Archive for November, 2012

I’m spending Thanksgiving with my parents, aunt and uncle.  It’s a pretty awesome gig for me because everyone comes to my house and my mom does most of the work. She makes the pies and cooks the turkey (including cooked-in turkey stuffing).  I come in strong with roasted squash, brussels sprouts with bacon and shallots and exceptional skin-on smashies but I’ve yet to take over any of the heavy lifting (literally – is it even possible to buy a turkey that’s less than 15 pounds?).

Hosting has lots of perks. Besides getting credit for my mom’s hard work and getting house gifts from grateful guests, like a bottle of wine or ceramic turkey salt and pepper shakers, I get to know my family in a different way. My house fills with the smell of roasting turkey and the warmth of family. Hustle and bustle and cook’s conversation flow through the kitchen and even though I’m still the kid here, I’m grateful to be able to give care as I receive it.

We’re a game playing family so we ward off food coma with a marathon of Bid Whist.  Bid Whist, a card game for those not in the know, is in my DNA. I started playing with my cousins over summer visits and holidays while our parents played at the big table. I confess winning is way more fun than not, but I love sitting at the table with my parents and my uncle (my official and forever partner) no matter how the game ends.

My friends are lacking the BW chromosome (Bid Whist) but as I have friends I think of as sisters and brothers or at the very least, cousins, they fall within my definition of family.

With all life’s uncertainty, I know my friends will be with me when we’re all a little frail and we’ve traded stools in a bar for rocking chairs on a porch.  We’ll be together and we’ll still be drinking margaritas.

So the other night, when I should have been home doing Thanksgiving prep, I met up with a few of my fellow future chair rockers for a pre-Thanksgiving drink. We lingered in the bar, and lingered on the sidewalk because with family this entertaining, it’s hard to walk away. And though we’re not spending the holiday together and a pre-holiday catch up might be just another night out among many, it’s all of these small moments (more than the big ones) that mold friends into family.

El Toro Blanco (267 6th Ave, NYC) understands the spirit of family and their family of spirits. At El Toro Blanco, the margarita has cousins. (As soon as I get over a glitch, there will be a picture here – and you’ll be very impressed.) I had Mrs. Margarita Sames, a margarita made of herradura blanco, Cointreau and fresh lime. It was excellent – smooth, exciting and comforting all at once. For the more adventurous, give the Jicama and Fig or the Chile Rubbed Mango Marg a try.  And make sure you get the quac – they serve it with warm chips.

El Toro Blanco opened its doors for the first time ever just four days before Sandy hit.  So they are literally starting over again – and they, like all the other businesses in the effected areas, appreciate our support! (And if Eater’s Heatmap is any indication, El Toro Blanco is bouncing back nicely!)

So, to my family, those near and far and those I’ve yet to meet, I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you’re having as much fun as I am and let me know if you’re ever up for a game of Whist!

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Another plug for eating and drinking … out.

Restaurants and bars, the small businesses that are our neighbors and make up our neighborhoods, struggle quietly to regain their footing.  And if the establishment struggles, so does the wait staff, kitchen staff, bartenders and hosts.  So if you’re able, please go out – eat, drink and be merry. With Thanksgiving around the corner, it might be a good idea to put some eating time in so your stomach is properly expanded for the big day.  Think of it as training.
You can also think of it as charity since some of the restaurants around the city and in effected areas are donating a portion of their profits to hurricane relief funds.  Neighbors helping neighbors.  It takes a village – so thank goodness NYC has a village or two.

Go to Empellon.  I’ve written a post on Empellon before (check it out) and I’m a fan.  Now I’m an even bigger fan since they’ve mixed up a special margarita, the FU Sandy and through November 15, are donating $2 from each ordered to the Red Cross.  So please run there.  Order the FU Sandy and treat yourself to the Fish Tempura, Cabbage and Lime Mayo taco.  You won’t be sorry.

Go to Entwine. Entwine was “pummelled” by the storm and they’re back in action –  food, drinks every night and great music Wednesdays.  And all month-long you can try a Cocktail for the Cause! Enjoy a lovingly mixed drink and Entwine will give $2 to relief efforts. And, they’re having a number of fundraisers throughout the month so check out their blog here for details.

Buy Robicelli’s products.  The owners make cupcakes and other sweet treats and have been actively involved in relief efforts by organizing volunteers and getting good food (and not just baked pasta) out to effected areas. They’re  nourishing body and soul of relief workers and dazed residents in some of the hardest hit areas. They are doing amazing work.  So if you have a sweet tooth, check out locations where you can buy their amazing treats.  You can also give supplies, or if you’re a chef your time, to their effort.  Check out details here.

There are of course many other places doing great things to help in the recovery and fill our stomachs.  Check out Eater or Grub Street for more restaurant info as it comes up or just check in on your local to see what’s up.
Remember, SoPo (South of Power for those not in the NYC neighborhood know) is all lit up and open for business.

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It seems frivolous to write about margaritas in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

So today I won’t just write about margaritas. I’m writing about Margaritas, coffee, Manhattans and meals. Because everyone can take part in New York’s recovery: Go eat and drink.

If you’re able, please spend some time and money in a neighborhood that’s getting its bounce back. A lot of businesses flooded. Many more lost power. And they spent the post storm “lull” cleaning and scrubbing and restocking and planning. And they have a message for us:

And they are open!












I went downtown last night with some members of the Independent Panel of Judges and we spread the love, first having drinks at Terroir and then dinner at The Harrison. Terroir had to throw out tons of food and pour wine down the drain that corked in the not so cool coolers. They’re happy to be open and were happy to see us. The Harrison had flooding but got it cleaned up in time to host a planned event, a wedding, in their downstairs room. Their menu is smaller than usual but the food is as good as always. We had pumpkin risotto that was so good I dreamt about it.

Drinks at The Harrison

Of course I had a margarita (it was awesome) and the Independent Judge who specializes in mixology says The Harrison twist on a Manhattan is excellent.

If you’re unsure about what’s open, check out Grub Street. They’re keeping an updated list of places as they reopen.

I hope to see you downtown, eating, drinking, being part of the community, the growing crowds and growing good will.

Anyone hungry?

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