Peanut Butter Chocolate Mousse with Banana Ice Cream from BLT Steak in Scottsdale, AZ

A few months ago Andy and I moved to a great apartment on the Upper West Side. It ticked all my boxes: great location, close to two subways and one avenue from Central Park, pre-war character with high ceilings and big windows. But there was one drawback: the kitchen was a glorified coat closet. It had mostly full size appliances and gas (not electric, thank heavens!), but I was convinced that it would be okay. And for the most part it is. Until you see the light, as I did at the Thermador event in Phoenix, AZ . Then you realize you’re not livin’ right.

There’s not much that could convince me to trade our fun city apartment for the comfort and space of a suburban house (at least not yet), but the sight of these showroom kitchens and laundry rooms were enough to bring this city girl to tears. I can hardly conceive of the luxury of a professional range, expansive countertops, storage where everything has its place, a wine cooler and things like freezer drawers, built in coffee machines and—be still my beating heart—a stacked washer and dryer. What I wouldn’t give for laundry to be easy, or at the very least a non-event. Currently it’s eight floors down to the basement, two flights of stairs (up and down) and $6 in quarters.

We walked into the show room and I immediately broke the 10th commandment. I coveted every appliance – from the dishwasher that actually gets the dishes clean (imagine!) to their brand new 48-inch “ultimate culinary center,” the Rolls Royce of ranges. It steams, convection bakes, burner cooks, simmers, grills and even has a griddle and a warming drawer.

We had a great time at the event, starting with the location in sunny Phoenix, Arizona. After six days of rain in New York City, I ran with open arms to the pool where we girls indulged in an umbrella drink.

The first night we ate at a restaurant called BLT Steak. The food was memorable, particularly the perfect popovers, tuna tartare, steak with green peppercorn sauce and most notably, the peanut butter chocolate mousse with banana ice cream. We were all unanimous:  these were the best dishes.

The next day we cooked together.  Sandy from The Reluctant Entertainer and I made a delicious red quinoa and edamame salad with a light vinaigrette.  We all sat down to the smorgasbord of food that we had made together.

In the evening, after another delicious dinner, we headed back to the hotel where I somehow managed to squeeze myself into a bathing suit after two full days of eating and Irvin, Brooke and I went for a late night swim and hot tub session.

(Brooke from Cheeky Kitchen, Irvin from Eat the Love and me!)

I came home to my postage-stamp-sized kitchen, a little depressed, and made that red quinoa and edamame salad again. And was able to eek out a smile. It’s that good!