Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Butter Ice

So pretty much what we've been doing since we got home last Wednesday is making gelato (well, plus a little sunbathing and tv-watching here and there). Our fourth batch (hazelnut) is steeping for one hour right now, so we thought we'd use that time to update you on what has been going on.

We decided to start off with a basic gelato recipe: gelato di crema. The only ingredients were egg yolks, milk, sugar, and a pinch of salt. Not very hard to mess up, right? Well, we mangaged to anyway. Our main problem was the ice cream maker. It wasn't quite frozen enough, but we were impatient so we poured in the base anyway. We checked it periodically for the next hour, when we finally realized that nothing much was happening and decided to just put it in the freezer. Louisa stirred it a couple of times before she went to bed and when she got up in the morning, and it finally froze, but it wasn't exactly gelato. Instead, it was very icy and very, very yellow. It had a good taste (though sometimes we thought we were eating butter ice) but the texture was just not right at all. So since then we have been trying many other recipes--and ice cream machines (Thank you to everyone who has lent us one!).

So far we have been pretty successful with our chocolate and peach flavors. They aren't perfect, but we've realized that nothing we make is ever going to be. In any case, you can try what we've made at our presentation on Friday (sorry to tempt everyone who can't come).

We've also made a trip to Staples to get materials for our book. There, we found out that in order to buy single sheets of color paper (instead of packs of 100 or more), you have to pretend you are making copies with them and then fill out a self-serve copy slip. So we made seventeen blank copies!

Next up (well, once this hazelnut is finished): straciatella!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Two blocks over, two blocks down

Today we had a lot to accomplish, considering we leave tomorrow. We decided to go to the Italian-American museum this morning, so we took the subway to 42nd St. and eventually found it, on the 17th floor of some building. We saw the first exihibit, but we couldn't go any farther because no one was there. We then headed back to the subway to go downtown for gelato.

After gelato, we trekked around town taking pictures of gelaterias that we hadn't gotten good ones of. We took a break in a park (though unfortunately we couldn't sit on the grass because it was being reseeded) and then decided to take the subway to 8th St. to find Louisa a cardigan she had been looking for. On the map we saw that the station we needed was two blocks over, and two blocks down. We sat for a while longer, watching the grass being mowed, while we repeated to ourselves "two blocks over, two blocks down." We finally got up to go and made our way over to the subway. When we got out at 14th St., Cecilia asked, "Wait! Why are we at 8th St.? I've forgotten." Louisa had to remind her about the cardigan.

After that business was taken care of, we started walking around the neighborhood, trying to find a Jamba Juice (which we are now obsessed with). We had seen a man walking towards us carrying one, so we went in the direction he was coming from. After a few minutes, we came to a sign that read "3rd St." "Wait, how are we at 3rd St. if we were at 8th St. and we are walking uptown?" Louisa asked. We kept walking anyway. Later, after several more blocks, we came to Bleecker St. still Jamba Juice-less and decided to take the subway back up to 42nd St., where we knew there was one. We checked the map and decided to walk to the Bleecker St. station, which we thought would be to our right. After about 10 minutes of walking, we finally realized we were going the wrong direction. We really had been walking downtown. Don't worry, we usually have an impeccable sense of direction.

At one point we were walking down the sidewalk when a woman came up to us and asked us for directions. We pulled out our handy map and showed her the way, but right as she was walking away a man came up to us to ask us directions. We had to pull out the map again. We must look like real New York-ers now.

We came back for our last dinner in the apartment and then started packing. We'll be on a 10:00 bus tomorrow! We've really enjoyed being in New York and would like to thank everyone who helped us while we were here! Though we won't be updating every day from now on (our life in Maine is a lot more boring than our New York life), we'll write every now and then to let you know how the rest of our project is going.

Monday, May 21, 2007


This whole weekend, including today, we stuffed ourselves with food. It all started with a food festival, covering all of 9th Ave. from 57th St. to 37th St., that Cecilia's friend Natalie invited us to. It was the true Mecca of food, and completely overwhelming. We managed to each find something to eat, and we sat in a park for a little while to chat with Natalie and digest our food. We decided we'd need to come back the next day because there were so many things that we were just too full to eat.

That night, we decided to go out. We arrived at the movie theater only to find that the movie we wanted to see was sold out, and while we were deciding what to do that next showing also sold out. We decided to see the later showing of our second choice, a film called Paris, je t'aime that we knew nothing about. It didn't start for another hour, though, so we hung out at Whole Foods until then. The movie was actually a compilation of short films that all took place in Paris and were named after different neighborhoods. Though a couple of them were quite bizarre, most were very good and we enjoyed the film.

Sunday we went back to the food festival to get crepes, and then came back to the East Side to go to the Met, where we spent a couple of hours. We then trekked downtown to visit a gelateria (at Mario Batali's restaurant) and then came back to the apartment for dinner. We wanted to order in takeout at least once while we were here, and we struggled for a while choosing what kind of food to eat. Cuban and Burmese were our two final choices, and we decided to go with Burmese, which turned out to be an excellent decision. After dinner we talked late into the night with the Austrian couple staying at the apartment, and they invited us to Valentin's exhibition the next day.

Today we went to a restaurant owned by family friends of the Nardis, and since we ate a baked potato ice cream dessert, we decided that we would save the gelato till tomorrow. We then headed over to the exhibition, where Valerie and Valentin showed us around. Valentin's designs were wonderful, as were many of the other pieces in the exhibition. We spent a long time walking around the convention center looking at everything.

Other friends of the Nardis had invited us over for a pizza dinner tonight, so after dinner we took the subway to their house and enjoyed a nice meal. Tomorrow we plan to go to our last gelateria and pack for our departure on Wednesday!

Friday, May 18, 2007

The Key to a Successful Day

Today was quite an exciting day. We woke up to see that it was grey and rainy and decided to make it a lazy morning. We caught up on our reviewing and planned for the next few days, and then we decided that it was time to do some laundry. With our pockets stuffed with quarters we set off for the basement to examine the washer/dryer situation. While waiting for the elevator we saw Rick and his wife Anne coming out of the apartment for a say on the down, and we saw that they had locked the door behind them. Realizing that we didn't bring the keys, we asked them to leave the door open for when we returned in a few minutes, and they gladly did so. On the way down, they told us that if we ever were locked out, Gil down the hall had copies of the keys.

It wasn't until we were almost in the basement that we realized that we didn't have any detergent. We took the elevator back up to the fifth floor and Cecilia ran into the apartment to find some. Finally in the basement, we chose one of the empty washing machines and put our dirty clothes in.

Only a couple of minutes later, we were back up at the fifth floor. Only now, the door was inexplicably locked. Well, not inexplicably, someone must have locked it, but it was very surprising. We stood dumbfounded outside the door for a few minutes, frantically knocking and ringing the bell, before we decided that we would have to go find Gil (and thank goodness Rick and Anne had told us about him!). However, we didn't even know which apartment he was in. We realized that the only solution would be to go look at the board with everyone's name on it down in the lobby. Louisa stood safely on the other side of the lobby door while Cecilia ran out to check. He was in 5F.

We knocked on the door of 5F. A woman's voice called out, "Who is it?" We told her that we were friends of the Pughs and that we had been locked out, but she couldn't really hear us from the other side of the door and almost sent away. We persisted because we could hear Gil's voice in the background asking who it was. Finally she let us in and we found the keys. We ran back excitedly to 5A and tried to open the door. We tried the first lock, but nothing happened. Then the one above it, but the door still would not open. So we tried the first one again. This time, however, the key got stuck. We stood bewildered for a few seconds before we decided to unhook the other key from the loop and try the upper lock again. Finally we were able to open the door, to our great relief. Cecilia ran the keys back to Gil while Louisa again stood safely on the other side of the door.

It wasn't until much later, after lunch, that we remembered about our clothes. We again journeyed down the basement, only to find all of the washers filled--but none with our clothes. After a moment of panic, we found them piled on a folding chair in the corner. Unfortunately, all of the dryers were filled as well, so we had to come down later to dry them.

Then it was finally time for the day's gelato. We had been hearing all about a new gelateria on the West Side, and we had decided that today was the day to finally check it out. It was definitely worthy of the reviews it has been given.

We decided to walk up Broadway to 96th St. where we could take a crosstown bus, but we hadn't made it that far before we ran into potential prom dress stores. After trying on several, Cecilia miraculously found one that she liked! Both she and Louisa were very happy to finally be done with that.

Thursday, May 17, 2007


First of all, we would like to clarify a few things. We did not buy either of the dresses pictured, nor did we ever even consider buying them. We repeat, WE DID NOT BUY THE DRESSES IN THE LAST POST. Also, by no means is this blog a complete recording of our daily activities. We thought that it would not interest you to read every detail of the work we do, and we want to save all the juicy gelato secrets for the presentation. We may play hard, but we also work hard. It's like college.

Today we decided to share our love of gelato with two of Louisa's friends, who live in and around the city. We met Rachel and Skye at Grand Central Station, walked around the area for a little while, and then went out to lunch. We had saved what is generally known as the best gelato in the city for them, so after we ate we headed down to Il Laboratorio del Gelato. However, Cecilia AGAIN had problems with her Metrocard (this is starting to get annoying) and had to go ask the MTA officer what to do. She told her to just go through the service gate. Maybe we should have only bought one card and done that from the beginning! We then waited at least twenty minutes for a subway, after accidentally trying to get on the F train to Queens (AGAIN... what is this obsession with the F train to Queens?).

Il Laboratorio del Gelato certainly lived up to its reputation, though you'll have to wait for June 1st to get the whole scoop (no pun intended). Just know that there were some interesting flavors and large portions.

Afterwards, another grueling afternoon of prom dress shopping. This time Louisa devoted all her time and energy to helping Cecilia, who was desperate. This time we tackled Bloomingdales, as well as several other stores, but once again yielded no results. We then headed back uptown to have dinner at the apartment. Rick made several delicious Malaysian dishes in honor of his wife Anne's birthday and the Pughs' return to New York City. Roger and Anne's sister Besty also was present, as were an Austrian couple staying at the apartment, Valerie and Valentin. To say the least, it's a full house tonight. The Malaysian food was followed but some decadent chocolate cake and fruit sorbets. It was a night of delicious food and great conversation.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

When It Rains, It Pours

Today started out the same way that yesterday did. Again we boiled eggs and made egg salad (no more peanut butter and jelly for us). Today, however, we went straight to Macy's afterwards to search for prom dresses--we can't afford to do any more sunbathing. Once inside, we promised ourselves not to get discouraged, though there are ten floors. It's the biggest store in the world. But we knew we could take it on.

We soon found the wooden escalators that Macy's is famous for (not really, but we thought we could make you believe that). At every floor we went to, we made a plan. We would circle around and meet back up at the dressing rooms to try on what we had found. Unfortunately for Cecilia, she didn't find anything she liked. She even broke down when we were in the bathing suit section because the selection was just so vast. She later tripped over the bottom of a rack and had the whole staff of Macy's coming to her rescue. Louisa, however, went on a tear through Macy's and Daffy's, which we went into next. She ended up buying two (TWO!) dresses today, which is quite an accomplishment for someone who is usually a very bad shopper. Two of the many dresses we tried on are pictured below. (Cecilia would have bought the green one but the zipper was broken.)

We exited the elevator at Daffy's and saw through the doors that it looked dark outside. Cecilia tried to convince Louisa that they were just tinted, but when they walked through it was clear that it was actually raining. The wind was very fierce and things were being blown all around. We were the only ones on the sidewalk who weren't running, holding things over their heads, or frantically trying to call a cab. We casually walked down the sidewalk to the subway, which we took WAY downtown to a gelateria.

This gelateria had a small but lovely array of flavors, and we chose pear, which was amazing. We then sat down to wait out the rain. The subway ride home we spent thinking about the Ramen with last night's leftover chicken that we were going to make for dinner, and it definitely lived up to the excpectations. It was the perfect meal for a rainy evening.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

T = G

Tonight the blogging has been a difficult task. Louisa spent maybe ten minutes typing JARGON, but without further ado here is tonight's official post.
She wishes.
(She spent a long time on that, ok.)
On this warm day we once again found ourselves at Central Park enjoying a picnic lunch.
(That won't be happening again tomorrow. We're not friends anymore, ever since Cecilia deleted Louisa's crytoquip.)
After we had spent ample time under the sun, we decided to head uptown to 92nd Street to Ciao Bella Gelateria. At first we didn't think we would find it since we had the address written down as 92nd and 5th, and we hadn't seen it though we walk that block every day.
(Tcoqbl pw vcqoon tlle.)
Once we had waited in line for our gelato we finally reached...
(OK we just made up and Louisa will go back to helping writing the blog posts since Cecilia has writer's block. Wcvfcw ycv vptyb.)

OK. We happened to go to Ciao Bella just as the neighborhood schools were getting out, and it was packed inside. We finally were able to enjoy our gelato in peace when all of the children left, and we spent a while at our table deciding what to do next. We decided to start tackling the prom-dress shopping, since that could take a week and that's all we have left.

With Free and Dirt Cheap in New York as our guide (after all, that is what led to our amazing time on TRL), we decided to head downtown to 34th St. (Miracle on 34th St., anyone?) We were pretty sure that finding prom dresses would require a miracle.

We took two steps into the Manhattan Mall and were immediately overwhelmed. There were glass elevators. Who knew? There were more clothes in the space of one city block than either of us had seen in our entire lives. We walked around a bit, got lost, and walked right back out without trying anything on. We decided to try again tomorrow.

Today was filled with protein. We made egg salad sandwiches for lunch and for dinner we decided to get some chicken (!!!!). We are stepping it up a notch; no pasta AT ALL today. Our chicken caesar salads were delicious and meaty.

P.S. Whoever figures out the crytoquip gets 10 points. Leave the answer in a comment. Or comment anyway, since it will get you 5 points.