Skip to content
Advertisements

Welcome!

You'll find over 400 of my favorite recipes here, including ideas for Quick meals, Cooking for 2, Feasting on Leftovers, and cooking with 5 Ingredients or Less. I'm adding new posts regularly; you can subscribe by email or RSS feed if you'd like to receive the latest recipes. Bon appétit!

Bob’s Big 7-0 Birthday Bash

July 20, 2017

By Kath Dedon

.

There’s no recipe today. I decided that I wanted to write about Bob’s Big 7-0 Birthday Bash, mostly so we can remember all of the details later and relive the fun day. I also wanted to give a shout-out to Café Turko so Seattle area people will know about this great Turkish restaurant and what a fine job they do with catering. My next post will feature a new recipe!

.

Clockwise, starting on the left: Byron, Bob, Kath, Rhett, Carrie, and Laura (Thanks to my sister, Joan, for taking this picture. And a big thanks to Laura for taking almost all of the rest of the photos. I took the one of Byron and his ribs, and the final photo of the festive room two days later.)

3

.

A few months ago Laura and Carrie were at our house and they said, “Dad, you have a big birthday coming up. You need a party and we’ll do everything!” And they did!

Bob came up with the guest list and gave it to Laura. She designed and sent out the evites. She kept track of the RSVPs. Laura also secretly made a fabulous poster board of photos of Bob, “70 Years of Bob”. He was totally surprised and loved it.

Carrie contacted the caterer who had done such a fabulous job at the party she and Rhett hosted for their out-of-state wedding guests last year. So we had Café Turko cater Bob’s party, too.

On July 10 we had a beer tasting at The Beer Junction in West Seattle and decided to order a half barrel of Fremont Brewing Company’s Lush IPA and a quarter barrel of Georgetown Brewing Company’s Manny’s Pale Ale. Everyone seemed to enjoy the beer selections.

The owners of Café Turko are the nicest people! Gencer and Süreyya Gökeri obviously take great joy in sharing their Turkish food and culture with the people of Seattle. Süreyya is the accomplished chef behind the homemade food. She started catering even before they opened the Café and she has taught Turkish cooking classes. I know that they both work hard delivering the catered food. Süreyya brought the food to our house for Carrie and Rhett’s party, and Gencer delivered the food for Bob’s party last Saturday. (He mentioned that they were catering 4 events that day!)

The food at Café Turko is exquisite! Here’s what Carrie and Süreyya chose for Bob’s party:

.

Muhammara (A red pepper and walnut spread)

Watermelon Salad with Cherries

Dolmas (Stuffed Grape Leaves)

Rainbow Hummus (3 kinds: chickpea, yam, and beet)

Snowballs (a delicious cauliflower and Brussels sprouts salad)

Ali Nazik with Chicken (Grilled spiced chicken served with yogurt and grilled eggplant sauce and Antep seasonings. Ali Nazik means made with gentle hands.)

Wholesome Aegean Musakka (Eggplant, onions, green peppers, garlic, tomatoes, Turkish red pepper paste, parsley and olive oil and spices.)

Pita bread

 

On the day of the party (July 15) Carrie and Rhett stopped at Costco for wine and bottled water. Rhett and Byron picked up and set up the kegs. Rhett was a helpful bartender, pouring glasses of wine and beer.

.

It didn’t really feel like 91 people. People came and went at different times and they spread out in the yard and upstairs and downstairs.

11

40

 

Gencer and one of his sons delivered the food right on time. We had so many people comment on how much they liked the food!

Some of the food. Gencer hadn’t brought all of it in yet.

21

.

Byron had his own surprise for Bob’s birthday dinner. He smoked 20 pounds of pork ribs  – 6 racks of St. Louis-style spare ribs! (Byron has become an incredible grill master and smoker. His home-cured home-smoked bacon is the best!) I believe he used a dry rub on all of the ribs, and then he made a BBQ sauce that he brushed on half of them. Both versions were fantastic!

Byron cutting up his ribs

 

For dessert, Laura ordered a full sheet cake from Safeway. She chose Safeway mainly because they could use a photo of Bob from his 60th birthday and turn it into an edible photo on the cake. Very festive, but I didn’t really expect people to eat much cake. But it was actually very good and most of it got eaten. We were glad we decided to order a full sheet cake (serves 80 – 100) instead of a half sheet.

67

72

.

After dinner Byron set up the trebuchet. Because it’s not a summer event at Chez Dedon without seeing how far you can toss potatoes with the trebuchet. (A few years ago Byron ordered the plans to build a 3-foot trebuchet, but he and Bob decided that it had to be 6-feet tall so they scaled it up. Bob built it and they still have fun with it.)

81

92

.

And after the party, Laura, Byron, Carrie, and Rhett did the clean-up. Rhett did all of the hand washing. Byron returned the kegs a couple of days later. 🙂

We ended up having a total of 91 people at Bob’s Big 7-0 Birthday Bash! We were touched and humbled to have so many people come, including friends and family from California and Oregon. Bob’s a people-person and we are blessed with so many great friends. There were friends at the party that he has known since junior high! We had an absolute blast and everyone else seemed to have a good time, too.

Thank you to all who joined us, and a huge thank you to our remarkable “kids” who made it happen!

And a tip to all who live in the Seattle area or plan a visit, do try Café Turko in Fremont! Their food is amazing! And definitely consider them for your catering needs. They’re very professional, easy to work with, and are very reasonably priced.

Happy 70th Birthday, Bob!

 

Still festive two days later!

Still festive.jpg

 

.

 

Advertisements

Roasted Shrimp Cocktail

July 12, 2017

By Kath Dedon

.

This Roasted Shrimp Cocktail from Ina Garten is super easy for entertaining! I roasted 5.25 pounds last weekend to take to a gathering of 30 people. It was very well received. I had purchased frozen shrimp, let them defrost in the refrigerator overnight, and then peeled and deveined them. Peeling and deveining them was the most difficult part of the recipe. And it actually wasn’t difficult, it just took some time with 5.25 pounds.

Yesterday I bought 1½ pounds of fresh peeled and deveined shrimp to make it again. The shrimp were large (21 – 25 shrimp per pound). I tossed them on a baking sheet with the oil, salt and pepper and popped them into the preheated oven. I can almost hear Ina say, “How easy is that!”

I got a lot of complements last weekend for the shrimp and the cocktail sauce. Roasting the shrimp does make a difference; it enhances the sweetness and flavor of the shrimp.

The cocktail sauce is the classic sauce that has been popular forever. This version is simply doctored-up ketchup and chili sauce, but just a tiny bit of effort makes it much tastier than bottled cocktail sauce. You can control how spicy you want it with the horseradish and Tabasco. I used Ina’s amounts and thought it was just right, but you could adjust it to suit your taste.

The peeled and deveined shrimp made the recipe amazingly easy! And, it can be made the day before for stress-free entertaining. I made them yesterday to enjoy with my family tonight before going to Crawfish House to celebrate Bob’s birthday!

Happy Birthday to Bob!

.

Roated Shrimp Cocktail up close

.

Roasted Shrimp Cocktail

(Adapted from Ina Garten’s recipe on Food Network)

.

(print the recipe)

.

Serves 6 – 8

.

1½ – 2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 tablespoon olive oil

½ teaspoon kosher salt (use a bit less if you use table salt)

A few grinds of black pepper

.

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°.

 

  1. Put the shrimp on a rimmed baking sheet large enough to hold them in a single layer.

raw shrimp.jpg

.

  1. Pour the oil over the shrimp. Sprinkle the salt over them. Grind some pepper over them. Toss gently with your hands until the oil, salt and pepper are well distributed. Spread the shrimp out on the baking sheet.

IMG_4134

.

  1. Roast for about 8 minutes, or until just done. Set aside to cool. Refrigerate if not serving right away.

Done

.

  1. Serve with Cocktail Sauce

IMG_4138

.

Cocktail Sauce

 

ingredients for cocktail sauce

.

½ cup ketchup

½ cup chili sauce (I used Heinz, which Ina Garten recommends.)

3 tablespoons prepared horseradish

2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

¼ teaspoon Tabasco

.

  1. Stir all ingredients together. Refrigerate if not serving right away.

.

Roated Shrimp Cocktail up close - Copy

.

 

Vermouth Mussels

July 4, 2017

By Kath Dedon

.

We had Vermouth Mussels last night and I just don’t know why I don’t buy mussels more often! They were so good, and they’re really simple to prepare.

I chose Deb Perelman’s recipe in The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. Her recipe is “Vermouth Mussels with Tarragon Oven Fries”. Her method of making the oven fries sounds like perfection. (And her photos of the fries are mouth-watering.) As much as I love potatoes, I decided to skip them last night and just make the mussels to serve with a salad.

The secret to great mussels is to get them fresh from a reliable seafood vendor and to clean them just before cooking. If you search the Internet, you’ll find a lot of different ways to clean the mussels. I went with Deb’s method.  It was simple and worked fine. It involved a 10 – 15 minute soak in cold water. Then I scrubbed them and pulled the beards off. Ready to go!

As Deb says, two pounds of mussels will serve 2 – 4 people. If served with the oven fries or some other hearty side dish, two pounds would serve 4. Served alone, with just a salad, it was a wonderful dinner for 2! Bread would have been good to dip in the flavorful broth. (Truth be told, we may have used mussel shells to sip some of the broth.)

.

Vermouth Mussels on the deck

Mussels, salad and chardonnay on the deck

 

.

Vermouth Mussels

(Adapted from Deb Perelman’s recipe in The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook)

.

(print the recipe)

.

Serves 2 – 4

.

2 pounds mussels

2 tablespoons butter

¼ cup minced shallots or minced white onion (I used shallots.)

½ cup dry white vermouth

2 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon

 .

  1. Clean the mussels. Put them in a large pot and cover with cold water. Let them sit for 10 – 15 minutes. Scrub each one under running water with a brush and remove any “beards”. Pull the beard towards the hinge to remove. (Deb says pulling in the other direction could prematurely kill the mussel. So pull toward the hinge.) Put the mussels in a large bowl or colander as you clean them.
  2. Quickly wash out the large pot and put it on the stove. Add the butter, shallots, and vermouth. Bring to a boil.

Butter, shallots, Vermouth

.

3. Put the mussels in the pot. Cover and boil for about 3 minutes. Shake the pan a few times during this boil.

4. Open the pot and use tongs to remove the mussels that are open. Put them in bowls. Continue to boil the mussels, removing them as they open. (All but 4 of my mussels opened. Toss those that do not open.)

Remove mussels as they open

.

5. Bring the broth to a full boil and boil for about 1 minute. Ladle the broth over the mussels, garnish with the tarragon and serve. (Ladle it instead of pouring just in case there is any sand on the bottom.)

Mussels

.

Empty shells

Mussels shells

.

Mussels - Copy

.

Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas

June 23, 2017

By Kath Dedon

.

Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas was a hit at Chez Dedon last night! Bob declared that it was perfectly seasoned, and I had to agree.

I had saved Toni’s recipe from her Boulder Locavore blog to Pinterest. I ran across it again yesterday and decided to make it. Click on the link for her blog if you want to see the video she posted about the recipe. She used a gallon bag to marinate the ingredients, but I thought a bowl might be easier, so that’s what I used. You can refrigerate the ingredients to marinate for up to 24 hours or you can just let them marinate for the time that it takes your oven to preheat. We found the flavor was great even after a short marinating time.

Fajitas are traditionally served with hot flour tortillas. Toni uses corn tortillas to make it gluten free. She recommends wrapping tortillas in foil and putting them in the oven with the sheet pan for the last ten minutes .

I skipped the tortillas and served the Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas over a bed of just-harvested lettuce from our yard. It made a great low-carb, main-dish salad for a warm night.

However you choose to serve them, I highly recommend Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas! I topped ours with sliced avocado and a bit of sour cream for me. Other toppings that could be used might be guacamole, salsa, pico de gallo, or shredded cheese.

.

sheet pan chicken fajitas - Copy

.

Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas

(Adapted from a recipe on boulderlocavore.com)

.

(print the recipe)

.

Serves 4

.

¼ cup oil

1 tablespoon chili powder

1½ teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

½ teaspoon dried oregano

2 large garlic cloves, minced

1 large red bell pepper, cut vertically into ½-inch slices

1 large orange bell pepper, cut vertically into ½-inch slices

1 large yellow bell pepper, cut vertically into ½-inch slices

1 medium red onion, peeled and sliced vertically into ½-inch wedges

1 – 1.33  pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts (I used 1.33 lbs.), sliced across the breast in ½-inch slices

Lettuce for serving

.

1 package tortillas (optional)

.

Suggested toppings: avocado slices or guacamole, sour cream, shredded cheese, salsa, pico de gallo

 .

  1. Whisk the oil, chili powder, cumin, salt, pepper, oregano, and garlic together in a large bowl.

Ingredients before whisking

marinade ingredients

.

2. Put the peppers and onion in the marinade and stir well.

stir vegetables

.

3. Put chicken in the bowl and stir the chicken and vegetables together well so the marinade is evenly distributed. At this point you can cover the bowl and refrigerate it for up to 24 hours. It will be good, though, with just 20 minutes time while the oven is heating.

stir chicken in

 

4. Preheat the oven to 400°.

5. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil.

6. Spread the ingredients out on the baking sheet.

ready for oven

.

7. Roast for 10 minutes.

8. Remove from the oven to stir.

9. Put the sheet pan back in the oven. (Also put foil wrapped tortillas in the oven, if you’re using them.) Roast for 10 more minutes.

10. Remove from the oven and serve over a bed of lettuce or with the tortillas. Top with your toppings of choice.

Done

.

 

.

sheet pan chicken fajitas - 2

.

.

Keto Ground Lamb Casserole

May 22, 2017

By Kath Dedon

.

This spring has been full of a lot of feasting opportunities with the trips to Florida and New York and the celebration of several family birthdays. Between the feasts Bob and I have been eating simpler meals and watching the carbs. This Ground Lamb Casserole from Maria Emmerich’s Quick and Easy Ketogenic Cooking is a recipe I have made twice in the past few weeks.

You could substitute ground beef for the lamb, but I love the rich flavor of the lamb in this casserole. You’ll never mistake the cabbage for pasta, but it does cook down and blends in well with the rest of the ingredients.

Ground Lamb Casserole is quick, easy, and so flavorful. Leftovers reheat beautifully, making it a great option to pack in a lunch. I actually purposely made it the last time because I had some subbing days coming up and I wanted to take leftovers for my lunch!

If you like lamb, do give this Ground Lamb Casserole a try!

.

Ground Lamb Casserole served with perfect Washington asparagus (Yay, spring!)

Keto Ground Lamb Casserole

.

Ground Lamb Casserole

(Adapted, barely, from Maria Emmerich’s recipe in Quick and Easy Ketogenic Cooking)

 

(print the recipe)

 

Serves 4

 .

See that bacon? It was home-cured and home-smoked by Byron!

ingredients

.

4 slices bacon, diced

1 pound ground lamb

¼ cup diced green bell pepper

¼ cup diced onion

1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic (2 – 3 cloves)

4 cups thinly sliced cabbage (about ½ head)

2 cups tomato sauce (I used one 15-ounce can of tomato sauce)

1 teaspoon fine sea salt

.

  1. Put the bacon in a cold large skillet and heat to medium heat. Cook, stirring often, until the bacon is starting to get crispy, about 5 minutes.

Byron's bacon

.

2. Add the ground lamb, pepper, onion, and garlic to the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the lamb is done, about 7 minutes.

Ground lamb, onion, pepper, and garlic added

.

3. Add the cabbage and tomato sauce to the pan. Stir. Cover and cook for about 5 minutes, or until the cabbage is cooked and softened.

Tomato sauce and cabbage added

.

4. Season to taste with the salt and serve.

.

Keto Ground Lamb Casserole - Copy

.

Turmeric Roasted Cauliflower

May 14, 2017

By Kath Dedon

.

I found this recipe for Turmeric Roasted Cauliflower on Sandy’s Reluctant Entertainer blog. Sandy found the recipe in Gina Homolka’s book, The Skinnytaste Cookbook: Light on Calories, Big on Flavor. (Gina also has a blog that’s a great source for lightened-up recipes.)

I’ve now made this a couple of times. The first time I made it I didn’t take pictures because I didn’t expect it to be special enough for the blog. Boy, I was wrong!

The spice combination for the cauliflower is just right. It’s a bit spicy, but not overly so. Just reduce the amount of crushed red pepper flakes if you’re nervous about it, but ¼ teaspoon for the whole recipe is not that hot.

I had a whole head of cauliflower that had been in the crisper drawer for about a week. It was time to do something with it and I made Turmeric Roasted Cauliflower again. It was a perfect side dish with roast chicken thighs. They both roast at 450°. I put the chicken thighs on a rack on the lower third of the preheated oven. After the chicken had roasted for about 15 minutes, I put the cauliflower on a rack in the upper third of the oven. I continued to roast them both for another 25 minutes. Easy-peasy dinner!

The thing I love about this Turmeric Roasted Cauliflower is that it is so easy and yet flavorful enough to taste like a more complicated recipe. If you like cauliflower, give this one a try. I know I’m happy to add it to my repertoire.

.

Turmeric Roasted Cauliflower served with Roast Chicken Thighs

Turmeric Roasted Cauliflower

.

Turmeric Roasted Cauliflower

(Adapted from a recipe posted by Sandy of reluctantentertainer.com who credited the recipe to Gina Homolka’s The Skinnytaste Cookbook)

.

(print the recipe)

.

Serves 4

 

The recipe calls for a bit of cilantro to garnish the cooked cauliflower. It’s a nice touch but can be omitted if you don’t have any on hand. I didn’t use it the first time I made it.

. 

6 heaping cups of cauliflower florets (from a 1½ – pound cauliflower), cut into 1-inch pieces

3 garlic cloves

¼ cup olive oil

Salt, to taste

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon ground cumin

¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

 

  1. Preheat the oven to 450°.
  2. Put the cauliflower in a large bowl.

Cauliflower and garlic

.

3. Lay a large chef’s knife flat on the garlic with the blade facing away from you. Press (or smack) the blade with your fist to smash the garlic cloves. Put the garlic in the bowl with the cauliflower.

crushed garlic

.

4. Pour the olive oil over the cauliflower and toss so it is well distributed.

5. Sprinkle the cauliflower with salt.

6. Stir the turmeric, cumin, and pepper flakes together.

.

Turmeric, ground cumin, and crushed red pepper flakes

Turmeric, cumin, and crushed red pepper flakes

Stir spices together

.

7. Sprinkle the spices over the cauliflower and stir well. Spread the cauliflower out on a large rimmed baking sheet, covered with parchment if desired.

8. Roast for about 25 minutes, stirring once when it’s about half done.

9. Garnish with cilantro, if desired, and serve.

.

Cauliflower and chicken thighs sharing the oven

sharing the oven

.

Turmeric Roasted Cauliflower - Copy

.

A Quick Trip to New Jersey and New York City

May 12, 2017

By Kath Dedon

.

Sunday, May 7, was our 34th wedding anniversary and we spent most of the day flying from Seattle to Newark, New Jersey. Bob goes twice a year for business and this time I tagged along.

That night we stayed with Foy and Ken. They manage the self-storage facility that Bob developed, and over the years they have become good friends. We got to their house at about 5:30, just in time to enjoy martinis and the smoked salmon that we had brought from Pure Food Fish in the Pike Place Market (the BEST!) Foy and Ken treated us to a great Italian dinner at Gregorio’s in Chatham. Bob and I split a Caesar salad and I had their gluten-free pasta with sausage, sundried tomatoes, and a tomato-cream sauce. Delizioso!

The next morning, after a quick breakfast at Angie’s Family Restaurant in Chatham, we went to a meeting at the management company. This year it was particularly enjoyable because everything is going so well.

After the meeting we headed out to the storage facility in New Brunswick. We grabbed a quick hot pastrami sandwich (good!) nearby and then met with the people working at the store. They’re so enthusiastic and are doing a great job keeping the place rented up.

With the business done, we turned in the rental car at the Newark airport and took the NJ Transit train to Penn Station in New York City!

Foy and Ken generously let us stay in their beautiful one bedroom apartment that they own near the United Nations. It is so perfect! It’s in a relatively quiet area of New York and walking distance to many good restaurants. It’s centrally located so it’s a quick taxi ride to other areas of the city.

We were pretty exhausted after staying up way too late the night before talking with Foy. Bob took a nap. We then walked around the corner to get some wine and snacks to enjoy in the apartment before dinner.

.

Salami, chips, and wine before dinner

Wine and snacks in NYC apt

.

There are so many wonderful restaurants in New York, but instead of trying something new, we had to go back to a favorite from a past trip. Matisse is a cute little French bistro that has a great atmosphere and wonderful food. As a bonus, the prices are very reasonable for New York. Bob had a martini and I enjoyed a Manhattan. We shared the Vegetarian Salad (chopped mixed vegetables with lemon vinaigrette). Then Bob had the Coq au Vin, which he said he’d never had before, and I had fabulous Calf’s Liver. The mashed potatoes served with both entrees were perfection. We enjoyed the dinner so much; I’m sure we will choose to go back again if we’re in New York. (And note to self: Find a good recipe for Coq au Vin!)

.

Martini and Manhattan at Matisse

Calves liver and Coq au Vin at Matisse

.

We started Tuesday with breakfast at Sarge’s Deli. It’s an institution that has been there for 53 years. They are never closed. And they have a huge menu that includes “The Monster”, “New York’s largest sandwich”. It is served on thick sliced rye bread, with corned beef, pastrami, roast beef, fresh turkey, salami, sliced tomato, lettuce, coleslaw and Russian dressing. It will set you back $41.95 but will probably feed you all week!

We ordered from their breakfast specials menu. I had The Leo (eggs scrambled with Nova Scotia smoked salmon and onions, served with home fries) and rye toast. Bob had a toasted sesame bagel with the smoked salmon and cream cheese. It was all very tasty, but a lot of food. We definitely left some behind.

Sarge's - the Leo breakfast

.

Sarge's bagel, smoked salmon and cream cheese

.

After breakfast we went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Carrie had suggested we go to the Whitney Museum of American Art, but Bob vetoed that idea. We had been to the Met before, but it is ginormous and always has something new. And it has things that Bob likes, like the Arms and Armor Gallery. It is truly the “something for everyone” museum.

We started with the Age of Empires: Chinese Art of the Qin and Han Dynasties, an exhibit that will be there through July 16. It’s an amazing collection of pieces gathered from 32 museums and archaeological institutions in China. Most of the pieces have never been seen before in the West. The Qin Dynasty was short, from 221 – 206 B.C. The Han Dynasty lasted from 206 B.C. to 220 A.D. I’ll share some of my favorite pieces.

.

A half-life-size bronze chariot from the Qin Dynasty

 Half-size sculpture of covered carriage Qin Dynasty

 

There were several life-size terracotta warriors. They were from a life-size army of 7,000 terracotta warriors were discovered in 1974 in the mausoleum of the first Qin emperor, Qin Shi Huang. He died in 210 B.C.

 Terracotta warrior

.

This earthenware Strongman is from the Qin Dynasty.

 Strongman, Qin Earthenware

.

There were many objects made to be buried with the nobility. I especially liked the Elephant and Groom and the bronze Goose.

.

Gilt and Silvered bronze Elephant and Groom, Western Han. Found in 2010 in the tomb of Liu Fei, prince of Jiangdu who died in 129 B.C.

Elephant and Groom

.

Life-size bronze goose

Goose

.

After the Chinese exhibit, we made a quick pass through the Rei Kawakubo exhibit. It was beautifully exhibited and I probably would have chosen to spend more time looking at everything, but Bob wanted to move on.

Kawakubo, from the Blood and Roses collection, 2015

Kawakubo - from Blood and Roses collection 2015

.

We both enjoyed Seurat’s Circus Sideshow. It gathers works from Seurat and other nineteenth century artist that illustrate scenes from the popular fairs and circuses of the time.

We barely made a dent in all that there is to see at the Met, but we had had our fill so went off to find lunch.

I have heard high praise for Shake Shack for so long that I was dying to try it. The Upper East Side location was walking distance from the Met. They have indoor seating and also outdoor seating that is open to the public. You don’t need to purchase Shake Shack food to eat there, but it seemed most people had.

I had the ShackBurger, a cheeseburger with lettuce, tomato, and ShackSauce. Bob tried the SmokeShack, a cheeseburger with bacon, chopped cherry pepper, and ShackSauce. We shared an order of fries. The burgers were very fresh, made with top quality ingredients. All burgers are cooked medium unless requested otherwise. My cheeseburger was very tasty, indeed, and I’m glad we tried it. I must say, though, that our neighborhood Zippy’s burgers are better. They are SO good!

Shake Shack

.

After lunch we walked back along E. 86th Street to Central Park. We walked along a path in the park that paralleled 5th Avenue and we saw parts of the park that we hadn’t seen before.

.

There’s an area where there are several baseball fields. All were busy with teams practicing after school.

Baseball practice in Central Park

 

We stumbled upon Cleopatra’s Needle. It was commissioned by Pharaoh Thutmose III in about 1425 B.C.

Cleopatra's Needle in Central Park

 History of Cleopatra's Needle

.

We kept walking and came upon the Sailboat Pond. You can rent remote control sailboats to sail on the small pond. We had seen that before, but this time we stopped at Le Pain Quotidien Conservatory Water for iced tea. We enjoyed sitting on a bench and watching people go by.

Sailboat Pond Central Park

.

After the break, we continued walking until we ended up at the end of the park at E 59th Street. That’s the location of The Plaza hotel where we had lunch with Laura and Carrie in 1998.

The Plaza NYC

.

We did a bit of window shopping along 5th Avenue before getting a cab back to the apartment.

Dinner Tuesday night was at Spice Symphony and we both loved it! They serve Indian and “Indian Chinese” food. The service was warm and friendly. We started with Tandoori Achari Mushrooms –  mushrooms marinated in yogurt and pickle spice mix, and roasted in the tandoor. Delicious! I asked about the Lamb Vindaloo and our server said it was very spicy. So I chose the Lamb Rogan Josh and Bob had the Lamb Vindaloo. Both were served with rice and we also had the Kachumber Salad – diced cucumber, onions and tomato topped with a lime cilantro dressing. It was excellent with the spicy entrees.

Lamb Rogan Josh

.

Wednesday Bob got some baklava from the Tudor Gourmet Deli downstairs. It is fantastic and made a satisfying breakfast in the apartment.

Baklava from Tudor Gourmet Deli

.

We then walked down the stairs from about E. 43rd Street to the UN building and walked along the East River for a while. We cut over and walked south along 1st Avenue. It was interesting to see another part of the city.

.

East River with Brooklyn and the Brooklyn Bridge in the background

East River, NYC, Brooklyn in the background

.

By the time we got to about E. 24th Street we were hungry for lunch. I used yelp to find Grill 21 in the Gramercy area of Manhattan. It had great reviews and was just a short walk away.

Grill 21 serves Filipino food, a cuisine with which we are not too familiar. I ordered the Chicken Curry. Bob tried, at my suggestion, the Pork Binagoogan. (Pork Binagoogan is pork chunks sautéed in shrimp paste with eggplant.) It took a little while for them to make the food, but I just figured it was being made with fresh ingredients. I enjoyed my curry, but Bob was not so fond of the pork. He thought it tasted “off”. I tasted it and it seemed good to me. Maybe he just doesn’t like Pork Binagoogan.

.

Chicken Curry with garlic rice and Pork Binagoogan with steamed rice

Chicken Curry and Pork Binagoogan

.

After lunch we kept walking a bit further through the East River neighborhood. There were so many little shops and restaurants! It seemed like an interesting and diverse neighborhood. When we got to St. Mark’s Place we headed west to 3rd Ave where we got a cab back to the apartment. We had walked about 2 miles.

It was time to head to the airport. We packed up and caught a cab at about 1:15 to take us to Penn Station. Traffic was horrible. It took a while, but we had allowed plenty of time. Then the train was slightly delayed. It left about 20 minutes late. All in all, it took us about two hours to get from the apartment to the gate for Alaska Airlines, but we were there in plenty of time for our 5:15 flight.

We had a fabulous mini-vacation in the Big Apple and would love to visit again. Now that we have two favorite dinner restaurants, we might have to stay for more than two nights so we can try other places!

.

.

The view of the United Nations Headquarters from outside the apartment building we stayed in.

View of the UN from Tudor City - Copy

.