Showing posts with label small business. Show all posts
Showing posts with label small business. Show all posts

Friday, November 21, 2014

chef after dark

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"taking a cooking class with your husband."  it sounds like a fun date night, right?  while it was a blast to go to, it was hardly a date night.  i guess the point of "date night" though, is to force ourselves out of the house and do something fun together.  so last night "technically" still fit our requirements.  it just happened to be with people we "know" (more on that later) and ended in a hangover the next morning.

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jersey city is a funny place.  people are so welcoming and interested in meeting new people that we all start following each other on instagram and social media before we meet in person.  before you know it, 6 months (or more) go by, and you still haven't met each other in person.  when you finally do it's like
"hey i'm jenn" 
"yes i know, nice to finally meet you in person, i'm renee"
"yes i know, nice to meet you too"
"i love your blue sofa!"
in a round about way, that's pretty much the conversation we had last night.  maybe we never met in person yet, and maybe we've been stalking following each other on instagram for quite some time, but we felt like we already knew each other!  it's sort of weird, right? when i talk about it, it's weird.  but it doesn't feel weird. that's the cool part about it.  social media is a wonderful thing.

anyways, about this cooking class we took! it was hosted by bambino chef and lourdes of the vine.  lou lou from lourdes of the vine provided the wine (and the awesome wine tasting lessons!), while renee of bambino chef provided the rest with the help of chef joyce.  the night started off with some sparkling wine to help us through getting to know one another.  once everyone arrived and suited up, we were split into 2 groups.  hung's group made cheesy savory cookies, and my group made garlic sausage with puff pastry (i forget what each item was called, i'm terrible with my french food!!) once everything went into the oven, both groups started assembling the figs with blue cheese! since it's not fig season, chef joyce rehydrated dried figs with port wine, red wine, and water so we could stuff them with blue cheese, bake, and drizzle with a port wine reduction.

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guys.  it.  was.  so.  good.

the cheesy cookies were amazing (how could you not enjoy it when 2 of the 3 main ingredients were butter and parmesan!?)  the garlic sausage with puff pastry tasted like "pigs in a blanket" to me, but with the nicer meat (i.e. NOT hotdogs) and puff pastry instead of croissants. served sliced with mustard, they were the perfect little one-bite snack.  lastly the figs.  omg the figs.  not a new flavor to us, we've been making pizzas with dried fruit and blue cheese for a while, but when it was in one-bite form with the sticky delicious port wine reduction, i could have eaten the entire plate.

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each dish we made was paired with a french wine.  i've always read about how to pair wine with food, and i've read about how to properly do a wine tasting, but i've never actually done it.  i had never been taught to do it.  last night i learned that swirling the wine in the glass, indeed, does make the smell come out better, and slurping the wine, indeed, does bring out the flavors.  (i felt so fancy doing all those fancy wine things and actually understanding why instead of doing it because that's what i see people do when they get a bottle of wine in a restaurant).

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what a great group of chefs after dark last night!! we were all basically best friends by the end of the night.  maybe the wine helped.  but this is why i love doing things like this.  lou lou and renee weren't exactly strangers to us, but the rest of the group definitely were strangers to us when they walked in the door at the beginning of the night.  by the end of the night we hugged goodbye like best friends.

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while bambino chef focuses on children's cooking classes, kids birthday parties, and occasionally a private party for adults and families, i have to say the first adult class open to the public was quite the success!! 

just wait.... you're gonna see those savory cookies again soon.  like, maybe, on that holiday coming up, that one where it's ok to indulge in butter and cheese.... and nearly everything else.

cheers.
jenn

p.s. can you tell we had a great time? i'm posting this literally hours after the event when i haven't posted in, well, almost 2 weeks! i'm a terrible blogger....

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

A Night of Noir - JC Fridays with E. Tittlemouse and Co.

jersey city has seriously been stepping up its game.  and right now, i'd have to say most of it has to do with the residents stepping up their game, coming out to support those small businesses that are popping up all over town right now, and the businesses stepping up either game by hosting community events.  it's been a win-win for everyone.  jc fridays has been a fantastic event in downtown jersey city for a while now, celebrating the works of local artists, getting the community out for a night of fun in the meantime.  although jersey city isn't home to galleries on every block, you can find local art in nearly all downtown restaurants and a lot of specialty stores.  for instance, LITM keeps its walls bare white, with rotating local art on display putting pops of color throughout the minimalist bar.

JC Fridays cupcake
cupcakes from sugar supply

while jc fridays is a great event to store hop/bar hop/art gallery hop, we decided to plant our feet at e.tittlemouse and co. for the night.  napoleon and belinda, the store owners, are huge supporters of local talent beginning to shine.  their theme for friday was "a night of noir" celebrating the upcoming works of john trigonis and lauren clemente, as they will soon launch a new comic book titled "siren's calling," a horror noir comic book based in santa monica in 1947.   lauren is the illustrator for the comic, and her art featuring scenes from the comic were on display (and for sale) at the event, including original sketches of the characters. 

E. Tittlemouse and Co.

Lauren Clemente with Siren's Calling artwork
lauren clemente's artwork from siren's calling.

everyone was encouraged to dress as if they were in the comic, the men donning trench coats and fedoras, skinny ties and suspenders.  ladies played their parts with sultry dresses, red lipstick, and victory rolls, headpieces from local jewelry artist caviar noir, or fascinators in their hair.

while i was excited to attend the entire event (gosh the anticipation leading up to it was intense!), a last minute business trip put me at the store 2 hours late.  hoping to catch the tail end of it, i didn't even change my clothes before coming (lame!), but luckily my partner in crime/husband slipped his way to the event right on time, in costume (looking as adorable as ever), with the camera and all! enjoy his amateur-but-awesome photos below (gosh he's getting good at those photo-taking skills!)

Friday, August 8, 2014

custom wedding earrings from nuda designs

considering i purchased my wedding dress for a whopping $98, i figured i could splurge on the details.  when i told hung i wanted to do custom wedding earrings, i could tell his brain was on a tight rope. "um, sure babe, anything you want", but i know in his head he was thinking "omg, how much is THIS going to cost us!?"

it's not as bad as you think! i mean, i am the bargain shopper of our duo, and i'm happy to say that i got my wedding dress, shoes, custom earrings, and custom wedding band each for under $100. 

i'm no stranger to jewelry from nuda designs, as e.tittlemouse always has nuda jewelry for sale.  i was in love with these earrings, but i wanted a bit more sparkle. 

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luckily for me, gale is super easy to work with, and was happy to modify her design for my special vision! i have a ring i wear almost daily that's labradorite.  i randomly picked it out in a jewelry store in chinatown while on a friends trip to san francisco, unaware of the name of the stone. i just liked that it was a fairly neutral color (mostly gray) with iridescent hints of blue (little did i know hung's friends were onto something when the store was "sizing" my finger for the silly ring i wanted , sneaky girls!!!)

gale quickly sourced teardrop-shaped labradorite stones and went to work!  every few days i'd get an update on the progress (we certainly didn't get that service with the custom wedding bands we ordered on etsy, but we'll leave that story for another post...) when the earrings were finished, she dropped them off at e.tittlemouse for me, so i didn't have to wait for them in the mail.  obviously i picked them up RIGHT after work that same day, opened the box IN THE STORE, tried them on IN THE STORE, and skipped all the way home (ok i'm kidding about the last part, but still, i was excited). i tried them on AGAIN when i got home, AGAIN when hung got home, then i instagrammed them.

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while i wanted to choose a local artist to make my earrings, the good thing about jewelry, is that you can buy it from anywhere! check out the nuda designs website for more of her work, purchase it on sewbie.com, or contact her for a custom design.  obviously i'd recommend her to anyone ;)

the closer we get to getting married the more giddy i get (don't all brides feel that way?)

cheers, and happy friday!
jenn

Monday, July 21, 2014

hamilton park picnic

"if i didn't move here, i would probably never do anything like this."
      - the words of my fiancé, who repeatedly tells me that he's so grateful to live such a fulfilling life in a smile-worthy place. 

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yesterday we set out for a picnic in hamilton park, casually organized by napoleon and belinda of e.tittlemouse and marinell and chadner of eighty magazine.  we packed up the picnic basket, filled with dinnerware, cloth napkins, box wine, seltzer water, and (of course) some homemade goodies.  we packed the blanket, the camera, and walked a whole 5 blocks to the picnic!

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our well-received contribution to the food spread was corn, goat cheese, and quinoa hand pies! as much as we would like to take credit for the final product, it was just a mix of the filling from the sween corn and goat cheese stuffed peppers recipe from thekitchn.com and the pie crust from the infinite kitchen sink hand pie from lady and pups.

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a surprise visit from milk sugar love and a generous hand-delivered bucket of ice cream, and everyone went crazy.  phones and cameras came out like paparazzi, everyone cheered.  i guess that's the sort of entrance you live for when you own an ice cream business ;)

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when we got there, we were greeted with wine, endless food options (mostly filipino), and a community of jersey-city-loving new friends.  what a group to get you inspired! a lot of the people there were entrepreneurs, designers, and creatives, all with a passion for their business and art.  nearly every sunday lately we've spent meals with friends, but this was a new and fun idea of bringing together those with a common bond (food) in a place we love (hamilton park) to form new friendships (and put faces to instagrammers i already stalk) and have a great time.

while living in such an urban environment, especially so close to big, scary new york city, i never would have thought that i would have found such neighborhood pride, so many local connections, such a small-town feel.  it's events like this that really make us feel like we made the right choice to plant our roots in jersey city.  we felt honored to even be invited to such an event with so many talented people, and can't wait for the next one!

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cheers to monday!
jenn


p.s. go check out these new-to-me local artists/entrepreneurs/creatives from jersey city:

eightymag
chicpeajc
sewbie
caviar noir
e.tittlemouse (not-so-new to us :P)
joan michel
eat and be mary
downtown natch
modest mind clothing
deen boutique
chadner navarro

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

urban sanctuary

have you found your urban sanctuary?

is it that big patch of grass in a park where no pets are allowed?

is it that spot that says "no trespassing" but you do anyways and you get away with it?

is it that cliff that's so high that the sounds of city life disappear?

is it smack in the middle of times square where the sounds are so loud, but strangely comforting?

last weekend we found "our spot". and it's just a short bike ride away.  we rode our bikes up (and up and up, literally) to the jersey city heights neighborhood where there's a sunday morning farmers market in riverview fisk park.  while the ride to get there was pretty intense with the steep hill and the incredibly hot and humid weather, the destination was worth it.  we picked up some cold brew iced coffees from mod cup coffee, perused the vendors at the farmers market in the park, picked up fresh vegetables for the week (including the biggest bunch of basil i've seen, purchased for just $2), snagged some stuffed croissants and perched ourselves up on a weird concrete platform overlooking the NYC skyline. 

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when scouting for a spot to eat our goods, we spotted what looked like the remnants of a really cool building. there's nothing left but just the foundation a few steps up from ground level.  do we go up there? it's so cool, why isn't anyone up there if we're allowed up there? is it going to fall apart if we go up there? my engineer mind said "lets do it! if its been here this long, 2 people aren't going to break it!"  in reality, just the edges were a bit worn out, and it was quite the nice hideaway.  hung likes sitting in the grass, but hates the bugs.  this was the perfect compromise! a picnic on the concrete :P  we had the best views though, so it really was a great spot.  it was quiet, there was a breeze, we felt alone.

yeah, we'll be heading back.  if not for the spot, definitely for the coffee, THE BASIL, and the spinach-and-cheese-stuffed croissants.

jersey city, you win my heart again.

cheers.
jenn

Thursday, July 10, 2014

well hello summer!

somewhere between moving to a new position at work and jersey city having the BEST weather this summer, a whole month has flown by since my last post! it's not that we haven't been doing anything fun, it's actually quite the opposite.  our home is now dinner-party-friendly, visitor-friendly, and project-free (for now).  the weather is great for evening walks, sundays at the beach, and bike rides in the city.  hung and i spent the majority of last summer traveling, so we're trying to fully take advantage of being at home this summer.

a few weeks ago my dad and stepmom visited from florida.  they were the first family to see the new house, and what a blast it was! while hung and I are used to being on the go and walking til our legs fall off, it's pretty typical that visitors who don't live in a city get pretty zonked by the end of the first day.  it was sort of nice to be able to come home around dinner time, eat food at home, relax for the evening (instead of staying out until the wee hours of the morning) and sleeping in.  we still got to enjoy the best hours of the day and do everything on the list.  

we took a trip on the circle line for the very first time for all of us! surprisingly, this super-touristy-but-must-do adventure turned out to be pretty awesome.  i don't think i'll be doing it again, but i'm glad we did it! who knew that the northern-most end of manhattan was so forest-like? and that there are so many islands around it? i mean, really, most of the time you even forget that manhattan itself is an island!

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for lunch we headed over to brooklyn to eat outside at surf bar's back patio/garden.  you might as well call it a beach without the water, because the floor is sand, even in the inside part! what a perfect setting for one of the most beautiful days of summer.

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on the way home we walked to milk sugar love, my first time eating it! first of many, i mean.  we've been there a few times since, and are never disappointed (how CAN you be with THOSE flavors!?) i'm so in love with that place, and the idea that now i can get it any day of the week, not just on the days they are at the farmer's markets :) :) :)  they are located right on hamilton park in jersey city, what a perfect spot to grab a cone and stroll through the park!

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the next day we headed to pier 13 in hoboken, where we enjoyed gorgeous views of manhattan, the hoboken waterfront, and ate brick-oven pizza from a food truck (practically hung's dream).

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the rest of the time was spent cooking at home and re-watching the entire first season of orange is the new black (now i've got THEM hooked on it too!) because i needed a good refresher before i started in on the second season (who's finished with it!? omg the last episode was good!)

of course when family visits they can never stay long enough, but at least we get to see them again in august.

cheers.
jenn

p.s. can you tell we got a new camera lens!? we're loving the low aperture if you haven't noticed already :P