Happy 2013

We started off our 2013 by eating some black eyed peas for dinner. Legend has it that these little beans are supposed to bring prosperity and good luck to the New Year. We had both been struck down by the flu for the past week and were finally on the mend and we wanted to keep it simple; black eyed peas that we had soaked over night, quinoa, shreds of cheddar cheese and a splash of hot sauce. Nothing fancy, no frills or much finesse. It was just a simple meal that was comforting in all of the right ways. Nourishing, hearty and satisfying and setting the right tone for this year: keep things simplified and to enjoy.

Milk Bar Cookie Party!
Hand-Pulled Noodles
Right before Christmas, we stayed in New York City for a couple of days. On last year's trip, we kept a pretty ambitious schedule of places to go, things to see and eat. This year we kept it a bit more low key, focusing on a couple of neighborhoods and restaurants. We also decided that it would be tradition that we always visit Katz's for what we now have deemed "engagement sandwich" (Pastrami on Rye, with mustard of course). It was just as good as the first time. Smoky, with a deep peppery flavor and meat that is so tender it barely can maintain its shape. With only two thin pieces of rye holding this monster together and a healthy slathering of mustard to punctuate the flavor of the meat, this is one of my favorite sandwiches. In other food notes, we enjoyed a shopping spree in Eataly's produce market and we purchased exotic fruits that we had never seen before like sweet limes and pink lemons. We also had brunch at Craftbar, enjoyed wine and cheese at Casellula (a place I'd highly recommend for an extensive wine and cheese list, if that's your thing) and had our own cookie tasting party with a slew of cookies from Milk Bar (the Cornflake Marshmallow was my personal favorite). One of the best meals I had was at Tasty Hand-Pulled Noodles. For around $6, I got a massive bowl of Pho with generous pieces of chicken and, best of all, hand-pulled noodles. Light, thin and very delicate, I know I'm a sucker for a homemade noodle, but these were exceptional.

"Engagement Sandwich"

Now that we're back and the holidays are over and the new year has officially begun, I'm so excited. Personally speaking it's a big year for us for obvious reasons but I'm also really professionally looking forward to this year. With each year that goes by, I get more and more confident in my skills and knowledge and plan to focus my energies on getting to know new ingredients and playing with different combinations of flavors to create new dishes. It's going to be a great year, so happy 2013 is here!