Life Lately #2

Burrata Soft Serve Ice Cream from Dominique Ansel Kitchen

[Burrata Soft Serve from Dominique Ansel Kitchen]

Summer Happenings

Did you have a good July 4th weekend?

I hope it was fun, restful, or whatever you hoped it to be.

Pete, James, and I visited his family in upstate New York, and it was lovely to spend time with them.

Pete is one of five boys, so visits are always lively.

And by lively I mean a circus. A fun circus 🙂

[Pete and James looking at the view from our hotel room in Rochester, NY]

We’re growing up

On our trip, we stayed in downtown Rochester, and we could see our alma mater in the distance from our hotel room.

I admit, I got pretty nostalgic looking at it. It’s weird thinking of when Pete and I went there many years ago…and now we’re married and have a kid.

You get those “when did this happen?” thoughts and it gives you a moment of pause.

Oh, life.

[Canandaigua Lake, NY]

We spent the weekend mostly just hanging out, but we also went to Canandaigua Lake for a day.

It further solidified my conclusion that nothing makes me feel calmer than being by water.

Does anyone else feel like this? The ocean, lakes, rivers…I love them all.

Smoked meats galore

Pete’s brother Josh recently bought a smoker, and made a gigantic smoked meat and BBQ feast for the holiday.

Josh smoked pork shoulder, brisket, two types of spareribs, and a bunch of different sides, the most noteworthy being a smoked mac and cheese.

I repeat, smoked mac and cheese…!!!

I’m not one of those people who goes crazy for mac and cheese, but this one was INSANELY GOOD.

To make it, he put the milk/cream sauce in the smoker for an hour, then poured it all over the mac and cheese and baked it as usual.

I probably don’t even need to tell you that I kind of want a smoker now. I mean, I will finally have a yard to put it in!

Should I get into grilling?

Speaking of outdoor cooking, how many grill lovers do I have here?

Grilling is something I haven’t done a lot of.

Living in NYC, we didn’t have any outdoor space whatsoever (it was kind of like dorm living) so grilling wasn’t a possibility for several years.

Now that we have our new house with a sizable yard and patio, I’m feeling tempted to try my hand at grilling. I know it’s a very different beast from cooking, but I do love to be outside, and I love the smoky flavors. We’ll see…

NYC things to do and places to eat

Although we’ve done a pretty good job of seeing all the tourist sites in NYC over the years, we’ve been doing new rounds of everything lately.

This is actually one of the nicest parts about New York. Even if you’ve already been to the MET or other museums, odds are if you go back in several months, you’ll see some really different stuff.

My favorite recently has been the Dale Chihuly blown glass art at the Bronx Botanical Garden.

If you’re in the area or you’re visiting soon, it’s worth a trip!

We’ve also been eating out a lot more recently.

[The Caramel Corn Cone at the OddFellows Carnival at Chefs Club Counter]

My waist is not happy about it, but it’s hard to fight the urge to finish crossing some places off the list. Not that we’ll never come back again, but it’s a lot easier when you actually live here.

Speaking of NYC eats, I’m working on a big post of all my favorite food places in NYC.

I’ve eaten at over 400 places in my three years here and I’ve kept a pretty organized list of the places that really stood out to me, organized by price range and category.

I’m still working on the post, but if you would like access to my food map right now, just email me.

[View south from Pier 51 on the west side of Manhattan]

The Fancy Food Show

I also recently went to the Fancy Food Show, which is an incredible (and gigantic) specialty food trade show that is held in a few locations across the country every year.

It’s nice to be able to check out and sample every food imaginable, and see what the next food trends might be. I also love visiting to discover new products.

Nut milks have gotten more and more mainstream over the years, but at the show I got to try macadamia milk and pistachio milk, which I’ve never seen in stores before.  I’m obsessed with pistachios so this was an exciting find for me. It really does taste so much like pistachio!

[A few of my favorite finds from the Fancy Food Show: Pistachio milk, Bagel Lites, Heritage Shortbread, and my friend Susan from Little Red Kitchen Bake Shop, who makes the best cookies]

[Macadamia milk…probably pretty pricey, but it was delicious]

Probably the most exciting booth I came across while I was there was this maple syrup line from Runamok Maple.

I have always loved maple syrup, but this stuff is next level. There were all different kinds of flavor infusions and types, and the balance was perfect.

To attend the show, you have to work in the food industry in some capacity, but if you have the opportunity it’s worth a trip.

My partner in crime for the day was Gina from Skinnytaste, who blogs about lighter recipes. I’ve shared Oven Fried Chicken and Zesty Lime Shrimp Avocado Salad from her NYT Best Selling cookbooks here before.

What else?

Other than that, Pete and I have been enjoying visiting all the playgrounds in NYC, which each have special water fountains and water play areas in the summertime.

This is James’ first time playing with a bucket.

He mostly spent his time confusing it with a gigantic cup, but you know, he’ll get it someday 😉

I’ll be sharing a new toddler James update next week, and I have a quick dinner recipe tomorrow.

Talk soon!

xo Joanne