Happy Birthday, Jen!

June 22, 2022

Jen started taking ballet class when she was 3 years old. She has continued doing so through the years even till now. Of course, she loves attending professional ballet performances. Today, she’s taking the day off from work and will be going to Lincoln Center to see a matinee performance of American Ballet Theatre’s Of Love and Rage, a brand new production choreographed by Aexei Ratmansky with music by Aram Khachaturian.

Speaking of Khachaturian, when Jen was three or four, her ballet class performed in a recital to his famous “Sabre Dance,” a very fast piece. The little ballerinas, all dressed alike, were running around the stage, doing their routine, and  keeping pace with the music.  Michael, who was filming with a movie camera (no cell phones back then), complained he couldn’t pick Jen out to focus on her because, to quote him, “They all look the same!”

Happy Birthday, Jen!  Enjoy the ballet!

Summer!

June 21, 2022

Day Lilies
On the Border of our Front Lawn

It’s official! The 2022 summer solstice arrived at 5:35 a.m. EDT. It is my favorite season. Strangely, while the middle of the country has been experiencing a heat wave, it’s been unseasonably cool here. So much so that the heat has come on in our house overnight and early in the morning the last couple of days. Something I don’t remember ever happening in June! But the long range forecast shows plenty of warm and hot days ahead. Looking forward to lots of “Rozy weather”!

Father’s Day 2022

June 19, 2022

Michael is a stamp collector. Jen painted this watercolor card and message for him. Fantastic!

At Home 2022: Peaches!

June 17, 2022

Our first order of this year’s peaches from Pearson Farm, in Georgia, arrived today. I started buying Pearson’s peaches during the Covid lockdown in 2020. The peaches in the first order were so fantastic that I ordered them five more times until the Pearson peach season was over. Always consistent in quality and peachy flavor. I did the same last year and will do it again this year. The great thing about this is that Pearson’s peach season ends about the time New Jersey’s peach season begins.

Each box contains 13 peaches.

A few will be ripe enough to be eaten tomorrow. The rest will ripen over the next few days.

Looking forward to enjoying lots of peachy deliciousness. It is my favorite fruit.

Our 54th Anniversary Dinner at Wolfgang’s Steakhouse, in Somerville, NJ

June 13, 2022

Mother Nature gave us an anniversary present: perfect weather for al fresco dining. This meant we could celebrate by going to a restaurant and dining outdoors. (No indoor restaurant dining for us for the foreseeable future.) We chose Wolfgang’s Steakhouse, in Somerville.

In the past, we’d been to Wolfgang’s NYC flagship, on Park & 33rd, right after it first opened many years ago. In fact, Wolfgang himself — a handsome, silver-haired, courtly gentleman — was at the front desk. On our way out, we spent a few minutes chatting with him. Subsequently, Wolfgang expanded his eponymous restaurant to many locations. Several years later, we had dinner at the 54th St. location with Jen and Louis. Last year, when we returned to restaurant dining (outdoors only) after we were vaccinated, we learned that the Somerville Wolfgang’s has an outdoor patio. It’s capacious with nicely spaced, linen-covered tables.

We went twice last year and thoroughly enjoyed both visits. Delicious food; an excellent drinks and wine list; and pleasant, attentive service. We decided it would be just the right place to celebrate our 54th.

We made a 5 p.m. reservation. Knowing that at that time of the afternoon there would be traffic, we factored in another 15 minutes to get there and arrived right on time. (The return trip was much quicker.)

We didn’t have to don our masks to go inside to check in because the hostess stand was stationed in the doorway next to the patio. She seated us immediately.

And immediately, a server brought us the menu and a copious bread basket along with plenty of butter.

Onion Rolls, Italian Bread, Crackers, Butter

We ordered drinks which we received promptly.


Lemonade


Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel

We usually start our steakhouse dinners with a shrimp cocktail.  The ones at Wolfgang’s are, indeed, jumbo (!) and accompanied by a very tasty sauce.


Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail

When it came to the the main course, there was no doubt that Michael would have a steak. Ordered medium rare, it was prepared precisely to his specification.

Ribeye
U.S.D.A. Prime, Dry Aged – In Our Own Aging Box

The ribeye was huge and easily shareable. However, I love lamb chops. And the ones at Wolfgang’s are superb! I chose the two double-cut and had them cut into four singles. Prepared exactly to my requested medium, i.e., pink in the center, they were large, meaty, and succulent. (Note: Also on the plate was a small dish with mint jelly. Ugh! I took it off and a server removed it from the table.)


Colorado Rib Lamb Chops

As at other steakhouses, sides are separate. We chose two. Huge portions, especially the potatoes which could easily have served four.


German Potatoes


Fried Onion Rings

Michael had one glass of wine with his steak.


Bordeaux

We definitely left room for dessert.


Ice Cream Sundae
For Michael


Key Lime Pie with Schlag
For Me

We took home a boatload of leftovers.

Wolfgang’s Old Fashioned Sauce was on the table.  (You can see a glimpse of it in two photos above.) I don’t remember it being there last year, so could be it’s new.  In any case, we tasted it and agreed it was delicious, so we bought a bottle.

We’ve already used the steak for one meal (this time I shared it) plus all the onion rings and some of the potatoes. Still, there was enough steak left to make two sandwiches. The chops and the rest of the potatoes will be for another meal.  Michael commented that the cost of this wonderful dinner was a third of what we used to pay when we celebrated special occasions at EMP. Considering the leftovers, something we never had at EMP, we certainly got our money’s worth.

We’ll be back!

It’s Our 54th Anniversary!

June 8, 2022

Engaged!
Riverboat at the Empire State Building
December 1967

June 8, 1968

At Home 2022: First Franks of the Season on Memorial Day

June 3, 2022

By tradition, Memorial Day is when we have the first franks of the season chez nous. Happily, the weather was just right for patio dining.

LUNCH

Gazpacho

We usually use Batampte Deli Mustard. But I had a lot of little containers of mustard from Sarge’s, so I put the contents into a jar.


Sarge’s Deli Mustard

Batampte Sour Kraut and Pickles

I get the franks from The Pickled Herring Deli & Appetizing Restaurant.

Hebrew National Kosher Franks

Franks on Lightly Toasted Rolls

I usually make cole slaw. But I had some leftover cooked small red potatoes, so instead…

Homemade Potato Salad

Franks with Mustard and Sour Kraut
Potato Salad

Busch’s Vegetarian Baked Beans

Sodas

Breyer’s Strawberry Ice Cream (For Michael)


Half a Jersey Mike’s Chocolate Chip Cookie (For me)

At Home 2022: Umbrella’s Up! Dining on the Patio

May 29, 2022

Last weekend, we suddenly had two days of unseasonably hot weather. Temps in the 90’s! Though we usually put the umbrella up during Memorial Day weekend, we decided not to wait. But first, we had to clean the heavy winter schmutz off the furniture which took a couple of hours. Finally…

We didn’t waste any time having our first meals this year on the patio.

SATURDAY

Breakfast

Battleview Orchards’ strawberries are now in season, so we’ve been having them regularly for breakfast. I had mine with a little heavy cream while Michael had his with muenster cheese.

In the afternoon, we had our main meal of the day.

Lunch


Chilled Red Pepper Soup

Barbecued Chicken Pulkes* and Grilled Potatoes

(*Pulke is the Yiddish word for leg.)

“Edwards Key Lime Pie”

SUNDAY

Brunch

Salad Niçoise

Early Dinner

Gazpacho

Burger with Slice of Raw Vidalia Onion & Grilled Potatoes (Michael)

Cheeseburger with Cheddar & Grilled Potatoes (Me)

Looking forward to many more meals on our patio during the next few months.

At Home 2022: Mother’s Day Dinner Take-Out from Drew’s Bayshore Bistro

May 15, 2022

We never go out to eat on Mother’s Day. We’re usually at home, and Mother’s Day is like any other Sunday when it comes to our meals. We have just two: brunch and dinner. (I posted what I made for our Mother’s Day brunch here.) I had originally planned to cook dinner as well. However, a few days before, Drew’s posted on-line that they were offering a 3 courses for $50 special on Mother’s Day, curbside pick-up only. I certainly had no problem not having to cook dinner. And since we aren’t doing any indoor restaurant dining, this was the perfect opportunity to have food from Drew’s, one of our favorite NJ restaurants. I called as instructed and put in our order for a 5 p.m. pick-up.

We arrived a few minutes early and waited in our car for our order to be brought out to us. After we got home, I unpacked the bag. But we didn’t begin eating until around 7 p.m.

Drew’s portions are always super generous. So, we decided we would eat half of everything that evening and save the rest for a second dinner the next day. For the first and second courses, we made different choices for ourselves and then shared two different desserts.

My First Course

Asparagus Bisque with White Truffle Oil

Michael’s First Course

Southwestern Caesar Salad

Chopped Romaine, Pico de Gallo, Tortilla Chips, Queso Blanco, Red Caesar Chile Dressing

As you can see, the dressing was packed separately. I put half the salad with half the dressing into a wooden salad bowl, mixed and plated it. That allowed the rest of the salad to stay crisp the next night.

My Main Course

Pasta Crab Cakes

Sautéed Spinach, Grape Tomatoes, Sherry-Shellfish Cream

This is a relatively new menu item which I’d been dying to try. Brilliant! Never seen anything like it anywhere else. Drew deserves a medal for creating it and serving it with that spectacular sauce.

Since there were two cakes, I was easily able to save one with some of the accompaniments for the next night. When it came to reheating and plating the components, I did a better job the second night. (The plated photo is from the first night.)

Michael’s Main Course

City Jambalaya

Chicken, Andouille, Tasso, Trinity Vegetables. Shrimp Creole

No surprise! Michael can never resist Drew’s jambalaya. And even in the days when we ate in the restaurant, the portion was so huge that Michael ate half and took the rest home.

Desserts

Cheesecake

Strawberry Compote

I had expected a generous slice. Two small, good-sized cakes made sharing easier.

“SPCCT”

Salty Pretzel Chocolate Caramel Tart

Pretzel Crust, Caramel Filling, Chocolate Ganache, Chocolate & Caramel Sauce

(Note: In the restaurant, it’s served with vanilla gelato.)

It may be the most popular dessert — and for good reason — though it isn’t on the dessert menu all the time.

A seriously delicious Mother’s Day dinner in every respect. Thank you, Drew and your crew!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy 14th Anniversary, Jen and Louis!

May 10, 2022