The Trifecta Moment

Previously published in The Wave

My Grandpa Ralph loved to gamble. One vivid memory I have of us, is when we’d go to OTB.  He used to take me to the one in Bellerose, back when they had brick and mortar locations in the city.  I was around 15 years old, and I would place bets for him. He couldn’t see the racetrack program very well  because his diabetes affected his vision. This was also a good way for me to learn. Grandpa Ralph was teaching me how to bet on the ponies. Most Sicilians love to gamble, and I had to learn at some point, right?  One day, as you would imagine, we got kicked out of OTB and threatened because I was a minor and what we were doing was illegal (oops)!


Why am I bringing this up? When I attended the Ladies of Business Rockaway Beach fundraiser a few weeks ago, this memory of my Grandfather popped in my head. At the event, as you may have heard, there was an auction where you had an opportunity to bid on experiences: tasting and selecting wine with Rashida Jackson of Sayra’s for the spring menu, learning jewelry-making with Melissa Draugsvold of Draugsvold Jewelry or cooking with Leyla Yrala and Ximena Yrala Elias of Chicks to Go.  I realize that betting on horses is different than bidding at a fundraiser, but I was reminded of that same feeling I used to have at OTB – the rush of wanting to win! And I wanted to win the Chicks to Go cooking experience. Badly.

I was having a trifecta moment; It’s a hard bet to win, but the payout is high. Many people were bidding for the cooking class with Chicks to Go, so the odds were not in my favor. I stayed in the race though, and in the end, I won! Grandpa would’ve been proud.

I’m so excited to learn how to cook a traditional Peruvian meal with the ladies of Chicks to Go. Cooking is a passion of mine, and learning new techniques from different cultures is how I’ll grow as a chef. You can bet I will be writing about this cooking experience in the next few weeks… stay tuned!




tagged in cooking, family, queens, rockaway

Grams of the week – Feb 13

Here’s a recap of the best instagrams of last week. If you want the day to day follow me here!


Matt surprised me with this elegant arrangement by SOLIDGOLDOK. Ellie, the owner was selling her bouquets at Zingara Vintage‘s Valentine’s Day sale on Saturday. You’re going to hear a lot more about Ellie and her creations…


My friend Melissa invited me over last Thursday for her delicious vegetarian lasagna. It was so good. One night this week I’m going to try and replicate it for dinner. Yum!


I’m cat-sitting my housemates fur ball, Mango! She’s the sweetest little thing ever!  Mango has the loudest purr I’ve ever heard!


Sunday night I cooked up this beautiful sockeye salmon. I seasoned it with a pesto spread. I didn’t have pignoli, so I used almonds. It came out great!

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Snow Day!

Why is it so much fun when it snows? I didn’t even mind shoveling the front of the house. Most people can work from home so that’s a good thing. It justifies day drinking (definitely a good thing) and it just feels like a special day. Everything slows down, it’s a break from the day to day frenzy.

After shoveling so my housemates*  don’t slip and fall and sue me,  I walked around and took  some photos.


My block facing the bay.


I took this one by  Borders and the blvd.


The police station is all cleared, easy walking here.


There are lots of first responder vehicles around. I guess they’re checking things out – making sure all is kosher.




Cool bike.


The beach is so beautiful right now, but actually a little scary. I couldn’t tell where the sand ended and the water began.


This is the second fish sacrifice I’ve seen at beach 90th, here’s the other. What’s the story with this? Well, makes for a good picture that’s for sure.


The boardwalk was quiet as of an hour ago. I may go outside again when the snow calms down. I’ll have to shovel again. Maybe I’ll add some more photos later on!

*I like using the word housemates instead of saying I’m a landlord because the word landlord always sounds mean and old. I’m I wrong? Oh and the whole “slip and fall and sue me” thing sounds funny that’s why I wrote it. My housemates are amazing.

tagged in nature, rockaway, snow, winter

Grams of the Week – Feb 6

Here’s a recap of the best instagrams of last week. If you want the day to day follow me here!


I was thinking about starting a cutting board business. There’s so much scrap wood lying around in my basement from the house renovation, it’s just a matter of labor. Above is a picture of some boards clamped up – these will be the prototype. Wanna buy one?!


There are beautiful things around everywhere if you take a pause to look for them. I spotted these shells on my way to the YMCA this week.


I was reminded of how delicious Last Dragon Pizza is when I attending the LBRB fundraiser last Sunday at the Rockaway Beach Brew Co. – what a fun time for a great cause. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, learn more here.


I started to reduce bread intake this week, but is putting a huge wad of mozzarella over a portabella any better? Baby steps…

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