Showing posts with label foodie. Show all posts
Showing posts with label foodie. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Not so #WordlessWednesday - What are the signs of Spring in New York City? The Ice Cream Truck and the @NYBG Orchid Show! Sponsored by @Citi and supported by @stb_sg #plantlove

I was beginning to think the Groundhog lied and that Spring would never visit New York City, I mean we recently had SNOW!

This year is my 10 year blogaversary and my birthday is coming up in April - I am so revved up for Spring and warmer weather!

Signs of Spring are finally beginning to show here in New York City. Two solid signs of Spring in my neck of the woods are the sounds of the ice cream truck and the annual Orchid Show at New York Botanical Garden.

It's a show I try hard not to miss and this year the theme is "Singapore". This is the 17th year of The New York Botanical Garden's popular orchid exhibition. It was developed in partnership with Gardens by the Bay and Singapore Botanic Gardens. Supported by the Singapore Tourism Board.

Since I am so lucky to have The New York Botanical Gardens so close to where I live, it was much like taking a trip to Singapore without the expensive airplane tickets!

Let me take you through the highlights of the Media/Press Preview Day:

Empanaology, Empanadas, Empanada, Food, Foodie
Above: Members of the Press were greeted with the most delicious Breakfast Empanadas from Empanology. I love Breakfast and I love Empanadas, this combo is definitely working for me! This nod to Puerto Rican Culture right here in the Boogie Down Bronx couldn't have made me more proud.

Empanaology, Enid Haupt Conservatory, The New York Botanical Gardens, Food, Foodie
Above: Couldn't resist nabbing this earthy logo shot - All meat and poultry used is sourced through local farmers raising hormone and antibiotic-free animals, serving locally-sourced product and pasture-raised dairy. The New York Botanical Garden has been inviting so many interesting food vendors to their events and I am so glad that they put Empanology on my radar, I definitely have to visit them at their 2407 Third Avenue Bronx, NY location soon! 

Empanaology, Enid Haupt Conservatory, The New York Botanical Gardens, Food, Foodie
Above: Yes, I took TWO! (In all fairness, it was one of each variety, I had to try them both out of course, it's my job as press!) They both taste as good as they look too! YUMMY! It definitely reminded me of the empanadas we would buy before hitting the beaches in Puerto Rico. This media day literally took me to two places - Puerto Rico with these empanadas and Singapore with the amazing exhibit. This is totally activating my wanderlust!

The Uptown Vegan, Enid Haupt Conservatory, The New York Botanical Gardens, Food, Foodie, Sweets,Treats
Above: The Uptown Vegan was also on deck with sweets and treats and I am a bit pleased with how this shot captures the signage against the snowy ground with the Enid Haupt Conservatory in the background! I am also experimenting with my watermark (can you see it?)

Supertree of Gardens by the Bay Singapore Replica, Enid Haupt Conservatory, The New York Botanical Gardens, Orchid, Orchids, Flowers
Above: The iconic Supertrees of Gardens by the Bay recreated at The New York Botanical Gardens, you know Ascending Butterfly is always looking up, instead of a boring shot from faraway just so you can see how tall it is, I wanted to shoot it from a lower perspective looking up.

Replication of The Famed Arches of Singapore Botanic Gardens, National Orchid Garden, Enid Haupt Conservatory, The New York Botanical Gardens, Orchid, Orchids, Flowers
Above: The Famed Arches of Singapore Botanic Gardens' National Orchid Garden are replicated to perfection in the Enid Haupt Conservatory of The New York Botanical Gardens

Vanda Awkwafina hybrid Orchid, Enid Haupt Conservatory, The New York Botanical Gardens, Orchid, Orchids, Flowers
Above: At the Media preview we got to meet 'Awkwafina' -Vanda Awkwafina that is! A Vanda hybrid of Susan Best x Crownfox Black Forest.

"We think Awkwafina is the perfect choice because of her accomplishments in music and film as well as her prominence as a native New Yorker." ~ Marc Hachadourian, NYBG's Director of Glasshouse Horticulture and Senior Curator of Orchids

I want a flower named after me too! Come on, wouldn't an Ascending Butterfly Flower be perfect for The New York Botanical Garden?

Enid Haupt Conservatory, The New York Botanical Gardens, Orchid, Orchids, Flowers
Above: I wish my template allowed this one to be bigger, please press this photo to see it full size, the details here and drops of dew falling off the flowers and frozen in time makes this one of my favorite flower photos captured by me! And this is a compressed version of it because my blog template doesn't allow me to post RAW photo files, in RAW format this is even more stunning.

Enid Haupt Conservatory, The New York Botanical Gardens, Orchid, Orchids, Flowers
Above: Look a rare butterfly sighting! LOL You guys know I am much more comfortable behind the camera and way less comfortable in front of it, but with a backdrop like this I literally couldn't resist. (Just sad the photographer didn't nab a full length and get my cute new boots!) Spot my logo watermark?


The show runs from February 23rd through April 28, 2019 and is part of NYBG's year-long theme #plantlove featuring exhibitions, programs, and projects exploring the essential connections between plants, people and the environment.

It had actually recently snowed so my plans to wear a cute spring dress were dashed by the need to keep warm - hopefully I can hit one of the Orchid Evenings when the weather gets better and get a more dressy shot of myself with the orchids as a backdrop to all my fabulosity! :)

And no, I haven't forgotten about you butterflies. I am working on a very epic project still in stealth mode which is why this post isn't accompanied by my usual Orchid Evenings tickets giveaway, stay tuned I hope to be able to offer a giveaway before the end of this amazing exhibition, I just need some time to come up for air on what I am working on right now. Which is why I wanted to get this post up so you would add the show to your list of fun spring things to do in the city!

I take inspired photos from this show every year, and it gives me the chance to practice my photography which got re-ignited after the devastating fire I suffered last year where I lost the majority of my photos! I have to start my Photo Memories all over again, now with a much greater perspective on exactly how valuable my visual memories really are.

I took 162 photos in total, editing all that and optimizing them for my template will take awhile, so you will definitely see more floral wordless wednesdays and I will try to get as many as possible on our Instagram Feed too! If you look on my Instagram, there is a very zen video of the Three Graces Fountain inside of the Enid Haupt Conservatory at The New York Botanical Garden HERE!

Now I need to follow this with a trip to both Puerto Rico and Singapore - Tourism Boards are you reading this? :)

READERS: What are the signs of spring where you are?

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FTC Disclosure: This is NOT a compensated post, is an event recap, and all opinions are 100% my own!  The love however is genuine! I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission 16 CFR, Part 255 - Guides Concerning the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising, you may check our Giveaway and Disclosure Page for additional information regarding Ascending Butterfly Disclosure.

Friday, May 25, 2018

A #FoodieFriday from @brasserie812 with @fmg_nyc + @WinesofCroatia #Wine! Because it is #NationalWineDay


Today is National Wine Day!

Happy National Wine Day Butterflies! Hope you have some fun plans for Memorial Day Weekend!

Does your Memorial Day Weekend include Wine and Good Times?

Grab an Ice Bucket and start chilling your wine!

I meant to serve this up for #WineWednesday on the interwebs (and will admit this recap is LONG overdue) but I am glad it worked out for both #FoodieFriday and #NationalWine Day as it includes a nice mix of BOTH.

When my friends at FMGNYC PR invite me to an event I make every effort to attend, and considering I haven't been attending nearly a quarter of the amount of events I have been invited to this year that is saying A LOT.

My wine posts have tended to be heavier on international wines - what can I say, I am well heeled and so is my choice in wines. I like events that expose me to something different and this dinner held by the Croatian Chamber of Commerce at Midtown’s Brasserie 8 ½ gave me a taste of what the Croatian wine region has to offer.

Above: Menu + Place Card - look my name is spelled correctly! It never fails that I attend an event and the place card botches my FIRST name by sticking an 'E' where it does NOT belong. So I am always happy for a place card with my name spelled right. We are off to a great start. CHEERS to this!

Above: I was seated at Table 5 and nabbed a shot before the rest of the guests hit the table.

The Menu:

Appetizer: Grilled Jumbo Shrimp Salad with Couscous Citrus Vinaigrette, Peppercress Lettuce

Entree: Filet Mignon Au Poivre - Chive Whipped Bintjee Potatoes, Haricots Verts, Black Truffle Sauce


Roasted Rack of Lamb - Potato Dauphine, Haricorts Verts, Au Jus

Dessert: Warm Pear Financier - Maple Ice Cream

AboveAppetizer: Grilled Jumbo Shrimp Salad with Couscous Citrus Vinaigrette, Peppercress Lettuce - the touch of Citrus gave these Jumbo Shrimp the perfect hint of summer loving and would be perfect for your memorial day entertaining this weekend.

Above: I chose the Filet Mignon Au Poivre with Chive Whipped Bintjee Potatoes, Haricots Verts, and Black Truffle Sauce! It was so GOOD!!! There was no one close enough for me to nab a shot of the rack of lamb but it looked great also.

Dessert: Warm Pear Financier - Maple Ice Cream - This was such a well balanced dessert!

This white wine fom the Slavonia region, the Vezak Graševina was a great example of Croatia’s principal grape variety, the Graševina. The color of this dry white is similar to the colors of the golden fields characteristic of  Croatian valleys. It offers a flowery aroma mixed with a fruity bouquet and a slight mineral aftertaste. This wine will compliment seafood or a white meats.

AboveThis dry robust  red wine, Ivan Dolac Barrique, was named for the aforementioned French barrel it matures in and hails from Hvar. It offers a berry and slightly  floral aroma. It is quite smooth, easy on the palette and  compliments any roast game or grilled fish.

Above: The award-winning Plavac, the Zlatan Plavac Grand Cru is made from grapes that are organically grown in the picturesque slopes of the island of Hvar.  From 35 to 50-year-old vines! The wine is then aged in French barrique barrels for two years and 6-12 months in the bottle. It is a dry red with hints of leather, pepper, chocolate, and prunes. This earthy wine is best paired with steaks and lobsters and as you can see there is a bottle size to suit pretty much any size party!

Above: The final Croatian wine was the Kabola Muškat Momjanski. It perfectly complimented the warm pear and maple ice cream dessert. A refreshing and medium-bodied white with notes of peaches, rose, and honey with a slight mineral quality. This white had a slight lingering taste that I normally associate with red wines. Definitely a great summer white to enjoy during memorial day weekend.

Above: Sorry to bounce you around so much from whites to reds, but I actually saved the one I loved most for last on purpose. The Erdutski Rosé is made from the Pinot Black grapes of the Slavonia region and has a warm blush pink color. This is literally THE MOST  BALANCED Rosé I have tasted in a LONG time. There were some folks at my table who do not like Rosé and tried this one at my urging and asked for another glass. It is perfect - not sweet or overly dry - the balance on this Rosé makes it one I will be reaching for year round, but it is definitely perfect for these upcoming summer nights and this long memorial day weekend. This one is my stand out from the tasting for sure.

Above: Monika Elling, FMGNYC Public Relations

Above: And guess who I spotted at Table 4? (Former) Governor George Pataki, NYC! (Seated Center)


The selection of wines was quite impressive and the pairings were excellent, this is a wine tasting I definitely want to recreate for friends and family and hope it inspires you too. I say a visit to Croatia is next on my list as well.

Readers: What are your plans for Memorial Day? What wines are you drinking this weekend and where are you travelling to?

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FTC Disclosure: No monetary compensation has been received, this was a media tasting, and all opinions are 100% my own!  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission 16 CFR, Part 255 - Guides Concerning the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising, you may check our Giveaway and Disclosure Page for additional information regarding Ascending Butterfly Disclosure.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

{#WineWednesday} @euwinetreasures Bulgarian #Wine Tasting and luncheon @huntandfishnyc with Sommelier @Marika_Vida

The National Wine & Vine Chamber Degustation for European Wines and Luncheon at Hunt and Fish Club with Sommelier Marika Vida Arnold in New York City

As a New Yorker and journalist who has served as a Media Partner to quite a few New York City based Wine Festivals, I definitely have had the chance to attend some stellar Wine Tastings, but I have to say this one was pretty fantastic and I knew it would make for a perfect Wine Wednesday.

One thing I have greatly enjoyed about the tastings I have experienced is the chance to try international wines and expand my palate beyond 'Napa'.

Let me take you through this experience:


Above: Chandelier, Hunt and Fish Club, NYC

I must admit I am no stranger to The Hunt and Fish Club in New York City, they host very upscale events!


Bulgarian Wine has such a rich and deep history, one I wasn't very familiar with, and much like a sponge I was fascinated and wanted to 'soak it all in', ok, so no pun intended!


Above: Bulgaria is actually one of the oldest wine producing countries whose prominence rose and fell with each ruling class and whose Golden Age was during the 12th Century. In the 80's Bulgaria was the second largest wine producing country!

Above: Principal Regional Highlights: Bulgaria's Five Major Regions for Wine Production include: Danube River Plains, Black Sea Costal, Sofia, The Valley of the Roses/Thracian Valley and Struma Valley

Above: Cabernet Sauvignon Special Reserve Vintage: 2010

Vinal AD, Lovech is a modern winery located in one of the oldest Bulgarian cities

Classic 10-month aging in French and American oak barrels and subsequent aging in a bottle.

Notes on taste: Cabernet Sauvignon Special Reserve has a rich granite color, an intense flavor with a well-formed bouquet and preserved fruitiness, hints of blackberry and minerals. The taste is soft, harmonious, well-structured and balanced.

Food pairings: Fat meats, dishes with a lot of spices, heavy cheeses.

Awards: Silver medal from Vinaria 2011, 2013, Plovdiv, Bulgaria; Gold medal from Vinalies Internationales 2014 – Paris FR

Above: ELENOVO Mavrud, Vintage: 2013

Grapes: 100% Mavrud.

Colour: Intense red colour with brownish hues.

Aroma: Attractive nose, rich in ripe cherries, with hints of mushrooms, dry leaves, walnuts and smoke.

Taste: The body is full and supple, rich in soft tannins. Excellent structure and complexity, long and memorable finish.

Ageing: 18 months in 225 l French oak barriques

Serving suggestion: Pizza, pasta, red meat casseroles, steaks (underdone). In order to fully enjoy this product, it is recommended to open the bottle in advance or to decant it.

Best serving temperature:
18° - 20° C.

Above: EM Brut "Edoardo Miroglio" Series

GRAPES: Pinot Noir and Chardonnay

COLOUR: Light and clear, with greenish and golden nuances

AROMA: Delicate nose of fresh white mulberries and incense.

TASTE: Fresh, dry, mouth-filling, with a tickling sensation, soft and inviting. Honey, bread crust, and raisin flavors, complemented by incense and mastic nuances.

Minimum 18 months on the lees.

To be served as an aperitif, with fish dishes, white and yellow cheeses

You know this butterfly loves her Champagne, Sparkling Wines, Bruts and all thing 'bubbly'.

Above: Merlot Special Reserve Produced from high quality grapes grown in vineyards in the Lovech Region

Grape variety: 100% Merlot

Vintage: 2010

Production: The wine was produced by a classic technology and matured for 8 months in French oak barrels with subsequent aging in a bottle.   6) Notes on taste: Merlot Special Reserve2010 captivates with its rich, well preserved, deep purple color. The flavor is a powerful multilayer bouquet of pleasantly interwoven nuances of ripe plum, forest fruit and discrete vanilla, unique for this region. The taste is thick, voluminous and warm.

Food pairings: Grilled or broiled dark meats, game, lasagna with meat or   type of pasta roasted with cheese and mushrooms.

Awards:Gold medal at Vinaria 2013, Plovdiv, Bulgaria;Diploma from Wine Challenge 2011

Above: Pixels Sauvignon Blanc, Dry white wine, 100 % Sauvignon Blanc

VINTAGE: 2016 REGION: Thracian Valley, Bulgaria

Vineyards:  Vineyards, where grapes are grown, are located in the heart of the Thracian region – Naiden Gerovo village. This region is characterized with fertile black cotton soil. The climate is transitional-continental with long spells of sunshine and more than 102 sunny days throughout the year and with a mild warm Autumn, which results in uniform ripening of the grapes with excellent ratio of sugars and acids. The average annual air temperature is 12 С° and the average annual rainfall is 539 mm

Tasting notes: Bright color with green hints. Delicate nose with hints of green apple and ripe citrus fruit. The acidity is medium high and has roundness and fruit. It will pair perfectly with shrimps or white cheese.


Vintage: 2016

Alcohol: 14.5%

I can see why this one has won so many awards!

Tasting Notes: Wine with sparkling, deep, ruby-red color. Complex brand aroma, which reminds of a ripe wild blackberry, sweet dark cherry, and fresh forest fruits. In taste it is a juicy, fruity, mature with pleasant unostentatious freshness, soft tannins and long elegant aftertaste.

Above: Villa Yambol Reserve

Vintage: 2013

Alcohol: 13.5%

Taste: This wine carries the spicy nature of Cabernet in a rustic, but delicate body texture. Our advice: aerate before consumption.

Aroma: A fascinating blend of red berries, cherries and oak overtones with hints of vanilla, clove, smoke taint and spices.

Origin: Thracian Plain

The Eats and Tasting:

Above: The Hunt and Fish Club put together quite a menu!

Above: You guys know I love my 'pour shots'

Above: We had a choice of Appetizers and I chose the Jumbo Lump Crab Cake, that slaw and the sauce were delish by the way! (I wasn't fast enough to nab a shot of the salad that was the alternate appetizer/starter)

Above: We had choice of Entrée and I chose seafood (Artic Char) yet again! I am always team seafood.

Above: The other option was Filet Mignon! Talk about difficult decisions! (both were DELICIOUS) I didn't get a photo of the Roasted Cauliflower Steak

Above: Another Pour Shot! Would a wine blogger consider this 'the money shot' or is that just a tad 'too cheeky'? :-)

Above: Deep Chocolate Cake with Espresso Buttercream and Chocolate Ganache. Needless to say this was my choice and it tasted every bit as decadent and delightful as it looks!

Above: Carrot Cake with Candied Walnuts, Caramel Rum and Bayou Rum Ice Cream (I was lucky enough to have a blogging buddy sitting next to me who let me photograph her Filet Mignon and taste it! and I photographed her Carrot Cake although I didn't taste it, I'm taking her word for how delish it was because at this point I was STUFFED!)

Above: Ivaylo Shotev, BWC Imports.

Totally Funny Sidebar: I was not fast enough to nab shots of "The Sides" which were: Truffle Tater Tos, Grilled Asparagus and Roasted Root Vegetables - ALL were insanely delicious by the way.

Above: I spot cute Swag Bags/Wine Totes!


Some standouts I thought I should share:

- Marika Vida Arnold, wine director of The Ritz-Carlton New York was our Sommelier and emcee, sadly my direct photos of her did not come out clearly, but she is seated in one of the photos above and I have linked you to her web page. She did a phenomenal job of sharing her knowledge of the wines and best pairings, I hope to attend more events with her, I feel like I learned way more in this tasting than many conferences/tradeshows I have attended. And kudos to the PR team FMG NYC for keeping this event so intimate and inviting such a diverse and fun guest list!

- Alcohol Content on these are a bit higher than I am used to in wine, so they definitely pack a punch, in a GOOD way

- I LOVED the reds! That's notable because I usually go for sparkling first, then white wines, with the REDS in most tastings coming in dead last. This time it's the opposite, the MAVRUDS were simply outstanding, memorable and notable and you will definitely impress your guests without breaking your budget.

- The price points are super budget friendly without tasting like they are budget friendly!

- Hunt and Fish Club is always consistent, I haven't had a meal there I didn't like and the service is always impeccable. It's warm, never aloof, fancy but without being stuffy.

This was an amazing introduction to Bulgarian Wine and I am looking forward to learning more about Bulgarian Wines and hopefully visiting some of these amazing wineries for myself someday.

Readers Sound Off: How/Where do you learn about International Wines? Do you have a favorite Wine Region?

NOTE: Don't forget to enter to win a pair of passes to #CHIHULYNIGHTS - The Dale Chihuly Exhibition at New York Botanical Garden Here

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FTC DisclosureThis is NOT a compensated post, press access was granted for Editorial Consideration. All thoughts and opinions are my own.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission 16 CFR Part 255  Guides Concerning the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising see our  Disclosure Page for additional information.

Things that lure Ascending Butterfly out of her butterfly cocoon of fabulosity: Electronics/Technology (yes I am a Gadget Geek first!), Fashion, Jewelry, Bubbly/Spirits, Foodie/Restaurants, Photography and Travel. And remember Ascending Butterfly does NOT have children, please do not pitch her toys (at least not those that are intended for children).

Unless it's charity related, If a campaign doesn't pay, this butterfly won't want to play.

Smile if you got this far, twirl around twice and sing Mariah Carey's Butterfly. Still here? Now go make someone happy today.