an unforgettable night at la vara and clover club

I first went to La Vara not too long after it opened, and enjoyed it so much what we vowed to come back before too long. At the time, T lived close by, so in my mind, it was a no-brainer. As is often the case though, time continued to pass by and we didn’t return – not until January 14th, a day I’ll never forget.

Small plates are the focus at La Vara, which we enjoy since it means we really get the chance to try as many different menu options as we’re prepared to eat. They change them up often, which can be good (yay, more things to try!) or bad (wait, where’d my favorite go?), depending on your POV. We’d recently started to do one “fancy date night” a month, and January, our destination was La Vara.

16421047185_095e9caee7_m

Even though we had it last time, we had to start with the Berenjena Con Miel, which is crispy eggplant with honey, melted cheese, and nigella seed. I love this dish. It’s just fried ever so slightly, and it’s the only time I’ve ever seen eggplant and honey paired up. It’s a winner.

16421048705_e77b69543e_m

Since we so enjoyed duck hearts on our San Francisco trip, we decided to try their Pincho de Ceuta – which is Gibraltar style grilled chicken hearts served with a fresh herb salad and a lime-date vinaigrette. This was pretty good, though our duck heart king is still Alembic.

16420117862_819ec870f1_m

One of the specials of the day was cauliflower fritters. These were super flavorful and much more substantial than we’d expected.

Gurullos

For one of the heavier plates, we had to order the Gurullos, which is a handmade Murcian pasta with goat butter and ground goat. The ground goat is optional, but oh my, it’s delicious. This was one of our favorites from our first visit and it didn’t disappoint. The noodles and the butter just melt in your mouth and the flavor of the goat is always on point. So so good.

15798564714_a50e7e489d_m

To end the meal, we ordered the Torta Santiago, which was a Galician almond cake topped with fruit. T seemed a bit iffy on the dessert, but I didn’t think anything of it (he’s never big into sweets, so I wasn’t entirely surprised by his lack of enthusiasm). This was essentially a thicker short bread. Next time, I think I’ll instead try their homemade olive oil ice cream.

After leaving La Vara, T thought we should make our way over to another fave of ours, Clover Club, for a quick night cap. I didn’t think anything of it, seeing as we’ve been there a number of times. When we walked in, I was excited to see that Michael Arenella & His Dreamland Orchestra were playing. We’re huge fans of theirs, and we always seem to forget that they play Wednesday night every week over at Clover Club.

19214913654_aa997da080_m

When we walked in, we instantly saw Clay up by the bar. Again, I didn’t think anything of it, seeing as we often run into Clay out and about in Brooklyn. T had to run out for a minute, so I sat for a bit chatting with Clay. I was talking so much with my back to the band that Clay finally interrupted me to ask something along the lines of, “You guys are fans of the band, right? It looks like they have a new lead singer.”

19649819000_7f91d8eb62_m

Puzzled, I stopped and turned around to find Michael had let Topher take the mic as he sang Adele’s jazzy rendition of “Love Song”. I’m pretty sure I instantly froze, slowly processing what was happening and what this might could mean. The band continued to play in the background as he made his way over and got down on one knee. My mind was a blur as he reached into a box and pulled out the ring. In the moment, I was so excited that I seemingly grabbed the ring and put it onto my finger. (Ooops.) I gave him a huge hug, then a kiss. Later, he would tease me I never actually said “yes,” but I think he got the idea. It also turns out that running into Clay was not such a coincidence, as he was there to catch the entire thing on camera.

19216982913_292f97b978_m

The surprise continued when we walked to the back room, where I found so many of our closest friends waiting for us to join in the celebration.

Post Engagement

Some had taken planes, trains, or automobiles just to be there to celebrate along with us, which really did mean the world. Love really was all around. It was absolutely perfect.

1011779_10155028215275401_892712828723785433_n

That night, we stayed until Clover Club closed. We were the last two sitting at the bar, chatting and grinning. We managed to grab a quick photo with the band, too, before they made their way out.

19838078335_651c692296_m

So, that explains the hiatus here. It’s been a busy six months or so, but now that our wonderful wedding is done and we’ve returned from the honeymoon, I’m back behind the laptop, contemplating my last great meal. Good to be back, and to share the fun story of the reason for my brief “hiatus” with you all. Xo.

La Vara – 268 Clinton Street (at Verandah Pl), Brooklyn – 718.422.0065
Reservations Suggested

Clover Club – 210 Smith Street (between Baltic and Butler), Brooklyn – 718.855.7939

thrilled to have danced

Pat Benatar and Michael Jackson

Pat Benatar and Michael Jackson

Monday morning, I was bummed. Not only did I have a horrible cough (more on that in a second), but I realized after two days of fun costumes I was back to dressing as … myself. After my voluminous wig from my costume for Sunday, my hair looked flat and just so boring.

For the past couple of weeks, some friends and I have been attending rehearsals to do the Thriller dance in NYC’s Halloween Parade. I’d never been to the parade in the Village and figured why just attend when I could be in it? We decided to not just be zombies, but to be 80s zombies. I’ve never done a scary take on Halloween, so thankfully we all got ready as a group, caking on white make-up and hollowing out our cheeks and eyes with gray and black, capping it all off with black lip stick. Oh and blood. Lots of liquid fake blood. My decision to wear a wig proved to be smart – as I didn’t have to worry about how my hair looked and it helped to keep me as warm as possible (which was sadly not so warm). Continue reading

pretty good year

Birthday (Princess Sparkle) Balloons!

Birthday (Princess Sparkle) Balloons!

Yesterday was my birthday. Another year older. Hopefully another year wiser. It was a good one for the most part, filled with lots of wonderful memories with friends and meeting many new fabulous faces along the way. I did not have any big plans last night though since there was something else on the schedule that I was a tad focused on – the final class session for my trapeze IFW (Intensive Flying Workshop). Being the last one before our big show on Friday, I decided not even my birthday would keep me from going. So instead of a fancy dinner, karaoke, or something else along those lines, I ran through my two tricks in the remaining portion of my costume – orange tights, Big Bird leggings, and newly purchased yellow booty shorts. Continue reading

bourdain’s “medium raw” comes to union square

Anthony Bourdain is a character. He’s one of those who I’d easily place into the love him/hate him category. And it’s fair enough, as he’s not one to take a lukewarm stance on just about anything. When I learned he was coming to Union Square on June 8th, I instantly put it into my planner. This was going to happen. I couldn’t miss it.

Looking somewhat uncomfortable during his introduction

Looking somewhat uncomfortable during his introduction

But then I saw that was right when my parents were coming. My parents still live in Alabama. Although my mom is a fan of his TV show No Reservations, I wasn’t sure she was ready for non-censored-for-TV Tony. She seemed interested in coming, so I frantically scoured my apartment for my copy of his first book, Kitchen Confidential. If she could make it through cover to cover and still (1) be remotely interested and (2) find him still somewhat entertaining then this might could work. Not only did she finish the entire thing before we’d made it all of the way from NYC to Maine, but she was inspired enough to come back and head over to Korin in TriBeCa to get one of Global’s chef’s knives. And so she sat there with me by my side throughout the hour and a half wait for Bourdain to finally come out on stage.

As expected, the entire top floor of Barnes & Noble was packed and the overflow seating was completely full. And Bourdain was so Bourdain, even if in a slightly older and more thoughtful version. But he wasn’t completely watered down now – nor do I think he ever will be.  Unlike his polite conversation the day before with Matt Lauer or the somewhat restrained version of himself on the Travel Channel, this discussion was straight up him talking to the crowd – no holding back when it came to langugae. I didn’t keep track, but I think I could’ve easily covered the cost of dinner if I’d received a $1 for each f bomb he dropped.  One question from the audience was what his favorite type of pork. Seemingly stunned, he stood there for a minute with a confused look on his face before he broke into hysterical laughter. “Oh pork,” he exclaimed. “I thought you said porn…Continue reading

anatomy of an “almost catch”

Saturday was disgusting. Absolutely foul. It was a day only acceptable if you can remain inside the confines of your apartment, with no need to even think of walking outside. Sadly, my Saturday was filled with plans, so I pulled on my Uggs and set out with my gym bag. I learned two important things – when it’s gonna crazy rain, definitely don’t wear Uggs. And similarly, don’t carry a gym bag made of vinyl. Double fail.

At least the fails ended with the rain though. Unlike our last visit to Trapeze New York, Meg and I had a wonderful day flying! I was excited to finally get the set split (take that, mental block!) and came mighty mighty close to doing a successful catch coming out.

(videos/pics after the break)

Continue reading

nuestra cumpleanos

This weekend, Jax and I had our joint birthday party (we dubbed it our 60th, as that’s what you get when you add 30 and 30 together) at Su Casa. It was great to see everyone together and I was so appreciative that so many from DC came in to join in on the fun. My thoughts though on the venue I will save for another time, although the high level comment would be do not not not ever plan an event here. Ever.

But back to the positive, everyone was festive. The music was great. Hugs and birthday cards abounded, and I was very happy that we ended up celebrating somewhere where there was dancing. Yes. Big big yes!

Posing with the co-bday girl, Jax, and Anna (AKA @shoesmitten)

Posing with the co-b'day girl, Jax, and Anna (AKA @shoesmitten) It's our Labor Day BBQ Gang, Different Backdrop