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Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Lately all my posts have been about running. Clearly that has taken up a significant amount of time in my life. And it continues too… yet this week I impulsively rearranged my running schedule — and skipped my TNT practices — in order to embark on some other fun times. (Don’t worry TNT, I still ran… even when the only time I had was at 10pm.)

Tuesday a good friend of mine messaged me to tell she had opera tickets and was too sick to attend. Poor thing… seriously, sinus infections SUCK! I was flattered she thought of me. So a girlfriend of mine at work and I set off at the 5pm bell to chow down and devirginize my opera experience.

We ate at Black Duck Restaurant on 28th between Park and Lex. I had an awesome arugula salad with red onions, roasted Pistachio, shaved Pecorino, dried figs covered in a light Champagne-dijon vinaigrette. Delish. My girlfriend had the New Zealand lamb lollipops with lemon scented polenta cake (which she wasn’t a fan of so let me eat. Yum!). We also split an appetizer of duck confit tacos with guacamole and seared sea scallops with mango salsa. I’ve had much better mango salsa and the scallops were slighty overcooked — just very very slighty — but the presentation was ace.

The scallops were the only dish I remembered to take a photo of.

On to the opera — FANTASTIC! I’ll be completely honest guys, I wasn’t expecting to like it too much. I have trouble staying awake during the ballet, and I LOVE the ballet. I felt the opera was something I should experience once… so that was my plan. But I loved it so much, I’m excited to go again.

We saw A Magic Flute, a performance of the Lincoln Center Festival. You can read about the adapted version of “The Magic Flute” — only 10 minutes long, thank goodness — in the New York Times. I wasn’t expecting it to be funny — but it was funny. And funny in my book always gets a thumbs up.

I wish I had a photo of the opera, but they kinda frown upon that. However, they didn’t give me a hard time for showing up in my running sneakers and shorts — I had dressed to go to training when I found out about this. Thank you to the Gerald W. Lynch theater for not having a dress code.

And even a bigger thank you to my gal for offering me the tickets. Looking forward to the next one!

More to come on this week’s fun!

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A few weeks ago work sent me to New Orleans. I never had much interest in visiting the city but a lot of talk of delicious food and a buzzing party scene got me revved up.

And as someone familiar with me and the city might have predicted, it took about five seconds of landing on Bourbon Street for me to begin bouncing around declaring my adoration for the place. It was only 7pm when we passed over it to hit up G.W. Fins (link) for dinner but the street with lined with neon lights, various genres of music blaring out from each of the building fronts all clashing with one another and people chugging down drinks in the street. If that wasn’t enough to sell me, we walked right past the Bourbon Cowboy bar that had Zac Brown Band flooding from the doorway along with a cute lil’ cowgirl bouncing around the sidewalk. This was the first place I hit after dinner… as if you needed to ask.

Oooo, and the bar at the hotel was a carousel – the bar and stools rotated (slowly). Very cool for a while, but when its your last stop of the night, it can actually be a bit nauseating.

Our dinner at GW Fins was impressive as well. The menu changes daily depending on what they have fresh in stock. I started with Tuna Tartare, followed by a seafood Gumbo and a goat cheese and spinach salad.


(The photos don’t do the flavors justice!)

The second day we had some time to wander so we perused the countless shops and galleries in the French Quarter. I am a sucker for European-influenced culture and architecture, so I was in my heaven.


Some decrepit building that I fell in love with.


Jackson Square


Saint Louis Cathedral (and my finger… I obviously didn’t bring my fancy camera!)


Outside the Riverwalk Marketplace

We also ate some more, obviously. Check out my breakfast at Wolfe’s at the Marriott.


Poached eggs on crab cakes with potato strings. Best breakfast I had in a long time!!

Dinner that second night also rocked — Red Fish Grill. The photos are crap, but I had a Hickory Grilled Mahi Mahi with a smoked shrimp butter sauce, crispy goat cheese stuffed tomatoes, green beans and a roasted pepper pumpkin seed relish. The crispy goat cheese stuffed tomatoes are the BEST. THING. EVER. And for dessert the waitress brought us a chocolate bread pudding which she doused in dark and white chocolate ganache. I’m don’t usually like chocolate, but I love bread pudding so my intended one-bite turned into devouring 75% of the dish… (fat arse!)

My verdict: from where I wandered, what I tasted and who I danced around, I think NOLA and I could become very good friends. It has a slightly devilish personality with unpredictable tendencies. It thrives on being delicious and causing trouble.

A bit rough around the edges with just enough sin to keep things interesting… just how I like my fun.

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One of the things I love best about the Irish is the passion they hold for their culture. This week’s event demonstrated just this. The businessmen and academics genuinely shined with pride for their technological innovations, business strategies and ambition.

But it wasn’t all business. Our hosts also showed their pride in Ireland’s culture, striving [and succeeding] to impress us with social and cultural events.

Our fun included…

a tour of the Jameson Distillery outside Cork in Midleton, Cork, that was informative and historical, offering insight into a name that is synonymous with Irish innovation. The tasting reminded me why I am not a fan of whiskey, but also confirmed that the Jameson brand is true to its advertising and offers a much smoother and appealing taste than its Scotch and American counterparts.

a private cooking demonstration and dinner at the Barnabrow House in Midleton. The heaven of traditional Irish cuisine, with a three-course dinner of leek and potato soup with salmon for a starter, Guinness beef stew for the main and something with chocolate for dessert (I can’t remember that bit well), along with a lot of delicious wine and great conversation.

a visit to Powerscourt Estate and gardens in Enniskerry outside Dublin. Previously the residence of the Slazenger family (as in the sports equipment manufacturers), the grounds are now open to the public – and they are absolutely breathtaking. We had limited time so I took an abridged tour of the gardens with Italian and Japanese designs and the Pets’ Cemetery, the largest in the country where most of the family’s pets are laid to rest.

Here are a selection of shots from Powerscourt: (The remainder can be found here.)

Some other highlights of the trip included:

— meeting a government official with the e-mail address “himself@[firstandlastname].com.” How creative is that?! Trualy a fantastic person!

— having dinner (another three-course delight including a duck entrée) next to one of the investors, a delightful Dublin native who spent a good amount of time drawing me a map of walks outside Dublin to check out during my free time. He even left me his phone number in case I got stuck somewhere, since I knew no one else in the area. Oh, and he hit the bar with us afterwards. Bless him.

— post-dinner drinks at some Dublin hotspots and watching some of our crew let loose. No seriously, there was a great guy from Texas who just kept inserting himself into groups of ladies. (They also told me I need to head South and find myself a cowboy. I think they may be on to something.)

— lunch at Johnnie Fox’s, the “highest pub in Ireland,” or so it claims. The décor is fabulous, packed with old mismatched furnishings and signs, photos and other random memorabilia. The place also offers fantastic food; I continued the seafood theme and indulged on Mussels in a White Wine sauce and a Goat Cheese salad.

This is Michael Flatley’s shoe.

— hearing a hilarious story about the time one of our entourage got terrible sunburn before flying to Japan for a business deal and accidentally patted (literally) on 5-day bronzer instead of after-sun lotion and showed up with bright orange handprints on his face on top of red sunburn. Best part of the story is how he handled the situation: he pretended nothing was out of the ordinary and offered no explanation for his look. (This guy had some fantastic stories; definitely a life of the party type of character.)

— staying in The Gibson Hotel, one of Dublin’s newest – and most modern – hotels where I came home to late Thursday night to find someone had come in to turn down my sheets and refold all the towels I had left in disarray during my first hour there. Oooo, and I had a fab patio where I saw a great sunset.

— hearing three company representatives in a row answer my question about their business ambitions for the US market with, “world domination.” Simmer down now.

— and, to be serious for a moment, meeting a ton of brilliant, personable and interesting people from my industry. I could go on and on about how fantastic the event, the businesses and the participants were from a business perspective, but to keep all identifying characteristics out of this blog (minus the story above which I am going to guess is not all that common), I’m going to leave the professional opinions out of here. But in all honesty, some really inspiring people who know their stuff. I was thoroughly impressed day after day.

All in all, a fabulous trip!!

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When I travel I like to explore my surroundings, no matter how large or small. That includes the local food establishments, so as a rule I never order room service. But as I collapsed on the bed after a hot bath when I finally arrived in Kinsale, Ireland after a 7-hour overnight flight full of turbulence followed by 7 hours on the road, I not only considered ordering room service I actually contemplated skipping dinner because I felt too tired to get up and find the room-service menu. Fortunately I managed to roll to the end of the bed and find it on the desk because the goat cheese salad and tomato basil soup I ordered was delicious.

The combination of sheer exhaustion and jet leg knocked me out for a solid 12.5 hours and my dreams of driving the Southern coast in the early morning mist were snored away. In reality, I only got up just in time to get the car back to the airport on schedule.

The bus ride back from the airport, however, dropped me in Kinsale town and I realized where I had gone wrong. I metaphorically kicked myself for not driving or training straight to the seaside village. It is absolutely adorable, quaint yet bustling and packed with restaurants, cafes and markets all featuring seafood. And if wasn’t for the information center being “out to lunch” (as if that would ever be allowed in New York) and me being unable to find a cab on my own, I may have missed enjoying this little piece of travel heaven.

Here were some of my favorites sights around town:

The harbour was packed with small sailboats.

The only place I’d seen comparably beautiful flowers was Seattle; there is something to say for wet weather.

An old hardware store covered over with vegetation.

While I find Ireland’s urban structure holds tremendous similarity to England but the color added to the building designs connects the country more to the European mainland. (It’s so much more fun than tudor!)

They love fresh markets.

And cute little butcher’s shops with old jolly Irishmen behind the counter.

Any town with an “old town square” is worth visiting, in my opinion.

Luckily our itinerary in Kinsale included dinner at a local restaurant, Cucina, where I got the chance to sample the local seafood cuisine. I ordered the ‘hot and cold seafood platter’ that included fried haddock, poached salmon with some sort of curried mayonnaise sauce that was to die for, prawns, crab meat, fried calamari, crab claws and fingerling potatoes.

That came after a starter of prawn and avocado salad and before a a dessert of blueberry cheesecake.

I left Cucina stuffed to the brim with a warm and fuzzy food buzz. (Although I guess that could have been the bottle of wine I drank with the meal – a delicious Spanish white wine that I desperately wish I could remember the name of.) This was the second delicious meal we had during our trip and there were more to come. This may be the first time I went abroad and the weight in my tummy went up more than the weight of my luggage.

My review of Kinsale’s cuisine? Two thumbs up, a round of applause and checked off as a definite return destination.

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