The Latest of What I've Been Eating.
When our SF counterparts were visiting the NY offices, they took us out to dinner. Luckily, one of my favorite restaurants was the place of choice!
We got a plate of Macho Nachos - melted jack cheese, black beans, salsa rachera, sour cream, pickled red onion, jalapeno and chorizo. They were baked on a big pizza pan and crispy, although slightly spicy for my tastebuds!
No Chris O'Donnell sightings in State College, PA; but these fried green tomatoes were still amazing! I spent a weekend in Huntingdon, PA, visiting my friend, Charlotte, her husband Will and their two kids, Harriet and Alexandria.
After visiting Penn's Cave, we drove to State College to try out the food at Spats Cafe. And while I tried alligator for the first time, I could have eaten another plateful of these guys.
The cornbread crust was perfectly crunchy and topped with green onions and peppers with elote.
Every time I go into the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory, I just want to eat all of their chewy, rainbow mochi! I've wanted to try more of their "exotic" flavors, but this time went for the Buko Pandan ice cream - pandan accented with coconut and some rainbow mochi. Bonus! They gave me two sticks of chocolate Pocky!
Yes, I mostly went to Nickel and Diner because of their Instagram page; but also because the building used to be a gross, deteriorating Chinese super buffet, just North of Chinatown.
Now, it's a sleek and modern dining experience! I still have to go back for brunch, but in the meantime, dinner was lovely and I got to catch up with Khadiyjah, while she was back in the city.
I chose the pork belly tortellini - with yam, scallions, green beand, peas and lemongrass in a creamy butter sauce. Yes, I wish there was more, but luckily, Chinatown Ice Cream Factory was a short walk from there.
Post-"dumps of the month," I went with Whitney to the Chef's Club Counter in Soho to try out the new soft serve flavors at Oddfellows Circus.
Only through Labor Day, Oddfellows is offering three different types of soft serve in inventive combinations. I went for the "Concession Stand" - caramel popcorn soft serve, a salted caramel injection topped with salted caramel popcorn and crispy chocolate pearls.
I can't wait to go back and try out the other flavors!
If you're not an 80's kid, you might not know what Wuzzles are, but they were "two kinds of animals, wrapped up in one!" So, in that vein, the "dumps of the month" at Mimi Cheng's are two of my favorite things, wrapped into one!
The July Monthy Special - "Emmy Burger" dumplings, a partnership with Pizza Loves Emily in Brooklyn! Dry-aged beef, Grafton white cheddar, caramelized onions, crushed pretzels, topped with red pepper flakes and a side of Emmy Sauce.
I'm drooling just thinking about them again...
I convinced my friend, Ricky to go out to brunch and then get an ice cream cone with me for #NationalIceCreamDay! Well, since he's vegetarian, we made two stops; first to Davey's Ice Cream for me and then to Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream for him.
While Davey's always has great flavors and I tried the Smore'z; I always go back to my favorite, Speculoos Chocolate Chip! There's something about those spicy cookie pieces that just get me every time!
I haven't been to Ice & Vice on the Lower East Side lately, but I can't resist their evolving and interesting flavors of ice cream. So, after stuffing my face with dumplings, I grabbed a Konery cone from Ice & Vice.
I chose a scoop of "Milk Money" - toasted milk ice cream, sea salt and chocolate ganache in a Froot Loops cone! I had to take my photo quickly, because the heat and humidity was melting the ice cream down my hand super fast!
Another reason that I'm thankful my new office is right by Herald Square: catching the last weekend of Broadway Bites in Greeley Square!
After our weekly uptown visit, I ran through the stands to get a cone of Russian "air-fried" dumplings. I chose two types of dumplings for my cone: beef & pork - organic flour, hormone/antibiotic-free ground beef and pork, organic onions, organic spices, pickle, vegan sour cream and potato & mushrooms - organic flour, organic vegan mashed potatoes, organic mushroom gravy, pickle, vegan sour cream.
Delicious! I would have gotten a larger order, but the Ice & Vice ice cream stand was right across the way...
The pastries that I've had from Maman have ranged from delicious to so-so, but this piece of cherry brioche was everything! Maybe a bit heavy for an afternoon/post-lunch snack, but with those cherry crumbles and cherry pie filling inside the bread; wow!
When you're craving ice cream, but also want a cupcake; why not get the Sprinkles Sundae!?
I chose a scoop of cookie dough ice cream, sandwiched in between a chocolate marshmallow cupcake from Sprinkles! The best of both worlds!
When Christina asked if I wanted to go to the Park Avenue Armory to see the new Ai Wei Wei exhibit, I knew I was in; but then came the challenge of finding a good place for brunch.
I'd never been to Little Collins, so it seemed like a safe bet; if only I'd known how small the actual restaurant was! At least we found three seats by the window and were able to sit for a bit and enjoy our meal.
I got the avocado benedict - salmon, avocado, micro greens, poached eggs, hollandaise with some whole grain toast and a hibiscus iced tea.
After a long week and getting back to NYC life, I met up wih Haske at Midnights in Brooklyn for dinner and drinks. We caught up on life, love and work. The weather was perfect to sit out on the back porch, so we grabbed a few cocktails and perused the menu.
As much as I wanted to get the "Justin Bieber" cocktail, I went with "Carlleta's Pain Meds" - El Dorado white rum, coconut milk, orange, pineapple and an aged Bumbu Pirate rum floater, in a very cool fish glass.
It was very surreal being back in NYC after the slower pace of life in Lincoln for the last few weeks. Of course, I came back for Pride Weekend in NYC and a little celebration at the office.
There were chicken nuggets from Sticky's Finger Joint with french fries and boozy snowcones from Sweetface Snoballs. I picked out some nuggets sans cheese, fries and the "Nola Voo Doo" snoball, which was blueberry, coconut and vodka. A little booze never hurt to help numb the sadness and pain.
Plus, there was a photo booth with drag queen, Pattaya Hart!
On my way to the airport in Omaha on Monday, I was lamenting that I forgot to get a meal at Bison Witches! Well, wouldn't you know it? Inclement weather in Chicago/NYC forced my flight to be cancelled. I almost got to Chicago and would have been stranded, but luckily, after sitting for 2 hours on the tarmac, our plane turned back to the gate, where I was able to get off and book a flight to NYC for the next day.
I called Dad and he headed up to Omaha to get me, while I contemplated what to do with my extra day in Lincoln. Oh yeah! Get a TON of carbs at Bison Witches! Dad had never been, so I was happy to show him one of my favorite college places.
I got a club sandwich, sans mayo, on wheat with cream of potato bacon soup, tortilla chips and their amazing chili con queso! Seriously. I dream about this queso! Why is it SO good!?
Once of our traditions growing up was going to the Haymarket for the Farmer's Market every Saturday morning with Dad. Since I stayed around for another week, we drove downtown in search of produce, poultry and treats.
Then while Dad was off looking for coffee, I ran into my cousin, Maegan, with her kids, Mikey and Ora. We walked around the market and grabbed some treats. After walking through all the food booths, I was craving some ice cream, so why not go to Ivanna Cone? (Yes, the name is a bit unfortunate due to our current President...but oh well.)
They churn all their own ice cream, so I opted for a scoop of coconut and a scoop of circus animal beach party! I couldn't convince Mikey to get a "fun" flavor and he opted for some vanilla ice cream with Oreo's, when they didn't have cookies 'n cream! Maybe one day I'll help develop his ice cream palate!
During one of my last days back home, I met up with my best friend from elementary school, Erin, and our high school friend, Nikki. We caught up over slices at Yia Yia's Pizza downtown. It was great reminiscing about our friends and catching up on life; it'd been years since any of us had seen each other.
I got two slices of pizza and garlic cheese bread. Too much food? Yes. I would eat this later, and Dad would try to steal it, too. This is a photo of "The Atlantic" - grilled chicken, bacon, potato, broccoli and mozzarella with white sauce. I also got a slice of "The Local" - bacon, hamburger, pepperoni, sausage, mushroom, bell pepper, onion, black olives and mozzarella with marinara, but saved it for later.
I think a cheese frenchee is another Nebraska/Midwest food anamoly, like the Runza. Basically, it's a grilled cheese sandwich that's breaded and fried - artery-clogging? Yes! Delicous? Absolutely.
When my college friend, Neal, wanted to meet up for dinner, I knew I had to go to Don & Millie's with him, since it's one of his favorites and I hadn't been there in years.
That fried, gooey cheese sandwich was perfect and I also got a loaded baked potato - sans sour cream.
We indulged in our greasy, diner food and talked about New Kids on the Block, since we had both went to their concert last night in Omaha, and how disappointed we were that Paula Adbul was injured and couldn't perform. (I still credit Neal with introducing me to One Direction!)
One of my favorite brunch dishes has always been biscuits & gravy. The Green Gateau has been the brunch place of choice for the Gordon family for some time now, as they always go to the same place every Sunday, after Mass. When I was growing up, it was the "fancy" place to eat and where I went for dinner before my Junior Prom, thus being back, felt a little surreal.
We waited a bit for our food, but what followed was the largest plate of biscuits & gravy I had ever seen! Two giant cheddar & chive biscuits smothered in sausage gravy with hashbrowns or a potato pancake. I opted for the potato pancake, as they said their pancake batter was baked into it...what showed up was a giant stack of hashbrowns; crispy on the outside, but a little doughy on the inside - interesting.
My stomach wasn't used to these Midwestern sized portions anymore, so I had to take half of it home...which I would never get around to eating. Oops. I definitely didn't need to "add on" a side of poached eggs!
As more family members came into Lincoln to remember my Mom, I had to take a short break from various family members to meet up with others. I went out with my cousin, Liz, and her husband, Jeff, and my cousin, Matt, to Amu Ramen Bar in downtown Lincoln.
It had been a few years since I had been here with Dad, but the food was just as good as the last time. I got a bao with tofu, kimchi, fried shallots and cilantro, but ate it before my ramen came. For my soup, I chose the Garlic Shoyu - ramen noodles with chicken, mushroom, egg, cabbage, ginger, scallion in a chicken soy broth.
Now, I've lived in NYC for almost 8 years now and I have yet to find Indian food that's as good as that at The Oven in downtown Lincoln, Nebraska. You might think that sounds crazy, but my other Nebraskan friends agree; there's something about it that you just can't compare.
My dinner didn't photograph that well, but my sister-in-law, Melanie got the vegetarian Thali and I had to snap a quick photo of all those delicious dishes: Matar paneer, saag, aloo gobi, mixed vegetable curry, maah dal, raita, papadum, rice, naan, kheer and mango chutney. Wow!
Even though sad circumstances brought me home for the summer, it was nice to get to sit and talk with my Dad, brother and sister-in-law over breakfast at Village Inn.
Ever since I was a kid, it was one of my favorite local places for brunch/breakfast and that was mainly because of their skillets. I got the California Skillet this time around - bacon, mushrooms, tomatoes, onions and spinach with white cheddar cheese, Hollandaise and avocado over a bed of country potatoes. I went with fried eggs and a short stack of pancakes. Definitely eating my feelings for this meal.
After running some errands in Williamsburg, I had to swing by one of my favorite restaurants, The Meatball Shop for a quick brunch. I usually will get their breakfast sausage balls (a brunch-only specialty) with biscuits & gravy, but this time I opted for the "Balls Benedict."
A thick slice of brioche topped with two breakfast sausage balls, two poached eggs, bacon, Hollandaise and chives. The perfect breakfast, a little sweet and a little savory!
I watched this restaurant get built. For the longest time I never knew what it was, then suddenly Eater and Grub Street were talking about the naturally leavened pizza pies being made at Ops. And, yes, it was less than a block from my apartment.
For my first visit with my roommate, Jordan, I went with a classic margarita pie, but added pepperoni and mushrooms. The crust was nice and chewy on the edges, but the middle was a little soggy. I didn't care by the time it finally arrived, since we'd been waiting so long for the pizzas and it wasn't that busy...will I go back? Yes, but maybe not that soon.
After walking through the Whitney Museum for a few hours, I was ready for a snack. I wandered over to the Gansevoort Market with Ololade and Grant and browsed through the booths. I knew I didn't want anything too heavy, since I might be headed out on a date later, so when I saw a sign for "garlic knot sliders," that seemed like the perfect snack!
I opted for the chicken parm slider and although it was a bit too garlicky, it definitely hit the spot for my afternoon craving.
My fellow boy band-loving friend, Christina's birthday is only a few days after mine, so we celebrated in Brooklyn with some wonderful freshly made pasta at Gersi.
Although almost all the dishes looked amazing, I opted for the special - Kale Gnocchi with cream sauce and a side of roasted cauliflower. I also found a special on Swarm and was able to get us a free order of garlic bread! I mean, who can pass up free bread, right?
Maybe the HR Department at Gap is trying to make us all fat!? For the first "Summer Friday"/Memorial Day Weekend, they provided us with gelato pops from popbar in a variety of flavors.
Since I'm already a devoted popbar fan, I went for a flavor I normally wouldn't get: pistachio with white chocolate and crushed pistachio coating. The perfect summer treat for a short work day!
After taking my birthday off of work, my co-workers surprised me with a dozen cupcakes saying "Happy 35th B-Day" from Sprinkles!
Thankfully, they helped me eat them, but not before I saved some of the little sugar toppings and made this Care Bear-esque design.
Another work perk: checking out venues with Global Events and getting a fun, post-work happy hour! We sampled Gilligan's rose on tap and drank a few watermelon margarita's!
Normally, I'm not a big drinker (especially on a Tuesday night), but knowing I had the next day off for my birthday made it easier to relax and enjoy the night and company.
Between all my panels on Day 2 of Vulture Festival, I ran into Chelsea Market for a quick snack. I'd walked by mokbar numerous times, but as soon as I saw there were "disco fries" on the menu, I knew this was just what I needed.
Thin fries topped with gravy, mozzarella cheese, kimchi, scallions and seaweed; they hit the spot!
The Latest Shows That I've Seen.
The Latest of What I've Been Doing in NYC.
Another great benefit of having a regular 9am-6pm, M-F job is being able to spend more time volunteering. So, not only did I finally get to work with BC/EFA, but I got the chance to work at Housing Works' Annual Design on a Dime event and act as a Room Ambassador.
So many people came out from the art, design & fashion communities! I got to work with a designer from a Miami shop, but my favorite room was the Nickelodeon room! You could'n't beat the giant "Happy Happy Joy Joy" neon sign, the orange "NICKELODEON" dog bone, framed art pieces of the faux taxidermy of Stimpy's Butt.
For my first time at the 92nd Street Y, I got a ticket for "Ben Platt and Michael Greif in Conversation with Ira Glass."
Most of the crowd seemed to be there for Ben Platt, but I was also there for Michael Greif. Growing up in Nebraska, I read so much about his direction of RENT during it's inital run, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to see him in person.
I had the priviledge of getting to see Ben Platt perform as Evan Hansen during previews in the Fall and I'm excited to go back to see him in May, as part of my b-day week of Broadway with my friend, Katie.
Much has been said about his performance and how he's going to win the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical (nominations aren't even out yet), but he's almost a shoe-in. Ben talked about how he gets into character and the process of him coming to be involved with the show since it's inception with Pasek and Paul. It was easy to see how thousands of teenage girls (and boys) are quickly falling in love with him and this show!
In the last few years, the months of February-early June have been filled for me. Why, you might ask? Well, that's when all the new shows are opening on Broadway and vying for those late April Opening Days, so they can qualify for Awards Season; Outer Critics, Drama Desk and most importantly, the Tony Awards.
I didn't quite understand the concept/story of Come From Away, but when my "insider" sources said that it might be the dark horse of the season, I figured it couldn't hurt to see the show (plus, I'm a big fan of Jenn Collela).
The show is based in the town of Gander, Newfoundland and around 9/11. When this small town more than doubled the size of their population as planes going into the US were being diverted. In a compact 90 minutes, the ensemble of the show morphs into the Newfoundlanders and the plane passengers; telling a multitude of stories.
In the basement of the theater, there's a map with small tags, where you can write where you're from; where did you "come from away." I thought about putting down Lincoln, Nebraska, but hesitated and found myself writing "Daegu, Korea" on my tag. Can you see it there?
After years of wanting to get involved with the Broadway Community, I finally was selected to help collect donations for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. I could almost recite the monologue: "Twice a year, the Broadway Community gathers to help those..."
I was very proud to hold a red bucket as shows released the masses out back into the real world. I got to help with collections at so many shows, including Waitress, HAMILTON, School of Rock, CATS, Kinky Boots and The Lion King. (Bonus: At The Lion King, there was a hyena mouth that you could "feed" with your donations!)
I can't wait for October, so I can do it all again...just maybe not 6 collections in one week. It was exhausting, but so fulfilling!
Admittedly, I don't end up in Soho as much as when I first moved to NYC. I found myself a little bored on a weekend and decided to wander through the shops.
After spending over a year working in the Noho Urban Outfitters, I felt it was time to take a walk through and see how the spaced had changed (yes, they remodeled and helped clear up their rampant rodent problem).
I found this neon NY in the lower level, the Men's Department, where I had spent so many hours folding graphic tees, running to put stock out on the floor, coaching my team and keeping the stockroom running.
On my way back to the train, I spotted this boulder; usually used to help divert traffic in the Meatpacking District and to avoid pedestrians from getting run over, someone had etched this sad little face onto it.
My Mom seemed to think that it warranted a little boulder friend, maybe with a happy face.
The 2016-2017 theatre season seems to be when I see all sorts of Sondheim shows! The newly reopened Hudson Theatre is the home to Sunday in the Park with George and marks my first time seeing Jake Gyllenhaal in a musical.
Of course, I was also excited to see Ashley Park, Annaleigh Ashford and the rest of the cast, but I wanted to see if Jake could really sing live. Little did I know that I would also get to see him impersonate a dog; barking, rolling around on the floor and all.
This neon sign was in the lobby of the theatre.
Anyone who's known me since the mid-90's, knows that I have an obsession with artistic gymnastics. While I never was a gymnast, I've always found the sport fascinating. (My cousin even trained with Peggy Liddick for a stint in Nebraska!)
The last few years the American Cup (the biggest International annual meet held in the US) has been in the NYC area. So, I trekked to Newark, NJ on a Saturday morning to watch the new crop of US gymnasts compete for the title, it this post-Olympic year.
I knew that Ragan Smith would win easily, after all, she was an alternate on the 2016 Olympic Team and she's coached by Kim Zmeskal! I was very suprised by the Men's field and Yul Muldauer from Oklahoma, who blew away the competition.
While I will always miss the Perfect 10.0 scoring system, you can't beat the entertainment value of watching these athletes perform crazy stunts in any venue.
Oh, Cha Cha Matcha, how you get me! In a shop truly designed for the Millenial generation, you can get all sorts of matcha treats - iced or hot drinks, pastries, soft serve.
I love this pink neon sign in their shop!
Another great Incarcerated Jerkface piece! Storm Troopers and that spooky masked man from "V for Vendetta." This one went up on the wall outside of what used to be Lasso Pizza, the same place I got my Wu-Tang Care Bears photo.
While there were no sightings of Ben Stiller, I did have a good night at the museum. A little First Saturday, to see some great art and performances. I really should come out here more...
A trip to Do, Cookie Dough, near NYU was foiled by the cold, 40+ minute wait and our hungry stomachs. Jesse and I went to Favela Cubana across the street to get some brunch.
Now, while it took them almost 30 minutes to take our order and the table almost fell over on me, but at least the atmosphere made it feel like summer in Cuba!
Ever since I found Incarcerated Jerkface's Wu-Tang Care Bears mural in Nolita a few years ago, I have been an avid follower of his work. I didn't make it over for the Great Wakkorotti/Mickey Mouse wall, but was walking around in Williamsburg and it seemed like a good idea to see what was up at the former Grandma Roses spot.
I found that this would soon be a Sizzle Pie (by way of Portland, OR) and a fun Charlie Brown themed wall.
New Yorkers have been waiting decades for the completion of the 2nd Avenue Subway system and we might have to wait a little longer. However, on New Years Day, MTA opened up three new stations along the Q line; 96th/86th/72nd Street along 2nd Avenue, bringing a new way for thousands of New Yorkers to get to the Upper East Side.
Since this line did not really affect any of my travel plans, I went out of my way after work to see the new subway stops and to take a few photos.
I'm thankful that my boss understands my obsession with Broadway and Hamilton. On our weekly TB, we walked a little farther than normal to Trinity Church, so I could walk by Alexander Hamilton's grave.
The popularity of the grave has only grown with the popularity of the musical. However, on this slightly gloomy day, there were not many visitors. And, oh yeah, Angelica and Eliza are here, too.
Just across from the Flatiron Building, there's a little cement area where NY Public Art Fund has rotating displays. This time, there were these amazing lighted arches with hammocks in them.
I didn't have time to relax in one, but the view of them against the Empire State Building in the dark night of the winter was too pretty to not capture.
The winter weather might have been warm for the season, but the lions outside the New York Public Library were already festive. I never know which one is Patience and which one is Fortitude, but they are always beautiful to look at.
This NYPL location will always be that scene from Sex and the City, the movie, where Carrie's wedding doesn't take place. If only I had been there on shooting day. I would have loved to have seen the ladies in all those Zac Posen dresses!
Local businesses and groups were encouraged to build some public art sculptures through the use of canned goods. These sculptures were put on display throughout Brookfield Place, so during lunch, we walked over to check some of them out.
I thoroughly enjoyed "Vincent Can Gogh" by Silman, which won for "Best Meal." Proceeds and the canned goods were donated to City Harvest after the exhibition.
Post-2016 Election, New Yorkers were looking for a way to have our voices heard. People were walking around as if in a cloud or haze. Subway Therapy emerged (http://www.subwaytherapy.com/about/) as a way for us all to connect. Piles of post-it notes and markers. Write whatever you were feeling.
I loved walking to work and seeing this messages of hope and inspiration. We will get through this together.