The Latest of What I've Been Eating.
While I was planning my trip to Calgary, I knew I wanted to find a good brunch place. So, when my Google search turned up OEB, I thought it would be a great option & thankfully, my brother agreed. We went to their newer, downtown location, and got seated pretty quickly.
I wanted something salty & sweet with eggs...so it took me a bit to narrow down their extensive menu. I finally went with the "Menage a Trois" - 2 poached eggs, rosemary ham and a slice of French toast with a fresh fruit garnish. OEB is also known for their twice-fried herbed potatoes, fried in duck fat; so I got a side of them to split with Philip.
He opted for their "Box'D" breakfast - which included eggs and some of the potatoes with various toppings inside a Chinese take-out container.
After a decently-long flight, I arrived in Canada to visit my brother! Although it was Thursday in Calgary, it was Friday in NYC, so for #fatfriday, we went to Peter's Drive-In and got burgers with a side of poutine.
Now, for about $6 US, I can say this is one of the best poutine's I've had! The fries were nice and crispy, the gravy not too salty and the cheese curds were melty, but not slimy. I can easily see how someone could get addicted to eating these all the time.
With Whitney still on her cleanse, I continued our NYC tradition of dim sum on Easter Sunday with my friend, Ololade. Since he'd never been to a Chinese restaurant for dim sum, I had to take him to Nom Wah.
I helped him pick things off the menu and let him pick out a few of his favorite things. I think we ended up with 7 dishes and were plenty full afterwards, with just enough room left for a bubble tea.
Here, you can see some of our eats: xiao long bao (soup dumplings), beef rice noodle rolls, Chinese broccoli with oyster sauce, spring rolls and pork shui mai.
After seeing these spaghetti donuts all over Instagram, I had wanted to try them for myself. Surprisingly, the line was relatively short and I soon found out why.
I opted for the "Pop Red Sauce" - spaghetti, parmigiano, eggs, tomato puree, olive oil and salt. I took my Lactaid for the cheese, took a big bite and realized that it was rubbery and lacking in moisture. It's hard to describe, but after everyone in my group had a bite, we threw the remains in the trash.
This definitely made me miss Devine Pastabilities' Tor Pasta in San Diego, because if you're going for a spaghetti pie-style dish, this was the winner...not the donut.
Well, it only took me 1+ hour to get to Smorgasburg for it's 2nd weekend. Why, you ask? Well, the MTA does this brilliant thing on some weekends, where they shut down all L Train service into and out of Manhattan from Brooklyn, so they can do work on the tracks. This means, you have to wait for a shuttle bus to get from stop to stop, walk or use a car service. I opted for the bus and finally got on one after about 20 minutes of waiting; only to have it stop with a mechanical problem not even 1 stop into our journey.
Suffice it to say that I was hangry when I got to Smorgasburg. My friends had been waiting for almost 45 minutes, already eaten, but at least they patiently waited with me while I got my food. I knew I wanted to try Pop Pasta's spaghetti "doughnut," but first I grabbed this scallion pancake wrap from Outer Borough. Filled with beef, scallions, sauce, peppers - it hit the spot. I scarfed it down as we waited in line at Pop Pasta.
One might wonder what "juicy beef" meant, as I did. So, I walked down to Hank's Juicy Beef with my co-worker, Alexa. She opted for a Chicago-Style hot dog and I got a juicy beef (note: it's a lot like a Philly cheesesteak) and we shared some fries.
Bonus: The women's NCAA gymnastics semi-finals were on, so I got to really enjoy my break, while cheering on my favorite gymnasts! I almost didn't want to go back to work...
Since my friend, Whitney, has been on a cleanse, I've had to go it alone for the last few #dumpsofthemonth at Mimi Cheng's. This time around, they were featuring dumplings from Sunday Bird in San Francisco.
These popcorn chicken dumplings were flash-fried, and complimented with Korean rice balls and gojuchang sauce. The chicken inside the dumplings was marinated in a scallion ginger sauce to give them a little extra bite. I got an order of scallion pancakes and an iced tea and sat outside on an unusually warm April day.
I hardly eat pizza anymore since starting my #fatfriday diet, so when my friend, Kevin, suggested this pizza place for dinner, I readily agreed! We had ticket to go and see "Groundhog Day" on Broadway and this place was only a few blocks from the theater.
I was very excited that Kevin also liked pepperoni & mushrooms, so that's what we chose for our coal fired pizza dinner. I'm still thinking about those little, crispy pepperonis...
My boss conveniently made our weekly TB over lunchtime, so each Wednesday, we go out to eat and chat about upcoming projects, etc. This day, we walked down to the World Trade Center and got some fresh pasta from Eataly's newest location inside the Westfield Shopping Center.
I opted for the pappardelle con funghi or pappardelle and mushrooms. I asked them to hold the cheese, but the strips of pasta were perfectly al dente and chewy.
My college friend, Maureen, was in the city for her birthday and really wanted to try out Raclette. Now, I have seen many videos on Instagram and Facebook, showing the melted cheese being swiped onto vegetables and misc. other items, and I'd been wanting to try it out. So, I loaded my bag up with some Lactaid and agreed to meet her after work for dinner and a chance to catch up on life.
The pungent aroma of the melting raclette cheese almost made me nauseous, but I could breathe through my mouth for dinner, right? Maureen got the "Savoyarde" which consisted of roasted new potatoes, cornichons and pickled white pearl onions with 3 "swipes" of cheese included in the price.
I opted for the more traditional, Croque Monsieur, Jambon de paris and gruyère on toasted brioche with sauce mornay and a mixed greens salad. It was just enough cheese and I got to try some of Maureen's raclette.
Overall, a great experience, and I managed to take a nice breath of fresh air, when I got outside!
I came for the "Everything Croissant," which was sold out, but I stayed for an iced Matcha green tea and this bacon, egg & cheese sandwich from the newest addition to the Union Square Hospitality Group.
Something about that thick-cut bacon paired with a fried egg and cheese on a poppyseed brioche bun, made me forget about missing out on the croissant and pop a few Lactaid pills to enjoy this breakfast treat! I'll be back soon!
Bonus! This #fatfriday was a soft pretzel bar at our work cafe! I got a few pretzels and toppings galore: spicy beer cheese, roasted broccoli, bacon and some potato chips.
I probably could have passed on the crinkle cut fries, but my eyes were bigger than my stomach!
I'd been on one date with this guy, but our rotating schedules made it hard to actually plan a second date. When he agreed to come downtown and meet me on his day off, I thought Hudson Eats would give us the best options for lunch.
I let him pick and we wound up at Mighty Quinn's BBQ. I got some brisket on a brioche bun with fries. The brisket was mouth-watering good, if only our conversation would have been as good. Not sure if I'll see him again, but at least I got a good meal; even if I had to pay for it myself.
When I heard that my friend, Karen (or Henry, as we called her in the store), had moved to Delaware, I thought I might not see her anymore. Then she told me that she was only about a 20 minute drive from Philly, so we made plans to grab brunch and shop when I was in town.
She picked me up at Michael's house and we went off to eat at Bud & Marilyn's. They're known for their brunch and didn't disappoint. Karen's a bit of a picky eater, so she got something a little simple, while I went all out for their biscuits & gravy! Topped with cheddar, sauteed chard, Lancaster ham and fried eggs, it's what my doctor didn't order. The crispy hash brown cakes were also delicious!
Another one of Michael's great suggestions; a "fancy corndog" restaurant inside Reading Terminal Market right by the Flower Show. We met up with my friend, Mandy, and got various styles of corndogs and fries to share. The others didn't make it into a solid photo, but this poutine was everything!
I didn't have to work at the Philadelphia Flower Show this year, but I still wanted the chance to visit my former home. Luckily, my friend, Michael, has a great house near Center City and let me stay with him. We also planned out a bunch of places to eat and when I told him that I needed to get a Philly Cheesesteak, he suggested a new place called Cleavers.
It was a solid choice and you could customize your sandwich with lots of options: I went with a classic hoagie, beef steak, mushrooms, fried onions and American cheese. It hit the spot and was much better than the sandwiches I remember getting from Pat's or Geno's.
My team at work spent the morning volunteering at God's Love We Deliver. After we peeled approximately 100 lbs. of carrots and 50 lbs. of parsnips, we walked back to the office. Of course, when we walked by Dominique Ansel and saw there wasn't a line that wrapped around the block, I made them go with me to get a cronut!
I was able to get one, a few DKA's and some Irish Creme macarons; but this pastry case of treats almost went home with me too! Brynn picked up one of the "Blarney Stones" which consisted of two creme puffs stack on top of each other to resemble a pot of gold and decorated with little four leaf clovers.
After my weekly TB, Brynn & I stopped by Maman to get a lavender hot chocolate. It was the perfect treat on a cold, snowy day. However, I learned I have to watch the baristas like a hawk; it definitely wasn't made with soy milk at first! Just one of the life struggles of a lactose intolerant person...
Under the encouragement of my co-workers, I've been trying to make more meals at home. Since I didn't grow up in a household where my parents cooked, learning these skills has been a bit of a challenge. I signed up for weekly meal delivery service through Plated. All the ingredients come in a box and I opted for the 2 meals a week plan; since there are 2 servings they end up making 4 meals for me! (One of the benefits of being single.)
One of this week's options was Peking Duck Pizza. I found it pretty easy to make and it was really delicious. Can you believe that I'd never had duck before? This sweet sauce, cheese, scallion and cucumber pizza was the perfect way to try it! Now, I didn't have a rolling pin, so the crust was a little thick, but it didn't seem to matter much.
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 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.