Our son Alex, one of several awesome chefs at Passports Restaurant, not only loves to cook, but is also an avid bike rider. This week he finished building a bike he has been working on in his spare time. It’s beautiful and very super cool. Proud. <3
To all the beautiful and loving Moms, daughters, best friends, sisters, grandmas, and aunts ~
Happy Mother’s Day!
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Our daughter Liv planned a fabulously fun and wonderful weekend in New York City and Brooklyn to celebrate her brother Alex’s 21st birthday. The weekend ended with an afternoon matinee of “Chicago.” I only took a few iPhone snapshots as it rained nearly constantly, but here’s a little Vine from the gorgeous Ambassador Theatre on Broadway.
My husband’s extended family has been celebrating Christmas Eve together since they emigrated from Germany in the mid-1800s. I was feeling a bit melancholy, as I think were other family members, because the older generation (now in their 80s and 90s) is retiring from hosting the parties. The festivities will surely still go on, although not in quite the same high style as Christmas’s past because many of the next generation (such as ourselves) have made their homes far and wide.
Cincinnati was settled largely by German immigrants and judging by the countless established bakeries dotted throughout the city, I imagine the original emigrees were fabulous bakers. One of Tom’s cousins, Debbie, created a cookbook based on favorite family Christmas recipes, including recipes that date back to the 1800s, recipes from the family’s cooks, and recipes from old German great aunts who also lived in the big house and whose job it was at Christmastime to make thousands of cookies. When we spend Christmas at home and not in Ohio, Liv, Alex, and I love to cook from the family Christmas cookbook and the cookies especially are the yummiest you could possibly imagine.
Cincinnati is just that much further west that sunrise is nearly an hour later than in Gloucester. The club that we stay at is set within a golf course sited on a hill, with beautiful panoramic views of the surrounding countryside.
End Note: In poking around online, I found a photo of the home of Great-aunt Kitty, where the Christmas Eve parties were held continuously for many years. Tom has fond memories of wonderful Christmas’s spent there and especially of the “kiddy table,” where all the cousins and siblings sat together (no adults!), and I gather, where many food fights occurred. The house, still standing, was donated to the Cincinnati park board and you can see more photos of the gorgeous interior at this link: The Gibson-Hauck House. While in Cincinnati we also visited the Rookwood Pottery studio. If you have ever seen Antiques Roadshow, you probably know how beautiful is Rookwood pottery. This post is already too long so later in the week I’ll do a little post about Rookwood.
To all the beautiful, hard-working and hard-loving Moms, daughters, best friends, grandmas, and aunts ~
Happy Mother’s Day! and
ROCK ON !
My Mom in Central Park (I think it is Central Park) with her four babies
Liv and I in hats from my hat collection
Alex the way he used to hug me when he was little, until he almost broke my ribs
Liv on the Schooner Lannon from last year’s GMG Rum and Cigar event.
Cincinnati is typically about a week and a half to two weeks ahead of us in spring bloom power.
This past weekend my dear sister-in-law, Amy, remarried a super great guy, Arnold. The reception was held at the Cincinnati Country Club where we also stayed for several nights.
The early spring flowering trees were in full glorious bloom, including hawthorns, magnolias, and cherry trees, and all looked luxuriously lush and brilliantly fresh–
Last night we stopped at Mark McDonough’s newest restaurant, Maggies Farm, located in Middleton. Disclaimer: our son Alex recently started working there although, I can honestly say, our dinners were simply outstanding. And as you can see in the photos, the portions are enormously generous.
Alex recommended the Nachos and, even though I generally dislike shouty capitals– WOW is all I can say!
The host Kai was gracious and friendly and our waitress was super professional and efficient. The ambiance was warm, welcoming, and fun, and the crowd ranged in age from 20-somethings through the ages including dating couples, sports bar fans, a group of women getting together after work, and sitting next to us, was a grandmother with her granddaughter discussing the granddaughter’s upcoming wedding plans.
Husband Tom ordered the Fish and Chips. I did not try the fish however, the onion rings were the best I have ever tasted–extra crispy flavorful golden brown on the outside, perfectly sweet, tender onions within. We were not sitting under the lights and I apologize for the not-so-great photos, but we’ll be back often. I ‘d love to return at lunch time for better photos and to try more items on the menu. I struggled to decide and was more than happy with the delicious Pan Roasted Chicken with cranberry cornbread stuffing, parsnips, Brussel sprouts, and gravy (and much too full after the perfectly enormous plate of nachos to eat all my dinner). The menu is a collection of favorite comfort food from many cuisines, and is comfort food at its most sublime. For sushi-lovers, the sushi looked very tempting and is half-off on Monday nights. I can see any number of reasons to head over to Maggies for lunch or for dinner as it is only a five minute drive past the long stretch of shops, stores, and car dealerships that line Rt. 114. Maggies is located adjacent to Richardson’s Farm. When the weather warms it will be lots of fun to make a night of Richardson’s mini golf and dinner at Maggies!
The name Maggies Farm is taken from the Bob Dylan song he penned (from the album Bringing it All Back Home), after his departure from acoustic folk to electric rock. See Mark McDonough’s Gloucester restaurants Alchemy, Latitude 43, and Minglewood.
Our son Alex just loves it when I pull out the camera, especially when he is eating dinner and after a twelve hour cooking shift!
Read my recent post on Good Morning Gloucester about our Father’s Day sunset dinner at The Lobster Pool restaurant in Rockport.
My beautiful son, born on the first day of spring, during a snow storm, March 20, 1993.
Alex, on his first day of college this past September. I don’t have too many recent photos of Alex; he was in the camera shy stage for all his high school years–although lately I am getting the feeling he doesn’t mind so much his Mom with her cameras.
Alex Goes to Green Mountain College, Vermont
We headed up to Vermont bright and early last Saturday morning, after first depositing Alex’s girlfriend Katherine, a senior in high school, at the train station. Both are committed to making a success of the coming year, but I know they will miss each other terribly.
The day was gorgeous, with no sign of pending Hurricane Irene–besides, I thought, she is not coming to Vermont, anyway. We saved our appetites for the Trap Door Bakehouse and Cafe, with its spectacular view overlooking Quechee Gorge (see preceding post). The sandwiches and homemade pastries are simply divine–I had the Escargot–a beautiful confection wrapped in a spiral of almonds, cinnamon, and so many raisins spilling out I had to eat the breakfast pastry from it’s wax paper bag.
We arrived at 11:00 to much waiting in line–leaving Alex there while I took Tom on a quick tour of the grounds. It was his first glimpse of the school and I think he was impressed with the beauty of the campus and the fact that it is meticulously maintained–not always the case with the many small colleges we toured. We briefly looked over the organic farm, which is entirely student run. Alex loves the outdoors and was drawn to Green Mountain for its environmental studies program and outdoor adventure education leadership program.
By mid-afternoon, Alex was moved in and we were told it was time for parents to leave. He is going to be sorely missed and all the qualities that I love in him–his sense of humor, charisma, kindness, consideration, wit, and intelligence, I hope serve him well while endeavoring to meet new friends and on this adventure into higher education. I am looking forward to parent’s weekend, not too far off, in late September.
Anticipating the long drive home, we had asked the proprietors of the Trap Door Bakehouse to recommend a restaurant in Woodstock. Without hesitation, they suggested Melaza. The Caribbean inspired dishes were superb. I sampled the coconut-crusted shrimp from the tapas menu and mixed green salad with yucca, artichokes, and olives. Tom was raving about his chicken, but neither of us can remember what it was called. Ironically, our waitress urged us to stay overnight in Woodstock, to avoid Irene, because her brother had been evacuated from Newburyport.
The light was warm and luminous as we departed Vermont and the mountainsides were aglow with great fields of tall goldenrod, brilliantly illuminated by the low slanting rays of late summer sun. I am overjoyed for our son and hope with all my heart he will find happiness, where ever his dreams may lead.
My husband and I are so very blessed…
I count my blessings everyday, but nothing, absolutely nothing could possibly have given me more joy than to see both our children heading this fall to their dream schools–Alex to the Culinary Institute of America and Liv to NYU Steinhardt graduate program. I am going to miss my darlings every single day although, knowing they have created these wonderful opportunities for themselves and are both pursuing their dream educations, proud beyond measure.
Alex is graduating from high school in only a month. He has spent the last four years, now in his fifth, earnestly and indefatigably learning the business at local restaurants, from dishwasher to cook. Liv, with her usual initiative, began studying with a wonderful voice teacher at NYU last fall. It is not an easy trek to the Big Apple, via the insane Fung Wah bus, and all in a day’s time in order to make it back the following day for work–especially in the blizzardiest of winters!
As an added plus, the CIA is located in Hyde Park, New York, and Steinhardt in Manhattan, a mere one hour and fifty two minutes apart–again, we are so very blessed!
Alex did not receive an acceptance by email, just the usual snail mail package, but here’s Liv’s email from NYU:
I am delighted to inform you that you have been accepted into our MM degree in Vocal Performance concentration in Classical Voice for the Fall 2011 semester! Official notification is in the mail and should arrive to you shortly. Congratulations!
Thursday night my husband’s band, Big City Rockers, a new version of their old band, The Atlantics, played at House of Blues on Landsdowne Street to an enthusiastic crowd of old and new fans. WFNX organized the event and it was great to hear hits like Pop Shivers and Lonely Hearts. Congratulations Big City Rockers! xo