Being Strong for My Cat

Published April 27, 2016 by Maryanne

SAM_9982With my kitty Derick, age 19

Visiting time with Derick at the vet. On the outside, being strong for my baby, on the inside heart is breaking.

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It’s his kidneys and he’ll be staying at the vet for the second night tonight. Doesn’t look too good; but I always believe in miracles and he’s in very good hands.

Coming home to a house without a pet is the saddest thing. My other cat, Billy, lived to 19 too and died in 2013.  After tonight Derick will be spending one more night at the vet. If there is no improvement, we’ll be taking him home to live out his final days. He’s not in pain, the vet says, his body is just weakening with age.

We just want him to be as comfortable as possible during his last days, like we did with Billy. With the guidance of the vet we are making the best decisions.

Dreaming Big with Drew Nieporent

Published April 21, 2016 by Maryanne

DrewHighRes-1Photo courtesy of Drew Nieporent

This article originally appeared in the spring edition of DiningOut (Bergen/Hudson County, New Jersey edition).

Dreaming Big with Drew Nieporent

By Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta

“You have to dream large if you’re gonna win.”

That is sound advice from America’s legendary restaurateur, Drew Nieporent, founder of the Myriad Restaurant Group, which operates: Tribecca Grill, Nobu New York City, Nobu Fifty Seven, Nobu London, Nobu Next Door, Bâtard, and Crush Wine & Spirits.

In addition to opening and operating over 35 restaurants worldwide, Myriad most recently helped open The Daily Burger at Madison Square Garden.

Born and raised in New York City, Nieporent had fond memories of his Jewish grandmother’s “amazing matzo ball soup,” though his actress mom, who entertained often, liked making frozen food. “…typical sixties mother,” he said.

Growing up in the 1960s, Nieporent was inspired by the confidence of Muhammad Ali, known for his quote, “I am the greatest.” And it was Joe Namath making it into the Super Bowl in 1969 that got Nieporent’s wheels turning that he, too, wanted to be a success.

Nieporent’s father worked for NY State Liquor Authority in the 1960s and exposed his son to diverse restaurants. “Chinese, French, Italian … I took to it right away,” said Nieporent. “I always knew I wanted to open more than one restaurant.”

Early on Nieporent said he was fortunate to work on cruise ships and began his management career at New York City’s Maxwell’s Plum and Tavern on the Green. He went on to work at French restaurants Le Périgold, La Grenouille and Plaza Athenee’s Le Regence.

The Montrachet was Nieporent’s first restaurant, which opened in 1985 and earned three stars from The New York Times. Robert De Niro came to Montrachet as a guest and asked Nieporent if he wanted to do another restaurant in Tribecca.

Jokingly, Nieporent said, “You talking to me?” referring to De Niro’s famous movie quote from “Taxi Driver.”

Together Nieporent and De Niro opened up Tribecca Grill in April, 1990. Investors included Bill Murray, Sean Penn, and Mikhail Baryshnikov.

Four years later, off the success of Tribecca Grill, they opened Nobu New York City, with Japanese celebrity chef Nobuyuki “Nobu” Matsuhisa as chef and owner. Matsuhisa is known for his fusion cuisine, blending traditional Japanese dishes with South American ingredients. Black cod in miso is Matsuhisa’s signature dish.

Today there are 32 Nobu restaurants around the world. “The flavors are amazing,” said Nieporent. “Nobody really puts out the food in the unique fashion that Nobu does.” Nobu menu favorites include: yellowtail with jalapeno; and tiradito made with special citrus.

In 1994, in collaboration with De Niro, Robin Williams, and Francis Ford Coppola, Nieporent opened Rubicon in San Francisco.

Now, so many years later, Bâtard won best new restaurant in May, 2015.

Of all Nieporent’s restaurants, he is quick to say he doesn’t have a favorite. “I always say I relate to my restaurants like I relate to my children,” Nieporent said. “I don’t play favorites.”

When asked if he has plans for opening a new restaurant Nieporent said he didn’t. “I take them as it comes,” he said. “The reality is I’m content with what we have. In the restaurant business, you have to keep an eye on what you have. The most important thing is that we stood the test of time. I think what’s really important is looking over our shoulder and keeping the restaurants strong and vibrant.”

When asked what advice he’d give to someone who was considering going into the restaurant business, Nieporent said to “Think long and hard about doing it. Today the odds are stocked against you. Costs are up … food costs … payroll … You have to dot ever ‘I’ and cross every ‘T’ … you have to be accurate of your bookkeeping when it comes to your staff and payroll.”

On his down time, Nieporent loves to cook at home, typically for the holidays, adding, “I love barbecuing pork chops on the grill.”

During the winter months, like most others, Nieporent enjoys warm, cozy meals. He said, “Nothing’s more delicious than a good stew or a good chili … a beef stew with a good cut of meat and lots of chilies. My wife makes a delicious Texas style chili that I love. We do an onion soup with a melted cheese at Tribecca Grill that’s very comforting.”

When dining out in Piermont, New York, where he lives now, still close to Bergen County, just over the border in Rockland County New York, Nieporent favors the Italian restaurant, Confetti. He also enjoys Peter X. Kelly’s restaurant in Yonkers, Xaviars X2O. “It’s really a special place,” he said of the exquisite glass framed French/Italian/Spanish influenced dining salon with a 25 foot vaulted ceiling and three walls of glass frame offering views of the George Washington and Tappen Zee bridges.

And when dining out in New Jersey, Nieporent loves Arturo’s in Midland Park; Brasserie Brandman in Park Ridge; and Dim Sum Dynasty and Latour in Ridgewood, where he was a longtime resident until he recently moved back to New York with his wife so they’d be closer to her parents.

Nevertheless, Nieporent has fond memories of life in Bergen County. “It was the perfect situation,” he said. “My kids had great schools … We had a beautiful yard … It was easy to get around.”

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is an award-winning journalist and public speaker. She is available to speak at libraries on healthy dining out. She can be reached at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com

 

“Healthy Pasta Alternatives” Another Successful Presentation!

Published April 17, 2016 by Maryanne

SAM_9882Cold Sesame Noodles made with Dreamfields Pasta

Once again I had another “Healthy Pasta Alternatives” presentation. This time it was held at Fairfield Library, Fairfield, New Jersey. Thanks so much to John Arthur for having me! The class is limited to 20 so I could give each person individual attention and answer all questions.

I’m not a nutritionist, but I’ve interviewed many health celebrities for articles during my career as a journalist. These include: David Wolfe, Carol Alt, Oleda Baker, and Patricia Bragg.

The dishes I make for these presentations are used with all natural, organic, clean ingredients. There are samples for everyone.

Thanks so much to singer/pianist/friend Barbara Hassenfeld (http://www.barbaraevanshassenfeld.com/) for coming!

SAM_9922Maryanne (left) with singer/pianist Barbara Hassenfeld

To have this presentation at your library, rotary club, JCC, senior club or private party, contact Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta for availability and pricing at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com

“The Life and Music of John Lennon” at Roseville Manor, Newark

Published April 13, 2016 by Maryanne

SAM_9920Maryanne Mistretta and musician Keith Beck with Roseville Manor resident

Tuesday, April 12, 2016, Pear Tree Enterprises (https://peartreeenterprises.wordpress.com/) presented “The Life and Music of John Lennon” which featured Keith Beck (http://www.zigmanbird.com/).

The presentation was fantastic as Keith rocked the house with John Lennon favorites including, “Oh Yoko,” “Norwegian Wood,” “Stand By Me,” and “Imagine.”

Now, perfect example of how healing music is — a room full of people, many with dementia, yet Keith hit the stage and they were singing along. At the end they were all screaming, “Come back every week!” It was absolutely precious. Great audience and a totally rewarding experience!! Keith is an awesome musician, gave me chills and brought tears to my eyes!

One resident was a huge Beatles fan and said she saw them back in the day! Lucky her!

Thanks so much to activities director, Amanda, for having us!

SAM_9921Maryanne with Amanda, Roseville Manor activities director

“The Life and Music of John Lennon” presentation is a half hour biography on John Lennon, followed by live music.

To book this presentation at your library, senior center, assisted living facility, rotary club, Jewish Community Center, etc. contact Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta for pricing and availability at maryannechristiano@gmail.com

The Life and Music of Ella Fitzgerald at Florham Park Library, Florham Park, NJ

Published April 10, 2016 by Maryanne

SAM_9909Maryanne Mistretta with singer Carol Erickson

Thanks so much to the Florham Park Library for hosting my company Pear Tree’s (https://peartreeenterprises.wordpress.com/) presentation: “The Life and Music of Ella Fitzgerald” which is part of our Learn & Listen series.

This program is available to libraries, senior centers, assisted living facilities, rotary clubs, Jewish Community Centers, etc.

“Learn and Listen: Ella Fitzgerald” is a one-hour presentation, with Maryanne sharing the biography of the First Lady of Song, followed by a half hour of song by the dynamic Carol Erickson! (https://carolericksonvocals.wordpress.com/).

Known as the First Lady of Jazz, Ella Fitzgerald had both a blessed and tragic life. In this interactive presentation, learn about Ella’s life, loves, and music — as well as her unfortunate health struggles.

Following the biography, Carol Erickson wows the audience with her interpretation of Ella hits including, “Night and Day,” “Blue Skies,” “A Tisket A Tasket,” and so much more!

For rates and availability, please contact Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta at: 908-276-1514 during business hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. or email: maryannechristiano@gmail.com

 

Healthy Pasta Alternatives at William E. Dermody Library, Carlstadt, New Jersey

Published April 7, 2016 by Maryanne

SAM_9882Cold sesame noodles made with Dreamfields pasta

Last night I had a blast presenting my lecture “Healthy Pasta Alternatives” at the William E. Dermody Library (http://carlstadt.bccls.org/) in Carlstadt, New Jersey.

We had a great turn out, including my sister!

The next “Healthy Pasta Alternatives” lecture will be presented Saturday, April 16, 2016, 1 p.m. at the Fairfield Library, Fairfield, New Jersey. To sign up, call 973-227-3575. The lecture is free, but you must call to sign up.

SAM_9885Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta, former lead market editor DiningOut

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Here is the synopsis for “Healthy Pasta Alternatives”

Pasta: A Healthy Staple Food

Pasta, a typical dish of unleavened dough of a durum wheat flour, has been a traditional Italian staple, dated back to 1154 in Sicily.

It can be presented in a variety of shapes and made with flour from cereals or grains, and eggs. It’s a simple dish that can be served hot or cold, varying in taste, color and texture.

Discover how pasta evolved and changed over time – from a small simple item to an elaborate culinary dish.

Learn about the nutritional value of pasta, which contains complex carbohydrates, essential nutrients such as iron, vitamin B and folic acid. And depending on the flour, may also be a good source of protein.

Gather information about healthy pasta options such as: brown rice noodles, soy noodles, seaweed noodles, buck wheat noodles, squash pasta, and more!

This presentation will include a cold pasta salad made with one of the healthy noodle alternatives.

For cost and availability, contact Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is the former editor of New Jersey Health & Fitness and former lead market editor of DiningOut (Bergen/Hudson County edition).

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