Lovely long weekend with my family, cooking great dinners and long beach walks. Oh how I’ll miss my daughter when she returns to Santa Monica. All photos Liv Hauck
Whenever at the Lobster Trap Tree to take a photo or passing by, there is a steady stream of people–families, couples, and groups of friends–stopping to pose and take snapshots. It’s a Gloucester thing for sure!
The tree will be up most likely though the end of January. David Brooks shares that the time of dismantling is weather dependent however, the BIG BUOY PARTY FAMILY FUN NIGHT is Friday January 25th, so don’t wait too long to take a photo at Gloucester’s beautiful (and the World’s Best) Lobster Trap Tree.
Saturday my daughter Liv and I took a break from all things Christmas and visited Parker River National Wildlife Refuge and Sandy Point Reservation. Hiking around the refuge is one of our favorite things to do and I was thrilled that she got to see not one, but two owls, a Barred Owl, and a Snowy Owl. The Barred was very nearly completely obscured in a dense thicket, nonetheless exciting to see, and the Snowy was spectacular, causing quite a hullabaloo with the onlookers as he perched in a tree by the road leading into the refuge.
To see an owl in the wild is a gift, and I am counting my blessings, for my beautiful, kind-hearted daughter, and wonderful wild creature encounters.
Only about an hour and half northwest of Cape Ann, Liv, Matt and Alex had a great time hiking at Pawtuckaway State Park yesterday. Located in southeastern New Hampshire, the park is named for Pawtuckaway Lake and Pawtuckaway Mountains, which are a circular rocky range that form the outline of an ancient volcanic ring dike dating from the Cretaceaous era.
Volcanic Ring Dike
Pawtuckaway State Park lies within the Northeastern coastal forests ecoregion that also includes Cape Ann.
Northeastern Coastal Forests Ecoregion
Record warm temperatures all along the East Coast allowed for luxuriously warm Christmas Day beach fun. Matt, Liv, and Tom took a hike to the the Lighthouse and back and here are some pics. If you spent Christmas Day at a Cape Ann beach, send us your photos and we would love to post! Email image to email@example.com
To all the beautiful and loving Moms, daughters, best friends, sisters, grandmas, and aunts ~
Liv and Matt New Years Eve
More photos Continue reading “ROCK ON MOMS!”
Mmmm–it just occurred to me–a not-so subtle hint for lobster dinners when she is home over Memorial Day weekend? Liv must be dreaming about summer’s freshest straight-off-the-boats tasty lobsters from Captain Joe and Sons!
A beautiful arrangement and hint of spring to come, from my darling daughter Liv and soon-to-be-son-in-law Matt.
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A Happy Pooch Welcome!
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Although not native to the Americas, we came upon a banana tree, bearing both blooms and bananas, growing at an abandoned ruin in Solstice Canyon, which is located in the Santa Monica Mountains. The brilliant red high up in the treetops caught our attention and we were amazed to see the cluster of bananas along the stem of the inflorescence. The red bracts are not petals; new flowers emerging are the yellow curly blooms peaking between the opening bracts.
Did you know that bananas are technically speaking a berry? Botanists define a berry as a fleshy fruit produced from a single ovary. The berry is the most common type of fleshy fruit, where the entire ovary wall ripens into an edible pericarp and the seeds become embedded in the flesh of the ovary. One banana inflorescence produces 50 to 150 bananas! Blueberries and cranberries are also examples of a true berry.
The tomato graphic above illustrates the pericarp, the fleshy edible part surrounding the seeds. You will most likely not see any seeds in a commercially grown banana because they are cloned from a single cultivar, the ‘Cavendish,’ which also makes them highly susceptible to disease and a potential mass die-off.
Every morning while visiting Liv and Matt, Liv made deliciously healthy smoothies combining bananas, spinach, avocado, and whatever other fruit and veggie were on hand. That’s how we began our Solstice Canyon day hike and I was glad to have had the power-packed breakfast. As you can see, we encountered beautiful and enchanting wildlife along the trail.
California Sister Butterfly
A few more snapshots here – Continue reading “Bananas Are A Berry?”
Liv sent this snapshot that Matt took over New Year’s. I designed the coat that she is wearing before she was born (!); and also designed a coordinating pencil slim skirt, too. The coat made appearances in a number of music videos, art films, and theatrical productions. I love that the ensemble has yet a new life and that she has fun wearing it out in the evening. I saved a few of the samples, just in case we were blessed with a daughter, and just in case she wanted to play dress-up. There’s a leopard version on my website, with Gail Huff (Brown) modeling here.
It has been twenty years since I have made a wedding dress for friend or client. Despite that daunting fact, I am so very much looking forward to making my daughter’s. I loved creating them and have wonderful memories of each and every friend in each and every dress. Liv has many memories too as she was always there with me in my studio, enraptured with the fairy princess magic unfolding during fittings. From that very early age, she has been saying, “Mom, you are going to make my dress, too.”
Inspiration~ Liv loves this Givenchy tea-length gown designed for Audrey Hepburn for the movie Funny Face. The tulle and satin full skirt is perfect for dancing the night away!
UN Headquarters, NYC
Wednesday and Thursday were spent on a whirlwind trip to NYC for my husband Tom to meet with literary agents. Upon arriving Wednesday night, our daughter Liv took us to a wonderful Italian restaurant at Chelsea Market, Giovanni Rana Pastificio and Cucina, which specializes in pasta dishes. Every bite of every dish was out-of-this-world delish however, she and I both agreed that the Squid Ink Linguine, Broccoli Rabe, and Lobster entrée was extra-extraordinary. After dinner we explored the HighLine, which is only a short walk from the Market and is especially festive and fun at dusk.
The HighLine was bustling with young couples, old couples, families, friends meeting for dinner and drinks after work, and tourists, too. The gardens are exquisitely maintained and beautiful any time of year, day or night. How well the gardens are cared for is reflected in how very much they are enjoyed by visitors. The HighLine gardens are so appreciated that they even illuminate the flowers!
The following morning, Thursday, I walked around Tudor City Parks in the UN headquarter’s neighborhood and then took Liv to a charming French restaurant near the theatre where she works.
The trip was too brief but very successful though I have to warn our readers that if you are traveling by car to New York City, the construction traffic homeward in the northbound lanes was horrendous, on both Routes 15 and 95. It took us seven hours to get home!
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If you go to Giovanni Rana Pastificio and Cucina, you have to try their Lambrusco “Pruno Nero” Cleto Chiarli, a wonderful sparkling red wine that is round and flavorful of fruit and berries, but not at all sweet. The color is an inky purple red and the wine is equally as rich tasting as its hue. Lambrusco “Pruno Nero” Cleto Chiarli is not your grandfather’s Lambrusco.
Lambrusco Pruno Nero is definitely worth seeking out and makes a refreshing summer beverage. I’ll mention it to Kathleen at Savour Wine and Cheese and perhaps she’ll give it a try at the shop. We’ll let you know if she does.
Back in September I posted about a trip to visit my daughter in Brooklyn, and the extraordinary pizza place that she loves to go to, Roberta’s. Recently, the New York Times’s Sam Sifton wrote an article all about Roberta’s fabulous pizza titled “A Little Pizza Homework!!”
Whether you are a lover of thin crust or thick crust pizza, I urge you give this recipe a whirl. Even though we don’t have a fancy wood-fired oven, the Margherita pizza was out-of-this-world delicious. On a good night, Robertas makes 25oo pizzas, and it’s no wonder when Roberta’s pizza czar Anthony Falco, thinks of the dough as his “baby.”
Sam Sifton writes, “Watching Mr. Falco encourage a mound of dough to become a pizza is entrancing. He starts with his fingertips, spreading the dough out from its center, gently, on a well-floured surface.
“It’s a living thing,” he said of the dough. “It’s your baby. You don’t want to beat it up.” He pushed down gently around the pie’s perimeter, creating the edge. He picked up the dough and lightly passed it back and forth between his palms, rotating it each time, using gravity to help it stretch. The top remained the top. The bottom remained the bottom. At approximately 12 inches in diameter, Mr. Falco called it ready to go. He slid the round back and forth on the floured surface to make sure it didn’t stick. “That is certified for topping,” he said.”
My husband’s extended family has been celebrating Christmas Eve together since they emigrated from Germany in the mid-1800s. I was feeling a tiny bit melancholy because the older generation (now in their 80s and 90s) is retiring from hosting the parties. The festivities will surely still go on, although not in quite the same high style as Christmas’s past because many of the next generation (such as ourselves) have made their homes far and wide.
Cincinnati was settled largely by German immigrants and judging by the countless established bakeries dotted throughout the city, I imagine the original emigrees were fabulous bakers. One of Tom’s cousins, Debbie, created a cookbook based on favorite family Christmas recipes, including recipes that date back to the 1800s, recipes from the family’s cooks, and recipes from old German great aunts who also lived in the big house and whose job it was at Christmastime to make thousands of cookies. When we spend Christmas at home and not in Ohio, Liv, Alex, and I love to cook from the family Christmas cookbook and the cookies especially are the yummiest you could possibly imagine. My father-in-law, who is the most kind-hearted man I have ever met, has a wonderful sense of humor, and is a great storyteller, too–and boy does he have many stories to share from a life richly led!
Cincinnati is just that much further west that sunrise is nearly an hour later than in Gloucester. The club that we stay at is set within a golf course sited on a hill, with beautiful panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. Getting ready for Christmas Eve celebration #2! Always a challenge to get loved ones to stand still long enough for a photo!
End Notes: In poking around online, I found a photo of the home of Great-aunt Kitty, where the Christmas Eve parties were held continuously for many years. Tom has fond memories of wonderful Christmas’s spent there and especially of the “kiddy table,” where all the cousins and siblings sat together (no adults!), and I gather, where many food fights occurred. The house, still standing, was donated to the Cincinnati park board and you can see more photos of the gorgeous interior at this link: The Gibson-Hauck House. While in Cincinnati we also visited the Rookwood Pottery studio. If you have ever seen Antiques Roadshow, you probably know how beautiful is Rookwood pottery. This post is already too long so later in the week I’ll do a little post about Rookwood.
Here we are at Roberta’s in Brooklyn. The exterior looks very nondescript but what welcomes upon entering is a warm, vibrant interior.
Roberta’s is a high energy establishment with fabulous food and fabulous service. The lively, yet cozy, restaurant is always packed to the brim with an eclectic crowd–young people on dates, groups of friends, families–with a line down the street, even in the dead of winter, and on week nights!
The key to Roberta’s success is not only their out-of-this-world delicious pizza, appetizers, seafood, salads, and veggies, but equally as important to their success is their ultra efficient and friendly wait staff, and super accommodating house policies towards the customer. Unlike one of the newer restaurants on Cape Ann, which absolutely will not allow any add-ons to their limited pizza menu (they want only to serve it as only they deem acceptable, and I say, come on–it’s pizza), Roberta’s has a complete menu of pizza toppings! Roberta’s menu is not terribly extensive (nor pricey), but because their’s is a select range of entrees, pizzas, and first courses, you don’t feel the menu is limiting. The produce is farm fresh (much is grown in Roberta’s garden), and the seafood sweet, melting in your mouth as only super fresh seafood does.
As you can see from Roberta’s menu posted above, it is not vast, but neither is the menu restricted to 5 or 6 pizzas.
Next stop is Liv’s favorite doughnut shop, The Doughnut Plant, which is well worth getting off the subway on the way to your destination, walking many blocks, stopping at the Plant for amazing doughnuts, and then walking back the same many blocks to hop back on the subway and resume your day.
We had a wonderful time walking everywhere and dining out. Liv always takes me to the most fun restaurants with fabulously yummy food, and they are never too pricey; the prices are comparable to our favorite Gloucester restaurants.
For our HarborWalk Gardens, I had wanted to to see what’s in bloom at the HighLine gardens during the late summer and early fall, as well as what was blooming at Piet Oudolf’s designs for the Battery Gardens of Remembrance and The Bosque.
At the HighLine, we paused for some length at the stunning grove of Japanese Clerodendrum (Clerodendrum trichotomum); whose one of several common names befits it’s great beauty–Harlequin Glorybower Tree. The stop-dead-in-your-tracks-deliciously-fragrant blossoms float atop a canopy of fluttering leaves. The blooms are similar looking to jasmine flowers, but are even more sweetly scented. A magnet for butterflies and hummingbirds, the tree blooms at a time of year when much of the rest of the garden is winding down. The glorious glorybower is on my wish list for next year and, as it is just barely hardy through zone 6, I’ll find a sheltered and protected spot in which to experiment.
A grove of Magnolia viginiana at the HighLine