This Is How We Do It

This past Sunday marked 'Go Topless Day', which was celebrated in more than 60 cities around the world. Apparently the day of "chest freedom" always falls on the Sunday closest to Women's Equality Day, which happens to be today. What does this mean some of you may ask? On this very day, we celebrate the 95th anniversary of when American women won the right to vote back in 1920. Mazel tov. This reminds me of a hilarious Tom Green skit whereby he asked women to sign a petition to end women's suffrage. It was shocking how many ladies took pen to paper as he smirked. What ever happened to him? I read a staggering statistic this morning. Apparently, American women won't see equal pay until 2058. Yikes. But let's go back to the bust business. Did you know that over 75 years ago, it was illegal in all 50 states for men to be shirtless on a beach? Geez, we Americans truly are a prig pride. A small nucleus of men, fueled by grit and dedication, challenged the status quo and in 1936, gentlemen could legally take to streets and beaches without shirts. Today, 37 or so states arrest women for forgetting to don their tops. It should be noted that New York State is not one of them. 

In this context, all roads led to my executing a pinch of diligence regarding the Free the Nipple platform. I blush typing this. Psyche. Five years living in Germany where anything goes (including co-ed naked saunas and multiple trips to the Canary Island beaches where women don't even purchase bikini tops) taught me otherwise. This equality movement focuses on the double standards regarding the censorship of female anatomy (in comparison to that of male counterparts) and aims to empower women around the world. It was launched a pair of years ago by an activist and filmmaker Lina Esco. Her film and its message has garnered global attention. Celebrities and the likes are weighing in. Chelsea Handler anyone? This past Sunday, female protestors took to the streets of Manhattan (sans tops) in honor of this day and movement. This was of special interest to me (and perhaps more likely Matthew) as we are headed to the Big Apple next week. I adore this majestic city for a myriad of reasons and I assure you it has zero to do with dress code. We Breyer kids have Brooklyn roots. My mother used to write home about the french fries at the iconic Katz's Deli back in the early 70s. I spent a hot minute living there. So did Keith. He still has a tap on the pulse of the lower west and east side scenes. My sister has called John Street, Charles Street and now Chelsea home for more than ten years. My folks reside there part of the year. Family and familiarity aside, the biggest draw for me is the gastronomy scene. I faithfully follow all the food magazines, blogs and dining authorities and like a real foodie nerd, keep a running list of spots that I regularly update. In short, I venture to the City to eat. 

I have spent the past pair of weeks fine tuning my list and looking into reservations what with it being Labor Day weekend and all. From my time in NYC, it seems that everyone and their brother gets out of town to enjoy the final weekend shares in the Hampton's and the remaining hours of summer. Through my pursuit, I have been introduced to two new restaurant reservation platforms: Resy (who used a head shot of A Rod for my account photograph, WTF is that all about?) and Reserve, a premiere dining concierge app brought to the world by the folks from Uber. I learned of the latter thanks to my brother as well as an inquiry to book at Mission Chinese Food. Both have been downloaded to my iPhone. I can now add these to the OpenTable functionality (which all of a sudden seems very uncool) as well as American Express Concierge and I think we are covered. I love technology. I remember back to when booking a table was an exercise in patience, perseverance, timing and luck. I won't go into the stress and later success that colored my experience making bookings at Babbo for my 31st birthday. In the context of actually securing bookings, a certain someone has suggested that we deviate from conventional habit. As such, it has been decided that we will generally 'wing it' in the reservations department. If we have to sit at a bar, dine at 5.30 or wait until 11.00 pm for a table for two, so be it. This is either going to be a brilliant exercise or an epic, heartbreaking bust. Stay tuned. I figure worst comes to worst, if our no reservations scheme proves a bust we can always default to street meat or dirt dogs. (Pray otherwise please.)

Udders and restaurant bookings aside, last night I was privileged to have been included in an exceptional gathering at a local Italian trattoria, Vivace. If you are on the lookout for authentic Italian cuisine (think crisp artisan pizzas, succulent meatballs, delectable charcuterie, hearty bolognese and a slew of other sublime options) with a cool vibe and fantastic patio boasting outstanding views of uptown Queen Charlotte, this is absolutely your place. A local favorite for anyone in the city who knows anything about food, libations and a scene. Additionally, they offer a comprehensive menu of delectable, inventive bar bites during daily happy hours. Yesterday evening, we were fortunate enough to experience the bartenders expertise in mixology and ogle over a stunning food spread. I am already looking forward to the next rendezvous. I was up early this morning for yoga and a much needed smoothie at Luna's. I like the Grey Hulk, a marvelously irresistible elixir of hemp milk, bananas, berries, spirulina, maca and hemp protein. While still on the topic of food, the below is perfect for an easy-to-pull-together weeknight or weekend meal. Be sure to pick up the thickest, most beautiful chops you can and go to town. You can serve this with an easy homemade apple sauce. Simply core and chop an apple (I like pink lady or granny smith), throw in a shallow pot with a dash or two of cinnamon, a pinch of salt and a quarter of a cup of water. Warm on low for 30 minutes or until soft and easily spreadable. Pork also loves grilled or fresh peaches. Happy Wednesday cronies.

Mustard and Cumin Rubbed Pork Chops

2 organic bone-in pork chops
2 TBS (or more) of Dijon or grain mustard
2 TBS cumin
1 TBS (or more) fresh thyme or rosemary
A hearty pinch of kosher salt 
1 TBS extra virgin olive oil

1. Salt and pepper the heck out of your chops. Then rub generously with mustard followed by cumin. Sprinkle with thyme. Let them sit out on the counter for around thirty minutes. You don't want to cook cold meat!

2. Bring your Dutch oven to high heat and add the olive oil. When glistening, add your chops. You want to brown them on each side for approximately 3 minutes. You are in business when you have achieved a gorgeous golden brown crust.

3. Transfer to the oven (450 degrees) and roast uncovered for an addition 15 minutes. When done, let them sit for ten minutes. If you cut right into them, all those lovely juices will run across your board. We like to avoid this.

I served ours alongside a big salad with leftover Cumin and Lemon salad dressing and some warm organic black beans with a sprinkle of coriander seeds.

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