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When Tara Met Blog
Friday, January 13, 2006
Coffee, Chocolate and Wine--these are a few of my favorite things!
The newly opened Cocoa Bar (228 7th Avenue) in Brooklyn's Park Slope area is a triple threat, offering high end chocolates, wine and coffee for every kind of New York connoisseur in a cozy neighborhood cafe setting. It has the typical trendy artwork, from local area artists, hung on the latte colored walls and of course comfy sofas and the extras we've all come to expect like books, wi-fi and board games. Cocoa also offers specialty desserts like a dense individual truffle cake or a spongy and moist hazelnut rum cake ($6), which arrives on a ceramic plate with chocolate syrup dots spread in random formations or cinnamon dust shapes sprinkled around the generous chocolate slabs of cake. But what makes Cocoa Bar especially unique is that it's not just a coffee and dessert shop, but also a wine bar.

Daily recommended parings of a cocoa dessert and complementing international wines are available for $12. Their menu consists of over 10 pairings picked by the owner Liat Cohen, but her favorites are the Sparkling Shiraz paired with their "I like it spicy" chocolate bar as well as the Muscat paired with a caramel centered dark chocolate. She says, "The sparkling shiraz is fun, festive, chilled and unique. Most of all it has spice to it. Our 'I like it spicy' chocolate bar is also fun and unique in that it has peppers and cayenne using single origin Venezuelan cocoa beans. And, of course, it is spicy and paired together they bring out conversation, laughter and enjoyment, which is what we want people to experience while they're here."

Unfortunately wine can be very intimidating, and so can chocolate these days. Liat and her husband and business partner Yaniv, try to encourage people to try new wines and chocolates and boast monthly coffee “cuppings” and wine tasting sessions. Those used to having their coffee at scalding temperatures though might be disappointed by the bar’s foaming coffee brewed drinks, creamy white hot chocolate, creative flavored latte's and rich roasted espressos being served tepid. The bar has a counter top for takeout, and tables and a modern backyard garden where their personable staff will serve and offer suggestions.

Be Well
The other night when eating Mac and Cheese at Cafeteria (17th and 7th) with K, our pleasant waitress with a silk scarf tied around her head kept saying weird statements when she came to check in on us. Instead of asking how is everything? Or are you enjoying your meal, she asked, "Are you happy?" I joked to my friend that I should have said, well, lately I've been depressed and feeling kind of fat. If she only said "are you happy with your meal," then that requires a 'yes' or 'no' answer and then she could be on her way to the next table. "Are you happy?" though left me confused and wondering.

When we were leaving and waved goodbye to her she replied "Be well." I felt like I just left Ghandi's temple.

Posted by Tara at 6:37 AM PST
Updated: Sunday, January 15, 2006 12:33 PM PST
Wednesday, January 11, 2006
Yes, I date!
Out of the blue, I was sent the following email from a blog reader:

"I seem to remember you posting about your dating life in the city, guys you'd meet around town and crushes u had, but lately I haven't seen that. What's up? Are you taken and boring now or do you not date now that you are a busy Wall street chick?"

Well Mr. Inquisitive, yes, I do date, as my post title declares, but no I'm not taken. Your recollection is right I did used to write more about the men I'd meet while out and about, not too often, but sometimes I'd share that information. I've stopped because I've found that anyone who knows my full name or has my business card can plug it into Google and then voila there's my blog and me talking about them. What a way to intimidate and scare someone off. It also gives them way too much of an edge knowing that I'm talking about them. Thus, I'd rather remain silent. Guys who are interested in me can already get a big insider's edge just by reading my blog as it is. Oh and by the way I make it a policy not to Google people, not that I'm judging I can so see the temptation, I just rather not know too much.

Over the summer I was "dating," which I know I know it's not supposed to be called that anymore, but call me old fashioned then. I actually usually say I'm "seeing" someone rather than dating, but I digress...I was seeing this dude and I had mentioned our meeting on my blog, that was it I had only referred to him as 'Subway Dude' and that we had an upcoming date, and even though he never read my blog he kept asking me questions about it as if afraid I'd spill every detail about him on it. I told him to actually read my blog sometime to see that's not what I do. I told him I had no intention of continuing to write about him and I haven't until now either, but he was definitely pretty spooked. He mentioned it on each of the few "dates" that we had. I think he had a girlfriend, thus the irrational fear she'd find out or something. Any other questions? Feel free to shoot them my way.

PS: You're so vain you probably think this blog post is about you, don't you? ;)

Link: 50 Things to do With Your iPod

Posted by Tara at 8:31 AM PST
Updated: Thursday, January 12, 2006 10:47 AM PST
Sunday, January 8, 2006
Photo Essay: The Doors of Lower Manhattan
In a city that never sleeps and whose inhabitants are almost in a constant state of motion, it is easy to let everyday things go unnoticed, especially something as commonplace as a door. Yet, Manhattan has many fascinating and aesthetic doors that once spotted are hard to miss again.

The doors of lower Manhattan, below 14th Street, are especially unique and filled with the area's heritage and originality. Some of these captivating entrances belong to townhouses, office buildings and restaurants and show the city's artistic, modern and vanguard roots, while some simply have extra odds and ends that deserve another look. Here are just a few that stand out out of the snapshots that I took for my photojournalism grad class.

My friend K and I were looking for doors to capture for almost two months, and now that I'm more aware of the different entrances in the city I still find myself scoping for them, even in NYC television shows. Funny how things can change once something is brought more to your attention.

Speaking of New York shows, the new sitcom coming out on CBS, Love Monkey, with that guy from Ed has been filming near my subway stop and in my neighborhood.

Posted by Tara at 9:01 PM PST
Updated: Wednesday, January 11, 2006 10:19 AM PST
Friday, January 6, 2006
Because this makes me laugh

Oh Whitney what happened to you? You were so pretty and seemingly classy in The Bodyguard, now I can't say 'I'll Always Love You.'

I've been tagged (Let's not make it a habit):

Four movies you would watch over and over (and I have!)
When Harry Met Sally
Baby Boom
Die Hard

Four places you have lived
New York, New York
Norton, Massachusetts
London, England
Greenwich, Connecticut

Four TV shows you love to watch (just four??)
Grey's Anatomy
Alias / Lost (same creator, so I'm putting them together ;) Speaking of Lost check out this funny flash video
Golden Girls / Moonlighting / Taxi and so many more

Four places you have been on vacation
Puerto Rico

Four websites you visit daily
Blog Explosion

Four of your favorite foods
Macaroni and Cheese
Dark Chocolate
Lucky Charms
Steak (rare)

Four places you would rather be right now
In my apt or more specifically in my bed
On the beach, but someplace hot, thus not here
With my dad
At the movies, since there are a lot of films I need to catch up on

Four people you are tagging
Nobody, consider yourself lucky!

Posted by Tara at 6:28 AM PST
Updated: Thursday, January 12, 2006 5:50 AM PST
Wednesday, January 4, 2006
The Cab Driver Plays Puccini
When I'm riding in a taxi, the majority of the time the drivers are talking on their cell phones, using earphones of course since it's the law, but sometimes it's the whole duration of the cab ride even. I know that they are aren't actually talking to me, since having fallen for that before, but I just can't help but wonder who is talking to them for so long at all hours of the day. Do they have a wife just sitting at home providing them with phone company? Are they talking to other cabdrivers? Usually it's not in English so it's hard for me to figure out the relationship. I know during the work week it's hard enough finding someone I can call on my lunch hour who is available to chat with, so I'm really curious how they find someone after midnight, in the afternoons and during the morning commute to speak with. Don't these people have jobs that require communication outside their cells? Yes, I'm giving this way too much thought.

When my cabbies are not on their mobiles, I do like asking them questions, it's the reporter in me I guess. I like hearing where they are from, what long shifts they work, their commute, if they own or rent their cab, about their children, spouse etc. I'll start by a comment on the weather like: 'do you believe all this rain? I'm getting ready to build an arc.' Then they ask me about where I'm going or about where they just picked me up from, then the conversation segways into what I do for a living, schooling background, their living in Queens and their children who they want to see do well in regards to education and job wise.

Before the holidays, the day after the strike I hailed a cab and asked to be taken to Grand Central Station. The cab driver, Mohamed, then asked me if I was "Going to Connecticut?" I laughed and said "yes, why do I look like I'm going to Connecticut?" He said "yup" and that was that. haha. When he found out that I was Italian, not sure how that came about though I do remember that he is married to a Philippine woman who he says is beautiful like Italian women and then he put in his own mixed CD of Puccini, then we both hummed along to La Boheme. It was pretty funny.

News Update: Questions are still surrounding the maple syrup smell that has swept Manhattan twice now. Trying to Make Some Sense of That Syrupy Scent. My old blog post about smelling the sweet scent can be found at: Attack of the maple syrup.

Link: Top 10 Free Time Wasting Sites on the Net

Posted by Tara at 9:01 PM PST
Updated: Thursday, January 12, 2006 11:26 AM PST

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