Monday, October 31, 2011

Scene Around Town - Green Leaves Atop Snow

Here's a sight you don't see often anywhere.
Fresh green leaves laying atop a blanket of snow.
It's global warming, I tell you!!

"Dinner" Etiquette III

It's been a while since I've done an etiquette post, or linked what I think is a must read article for all guests, so for all those who've gently and not so gently prodded me to continue the series, here goes.

This post concerns guests with special diets.

I always make it a point to ask potential guests if they have any food allergies or strong food preferences at the time I extend the invitation. This affords me enough time to shop for and prepare a meal that the guest will enjoy. A guest that eats with gusto makes the hostess feel that her endeavors were not wasted. So a little advance knowledge is a win/win situation for everyone in my book. For instance, I don't have to serve a fish appetizer if my guest hates fish. There are other options.

There are some guests though (usually the ones with the most restrictive and complicated requests), who "don't want to inconvenience" the hostess and don't mention their food preferences until very late in the week. Now to my mind - this is rude. Don't come to me Thursday night with a laundry list of off-limits foods and tell me "not to bother".
a) tell me earlier in the week and I will bother or
b) don't tell me at all and I won't bother
But telling me Thursday night with the caveat not to do anything different is disingenuous.

I have mixed feelings about option "b" by the way. If your diet is highly unusual, you run the risk of having nothing at all that appeals to you, and then I feel like a failure, despite your gentle smiles and demure assurances. You are trying to save me the work, but you create a different problem in the process.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Belated (and Photoless) Food Friday - Sweet Potato Leek Soup

This weather BEGS for comfort food.
So I'm going to share with you a new favorite of mine.
This recipe was given to me by a friend of mine and I adapted it a bit.
It's been home and blog reader tested and you don't need to like sweet potatoes to love this soup! It's not sweet. It's savory with a little kick of cayenne (it had a bigger kick - that's one of my adjustments. Feel free to "up" it if you wish...).

2 Tablespoons Oil
1 Large Onion, chopped
1 Clove Garlic, minced
2 Leeks, chopped
4 Sweet Potatoes, cubed
1 Tablespoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
32 ounces Broth (or water seasoned with a bullion cube)

Heat the oil. Add onions, garlic and leeks. Sautee five minutes. Add sweet potatoes, salt and cayenne pepper. Mix and cook five minutes more. Stir in broth. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes. Puree.

This is a very thick soup. If you'd like it less thick (though I can't imagine why...) either cut back to two sweet potatoes, or add more water.

Delicious on a cold and snowy October (?!?!?) night!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

GWC2D Succah Hop - Succos In The City Part II

The Bryant Park succah has always been a favorite of mine. The park itself offers free ping pong (free ice skating each year in the winter, but not over Succos) a well stocked outdoor "reading room" for little ones (tiny tables and chairs provided), a sweet carousel for children and a lovely fountain - all in a few square blocks. (Special events take place throughout the year - definitely worth checking out)

The succah is beautiful, well appointed and spacious.
Not to mention the fact that the Bryant Park bathroom is without a doubt the nicest public bathroom around (full time attendant, piped in music, fresh flowers, automatic seat covers....).

Your Mother Doesn't Live Here......

... kindly "clean up"accordingly.

You might not guess from the title of this post, but it is NOT about our homes... it is about SHUL.

It is surprising how many people who need to revitalize their arba minim over Succos, think nothing of leaving the detritus of their lulav's previous life scattered about shul. Dead haddassim. Woefully overshaken arovos. Just left for garbage where ever they were removed. Is this kovod beis hakneses? Am I expecting too much? Does your wife follow you around with a garbage bag at home?

Don't get me started on residents and guests alike who borrow seforim, siddurim and machzorim from the back of shul and when davening is over, just leave them at the seats. You're passing the book shelves on your way out any way, IS IT SO MUCH TO ASK TO RETURN THINGS TO THEIR RIGHTFUL PLACE??! Am I the only one, who when travelling out of town for Shabbos or Yom Tov still returns seforim to where I got them? Is this also becoming passe? "Go with the changes... Lighten up".
Must I?

Monday, October 17, 2011

GWC2D Succah Hop Visits Moriah Senior Center

As a rule, I don't blog about work.
It's too personal.... it's too real. (Those of you who think you really know everything there is to know about us bloggers, THINK AGAIN!)

I'm making an exception this time because it fits so nicely with the theme of the Hop.

Moriah Senior Center hosted a Succos Lunch today and I just had to share a photo or two (OK... three) from the event. Though the main dining hall remained open, over 50 seniors chose to dine al fresco and enjoy a fun filled, music filled afternoon. (Our own Music Man dubbed it a "Senior Bais Hashoeva")

GWC2D Succah Hop - Succos In The City Part I

Chabad of Midtown, in partnership with Stonehenge NY, has erected this lovely succah located in the Ritz Plaza Firefighter's Memorial Park at 235 West 48th Street, between 8th Avenue and Broadway. {The peaceful fountain memorial commemorates firefighters from the station house across the street who were lost on 9-11} It is the first ever public succah in the Times Square area.

We found the schach to be a bit sparse, but the Chabad representative at the Succah Hop's next Succos in the City location (stay tuned for Part II... there's more ;) ), assured us that he will remedy the situation asap.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

GWC2D Succah Hop - Staggered Succos in Betar Illit

Thanks to Etty Robinson over at the Quilting Corner, our Succah Hop gets a chance to stroll down the streets of Betar Illit, Israel.

I REALLY enjoyed these photos! Thanks for sharing Etty.

GWC2D Succah Hop - Scene Around Town Edition

Thanks to Yekke Wannabe for sending in this photo of our local Center for Rehabilitation's succah. Look what lovely environs the patients have to enjoy!

GWC2D Succah Hop Visits Chicago

Jron's family in Chicago just built their dream succah and I think it's lovely - made lovelier by the fact that they shared it with family and friends and filled it with guests!!
Enjoy the rest of Succos, guys.
Keep sending in those succah pix to

Saturday, October 15, 2011

GWC2D Succah Hop Stops in at Chashmonaim

Thanks to Annette for sending in this lovely photo.
Keep them coming and enjoy your chag - wherever you are.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Succah Hop Begins

Rafi over at Life in Israel has been kind enough to share his succah photos with us.
Since they are a few hours ahead of us, and it's obviously not raining there like it is here in New York, his table is already set!
Chag Sameach, Rafi!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Get Ready to HOP!!

Yes, that is correct.
We here at Guess Who's Coming To Dinner are gearing up for our Second Annual Succah Hop!
We are accepting your photo and/or video submissions at
Let me know if/how you would like to be credited.
Photos can be of either your completed succah, or the building process, or the decorating process.
It doesn't even have to be YOUR succah.
Send in photos of succahs you pass on your travels!
Share with the rest of us!!
Thanks for playing.
I look forward to seeing what you come up with.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Decisions, Decisions....

Since all of you are the ones who visit this site, I feel as if I should include you in my next design opportunity.

Blogger is offering all bloggers the opportunity to try out new designs which may make it easier for readers to navigate the blogs. If you are interested in all the technicalities, you can read about it here.

If not, you can still help me make my choice, by clicking HERE and previewing what the new format might look like for my blog. There are several choices - Classic, Flipcard, Magazine, Mosaic, Sidebar, Snapshot and Timeslide. Click on each choice at the top of the page to see how they would look.

You can then feel free to leave me a comment stating which, if any, you'd prefer over my current format (am I ready to say good-bye to the pretty orange background?).

Thanks for your feedback!