an hour and fifteen minutes to get there, even less time coming home. Go already!

People Listening and a Great Restaurant

Have you been to Press 195? It’s a panini / wine / beer place in Park Slope and Bayside. Both locations have indoor and outdoor seating and are AMAZING. Get sandwich #2 (brie, turkey, roasted peppers, heaven). Lots of their other sandwiches are delicious as well. They have these fries that you choose dipping sauces for…wow. The red sangria is more yum than the white but they’re both very drinkable. PS Don’t judge the restaurant by its website. The site kind of stinks and the logo design totally doesn’t fit the restaurant’s vibe at all.

The same night we ate at Press, we went to the Mets game and watched them lose. The two guys sitting behind me were an entertaining distraction. They were probably about 25 and spent much of the final innings philosophizing about life and dating.

About fine cuisine…

“Yo, that had a rough aftertaste. Kinda like farts and campfire.”

About a young woman who walked past them…

“Eh, she’s nothing to write home about, but I’d do her.”

And after all that, the big  ending…

“I haven’t been in a relationship in a few years but it’s not like I care.”

BIG surprise there, buddy!!

I had to catch a glimpse at them as we were leaving, and they definitely were nothing to write home about.

A rainy day and a beautiful day

Our third day in California was a rainy one, so we planned as many indoor activities as possible. We started with ANOTHER  amazing breakfast at the Farmhouse and then relaxed a bit before heading to Korbel.

The brandy tower was modeled after the tower that Francis Korbel saw from jail in Czechoslovakia. He was a criminal! (Not really, he was protesting or something)

The tour was ok, too much history and too little champagne-making explanation. Our guide was an older gentleman whose favorite phrase was, “Really think about that for a minute.” Then he would immediately start talking about something else.

I was insulted at one point by what I considered to be blatant sexism but Matt says I’m overreacting. The tour guide was explaining why the bottom of champagne bottles have a concave bottom (it’s for reinforcement) and he said, “Ladies, you’ll know this, when you drop a mayonnaise bottle with a flat bottom, what happens? It breaks!” Ahhh right, our small hands and fingers have trouble holding the jar while we’re at home making sandwiches for our husbands.

After the tour we grabbed lunch at Willow Wood Market where I spotted salt and pepper shakers that I really want.

Unfortunately, they weren’t for sale.

I needed a break from wine so I ordered a chai tea latte and was confused to receive this:

Yes, that’s a bowl of tea. For the sake of my bladder, I didn’t finish it.

That night we drove to Santa Rosa for dinner and we ate at Syrah. Wow! This was the first time I did a tasting menu with a wine pairing and it was amazing. Great food, delicious wine, funky decor, good stuff!

The next day was absolutely gorgeous so we tried to get as many outdoor activities in as possible. We visited Armstrong Redwoods State Reserve which was muddy but beautiful.

Many people describe me as tree-like, what with my never-ending legs that hold up my 5’1” body. You can imagine then how large this tree is.

We tried (unsuccessfully) to time a picture but my camera focused on the branch it was balancing on instead. Oh well.

A friendly passerby took this one for us instead.

Being the beach lover that he is, Matt really wanted to drive to the coast. I was lukewarm about it because I thought, we live on Long Island! We’re surrounded by beaches! Yeah so the Pacific Coast is pretty different. My bad.

Sure, that looks just like our beaches…

This rock reminded me of the final scene in The Goonies when they’re on the beach and One Eyed Willie’s boat sails by.

Anyone who knows me knows that I typically avoid places that have danger signs. Once again, Intrepid Matt bullied me and I’m grateful for it.

That’s not a cool new hat, it’s my hair being whipped by the insane wind.

This is how we got back and forth from the car. I get winded just looking at it.

Hey, Matt!

I had no idea that everything in Sonoma closes really early. All the vineyards’ tasting rooms close between 3:00 and 5:00 which was kind of annoying! We were able to stop at Iron Horse Vineyard and Hartford Family Winery to get some tastings in. Hartford looked like a beautiful private residence but it’s primarily a tasting room and wine processing facility.

For our final night in Sonoma we visited Healdsburg and were disappointed to see that all the stores and tasting rooms also closed before 5:00. Annoying! We were able to shop in Lime Stone which had really cool home accessories and jewelry. I bought myself a vacation gift:

Dry Creek Kitchen was the destination of our final dinner and it was fabulous. I feel like I’ve said that for every meal but the food everywhere was just so good! It’s a Charlie Palmer restaurant so I’m interested in trying his places in New York, Aureole and Astra.

Stay tuned for a complete list of restaurants, vineyards and places to visit!

California, here we come!

Matt and I are settled in to our California trip. We’re spending this week at the Farmhouse Inn in Forestville, about an hour north of San Francisco. Aside from some rain and a dash of traffic, getting here was a breeze!

This was our first time flying on Virgin America and overall, it was very pleasant. I was disappointed to see that the movies were $8 a piece, so instead I watched marathons of Cold Case and Law and Order for free. They also don’t offer any complimentary food so everything needs to be purchased. Boooo!  I picked up some high-brow literature in the airport:

Virgin America is like Jet Blue’s cool younger sister.  Based on previous experience and what The Bachelor tells me, I imagine all pilots to look and sound like John Edwards (minus the cheating and the love child). When the captain came  over the loudspeaker I was surprised to hear that he did not have that southern drawl and instead had some sort of accent, Caribbean, Irish, Mandarin, I’m not really sure. These are some pictures I took from the plane:

For some reason whenever I think of snow-topped mountains I think of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom when he is forced to jump from the plane that’s crashing. I’m a weirdo, I know.

Before heading up to Sonoma County, we stopped at Hog Island Oysters in the Ferry Building by the Bay Bridge. Amazing! The Ferry Building is a fabulous marketplace with tons of delicious looking shops and restaurants. It’s reason enough for me to pick up and move over here.

Image: Ferry Building website

Considering that when Matt and I started dating his palate did not extend past tuna sandwiches, peanut butter and jelly, and chicken parm, I’m proud to say that he ate oysters and enjoyed them! He didn’t go for the raw ones (although I did) but he was a good sport.

possibly the best clam chowder I’ve had – super fresh with a delicate creamy broth, not the bisque-ish consistency I’m used to

the view from our table

After lunch we made our way over  the Golden Gate Bridge and of course I snapped some mediocre pictures. Photography from a Kia Spectra is hard!

In addition to being a hotel, Farmhouse Inn is also an acclaimed restaurant and we can see why! We had a really delicious dinner there on our first night. Pork cheeks (way better than it sounds), halibut, chocolate beignets (fancy doughnut balls), mmmmmmhmmmm.

Valentine’s Day Wrap Up

Friday we had some friends over for dinner and I made Savory Palmiers, Boeuf Bourguignon, and Molten Chocolate Cakes.

Palmiers look like this:

Image: Real Simple

They are usually made with sugar and served as a dessert but Ina Garten has a recipe for them in Back to Basics that is a perfect appetizer. They are made with pesto, sun-dried tomatoes (which I normally hate), goat cheese and toasted pine nuts. Yum.

For dinner I went with the old standby boeuf bourguignon because it tastes better the next day. I used a few hours of my snow day on Thursday to prepare it and just reheated it over a low flame.

Dessert was so good and deceptively easy. I got this recipe off of Tasty Kitchen, a website where you can swap recipes.

Image: Tasty Kitchen

The recipe says to cook them for 13-14 minutes but I might do 12-13 next time because you want the center to be perfectly melted and I felt like some of mine were too cooked in the middle. Serve them with whipped cream or ice cream and get ready to swoon.

On Saturday Matt and I had dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, Fiore, in Floral Park. It’s sort of contemporary Italian and we’re never disappointed. In addition to a great variety of specials every night they always carry their two house specialties, roasted duck with strawberries and pork osso buco. Wow. I don’t even open the menu anymore, I just order one of those every time we go.

Image: fiorerestaurant.com

When Valentine’s Day rolled around, Matt opened a can of romance (pun intended, as you’ll see) and gave me this:

It’s a pretty deluxe garbage can and I couldn’t be happier. I’m a little embarassed to admit that it’s exactly what I wanted.

We also went to an engagement party for Brian and Dana yesterday.

Congratulations!

That’s my new dress from the clearance rack at the Gap. Lord knows I love a sale.

That’s one good-looking science department, right?

Glad that Matt got the memo about wearing a striped shirt.

What did you do for Valentine’s Day? Are you a lover or a hater?

Oh the tannins!

Last Thursday Matt and I ventured into Manhattan to have dinner with friends at Flex Mussels.

Image: http://www.flexmusselsny.com
Image: http://www.flexmusselsny.com

Even if you think you don’t like mussels, you should go. Obviously the mussels are sensational, but the oysters are refreshing and delicious and the doughnuts? YES YES YES. Get the caramel ones!

On the train to Penn Station we sat two rows behind a group of four men who epitomized the hipster stereotype: skinny jeans, scruffy reddish beards,and flannel shirts a size and a half too small? Check! While they seemed like perfectly nice guys, they were LOUD. After a minute I couldn’t help but listen (isn’t that why they were talking so loud in the first place?) and what I deduced rather quickly is that one or two of them work in a wine store.

Image: http://www.3ammagazine.com

Let the glass clinking begin! Yes, they were basically holding a private wine tasting on the Long Island Railroad. Three of the four got off the train in Jamaica to switch to the Flatbush train (Brooklyn hipsters!) but before they left we enjoyed these nuggets:

The tannins on this vintage are so well blended!

Mmmmm, this has woodsy chocolate hues.

And my personal favorite: That cab franc is so broad-shouldered!

I love wine as much as the next person, but let’s keep the wine tasting to the vineyards shall we?