Creativity and Ramblings from the heart of NYC and around the World

Friday, September 29, 2006

I'll have a piece in the
NEW Stitch-N-Bitch Advanced Knitting Book!!

I awoke here in China this morning to find an email from Deb Stoller telling me that one of the designs I'd submitted back in June was accepted for her next SnB book!!
When I hadn't heard back by August I'd thought for sure she'd passed on them all, but her publisher had moved her to a different project and put this on hold.

Phew! I was about to submit it to another publication!!!
I'd better get through my UFOs and Christmas projects in the next two weeks so I can dive in to this... it's a quite complicated intarsia pattern...

Fun fun fun!!
Cheers from China all!!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Let's Go Mets

What time is it? I have NO IDEA!!!
One day in town between European and Asian trips and my dear friend Dejay calls me up with an extra pair of METS tickets for today! Yeah! It's both Dan's and my first time at Shea Stadium! Convienent at only a subway ride and short walk to boot!!
I was even already wearing ORANGE so I blended right in! Yes, I'm holding large coffee -- for both staying awake and warmth (It was chillier than expected!!)

The Mets lost... but it was fun!!

Tomorrow it's off to China -- I'm bringing my Assistant to Asia for the first time! This means I'll likely be busier than EVER -- so we'll see if there's time for blogging!

I'll at the very least take photos and post upon my return in just over 2 weeks!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Dan's Here in ITALY!!!

He arrived last night from Oxford, UK by way of Frankfurt amidst a crazy rain storm.
After both having had such hectic weeks lately it was nice to sleep in!! We lunched at Cafe italiano. Sitting on the second floor by the front you can see everyone who walks in to the restaurant. We enjoyed our pastas and bruschetta along with coffees and a small shared dessert. Yum!

We wandered over to the Uffizi and figured out where to reserve tickets. The next available day was Sunday...and since museums in Florence are closed on Mondays - Sunday at 9:30am it is! It's got to be better than the 3-4 hour wait in the line outside!!! Next - a spot of shopping! (I bought a beautiful wool tweed jacket with touches of satin ruffle. It'll be great for the Opera this fall/winter!)

We checked out another view of the Arno and walked over to the Duomo. After climbing the 463 stairs to the top of the Duomo, you are treated to a spectacular 360 degree view of the city of Florence.

Definitely something that should be top on your list!

Dan, armed with my camera, took these shots. It's a true shame that his spiffy camera broke just before this trip. He made due with my easy point-n-shoot though.
There is a fire in the hills that you can smell on the air. An interesting smell added to the mix of body odor and ancient stone. It was quite warm day (89F)and after having poured rain at 62F last night it's very welcome. A warning to those that want to make this climb... much of the climb is in a VERY confined space so claustrophobics should beware.
You are also treated to some amazing views of Brunelleschi's construction and Vasari's Last Judgement fresco and out the windows in the stairwells both up and down. We went into the Duomo on the ground level and had about 5 minutes before it closed. Be aware that no bare shoulders are allowed in the churches in Florence, so ladies make sure on warm days to have a wrap or sweater to cover them. Otherwise they will give you a large tissue poncho to cover-up with. Yes, I had a sweater and a wrap. :-)

Definitely something that should be top on your list!

Next stop? The museum behind the Duomo, Museo dell' Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore.
It's located on the spot where Michelangelo carved the David (now housed in the Accademia.) The two cantorie (singing galleries)carved by Luca della Robbia and Donatello were amazing and Donatello's statue of Mary Magdalene was amazing. We were also able to see 9 out of the 10 original bronze panels from the 'Gates of Paradise' (the east doors of the Baptistery) by Lorenzo Ghiberti. Michelangelo's Pieta was moving as well. On the left is a photo of the Arte della Lana (the Wool Guild) coat-of-arms, the patron of this museum since 1331.

By this point we are hungry again and I referred to the list of restaurants that had been recommended to me... First stop?

Il Latini!

Tucked away in a back street we finally happened upon it...we were sure this was the place because of the crowd gathered outside. No, we didn't have a reservation (tel: 055-210-916) for the 7:30pm seating (there are only two seatings -- 7:30pm & 9:30pm.) Our option? Get in line and hold your ground hoping to get a fill-in spot!
We were in line around 7:40pm and by 8pm the line was swinging round the block.

What do you do to make the time pass? Eat the Wine, Cheese and Sausage that they pass trays around of to keep the waiting crowds happy until spots open up. You do have to keep an eye on your spot as those in the line slowly edge forward... hold your ground!
The wait? The wait can be ages but we were lucky only to wait an hour. What awaited us?

You are seated cafeteria style at long tables. Most all of the patrons are friendly and you see conversations starting up all over.

That said - we're all here for the food!! Where to begin?
The Appetizer assortment of meats, cheeses and pate on toast. Yum! We also decided to simply drink the bottled house Chianti wine already on the table. Why not. Yum!
They are very smart with the display and presentation... What's that over Dan's shoulder?

They stuffed the back of a pigs head with homemade sausage and slice it right off the back. This was the most photo-graphed spot in the house all night! It's what's on the plate I'm holding in the photograph above. Hanging from the ceiling were wrapped pieces of Prosciutto that seemed to be aging. Next course?

PASTA! I have to say that this was my least favorite part of the meal... the ravioli was just OK. It was...basic but not nearly as good as some I get in NYC... apparently Dan agreed...
This is a photo of him laughing as he just had told me that the ravioli tasted like Chef Boyardi! Later in the evening the couple next to us from Boston told us that the French couple next to them had told them to skip the Ravioli because... you guessed it -- it tastes like Chef Boyardi! How funny is that!

Il Latini specializes in roasted meats... here we see Dan with the veal and that's my lamb. I can recommend the white beans they serve on the side too - YUM!!!

I don't have photos of the torte we shared for dessert, the coffees, the dessert wine or the two rounds of Lemoncello - most of which was given on the house by the manager. When the meal was finished and we were ready to leave (at 1:15am), the top dog (not sure if he's the head manager or the owner -- he's the man by the front door in the blue shirt near Dan in the photo of the line) came over and asked our waiter what we had. He wrote about half of it down on the bill and handed it to Dan. Then he looked at me, winked at me and took the bill back... crossed out the price and wrote a smaller amount "because of her blue eyes!" Thanks Mom and Dad!

We wandered the long way back to the hotel by way of some window shopping. What a great day!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Finally Firenze
Monday started with sitting in the Frankfurt airport watching the sunrise thru the smokey haze (you can still smoke in this airport) awaiting my next flight to Florence.

The trip from Frankfurt to Florence was swift and I had a nice couple from Toronto seated next to me. After landing, Carla picked me up at the airport and we dashed to the hotel. A lovely 3 star spot called the Pitti Palace right at the end of the Ponte Vecchio. I unpacked, took a quick nap (1 hour bringing my sleep total to 4hrs) and headed out with my agent, Carla, to work. After bouncing around Scandicci for my first 2 appointments of the trip I was dropped back at my hotel for the night.

First I popped across the street to see Beatrice Gallo -- the lovely woman and yarn shop (self named) that opened across from my hotel a few years ago. She has some of the BEST yarns in one place that I've ever seen!!! Fantastic! I was too tired to concentrate and the yarns deserve proper attention so I decided to return another day.

Hungry, I went to an old favorite spot... Osteria Del Cinghiale Bianco for some fantastic food!

Upon being seated I saw only one couple there (it had just opened) was the couple that had sat next to me on the flight from Frankfurt to Florence! What are the odds?

Back to dinner... What did I have? Spaghettini alla citarra con ciliegini e pecorino romano (Homemade pasta with basil, vine ripe cherry tomatoes and fresh romano cheese !) Yum!
Followed by Tagliata con rucola e parmigiano (Sliced sirloin (pan seared) with parmigiano and arugala -- shown left!) Yum x2! Toss in the small pitcher of red Chianti that goes down like water - YUM YUM YUM! The tomatoes this season are AMAZING so I'm eating as many as I can!

This restaurant is a stop I always make...especially when I'm so tired as my hotel is at the end of the short road. Good food and close by to boot!

By 8:30pm I was sound asleep on my bed, lights still on...where I awoke at 3am. I did manage to fall back to sleep 2 hours later. Ahhh, jet-lag. Day 2 coming soon!

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Fashion Saturday!

After a fun night last night out with DJ I pulled myself out of bed (how am I living these days on 6hrs of sleep a night?) and dashed to Mid Town to catch a fashion show in Bryant Park. I had the tickets so I had to get there fast!!!

My friend Ian (PR god) must have pulled some fabulous strings with his connections to get the space in Bryant Parks' Fashion Week! The show was very good, showcasing some great young and fresh talent -- grads from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. My favorite collection I show above -- wonderful knitwear made with organic wool.

Jo, Emanuel and Michelle were all able to join me - Yeah. Sadly a few friends were ill and unable to make it. I ended up having 7 extra tickets in my pocket...
Afterwards we jetted over to The Red Flame coffee shop for brunch, including some fun stories that had us all laughing (see loop below!) Then I headed to the office (where I am now in order to wrap up the last few things before flying off to Italy tomorrow. Whooooooooosh! So Glad Dan will be able to join me there in 5 days (after all of the work is done!!)

Monday, September 04, 2006

Bring on the Apples

Ok, so maybe this isn't exactly what I meant...
The apple tree in the garden has begun it's annual raining of the apples. Dan and I collected nearly 3 dozen good ones and at least another dozen that have already been partially enjoyed by slug, bug or creature. Dan made a VERY YUMMY gallet to follow my seafood stew for our garden dinner with Jo and Emanuel to enjoy on this fine labor day. See the trio of candles... before we realized it the wax had been gently blown and that's what is shown on the apples above. I can always peel 'em!

Dan's tasty creation was gone in a flash - seconds had by all! YUM!! Our guests brought two lovely bottles of wine too... we liked them both! 2004 Jos├ęphine Dubois Chablis Montmains 1er Cru to go with dinner and Alsace Willm Pinot Blanc 2004 to go with dessert. Both wines are a great value I think!! We enjoyed them both down to the last drop!

5 days 'till I'm off to Italy! Where does the time go?