The NoMad Hotel

If you are a foodie — and these days, aren’t we all? — conventional wisdom goes something like this: NEVER order the roast chicken in a high end restaurant. It’s safe, boring and frankly something you should be making at home. I have a friend who actually apologizes to the waiter if he orders the chicken. Fur reals. So imagine my surprise when I started hearing about this new restaurant, NoMad, and everyone said: “You have to order the roast chicken!”

The restaurant itself is in the (relatively) new NoMad hotel, which is on an unfashionable but burgeoning strip of Broadway in the high 20s. The restaurant is run by the team from Eleven Madison Park, and since over there they got rid of the lower-priced $79 four course menu, meaning you can’t get out of there for less than $500 per duo, the NoMad may be the closest any of us get to tasting their fine culinary offerings.
So, as a belated birthday celebration my husband and I headed over, and he was slightly annoyed that I was insistent on ordering the roast chicken, because it’s for 2, so someone at your table has to also get it. We started with a tomato and nectarine salad, with almonds and ricotta salata that was a nice light beginning. Which was good because then the chicken came. They bring it out in its pan in all its roasted glory, with some beautiful herbs peeking out of its tail. Then they take it backstage and carve it. (My husband and I were very skeptical that it wasn’t the same beautiful bird they were bringing out to every table to show off. So we asked our server. He said it is a fresh bird every time, but he did admit that it may not be your exact bird. Scandalous! ha ha)

It comes out as a perfectly placed piece of the juiciest part of the chicken on your plate, with wheatberries and corn and 2 kinds of sauces that are just the tastiest. But the real thing that makes this a must-try is that underneath the skin of the chicken, they put foie gras and black truffles. Yes, that’s right, I said foie gras and truffles. That is the secret to this sublime dish. And in the middle of your table they will put a mixture of all of the dark meat from the chicken and corn and some other tastiness.

For dessert we had the milk and honey, which is essentially ice cream, caramel and all kinds of different flaky and crunchy things, and a coconut plate with some chocolate and other sweet treats. Both good. But really, the evening was all about the chicken. And how often can you say that?

It’s hard to get a res but if you go on the earlier or later side and make it at least a couple of weeks prior, you should get yourself a spot. It’s a cozy (albeit dark) room, and there aren’t too many tables, but the good news is you’ll feel comfortable when you get in.

Eat, Then Shop

After you’ve sated yourself at NoMad, check out Maison Kitsune, a French shop in the hotel with all kinds of precious things to look at, and maybe buy if you don’t get sticker shock. They carry a lot of Aesop, which is a beauty line I used to buy at Barneys but haven’t gotten in a while. At the Maison I picked up a large tube of their Geranium Leaf Body Scrub, which smells delicious in a natural, non-cloying way and used once a week keeps your skin soft. ($35)

You Gotta Laugh

Here’s a little something to give you a chuckle in the nasty campaign:

9 Things I Say to My Toddler that I wish I Could Say to Political Candidates

Sales!

This weekend J. Crew will give you 25% off with the code STYLE25…and it’s Friends and Family over at Bloomingdales.com which means 20% off just about everything, and better yet they will give you free shipping on everything til Monday. Just use the code FRIENDS12…and over at The Gap you can get 30% all regular-priced styles with the code GCSTYLE. You’re welcome.

Etc.

A Favs shout out to Bill in Pennsylvania who recently subscribed to our  blog after making and enjoying last post’s baked oatmeal. Welcome!

The air is finally turning more fall-like, even though I keep dressing my kids like it’s still summer. It’s all fun and games til somebody gets sick. I’m having a girls’ weekend with my daughter this weekend and we had a good ‘ol time at Bloomingdale’s today and finished off the evening at The Smith on 3rd Avenue. Always a crowd pleaser — but definitely make a res. It was packed.

Hope you’re having a great weekend!

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Healthy and Tasty

September 17, 2012

During the week it is all about a quick breakfast, with all the lunches that have to get made, kids to get off to school and adults to get to work on time. But on the weekends it’s nice to linger a bit with friends or family. Here’s an easy recipe that gets rave reviews every time I make it. I got the recipe from my mom and I think she got it from one of my uncles. So I pass this on from my family to yours:

Baked Oatmeal

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 eggs

1/2 cup sugar (1/4 white and 1/4 brown)

3 cups oatmeal

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Beat the eggs, oil and sugar together in a bowl. Add in all the other ingredients and mix together.

Grease a rectangle pan. Pour mixed ingredients into pan and spread evenly.

Bake for 30 minutes.

Cut into squares and serve in a bowl with some milk and berries — blueberries or strawberries work well.

This recipe is good for a family of 4. If you’re having guests, I’d suggest doubling it. Enjoy!

When you finally watch a movie…

You want it to be good. I’m not sure why I picked Contagion. My husband thought I was crazy knowing how freaked out I can get. (I am still depressed when I think about I Am Legend. No one needs to see what their exact neighborhood will look like in a post-apocalyptic world. And we watched it on Valentine’s Day, no less…) Anyway Contagion didn’t really freak me out because it wasn’t a very good movie. Lots of good actors, I typically like Steven Soderbergh’s work, but this was a miss.

Sweet and Creamy

I was getting a decaf hazelnut iced coffee every morning and spending about $3. Which doesn’t seem like a lot until you start to multiply it out and realize if you make your own ice coffee at work for free with the Flavia machine that is there for the using, you can certainly find other ways to spend that $800 every year. To give the free iced coffee a little more oomph, I was bringing in some Hazelnut creamer from the supermarket. I was trying to ignore all of the junky ingredients until I couldn’t anymore. So I switched to the Natural Bliss line from Coffee Mate. It’s lighter — 20 calories per serving — but more importantly there aren’t any artificial ingredients. I am partial to the sweet cream flavor.

Etc.

A happy and healthy new year to all the Family Favs readers who are of the tribe. My daughter wanted to know if those were raisins or blueberries in the challah. So there’s a new idea for next year: blueberry challah.

Back to School Strategy

September 10, 2012

Hopefully you’ve already gotten your kids’ school supplies because I was at Target today to get what I needed for the second list from my son’s class, and those shelves were picked clean. Crazy.

And was your week as hectic as mine? I went back to work mid-week after a longer-than-usual vacation, I started teaching a college class that same night, I had no nanny that day to watch my kids (she had to take the day off), and my kids started school the next day, my daughter kindergarten…so it was kinda nutty. Which got me thinking that my tips I use for getting through the crazy times might help you out as well:

Lists are essential. Seriously, or else I always forget something. I used to do them all on paper, but now with the iphone I’ve got lists up the wazoo: for Target, for the supermarket, my to-do list, etc. And it feels oh so good to cross something off.

Take out clothes the night before. My daughter is incredibly particular about what she wears, and the mornings are far too jam packed to have an argument about it, so we go into her closet every night and decide what she’s going to wear the next day, down to her socks. Then we lay it out on the table, and she is ready to go the next morning. Frankly, on a day that I am really crunched in the morning and may even have to get to work early, I take out my clothes as well. You’d be amazed how much time you save when you’re not standing in front of your closet, lamenting about how you have nothing to wear. (Or maybe that’s just me.)

Go through their school folder at night. I want no surprises in the morning — there’s already too much to deal with. So I fill out any forms or get any money I have to send in together the night before, put everything into their folders and backpacks and then rest easy. And if there’s anything really major due that week — a project, supplies that need to get sent in, whatever, I do it over the weekend before. By Sunday night, I get it all together, even if its not due til, say, Wednesday. Something will inevitably come up during the week, but I try to control as much as I can so I don’t feel so pressured with time.

Establish 4 – 5 lunch menus. You want variety, but you also don’t want too much choice. If you’ve got 4 – 5 things in your repertoire, that should keep them interested and eating. Peanut butter and banana or avocado and cheese are healthy sandwiches that don’t feel run of the mill. Trader Joe’s dumplings are always a hit. Cottage cheese and fruit can be good. And never underestimate the power of leftovers — pasta is a particular favorite in our house. Rotate fruits, add in some carrot sticks and then a surprise snack to keep ’em guessing and you’ll be good to go. I’m a big fan of reusable containers instead of the bottomless pit of Ziploc bags that packed lunch can become. And once in a while, it’s ok to take the day off and let them get school lunch. Many schools are leading the way in ensuring there are healthy offerings, so you don’t have to feel too guilty about it.

Sometimes, if it can be put off, put it off. Know your limits — and if you’re feeling particularly tired, ill or whatever, limit your to do list to what is absolutely essential in that moment. If you can do it tomorrow, do it then. The school sent home a mountain of paperwork on Thursday. I had a massive headache. My normal instinct would be to do it all that night and get it back asap. But I just couldn’t; I had to go to sleep. So I did it over the weekend and it will go back on Monday. And it’s fine.

Make an easy to read schedule and put it on the wall. Every day after school is another activity in another place, for each of my children. I created an easily readable chart that hangs on the wall in the kitchen and tells where everyone is, at what time, and what time they need to get picked up. That way whomever is on duty knows where to be and when.

It’s never easy, and there are always last minute surprises, but hopefully these small things can make things a bit easier for all of us!

And did I mention…

I’m not sure how the summer went by without me mentioning one of my best discoveries in the supermarket frozen food aisle: Caramel Pretzel Klondike Bars. Seriously delish, with the mix of salty/sweet, and some crunch to boot. We had several different friends here over the summer and each time I pulled them out to offer them for dessert, their eyes lit up and they savored every bite. And every one of them told me not to offer them to the kids so there would be more left for the next day! Try ’em before the weather gets too chilly for ice cream.

Etc.

Well finally the miserable humidity broke here in the east (unfortunately it took some nasty storms in some places to do it). Enjoy the beautiful fall weather while you can. And wear all your cute sandals before it’s too late to show the world your toes!

Alexander Wang Chelsea Boot

It’s amazing how quickly you can go from being in the thick of summer and all its joys, to having to get into the mindset of fall and all that it has to offer/obligate…so what am I looking forward to this fall?

Something hunter green: A ribbed turtleneck or maybe a funnel – neck coat…this is the color to give a shot of now! to your wardrobe. Runner up: Blood red.

A black leather motorcycle jacket: I have one from several years back but it seems too stiff and manly — this year’s crop are buttery and just plain cool.

A new bag: Hopefully my husband isn’t reading this (which is a joke because he has to read EVERY SINGLE POST, no??) but I’m crushing on so many new bags this fall — I especially like the mixed leather ones, like embossed croc with suede. Tracy Reese has a relaunched line of bags coming out, and Foley + Corinna has some nice ones too. Bring it!

Alexander Wang booties: I like things that are different and weird but not too far out there, if that makes sense. These leather booties from the Wang-ster fit the bill. Check out the cut out in the heel.

Dark Blue Nail Polish: Bright blue was right for the warm temps of summer, but come fall it’s time to darken it up a little bit, and only on the toes. Dark blue with a touch of grey does nicely. Try OPI or Essie.

As the season progresses, I am sure the list will be continued, but that should be enough to get us all started!!

Speaking of Nail Polish

I went and got a pedicure at a new place, and my fab technician scrubbed every piece of dead skin off my heels — amazing!! To keep them soft, she told me to put Aveeno foot cream on at night with socks and after a week they will be in supreme condition. I think I’ll try it!

And in other salon news, I recently realized that I was not leaving conditioner on my hair long enough in the shower. I was putting it on and then rinsing it out. But now I put it on, and do something else — like shave my legs or use bodywash — and then I rinse it out. And let me tell you, big difference! My hair is much softer and easier to get a comb through. So if you’ve been quickly washing it out, try this and see if it makes a difference…

Etc.

Well, the party’s over. I have been at the beach for over 2 weeks and tomorrow it is time to get home and back to reality. I can’t believe the kids are starting school this week. I have one more day to get myself in the proper mindset! Homework, picking out outfits the night before, waking up early to get everyone out the door on time…

Goodbye summer…it was great while it lasted!