Lunch on Michael’s Birthday at Tsuru Ton Tan

February 8, 2018

Tsuru Ton Tan

If you follow this blog with any regularity, you know that on our birthdays, the birthday person gets to choose where we eat lunch.* Michael wanted noodles. Not exactly my thing, but as I said, he got to choose, so….

At first, we were going to go to a Thai restaurant a few blocks from our apartment which we hadn’t been to in a long time. But then, I came up with another idea: Tsuru Ton Tan, which calls itself an Udon Noodle Brasserie. He was really excited about this suggestion because (a) it was a place we’d never been to before, and (b) it offered a menu of noodles in broth, one of his favorite combinations.

We made a 12:45 p.m. reservations, arrived on time after the 20-minute walk from our apartment. Tsuru Ton Tan is in the space formerly occupied by Union Square Café. The décor has, of course, been radically changed to an Asian feel with wood on just about every wall.

Tsuru Ton Tan

Tsuru Ton Tan

We were seated promptly. Our two-top in the main dining room was at the front end of the banquette that runs the entire length of the back wall. In the middle of the room, there’s a very long, two-sided community table with a divider made of wood slats in-between.  There are also a few free-standing tables.

Tsuru Ton Tan

The crowd leaned young (as far as I could see, there were no other diners in our age group, not that we cared) and was a mix of Asians and non. When we arrived, the place was packed and during our stay, tables turned as did seats at the community table. The noise level was moderate. By the time our meal ended, the four guys at the table adjacent to ours had left, and the room began to empty. That’s when I snapped this photo.

Tsuru Ton Tan

A young, very pretty Asian gal took our order. There is a choice between narrow and wide noodles. I chose narrow; Michael went with wide. She immediately brought the Japanese IPA Michael ordered…

Japanese IPA

…and said the bottle of sparkling water he requested would arrive shortly, which it did.

Then we sat and waited. And waited. And waited. And waited some more! It was hard not to notice that at the adjacent four-top, bowls arrived for two of the guys but not for the other two. After several minutes, the third bowl arrived. And after several more minutes, the fourth bowl was served. Something was definitely not right in the kitchen.

We had been sitting for about half an hour when runners finally brought our appetizer.

Udon Pon Dumplings

Udon Pon Dumplings

Udon dough with vegetable filling served with spicy crunchy garlic

They were utterly delicious. And the garlic dip added a really nice zip. The applicable expression would be, “Worth the wait.” But I’m also going with, “Better late than never.”

Our server told us she was going to talk to the kitchen about getting our bowls our more expeditiously. But it didn’t seem to make much of a difference since the wait for them was still too long.

Mine arrived first.

Shrimp Tempura Udon

Shrimp Tempura Udon

Shrimp Tempura Udon

Udon

Shrimp Tempura Udon

Shrimp and Vegetables Tempura

Michael’s came a few seconds after.

Duck Udon

Duck Udon

Duck Breast, Meatball & Tokyo Negi

The portions of noodles and broth in these enormous bowls were, well, enormous. While the tempura shrimp were excellent, sadly, that portion was the direct opposite of enormous. Only two. I hadn’t expected the vegetables (no hint on the menu), but they were excellent as well. The noodles were fine. Not Italian al dente style though not mushy either. I’m totally inept with chopsticks which made getting the noodles from bowl to mouth a challenge. As for the broth, I didn’t care at all for its flavor. Since I hadn’t really expected to like this noodles with broth thing, the outcome wasn’t a surprise. But at least I tried it.

Happily for the birthday boy, he was in noodle and broth heaven. Loved everything about his bowl. He finished all the duck, meatballs, and broth but even he couldn’t manage but half the noodles.

We doggie bagged his leftover noodles along with all of my broth and most of my noodles (in separate containers). When we were back in NJ, I added chicken stock to his noodles, so he had them for lunch one day and then had my leftovers for lunch the next day.

All this having been said, you’ll probably be shocked to hear me say that I’d be willing to go back. Michael is eager to try another bowl from the many options, and I could put together a bunch of small plates on the lunch menu. I would certainly love to have those dumplings again as well as the shrimp and veg tempura without the noodles and broth. Other appealing options are Hamachi crudo, fried chicken, and shrimp dumplings. If we went for dinner, there are dishes not on the lunch menu like fried eggplant, duck breast, and wagyu striploin which I would enjoy.

Our major complaint was, of course, the exceedingly slow kitchen. Kudos to our server for recognizing that the wait was unacceptably long. Hopefully, next time, they’ll do a much better job getting our food out.

*Note: It’s a given that Michael’s birthday dinner was at EMP. Stay tuned for that report.

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Happy Birthday, Michael!

January 26, 2018

Kitchen Visit

The Foie Gras Queen’s Reign in 2017

January 14, 2018

Another banner year for the Queen of Foie Gras. Whether I had it as a torchon, a terrine, en croûte, seared, sautéed, roasted, poached, as a flavoring agent, or a component in a main course dish, I was amazed at how different each preparation was. As you’ll see, I’ve also included a few dishes that were made with other types of liver since for me, liver of any kind rules!

JANUARY

Pressed Chicken and Foie Gras Terrine

The Clocktower – Pressed Chicken and Foie Gras Terrine, Smoked chestnuts, Cranberries (Shared with Michael)

Foie Gras

Eleven Madison Park (Michael’s Birthday) – Foie Gras Marinated with Black Truffle and Mushroom

Chicken

NoMad – Whole Roasted Chicken for Two, Foie Gras, Black Truffle & Brioche with Pommes Purée and Baby Leeks

They gifted me a small pieces of seared foie gras (left side of plate).

FEBRUARY

l’Entrecôte

Le Coucou – l’Entrecôte: Thinly Sliced Ribeye Seared on the Plancha, Relaxed Foie Gras

Sadly, this dish was very disappointing. The meat was tough and the foie had a strange texture and flavor.

Quail and Pigeon Pie

The Clocktower – Quail and Pigeon Pie, Waldorf Salad with Truffle, Foie Gras Sauce (Shared with Michael)

MARCH

Pan-Roasted Foie Gras

Cherche Midi – Pan-Roasted Foie Gras, Green Apple, and Homemade Brioche

Marbré de Foie Gras

Vaucluse – Marbré de Foie Gras: Rougié Duck Liver Terrine, Winter Fruits Confiture, Sourdough

Charcuterie & Pâtés Selection

Benoit – Charcuterie & Pâtés Selection with Potato Salad, Cornichons & Dijon Mustards (Shared with Michael)

APRIL

Duck Foie Gras Terrine

Benoit – Duck Foie Gras Terrine, Black Mission Fig Chutney & Parisian Brioche

Chicken Liver Pâté

Tillie’s – Chicken Liver Pâté, Chopped Egg, Saba, Challah

MAY

Foie Gras aux Raisins et Sauternes

Majorelle – Seared Foie Gras with Grapes and Sauternes

>JUNE

Duck & Foie Gras Pie

Beatrice Inn – Duck & Foie Gras Pie, Cippolini Onions, Fingerling Potatoes, Tarragon Gravy(Shared with Michael & uhockey)

Seared Foie Gras

Le Coq Rico – Seared Foie Gras & Honey Crisp Apple, Cherry Vinegar Reduction & Almonds

This was one of several dishes shared during a lunch Michael and I had with uhockey, his g.f., and her son. So, I only got a very small taste.

House Cured Terrine of Hudson Valley Foie Gras

Tocqueville (Anniversary Lunch) – House Cured Terrine of Hudson Valley Foie Gras, Rhubarb & Strawberry

Foie Gras

Eleven Madison Park (Anniversary Dinner) – Foie Gras Torchon with Maple Syrup and Pain d’Epice

This dish was part of the Retrospective menu EMP served before closing for renovations.

Roast Chicken for Two

NoMad – Whole Roasted Chicken for Two, Foie Gras, Black Truffle, and Brioche, with White and Green Asparagus

Yes, we had it in January. This time, seasonal change of accompaniments.

Foie Gras and Onions

The Grill – Foie Gras with Onions

JULY

Chicken Livers

Majorelle – Chicken Livers with Corn

Ribbons of Foie Gras

The Pool – Ribbons of Foie Gras(Shared with Michael)

AUGUST

Goose Terrine

The Grill – Goose Terrine

Ganache de Foie Gras

Chez Catherine – Ganache de Foie Gras, Roasted Blueberries, Pickled Peach, Baguette Crisp

Chicken Liver Pâté

Anton’s at the Swan – Chicken Liver Pâté, Mustard, Fruit Compote, Cornichons

Sautéed Foie Gras

The Modern Dining Room – Sautéed Foie Gras, Poached Rhubarb, and Pickled Ramps

Terrine of Duck & Foie Gras

Lincoln – Terrine of Duck & Foie Gras with Figs (Shared with Jen)

Tournedos Rossini

Fromagerie – Tournedos Rossini: Filet de Boeuf with Foie Gras & Shaved Truffles in Madeira Sauce (Shared with Michael)

SEPTEMBER

Foie Gras Poêlé

Vaucluse – Foie Gras Poêlé: Seared Hudson Valley Duck Foie Gras, Hazelnuts, Grilled Peaches, Sourdough Tuile

Seared Sullivan County Foie Gras

Gabriel Kreuther – Seared Sullivan County Foie Gras, Pickled Peaches, Popcorn Pudding, Mustard Seeds

Chicken Liver Parfait

Cherche Midi – Chicken Liver Parfait, Pickled Vegetables, Grilled Levain, Petite Salade

Autumn Thistle

italienne at The James Beard House – “Autumn Thistle”: Potato Salad with Foie Gras, Black Truffles, Cardoons, and Crosnes

OCTOBER

Duck Agnolotti

Fusco – Duck Agnolotti, Haricots Verts, Foie Gras (Shared with Michael)

Salad d'Automne

italienne – Autumn Salad: La Ratte Potato, Foie Gras, Castelfranco & Truffle Vinaigrette

Foie Gras

Eleven Madison Park (My Birthday Dinner) – Foie Gras Marinated with Cabbage and Apple

Sautéed Foie Gras

The Modern Dining Room – Sautéed Foie Gras, Glazed Celery, and Roasted Corn Broth

Seared Sullivan Country Foie Gras

Gabriel Kreuther – Seared Sullivan County Foie Gras, Roasted Quince, Sunchoke, Bourbon-Vanilla Gastrique

Seared Foie Gras

The Pool – Seared Foie Gras

This was shockingly dreadful. The foie was stringy and mushy. I sent it back. They prepared a new one. Better but still not perfectly executed.

NOVEMBER

Seared Calves Liver

Café Boulud – Seared Calves Liver, Champignon de Paris, Spinach Subric, Pommes Aligot, and Natural Jus

Marinated Foie Gras

Eleven Madison Park (Thanksgiving) – Marinated Foie Gras, Black Truffles, and Endive

Terrine of Foie Gras

Le Coq Rico – Terrine of Foie Gras, Compote, and Gelée

Foie Gras Tart

The Modern Dining Room – Foie Gras Tart, Wild Huckleberries, and Sunflower Seeds

Assortiment de Charcuterie

dbBistro Moderne – Assortiment de Charcuterie (Michael and I shared it.)

DECEMBER

Terrine

Le Coucou – Beef Cheek and Foie Gras Terrine, Sherry Vinaigrette (Michael and I shared it.)

‘Choucroute’ à la juive (for two)

Le Coucou – ‘Choucroute’ à la juive (for two): Duckling, Foie Gras, Daikon Radish Prepared Alsatian Style

Chicken Pot Pie

The NoMad Bar – Chicken Pot Pie with Black Truffle and Foie Gras

Pot au Feu

Temple Court – Pot au Feu: Short Ribs, Squab, Foie Gras, Bone Marrow, Winter Vegetables, and Black Truffle

Foie Gras Terrine & Pistachio Praline

Gabriel Kreuther – Foie Gras Terrine & Pistachio Praline, Medjool Date Jam, Strega, Fennel Pollen Waffle

Foie Gras Tart

The Modern Dining Room – Foie Gras Tart, Whipped Honey Vinegar, and Toasted Oats

Foie Gras

Eleven Madison Park (New Year’s Eve) – Foie Gras Marinated with Black Truffle and Endive

Yes, the same foie gras we had on Thanksgiving. Not that it’s anything to complain about….

So, that’s the Foie Gras Queen’s year that was. In 2016, the dishes numbered 34; in 2017, I upped it to 46. No question, then, that I retained my crown. Looking forward to continuing to rule in 2018.

Books I Read in 2017

January 11, 2018

Books

Last year, I read 28 books. This year, the number is 34.

January
The Summer Before the War by Helen Simonson (Started Dec. 2016)
Vinegar Girl by Ann Tyler

February
A Banquet of Consequences (An Inspector Lynley Novel) by Elizabeth George (574 pages, Started in January)
Front Runner (A Dick Francis Novel) by Feliz Francis

March
Astonish Me by Maggie Shipstead (Started in February)
Amy and Isabelle by Elizabeth Strout
The Irresistible Blueberry Bakeshop & Café by Mary Simses

April
Triple Crown (A Dick Francis Novel) by Felix Francis

May
The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout (Started in April)
The Little Friend by Donna Tartt (550 pages)

June
A Slipping-down Life by Anne Tyler
On Turpentine Lane by Elinor Lipman

July
Nobody’s Fool, by Richard Russo
The Risk Pool, by Richard Russo

August
Everybody’s Fool by Richard Russo (Started in July)
My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout
Nevertheless: A Memoir by Alec Baldwin
City of Friends by Joanna Trollope
You Must Remember This: Life and Style in Hollywood’s Golden Age by Robert J. Wagner with Scott Eyman
Pieces of My Heart by Robert J. Wagner with Scott Eyman
In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume

September
The Lion of Hollywood: The Life and Legend of Louis B. Mayer by Scott Eyman (Started in August)
Elsewhere: A Memoir by Richard Russo
Straight Man by Richard Russo

October
Heifetz As I Knew Him by Ayke Agus
My Brilliant Friend (Book 1 of The Neapolitan Novels) by Elena Ferrante
The Story of the New Name (Book 2 of The Neapolitan Novels) by Elena Ferrante
Al Franken, Giant of the Senate by Al Franken

November
George & Lizzie by Nancy Pearl
Miss D & Me: Life with the Invincible Bette Davis by Kathryn Sermak with Danielle Morton
Belgravia by Julian Fellowes

December
Y is for Yesterday by Sue Grafton*
The Comfort Food Diaries (A Memoir) by Emily Nunn
Hank & Jim: The Fifty-Year Friendship of Henry Fonda and James Stewart by Scott Eyman
Mohawk by Richard Russo (finished on Jan. 2nd)

Note 1: What can I say? I was stunned when I learned that Sue Graften was dead. Seeing the headline on NY Magazine’s on-line front page on December 28th, in the evening of the day she died, I actually cried out, “Oh, no! Oh, no!” Having just read Y is for Yesterday made the news feel all the more shocking. When A Is for Alibi came out in 1982, I read it and became an instant Grafton fan. Like so many others, I was looking forward to finding out what “Z” would be for (it would have been Z is for Zero), and what case Kinsey Millhone would be involved in. Sadly, that will not happen.

Note 2: The first Richard Russo book I read was Empire Falls, which was published in 2001 and won a Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 2002. I next read Bridge of Sighs (2007), followed by That Old Cape Magic (2009). Then, nothing else by him until I read last year that he had just written Everybody’s Fool, a sequel to Nobody’s Fool, published 23 years earlier. Since I’d not read Nobody’s Fool, I felt it made more sense to read it before the latest novel. Which, as you can see from the list, I did. I also went about catching up on all his other novels, as well as a recent memoire, ending 2017 reading his very first book, Mohawk, which, as noted, I finished just after the New Year. Here’s hoping there’ll be more from him.

Note 3: So, I definitely have favorite authors. I’ve read everything by Elinor Lipman, Joanna Trollope, Anne Tyler, and Elizabeth George. All represented on this year’s list. I’ve also read all of Dick Francis’s books and continue to read his son, Felix, who started out writing with his father and has continued the franchise since his father’s death. This is rather strange since all the Francis mysteries center around horse racing (Francis, Sr. was a former jockey), which interests me not at all. But the wonderful writing style, the plotting, and the engaging characters make for a great read.

Blog Visitors in 2017

January 8, 2018

World Map 2

I’m not exactly a famous blogger. Yes, there are some people who follow my blog (they get an email each time I put up a new post). But that number pales in comparison to bloggers who are famous, and whose followers number in the thousands, even into the millions. I’m particularly thinking of food bloggers since restaurants and food are what I tend to write about though not exclusively. So, even though my traffic numbers are comparatively small, when I look at my stats and see where people who stop by here are coming from, I’m shocked. I expect to see the U.S. regularly listed, but Ethiopia? Nigeria? Really?!!

I imagine you’re asking, “What posts are these people looking at?” Well, since I post a lot about Eleven Madison Park – o.k., a lot, a lot! – when people search the web looking for information about EMP, my posts undoubtedly show up. No surprise, then, that those are popular. However, there is one non-EMP post which shows up time and time again: “Removing the Fallen Tree, Tarping the Roof, Assessing the Damage, and Grinding the Stump.” I’m stumped (mind the pun!) as to why it generates such traffic. Is there no other information on the World Wide Web regarding trees falling on houses?

With the U.S. on top, as it should be, here’s a list in alphabetical order of the countries from which people visited during the second half of December.

United States
Algeria
Antigua & Barbuda
Australia
Brazil
Canada
Croatia
Denmark
Ethiopia
France
Germany
Italy
Japan
Morocco
Netherlands
Nigeria
Poland
Romania
Spain
Switzerland
Taiwan
Thailand
United Kingdom
Vietnam

Regardless of how you got here and where you are from, my sincerest thanks to all of you for your readership!

Dining Out: October – December 2017

January 6, 2018

Eleven Madison Park New Year's Eve 2017

October
New York City
Dinner:
Ortzi
Fusco
italienne
Eleven Madison Park (My birthday)
Gramercy Tavern
Majorelle
The Pool

Late Supper:
2nd Ave. Deli

Lunch:
Made Nice
NoMad (My birthday)
The Modern Dining Room
Gabriel Kreuther
Le Coq Rico

Brunch:
Union Square Café

November
New York City
Dinner:
italienne – 2
Pasta Flyer
Indian Accent
Turkish Kitchen
Café Boulud
Covina
Eleven Madison Park (Thanksgiving)
dbBistro Moderne

Lunch:
Harry & Ida’s
Lamarca
The Clocktower (Thanksgiving)
Le Coq Rico
The Modern Dining Room

December
New York City
Dinner:
Le Coucou
Nur
Temple Court
Gabriel Kreuther
The Modern Dining Room
Eleven Madison Park (New Year’s Eve)

Late Supper:
Lincoln

Lunch:
Le Coq Rico
The NoMad Bar
Turkish Kitchen
Tali

Brunch:
Dog & Bone

New Jersey
Late Supper:
Texas Roadhouse

Lunch:
Siam Garden
Sam Vera – 2

Deep Freeze!

January 5, 2018

Deep Freeze

Deep Freeze

Deep Freeze

Deep Freeze

Deep Freeze

The proverbial light at the end of this frigid tunnel:

Light at the End of the Tunnel

Mother Nature Adds Insult to Injury!

January 4, 2018

We came back last night after spending almost a week in NYC dealing with sub-sub-freezing temperatures! And today, we are being bombarded by a winter storm that is being called a bomb cyclone. In our neck of the NJ woods, it’s in the form of a blizzard. Lovely way to start 2018. Not!

Have I mentioned that I. Hate. Winter?!

At Home: January 2018 Bomb Cyclone Blizzard

At Home: January 2018 Bomb Cyclone Blizzard

New Year’s Eve 2017 at Eleven Madison Park

January 3, 2018

Two years ago, when Michael was going to turn 75 in January 2016, he decided he wanted to celebrate entering that milestone year by going to Eleven Madison Park on New Year’s Eve 2015. And so we did! Last year, we went back to celebrating New Year’s Eve as we normally do, the two of us at home in NJ sharing a beef fondue and listening to the WQXR Countdown. When I turned 75 this past October, I suggested to Michael that we do New Year’s Eve again at EMP. And so we did.

Balloons hanging from the ceiling gave the room a festive feel.

Eleven Madison Park New Year's Eve 2017

Tables held party hats for the gents and crowns for the ladies (closer to midnight, I did spot a few men sporting the crowns), noisemakers, and necklaces made of paper and beads.

Eleven Madison Park New Year's Eve 2017

What has become the signature first bites were already on the table.

Black and White Cookies

Black and White Cookies with Cheddar Apple

I was poured one of my favorite beverages.

French Sparkling Cider (Non-Alcoholic)

For Michael, Champagne to go with the first two courses.

Champagne

1st Course: Oyster with Concord Grape and Mignonette Snow

Oyster

I’m not fond of oysters so, instead, I was served Pear Poached with Fennel and Fennel Broth.

Pear

2nd Course: Caviar Benedict with Smoked Sturgeon

Caviar

Caviar

Since I don’t eat caviar, I received Black Truffle Benedict with Cauliflower Ecrase. Black Truffles instead of caviar? Hardly a poor substitute.

Black Truffle

English Muffins accompanied the Benedicts.

English Muffins

At this point, House Made Rolls, Cultured Butter, and Amagansett Sea Salt were brought to the table.

House Made Roll

Butter and Sea Salt

3d Course: Foie Gras Marinated with Black Truffle and Endive

Foie Gras

The pairing for the Foie Gras was a Château d’Yquem. I do like sweet wines, so I “helped” Michael with it.

Château d’Yquem

4th Course: Lobster Butter-Poached with Shellfish and Kale

Lobster

The pairing for the Lobster was a Corton Grand Cru.

Corton Grand Cru

5th Course: Cauliflower with Parmesan, Egg, and White Truffles

Cauliflower

Paired with the Cauliflower was a Monthelie 1er Cru.

Monthelie 1er Cru

The arrival of our Engraved Knives (a gift to us on our 45th anniversary in 2013) signaled that the main protein was about to be served.

Our Engraved Knives

6th Course: Beef Dry-Aged with Oxtail, Black Truffle, and Chestnut

Beef

Paired with the Beef was a Cabernet.

Cabernet

7th Course: Milk and Honey Custard with Bee Pollen Ice Cream

Milk and Honey//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

The pairing for the dessert was a Riesling.

Riesling

There were Chocolate Covered Pretzels, Matcha Tea and Laird’s Apple Brandy for Michael, and another small pour of Sparkling Cider for me.

Chocolate Covered Pretzels

Matcha Tea

Laird's Old Apple Brandy

A delicious meal though I must admit I wasn’t crazy about the lobster dish. But that’s just me because Michael thought it was great. Mega-kudos to the kitchen staff for doing a fantastic job timing all the courses so that we were finished a few minutes before midnight. Servers then circulated with carts bearing glasses of Champagne for the midnight toast.

Champagne

Champagne

Michael was ready!

Eleven Madison Park New Year's Eve 2017

G.M. Billy Peele said a few words. He thanked the guests for being there and mentioned what an amazing year it had been for EMP what with the renovation closure, Summer House, and the reopening. We then counted down the last 5 seconds of 2017.

At midnight, a saxophonist appeared and walked through the dining room playing “Auld Lang Syne.” Also, as has been the custom, the entire kitchen staff came into the dining room.

Because the renovation didn’t have the space for it, there was no band and dancing as there was in 2015. A minor downside. What was more of a problem was that the heating system couldn’t quite handle the outside single digit temps, so it was chilly inside the enormous space. While the men were unaffected since they were dressed more warmly, all in suits or jackets from what I could see, the outfits most women were wearing, including mine, were of the partying style; ergo, not warm. Some women ended up wearing their coats or draping them over their shoulders.

Eleven Madison Park New Year’s Eve 2017

I wrapped my scarf around me and changed back from heels to boots.

Nevertheless, we had a great time and were especially delighted that our captain for the evening was Elizabeth who has taken care of us many times. She is gorgeous and has the most sparkling personality. She took this photo of us.

Eleven Madison Park New Year’s Eve 2017

We loved spending the last evening of 2017 with our EMP family and look forward to being with them often in 2018.

Eleven Madison Park New Year's Eve 2017

Note: When we left our apartment to go to EMP, the WQXR Classical Countdown was in the middle of playing Number 4, Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9, “From the New World.” When it was close to midnight, Michael checked on his iPhone to see what pieces made the top 3 spots. Holst’s The Planets was No. 3 (Ugh!!), Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 was No. 2, and — no surprise! — his Symphony No. 9 once again took the top spot.

The entire photo set can be viewed on my Flickr here.

Eleven Madison Park/NoMad/Made Nice Holiday Gift 2017: “This Was the Year That Was!”

December 28, 2017

The package arrived at our house on December 1st. The return address told us who it was from.

EMP/NoMad/Made Nice Holiday Gift 2017

When we opened it and saw the box inside…

EMP/NoMad/Made Nice Holiday Gift 2017

EMP/NoMad/Made Nice Holiday Gift 2017

…Michael guess correctly what it contained.

EMP/NoMad/Made Nice Holiday Gift 2017

EMP/NoMad/Made Nice Holiday Gift 2017

For those of you who come here with any kind of regularity, this may look familiar. It’s the same gift format we received last year. We again followed the instructions and opened one box each night except for two times when we opened boxes after we returned from stays the city. Considering the boxes’ contents, I’ve dubbed this year’s theme, “This Was the Year That Was!”

EMP/NoMad/Made Nice Holiday Gift 2017

EMP/NoMad/Made Nice Holiday Gift 2017

Box 1

The Tim Tams were sort of like chocolate-covered graham crackers.

EMP/NoMad/Made Nice Holiday Gift 2017

They’re “old matchbooks” aren’t as old as the older ones I happen to still have.

Box 2

EMP/NoMad/Made Nice Holiday Gift 2017

Box 3

A souvenir pin.

EMP/NoMad/Made Nice Holiday Gift 2017

EMP/NoMad/Made Nice Holiday Gift 2017

We did make it out to Summer House — twice, in July and August. Two dinners each time. And Michael actually had that Garden Gnome cocktail.

EMP/NoMad/Made Nice Holiday Gift 2017

EMP/NoMad/Made Nice Holiday Gift 2017

EMP/NoMad/Made Nice Holiday Gift 2017

EMP/NoMad/Made Nice Holiday Gift 2017

We were fortunate to enjoy that BMW experience. Our lovely chauffeur Jean drove us to Summer House and back to Topping Rose House each time we had dinner. So, eight very comfortable rides in the “Ultimate Driving Machine.”

EMP/NoMad/Made Nice Holiday Gift 2017

EMP/NoMad/Made Nice Holiday Gift 2017

EMP/NoMad/Made Nice Holiday Gift 2017

EMP/NoMad/Made Nice Holiday Gift 2017

Well, we’ve had the new version, and I don’t think it taste exactly like the previous version. They’ve definitely done some slight tinkering with the recipe. Frankly, I think it tastes better!

EMP/NoMad/Made Nice Holiday Gift 2017

EMP/NoMad/Made Nice Holiday Gift 2027

We stopped into Todd Snyder’s last week. Michael bought a pair of black gloves that are supposed to work on touch screens (he hasn’t tried it yet) + a black tee shirt.

EMP/NoMad/Made Nice Holiday Gift 2017

EMP/NoMad/Made Nice Holiday Gift 2017

Box 13

EMP/NoMad/Made Nice Holiday Gift 2017

We went to Mamma Guidara’s twice in 2016 but not at all this past year. These happen to be one of my favorite cookies.

EMP/NoMad/Made Nice Holiday Gift 2017

EMP/NoMad/Made Nice Holiday Gift 2017

EMP/NoMad/Made Nice Holiday Gift 2017

EMP/NoMad/Made Nice Holiday Gift 2017

EMP/NoMad/Made Nice Holiday Gift 2017

EMP/NoMad/Made Nice Holiday Gift 2017

EMP/NoMad/Made Nice Holiday Gift 2017

EMP/MoMad/Made Nice Holiday Gift 2017

EMP/NoMad/Made Nice Holiday Gift 2017

I was hoping it was a chocolate cigar.  No such luck.  It’s the real thing.

EMP/NoMad/Made Nice Holiday Gift 2017

EMP/NoMad/Made Nice Holiday Gift 2017

EMP/NoMad/Made Nice Holiday Gift 2017

EMP/NoMad/Made Nice Holiday Gift 2017

EMP/NoMad/Made Nice Holiday Gift 2017

EMP/NoMad/Made Nice Holiday Gift 2017

EMP/NoMad/Made Nice Holiday Gift 2017

We’ve eaten at Made Nice quite a few times and done take-out as well. Everything we’ve had has been delicious.

EMP/NoMad/Made Nice Holiday Gift 2017

EMP/NoMad/Made Nice Holiday Gift 2017

EMP/MoMad/Made Nice Holiday Gift 2017

EMP/NoMad/Made Nice Holiday Gift 2017

EMP/NoMad/Made Nice Holiday Gift 2017

EMP/NoMad/Made Nice Holiday Gift 2017

EMP/NoMad/Made Nice Holiday Gift 2017

EMP/NoMad/Made Nice Holiday Gift 2017

EMP/NoMad/Made Nice Holiday Gift 2017

EMP/NoMad/Made Nice Holiday Gift 2017

EMP/NoMad/Made Nice Holiday Gift 2017

Box 24

EMP/NoMad/Made Nice Holiday Gift 2017

Once again, our EMP/NoMad/Made Nice family has put together a truly creative and enjoyable gift. 2017 has, indeed, been an eventful and very exciting year for them. Michael and I have been fortunate to have been part of it and count ourselves lucky to be considered members of this wonderful group of talented and caring people. We wish them all a glorious 2018!