10. Farmers markets teeming with heirloom tomatoes, bundles of fresh herbs, and every variety of zucchini and squash imaginable.
9. Restaurant Week in NYC, especially at places that don’t condescend to their diners by offering a dumbed-down menu. The Red Cat was so lovely I had to go back twice, and the sage-infused panna cotta at Maialino was a revelation. (Why did I not have my camera that day?)
8. Endless glasses of iced earl grey tea and cold-brewed iced coffee, which definitely took the edge off of the extended July heat wave.
7. Going to Museum Of Modern Art with my parents an hour before the museum opened for a members-only preview of the special Matisse exhibit. It was a rare treat to have the museum practically to ourselves, giving us the luxury of space to absorb Matisse’s delicious canvases without fighting to see through the crowds. When the doors opened to the general public, swarms of people made a beeline for the Matisse rooms while we repaired to the Terrace 5 Café for cappuccinos and the most exquisite croissants with apricot jam that I’ve had this side of Paris. (Why didn’t I have my camera that day either?!)
6. Hosting and attending multiple rooftop parties with friends, both old pals and new ones. Summer evenings in NYC are especially magical when enjoyed from a high-in-the-sky vantage point.
5. Playing three weeks of concerts in July with Harry Connick Jr., who looked and sounded like a millions bucks night after night. Talk about inspiration on multiple levels!
4. Upgrading my kitchen with new white dinnerware. I’ve had my eye on this clean and elegant Crate&Barrel Essential pattern for two years ever since I started photographing my food, so another huge THANK YOU to my parents for the perfect birthday present!
3. My Little Chef and his parents moving back to NYC after a three-year absence. Not only do I have my little buddy in the kitchen with me on a regular basis, I’m grateful to have my sister-in-law nearby, as she is my dear friend as well as my decluttering/home improvements expert. And with my brother here, the world’s greatest bartender has come back to town. Hooray and hurrah!
2. The final week of “South Pacific” at Lincoln Center. It was truly a joy and a genuine honor being part of that beautiful production, and I was so proud to be in that orchestra night after night. I was thrilled that our August 18th performance was filmed for the “Live From Lincoln Center” broadcast, giving so many more friends and family around the country a chance to see this magical show. Sadly, all good things must come to an end, but it was heartening to end the run on such a soaring high note.
1. Taking a vacation to San Francisco to ease the transition from my “South Pacific” life to my new post-“South Pacific” life. I’ve flown the coop for one of my favorite cities in the world and a good dose of California air, not to mention some serious culinary inspiration. I will report back!