Sunday, September 21, 2014

coastal village star: professional paws

Professional Paws 
Post Office Box 37
Nesconset, NY 11767
(Cell) 516-225-3501

If we have late nights at work or decided to slip away for a few days, there has to be someone to tuck in our feathered friends, change their water and food, and lock up Fort Knox.

It was serendipitous that Jay found Kimberly, a professional dog trainer and pet sitter who offers her services through her Professional Paws company.

Kimberly is a responsive communicator. She is thorough in providing her services, enthusiastic with animals, and charges a very reasonable fee. We highly recommend Kimberly of Professional Paws for your pet-care needs! You can read more about her and Professional Paws by visiting the website.

goodbye, summer. hello, autumn!

Hello there, Long Island! It's been a while.

I hope everyone is settling into the equilibrium of the new season. New traffic patterns (ugh to that one); new foci (mostly great). I am awestruck and tremendously proud of what Jay Cardinal has been up to lately in his rewarding and meaningful career; between joyfully picking up the slack at Pond House, my own work schedule, and helping my parents, however, that hasn't left much time for blogging. Still, I try to find moments here and there to pause, relax, and reflect.

Give yourself the gift of culture with a little trip to Stony Brook University.
After finishing work on Thursday, I took advantage of the free reception and grand re-opening of the art gallery at the Charles B. Wang Center. My first impression of the campus: park-like and well-organized. It was easy securing a spot in the garage right across from the Center in the middle of rush hour.

The Charles B. Wang Center

Inside I was greeted by a whimsical culinary interpretation of Mao's Golden Mangoes by SBU's own chef, Paolo Fontana. (Yes, they have a chef). Marinated beef skewers in mango salsa, crostini with mango chutney and numerous other delights awaited as guests, students and professors mingled with the artists. The gallery's director spoke briefly, after which everyone began perusing the first collection of the new academic year. The gallery, by the way, is free and open to the public. Note: Parent discretion is advised when visiting the current collection. Several contemporary works, which are a profound testament to social activism, address topics which may not be appropriate for children. Visit the Center's website for more information.

Interior pond and courtyard

The Wang Center offers numerous courses, special events and theatrical productions in addition to its art gallery. If music is more your thing, Stony Brook's music department is well-respected. If nailing down or affording a ticket to see the Emerson Quartet is a luxury, undoubtedly you find the myriad of regular graduate student solo recitals to be both affordable and stirring.

Enjoy some beauty and peace of mind at Avalon Park and Preserve.
I had forgotten about the beautiful gated walk which snakes around the pond across from Stony Brook's Historic Grist Mill. For my fellow nature-lovers who have found their encounters with the ticks and Poison Ivy that is endemic to this area highly overrated, walking along the planked path with numerous stopping points and beautiful vistas is a worry-free treat. It's also well taken care of, making it great for seniors or others who prefer a gentle walk. 

I spotted a black-crowned night heron munching on muck but couldn't get close enough to take a proper shot.

For those who want to little more adventure, a dirt path continues past the planks. 

Avalon also offers yoga and mindfulness classes and retreats at various times throughout the week. You can find out more online by visiting .

Revel in a solid weekend brunch at Toast in Port Jefferson...
Perhaps it's because it's so far up on the North Shore (or perhaps it's because we came five minutes after they open on Saturday morning) but we were surprised to get a seat at Toast, which arguably offers one of the best brunch on Long Island. Jay Cardinal, ever the iced coffee snob, was very impressed with his signature morning drink, and of all things, gluten-free, coconut-milk soaked French toast. The sausage was a delectable distant cousin to foie gras. One nice feature at Toast is how they offer short stacks of any type of pancake. I went with a short stack of the sweet potato pancakes with honey butter, which had a wonderful toasted, not overtly sweet quality. My sage grapefruit Bellini was good--- again, not to sugary, but rather dreamily herbaceous.

Toast Coffeehouse & Wine Bar on Urbanspoon

...or an exceptional pizza at Grana in Jamesport.
This weekend's East End excursion included a take-out pie from Grana. We were astounded by the fig, carmelized onion, aged mozzarella and gorgonzola cream pizza. (Add the Duroc Pork Sausage--- you won't regret it!) Grana has a handle on the char of their crust: it is both well-integrated and a driving force. They're a bit pricey, but less than $30 for dinner out East is not bad in my book.

Grana Wood-Fired Pizza Napolitano on Urbanspoon

De-stress wherever your Long Island journeys take you.
Whether you are riding the LIRR into the city for work, taking a moment to reflect at home or a local park, or looking for a meaningful way to kill time waiting at a doctor's office, Stop Breathe & Think is a great free meditation app for iDevices. (There's nothing particularly Long Island-y about this app. I just like it because 1) it's free, 2) you can track your progress, and 3) it can travel with you anywhere).

Whether you have five minutes or five hours, I hope this gave you some ideas and inspiration for present-tense appreciation a midst a busy back-to-school routine and the ephemeral season of Autumn that is nearly upon us!

What are your simple pleasures these days, Long Islanders? Any suggestions?