Wednesday, October 17, 2012


We took off mid morning from Ithica and headed to our first bed and breakfast. Neither of us have stayed at a B&B so we were super excited. But first- Breakfast! We went to Little Tree orchards to go apple picking. We were greeted in the barn with hot, sweet, apply musk...THEY MAKE THEIR OWN CIDER DONUTS!  We got hot cider and donuts and enjoyed them with our new friend.
Moon Shadow was much sweeter than this picture suggests .

Apple cider and donuts with friends.
Apple picking was so fun. Apparently though we were at the tail end and there wasn't much left. Their season starts in July. The apples left took a bit of effort to collect.
Not very glamorous work...

Almost there...

A full half-peck bag! Apples for every meal

After that it was time for wine!  Our first stop though was at a distillery. It was amazing! We've never booze tasted, and we could tell after three tastes why it hasn't caught on as a thing...We settled on a gin and a maple liquor. Suuuper tastey!Wine tasting was a different story. I could go into detail about how each winery disappointed me, but I will tell you instead about two wines I think characterize the NY wine experience. The first is a famous brand: Hazlitt's Red Cat. The story goes that two parents started stomping these grapes in their front yard years ago to make this wine. It really caught on when their boys kept stealing some to take to their hot tub parties. The boys noticed the more wine the girls drank- they less clothes they wore. There was born a chant, which I couldn't quite hear over my brain begging me to clarify with our server, "So, you're telling me: if it wasn't for date rape you wouldn't have convinced anyone to drink this kool-aid flavored roach killer?". I refrained and looked down at our palate clenser- which was popcorn with artificial color and flavoring. I decided my opinions were lost here. We gave a few more wines a try- to be fair- and because we paid our $3 already. The next was another of their famous wines. It was also terrible. The whole time at each winery I kept waiting to hear, "SLAP THE BAG!". I didn't. These people seemed to be enjoying themselves. I won't be loud and ruin their time. I chose to silently judge instead.
The bottle should have given it away that this was a bad experience waiting to happen.
Plus side of the trip? This awesome mantis and my bag of buffalo cheese curds. 

They couldn't do wine, but man that rootbeer!

 Our bed and breakfast was lovely though. The people were great and the room was so cute! Their dogs maybe, were overly friendly and made it hard for us to park. The big one got both front paws up on our window and barked at Tarra. It was a lovely greeting.
Our own Ches Lounge.
Bluebird room!
Our fatgirl senses rooted these out!
Free sweet potato pie for our honeymoon! Sweet people! Great pie!
We also happened onto a super cute slow food restraunt that had just started. We had to wait awhile to be seated though because a kitten was stuck in someone's car and the whole wait staff was worried for it. Sweet people! So, our summary of the Finger Lakes so far- great views, friendly people, TERRIBLE wine.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


A Thornberry apple. Cute surprise of pink inside!
Ithica in the daylight was beautiful. We lucked out, as always, and the Farmer's Market was that morning. OUR PEOPLE! The first booth was a man that made wine from his blueberries. It was fantastic. The nose was very jammy, but it was full bodied and complex! Who would have thought!? We bought a semi-dry and a port. One is a gift and the other is for Thanksgiving. We got our first taste of New York apples too.
  We were picking out a chutney for Thanksgiving as well and sampling flavors like: apricot ginger, cherry, blueberry orange (which we picked)... they were all so wonderful! The farming couple made these from the fruits they grew. These guys were also the nicest people.  We mentioned we flew out from California to get married and they were so excited for us they gave us our jar for free as a wedding present. We got warm hugs too! They had to fly out to Connecticut a few years back to be married; it was nice to share an experience like that. 
 We were so excited about everything maple too! There is some maple spread coming someone's way! Candles and honey for someone else! Our favorite find was the soap people. They grow their own oil plants like sunflower to make these soaps! There's a bar for someone coming home soon!
  Our lunch plan may have been one of the highlights of my life. Yeah, our wedding too...whatever. MOOOOOOOOOSSSSSSSSSSEEEEEEEEEEEWWOOOOOOOOODD! The books have become such a part of my culinary life, now we just happen to visit the town where this place was born!

Look! A moose in Moosewood! Cuuute!
Caribbean Roti and Spicy Peanut noodle! We even got fresh juie1

Mecca. The Grail. My grail anyway.

The food was amazing! We even got a new book: Sundays at Moosewood! So excited to get home and cook up a vegetarian storm!
  We headed just outside of town to Watkins Glenn for some falls Tarra wanted to visit. We had a hard time getting internet so we had to wing it and follow signs. We found a parking area that wanted us to pay to park. It seemed right, but Tarra asked if this was the falls. "It's the only thing we've got here, so yes." It would have been a sad statement had the falls not been so fucking awesome. I'll let the pictures tell the story.



No caption necessary. But Lol might do.

No! Tarra Dooon't throw the map in the river!

So pretty in person...

I am so lucky I get to kiss her in such pretty places. 

 We hiked for hours around the gorge until it was almost dark. We drove back and grabbed a bite and settled in early to take it easy. My knee had been bugging me...couldn't have been all the walking...

Sunday, October 14, 2012


We had to check out after our big day. We had a few more stops so we left our bags in the hands of the Bowery staff and hit the city for one last hurrah. We took the subway to Central Park for a brisk walk.
Never take a walk without back-up snacks.

Chocolate Raspberry!

Chocolate hazelnut checkerboard!

We kept to the west side and made it about half way before we had to get back so we could get out of the city and to our rental car.
Soo pretty!


John Lennon memorial at Strawberry Fields.

We made a pit stop to the oldest bakery in NY- Poseidon. Oh, the thick, chunky nut spiced interior! The flakey pastry! All bathed in a generous bath of sticky honey! Delicious! We also managed to make a pit stop somewhere in Hell's Kitchen to harass the Statue of Liberty. Funny thing though, I always thought she was much taller.
 We made it to Grand Central Terminal to catch our train out of the city to Nanuet, but were five minutes late. No biggie, there's more trains- to the Info Desk. Lady says go out to the bus. Bus says only going to Newark Airport. Go back in lugging bags. Consult different lady. After a few more bumbles and funny looks, we determined that "Naan-nu-et" is "Nan-yu-Et" and that small change means 15 minutes of wasted time and some serious irritation. Ok, to Penn Station then. Taxies ask where we are going, then drive on. GAAAHHH! Finally, we get in one only to be scolded about getting in on the wrong side of the road. Sorry cabby, didn't realize two extra turns was going to ruin your day. Some construction, since ALL of the city is under construction, blocked our cabbies way and we lugged our things 5 more blocks to a giant train station, and two transfers later, were on the right train.

Oh Dear God where do we go!?

  We got to our stop, were picked up, rented a car and were on our way the two hours to Ithica. Oh, Tarra means 4 hours. No worries, it's only 6pm on a scenic drive. Blah.... Luckily, Upstate people really dig their electronic music and we raved our way through the darkness only slightly regretting we couldn't see the trees. We passed our hotel at least 12 times before getting in and tucking in for the evening. What a day.

The Big Day

On five hours of sleep we hopped out of our bed (carefully navigating the limited bits of floor around the bed) and shuffled down the stairs to the common bathrooms to begin our day. We hurried to get ready- finding dresses, primping and pinning, makeup- we were excited to get going. Our photographer showed up late due to a train delay (thank God) and we started our photo shoot on the rooftop garden. We had a few planned shots on the way to the courthouse, one in the intersection and one on THIS intersection: Canal and Bowery in China Town. Tarra and I had gone to see them at the Hotel Utah in San Fran and it was so magical. We heard it every morning for months on our way to volunteer at Pacific Star Gardens. It was our song of the moment, though the lyrics were a bit off, the chorus was pretty cute, worth a picture. We walked the mile through China Town to the courthouse in our dresses and veils getting congrats as we went. There was a bit more paperwork and a little bit of a wait, but nothing could bother either one of us- the day was just too perfect. We held on to our ticket- C660- and waited to be called.

What a lucky lady I am...

  We were called back into the chapel, nervously excited. This was the moment we had been waiting for. The planning, dress making, packing, two-job working for money- this was it and none of that mattered. I would have done it for 1,000 years to see those blue eyes look at me like that again. I think we have seen hundreds of weddings through movies, TV, magazines, and lived through them as bridesmaids, guests, people of honor, but it was so surreal for us. Tarra made the most shrill squee I have ever heard a human make and I was quietly beaming. The ceremony lasted only a few short minutes, a few short sentences even, but when I heard those two words, though I had heard them so many times, her voice made them so sweet. I have never been so excited to care for someone. I have the privilege to walk next to her for the rest of my life and make sure that she never asks for too little for herself and that she see herself the way I do. It was magic and I am so lucky to call her my wife.
  Sarah Hoppes, our photographer, took us around the Lower East Side for several more hours to take our pictures. We walked across the Brooklyn Bridge and every time we would stop to take a picture, it was like Sarah was a photo-hydra and six to ten other cameras would appear and take a picture too. We were congratulated by people from: Turkey, Ecuador, France, Holland, Italy, Beijing, Russia... we aren't sure if people were happy for us being married, or gay-married, or that a picture with two white dresses was pretty. Whatever it was, EVERYONE felt compelled to take a picture of us, with us, or yell "CONGRATS" from their bike. It was overwhelming to have such love and support, though completely welcomed. I don't think either of us had ever had more fun or a more perfect day.
  Our last few photo stops were in the Brooklyn Bridge Park. On the way there we stumbled on some fish heads sticking out of the grass and a city worker handed us a 10 pound marble piece of the bridge (but you're not supposed to know-shhhhhhh!). We found an awesome park with slides, a boat, and a sandbox. The pictures should be pretty amazing. We rode the carousel, though Tarra's skirt made things a bit tricky, and got some beautiful shots there.  
  We stopped at Parm for lunch. And OH MY GOD buffalo cucumbers! Fried pizza knots!? So delicious! We left Sarah there and thanked her so much for the most wonderful afternoon. We were so thankful to have someone that not only had such a wonderful gift to make our special day so beautifully captured on film (or megapixes- whatever), but who was a blast to hang out with. She was so authentic and genuine, making sure always that we were comfortable and she really listened to what we wanted.
"This face looked way more awesome in my head!" "I had a vision!!"
  We are so excited for all the pics! Here is a sneak peek! 

Brooklyn Blackout (double chocolate) for the Lady.
  On our way back to the hostel we got plenty more congrats, but what we were really after was sweets. Luckily, we ran into a cupcake shop. How much more fun can anything be than accidental tiny wedding cakes? 
Mott Street for me! (tiramisu flavored)

 Our next stop was Daniel- the coat jacket required sort of place that caused such trouble.
All gussied up for dinner!

True New York glamor! What a catch!
   It was far and away more than what we expected. It was sooo fancy. The first thing to catch Tarra was the mention of a sommelier. She was worried he said something about Somalia. I assured her that he was just the nice man bringing the booze. Tarra got some fancy salmon (best smoked salmon ever!) and a beautiful pork chop with Omegang Au Jus. I had duck bites and a trout something-or-other. Everything was small and fancy. We got the most beautiful desserts and a free chocolate one for our first dinner as a married couple.
Delicious is all I have to say!

Sorbet and fig and some pastry thing. Pretty good!

Pear and honey deliciousness!
  It was nice, but I think the snottyness was more than we could take. There were few wines under $500 on the wine list (and one that was $12,000 [more than I make in a year]). It was more than a little off-putting people would spend like that when there are so many with so little. All in all the experience was worth it, for the cocktails alone, but the 1% can have their snottery, I'll make what they did in the comfort of my own home where I can invite friends with jeans, share with the cats, and we can talk as loud as we want thank you.
  We didn't want the night to end so we stopped back into the Bowery House Kitchen for some drinks. Tarra got the oldest beer in the world and I got another glass of wine and we just hung out until we could barely keep our eyes open.

One last trip up to the roof for a nighttime view of the city- and it was off to bed. I can't think of anything that could have made that day more special. We wish we could relive it everyday and basque in that sort of true happiness that we had that day. It was just all so lovely.

Saturday, October 13, 2012


  I'll start here. It has been a few days, I know, it may feel like weeks for both of us! So much has happened, believe me my ankle and knee are letting me know about it! For our first day in NY city we got up and out early (as early as communal bathrooms on the lower floor would allow). We skipped coffee and breakfast and walked the mile south to the courthouse. After a bit of bureaucracy we had our license and could return in 24 hours. It went so much quicker than we thought, we had the whole day to see as much as we could.
Free giant cup of coffee please!
 Coffee was definitely on the agenda. We headed back to the Bowery House Kitchen to fuel our walking.
  After a quick change of shoes (mine were going to give me a blister) we were off to Katz Delicatessen.  We had chosen it because it was named the best Deli. We had set out in NY to do the best of the best. We wanted to see and eat what the city did best. Delis are absolutely one of them. This Deli though was not just the best, it was THE deli. You know the one from When Harry Met Sally (I don't think we had what she had though, but it was close). Tarra asked for a Katz's pastrami, the guy behind the counter told her she could have her Katz's pastrami on a Katz's plate and Katz's pickles- everything here was Katz's. Jokesters.

With bagels to go!
Any bread with your beef?

  We set out then to go to the Met. This meant the first tour of the city via subway. It was fast paced and bewildering, but dare I say cleaner than BART. Also, another plus for the whole city was far fewer homeless, and for those who were, they were much nicer. Also, and aside to this aside, New Yorkers were super nice. Nicer than yesterday. Well, except the man who wouldn't let us bring bagels into the Met. The pigeons were pleased with the bits we couldn't stuff in our faces.
Many of the stops had beautiful murals.
   The museum was  everything I could have ever dreamed. Van Gough, Matisse, Mucha, Klee, Hopper, O'keife, Warhol, Renoir...Everything I ever saw in my art books, it was all here! (well, a lot of it anyway!).
"organic shapes" both the artist and I appreciate.

Some art takes some adjusting to view in the correct context.

Pretty great stuff.

Tarra contemplating Rothko. Yes, it is art.

Cool mirror installation.

Candy installation honoring the artist's lover lost to AIDS. You could take a candy out of the pile and it would be replenished. It represented the wasting away of his partner and allows him to be reborn when the candy is refilled.
Faint similarity to the movie Idiocracy. We kept waiting for Ouch My Balls to play on one of the screens
Accidentally derped onto this street. 

For dinner it was New York style pizza! We braved Time's Square for it. The bartender was super excited we were getting married and made us a wedding cake shot. Super delicious! It was so nice to have everyone be so excited for us everywhere we went!
Crispy, Cheesy perfection!

You're my future wiiife Taaaarrrrraaa.
 The Lion King was next. We skipped out of the restaurant and up the street to Broadway to the Minskoff Theatre. The inside was so beautiful and we were filed in to our seats. We were warned it would be hard to remain dry-eyed for the opening. It was a pretty accurate warning. It was SO AMAZING. So many beautiful costumes! The whole stage came up and let Pride Rock spiral out towards the ceiling. There were flying kite-like birds on sticks and people on stilts! So awesome.
Add caption
  The last agenda item of the night was boquet making for the big day. We found a 24 hour floral shop (gotta love NY) and bought some stargazer lillies, green dahlias, hydrangeas and miscellany.  We spent the next hour in the most impossibly tiny hostel with our non-roof lattice roof using floral wire, tape, floral cutters to make our bouquets.
Hey, this is totally still a great's only midnight.

Don't touch the cup
 We got to bed around 1a.m. knowing we had to be up at 6... we rarely do things any other way.