Sunday, February 26, 2017

An Abundant Life - It's Delightful

I've written about Dawn Pascale in these pages before, and it is with great joy that I have the opportunity to write about her again to share the information that she has opened her own bakery in Cliffside Park, New Jersey, giving her marvelous vegan and gluten-free baked goods from OM Sweet Home their own retail space. Last week when I attended the ribbon cutting there were so many delicious treats to be shared - lovely people, a lovely bakery space and lovely food and beverages from the delightful combination of OM Sweet Home and Kale + Co. The weather was still brisk and chilly outside, but inside Dawn's bakery the air was sweet and warm with delicious food, fresh baked goods, the bakery's signature cold brew coffee, and sweets and treats to please the eye and palate including warm fresh bread and Dawn's own Non-Dairy Butter Alternative that is also affectionately known as Bklyn Buttah. With the sun streaming in the windows, and everything a healthy heart desires, OM Sweet Home is a destination you can always count on to do as Dawn advises, and "Treat Yourself To A Little Peace."

Dawn Pascale Shining Her Light At OM Sweet Home
708 Anderson Avenue
Cliffside Park, New Jersey
(201) 943-2253

 With Plant Based, Gluten, Dairy, and Soy Free Food From Kale + Co
To Add To The Celebration

And A Raffle To Benefit Catskill Animal Sanctuary




Jannie Susan

Sunday, February 19, 2017

An Abundant Life - Extraordinary Art For Extraordinary Times

No matter what your belief system or background are, I think we can all agree that we are living in a time in history that is unsettling at best. We are barraged in our every day news, every minute of the day, with stories both large and small that carry messages of devastation, destruction, negativity and verbal and physical attacks on the values and ideals that many of us hold to be foundational to decency and a better quality of life. Power is being misused and abused, and fiction is becoming fact. In the face of such utter disregard for things like truth and beauty, it can seem that there is nothing that can overcome the darkness that is falling over hearts and minds.

There is one force that can overcome and confound darkness, and that is the force of creativity. Extraordinary times call for extraordinary vision, and that is what you will find in the work of John Fathom and John T. Ruddy, currently on exhibit at Cast Iron Lofts. I've written about John Fathom and the art space 660 Studios in these pages before, in the post "Lightbearers" from December of 2016, and now through this show I've had the opportunity to experience more of his vision and the vision of John T. Ruddy as well. Whatever your mood and whatever the weather, I can guarantee that your trip to this universe will bring some much needed light.

On The Other Side Of Darkness
An Exhibition Of New Works By John Fathom And John T. Ruddy
Cast Iron Lofts
837 Jersey Avenue
Jersey City, New Jersey

John T. Ruddy And John Fathom


Jannie Susan

Sunday, February 12, 2017

An Abundant Life - There's No Place Like Home

I have a love for parties and birthdays, and every year I try to plan something special when my birthday comes around. This year, a food loving friend and I decided to celebrate our birthday months by trying restaurants on either side of the Hudson River. In last week's post I wrote about our wonderful time at Leo's in Hoboken, and though we had planned our next rendevous at a restaurant I was sure would be wonderful, I didn't know just how wonderful it would be. Continuing on with our birthday celebrations, we made a reservation for lunch at Little Park in Manhattan, just across the Hudson River in Tribeca. I lived for so many years near that neighborhood, and spent so many good times with friends there, that it feels like home though I now love my Jersey digs so much. When my friend suggested Little Park, I saw in my mind's eye just where it was - for a little while a little while ago I stayed with a friend in a loft building across the street before I moved into my own apartment just up the street in SoHo. I had celebrated my birthday there that year, when back in the day that building was a very raw artists' loft space, and now, though there may be artists living there, it has been completely renovated and upgraded and it looks so posh I wouldn't recognize it if it hadn't been such a vivid part of my memory. And just like a good home can do, Tribeca brings back all those living memories, so my afternoon at Little Park was a very special birthday celebration indeed, reminding me of those long ago times and how far I and Tribeca have come since then.

Little Park is that special thing that is very hard to do - it is a contemporary restaurant and nightspot that brings along a feeling of classic old New York without being overstated. The sleek lines of the interior design are comfortable and very up to date, but somehow I felt myself looking back in time to the wonderful restaurants I'd visited over the years in that neighborhood and even reaching to mid-town and the Upper East Side. The food is of course amazing - Chef Andrew Carmellini is creating some of the most delightful and delicious of farm to table treats for eye and palate. But though I've come to expect excellent food in New York City, the atmosphere of different places is always the key to whether or not I'd want to go back. With a gracious and expert staff, a beautiful and spacious room to relax in, and those special touches like pouring a deliciously aromatic pumpkin soup from a lovely white vessel into a perfectly garnished waiting bowl, I don't know how they did it, but on that afternoon at Little Park I was reminded of everything I love about New York, and I found a new favorite place to call home.

Little Park
At The Smyth Hotel
85 West Broadway At Chambers Street
New York, NY
(212) 220-4110


Jannie Susan

Sunday, February 5, 2017

An Abundant Life - Local Treasure

One day when I was walking through Hoboken, a young man asked me if I knew where Leo's was. I had seen it before, but I couldn't remember the cross streets, and I explained that to him and then gave him an idea of the general direction. His next question was, "Do you want to go with me?" and I laughed, and kept on walking, but the invitation seemed a genuine one and it made me think that I'd like to go to Leo's one day to see what it was about it that seemed to create such an inviting invitation from one stranger to another in the community. A little while after that, the gorgeous Jennifer Sutton was hosting a Ladies Night Out event for Stella & Dot, and so I had my opportunity to visit her and Leo's and find out more about this local treasure.

Leo's has been family owned since it opened in 1939, and the food is in a word amazing. I've written here before that I'm a foodie and a bit of a food snob - I can make most of the things I love to eat, and when it comes to eating out, I don't do it often, and when I do I'm very picky. A friend of mine and I share the birth sign of Aquarius, and our birthdays are within a few weeks of each other, so when Hudson Restaurant Week came around this year, I asked him if he'd like to try a dinner at Leo's to celebrate our birthdays in Hoboken style. I should also add that he has taken courses at the Culinary Institute, and that he has taken me there for dinner, and he, like me, has strong opinions on what makes for a good meal. I knew that Leo's would be enjoyable - the atmosphere is charming and I had tasted a few things at the wonderful event Sabor Hola 2016, but I had never eaten a full meal there though I had been wanting to for a while.

From the hot bread to the wine special, from the White Bean Bruschetta and the Appetizer to the Primo Piatto and the Secondo Piatto, everything was exquisitely prepared and presented, and service was given with a true smile. We could have stayed there all night, savoring flavors and enjoying the ambiance, but my friend needed to get back to Manhattan and I had a full day the next day. Can I say that the squid ink pasta with crab meat was divine and the mussels so sweet and tender that they reminded me of days as a child gathering them on the beach in Rhode Island? And how about the stuffed squid and the home made short rib ravioli, some of the most pleasurable and fresh tasting delicacies I've had in a long time. By the time we were finished with the first course and we realized there was the second course still to come, I looked at my friend and said, "This is New Jersey at it's best." The comfortable atmosphere, the delicious food, each course perfection in every way. And with Sinatra playing in in the background and his photos gracing the walls, it's also very Hoboken and very Italian, and to me that means we've made it to Heaven.

Leo's Grandevous
200 Grand Street
Hoboken, New Jersey
(201) 659-9467

A Cannoli So Fresh I Felt Like A Child Again
And I Blew Out My Birthday Candle In Pure Excitement
Before Remembering To Photograph It


Jannie Susan