“WEEKEND” GATHERINGS / MY FIRST RECIPE: SUPER EASY COLESLAW, July, 2014, Bushwick, Brooklyn

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As a “restauranteur” (I put restauranteur in quotations because I feel uncomfortable calling myself one when I only own 50% of one restaurant) I don’t get many weekends off. Friday and Saturday nights are my busiest of the week, so more often than not, I’m working while everyone else is playing. (And the weekends I do get to take off nowadays are booked up with weddings, oh being in your late twenties…). Instead, I usually take Sunday and Monday off as my “weekend”. Luckily, the boyfriend (who work’s for a photo booth company) also has an erratic schedule, and can take the days off with me. This post is about my lovely “weekend” on the last hot days of July (I mean, can you believe it’s August right now?! I feel like I’m in San Francisco with this weather!), which culminated with a little roof top gathering (of course). Continue reading

DODGE POWER WAGON RALLY, July, 2014, Cavendish, Vermont

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Every other summer the boyfriend’s extended family (his mom’s brother-in-law’s brothers, to be exact) throw a Dodge Power Wagon Rally at their family’s farm house in Vermont. Before last weekend I had never heard of let alone seen a power wagon, though I found out plenty about them and the people who love them over the weekend. You can learn more about the Dodge Power Wagon, but basically they are vintage pick-up trucks, made between 1945-1980 that are super bad ass. There is a whole community of Power Wagon collectors, many of which congregate at the rally to talk shop, show off their rides, swap parts and most importantly, go off roading. People drive from hundreds of miles away, some with crazy souped up cars too nice to even drive, most towing beat up old wagons, all to ride, drink and EAT. Continue reading

BADGER BROTHER REUNION, July, 2014, Keesville, New York

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I had only planned on taking a couple days off to visit my sister in Cape Cod. The boyfriend, however, had a family Dodge Power Wagon Rally to attend in Vermont that weekend. On our last night he decided to take a detour en route to Vermont and visit our friends, the Brothers Badger. The next morning I decided ditch work and join. Dan and Dylan Badger used to live with my boyfriend when he was a farmer in Vermont. The boyfriend and Dylan farmed together, while Dan was a Brewmaster at a well known but not worthy of a link brewery. I used to love visiting the boys up in their little home in Woodstock, VT. They brewed their own (delicious) beer, killed their own meat and always had a plethora of farm fresh or home grown vegetables that they were all more than willing to cook up. They introduced me to fun that is the game Careers and the “Heart Attack Roll” (cream cheese wrapped in steak, wrapped in bacon). Dan and Dylan had moved to upstate New York over a year ago and had just finished building their Ausable Brewing Company, and we had never visited them. Continue reading

CAPE COD FAMILY FIESTA, July, 2014, Sagamore, Massachusetts

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I need to preface this post with a quick explanation of my family tree. I have what you may call, a unique family situation. Both of my parents have been married and divorced three times each (that’s five marriages between the two of them) and I have several brothers and sisters of varying ages and colors. Even so, in my family we don’t distinguish between “step”, “half” and “full” siblings. We all love each other and that’s all the matters. But just for a  reference, I have attached a nifty family tree I’ve come up with over the years as a quick explanation. See below. Continue reading

EMPANADA PARTY / WORLD CUP FINAL, July 2014, Bushwick, Brooklyn

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My boyfriend lived in Buenos Aires during his Junior year abroad. A week before the World Cup began he bought a flat brim Argentina baseball cap and continued to wear it for the entire tournament. When, for a brief moment, it looked like the USA was going to play Argentina in the quarter finals (set to be played on the Fourth of July), I asked him “Who are you going to route for? Argentina or USA? WIthout missing a beat he said, “Argentina”. When they made it into the Finals he declared we were having an empanada party. So an empanada party is what we had! Continue reading

FARMER’S MARKET FEAST / MY FIRST ROOF BBQ, July 2014, Bushwick, Brooklyn

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I’ve been feeling really guilty lately about not buying local and/or organic. Two summers ago I lived on a farm with my (then farmer) boyfriend and puppy. (Just to clarify, it’s the same boyfriend, he just now has a different job). We picked our dinner from vegetables he grew with his is own hands (plus a few others). We always had farm fresh eggs and always ate “in season”. And it was all FREE. But now, as a struggling twenty something living once again in New York City I find it ridiculously expensive to eat fresh, seasonal and local. I take advantage of the low cost meat and produce at our neighborhood Bizarre Grocery (gotta love Bushwick). They have a butcher on the premises and the produce is pretty fresh and more importantly reasonably priced. This place is GREAT when we’re hosting a larger party and looking to keep our food costs down. But last Monday I decided to make a small intimate dinner for my roommates and a few friends. So I broke my pattern and ventured to the Union Square Farmer’s MarketContinue reading

MY WEEK WITH TYLER / A DINNER PARTY / I’M BACK, June 2014, Upper West Side, Manhattan, NY

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I am officially the worst blogger ever – I haven’t written a post since August 2013 and haven’t even thought of writing one until May of 2014. But just like I can’t not finish a book (still reading Infinite Jest after two months and only 350 pages) I cannot just abandon my not yet beloved blog. SO I am making a concerted effort to document and post! So in honor of my first blog post in almost a year I threw a little dinner party!

My parents went to Greece (without me) for two weeks and my boyfriend, his boy friend, Tyler, and his boyfriend, Brandon, and I, had the honor of house/puppy sitting while they were gone. My parent’s have one of those beautiful sprawling rent stabilized Upper West Side side apartments that were made for parties. They throw epic Christmas parties every year which all my friends love (though I now have a cap on invites since the Jews vs Gentiles Flip Cup Debacle of 2012). I myself have been known to throw a rager or two there in the past (and also known to get caught). In high school a friend drank all my stepfather’s expensive tequila AND i destroyed a $500 nickel door knob (I mean, who spends $500 on a door  knob?!) and I still haven’t lived it down. Now that I’m somewhat of an adult I decided to host a more upscale event. For Tyler and Brandon’s last night I roasted a pork shoulder Momofuku style and invited a whole bunch of friends over. It was delicious and I got to use my parents extremely nice dish ware, which made my meal super fancy.

I still need to get a nicer camera to get better photos of my food (or recruit one of my many photog friends to do so) but until then enjoy the photos of pork and friends! And I promise many more posts in the NEAR future!

We brined the pork shoulder in Salt, White and Brown Sugar for 12 hours

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I’m super bad at saran wrapping, so I made my boyfriend do it

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Vietnamese-inspired mung bean noodle salad

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Black sesame brussel sprout salad

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Shredding hot pork shoulder is hard, so I made my boyfriend do it

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Misses Loretta and some atmosphere

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Signs of a successful dinner party: no leftovers

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I made the mistake of telling the boys if you play the recorder the dog sings along…

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The end of the photos but NOT the end of the night

IT WAS MY 26TH BIRTHDAY, September, 2013, Benihana Midtown, Manhattan, NY

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I have a love-hate relationship with my birthday. I say I hate it because I always seem to be disappointed by it. My birthday falls on or around Labor Day weekend. Growing up it was the awkward period between Camp and School where there are no friends to come celebrate with you. Even now there’s this sense of “this has to be the best day ever because it’s my day” and then when it inevitably doesn’t live up to its potential I’m super bummed. That’s not saying I haven’t had awesome birthday parties in the past, including but not limited to, my Brooklyn Cyclones Baseball Birthday and my 48 hour 21st birthday extravaganza which involved four kegs and counting down till midnight. But a couple of years ago I gave up on my birthday all together, planned absolutely nothing, and for lack of a better word, it blowed. So last year, with the help of my most wonderful boyfriend, I planned one of the most epic birthday weeks of all time. Kicked off with a Bouncy Castle Pool Party with all my besties at my friend’s parent’s mansion on Long Island (Thanks again Mr. and Mrs. Treiber for giving us your house for the weekend!) Then continued on to a road trip to Detroit where I spent my actual Birth Day with my boyfriend, our puppy and our BFF Jonas drinking 40s on Belle Isle then sitting sixth row at a Detroit Tigers game! I wanted my birthday to live up to last years but I had neither the time, the money nor the energy to fund such extravagant celebrations.

After a couple weeks of debating, I decided all I really wanted was to be with my boyfriend, my friends and my puppy on my actual birthday. I didn’t need a weekend long celebration (though sometimes those are necessary), or an all out rager, I just wanted to have a good time. Then it came to me, almost like a dream, BENIHANA. Yes, you read right, a Benihana Birthday Party for a 26 year old that owns her own restaurant. I know it’s over priced, gimmicky and you leave smelling like Benihana but I can’t help it, it’s my absolute favorite restaurant. Here’s the back story:  Benihana has been my favorite restaurant since my parents got divorced when I was 5 and they started buying my love. I used to tell my restaurateur father that his restaurant was only my second favorite after Benihana. We would go for all special occasions, including a few Christamas’. We went there so often we even had a private chef, Kareem, who called my father Papa, and made us a special sauce that he only made for Donald Trump. I am still a proud recipient of the Benihana Chef’s Table email alerts.

Some old school Benihana celebration photos – which I obviously attached to my party invite and many reminders:image

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I made a reservation for 16 (that max for two tables facing each other), invited 30 of my closest friends, knowing that my birthday fell on a Jewish holiday and fashion week so people would have plans, and let the rest work itself out! I also invited everyone to my bar (which is just a short walk from Benihana midtown) for free drinks before dinner for those that couldn’t make it to the latter dinner portion of the evening, or reasonably didn’t want to drop at least $50 for hibachi. Even though the guest list changed too many times to count and literally wasn’t confirmed till we sat down to dinner at 9:30 I didn’t let anything stress me out. After a wonderful day walking around, eating and shopping in Brooklyn I was the happiest I could be drinking with friends at my bar then moseying on over to Benihana. I accidentally ordered the most expensive bottle of Sake and proceded to drink it to the face, wore the children’s menu like a chef’s hat all night, overly reacted to pretty much every time a shrimp tale landed in someones pocket and of course sang along to “Japanese Happy Birthday” which is just “if you’re happy and you know it clap your hands”. The night could have ended there but we naturally went to one of the many Karaoke bars in midtown and sang the night away. A perfect ending to a low key, low maintenance but super fun birthday.

Birthday #Selfie

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Splurge! Porcelain Buddha Dranks!

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Double Mustard Sauce- the only way to goimage

I HEART Benihana

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I have about ten other Karaoke photos that look just like this, you’ll just have to trust me that it was SUPER FUNimage

The only thing that could have made it more perfect was if my post birthday hangover hadn’t kept me in bed the entire next day….

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CAMP PARTY, March, 2009, Oberlin, Ohio

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In honor of August, and in an effort to bring back some happy memories, I present probably the best party we threw in college, THE CAMP PARTY! In college you can do things like ask all your friends to dress up as they’re fourteen year old selves at sleep away camp and they’ll not only do it, they’ll go above and beyond, and actually act like their at camp.

I don’t know about you guys but I LOVED camp. 6 weeks every summer, for 8 summers. I would count down the days during the school year until next summer started (like 297 days left). But you know who loved camp even more than me, my best friend and college roommate, Sarina. I am not sure of her stats, but it’s something similar to mine if not way more impressive. Her and her camp friends say things like CBFF (Camp BFF, Duh), and “Live nine months for three”. Who loves camp even more than Sarina? LEVI AND MAX, a high school and college friend, respectively, who are themselves CBFF. Honestly, the list can keep getting topped. What I’m getting at here is that a lot of people (especially upper middle class Jewish college kids) seriously loved camp and have serious nostalgia for it. Even if you weren’t a die hard over nighter, you were a tennis camper or at least you went to some day camp that looked just like a real camp but you go to go home to your parents at 5 o’clock. Or you always wanted to go and this party was your first real chance! Basically all types of people were REALLY into the camp party.

The planning of the camp party was key to it’s success. We turned every room of our dilapidated college house (which was obviously party central, to the point that our landlord once wrote our parents a letter saying he’d never in 20 years of renting had such outrageous partiers!) into different camp activities. We demarcated each section with make shift banners made from dorm bathroom paper towels and sharpies. The entrance room was the ARTS AND CRAFTS station – we provided face paint, lanyards, friendship bracelet string. The living room was the WATERFRONT, we bought pool toys, noodles and beach balls. But some friends went even further and brought a BOAT. Not a canoe, a full row boat, chilling in our living room. The dining room was the CAMP DANCE, we decorated with cheap streamers and curated an excellent 90s jams playlist. Finally, the dining room was the MESS HALL, we didn’t do much to transform it but we did make a huge vat of alcoholic Bug Juice (fruit punch and Popov vodka) and provided styrofoam cups (not the most eco friends, but the most realistic). The last thing we had to do was name our camp, which was much easier than it sounds, when someone came up with CAMP TUCTHATITTI we were all sold. (Camp banner also made of paper towels and sharpies!) We also made a huge camp flag out of a found green sheet that we had already ripped apart to make a cape for the Super Hero Party (more on that later), on which we just painted “CAMP” and left sharpies for our campers to share their memories.

Beyond the planning, our friends really brought their A Game for the party. Everyone was decked out in camp gear, someone even dressed up as a Teva (oh hey, McCarth!). Getting into the party only made it funner.

The night devolved into debauchery on it’s own accord. The drunker everyone got, the more like children we acted, and the more real camp felt. Here were some highlights : never ending games of SUCK AND BLOW, so many hair wraps, everyone bonging bug juice out of pool noodles, Hannah Tepper in her Kitty face paint crying because she’s home sick ALL NIGHT (literally didn’t break character once), sing alongs in the boat, Rowan’s “pantie raid” (aka stealing our undies and hanging them on the Tappan Square flag pole), the subsequent rescue of the panties, and finding two girls passed out in my bed at the end of the night. The party was one of the best nights of my life – just unadulterated fun. Though Sarina’s biggest regret in college will forever be not using the “Fire” DVD’s (left over from our Christmas party) Camp Fire setting (it’s all in the details). I obvi have an entire Facebook album dedicated to this party (tag line,”best summa eva!”, CHECK IT OUT), but here are some of my fave moments!

Mr.Cool aka Counselor Levi

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Thrice rolled up MJ Sophie shorts, CLASSIC camp lookimage

Hannah’s homesickness begins

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One of many a sing a long

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The First of never ending Suck and Blow games (also Oren might have won for best outfit/facepaint combo)

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Noodle Bonging (I never imagined pool noodles could be used in this way, but my friends are ingenious)

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TEVA

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ARTS N CRAFTS room (Stockings leftover, once again, from our Christmas party)image

Alie representing Team White for COLOR WARS

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FACE PAINT CITY

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CAMP

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THE BOAT (the morning after…)

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And finally our panties on the flag poleimage

GOT EM

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