Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Perfect 3 Contest

I'm finally free to give a recap of my trip with my husband to New York in June to the Food Network studios.   My video is posted here along with all the other winner's videos and their awesome recipes.  The Perfect Three show airs on Saturdays at 4 PM Eastern, and, no, no one told me to plug any of this.

Let me start this post by talking about my horrible disaster.  I had made my mind up that on this trip I would absolutely not check a bag, so everything I brought with me had to be trial size in order to comply with the airport security regulations.  I wear contact lenses, and the last time I was at the eye doctor he gave me some trial size bottles of some very special cleaning solution.  I used it maybe once, then let it sit in my cabinet because I like my regular saline solution better.  But since it was already in trial size form, I threw it in my bag because it was convenient.

So the morning of my video shoot, I awoke bright and early to really take my time in beautifying myself, because let's face it--after forty the whole process just takes a little longer.  This always starts with the insertion of my contacts because it's kind of hard to see your face when your vision is like 20/300 or something. I knew there was a special rule that this particular contact solution was supposed to be used with the special accompanying contact case, and the contacts must sit in the solution for at least 6 hours.  I did all that.

But in a moment of complete and utter brain failure, I took my right contact out of the special case and rinsed it again with the solution--a big no-no--then inserted it.  Immediately it felt like a hot poker in my eye.  Immense burning and pain ensued, followed by a lot of screaming for my husband, not to mention my eye immediately turned red as an apple.  I felt sick to my stomach.   My husband looked horrified.

The rest of the afternoon was spent looking in the mirror every three minutes saying "I really think the redness is going away, don't you?  Babe?  Babe?  Don't you think my eye is looking better?"

It's amazing what you can talk your mind into seeing.

The redness was not, in fact, going away. The pain, however, did (thank you Jesus!), and aside from the fact that my eye was a swollen, bloodshot mess, I was thrilled that I was not blind because my husband went to two different eye clinics in search of soothing and whitening eye drops for me, and two different eye doctors told him that I really needed medical attention because, hello, I had put straight peroxide in my eye.

But as we TV people always say, the show must go on.

I was surprised when the Cooking Channel people still wanted to film my video (or should I say still allowed me to), red eye and all.   The good thing was that I was instructed not to look directly at the camera, and my left eye was nearest to it and not my right.

He may look gentle, but there's a tiger under those feathers.
And that was the bad part of the trip.  Wait.  The flight home was a nightmare, and there was that very aggressive pigeon who attacked me in Times Square, but other than the eye part, the flight home, and the mean pigeon, the trip was absolutely wonderful.


So now I'll be talking about the good parts.

This was my second time in New York, but the first time I really got to see it, because during my first visit I never left my room except for one time (other than the group activities) due to an exacerbated fear of being mugged.

And this would be a really good time to brag on my husband.  He is my tour guide, my eye drop go-getter, my comforter, my calmer-downer, my purse carrier, and my rock.  He pushes me in the best possible ways to go and do things.  Without him there, I probably would've just stayed in my hotel room and missed out on so much.

I love that man.

I have always wanted to have a picture of him in Times Square, in front of a Ryder Truck, holding Starbucks coffee.  And now I do.

Anyway, I kind of had an agenda about what I wanted to see and do and experience in our short 48 hours there, and one of the things at the top of my list was to eat real New York Pizza. And the restaurant I picked (after thorough internet research) was Motorino's.  (I think I'll do a restaurant review in a different post because Motorino's deserves a spotlight all to itself, and this is, after all, a food blog.)  My man got me there via the subway.

Yeah, I was a little scared at first, but riding the subway was very convenient and cheap, I must say.  A little musty smelling, but all in all, a good New York experience.

We stayed in a nautical themed hotel right across the street from Chelsea Market.  And Chelsea Market was where I crossed item number two off my NY list which was to eat a real New York bagel.  Mine was an onion one with cream cheese and lox.

Oh yes.  Sidewalk vendor food,  item number three.  A chicken gyro.  Also quite delish.  There was also a gelato stand inside Chelsea, too.  Want to know which flavors I tried?  Butterscotch, tiramisu, Nutella, and grape.  It's a shame I was only there for less than two days because there were lots of other flavors I would have loved to try but even I  have my gelato limits.  The grape surprised me.  I loved it and I'm not normally a fruity ice cream eater.  Give me brownie chunks and peanut butter swirls usually, but I think the grape was my favorite.  Definitely more icy than the others but really refreshing and different.

Could you just die?  How cute are these?

I wanted to go to Levain Bakery, but we never made it because I wrote down the wrong address which caused us to go the opposite direction on the subway and lose valuable sight seeing time.  There was a cute little bakery in Chelsea Market, though.  We got some macarons (I didn't take pictures of them), which I was not all that impressed with.   But I'd be willing to try them again before making my mind up permanently.

Waiting for me in the green room.

My pie as made by the Food Network test kitchen.

Me and Kelsey Nixon.  Could my eye be anymore red?  No, I don't think so.
So the actual shoot went well.  The Cooking Channel people were super friendly, and Kelsey was a doll.  Very personable and down to earth.   Have you watched her show?  You should. I genuinely like her style of cooking and I am not just saying because I met her in person.

And I almost forgot.  Rachel Ray walked right by us while we were sitting in the waiting area before they came to take me back to the studio, but I totally missed seeing her because at that very moment I had my head down and was staring at my toes in deep, deep thought, totally rethinking the orangey toenail polish I had chosen and wishing I had closed toe shoes in the worst way.  I felt my husband kind of nudge me but I was so engrossed in my feet that I ignored him,  and when I finally did look up, I barely caught a glimpse of her before she went through door to the studio.

Orangey toenail polish is SO NOT New York.  Clearly my toes were screaming "TOURIST!"  *Insecure*

Anyway.  The remainder of the trip was spent at High Line park; eating edgy, modern Mexican food at Dos Caminos (which I will also talk about in a separate post); getting attacked by a pigeon in Times Square; seeing Ground Zero; and wishing I had the money to buy something--anything--at Anthroplogie.

Anthroplogie.  I'll take one of everything, please.

High Line Park

Times Square

St. Paul's Chapel directly across from Ground Zero.

Construction at Ground Zero.

One of the hats worn by a firefighter on 9/11.

And by the way, we visited the 9/11 Memorial Preview Site, and it was very emotional for both of us.  That's one of those places my husband kind of pushed me to go to, and I'm really glad he did.

I also want to add that the people of New York City surprised me.  Almost everyone we met was super nice.  Even friendly and helpful.  I have been in other big cities where people would just as soon run you over as talk to you, but I was pleasantly surprised on this trip.

I want to go back soon.  Somebody please book me a trip.  I promise not to wear orangey toenail polish.

A big thank you to The Cooking Channel for sponsoring this fantastic contest!

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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Cat Is Now Out Of The Bag

So way back when I asked for your votes in this contest.  I am finally able to announce that I won the contest for my coconut pie recipe.  I've been wanting to thank you all for weeks, but I haven't been at liberty to talk about it.  In June, my husband and I flew to New York and I filmed a short video with Kelsey Nixon at the Food Network studios for the Cooking Channel website.  I plan to do a longer post soon detailing my entire adventure, but for now I just want to say thank you!!!!

If you watch this commercial, you'll see me and my pie towards the end.  The Perfect 3 show will begin airing this Saturday at 4 PM Eastern on the Cooking Channel, and during the show Kelsey will direct viewers to go to the website to watch our videos.  My pie episode won't actually air until October, but there will be plenty of other episodes to watch until then.  Check out all the delicious winning recipes here!

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