Posts Tagged Valentine’s Day
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.
Things between PR and I seemed to be something of a fairy tale. We’d met months earlier on Grindr after he had a very rough breakup, and I was just getting my relationship off the ground with Smiles. He temporarily moved a few blocks from me, and after a night out as friends, we’ve been spending a lot of time together as love interests.
After our night out to the movies and dinner, PR spent the night once again. Why should he sleep on a pull-out when he could be sharing a California King with me. I got ready for work, and he made his way home to figure out his day. He was on-call that day, but ended up not having to go into work. Instead, he went shopping with his mother.
When he returned to Hoboken Wednesday night, he came over to hang out. We watched TV in each other’s arms on the couch and he spent the night once again. Things were getting hot and heavy with us, and fast. We still hadn’t had “sex’ in the traditional penetration sense of the word, but we were fully enjoying each other’s company.
Thursday night I have volleyball. This was good because it offered a natural break for us. I couldn’t believe he wasn’t tired of me yet. We’d been spending A LOT of time together, and I’m not always the easiest to be around. I was happy to have the time apart – Not because I didn’t want to see him, but more so because it made me look forward to seeing him again that much more.
When I got home from volleyball, he started texting me. We texted about the shows we were watching until he added, “So, I miss you.” I quickly replied, “Stop being so adorable. You know I can’t resist it!” And then he called it spot on. I love how real and upfront he is about things. “Is today resist each other day? If you need a break, I understand. I find you intoxicating in the best sense — Like happy,” he texted. I told him I did not need a break, and I in fact did miss him. But I also told him I wanted to make sure we didn’t tire of each other. He told me he was having a rough day. He heard back about a job he applied for and was told he didn’t get the position. I felt really bad that was the night we decided to spend apart. I’m sure he just needed a hug. He was depressed. I told him. “I can try to hug it away.” He asked if we could hang out the following night. I told him I had no plans and would love to.
When he stopped responding to my texts, I joked, “Replaced me with pizza?” He apologized since his pizza was delivered, and he added, “Food won’t comfort me as much as you.” And with a smile on my face, I dozed off for the night.
The next night, he came over. I made dinner for us both, and we watched movies. It was nice to have someone to spend my evenings with. This is what I really wanted in a relationship. This is what I was looking for. I was happy!
When we woke the next day, I made us breakfast. He spent the afternoon with me, and we finally motivated ourselves to hit the gym. He went home and changed while I showered. We met at the corner and walked to the gym together. He was very quiet and solemn that morning. We didn’t work out together, but that’s because I like to do my own thing at the gym. We finished at the same time and walked home together.
That’s when he dropped a small bomb on me. He told me he was moving back home. I didn’t quite know how to take the news. I wasn’t thrilled with it. It meant he would be much further away, and we wouldn’t be spending evenings together so readily. I knew why he did it, and I realized he needed to get his life back on track. But, I selfishly didn’t like the idea.
That evening I had a bunch of friends come over to pregame before hitting up my friend’s birthday gathering at a bar a block away. He met many of my friends and seemed to fit in, but I still had the idea of him moving home in the back of my mind. When the time came, we all made our way to the bar. It was a fun night, but PR was being standoffish. He wasn’t mingling with my friends and was only talking to me a majority of the night. I was a little disappointed. On top of this, he was getting pretty inebriated and flirtatious. I’m comfortable with my sexuality, but I don’t like PDA in a “straight” bar. I feel all eyes on me, and it hinders me from enjoying myself. Nothing he was doing crossed the line, but it also was edging further and further.
By the time we moved to a friend’s bar (after hours) he was being overt. Granted it was a much more exclusive group and mainly my friends, but he was drunk and making me uncomfortable. I tried to just look past it.
Once again, we went to Cluck U to get a late-night snack. He was so drunk he couldn’t stay awake long enough to eat his. I carried him to my bed and tucked him in. He wasn’t happy because he wanted his chicken, but soon enough he dozed off. I put it in the fridge until the following day. I wasn’t resentful at all of this. I actually enjoyed taking care of him. I knew if our relationship continued, he’d be doing the same for me down the road. I sat in the living room and ate my chicken with the company of my thoughts. I had a lot on my mind since he told me he’d be moving back home. The news he didn’t get the position he applied for was a little unsettling as well. On top of this, there was the incompatibility we shared in the bedroom that hadn’t been resolved. This wasn’t the stability I was searching for, but I was still enjoying his company.
When I had my fill, I tucked myself in bed in quickly dozed off.
The next day, we woke, and he continued to give me $hit for not allowing him to eat his chicken the night before. He ate it for lunch instead.
We got dressed and ready for the day finally. I needed to go grocery shopping, so we walked to Garden of Eden together. His mother was coming in an hour to take him home. It was a bittersweet day. We’d spent more than a week straight together with the exception of one day. Things progressed quickly, but then again, they were about to change drastically.
I said goodbye to him as we made plans for the coming days. We were a few days away from Valentine’s Day, and he really wanted to celebrate it together. I obliged.
I thought about him the rest of the night and what this new arrangement would mean for us. I was quickly coming back down from the clouds…Follow @onegayatatime
December 25th — Christmas day. An important date on anyone’s calendar, but a date that carries more weight when one is dating another.
I’m quite the hypocrite, you see. I complain about the treatment of Valentine’s Day and New Year’s Eve as a special holiday for couples, when I really just fancy another holiday more. I just hate the weight put those two days, but for me, Christmas carries much more weight.
I woke Christmas morning and hopped the shower. I’m so tired of seeing pictures of me Christmas morning with greasy hair and scruff. The timetables are quite turned on their head since I was a kid. My sister and I would sit at the top of the stairs waiting for my father to come home from the morning duties at the farm. On top of that, we’d have to wait til he showered so we could stand to be in the same room as him. Nowadays, my sister and I are the last to wake. I knew I could leisurely shower, as my sister would still be asleep until someone came to wake her.
My mother’s side of the family came to our house in the afternoon to celebrate the holiday. We always spent Christmas afternoon with my mother’s side of the family, but this year was a little different. My uncle and his recent wife were not attending because she was due to have a baby in January. One of my aunts and her husband always came for New Years, not Christmas. This would also be the first Christmas without both my grandparents. It was a little more solemn for me. The only attendees were my aunt, uncle, and three cousins.
I waited until a convenient time to sneak away so I could call Smiles. I wanted to make sure I wasn’t interrupting his Christmas plans. I went upstairs to my parents’ room to call him around 5:30. I got no answer. I’m not out to my extended family, so I then began to worry he would call back, and his caller id name would splash across the television screen, as does everyone’s name who calls. I worried my extended family would see a man was calling me on Christmas. I’m not sure why I worried. I’m not ready to tell them just yet, and I suppose I didn’t want them to jump to their own conclusions before I had a chance to properly tell them.
Smiles did call back, but not until 10:00 after everyone had left. I took the phone up to my room and talked to him for quite some time. Our phone conversations never lasted long, so it was nice that he didn’t cut it short. He told me about everything he’d been doing with his family. It was nice to hear he finally relaxed around them and realized they loved him no matter what state his career was in. It was a nice Christmas present to get to chat with him and feel closer to him even though we were miles apart.
I had an agenda as well. There was a question I needed to ask before it was too late. I was very nervous to ask this question. I’d failed to ask it once already on the way to the airport. I was afraid of the disappointing answer I expected. In the middle of our conversation, I asked him, “Can we spend New Year’s together?” In a shocking reply without thought, Smiles said, “Sure. I was going to [my friend’s] for a party. I’ll just tell him I’m bringing a plus one.
We chatted a bit more before ending the conversation. It was quite a nice Christmas gift to know I had New Year’s plans. I was beginning to worry I would spend New Years on my couch alone. All my friends had plans that didn’t involve me. I was already picturing myself in bed at 7:00pm. Knowing I had plans was great, but knowing I would spend the night with Smiles made my night. I walked around the rest of the night with a smile from ear to ear.
I’m not sure why, but the man-made me happy. I was happy to know it was his lips I’d be locking when the ball dropped on 2011.Follow @onegayatatime