Sprinkles comes to New York

after what has seemed like an eternity, sprinkles cupcakes are finally landing a store here in new york city. lexington avenue, how lucky you are.  

780 lexington avenue

look out magnolia, buttercream, crumbs and even sugar sweet sunshine, the cream de la cupcake is landing here this april.

call me a connoisseur of cupcakeries, i predict this l.a. bakery will blow all others out of the water. their black & white flavor is by far the best cupcake i’ve ever tasted.

founded in beverly hills in 2004, sprinkles claims to be the “original cupcake bakery” and was baking before cupcakes turned cool. coincidentally enough, i happen to be traveling to l.a. this week and have it on my top priorities to visit their flagship store on little santa monica boulevard. stay tuned to for a follow-up post and images of me with my favorite black & white delight.

sprinkles, new york (april 2011)

780 lexington ave  between 60th & 61st street

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Market Table

this post is not so much about a restaurant (albeit an excellent one), it is more about the occasion that led to the restaurant: a secret courthouse wedding.

now that it is in the open, i can say it

matt & anne are married!

i was honored and privileged to be let in on the secret and join them for their courthouse nuptials. matt, is my favorite long time friend from miami and anne is well… she’s just my favorite. there are not many things the two haven’t endured in the 4-year long-distance relationship from new york city to holland. from extreme joys, new friends, crushing disappointments sprinkled with sad goodbyes, their relationship has been refined and tested to say the least.  after a year of living in new york city together by way of anne’s work visa, we all thought their happy ending was around the corner when they were engaged to be married in spring of 2009. anne returned temporarily to the netherlands to fulfil her visa requirements with the hope of returning after a few months. anne was denied a visa to return to her life in new york causing the two to be separated for over a year longer than planned. the waiting, the unknown, the paris rendezvous, the when-will-they-see-each-other-agains were torturous to them and their friends as the weeks dragged into months with no end in sight. matt continued life as usual in new york city and anne wrestled in limbo with unsteady jobs & apartments in her home city of utrecht. with countless complications, uncertainties and u.s. bureaucracy they wondered if and when they could ever legally live in new york together again.

well the story has a happy ending.  anne finally got a letter from the united states of america saying that she was permitted to travel.

on august 20, 2010, the couple tied the knot at the new york city courthouse making them man and wife, and I got it all on film. as i witnessed them exchange vows in the simple manner they both wanted, i couldn’t help but flashback through their relationship and recall all that had led to this moment. there was not a dry eye in the room. although they wanted this to be simple and as un-celebrated as possible we all were aware of the magnitude of what was happening and the special, joyous, momentous day that it in fact was.


matt chasing anne. the caption of their relationship.

now serving...

signing on the dotted line

anne always wanted to hail a cab after her nyc wedding

wedding champaign and celebration was at market table. a small, corner restaurant on carmine street perfect with natural light pouring in from the huge windows. the menu boasts of their seasonal, local “made in new york” menu from chef joey campanaro of little owl.  we were just in time for tomato season and feasted on a mix of fresh heirlooms.

we were just in time for tomato season and feasted on a mix of fresh heirlooms.

after lunch, the two were off to sky diving in long island to live happily ever after. finally.

Market Table  54 Carmine st @ Bedford, NY, NY 10014 / 212.255.2100

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Sublime [ft.lauderdale]

two years ago (at least) on a full moon, on michelle bernstein’s tv show, check please, jose heard the story of a meat-eating man’s life changed by a vegetarian restaurant. for two years (at least), jose has been wanting to try that restaurant. the restaurant is ft. lauderdale’s sublime organic & natural. so 35miles north of miami we drove to a vegetarian’s oasis.

after starting with their frito misto (crispy cauliflower) and their eggplant rollatini (“ricotta”, “mozzarella” & garlic “butter) those non-vegetarians at the table (who will remain unnamed) were floored by how tasty vegan food can taste. one non-vegan said, “the sauce for the eggplant was truly nice and this dish should be made into an entrée.”

senor hernandez who was our token meat eater (and ironically the restaurant’s biggest advocate) had the sublime picata after learning this was the very dish that changed the meat lover’s life those two years ago. the picata is made of “texturized meat” formally known as gardain which is a combo of wheat, soy & carrots. after trying the dish, his exact words were, “shit this is good.”

sublime picata- for the meat lovers

portobello stack with sautéed spinach & cauliflower mash.

(i would like to note that i love the menu’s use of quotations on words such as: topped with “mozzarella cheese” or  vanilla “ice cream”)

i ordered the mushroom ravioli with sundried tomatoes which had homemade pasta and was mixed in a light olive oil, garlic & “butter” sauce.

homemade pasta. mmmmm

the menu had a plethora of sides such as the macaroni & “cheese” and mashed potatoes below.

vegan sides

for desert we ordered the chocolate nirvana which was chocolate cake, kahlua “butter creme” and dark chocolate ganache.

vegans love "ice cream" & chocolate too

it was a great evening because we shared it with the family. mr. hernandez’s conclusion of the restaurant: “i am bringing my wife here for our anniversary – with our without her.”

sublime natural & organic restaurant

ft. lauderdale, fl

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december in miami

the miami week started off with this.

the thompson's first dance as man & wife

but more on that later. pull up a chair.

i'm saving you a seat.

home is miami, florida, usa. home is good for a lot of things. especially for stumbling across old photos.

like this one, pre-carolyn

so after the wedding my dad thought it would be fun if we pile everyone in the car and drive down to the keys for dinner. so we did. destination: islamorada.

we stopped along the way to watch the sunset

papi y yo

from islamorada, we journeyed west to florida’s everglades to celebrate nicky’s birthday. it was a good one for him this year surrounded by cousins and alligators.

air boat ride. scouting alligators

"nan, you are my favorite cousin."

then on christmas eve, we celebrated noche buena with pork at the lopez’s.

noche buena pig before it was cooked in the caja china


on christmas day, my family has this tradition…

...where my dad dresses up as santa and skis around the lake.

he gets a kick out of himself.

and in the meantime…

...this is me being alive to beauty

in other news, i bought my first pair of red pants. they are a good time guaranteed… in the form of pants. the best $17 i might have ever spent.

i've never owned a pair of red pants before. now i do.

shopping isn't so bad with finds like these

or this.

remember the time when we had a family date on the dock to watch the sunset?  remember when everyone got really panicky when it was 5:26 and there were only 10min left of sunlight and the rocks weren’t in the scotch and the guac was still in progress?

brett & i carried the couch over to watch the show.

scotch on the rocks. literally.

...but all ended well. and the guac made it out.

then there was this coffee break…

...where my dad takes a shot of cuban coffee and says, "wow. god bless america."

and then this. these are shorts. they are what i am wearing because it’s 73 degrees here.

this is december in miami.

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alive to beauty

i was reading on the dock this morning and came across this line that stuck out to me. in john piper’s book, don’t waste your life*, he pays tribute to the impact that c.s. lewis had on shaping his post-extistentialistic searching for truth around him. he says of lewis:

he made me more alive to beauty. he put my soul on notice that there are daily wonders that will waken worship if I open my eyes.

i want to remember this when time speeds up again and moments are harder to retain. when i am tempted to succumb to the busyness (and often vain-ness) that clouds my mind’s sensitivity to the wisdom revealed in the beauty around us.

merry christmas eve.

*thanks d.j.

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Osteria Mozza [los angeles]

We venture out west.  Far west into Hollywood where the food is as eclectic as the local inhabitants.  A festive occasion called for a visit to Osteria Mozza, offering Silvertonian / Batalian cuisine.  No not a region in Italy.  Those are the founders of the feast.  Renown pastry chef Nacy Silverton (Campanile, Spago, La Brea Bakery) and Italian fare master Mario Batali (Babbo Ristorante, Lupa, Otto Enoteca), who believes olive oil is as precious as gold, have joined forces to create one of LA’s culinary gems.

The Mozza’s crown jewel is the Mozzarella bar where choice creations are crafted from the finest mozzarella, burrata, bocconcini, and stracciatella.  Favorites include Scamorza Panino with Armandino’s mole salame & spicy cherry peppers; the Bufala Mozzarella with Alici di Menaica, mache & herb vinaigrette; and the Sheep’s Milk Ricotta Trufflebert Farms hazelnuts, lemon & garlic. You have never had cheese like this!

The menu offers a surprisingly extensive list of Primi features, all with such colorful combinations they define what culinary innovation is all about.  Must tries include the Squid Ink Chitarra Freddi with Dungeness crab, the sea urchin & jalapeno; the Maltagliati with wild boar ragu; and the Bucatini alla Amatriciana.

The Secondis are solid complements to the eclectic Primis and no less inspired.  Guests have a difficult time deciding on a favorite as they span an impressive range of the palate.  Consistent winners include the Grilled Quail wrapped in pancetta with sage & honey; the Grilled Beef Tagliata rucola & Parmigiano with aceto balsamico; and the Rabbit con Salsiccia, roasted garlic, lemon & rosemary.

The 36 page wine list was a bit intimidating to navigate but the helpful servers were very knowledgeable and helped us make the right call.  We tried the Grosjean Frères Pinot Noir and the Bucerchiale Chianti and both were kings high.  As expected, style is LA casual but we had no difficulty noticing the understated elegance of the mahogany bar and dimmed dining rooms.  Service was professional and cheery, void any trace of celebrity prima-donna foo foo that Los Angelinos have grown to dread.  The atmosphere is both lively and intimate and great for big parties of any number.  By the time dessert rolled around, we had to be carted away in a stretcher.  Definitely not your mama’s Italian, Osteria Mozza does the best of melding traditional Italian roots with exquisite modern innovations.  The mozzarella bar alone is enough to make me a life-long addict.


Osteria Mozza 6022 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90038


* guest blogger danny jacobson contributes his culinary expertise from the angel town of california.

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icky's dream come true.

good restaurants popping up all over new york city.

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