FALL FORWARD

As the leaves change, the summer heat turns into crisp autumn air, and the sun hits the earth in such a way that the the most magical light shines through in the late afternoon.  It's as if the east coast is turning a page in a book, shedding the spring and summer skin, preparing for the wintery new year. 

This!! 

This!! 

Daylight savings has ended and although we fell back an hour, and the days are filled with more darkness, this time of year reminds me to keep moving forward. It's a reminder that the end of the year is near, and begs me to question if I got all I wanted to out of 2016.  Have I grown personally, professionally, and mentally in a year?  Do I have a different perspective 300-ish days later? 

The truth is, absolutely.  I have new perspective on my fellow Americans, democracy and our country.  I have a new mental perspective on the type of American, and human I wish to be.  These past weeks have been eye opening, and the monumental election was a tough pill to swallow.  Although I'm discouraged that my hopes of the first woman president is diminished (for now), and the dunderhead President-elect is more concerned with his twitter account that uniting the country, I have to find a silver lining.  It is clear that there are still very visceral differences between the American people, and that those differences divide us.  The good news is we are now having conversations that are uncomfortable.  People are more aware of what our neighbors think and feel.  Like most New Yorkers we are in the thick of it.  Confused that we didn't realize how different we are from the rest of the country.  Befuddled and happily protected by the bubble of a melting pot we live in. I am no longer blinded by what I choose to read, watch and post.  I am forced to feel, I am forced to awaken and realize that although we have come far as a nation we have serious work to do in the next four years.  I refuse to feel as though we are moving backwards.  We now know that not all our neighbors are our friends.  The press is openly reporting actual facts on the boy's club that is about to run our country.  This is progress! In the past, facts were smudged and characters candy coated (hello? Regan, Nixon, Bush administration).  

Feeling hopeless wont solve anything so I welcome the conversation and not just with the likeminded.  I want to talk, and then I want to share, and then I want to be kind.  If anything, this election is a reminder that although we are all Americans we have differences that should be celebrated.  I don't want to fall into a social media hole and be updated on the latest rhetoric, I want to do my part to be a good human. I wish to find the best in people and give them my very best.  Practice humility and patience so that perhaps we can come together as a nation. Because at the end of the day, when it really comes down to it, we all just want to live a happy life and eat good food. "Be the change you wish to see in the world."--Mahatma Ghandi.  I reckon that is a good start. 

Sooooo...with all that said, I have found great solace in working out as it helps to calm me and sort my thoughts.  Fort Greene Park is particularly lovely this time of year and makes for an incredible gym.  I give you fabulous fall photos of beautiful Brooklyn in the good ol' USA.  

Booze helps...Autumn Sangria with apples, cinnamon, white wine and single malt scotch 

Luckily, this is the time of year in the hospitality industry when people want to eat drink and be merry.  In addition, we as humans tend to eat and drink our sorrows away. Win-win for us! So go out, drink some spiked cider, kick some leaves, and Fall Forward.

<3 Love, Camille 

P.S. This started as a nice fluffy post after being off for a while, showing you pretty pictures of autumn in Brooklyn and my adventures at the farmer's market on a fine Saturday in November.  Instead the state of the country today compelled me to write something about what I was feeling after this whole election hubbub.  Back to fun posts soon.  xx

 

Happy Monday...

Chillin like a villain...Happy Monday! 

Christmas came early this year. 

One fine Monday morning as I was sending positive vibes for a positive week, I got off the subway and started heading to work.  While walking down 14th street I noticed a man sitting on our stoop in a Santa Claus costume.  Now, it was the dog days of summer and he's about 3 months early for the holiday season, so it was an interesting sight nonetheless. 

There was Santa with a five o'clock shadow, a Heineken, and half eaten taco from the taco truck sprawled out on the top of our landmarked brownstone stoop at 8:45 in the morning.  To be fair, this is a no judgement zone. It looked as if he had a fantastic night and thought that our stoop was a good place to take a little rest. Aside from his regular Santa hat on his head, he had a back-up sequined hat just to the left of him (clearly his club hat),  and was super comfortable treating the top step as his couch. As I surveyed the scene, I took a deep breath and realized I would have to use some critical thinking skills to get St. Nick off the stoop as we opened in one hour. 

Peep the club hat to the right ---> 

I entered through the delivery entrance in the basement (unseen by Santa),  got a cup of coffee and called for back up.  The two porters that open the building had my back and together we headed for the stoop.  

This particular morning was serendipitous. Recently I have conducted interviews and one of the questions that I ask applicants is: 'How do you deal with drunk people?'. Typically the answer is "find the intoxicated person's friend and see if you can get the friend to babysit and get boozy butt home safe" (maybe not in those particular words).  In this case this is not the option as there were no reindeer or elves on 14th street at 9am.  He proceeded to offer us some of his Heineken and after I politely declined I had a curt but honest convo with him:  "Sir, I love the costume and probably would love the story even more, however we have to ask you to move so we can clean the steps." He was fairly coherent and after very little  acknowledgement he took a sip of his beer and looked us dead in the eye without comment. Again, I asked politely and reminded him what day and time it was. The trick here with Santa and most intoxicated people is not to embarrass them.  The idea is to find something that is relatable and remind them of reality. I nicely explained that it was a Monday morning and that we needed to get the stoop he was sitting on ready for the day. 

I would like to say: "He quickly popped up because in some way, shape, or form I reminded him of something that got him to pack up and move on".   Instead it went like this: his stupor subsided briefly when one of the porters pulled out the hose, turned it on and started to water the street.  This quickly warned him that the stoop was next, and if he wanted his Santa suit to stay dry, he better keep it moving.  Sometimes my diplomatic Director of Operations skills work, sometimes a hose works better...

Only in New York folks, only in New York.

<3 Love, Camille 

PS This entry was purely for my entertainment...Especially 20 years from now when I need a good chuckle.

PPS As usual all photo credits go to yours truly :) 

 

Her Name is Delicious!

One of the best New York meals I have had in a long time was at Her Name is Han.

#TRUTH 

Love a good sign 

 Located on East 31st Street just off of Madison Avenue, this is Korean comfort food at its best.  I literally sat down and aside from being famished, wanted to order every single thing on the menu.  Don't be scared of Korean food...it's not as exotic as it reads and for those that have questions, the menu has a contemporary style with actual pictures of each dish.  The menu boasts dumplings, ribs, mung bean pancakes, and FRIED CHICKEN.  

The dining room.  Super cute decor with custom stage track lighting and old school ovens. 

Service was fantastic especially because we were one of the last tables of the evening.  They treated us with warm, cordial hospitality letting us know when we had ordered too much, caring more about our experience than padding our bill to make that last bit of money for the night. Our server was knowledgeable and helped us to narrow down our ambitious appetite.  The starters included;  spicy salmon and cucumber noodles (GF), the boiled pork and cabbage dumplings, gochujan spare ribs, and the mung bean and pork pancake.  It was a party in my mouth--for real. The spicy salmon had this beautiful balance of sweet, sour and heat with the cucumber noodle adding texture and a fantastic freshness.  The dumplings...I mean, I don't know about you, but I've never met a dumpling I didn't like and these definitely didn't disappoint. The pancake was good and although I was not entirely sure of what a mung bean was, the thin crispy pork pancake with a little kimchi and soy sauce gave salt and savory a new meaning. The ribs we my least favorite but I think its because Im not a fan of saucy BBQ (I know, slowly loosing my African American card).  Gochujan is a traditional Korean condiment that although not my jam, I can see how the tender meat falling off the bone bathed in this sauce would be delicious to some as the meat was cooked perfectly. 

Slap yo mama Korean Fried Chicken with pickled radish 

Slap yo mama Korean Fried Chicken with pickled radish 

 Next was the Fried Chicken (AA card redeemed!), and I have never had chicken like this. It was dipped in a batter that was flakey, delicate with juicy tender meat. This dish had just enough salt and the pickled radish helped to clean the palette, all while encouraging you to take another bite. The chicken was crispy at first bite and melted in your mouth as you chewed, creating the perfect balance of texture. I kid you not this chicken is one for the books.  

My dinner at Her Name is Han was memorable.  The best part is, I want to go back not to have exactly what I had my last visit, but to eat all the other items I didn't get to.  That's what makes a restaurant stand out. I have several favorite places where I got to get the pasta, or the steak frites, or the sticky toffee pudding or whatever standout dish they are known for.  But it is not often I am dying to go back because I want to try everything else.

Not sure who Han is, but can I please meet her and say Thank You? 

<3 Love, Camille... 

PS Sorry this sounds like a YELP review, but I had to tell you about Han and her chicken!