The Latest of What I've Been Eating.
I was also fortunate that when I was home, there was also a home football game in Lincoln. Now, while the Huskers haven't lived up to their late 90's/early 00's glory, there's always something special about home for a football game. In this case, it mean that a lot of my high school and college friends were also home for the Holiday.
After the game, (which we embarrassingly lost to Iowa) I met up with one of my Youth Leadership Lincoln friends, Bryce, at The Other Place; a hidden speakeasy, where it was nice to get away from all the usual football game patrons. We posted up at the bar, caught up on life and chatted with the bartender, who ended up being my high school choir's piano accompanist.
Since I had recently gorged myself on a burger at Brewsky's, I wasn't too hungry, but offered to go to The Oven with Bryce to eat and partake in one of Lincoln's best restaurants. We ended up going to the wine bar below the restaurant, The Cellar. While Bryce picked out some food and wine, I opted for a lighter course of mulligatawny soup and garlic naan. But you can rest assured that I will be back at Christmas time for a full meal!
A usual stop on any trip home: Goldenrod Pastries! With a rotating selection of gluten & dairy-free snacks, I always load up a box to eat while I'm home and bring a few things back to NYC!
I picked out 3 macarons: vanilla, hibiscus and an apple cider (which didn't make it into the photo, before I ate it), a cherry almond cookie and a devil's food cake loaf.
I'm alreadying thinking about what I want to get for my trip home at Christmas...
As my first really "retail free" Thanksgiving in ages, I took the opportunity to fly back home to Lincoln, Nebraska and spend some time with my family. (Since my brother & sister-in-law rotate Holidays, we usually only see each other every other year. I knew I didn't want to miss out this year, so I took a 4 day trip back to the Midwest.)
The only downside, I forgot how early everyone eats in the Midwest! While I might have been expecting a 2pm Thanksgiving lunch, I got an 11:30am Thanksgiving meal! My flight didn't get into Omaha until almost 11:30pm, due to delays, so I made it out to my Dad's new house, just after 1:00am on Thanksgiving Day. I did not get up in time to help prep, but did get to watch some of the parade (I had to see Dear Evan Hansen perform, after all)!
All the usual suspects were at this meal, so I heaped my plate full of all the best things: mashed potatoes, stuffing, sweet potatoes, broccoli, green bean casserole, a croissant and, oh yeah, turkey. My brother made some great poultry gravy, which I put on everything.
Ever since Whitney & I have enjoyed the "dumps of the month" at Mimi Cheng's, we usually look forward to getting the November special - the Thanksgiving dumpling.
This time around, I brought a long a new friend and co-worker, Deirdre, to revel in the experience of the dumplings and a Thanksgiving croissant at Momofuku Milk Bar afterwards.
Besides the Emmy Burger dumpling and the Brunch dumpling, the Thanksgiving dumpling rates as one of my favorites. Fresh turkey, stuffing and gravy in a pan fried dumpling with a side of cranberry sauce. I'm drooling just thinking about it! Is it November 2018, yet!?
Can you tell that our head chef at the Gapeteria (i.e. our office Cafe), loves Halloween? The staff whipped up some great treats for our Halloween party at the office!
Here are some ghostly risotto balls, covered in little pieces of cheese!
It's still hovering in the 50's/60's and it's almost November!? Makes sense that I would still be craving ice cream, then. In between shifts for Broadway Cares, I swung by Ice & Vice's pop-up truck in Times Square.
They were serving some new sundaes and regular scoops of their best selling flavors, along with some basic soft serve (literally, it's vanilla soft serve and it's called the "basic bitch"). After convincing a mom & her daughter that they should get the "Milk Money," I opted for a scoop of "Justice is Sweet" - chocolate ice cream with a szechuan peanut butter shell in a dark chocolate chai cone from the Konery.
The I SCREAM booth was also sponsored by Waitress and was there to help raise money for charity, so double the goodness!
Ever since I saw Yo! Sushi open up on W. 23rd Street, I'd been thinking two things: 1. This has to be better than the last conveyor belt sushi place I went to and 2. When can I go? So, when I got the chance to catch up with a former Madewell buddy of mine, we went to Yo! and perused all the choices.
I got a few plates, but these salmon nori tacos were hands-down the best part of the meal! Pieces of nori (seaweed), fried in tempura batter and molded into taco shapes, then filled with salmon, siracha mayo, yuzu salsa and tuzu tobiko. Slightly sweet, slightly salty and nicely crunchy; maybe I'll get two orders next time!
I'm consistently surprized by the variety of food around my office, so whatever my craving, it's easy to find something to satisfy it; albeit to my wallet's despair. So, my weekly TB with my manager took us downtown, towards the Financial District.
And that's where I was cheating a bit on #fatfriday with some cheesy tots and a patty melt grilled cheese from Melt Shop. My sandwich didn't look the prettiest, but oh boy, was it tasty!
I couldn't begin to count the number of times that I've walked by B Bar & Grill near my old office by NYU/Astor Place, but I had never eaten there. So, when my college bestie, Phil, suggested it for brunch, I was all in.
While my main brunch struggle is debating between sweet or savory and my almost constant craving for eggs; I went the sweet route for this meal.
These thick-cut slices of French toast with blueberry compote and maple butter were delicious! Not to mention the perfectly tangy fresh squeezed orange juice and getting a chance to eat outside.
Um, excuse me!? Veselka has BRUNCH PIEROGI!? I was expecting them to be like the breakfast dumplings at MImi Cheng's and perhaps I should have ordered them boiled instead of fried, but I was a little disappointed.
8 Varenyky filled with bacon, scrambled eggs, Vermont cheddar cheese and potatoes with a side of chipotle ketchup. They were slightly chewy and a bit bland.
As much as I love Veselka, this didn't give me much faith in coming back for brunch, nor did my waiter who kept interrupting my friend and me to say we were his last table and he wanted to leave...oy.
A brunch date at The Little Owl, which is situated right below the exterior shot of Monica & Rachel and Chandler & Joey's apartment on Friends! Oddly enough, I'd never been to this spot and it was amusing while waiting for my date and seeing all the tourists come by to take photos (I bet I'm in a bunch of them).
We got a nice corner table and chatted. I chose the special - soft scrambled eggs with smoked salmon on toast and my date got the sunflower seed salad. We didn't get the chance to order some of the more "famous" dishes - beignets or the meatball sliders, but that could be for my next visit.
I love having weekends off, after working more than a decade in retail (which meant - one weekend off a month, overnights every three weeks and a consistently rotating schedule), but sometimes I forget to just chill out. This weekend was no exception: RuPaul's DragCon all day Saturday and Sunday, then off to the 92d Y for a screening of the season four finale of Younger with the cast and Executive Producer.
So, was this deep dish pizza well deserved? Yes. Something about that thick, crunchy crust was everything. I went with the "Numero Uno" - sausage, pepperoni, onions, peppers, mushrooms, chunky tomato sauce, mozzarella and romano cheese.
I'd been wanting to try out Chef's Club Counter, so when a date suggested that we meet at Jack's Wife Frieda for dinner; I suggested Chef's Club Counter instead. I was pleasantly suprised when my date showed up, as he was more handsome in person that I expected, but quite nerdy than my usual "type."
I'm not the type of girl to debate on what to get, so I was dually impressed when he suggested we get a few things that I wanted to try and share them. Done and done!
Our spread: Spicy Pepperoni Pizza from Chef Magnus Hansson, a Roman-style thin crust pizza with organic tomatoes and organic flour; Hash Nugges from Chef Alvin Cailan - shredded potaotes, seasoned with sea salt & onions, then fried twice; and Belle's Hot Chicken Sandwich by Chef Morgan McGlone - crispy hot chicken tenders, American cheese, lettuce, onion, Belle's Good Good Sauce with some Old Bay seasoned fries.
Delicious! And a promising meal for a first date, let's hope there's more!
After we parted ways with Jacob, Jim & I went in search of something sweet. While we were thinking about Ruimilk (which relocated to the City, oops), we then found a newly opened Spot Dessert Bar on Prince Street.
While we probably only needed two desserts, the price for three was too good of a deal to pass up. We got the chocolate green tea lava cake and the Yuzu Eskimo - frozen Japanese citrus ice cream bar, chocolate ganache, strawberries and Oreo crumbs; but the highlight was this giant creme puff with vanilla ice cream, honey, honeycomb wafer and corn flakes.
For the next day of our eating adventure, Jacob took all of us for dim sum in Flushing. His pick: Asian Jewels Seafood Restaurant. Where his knowledge of multiple languages was very helpful in getting us our dim sum.
I am not the most adventurous dim sum eater, so I was content with my standard spinach dumplings, egg rolls, turnip cake, etc. The boys went with their more traditional plates of durian pastries and chicken feet.
My old roommate and best friend, Jim, came back to NYC for a short trip over Labor Day weekend. Since he'd recently gone through a break-up, his friend, Jacob, had lots of good food in mind to help him recover. When mentioned it was a little "secret Japanese spot," I joked that it was Hagi...and guess what, it was!?
I only knew about Hagi from eating there several times with a high school friend of ours, Nan, who used to live in New York. While the wait is always a bit long, the food is worth it.
A plate of takoyaki - deep fried octopus balls, pork belly, bacon wrapped asparagus, quail eggs; were just the beginning. I got some yaki udon wrapped in an egg and we caught up on life, theatre and boys.
It's funny when I think about how often I used to eat pizza and now it's become a "special treat." I guess that's the downside of aging and high cholesterol. It's much tougher to get under control when you've grown up eating fast food, though.
For today's treat, I went to Two Boots in the West Village and got a "Newman" slice; named after that omnipresent mailman/neighbor on Seinfeld, featuring mozzrella, sopressata and Italian sausage. Then, instead of getting a second slice, I chose a little chicken parmesan slider on a garlic knot.
It's a little amusing that the first time I was able to try Thai rolled ice cream from 10 Below was at a work event! However, even I knew that the matcha green tea with crushed strawberries was the way to go!
I added a few little Teddy Grahams to my rolls and some Fruity Pebbles. Yes, the lines for free ice cream before Labor Day were nuts, but luckily, the team saved a little for me!
As luck would have it, I was FINALLY able to get an "Everything Croissant" from Daily Provisions! While cat sitting for a friend, I walked right by the cafe and stopped to grab a breakfast sandwich; bacon and egg, no cheese for me, and they still had some in stock!
I wasn't about to eat them all at once, but at least I could get their best sellers! So, here's an almond matcha latte, maple cruller, bacon & egg sandwich and the everything croissant!
Overall, the breakfast sandwich was my favorite! The thick-cut bacon was delicious! I didn't know that the croissant was going to be filled with cream cheese, so that was a lactose surprise and the cruller was a little too sweet for me. Still, I'm glad I got to try both of their signature pastries!
What does the term "brunch" mean to you? A certain time of day on the weekend? A certain type of food? How is it different than breakfast of lunch?
For me, that's eggs. So, when I met up with Jasmine for some brunch in Williamsburg, I was excited to see that Shelter had pizzas with eggs on them!
We both ended up getting egg and mushroom pizzas, but I added prosciutto di parma to mine. The wait was a bit too long, but the pizzas made up for it. I'm still thinking about the nicely, chewy crust.
For the second month in a row, Mimi Cheng's Dumplings brought back their Emmy Burger dumpling, so Whitney and I followed that up with another course of ice cream at the Oddfellows Carnival!
This time I went for the "Pink Dip" - chocolate soft serve with pink chocolate dip and topped with freeze dried raspberries and pop rocks. A nice twist on sweet and tangy!
Sometimes I get to take a break at the office and enjoy some of the perks from our events team. When I heard that Boba Guys was going to be the treat for one of our Speaker Series, I knew I HAD to wear my Boba Guys enamel pin and little bubble tea guy from Verameat.
And, oh yeah, my favorite Pilot pen, fit right into the pocket of my Old Navy overalls!
As a belated birthday gift, my friends, Caitlin & Emily, bought me a ticket to the Mets game of my choosing. As a child of the Midwest, I learned how to appreciate all sorts of sports, but I go to the games for the sport and the stadium food.
Since CitiField opened a few years ago, it has featured some of the best NYC food. I knew where I wanted to go: Fuku. I needed that David Chang created spicy chicken sandwich and some fries. Then, as I was walking back to my seat, I saw that Do (cookie dough) didn't have more than 5 people in line. An opportunity!
Months ago, my friend, Jesse and I tried to go to the Do store near NYU and waited for almost 45 minutes before moving about 20 feet. We bailed and here was my chance to finally get my own scoop of cookie dough; but what flavor to get? I settled on the regular chocolate chip cookie, and while delicious, it was a lot of richness to eat in one sitting. But would I go back; yes? Maybe for the sugar cookie with rainbow sprinkles though...
After sleeping in a little too late on a Saturday, I was starving by the time I got up. When in doubt, I head down the street to Twin Suns Deli and get a breakfast sandwich. However, this morning I decided to finally try their breakfast burrito and I didn't regret it.
The "LaFrontera Breakfast Burrito" was stuffed with chorizo, scrambled eggs, house Sonoran salsa and potatoes wrapped in a giant flour tortilla. Yes, it ate like a full meal.
To top it off, I caught up on an episode of MasterChef while eating. It's always a good idea to eat something when watching a cooking show, at least in my opinion, it is.
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!
The Latest Shows That I've Seen.
The Latest of What I've Been Doing in NYC.
After a lot of ups and downs, I walked by this window display at Maman Soho. A little inspiration and a hope that something good will happen soon. Maybe Mom is looking after me...
Over the last 5 years, I've been able to watch the Pride Parade from inside of Madewell. I was very excited to get to watch the parade from the street and not have to worry about being at work!
I met up with some friends for brunch, then we walked over towards the corner of 19th Street & 5th Avenue to post up and watch the floats. We got there shortly after the start of the parade made it downtown and were anxiously awaiting the arrival of the Gap float.
The parade is always sensory overload, but in the best way possible! Imagine my surprise when I looked up on the Logo float and saw Robby from Finding Prince Charming!? Yes, I shouted at him and was super happy when he turned and waved at me! (To be followed a few minutes later by Javier Munoz from HAMILTON and I died even more!)
Now, some of my friends aren't parade people, but we still wanted to spend part of Pride Weekend together. We met up in the neighborhood to catch up and to enjoy some drinks at Brooklyn's Kings County Brewers Collective (KCBC).
The selection rotates and there are some snacks, but the ambience is cool and there's board games!
Months ago, I purchased tickets to see Bianca del Rio's show in NYC...little did I know that VH1 would change the date of the RuPaul's Drag Race finale and the promoters would suddenly turn my comedy show tickets into a chance to view the finale episode and the crowning of the newest queen!
A few of my Nebraska friends were in town for Pride Weekend, so we all got to experience the show together and even watch local Brooklyn queen, Sasha Velour's coronation! (Plus, performances by the Top 7!)
In a way, it was a blessing that I came back to NYC just in time for Pride Weekend. My first day back at the office was a rainbow-filled one. Lots of love from my friends for me & my Mom and of course, a chance to celebrate Pride!
There were lots of fun treats and a little rainbow photo booth with Pattaya Hart, who instantly lifted my mood!
After a very tough two weeks, I headed back to NYC to try and get back to "normal" life. It was nice to fly back over Flushing Meadows and Corona Park, where I could see CitiField, the Unisphere and the home of the US Open.
I took advantage of the nice weather in my neighborhood and went for a walk. It's nice to get lost sometimes.
I was struck by the contrasting styles of architecture in these two buildings. The new and old New York.
I consider myself lucky to have friends in so many places around the artistic and creative community! It's through these connections that I was able to spend an afternoon at the Whitney Museum of American Art for free!
There were so many great pieces, but I couldn't resist this short of an installation on one of the many roofs of the museum. I love the way the colors fade and the contrast of the smaller squares inside of the larger ones. Something about those clean lines.
I don't remember when my fandom for Jeff Koons' work began, but whenever I get a chance to view some of his work, I take it.
The 45-foot tall "Seated Ballerina" was installed right outside of 30 Rock on Rockefeller Plaza and unlike some of his other "balloon" pieces, this sculpture was actually made of nylon and not aluminium. From Koons' "Antiquity" series, the balloon was put up for a few months on the plaza.
As part of our team's diversity activities, we spent one afternoon at MOCA (Museum of Chinese in America) to attend their exhibition on Chinese food: Sour Sweet Bitter Spicy. I learned a lot at the exhibition about trying to make traditional Chinese food in America and how the various chefs decided to alter or keep the same their recipes for the public.
After watching several of the videos, I explored the rest of the museum and came upon this sign for "the Chinese question." In many ways, I think we've progressed so much as a Country, but it's also hard to deal with the everyday racism that takes place in my own life and many others like me. I just think about every time a cab driver asks me "where are you from?" and I say "Nebraska," which is never the answer they are looking for!
Yes, I understand that I'm a part of the problem. But the longer I live in NYC, the longer I understand the struggle. Over the past 7 years, my building has changed from young doctors working at the nearby hospital to almost all young 20-something's who can't afford to live in Williamsburg.
I was this graffiti on the side of a building in Downtown Brooklyn and couldn't resist taking a photo.
Sometimes you have to take a break from the office and sometimes that break leads you to Saks Fifth Avenue at Brookfield Place. Now, while I do enjoy looking at things I can't afford, I can't wait until the day that I have the amount of disposable income to buy whatever I want, whenever I want!
While wandering through the handbag department at Saks, I couldn't help but be drawn in by this display. The colors. The shapes. Right up my alley.
It's a tough world out there, and by that, I mean the NYC dating scene. I'm about ready to give up on regular dating sites...I've tried to go outside of my usual "type" and so, met up with a guy for some fish tacos at Los Mariscos.
Our conversation was fine and the food was good. but have I heard back from him since this date? Nope.
I intentionally tried to crop out all of the scaffolding and construction in the background. Some day, the building that was torn down in mid-2015 will turn into more luxury apartments and retail...
Until then, at least we've got some pretty blooms on the street.
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?