Archive for the ‘Random’ Category

Breakfast in Bed

Monday, May 13th, 2013 by virginia

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One of the perks of being a mom is getting to partake in a Mother’s Day tradition – breakfast in bed. Josh got up early on Sunday morning and took J downstairs with him, letting me have the rare luxury of sleeping in. The two of them woke me up later and surprised me with breakfast, but because I didn’t want to eat alone or spill anything in our bed, I took the tray back downstairs and ate with them instead. It was a lovely start to my very first Mother’s Day, and it’s definitely a ‘time’ that I will always remember :-)

Sous vide eggs, half an everything bialy, honeydew, and prosciutto, plus coffee and a mimosa

Sous vide eggs, toasted bialy, prosciutto, and honeydew, plus coffee and a mimosa

Forbidden Food Indulgence

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012 by virginia

As you might have been able to guess based on the above picture, I finally got my bagel with lox, scallion cream cheese, tomato, and red onion, which means that Josh and I welcomed our daughter, Baby J, into the world!

Fortunately, I was in labor for only about six hours, which is considered to be short for first time mothers. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to eat before we went to the hospital, and once you’re there, you can’t eat anything. When all was said and done, I didn’t get settled into my room until almost 11 pm, 13 hours after my breakfast of waffles and orange juice. By that point, I was starving. Labor might have been short, but man, it was hard work!

However, the hospital kitchen was closed due to the late hour, so my food choices were limited to either a turkey sandwich, a tuna fish sandwich, or yogurt. I was happy to eat turkey after abstaining from deli meats for so long, but this was a pretty sad, dried out, pre-made turkey sandwich. I managed to get some mayo from the nurse, which helped a little, but it wasn’t the best post-pregnancy meal.

Sad hospital turkey sandwich

Luckily, Josh’s cousin brought him some food from the California Pizza Kitchen, and while he focused on the pizza, I gobbled up most of the caesar salad, another forbidden food that I had been craving throughout my pregnancy. While I made caesar dressing at home without any eggs (which just isn’t the same), I could never be sure if restaurant dressings included raw egg, and so I always abstained when eating out.

CPK caesar salad

I did take a bite of Josh’s Thai chicken pizza, which was cold but still tasty. It wasn’t what I was in the mood for at the time, but I was happy to be able to eat the bean sprouts on top without panicking.

CPK Thai chicken pizza

Food-wise, the next day was a much better experience. While the hospital food wasn’t terrible, it was pretty bland, but that didn’t matter because we were getting plenty of food from the outside. First was the above pictured bagel with lox, which was as good as I remembered. The lox was glossy and rich, pairing perfectly with the scallion cream cheese. Next was a spread of prosciutto San Daniele with baguette. And I really do mean a spread! There was almost a full pound of thinly sliced meat, which Josh laid it out along the counter in our room, and we encouraged visitors to help themselves.

Prosciutto San Daniele and pieces of baguette

Of all the deli meats I couldn’t eat, prosciutto was definitely near the top of ones that I missed the most. Our usual summertime meal of mozzarella, tomato, basil, and prosciutto on slices of baguette was just not the same without prosciutto. Although Josh indulged occasionally while I looked on jealously, he was pretty good about not eating it front of me very often. I definitely ate a hefty portion of the thin, melt-in-your-mouth San Daniele at the hospital, and enjoyed every bit of it.

Prosciutto up close

The day we went home from the hospital, we had lots of relatives over to visit Baby J. Josh’s parents brought in a spread from The Kosher Nosh, and I was able to satisfy my Jewish deli meat craving. There was tons of corned beef, pastrami, tongue, and turkey, as well as cole slaw and potato salad, which I also was not allowed to eat during my pregnancy (no deli salads, especially ones that are mayo-based). I ended up making lots of half sandwiches with the individual meats – tongue is still my favorite!

Deli spread from The Kosher Nosh

And my most recent forbidden food indulgence? Sushi! I’m still not allowed to eat fish that is high in mercury (like tuna and yellowtail), so I only had the salmon sushi, the Alaska roll, and the ikura sushi. While yellowtail is my favorite fish and I still miss it, the salmon sushi was still pretty satisfying.

Lots of fresh sushi

Is this the end of the post-pregnancy forbidden food indulgence? Of course not! I’m still looking forward to a nice rare steak, like the steak frites we used to eat at Les Halles, tuna/chicken/egg salad, rare lamb chops, a beautifully runny poached or sunnyside up egg, among a million other things. But I’ve got plenty of time now to satisfy all of my cravings! Although, the lack of sleep with a newborn is definitely no joke…

Bun Baking

Tuesday, September 18th, 2012 by virginia

As I’m nearing the end of the last trimester, I’ve had some time to reflect on the changes pregnancy has had on my lifestyle. All things considered, I feel pretty lucky. I never experienced the horrible nausea associated with morning sickness, and it’s only in the last few weeks that the extra weight I’m carrying is making my feet swell and my joints ache a bit. As a food lover, however, being pregnant has definitely had an impact on my eating habits.

Prior to becoming pregnant, I always thought my biggest challenge would be cutting alcohol out of my life. Josh and I always enjoyed having a nice bottle of wine with dinner, or trying out different beers at the bars in our neighborhood. But while I do miss the social aspect of sharing a drink with friends, I haven’t really had a strong urge to drink during my pregnancy. And although varying reports have said it’s probably ok for me to have a drink every once in a while now that I’m so late into my pregnancy, I haven’t felt the need. I do take sips of wine here and there if it’s a grape or vineyard that I haven’t tried before, but otherwise, I’ve been pretty good at abstaining.

On the other hand, not being able to eat some of my favorite foods has been pretty agonizing. Aside from the obvious things – no sushi, no rare meat, no unpasteurized cheeses, I never really thought about the fact that I wouldn’t be able to eat simple things, like deli meats or runny eggs. Not being able to grab a quick sandwich when I’m pressed for time at work has been a huge inconvenience. And on the egg front, while I resigned myself to not having eggs benedict or over easy eggs, I never thought about not being able to eat foods that are prepared with raw eggs, like homemade caesar dressing or mayo.

And then there are relatively unknown restrictions, like raw bean sprouts, which I guess have a higher risk of e. coli and salmonella. It wasn’t until I ate a huge mouthful of pad thai topped with sprouts early on in my pregnancy and had a moment of sheer panic that I realized I would really have to start watching everything I ate very carefully.

While I saw my pregnancy as an opportunity to start eating better – more fruits and vegetables, lean meats, low mercury fish, I have to admit, meals started becoming less interesting to me. I refused to try new restaurants with Josh, knowing that my food restrictions would prevent me from ordering dishes that I would normally want to order. And we spent a lot of time on his iphone before every meal, googling to make sure certain things were ok for me to eat. It was definitely a big pain, and I found myself no longer excited about eating.

I know that part of my suppressed appetite was due to my condition, and I would force myself to make sure I got enough protein at each meal, but I simply stopped loving food for a while. I didn’t care where or what we ate, and I actually found most meals to be a chore. It was a huge change for me, and one that really surprised me.

Fortunately, my appetite picked up during my last trimester, and now I’m back to my chowhounding ways. I’ve learned to enjoy well done steak (as long as it’s a tender cut), though I haven’t eaten a single lamb chop (my favorite) in almost nine months, since I can’t bear the thought of eating overcooked lamb. I’m now used to watching Josh indulge on raw fish sushi while I pick at an occasional california roll. I still get jealous from time to time seeing other people eat things that I’m not allowed, but at least my one craving, ice cream, is something that I’ve been able to indulge in.

I am really looking forward to giving birth though, and being able to eat the things I miss the most. I’ve already left specific instructions that the first forbidden food I want to eat immediately after delivery is a bagel with scallion cream cheese and lox. I love lox, but smoked fish is a no-no right now. I’ve also been avoiding deli cream cheese, since I don’t know how long it has been sitting out for, but regular processed cream cheese just isn’t as satisfying.

I’ve also requested that someone bring me sushi at the hospital, although I still have to avoid high mercury fish (ie., tuna, yellowtail, mackeral), which are normally my favorites. I’ll make do with some raw salmon and ikura though.

Lastly, I want a deli sandwich. Ideally, I want a Jewish deli sandwich with either corned beef, pastrami, or tongue (or all three!) on unseeded rye bread with mustard, but even if someone brought me a regular turkey sandwich from the hospital cafeteria slathered with mayo, I’d be pretty happy.

Has it all been worth it? Of course. I’ve loved being pregnant, and it’s actually gone by quicker than I thought it would. Adjusting my eating habits was difficult at first, but having a relatively easy pregnancy experience seems like a pretty good tradeoff. I’m ready to pop any day now, and I’m looking forward to meeting our baby, as well as having my bagel with lox and cream cheese!

Note: I’m not a doctor, and the choices I made about what I could or could not eat/drink were my own, after discussing with my ob/gyn. I understand that every pregnancy is different, and the decisions I made may differ from someone else’s choices. This post shouldn’t be seen as advice, but rather, a summary of my own experiences.

Unintended Hiatus

Sunday, August 26th, 2012 by virginia

Wow, I can’t believe that it has been over seven months since my last post… yikes! I really didn’t intend to take such a long hiatus from writing, but somehow, time has just flown by. So what happened? Lots, actually. The biggest factor was that I got pregnant, which pretty much turned my eating habits upside down. For the first time in years, I didn’t have an appetite, and eating no longer excited me. But more on that in a bit.

The second factor was that Josh and I moved from NYC to northern NJ. It was a huge change for us, and still is. While we both love our new house and enjoy having so much more space than the 650 square foot apartment we previously occupied, we miss the conveniences and food variety of the city. Instead of passing by three supermarkets and dozens of restaurants on my 20 minute walk home from work, I now sit on a bus for over an hour and am pretty much exhausted from the 1.5-2 hour daily commute, EACH way.

It’s a lot of lost time, and when we get home, we feel too lazy to cook a proper meal. Ironic, considering we finally have a full sized kitchen that fits two of us comfortably. We also don’t have the plethora of takeout/delivery options that we used to. I can no longer log onto seamlessweb and have whatever food I’m craving delivered to my door in less than 45 minutes. Not many places deliver where we live, and finding accurate delivery menus is a tough task, even with the internet.

So what does all of this mean for the future of Two Fat Bellies? I honestly have no idea. But this definitely is not the end of our blog!

I miss writing and blogging, and I still take pictures of many of our meals. But in all honesty, I don’t know how much time I can dedicate to TFB anymore, given my new commuting schedule, and not to mention the impending birth of our baby. I guess as we grow into our new suburban lifestyle and parenthood, the blog will change and grow with us. I’m anticipating vastly fewer NYC restaurant reviews, and more northern NJ ones instead. And possibly more recipes/cooking adventures as we finally start to take advantage of our new kitchen. We also hope to still travel with a baby, but instead of exotic adventures like Egypt or Peru, we’ll probably be taking more road trips, which opens us up to exploring the different regional cuisines in the U.S.

Thank you in advance for your patience, and we hope that you’ll continue to follow us as we (and TFB) endure all these new growing pains.

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, January 5th, 2011 by virginia

I can’t believe that I’ve gone over a week without putting up a post! I feel really bad but we’ve just had so much going on with the holidays and going away for New Years. It’s been a busy past couple of weeks but I’m looking forward to settling back into a routine.

We got tons of new cookbooks and food-related items for Christmas and Hanukkah, and I’m looking forward to putting them into good use. Cookbook highlights include Mastering the Art of French Cooking, More Best Recipes from Cooks Illustrated, and a slow cooker recipe book. We’ve had a slow cooker for a few months now and have yet to even crack open the box!

In terms of kitchen tools, we got an electronic wine opener and a pretty white oval casserole dish that I have some ideas for. I also got a gorgeous assortment of flavored oils and balsamic vinegars, including a truffle oil that I’m eager to try. I don’t care what people say about truffle oil, I think it’s freakin’ tasty stuff and I’d pour it over almost anything.

On the blogging tools front, Josh got me a sweet new point and shoot camera since my old Nikon Coolpix conked out. It’s a super slim Canon Powershot with low light features that I’m eager to test. While we still try to use our DSLR to take most of our food pics, sometimes it’s a pain to lug around a bulky Nikon D3000 so I always keep a point and shoot in my purse just in case I need it. As sort of a Christmas present to ourselves and to the blog, we bought a new macro lens that will hopefully help us take even better shots of food, especially close up.

We did a lot of good eating in 2010 but I was not so great at keeping up with the blogging. Plus my computer crashed midway through the year and I lost a lot of photos. Between that and my laziness, I didn’t write about some interesting meals we had at some pretty renowned restaurants. We had a spectacular meal at Eleven Madison Park for our anniversary, and some lackluster meals at Jean Georges and Daniel. The Jean Georges pics I think were lost with my computer, but I might just post the pics of our meals at EMP and Daniel. My memory is a bit fuzzy so I don’t remember all the little details about the meals, but I’ll try to do my best with the descriptions.

Looking forward, yes I still have to finish up my Peru posts. The Huayna Picchu post is taking me a long time because it’s probably the longest post I’ve ever written, plus I still need to sort through the hundreds of photos we took that day. After that it should be smooth sailing, since we finished up our trip hanging out in Cusco for a few days doing nothing but shopping, eating, and drinking. I also still need to post about our long weekend in Iceland, especially since we had lots of great and interesting meals there. I’ll catch up eventually, I hope.

I’ve been trying to wrack my brain thinking of ways to change or improve the blog but lets face it, I’m not that creative. I still don’t have a niche or a hook, but I really do enjoy remembering our meals and trips and writing about them. I don’t have the discipline though to keep things consistent, so I just write about what I feel like on each day. There is no rhyme or reason to the order of my posts, and sadly I do sometimes let a few months lapse before I write about a certain restaurant.

Regardless, I hope that you guys will keep on reading – I appreciate all of your comments and support. I’m looking forward to another year of exotic traveling and good eats!

Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 23rd, 2010 by virginia

We’re off to NJ for the next few days to spend some quality time with our families. We’re so excited that our nephew will be making the trip up from Charlotte! We hope everyone has a very happy and healthy holiday weekend. Here’s a little pic of the original two fat bellies who want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas!

Santa Claws (Rupert) and his little Elf (Stewie)

Cheers!

Happy Independence Day!

Sunday, July 4th, 2010 by virginia

We spent the July 4th holiday in NJ but made sure that we got home in time for the Macy’s fireworks show in the Hudson River. We were really excited that they decided to hold the fireworks on the west side again, because we knew we would have a great view from our apartment. Last year we went up to the roof to watch the fireworks, but it was really crowded and hard to see because the fireworks were actually below us.

We were smarter this year and stayed in our apartment, with the air conditioner on, and watched the spectacular show from our bedroom window. This year the fireworks were at eye level, and we were so close to them that the “booms” rattled our windows! Josh had the SLR set up on a tripod and managed to take some really neat photos, as shown below:

The basil plant's perspective

The party boats gathering in the Hudson River

The barges that shoot the fireworks all lined up

Helicopters circling overhead (from the bamboo plant's perspective)

The sky slowly grows darker...

Ka-boom!

The finale was out of control and so bright that it was hard to capture in a photo!

We had the radio tuned to 1010 AM so we heard the music that accompanies the fireworks, something we also missed out on last year. It really was a pretty impressive show, and I hope that it’ll be on the west side next year as well (we recently renewed our lease for two years).

After the fireworks ended, we had a lovely meal with caesar salad (made from CSA romaine) and mozzarella, tomato, prosciutto and basil on toasted bread from Amy’s Bread. A wonderful cap to a great evening!

Technical Difficulties

Monday, May 10th, 2010 by virginia

Sorry everyone, we’re having some computer issues, hence the lack of posts. Not sure when the problem will get fixed but we’ll try to resolve the issue as quickly as possible. Hopefully we’ll be up and posting again soon!

Going Home for Easter

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010 by virginia

Josh and I will be heading off to NJ after work tomorrow to spend the long Easter weekend with our families. My brother and sister-in-law will be driving up from NC with our nephew in tow. We’re super excited to see him! Plus my sister and her husband recently moved back to the east coast so it’ll be like a family reunion for us.

I probably won’t have time to do much posting over the weekend but no worries, we still have lots to write about. Some highlights include a food filled afternoon in Flushing and an incredible farmer’s feast at Blue Hill at Stone Barns, where we even got to meet Chef Dan Barber. Please stay tuned, and have a happy Easter!

Winter Wonderland

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010 by virginia

We just had an incredible meal at Daniel and are so giddy that we can’t stop smiling right now. The food was fantastic, the service was impeccable, and it was simply a wonderful experience.

Today, February 10, is the anniversary of the day that Josh and I started dating. We were juniors in high school and he asked me out on the phone to see Titanic on Valentine’s Day. The rest, as they say, is history, and we’ve been pretty much inseparable ever since. Being the romantic guy that he is, three years ago, Josh proposed to me on the same exact date. As such, this day has a lot of significance for us and we were thrilled to celebrate it at such a great restaurant. We hope to post about our dinner soon, after we’ve had some time to digest and reflect.

In the meantime, here are some pictures from the stroll we took through Central Park on our way home. The park was just gorgeous – peaceful, white, and pristine. It has just been a really lovely evening overall, and a great way to celebrate our 12 year anniversary as a couple.