SHED Healdsburg

Originally posted on Tavola Del Mondo:

The Shed Healdsburg

The Shed Healdsburg

The SHED only recently opened in the early spring of 2013, but it has already made its mark in the restaurant-infused town of Healdsburg. One part cafe, one part market, one part gardening shop, SHED is a novel idea in the realm of ‘farm to table’ concepts. It is a spacious glass structure with massive garage doors at the front of the building, kept open throughout the day to demonstrate a natural fusion between nature and food, producers and consumers, gardeners and tools.

The Shed Healdsburg

Salmon tartare on a bed of farm fresh lettuce

Their small menu changes daily based on what is available at local farms, thus it is guaranteed to be fresh and thoughtfully crafted. Shoppers, grazers, and diners alike can stand next to the chefs as they prep ingredients and shovel handmade pizzas into the oven. Once seated in a shady spot on the side patio, I opted for…

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Rome: Seen, Heard, and Gesticulated


The hills of Monti.


Una bellissima vista.

Villa Borghese

Il mercato.

Those rails are not very comfortable; I tried this spot many times but could not last longer than tre minuti.

Il mercato.

CIMG1929Scenes that can be seen on any old day in Roma… tutti giorni è un fotografico. CIMG2104 CIMG2114 CIMG2125 CIMG2282 Annalee Archie

Summer in the City (Weekends in the country)

This summer has been more akin to early September, and I am so enjoying the light breeze, the resilient sun, and the humidity-free weather. Weekdays feel quiet in Manhattan, with the exception of lower 7th avenue on Thursday and Friday afternoons, which is a perfectly locked stretch of impatient drivers eager to escape the city for greener pastures and cleaner waters. It is no wonder that dinner reservations are easier to come by.

Mornings at the Union Square Green Market are relaxing and sweet; first came the berries, then the apricots, and now the tables burst with heirloom tomatoes and deep purple plums and eggplants. Each week is a variation on a theme, a theme which I will never fall out of love with.

Evenings are long, and along with our jackets, we have long since shed the anxiousness to get home. Dinners at favorite neighborhood restaurants are drawn out, followed by cobblestone saunters in step with dusk. Aimless walks take on a different perspective on summer nights; I constantly notice something new or different. Federal-style townhomes and hidden gardens evoke a changed character in the warm summer light.

Below is a catch-all photo diary of the past few weeks, out and about in the West Village and its environs, as well as a few from recent weekends in Connecticut. The story connecting the photos is nothing more than summer contentedness; a feeling that can only be experienced via the simplest pleasures of this season. I suppose it goes to show that we want for little and we do not need much to wake up with a smile: the arrival of heirloom tomatoes and the smell of salty sea air is often ample.

Picks in this post:

Il Buco- Bond Street

ABC Kitchen

Navy- Sullivan Street

Three Lives & Co Bookstore- W 10th Street

Bluestone Lane- Greenwich Ave

Buvette- Grove Street

Terra- Tribeca

Union Square Greenmarket

Maison Premiere- Williamsburg

Bar Room at the Modern

VSF West Village- Florist on W 10th Street

Jefferson Market Garden- Greenwich Ave


Straight from the farm: Connecticut strawberries, green pepper, tomatoes, and cucumber. Sprouts from the Union Square Green Market.


Rise and shine Washington Square Park.


Just one of the freshest, most colorful lentil salads ever, with yummy beet hummus, from Bluestone Lane on Greenwich Ave; the new ever-popular Australian cafe in the village.


Saucy eggs and sugar plums.


Every girl needs a port in the storm; mine is Buvette on Grove Street.


July evening on the patio at Maison Premiere, a gem of an oyster restaurant in Williamsburg. The fish is fantastically fresh.


Crab toast at the bar at ABC Kitchen.


Roasted carrot and avocado salad at ABC Kitchen.


The Bar Room at the Modern.


Chocolate and coffee dome at the Bar Room at the Modern. The black bass with fennel and the crispy chicken were both divine.


Noon scenes at Why Not Coffee on Christopher Street.


Preparing for service at Navy on Sullivan Street.


The menu at Navy is ever-changing (literally every day), but on this July evening, the crudo was Le Tigre.


One of the freshest and lightest steak entrees in all of downtown at Navy: summer greens and peaches tossed over perfectly cooked steak.


It’s not easy to find a quiet spot in Manhattan. Thus my fondness for Jefferson Market Garden.


One of my favorite dishes of the summer: mussel toast at Navy on Sullivan Street.


VSF West Village: one of my happy places in the neighborhood.


Where is the land that grows figs all year round? Organic fruit and walnuts over greek yogurt.


Predictable and unoriginal snack.


No fuss weeknight supper: lobster, shrimp, arugula, white nectarine, and green beans.


Morning light.


The sun was trying to come out.


Window seat.


Farm lunch.


I had a craving for something sweet: this mini crumble couldn’t be simpler. I mixed peaches with lemon juice and cinnamon, then poured on oats, ground flax, cinnamon, and a pinch of quinoa flour. I baked for about 40 minutes, et voila.


The first morning that the peaches were finally sweet: Sunday oats with local fruit.




A vista that never gets old.


The sun is already shifting in the evenings; I can feel September in the distance.


Who is that doggy in the doorway?


Everybody likes a window seat.


Aperol spritz at Buvette.


Summer evenings at Buvette.


A colorful morning at Bondhitree at Union Square Greenmarket.


Eggplant stories at Bondhitree at Union Square Greenmarket


More eggplant varieties.


Frutta fresca.


Ficchi and apricots.


Appreciation guaranteed with these two gifts: Van Leeuwen non-dairy dark chocolate and Jenis brambleberry crisp. Later served with chocolate angel food cake.


My favorite corner in all the land.


Couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day for a late outdoor lunch at Il Buco, complete with their famous kale salad and the sweetest plate of local tomatoes.


Perfection at Il Buco on Bond Street.


Simple nicoise salads, beets, and broccoli rabe at Terra in Tribeca.


Molto fresh and light crudo at Il Buco.


Glorious fig.


Peak season: giant kiwis, juicy blackberries, sweet melon, and ripe black mission figs. August, you’re not so bad.


Ripe, ripe, ripe.


Citrusy tomato, avocado, and basil salad.




Heaping salad. Kale, arugula, parsley, and red leaf. Melon, plum, and scallions. White and purple beans.


Lemon Cake Topped with Strawberries and Pistachios


Lemon cake with a strawberry and pistachio hat.

Now that New England farms seem to have recovered from the harshest of harsh winters, and summer fruits are abundant and most importantly, ripe, I can’t help but plan each recipe-test around Saturday’s finest from the local farm-stand. On this occasion, though I was hoping for raspberries in order to try Bon Appetit‘s June 2014 recipe, I used what was left of the strawberries. If strawberries are not in season, buy frozen organic strawberries; they are just as sweet once defrosted. The pistachios are for crunch and color, and the cake itself is meant to be lemony-light and therefore multi-purpose: sweet and fruity for a none-too-heavy breakfast alongside yogurt, as an accompaniment to afternoon tea, and/or as a summer evening dessert a la mode.


Batter poured and strawberries ever so gently simmering with lemon juice and a sprinkle of light brown sugar.


Gently brush the cake with the juices from the strawberry pan.



























3/4 cup Brown Rice Flour

3/4 Cup Whole Wheat Pastry Flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp kosher salt

Scant 1 cup light brown sugar

2 tsp pure organic vanilla extract

4 Eggs

2 tbsp. finely grated lemon zest

Juice from at least half a large lemon

3/4 cup olive oil

About 1/2 cup sliced strawberries, more or less if you please

3 tbsp. chopped unsalted raw pistachios

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Oil or lightly butter a 9″ diameter cake pan. I assume that you can also use a loaf pan, but doing so might change the baking time.

In a small bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, and salt.

In an electric mixer, beat eggs and sugar for about five minutes, until light and fluffy. With the mixer on low speed, add the vanilla and 1 tbsp. lemon juice. Then slowly add the oil until just combined. Add the flour mixture in thirds; do not add it all at once. Then fold in the lemon zest. Feel free to add more lemon juice to the bowl here, depending on how strong you prefer the lemon flavor.

Pour the batter into the pan and top with the sliced strawberries and chopped pistachios. If you like, scatter a little light brown sugar over the top. Bake for about 50 minutes, until a toothpick inserts into the center comes out clean.

Close to finishing time, in a small pan, combine 1/4 cup lemon juice and a handful of strawberries over medium heat. If you would like, you can add a pinch of sugar here as well, or maybe a small bit of honey. Use a wooden spoon to gently slosh around the strawberries so that a syrup forms.

Once the cake is baked, set it on a drying rack in its cake pan. I used a pan with a removable bottom, but it far easier to remove once the cake has cooled. While still hot, use a brush to brush the strawberry and lemon syrup over the cake. Allow to cool.

Gluten Free (Or Not) Cupboard Cookies

This past weekend I made a pie. A homemade, peach and blackberry pie is a treat, but I still had a craving for a cookie. I needed to satisfy the crunch- preferably with a hint of chocolate. With not a whole lot of sweet ingredients in the house, I threw together remnants of this and remnants of that and ended up with a mostly gluten-free, ‘cupboard cookie.’

Patriotic cookie mix

Patriotic cookie mix

You can make this cookie more traditional by using only regular flour, or make it with a mixture of your preferred flours. I had small amounts of almond flour and quinoa flour left in my cupboard, so I aimed to finish them off. Almond flour, when used in large quantities, lends baked goods a sort of mealy, drier taste. I do not suggest using it as the majority flour. The recipe below is slightly altered from the one that I used; I baked my cupboard cookies with too much almond flour, leading them to taste far less sweet than I intended. I always make an effort to limit refined sugars, as they are blatantly detrimental to our health, so I used a very small quantity. If you prefer to skip refined sugars altogether, I suggest adding a high quality maple syrup, raw honey, or even blended dates. For additions, I literally used whatever was around, including farm-fresh blueberries and raspberries, dark chocolate chips (although I suggest shaved dark chocolate rather than chips), toasted organic coconut flakes, organic raisins, and even a little bit of coffee left over from the morning. The berries add natural sugar and bursts of color.

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3/4 cup quinoa flour

1/2 cup almond flour

1/2 cup organic old-fashioned oats

3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour (not used in my cookies but on second though, highly suggest it)

1/3 cup light brown sugar (I used only 1/4 and they did not come out sweet enough. You can try using honey or maple syrup if you are trying to avoid refined sugars)

1 tbsp. toasted coconut

1 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp organic vanilla extract

3 tbsp. butter (I only had cultured butter on hand, a European style with a higher fat content)

1 tbsp. coffee (cold)

2 eggs at room temp

1/4 cup raisins

1/2 cup raspberries

1/4 cup blueberries

Sift together the flours, oats, baking soda, and salt. Add the cooled, toasted coconut and mix to incorporate. Stir in the raisins, blueberries, and raspberries.

In a separate bowl, or in the bowl of an electric mix, mix the eggs with the butter until there are no clumps. You can melt the butter and allow it to cool if you are mixing by hand. Add the vanilla and coffee and mix.

In small batches, mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Do not combine them all at once; it will be too hard to mix. Add the dry ingredients in thirds or fourths, mixing as you go.

Cover the batter and cool in the fridge for at least an hour. The longer you chill the batter, the crisper and more satisfying the cookies will be.

When you are ready to bake, pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees F and spoon out your preferred cookie size onto a parchment lined cookie sheet. I made mine about one and a half tablespoons each. I baked for about 12 minutes or until I could feel that the cookies were not so soupy anymore when I gently pressed down on one. I suggest checking on them after 10 minutes. You do not want to over bake them, as you risk having them taste more like chalk and less like cookies.


Navy: Firmly anchored on Sullivan Street


Navy by day.

Countless chefs have passed through the streets of New York with the ultimate dream of opening a phenomenally successful, long-lasting restaurant. A few of the tried and true New York favorites are part of a larger group; they have a name attached and will likely garner a following regardless of whether or not all of the ingredients are accounted for. Seldom does a lesser known chef slither onto the scene in the most unassuming of ways, locking in a fantastic location at the crossroads of SoHo and Greenwich Village, and a hop and a skip from the West Village. Seldom does the decor, the ambience, the service, the space, the menu, the flavors- the every detail- seldom do each and every one of these elements excel beyond expectation with the greatest humility and nonchalance. Navy, with the modest and most humble Camille Becerra at its helm, is one of these few wonders.


The lightest of scallop crudos highlighted with surprise punches of flavor, including black sesame seeds, pickle, and whey.

Our waiter was cool and calm and confident about each item on the menu. We left our decisions in his able hands, and he guided us in all of the right directions. It was a hot summer night, and he was refreshingly honest about what plates would be ideal. We were not going to go with the albacore tuna, but he assured us that it was a rare addition to the menu due to its short season, that we should take advantage of its supreme freshness. Seasonality is one of Camille Becerra’s specialties: she works with local farms and fishermen whom she trusts. She understands that in order to serve an exceptional dish, one must start with the highest quality ingredients, at the height of their season, no less. Camille is as hands-on as possible with the Pennsylvania co-op she has partnered with. In fact, all of her sources and producers are within a 100 mile radius.

With a chilled glass of rosé in hand, expertly chosen by our maritime-esque waiter, we commenced the evening with the scallop crudo. The plating was exquisite, (take a peak at Camille’s personal Instragram account- evidence that she has an eye for art, colors, lines, shapes, and scenes. Her photos evoke mood and emotion like that of a photographer. In fact, I would not be surprised if photography is her second most favored hobby after cooking), and the flavors were phenomenal. Camille is a truly inventive chef; I can only assume that others will not be far behind her genius combinations: whey, seeds, pickle… and might I mention that when I returned to the site a few days later to review the menu, the dish had already changed.

We also ordered the summer squash salad with apricot, as apricots deserve full attention at the height of their season. We fully expected it to be a beautiful, colorful plate, and our expectations transcended when we took the first bite of this divinely flavored salad. I quizzed our waiter over and over again- what is that? Coconut maybe? What is that impalpable flavor? It was so simple, so light, yet unlike anything that I had ever tasted. I tried my best to identify as much as I could: toasted nuts, chili oil, paprika, lemon, herbs, and other secrets.

The calamari with fennel, pepper, celery, and herbs was perfectly tender- not an easy feat for calamari. What I really want to talk about, though, is the mussel toast. If you order just one thing, order the mussel toast, a nonpareil across the current NY restaurant scene, complete with caper aioli, cornmeal sourdough, and the freshest of fresh herbs. No other descriptives necessary other than… outstanding.

Navy is the kind of restaurant one must return to every few weeks, as the menu changes almost daily according to Camille’s fine judgments of what ingredients are worth incorporating into her innovative, fresh dishes. Go for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Soak in every detail, as the crew at Navy most definitely nailed them all.


Scallop crudo: delicate with fantastically balanced flavors. A must order.


My most favorite summer salad ever.


Calamari at Navy.


Camille Becerra’s calamari.


The albacore tuna did a brief stint on the menu while it was in season.


The ever so light and beautifully plated albacore tuna with beets and herbs.


The absolutely stellar mussel toast at Navy NYC. Thank you, Camille, for introducing NYC to this phenom dish.


The best mussel toast that ever existed at Navy NYC.


Navy in rare form: on a quiet summer Sunday morning.


Small details. Stocked and ready for breakfast service.


Summer in the city: Navy is your oyster.

Grill Night


Corn grilled in the shucks.

Light the coals. Marinate the prawns. Make the meat patties. Trim the asparagus. Rinse the peppers. Slice the bread. Leave the corn as is.

Sure, we can grill in the colder months. We can put on a big jacket in November and duck in and out of the house to stay warm. To me, though, grilling is a quintessential summer activity. I even like the smell of the coals, the way it wafts over the deck and into my hair. We sit around with chilled glasses of wine, free and easy, a slight evening breeze blowing up the napkins we set out on the table. The scene is placid; the cornfields sway in the field next to the grazing horses. We don’t even realize we’re waiting until our tummies tell us we are hungry and ready to eat.

Anything and everything tastes incredible hot off the grill. I love grilled vegetables, especially asparagus and whole peppers. Rotate the pepper so that each side grills evenly. Corn retains its sweetness when left in its shuck, and what is better than giant prawns or homemade hamburgers with sautéed onion and fresh herbs from the garden?


Early evening.

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Weekapaug Inn: A Classic Reborn


A deck with a view.

Renovating and redefining the Weekapaug Inn was a labor of love for Watch Hill resident Chuck Royce. First opened in 1899, the Inn was a fixture on the New England social calendar as a popular summer destination for swimming, sporting, and socializing. Royce and his team valued the Inn’s place on the National Register of Historic Places, as well as its century long history and heritage. They took an iconic family hotel that was fading away and re-delivered the concept in luxury. The decor is modern yet relaxed, beachy, and very elegant in its own way. Common rooms are meant to feel as low-key and comfortable as one’s own home. Guests approaching the front entrance might easily assume they have been transported; the forest-greens, light brown trim and a marriage between nature, class, and luxuriousness could very well be found in Maine, Colorado, or British Columbia.


The living room at the Weekapaug feels like home.


The pond at the edge of the property is the perfect spot for paddle boarding and sailing.

The inn abuts a tranquil salt pond, where guests can safely partake in water sports of all kinds, such as paddleboarding, kayaking, and even sailing. The private beach is a seven minute walk down the road, offering guests two miles of white sand. Beyond water sports, the Inn offers complimentary bike usage, shuffleboard, bocce, and a fire-pit for smores possibilities. The beautiful saline pool is adjacent to an outdoor grill with views of sailboats and paddle-boarders. Green umbrellas blend in with the trees, and when looking out, the pool water melds into Quonochontaug Pond. My favorite structure is the fitness center which doubles as the entrance to the pool. Guests walk through tall, wood gates in a muted grey tone. The structure has certain barn elements to its design, including massive barn doors on the inner side. Guests can rent the suites with private decks on the second floor for more space and privacy from the main building.


The outdoor grill.


The pool.




Outdoor seating on the deck.

Just down the stone path from the fitness center and yoga room lay my dream herb garden with a handsome fence and proper protective wiring lest any non-human New Englanders take an interest. The Restaurant relies on the garden for many of their dishes, as evidenced by culinary team members ducking in for a few snips of basil and dill. Inside, the color tones are a menage of neutrals, the furniture not too fussy, the architectural details sturdy and simple. Framed photos of the Inn seen through lenses of the 20th century are scattered throughout, as well as paintings and murals in colors of the sea. Board games are set-up for rainy days, the screened-in porch is a cozy respite if you brought a good book, and the deck overlooking the saltwater pond is always open for cocktails.

The Inn is a throwback to the shingled seaside resorts of a century ago. It lends a feeling of modesty, serenity, and an overall low-key atmosphere. Staff members are evidently well-trained for a quiet, luxury property. The team is similar in tone, attentiveness, and service to that of The Ocean House, Mr. Royce’s other property down the road. The Weekapaug Inn would be an ideal place for a seaside wedding, a family reunion, or simply a long weekend away from the noise and grittiness of the city.


A cozy nook.




Inside the restaurant.




From inside the sun porch.


The entrance to the pool and fitness area.


Taken from inside the pool gates.


Setting up for a stunning event.


The manicured grounds.


My dream herb garden, complete with proper fencing.


Herbs, herbs, herbs.


A beautifully done barn structure.




The fleet.







The Weekapaug Inn is located two and a half hours from New York City.

Around Saint-Germain-des-Prés: Parisian Elegance Coincides with Trends du Jour

Tavola Del Mondo:

In the spirit of Bastille Day… a re-blog from a previous trip to Paris :)

Originally posted on Tavola Del Mondo:



The Saturday afternoon scene at La Palette

In Paris’ synchronously funky and high-fashion 6th arrondissement, Saint-Germain-des-Prés is undeniably the city’s most sought-after neighborhood. All demographics yearn to spend their Saturdays on Saint Germain’s narrow, winding, cobblestoned streets, waiting for a table amongst the beautiful people at La Palette, ducking in and out of art gallerys, shopping at the tres chic boutiques around Rue de Sèvres, or lounging with a friend or a beau in the Luxembourg gardens. Even rive gauche residents deign to cross the river for much-loved Saint Germain, especially to visit the renowned Le Bon Marché (a model of a department store leagues above all others). While Rue Buci is quite touristy, it is still worth at least one meander. Sophisticated Rue Bonaparte offers debonair shopping, and fabulously small, non-touristy cafes can be found if one strays a few blocks farther from the area around Rue Buci. Cafe Charlotte

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July Fourth Pie: Peach and Blackberry


Good enough to eat.

What else to do on a rainy fourth of July but bake a pie.

We fully intended to model our pie crust off of Smitten Kitchen’s recipe, but alas, we found ourselves with almond flour in lieu of regular flour. I have to be honest: I really do not suggest using almond flour as the majority flour in a pie crust. It is grainy and mealy and dry, and it tastes more like tart chalk than delectable buttery crust. You may notice that in the photos below, the crust has a certain grainy color, and we shall attribute that to said almond flour. I have already re-stocked the cupboard with regular flour for next weekend’s pie.

That being said, the organic blackberries are the best that they have been all year; ripe, squishy, and ever so sweet. While our Connecticut peaches are not yet ripe (I blame you: Polar Vortex), Georgia peaches sufficed. We scraped a vanilla bean from Madagascar into the filling, as well as a bit of lemon juice, cinnamon, and nutmeg shavings, and it was so scrumptious and delightfully gooey with no additional sugar that we saw it as a fit breakfast the next morning. Some might prefer 1/2 cup or so of light brown sugar in the filling, but I prefer not to add too much, as the fruit has an abundance of natural sugars.


(Finally) ripe blackberries.


(Basically) ripe Georgia peaches.






Assembled, albeit with an insufficient bottom layer.


Most definitely homemade.


This pie has an almond flour crust- a non-repeater.


Peach and blackberry pie.




Little gelato never hurt anyone.


2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tbsp light brown sugar

1 tsp salt

2 sticks unsalted butter, very cold

1/2 cup water, very cold


7 medium peaches

2 half pints organic blackberries

Lemon juice from half a lemon

1/4 cup light brown sugar (optional)

Vanilla scraped from one vanilla bean

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/8 tsp grated nutmeg

1/8 tsp salt

2 tbsp cornstarch

To make the dough:

Whisk the flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Dice the butter and use your fingers to mix it into the flour until it is the consistency of small peas. Stir in the cold water with a rubber spatula or a regular big spoon if that is all you have, and then knead the dough a few times to form a ball. Divide the dough in half and wrap each in plastic in the shape of a disc. Chill in the fridge for a few hours.

For the filling:

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Prepare an ice bath for the peaches when they come out of the boiling water. Make a small x at the bottom of each peach and lower the peaches into the boiling water. After two minutes, transfer to the ice bath for one minute to cool. Then transfer the peaches to a cutting board. The skin should peel right off. Halve and pit the peaches and slice into about 1/3-inch half-moons. In a large bowl, gently mix the peaches with the lemon juice. Add the sugar if using, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and cornstarch until evenly coated.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Assemble the pie. Flour your counter and your rolling pin. Flour it again. Keep flour on hand. Roll the first dough disc out, starting from the center and working outwards. Be gentle. The longer the rolling process, the more the dough loses its chill and begins to dry out, the more cracks you will have, the more frustrated and angry you will become…

Once the dough is about a 12 inch circle, transfer to your pie dish. Ideally, the trim should hang over the edge. In my case, I had no trim to speak of. It happens. Moving on.

Pour the gorgeous filling onto the bottom layer. Roll out the top layer of pie dough. We went for the lattice, although the almond flour made lattice-life quite difficult. If you’d like to make a lidded pie, with no fancy cut-outs, just make sure to give it one or two vents before baking, lest it explode in the oven.

Bake the pie for about 20 minutes until the crust is set and beginning to brown. Reduce the temperature to 375 degrees F and bake for another 30 to 40 minutes, until the filling is bubbling and the crust is a golden brown.

Cool pie for at least two hours before serving.

Recipe based on Smitten Kitchen’s Peach Pie