Honey Loquat Syrup (Nin Jiom Pei Pa Koa)
Anytime I'm down near Chinatown, I like to swing by the Hong Kong Supermarket and grab whatever odd teas or herbal witchy medicine I can't find at Whole Foods. One of these things, and something I think every singer should have at their fingertips is Honey Loquat. The loquat leaves (not the fruit), along with slippery elm, licorice, and menthol, act as an anti-inflammatory to the respiratory system along with aiding other areas of the body. It's been reported to treat symptoms of not just sore throat, but asthma, and even diabetes. When you're feeling horse or under the weather, singer or not, take a tablespoon of this stuff every 6 hours with some hot water and tuck in!
My friend Andrew Buffalino who I met during one of my first line jobs as a cook in NYC has been a great mentor and friend for me over the years. He's also tied at the hip to one of the most successful chefs and restauranteurs in the country, Laurent Tourendel. If the name sounds unfamiliar, his BLT (that's Bistro Laurent Tourendel) empire may ring a bell. With ten restaurants around the globe (6 of them in NY), the French trained Tourendel stepped into the NYC scene and built his way up. It only makes sense that he met Andrew eventually and started appointing him as his head chef everywhere he went. This past week, Alicia & I met up with Andrew and a few other friends at his latest restaurant, L'Amico in the trendy NoMad hood. The food, all rustic Italian, inspired by his French upbringing mixed with his memories of his maternal Italian grandmother, is delicious. If you get a chance, you like truffles and rich salty food, I highly recommend this spot for a night out with friends.
Our Christmas Tree
It's the first week of December and the Paul Bunyon in me gets very excited at the thought of bringing home a Christmas Tree. We picked one up this weekend just in time for Alicia's annual Christmas Cookie Decorating party and our apartment now feels perfectly festive. Everyday, waking up to the smell of a fresh Douglas Fir wafting from the living room, gets my happy feet going. Alicia and I are also starting weekly vlogs up until Christmas, so keep an eye out!
When I have the time, I try to cook for myself and bring my lunch to work. I was hauling quart containers to work until I discovered the Sistemo Lunch Cube at TJ Maxx. Its the perfect little container. It's got 3 compartments on the bottom and a wide top for a sandwich, wider desserts, bread or even silverware & a napkin. It saves the environment eliminating the need for anything disposable and lets be honest, presentation is everything. I look forward to lunch when it's pretty and when food is presented in a portioned controlled colorful package. It just ups the experience of something I think we take for granted in our busy, fast food/fast lives. Try it for yourself and see.
It's no surprise to me that this album, covering the recordings from the broadway cast album studded with pop stars, is as popular as it is. Lin Manuel, executive producer, along with Black Thought and Questlove from The Roots enlisted an all star cast of heavy hitters to sing these already great songs and widen his audience even further as if there was much more room to grow. Sia, Nas, Alicia Keys, Andra Day, John Legend, Chance the Rapper, Common, Aloe Blacc and even Miranda all make their marks. I was lucky enough to be at their Mixtape Ham4Ham concert they threw this past week. If you haven't taken a listen, check out the album for yourself.