Best Meals That I Ate In NYC This Time

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Best Meals That I Ate in NYC This Time

“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.” J. R. R. Tolkien

Incredible food is one of the best parts about visiting NYC. It is funny being a tourist in a city that you grew up in which is now completely different. I feel it most with restaurants. I do not know where the best places to eat are and have to research. Here is what we did this time.

Flora Bar

Flora Bar is located in the former home of the Whitney Museum. It is now the Met Breuer and is the Metropolitan Museum Of Art’s space dedicated to modern and contemporary art. The room is attractive with a modern, industrial feel. The floor to ceilings windows bring in lots of natural light and let you look out into the outdoor garden seating area. I thought that it was the best meal we had in NY. The food feels simple but it is inventive and complex. The shrimp cocktail is sweet and flavorful with homemade cocktail sauce. It is Sunday night and the waiter suggests the Sunday night roast chicken dinner which turns out to be the best roast chicken I have ever eaten. it is accompanied by potatoes au gratin, roasted squash, chicory salad and Parker House rolls.

Little Spain

Mercado Little Spain is the Spanish Food Mall created by Jose Andres and Ferran and Albert Adria at the new Chelsea Mall, Hudson Yards. Think Eataly but Spanish. We ate at the Spanish Diner where I had an egg dish direct from Bar Pinxto at La Boqueria Market in Barcelona. The BF had the perfect Barcelona sandwich of Iberian ham, olive oil and tomato on a flauta The market part has many crowded stalls, selling gazpacho, Iberian ham, octopus, churros dipped in chocolate, paella, patatas brava, bread, olive oil, and of course tapas.

Momofuku Saam Bar

For a few years, whenever someone went to NYC, the question was, did you eat at Momofuku Saam Bar? It was interesting food, a lot of pork belly and no reservations. This new version of the restaurant takes reservations (which didnt seem hard to get) and the food was inventive and delicious. We had pork buns, fried brussel sprouts and a whole roasted fish. It was an amazing meal and though there are now many Momofukus and imitations, it lived up to the hype.

Momofuku Nishi

Clearly we were on the David Chang NY tour. We had to cancel our reservations at Noodle Bar but we made it to Nishi. The restaurant is small but we had a great corner table and the service was friendly and efficient. The smoked tomato fusilli, roast chicken, beef carpaccio and bread were all delicious. The picky four year old ate as much as we did. It was the largest amount of food I had seen her eat all week.

Joe’s Pizza

New York had such a large Italian immigrant population that pizza places were everywhere. Everyone had their favorite but they were all good. High gluten flour and NY water are credited with giving the crust its unique taste. It is made with tomato sauce and fresh mozzarella cheese and traditionally cut into eight slices. The New York way to eat a slice of pizza is to pick it up and eat it flat to get the full flavor. You can fold it when it gets messy but a knife and fork will immediately peg you as an out of towner. We got Joe’s Pizza delivered to the hotel. Joe’s Pizza has been in the village since the seventies. There are other locations now but it is an independent business and Joe still personally supervises the Greenwich Village location. I immediately eat three pieces and another one later on for dessert. It is the taste of home.

Butter

Butter is owned by the sometimes thin and sometimes fat celebrity chef Alex Guarnaschelli. She is one of those celebrity food judges who’s appearance changes drastically from season to season. The menu is seasonal as well. It’s a great space with intimate booths and high ceilings. Butter is in the theatre district so its a delicious option on a night that you have tickets for a show. It was an odd choice for someone like me who isn’t eating dairy at the moment but the BF loved it. They were totally willing to accommodate us with a perfectly cooked pan seared branzino on wilted spinach and side of grilled broccoli The Bf enjoyed the home made rolls with butter (Get it?)

Nomad Hotel

Chef Daniel Humm from Eleven Madison Park left to open the Nomad Hotel. We stayed there for a week and had the opportunity to taste many delicious meals. We were told to get the fried chicken, the roast chicken, the weekend brunch and the hot dog. We did (on different days) and it was all great. We ate and drank in the restaurant, the room, the bar and the library. We loved everything about the hotel including the food.

Fly safe,

JAZ

New Years Eve In NYC With A Four Year Old

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New Years Eve In New York With A Four Year Old

“Everyone should have kids. They are the greatest joy in the world. But they are also terrorists. You’ll realize this as soon as they are born and they start using sleep deprivation to break you.-” Ray Romano

 I have always hated New Year’s Eve. Even when I was really young, I hated the exhaustive energy and resources spent on Dec 31. The overwhelming social pressure to go out and have the best night of your life in a skin tight, can’t breathe dress and painful heels in the freezing cold  (yes even in LA) was never my thing. 

Children are the best excuse to stay home on Dec 31. Throughout their childhood, I used my children as human shields to avoid what I considered the worst, most overpriced night of the year to go out. Therefore I jumped at the chance to babysit for my god daughter in NYC on New Years Eve. 

We were staying at the fabulous Nomad Hotel. They had a library room for guests only which served drinks and food. There was a beautiful Christmas tree in the middle. We thought that would be perfect for dinner with a four year old.  It meant getting a bit more dressed up. The four year old  was not as intimidated as I was and said her sweats would be perfect. The hotel definitely felt festive with people decked out in a lot of glitter and glam. 

The evening started in our room with caviar and champagne and a giant lollipop from our recent trip to Dylan’s Candy Store.  Dinner with kids requires a different mindset. They get bored easily and ask a lot of questions. As a god mother and no longer a real parent I downloaded some new kid apps on my Ipad and let her wear sweatpants. Dinner was easy. We shared the famous Nomad fried chicken and had ham and cheese pretzel sandwiches.

We went back to the room and watched Andy and Anderson on CNN who clearly loved the fact that they were famous enough to host the celebration.They threw back way too many shots while we waited for our favorite part – the after show with drunk Don Lemon. He did not disappoint. We love to see this annual classic.

Every year, CNN force-feeds all of their normally serious, news-reporting anchors gallons of alcohol for their live New Year’s broadcast, and Don Lemon never disappoints. This year, we watched his drunken descent into insanity, which included him singing along with a live band and maybe getting a tattoo, and just getting absolutely, undeniably wasted.

 I got her into the bath and then began the long process of getting her out. She negotiates like a polished divorce lawyer. I eventually give in to some of the demands. Her tiny naked body streaks through the hotel room with glee. Wasn’t the bath supposed to calm her down?  

She has seriously good oral hygiene and brushing her teeth can take fifteen minutes.  A  rollaway bed was at the foot of our bed. I crawl into bed with her to tell her some stories. It is one AM. The four year is a child who has always had difficulty falling asleep. I assumed that everyone who has been a parent knows that quiet down time can lead to success.  I answer every random question she can think of to ask.

 The boyfriend climbs into bed with us and starts making us laugh and suddenly he jumps up and says “You know what I like to do before bedtime? I like to twist.” The four year old can not believe her luck. She jumps up and says “You know what I like to do, I like to jump on the bed.”They are twisting and jumping and I am in shock.  His child raising theory is that she will wear herself out and fall asleep. He says that is what happened to his kids. I still don’t know where in the Raising Children Manual it says that. 

Somehow i get her down and we are reading…and reading…and reading. I now hate the Berenstein Bears. It is 2:!5. She says, “I think I need to run around to get rid of some more energy.” I am not falling for that. The BF pops his head up and says ”Go to sleep, This is my mess. I will deal with it.”

He continues with the Berenstein Bears horrified by the meals they are preparing.- with a running commentary on the recipes. Then he changes tactics.

.”The Pilgrims came to America on a big boat. Many of them died on the way.”

 “Is this a bedtime story?”  I ask.

 “The Pilgrims came to America in search of a religious utopia.” 

“ What do the Pilgrim’s look like?,’ asks the four year old in a sleepy voice. 

Then there is silence. I’m afraid to move but I know that when she is out-she is out. I wait a few minutes. She is fast asleep in our bed with both arms around his neck. I laugh to myself about how naive people are before they have children. It is her first time sleeping out. We did it. Happy New Year.

Fly safe,

JAZ

Capoeira In Salvador, Bahia, Brazil

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Capoeira In Salvador,  Bahia, Brazil

“It is the paradox of truly perceiving that the more you do the less effective you are, and the more you hide the more you show.”  Kevin Jackson

Capoeira is a springy, close-to-the-ground style of kick boxing, with touches of karate and ballet. It’s more of a dance than a fight. You just get into a position where you could hit the other person if you wanted to. The idea is not only to out fight your opponent but to humiliate him with subterfuge, style, and attitude.

It was brought to Bahia by the African slaves hundreds of years ago. Learning how to fight was illegal for slaves, so they added in bits of dance and music so their masters didn’t get suspicious.  There is a mixture of different African dance moves in there as well. It became its own thing in Bahia and then it spread across the rest of country. The twang of the lute like berimbau accompanies the movements.

 The first  capoeira school  was founded by Mestre Bimba in 1932 which was eight years before capoeira was finally made legal to practice in Brazil.

We were at the school where a capoeira master  demonstrated some of the movements.The Filhos de Bimba Escola de Capoeira (FBEC), is located in the historic centre of Salvador da Bahia, the Pelourinho. It was founded on June 10, 1986 by Manoel Nascimento Machado, known as Mestre Nenel. Mestre Nenel is continuing the work of his father – the famous Mestre Bimba.

FBEC

Capoeira is a marketable commodity in Salvador. Many tourists come to take class and watch demonstrations. It definitely helps the economy.

Capoeira seems to be more about perfecting the ritual of the ceremony and performing it well, then actually winning. Wanting to win, not giving up and doing it better than you did before seems to be a lesson of capoeira and life.

Fly safe,
JAZ

 

 

Visiting My Friends At The Museum Of Modern Art, New York

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Visiting My Friends At the Museum Of Modern Art, New York

“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.”Pablo Picasso

I didn’t know until I was in Junior High School that everyone did not grow up looking at Van Gogh’s Starry Night and Monet’s Water Lillies. For whatever reason my family spent a lot of time at the Museum Of Modern Art. I don’t know if it was because we loved it or because my mother was legally blind and could see the bright splashes of color. It was our museum.

MOMA was a lot smaller and has been through several renovations but some of the paintings that I loved are still there. I never go to NY without a trip to MOMA to say hello to my paintings.

My first memory is of Henri Rousseau’s Sleeping Gypsy which was located at the beginning of the gallery. I was looking at a fantasy world more magical then anything I could have imagined.

Picasso’s Dancers, Three Musicians and Matisse’s Dance always put a smile on my face, even if I was not in a good mood.

Jackson Pollack and Yves Klein’s Blue made me question the sanity of the adults in charge of the museum when I was very young. “I could do that,” I would say and my mother would laugh.

 I would stand in front of Picasso’s Guernica and focus on a different part each time. It was from Guernica that I learned about war. The painting was returned to Spain in 1980 which was the year I left New York. I’ve stood in front of it at the Reina Sofia and was surprised at how much smaller it was now that I am an adult. As a kid, it felt like the largest, loudest painting, I had ever seen.

The new MOMA is much bigger and very beautiful. Walking through the building  is disorienting to me. and finding my friends is a lot harder.

  But, the white walls filled with art are as calming to me now as they were in my childhood.

 I look at the crowd of people and security guard in front of Starry Night and remember how many times  I stood in front of it alone. “This is a very  famous painting  and we are so lucky that we get to see it so often,” my mother would say.

I smile at the Picassos, Cezannes and Matisses.  I find familiar Mark Rothkos, Mondrians, and my favorite childhood sculpture Brancusi’s Fish.

We miss the Water Lillies. and go back-just because. 

It is still a wonderful modern art museum and I leave thinking how much the city had changed. I swear that Magritte’s Eye winked at me on the way out. 

Fly safe,

JAZ 

Things That I Learned From A Four Year Old In NYC

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  Things That I Learned From A Four Year Old in NYC.

“If you are ever in doubt, just remember that unlike adults, children want to be happy.  They still have the ability to take the greatest pleasure in the simplest thing.” Amor Towles

 She is not four. She is four and eight  months. Clarification is always  important.

When your pee is yellow, you are not drinking enough water.

 Slime falling all over your body can be considered a good thing. (Sloomoo Institute)

A newspaper is something Grandpa has.

Bows can be as much fun the presents. Objects like bows and wrapping paper can stimulate your imagination. What can I do with this? How else can I use it? Meaningless items become valuable tools for thought processes. 

Sometimes, it can be dark and interesting and not always dark and scary.

When you feel shy, you just need a friend to come with you and then it is fine.(FAO Schwartz)

A round building is even more fun than what is inside. (Guggenheim Museum)

 If you walk up to a monster who is moving his arms, he might just be saying hello.

Being able to buy all the candy you want in a candy store is more fun than eating it. Retail therapy can be soothing to the soul. (Dylan’s Candy Store)

A square wheel can work on a tricycle if you change the ground it rides on. A new idea can change the way you think. (Museum of Mathematics)

A  lollipop to one person is just as good as caviar to another on New Years Eve. (Nomad Hotel)

Fly safe,

JAZ

Countries With the Least Travel Friendly Passports

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Countries With The Least Travel Friendly Passports

“Our fate, like the fate of all species, is determined by chance, by circumstance, and by grace.”  Terry Tempest Williams

If you are looking to gain entry to more countries around the globe without a visa, you  better hope that you are from a nation that doesn’t have terrorist activity.  Citizens of many developing countries and of nations ravaged by conflict have a significantly harder time crossing borders than those of most other nations. Here are the countries with the lowest number of visa free countries to visit.

Afghanistan has the least access to visa free travel with only  24 countries they can visit without one. Afghanistan also comes in second on the list of Countries That Americans Hate. There is no shocker here.

Iraq follows with 27. In addition to ISIS and terrorist bombings, Iraq is the fifth on the list of  Hottest CountrIes In The World. On some days you cannot stand in the sun for even a few minutes.

Syria has 29 countries to go to without a visa. Syria is also the Most Dangerous Country To Visit.  If you are in Syria, you should leave immediately. Kidnapping  of foreign nationals, terrorism, polio and ongoing military clashes make it an extremely dangerous place to be at the moment.

Pakistan comes in with 30 countries to visit visa free. They come in first as the Country With The Worst Air Pollution.The harm caused by air pollution in Pakistan’s urban areas exceeds most other high-profile causes of mortality in the country, including traffic-related accidents. 

Somalia’s number is 31. Somalia does take the lead as the world’s most corrupt country. Three decades of war and droughts forced half of the population to be dependent on foreign food aid shipments which are controlled by the local warlords. Desperation turns ordinary citizens into pirates on the many Somalian pirate ships to feed their families.

Yemen is 33. Yemen is also in the top twenty for Most Corrupt Countries In The World.

Libya, Palestinian Territory and Sudan can visit 37. It makes sense based on how this list is playing out. Libya and Sudan are in the top ten for Most Dangerous and Most Corrupt Countries To Visit. Palestine has terrorists. (Libya)

Nepal can visit 38. Nepal is in the top twenty for Friendliest Countries In The World and a bucket list place for me. It is also tenth for Air Pollution.

Bangladesh, Eritrea, Iran, Lebanon and North Korea tie for 39 countries. North Korea comes in second for Corruption and tenth for Most  Dangerous Country To Visit. Iran comes in at number five for Least Friendly Country In The World. Eritrea falls in the top ten for Poorest Countries In The World. Bangladesh ranks four in Countries With The Most Air Pollution. Lebanon comes in third in Countries With Most Smokers.

Fly safe,

Jayne

25 Things That I Want To Do In 2020

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 25 Things That I Want To Do In 2020

“I’m too busy working on my own grass to know if yours is greener” unknown

Spend New Year’s Eve In NY.

Go to Paris.

Practice Qi Gong.

Spend some time in Provence.

Practice Tai Chi.

Go to a spa in Baden Baden.

Try to see the glass half full.

Work on my anxiety.

Meditate every day.

Try to be more organized.

Get a system. 

Take a train from Adelaide to Darwin.

Look up less random things on the Internet.

Go to Germany.

Walk my dog every day.

Go to Marfa.

Think before I speak.

Do more art things in LA.

Buy a smaller suitcase.

Drive less during traffic hours. LA is getting crazy.

Write things down.

Go somewhere special for the BF’s big birthday.

Breathe.

Be grateful.

Let it go.

Happy New Year  and Fly Safe,

JAZ