Friday, October 21, 2016

A Walk in the West Village

I discovered these beautiful bird houses in a tiny park off Seventh Avenue. 

One of my on-going goals is to walk at least six thousand steps a day. I know the goal for many walkers is ten thousand steps and I do try to get that many. But some days it's less feasible and I am content with six thousand. I do as much walking as possible in my neighborhood doing errands, but when my errands are done I pick a different neighborhood to in which to walk. This afternoon I returned to one of my favorite areas, the West Village, for my afternoon walk.

The West Village is the area of Greenwich Village below Fourteenth Street and above Houston Street on the west side of Manhattan. There are still small neighborhood stores and restaurants, a number of parks and for the most part, the buildings are relatively low, so there is lots of light. It's one of my favorite parts of New York and happily it's only a short subway ride from home.
One of my stops was a visit to a terrific stationery and stamp store.  I loved the Halloween window.

The neighborhood still has many nineteenth century brownstones. There weren't many that were decorated for Halloween, but I will be back in December to look for Christmas decorations. 

Another favorite are the fall displays at local florists. I especially enjoyed this one on Eleventh Street.

All this walking and looking gets a blogger hungry and I stopped for a snack at Dominique Ansel Kitchen on Seventh Avenue. I had a fabulous fennel salad and by some enormous stroke of willpower -- and the knowledge that I had just discussed my medical tests with my internist -- I abstained from the pastries. My tests were fine, but in an effort to keep them where they should be I am being very disciplined. There are beautiful pastries all over Manhattan, but this collection was calling my name.   

I was entranced by the croissants and will happily return for a treat when I have out of town guests. It's going to be a very difficult choice. Dominique Ansel is responsible for the cronut, a croissant/doughnut hybrid, which is for sale at the Bakery, at a different location. 

Dear friends, please come and visit soon!

Lots of walking, lots of reading and some long delayed errands -- that seems to be my schedule this week. I'm not sure where all of these errands come from, but as soon as a few are crossed off my list, a few more pop up to take their place. Do any of you have ever-multiplying errands, too?

As ever, thanks for visiting and take good care!  

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

It's Not Monkee Sweater Weather...

But it is time to have a Halloween giveaway!
Despite eighty degree heat in New York today Pepe Le Monkee could not be persuaded that it was too hot for him to wear his Halloween finery. Once he knew he would be presenting the Buttercupland Halloween giveaway, a DVD of Trick or Treaters, heat or no heat, he changed into his Halloween sweater. He does make a very handsome Halloween monkee.
Thanks to our friends at Anchor Bay Entertainment, I'm happy to host a giveaway of a family friendly and very sweet DVD. Trick or Treaters tells the story of an orphan, Tiffany, who is traveling to the home for orphans run by her unpleasant aunt in the mountains. During her journey she is held by three robbers. She makes them believe that she is a princess from India with a treasure in jewels.  During the film Tiffany teaches a lesson about kindness and love. 
This is a quick giveaway. Please comment by 6:00 pm on Sunday, October 23 and I will announce the winner on Sunday night.  If I get an address quickly I will mail it out on Monday, October 24 for maximum pre-Halloween enjoyment. Please leave a comment about your favorite Halloween tradition and be a follower of Buttercupland on Bloglovin', Google + or Google Friend.  Easy Peasey and lots of Halloween fun.
It's difficult to believe that Halloween is only less than two weeks away. It is summer in New York. I wore a t-shirt and shorts today -- which I thought I wouldn't need for months -- and wasn't cold at all. I need new winter boots and half-heartedly went looking, but could not make myself focus on anything with fleece today. 
As ever, thanks for visiting and take good care. Have a wonderful Wednesday.
Please note: I have been given a copy of Trick or Treaters by Anchor Bay Entertainment for this giveaway. The opinions are all mine.

Monday, October 17, 2016

When In Austin, Eat Doughnuts

Actually that's a motto that's good for any city. While I visited Austin for BlogHer Food 16, I did some sightseeing and sampled some of the delicious food that Austin is known for. One of my stops was at Voodoo Doughnuts on Sixth Street. The Austin branch is part of a legendary small chain of handmade doughnut shops that began in Portland, Oregon. I didn't know that I was visiting one of the iconic doughnut shops in America and stopped in because the signage drew me in. I had just had a nice, reasonably healthy lunch, but once I set foot inside I knew I would be trying a doughnut (or two). 
The woman who is the model for this painting does not eat a lot of Voodoo Doughnuts. 

I was very taken with the pink products, but since it was my first day in Austin restrained myself from going wild buying things. I was especially tempted by the cute mug.

Now on to the doughnuts. At the top of the display is the Voodoo Doll doughnut. It's filled with raspberry jelly, coated in chocolate and a pretzel is the stake. The doughnut directly below is called the Loop and pays homage to Fruit Loops. On the far right is the Voodoo Bubblegum Doughnut, adorned with bubblegum dust and garnished with a piece of bubblegum. For this doughnut fan, it was a difficult choice.  

Because my doughnut excursion followed lunch I wisely only chose one reasonably unadorned doughnut, the Lemon Chiffon. It is a French cruller with vanilla frosting, lemon dust and three mini marshmallows. I don't think it was the best choice I could have made. The cruller is a light doughnut and the very sweet vanilla frosting overwhelmed it. It was pretty, it was sweet and it was good. But was it iconic? Not so much. Was I disappointed? Yes. I eat doughnuts so rarely -- though I wish it could be more often -- and I hope my choices on those infrequent occasions will be more than good.

I'm back in New York and catching up on a million -- that's what it feels like, but probably no more than a dozen -- projects. I've got plans for a general post on BlogHerFood16, my visit to see "the bats under the bridge" and a Halloween giveaway for this week. I hope you'll stop by later this week for all of the fun.

I could be writing about autumn in New York, but the minute we get a day of autumn, summer returns. It was at least 80 today and that's the forecast for the next few days. I put away the last of my summer clothes when I got back from Austin and actually took one dress out today. I'm not longing for snow, but I'd be happy for actual seasonal weather soon.

As always, thanks for visiting and have a terrific Tuesday.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Happy Birthday, Mom

My mother and me, January 1951
I'm back from a too quick trip to Austin, TX and the wonderful BlogHer Food 2016. I'm still sorting out my thoughts and photographs of the conference, but I promise at least several posts on the conference, Austin and the food of Austin. Definitely the coffee of Austin will be featured. But tonight Yom Kippur -- the Day of Atonement and remembrance -- begins and today is my mother's birthday. I'm going to delay my posts on Austin and focus on remembering.   
It's hard to fathom that my mother would be 102 today. She died twenty-six years ago, but her voice goes through my mind often. I no longer reach for the phone to call her, but I think of things throughout every day that I'd like to share with her. Alas. I can't in person. 
Once again, today and every day, I remember my mother with so much love. I am a very fortunate daughter.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Wishes for Peace

In just a few hours the year 5777 will begin. My tzimmes -- root vegetable casserole -- is once again baking in the oven. And as I did last year and will most likely do next year -- if the opportunity presents itself -- my thoughts go to family and friends. Some I can no longer send greetings to and others are no further than a phone call or text message.

I spent time this morning looking through my grandmother's collection of greeting cards. Most were sent between 1910 and 1920 and they are well loved and well worn. My grandmother looked through them often, remembering her young life and the family and friends who filled it. I doubt if any museum would be interested in the collection. They are torn, stained and discolored through decades of handling. But they are as precious to me as any of the treasures I saw at the Metropolitan Museum.

As I've shared before, my mind wanders during the next two days of services. I've found bringing a list of prayer requests with me helps me focus and to remember my friends and family. Please feel free to leave a request in the comments and I will be honored to add you to my prayer list for 5777.

May 5777 bring peace to our hearts, peace to our homes and peace to our world.  

Jerusalem Exhibit Pink Saturday

Two of my favorite people at one of my favorite places. 

This week's visit to Pink Saturday takes us to the  Metropolitan Museum of Art and the exhibit that just opened there, Jerusalem 1000-1400, Every People Under Heaven. I had the great fortune to share this visit to the museum with my dear friends, Lura and John, during their visit to New York City. Lura and I met over five years ago via our blogs and our friendship has become one where we have had the opportunity to spend time together, both in California and very recently, here in New York. 
We chose a visit to the Metropolitan Museum and were fortunate that the day we were there included a preview of this exhibit. We had the opportunity to time travel to Jerusalem in the early part of the last millennium and view an extraordinary array of artifacts from the period.

The array of pieces on exhibit was drawn from collections all over the world. This beautiful piece is the Chasse of Ambazac. Though made in Limoges it was chosen as it evoked the Middle East.

This display featured both jewels and glass pieces. I especially was enthralled by the glass on display. It had survived centuries and in many cases pieces had been painstakingly put together.

This French knight of the d'Aluye family dates from 1248.
Each item on display in the exhibit was well worth seeing. There were pieces from the Jewish, Christian and Muslim traditions and we spent several hours visiting the exhibit and didn't see everything. I know I need a return visit and only wish that Lura and John could join me, but they are now back at home thousands of miles away.

Thanks for sharing our museum day. As ever, thanks for visiting and have a sweet Sunday!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

My Kind of Celebration

My first stop on the coffee trail began with a cup of hot coffee at my favorite coffee cart in the neighborhood. 
 Twenty four hours ago I'd never heard of this event and now here I am joining the celebration. What celebration? Today is officially National Coffee Day. Of course I celebrate coffee every day, but it's nice to have a day dedicated to one of my favorites in life. Besides drinking coffee I decided to document coffee in my immediate neighborhood. I had a meeting a mile from home. As I walked home I found a number -- a large number -- of places, either dedicated to coffee, or including coffee. My photographs were taken during a half mile of my walk only on one side of the street.

Two blocks north of the coffee cart I stopped at Fairway, a New York chain, to visit the coffee bean section. They had a great assortment of beans and the aroma was fabulous. 

Two blocks further north I passed Maison Kayser, an upscale bakeshop and restaurant. They have very good bread and beautiful pastries, as well as an extensive coffee menu. 

On the same block I passed Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, a national chain that is less upscale than Maison Kayser. The coffee is good and they have lots of seating. Amazingly, considering the number of places that feature coffee. it's sometimes difficult to find a seat. As an aside the store to the right, Westside Market, is where I made the sighting of the rare pumpkin yogurt.

These are a few that stood out. Oren's, which I wrote about in April during my search for the best coffee in New York, was also in this ten block stretch of Broadway. If you're surprised I didn't include Starbucks, it's not because there are none. There are two locations within these ten blocks, but they are on the other side of the street.
My best celebration of National Coffee Day, however, took place a few blocks north of the places photographed. I made a cup of Breakfast Blend Katahdin Specialty Coffee, which was a gift from my thoughtful friend, B. It was delicious, especially served in my Buttercup mug. Thanks B and Taryterre for your help in celebrating National Coffee Day.

Any other coffee fans in Buttercupland? Please let us know how you joined in the celebration.

Overnight it has turned to fall. I wore a jacket today and my open toe sandals are officially put away for the winter. There are pumpkins everywhere and it won't be very many more days before flannel and fleece makes appearances.

As ever, thanks for visiting and take good care.