Day 143 – Cloudburst

What happens when you decide to ignore the ominous skies and walk to a local bakery with your colleagues to grab a few treats for the office?

You spend the rest of the afternoon working on a damp sweater and slacks because the sky opened up when you were still two-and-a-half blocks from the office.

Rabbit Hole Bakery…your coffee cake was totally worth it.

Day 117 – The great bagel quest

So, if Stevie and I were going to sit down and make a list of the things we miss the most about New York, we’d start with our friends and family and then quickly descend into a loooooooong list of food–NY-style pizza, zuppa de pesce (specifically from Mamma Lombardi’s on Long Island), steaming plates of hot wings from the Candlelight Inn on Central Park Avenue in Scarsdale, Italian Ice (the real stuff from The Ice House in West Sayville, not that overly-sugary fake bullshit they sell at chain stores like Rita’s), giant deli sandwiches, fresh egg bagels.

It’s the reason why any trip we plan to New York always starts with several lengthy and detailed discussions about where we’re going to eat and when, so we can be sure to hit all of our favorite haunts and get our fill of our favorite foods before leave.

And even though we’re still months away from our trip out East, you know we’re already plotting. And the other night I went down a rabbit hole when I started finding NY bakeries and delis that ship products overnight and guarantee a little “taste of New York” right in your own home.

Yeah, you know we had to try it.

So we ordered a dozen egg bagels from New Yorker Bagels, a shop promising fresh, hand-rolled authentic egg bagels delivered to our doorstep. Stevie was just a little excited when the FedEx guy dropped the box at our door.

The New Yorker bagels were pretty good, but they still can’t beat the fresh egg bagels from B&B Bagels in Bohemia that Richie used to go and pick up for us every morning when we would visit. I mean, we’re not complaining, but we’re still shopping around and doing some taste testing.

And at least we know we can count on Stevie’s sister Michele to send us a care package of fresh egg bagels every Christmas. If we could just find a way to make them last more than 3 days. 🙂

Suggestions welcome.

Day 55 – Sunday Sauceday

Best way to spend a frigid Sunday after a blizzard drops 8+ inches of snow on us?

Make a giant batch of Diane’s sauce to restock the freezer, and pizza for dinner.

Sunday Sauceday perfection.

Day 21 – What’s for dinner?

The first few years of Cadence’s life, meal times were easy. The kid would eat anything. ANYTHING. Well, except for the six short months she loathed bananas to the point where she would start gagging if she even saw one. Other than that, we had no issues getting Cadence to eat (or at least sample) anything we put in front of her. And that lasted right up until she started going to preschool regularly and learned that there was such a thing as being picky and eating only peanut butter sandwiches and assorted snacks.

Henry, on the other hand, would survive on nothing but pancakes and plain pasta (flavored with a little butter and garlic salt) if let him. Meal times have been a battle since he started solids, and I have to admit, for awhile there we just got lazy. With work and life and everything else being crazy and hectic, we picked the 3-4 foods he would actually at and just went with it, figuring it was better for him to get something in his stomach before we put him in bed.

But we decided recently that we’d had enough. We were tired of the constant meal time meltdowns, and by God we weren’t going to let a 3-year-old beat us in what was becoming a sheer battle of wills. So, we started cracking down on snacks, limiting Henry’s milk intake to just a cup or two a day (because he would polish off a gallon by himself if given the opportunity), and putting the kids to bed if they protested the meal we put on the table.

Cadence was pretty easy to fall back in line. It took exactly two dinner time battles when she was a toddler to convince her that our rule of at least trying one bite of everything before you get to say you don’t like it was fair. With Henry, we definitely hit the double digits in the number of times he got sent to bed with his plate still full of dinner and then having to eat the leftovers the next day.

He is our stubborn, stubborn boy.

But like everything with Henry, it just takes a little extra patience. And we’re finally starting to get there. Tonight, he didn’t even protest. He came right to the table when it was time, sat down, and dug in. He at the entire serving of chicken and pasta and broccoli, headed upstairs for a bath, and then polished off two bananas and a cup of strawberry yogurt before bed.

And there was a moment at dinner tonight, listening to Cadence tell us about the sleepover last night at her friend Rowan’s house and Henry quoting lines from Bob’s Burgers (“You’re my family and I love you, but you’re terrible. You’re all terrible.”) and Superbad (“One name? Who are you, Seal?”), I found myself blissfully happy to be sitting at the table with three of my favorite humans on the planet.

What can I say? Life is good.

Day 5 – The best pizza in Lincoln

There were a lot of compromises when Stevie and I made the decision to leave New York. We left Stevie’s family, some of our best friends and most trusted mentors, and a whole lot of amazing food.

Every spot on the globe has something all its own when it comes to food–some signature dish or cuisine that is uniquely local and difficult to replicate. I think the one thing that differentiates New York is that the flavors of the world have quite literally migrated and established themselves in restaurants and bakeries and sidewalk stands and food trucks throughout the city. You could taste the world without ever leaving the five boroughs.

One of the things Stevie and I miss the most is the variety. After we started dating, we had a habit of hopping in the car and driving to Manhattan every Friday night for dinner. We had a favorite sushi restaurant, Yoko, in the West Village where we ate so often that we didn’t even need to order. The chefs knew our tastes and favorites, and would begin sending beautiful plates you couldn’t find on the menu over to our table as soon as we sat down. Other nights, we would just pick a flavor or type of cuisine, look up the name of some random restaurant that served it, and go.

We were never disappointed.

We haven’t been able to settle into quite the same routine since we left New York. Now that the kids are getting a little older (and Henry is finally entering the reasonable phase that follows the fit-throwing insanity of the two’s and early three’s), we’re hoping to get back to being adventurous. Sure, there aren’t nearly as many options here in Lincoln, but there is some really great food in this town and a lot of places we haven’t even had a chance to try yet.

The one food we have thoroughly tried here though (and have been thoroughly disappointed with) is the pizza.

Nobody does pizza like New York.

We tried every pizza place in Lincoln since moving here in 2011. Every. Single. One.

Lazzari’s was our frontrunner there for six months or so back in 2011-2012. Crust was almost true NY-style and the sauce was decent. Then one day the sauce started tasting a little too sweet. (Hear this now people, sauce should NEVER be sweet! You add pinches of sugar to cut the acidity of the tomatoes. That’s it. If it’s sweet AT ALL, you’re doing it wrong!) We tried again a few weeks later, sauce was still sweet and the crust was burned. One more try a few months after that and we had too-sweet sauce, overdone crust, and so much extra cheese piled on that the pizza slices were drooping in our hands even folded in half. Strike three. We’ve never gone back.

Yia Yia’s gets a pass because it’s unique, and they have some delicious flavor combinations. We dig it, but the ultra-thin cracker-like crust keeps us from classifying it as traditional pizza. It’s good, but we stick to small doses.

MoMo Pizzeria & Ristorante is the only place we will actually endorse. The pizzas you’ll find on the menu are Neopolitan style and wood-fired, and there are some really incredible flavors. Stevie has always been a fan of plain cheese pizza, but even he enjoyed sampling some of the unique toppings like Lobster & Shrimp Hollandaise and Prosciutto & Egg. One day, by chance, Stevie found that by asking the server if we could have just a plain cheese pizza for Cadence that he could get a smaller version of the closest to true NY-style pizza we’d found since leaving New York. Major props to MoMo (for both the pizza and for having hands down some of the finest food in Lincoln).

Still, because we just couldn’t seem to find any true NY-style pizza, I made it my mission to figure it out. And I did, back in 2015. You can CLICK HERE to read all about it. Since then, we haven’t bothered to order to eat a pizza anywhere but in our own kitchen, and we don’t have a desire to.

Well…unless we hope a plane and head back to New York. In that case, we might have to make an exception.

Tonight, it was homemade pizza for dinner, and I couldn’t have been any prouder than the moment I looked across the table and saw my kids’ New York come out. Henry had a slice in each hand and was eating it almost as fast as I could make it, and Cadence was folding slices in half like a pro.

What can we say? We’ve taught them well.

All it takes

Sometimes, all it takes to make everything right with the world is a delicious meal, some good friends, and a batch of homemade chocolate chip cookies.

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