Posts Tagged romantic
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.
What would Valentine’s Day be without chocolate? Whether you embrace the holiday like the warmth of a fireplace or avoid it like the plague, you have to admit, you will always enjoy those little cocoa bits of heaven. From garish heart-shaped boxes to small delicate boxes to simple pink foil-wrapped factory-processed milk chocolates — We all love chocolate (unless of course you have some rare and exotic chocolate allergy). Chocolate makes everything better, especially when coupled with the right companion.
Move over peanut butter! I’ve found chocolate’s new best friend — Casa Noble’s “El Beso de Luz” Margarita. I can see you now. Your furrowed brow and head tilted to the side. Yes. Chocolate and margaritas. But, not just any chocolate or premixed margaritas. I myself would have never thought to put the two together before Single Edition’s Sweets in New York event, but now I will never think of a margarita again without thinking of chocolate.
No matter how you take ’em, nothing quite warms a winter night and brightens up the gloom and gray like a margarita. And, we’ve already established chocolate makes everything better. These two powers combined will warm you from the soul on outward, making any day special and unforgettable.
Casa Noble is an ultra premium tequila meticulously crafted from choice blue agave plants. Employing only traditional methods, slow-cooking the rich agave piñas for 38 hours, they use only the agave hearts to extract their sweet nectar. Their fermentation process is 100% natural and is followed by triple distillation, resulting in a tequila so pure and full of agave flavor it has globally elevated the concept of tequila to new heights.
When the “El Beso de Luz” Margarita first passed Carlos Santana’s lips, he likened it to the first time he fell in love, giving the cocktail its name in tribute to his wife, Cindy. Mixing Casa Noble’s tequila with lime, orange, and Licor 43’s hints of citrus, fruit juices, vanilla and aromatic herbs and spices (43 ingredients in all), this mystical concoction is an experience for the senses worthy of Aphrodite herself.
Pairing that with artisanal chocolates from Essence By Chocolate creates a very unique and sublime tasting experience. As if by Cupid’s own hand, pairing these powerhouses of taste in tandem will leave you taking delight in luscious aromas and flavors.
After carefully preparing our cocktail, my boyfriend and I cozied up in front of the fireplace. Starting with a few sips of my margarita, I was blown away by the freshness and lightness. Before the flavors dissipated, I took a generous bite of the first chocolate. I had the pleasure of sampling the Mango, Chile Pepper & Crystal Tequila Infused in Milk and White Chocolate, the Resposado Tequila and Caramel Infused in Dark & Milk Chocolate and the Black Cherry & Anejo Tequila Infused in Dark Chocolate Dome. Alternating sips with bites until we finished, we were making sounds normally reserved for one’s bedroom. We enjoyed the symphony of flavors stimulating every inch of my tongue (And then we mixed a second drink).
This Valentine’s Day, what could be a more appropriate tribute to love than cuddling up with two glasses of this romantic drink and a box of distinctly paired chocolates?
And, should you find yourself not particularly enjoying this lover’s holiday? I think the citrus and vanilla notes, complimented by the knowledge that you’re indulging in one of Mexico’s finest exports will remedy even the sourest of moods. Top that off with some of the finest chocolates I’ve ever tasted, and you’ll be transported to your own personal heaven.
The recipe for the aforementioned cocktail:
“El Beso de Luz” Margarita
2 oz. Casa Noble Crystal
1/2 oz. Licor 43
1 oz. lime juice
1/4 orange squeeze & dropFollow @onegayatatime
Good Things Do Come in Small Packages!
Valentine’s Day will be upon us before we know it. I myself have never celebrated Valentine’s Day. I haven’t much had the chance to be honest. I’ve only ever been in a one relationship that spanned over the “greeting card holiday,” but when that day came, I was traveling domestically for work.
As we close in on V-Day, I thought it would be nice to shine a light on some of NYC’s finest establishments. This weekend I had the pleasure of attending Sweets in the City, an event hosted by Single Edition. Originally planned as a bus tour of some of Big Apple’s most romantic locations, the recent blizzard forced plans to be altered. Instead, Single Edition scrambled to gather all these great NYC treasures in one place.
Certainly when I say cupcakes and New York City in the same breath, most think Magnolia’s. I’m here to change that. The first confectionary I’d like to share with you is Sprinkles Cupcakes. Located near Bloomingdale’s between 60th & 61st streets, this purveyor of pure, delicious, uncomplicated, scratch-based cupcakes has blown me away.
The days of sharing a late-night romantic slice of pie at a diner have gone by the wayside. And, since the cupcake craze hit the scene, I personally (and unsuccessfully) have been trying to supplant it with a pie craze. After my first bite into a Sprinkles cupcake, my struggle ended and I was officially onboard.
Sprinkles has struck the perfect balance of cake and icing ratio. Most cupcake peddlers botch this entirely, forcing me to scrape half-a-pound of icing off my dessert before biting into it. Sprinkles has mastered this art, and made me reevaluate my love-hate relationship with cake’s red-headed stepchild. But enough about my cupcake hang-ups!
I got to sample Sprinkles’ decadent red velvet. Much to my delight, I didn’t have to sink my teeth in to find out what flavor awaited me. They’ve devised a brilliant color-coded system of dots adorning the cupcakes, revealing the flavors hidden within. Although not all flavors are available every day, they’ve developed a calendar telling you when your favorite flavors will be available.
When I got home from the event, I plopped down on the couch for a romantic evening and split the cupcake in half. The portion size was perfect for sharing, although truth be told, it was so sinfully good that my better half nearly missed out on his half. The cake was incredibly moist and scrumptious, the icing was perfection, and my teeth didn’t ache from sugar overload.
On top of their first-class cupcakes, Sprinkles offers great service as well. No matter the occasion, they can accommodate — weddings, parties, gifts for all occasions, last-minute orders, deliveries and more. They’ll even print your logo, monogram or any graphic on a sugar decoration. The pleasant surprises didn’t end there. When discarding evidence of my indulgence, I was also pleased to see my treat was packaged in a tiny, recyclable and aesthetically simple brown box. Who doesn’t love an eco-friendly, green company these days.
Disappointed you can’t experience this decadence because you don’t live in New York City? — Not to worry. They are baking cupcakes specially for you in Chicago, Washington DC, Dallas, Houston, La Jolla, Newport Beach, Palo Alto, Scottsdale and their flagship store in Beverly Hills. You too can find true love in the bottom of a small brown box.
So this Valentine’s Day, show that special someone just how much they mean to you with one of NYC’s true treasures — Sprinkles cupcakes.
It was the middle of July in NYC, and while many might find the thought of that heat taxing, I’ve always enjoyed the summertime. People are out during all hours of the day and night. The city comes alive because people are willing to spend more of their time outdoors.
Tuesdays are never particularly good days. You’re still three days away from the weekend, and you don’t have the benefit of being refreshed from the pervious weekend. After a long Tuesday at work, I made my way to CK‘s apartment. He was wrapping up at his office, so I expected we would be arriving around the same time. I was looking forward to seeing him and relaxing. What better way to end a Tuesday than relaxing and watching the sunset from the rooftop of his New York high-rise on the banks of the Hudson River?
We dropped our bags and immediately took the elevator to the penthouse floor. A few others share the same thinking we did, and they were enjoying the days final rays with a few cocktails and some light-hearted conversation. CK and I made our way to the far side of the roof and swapped stories about our days. Through the course of our conversation, I learned he had some work left to do for the evening. It just so happened to be my expertise, so I offered to help when we finally made our way back downstairs. I told him this would have to wait until after we ate dinner of course because I was starving. As the last few beams of light disappeared behind the buildings on banks of the Hudson River in New Jersey, we exchanged a romantic kiss and made our way back downstairs.
We agreed upon ordering in instead of cooking, especially since CK still had work to do. “Sushi it is!” he exclaimed. While we waited, he worked on his presentation while I worked on a blog post in front of the TV. We paused when the food came so we could eat, but once we were properly fed, it was right back to work. I put a little work into his presentation while he proofread my post, pausing to show him a few tips I’d learned along the way myself.
It was a really nice night. We’d fallen into this routine finally, and I was really enjoying it. We were a couple, and there was no fighting. When the good times came, I genuinely appreciated them. I was beginning to wonder if we were a Ronnie and Sammi kind of couple for a little while there (Couldn’t resist the Jersey Shore reference there). That was a scary thought. I didn’t want to be the couple who constantly fought. We loved each other far more than that.
When we’d done enough work for the night, CK asked if he could put on his beloved Rachel Maddow, and I begrudgingly agreed. I wasn’t thrilled with the thought, as I grew more and more tired of her nightly hour-long program. I follow politics pretty closely and follow the Nightly News religiously every night, but I didn’t think anyone needed that much politics in their life. That Tuesday night, it was irrelevant what I wanted because my body wanted to go to sleep. I quickly dozed off on the couch while CK drank in his liberal political commentary.
When I finally woke, it was much later, and I suggested we go to bed. I could see CK was tired, and it was obvious I’d had enough with the day. We made our way to his room and slid into bed. I didn’t even make the pit stop to brush my teeth. I’m not sure why I was so exhausted, but I’m pretty sure I was asleep before my head came to rest on the pillow.
I’d begun an amazing date with a spectacular man, and I couldn’t wait for what was to come next. Although I had been to Frankies 570 multiple times before with multiple dates, this time was special. I had an amazing guy to share a meal with. Ironically, my meal from days prior was so good, I ordered the same the again.
Conversation over dinner we great. It flowed like water downhill. We were both very flirtatious and chatty. On many of my other dates, there were long awkward pauses, but not on this one. Everything was just so easy. When I excuse myself to go to the bathroom, he leaned in requesting a kiss first. It was incredibly sweet and adorable. I really liked this guy. He was everything I was looking for.
I was just taking extra care to make sure I didn’t get ahead of myself. I had a history of falling for guys who would hurt me or not be interested in pursuing anything further. While in the restroom, I looked in the mirror to keep myself centered. All I could do was smile at my reflection like a giddy schoolgirl.
When I returned to the table, the conversation picked back up where we left off. My hand was on his leg under the table. His body language was very positive.
Our meals came, and we shared them with each other. Both of us were very happy with our selections. When the meal ended, we agreed to order a dessert to share. We got the crème-brulee. I dug my spoon into it and fed him a spoonful. It felt incredibly romantic. He smiled as his mouth closed around the spoon. We finished dessert and began to chat about what to do next. He was dancing around what I can only assume were his true motives. He said, “We can go have more drinks.” I interjected, “I don’t want to drink anymore.” “We can drop our bags at my place and go out. We could grab Pinkberry…” he added. I cut him off at the pass saying, “You can stop dancing around it. We can go back to your place.” He immediately smiled and agreed that was the best idea.
I wasn’t thinking we were going back to his place for sex. I knew there would be making out and a lot of heavy petting, but I wasn’t planning to give it up that easily. We hopped in a cab back to his apartment. He asked if I wanted to go to the roof, and I told him I would default to him. We were on his home turf. He could run the show. I picked the bar and restaurant. It was his turn to drive. Before we got to his place, he warned me of the condition of it. He informed me he lived like a frat boy.
When we got to his place, we stopped in his apartment on our way to the roof. I didn’t think he was as bad as he let on. We began making out on the bed. This, of course, led to many other things. Slowly but surely, clothes started landing on the floor in scattered piles. Eventually, we fond ourselves naked and engaging in a myriad of sexual acts, but penetration would never occur.
He was a very passionate man. I have found it nearly impossible to find a man whose intellect, wit and sense of adventure outside the bedroom matched their passion in the bedroom. He was a diamond in the rough. I wasn’t going to let this one go without a fight.
I noticed he was very into music. It was like he needed a soundtrack. I liked it. Every minute I was learning something new about him, and it was all making me like him even more.
We never made it to the roof. We ended up passing out on top of each other’s naked body. In the middle of the night, we both woke up. It was around 2:00. He offered for me to stay. I was under the impression that was already happening. I assumed I would just stay the night. We cuddled some more, and he turned out the lights.
When we woke in the morning, things weren’t awkward at all. I felt very comfortable with him. We talked about how we didn’t have sex and how that made us both happy. We didn’t need to rush things. I mean, I was spending the night on a first date, but I was happy true sex didn’t occur. I was also thrilled he was the type of guy who would just bring that up and not keep it inside for fear of saying the wrong thing. He spoke his mind. I needed to get back to that. Being with him might help me get back to that.
He was amazing. There was no question about it. We were both starving and decided to get dressed to hunt for some breakfast. We stopped by a few places before finally settling on Jimmy’s American Grill and Bar. We grabbed a table outside and picked up the conversation where we left off the previous night.
I let my freak flag fly. I felt so free with him. I told him all about me and my idiosyncrasies. I explained my Christmas Bash and all the work I put into it. He referred to me as Martha Stewart, and I expressed my hatred for that referral. I didn’t like that my cooking and entertaining had a feminine connotation. I told him I was more the Nate Berkus type. He laughed and agreed it was a better reference. I told him about my crazy coworkers and how we would make an amazing reality show. I told him about growing up on a farm. Everything I could think of, I brought out. He loved it all! I learned about where he grew up and his career in advertising. Every word made me like him more and more. He also told me about his friends. They texted him while we were eating to ask him to come to brunch 2.0.
Somehow, we got on the topic of The Hunger Games. I was reading the books, and he had already seen the movie. I told him I was looking forward to seeing the movie. He told me he would go see it again and asked if we could go see it Sunday. You could have knocked me over with a feather. He was already planning date number two before date number one concluded. I was thrilled and immediately accepted.
He walked me to the PATH to say goodbye before heading downtown to meet his friends at Elmo. We kissed each other goodbye and gave a long lasting hug. There was a homeless man panhandling next to us who said, “Get a room,” through a smile. He began laughing, and I started to crack up since I was the one facing him. I said to my amazing date, “That made my day.” Immediately, he replied, “You made my day.” I was in heaven. I said goodbye and went down the stairs to the train.
Later, I learned from checking his Twitter that when he checked in at dinner on Foursquare, he wrote, “Easy conversation + tasty food + hot boy = great date on a Fri night (@ Frankies 570 w/ 2 others)” and the next day at brunch, “When last night’s date becomes this afternoon’s brunch date (@ Jimmy’s American Grill & Bar). He really did like me. I was just finding it hard to take. It was like a dream. I couldn’t really believe it. I didn’t want to get too excited because I didn’t want to get hurt. But, honestly, who gives a f*ck. I was happy, and that was all I cared about.Follow @onegayatatime
Today is another Fast Forward Friday!!!
Hope you are enjoying these. It will help bring the blog a little closer to real-time. If you’re keeping up with the stories chronologically, please skip down to this morning’s post first, then read this one. I think it’s a good one! Enjoy!
Never before have I prefaced an entry by giving away some of the details of what’s to follow, however, I’ve received numerous comments from readers tired of reading my “sex journal.”
“Your blog used to be interesting when it was about your relationship with your ex bfs, but it turned me off when it became a sex journal,” wrote one reader.
We’re both on the same page here. I dislike writing about these trysts as much as you dislike reading about them. It’s bad enough I’ve lived them once, let alone having to live them all over again when I write them.
So, without further ado, I am pleased to present you a love story…
On a Wednesday morning in April, while on my way to work, I happened to poke around on Grindr a bit. There was a message from an interesting guy on there. We began to chat a bit while I walked. He seemed pretty cool. I was about to head underground, so I quickly asked him for his phone number so we could continue the conversation on the other side.
We chatted a bit over text, and I came to learn a few things about him. I explained to him I wasn’t looking for sex, so if this was his motive, he should move on now. I was there purely for dates and friends. He seemed okay with that sentiment, and the conversation continued for a bit. I tried to check his spontaneity and asked if he would be interested in drinks that evening. He couldn’t because he had to work late. That’s when I learned he worked in advertising. I explained to him, if anyone understood working late for a pitch, it was I. I explained I too worked in advertising. When he told me he worked downtown, I started guessing what agency. Ironically enough, he worked for my previous agency. He worked closely with one of my favorite ex-coworkers. We were really hitting it off and I was excited to meet him. We agreed to make plans in the near future.
Wednesday evening, I was on my way home from a mediocre date. I fired up Grindr on the bus ride home and noticed he was on. I messaged him to say hi. He and asked what I was up to. When I told him I was on my way home from work, he responded, “You’re kidding me! Let’s f*ck.” My heart sank immediately. I had such high hopes for him. I was crushed. “You don’t know who you’re talking to do you? This is [O.G.A.A.T.],” I shot back. He admitted to confusing me with someone else and began damage control. I think he immediately realized he lost any shot of anything with me, however, he still took the time to apologize profusely.
If you know me at all, you know I give second chances out fairly often. I decided to lay on the guilt a little bit, but also give him the opportunity to redeem himself. As I got off the bus, I picked up the phone and called him. His timing caught me at a vulnerable moment. I was turning my dating life around. I told him what he did wasn’t cool. Again he apologized. I told him I would turn a blind eye this once for one reason; a few days prior, I probably would have said the same thing on Grindr. I couldn’t hold it against him when I too had treated Grindr in this way. He fully comprehended what I was saying and promised not to let me down.
The following day, I asked him if he would be interested in drinks Friday for happy hour. He immediately agreed that would be a great idea. When Friday arrived, we made more definitive plans. Since I was done work before he was, I offered to come down to his neighborhood. I just told him to text me when I should start walking down there, and he did. I texted him when I got the bar, but he was still working. I told him I’d hang out by the bar for a bit. I walked a block to Starbucks, got a coffee and wrote a blog post. I needed a kick in the a$$, considering it was a Friday night after a long week. When nearly an hour passed, my patience was at its end. This guy was not winning me over by any means. I was a block away from the PATH and very tempted to just leave. Just as I was closing my laptop, I got a text from him. He was on his way.
We met on the street in front of Employees Only. He’d never been before, so I led us inside to order a round of drinks and find a wall to lean against. He apologized for taking so long and explained what was going through his head. He was working on something late and told the editor they’d need to pick it up again on Monday. He’d already used up one of his chances with me. If he messed this one up, there’d be no redemption. I thought it was cute, and I loved his honesty. We talked about our jobs and our shared favorite coworker. I told him about my coworkers and how we’d be excellent fodder for a reality show. (I really work with a circus of a crew, but I love them!)
We were really hitting it off. Everything just felt so easy. He was also incredibly easy on the eyes. I felt I was a bit out of my league here. He was five years my senior, gorgeous, smart, witty, well spoken, had a solid job, etc. Basically, he was the full package. I already knew he had a healthy libido as well, so we’d probably be fine there.
After two rounds of drinks, he took the opportunity to kiss me. I can’t tell you how much I loved that kiss. He was a real man, and he kissed me. I was crazy swooning. We decided to make moves. In our conversation, I was talking about what I do in my free time and mentioned the pier I lounge on directly across from the Christopher Street pier. He suggested we take a walk out there before grabbing a bite to eat somewhere.
We walked holding hands to the end of the pier. He took my bag, set it on the ground with his own, and we walked to the railing. He stood facing the water and pulled me in, wrapping my arms around him. It was incredibly romantic. While we talked, I nuzzled his neck. Things were so easy with him. There was no drama. There were no games. There was just us. I couldn’t believe an hour earlier I was ready to abandon our date and go home.
He turned around and hiked himself up so he was sitting on the railing dangling over the river. I was between his legs with my arms wrapped around him while we chatted. I decided to tell him how new to the game I was and tell him my coming out story. I figured I might as well get that out of the way, because if it was going to scare him off, I figured it was better sooner rather than later since I’d already grown so attached to him. He was totally cool about it. This is also when I learned our age difference of five years. Obviously I was fine with that considering Smiles was nine years my senior. He was cool with that as well.
As we walked to find dinner, he told me about his coming out story. It was interesting and not all that different from mine. I learned he was bisexual through college, which actually was reassuring to me. I liked men that had experience with women as well. It wasn’t a necessary skill I needed to see them utilize. I just liked knowing they’d experienced women as well and realized they were more attracted to men. It also generally proved to produce more masculine men, which I’m far more attracted to. I also learned in that conversation he was a cancer survivor. I didn’t know how this guy could get any better. He was like Superman.
The date was off to an amazing start. We were walking hand-in-hand to find dinner somewhere, and I didn’t want the date to end. I was on cloud nine. I think I floated the whole way. We finally arrived at a spot I was quite familiar with, Frankies 570. So familiar, in fact, I’d been there a few days prior. The date was just beginning. I couldn’t wait for the next course…Follow @onegayatatime