California was great...

...but something in my DNA prevents me from enjoying it too much, now that it's over.  I'm all about Looking Ahead.  For better or for worse and, occasionally, to my detriment...

We are planning a European Vacation this August ("Holiday Road" playing in your head yet?  If so, we could be best friends), and I am in full-blown Planning Mode.  It'll be Dublin...then Zurich...then Hamburg.  Why those cities?  Well, they all have Goog offices there so Adam's going to put in a day of work in each city so that he can 1) check out their cool offices, 2) network, and 3) take a little less vacation time.  Meanwhile, Bug and I will get to goof around these cities like loons on loon tablets (again, if you get the reference, I love you).  My basic French ain't going to do me a damn bit of good so I'm learning some German (I can count to ten!  God, I have a long way to go...) and I'm talking more often to our doorman, Tommy, whose Irish accent is so thick that we spent the first six months in our building privately referring to him as "Mumbler."  Guys, this is going to be a good time.  And if you have any recs for any of these cities, pass 'em my way!

In the meantime, California...

As you'll recall, I wanted this trip BAD.  And minus the three days of rain, it didn't disappoint.  There was awesome food:

I felt nostalgic about Bug playing with the toys I owned as a kid:

Wine tasting at Boeger Winery (I bought a case of their 2009 Tempranillo):

Brilliant photos taken by Bug...but I'm biased... (all of which were taken on the gorgeous grounds of Boeger Winery):


Quality time spent with my mom (no disrespect to your moms, but this woman is the coolest):

And because I love this series so much, here's a Convertible Photo of my darling niece (here's the one of Bug):

There was even baking...which naturally wasn't done by me...this was all my sister's doing:

Add a shopping spree at a quiet, neat-as-a-pin Target and 11 a.m. Vinho Verde drinking in the hot tub with my mom...and you have an amazing trip!

The best part, though?  Coming home to New York City.  For the last couple months I've just been feeling a bit beat-up by the city, and living here was feeling increasingly claustrophobic.  This trip reminded me why I love California so much...and it also reminded me that NYC is my home.  I came back refreshed and renewed.  It's always hard to be away from family and friends on the other side of the country: always, always.  But I love it here in New York.  It did me a world of good to be reminded that it's not a choice of one over the other; I exist in both worlds, and I am from the West Coast as much as I am from the East Coast.  I love them both equally for different reasons, and I feel so lucky that I've had the opportunity to experience them both.

Eat, drink, and embrace where you are and where you've been.


California Love

After my botched trip to California back in February, Bug and I finally made it to my native West Coast last week.  And it was fabulous...

There was wine tasting at Boeger Winery...

...and kids riding in the back of convertibles...

...and Lillet in plastic cups because I like to keep it classy.

We had such a wonderful time - even the three days of rain couldn't dampen our spirits!

I can't wait to tell you more about it - stay tuned!



Tagliatelle with Prosciutto and Orange

I'll just cut to the chase and let you know that this might be my absolute favorite pasta recipe.  Ever.  Ever.

I think I'd eat damn-near anything that had prosciutto in it so I was already hooked when I first read this recipe...but pairing it with orange just makes it sublime.  The orange adds sweetness to counterbalance the saltiness of the prosciutto, and it also adds a brightness that you really need when making pasta.  The combination is just so, so perfect.

Gush, gush, gush...

So just promise me you'll try this one, okay?  It's really that amazing.

Recipe from The Bitten Word (who got it from Bon Appétit)
Serves 4

12 oz. egg tagliatelle or fettuccine (preferably fresh)
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter
2 oz. thinly sliced prosciutto, torn into 1" pieces
Zest and juice of 1 orange
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan
Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Season with salt; add pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until 1 minute before al dente, about 2 minutes for fresh pasta, longer for dried.  Drain, reserving 1/4 cup pasta water.
2. Meanwhile, melt butter in a large heavy nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add prosciutto; sauté until browned, about 3 minutes.
3. Add reserved pasta water, orange juice, half of zest, and cream to the skillet; bring to a boil.  Add pasta; cook, stirring, until sauce coats pasta and pasta is al dente, about 1 minute.  Season with salt and pepper.  Stir in cheese and divide among warm bowls.  Garnish with remaining zest.

NOTE ON KID-FRIENDLINESS: Bug LOVED this, every bit of it.  I did omit the zest garnish and the ground pepper on top but, other than that, I didn't need to alter it for her at all.

NOTE ON WINE PAIRING: There was so much going on here so I consulted my handy-dandy WHAT TO DRINK WITH WHAT YOU EAT.  Riesling is the way to go with this dish; specifically, I went with the Pierre Sparr that I picked up for a steal at Trader Joe's.  Delicious.

Eat, drink, and try this recipe!