Wednesday, February 20, 2013

365/Photo-a-day - February part 1

oat raisin bagel breakfast - sky over 2nd ave - funky garage door - snowpocalypse Nemo 
weekly yoga - my new bestie at a superbowl party - citrus fruit craving - my friend and a long story
wintry union square - homemade v-day card - my theatre du mois - v-day cherry pie

Month #2 and I'm still loving this project. I'm thinking of saving grandiose realizations and epiphanies for the end of the month's photo collage (I haven't yet found a great program that lets me compile all 28-31 photos into one manageable image...if you have any suggestion, pass them along!) so I'll just leave you with pictures from the first half of February ;)

Friday, February 15, 2013

Slice of the Week: Bubby's

A while back, I attended a birthday party where Bubby's pies were being served. I know this because I have a fuzzy memory of chowing down on a slice of pie and asking, "ohmygod where is this from?!?" and hearing someone shriek, "Bubby's, where else?!?" I'm still not sure why no one is able to speak in clear tones at the parties I attend, but that's a project for another time.

Naturally, this place made it on my list of Pies To Try. But even though it's in Manhattan, I'd never had the opportunity to eat there until the other day when I had both the afternoon off and some serious clothing shopping to accomplish. I knew that if I was going to be braving the SoHo tourists, there's nothing like a hearty slice of pie to get you ready to do battle for the last $12 striped sweater dress at H&M (that dress became mine!!!)

 Located in TriBeCa, Bubby's is a 24-hour diner with a casual feel and fancy prices. My single slice of pie and cup of coffe, with tax and tip, cost almost $15. I overheard the couple next to me as they perused the lunch menu exclaim "$17 for a ham and cheese sandwich!" That being said, the restaurant is located in an expensive part of an expensive borough, so plan accordingly.

The pie. I ordered a slice of Michigan Sour Cherry. My waitress did not ask if I wanted it heated up or not, but it arrived warm, so I was content. The cherries certainly lived up to their sour description, so much that I actually had to supplement each bite with a small helping from the mound of fluffy whipped cream that stood adjacent to the pie - and I'm really not a fan of whipped cream. They were fresh and tart though, with soft undertones of vanilla. What I could find of the top crust was sweet and flaky, but there could have been more of it since the holes between the latticework created a noticeable void atop my pie. When I finally got a good bite of crust at the end of the pie, I found chewy and overcooked crust that clogged up the tines of my fork - a bit disappointing.

Atmospherically however, Bubby's is fantastic. The tables are appropriately natural wood, the coffee mugs are huge and branded, the food is rustic and hearty, and the entire experience seems to be bathed in a soft Toaster filter. I'm just not sure it's all worth the price. Granted, this is coming from a starving artist who goes head to head with an unassuming tourist for the last $12 sweater dress at H&M, but still, Bubby's is an expensive diner even by New York standards.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Double Chocolate Pomegranate Cookies

A few weeks ago, I got the bright idea to make something I called Pineapple Upside Down Mini Pies. I had been craving pineapple for a while, which soon turned into a craving for pineapple upside down cake, which eventually manifested into my creation of the mini pies, something for which I could not find a pre-existing recipe. They were supposed to be amazing. Life-altering. A game-changer.

Unfortunately, they were none of the above. While not an utter disaster, they left much to be desired, and I took many mental notes of what to alter and try on my next attempt (hey, even Martha's made some clunkers). The moral of this story, though, is that I still had a craving for something sweet and citrus-y - and when a pomegranate recently plopped itself into my hands, I knew it was the right time to try a cookie recipe I had been drooling over on Pinterest.

Like I said - blame the horrid winter weather that's been plaguing the city since last year, but I just can't seem to stop picking up beautifully shiny citrus fruit at the grocery! Now for the cookies:

1 cup (2 sticks) butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp orange juice (I used the juice from 2 clementines for an added kick of freshness)
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup pomegranate seeds

How to
In a large bowl cream butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla until fluffy. Add flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt, then orange juice. Mix until fully combined. Fold in chocolate chips and pomegranate seeds, then refrigerate for 2-4 hours. Use a tablespoon to scoop dough onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, and bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes. Let cookies cool for a few minutes, then move to a wire rack to cool completely. They will be chewy and fudgy!

This recipe was borrowed and adapted from this one!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Photo a day - January wrap-up

Central Park - ceiling at The Met - Oceanic statue at the Met - street in NoHo
Astor Place - contra dancing - sickday toast - pool game - moving train
B'way stop in Astoria - buildings on 4th st. - empty rehearsal hall - Astor Place

I'm a month and a half into this project (take one photo per day throughout all of 2013) and while I'm loving it more than I thought I would, I'm finding it sometimes difficult to stick to the literal rules of ONE photo per DAY. January, for example, brought some 14-hour days at work and a horrendous case of bronchitis/rhinitis/thePlague - so there were some days that I physically didn't have the time, energy or inspiration to take even one picture. I learned that I don't just want to take any stupid picture and call it a day. While I'm not going to end up with 365 Pulitzer-prize winning photos, I want to respect the creative aspect of this project and at least attempt to take a picture that's not just a blurry photo of my foot.

So I allowed for some concessions: it's ok if I don't take and publish a photo per every 24-hours, just as long as I end up with one photo for every day by the end of the month. Sometimes I snap one pic and edit it a few days later, other times I take lots of pictures at one time and use the good ones to cover a few days (I went to the Met museum a few weeks ago and ended up with three great photos from that one day). And I think that's an ok way to do this project, because that's what works for me. I'm not going to get wrapped up in the rules and regulations of a project which I created. If, at the end of the year, I have 365 pretty great photos, I will call this a success.

Some goals for the next few months:

Get better at taking photos of people.
I'm already ending up with waaayy too many pictures of clouds over my subway stop and the reflective buildings at Astor Place. I have a million friends, and I need to start including them in my process. Case in point - I went for bagels with some girlfriends the other day, and though I was in the perfect position to capture a really great photo (and memory), my pic for that day was of a colorful garage door.

Take more action shots.
Buildings can be beautiful (and I'm surrounded by a lot of them), but I realize that pictures are interesting when something is happening. The two actions photos above (people dancing and my friend playing pool) are way more exciting than the well-lit piece of toast.

No one wants to wait for you to take a photo so they can eat dinner.
While I love food photography, this project is not the place for that. Good photos of food require time, lighting, composition and patience - not things you find in a crowded restaurant at 8pm in January. I had some lovely meals over the past few weeks, but I realized that not one person really wanted to wait for me to take a picture before we all started eating, and the picture that I did take was not at all good and not worth the hassle.

As always, follow me @maspad on Instagram if you want to see the (mostly) daily photos!