Just as I was feeling rundown and listless from the week, I received some sage advice from my tea bag: “Work, but don’t forget to live.”


The Eiffel Tower- I’ve heard so much about you

With all the hype that surrounds the Eiffel Tower, I had half expected to be disappointed or underwhelmed by the actual sight of it… but I wasn’t.  As I craned my neck to take in the tower’s height, I kept thinking “this is really happening… I am really here… I am in Paris.” It’s one of those moments I will never forget, and it reminded me that I didn’t just love to travel, I needed to travel.

More after the jump!

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Four and Twenty Blackbirds- I’ve Died and Gone to Pie Heaven

When someone says “apple pie,” I use to immediately picture one of two images:

1) Snow White in that scene where she bakes that amazing looking thing that is promptly ruined by dirty bird feet (gross) or..

2) Norman Rockwell’s Thanksgiving images of some hefty grandma figure holding an equally hefty pie.

But now, I think of Four and Twenty Blackbirds, where they’ve perfected the classic apple pie and given it an awesome twist.

More after the jump!

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I’ll Always Have Paris

I just recently returned from a week long trip to Paris and as much as I love New York, I achingly miss the Parisian joie de vivre.  Life in Paris is slow, carefree, and uncomplicated.  Instead of being mired by what ifs and what nexts, people in Paris know how to embrace the now and to live each day like the wonderful gift that it is.  I feel so lucky to have sampled a sliver of that lifestyle if even for only a week.  Each time I start to feel stressed or anxious again, I’ll just close my eyes and take myself back to Paris.

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Sicky/Blogging Fail

Hi Loves! Firstly, I just want to apologize for being so absent! My New Year’s resolution numero uno is definitely to be more on top of my blogging.. oh, and to get myself to stop watching Glee. Man, that show has gotten bad.  I know it’s no excuse, but I have also been sick for the past week and have barely had enough energy to blow my nose never mind do anything else.  But sick or not, the holidays are upon us, which means a whole new set of fun activities for New Yorkers and visitors alike.

Believe it or not, this is my first time spending Christmas in New York.  I am usually either on vacation or back home with my family in California this time of year. Although I’m a bit sad I won’t be able to participate in my usual holiday traditions (Las Vegas with my girlfriends, going to temple with my mom, feasting on my dad’s chicken wings), I am happy to be hosting my younger sister next week and introducing her to the Merry explosion that happens in New York.  LA during Christmas time is always a hoot because a lot of my loved ones are there, but the locale doesn’t really lend itself to Christmas-y things. The ice skating on a pond, the building snowmen in the park, the sleighing, the pine trees, the mittens, the apple cider stand, the slight nip in the air, the “chestnuts roasting on the open fire”, the “it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.” All that happens here.

I have many an updates for you including:  Museum of Sex (Happy XXX-mas Har har), Central Park Zoo, Rockefeller tree lighting, Four and Twenty Blackbirds, DUMBO Brooklyn Bridge walk, Dewey’s candies, The IAC Holiday Party, visitors eating extravaganza, and a trip to some of my favorite Holiday shops around the city! But before I get into that, I’d like to share with you my.. TOP 10 NYC HOLIDAY LIST tomorrow.  Please stay tuned!


Happy Thanksgiving, everybody! I hope everyone has a relaxing weekend surrounded by the people they love.  As always, I am thankful for having such amazing friends and family in my life.  Upcoming on Monsieur Jamon is a post on unique Holiday shopping experiences in New York. Stay tuned, loves!

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Diners of the Caribbean- The Islands

Ricky and I have eaten the $200 dollar steak dinners and have tasted desserts that look like miniature works of art, but some of our most memorable experiences have been at hole-in-the walls, tasting new and delicious food with locals.  This weekend, we trekked back to our old stomping grounds to eat authentic jerk chicken at The Islands in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn

When Ricky and I arrive, we are surprised to find that it is quite literally a hole in the wall, the bottom floor consists of just a counter top and kitchen.  The waiter asks if we would like to eat there and points us upstairs to a room that is, if possible, even smaller than the first floor.  I try to get to an empty table, knocking chairs and bumping into other diners as I make my way.  I  turn around worried about how my 6’2 tall boyfriend will manage only to see him nestled snuggly, wedged between the table and the wall.  The things this kid will do for good food.

We order the large Oxtail platter that comes with rice and beans, salad, and cabbage.  The oxtail, saucy and flavorful, falls off the bone and is amazing with the tender rice. Best of all, we got a HUGE plate for just $15.00.

Their signature dish is the Jerk Chicken, just as ginormous and only $12.00, also accompanied by rice and beans, salad, and cabbage. The rub on the chicken is spiceful, not too hot and so juicy and tasty.  Everything just worked together so well with the spice from the meat, the mellowness of the cabage, the sweetness of the salad and the starchiness of the rice and beans.  If this is what people in the Caribbean eat every day, then pack me in a shipping crate and send me over express.

We also overheard a lot (A LOT) of people talk about how good the mac n cheese is there.  So much so that we almost ordered it to go. Good thing we came to our senses because by the end of the meal, I was so full jerk chicken was coming out of my nose. It truly is a great value. 

Comfort food like this is, in my opinion, some of the hardest dishes to get right.  The ingredients are basic and making it is just as simple, but when it’s done right… I whoosh into my childhood like Anton Ego after his first bite of Ratatouille.

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Swings, Slides, and Seizures at the New Museum

Carsten Holler: Experience (On view October 26, 2011 – January 15, 2012)

New Museum of Contemporary Art
235 Bowery
New York, NY 10002

Free on Thursdays after 7pm

Last Thursday,  my friend Helen invited me to the New Museum of Contemporary art to see the current Carsten Holler exhibit. I am a sucker for contemporary art. It’s usually bizarre, shocking, and sometimes even thought provoking.  My friend calls it the art of bullshitting, but any type of art that will allow me to slide down a 3 story slide,  swing on a carousel,  or walk around wearing virtual reality helmets is an art I can get on board with.

Visit the Carsten Holler: Experience Wiki for more

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Season of Giving- Feeding New York

If there’s one thing I love to do in life, it’s eating.  It’s such a basic/essential part of the human experience.  Everyone has to eat, but sadly not everyone always gets to.

My parents taught me and my sister to appreciate food at a very young age.  They made sure we understood that every grain of rice was precious; that we were lucky to have a full bowl to eat every night; and that being picky and wasteful was a luxury most of the world could not afford. Even in New York City, one of the richest cities in the world, food poverty is around every corner.

As the holidays approach, I like to find ways to help others in my community whether it’s donating money, clothes, or time.  This year, before Thanksgiving I will be working with Food Bank NYC which offers volunteer opportunities to help end hunger in New York.  You can join in working at a local soup kitchen, packing food to be delivered to homes in need, collecting and distributing canned goods at food pantries, or campaigning to help keep the program going. I usually like to work in the soup kitchens because, I’ll admit, I’m kind of a creeper and like to watch people eat and enjoy food, but this year I’ll be part of the packing crew at Pier60. I believe the volunteer registration is closed for Thanksgiving, but they will probably need more people for Christmas as well.  Please let me know if you are interested in volunteering and you can join my group for Christmas packing!

Who knows, maybe we’ll run into Kevin Bacon at this thing and ask him what he thinks of the new Footloose.

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Scenes from Fort Tryon Park NYC

My favorite park in NYC is Fort Tryon Park by the Cloisters Museum in Inwood. Take the A uptown to 190 st to a little slice of serenity. Click “read more” to see some additional pics.

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