January 27, 2013

NYC Eats - Taim - Middle East Tasty Treats

I convinced Slim that a home cooked dinner was not what Fridays are for. So braving the snowy cold last night we slipped into a newer neighborhood join - Taim, for a quick bite.










Taim means "tasty" in Hebrew and our dinner was more than tasty it was delicious!

We opted for the "Sabich" ( I'd never had it before! ) on the suggested white pita ( they have wheat as well)

These guys were incredibly helpful and super nice.

For $7.25 we got a pocket of joy oozing with ....

  • sliced eggplant, fried to order
  •  an organic egg
  • parsley
  •  hummus
  • israeli salad
  • pickled cabbage
  •  tahini sauce and 
  • amba (pickled mango-fenugreek chutney, not my sisters name in an Aussie accent as Slim pointed out)


Oh my lord was it good! The flavors were incredible.

I asked for “with everything” to add pickles, s’rug (traditional yemeni hot sauce with cilantro, chili and garlic and extra virgin olive oil) and amba sauces.

This is not my best food photo - but believe me it was incredibly good, and I ate it so fast I couldn't get another!

We grappled with ordering a side dish of Tabouli (traditional bulgur wheat salad mixed with freshly chopped parsley, cilantro, scallions, tomato and lemon-mint dressing) to share but we're glad we didn't. One pita more than satiated our hunger.

Although, the smoothies still getting consumed even in sub-zero weather definitely had me drooling.

Taim is a vegetarian joint (also gluten friendly lots & lots of vegan choices) but even my protein feen, pork lovin', meat eating husband felt full. I found out this wasn't his first rodeo at Taim and about his "take it to go" falafel eating habit while I was on a week long road trip this past December.
He will probably not be super happy with me for posting this less than stellar photo of him eating - but I had to get one of us in action.
We both give it a 5 out of 5 for a quick bite place - healthy, tasty, great atmosphere and service - you can't go wrong! Big thumbs up from us.

Plus, the owners of Taim also own a food truck you my be lucky enough to find while exploring the city, as well as fancy Balaboosta next door which I hear is amazing.

Shalom Taim!

January 23, 2013

Wedding - How to pick a Venue

After going through the madness and joy of a wedding I thought I would spend some time in the upcoming posts dedicated to the wedding process.  I'll tell you all of those things I wish someone else had told me before I started planning - first up, the venue.



Top 5 Tips for Choosing a Venue

1) Discuss with your partner what vision you have as a couple for the venue before setting out to look at them.

 This will help you eliminate venues and save you time at the beginning of your planning. 

Questions we talked about were: 
Do we want a modern theme? Classic? Ornate? Clean look?

What kind of space will we need for eating and dancing? 

How do we envision our day timeline and what will we need from a venue to meet those needs?

What is your color scheme how does it mesh with the decor?

Do we want a DJ or a Band - how much space will it require?


We know we wanted somewhere that allowed us to decorate minimally, had it's own personality, and really oozed with history.

We finalized on the Embassy Theater in Fort Wayne, IN.  For Midwest brides it's a great choice - reasonably priced, amazing wedding planners, and really beautiful.

Photo via Jess S.
www.j3designz.com
Photo via Jess S.
www.j3designz.com
2) Calculate a good firm estimate of the number of guests coming to your wedding before striking out to find a venue. 

Many venues have guest limits and the limit may remove having a estimated guest number will let you better visualize how the space will work with your numbers.

Our space was smaller for dinner, but we split up our room rentals and held dinner in the Indiana Ballroom - while Cocktails, Appetizers and Dancing was held in the Lobby, two different spaces in the same building to maximize numbers and not have to worry about break down and set up during the night.

Photo via Jess S.
www.j3designz.com

Because of space we had half of our tables on the second story of the Indiana Hotel Lobby.  Although we were hesitant at first, it actually created - what we felt - was a intimate feel, rather than having our guests spread out across a huge single room.  It allowed our guests on the top level to still see us during speeches (and there were several as part of Australian tradition).

Photo via Jess S.
www.j3designz.com
3)  Set your budget limits before you go look at venues and ask for and calculate "add on" costs not included in the base rental fee.

- This will help you be realistic on what you can and can't afford that will accompany your vision.

Ask the person you are meeting with either for an estimate or a list of what is included and what is not.  Each venue calculates prices differently, some putting everything into one cost others having a ton of add on's.  

The add on's we saw while looking ran the gambit from:

 Extra table (both for eating and for placing cakes, gifts, guest books on) and chair rentals, breakdown/set up for event changes during the night, dance floor, extra hour fees, cleaning, security, catering, and sound equipment fees.  

Get a spreadsheet ready to go so that you can plug in the numbers after seeing each venue. 

Remember the more bare the space (ie) if it is a basic hall, or a barn, or a blank room) the more you can personalize but likely the more it will cost you.


 For us, it made the planning so much easier to not worry about decking the halls in every corner.  Plus we saved by just letting the venue shine on its own and time which was important as we were planning from out of state.  

Photo via Jess S.
www.j3designz.com

Photo via Jess S.
www.j3designz.com

4) Consider accommodation and location for each venue.

How far is your venue from the church, "get ready" area, where you will be staying, 
where your guests will be staying?

All of these things will really matter on the big day, I promise you want to make sure your venue is easily accessible or if your venue is not easily accessible the distance is something you can live with both for prep the day before and the day of time line.

5) Bring someone with you - Mom, MOH, Partner - to give you feedback on the space, and compare notes afterwards

Another set of eyes will help you see any potential downfalls.  
I brought my mom with me for each of the venues on the first walk through before we narrowed the venues down to two.  She was great for pointing out logistical things that I often overlooked:
 Handicapped access for my grandma, parking, flow of the day issues, 
space issues, serving food issues, seating set up etc.  

Plus she was good at pointing out other visual issues that I had overlooked!  

I found that often when we were talking about details I would get overwhelmed or forget things but having another set of ears, eyes, and another brain ensured I got everything that we discussed down and reviewed.



Photo via Jess S.
www.j3designz.com
Photo via Jess S.
www.j3designz.com

Answering these questions will help your planning go much smoother and lead to you being a less stressed bride on the big day!

January 21, 2013

We're Back After a Wedding & Taking a Bite Out of The Big Apple!

Slim and I have moved to NYC, and although I've been tweeting and pinning away -

https://twitter.com/sheraandslim 

http://pinterest.com/sheraandslim/

...after being settled I'm finally back in the blogging sphere.  It's amazing to have free time again, and the NYC streets have lots of blog worthy stories.

I think it's testament to how much crazy fun this last year has been (two cross world moves, a wedding, and finding new jobs).  Although I must admit it's good to be back!


I plan to use the blog as a platform to take you along as we explore the city and of course share tips for travel as usual.  In the meantime, here is a sneak peek of our completed wedding pics, we had a great day and our photographer did a great job - more to come!

Photo via Jess S.
www.j3designz.com
Photo via Jess S.
www.j3designz.com

Photo via Jess S.
www.j3designz.com