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Good morning and happy Monday. I really don’t feel like going to work today… I’m wishing I had another few days in the garden! We did some planting, but we also were inspired to change some things after visiting Phyllis Warden’s amazing garden in Bedford for the Open Days on Sunday. More on that in a moment.

We started the weekend off by meeting friends for dinner in the city. First we had drinks on her rooftop, with a great view of the Empire State Building:

Then we headed to El Parador, the old Mexican restaurant on East 34th Street. Wow, what a treasure!

Beamed ceilings, deep red accents, twinkling lights — and great food, too.

We shared a bunch of dishes, including the grilled corn —

And the fish tacos:

It’s right around the corner from my friend’s apartment, so I know I’ll be back:

On Saturday I cooked in — and made sea bass with fennel and orange.

I shaved the fennel and tossed it with evoo, orange juice, green onions and orange zest, then let the fish marinate for a little while. I cooked them at 400 for about 12 minutes.

I served them with roasted asparagus and boiled buttered potatoes:

The asparagus and the fish came from the Palisades Farmers Market!

On Sunday we visited that great garden in Bedford. The Open Days are a fundraiser for the Garden Conservancy. People open the doors to their private gardens for a fee, which goes toward their efforts to “save and preserve America’s exceptional gardens.”

Here are a few snaps:

A lawn with perennial borders:

One of a gazillion water features:

The, um, croquet court:

The formal vegetable garden:

And, at the back end of the 7-acre property, a marshland:

Hey, little guy!

Sorry… I digress.

But I believe food and gardening really do go hand-in-hand, so even though a lot of you restaurant fans might not be interested, I know a lot of our cooks out there are. It really brings you closer to your food. I mean, what’s more beautiful (and tasty) than walking out the door to grab a handful of blueberries? Or snip some rosemary to season your steak? Maybe it’s not a marshland, but I grow what I can on my 1/10 acre.

On Sunday, we headed to my folks’ house for dinner. My mom prepared some pork chops with — you guessed it — more asparagus (hey, it’s in season!):

And with that, here’s what people have been talking about this weekend:

David Corcoran steps down as the NYT critic for the New Jersey section. His farewell article reflects on a decade of dining. (NYT)
Emily likes the food but is frustrated with the service at Dish in Mahopac. (NYT)
MH likes the stone patio at John Michael’s in North Salem. (NYT)
Doug is transported to France by his meal at Buffet de la Gare. (HT)
Doug posts another fabulous video, this one of Rinku cooking a Tamarind Glazed Salmon:

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About Author

Liz Johnson is content strategist for The Journal News and lohud.com, and the founding editor of lohudfood, formerly know as Small Bites. As food editor, she won awards from the New York News Publishers Association, the Association of Food Journalists and the Associated Press. She lives in Nyack with her husband and daughter on a tiny suburban lot they call their farm — with fruit trees, an herb garden, and a yardful of lettuce, tomatoes, onions, shallots, cucumbers, zucchini, radishes, cabbage, peppers, Brussels sprouts and carrots and four big blueberry bushes.

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