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Rainy Day Adventures

21 Jul

When you’re schlepping around and finally, finally getting to play with a new camera, getting caught in a down pour ranks pretty high up there as one of the least fun things that could possibly  happen to you. However, I’ve figured out the best solution: Hiding out in a bookstore, quickly followed by a mad dash through the rain to a restaurant for lunch.

BookHampton, is everything a book store should be. Super helpful staff who just seem to know exactly what it you’re looking for. Blue tiled floors accompanied by a blue dog water dish near the front door.  A vast array of hardcovers and paperbacks which beckon to you alluringly. This is why I walked out with not one, but three new books. How could I say no to an independent bookstore? ( Save the shop around the corner, and you will save your soul).

But I think what you really want to hear about is lunch at La Maison.

I was drawn in by the atmosphere of the restaurant, with walls of open windows and color scheme. I can’t lie, I’m a sucker for aesthetics. They have an extensive raw bar, but I steered away from that. Instead, I had this delicious masterpiece of a salad :

Little croquettes of goat cheese, golden beets and pickled bermuda onions. My main entree, the croque madame, was too heavy with it’s thick blanket of cheese and fried egg. My mom’s chicken milanese looked like the better choice. But this salad? Fantastic.

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2 Nights, 2 Places

16 Jul

A beach bbq on the north shore of Long Island, with impromptu swims and chocolate cake.

A rooftop alumni reunion in the meatpacking district, with cocktails and crabcakes.

And tagged by Amanda at Grains of Paradise, I now have five questions to answer:

1.) What was on your To-Do list today:
* Intern in the city
* Take care of emails
* Finish my book
* Print out applications/submission forms
* Give my two weeks notice for a job
2.) 5 Snacks you enjoy:
* Goat cheese and crackers
* Apple and peanut butter
* Goldfish (because I’m five)
* Chips and salsa
* Grilled peaches
3. ) 5 Places you have lived:
* Long Island, New York
*That’s my only answer!
4.) What were you doing 5 years ago:
*Starting college
* Traveled to Ireland, and thus Europe, for the first time
* Training as a tour guide
* Adjusting to a new phase in my life
* Lost some friends and gained some new ones
5.) 5 things you would do if you were a Billionaire:
* I would build a home on the beach, designed and decorated exactly the way I wanted
* I would finance all my younger cousins educations.
* I would travel everywhere
* I would own a home in Hawaii
*I would take all the time I needed to paint without financial worry

Coney Island

12 Jul

Expect some drawings later this week of Luna Park and Coney Island. It was crazy how garish the colors were, particularly against the gray sky. The typography on the signs and weathered buildings were indicative of earlier years, and my mother and I mentioned we felt like we were in a movie ( My sister said Big Fish). Where else do you still have side show acts, crazy characters, and roller coasters on the same few blocks?

Island Inspired

18 Jun

Long Island’s beaches are awesome. It’s impossible for me to dislike the Atlantic I grew up swimming in. However, even though the word island is in the name, you can’t ignore that its definitely not of the tropical variety that people fantasize about vacationing at.

Luckily, there’s a new restaurant that brings  that tropical state of mind to Long Island: Rumba Rum Bar and Restaurant, located in Hampton Bays. The decor is not of the blatant tropical kitsch variety; but instead is comprised of dark woods, slow rotating ceiling fans, vibrant colors and water views. Sure the servers wear Hawaiian shirts, but it’s a subdued print. Live reggae music is played on certain nights, and there are specialty drink nights as well.

Primarily a rum bar, Rumba’s list of rums available is extensive. I ordered a Dark & Stormy: Gosling’s dark rum, ginger beer and a bit of lime. My only disappointment was that it wasn’t served in one of the mason jars they use to serve their house sangria. We couldn’t sample everything on the menu but my dinner date and I started off with two appetizers, the Oysters Hampton and the Duck Empanadas. The Oysters Hampton are golden fried oysters served with a creamy reggiano dip, hot sauce and and a garlic aoli.

I can’t speak for how they tasted since I will not eat oysters, but I loved the clean presentation of the dish. I ordered the Duck Empanadas under the advice of our server, who shares my opinion that normally duck is disgusting but you don’t even think that with these empanadas. He was right. The empanadas (though I think they really resemble samosas more) are a pastry filled with duck meat, peppers and spicy queso. Even though I loathe duck, it was nice to see it used in a new way since it is a locally raised meat. Even though the cuisine is island inspired at Rumba, it pays homage to the local resources of Long Island.

For an entree, I had the Jumbo Crab Cakes with a stone ground mustard, garlic mashed potatoes and vegetable of the day. The crab cakes and the vegetables were the stars of the dish, the potatoes merely were alright. I think I should have ordered one of the more inspired dishes on the menu, but I can’t ignore a crab cake craving. The other entree ordered at my table was the Jerk Chicken Platter served over coconut risotto and with a mango papaya honey salsa. Apparently, this was absolutely delicious. I should have taken a picture of the empty plate.

Dessert is being saved for another night, probably when I go back to try their trio of tacos available for lunch, and hopefully one when balmy breezes float off the water and really transport me.

4 Jun

H.4, 2010. Katie Hillman

One from a recent series I’ve been working on.

Inspiration

21 May

I’m not going to lie. I can’t tell you the last time I created a new painting, it must have been over a month ago. My friends and I agree that the creative process goes through ebbs and flows, but it’s hard when I’m not creating and I FEEL like I should. I think people in the blog world understand this as well. Sometimes I can’t think of anything to post, but will feel terrible for letting my blog lie stagnant.

But then I’ll be discover an artist, and I’ll see their work and get so inspired to make something of my own. It’s a little disheartening to find someone’s work and have it be what you were working towards yourself or what you wished your own would look like, but then you get over it. You learn something from their work, something sparks.. and then you create.

Wolfgang Bloch

Nuala Clarke

Eric Aho

Click on these links.

You won’t regret it.

Basin, 2009.

I would post pictures, but I’m unsure about copyright issues. The only work I feel comfortable posting is that of my friends, myself, or masters.

Lostie

12 May

My sister has combined my love of cooking and my love for Lost into one awesome birthday present. Hurley’s Dharma Diner: Come for the Food. Stay for Good. With this apron, I almost feel like I should throw a Lost finale party. Almost. But I know I’m going to want to devote every inch of attention to the two and half hour finale.

I think we’ve tied for awesome gift giving ability this year Jen. 🙂

Speaking of lost, I’m still figuring out what I want to blog about consistently  and how often I can and what my blog should look like. Should I write more? Are pictures truly worth a 1,000 words?  I totally think they are. And they’re what I find most fun about blogging. I guess that makes sense, considering that I spent my entire undergraduate years studying art and I’ll judge food on how it’s presented to me. I’m a sucker for nice packaging.

Any input about Cultural Cravings? I’m thinking it should have at least one art related post a week, and several food ones.

Communion Season

9 May

The month of May means many things, and one of those things is the fact that it’s Communion season. This means lots of family, lots of little girls in little white dresses, and lots of food. Because of a trip to New Jersey for such an event, I’m left with a lack of any new art or cooking adventures this weekend. However, the buffet at my cousin’s communion? Pretty awesome as these things go.

There was of course the standard penne alla vodka, which I never say no to. But there was also orzo with sundried tomatoes, feta and kalamata olives! So tasty. Salad, served with dressing or without. I hate when people automatically assume you want dressing on your salad so I was psyched about this state of affairs. Plus there was a potato salad that was more green beans than potato! Sandwiches like brie and ham or turkey and swiss, but also portobello, pesto and mozzarella. I think my passion for vegetables is getting noticed by my family.

Side note: Sam Adam’s Summer Ale is very lemon flavored. Some relatives found it a little too lemony for their taste, but I thought it was a decent summer beer.

4 May

Aerial, 2010 (click for a better view!)

I’m off to go see the BFA Exhibit opening at my old University, after some Mother’s Day shopping. University Galleries/Museums are an excellent way to view new art, and to see what young contemporary artists are creating. Check out a show at a nearby university!

Maybe someday this week I’ll actually get to do some more of my own painting, after finishing a collaborative writer/artist project with my sister. How do all these things sneak up on me?

Bison Burgers

4 May

Inspired by both Kath’s dinner the other night and a burger I had a while back at the Beach House in Long Beach, I decided to use up some ground grass fed bison meat I had lying in my freezer. They’re enormous, stuffed with baby spinach and parmigiano-reggiano  cheese, and  pretty good. Perfect way to satisfy a summer barbeque craving.

Each ingredient measurement is an approximation because I wasn’t really measuring, and I think this would be even better with fresh basil and parsley chopped and added in with the baby spinach. I made due with dried and still ate the whole thing.

Ingredients

– 1 lb ground bison

-2 cloves of garlic minced

~ 1 c. grated parmigiano reggiano cheese

~ 2 c. finely chopped baby spinach

~ 1 tsp dried basil

~ 1 tbsp dried parsley

~ 1.5 tsp fennel seeds

-s&p

~ 1/2 c. whole wheat flour ( You might need to add a little more to keep the burgers together. Or substitute breadcrumbs. )

– 1 egg lightly beaten.

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, and divide into four large patties ( or 6 smaller ones. Whatever floats your boat).  Serve topped with more baby spinach on your bread of choice.