Read. Eat. Repeat.

Blog

Why I’m Not Vegan.

Why I’m Not Vegan.

I am not a vegan and I’ve been thinking about it a great deal lately. I love animals, I hate factory farming, I’m dairy free, so why not? Three reasons: eggs, oysters, and my husband. Eggs Chickens are believed to be resultant of the ancestral […]

Mission Accomplished

Mission Accomplished

It’s 2019 and in late December, I decided that enough was enough. I was talking to my boss and she told me she’d finally made the choice to go dairy-free. She said, “If you think about it, dairy is gross.” YEAH, dairy is gross! I […]

Hurricane Florence & Spaghettios

Hurricane Florence & Spaghettios

Last week, I baked for the first time since we moved to the low country. I was feeling, centered, peaceful, good—FINALLY. Then, Charleston announced a mandatory evacuation due to the threat posed by hurricane Florence. We’re New Englanders, we can handle feet of snow and rain, darkness that lasts for months, but 140 mph winds? Hard pass.

So, we packed up the things we couldn’t live without, the idiot cats, and made the 5-hour drive to Atlanta. We’ve been here since the small hours of Tuesday morning and yesterday, I ate Spaghettios for the first time since I was eight…It didn’t feel good. Honestly, they tasted like failure and, as one of my clients astutely put it, lead poisoning. Actually, sitting alone in a hotel room, surrounded by cats, eating room temperature Spaghettios out of the can, while a storm bears down on you is what some might consider rock-bottom. Depressing, yeah, but the thing about rock bottom is that the only place to go is up.

We can’t change our situation but we can choose our response to it. So, my ASO came “home” from work that night to a healthy meal and a clean, organized room because all we can do is the best we can with what we have. We’re on a new adventure and it’s been a bumpy ride so far, but we’ll make the most of it. We’ll weather the storm and everything will be perfectly fine because we’ll MAKE IT that way. We’re New Englanders—doing the best we can and coming out on top is what we’ve been doing for centuries. We may be displaced right now, and a little down, but we’re not out. We (and our loved ones in New England and Florida) are safe, fed, and together—who could ask for more than that?

Stay safe, Charleston. We’ll see YOU ALL soon.

Boxcar Betty and the Pimiento Cheese

Boxcar Betty and the Pimiento Cheese

The last couple of days in the low country have been tough. Yesterday, my insurance claims adjuster called it—my car is officially totaled. Today, our new veterinarian called to say that Tabitha, the feisty fat orange tabby that I’ve had since I was 14, is […]

Low Country-Bound

Low Country-Bound

A week ago today, we officially (and unexpectedly) took up residence in Charleston, South Carolina. Just five short days after my Amazingly Significant Other became my husband, we packed up the car, cats, and made the 16+ hour trip to SC to pursue a new opportunity. I’m […]

The NoMad Hotel

The NoMad Hotel

This past week, Eric and I had the great pleasure of visiting some of the best food and beverage spots that LA and Seattle have to offer, the most notable being The NoMad Hotel. The NoMad was especially memorable for the excellent food but also the experience. Eric’s sister, Ashley Abodeely, is the Chef De Cuisine there and she not only customized our menu but gave us a tour of the kitchens, and introduced us to some of her spectacularly talented co-workers. I don’t have the palette or the experience to talk about this food or these people the way that they should be talked about, but I’ll do my best.

Chef Ashley

Let me start by saying that my soon-to-be-sister-in-law, Ashley, is amazing. She graduated culinary school and worked for L’Espalier in Boston, specializing in modern New England-French cuisine. When she was ready for a new challenge, she took a few days off work, which is a big commitment for someone who works 18+ hours a day, and staged (a fancy term for working for free in another cook’s kitchen) for Chef Daniel Humm at Eleven Madison Park in NYC. To be perfectly and unflinchingly frank, Ashley is a badass and she got the job. From Eleven Madison Park, Ashley went on the work as the Chef De Cuisine at The NoMad, another of Chef Humm’s restaurants. When Chef Humm was ready to open another hotel in California, he asked Ashley to work The NoMad food truck for a year leading up to the new hotel’s opening this past January.

The NoMad

The LA NoMad is almost as gorgeous as the menu is and we got to see more of it than most people do. While we were waiting on appetizers from our custom menu, which was comprised of dishes selected by Chef Ashley, she gave us a special tour of the various dining rooms and kitchens. I’ll be honest, I was a little overwhelmed and had already sampled some excellent champagne, but I’m confident that I saw three different kitchens and I’m pretty sure that Eric’s and Ashley’s Dad said that there was a fourth kitchen hiding out somewhere. We also toured a specialty dining room, where Jesse Ferguson was supping, the Mezzanine fine dining room, the wine room, and lounge.

Appetizers

When we returned to our seats, we were treated to our choice of delicious cocktails (I had an incredible dirty martini that was WAY too easy to drink) and the following appetizers:

 

Hummus

This hummus is not your typical chickpea-based spread. Rather it’s a fresh, chartreuse-green affair made of whipped fava beans blended with herbed ricotta and pistachios, served with a thin and crispy lavash bread.

Carrot Tartare

Step aside beef, this tartare is carrot-based and a specialty of Eleven Madison Park. The ground carrot is seasoned with a variety of accouterments, including sunflower seeds, mustard, and a raw quail egg, and served in an adorable lidded glass pot.

Black Truffle Flatbread

This probably makes me extra-uncouth, not to mention extra-unworthy of this menu, but the flatbread pizza was my favorite menu item. I’ve had black truffle before, but not like this. The personal flatbread pizza starts with a crisp piece of bread, I’m not sure what kind, but it’s thin and crunchy as hell. The bread is then topped with a generous, but not overwhelming, layer of shredded parmesan cheese and crème fraîche. On top of that, the cheese is topped with thinly shaved black truffle. When I say thin, I mean transparent to the point that light passes through it and you can see the intricate truffle pattern.  However, this doesn’t mean scant—I ate more black truffle in that one sitting than I have in the rest of my life. I got extra lucky because Eric isn’t a big parmesan fan, so I got to finish his flatbread too—score 🙂

Prawn Cocktail

This wasn’t your Grandma’s shrimp cocktail. It was more like a deconstructed cocktail made by filleting prawns and then topping them with tomato, chili, shredded horseradish, and a spritz of Meyer lemon juice.

Crab Tagliatelle

This was a winner as well. These long, flat, ribbon-like Italian noodles were dressed with a light, buttery sauce that included lemon, chives, and black pepper, then topped with Alaskan King Crab. I’m not usually a crab fan but this dish was incredible.

Entrées

If this had been the end of our visit to The NoMad, that would have been good enough for me, but it was far from it. Following the appetizer course were the entrées. Oh My God, the entrées. If I’m being honest, I lucked out because this course was very meat-heavy and I was already on the uncomfortably-full side. There were three entrées:

Branzino

I was able to sample the Branzino, the Italian name (that I had to look up) for European Seabass. It was seasoned with Fennel and roasted beautifully, then dressed with yogurt and citrus.

Chicken Milanese

This is an Italian dish and pretty much the fanciest fried chicken dish that you’ve ever had. I had to look this one up too, here’s Martha Stewart’s Chicken Milanese recipe. Chicken Milanese is created by slicing a chicken breast to make two fillets, then breading and frying it. The chicken is seasoned simply with coarse salt, ground black pepper, and lemon juice. The chicken was then topped with a light apple, celery, and black truffle salad. Because who could ever have enough black truffle?

Steak

There was a steak, I have no idea what kind and it’s not on the menu—this was made especially for Ashley’s Dad 🙂 From the photo I took, the steak seems to be topped with some light brown sauce or glaze (though that may have just been juice), followed by what looks like a radicchio frisee salad—Eric’s best guess—and a huge pat of herbed butter.

French Fries

Accompanying the entrees was a generous basket of herbed fries spritzed with lemon juice—incredible.

Dessert

I may have appeared to wimp-out during the main course but I was just steeling myself for dessert. Honestly, I’m not generally a big fan of dessert. I love chocolate and I’ll eat just about anything with peanut butter on it, but I’m really more of a salt-and-fat person. That said, the dessert course was amazing.

Chocolate Tart

This little chocolate tart consisted of a chocolate tart shell filled with a smooth melted chocolate, cream, and egg mixture, that’s topped with thick, rich, salted caramel.

Milk & Honey: Part Un

This dessert was a delicious (and branded!) vanilla ice cream sandwich made with graham crackers (or maybe shortbread?). The sandwich edges are then rimmed with sea salt and bee pollen.

Milk & Honey: Part Deux

This is the deconstructed version of the Milk & Honey ice cream sandwich. This dish has three wonderful little scoops of vanilla that are admirably smooth and shaped like stuffed shells. The scoops sit on a bed of shortbread and brittle, and are drizzled with honey.

Baked Alaska

I don’t know if this is the correct use the term, culinarily speaking, but I’m going for it—this was the pièce de ré·sis·tance of the meal. It wasn’t my favorite part, I don’t even think it was the prettiest part, but the presentation was remarkable. The Baked Alaska was comprised of strawberry, lemon, and vanilla ice cream layers topped with swirls of meringue and flambé-ed.

Fin

Thank you, Chef Ashley, for an exquisite meal and an even more memorable experience <3

 

Alice Hoffman

Alice Hoffman

Alice Hoffman was born on March 16, 1952 in New York City. She grew up on Long Island but, clearly a woman with excellent taste, she now resides in Boston. Alice earned her BA at Adelphi University before going on to achieve her MA at […]

Baron Forrester

Baron Forrester

After attending New Hampshire’s first-ever Craft Brew Conference, Eric and I decided to get Thai food on the way home. On the way to pick up our meals we walked by Baron Forrester, a little Hampton cheese shop I hadn’t yet had the opportunity to visit, […]

Frozen Pizza Tastes like Failure

Frozen Pizza Tastes like Failure

I was recently asked for website advice by two people (WordPress, definitely WordPress) and I thought to myself, “hold up a minute, don’t I have a website?” I do and it’s been seriously neglected over the last few months—I can explain.

I am a Project Manager at Vital Design and I can’t tell you how lucky I am to have that position. This post alludes to frozen pizza and that’s because I’ve been eating a lot of it and haven’t felt great about it. Forget frozen pizza though, allow me to sound as though I’ve been drinking The Kool-Aid.

I applied to Vital five times before being asked to interview. I started out in the digital marketing and web development industry as an office manager and worked my way up—it was not easy and I take my career very seriously. I was lucky to have a number of spectacularly supportive mentors along the way including, Adam Vicinus, Andrew Bourne, Nicole Simard, and Drew Trafton to name a few, but I worked hard to get where I am and I’m not done yet.

I wanted to work for Vital because it is a phenomenal company. We work incredibly hard for our clients every day, not just 9-5 Monday to Friday—every day. We respond on nights, weekends, and holidays. For example, if your site goes down at 2:00am on Christmas day, we’ll be spending some quality time together until it’s back up—that was before my time, but it’s a real-life example that I’ve heard my co-workers discuss.

We don’t just work hard, we do so in a very particular way. As a new employee it’s my goal, not only to care for and manage my clients’ projects as if they were my own, but to learn to do so in that very particular way in order to provide the best possible support. My clients deserve this very particular level of service and my team and company deserve someone willing to go the extra mile.

Long story short, I want to be a team player and a credit to my company, so I’ve been busy learning from some of the best and brightest people in this industry. That meant a few sacrifices—some late nights, some re-allocated free time, and, as a result, I’ve been cooking a little less and reading mostly industry-related material.

The good news is, I’ve been with my amazing new company for four months now, I’ve learned a lot (and will continue to do so) and things are going well! Sure, there will still be long nights and busy weeks, there will be times when I’ll have to put my own projects, like Novel Fare, aside. The difference is, I think I’ve found my rhythm and I’m ready to get back in the kitchen!

For the Birds, with Love

For the Birds, with Love

I didn’t save a seagull today. Actually, I didn’t even see what happened. I was driving home from work on Friday night, right before the start of the Labor Day weekend, when I saw traffic trying to get past a woman in the street; then […]