Hubby’s Birthday Pelau



Life is different. I was thinking the other day how I used to map out my entries and plan my food menus and thought wow, times have certainly changed. It’s not that I have nothing to say, believe me, i have TONS. But with the new job (long hours), the new role as wife, and life in general – finding the time is really tough.

But I really miss blogging. I miss the outlet this was for me and how it pushed me creatively in the kitchen. One of the things i promised myself after the wedding was to make time for myself and to blog. Shortly after the wedding, like, days after was my husband’s birthday. I just said husband. Still not used to it. We had just spent a great deal on our staycation so something low key and at home was in order.

I wanted to make a special dish for Brent as well as a birthday cake. He is a many of few wants and requested a dish he loved as a child and a plan vanilla cake. I had been promising to make him Pelau since before we were living together. That’s a promise 3 years in the making.

Pelau is a Trinidadian dish that reminds me of Arroz con Pollo. Its a chicken and rice dish with a few extras that might raise a few eyebrows but the end result was delicious. I watched a YouTube video for a step by step tutorial on to get it done the right way.

the video is great. The step-by-step process brought us this masterpiece:


Parboiled Rice, black eye peas, brown sugar, cilantro, chicken and pepper sauce. The dish came together nicely and Brent could hardly contain his excitement. No sooner than it was ready, we were both plopped on the couch with steaming bowls of Pelau. not speaking.


Just stuffing our faces.

Brent says I’m Trini now. :-)

…and of course after dinner-


There was funfetti!


Last Night of Freedom

I have been thinking about this post for WEEKS. Maybe even months. Since we last spoke there has been a slew of news. Every moment I sat down to write or send an update something happened that took me away from it.

Since we last spoke, I had lost my grandmother. And after that the following happened:
– I got the flu with bronchitis (3 weeks before the wedding)
– Brent got the flu right after (2 weeks before the wedding)
– I needed an emergency root canal a week before the wedding
– I had a bachelorette party
– The weather predicted -20 degrees for my wedding day
– I have been working 60 hour weeks
That’s quite a bit of things.
But let’s start from where we left off.
My bridesmaids got to work on creating a night of pure good fun after all the Flu and Root Canals or whatever. I was told to dress nicely and be ready by 6pm.
When they arrived at 6, we took pictures and adorned ourselves with naughty pins, the traditional Bride to Be Sash, and a bridal tiara. I kissed my fiancé goodbye as he went out for steak and whiskey with his buddies and hopped in a cab with my ladies to Midtown East.
When my engagement became public info, there was lots of talk about party buses and male strippers. I quickly but the kibosh on those notions as the last party of the sorts I went to like that still gives me the creeps.
The girls were very open to my idea of a drag show and told me to let them figure out the rest. I wanted a group that was small and intimate as Bachelorette Parties, to me, are for the bride and her bridal party plus a few more close friends.
I got just what I wanted as we pulled up at LIPS for the 8pm show. My last roommate, Diana, was holding down our table while Patty (my bestie from Kew Gardens), my bridesmaids (Arlenys and Danielle), and I made our way to the table. The décor is gaudy and tacky with leopard print wall paper with hot pink pillows, chandeliers and wigs- I loved every bit of it!
We were greeted by a Queen who looked like Lucille Ball with the mouth of a sailor. We cracked jokes and were given an explanation on the menu. Ticket admission guarantees a 3 course dinner: Salad, main course and dessert. Drinks and appetizers are extra. The choices in entrée were slim. Burger. Chicken Parm. Penne A La Vodka. Salad. The choices were safe. Something easy to reheat and something nearly everyone would eat. We all got the pasta or chicken parm.
Drinks were pricey, small, and sweet.
The bridesmaids were whispering to our waitress and before I knew it, another crown was being placed on my head.
Trouble would soon ensue.
We were served our food immediately and just as soon as the plates arrived, we ate and soon the plates disappeared. We were left with dessert to eat while the show started. Some great parodies of Call Me Maybe and Its Raining Men. Birthday shout outs and the like.
Midway through the show, I was brought on stage and asked ridiculously embarrassing questions about my fiancé. Great photo ops and laughs. Shortly after my stage time, the show was over and we got a group shot before we hit up the nearest bar for shots, shots and more shots.
As the night progressed, one by one the girls started to part ways and I was left with just my bridesmaids. It was the perfect end to the night. The 3 of us decided to find a bar for one more drink with just the three of us. We end up at some pub in midtown Manhattan that couldn’t have been more depressing inside if it tried. When one of the bridesmaids went in search of a restroom, I was approached by a very tipsy brunette who asked in Spanish when the wedding was… mind you, I was wearing a tiara with a veil so it was hard to misunderstand why I was celebrating. This young woman got all the necessary details and proceeded to bring every intoxicated man in the bar to my seat to buy me a shot in honor of my wedding.
Only in NY.
What was supposed to be just “One more Drink” turned into an undisclosed amount of shots. We went from feeling a little boozed up to extremely incredibly OMG drunk. I don’t know who this woman is. I don’t know her name. But she was my bachelorette party angel. We three had never had so much attention in our lives. The entire bar seemed to come alive raising their glass celebrating the single ladies’ last night of debauchery.
We were lucid enough to know it was time to go home. I hugged my fairy Bachelorette mother and hopped in a cab, got home, passed out and proceeded to have the nastiest hangover ever.
So worth it.
It was a night to remember.



Four years ago, doctors told us her days were numbered because of an aneurysm in her stomach. And with that warning, we treated every day as if it were her last; extra dessert, more kisses and hugs! But the Lord above gave us four years with my grandmother before her took her home.

The last 4 years weren’t particularly easy. With her mobility decreasing and her strength weakening- she was still fighting, I began to think the doctors didn’t know what they were talking about. Almost 2 years ago, grannie took a fall. And then another fall. And with each fall it became more and more difficult to get back up. It was then that the family made the decision to place grannie in an assisted living facility. A place where she would be independent but have the safety net of 24 hour assistance, should she fall or need immediate medical care. Oh boy was grannie upset. But our family decided together that this was the best decision for her and if she opened up to it, she would have a great time.

In the last year, she has fallen several times breaking a hip and even cracking her head to need staples! But every time, she pulled through.

My grandmother was so strong. With her 87th birthday just weeks away, I never once thought “this is the end”. But I saw her the day after thanksgiving with my fiancé, mother and father. We brought her leftovers and she went to town on them even after saying she wasn’t hungry. She kept telling us she saw my grandfather who has been passed away for over 15 years now and even then it still didn’t sink in.

Over the Thanksgiving holiday, grannie got to speak to ALL of her children and grandchildren. And on December 4th, she took her last breath. She woke up at the crack of dawn like she always did. Got dressed, brushed her hair, put on her perfume and lipstick and made her way to breakfast but she wasn’t feeling well.  She complained of a stomach ache and said she was going to lay down for a little while.  She laid down and never woke up.


To sit here and cry over the loss of my grandmother is selfish. Her life was long and full of love. I am so grateful for the time that I have had with her- 31 years of love! And there were times where she forgot what day of the week it was or whether or not she had lunch but she always knew my name and asked how my dog was, how my fiancé was, how my new job was.  She always put others and their needs before her own.

Her heart was physically unhealthy but spiritually, it was pure and filled with love. It saddens me she didn’t live to see Brent and I walk down the aisle but I am comforted by knowing she gave us her blessing and loved him as if he were her own grandson.

This year has been filled with challenges but one thing is certain, I feel closer to my family more than ever before. Brent is not my husband yet but he FEELS like my husband and he has been my ROCK through all of this.  We have come together and are connecting on deeper levels.


Just goes to show you that, grandma is bringing us all together in the name of love, even after her passing.

Rest in Peace, Grannie!

Bridal Shower

My Bridal Shower was two weeks ago.






The fact that I am a bride has not fully sunk in.


My wedding is in 3 months! THREE!

Building up to the Shower, my lovely mother and amazing bridesmaids made the executive decision that I wear a “white” dress to my shower. As a plus sized woman, white is probably the one color that I would NEVER EVER wear (wedding day doesn’t count). And as the all showed me their gorgeous black and lace dresses, I was trying on sheets, tents, and even potato sacks. Of course, I’m exaggerating. But after weeks of online ordering and returning, I finally found a dress that was comfortable, stylish and not at all like a potato sack.


Thank you The dress was named White Haute Cocoa. Very appropriate.


The one thing I got to decide for my shower was WHERE. We had all toyed around with different ideas but jeez NYC is an expensive place.


Speaking with recently wed Sarah, she inspired me with her lovely dim sum bridal shower to have just that. A Dim Sum Bridal Shower. I love dim sum and I love something different.


I gave the tip to my planners and they went with it. My job was to wear something white and arrive.

On November 9th, Brent escorted me to the bustling area of Chinatown where I entered Jing Fong for several hours of delicious dishes. I wish I had pictures of the food but being the honorary guest made me feel obligated to bounce from table to table to speak to my dear friends. Some highlights: Bacon wrapped shrimp, dumplings, steamed broccoli, shrimp fried rice, sweet and sour pork, walnut shrimp, beef with broccoli and roasted chicken. (took home leftovers for days!)


We played a few bridal shower games. Toilet paper bride. Whats in your purse. Etc.


And my cake. Oh Me, Oh My. I requested a Dominican Cake and boy did they deliver. A huge cake with strawberry filling and meringue icing. Dominican cake can be pretty hit or miss but this was awesome. The cake was dense but not dry or overly moist. The frosting was sweet but over powering at all. Score to the girls for choosing a bakery in my hood that sells the cake by the slice ($1.25 for a slab!!!) 10410270_10152847110610421_6997482719957952679_n

We had some extra time to kill so I opened presents! Yay Presents! I got 2 ninja blenders (!!!!!!!) 2 cake plates, an awesome wine basket for the first year of marriage, and a beautiful spa basket (from my bridesmaids!) I also received monetary contributions to my honeymoon registry. ^.^

This really happened.


I hear there is a bachelorette party in the works.

Pray for me.

The Palm Tribeca- Lobstah!


, , , ,

Well, look who decided to share.
I will admit that in the last few months, when B and I are about to sit down to a dinner at a nice restaurant, he sighs with the “you’re not really going to take photos of your food here, are you?” face and I quickly snap shut my phone case like I was only checking the time. It’s not just B, though. There are restaurants that outright ban photo taking. And as a blogger for fun, stopping for a second to actually eat my meal without remembering the photo op, has been fun as well. I have even noticed service has changed- I never stopped to think of how my constant photo taking effected the folks serving me my dinner.
I won’t completely stop taking photos all together but when the photos come, they will be more specialer (that’s a word because I say so).
Back when I worked in Lower Manhattan, I had a hankering for lobster. I was on the internet searching and searching for a place to have a lobster dinner that wasn’t a shack or bar. It was, after all, my 2 year anniversary with B- our last anniversary before we become Mr. and Mrs. While complaining about the lack of lobster establishments to choose from (other than Red Lobster), my mother had suggested I go to the Palm.
The Palm, which has several locations in NY and several more all over the country, was having a special at the time. A 4 lb lobster, 2 appetizers and a side for $99; to make it a 5lber, add $20. We went to the Palm Tribeca which was in a convenient location for the both of us to get to. We got there at 6pm on a Friday and dinner service was definitely starting to pick up.


We both decided that we were greedy bastards and the 4 lb lobster to share just wouldn’t be enough… so we got the 5 lb. And a 3rd appetizer. And a bottle of champagne.
We aren’t wealthy by any means but we do enjoy going on a dinner to splurge or treat ourselves. It’s our monthly ritual. So when we chatted up our server about champagnes (because anniversary!) he talked us into getting the more expensive bottle that was on sale if we joined their club.
So we joined.
We couldn’t resist. They said something about a free lobster on your birthday!!!



Our new thing, or should I say Brent’s new thing is Caesar salads before the main course. We ordered our Caesar salads but he added an order of calamari because we were so hungry and its calamari! Both were delicious. The dressing on the Caesar, just thinking about it, makes my mouth water. So creamy and tangy. The calamari was crisp and delicious.




The server came over shortly after our appetizer plates were cleared to drape lobster bibs over us. Such service! And when the MONSTER lobster came out in pieces, they shelled that bad boy right in front of us. A little awkward, I will admit BUT the young man assisting us was quite the conversationalist once we started to pull some teeth (Where are you from? How do you like working here?) Once our lobster was completely shelled, we went in.


In hinsdsight, the 4lb lobster was MORE than enough especially after all the starters and the heavy goat cheese and chive mashed potatoes (omg SOOO good), and even as we spooned the last of the mashed potatoes into our mouths and swallowed the last drops of the champagne I couldn’t believe my ears when we both agreed to order dessert.


One dessert. The coffee and donuts special. A brown paper bag filled with cinnamon sugar dusted donut holes with a chocolate and raspberry dipping sauce. And a cup of coffee


Fat assness. We ate all of it and considered walking home. We walked for 20 minutes after. We still were disgustingly full.
Now that we are members, I can’t wait to go back! I’d definitely skip the salad though.
Just kidding. I’d do it all over again! (but maybe skip lunch?)

Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch- Changes!!!

Such an appropriate title.

First and foremost, it’s been way too long. My sincerest apologies. In the past few weeks months a lot has changed. My steady city job, the one I had held for nearly ten years is no more. Fear not, the decision to move on was mine- albeit hard, but now as a woman in my 30’s about to be someone’s wife, I felt a change was in order.

And boy did everything change.

I battled for weeks with the idea of leaving the office where I felt like I grew up; up until the very last day. With the lovely gifts and cards my now-former colleagues left me with great memories which I will surely cherish. And now as I have been reporting to my new assignment in a different part of the city, in an office that is completely different from everything I have ever known, I finally feel- for lack of a better term- grown up.

What a year 2014 has been. Got engaged. Got a new apartment. And got a new job. Sure, the wedding venue fiasco was a disaster- but all in all, I have really truly been blessed.

While the learning curve at my new position is steep, I am trying to get back into a blogging rotation. I miss my platform. I miss uploading photos of my latest dishes- we are still eating well in the MR/BR household. Rodriguez 09-26-14 78

Before I end this post, I wanted to give you all a sneak peak into our engagement shoot on the most gorgeous September day in Central Park.

Rodriguez 09-26-14 44

The shoot was a nice taste of what the wedding day will be like.

Gah, I’m getting married in 4 months!

Lunch at the Palm Court


, ,

Over 4th of July weekend, Brent was offered a new job. So many changes happening so fast. We were so ecstatic! In light of this new and much more demanding job, Brent thought it would be best to take a few days off together before he started to spend some quality time together. A month shy of our two year anniversary, he made reservations for lunch and told me to dress up.

20140724_105006 20140724_105133

Playing hooky AND getting to dress up?

Yes please.


We summoned our personal driver (jk, we used UBER) and he told the driver to deliver us to The Palm Court at the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan. My face flushed and my tummy was filled with butterflies. When Brent wants to impress me, he doesn’t hold back.

We arrived to the nearly empty but very beautiful Palm Court midday on a Friday. He, dressed in his best suit, and me, dressed in the dress I wore to my college graduation (it fits!!!).

Diets be damned today as we ordered glasses of champagne. To Brent’s new career, and to our 2nd year together. Our last anniversary as unmarried folk.

20140724_120427 20140724_120805

Our server, named Ruggero (also the name of our wedding coordinator), was impressive. His service was impeccable and his demeanor was professional and friendly.


For starters, I ordered the strachietella mozzarella with heirloom tomatoes and crisp romaine lettuce drizzled with a thick balsamic glaze. He ordered the calamari. One of his favorites.


That appetizer was amazing. I craved burrata for days and possibly weeks after!


He had a pasta with Bolognese for his main course 20140724_123355

and I had the seared halibut with quinoa and wilted greens. 20140724_123407

The halibut was good but I was still thinking about the strachietella. Lol.


We ended the meal with a strong and foamy cappuccino and some dessert. I ordered the chocolate tart that was too rich to finish and Brent ordered the mille crepe which was outstanding and quite perfect for such a large lunch.


The lunch lasted 2.5 hours. We rolled out of lunch, satisfied and sleepy.


A beautiful lunch!

A once in a lifetime experience.

A lunch that cost more than dinner at my favorite steak house.

Going to play lotto so I can one day eat strachietella every day at the Palm Court.

Next on our list. Afternoon Tea Service at the Palm Court!


Hey party people.

Looks like we last spoke almost 2 months ago. Yikes.

Change is good. Between Brent starting a new job, wedding planning, and moving- finding ME time is difficult. We have been having a great summer though. Barbecues. Parties. Baby Showers. Weddings. It feels like we are officially adults.

Just the other day, I said yes to the dress. As I stood in front of the mirror on the pedestal at RK Bridal with my bridal party giving enthusiastic applause, I realized this was happening. It’s not just a ring on my finger or a day dream from when I was kid. I am literally getting married. Even at 30 years old, I still don’t feel old enough for this rite of passage. Being someone’s wife. Having a husband. I am officially a grown up.

I know this probably doesn’t make much sense but it’s a beautiful realization that I feel blessed to experience.

This summer has also allowed me to reconnect with friends. My old roommate, Diana, is really killing it in her culinary career. She’s climbed the ladder and is now a sous chef at a celebrity chef restaurant. Considering how hard this girl works, this promotion is so well-deserved! Can’t wait to see her own her own restaurant!

One of our favorite past times is eating Filipino food. Don’t know what it is or how it started but every time we go out, we go out for Filipino food.

On this occasion, we went to East Village’s Maharlika. Makarlika has been on our list for more than a year. And when we FINALLY got there, there were no holds barred. I had purposefully eaten a bowl of lettuce for the day just so I could enjoy every single morsel.

Spoiler Alert: Maharlika is AMAZING. And we cannot wait to go back for Fried Adobo Chicken and Ube Waffles.

When we sat down for dinner on a Wednesday evening, we were presented with a bowl of chicken skin chips. These were awesome dipped in a chili sauce. Much like the bread basket that you get at your favorite Italian restaurant, these chicken skins were addicting. Not too greasy and super crunchy!


The next item we ordered is a MUST at every Filipino restaurant we go to. Sizzling Sisig. A delicious cast iron skillet of crispy pork skin, pig ear, pig snout and some meat from the head. Not for everyone, for sure. But once it arrives sizzling in the pan, a raw egg is added to it and quickly mixed for a creamy texture.


We enjoyed it with a side of garlic fried white. Another must on Filipino food adventures- sadly, not all the places we have been to have had this dish. We were really happy with it.


We snacked on a grilled octopus that was the perfect texture. While it was delicious, among the other dishes was a kind of forgettable.


Lechon Kawali is closest to my Puerto Rican roots and is a definite favorite for me. A fried pork shoulder that has crispy crunchy skin with succulent meat underneath. Amazing when paired with a chili sauce and some garlic rice.


The prawns over vermicelli were a first for me. The prawns were nice and meaty but the vermicelli were a little salty. Pretty much cooked in soy sauce. Good but not stellar.


The thing I can’t stop thinking about is the Filipino pork sausage. I can still recall the sweetness from the sausage. It was unlike anything I have ever tried. They have an entrée featuring this sausage and you better believe it will be mine!


Just for fun, we ordered a vegetable. It’s all about balance, right? We opted for the grilled baby bok choy. I think we each ate 2 hearts. We were so full. They had a delicious char to them and a nice crunch.


We considered getting dessert but were too full to continue. The skies opened up and a downpour came out of nowhere and we found ourselves seeking shelter in a nearby pub digesting over two beers.

I loved hanging out with Diana and I loved our feast at Maharlika. Can’t wait to go back for that chicken and waffle dish!!!

Aurora Ristorante


, , ,

As I write this, Brent and I have officially found a wedding venue. It’s been a very long month but at least we don’t have to worry about moving and searching for a new place. Once the shock of ReBar settled in, I started to feel hopeful again. Every time I did research on off-beat weddings in New York, I would find more and more leads. Some ridiculously expensive, but leads none the less. I’m not ready to disclose just yet on where we are planning to wed, but we visited a place worthy of a blog post.

For some background, Brent and I never really saw ourselves having a traditional banquet hall style wedding. So, when we went to visit these places, we thought they were nice but they didn’t feel right to us. Also, we both want to look back on our wedding day and be glad we didn’t settle.

Aurora Ristorante is a gorgeous garden-esque restaurant in Williamsburg Brooklyn. When a friend recommended them for their delicious food, the main photo on their website of their garden dining area made my stomach flutter in excitement. Part of this venue search includes the warm and fuzzies. Of course we want good food, but we ALSO want to walk into a place and FEEL like we are actually getting married there. Like dating, there has to be a spark. I felt this spark over the internet… I got there and my heart sank.











It was too small.

Granted, the entire space could accommodate my guest list, the down side is that half of my guests would be in one room and the other would be in the garden. We filed this space away for an intimate party for a birthday or something involving 50 people or less.

Since we made the trek over there and it was dinner time, we decided to sit down for a nice dinner in the garden. While this place didn’t make the cut for the wedding venue, this is a fantastic spot for a romantic dinner with your boo or a beautiful garden-esque place to dine on delicious eats.

When we were seated, we ordered some beverages. A vodka tonic for me and a hard cider for the boy. To get the full experience, we ordered an appetizer, two entrees and split a dessert.


Just then a basket of warm bread and a small dish of olive oil appears on the table. Sweet Carb heaven. Warm. Crusty bread with rich olive oil. I had to limit myself to two small squares of bread.


As I have mentioned on many occasions, the boy loves his pizza. The special piazetta on the menu was a medley of wild foraged mushrooms, grilled radicchio, goat cheese, a touch of truffle oil and paper thin sheets of prosciutto on a buttery focaccia. We went in with our fingers but quickly opted for utensils as it was a little messy but what a combination!!


I ordered the special of the day. Halibut filet over a sweet corn puree and sautéed kale.


Brent had the roasted chicken with sautéed chickory and roasted sunchokes. That was so good chicken!

We were stuffed but my experience was not over. The dessert menu touted Italian classics like panna cotta and tiramisu but there was no time like the present to try something new.

The Salted Caramel Budino.


A velvety smooth salted caramel pudding atop a rich chocolaty cookie and garnished with chocolate cookie crumbles; complete with a healthy dollop of crème fraiche. At first bite, it was just okay but as I continued to dig in with rich, almost coffee flavored chocolate cookie with the buttery caramel pudding and tart crème fraiche, I became addicted. It is hands down my new favorite dessert.

A bit of a bummer that this delicious place couldn’t be my wedding venue but mom turns 60 in six years… might have to keep this place in the back of my mind for a garden party for my queen.

Sausage and Pepper Heroes


, ,

Summer is approaching and in NYC that can only mean one thing: Street Festival Season.

On any given weekend, random streets in NYC will close to automotive traffic to allow people to roam the streets in between kiosks filled candy apples, pashminas, tchotchkes,, mozzarepas, grilled corn and sausage and pepper heroes. While the price certainly goes up every year, the aroma of peppers and onions always makes me swoon, add the fragrance of sizzling sausage and GET OUT OF MY WAY, I NEED THAT SANDWICH!


Just before the days were warm I had a hankering that would not quit.  I wanted a hero filled with juicy pork sausage that when bit into, the skin produced a delectable snap. I wanted tender caramelized onions and sweet wilted peppers to have a party in my mouth. And I just had to create this baby at home. It wasn’t rocket science. It was pure need. or greed.


Sausage and Peppers on Multigrain Heroes (serves 2)

1/2 lb Italian style sausage (I used hot)

1/2 yellow onion, sliced thinly

1 bell pepper, sliced thinly

2 heroes


In a medium sauce pot, boil Italian sausages for 15 minutes. While the sausages are boiling, sauté the peppers and onions in a 1tsp of butter or olive oil over a medium heat. Stir them frequently to allow them to caramelize.

When the onions are a caramel color or light brown, remove them from the pan and set aside.


Place the boiled sausage in the frying pan to crisp up the casing and brown the sausage. Since its already cooked, you just want to focus on browning the skin. Allow the skin to brown on all sides.


Feel free to warm the bread you use to assemble the sandwich. I like the bite from a chewy hero. The choice is yours. To assemble the heroes, split the bread down the middle, fill with 1.5 sausages (or more if you have room) and top with peppers and onions.

I loved this. It wasn’t the street food experience but I could appreciate a quick and tasty dinner…

I did NOT however, appreciate the random hard as a rock seeds in the roll that cracked one of my molars.

But that’s for a different kind of post all together.

(happy to report, my molar has been fixed)


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 64 other followers