Friday, December 29, 2006

Party, Party!

My cake - made by the fine folks at Sweet Art bakery in Charlotte

On my birthday we went to lunch at one of my favorite places in Charlotte, Cuisine Malaya - you have to try the mango shrimp, the crispy duck and the roti canai appetizer! Then Dad, Diane, Patrick and I saw the movie "Blood Diamond." Later on we went to a fabulous holiday party at a family friend's house before heading back to my dad's house for my quarter century birthday party.

Holiday Party!!

Amy and Shelley at the holiday party

Steve, Mom and Liz at the holiday party

I had to try the fruit tart even though I knew my birthday cake was waiting at home!

They also had this lovely chocolate yule log cake

Liz and Anna - forever "the twins."

Amy's Birthday!!!

Dad, Diane and Maxine at the birthday celebration

Amy, Lori and Nishita

Dad bringing in the cake!

Amy takes charge and cuts the cake - it was lemon cake with a homemade raspberry filling.

My two grandmas - Bea and Sarah.

Nice posed kiss from Grandma Sarah

Woodfire Thrills!

The lovely table at my firm's holiday dinner at Woodfire Grill in Atlanta, GA

After the trip to the mountains we drove down to Atlanta to attend my new law firm's holiday dinner. The dinner was held at Woodfire Grill, a restaurant specializing in grilled organic meats and local produce. We had a wonderful meal with great food, great company and great wine! Below are some of the dishes we savored throughout the evening.

We also had this delicious butternut squash soup

This whole trout was excellent - even with the eyes staring me down!

The three dessert choices - I recommend the caramel apple shortcake

Woodfire Grill on Urbanspoon

Nice House and Mountain Fun

The Biltmore Estate, Asheville, NC

During the trip to Charlotte and Atlanta we managed to make time for a quick trip up to the NC mountains. We toured the gorgeous Biltmore Estate and tasted some wines at the winery that is located on the grounds. The unseasonably warm weather only added to the delight of being in such a lovely place.
This was also an opportunity to go back and see my beloved Camp Celo, the Quaker camp I went to every summer for six years of my childhood, and our mountain house, which is located only about a mile from the camp. We even cooked dinner there, as you will see below. To me, the air always smells better up in the mountains and I look forward to visiting every time I get the chance.

Amy with goats at Camp Celo

Roaring Fork Falls near the Mount Mitchell Golf Course

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Here comes the Hanukkah Man!!

The Hanukkah Table in Williamsburg - ready for night 1.

This year Hanukkah started on the evening of December 15 and continued until December 23 (also my birthday)!

Melanie gave me some really cute cookies in a Hanukkah holiday basket.

We were in Charlotte, Asheville and Atlanta during our vacation week - and we did A LOT! Actually, it was more of a busy, busy week than a vacation, but we still had a great deal of fun seeing everyone and travelling around.

My Dad got a new Ozzie Smith jersey. As you might guess, Dad's favorite team is the St. Louis Cardinals.

One of my favorite gifts, a goat donated to a needy family through the Heifer Project and a matching stuffed goat to symbolize the donation.

Steve with his new Ecko shirt - see the rhino?

Later in the week we enjoyed a wonderful Hanukkah party hosted by my Grandma Sarah at her Fort Mill, SC home. We saw lots of family members, ate potato latkes and had an all-around good time.

Family friend and mah-jongg player Howard making latkes at Grandma's house.

Steve helps cousin Dylan light the Hanukkah candles.

Grandma's cat (formerly belonging to Bernie, Teri, Jason and Adam) Pillow reigns supreme.

Overall we had a great Hanukkah!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Mexican Traditions

Ryan, Elizabeth, Justin, Nathalie and Jason

Every semester after our exams are over, some of my law school buddies and I have a tradition of going out for Mexican food. We started out going to Casa Maya but since they changed locations and, in our opinion, faltered on the food, we have come to prefer South of the Border. After our Spring exams one year the Mexican food tradition turned out to be quite longer than we expected - it happened to be that our exams were over on Cinco de Mayo, apparently the day when people who forget about Mexican food during the rest of the year decide they need to have Mexican food.
Anyway, this year we had no problem getting seated (we went on December 14) and we ordered margaritas to celebrate. I had the shrimp soup and a side of guacamole (love that stuff!). My usual order at South of the Border is Tacos de Carne Asada on corn tortillas - great stuff but a little more than I wanted this time.

Justin and Nathalie with their new bear claws AKA serving instruments.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Long time no blog!

Just wanted to put in a little post since it has been awhile. Great news is that I am moving to Atlanta to begin my dream job after graduation in May. I am really excited for the job and the town. Should be some great food opportunities down there and when I find a moment I want to take some cooking classes for sure.
Tonight I had some fabulous sukiyaki at Kappo Nara - I hadn't had any since I was in Japan and it brought back some great memories. For those who don't know, sukiyaki is a beef, mushroom, tofu, scallion and noodle stew with a rich borth.
This is also the season for latkes, Chrsitmas cookies and birthday cake (for me!) so we will be enjoying all of that soon. I will try and be a better poster in days to come, meaning, after exams are over!

Saturday, September 09, 2006


This evening I had the good fortune to be invited over to Katie Falk's house for some real live down home Greek cooking. Katie prepared traditional spanikopita, which is a Greek spinach feta pie made using phyllo dough that is brushed with LOTS of butter. She actually brushed butter on every layer of the thin pastry dough, which made for a deliciously buttery (and fattening) final product. Hopefully the recipe will be available soon and I will post it here.

I'm Crazy about Martha's Vineyard!

I was lucky enough to be invited to Martha's Vineyard last month to stay with my Uncle Phil, Aunt Lynn and cousin Amanda. They own this gorgeous house located in Tisbury, Martha's Vineyard off the coast of Massachusetts. While I was there I was treated to many culinary delights - in fact it seemed as though we never stopped eating!! Highlights include the wonderful smoked shrimp and crab dip available at John's Fish Market where they also fry up some some delectable fish and chips, a wonderful dinner at Lambert's Cove Inn where I got to sample sea bass and lamb, fabulous pies sold in front of Eileen the pie lady's house by her husband, and several tasty meals cooked up right at the house by the talented Lynn Hallen.

John's Fish Market and Takeout Look at that lobster!!! We went through about 5 containers of the smoked crab and shrimp dip before it was all over and it was worth every penny. I wonder if they deliver!?

Lambert's Cove Inn was a delightful place for dinner and the lamb was really out of this world!

Eileen Blake bakes up some scrumptuous pies - we had Cherry Crumb and Triple Berry.

My cousin Amanda and I enjoyed some delicious ice cream in Vineyard Haven.

And, no trip to the Vineyard is complete without THE BIG CHEESE! This wheel is pure Vermont White Cheddar.

John's Fish Market on Urbanspoon

Monday, August 14, 2006

Loooong Overdue Mishmosh Post!

At Katzinger's Deli in Columbus

So yet again it has been awhile since I have posted...

In Columbus I did eat some good brisket at an authentic German deli called Katzinger's in the Germantown section where German immigrants settled generations ago. I also had some fairly decent Vietnamese food while I completed my adoption law exam in Columbus prior to leaving.

Back in Philly, I hit up Ten Stone, a nice bar/pub on South Street for a late lunch. I had a nice duck sandwich with berry sauce.

On August 8 I left Philly for a quick stop in Williamsburg and then on to Charlotte. In Charlotte I ate with my mom and stepdad, Steve at Copper, a modern Indian restaurant. We had some fabulous shrimp and Steve had his favorite lamb dish.

The next night my Dad, AKA Big Jon, took me to Nolen Kitchen, a newish restaurant that was voted "Best New Restaurant" in Charlotte by Creative Loafing's critics. I had a wonderful warm octopus salad and Dad had some yummy scallops served with pureed corn, asparagus and red peppers. For dessert we shared a strawberry shortcake with pink peppercorn ice cream! The ice cream was quite good, very creamy with a peppery kick.

Finally, on Saturday August 12 I had some food native to Arequipa, Peru at an event hosted by the Charlotte Sister Cities organization. My dad's girlfriend Diane is a Board Member so we had to check it out! The food was awesome and I don't really know what I ate exactly but the hot peppers stuffed with ground beef, raisins and nuts were very spicy and extremely delicious!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Christopher would be disappointed...

Columbus, Ohio - I am here taking a one week course in adoption law at Capital University. So far the course work is quite interesting and I have encountered some nice folks from law schools all over the country.
The city (or shall I say town) of Columbus, on the other hand, has not impressed me so far! When I arrived on Sunday the downtown area was deserted and my roommate Jill and I had to walk several blocks just to find an open restaurant! We did end up finding a place called Ted's Montana Grill that had a respectable bison burger but geez - where is everybody?! The other neat place we visited is called North Market - a Reading Terminal market-like place with all kinds of food stalls. We had some delicious sushi there and also hit up Ben & Jerry's last night (sadly I had to get sorbet because of my lactose problem). Hopefully tonight I will get to German Village - supposedly a neat area so look for news of that soon!

Rose Tattoo

Desserts at Rose Tattoo Cafe

Also on July 27 I met my mom and stepdad at the fabulous Rose Tattoo Cafe for dinner. I had a feeling this place was going to be fabulous so I restrained myself at the earlier reception and resisted pigging out! I was definitely right.
The Rose Tattoo is a neat place - the decor is much more beautiful than one might imagine for a place with "tattoo" in the title. It has a New Orleans flair, with plants throughout and multiple bars (one non-smoking). Apparently there is a neat upstairs seating area as well - I will have to check this out next time.
My stepdad Steve had the mushroom bisque - very tasty - and the tuna special - rare ahi tuna pan seared over soba noodles served with broccoli rabe in a wasabi flavored jus. Always true to form, my mom got the duck breast, which was served with a blackberry sauce over a fried couscous cake. Since I was still a little full from lunch I ordered the grilled scallop appetizer served with smoked trout salad. The scallops were good but I was happy to receive tastes from both my mom and Steve since their dishes were downright awesome!
Dessert was the best part. We shared a peach cobbler with ice cream and a mini-chocolate cream pie on an oatmeal cookie crust. The cakey crust on the peach cobbler was scrumptious and the chocolate pie was almost as good as Grandma Sarah's. Yummy!

Rose Tattoo Cafe on Urbanspoon