Cooking the Turkey – ‘Gangnam Style’ !

Now that your beautiful bird has been bathing in a knocked up version of saline solution, spices and herbs, it’s time to cook this bountiful wonder.

Remove the Turkey from the brine, pat dry and make sure to remove any excess liquid from the cavity.  Season lightly with black pepper and pre-heat your oven to 300 degrees for the first stage of the cooking. While preparing the next part of this recipe, I find that a good bourbon and some football make great companions in the kitchen.  Maybe a bottle of Van Winkle Special Reserve?  This sweet, full-bodied whiskey has been described by some as “Nectar”! The 12 years of aging and medium proof is just right in creating a very pleasant drink of whiskey.

And what would Thanksgiving be without a little football?  This year the NFL is offering up a feast of pigskin on Turkey Day. The classic rivalry between this years explosive Houston Texans and Megatrons’ Lions of Detroit, RGIII and the Washington Redskins against Tony Romos’ Dallas Cowboys, and the Mighty Pats without the Gronk and the NY Jets who may finally start Baby Jesus instead of Mark Sanchez.

All this provides the perfect backdrop to preparing a magnificent turkey. Follow my recipe below and your bird, just like The Florida Gators, will not disappoint.

Cooking Your Bird! 

  • 1 small onion
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 apple
  • 1 bunch parsley
  • 1 bunch sage
  • 1 bunch rosemary
  • 1 bunch thyme

Pre-Heat oven to 300 degrees

Combine the onion, celery, carrot, apple, herbs and spices in a bowl and lay around bird. Truss the legs of the turkey with twine and place on a roasting rack covered with aluminum foil and roast for 2 ½ hours.

Uncover the turkey and reserve the foil, increase the oven temperature to 375 brush the turkey with melted butter  and cook for 30 minutes. Baste the turkey every 15 minutes and remove when internal temperature reads 150 degrees.

Happy Thanksgiving from the DeRosa’s, Jamie, Amy, Isabela & Bentley

Thanksgiving “Happiness” is all about the Sides and Dessert

With Thanksgiving only four days away, odds are that you already have your Turkey Day menu set and are gearing up to hit Whole Foods some time tomorrow.  If you are more of a procrastinator, or just have not had the time to even think about what to put on your holiday table, here are some recipes for quick and delicious sides and a tasty dessert that I will be preparing for my family this Thanksgiving.

Roasted Beets, Pickled Red Onions, Hazelnuts and Goat Cheese (Serves 6)

Ingredients:

  • 6 large red beets
  • 4 oz. aged goat cheese (Bucheron, cana, or Humbolt fog)
  • 2 oz. pickled red onions
  • 2 oz. hazelnuts, peeled, roasted
  • 1 orange
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil1 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 5 leaves chervil or taragon leaves

Picked Red Onions – Ingredients:

  • 2 large red onions
  • 1 1/2 c. red wine vinegar
  • 3/4 c. sugar

Bring vinegar and sugar to a boil in a small saucepot.  Make sure to dissolve the sugar.  Pour the hot vinegar over the onions in a a bowl, chill and reserve until ready to serve.

Directions:

Place the beets, skin on, in a roasting pan with 1 cup of water, 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and a good dusting of salt.Cover the pan with aluminum foil and place in a 350º oven for about 30 minutes or until the flesh of the beet is pierced easily with a knife.

Roast Hazelnuts in oven at 350 Degrees for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.  Chop hazelnuts with knife until coarse.Allow beets to cool and then peel the skin with the abrasion of a dish towel.Cut the beets in cubes about ½ inch square and place on a platter or plate. Meanwhile, combine the juice of 1 orange, shallots, salt and pepper in a small bowl, then slowly whisk in the olive oil until the mixture becomes emulsified.

In a medium mixing bowl toss the beats with orange dressing, check seasoning and then top with pieces of the cheese, hazelnuts and the pickled red onions.

Brussel Sprouts, Pancetta, Chestnuts and Lemon

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 lbs Brussels sprouts, rinse, dry, cut in half
  • 3/4 lb. chestnuts, peeled, cut in half
  • ½ Lb. Pancetta, diced about ½ inch squares
  • 1 Lemon
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup sugar

Chestnuts – How to roast and peel:

Chestnut season runs from early October through late December. Look for healthy, unwrinkled shells and a glossy brown surface. Dingy or mottled shells may indicate mold, and small pinholes likely indicate that worms have been drilling; avoid such nuts. Fresh chestnuts are firm to the touch and heavy in the hand, with no space between the shell and the meat of the nut inside.

First, using a sharp knife, make an incision about 1/8-inch deep through each chestnut shell, just into the flesh of the nut, and work your way almost around its circumference.  After slitting the shells, transfer the chestnuts to a chestnut roasting pan or a rimmed baking pan, and roast them in a 350-degree oven for about 35 minutes.  While the chestnuts are hot, remove and discard each shell and the papery skin. Reserve chestnuts for brussels sprouts.

Directions:

In a large skillet or saute pan heat the pancetta on medium heat until golden brown. Reserve the fat and pancetta seperately for later. 

Heat butter and oil in a skillet over medium heat until butter is melted. Add Brussels sprouts, salt and pepper. Cook until golden (15-17 mins).  Add chestnuts and Cook for 20-25 mins. Raise heat to medium-high and add vinegar, chicken broth and sugar.  Cook until liquid is reduced to syrup (4-5 mins). Squeeze lemon over and zest on top. 

Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cakes

Ingredients:

  • Cake:1 (18 1/4-ounce) package yellow cake mix
  • 1 egg
  • 8 tablespoons butter, melted

Filling:

  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 8 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 (16-ounce) box powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine the cake mix, egg, and butter and mix well with an electric mixer. Pat the mixture into the bottom of a lightly greased 13 by 9-inch baking pan.

To make the filling: In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and pumpkin until smooth. Add the eggs, vanilla, and butter, and beat together. Next, add the powdered sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and mix well. Spread pumpkin mixture over cake batter and bake for 40 to 50 minutes. Make sure not to overbake as the center should be a little gooey.

Serve with fresh whipped cream.

Stay tuned as tomorrow I shop for the recipes that I have shared and prepare these dishes on Tuesday.

Stuffing vs. Dressing

Turkey Day Tip # 3- “When it comes to Turkey, stuffing is evil.” – Alton Brown

Although not likely on the menu of the Pilgrim’s first Thanksgiving Day feast in 1621, stuffing has become as ubiquitous as Tom Turkey himself.  Although a staple of Thanksgiving Day Dinner, it seems that no two families can agree on what goes into proper stuffing.  Even the name differs depending on where you are from.  Traditionally, the word “stuffing” was used when it was cooked inside the bird, whereas the word “dressing” was used when cooked outside of the bird.  Today, the terms “stuffing” and “dressing” are used interchangeably.  Although “stuffing” seems to be used more in the North and “dressing” in the South.

These regional differences, as well as one’s nationality, usually dictates what is in the stuffing on your Thanksgiving Day table.  For the traditionalist there is oyster stuffing.  Southerners often prefer cornbread stuffing while Italians like sausage in their stuffing. Dried fruit, potatoes, and apples make up stuffing traditionally prepared by Germans.

Whether you call it stuffing, dressing or even filling (as I have heard it referred to) or wether you include seafood, cornbread, sausage or fruit, nothing is more important than where you cook this concoction – inside or outside of the turkey.

I prefer to cook the stuffing in a casserole outside of the bird — no junk in the trunk here.  Then when the bird is done, drizzle the drippings of the turkey over the stuffing to give it added flavor and also help keep it nice and juicy.  My preference is not just based on taste but safety concerns as well.

Food safety requirements dictate that you should cook a turkey until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.  If the bird is filled with stuffing, it will take much longer to reach the recommended temperature.  Longer cooking time equals a greater chance that you will overcook the other parts of the bird.  More often than not, cooking the stuffing inside the bird results in either soggy, sticky, luke warm stuffing or an overcooked breast.  Not to mention, the possibility of samonila poisoning if the bird is not cooked through.

Rather than filling your turkey with stuffing try filling the cavity with something that will give it additional flavor such as fresh herbs, garlic or lemon.

Although my taste in stuffing (or dressing as I cook it outside the bird) is pretty diverse (cornbread, sausage, oyster, etc), this year I have decided to pay homage to my Italian roots and make my favorite – a sausage, apple and walnut stuffing.  Here is my recipe.

Sausage, Apple, and Walnut Stuffing

Extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
3 ribs celery, finely diced
Kosher salt
3 small cloves garlic, smashed and finely diced
1 Lb. Berkshire pork sausage,  casing removed, broken up into bite-size chunks – I prefer a “The Roman sausage” from our friends at Proper Sausages
3 apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1-inch dice ( I prefer Granny Smith Apples)
1 cup apple cider
1/2 bunch sage, leaves finely chopped
3/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
10 cups rustic bread, crusts discarded, cut into 1-inch cubes; or fresh bread slices toasted until crispy but no color, cut into 1-inch cubes (go see my friends at Acme Bakery for a variety of fresh baked bread) 
3 cups chicken stock

Directions

Coat a large saute pan, over medium heat, with olive oil and add the onions and celery. Season with salt and cook until the veggies start to become soft and are very aromatic. Add the garlic and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes. Add the sausage and cook until the sausage browns. Stir in the apples and apple cider and cook until the apples start to soften, about 3 to 4 minutes. Sprinkle in the sage leaves and the walnuts and turn off the heat.

 Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Add the diced bread and toss together. Pour in the chicken stock and knead with your hands until the bread is very moist, actually wet. Taste to check for seasoning and season with salt, if needed, (it does). Transfer to a large deep ovenproof dish (roughly 9 by 11 inches) and bake until it is hot all the way through and crusty on top.

Not Your Grandma’s Thanksgiving Menu

Turkey Day Tip # 2: Have some fun with the menu – add a twist to the traditional.

Of course the star of the show at Thanksgiving is the turkey.  I would never suggest replacing this staple of Thanksgiving Day dinner with some obscure centerpiece like a Tofurkey, Turducken or any other type of protein or obscure combination thereof.  However, the trimmings are where you can have some fun.  Even I have sat through many a Thanksgiving dinner where I was presented with the “standard” side dishes of mashed potatoes, some sort of green bean casserole, wonder bread stuffing, overly sweet pumpkin pie and, who can forget, the fresh from the can Ocean Spray cranberry sauce.  At best, any of this served warm would be an improvement. This year I say throw caution to the wind, mix it up a bit and have some fun with the fixins’.

Perhaps you could substitute Aunt Mary’s soggy green bean casserole for Brussels sprouts with roasted chestnuts, switch out Abuelas’ bland mashed potatoes for potato and cheese pie or potato soufflé and replace mom’s good ole’ pumpkin pie for pumpkin gooey butter cakes.  You may even get real crazy and make your own cranberry sauce from scratch.

I am excited this year to have the opportunity to spend the holiday with my entire family.  A welcomed break from the norm as most holidays I’m in the weeds at the restaurant cooking for other families.  This year I have been charged with the task of preparing the bird and drippins’, a few sides and something sweet.  I am taking my own advice and spicing it up a bit with these not so run of the mill Thanksgiving dishes.

Turkey brine with a mixture of spices and herbs *(and how to cook the bird day of)

Sausage, apple and walnut stuffing

Roasted beets with pickled onions, candied hazelnuts and goat cheese

Brussels sprouts with panchetta, roasted chestnuts and lemon

Pumpkin gooey butter cakes, yes Goo-ey!

Stay tuned in the days leading up to Thanksgiving as I will share these recipes and some photos of me preparing the dishes.  In the meantime, here is my recipe for turkey brine.

TURKEY BRINE

  • 2 Gal Water
  • 2 C. Kosher Salt
  • 1/3 C. Brown Sugar
  • ¼ C. Garlic, Whole
  • 1 ½ Tbsp. Whole Black Peppercorns
  • 1 ½ Tbsp. Juniper Berries
  • 3 Bay Leaves

In a large pot place turkey and combine all of the brine ingredients and stir.  Cover and refrigerate overnight. Remove the turkey from the pot, discard the brine, and rinse the turkey thoroughly under cold water, pat dry with cloth and set aside for seasoning and roasting.

**Note: I find using a cooler and submerging the bird in water and ice overnight is the easiest method for brining.

FRANKLIN, LINUS, SALLY, CHARLIE BROWN, PEPPERMINT PATTY, SNOOPY AND MARCIE

Eleven-Twelve: “A turkey never voted for an early Christmas.”

[Watch the video] One of my favorite classics…

Each year around holiday time, we chef’s get asked a variety of questions on how to prepare for this fowl full celebration.  These questions range from the basic such as “How long should I cook the turkey?” to the more advanced “How do you brine a turkey?” to the downright absurd “Do I have to thaw a frozen turkey before I put it in the oven?”   And the beat goes on…

With only 10-days until the big Thanksgiving Day feast, I’ve decided to countdown the days with my ten tips for your Thanksgiving dinner.

Tip #1: What’s the best Turkey to buy?
My favorite bird is the Heritage Turkey for 3-main reasons:

Heritage Turkey

1. Naturally mating: A Heritage Turkey must be reproduced and genetically maintained through natural mating. This means that turkeys marketed as “heritage” must be the result of naturally mating pairs of both grandparent and parent stock.  No arranged marriages here.

2. Long productive outdoor lifespan: In order to be considered a Heritage Turkey, the bird must have a long productive lifespan. Breeding hens are commonly productive for 5-7 years and breeding toms for 3-5 years. The Heritage Turkey must also have a genetic ability to withstand the environmental rigors of outdoor production systems.

3. Slow growth rate: A Heritage Turkey must have a slow to moderate rate of growth. Today’s heritage turkeys reach a marketable weight in about 28 weeks, giving the birds time to develop a strong skeletal structure and healthy organs prior to building muscle mass. Crossfit- devotees everywhere would be proud.

And let’s not forget the most important factor – TASTE.  Heritage birds, when brined and properly cooked, are one of the juiciest and tastiest birds I’ve ever had.  Cooked at the appropriate time and temperature – Juicy, Delicious and Crispy is how my birds roll!

Stay tuned each day as we count down my top ten tips, tomorrow: “How to write a Thanksgiving Menu?”

Who Knew – Cleveland Rocks!

We were home from our trip just long enough to do some laundry, put the clothes away, and give Bentley, our boxer, a bath before we were off again.  This time to Cleveland.  Not really a place that you think about when planning a vacation, but this was not a vacation.  My wife Amy is an intellectual property attorney (read: she helps individuals and businesses protect their trademarks and copyrights).  This year, her law firm planned a firm-wide retreat in Cleveland, the firm’s home base.  I have to say, it was a pretty impressive feat — invite all 175 lawyers and support staff, and their significant others, to Cleveland for a big party.  Although the itinerary was pretty booked (it is a convention of lawyers after all) there would be some time for us to explore the city.

I have to admit that I did not know much about Cleveland except that it is where the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is located and there is a bar on South Beach named after people from Cleveland — the Clevelander.  I was curious about the Cleveland food scene, and after some on-line searches and tweeting with some chef friends, I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised.  Armed with my winter coat, winter boots, a flask of rye and some foodie recommendations, we dropped Isabela off at her grandparents, boarded a plane and headed out to hang with the suits.

On a side note, I have to mention that this was the first time letting our little angel out of our sights for more than an hour or so.  We were both a bit of a wreck the entire trip, but the constant texts from Grandma, photos, FaceTime chats and bourbon made the separation a bit more bearable.

I figured Cleveland would be chilly, but I was not ready for the raw, rainy and windy weather that greeted us.  Amy went to college in upstate New York- Go ‘Cuse – and warned me about lake-effect weather (Cleveland is located on the banks of Lake Erie).  However, I did not expect this type of bone chilling cold.  Needless to say, I immediately wanted something to warm me up.  A chef friend suggested The Greenhouse Tavern.  As we were scheduled to attend a reception that night, a big meal was not in the cards.  Instead I just wanted a quick bite.  Realizing that Jonathon Sawyer’s other restaurant, Noodle Cat, was around the corner, a bowl of hot ramen, micro beer and a few pork buns sounded spectacular. Our shared dishes were –

The Butcher’s Bun w/ West Side Market Meats & Yum

BBQ Pulled Pork with Pickled Onions, Slaw & Scallions

Gyoza with Chickpeas and Root Vegetable Dumplings

Drunken Clams with Sapporo, Miso, Butter and Bonito, Takahachi Ramen with Garlic Pork Broth, Roasted Pork, Dashi, 6 Minute Egg

“Roscoe’s” Fried Chicken & Ramen with Butter, Hot Sauce, Maple Syrup                             and Fried Chicken Broth

Yes, I said Fried Chicken Broth! Fucking – Genius! 

We finished our ramen and headed over to the law firm reception. Due to the attorney/client privilege and work product doctrine, I cannot disclose the rest of our evening.  Let’s just say that after a night with 100 plus lawyers, an open bar, conversations about some poor guy’s litigation and inter office drama, the Horseshoe Casino around the corner was calling my name.

The next day, Amy had an early morning seminar. This gave me the chance to sleep in for the first time since the arrival of Isabela.  When she returned around noon, we headed out to explore the city.  We all know the burger king Michael Symon hails from Cleveland and we could not leave without sampling the burger that won best burger at the South Beach Wine and Food Festival for three consecutive years.  Chef Symon’s burger joint B Spot is located inside the Horseshoe Casino *(Bingo).  We found it on the second floor and ordered our lunch.  Amy had the cheeseburger with lettuce tomato, onion, and cheddar cheese.  I tried the “Old School” fried bologna with pickles, mustard and American cheese.  A friend had the “Chick Magnet,” a crispy chicken sandwich with avocado, arugula, tomato and mayo, and another ordered the chili cheese fries with scallions and cheddar.  We all shared some onion rings. One thing I learned was that lawyers are always lawyers and are prepared to argue their point at any given time.  On this particular occasion, the counselor wanted a refill of his fountain soda.  The “plaintiff” said, “no refills were a policy of B-Spot.”  Another 20 minutes later, hands are moving, body language is shaking and the “defendant” came back with an empty cup.  Fast food joint – 1, high paid attorney – 0.

After lunch we headed over to the Rock and Roll hall of fame. Anyone who knows me, knows that music plays a huge part of my life.  I like all types of music but have a particular affinity towards hip hop, classic rock and alternative music.  Seeing memorabilia such as hand written lyrics, stage costumes, vintage merchandise, and even cars driven by rock legends up close and personal gave me chills.  If you are a true music fan you must make a pilgrimage to this music landmark. Stones, Beatles, JayZ, Run DMC, Beasties, Jimi, Bowie, Miles, Coltrane – man you can spend all day in this place.  And don’t miss the Grateful Dead exhibit, it’s well worth the climb.

The finale of our trip was the law firm party at a local Cleveland establishment called Pickwick and Frolic.  I knew chefs could drink but lawyers can definitely give them a run for their money. It must be necessary to forget all of the cases lost at local fast food establishments when asking for a free refills…

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What a long strange trip it’s been …

We have been back in Miami for a little over a week.  In addition to trying to reduce my cholesterol level and triglycerides from our twelve-state food crawl, I have spent my time at home reflecting upon what has been one of the greatest experiences of my life.  If I had to sum up our eighteen-day excursion up and down the East Coast in one word it would be — extraordinary.

As fellow chefs know, this is not a profession where one gets copious amounts of vacation time.  More than a couple of days out of the kitchen is quite a rarity.  In fact, with the exception of my wedding, I can’t remember the last time I took more than one consecutive day off.  The time I do have to myself, usually falls on a Sunday or Monday following a hectic weekend of service.  If I can even motivate myself to get off the couch, these days are often spent attending to the chores that I neglected during my typical 80-hour workweek.

This year, a fortunate turn of events has left me with a bit more time on my hands.  Maybe it is my ever increasing age, or the fact that I am the father of a shiny new baby girl, but my priorities seem to be a changin’.  Rather than spending my time off planning a Vegas vacation or a snowboarding trip to Chile with the boys, all I wanted to do is spend time with my growing family, show Isabela Grace off to family and friends that have not been able to travel to Miami and do some research for my new venture.  And, thus, the plans for our excursion were born.

When I first sat down to write this blog post, my initial thought was to highlight a couple of the best moments of our trip.  Perhaps focus on the yummiest bite or a few special moments with family and friends.  However, when trying to narrow down these “best” moments, I realized that there were so many that I could not cut them down to a mere few.  Consequently, I have decided to summarize highlights of the trip in two categories — “The Most Memorable Dishes” and “The Most Memorable (Non-Food) Moments.”

Most Memorable Dishes

As an initial matter, I have to say that we were fortunate to experience some amazing food on this trip.   Every place we visited seemed to have at least one standout.  This has gotten my creative juices flowing and provided me with great inspiration for what I have in the works.  Magic City look out!  For that I am eternally thankful to the chefs whose food we have had the great fortune of sampling.  Without further adieu, the most memorable dishes of our trip (in no particular order) are as follows:

  • North Pacific Cod in an Asian Inspired Broth Perfumed with GingerThe Inn At Little Washington – This melt in your mouth cod in broth was nothing short of delectable.
  • Pan Seared Duck Breast with Wild Rice Pilaf, Seared Foie Gras and Caramelized Virginia FigsThe Inn At Little Washington – Such amazing flavors, so balanced in textures.
  • Buffalo Pig Ear Lettuce Wraps – Sean Brock’s Husk Restaurant – Charleston, South Carolina – The crispy pig ears and cool, smooth lettuce was such a great combination of textures, I could have made a meal out of them alone.
  • Cheddar Pimento Cheese On Crostinis With Pickled Ramps – Sean Brock’s Husk Restaurant – Charleston, South Carolina – The creamy pimento cheese, a southern favorite, on crispy bread was simply delicious.
  • Shrimp and Grits  – Sean Brock’s Husk Restaurant – Charleston, South Carolina – Hands down, the best shrimp and grits I have ever tasted.
  • Pumpkin PieNoah‘s Nor-Easter Diner – Stonington, Connecticut – A great combination of warmth and spices made this the perfect introduction to fall in New England.
  • Braised Chicken and Mushroom  *(a la Julia Child) – My Mother-In-Law’s Kitchen – Lincoln, Rhode Island – Simple home cooked dish that literally melted in your mouth.
  • Pumpkin Tortellini, Escargot and Tom Ka Gai – Sbraga Restaurant Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – Beautifully prepared thai soup, poured table side with tortellini and garlicky- escargot.
  • Braised Beef Tacos, Avocado and Guajillo – Richard Blaise’s The Spence – Atlanta, Georgia – A unique take on a traditional taco.
  • Buttermilk Corn Hushpuppies with Honey Butter –  The Optimist Fish Camp and Oyster Bar  – Atlanta, Georgia – Crispy, sweet and covered with powdered sugar. These little balls of heaven were perfectly seasoned and cooked.  Loved them!
  • Fried Pork Chop With Red Pepper JellyEarly Bird Diner – Charleston, South Carolina – The sheer size of this portion is memorable in and of it self.
  • Fried Clam Roll, Kimchi Vinegar, House Pickles  – The Optimist Fish Camp and Oyster Bar – Atlanta, Georgia – Crispy with just the right amount of kick from the peppers made this roll delectable.
  • Himachi and Avocado - Tom Collichio’s Riverpark – NYC – So fresh, beautifully prepared and accompanied with avocado and squid ink.  A great welcoming of what New York dining is known for.
  • Steak and CheeseJim’s Steak – Philadelphia – The oozy, gooey cheese wiz and steak defined this Philly classic.

Most Memorable Moments

Although food played an important part of our trip, it was not the sole focus.  Amy and I bonding with Isabela and introducing her to family and friends and taking in sights that neither of us have experienced before was top-priority.  We were again fortunate to have had many, many special moments.  Some of these are described below.

  • Giants Game in Giants Stadium - This was easily one of the best days of the trip. I finally fulfilled my lifelong dream of attending a Giants game in Giants Stadium.  And the fact the Giants killed it that day was the cherry on top!
  • Heirloom Bookstore – Charlestown, South Carolina – Spending a couple of hours browsing the shelves of this vintage cookbook store and taking my time to flip through some of the stores wares made my day in Charleston.
  • Grandparents - The look on my grandmothers face the first time she met and held Isablea – Priceless!
  • Hanging Out In The Kitchen @ The Inn At Little Washington – Having the opportunity to tour the kitchen, speak with Chef Steven Lyons and watch the preparation of some of the best food in the country is something that I will cherish for a long time.
  • The Rolling Hills Of Virginia – Such a beautiful and different landscape from South Florida.  Leaf peeping was in full effect.
  •  The Ferry Ride From Orient Point to New London – Memorable only for the fact that I now know that I hate ferry rides.
  • Stonington, Connecticut – Spending time in this  quintessential sea-side New England town let us know that we had arrived smack in the middle of the fall season.
  • Isabela and Sophia – Watching family sit on the floor, all eyes and attention on Isabela and her cousin Sophia, defined what this trip was all about — Spending time and making memories that will last a lifetime.

Although this trip was an amazing experience, we are happy to be back home in Miami, if it is only for a couple of days until we are off again. This time to Cleveland … stay tuned.

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