Friday, December 30, 2011

Farewell 2011

Here we are again - watching the last hours of another year tick away. Is it just me or are the years passing faster than the bubbles rise to the top of champagne glass? I feel helpless to stop them, so I just have to admire their beauty and take another generous gulp.

Beautiful, exciting moments filled the past year, though 2011 did it’s best to try to bring me to my knees in some of it’s darkest moments. I experienced both pure happiness and heartache to levels I previously never knew existed. There were moments I felt a world away from my family, even as I finally, finally fell completely in love with my Manhattan-ite life. If I did not already know it, this year set out to remind me that my family is my whole world.

Surprisingly enough, I am leaving 2011 feeling quite balanced - maybe more so than I can ever remember. I guess that’s what happens when you start cutting yourself a little bit of slack. When you remove your concentration from the material things you don’t have to realizing just how rich you already are - shelter, food, clothing, health, family, and friends are luxuries never to be discounted.

Looking ahead, 2012 already seems to offer so much excitement and the notion of starting a new year with a clean slate is nothing short of inspiring.  There will be highs and lows, but this past year taught me that, with the support of my family and friends, every moment can be significant and meaningful in ways we might not be able to see on the surface.

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Saturday, December 24, 2011

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Bittersweet Chocolate Pecan Pie

Tomorrow I am joining the massive amount of New Yorkers hailing a cab early in the morning, loaded down with luggage and heading to the airport.  My little (and I do want the emphasize little) airplane will battle the impending winter storm and transport me to the mountains of Virginia.  Home for the holidays, though sadly without my favorite guy.

Going home means family, relaxation, sweet tea, and homemade cookies.  It means I am in the South again, where life is a little slower, a little sweeter. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Milanese Risotto


As you may remember, our last day in Milan left Mike and I tired, chilled to the bone, and incredibly hungry. Walking around the city under a grey, rainy sky, we searched for something - anything resembling nourishment of some sort. By the late afternoon, defeated, we set back to our hotel in attempts to silence our growling stomachs with multiple cups of tea. Mike quietly flipped through our guidebook as I watched the local news, pretending to understand the reporter’s rapid-fire Italian. “I think I found a place that might be open for dinner,” Mike said. We exchanged glances - doubtful glances, since almost every restaurant on our list had been shuttered, closed for business, or simply not at the listed address.

Regardless, we set out again in the rain, as dusk encompassed the city. Down the twisting streets, we finally spotted the glow of a neon sign through the dark, the only promise of life on an otherwise abandoned street. “This is it!” Mike said and we both held our breath in silent prayer as I attempted to open the door.

The door opened into the scene of an old-Italian restaurant, complete with red-checkered table cloths and Italian waiters dressed in suits from a bygone era. We were only the second table in the restaurant, the other group also tourists, translating the Italian menu into Chinese. But our waiter was incredibly sweet, bringing us bread almost before Mike had finished explaining we had not eaten all day. He delivered a bottle of his favorite red wine, saving us the inevitable moment of playing eenie-meenie-miney-mo on the wine list. We asked for his favorite dishes, to which he replied, “Any! My mother is in the kitchen, she’ll take care of you.” And lo and behold, as soon as our orders were placed, our waiter disappeared into the kitchen and as the door swung shut he exclaimed “Mamma! Tortellini, risotto, lamb!”

This hole-in-the-wall restaurant, denoted only by a fading neon sign, was hands-down the best food we ate in Milan; the Milanese risotto was exactly the cure we needed to remove the chill in our bones. And by the time we finished our meal and wine, the restaurant was packed with the local regulars who traded Sunday supper at home for our waiter’s mother’s cooking.

Farewell Fall

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