Monday, May 10, 2010


is what NY's Upper West Side looks like on a PERFECT - and I do mean PERFECT - spring day. That gelato is from GROM, several locations in the city, much loved and reminiscent of Venice where I first had it.

So far behind...

...there's probably no catching up. I'm going to post a bunch of captioned photos and just say NYC was perfect, I'm enjoying Portland and looking forward to Seattle tomorrow.

First up...several NY museums have lovely new restaurants owned and operated by some of the city's best restaurateurs. "Robert" is on the 9th floor of the Museum of Arts & Design. Ultra-modern design, delicious food, fabulous views. Two photos of the interior, one of my cousin Heidi perusing the menu, one of the view down to a little seating area in Columbus Circle - Mayor Bloomberg intent on converting some heavy traffic areas into outdoor cafes! - and our server Leonard bringing our Venetian Sparklers (aka Spritz). What do you mean 12:30 is too early for cocktails??

Monday, May 3, 2010

Thursday, April 29

My beautiful cousin Heidi - she came early Thursday morning to have breakfast with our auntie and me and then she and I headed into the city - two museums, two great restaurants. Comin' up..

Presiding over dinner

Did I say Thursday? I meant Wednesday. And that's my cousin Michael at the head of the table hanging on to a very good bottle of bourbon. The rest of us drank wine. My auntie's delicious food, lots of reminiscing, LOTS of laughs, the cousins seem to get closer the older we get. Family is a good thing.


Dinner at auntie's last Thursday - we started with a little pupu of Caprese Salad - Sheepshead Bay Style - with tomatoes, smoked mozzarella and basil, served with various crackers and a lovely Pinot Grigio

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Guess who's coming to dinner?

My auntie's world-famous "Crummy Chicken." She's been making it since my cousin Michael and I were little children. We both love it. Actually, everyone in the family loves it. And the best part is picking the leftover crumbs off the foil that lines the pans. There are several of us who fight over those yummy, crunchy bits. Tonight, there'll be enough for everyone.

I know, it's always all about the food

Aloha all...good, easy flights, I even slept much of the way. After all these years I've discovered the secret - good ear plugs.

I was so happy to arrive - the concrete, the grit, the energy - I love it all. No traffic from the airport to Brooklyn (which, by the way is the new Manhattan), arrived at my auntie's house in less than 20 minutes and fell into "home" mode.

First thing I saw in the kitchen was the apple pie(s) pictured above. "I had a little extra dough," my auntie said, "and a few extra apples, so I made a LITTLE pie." She's so cute! Dinner was a tableful of my favorites - including her melt-in-your-mouth brisket - and the pie is so good. I realized it's "difference" right away - instead of traditional pie dough, she uses cookie dough. I am so making it when I get home! It won't be AS good as my auntie's but...

Breakfast this morning was what Brooklyn breakfast is all about (also pictured above) - pumpernickel, onion rolls, lox, cream cheese, whitefish salad (my FAVORITE!), herring in cream sauce - so 'ono!

Cousins coming for dinner tonight - "crummy" chicken - not crumby chicken, crispy chicken with a delicious crunchy coating - lots of wine, vodka, laughter, I'm sure.

It was outrageously cold today - but supposed to warm up tomorrow and get into the 80s - the 80s! - for the weekend. Into Manhattan tomorrow for two museums and probably a lot more than two restaurants.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday, Shrove Tuesday, Pancake Tuesday…

Whatever you call it where you are, here in Hawai‘i it is Malasadas Day and it is tasty. Mine, this year, was particularly delicious thanks to a (relatively early) morning call from friend/client Cathy Nobriga Kim. She’s Roselani Ice Cream’s third generation ice cream maker so she knows a thing or two about sweets! And her timing was perfect. I was a couple of minutes away from her office when she called to say, “Stop by for Fat Tuesday, the real kine.”

The Portuguese began immigrating to these Islands in 1878 – to work the plantations and also to teach the ali‘i (royalty) about ranching. Cathy’s family – the Nobrigas – are well known on Maui for their Kahakuloa ranch and the excellent beef cattle they have been raising since the 1920s. Her father, Uncle Buddy Nobriga, is mentor to the next generation of Maui cattle ranchers. But I digress…

Like all immigrants, the Portuguese brought their culinary traditions to Hawai‘i with them. The sweetest of these is the malasada, a delicious donut-like confection. During the plantation days in anticipation of the beginning of Lent, Portuguese women would fry up big batches of malasadas which their husbands would share with other workers in the fields. It didn’t take long for Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Filipino immigrants and the local Hawaiians to embrace them as their own. Today, malasadas are ubiquitous throughout Hawai‘i and each Island has its “malasadas palace.” On Maui, it’s Home Maid Bakery which sells them hot – the only way to enjoy them, really – for a few hours in the morning and a few more in the evening.

But the ones I had this morning – two different kinds – were both truly amazing and truly HOMEMADE. The first, made from Uncle Buddy Nobriga’s grandma’s recipe, are egg malasadas (that’s them in the first photo). Light, airy and meant to be eaten with maple syrup. I had never even heard of egg malasadas before. The second , yeast malasadas made from Auntie Barbara Nobriga’s own recipe, are the kind more familiar to me but these were far beyond any others I’ve ever had (that’s them in the second photo). Dense, with a really yeast-y, almost malty taste sprinkled with not just sugar but a sugar-cinnamon mix that adds yet another layer of flavor. Unreal. Proving once again there is nothing as good – for the emotional self as well as the tummy – as a recipe handed down through a family. Auntie Barbara says you’re supposed to eat at least six to really get the full force of Malasada Day. Believe me, I could have EASILY eaten six. But I stopped at four.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Potential new client update

That would be a "no." Which is perfectly fine.
moving on...

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

car repair update

all fixed
running like a charm
shit happens
moving on

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Roller coaster ride update

3 - it's past 3:00 p.m. on my second carless day - I hope it's done soon...and the bill isn't bigger than expected

At first, it was nice working from home yesterday. Then, when I realized I couldn't hop in the car and go, it turned to be not quite so nice. It's not like I live in Siberia or don't have friends around who are always happy to help. Sweet D.E. took me grocery shopping yesterday and I took him to Market St. Bistro for lunch. And although the car repairs weren't done yet, Jane drove me down to Kahului in time to meet Cathy and Hillary for a fantastic lunch at Dragon Dragon - it was our belated holiday lunch and well worth waiting for. And then they, in turn, drove me to my office.

So I've now missed two days at the gym, one-and-a-half days at the office, and one morning at Punana Leo. Un-routine. I am NOT complaining, merely stating the facts. And observing how disoriented I get when I stray from my routine. Probably be a good idea to work on that...

4 - potential new client meeting now set for next Tuesday.

oh - 2 - no, I'm not going to NYC to read my Six Words. When I woke this morning, I found that I'd come back from the edge of the temporary insanity that enveloped me yesterday. I love my cousin Michael's response when I e-mailed him this morning - "It's good that you put yourself at the edge for a bit, the view is much better." Oh, yes...

I would have to use up all my miles to fly uncomfortably for about 20 hours - with four or so more on the ground - to attend a one-hour event and stand on a stage to read six words. Yes, it would be totally fun and I might meet some highly interesting people, even make some great contacts. But in my actual real life, I have a huge project due next Friday, and a business to run every day. I often think I'd LIKE to be that other person, but I'm not.

So, as my friend Geri said this morning, it was a fun ride and there's nothing wrong with taking one of those rides every so often. And recognizing when it's time to get off and go back to reality. I learned a bit more about myself and, most important, the acknowledgement of my writing - yes, even just Six Words - is a good thing. So, thanks to Rita and Lali for the encouragement and help.

By the way, the Six Word NYC Memoir of mine that was chosen is:

Sunday Times, bagel, schmear, regular coffee.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010 far

1 - Mammo results - A.O.K.

2 - Car - freak "accident", needs new water pump, new timing belt - A.O.K. (after writing a check for $1200 - it's only money)

3 - I've booked a flight using miles - FREE to NYC for the Six Word Memoir reading - haven't decided for sure - ticket being held 'til 4:00 p.m. tomorrow - Kathy Takushi at Travel Network in Wailuku (244-1414) is a miracle worker.

4 - No new client meeting set yet.

Stay tuned...

This, for me, is the definition of an emotional roller coaster

Let me say right off the bat that, given what's going on in the world, my own personal little emotional roller coaster is less than a speck, less than a nanospeck really, in the great scheme. But this is my little life and we all carry on with our own little lives in the face of all the big things going on around us because that's all we really can do, right?

Yesterday I had my annual mammogram. I used to get completely nuts leading up to, day of, waiting for results. So much so that for the last number of years my doc writes on the test req that they are to give me the results immediately following the mammo...'cause I get completely nuts. There's always a reason why they can't do that and yesterday the reason was that only one radiologist is "assigned" to read mammos and she'd left for the day. The older I get, the less nuts I get about this - what will be will be. I'm waiting on results. Let's hope for the best.

I'd been hearing a kinda funny noise coming out of the hood of my car for several days and thought about stopping at my mechanic but, of course, didn't. Yesterday afternoon when I got into my car after my workout, it started but it wouldn't go. So I called my mechanic, he sent a tow-truck, sweet D.E. came all the way down the hill to get me. I'm working from home for now. I'm waiting on results. Let's hope for the best.

I opened my e-mail this morning and in my spam folder there was a message from "smithstats" and in the subject line: Six Words on the New York Life. The first words of the message were:

Hello,One of your "Six Words on New York Life" has been chosen among the winners.

Yee-ha! I've been working on my writing skills and when I saw this contest - via Twitter, by the way - I decided to give it a shot. Here's the link to the contest info and my entries are below:

Must stir egg cream with pretzel.

Concrete steps’ best use? Stoop ball.

Bright city lights awaken childhood memories.

Concrete canyon winter wind whistles whoosh.

City is black and white…cookies.

Potstickers, pierogi, Pad Thai, pickles, PIZZA!

Brooklyn sounds like Good Humor bells.

Buses splash melting snow…oh no!

Sunday Times, bagel, schmear, regular coffee.

Night is bright in neon light.

Chestnut carts warm the frosty air.

Scallops and Nesselrode Pie at Lundy’s.

Tabasco-French fries slip-up at Nathan’s.

Watching Tuesday fireworks from nana’s roof.

They didn't tell me which one they chose. Each of my writing coaches has different favorites. Anyway, I immediately e-mailed back to ask if a friend could read for me. And then, I called my cousin Heidi to see HOW crazy she thought it would be for me to come in, literally, for two days to read at the 92nd St. Y. This is not 15 minutes of fame, it's not even 15 SECONDS but I just think it's totally cool...if I do say so myself. So I called my dear travel agent who has been known to work miracles in the past to see if she could get me a ticket on miles - I'm trying to use up my United miles but that is another story that is going to have to wait for another post. I'm waiting on results. Let's hope for the best.

In the meantime, I've spoken to an old college friend/sorority sister in NYC and asked her to read for me if I can't get there. She has a scheduling conflict but she may be able to work it out in my favor. I'm waiting on results. Let's hope for the best.

After I'd written THE FIRST SENTENCE of this post, an e-mail popped up from a restaurateur I've known for more than two decades saying he wants to talk about hiring me to do PR for his new restaurant.

And all this, for me, is the definition of an emotional roller coaster. Will be back with results as they come in.

Monday, January 18, 2010

And here you have them

Madeline Lanciani's Lemon Drop Sugar Cookies. Let me assure you, they would not pass her muster. Oh, she'd have her ruler out, measuring. They are not perfectly round or oval or all exactly the same height. They are DROP cookies - which means they are DROPPED onto the sheet pan by the heaping teaspoonful. Not all DROPS are created equal. And, as I'm sure you all know and, hopefully, will agree, we live in an imperfect world. As imperfect as these cookies are in appearance, let me assure you, they are LUSCIOUS!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

A post script to the holiday baking posts

I've spent a couple of hours each day this month organizing my "loose recipes" and putting them into binders. It's something I'd been meaning to do for a while, the new year seemed a good time to get to it and, while it's relatively mindless, it has required enough attention these last few days to take my mind off the disastrous earthquake in Haiti. I feel a bit guilty even writing this but sometimes after we've shed a million tears and sent money we need to accept there's not much else we can except maybe concentrate on being better to each other on a daily basis. If it's offensive to you that I'm being frivolous, I understand completely, apologize and, by all means, stop reading.

Back to the cookies. While deciding what to bake this past holiday season I read a lot of recipes that included lemon. After I chose one, I tossed the others aside. Today, I found them and gave them another look. One is Lemon Drop Sugar Cookies. Recipe Source: COOKING LIVE with Sara Moulton (TV FOOD NETWORK). Recipe courtesy of...yup, you guessed it - Madeline Lanciani, Duane Park Patisserie. I think I'll make them this weekend.

Monday, January 4, 2010

The Obamas' Hawai'i Vacation - Two Views

And both of them are mine.

First, I understand that everyone deserves a vacation. EXCEPT, in my opinion, the President of the United States. I have this picture in my head of Sasha and Malia whining about going to Hawaiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii. Yes, they are lovely first children, "children" being the operative word.

I realize it's 2009/10 and the President was most assuredly in minute-by-minute touch with everyone in Washington with whom he needed to be in touch. I get it. Surely a few days in Kailua would have/should have/could have been sufficient. As soon as the crazy guy tried to blow up the plane over Detroit, Mr. Obama should have ordered the crew to fire up ole Air Force One and they should have hele-d on outta here. Or at least he should have. But there were work-outs and golf games and dinner at a fancy Honolulu restaurant (no offense, Alan), and outings to Sea Life Park and the Honolulu Zoo to be reckoned with. According to The New York Times today, the First Lady before departing last night took an unscientific poll of all those flying back with the POTUS saying something like "Who wants to stay? I want to stay. I think I'm plotting a coup." Not funny. Just kinda stupid.

Which brings me to my second view. Even though the First Family spent most of its 11 days within the confines of its beachfront compound, couldn't they have, during one of their sojourns in the outside world, done SOMETHING Hawaiian? And how'bout that press corps? Did anyone see ANYTHING in print or broadcast or blog about Hawaiian culture? They didn't have a lot to do, given the fact that the President's party was mostly confined to the compound. They had time to make fun of aloha shirts and spam musubi and 'ukulele (NEVER pronounced correctly) and to talk, of course, about the weather and spar with their anchors back on the freezing East Coast about the plum assignment they had and the anchors didn't. Everyone talks about how, thanks to President Obama, Hawai'i is finally on the national radar. Not so much. At least not in a dignified, cultural way that would be so maika'i.

Friday, January 1, 2010