Sunday, March 10, 2013

10 days...

...until Spring, but before this weekend it felt like forever. Fortunately, the weather has taken a long-awaited (and remarkable) turn for the better, with temperatures in the upper 40's to low 50's. Today Jay Cardinal spotted six turtles sunning themselves lazily on a bit of the Pond's shore. It was a welcome sight.

There's something about the long winter that causes us four-season folk to anticipate the Spring and any signs of warmth joyfully. Here are a few ways I like to banish winter from my mind. How about you, Long Island?

1. Wearing cheerful and warmer-weather clothes helps me think warmer-weather thoughts. I like to trade in the monochromatic knits for colourful ones and incorporate lighter, Spring-ish fabrics in layers. Floral patterns don't hurt, either... especially when them come on combat boots.

'Dacey' Floral Combat Boots by Arizona Jean Company. $35, JC Penney.
 
2. Incorporating sensory elements can remind one of Spring. Was there a favourite album, artist or genre you like to listen to in the Spring? Make a mix tape. (Er, in twenty-first century lingo, "an iTunes playlist".) Are you a seasonally-nostalgic person? Find a candle with your favourite Spring scent. Cut flowers like Tulips and Daffodil are very inexpensive this time of year and bring a little of nature's beauty indoors. For many the smell of Hyacinth evokes a strong connection to Spring, and Hyacinth plants are only a few dollars at your local food store or home improvement store.
 
Oi Ocha by Ito En. Unsweetened, refreshing goodness...
I think it tastes like Spring. :)
 
3. Get out of the house. Yes, I realize that means we have to get behind the wheel and join the rat race, but just being out in the world can have a nourishing effect when one has spent the last few months dealing with hibernation-induced ennui.
 
So to that effect... DH and I decided to take advantage of Town of Smithtown's Restaurant Week, which started last weekend and runs through today. Many area restaurants participated and offered a 3-course fixed price meal for $25/pp. A good deal, indeed!
 
Five Five 2 on Urbanspoon
 
Five Five 2 in St. James was on my list of new places to try for 2013. Housed in what was formerly O's Wine Bar, we found the converted farmhouse cozy and warm. A woodburning fireplace sat in one dining area for the enjoyment of the guests, while we were escorted right away to a romantic little corner that was quite private, with french doors that faced out onto a charming patio. For our selections, we both choose the peeky-toe crabcake with sweet corn and piquillo pepper coulis, and the truffle ricotta ravioli with maitake mushroom sauce. The crabcake was expertly plated and in spite of the pepper, it wasn't overly spicy; in fact it had a nice, mild, sweet taste to it. As an Eastern Shore of Maryland girl, I am extremely picky about the content of my crab cakes--- it has to be more lump meat than "fluff". Here Five Five 2's kitchen really delivered! The sommelier was helpful and pithy in his synopses of each wine's flavour profile, and the advice he offered was spot on. The steely 2011 Hippolyte Reverdy Sancerre paired beautifully with the crabcake; while the 2007 Phillippe & Vincent Jaboulet Syrah (which had a wonderful port-ish, pruney nose) brought out the balsamic accents in the ravioli dish, and its bit of spice married rather than competed with the earthiness of the truffle. In fact, the wine list in general was quite good and left us thinking of what we might like to try next time. Waitstaff was a bit green, but endeavoured to make sure we were contented. A repeat venture? Most definitely.

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