you are in the sweet spot.

it was one of those magical weeks. they don't happen often (ever) so i'm gonna just name it & bask in it for a bit if you will allow me...

you know when those stretches of time that defy description? it's not that everything is perfect or life is 100% stress free. it's not like when you've planted your ass firmly on a teak chaise lounge in the white caribbean sand and your sipping a peach margarita with your girlfriends before the concept of children ever dawned on you. no, i'm talking about mid-quagmire: mortgage. sick parent. fourteen sporting events. forgotten chromebook. another staples trip. birthday parties to plan. and you suddenly realize that despite it all, aside from the chaos and constant motion, you are in the sweet spot. yeah, that was my week. 

i think i logged more ass time last week in my suburban than i did all summer. with four kids moving in nineteen directions, new carpools, blah blah blah, most days i just stayed in the car and threw out bags of goldfish and turned up cold play on the radio. but the little moments dawned on me, i saw them in real time: my son getting his braces removed and smiling for me outside the office. my youngest in her very first travel soccer uniform so proud that she is finally like the big kids. my oldest running from her field hockey game to cater a cocktail party for me looking far too old for her 15 years. i am in the sweet spot people. i get it. i know what you were all talking about. i've arrived. 

no more naps. no more diapers. no more whining from the back of the car that so-and-so hit me or i need to pee. they are all old enough to pee before they get in the damn car. and grab a bag of goldfish and a sweatshirt while they are at it in case it's cold after practice and mom's late to pick up (which she is. always). even the poor kid i forgot at carpool, her mom was like,' whatever, i get it. sh*t happens.' even i have finally learned to only carpool with people like me, people who can only get it right as much as we can get it right.

life is good. life is sweet. life sure a sh*t ain't boring but hey, what did i think having all those kids and a cafe? but a girl can be grateful for slowing down just enough, to be present enough to notice: you are in the sweet spot. here's another sweet week ahead.

 

can you say eggplant rollatini? um, i can. it's slammin'.

can you say eggplant rollatini? um, i can. it's slammin'.

that was just one of the killer items we served upthis weekend. mango & brie quesadillas with homemade tomatillo salsa was another (right). tuscan table below. ten parties. 23 chefs, servers and bartenders bopping all over northern new jersey from leonia to sparta. seriously folks, there is nowhere we won't go and pretty much nothing we won't do to make your event "knock-it-out-of-   the-park" spectacular. 

summer is over. everyone's home from the beach, kids are all back in school (wahooooooo, you have no idea how happy this make me. sorry to all those people who 'just wished for another day!' i didn't and not sure we could be friends so don't introduce yourselves) and with this crazy ridiculously weather all people are thinking is watching college football and booking their last indian summer parties before the winter sets in. yes! yes! yes! we don't blame you one little bit.

between all those parties and launching our new menu this past week it was one rockin' week over here at catchy. our new patio has been PUMPIN'. lots of you smart mommies out there with your bottles of rose toasting the first day of school right along with me (well, i was rose-free as we are involved in a no-sugar september over here and it's NOT been pretty). so keep it coming and make week two even more successful than the last. we will have no objection.

i had a meatball last night that was so freakin' good i almost passed out.

i had a meatball last night that was so freakin' good i almost passed out.

no it wasn't mine. i have to be honest (and immodest), i'm a firm believer that there isn't a meatball this side of the colorado river that holds a candle to my homemade veal & ricotta meatballs. cocky? yes. accurate, i do believe. and now i will eat a heaping serving of humble pie. last night, sitting with great friends and my favorite 50 year old brother sipping frosty cocktails at Redd Wood in YOUNTVILLE, CA (also home to French Laundry and only the most relaxing vibe i have experienced in, oh, EVER), i almost passed out from the sheer fabulousity (yes, that's a word) of a bowl of meatballs and some crusty Thomas Keller bread from Bouchon. it took everything in me to stop at the fourth ball. sheer willpower. i'm regretting it now event as i type. 

they were clearly made that morning, softly assembled with just the right balance of salty parmesan, a dollop of ricotta and most likely some breadcrumbs which i would guess to be direct descendants of those loaves of Bouchon bread. sweet JESUS if i could have smuggled an extra order on the plane home today i would have. oh my god i love my job. love. love. LOVE it. while off on a quick three day trip to Cali to surprise my big brother on his birthday-palooza, i got to eat and drink some of the most ridiculously delicious food and write it off as work. "work." BAH!! suckers. do they know how easy it is to get up and got to work when part of the job description is ordering the chopped salad with mini diced salami & provolone, briney olives & the most delicate of lemon vinaigrettes? oh, my god how all that hard work at a college i hated paid off when i got to use it to open catchy.!! do what you love folks - there is little better in this life. well, except those meatballs. yeah, those were better.

so all this mad-traipsing around greater san francisco, yountville and napa valley all weekend (sans kids, it just had to be said, so you could fully understand how FREAKIN' GOOD my weekend was) helped firm up the already OUTSTANDING vibe we are about to grenade all over you folks next tuesday at catchy. NEW MENU. stop. no i can't stop. NEW OUTDOOR PATIO vibe. you are lying. i don't lie. it's gonna be insane. new tables, new chairs, new umbrellas, lush greenery in new planters with six new salads (including a build your own option, what!?!), a new bowl with three grains and four new sandwich options that will blow your frickin' MINDDDDD. so pick out that bottle of rose, make a date for next week (new menu launches the tuesday after labor day) and get ready to love catchy. even more than you guys already do. 

do you know how excited i am? I AM FREAKIN' OUT!!!!

changes, they areeeee a comin'...

do you know how excited i am? I AM FREAKIN' OUT!!!!

we have some absolutely FABULOUS stuff in store for you and i am like, beside myself with excitement about it. 

have you taken a look at catchy. lately?? no? well peer on over the next time you drive by. our outdoor patio tent was just taken down on thursday and it is making room for brand new outdoor tables and umbrellas outside. a bright cheery new look to match our bright NEW MENU that we will be launching the day after Labor Day!!! no sh*t!! i'm serious! it's just SO freakin' exciting!

we will have new salads (think country field salad, farmer's market salad, sticky this chicken), a whole section of our menu dedicated to bowls (oldies like the "super" quinoa bowl & new ones like our faro/wheatberry/quinoa bowl with loads of tasty add-ins). we will have new sandwiches, wraps & even a flatbread!! we will have "mini" salad options (the mini skinny, the mini baja) and even a create-your-own salad option from a dozen different items - SHUT UP, NO YOU SHUT UP!! 

can you believe it? because i literally cannot. my mind is racing, blown. i can't sleep. well, not just because mind is racing but because it also takes an *ssload of work to deal with so many logistics of all these changes while you are still catering a half dozen parties every week. but my team of aces is behind me in helping us get everything locked and loaded so when you drop those kids off to school the day after labor day, you have a "new" spot to meet up with your girls (and a bottle of wine) & something just a little different than you always order when you pop into catchy. YES!! 

and while we were making all those changes, we decided to add a dozen or so new apps to our catering menu. and with summer winding down, it seems like JUST the right time to plan that end of summer cocktail party in your backyard before the gorgeous summer weather runs out. so call the shop now and book your event! you can even request one of our new menu items for your event!  

oh my vacation, how i did so enjoy thee.

oh my vacation, how i did so enjoy thee. 

i'm telling you, this whole two weeks closed thing has got to be the best gig EVER. i don't know about you folks, but by the time summer had rolled around and my staff had made it through dozens of first communions & graduations, a handful teachers luncheons and an early summer wedding or two, we were all just about ready to run screaming from the country if we could. which we couldn't. because we  have kids. and that would have been sort of douchey. 

so the next best thing we figured out is that closing the shop and recharging our collective batteries so we are ready to give it a whirl once more come august 14th, is the WAY. TO. GO. and so we did. and it was. man, were these 17 days the frickin' bomb.com. you can see from the assorted pics all around, that i made F.U.N. a major priority. 

carnivals and food treks. beach vacations and summer bbqs. we even threw in a 50th birthday celebration in the hamptons (that we catered, it was my brother's, couldn't turn that special guy down) that was one for the ages. toss in a 17th anniversary for me & my honey at marc forgione (yes, all my foodies, it was super-swankadelic) and there wasn't a box i didn't check.

but now we are back and MANNNN, do we have some killer sh*t in store for you all. the next two weeks we will be requesting YOUR INPUT. the menu: SHE IS A CHANGIN'!!! we are adding new items, maybe taking a few away, bringing in "mini" versions of salads & kids items (envision this: the "mini" skinny chicken caesar...yes, when you order it you will be able to just say gimme the mini skinny, i know, i know, i feel cool saying it too). it's all just SO DAMN EXCITING!! the new menu will roll out post labor day just to give you all something to freak out about!! and we want your input on salads, sandwiches, kids items (yes, macaroni & cheese is coming to a catchy. near you, word) so get ready to drop your suggestions in the suggestion box that i will be putting  out this week at the cafe. 

but while my chefs and i kibbutz on this all this week, you can feast on all the tasty regular size items below this week. pop by the shop. order online for delivery. i don't care how it happens, just get yourself back to freshness with our always delicious and locally sourced soups, salads and sandwiches. hot dinners are back and just in time with fall sports beginning tomorrow (hello football and field hockey, welcome to my world - not welcome:/).

 

vacation is underrated.

vacation is underrated. 

nine straight days of doing absolutely, 100%, nothing work-related. mother of GODDDD, i should have been born italian rather than just married one. i EXCEL in the art of vacation like no tuscan fella ever has.  

i didn't think it was possible after 90 straight days of planning, organizing and executing too many parties to count, that i would be able to shut this crazy-ass hamster wheel of a brain off and so thoroughly enjoy a vacation but i am here to tell you folks...IT WAS. aided by the oh so delicious Mount Gay Rum Southside every day at around 4:59pm, my toes in the warm sand and my kids cousins around to entertain them constantly with cards, boogey boards, roller blades, jaunts to town for massive bags of candy (don't think less of me, it was vacation, i did make them brush their teeth), i just aced vacation. give me a 100% because i am a master.

and i'm here to tell you one more thing for those of you still stuck in the parenting hell of diapers, naps, whiny toddlers & poorly inflated floaties, when you hit the sweet spot where your youngest kid can swim, wipe her own *ss and can put her dishes in the dishwasher and yet your oldest isn't sneaking bartles & james wine coolers out by the docks with the neighborhood boys (what? who did that? i never did that) you will be in NIRVANA. i know it doesn't seem like it will ever get here but when it does, let me be the first to tell you vacations feel like you that time the dentist gave you one extra hit with the silly gas...sublime my friend. just seriously a whole notha' level of fabulous.

but alas, the vacation is over and with it comes parties, banquets and some stupid tasty PIPING HOT DINNERS. so take a gander at the fresh meals we have below and order up your food for the upcoming week. our salads, soups, hot dinners & desserts will help bring you back to reality without such a hard crash to the ground.

i think summer is going to kill me.

i think summer is going to kill me. 

i don't know about you, but i had visions of sprinklers, laughter, back yard barbecues...so far, all i seem to have been doing is driving back and forth on the new jersey turnpike for the last three weekends hauling my kids to lacrosse tournaments. sticky portable chairs, shrill whistles from the refs calling my kid for shooting space (if you don't know what that is you are right there with the 600 people who sat next to me screaming "that's not a foul!" when it was absolutely a foul), and whining little sisters who so did NOT want to be at lacrosse tournaments from 7:30am until 5:15pm. only three more weekends to go, just three. more. weekends.

i vowed yesterday after a quick stop to subway for some nearly inedible sandwiches (i figured a little more nutritional value than mcdonalds) to embrace the journey (literally) rather than the destination. we were hauling ass north to get back to the pool so my girls could take a swim when the skies opened up...for twenty minutes, water pouring down on the highway into large swirling puddles. i realized then: best laid plans sometimes don't come to fruition. six year olds generally don't take that well.

 what could we do at that very moment (besides piss and moan, we did that for a bit too) to enjoy our summer vacation?? we tossed out a few ideas and ended on grabbing some stuff for dinner from the market, renting beauty & the beast out of the red box machine (that box is my savior at the end of the check out aisle of death) and pulling out the new puzzle birthday puzzle my daughter got from her birthday. GENIUS. may not have sounded fun but when you stay present and let go, sometimes the best memories come from the smallest moments. we picked out fun lunch items from the aisles for their camp lunches, i let my youngest push the cart into her older sisters ankles a half dozen times which was good for some laughter, i got a food shop done while they were preoccupied by staying in the aisle and not crashing over the bbq sauce display.

i plan to employ my "stay present and look for the little moments" state of mind today. and i'm pretty sure ordering up some citrus lime chicken wings tonight from our PIPING HOT DINNER MENU and enjoying them on the back patio with a frosty beer while they jump through the sprinklers is going to make the crispy, lime-swathed chicken all the better. feel free to join me...

ahhhh, it was a that kind of weekend if you know what i mean.

ahhhh, it was a that kind of weekend if you know what i mean. i love me some titos, cranberry and a shot of seltzer on a good day, but throw me into the middle of a graduation month and we are talking adoration at the highest level.

i know at this point in my blogging career you know me well enough to know how very much alcohol means to me. but this week especially, it came in some kinda handy in bringing my zen right into focus. there is a lot of sh*t i can do in terms of planning some major mother f*cker events but this week, well, this week TOOK THE CAKE. alongside almost a dozen confirmed events for the weekend we managed to take on a last minute graduation party for nearly a hundred that had my brain reeling by 7pm every night. if not for my very very good friend tito, i'm not sure any amount of headspacing meditation would have been able to get my grey matter to wind down at night. tito, oh tito, how i love you so in june. 

but june is nearing an end and with it, on june 30th, my dear manager maureen will be returning to the east coast (or so she promised). and i, for one, am greatly looking forward to her return. after all my organizing, staffing & ordering, i spent the weekend from 5:30am on saturday morning through 6pm sunday at two of my girl's lacrosse tournaments with my entire family and i couldn't have enjoyed a weekend more if i was sitting in bora bora on a chaise lounge. no phones. no computers. no invoices to check over. just sitting on a blanket on the sidelines cheering on my girls in new egypt, new jersey with the rest of my crew made smile with joy. my balance is returning and with it, a sense of peace i have been missing since maureen left in april. this weekend reminded me of why i could never be all work and no play. didn't work for jack and (my husband will attest), it hasn't worked well for me. ah sweet jesus june 30th you can't come soon enough.

in the meantime we have got another week of RIDICULOUS food. last week you ordered more from our website than any week. um, EVER. monday night broke our hot dinner record by a landslide. ba bam tequila lime chicken i thank you.