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Archive for the ‘holiday’ Category

Today is the 21st of December and I’m on the 9th day of Christmas in Troy… no big deal. I’m getting it done for all you last minute shoppers/planners/eater-outers. Yes, I said it, eater-outers.

outside ss

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Sweet Sue’s is semi new to the neighborhood (this past summer Sue opened up shop) but her treats aren’t new to the area. Sue has had and continues to sell at the weekly Farmer’s Market here in downtown Troy and it finally got to the point that she was just so darn busy! Something you’ll never hear a business owner complain about… So, she opened up shop down on Riverstreet near the bead shop and hair salon. Great choice. That end of Riverstreet has a lot more parking available for easy access to her shop and is growing with more shops (Some Girls Boutique just relocated at this end of the street).

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cupcakes

truffles!

candy apples

Back to Sweet Sue’s. This is the place to indulge. She’s got cupcakes. She’s got bark. She’s got cakes to order, cakes to go. She’s got truffles, candy apples, mini pies… and now has a soup of the day. I had no clue that she had a soup until I walked in to take a couple shots. Makes perfect sense: enjoy a warm bowl of soup in house on the comfy couch, indulge in a sweet after. Everything is made in house and sometimes you can stand there and watch treats come right out of the oven.

comfy space

kitchen

I have ordered and suggested this place to my coworkers on various occasions, and they’ve all loved it! Personally, not being a carrot cake fan, I like hers. And those truffles that I could die for over at the confectionary, well you guessed it, she makes them. Her packaged sweets would make the perfect stocking stuffers or hostess gift if you’re looking for something to bring along with that bottle of wine. Cannot forget the wine!

Hurry in to 203 Riverstreet to pick up your goods and while you’re at it, pick something up for yourself. You’re worth it.

 

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currently.

tree!

Watching: Sometimes, when the beau and I start a great season of something on Netflix (Sons of Anarchy for example), we “aren’t allowed” to go further without the other person; just out of common courtesy. Well, I have a hard time not doing that. So instead, I’ll start watching a really lame series that has a million episodes so that I’m never tempted to watch the other. Recently, that has been Say Yes to the Dress. I don’t know what I’ve gotten sucked in? I mean, it’s the same thing over and over and over again and yet I can’t click away. Other than that, we haven’t been watching much of anything; both of us being extremely busy this time of the year. I’d love to watch some classics: Rudolph, Frosty, ELF!, Love Actually… and it came about yesterday while on the subway that the beau has never seen Ghost… this Redbox will be my go-to this vacation.

Thinking about: Well, this one is conflicting. I’m thinking about all that needs to be done for the holiday (ie shopping) and then last Friday’s happenings, well, happened. And although I don’t have a television to watch the updates as they are happening, I have been flooded by information on social media sites. And I think it’s a little much. Yes, what happened was HORRIBLE. Yes, I think changes need to be made (not getting into any politics here people) but I also think that the way the media deals with situations such as this needs to also change. I am not a mother. I can not even imagine what it feels like to lose a child. But I was a nanny. I am a sister. I am a daughter. I work in education. We all have family and have lost someone that we love. To be bombarded by this constant coverage must be overwhelming. I will be lighting a candle tomorrow between 3-8pm to honor the life of Dawn L. Hochsprung, who was a doctoral candidate in Sage’s Educational Leadership program and the Sandy Hook Elementary School principal. We are all connected, somehow, and I think it’s important to stop for a moment and honor, thank and appreciate every single person that surrounds our daily lives.

Listening to: Christmas on Pandora! I’ve got some cleaning, organizing and decorating to do around this apartment and just a lot of errands and will be tuning in the holidays as much as possible. The beau and I have started this little ritual of having a mini 90’s dance party as we get ready in the morning (sorry neighbors). Me being on vacation has kind of halted this. I miss it and will be making an effort to get up at a decent hour to make this happen.

Excited about: Having the time to catch-up on life. I’ve never been so excited to do my laundry, cook!, write, and shop with one week left before Christmas. I’m going to head out early and get it all done in one day. It’s simple this year with my family; we are only buying 1 gift for each other. That means, with only four people in my family, I will receive three gifts. Not huge, expensive gifts. Three gifts that we really want or need in our lives… and I couldn’t be more excited. I’m truly appreciating the smaller things in life and experiences, rather than the number of “things” in my apartment. It should be a simple and easy day… once I figure out what I’m getting everyone.

Reading: Garlic and Sapphires by Ruth Reichl. Ruth was the food critic for the New York Times (I think for a decade) and tells her stories behind some of her favorite, and famous, reviews. I’m about half way through and love it. For every restaurant that she writes about, she chooses a new disguise so that they can’t recognize her and give her better treatment/food. It’s a fun read and with just having been in the city yesterday, it was almost as if I got to be a part of the book and what she describes…if that makes any sense at all?

It was a wonderful day in the city with the beau and we walked for miles! Just soaking it all in, eating some delicious vegan meals, and being tourists while visiting the tree and other must-see landmarks this time of the year. The city also reminds me of how much I love Troy/the capital district… I am not made for the hustle and bustle!

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Christmas memories.

Last Sunday while at work (the yogurt shop), I had the Christmas music channel on; blasting actually. It was a fairly slow day and when the shop was empty, I was singing at the top of my lungs. And then, one song came on and it almost brought me to tears. Brenda Lee’s Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.

Picture this: young me (with a short bowl cut hair-do), bopping around, Christmas decorations in hand. My sister and I both having a sugar high after consuming at least one serving of hot chocolate, in our matching Santa shaped mugs. My mom would let us decorate the tree and our home, just the way we wanted, while this record played in the background. I loved with all my heart the night my mom would let us stay up late to decorate. She’d also let us choose one string of lights to hang in our bedrooms, but only for the month of December… not a single day later. I never understood why until the following year came and I’d be just as excited.

Fast forward to now: this is the first year that as a family we haven’t picked out our tree together and decorated it. And I must admit, that a little piece of me is missing this holiday season. The beau and I have opted out of having a tree in our apartment, another first for me. We’re both broke and don’t want to put it up now if it’s just going to come down in a couple of  days. Instead, we are going to hang a couple of ornaments on the giving tree and light that up each evening as we would a tree.

It’s funny what memories a song could bring back to life, especially during the holidays. I believed, and far longer than most children and I have my mom to thank. I don’t look back and question why she lied to me during those years of having a wild imagination, I think ahead and how I can’t wait to one day do the same for my child. Those memories are what I love looking back on now that the excitement of having all those gifts under the tree has subsided.

Tomorrow the beau and I are making a trip down to NYC to see the all that the city has to offer this time of the year. This is something I’ve never done before and actually have begged to do in the past. When the beau suggested it months ago out of the blue, I almost cried right then and there for being so happy that we’re both valuing experiences over things. We’re beginning to make our own memories this holiday season.

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photograph from Pfeil Hardware Facebook page.

This is one of the places that I rarely visit but am thankful for because it is one of the stores that makes downtown Troy. Of course we’ve got our shops, our bars and restaurants, our banks all within walking distance, but we’ve also got Pfeil Hardware. I don’t have to hop into my car and head to one of the ginormous chain stores for my basic necessities.

Okay, to be honest, I’ve only shopped here three times because I needed paint and painting supplies. Oh, I’m wrong. Four times because I needed new keys to the apartment because my originals broke off in the door knob. Anyway, each time I visit I’m greeted by a smiling face asking me if I need any help. And I have each time and they’ve hooked me up.

paint colors

paint

paint aisle

When we were painting the kitchen, they explained to me which paint I should use for moisture and made suggestions on what to use if I only wanted to paint two coats maximum. Their prices are comparable to the chains and the selection is not overwhelming. I stopped in recently to grab some colors for the bathroom and even picked up kitty’s Christmas gift.

view of pfeil

Besides paint that have a small “lumber yard” for those smaller projects, a section of Meyer’s cleaning supplies, canning jars, a section for pets and all of your basic hardware supplies. The beau is a frequent shopper, always picking up supplies for his store. Because they aren’t a chain, they don’t have every single thing that one might be looking for when completing a big project, but you’d be surprised at what they do carry. Best to check with them and buy local first, they are only a few blocks away!

Pfeil Hardware is located at 63 Third Street and waiting to offer you hand for your next project or at-home problem.

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Yesterday was quite the day but then again, it had to be with such a once in a lifetime date.

gift for work

In the office we had a 12/12/12 party at 12:12 PM. We ordered 12 cuts, a couple dozen wings and brought in 12 ingredients to make a big, healthy salad. To top things off, we participated in a Chinese grab bag; with a $12 limit of course. It was a hit and I made out like a bandit with a new pin for my coat and a set of cookie cutters (my heart ones are getting a little over-used).

But that wasn’t enough. While we were walking home last night, the beau and I came across this sign:

12 12 12

…and decided that a date night was in order.

I wasn’t planning on including this location during my twelve days of Christmas but after last night, I am in awe of what we can experience in downtown Troy.

outside wine bar

This wasn’t my first trip to The Charles F. Lucas Confectionary & Wine Bar but it was my first time just being there. We snuggled up next to each other in the back and ordered our selection of wine, kalamata olive tapenade and marinated artichokes. We snacked. We sipped. We ordered more wine. And hummus. And more wine. We had great conversation. And ordered more wine. Do you get the picture? We didn’t want to leave!

plate at wine bar

hummus

artichokes and olives

It filled up as the night went on and our appreciation for all the details grew as loud as the guests. All of the linens are hand embroidered by the owner’s grandmother. The curtains are thirty years old and a crocheted lace (I asked because I want a pair for my bedroom gosh darn it!). The “lock” in the bathroom looks like an old lever of some sort; reminds me of a train for some reason. It’s just fabulous. The water is even flavored! Always a hint of cucumber, lemon, or a mix of citrus. The attention to detail is to die for. And that’s not an overstatement.

We couldn’t end the evening without indulging in sweets so we each ordered a caramel and sea salt truffle and shared the 75% dark and chili truffle. Oh em gee. For a dollar a piece, that could be a bad addiction! Not only do they have a great selection of wines, they also serve up what I hear is an AH-mazing espresso. Not being a coffee drinker even I am tempted to give it a try.

My photographs don’t do justice to the ambiance that is created by candlelight. Located at 12 Second Street you’ll have to stop in to experience it yourself. Bring a good friend and your wallet and simply enjoy.

{Many of you like it when I include prices. The snacks we chose were vegan and between $1-$6. They also have fine cheese and meats to choose from but to be honest, I didn’t even glance at them. The wine per glass ranges from $6-15ish but let me tell you, a good glass of wine is worth it. They’ll help you with pairings and have suggestions if you don’t recognize anything on the menu. We may just buy by the bottle next time if it’ll be another four or five hour affair. This is the perfect place to take your date- no regrets.}

You are welcome.

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outside muddaddy's

Muddaddy Flats is brand spankin’ new to Troy and I don’t think people realize how good their simple menu items are. Flats = quesadillas! They’ve got some for the meat lovers, the cheese lovers and the veggie lovers. They’ve got nachos, the soup of the day and fried oatmeal. You heard me, FRIED oatmeal. The beau can’t get enough!

inside muddaddy's

menu

dan cooking

Dan and his wife opened up shop just a few months ago and are constantly changing up their daily specials to accomodate the weather and what people are craving. Dan’s also working on a… drumroll please… vegan quesadilla! And a gluten-free quesadilla! No one likes to be left out now do we? You better believe that he has my contact information and that as soon as I get the call, I’ll be belly up testing out the different options.

flat!

As I’m phasing out my dairy consumption, I rarely order it out. However, I do make very few exceptions and the veggie quesadilla is one of them. QUINOA, spinach, corn, black beans, sauteed onions and peppers, fresh tomato and cheese of course on the wrap flavor of your choice. With a side of the house salsa, one can’t go wrong! The prices are very reasonable and because it’s a quick meal option, you can grab one easily on your lunch and still have time to walk. With the beau’s spinach artichoke flat and my veggie flat, it was $12 and change- not bad four five large slices of deliciousness each (with a side of nacho chips).

gator

So, if you’re looking for something other than a slice of pizza and the boring sandwich, stop in and give Muddaddy’s a try. They’re located at 409 Fulton Street and make sure to take a look at their alligator board for daily specials.

You’re welcome.

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Now this restaurant is my favorite place that makes me feel like I’m home… even though my family hasn’t moved from Lebanon.

There are many reasons why I love this place:

  1. Elias and his wife, Hala, are grateful; you’ll never meet two people more appreciative for your business than this pair.
  2. All of the food is fresh, homemade and they pride themselves with having both vegetarian and vegan options (no cream! he’ll say).
  3. The food tastes SO GOOD! SO GOOD!

Now, if you’ve never tried Mediterranean dishes, don’t you worry! They are simple but so full of flavor! Although I’ve only recently switched to being vegetarian, for the couple of years that I’ve been visiting, I’ve never ordered meat off of the menu. And I don’t have to; there is nothing missing from the meals that kept me yearning for something missing (animal protein).

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Some of my all-time favorites:

  • garlic fries (you know me and french fries): always crispy and served with a GARLIC sauce and dried mint
  • hummus: pureed chickpeas with GARLIC, lemon, and tahini (so creamy!)
  • moujadara: lentils and crispy onions on rice with a side salad- with the dressing being made mostly of GARLIC
  • mousakka: eggplant cooked with onion, GARLIC, and tomatoes in a special tomato sauce
  • last but not least, the falafel: the most delicious chickpea patties served with lettuce, pickled turnips, tomatoes and a GARLIC tahini sauce (yes, it can come spicy!)

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Moral of the post is, don’t bring your hunny here for a first date because you will both smell of garlic later! For hours! But then again, some of us foodies don’t mind.

afterglow (12)

For those of you limited by funds, this place is just for you. The prices are reasonable and the portions will fill you up. Dinner for two with two appetizers that we shared, it was $32! This “hole-in-the wall” is cozy and is like being in a friend’s dining room. I call it Troy’s best kept secret… however, I’d like to see more people discover it. You can also find Elias at the Farmer’s Market each week selling the falafels, hummus and baba ghannouj. I just can’t get enough!

If you’re adventurous this holiday season and would like to treat yourself and those you love to a meal without feeling guilty (and while avoiding traditional holiday meals), give Beirut a try. They’re located at 184 River Street with plenty of parking and thank-yous!

You’re welcome.

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