New York City
My New York Story02.02.17
It’s been six months since I left New York City for Miami, Florida and like any important life change, it has taken time to dust off the shuffle of the move and settle into my new life. Some days it still feels like a dream. I look out the window and there’s so much light it hurts my eyes. The bougainvillea flowers and palm fronds flutter in the breeze, the sky a backdrop of soft blue. It’s a stark departure from the gray that pervaded my life during the previous 15 Februaries of my life. Energy now comes not from relentless activity wafting up and into my apartment window from the city buzzing below, but from a deliberate flow of life that naturally unfolds outside my front door.
Jean Santelises’ Chelsea apartment is an unexpected departure from the color that abounds in his home country of the Dominican Republic, and yet it’s one that mixes with the drama and energy of New York, his adopted city buzzing below.
An architect by trade, Santelises moved into his two-bedroom apartment with his husband in the heart of Chelsea four years ago. Contrary to many city apartments, his is filled with natural light that drifts in through wide windows in the living room and bedrooms. This advantage gave Santelises the chance to make a streamlined, yet bold decision when it came to color: he painted his walls a rich slate, which gives the space a cozy and sophisticated feel.
In New York, we seemed to have skipped spring altogether and been forced to dust off the cut-offs and tanks to survive the blistering temperatures. I’ve been counting on my neighborhood ice-cream trucks to keep me cool and definitely NOT complaining! So today I’m bringing back one of my favorite ceviche recipes perfect for a weekend that promises to be filled with sunshine and playtime.
Whether you’ll be at the beach, in a park, or staycationing at home, just remember to pop a little sparkling rosé and gather your friends around this cool, clean dish bursting with tender bits of shrimp, mussels, scallops, and baby clams. I serve this simple citrusy ceviche with chifles, plantain chips as they’re known in Peru, some crusty French bread, and avocado. Happy Summer!
I never knew bilingualism was a thing until I had a kid. Growing up in a Spanish-speaking country with visionary parents adamant about my sister and I speaking and writing in two languages always felt like the norm. And this was over 30 years ago. Now that bilingualism in the U.S. has become more ubiquitous with serious benefit-boasting scientific research to back it up, what things can we do as parents to optimize the experience?
Figure out the language strategy that works for you
For those parents who are thinking about raising their children in two languages, there are three main language policies to consider. One parent, one language is the one I’m using where one parent is consistently the one that speaks the language. Minority language at home means that the parents always speak the language whenever they’re with the kids. And there’s language time, a technique where the parent designates a particular amount of time for the language, setting expectations for the child, like 10 minutes a day and eventually working themselves up to days or even weeks at a time. This one seems to come in particularly handy when you’re teaching two, three, even four languages like this multilingual Mom. more »
I had stalked Amada for months. After all, croquetas, tortilla, and jamón serrano were a special part of my own food history, regular party fare for many a celebration back home in the D.R. They would round out a festive spread laid out for baptisms, quinceañera parties and weddings. Nostalgia aside, I saw the restaurant as a welcome addition to the Mexican, Southern, and Italian family-friendly havens in Battery Park City in NYC, the neighborhood I currently call my own.
It was around six thirty when G and I walked into Amada on our way to catch a movie. Amada, which means beloved in Spanish, is part of the Think Food Group, a collection of over 15 properties owned by José Andrés, the renowned Spanish-American chef who has been dominating the DC food scene for over 10 years. This is the third U.S. location of Amada and his first foray into the NYC restaurant scene as he warms up to open a New York concept restaurant this summer. more »
#FocusFridays: On Process05.20.16
As my first #30DaysofFocus week comes to a close, here are some major reflections.
Writing, which has been my focus tool, is very much like running (as Murakami suggested in his awesome memoir). It’s a question of sitting your butt down (lacing up those sneakers), and getting into the mind frame to move forward on your decision (do it until your goal time is up, whatever that is). At the beginning of the week, I blocked off two hours for writing each day. Some days it went on a little longer, other days a bit shorter, but every day was somewhat productive. This is something you already probably know, but blocking off your calendar really works.
It felt very liberating to know that I could write about anything that was on my mind or happening in my life at any particular moment. It didn’t have to necessarily be about food. Throughout the last seven years, I’ve always felt like if I wanted to blog about something, it had to be food-related. It is and continues to be a major passion and source of inspiration, but I realized how good it feels to be flexible, especially when it comes to writing. Getting out of your comfort zone is often the best place to find inspiration. more »
Cuba on My Mind05.18.16
The lights dimmed, the curtains parted. Six sinewy bodies crouched on stage carved by light, and glided towards what appeared to be small blue islands. They slid like honey across the floor, putting on fragments of ruffles – white skirts, arm bands, headdresses – ready to become somebody else.
DanzAbierta, a contemporary dance contemporary, debuting at the Joyce Theatre for its Cuba Festival, tells the story of a country at the crux of rapid transformation. During a short but heart-racing performance last night, they tore vigorously through the stage with raw, vibrant soul, and took my breath away. more »
Habichuelas con dulce was the dish that had my heart when I left home almost two decades ago. And then I found it — or rather it found me. Right smack in the middle of Washington Heights, from a street vendor who sold it in plastic containers for a dollar. It was an honest way to flee the hardness of the city, if only for a few spoonfuls, and travel to a place where breezes blew salty and flowers shone bright. Right around the beginning of Lent this year, I thought of it again. My Dominican tribe was ready to indulge and secretly fulfill my wish.
Within the tribe was Argentina Diaz, a self-taught cook who began tinkering with the stove by the time she was eight years old. Born in Santiago, Dominican Republic in the late 1950s, she was part of the Dominican exodus who left the island and made its way to New York City after Trujillo’s dictatorship fell in the early 1960s. Her mother ran restaurants in Queens and she learned the secrets of Caribbean creole cooking early on. Today, after a life-long career in finance and still in her 50s, she’s retired and living in a light-filled two-bedroom apartment she shares with a roommate on the second story of a single family home in Ozone Park, Queens.