Tag Archives: christmas eve

Christmas Eve: Not So Kind

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The winner is Keri! Thank you for entering and I will be contacting you for shipping info!


Merry Christmas! I can’t believe the big day is here already, and I actually feel like it’s been over because not only did my family already open our presents on Saturday the 22nd (because of our travel plans – I’m writing this from FLORIDA) but I also have already spent most of the Christmas money I got (more on that later when I write about my Christmas Eve trip to Boston, hopefully tomorrow).

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Christmas Eve…Two Weeks Later?

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I’m very aware that Christmas Eve was two weeks ago. I’m also very aware that the dinner I ate that day was awesome and too great not to share. So without further ado, I give you Christmas Eve dinner.

Christmas Eve was a whirlwind of a day. After we were done being famous and eating breakfast in NYC, my dad, sister, and I got right in the car and headed back to CT. What was the reason behind our hurry to get back? Another beloved holiday tradition of course – our family friends, the Peredas, host a Christmas Eve pig roast dinner each year! Since they had an early flight out to Florida the next morning, the gathering was pushed to an earlier time than usual, and became more of a mid-afternoon “linner”.

The Peredas are Cuban, and love to serve an entire roasted pig (that they cook on their back deck), rice, and beans, along with traditional salads, appetizers, and desserts that guests bring.

Broc casserole, corn casserole, and cheesy potatoes.

Joe and I arrived a bit late due to our wine-tasting stop, so some appetizers had been almost entirely cleaned out, but there was certainly no shortage of delicious food.

Mmm veggie madness!

Joe, AKA typical boy who doesn’t seem to care about or ever want food, wasn’t very hungry. I was though! I don’t like ham much, but the Peredas’ party is the only time I ever eat it, because this freshly-roasted pig is just SO good! The black beans, which they usually bring in from Pollo Tropical, were homemade this year because the nearest location closed. And they were actually the best they’ve ever been, so way to go Mrs. Pereda!

Joe's plate…lame.

My plate (and wine)…awesome.

And of course, more red wine was had! How could I not when I had so many delicious foods that paired well with it, like kalamatas?

I chatted with the Gerbers, who I’d just seen a couple days before at the Andersons’ get-together, and a bunch of other family friends that I hadn’t had the chance to catch up with in a few months.

Amazingly talented Mollie (she just got into the Mass Institute of Art!) and I.

Got to wear my new Kohl’s skirt from Black Friday! First time pairing a skirt with tights and heels, and I loved it.

Megan (she's a nutrition student!) and I.

My mom, me, and Mr. Gerber (Mollie and Megan's dad). They match!

Not long after my (late) arrival, dessert came out! So many options, but I had about one sample of each.

Cream cheese and almond stuffed strawberries – surprisingly, I didn’t like these too much! It’s just because the almond flavor was very strong. I can only take so much almond in anything. Everyone else adored them though – Vivian did a great job. Don’t trust me, I’m an almond-avoider!

If you weren't drooling yet, you are now.

She also made these mint chocolate chip cookies, which were perfectly gooey and didn’t skimp at all on the chocolate, just the way I like it. They reminded me of the cookies I got from my wine-twin Meg of Eat, Drink, and Be Sperry in the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap!

Casual Steve stood guard over the other desserts pictured – many holiday cookies, including leftovers from Mrs. Anderson’s goodies!

I didn’t have any of the above creation because it was made with cherries, which are definitely one of my least favorite foods of all time. Too many cough syrup associations…but cherry lovers dove in!

One of our friends, Mr. Andries, happens to have a birthday on Christmas Eve! So the party was also a celebration for him. His daughter, Courtney, picked out the most fabulous red velvet Coldstone Creamery ice cream cake ever, made with cheesecake ice cream – which happens to be my favorite Coldstone flavor!

We all got a bit carried away with the birthday wishes, and followed up Mr. Andries’s birthday song with one for my mom, whose birthday was the day before. And then we expanded to other December birthdays…November birthdays…things started getting out of hand when we began singing to Mariel, whose birthday was back in early October.

Parents are into it.

My mom is loving it.

Nice bunny ears move, Mr. Pereda!

OK…can I have my cake now?!

Now that’s what I’m talking about. Hands down, best ice cream cake I’ve ever had.

The fun wasn’t over yet…I’m not even sure if these came out before or after the birthday singing, but it doesn’t really matter. What does matter is that Vivian had another success in the kitchen, and we all certainly benefitted.

I give you – butterscotch liqueur and caramel apple shots!

Now, I don’t like apples. But who couldn’t love these?

Sorry, Joe.

What a festive Christmas Eve! I think this may have been the best Pereda pig roast ever.

Afterwards, my family and I headed home to open presents – our first time doing so on the 24th, since our planes to Florida left early in the morning on Christmas Day. I definitely didn’t like it as much as the whole Christmas morning routine, but I couldn’t really complain because I just wanted to get on that plane to the warmth!

So you guessed it, this means I can finally start recapping my trip to Florida. I may finish writing about things that happened in December 2011 in…I don’t know…March 2012? Sounds about right 😛

Have you ever been to a pig roast or something similar? What’s your favorite place to get ice cream cake?

Today, We Visit Bouchon Bakery and the Europa Cafe

Don’t forget, you have until this Friday at 11:59PM EST to enter my Anytime Fitness giveaway for the CEO’s new book, “Working Out Sucks! (And Why It Doesn’t Have To)”. Check out my review on the giveaway page as well! Thanks to all who joined in our awesome #WorkingOutSucks Twitter chat last night – there will be another one on 1/30!

Now let me continue to recap things that I am ridiculously behind on. I haven’t even gotten to Christmas Day yet! Let’s go back to Christmas Eve…

Our traditional NYC trip always includes a visit to the Today Show on Christmas Eve morning. Unfortunately, this year that morning coincided with a Saturday, so the show was being done to a much-lower scale than usual. A lot of the segments being run were repeats from during the week. However, no crowd = easy for us to get on TV!

I made sure to get my daily cup of joe from a place I can’t normally visit, as I often try to do on trips/vacations. I took to Twitter to ask my always-dependable blends/friends for recommendations near Rockefeller Center!

Sounded good to me, and due to the weekend/holiday making the Today Show low-key, there actually was no insanity that Britt warned me about!

I loved the look of Bouchon Bakery from the start! I was in awe of the pastry case inside. We always eat breakfast after the show, so I didn’t order any food, but of course took plenty of photos.

Color settings a bit off to start…

Look at those macaroons!

I adore chalkboard menus.

I ordered my usual nonfat cafe au lait, and was so enamored by the bakery’s interior that I forgot to sprinkle my usual cinnamon on top!

My sister, dad, and I staked out our spot and got ready for the cameras to come outside so we could have our latest brush with fame.

Why no, I did not brush my hair, thanks for asking.

It was pretty cold out (though our coldest trip, in 2009, has yet to be matched), but we stuck it out. Eventually we caught a glimpse of good old Lester Holt and Amy Robach. She looked absolutely adorable in the cutest coat and shoes. I was hoping to meet Lester (love his hip glasses), but the two of them just waved to the crowd, did their segment, and ran right back inside!

Coat and shoe envy!!

Then a weatherman came out – and we got our moment of fame!

Weather guy chatting with some Giants fans in the crowd.

Can you catch us?! I apologize for the crappy video, but I was filming my TV (we DVR-ed the show) with my iPhone. The voices you may hear in the background are my dad and brother watching the video with me. Footage copyright NBC Today Show.

My Nana Connie also took this picture of her TV with her BlackBerry:

I can’t believe I didn’t think to make a CaitPlusAte.com poster – d’oh!

After our “appearance”, it was breakfast time for Dad and I (Hannah had a Starbucks breakfast at the hotel). We strolled around a bit, heading back in the general direction of the Marriott, and spotted a Europa Cafe. We decided to duck in there and grab a bite. Not exactly a unique NYC foodie spot, but I still can’t get it at home, so good enough for me.

I immediately drifted toward the omelet bar. It had been awhile since I’d had an omelet and those veggies looked so good! For you oatmeal lovers out there, Europa Cafe also had a pretty well-stocked oatmeal bar. Unlike every other blogger out there, I rarely ever eat oatmeal!

I gave the chefs my order – an egg white omelet with veggies and dry wheat toast – and watched them work.

My dad got an omelet too, but he also got homefries. His omelet used whole eggs and had cheese, bacon, and veggies. My daddio loves a good, hearty omelet!

Thanks for displaying, Dad!

My breakfast came out perfect. Again, not the most special or unique of places, but it did the job.

I added some ketchup to my eggs and ate the omelet in pieces atop my toast.

Does anyone else eat their eggs and toast like this?

Have you ever gotten coffee and/or breakfast from anywhere particularly remarkable in NYC?

Have you ever gone to watch a taping of any show, live or not?