Monday, April 29, 2013


Rally Downtown held a Brunchtacular in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.  This is one of many efforts to help restore what hurricane Sandy did to businesses in neighborhoods.  For a fee, people bought a ticket that allowed them to sample food from several Brooklyn restaurants as well as non-stop Mimosas.

The money will go to charities in the area raising approximately $1,000 during the 3-hour event.

The restaurants included:

Action Burger; Selamat Pagi, Ovenly, Cafecita Bogota, Mabel's Smokehouse, and the Bagel Store.


Newsical The Musical is doing its Off-Broadway run.  It was "Girls Night Out" as a group of us first dined at an Italian restaurant called Piccolo Angolo in Greenwich Village.  Small restaurant with an open kitchen.  I started with Burrata, followed by a veal Osso Bucco with a side of Gnocchi.

One person had Mussels.  Although it wasn't too much garlic (as requested), there was something in there that made it hot, as in "spicy".  I think she should have been warned.  Come to think of it, there was an order of calamari that was also extremely least that is what everyone who tasted it said.
One person ordered that meatballs.  Now those were the biggest balls going.  Two meatballs would have fed four!
Here's few photos of the group.

As for the show.  It was hilarious!  Skits change due to it being the news.  Funniest for me was "Celine Dion" singing "The Hokey Pokey", a spoof on Adele, a Barbara Walters interview (all done by the same actor) and a commercial regarding poorly treated cats and dogs...not what you would be expecting.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


Went to Birdland Jazz Club to see Jim Brickman and Victoria Shaw.  I'm seen and known Jim for years.  I aged and he didn't. Victoria Shaw has been composing songs for other singers and sung much of her own. I think Brickman and Shaw have been touring together.  They do make a good team as they did a few duets of Brickman songs, specifically, The Gift and Valentine.

Brickman did his own "duet" with Rainbow Connection.

I have a few that Shaw sang with Brickman accompanying.
This one is called I Love The Way You Love Me.
This one is called Every Shade of You.

Here are some photos.

After the show ended Jim Caruso's Cast Party was up next.  Jim Caruso does this improv where you never know which singer will show up to entertain the audience. A 3-piece band is around to accompany.

As the Brickman/Shaw performance was going on, there was a special night saluting Barbra Striesand.  One of the attendees popped it to tell us about it and sing as well.  Her name is Colleen McHugh.
Check out for upcoming shows.  There are food and drink minimums.  Good food, too.

Friday, April 19, 2013


I attended an olive oil tasting at the Fairway Market on the upper West side.  It was held in their cafe.  First time going to this particular location.  I thought that it seemed so much smaller than the two I've already been to until I needed to take the elevator to the second floor to get to the cafe.  All of the organic goods are there along with other household needs.

Steven Jenkins is not only the cheese monger for Fairway, he is also responsible for choosing the olive oils of which Fairway Market has their own brands as well.  For this particular extra virgin olive oil tasting Steve chose six;  four from which were from France, a Fairway unfiltered Gata-Hurds from Spain, and one from Portugal called Cabeco das Nogueiras.

Hannah Howard was on board to assist with the set up.

A few other Fairway staff were assisting as well.

Each person was given a small plastic cup of olive oil placed in the same order as the olive oil setup at Steve's table.

A glass of sparkling wine, iced water and a plate containing two different cheeses, two pieces of breads, two pieces of an heirloom tomato, some arugula and three pieces of rare roast beef.  This way one could get a sense of how the olive oil tastes with various types of food.

It was then Steve's turn to speak about olive oil in general as well as each of the samples.  How to buy olive oil?  Look for the harvest date or sale by date.  The harvest date should not be more than a year and the sell by date should be no less than a year from the present date.  Check for the origin.

As an extra treat, one of the companies that produces a specially cured ham called Jabugo, gave out samples as well.  Is is one of the hams offered at the deli counters in Fairway Markets.

All was good.  Perhaps I will do a follow up on this.  Below is me and Hannah and me and Steve.

I continued by checking out an olive oil from California that was in a green bottle and had a harvest date.  How does one do an olive oil tasting? I got this information from a company called California Olive Ranch.

Begin by pouring the olive oil into a small glass; a colored, tapered glass similar to a wine glass is best. Cup the bottom of the glass in your hand to warm the oil; cover the top with your other hand and swirl gently to release the aromas.

Bring the glass to your nose and smell the oil. Take a note of the aromas. Next, take a slurp. As you do so, touch your tongue to the back of your teeth and inhale. This spreads the oil in your mouth and helps release the flavors of the olive oil. You’ll make a funny noise, which is normal! 

Finally, swallow the oil and take note of the flavors you experience.

Olive type – just as different grapes make different wine, different olives make distinct types of olive oil.  The olives are also impacted by weather and soil conditions

Harvest timing – early harvest oils tend to have ‘grassier’ flavors, while late harvest tend to have ‘buttery’ notes. Time between harvest and milling – the shorter the gap between harvest and milling, the more likely the oil will have a fresh flavor

Storage conditions – exposure to heat, light, or oxygen will negatively impact olive oil taste

Monday, April 15, 2013


A busy day in Easton was to be had and so we needed to skip breakfast at Tilghman Island Inn.

It took about 45 minutes through St. Michaels and parts of Easton to get to Chapel's Country Creamery on Chapel Road.  We were greeted by three dogs and Holly Foster, the co-owner of the dairy.  Holly owns it with her husband, who happens to be a veterinarian.  Their offspring work the farm as well.  Holly uses Jersey Cows for the raw milk products.  Each time a cow gives birth, the milk is ready to be pumped out.  We saw a bunch of calves, each having their own "indoor-outdoor" home.  Alongside was a dog who tended to the cows.  The dog was barking much and when we over to the fence it turned out that a 3-day old calf got out and walking about.  Before they put it in it's own cubby hole, I was able to pet it. One calf was newly born and still wet.

Holly then shared her experience of how she cuts the cheese...that is...cutting the curds.  The milk is combined with a vegetable rennet and heated causing the curds to rise and separate from the whey.  Prior to this, certain cultures are added, in order to produce the type of cheese.  The results depends upon the packing and further draining of the whey.  Aging cheese is another factor.  When you look at the ingredients for cheese, you will most likely see that same ingredients in most cheeses.  We then had the opportunity to do a cheese tasting.  Most delicious was another product; yogurt with the cream at the top.  Only a few flavors such as adding local honey or vanilla bean. Gee...all the things you can do with milk. 

Easton is for the birds at the Pickering Creek Audubon Center at Audubon Lane.  Mark Scallion gave us a quick tour of the center that is composed of many trails to view many birds.  I didn't see many as I was unable to hike into the trails.  However, I did see and eagle going after its prey.  I expected to see turkey vultures.  As it turns out, these bald eagles are much stronger than the vultures....if you know what I mean. 

It was now time for lunch as we went back into town to Mason's, located just next door to the Bartlett Pear Inn.  Outdoor seating was both on the side and on the porch.  We lunched on the porch so we could see the people walking on Harrison Street.  I had a scrumptious quiche of the day along with a bit of a salad.  Abutting the restaurant is their gourmet food store selling chocolates....mmmmm....chocolate.

At one point on the trip we stopped at a drive-in kiosk selling coffee.  I'm not a coffee drinker, but more curious.  Loved it.  It was called Rise Up, a local coffee roaster on Dover Street.  Needless to say, with much local products being used in this area, we ventured to their main building.  Timothy Cureton and Noah Kegley are the owners and Sarah Pitre is the Head doesn't roast heads....

The front of the store is set up for people to purchase their cups of coffee or buy it by the organic beans.  It's a sort of warehouse as you go to the back area that has odd tables, chairs and couches.  Free wi-fi.  Behind that area is where you can see the roaster. I took home a bag of regular and decaf.  Drinking it depends upon what time of day it is.

Not being sure on how much time it would take to go home, we stopped at a place called Capriotti's to pick up a sandwich.  It's a small chain of  stores that are way a cut above from Subway.  In fact, I chose a turkey sandwich where they are using real turkey and does not look like deli meat.  Added the trimmings and we were off to New York. 

Sunday, April 14, 2013


The last town to visit was Tilghman Island where much of the activity centers on boating. We had breakfast at the Jones House of the Old Brick Inn, one that is a step above Continental.  In other words, the typical foods are set out, but the juice, coffee and main dish are brought to your table.  This day was a great quiche.
It was not difficult getting to Tilghman Island from St. Michaels going West on Route 33.

With the season going into late spring, watermen (as they call them) were getting ready for their first catch.

We drove around the area to encounter Black Walnut Point Inn, which appeared to be at the tip of the island.  It was now time for lunch at Harrison's Chesapeake House, located on Chesapeake House Drive, where we met Buddy Harrison, Jr. Needless to say we indulged in seafood.

Sampling was in order as there were three soups to savor:  Oyster stew, Maryland Crab Soup, and a Cream of Crab Soup.  That was followed by Rockfish, Crab Cake, and Crab Imperial.  Buddy discussed the fishing and local products used on the menu.

After lunch we drove over to the Lazy Jack Inn at Dogman Harbor, meeting Captain Mike who runs a Lighthouse Tour...when in season.  We found him later working on his boat.

Looking to see what was also around the area, we came across Tilghman Island Country Store, the only "grocery" store on the island.  They sold local products such as wine, ice cream from the Scottish Highland Creamery and Rise Up Coffee.

Another place visited was the Phillips Wharf Environmental Center, located at Chicken Point Rd.   Kelly is a Marine Biologist with a bus known as the Fishmobile, set up for kids to check out creatures from the water.  Right now they are working on an Oyster House project.

We checked into the Tilghman Island Inn to meet owner David McCallum, who is also the Executive Chef of the restaurant.  Relaxation is certainly the key word here.  My room had plenty of windows and a terrace that looked out onto the creek.

 There was a group of rubber chickens in the room abutting mine.

Time for dinner.  Laurie ordered Oysters Rockefeller while I opted for the creamy oyster stew.  "Saute shallots in butter, deglaze with white wine and reduced. Add oyster liquid and heavy cream. Heat through, add oysters and simmer until edges curl.  Here is the recipe for Oysters Rockefeller.

Next course was the Smoked Duck Napoleon and here is the recipe.

Duck: Brine 2 Duck Breast for several hours or overnight in Brine
  2 Cups Water
          3TBS Salt
          3 TBS Sugar
          ½ Cup White Wine
4 TBS Chopped Fresh Herbs ( such as Thyme, Basil, Rosemary,  Sage)
Smoke Duck:
            In a Commercial smoker. Hot  smoke duck breast until medium
rare ( about 1 hr).
      Cut Wonton wrappers in half diagonally. Fry until crispy.
Assembly:  Stack alternately wonton with  thinly sliced duck, wontons & jam. Garnish plate with Sour Cream Streaker ( thin sour cream in a squeeze bottle)

Berry Horseradish Jam:
 2 Pints of Fresh Raspberries, Blackberries or Strawberries or Mixed
½ Cup of Sugar
1/4 Cup Raspberry or Rice Wine Vinegar
½ Cup of Balsamic Vinegar
2TBS Minced Shallots
2TBS Prepared Horseradish
1 Lemon Zested & Juiced
1.      Bring Sugar, Lemon juice, vinegar & shallots to a boil. Add Berries cook until syrupy.
2.      Adjust sweetness to taste.
3.      Strain through a fine sieve or china cap.
4.      Fold in horseradish & lemon zest.
5.      Refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

The next course was pork medallions.  What I loved about it was the accompanying coconut rice using jasmine rice cooking in coconut milk and adding flaked coconut. It was served with julienned vegetables and
a mango sauce.

Molten Chocolate Cake for dessert served with chocolate ice cream made here.  Here's the recipe for the cakes

30 oz chocolate
1-1/2 lb butter
6 TBSP Brandy
12 Lg eggs
12 Large egg yolks
3- TBSP Sugar (1-1/2 cup sugar + 1 TBSP)
6 tsp vanilla
9 tsp espresso powder
Large pinch of salt
6 TBSP flour

Prepare cups-spray & coat with sugar.  Melt chocolate & butter.  Remove from heat, stir in brandy.  Cool 10 min, stir occ,
Beat all remaning ingredients until very thick-takes it about 5-10 minutes.  Sift flour over mix, fold in.  Put batter in cups.  Fill to flange.  Be careful cooks quickly, smell chocolate is first signal.  400 degrees


1Qt Cream
Calleduit chocolate
Heat Crème to scalding Chop Chocolate to correct consistency

 Laurie had the creme brulle.  

After dinner we schmoozed with the owners of the Black Walnut Point Inn as they popped in for drinks and dinner.

Tilghman Island Inn is pet-friendly.  In fact, there is both a male cat and female dog that hang around.  The dog tends to greet each guest.