Gazpacho (Recipe Monday)

Monday, June 25, 2012

I love Gazpacho!  This is such a great summertime soup and an easy way to get your daily serving of veggies. When I make a batch we eat it instead of salad with our dinner for the week.

Makes 8 Servings

Veggie Ingredients 
3 Beefsteak Tomatoes
1 Kirby Cucumber
1/2 Green Pepper
1/2 Red Pepper
1/2 Red Onion
2 Cloves Garlic
1 Cup Tomato Juice
1/2 Cup Red Wine Vinegar
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

Depending on how chunky you like your soup there's two options on how to prepare:
Chunky Version: Using a chopper (I use the Cuisinart SmartStick Hand Blender chopper attachment), chop each of the veggies individually and put into a large bowl. Mix with tomato juice, vinegar and olive oil.

Smoother Version: Combine all ingrediants and puree with Hand Blender or in batches in the regular blender.
The finished product - Chunky Version

If your ingredients were all taken from the fridge, the soup is ready to serve!  Otherwise refrigerate for about an hour to chill.  And as Samuel L. Jackson says, don't leave it out too long, unless you want Hot-Zpacho.

Try it out and let me know in the comments section if you like it in the comments section, Shariously!

Broadway Review: Once (Entertainment Thursday)

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Last week I saw Once on Broadway.  What I really liked about the show, other than the great songs and voices was it's uniqueness. I love a fun upbeat stereotypical musical, a big production, one with fun songs, comedy, great costumes, beautiful set and excellent choreography.  Once is not like that; and it's certainly not a typical Broadway musical.
Photo Credit: #Once Instagram

Although it had some comic relief, Once was more of a romantic musical.  The story is simple; an Irish man about to give up on his dream to be a musician and a Czech  woman who encourages him to pursue it and revives his dream.  I won't put any spoilers in here.  What is remarkable about the Broadway production, is that there is no orchestra, differentiating it from a typical show.  All the music is played by actors on stage!  Everyone from the main characters to the ensemble can be seen playing an instrument: the guitar, piano, violin, cello, drums maybe others too.  The casting for the show must be tough!  Because the actors play instruments, dancing in the show is limited - pretty hard to be dancing a jig while playing the cello right? But this also provides some pretty clever choreography.

The music and singing in Once is also incredible.  You may have heard a song or two on the radio; falling slowly won an Oscar for Best Song in 2008.  I usually have a hard time getting into music I haven't heard before - but all the songs in the show really captured my attention.

While I wouldn't say this is my favorite Broadway Show (Jersey Boys is), it is Shariously a show worth seeing!  I can guarantee there isn't another show out there like this.

Bachelorette Party #1 (Weekend Activities)

Saturday, June 16, 2012

This summer I have quite a few weddings and wedding related activities (bridal showers, bachelorette parties). I have helped with the planning of a few Bachelorette Parties over the past few years, and it's a tough task.  You want the night to be fun for the bride, to be her taste, and for all the attendees to bond and have a good time as well.  I figure a lot of other ladies out there might be looking for good ideas - and maybe turn to the google for a fun itinerary (I did). The first of Bachelorette party of the summer was a few weeks ago.  It was a great time had by all, so I'll share.  Here's what we did:

1. Red Door Spa - The Red Door Spa is a great day spa with a beautiful atmosphere.  When the bachelorette party arrived at the spa, we got to change into nice comfy robes and then started out with a delicious spa lunch (catered from Fig & Olive!mmm) .  We all got 3 services included in our package.  I started out with the 25-minute massage; one of the best massages I've ever had (not that I've had too many), I just wish it was much longer.  The second service was a manicure where all the girls got to site together and chat while we were having our nails done.  Since we had some extra time before our next activity we got to spend  plenty of time  making use of some of the relaxation areas and sipping lemon water or tea.  Finally, changed, did our hair and got ready for a night out before getting a "makeup refresher" which really was a full on makeup application.  Frankly a little more makeup than I ever wear or really want to, but fun for a night out.
What colorful nails!

Before and After makeup application
2. Wine Bar - Our second stop was a nearby wine bar (Vero) where for a set price, we arranged to have 2 hours of all-you-can drink wine and sangria along with a few platters of delicious hors d'oeuvres.  This was a great way for the bride and her friends to bond and get to know each other.

3. Drag Show - Per the bride's request, we did something most of the bridesmaids had never done before.  We went to a drag show dinner - Lips NYC.  Although it provided some entertainment and the bride enjoyed herself, it's probably not something I would do again.  Most of us felt that it was grossly overpriced and we were required to order a mediocre meal.  The Drag Queen's did a few numbers, some of which were better than others.  They also called everyone celebrating birthday's and weddings on stage to give the element of "embarrassment" that is always fun to get into a bachelorette party.

4. Local Bar - Our final stop of the night was a local bar where we had a chance to wind down, play some cards and just hang out with each other.

Overall, it was a great day/night and if you are looking to plan a bachelorette party itinerary this Shariously proved to be a good option for a night in the city.  Another tip - for this party we arranged for all the events to have set prices so that we could have everyone pre-pay (including all tips and tax) and therefore don't have to be figuring out the bill every step of the way.  Good luck and let me know if you have any other Bachelorette party planning or tips.

Favorite NYC Spring/Summer Activities Part 3 (NY Fridays)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Here it is, Part 3 of my Favorite Spring/Summer Activities:

5. Outdoor Waterfront Bars - Two great places to spend a sunny day with some friends, food and drinks are Pier 66 Maritime (more commonly known as the Frying Pan), and The Boat Basin Cafe.

Frying Pan/Lightship Bar
The Frying Pan/Pier 66 Maritime  is a barge on the Hudson and adjacent sunken ship that was raised and now serves as a venue for bar and restaurant.  It's a very casual place that's always packed on sunny summer eves and weekends.  Their pitchers of sangria, buckets of beer and platters of food are great for groups.  As a bonus, you can tour the boats which have been restored to its 1929 look.

The Boat Basin cafe has a similar atmosphere, great for groups on a nice day.  It sits adjacent to the Hudson River in Riverside Park.  You can sit at a table outside or hang out at the bar underneath an overpass - which actually is much cooler than it sounds.

As I was writing this, I saw Gothamist had a similar post here.

6.  Free Kayaking in the Hudson - if you are looking for some water sports action, try some kayaking and you don't need to go very far.  The operators make you stay pretty close to the shore, but it's still  a neat feeling to see the city from right on he water.  Just make sure it has been a week since the last heavy rain.  In case you didn't know during heavy storms, the combined sewer overflows in to the rivers - that includes sanitary flow! Gross. (There's some of my civil engineering dorkiness melding into the blog).

Just some more Shariously great ideas for the summer!