Tasty and Friendly

January 26, 2013

logoI don’t know that I would call myself a Francophile but I do love a lot from the French. So when a new cooking school opened downtown, I thought I would try it and I invited my friend Suzanne to come along. Cook & Go Culinary Studio’s premise is simple: you sign up for a three course meal and you show up at your appointed time to prepare all 3 courses, all under the watchful eye of a real chef. The catch is that while you prepare everything there, they wrap it all up with explicit instructions for how to cook it at home. We did an Indian meal and there were about 18 students in our class. They give you a glass of wine while you cook (but of course — it’s French!) and are happy to refill. You can ask as many questions as you want to the chef but otherwise he leads everyone through, one step at a time.

The space is bright and airy and most importantly, very clean and new. The people working there were very nice. We made a seafood tikki masala with prawns and mussels, spicy curry meatballs with a side of coconut infused spinach and for dessert a pineapple-lime and mango chutney cake. Classes are about 90 minutes. We took a 7:30pm class, which meant we were too hungry at 9 to go home and cook so we made a pitstop at nearby Chelsea Market. I did cook everything the next evening and I can report that it was all tasty. The cooking instructions were easy to follow (one snafu was that things were underdone by their given cooking time but it could have been my oven). The best part was that the food was out of the ordinary of what I would usually cook, which is what you want in a one time cooking class, I think. Most menus are $39 – $49 and you can bring home an extra portion for $15 more. Worth grabbing a friend and giving it a go! (443 West 16th Street)

Beauty By Boots

300I love when I find a reasonably priced beauty product that actually works well so I don’t feel like I am compromising anything to save a few bucks. (I’m talking about you, cheap lipsticks!) Those of you who read this blog know I am also always on the lookout for organic and natural products, as the more studies that come out, the more disheartened I am about the all the crap I probably have absorbed over the years through my skin. Boots Botanics Organic Face Rosewater Toner feels high end all around, from its faint scent, all natural ingredients, gentleness on the face yet seriously strong ability to get off every last trace of makeup. Keep it in the medicine cabinet as a makeup remover or just a general pick me up for your skin. (About $9 at Target or Drugstore.com)

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It snowed a bit last night and it’s just downright freezing, so we had to come up with an indoor activity today, so Dave & Buster’s it was. Now, we had about $60 in game cards already, and it still was expensive to go! That place is a freakin’ gold mine. They get you coming and going with not cheap mediocre food and then the games…and then the prizes are not exactly of premium quality!

Anyway, hope you’re staying warm!

Flu-rious

January 12, 2013

I’m not sure why I’m making a bad joke about the flu in this headline, except to say that I hope you all have gotten your flu shots. And if you haven’t, right about now would be a good time to go. It is no joke this year.  I spend a lot of time washing my hands and even when I’m not I think about all the ways germs can be transmitted…subway poll, handrail, door handle, money. Ah! The possibilities are endless. And I don’t even have OCD! Not even close. It’s just the thought of the flu knocking me on my ass — or worse knocking out one of my kids — for 10 days or more is a nightmare. If any of you out there reading this are sick, I am so sorry. Drink lots of fluids, get lots of rest, and thank goodness you can’t transmit germs through a blog. As far as I know…

If you do feel like venturing out and risking the germs, we went to Mission Chinese, the restaurant on the Lower East Side by the guy from San Fran that has been on everybody’s 10 best of the year list. If you’ve heard about it, you know there’s a keg of Pabst Blue Ribbon which you can partake in while you wait for your table, assuming you’re over 21. (My 8 year old son tried to partake, but failed miserably. Go figure.) And wait for a table you will…we went for lunch right about when it opened at 12 noon and we were told the wait was 90 minutes. In the end it was closer to 2 hours. But we were off work that day and hanging out so we took the kids to Economy Candy around the corner to kill some time. (If you haven’t been there, it’s worth a trip even just to browse at all the candy from your youth that you forgot about.) The good news is you can leave your cell number and they will call you. The bad news is that even when they call you and you rush back, you’ll still wait about 30 minutes more.

The place is small and, well, I won’t sugar coat it, it’s kind of a dump. (“It’s ironic hipster” is how my husband tried to justify it.) The people who work there are perfectly nice. The schtick is spicy and the food is very good. We had the Kung Pao Pastrami (my son loved it) as well as the Cumin Lamb (which my daughter couldn’t get enough of). So two thumbs up on the food, the prices are relatively gentle, but I honestly don’t know if I can say it’s worth the wait. They do take out so that might be the best way to do it next time. Although Zac Efron was there a few days after we were…can’t get that at home!

s1226760-main-heroHead Hydration

I may have mentioned last post that I cut a lot of my hair off, both because I was looking for a change and my hair seemed damaged and was acting strangely. It definitely feels healthier, and I’ve added Argan Oil Hair Serum into my routine. Made by Josie Maran (I bought it at Sephora) a little dab’ll do ya. I just take a small squirt and work it through my towel-dried hair. It doesn’t really do anything style-wise, but it does seem to keep my hair better conditioned and softer. It’s very lightweight and doesn’t make anything greasy, also a bonus. I don’t blow dry my hair and a lot of products have to be put on dry hair, so this is good for me because I can shower, get dressed, put on my makeup and this hair oil and I’m out the door. All natural too!

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The Golden Globes are on Sunday and I am looking forward to Amy Poehler and Tina Fey hosting, as well as a possible Ben Affleck win for Best Director where he can stick it to the Academy for snubbing him. (Don’t those voters like a good comeback story? So Hollywood!)

We’ve got birthday parties, touch football games, a massage and a family dinner at Sushi Samba…sounds like a good one to me. Hope you’ve got something great planned for the weekend!

New Year, New Ideas!

January 5, 2013

Happy New Year Family Favs readers!!! I can’t believe this is our 4th birthday here on the blog. And we’ve got lots of recommendations for you, so I hope you had a great holiday and you’re ready to get out there and try something new!

PAA_Ann_Hamilton_JamesEwing-4794Unless they extend it, you’ve only got til tomorrow to check out Ann Hamilton’s “Event of a Thread” at the Park Avenue Armory. Grab the kids and go. To try and explain, it’s a series of large wooden swings connected to huge billowy white sheets. So when you take your turn on the swings, it makes the fabric move in mesmerizing ways. Plus there’s some pigeons and people reading into microphones. Really. You can also lie under the sheets and create your own form of meditation. It’s definitely a happening (in a good way) and worth seeing before it goes away. Kids 10 and under are free; adults are $12 and I would say you need at least an hour to hang out and experience it. More info here.

Beauty’s Where You Find It

I like the idea of using the new year as a marker to get out of your beauty rut. I actually chopped a lot of my hair off because I felt like it had gotten so dry and damaged. Now my hair feels a lot healthier and manageable. I also went and had my makeup done over at the Nars store on Bleecker. I like Nars makeup, and the staff in there is incredibly nice and helpful. In addition to putting makeup on you, they really explain what they’re doing and how you can recreate it or modify it at home. I have brown eyes and the makeup artist really encouraged me to go with plum shades around the eye. I have to say I have been liking it. (A woman at Clinique once told me this too but I guess you need to be told something twice!) They make an eyeliner that comes with its own sharpener in the cap (semi-genius) and once it’s set, really stays throughout the day (or night). Only issue is that you’ve got to put it where you mean it! And though I’ve been obsessed with a nude lip for quite a while, I probably look half dead in the winter so she convinced me to try some color. Flair is a nice red that’s not too red or heavy. And she had the best advice, which is that whatever makeup you feel comfortable in, that’s what you should wear. So where someone may feel great with heavily made up eyes and severe blush, you may feel more comfortable in a more natural palette. And both are ok!

Cinefiles

We took the time over the break to see 2 movies, which is a lot for us in a 10 day period. Django Unchained has a good script and great acting, especially from Christoph Waltz. There is a great scene with Don Johnson (yes, Don Johnson) and a bunch of hooded racists. But the violence (Quentin Tarantino’s calling card) was tough to take. My husband thought it was cartoony, but given what has happened in the world I don’t think i can write any of it off as cartoony….we also saw Silver Linings Playbook. This was a nice little movie — a respite in a world of action and event flicks. Jennifer Lawrence is excellent in the film; Bradley Cooper is fine. (My husband thought he was too weak an actor for the role.) Our takeaway? In a relationship, everyone always thinks the other person is more crazy than they are. And yet still there is love…

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I keep writing 2012 on everything…because it is hard to believe that 2013 is upon us.

Due to the fact that our house at the beach is still damaged from Sandy, we had a staycation in the city. And it was fun! I think the key to a good staycation is to plan at least one thing for every day so that you don’t revert to your routine. We saw lots of friends and family, visited museums and tried new restaurants. All fun!

Hope yours was equally enjoyable!