Well, Christmas has come and gone – and with the passing of Christmas has come the return of calm in my household. Even under the best case scenario, December is extremely chaotic and stressful here, but with our trip to New York, this year it was even more so.
We tried something new this year – a tradition that my family is starting in lieu of the usual turkey or ham on Christmas. Starting this year, we’re going to do a different ethnic feast each year. This year? Italian. We had bread and dipping oil from Bravo, Mixed Baby Greens Salad with Balsamic Dressing, Insalata Caprese (made with Campari tomatoes, since they are the only tomatoes you can buy in December that taste like tomatoes!), Italian Wedding Soup (no pic or recipe yet, I’m making another batch tonight and will post the results tomorrow), trays of Meat and Cheese ravioli and meatballs from Carfagna’s, and a Strawberries and Cream cake from Whole Foods. If there’s one thing I learned from the Thanksgiving Day fiasco, it’s that I don’t have to make every little thing from scratch to serve up an excellent meal.
I got lots of great presents this year – tons of cookbooks! (including Culinaria Germany, which I’ve been wanting for years), a set of Calphalon One, a new table and chair set for the dinette, and a photo studio in a box (should make for much better (or at least better lighted) food porn).
We’re still trying to get settled back into our routine after our trip to New York. We had a great view from our hotel room (on the 35th floor, it had 3 windows – one looking directly over 42nd Street (and Madame Tussard’s), the otherlooking towards the south end of Manhattan (in the pic above, especially if you click through to the bigger version, you can see the flag at Ground Zero directly under the sun, and also, although you can’t see it in the pic, I could see the Statue of Liberty in the space between that big building on the left side and the other buildings). The other window faced to the West, and I could see the river from it. It was gorgeous!
I’ll be honest. I didn’t wander too far from the hotel room over the weekend, because the weather was mostly miserable (unseasonably warm, but very rainy), the walking was a little more than I could handle because of my health (I could make it about the equivalent of 10 city blocks before I felt like I was going to pass out from the pain in my back), and because I felt overwhelmed by the city in general (had no idea where to go or how to get there, was too intimidated to try the subway, not because of any fear, but because the maps were confusing). I just had a bit of culture shock, I guess. We had a few good meals (at Kyma, at the corner of 46th St. and 8th Ave, good Greek, decent prices for the area), and at Lucky Star Cafe (right next to the hotel at 43rd and 8th, great burgers, CHEAP prices, we ate there 3 times), and a horrible meal at Old San Juan (yuck, yuck, total waste of money, it was inedible, see my review here for more info). Even though we had thought about going to one of the better restaurants or a Broadway show, we didn’t plan ahead enough to be able to pull it off on short notice. Maybe next time?
I should be updating much more frequently now since the chaotic part of the holidays have passed. More later this week – definitely keep an eye out for the cookie post, the December roundup post, and the Italian Wedding Soup post. For those of you who said you will be coming this weekend to the potluck, can’t wait to see you there. If anyone still wants to attend, it’s not too late. Email me at columbusfoodieATgmailDOTcom and I’ll send you the details.