We all know that red roses are the queen of Valentine’s Day, and chocolate is king. If you read my blog, you know just how much I like chocolate. Although I never heard of them before this weekend, I am thrilled to introduce Sugar and Plumm, the Purveyors of Yumm!
Chef Pichet Ong spoke to our intimate group about the delicious creations they are whipping up. Perhaps best known as a judge on Top Chef: Just Desserts, award-winning corporate pastry Chef Ong is the whimsical creator behind the sweet and savory confections of Sugar and Plumm. He combines the fond flavors of his childhood with modern cooking techniques to create culinary offerings that are seasonal, pure, light, and delightfully experimental, yet nostalgic.
After introducing us to the brand, he was kind enough to treat us to their For The Love of Chocolate gorgeously packaged box of some of their finest chocolate creations. It is an amazing assortment of hand-crafted artisan chocolates with origins from around the world. This box included two white chocolate blueberry and six pure dark Mexican chocolate ganache. However, the pleasant surprises didn’t end there. Hidden below were chocolates with flavors and aromas consisting of raspberry, vanilla, coconut, hazelnut praline, jasmine tea infused ganache, ginger, milk chocolate and pure dark Peruvian. On top of allowing us to sample some of their finest chocolate creations, we were also give a pair of their brightly colored, delicate French macaroons. It was all I could do to keep myself from digging in immediately.
When I untied the ribbon and opened my brightly colored box, I was blown away by the impeccably pristine chocolates before me. They were almost too pretty to eat. Luckily, that would not stop me. What did stop me was the thought of my boyfriend waiting for me at home. There’s something incredibly romantic about fine artisan chocolates that makes it sinful not to share with a loved one.
On our anniversary, the day before Valentine’s day, I told my boyfriend I had a surprise for him. I told him to close his eyes and open his mouth. After a bit of trepidation, he complied, and boy was he glad he did. His face lit up from ear to ear as he savored his first bite of the dark chocolate ganache-filled heart. I sampled the white chocolate blueberry-filled heart. I’d never tasted anything so complex and exquisite. It was heaven. I was reminded of the first time blueberry wine touched my lips, and I had to have more. The combination of blueberry and white chocolate was pure genius. I forced myself to put the box away so I could savor these the little bits of chocolate heaven for a few days; I simply did not want the experience to end!
There was no way I could possibly ignore the fresh macaroons waiting the ultimate demise. Although there were two, I wanted the best of both worlds. As it’s rather impossible to split a macaroon, I simply bit half for myself and passed the other half to my boyfriend. We made long extended moans as we enjoyed these incredible indulgences, and that was just the vanilla macaroon. I repeated our ritual with the strawberry poppy-seed, and the moans of happiness only grew louder. The flavors transported me back to the beach with my parents snacking on strawberry Twizzlers.
It was amazing how incredibly nostalgic Sugar and Plumm’s confectionaries were. How could so much be contained in such a small morsel?
I was shocked to learn that Sugar and Plumm serve breakfast, lunch, dinner, weekend brunch, and every craving in between. I was expecting a purveyor of sweets, but they create works of art from homemade ice cream and macaroons, to house-smoked salmon and Berkshire pulled pork, our team of master chefs, bakers, and chocolatiers are purveyors of all things delicious and delightful. The bake shop even makes everything handmade, from scratch. The only problem you’ll find is deciding what to order (and possibly that top button on your pants).
Although it’s too late to place an order for Valentine’s Day delivery, if you’re looking for that perfect way to show the special person in your life just how much they mean to you, this is a perfect for Valentine’s Day — Or any of the other 364 days of the year. The have gift boxes for every budget and an in-store experience you won’t soon forget! This Upper West Side spot with Parisian charm and a downtown vibe is sure to knock the socks off anyone who enters and will certainly not disappoint!
For more information, visit the on Facebook.
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Saturday morning, I woke up to CK’s lips caressing mine with a gentle kiss. “Morning baby,” he whispered. As my eyes opened and slowly adjusted, his face came into focus and a smile grew on my face. What a great way to wake up!
After taking my sweet old time getting out of bed, I made my way to the kitchen to start making us coffee and breakfast. We planned to hit the beach for the day, but our coffee wasn’t the only thing with clouds in it. I realized trekking out to Long Beach wasn’t worth it if the weather wasn’t going to shape up. So, instead of having cereal, I cooked us eggs and pancakes.
CK asked if there was anything he could do to help as he wrapped his arms around me from behind. “No. I think I have it covered,” I responded.
While I didn’t need his help in creating the food we were going to eat, I was hoping he would keep me company while I did it. However, while I was cracking eggs, he was off in the corner tweeting, Instagramming, GetGluing, and emailing away. This was a point of contention between us. At times, I felt he put more importance on his virtual friends and followers than he did with the man who was physically present at the moment. When I asked him a question, and it fell on deaf ears. I started to feel unappreciated. I felt like making breakfast for us was my duty. It was simply expected of me.
I asked him, once again, to be more present and put the phone down. I pointed out how often he was glued to his phone. Even though I understood how important social media was to him, I felt overshadowed by it. Of course, he responded quite defensively, and an argument ensued.
This continued for some time before he used the same phrase I heard on Friday: “Do you really want me, or do you want some changed version of me?” I reiterated for him how much I loved him and how I was not trying to change him. There were so many inherent qualities he possessed I loved about him, but there were also a few behaviors by which I felt disrespected. This was something new for both of us, and we were both learning what it means to be in a substantial relationship.
Instead of diving into another world while I cooked his breakfast, perhaps he could have sat at the counter and engaged with me. I know I’m sound like an unappreciated housewife, but at the time, that’s exactly how I felt.
In an isolated incident, this would have been nothing. However, I’m a very analytical person, and I notice patterns, sometimes in their infancy stages. I didn’t want this to become a typical behavior. We’ve all seen it in movies — The dad who doesn’t engage with his family because he’s glued to his blackberry putting out fires for work. I wanted him to take the time to separate out the noise. I wasn’t asking him to give up his virtual world. I was just asking him to be conscientious of when and where he engaged. Obviously, I have my own social media accounts to manage, but I never put them before the people I am with in real-time, especially him.
I’d been on the other side of this paradigm. Before I met CK, when I went out to straight bars with my friends, I was often engaging with others on Grindr. My friends complained I wasn’t present, but I explained how that was the trade-off for spending time with them in places I was much less likely to meet a man. Looking back, I can see how insulting it can be to be physically with someone while mentally, they are in a virtual world.
The fight grew and grew much bigger than the initial sentiment merited. I tried to calm things and explain I wasn’t looking for a fight. I was simply trying to point out something I didn’t appreciate so he could do something about. I was trying to communicate. I didn’t want him to get defensive, and I wasn’t looking to take the offensive. In time, hopefully these situations wouldn’t escalate like this. I was trying to lengthen my fuse, while he was learning to deal with the enigma that is myself.
Eventually, cooler heads prevailed, and we sat to eat our breakfast. He thanked me for making breakfast with a kiss.
Since the weather was far from motivating, we spent a majority of the day on the couch watching Game of Thrones and fooling around. Our ever-healthy libidos were calling out to be quenched as well. Fooling around soon turned into more vigorous exercises.
The front of my apartment is nearly all windows. This doesn’t exactly allow for privacy unless the shades are drawn. I didn’t want to interrupt the moment by closing the shades, and I knew it would only feed CK’s exhibitionist side to leave them open. Self-consciously, I glanced out the window and noticed a woman across the street. I had a feeling she’d seen us and tried to decipher whether or not she was continuing to watch us. I couldn’t decide either way, and I was far more distracted by the gorgeous man in front of me than the stranger across the street. If she wanted to watch, let her. All this commenced with a climax, and me taking an afternoon nap on top of him.
When we woke, I continued with my plans to bake a few pies. This time, when CK asked if he could help, I welcomed his assistance with open arms. Together, we made two pies, torturing ourselves with the delicious smells coming from the oven as they baked. We engaged in Instagram together, taking pictures of our masterpieces and uploading them together. At least our heated conversation earlier that morning was finally bearing fruit.
That night, to properly celebrate three months together and make up for the previous night, we decided to hit up a restaurant I’d been dying to go to for six years, Anthony Davids. It was always difficult to get into because there was usually a line of people waiting for a table. We didn’t have any other pressing plans, so we decided to give it a shot.
We were seated in the coziest table in the joint. The ambiance was already setting the perfect mood for the night. All the fighting and bickering from earlier in the week slowly disappeared from my consciousness. Our stellar waitress opened the Malbec we brought with us, and CK proposed a toast. “Here’s to the beginning of our 2nd quarter,” he boasted. It was a very cute sentiment, and it put a smile on my face.
Over the course of our amazing meal, I slowly began to realize the bigger picture. I realized it was all worth it. No matter how much fighting there was, the good times – times like these – were priceless!
Our night could not have gotten much better. The service was impeccable, the food was divine, the ambiance was indescribable… We finished our meal and walked back to my apartment hand-in-hand. We were exhausted from a long day of lounging about on the couch. When we got home, we brushed our teeth and climbed straight into bed. I could not have been happier. I was utterly in love, and my relationship with CK was really starting to take shape.
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In the summer, my company offers half day Fridays. It’s an amazing perk, and I take full advantage.
I live for my weekends, so if there was anything I could do to make them better, I did. I utilized my free Friday afternoons to run my errands so Saturday and Sunday would be all mine. I tried to clean and do laundry, run to the grocery store, etc.
This Friday, I was very successful getting through my list. I stopped by my allergist for my weekly shot. Since I left work at 1:00, I decided to eat lunch at McDonalds (never a good decision). While sitting there, I noticed two men walking holding hands across the street. I was a bit surprised. I immediately thought, “We do that in Hoboken?!” In the six years I’d lived in Hoboken, only once before had I seen two men holding hands. I was thrilled to see the courage and the progress.
When I finished eating, I swung by the salon for a haircut and hit up the gym to lift and swim. After my swim, I called CK from the roof deck of the gym. Although we made tentative plans for Saturday night, we hadn’t discussed plans for that night. It was our anniversary. He automatically assumed I was spending the night in the city since he came to Hoboken the previous night. I was not under the same impression, so I explained I did not want to spend both Friday and Saturday night away from place. I told him to pick one. This of course turned into an argument. He complained about the trek to Hoboken, and I resented this. I’d made the trip back into the city to be with him many times after a long day at work, and I did it without complaint. He always made it seem like torture when he had to traverse the Hudson River. The argument grew more and more heated until he threatened not to come at all. I wasn’t having any more of this, so I hung up on him.
I was tired of this game we were playing. I didn’t want to argue anymore. In addition, my testosterone was already flowing after a solid workout, and my blood was beginning to boil with every complaint.
After I got home and a few minutes passed, he called back (He always was good at playing the role of peacemaker). He told me he’d come to Hoboken, but it wouldn’t be until later. We discussed the argument calmly, and both apologized for getting out of hand. He explained he had assumption I was coming there all day. The idea of him trekking out to Hoboken on a bus wasn’t all that thrilling to him after having those expectations all day. I explained how one of us would always have to make the trek to the other. There was nothing we could do about that, at least for now, so the more fair and balanced we could make it (and the less complaining), the less burdensome it would feel. He agreed.
Since I had a fair amount of time before his arrival, I continued with my to-do list and swung by Shop Rite and Target. When I finished and returned home, I was still a bit depressed from the bad news I’d received at work that week, so I plopped down on the couch and watched TV until CK arrived.
Hours passed, and I heard nothing from him. I felt he was dragging his feet and as every minute passed, I grew more and more annoyed. He told me he had to shower before coming over. He obviously wasn’t still showering. I was sure he was just lounging about, which is fine. But I wanted him to be lounging about with me.
This wasn’t just any night after all. We were supposed to be “celebrating” our three-month anniversary. I finally got so annoyed I sent him a text: “Maybe tonight would be better spent apart. I’m in a really cranky mood now.” It was already past 10:00. At this point he was coming over to sleep and not much else. He called and told me he was already in a cab on the way to the PATH. I encouraged him not to doddle before saying goodbye. I needed to cool off before he arrived, or it was a guaranteed fight the moment he arrived. It seemed all the smallest things so easily got under my skin. I was all wound up. Work was stressing me out. Life was stressing me out…
Finally, at 11:00, he arrived, flowers in hand to make up for the botched night. Honestly, I would have preferred he came three hours prior, but the gesture was utterly sweet. And, I forgave/thanked him immediately. I tried to be cool with everything and have a nice time with him since it was a special night. There was no use being miserable.
It wasn’t really his fault either. Work made me a miserable son-of-a-b*tch. He asked me how my day was. I further explained my new predicament and fretted over the possibility of being unemployed in the near future. I was very pessimistic about the whole situation.
I certainly will hand it to him. He remained positive and tried to assure me everything would be fine. This is why I loved him so much. NO matter how much of a Debbie Downer I can be, he always picks me up and dusts me off. In spite of my pessimism, he was always optimistic.
We also learned to collaborate professionally. We were helping each other bolster up our positions in the social media realm of our jobs. He taught me things I didn’t know about, and through my recent vigorous research, I taught him a thing or two as well.
When I’d had enough talk of my job situation, we agreed to order Chinese food for dinner. I was too tired to cook. While we waited for the food to arrive, we smoked to relax.
He told me about his day at work and the stellar presentation he delivered to the powers that be. He was proposing a new initiative that was well received by the decision-makers. I was happy for him, but also jealous. Sure, I realize how horrible that is to say, but I’m nothing if I’m not honest.
The rest of the night was much better than the evening had begun. Eventually, I forgot all about our fight and my emotions were back in check. We ate our food while watching TV in each other’s arms on the couch.
I finished eating, but CK was still chowing down as he poured some of the General Tso’s sauce onto on his plate. After a few minutes, he started fretting. Apparently, he’d eaten something quite hot. After investigating, I realized he ate a whole chili pepper. Tears were streaming down his face as he rinsed his mouth over and over again in the sink. Next he tried a glass of milk and a few pieces of bread. That didn’t seem to be helping. He even took to wiping his tongue with a napkin. Nothing helped. It was all I could do to maintain my composure, but after a while I couldn’t hold back. His face wasn’t the only one wet from tears. I was hysterically laughing so hard I was crying.
After a good laugh, interspersed with failing advice, I consulted Google for a better solution. We’d tried everything in the book. When I told him someone suggested eating another one, he looked like he was going to throw me out the third-story window. I was still getting a chuckle out of all this but certainly at his expense. It was torture for him, but he had no idea the gift he was giving me. He delivered exactly what I needed that night — A good laugh.
Eventually the pain subsided, and he forgot all about the incident. As our eyelids grew heavier and heavier, we moved to my bedroom for the night. As tired as we were, our appetites weren’t quite satiated.
We were pinning each other down for the count before we counting sheep. As hot as things were for him during dinner, things in the bedroom were even hotter. We tired ourselves out between the sheets before he finally drifted off to slumber wrapped in my arms. That night taught me something very important. No matter how much we fought, this was the man I loved, and there was no changing that.
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Happy Fourth of July everyone! Hope you have the day off and find something amazing to do with your day! Find someone special to do some serious day seizing!
Hopefully there will be fireworks both in the sky and between the sheets!
Furthermore, today is my parents’ anniversary.
Join me in congratulating them on 31 years of marriage!
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Today is One Gay At A Time’s 1 year anniversary.
It’s hard to believe it’s already been a year. At times, it seems like longer. One year ago today, I hatched the idea to create the nom de plume, One Gay At A Time and beging writing a blog.
I want to take this opportunity to thank all of you, my faithful readers! We’ve been through a lot together to say the least. I feel fortunate to have conversed with many of you and gain a different perspective on a tumultuous dating life. Please keep reading, and I will keep writing. If I help just one person find comfort in themselves, I feel more than accomplished.
Here’s to sharing many, many anniversaries in the future.
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