The Simplest Soup: Homemade Ramen!

by & filed under Portraiture.

Colder weather calls for warmer foods but many soups can take hours to create and sometimes families need food in a hurry. The answer? homemade ramen. While this may sound complicated it’s really not- store-bought broth doctored with whatever ingredients appeal and filled with leftover bits from the fridge and a scoop of noodles or pasta make for a hearty dinner that pleases a crowd. Create a “ramen bar”and let the family compose their own bowls!

Pro tip: arrange ingredients in bowl then heat soup and pour over to gently heat everything in your bowl.

Here’s the formula for composing your ramen bowl- choose one or more from each section:

Soup base: Chicken, Beef , Turkey, Vegetable or Miso Broth figure 12 ounces of broth per person. Stores (Whole Foods, Aldi, etc) also sell bone broth which is perfect for this!

Broth seasonings (to taste): ginger, garlic, soy sauce, chili flakes, 5 spice powder (cook the seasonings a bit in the broth to develop the flavor- add slowly- you can always add more

Protein: Leftover chicken, beef, shrimp or tofu- even shredded smoky ham or bits of cooked bacon, even a hard boiled egg are terrific here

Veggies: Shredded carrot, sliced spinach or baby kale (raw), sliced mushrooms (you can put these in raw or sautee them a little) scallions, shredded carrot or chunks of cooked squash or sweet potato

Noodles: Fresh ramen noodles are available in speciality grocery stores or in a pinch you can buy the ramen packages available everywhere and use the noodles but omit the seasoning packet (it’s mostly salt!) Any pasta will do- boil the pasta separately and drain to avoid starchy broth. Rice noodles or any pasta you have on hand- even rice, are also great

Toppings: Sesame Seeds (black or white), chopped peanuts, cilantro, shredded seaweed (wakame) or seaweed slices, siracha or chili paste for spice fans or for authenticity shichimi  togarishi- a Japanese 7 spice powder that’s a bit hot, and a bit crunchy (available in the supermarket)


Give Warmth: It’s Coat Drive Season!

by & filed under Be Inspired, Giving Back.

There are so many ways to donate clothing throughout the year but winter is especially important. A warm coat is a necessity no one should be without. November 1st marks the beginning of the season for coat drives and many organizations have already begin accepting donations

The Hoboken Rotary is the most local of the organizations collecting coats and has established 11 locations in throughout Hoboken for collecting coats

Jersey Cares is the largest collector of clothes and coats across the state with more than 50 sites for dropping off coats. They also have container sites for people dropping off 10 or more coats.

The Jersey City Global Charter School  is also collecting coats at their school in JC.

Stop in to any J. Crew location and donate a gently used coat to receive a $25 gift certificate towards any $125 purchase.

Drop off a coat at any Burlington Coat Factory and receive 10% off your entire purchase

Brooks Brothers is also accepting coat donations until November 16th

11 Best Outdoor Dining Patios in NYC

by & filed under Portraiture.

Hudson Hotel Midtown

Outdoor Dining Patios

Fall is the perfect season for dining or drinking outdoors in New York. I’ve chosen 11 sensational spots for dining as if Manhattan is just the most glorious backyard you’ve thrown together for the occasion.

Hudson Hotel

What do you get when you mix a garden-centric patio, your childhood home, and a boho finish? The Hudson Hotel. (PRO TIP: They light candles around the entire patio at night). 

HUDSON HOTEL | 356 W 58th St, New York, NY 10019

Ingos At The Highline Hotel

Tucked in West Chelsea on 10th & 21st, you’ll find an iconic building under a canopy of trees. Grab an umbrella-shaded table in the front garden for the countryside feels.

THE GOLDEN HOUR | CHELSEA 180 10th Ave, New York, NY 10011

Ladurée SoHo

Cue pastels, fresh macarons, and cherry blossoms. Nothing screams Autumn like a seat at the picturesque Ladurée in SoHo, and the desserts don’t hurt either.

LADURÉE NEW YORK | SOHO 398 W Broadway, New York, NY 10012

Shake Shack In Madison Square Park

What’s better than custard, fries, and the beautiful views of the Flatiron Building? Take a seat in Madison Square Park and welcome the best people watching in New York City.

SHAKE SHAKE | FLATIRON Madison Ave &, E 23rd St, New York, NY 10010

Narcissa At The Standard, East Village

The Garden is The Standard’s snug patio in East Village. Even the name sounds like an oasis. Add a cozy atmosphere & you have the perfect post-work brew or Sunday hideaway.


Clinton Hall

Aside from the famous Doughnut Grilled Cheese, Clinton Hall’s beer garden is simply good fun. Giant Connect Four, life-size chess, and all the board games your heart desires.

CLINTON HALL | FINANCIAL DISTRICT 90 Washington St, New York, NY 10006

Brookfield Place

Walk through Brookfield Place’s back entrance, and you’ll come across a plethora of patio restaurants overlooking a harbor on the Hudson, which makes for a perfect Happy Hour hub.

BROOKFIELD PLACE | TRIBECA 230 Vesey St, New York, NY 10281

Boat Basin Cafe

If casual dining is what you want, then that is what you shall get. Overlooking the Hudson, Boat Basin Cafe feels like a cape getaway. (PRO TIP: Try catching the sunset over the river).

BOAT BASIN | UPPER WEST SIDE W 79th St, New York, NY 10024

Stone Street Tavern

Found in one of the oldest parts of the City, Stone Street Tavern is located on an idyllic cobblestone street with picnic tables galore. Grab a pint and enjoy the company.


Grand Banks

Step on-board the oyster barge, where summer takes its lively form. Aboard this wooden schooner, you’ll find panoramic views of the Hudson. Take a vacation, without leaving Manhattan.

GRAND BANKS | TRIBECA Pier 25, Hudson River Park, New York, NY 10013

Bocce Union Square

If you don’t feel like dealing with the hustle of Central Park, Union Square Park is calling your name. Great atmosphere, cocktails, and every pizza your heart can imagine.

BOCCE | UNION SQUARE 20 Union Square W, New York, NY 1000