Monday, November 30, 2009

Top Chef Dinner!

Ooooh--the dinner with Radhika was FUN and DELICIOUS!

We arrived at our friends' house and Radhika and her chef posse arrived shortly thereafter. Her posse was cute by the way--one chef guy is her boyfriend and I do'n't know what the other guy's story was, but he was cute and he carries a "chef purse" which contains chef tools that can be used as weapons in case of a mugging.

Anyway, the chef team got to cooking and we hung out with them for awhile in the kitchen, but then retired to the living room with our friends and another couple and some crazy drinks called Whirling Tigers.

This dinner was so cool because Rahdika brought everything--the dishes, silverware, glassware--everything! They set the table and we hung out until it was time to eat.

The first course was a fun Indian-style take on grilled cheese--the menu called it "Chef Rad's Surprise." It was layers of the Indian bread(nan), gouda cheese , olives and fresh basil. Just really, really good!

Plus it was very Top Chef-esque because once the food was put down, Rahdika would appear and give a little explanation just like on the show!

The next course (plus we had seconds) was a tomato-curry soup with sesame crisps. I could have eaten this until I exploded!

Next up--a scallop "sandwich" with sour dough bread and a perfectly seared scallop. According to Rahdika, it's better to undercook rather than overcook a scallop--just so you know!

The main course was filet crusted with mint and pepper and served over creamy bacon-truffle potatoes. OMG!! Plus there was a cool yogurt-cucumber sauce on the side.

Dessert was ginger-vanilla creme brulee with blackberries and ginger crisps. Probably the best creme brulee I've ever had (and I've had a lot...).

Plus there was wine that Radhika nicely paired with each course..It was a great time!

But the best part was after the dinner when Radhhika and her guys joined us at the table and we gossiped about Top Chef!!

In a nutshell:

--Tom Colicchio is nice and very honest and helpful when he's critiquing the food.

--Padma is very "confident" with herself and very striking in person. Apparently all eyes are always on her if she's in the room.

--Gail Simmons is very nice and helpful--Radhika seemed to like her a lot.

--Fabio from last season is a jerk even though he seemed nice on the show.

--Stefan is a nice guy even though he seemed like a jerk on the show.

--Apparently Marcel isn't half bad.

--When you're kicked off of Top Chef, you go stay in a penthouse and are paid until the show is over.

--Radihka is writing a cookbook.

--She is also planning on opening a restaurant in the next few years.

--She is very pretty in person and has a cool diamond nose piercing (which, by the way, Don thinks would look stupid on me.)

Now for some pics!

Me 'n Radhika:
Group shot (I don't know why we're posing in front of a giant tv?):
Getting the gossip from Radhika:
Rahdika and her posse (again with the tv!):
Fun, fun evening!! I can't wait until her cookbook/restaurant appear--her food is amazing!!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

House Pics--Part One

I can't tell you how many times I have almost posted pics of the new house on here. And every time I'm about to--I hesitate because, even though we've come a looooong way since we moved in, I still feel like things are not ready enough for pics...So many things still need to be done like window treatments and replacing gross light fixtures, hanging up pictures and getting new furniture. But then I decided I was being too picky and I should just show them already. So keep in mind that it's not DONE done--but you'll get the idea!

I'm only going to the first floor tonight. I need to retake a few of the upstairs that I'm still being neurotic about.

OK, so....Entry hall (facing front door):

Another view of entry hall. I don't think it reads in these pics, but the hall is painted a pewtery gray color.
Dining room--still very messy with stuff all piled up...Color on walls is called Yam and I'm happy with the way it turned out.
Living room. Remember the retro green velvet sofa? I got it! This room is painted a blue that I had the paint store mix up for me--I couldn't find it in an existing paint so we invented it!
The fireplace was a VERY exciting find. When we bought the house it had been plastered over (for probably over 50 years!) and we took a chance by tearing all the plaster and wood down--but it was worth it! It was somewhat damaged and the wood you see in this pic was missing, but we had a carpenter recreate it in a way we feel is true to what the original must have been.
Another view of the living room--you can see the giant frog and bee science charts!
Family room--this room was originally called the "music room" but it's working pretty well as a family room for now, though some day we will probably add a family room on. Sorry about the blankets and magazines on the floor!
Kitchen--very messy! Note the "Princess Potty" on the floor--Pickle is potty trained!!
Screened-in porch. I took this pic at night so it doesn't look that great. I need to take some better pics because this is a nice room!

And here's the backyard (unraked!):
I'll show you the upstairs soon--I'm still waiting for some stuff to be delivered like the rug for Pickle's room--then it will be ready for the unveiling!

Meanwhile--remember a long time ago I said we were going to a dinner party with one of last season's Top Chefs (Radhika) cooking? It's happening tomorrow night! So I should have an interesting evening to tell you about and hopefully get some fun pics--and maybe some good gossip on Padma and Tom Colicchio!!


Sunday, November 1, 2009

Worst Halloween Evah!

This pumpkin represents our Halloween this year: soggy, sad and slumped over.
First of all, it rained. And rained and rained and rained.

In the morning I was hopeful that we'd get the rain out of the way in time for trick-or-treating--but no, it actually got worse as the day went on to the point where the sidewalks started flooding.

Although Halloween fell on a Saturday this year, our trick or treating was slated for Friday as the school parade and parties are all part of the Halloween tradition. So the plan was that the kids go to school in the morning and then come home at lunch to get their costumes on--then back to school for the parade, etc.

So I practically swam to school to get the kids at lunch and began the frenzy of costumes and makeup application.

Patrick was going to be a zombie-type Ronald McDonald. (By the way I started earching for Ronlad costumes on eBay, etc. a few weeks ago and they were expensive--like $150! Then I scored one for $20 on Craigslist!)

So anyway, I had just applied Patrick's clown makeup and was trying to get his wig adjusted when he suddenly sluped over Teddy who was sitting in a kitchen chair. At first I thought he was goofing around and bothering Teddy or something--but I was screaming "Get up Patrick!" and Teddy was screaming "Get off me!" and I was like shaking him and stuff when I realized he had fainted!

I was so scared, but he came to and seemed okay, though a little dizzy... I called the doctor who thought it was a fluke due to the humid weather, costume, wig and whatnot--so I kept him home from school for the rest of the day so he could lie down.

I call this pic Clown Down.

So that kind of put a major damper on the day, but after resting for awhile, seemed well enough for trick or treating, so we ventured out into the muck.

Now for some pics:

Pickle, for months now, has been saying she wanted to be a "Pink Girl" for Halloween--but it sounds extra cute when she says it because it kind of sounds like she has a little English accent when she says "girl." The Pink Girl is a "Supergirl" costume she saw in a catalog and she was adamant about it--so that's what she was!

She was thrilled that she could wear some "pink girl makeup" too!
Gooser was a Transformer and Teddy was (a very realistic, I think!) Michael Jackson:
Here's Patrick perked up and Pickle:
All the kids outside--Andy was the Burger King:
Here I am hiding under two umbrellas!
This is what the sidewalks looked like:
Andy had to carry Pickle through all that water!
Action trick-or-treating shot!
I love this pic:
After the candy and the rain, we came home to have our little party, but it wasn't nearly as fun as usual, because my sister and her kids always come--but they couldn't this year because one of her kids was diagnosed with stupid Swine Flu.

But I managed to make some cupcakes:
And the grossly delicious Kitty Litter cake:

And I made some chili and decorated and stuff...
...but it just wasn't the same.

Let's hope next year is better!!