Posts Tagged Upper West Side

Visit From the Sugar Plumm Fairies

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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A Southern Gentleman

Before I went to OCMD, I was talking to a southern gentleman who found me on Grindr. We hit it off immediately. He seemed like a level-headed guy, and he was 35. After my last failed relationship with a 25 year-old, I decided older was better. San Francisco opened me up to the idea of dating a man of that age, and I had a good feeling about it.

The Southern Gent and I messaged each other a lot on Grindr. We also exchanged pictures. He found me exceptionally sexy, and I found him to be quite attractive. He was no super model, but he certainly took care of himself. We exchanged Facebook information. I looked through all his pictures. They were of him being crazy at a wedding, boating on a lake, safari hunting in Africa, etc. The guy had a picture of a Zebra he took down. I was impressed and swooning a bit.

We tried to figure out a good time to meet, but it always conflicted with his schedule or mine. After a while, he went completely dark. We made plans to meet one Sunday night, but when that weekend came, I got no response to the many text messages and phone calls I made. “I can only assume you lost interest already… Not sure if I did something, but I’ve sent you msgs with no response. Was excited to meet you… If I’m wrong, you know how to reach me.”

An entire week went by, and I heard no word from him. I removed him from my favorites on Grindr so I wouldn’t have to look at him every time I pulled it up. Of course, that’s when he started to message me again. He apologize emphatically for not getting back to me and blamed most of it on getting a new job. I’m definitely one for giving second chances, and I though he would be a great match for me, so I agreed to meet him when I got back from my vacation.

While in Maryland, we texted periodically. We set up a date for the Sunday evening upon my return home. He picked Pier I Cafe on the Upper West Side. I took the bus into the city and hopped in a cab the rest of the way. I made my way down to the Hudson waterfront and saw him immediately. He had a very New England country club look about him. I liked it. He didn’t look like a snob, but he looked like he appreciated the finer things in life.

We both grabbed beers and tried to find somewhere to plop down. There were no tables available, so we found a cement wall to sit on. We got to know each other slowly. We talked about our jobs, our living situations, working out, college, etc. The conversation was flowing quite easily. He is an architect, which is something that has always interested me. I found it sexy. The one hangup I had with him was he turned into a total queen every time he laughed. He was a bit flamboyant. He could have sucked all the air out of the room after every laugh had we been indoors. It was extremely off-putting. I’m sure you’re all judging me as picky at this point, but it was hard to look past. I was starting to get annoyed with these guys who claimed to be masculine. It’s my one real hangup in the gay dating world, and guys self-judge this aspect of their lives VERY poorly. Basically, I’m attracted to dudes who just so happen to be attracted to other dudes as well, not some big ‘mo.

I also started to gauge the level of chemistry between us. It wasn’t exactly at its peak either. We shared a lot in common, but I could tell the attraction wasn’t there on both sides. We both passionately talked about cooking and our specialties. It was an interesting conversation. After a while, I noticed one of my friends. He also noticed me, so on one of his trips to the bar, he swung by to say hi. I introduced him to the Southern Gent and talked to him about how things were going since his marriage in Key West.

Four rounds and one basket of calamari later, it was time to go home. I gave him a small kiss on the lips and said, “We should do this again sometime.” I didn’t have such a good feeling about our chemistry as I did before the date. I was a little disappointed, but I thought maybe I needed to give him a second chance. I would leave that up to him. If he was interested, he would followup the date with a phone call. When the call never came, I knew my suspicions were accurate. I unfriended him on Facebook so I could write about my dates without feeling guilty.

I was disappointed it didn’t work out, but that was based on an assumption I made before I even met him. I would need to not get my hopes up so high before the first date. It would be the downfall of my morale if I let the bad dates and disappointment get to me…

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San Francisco Comes to The Big Apple

In the week leading up to San Francisco’s arrival in New York, I began to have doubts. I was staying up until 3:00 am most nights to talk to him. Morning runs became a thing of the past, and my waistline showed it. I went on a few dates since I left San Francisco, but none compared to the immediate, strong connection I had with him. I had no replacement, but I doubted my ability to continue a long-distance relationship.

As I drove to the airport I had panicky thoughts. What was I doing!? A man was flying 2,563 miles cross country to see me after spending two shorts days together. Was I ready for this commitment? I wasn’t worried about getting hurt because I was strong and had an open mind about us, but what if I broke his heart?

When he arrived, we shared a long, passionate kiss. We talked on the ride home. When we arrived at my apartment and hopped into bed relatively quickly. This time, I insisted on a condom. I wasn’t making that mistake with him again! I learned my lesson. He too was on the same page about the issue.

After a romp in the sack and quick shower, we traveled into the city. He made plans to meet one of his old friends. Little did I know, but old friend really meant old. He was 50 years old. They were flight attendants together way back in the day. That night, the three of us went to see Sister Act on Broadway.

During intermission, I was chatting with the 50 year-old. He was complaining about the difficulty of deciding if men were gay or straight. He pointed to one particularly sexy man I was eyeing, “Like him. Gay or straight? Who can tell?” At that moment, I looked over the man’s shoulder and noticed he was chatting with someone on Grindr.

I replied, “Gay!” and explained. I was tempted to immediately hop on Grindr and seek him out, but there was no possible way to pull it off while on a cross-country date. However, I still regret not talking to the sexy man.

At dinner following the show, I met yet another old friend — a 40 year-old. I’m a good sport and can hang with ease, but dinner became truly awkward when the discussion turned to age. San Francisco is seven years older than me. His friends pointed out that he’s never been the older man, and then they insisted I call him “daddy” while they filmed it on one a BlackBerry. I adamantly declined.

We met yet another friend at Barbasque. Finally, he was someone in my age bracket and one of the sweetest guys I’ve ever met. He welcomed me right off the bat and chatted me up most of the night.

The next day, we met with yet another old roommate, this time on the Upper West Side. This time a married couple in their 50s whose guest room SF used to live in. The one husband who was home was not very welcoming to my presence. I felt incredibly awkward, and couldn’t wait to exit his apartment.

We wandered the city shopping, and that night, he made plans to meet three friends for dinner. Luckily, everyone at dinner was in their 30s, and the nice guy from the night before was there. So, I spent the night chatting with him while SF caught up with the others.

Throughout dinner, San Francisco had one hand on my leg, and the other on the leg of his best friend from New York. They were being a little more than just friendly. They had a long history, and I don’t get jealous. But, I started to feel a bit jaded.

After dinner, San Francisco, the best friend and I went to a bar. The two of them were tipsy, and the truth finally came out.

I learned he had been going to gay clubs in New York since the age of 19. Not only that, but he was the one known to be carrying K among his circle of friends. I am not anti-drug use, but the picture that was being painted was not something I wanted to hang on my wall.

The ride home that night on the PATH was a quiet one. I could tell it really bothered him that I wasn’t drinking with his friends, but I wasn’t feeling well after dinner. I asked him, “What’s wrong?” but he wouldn’t acknowledge his discontent. I explained my lack of participation was due to feeling ill after dinner, and he became slightly more relaxed.

As we waited for a cab, SF and two drunk “frat guys” exchanged shoulder checks and words. SF is roughly 5’ 5” — no match for these two — but his beer muscles were flexed. I attempted to avoid the situation by coaxing him into the cab. However, he escalated it by rolling down the window shouting back at them and antagonizing them.

He rationalized the situation as protecting me and didn’t stop ranting about how he could have taken them until he finally fell asleep. I was starting to have my feelings affirmed that a relationship between the two of us was not meant to be. I will always defend myself, but antagonizing drunk as$holes is infantile and useless.

The next day, we took my motorcycle out for a spin and spent the day on the pier with one of my friends. When SF left to get ice cream, she asked me how it was going. I explained to her the situation. It was written all over her face — this relationship had ended.

That night, my sister and a few of my friends came over for dinner. I graciously invited all of his friends to join, but all declined. I enjoyed seeing how much my friends accepted him, but at this point, I was completely turned off by his past. That night, we had sex again, but the passion was gone for me.

On his last day in NY, we met one final ex-roommate. While SF was a flight attendant, he lived with a hairdresser in a 1BR apt. Whenever SF was out of town, the hairdresser got the bed, but when SF returned, the hairdresser was relegated to the couch. Meanwhile, he was running a salon out of this 1BR apt. The whole idea was inconceivable to me.

At one point during lunch, between reminiscings of cross dressing and coke lines while watching The Golden Girls, the hairdresser waved his hands at us and bluntly said, “So, what is this?” I was insulted by the tone in which the question was posed, but i wrote him off when I remembered the main purpose of the cross-country excursion was to visit me, not him.

We went home and had one last romp. At this point, I was going through the motions. It wasn’t so much his past that turned me off, as it was that he was hiding it from me.

When I dropped him at the airport, we kissed and said goodbye. SF was the still the sweetest man I ever met, and I truly did enjoy his company. But, I wasn’t completely heartbroken to see him off.

As I walked home after parking the car, I felt alone. I wasn’t sure if it was because he was by my side for the past 72 hours, or it was because I already missed him. Only time would tell.

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