Thursday, June 26, 2014

AN AFTERNOON IN NEW HOPE

 Last Sunday we took a little trip down to Pennsylvania for a Summer Solstice Expo and Holistic Fair. Little did we know that the town where this event took place was cute as a button, just like something out of a storybook. Beautiful historic houses, interesting little stores, antique shops, art galleries, cafes, restaurants, vibrant night life and location right by the river. The name of the town was New Hope. It was a popular gay resort in the 1950s and still has an active and large gay community, which was quite noticeable from the rainbow flags hanging everywhere. New Hope also attracts bikers as you may see from some of the photos below. 
During our next visit to New Hope we're planning on taking The New Hope & Ivyland Railroad that takes you through the historic and scenic line through Bucks County. I always wanted to ride the steam locomotive! That should be so much fun. Another sightseeing option is the ferry boat that leaves right next to The Landing Restaurant. 

Few bikers in town...
We had dinner at The Landing Restaurant right by the river, sitting outside of course. Their menu seemed just like an any average American restaurant's menu and I had no high hopes on the food, but was pleasantly surprised how good it was.  I had their Portabella Sandwich and it was one of the most delicious Portabella sandwiches I've ever had. Oh, New Hope, you stole my heart. We'll be back very soon!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

MIDSUMMER'S EVE

Midsummer is a huge deal in my home country Finland and originally a celebration of the summer solstice, it is typically spent at a summer cottages in the countryside. Bonfires, sauna, swimming, BBQ, boating, casting Midsummer spells, cold beverages and partying hard are typical traditions in Midsummer celebrations. Last year I attended the Swedish Midsummer party in Battery Park, but this year I just wanted to stay home, decorate the house a bit and just cook and relax. I made some potato salad, Gazpacho and bubbly cocktails from sparkling wine and fresh watermelon-strawberry puree. 

Monday, June 23, 2014

MEATLESS MONDAY : GAZPACHO

 When I worked one summer in the Hamptons, as a waiter for one very rich man, I ate Gazpacho at least every other day. The man loved this soup so the chef prepared it fresh multiple times a week. And it was the best Gazpacho I ever had in my life. The chef did give me the recipes for all my favorite dishes, but I lost them somewhere in between traveling. I've been desperately trying hunt down the chef, but he is nowhere to be found. It has been 9 years since... But this soup still takes me back down the memory lane to my care-free life in Southampton beaches and parties. It's a soup with tons of memories. Therefore I tried to re-create it for this year's Midsummer festivities. It was not chef Thomas' Gazpacho, but it was still pretty darn good. Sweet and savory.

WATERMELON-TOMATO GAZPACHO

 5 cups seedless watermelon
2 cups tomatoes, chopped
1 shallot, chopped 
3 tablespoons olive oil 
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar 
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
salt, black pepper, paprika

Put the watermelon, tomatoes, shallots, oil, vinegar, cilantro and spices into a blender and puree until smooth. Transfer puree to a fine mesh strainer set over a large bowl and strain puree, pressing as much through as possible; discard solids. Cover and chill for at least 1 hour. Pour chilled soup into bowls or glasses and top with fresh, chopped cilantro. I used all my cilantro for the soup so I garnished with dried herbs and red pepper flakes instead to give it a nice kick. I also skipped a step and did not strain the soup, maybe that's why it's a bit darker in color.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

DOWNTOWN CRUISE

Last week we had some work-related fun when City Guide organized their Concierge cruise together with Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises. As a water-sign myself (Pisces) I love being on the water and find such peace in water elements. This specific cruise was nothing sort of peaceful though, but dance packed party extravaganza. Music was loud, people dancing like there was no tomorrow and food and drinks were served in hefty portions. We did remember to enjoy the gorgeous views as well. The Statue of Liberty, NYC skyline, Ellis Island and the many beautiful sail boats that were on the Hudson river that evening. We had great time and met some interesting characters along the way. We hear this summer will be full of events like this so bring it on! Sometimes this job has it's perks!

Monday, June 16, 2014

MEDITERRANEO

The other day we decided to leave the familiar neighborhood and head out to somewhere kind of new: Ridgewood, New Jersey. The first time I was here when meeting Alicia Silverstone at her book signing. Plan was to explore Ridgewood's vintage boutiques and have a light lunch outdoors since it was a beautiful, sunny day. 
We walked and walked, went to get green juices from a juice bar and finally found a cute restaurant called Mediterraneo that had quiet sidewalk tables in the sun. Lunch hour rush had just ended so we were almost the only people there. Our waiter recommended to get an appetizer of hummus, babagannoush and some olive-tomato-onion stuff that was served with warm pita bread. We pretty much stuffed ourselves with that since it was all so delicious. We also ate 2 baskets of pita bread... Oops.
So when our mains arrived we were not hungry one bit. Typical.

Monday, June 9, 2014

NIGHT OF RENEWAL

About a week ago I attended fun, tasty and inspiring wellness event at our local juice bar Manhattan Juice Bar & Cafe. There was lots of healthy goodies, informative speakers talking about how we can all transform our lives, as well as a raffle (I won pilates classes and chiropractic screening!). 
We got to taste some delicious foods from Manhattan Juice Bar including the plate above: Raw Celery Salad with sunflower seeds, raw local honey and dijon mustard, Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad with parsley, lemon, onion, mint & olive oil, Avocado Tuna with parsley, onion, celery, avocado, lemon and sea salt, Raw Lentil Salad with lemon, herbs, celery, red onion, sea salt and olive oil and Roasted Beet salad with apples, raisins, spices and carrots. In the middle of the plate you can see their vegan, gluten-free energy balls that ended the tasting with a sweet note. 
We also got to taste their juices and smoothies. Above are the NY Islander (mango, pineapple, coconut milk, protein powder) and the Pink Panther (strawberries, banana, vanilla almond milk, protein powder). What an inspiring night! I could totally see myself organizing and speaking at these kind of events in the near future.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

IT'S PICNIC SEASON AGAIN!

Last Sunday we packed our bags and headed out to the nearby park to spend the entire day there. Sun, grass, little lake, paddle boats, some cool drinks, lunch and sweet pastries kept us entertained. This is the time when the weather is still beautiful, right before the terrible humidity kicks in. So I'm trying to enjoy the outdoors as much as possible right now. Have a great weekend! Go for a picnic!