Sunday, January 31, 2016

Annual (?) Epic Brunch - January 31, 2015

January 31, 2015 horoscopes:

Aquarius

Even though it's the weekend, you still have to deal with some fiscal matters and other responsibilities. If you feel like you don't have a moment to yourself, decide which things must get done and which you'd like to do, but aren't high priority. Also, it's important to make some time for loved ones.

Don't let other people hurry you along this weekend. Keep moving ahead at your own sweet pace and everything that has to get done will get done. More importantly, it will get done correctly. Someone has to keep standards high.**

Yes, even though I have other responsibilities, I have/had decided that there are things that I have to do and they involve the high priority of making time to see friends - because it's been/had been far too many months.

One of the best parts of meeting up with friends for brunch is spending time catching up. The worst parts of meeting up with friends for brunch is that every other group of friends in NYC wants to do the same thing at the same time. Restaurants get loud. There are lines of people waiting for your table. The restaurants want to turn over the table. You don't get to really linger. Also, NYC is WAY too small - you inevitably can't do the venting you need to because someone is around, you fear someone is around, and/or you have to rush around to go on to your next appointment of the day. Because there are inevitably multiple appointments of the day, even if it's a weekend day.

UNLESS!

Unless your friend has a rare thing: an apartment with a huge kitchen with room for people to sit at a table that will fit up to 6, so you can spread out and chat. 
Unless she offers it up as a meeting place - AND offers to cook, so you make it a pot-luck gathering.
Unless you have a mutual assurance pact in place that you have all blocked off at least 3 or 4 hours to really linger, talk, and delve deep.

This was this kind of rare brunch with Ruyi and Matt - at Ruyi's Upper East Side walk-up. 
(Can I just note, her actual cooking/counter-space is just as limited as mine - and not anywhere like all those "standard" kitchens shown on HGTV, and yet, look what we produced.)
Ruyi made some kind of buck-wheat crepes (from scratch), as well as a shrimp alfredo (from scratch) - with Matt's able sous chef assistance. (Smart. Matt's done some culinary school.) We all come from different culinary backgrounds, so you never know what all we'll bring, but somehow it all coalesces into a perfect NYC brunch.

She put me to work assembling these yogurt trifle parfaits, (thank you, years of party prep from Caramoor and hours of FoodNetwork/Cooking Channel),
 
 as well as making up and tossing a side salad, assembling the salmon crostini, and putting out other "apps" like the spicy nuts and sweet rugelach I had brought, and the rest of the fruit and beverages.

 What a pretty table. 
What a yummy meal.
 What a nice thing NOT to be rushed, or stressing over orders or finances.
 Cheers to good company. 
Cheers to the chef(s). 
Pass the shrimp while it's hot. 
Let's eat!

It was really good to sit and talk. After working together at the Big J, Matt is/was the only still working there. We're all heading in different directions, so being able to connect over food, get to talk about challenges/goals, and then get to talk to Ruyi's sister about the same, AND play with Ruyi's cat ... It was a really great afternoon.

And unfortunately - it took us a WHOLE year to get our schedules to coordinate to do any kind of gathering again.

I was all nice and relaxed - but then I made a strategic error of trying to grocery shop at an UES Fairway, the weekend before the SuperSportsBallCupThingy. The line to check-out literally snaked all the around the store and out the door. By that point, (an hour in?), I was committed. NEVER AGAIN!


** This is actually evergreen advice, no matter the year. Maybe I can get it put on a needlepoint or tattooed on the inside of my arm so I always see it.

~ photos by iTouch

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