The Latest of What I've Been Eating.
After struggling to sell my roommate's old Ikea bed frame (the intended buyers spent over 2 hours trying to get it out of my apartment), I treated myself to a cab ride to Park Slope and brunch with my former co-worker, Melissa,
We met up at Korzo, which was a few blocks from her new house, so I could see the property. I knew that I immediately needed a drink after my rough morning and opted for a Downeast Cider. Then while browsing the menu, I saw a dish with spaetzle! I had fallen in love with those chewy little noodles back home in Lincoln, Nebraska as the town had a significant German population and my favorite dish at the Garden Cafe, featured spaetzle!
This "Halusky Hash" featured German sausage, spaetzle, roasted red peppers, caramelized onions and a fried egg. It also came with a side of pickled veggies and grilled bread.
A very hearty meal, but it was just what I needed!
My favorite brunch spot in my neighborhood is only about a 5 minute walk from my apartment. Cafe Ghia is only open in the morning/afternoon and they only serve brunch; my dream. However, on the weekends, they have specials, like this bowl of biscuits & gravy!
I added a fried egg and it came with a side of roasted cauliflower. I was able to grab a single seat at the bar and indulge, while reading the Arts Section of the New York TImes, a truly perfect Sunday morning.
It almost felt wrong doing #dumpsofthemonth without Whitney in February, but since she's on a cleanse, I still wanted to go and try the monthly special. The WastED dumpling was a challenge from Dan Barber and the team at Blue Hill Farm. They wanted to make a dumpling that was composed of the general items that were discarded by Mimi Cheng's, with half of the proceeds going to City Harvest NYC.
This dumpling was a peanut miso, bok choy ends, zucchini ends, mushroom rice and kale stems topped with sesame seeds and green onions. I also had a side of Taiwanese Street Cart Greens with oyster sauce and crispy shallots.
I would definitely eat these dumplings again, but the brunch dumplings are still at the top of my list!
An unseasonably warm Sunday, meant that it was a great time to walk around in Brooklyn. I met up with my friends, Caitlin, Emily and Ololade to venture around. We went to the Williamburg waterfront and watched the waves, tourists and stared at the NYC skyline.
After a quick trip to Crif Dogs for hot dogs and chili cheese tots, we decided to hit up Davey's Ice Cream for a sweet treat. I'm a big fan of their Speculoos Cookie Butter scoop, but on special, was Fluffernutter and that combo of banana, marshmallow and peanut butter was too good to resist!
I got a scoop of each, while Emily opted for just the Fluffernutter and let me use her awesome jean jacket as the background for my photo.
For a lactose intolerant dessert lover, nothing's better than a vegan ice cream sundae! Chocolate and vanilla vegan ice cream with whipped cream, chocolate sauce, sprinkles and a cherry!
I was so full, but I still ate about 75% of this...
My vegetarian friend, Christina, had been encouraging me to go to Champs Diner for awhile, since their entire menu is Vegan and they have lots of comfort food. Also, it was a very short train ride from my apartment.
I had never tried vegan cheese before, but decided to dive right in with the vegan mac & cheese bowl. Lots of elbow macaroni, vegan mozzarella & cheddar cheese, vegan bacon, broccoli, bits of veggie burger - oof, it was a lot of food!
I HAD to save room for dessert, so while my main meal was pretty heavy, it was a lactose intolerant girl's dream!
After a few months of planning, I was finally able to meet up with my old boss and friend, Melissa for dinner and drinks at the newly opened Pretty Southern in Greenpoint. While I was excited because it was a Top Chef restaurant owned and operated by the handsome Sam Talbot, Melissa was stoked because they had gluten-free fried chicken and since she has Celiac, she hadn't been able to eat it in years.
We ordered a bunch of food to share and each got our own chicken, but sadly, they were out of gluten-free biscuits! We split the GF mac & cheese with crispy onions and hash browns. There was so much food, we both ended up with bags to take home.
I got a glimpse of Sam in the kitchen, but he left early, since it looked like he had cut his hand earlier in the day. It was still a little surreal seeing him in person, but at least I got to check off another Top Chef restaurant off my list!
Last year, I went to visit my friend, Meghan at her home in New Jersey over Valentine's Day. For this year, we decided it would be a good time to come and visit her at her new cottage in Fairfield, CT.
It took me a bit to get to CT and we grabbed food at Trader Joe's to make for dinner. But for lunch, we went to Pizzeria Molto, where I had this wonderful pasta dish. Fresh made cavatelli pugeliesi with broccoli rabe, sausage and garlic in a red sauce.
It was so filling, we couldn't even think about getting ice cream at the new place that opened up next to Pizzeria Molto. I'll have to save that for my next trip out!
Lately, I wouldn't encourage eating Shake Shack two days in a row, but when I was on my way to Connecticut to visit my friend, Meghan, I had to go and get a breakfast sandwich! Since my experience with the Shake Shack app was so easy, I did it again for my breakfast sandwich and it was ready in a jiffy!
In fact, I got there a little early, so I couldn't resist stopping by Magnolia Bakery for a small cup of banana pudding too! Yup, just call me fatty.
This time, the sausage, egg and cheese was made with a fried egg vs. a scrambled egg I'd had the last two times I'd been through Grand Central. Now, I'm not sure if that's a mistake or a new recipe, but either way, it was DELICIOUS!
Happy #fatfriday! I finally tried out the Shake Shack app to pre-order my food with my co-worker, Alexa, and it was so easy! This time there was no 45 minute wait for my Shackmeister - a cheeseburger with crispy shallots, I opted out of the sauce, with a side of cheese sauce for my crinkle cut fries.
I don't know why anyone wouldn't use the Shake Shack app!? It seems like a waste of time to me...
I was lucky enough to convince my friend, Sylvia, to come and see Chicago with me. I hadn't seen the show since I first moved to the city and Ashlee Simpson was Roxie, but this time, Mel B/Scary Spice herself was in the show!
Before we trudged through the freezing snow, we stopped by Kung Fu Little Steamed Buns and shared a few plates of sodium-filled goodness. We got some hand torn fried noodles with beef and pan fried dumplings, but the real highlight was these soup dumplings and scallion pancakes.
We still had some time to kill after eating, so we grabbed a drink next door before heading to the show.
The first time I tried Jeni's was in Chicago a few years ago and I got an amazing milkshake! This time, I wanted to try something different and after eating some pierogies and potato pancakes, it was time for dessert.
After sampling a few flavors, I went with the salty peanut butter ice cream with chocolate flecks. I topped that with their extra bitter hot fudge, house made whipped cream, cherries and a waffle cone fortune cookie.
The balance of sweet and salty was perfect and the fortune cookie was a bonus, as I almost opted for a waffle cone for the crunch. The whipped cream was thick and delicious and I always love a good cherry.
Another spot that was highly recommended by all my Columbus friends, the Fox in the Snow Cafe. I really wanted to try their egg sandwich, but it looked pretty big, so I opted for one of their cinnamon rolls with cream cheese frosting and a soy chai.
While delicious, they didn't look like anything spectacular, but this pastry case was everything! Next time, I have to try their morning bun and some other treats.
Even though I was still pretty stuffed from lunch, Jonelle & I decided to try out a new restaurant down the street from her apartment, Biscuit & Branch. Since they had just opened a week or so ago, the staff was anxious to tell us about the specials.
After all the savory tacos, I needed something sweet and their all-day breakfast sounded right up my alley. I chose the biscuit French toast with blueberry compote and a side of Ohio maple syrup.
I'm drooling just thinking about this meal, again...the French toast has the flakiness of a biscuit, but the softness of French toast. It was perfect!
When no fewer than three people from various groups of friends recommend a restaurant, it becomes and easy choice. After meeting up with Breann, she drove us back down to the Short North for lunch.
After all the ranting & raving about the tacos, where you can customize them with numerous toppings, we also settled on getting some queso blanco to share.
I got two tacos and a side of rice. My first taco was a flour tortilla with Thai chili tofu, lettuce, corn salsa and chihuahua cheese. My second taco was their "Juju Taco" - a soft flour tortilla wrapped around a hard corn tortilla with queso, chorizo and roasted portabello mushrooms.
Their tacos reminded me a little bit of San Loco and I was definitely full, since we couldn't stop eating the queso...and it felt really good to walk around after eating, despite the cold temperatures.
While Jonelle was at work, I wandered around Short North, where she lives. Not only is her apartment right above a great restaurant, but there's also a great coffee shop in the same building.
She recommended the ham & cheese croissant, so I took some Lactaid and dove in. It was delicious, but I really should have asked them to heat it up. I also got a soy chai and planned out the rest of my morning. I thought it would be best to go check out the "Rodeo Drive of the Midwest" at Easton, which was only a short Lyft ride away.
Yes, I went to Columbus, OH and got "New York Style Pizza." Yes, it was delicious and I'm not ashamed.
My friend, Jonelle, moved back to Columbus last year and I said that I would come and visit her. Luckily, she lives right above this great restaurant and bar, so even when my flight was late, we were able to get a great meal.
I added proscuitto di parma and mushrooms to their standard pizza with fresh mozzarella, Italian plum tomato sauce, Percorino Romano and fresh basil. The crust was thin and crispy and it hit the spot, after I had been traveling all afternoon.
Did I ever mention how much I love brunch? Oh yeah...all the time. I admittedly didn't go to participate in the Women's March, but went to brunch with my friend, Ethan, who I hadn't seen in over a year. After trying to grab brunch at a nearby spot, we ventured to Rye, as the wait was too long at the other place.
I opted for the "Rye Slam" - Challah French toast, poached eggs, hash browns, bacon and a mixed greens salad. Ethan opted for their "infamous" meatloaf - I didn't get a photo of it.
Maybe some day we'll make it back to our original place...if the wait wasn't almost an hour.
I had been wanting to try out the food at Kichin for some time. A Korean spot in Brooklyn!? Sounds right up my alley and it's owned by my friend's cousins.
So many things looked delicious, but I decided to stick with the rice balls or onigiri. I wasn't sure how many to get, but two seemed to be the right amount, as they were about the size of my fist.
I got the Sukiyaki Beef (left) and Crispy Chicken (right). I even tried out their honeydew green tea, which was the perfect sweet compliment to the savory flavors in the rice balls.
Next time, I'll bring my appetite, so I can get them again and some dumplings!
Long weekends are definitely something that I could get used to pretty fast! After taking in an afternoon showing of Hidden Figures, I spent some time strolling around the city with my friends, Caitlin & Emily. Not getting our fill from buttery movie theater popcorn and Milk Duds we decided to grab lunch at Glaze near Union Square.
They were out of salmon (which is one of my usual picks), so I just went with the tofu, brown rice, a side of pork gyoza and a salad with carrot ginger dressing.
It's hard to believe that I hadn't eaten a hamburger in more than a month! It seems like every time I wanted one, my other #fatfriday cravings superseded it.
But for this installment of #fatfriday, it was time for a good old trip to Umami Burger. While it was a little bit cold to walk to Brookfield Place, at least it was nice to get out of the office.
Even though my friend was completing the Whole30, she didn't let me feel guilty about indulging infront of her. I went with the classic Umami burger - parmesan frico, shiitake mushrooms, roasted tomato, caramelized onions and umami ketchup. I complimented this masterpiece with a side of thin fries and a real sugar Pepsi.
Why wasn't this named "The Breakfast Bun?" Maybe I just like the alliteration. Any way, it was delicious. When a co-worker from our San Francisco office offered to take my team out for lunch, we chose to go to Two Hands in Tribeca.
It was my first time there, and even though the burger looked tempting, I wanted to pass on anything with dairy. The next logical choice was this tasty creation: a fried egg, chorizo, avocado, pickled shallots, watercress and spicy ketchup on a toasted whole wheat roll.
There really was no way to eat this, cleanly, with my hands; so fork & knife it was.
I was so excited to hear that the January special at Mimi Cheng's was their brunch dumpling from last year! Scrambled eggs, maple breakfast sausage, cheddar cheese, sauteed onions and topped with everything bagel seasoning; how could you lose? I also love that the dumplings come with a little bottle of Sir Kensington's ketchup!
I might have to go back for brunch again...
I had the opportunity to work at the Intermix HQ, but in my hurry to get to the office I didn't grab breakfast. I slipped out of of the office for a bit for a chai and found these lovely doughnuts at Oren's Daily Roast.
At first, I saw the giant Stroop Waffles and wanted one of those, until the barista told me the Maple doughnut came with a mini waffle on top! I also couldn't resist the beautiful pastel colors on the vanilla lavender doughnut, so I took two back to the office with me.
My friend, Lily, was back in town for the Holidays, so we met up at our usual haunt, Vapiano. They easily have some of my favorite pasta in the city, which makes it hard for me to want to change my usual order...I always end up with the nicely chewy campanelle pasta paired with bolgonese made with Italian pork & beef, carrots and a red sauce.
And, yes, I even splurged for the cheese on top!
Last year, I missed out on a stop by Goldenrod Pastries (owned & operated by my friend, Angela), so I knew I had to go before I headed back to NYC.
On my last day back home, I swung by and grabbed a few macarons (maple - teal and cherry - pink), a mini funfetti poundcake and a molasses cookie sandwich.
Everything was as delicious as it looks and I can't wait until I can go back next year for more treats! Farewell, 2016!
Who knew that 6:30pm was such a popular time to go to the buffet in Lincoln? (Well, we soon found out as the restaurant closed at 8pm and we were one of the three families left in the dining room, as the hostess was passive-aggressively asking if we needed anything else.)
Usually, Valentino's is early on in my trip home, but as my cousin, Jeff, his wife and kids were coming up from Texas to visit, we knew this would be the best place for a larger family dinner.
I started out with my usual Minestrone soup and spinach noodles, but the pizza/pasta/bread course is my favorite. A little bit of lasagna, rotini with heavy meat sauce, a slice of "Special" pizza (mushrooms, pepperoni, ham), a garlic breadstick and a Parmesan cheese roll. (Hey, even Valentino's reposted my photo, it looked so go!)
One of my favorite carb-loaded places to eat back home, Bison Witches! They have some of the best sandwiches and soup, not to mention there's something about their CCQ (chili con queso) that I can't find anywhere.
Usually, I get the half sandwich and bread bowl special, but since I knew I would be hitting up the Valentino's Buffet for dinner, I tried to save some carbs for then.
A mouth-wateringly good Club sandwich (sans mayonnaise) and a side of tortilla chips with a little cup of CCQ. See you next year, "Buy Sandwiches!"
Almost always, my first stop home is to Runza. This time, I met up with my family for lunch, but offered to take my cousin, her husband and son to dinner; since I would be staying with them for just over a week while I was home.
After running a few last minute shopping errands, the mutual decision was to get Runza for dinner. All four of us wound up getting the Original Runza with Frings (crinkle cut french fries and double-battered onion rings) with drinks.
Runza truly tastes like home.
While trying to decide if I wanted to get hashbrowns or smoked salmon, this dish revealed itself to me on the menu at Maman. Perfectly seasoned hashbrowns (almost like potato latkes) topped with smoked salmon, avocado, cucumber, dill and a "perfect" soft boiled egg.
All my favorite things in one! The restaurant also had an amazing pastry case, but I think I liked their savory offerings just a bit more. I'll be back, since it's only a short walk from my office.
The Latest Shows That I've Seen.
The Latest of What I've Been Doing in NYC.
While Dad was watching a video about "The Big Bang," I wandered around the Rose Center for Earth and Space. Even though I had been to the American Museum of Natural History a few times, I had never been in the earth and space wing.
Seeing this structure from the inside was mesmerizing, as I had only seen it in the nighttime from the outside.
After living in the city for almost 7 years, there are onlry a few "touristy" things left that I haven't done. Even though Dad had already been to the Empire State Building, I insisted that we go together.
I got the tickets ahead of time and we had to postpone our trip a few days, after his flight got delayed and he arrived Friday morning vs. Thursday night.
So, on Sunday afternoon, we went to the see the view from the observatory deck. (After dropping off all my Broadway Flea Market wares at home.) It was a gorgeous day and you could really see from all directions of the observation deck. We didn't go up to the 102nd floor observation area, but still had a great experience and even got a cheesy souvenir photo, as I knew Mom would love it. (Even if it wasn't a printed, "real" photo.)
Every year, I try to go early to the Broadway Flea Market. All the proceeds go to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS (BC/EFA) and you can walk away with some great Broadway and theatre memorabilia.
Last year, I had to run up to Times Square on my break, but I got a signed windowcard from the entire Original Broadway Cast of Hamilton! (Needless to say, I'm gonna hang onto that one for awhile.)
This year, the Flea Market happened to coincide with Dad's visit to NYC, so I brought time along with me. He walked around with me through a few booths before he agreed that we should meet up later.
I found some great programs, souvenirs and a photo with Geneva Carr from Hand to God. All in all, a successful trip to the flea!
Dad wanted to see the 9/11 Memorial, so we ventured downtown. I had to bring him through the Oculus structure near WTC One.
After dim sum with my Dad and a few friends, we were walking through Chinatown and Soho, when I spotted this graffiti. My old roommate, Dexter, used to always turn the "Peanut Butter/Jelly Time" song into other things like "Peanut Butter/Shower Time" or "Peanut Butter/Pizza Time!"
I was amused.
The 15th Anniversary of September 11th. Every year, the city light's up the sky with giant blue beams to represent the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center.
Leaving work, which was also my 5 year anniversary with Madewell, I had to stop and take this photo from down the block.
One of my other favorite rooms at 29Rooms was this ball pit/interactive room spg onsored by Perrier. You could write down something that makes you unique and toss a ball into the pit. I wrote "being true to myself, no matter what others say/think."
It took me a long time to get to this place, but I still worry about what others think about me from time to time. But after being made fun of for so many years in middle school and high school, I finally learned to own my nerdiness - boy bands, theatre, pop culture; you name it. I wear it as a badge of honor now.
Last year, Refinery29 had setup an interactive art installation called 29Rooms. Apparently, the lines were insane and you had to wait hours to get in. So, this year, I saw that they were being moved to a warehouse space near my apartment and I agreed to meet up with my friend, Ashley, and get in line early.
One of my favorite rooms was the RuPaul "Wig Room," where some of Ru's wigs were setup like salon hair dryers and you could sit underneath them and "try" them on.
Post-Mets game, Emily and I walked through Corona Park, including the US Open, towards the Unisphere. Emily's always been into the World's Fair and wanted to walk by this structure.
We convinced some tourists to take our photo and the rest is history!
Emily FINALLY convinced me to go to a Mets game with her and guess who was throwing the first pitch; Laurie Hernandez!!! This gymnastics-loving girl could not have been happier! (Of course, the game was also featuring a Chinese dance group...it's like they knew I was coming to this game!)
I don't know much about baseball, so Emily had to teach me, but I did enjoy the copious amounts of stadium food; one of my favorite parts of sporting events! First Mets game: mission accomplished!
I was lucky enough to have a Thursday evening off work, so my friend/co-worker, Christopher and I met up at Metropolitan Bar in Brooklyn for the RuPaul's Drag Race: All-Stars 2 viewing party with Thorgy Thor and Ragamuffin.
When Thorgy came out, I was immediately gagging over her birthday cake outfit, complete with a pink feather/frosting plume hat! Thorgy & Ragamuffin provided hilarious commentary during commercials and it was a great way to watch the show, surrounded by fellow allies.
Story (This Is Story) is a super cool concept store in Chelsea. Each month or so, they change the concept of the store and house new product in a single theme. For the late summer, they adopted a 90's theme featuring loads of Nickelodeon and NickToons!
Of course, I tried to not spend all my money there; but I couldn't resist a Spice Girls pouch, boy band book and this photo of the Double Dare podium! If only I could have been Marc Summers!
To celebrate the premiere of RuPaul's Drag Race: All-Stars 2, Logo TV partnered up with Big Gay Ice Cream and was serving up free ice cream near Madison Square Park. Yes, it was hot out, but luckily, I knew the right people in the right places and was able to get near the front of the line, after my physical therapy session.
Only a few of the queens showed up: Phi Phi O'Hara (who was in boy drag/isn't doing drag anymore), Detox and Coco Montrese. I don't know how their faces weren't melting off in the heat, but I appreciated them showing up and for the cup of free ice cream!
I probably picked one of the hottest days this summer to go wandering around downtown. My other mistake: thinking Seamore's opened at 11am for brunch, but they actually didn't open until 11:30am. Those 20 minutes walking around Nolita were pretty damn hot. I was pleasantly sweaty by the time I got to the restaurant.
I had only been to Seamore's one time before and it was for dinner, so it was harder to see the interior of the restaurant. Since I showed up just after opening, it was easy to get a seat and this awesome shot.
I may have lived in this neighborhood for almost 7 years and walked by this school numerous times, but it was only when I took a detour down another street that I saw this map of the United States.
Of course, I had to stop and pay tribute to my home state. You can take the girl out of Nebraska, but you can't take the Nebraska out of the girl!
It was my first time in the new Barneys New York in Chelsea, much prettier than their previous location that was sometimes turned into the space for the Warehouse Sale. The architects, Steven Harris, really took the time to make sure the store was gorgeous.
As I walked up the staircase, I knew I wanted to get a photo from the top floor - easy Instagram fodder. I didn't know that when I got upstairs, I would run into one of my former sales associates from Urban Outfitters, where he was working in Men's Shoes. A pleasant surprise, even if they didn't have the Comme des Garcons Converse sneakers in my size.
Just a cool shot of the Thunderbolt marquee on a really clear day in Brooklyn.
Yup. Two days after my first venture out to Coney Island for Fifth Harmony, I found myself back at the Ford Amphitheater to see New Kids on the Block with Christina! After hearing that NKOTB were only going to do a show at Hershey Park for the Mixtape Festival, I was a little disappointed that I wouldn't get a chance to see the boys this year. However, at the last minute they announced a one night only performance at Coney Island (the sight of the "Please Don't Go Girl" music video) and of course, being the Blockheads that were are, Christina & I HAD to go!
Before the show, we walked around Coney Island and stumbled upon the Art Walls. I took a lot of photos, but this one stuck out to me the most - "Everything is shit, except you love." Seems appropriate for NYC.
When the new Ford Amphitheater reopened at Coney Island, I found that many of the concerts and shows I wanted to see were there. So, I made the long trek from Bushwick to Coney Island to see Fifth Harmony.
Walking down the boardwalk after the show, everything was lit up and I couldn't resist taking a few photos of the rides in Luna Park.
After seeing the New York Spring Spectacular and the Christmas Spectacular, I wasn't that stoked about seeing the Summer show until I heard that Mia Michaels had choreographed the show! I'm always up for some Mia work and there were so many of my favorite dancers in the show, so it was an easy choice for a Sunday matinee show once TodayTix listed it.
I was super impressed with the dancing, especially the fashion/Vogue number since it featured so many handsome men shirtless in blazers hitting all their marks full out! (How could I NOT watch Jakob Karr during this whole piece!?)
The story wasn't the strongest and Lilla Crawford (who I loved in Annie and Into the Woods), was super annoying in this show. But over all, well worth my $40.
After my visit to the Jewish Museum, I grabbed a quick lunch at the Russ & Daughters Cafe inside the museum and went for a walk around Central Park.
Any time I walk by the reservoir, I can't help but think about one of my favorite songs from one of my favorite musicals. "The Next Ten Minutes" from The Last Five Years and how Cathy & Jamie sing while walking through the park and he proposes to her.