The Latest of What I've Been Eating.
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 It seems like every time I wanted one, my other #fatfriday cravings superseded it.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.
Just before the Holidays and office shutdown, the Events & Communications Teams setup a pop-up shop in our office. Several vendors came in and sold last-minute gift items and there were plenty of free snacks!
It was almost like they read my mind about my favorite vendors: Waffles & Dinges, Arancini Bros and Sigmund's Pretzels!? I was in heaven. Of course, I had to skip these cheddar truffle pretzels and the waffles, but I sampled almost everything else.
It's been awhile since I had been back to my favorite local "Gringo Mex" place in Williamsburg. Post-Happy Hour drinks with some old co-workers, I knew I wanted to hit up San Loco for a Queso Loco and I convinced Jess to come with me.
Once I got there, the Macho Nachos were too tempting and despite my better judgement, I got both. If you're not familiar with the Queso Loco, it's like a better Cheesy Gordita Crunch from Taco Bell - a crispy taco with your choice of meat filling (I went with ground beef), lettuce, cheese and tomato with melted cheese and a flour tortilla wrapped around it.
The Macho Nacho were a little tub of tortilla chips topped in melted cheese, ground beef, chili, pico de gallo, sour cream and guacamole. I picked out all the non-soggy chips and almost had to roll myself back to the train to get home.
Continuing our tradition of viewing all the Holiday Windows on 5th Avenue, Whitney & I decided that we would get soup dumplings before walking downtown.
There's nothing better than that first satisfying bite into a xiao long bao, when the steam releases and you can suck all the delicious soup broth out of the dumpling, before letting it cool and eating the rest of it. So good in fact, that New York, magazine featured a "Best of New York" dumplings in their year end issue.
Maybe next year's goal will be to try and eat them all!
Ok, I admit it, the best part of having weekends off is the opportunity for brunch (as I'm a sucker for eggs of all kinds)! I was able to finally catch up with my friend, Adriane, and we grabbed a meal at Sweet Chick in Williamsburg.
After my pretty heavy dinner at Genuine Superette, I opted for a "lighter" lunch with a fruit and granola waffle; with a side of poached eggs, of course! Adriane went for their specialty, chicken & waffles.
Truly, the Sweet Chick Life.
I had been wanting to try out a meal at Genuine Superette for awhile, so when my friend, Christina, suggested we meet up for dinner, it was an easy choice.
After our burgers and 50/50 fries, I knew I had to try one of their ice cream sandwiches created by Sam Mason. The problem: how to decide on a flavor?
Luckily, Christina was game to split them. On a toasted brioche bun, I chose the vanilla bean with salted caramel sauce and crunchy chocolate pearls. Christina went with the matcha with honey and caramel sauce topped with pistachios.
Both were delicious, but mine was a little bit too rich and I ended up liking the matcha one better.
One of the benefits of being nice to everyone is that sometimes you befriend people in the right places. I happened to mention to the Catering Manager at work that I really liked the chocolate chip banana cream whoopie pies that were in the cafe...so, when it closed for the day and there were leftovers, they wound up at my desk!
After a tumultuous few weeks, it was nice to take a break from the craziness with a wonderful Friendsgiving lunch/dinner! I was invited to a friend of a friend's house for a little bit of movies, food and fun. A small group of five, but we had all the usual dishes: turkey, mac & cheese, green beans, mashed potatoes, gravy, salad, biscuits and I brought my little bit of Nebraska in a Runza Casserole.
Post-meal nap, we watched some movies and played a few games before I headed home for the night.
One of the best perks of a new job, is finding all the great places for lunch in the area. I didn't realize that my new office would be so close to Brookfield Place & Hudson Eats!
I was having a mad craving for dumplings and walked with a co-worker to Northern Tiger at Hudson Eats and scooped up 10 of these pan fried heritage pork & chive dumplings with a side of rice.
My high school best friend & former roommate, Jim, was back in the city for work, so we met up for dinner and chose to hit up King Noodle in Bushwick. Even though I live about a 10 minute walk from this restaurant, I've only been here a handful of times.
I decided to try a new noodle dish and got the Mee Goreng - marinated hanger steak stir fried with egg noodles in a sweet soy sauce with scallions, fried shallots and cilantro (ew)!
It was a little spicy for my tastes, but still delicious! And I think they deliver to my apartment via Seamless, so that could be dangerous...
My last chance for a Wednesday two-show day off of work! Since I started my new job this week, I worked a half-day at the office, before heading out to see two shows today.
Post Sweet Charity starring Sutton Foster, I stopped at Southern Hospitality for some BBQ before seeing Dear Evan Hansen in the evening. It's a little hard to enjoy this place by yourself, but I figured I'd make do, since my friend had to cancel on dinner and I already had the reservation.
I got the black pepper bark brisket with a side of mac & cheese in a mini skillet and cornbread with honey butter. I kind of forgot that the brisket came with grilled toast, but I'm not one to turn down carbs. I had to take half of the brisket home, since I was afraid if I ate it all I would fall asleep during the show.
Yes, I had to close on my last night working at Madewell. Yes, it was the day after the Election and everyone was sad. However, I was determined to go out on a high note; Hamilton sing-a-long, anyone?
My lovely boss bought me a stack of farewell doughnuts from Dough, and which I was able to list all the flavors without asking.
So, surrounded by a dozen cinnamon sugar doughnut holes, here's the flavors from top to bottom:
-Chocolate sea salt caramel
I was told that I had to "eat all of them before [you] leave," but I didn't want to end up in a diabetic coma; so I took the pumpkin one home and sliced up the rest to share with the sales associates.
Switching jobs during the Holiday Season made for a mad few weeks, so I wasn't sure if I would make it with Whitney to Mimi Cheng's for our usual "Dumps of the Month!"
Since I had a few days off before starting my new job, I though it would be a good idea to swing by the East Village location to get the Thanksgiving Dumplings I loved so much last year.
Turkey, stuffing and gravy, all wrapped into a dumpling skin and pan fried for a perfectly crispy bottom and served with a side of cranberry sauce for dipping. I added a scallion pancake, so as Popo loves to call them "Chinese pizza!"
A day after turning in my notice at work, I was off to Westport, CT to help out at their store. It's not fun having a 12+ hour workday (with the commute), but on the upside - I got a Shake Shack breakfast sandwich!
I chose the sausage, egg & cheese with fries and a side of cheese sauce. (I did also stop at Magnolia Bakery for a small tub of their banana pudding, but I didn't take a photo of it.) There's something about that Martin's Potato Bun that makes this breakfast sandwich, well, that and the fact that everything from Shake Shack is delicious.
As a little #fatfriday celebration, since I was finally able to turn in my notice at work (even if it meant going into the store on my day off), so I went to Hill Country Chicken for lunch.
I was craving chicken tenders, but something about the chicken pot pie at Hill Country, gets me every time. Coupled with a side of cheesy fried mashed potatoes, a buttermilk biscuit, mini pumpkin pie cup and a fountain Boylan's black cherry soda.
A complete fatty lunch fest!
When my friend, Kate, agreed to take me around Seattle before my flight back to NYC, she knew the way to my heart was biscuits & gravy. Packed inside of a little coffee shop, the place was jumpin', but we had time to wait, catch up on life and grab a drink.
For my meal, I chose the "Straight Up Bitch" - biscuits, country gravy with scrambled eggs and paprika. (I also liked that everything in their shop had "bitch" worked into it somehow.)
As a casual fan of Starbucks, I knew that Seattle was where it all started, but I didn't know about their Roastery, which can only be described as a gorgeous coffee experience. You can watch coffee beans being roasted, ground, etc. or watch the baristas prep your drink in any one of several specifications.
The best part: this Everything pretzel bagel and a Maharaja soy chai. If only the spicy chai was available at all Starbucks with this mouth watering pretzel bagel!
After a relatively short train ride, I found myself in rainy Seattle. My friend, Michelle, picked me up at Union Station and we headed on our way to find dinner. She recommended at great Vietnamese place and we settled in for a good meal and to catch up on life, since she moved from NYC.
I chose my usual, bun, but this time the Bun Cha Gio Thjtnuong - vermicelli noodles with deep friend egg rolls and grilled pork.
I lucked out that my friend, Amanda, was getting married the weekend after I was in Portland. We got the chance to catch up over brunch and I got to meet her fiance (soon-to-be husband). She chose the place: the Doug Fir Lounge and Ian came along.
The restaurant was attached to a hotel/performance venue and looked like it had been made out of giant Lincoln Logs - a favorite childhood toy.
I chose to opt for the breakfast route at brunch and got the pastrami hash - poached eggs, pastrami, yukon gold potatoes, peppers and onions. (Sure, Ian had already made me breakfast that morning, but there's always room for eggs!) Post-brunch, Amanda and I walked around, exploring shops until it was time for me to head to Union Station and catch my Amtrak to Seattle.
When I started telling my friends that I was going to Portland and asking for food recommendations, no fewer than 5 people told me I had to get ice cream at Salt & Straw. Well, even though Ian wasn't too enthusiastic about ice cream, I was able to find their ice cream at the concession stand in the Moda Center.
There was only a limited assortment of flavors, but I went with the gooey chocolate brownie on a cone. It was delicious, but I was really hoping to try one of their more unique flavors, which were sold out before halftime. I guess this means I'll have to go back...
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.
After seeing Unzipped in college, I was fascinated with Isaac Mizrahi as a designer. My mom, being obsessed with QVC, of course, was constantly telling me that he had a exhibit at the Jewish Museum and how she wished she could see it. So, I spent one of my days off viewing this exhibition: "Isaac Mizrahi - An Unruly History."
There were so many fascinating pieces, including this one - "Elevator Pad Gown" from Spring 2005. The bodice was made from grosgrain ribbon and the skirt was made from quilted silk and lambswool, but made to look like a moving blanket or elevator pad.
There were also pieces from his Nanook of the North-inspired collection, as featured in Unzipped, sketches, pieces from performance work and many other collections. Although the total exhibition was quite small, it was amazing seeing these pieces of his work up close.