Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Here's the scoop...

This past weekend, we had a friend from Tennessee come stay with us in Missoula. He was in town to lead a marriage seminar and to speak at our church. We were thrilled to find that he would be here for a few days, so we jumped at the opportunity to invite him to be our house guest. Sunday night Jordan and I discussed holding him hostage and not letting him return to Nashville. However, we decided not to be selfish. And we figured that his family would eventually miss him and we would be found out. Plans thwarted!!

David has a PhD in counseling and is just one of those people who exudes wisdom and intellect. I could ask him questions and listen to him speak for hours on end! David teaches classes through a seminary and has his own practice in Nashville, TN. Also, he was our premarital counselor...which gives me a boost of confidence in the future of my marriage to Jordan :)

Saturday night, David returned to our house after facilitating a marriage seminar all afternoon then having a dinner/meeting with a couple from our church. Not to mention, there were FOUR services coming up on Sunday for which he needed to prepare. I figured the remainder of his night would be spent writing out key points or reading notes. However, Jordan and I mentioned that we might go to get ice cream. So instead of getting out his notebook, David automatically went to grab his jacket. Our bond strengthened a little in this moment.

Standing outside in the chilly Montana air...in a line of about 25 people...at 9:00 pm...for ICE CREAM!! It just goes to show the influence food is capable of having in our daily lives! How much longer will this MEMORY last than if we had stayed in and watched a t.v. show? How much more FUN was the evening? How much more did we LAUGH that Saturday night? How much more enjoyable CONVERSATION was made?

Genuinely enjoyable times, such as this one, build upon relationships that become even more special. These times might also make your ice cream taste even sweeter...

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The APPLE of my eye...

New York City
It's not just the name of a city. It symbolizes an attitude, a culture, an icon...a living, breathing metropolis we are all enamored in, intrigued by, or at least curious about.

What is it about NYC? Is it the continuous flow of the masses through its streets, or that unexplainable energy one feels just by existing in its environment? Is it the array of ethnicities represented, or the obvious artistic flare characteristic of every citizen in the city? Could it be the empowering feeling of invincibility that is automatic when you are there? The fashion, the opportunity, the determination, the dominating buildings, the excitement, the commotion, the zeal, the fortitude...

It is a combination of all of these things.
These things along with the food.

I left my heart in the "Big Apple"

Enjoying lunch at a true New York delicatessen. Egg salad, pastrami, matzo ball soup, sandwiches as big as your head!

JUNIORS' claim to fame is that it is the establishment which invented the famous NYC "Black and White Cookie". Those are delicious, but we opted for the also famous cheesecakes. It just seemed right...

I loved starting our mornings in the city with a stop to get a fresh, warm New York bagel! This particular morning, we were on our way to spend a day in Central Park. I couldn't resist a big "everything" bagel with scallion cream cheese.
The REAL breakfast of champions!

Julie and Brette enjoying creamy gelato during one of our many walks around "Little Italy".

The culinary options available in New York are a bit overwhelming! Especially when you are a "foodie" who wants to make the absolute MOST of every bite! During my visit, I found some truly UNIQUE places!

Here, Brette and I are at "Rice to Riches" in the Nolita district of NYC. This trendy little shop serves just one thing...rice pudding! They have flavors such as Fluent in French toast, Hazelnut Chocolate Bear Hug, and Coconut Coma. As if that isn't fun enough, you can top your bowl of pudding with delights like oven-roasted fresh fruits, toasted butter pound cake, or caramel vanilla sauce.
Who needs riches when you have a warm bowl of rice pudding?!

Eating a NY hot dog fresh from a vendor in Times Square.
Again...it just seemed right...

I had one of the best meals of my life in Little Italy at Grotto Azzura on Mulberry Street.
We had lunch "al fresco": housemade breads, gnocchi with fresh mozzerella & tomato sauce, penne with tomato, basil & eggplant, and insalata caprese with some of the freshest buffalo mozzerella I have tasted!

Our friend, Stephanie, was hospitable enough to share her apartment in the financial district of the city with the three of us. She was working with the Broadway musical, TARZAN, at the time of our stay. Here, we are enjoying sliders at a hip tapas bar off of Broadway. The first night I was in NYC, Stephanie invited me to join her to the cast party TARZAN!! It was an incredible, memorable night of meeting intriguing people, getting to feel more like a real New Yorker, learning more about life on Broadway, and eating lots of yummy tapas!

The intoxicating sweet smell of chocolate is inescapable even before you enter the doors of HERSHEY'S in Times Square!
Here I am amidst wall-to-wall displays of M&M's in every color you can imagine! There was every Hershey product I could think of in this place. I felt like a kid in a candy store...literally!

It is THE place to get dessert! But its popularity demands that you come early and be ready to wait. We anticipated this and went to put our name in, walked around to some local shops, and came back in TWO HOURS when our table was ready. "Was it worth it?", one might ask. I would do it again in a heartbeat if that answers that question!

The "Frrrozen Hot Chocolate" was made famous in Kate Beckinsale's movie, Serendipity. I opted for the Peanut Butter Frrrozen Hot Chocolate just to add to my gluttony. It is frosty decadence...and just sweet enough without giving you a toothache. Not only was it richly satisfying, but it was fun to eat!! Always a bonus for me!

Be ready for a novel of a menu at Serendipity 3!

What a fantastic trip!
Experiencing the "city that never sleeps", traveling with my sister and friends, exploring as much as humanly possible (despite the city's nickname, I needed some shut-eye!) for 7 days, seeing true Broadway productions, meeting people from all walks of life, embracing different cultures...all in one American city!, chasing celebrities (I am guilty as charged), getting lost on the subway...just a couple times, and eating extraordinarily throughout...

"I want to be a part of it. New York New York!!"