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While most flock to Chinatown for fake Rolexes and knockoff designer handbags many still head to this over crowded mile radius for many delectible culinary delights and great produce deals. I had wanted to go to my favorite Vietnamese restaurant, Pho Pasteur. Unfortunately, it was too crowded for me to attempt it with a stroller. Still I decided to hit the produce street vendors and head over to the Hong Kong Supermarket to find some goodies for dinner.

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We might not have the village markets in NYC like they do in Europe but as soon as spring hits the produce street vendors pop up like firefies in the city, and thank the heavens for them. You can find amazing deals with these guys. On average their goods cost 1/3 the price of the same produce you would find in a grocery store. Just make sure you take the time to select them yourself. For example, I bought a bag of three romaine hearts for only $2 dollars. The same bag was $5 at the local Gristedes or $6 at the nearby Gourmet Garage. It’s a no brainer, I try to get all my produce two seasons of the year from these Produce Outdoorsmen.

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I buy some seasonal fruits and vegetables and head on over to my favorite Chinatown grocery, the venerable Hong Kong Supermarket!

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 You can find everything from live frogs to Tropicana Pure Premium orange juice at the HKS. I started coming here for condiments and bags of frozen dim sum. Now, everytime I come, I try to buy something new and stray a little further from my comfort zone. It doesn’t matter if you live in a big city or on a farm, chances are there is an ethnic market within your reach. Seek them out and  experiment a little. Whether its the Eastern European market selling sausages and giant beers or the Korean deli down the block with their homemade Kim Chi, there is a culinary world to explore at your fingertips.

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I find some chinese eggplannt, chive buds, bok choy, and a nice piece of salmon all for a very good prices. Oh and of course bags of frozen dumplings and a new sauce to try out. Their condiment aisle is sick, ten different types of soy sauce, twenty different types of chili sauce, goes on and on and on. I stuff my goods under my stroller and head on home with my baby girl happy as a clam.

By the time we got home, it was a little too late to start my Chinese feast but luckily I remembered that I had defrosted pizza dough in the fridge. When ever I make dough Ialways make more than I need because it freezes well, just remember to put it in your fridge a day or two before use because there is no quick way to defrost dough.  That’s not true, actually, you can put it in a ziplock back and run it under cold water, this works for meat as well.  Don’t ever say I told you a lie!  Anyway, it’s another quick pizza and salad night for the family.

-Maintenant Manger!

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Marriage Bureau

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Today, I went downtown to the New York City Marriage Bureau to obtain an extended copy of my marriage licence. The French Consulate made me do it in order to procure a French birth certificate for my daughter. Apperantly, my trustworthy face wasn’t enough… go figure!
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That initial Consulate trip was hard, even with my daughter’s swift and zippy Bugaboo Bee stroller (the “city” stroller!).  I made the mistake of trying to switch fom the local train to the express at 59th street… I found myself stranded in third-rail hell.  No elevators. My choices were a skyscraping escalator or  a flight of medieval-looking stairs.  Of course, safety and commonsense prevailed and I chose the stairs – but, I’m a little embarassed to admit, not without some serious back and forth trying to devise how I could safely maneuver a stroller up an escalator.

You can’t, by the way.

I picked the stroller up, baby and all and climbed the three separate flights of stairs.  In retrospect, I should have waited for the next train back and used that stations elevators.  When we finally made it to the FC, waited an hour before being seen only to be turned away because I didn’t have the ‘long form” of my marriage license.

What is the difference, you ask, betwee a short form and long form?  Six sentences, that’s what, SIX.  The extended form lists both spouses’ parents’ full names and whether the spouses were married before.  I don’t know if I’m more upset with the City Hall for not giving me those six extra sentences in the the first place when I got married, or with the the French Consulate asking me to piece together an intricite dossier with documents dating back to my grandparents’ time.   I might add that procuring the other documentation from France was still less of a hassle than picking up this extended form downtown – and cheaper.  City Hall charged me $35!

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Move over, Jolie. Daddy needs a rest!

The silver lining was since I was downtown already I could make a pit stop in Chinatown on my way home!

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More on this trip in a later post!

– Maintenent Manger!

Spring Cassis

kir 006Spring is here and so are kirs! Whenever it starts to get warm my wife and I like to drink rosee wines or kirs. Kirs are a white wine cocktail made with one measure of Creme De Cassis and white wine. (1 part creme de cassis & 9 parts wine.) Creme de Cassis is an alcoholic liqueur made from blackcurrants. There are many different types of kirs including two from Normandy (Kir Normand &  Cidre Royale which are both made from hard cider except the Royale has a measure of Calvados added.) but the two most popular are the regular Kir (made with white wine) and the Kir Royale, made with champagne.


kir 005Do yourself a favor if you buy some make sure it’s from Dijon, France. I made the unfortunate decision to buy a domestic brand once and it tasted more like Dimetapp cough syrup than something you would consider toasting with.

I decided to try adding some to my vodka tonic tonight which I think is a new creation, my wife disagrees. Well, in case it is a new creation I’m going to call it the Cord’homme. If it isn’t, oh well, that doesn’t stop it from being tasty!

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When I was a kid my mother would wash out the old Bonne Maman jam jars and we would use them as beverage glasses. Ever since then I love drinking out of jars. This is a ball glass jar. I always gravitate towards it if I see it in the cupboard. It just feels like home.

I also remember in the summertimes my parents would drink these fantastic looking Gin & Tonics with fresh mint leaves and a wedge of lemon. They had these awesome looking glasses that resembled medievel goblets except these were made of glass. I’m going to try and track some down. I think they have a few left at their house in Normandy.

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