Christmas is such a magical time in New York City. The snow, the ice skaters in Central Park and Bryant Park, and the beautiful shop windows with their scenes of Christmas joy and fun. Christmas this year was especially joyful. That’s when Vilma and Harry decided to join their lives together (three days after Christmas). They were hoping for an intimate wedding, but things quickly got out of hand and it turned into a larger event than was initially envisioned. But it was a beautiful day.
The ceremony was at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Chelsea. The church was still decorated with all the trappings of a traditional Christmas church service. The bride and the groom had smiles on their faces the entire day. After the ceremony we went to the Highline, via limousine, to make some portraits of the bride and groom. Luck was on our side, because it was a balmy 48 degrees on Vilma and Harry’s wedding day.
We walked through the crowd along the Highline, which was much larger than I had expected, given the warmer than average temperature. Vilma and Harry were met with many smiles and shouts of congratulations as we made our way through the crowd. I think they both felt like celebrities on this day. All eyes were on them as people lifted their phone camera to snap shots of the lovely couple.
Vilma and Harry could not have been a more lovely, caring couple. When I first met them, they were obviously so much in love, head over heals for each other. Fawning over one another even. They were, and are a very special and precious couple and I wish them all the best that life has to offer.
Gratitude is a way of moving ourselves forward in life. It’s a way of being in the now, and in getting the joy out of the present moment. It also helps us to connect and to serve our fellow man, for it’s often someone that we are grateful for having in our lives. Recognizing that gratefulness helps us to reflect on how we can give back to society and how we can serve mankind.
I often like to read while en route to Manhattan on the Metro North train. On a cold day recently I boarded the train, got out my book and started to read. I was totally captivated by what I was reading and I did not glance up from my book for awhile. But when I did glance up and out the train window, the first thing I saw was a huge billboard with one simple word—”Grattitude”. I felt a rush of energy pulse through my body and I began to list all the things that I was grateful for at that moment. That was the first time I saw that billboard and I love passing that billboard now. It’s a reminder to me to stop and reflect for at least a few moments every day and to feel grateful for the things and the people in my life. The billboard was put up by New York City artist Peter Tunney and he has several positive life-affirming messages posted throughout the city. I’m grateful for Peter Tunney.
Because I love to cook, Larry and I eat at home most of the time. However, we do go out to dinner for special occasions. Last Saturday was such an evening. We enjoyed an early Valentine’s Day dinner at the Michelin-starred restaurant, Oceana . The dinner party was graciously hosted by Lynne Ryan of Chefs To Dine For. Lynne has a passion for bringing together like-minded people who enjoy a sophisticated dining experience. And this one was a Valentine’s dinner to remember—a magical night.
The evening started off with drinks and hors d’oeuvres in the bar—and Chef Ben Pollinger even came out of the kitchen to mingle with our group. At one of Lynne’s dinner parties, you not only get to meet fascinating food lovers, you also get to meet the executive chef. Chef Pollinger could not have been more warm and welcoming of the Valentine revelers. Chef Pollinger took our group—wine glasses in hand—on a behind-the-scenes look at his culinary wonderland, a VIP tour of the kitchen.
Watching the staff prepare and plate such wonderful seafood made me (and the rest of the group, I’m sure) eager to get to the meat of the evening—a beautiful three-course dinner paired with great wines. We all made our way to the private dining room with great anticipation of the delights that lay ahead. Upon settling into our seats, Lynne welcomed the guests and officially introduced Chef Ben Pollinger, who made everyone feel welcome. Lynne offered a toast, as the wine started flowing and the first course was set before us. From the first bite of the Meyer lemon risotto with crispy New Orleans shrimp and broccoli rabe, the reason Michelin honored Oceana with a coveted star was obvious. It was truly divine, as was the rest of the meal—steamed George’s Bank sole with baby artichoke barigoule and fingerling potatoes, followed by a decadent baked chocolate mousse with spiced pears and vanilla ice cream.
During the course of an evening filled with divine foods and fine wines, lively conversation led to budding new friendships. If you’re starting to feel left out, don’t. There’s another dinner coming up on March 4, 2012. In fact, the next event is sure to be another night to remember, but with a totally different twist—a beefsteak at Beacon. If you are not familiar with a beefsteak dinner, then you will definitely want to read about it on Garlandia, Larry Garland’s blog. After you read about the beefsteak, I’m sure you will want to jump right over to the Chefs To Dine For website and make a reservation to attend the Beacon dinner party.