Recipe To Create a Family Legacy

INGREDIENTS:  An ounce of adventure

A pinch of determination

An ability to withstand extreme temperatures

A desire to be part of something bigger than self

A mixture of stamina and endurance to wait,..and wait some more

an immunity to early morning hours…

4 Family members

30 years

1. Spend Thanksgivings as a child, watching The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on TV.

2. Upon college graduation, accept a teaching job and relocate from rural upstate New York to The hustle and bustle of The Big Apple.

3. Before there were cell phones and internet, discover that in order to be a marcher in The iconic Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, one needs to be a Macy’s Employee.

4. Apply for seasonal job at Macy’s in order to be permitted to march in their parade.

5. Remain a part time macy’s employee and include future Mother in law, (a native New Yorker) as a marcher as well.


Linda Halsted with Mom in law to be, Maxine Winokur 1987

6. Nine years later, join extended family and three year old daughter along central park (before it was lined with exclusive bleacher seating) to watch parade.


7. 2002, celebrate Thanksgiving at home with Grandparents watching the televised parade from the warmth of home.  Shriek with delight to watch broadway actress sister in law perform at Herald Square  with the cast of Hairspray.

Marissa Jaret Winokur

8. Fifteen years later, watch grown college daughter accompany actress aunt perform parade commentary during the parade.


Marissa Jaret Winokur


9. Send clarinet playing son to West Virginia University to study and play in the renowned college marching band

Recieve a phone call nearly two years ago, our unexciteable college freshman calls and jubilantly declares that he has just learned that his college band has been selected to perform in the 2016 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

10. Take 10:45 M train from grown daughter’s apartment Ridgewood Queens to Herald Square

11. Sip coffee and pass time in nearby McDonalds

12. Get turned down when ask NYC police officers at the barricade if you can get any closer to watch the 3 am full uniform rehearsal.
13. Cheer the son and surrounding marching band at 3:15 am as they pass by the police barricade on their way to the the tour buses that are taking them to a 5 am breakfast.





14. Take subway uptown to Museum of Natural History.

15. Suck in breath in awe as ascend street level to discover that you have reach parade balloon nirvana.

16. Navigate the maze of police barricades that  prevent you from accessing prime parade viewing  locations along central park.
17.  4:30 am Pull an All – Nighter in an effort to be as close to the beginning of the parade,


resign self to position self in front of lamp post, which will not only provide a firm barrier from imposing crowding, but will provide a leaning apparatus for onset of fatigue.

18.  Eat cold pop tarts

19. Cheer loudly when The marching band arrives and assumes position at the very beginning of the parade at 7 am


20. Watch enviously as the bleachers across street lining the length of Central park begin to fill with spectators.
21.  Receive yellow balloon from a parade clown on roller blades.

22. Send message to clarinet son in the third row fourth one in via clown on roller blades.

23. Check time…

24. Listen to deafening rumble of the police motorcade and the equally jubilant cheers of the spectators as the signal for the parade to begin is given.
25. Euphorically, sigh that it has come full circle.  A fourth member of family has participated in an iconic Americana event.  Memories have been made and captured on electronic devices and will be shared on social media and likes and emojis will accumulate.

26. On the way to meet up with college boy; post parade, stop and grab a bite to eat at Waffle & Dinges.

27. Capture photo of college marcher with his sister before he heads off to explore the city with his band comrades.


28. Watch, and rewatch you tube videos of the parade.
29. Post a blog about the the event coming full circle.



If you love coffee, …

Mid- morning – pick-me-up consisting of Tiramisu & Cappuccino

seafood, cheese,



and carbohydrates, …
…then you’ll love eating your way across southeastern Italy.

Unfortunately, Linda does not drink cappuccino and vehemently dislikes shellfish of all kinds. The only thing that kept her from returning skinnier, was the carb laiden rich Italian pastries,



Sweet creamy ricotta filled cannoli


and pasta, and Linda’s all time favorite, sweet creamy gelato.


And the only thing that kept any of them coming back heavier, was the combination of perspiring in the hot August sun, and the frequent walking throughout the hilly streets of Gaeta.




Among the several evenings of Italian dining, a few stand out,

The Dutch Pub on Independence was highly recommended by several Gaeta experts. The lack of air conditioning almost made it someplace we were going to pass up, however, when we discovered the little tables nestled in the cobblestoned side alley, we sank into a genuine European al fresco dining experience.


Da Emilio, located in Old Town Gaeta



was so wonderful, that we returned for a second night.

Linda is in search of a recipe to recreate The Pasta Fagioli with a side of Foccia experience.



Bon Giorno

As a mariner, Rob has traveled extensively world wide.  Although  it has been 26 years since Linda has needed a passport for international travel,  this is the first time for Linda to visit Italy.

Rob and a team of afloat trainers from MSC were scheduled work days on USS Mount Whitney



While the men were conducting ship inspections, Linda joined the other spouses that had accompanied their husbands to the seaside port of Gaeta, Italy in daily exploration and sightseeing.

HOWEVER: Rob and Linda experienced a setback when three hours into their six hour  flight that was taking them to Germany, where they would catch a connecting flight to Naples, their plane was forced to return to Newark due to navigational failures.   Although everyone was grateful for a safe landing, fatigue and disappointed made it a difficult start of this adventure


However, after a night in Newark,  they were once again were on their way.

When they finally arrived at the charming family run establishment known as The Rock Garden Hotel, , they were pleased to welcome Rob’s sister and niece who traveled several hours by train from Milan, to spend the first few days with them.


After a typical breakfast consisting of rich Italian pastries and cappuccino, Rob and his colleagues would walk to the ship.

Since Gaeta is a seaside vacation destination for Italian families, Linda and her sister-in-law and niece joined the throng of pedestrians schlepping to the sandy, crescent shaped beach, and rented a beach umbrella and two beach lounges for 15 euros.



The Mediterranean Sea, was refreshingly clear and and free of seaweed and jellyfish.


The calm gentle waves made body surfing pleasurable and relaxing.

It is not hard to explore an old European city and not be able to visit historic Sanctuary of Montagna Spaccata.

An early morning hike up split mountain did not disappoint, aside from the sweeping panoramic vista views, there is a sacred historic treasure worth the effort.






The walk between the split mountain ultimately leads to a tranquil view of the Mediterranean






Sky High Expectations Can Be Met At Dauphin’s

My dearest friend has always said that Linda  one of the few people who actually thinks she  should get what she pays for. As a couple, Linda and Rob have always defined themselves as frugal consumers who try to live within their means.

So it is unusual to find them dining in one of Mobile’s hotest dining locals

If Linda hadn’t queried, she never would have suspected that the 34th floor of this building had a spectacular dining experience waiting for them.

Being frugal minded, they would normally shy away from dining in an establishment in  a high price point.  But sometimes, it is worth it to pay a little more and get a little more in return.

Upon entering the R S A  building,  there is this awesome mardi gra beaded wall mural.

There is a rapid rising elevator that has a entertaining light show as it ascends to the 34th floor.

Rob invited his colleagues to join the merriment at the kitchen’s chef table at Dauphin’s

If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to eat a sculpture, then order the pear salad with goat cheese.   However, it requires deconstructing to eat.  And the cheese had a strong bite to it. However, when compared  to the salad from the previous night at Kitchen on George, it paled.  Although it is entertaining to have food presented in such a decadent way, in the end, it has too be satisfying to eat as well.

At first, prior to being able to see into the box, one might think the waiter was offering cigars.

But alas, adding to the unique dining experience,  was the opportunity to select from a variety of steak knives.

Linda’s steak knife was served in her gourmet burger.

She definitely recommends a burger garnished with egg.

Although Rob has frequently had soft shell crab, never served in a grand presentation as this.

Although we were more than stuffed, we could not pass up desert from the flambe table.  

The finished product was delectable.

But oh wait.

There was still more.

Chilled,mint truffles…

Naturally, they, won’t dine like this every night of their travels.  But there is no doubt that they will be unlikely to forget this memorable meal shared with colleagues and friends.

Finding The Sweet & Home in Alabama

As the retirement  clock continues to count down, we continue to take advantage of every opportunity travel.   So, when work calls the husband to Alabama,  the wife gladly comes along.  After a lunch visit with cousins in NC, we reached a half way point in South Carolina.   

We took advantage by visiting our recently relocated friends outside of Atlanta.  

When we arrived in Mobile, we discovered we were admist several thousand educators who were in town for the annual Mega Educators Conference. 

Part of the fun of traveling is discovering memorable eating experience.  Mobile provided a few of these experiences. 

Since we failed to make a reservation, our first attempt to eat at Kitchen on George gave us a single choice of dining at the bar. Instead we made reservations to return the following night.  

Thus, we headed over to grab some local BarBQ, at Saucey’s.  Sadly, were dumbfounded, to find it was closed and locked for the evening at 7pm.

The following evening,  we arrived  at Kitchen on George as planned.

Aside from the hipster allure of being a ‘farm-to-table’ restaurant, it’s charm begins by being set in an traditionally, southern neighborhood of Oakleigh Gardens Historic District.  

The menu had several delectable sounding choices.   Rob and I agreed to start by sharing a salad.

The Alabama goat cheese was smooth and complimented the slivered pears and pecans garnishing the greens.  

After warm bread dipped in plated olive oil, our server promptly brought our meals.

Rob ordered the pontchartrain special; red drum filet on a bed of jumbaliah accompanied by shrimp in cream sauce. The red drum was fresh and clean.  The spicey zing of the jumbalyah was cooled by the creamy shrimp sauce.

Although the stuffed zucchini sounded tempting, Linda ordered the only seafood she will eat- Salmon. 

It was not too dry, tender and mouth watering.  The roasted marinated asparagus had been artisianly sliced lengthwise.  The augratin turnip was a novel side dish.

Origanally we planned to forgo desert.  Our bellies were full and our pallets, content.  However,we reconsidered after learning the desert menu choices.  We declined the regional favorite of key lime and opted to share a genetous serving of creme brule.

A wise choice; it was light, velvety smooth with a sweet crunch of the carmelized topping. The creamy flavor lingered well after we payed the check and finished the evening walking around the neighborhood,  admiring the lavish southern porches and the spanish moss festooned trees.

Comfort Food

Diners are often notorious for their menu of comfort food.  But the Tick tock diner in Clifton, New Jersey takes on a whole new meaning of “comfort” food when you factor in that is located directly adjacent to our family’s burial plots at King Solomon Memorial Park, Clifton, New Jersey.

Yearly visits, to loved ones who have passed are followed by a meal at Tick Tock.


Although the macaroni and cheese was competing  for Linda’s attention; when she learned that the french toast on the Monte Cristo was Challah bread, it was a no brainer; Monte Christo is was.

Rob was surprised with the combination of meat and turkey on Linda’s Monte Cristo.


Monte Cristo

The serving was ample and would recommend sharing this with a dining companion,or  taking a portion of this to go.


We purchased a half dozen cannolis from the tempting baked goods display, to bring along with us to share with extended family in New York.

Aroma Cafe

I can’t think of a more eclectic Southern California Cafe than Aroma Cafe

20160324_164939.jpg in Studio City, California.

Once more, we were meeting up with a friend and there was a line out the door waiting to order.  Linda, went for the the wild rice/tofu bowl.


She wished I had remembered to ask for them to delete the red peers from the dish.  It was spicier than she last remembered it from a the last time she ate there in 2010.

The eclectic cafe ambiance is highly pleasing.  weather you choose to dine inside or out, there is note a bad seat. We took advantage of the lovely spring weather and sat beneath the canopy of umbrella out back.





L.A. was where we were first introduced to this frozen treat.   A trip to the west coast is incomplete without at least on stop at Pinkberrys   Linda is a fan of the tart original.   However Rob tried the grapefruit flavor it left Linda enviable that she didn’t order grapefruit. It was tremendous! For those who keep track, we had frequented Pinkberry’s a total of four times during our west coast stay.   Sadly, the grapefruit flavor  is not offered at all  locations.

Dinner and a Show

As the valet was parking our vehicle, at Iroha Sushi of Tokyo we were greeted us with this whimsical wall art as we approached the entrance to restaurant.


Shortly after being seated, we prepared for dinner with a ceremonial hand cleansing with steaming hot cloths.


First this


Followed by this


And then some of this


Although Linda agreed it looked grand if you like sushi, she is not a fan of most seafood so she went with her old stand by of teriyaki chicken.


And that’s when things got exciting.  A man carrying a palm size snake in his hand began to parade around the restaurant, forcefully showing the patrons and employees his snake.  When asked to leave, he became argumentative, obstinate an confrontational.  When he approached our table, Rob, firmly told him to “get that snake away from our food” with similar dramatic intensity as this scene from planet of the apes,  Well maybe not quite as much drama, but he was clear and firm and the man with the snake did back away.

We were joined by many patrons, quickly departing the restaraunt.  While waiting on the valet, we witnessed the agitated man return into the restaraunt, this time with a 13 foot boa constrictor.

The authorities arrived promptly.


Who knew we would have front row seats for a news report that went viral.

p.s. no sushi was harmed in this incident

That’s Hollyweird for ya!