food


once upon a time, before i got so busy that i spent zero seconds doing anything in my apartment other than diving into my bed like it was the Fountain of Youth, i used to be a writer.
or, at least, i fancied myself somewhat of one. recreationally. in my own head. when the spirit moved me. or something like an Indian Summer Day or a Pinkberry sign made me feel spontaneously inspired and glad to be alive.

then i decided i’d start a blog in case anyone else in my little world thought i might have something interesting to say (or happened to stumble upon it and have a few seconds of his/her life to devote to often nonsensical random ramblings and sometimes pretty pictures that make everything better). or maybe i just was looking for an outlet to unleash my utterly girlish side. or because “everyone else who wanted to write” was doing it and goshdarnnit if i let myself be left out.

then i somehow contracted selective amnesia and forgot about certain things in my life that i once held dear, like blogs and frozen yogurt and how amazing an early morning run along the Hudson River feels on a Wednesday, when most of the city is still fast asleep.

i went looking for THIS last night, but my local joint didnt’ have it yet. fail. will stalk until mission completed.

however, THIS certainly started my day off well this morning:

so after some well-needed introspection about what’s missing in my life and a renewed desire to prioritize my time around what i love most, i’m (hopefully)  back in action. and hoping to finally get this blog looking more like a well-tended-to child rather than a neglected little ragamuffin.

let’s hope this resolution lasts longer than my love affair with spin class (it was my knee, i swear).

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an entire weekend spent laughing with your best friend in the entire world (not exaggerating when i say there are no two friends who have a friendship that even begins to rival ours)…

going for a looooong walk around the city with your roommate on an unseasonably warm Sunday morning in November, and stumbling upon this little treasure in the Harlem sidewalk:

discovering the sweetest little coffee shop tucked right down the street from your apartment, with dozens of homemade delicious biscotti flavors (including pumpkin!).


Bis.Co.Latte may be tiny, but that only adds to its quaint charm — and what it lacks in shoulder room, it makes up for in quality. both the biscotti (my faves are the Oatmeal Craisin Raisin & the Pumpkin, of course) and the coffee are delicious, and it has an artsy, cozy atmosphere. no computers or electronic devices allowed — this is a quiet little tuck-away from technology where you can enjoy unique biscotti flavors (including sugar-free and wheat-free options) and home-made soups. we fell in love.


an absolute must-go, if you’re jaunting around Hell’s Kitchen (10th Ave at 47th st). Jess and i went twice in the two days she was here and sampled a variety of the flavors…and you can bet we’ll go back next time she’s in town.

hot coffee and a crunchy little not-too-sweet-treat on an Autumn day?

yum.

for a small-town girl who grew up in a town with multiple farms (yes, i used to ride my bike down the road to feed carrots to the horses) and a barn in her backyard, sometimes finding a little country livin’ in this big ol’ city just warms my heart.

"let me fawn all over you for the 2.3 minutes it takes me to remember why i moved to the big city."

okay, so i’m not at all tempted to leave NYC for country life again anytime soon…but i’ll admit, there’s a quaint charm about its simplicity and solitude, its open fields and bright-starred skies that will always hold a special place in my wanderlust heart.

so when post-church Sunday brunch found me at the country-house styled restaurant Friend of a Farmer this weekend (any web designers out there want to help them with this monstrosity of a website?), i couldn’t have been more delighted. for that one meal, i was transported far from the concrete craziness of the city and into a rustic, romanticized ideal of a Victorian country farmhouse, complete with Autumnal decorations and a banistered staircase. i never expected to find a place like this nestled right in the middle of the city, just a few blocks from Union Square on Irving Place.


i seriously considered asking for a sticking a pumpkin under my shirt on the way out as a souvenir, but i behaved myself. classiness was one of my 2011 resolutions, and i still have a little over a month left here to turn it all around.

this restaurant obviously has built itself a solid reputation, because the line sprawled down the block and we had to wait at least a half an hour…and when we left the restaurant, the line was even longer. apparently a healthy chunk of Manhattanites seek a little rustic refuge on a beautiful Autumn afternoon.

we were tucked into a cozy little corner table on the second level, right beneath a wooden pitchfork that i like to think Auntie Em and Uncle Henry once employed.


let me have my little Kansas fantasies, please. i live in a crazy place.

the large-flowered wallpaper and antique decor reminded me of my childhood dining room, and i have to admit i got a little nostalgic for those good old days of lazy afternoons and moms who let you choose which household chores you wanted to do, in hopes that you might actually do something. what a smart mom, to find a way to get me to set and clear the table. (love you mom! feel free to come clean my apartment anytime you’d like!)

one of the best parts of the restaurant was definitely the omelette presentation:


fancy an omelette here? well, you get the whole skillet with it. who doesn’t want to eat their brunch out of a cast-iron skillet? i thought it was one of the cutest things i’d ever seen in a restaurant, and something i’ll definitely remember every time i order an omelette.

(“oh, you only serve them on plain plates here? pity…”)

i didn’t get a skillet, tho. sadly, they didn’t seem to deem Cobb salads worthy of any special accoutrements.

but it was a tasty little guy, all the same.

(ah yes, the unattractive camera phone shots are back in fullllll effect.)

the website says that the owners sought to create for their guests the experience of having a home cooked meal at a farmhouse in upstate NY, where the husband grew up in a small farming town, and i think they nailed it with this little gem of a restaurant. i’d definitely recommend it as a unique, cozy brunch place, so long as you don’t mind a for-sure wait.

once you’re inside, though, trust me — you’ll be glad you stuck it out, and you’ll forget you’re a stone’s throw from Union Square. and maybe, just maybe, you’ll let yourself relax for a few stolen moments of country life make-believe.

 

i heard about Hillsong NYC when i first moved to the city last October, and i was really excited about the prospect of visiting it and potentially making it my home church. if it was even half as fabulous as i’ve heard the main campus in Australia is, i figured i’d love it and probably try to move in.

when i like something, i really go to extremes. i mean, take my bedroom decor for example:

i’m considering an upgrade, though, when i get a raise. something a little more modern and girlie:

i know, i know. talk about trying to bring back the whole “hang out at your friend’s apartments in NYC” thing, right?

but there are actually more important things in my life than froyo, and church is definitely one of them. while i’m not married to one specific froyo shop (i cheat on Pinkberry all the time), i would like to find a church in the city that i can really feel at home in and establish myself there.

and on Sunday, i think i may have found just that.for those of you unfamiliar with Hillsong, it’s literally a global phenomenon in the Christian world. the first church began in Australia, and they now have multiple campuses across the various continents. i’d actually toyed with the idea of going to their ministry school to study worship or counseling back in 2005, when i was tiring of my snowboard bum existence. i opted to return to NY and pursue grad school instead, but sometimes i wonder what my life would have looked like if i’d gone to Australia.

anyone tried that stuff? i hear it’s pure nastiness.

but seriously…Hillsong NYC was phenomenal. it’s exactly the type of church i’ve been looking for here in NYC. while i’ve visited some other great churches that i really enjoyed and met some wonderful people, i definitely think i can see myself at Hillsong. the worship, Pastor Carl’s preaching, the overall prevailing atmosphere and joyful optimism that overtake the place — it was just really amazing and inspiring, and i’m excited to see how i can fit into that community.

so if you’re looking for a church in NYC — or even if you’re not, but you’re down for new experiences and want to visit — i’d absolutely recommend Hillsong. they even give out little cereal bites during the service. i mean, if you want to get technical about improvements, they cooouuuuld have handed out lil dishes of froyo.

but then again, they say there’s no such thing as a perfect church, right? right.

it’s no secret that my blog is kind of all over the place.

i started it a few years ago just to sort of keep myself accountable in my writing (mainly creative), since i didn’t have a set focus or any deadlines propelling me forward. i work well under pressure and to be honest, i wouldn’t mind someone breathing down my neck to get me to eek out some poetry on a weekly basis.

but it quickly evolved into just a mishmosh of ramblings about my life, mostly in relation to my travel and now my adventures in NYC — with dashes of poetry thrown in, of course. i can’t forget my first love.

so lately, i’ve been thinking a lot about my blog, trying to discover what my “niche” is and what i should and shouldn’t write about…and i came to the conclusion that it’s okay if it’s not exclusive to one topic. i feel like there are areas of my life that are soooo integral to my identity, namely running and fitness and my obsession with leading a balanced, healthy life, that i don’t really talk about that regularly. i think i shied away from writing about them consistently, because i didn’t originate this blog with those areas in mind. and honestly, i guess i was a little afraid of my blog losing its “artsy” feel.

so you're saying i don't look like a starving artist...

now, i’m not planning to start posting pictures of each non-restaurant meal i eat (hello, i’m sure most of you aren’t super interested in my bananas, salad and froyo staples), but i definitely am planning to include more of my fitness & eating habits into my posts. health, fitness & clean eating are true passions of mine, and i think incorporating them into my blog regularly will help me keep myself accountable in this area as well.

no, this was not my breakfast…but i kinda wish.

so, what prompted this “announcement” of a new blog shift (or semi-shift, at least)?

i’m currently training for my first half marathon, which i’ll get into more later, and i was talking with one of my other runner girlfriends down here in the city, who encouraged me to join New York Road Runner’s. of course i’d heard of it, as it’s the premier running club here, and i’d visited their site 4356 times in the past year (i can’t believe i’ve almost been here for a full year already! eee!!!), but i just hadn’t gotten involved.

honestly, i think i was too nervous of being a “not good enough” runner. what does that even mean, really? my friend helped me talk through these worries last night, reminding me that that’s the great thing about running: it’s such an individualized activity. runners come in all shapes and sizes, at all fitness and ability levels, and there’s no such thing as “not good enough.” if you run, and you like running, and you’re devoted to running, you’re a runner. you start from there and move forward.

i tend to get extremely hard on myself, especially in areas where i want to excel, and at times like last night, i was super grateful for such an encouraging friend.

and this morning, i signed up for NYRR, and for my first race with them: the Poland Spring 5-Miler Marathon Kick-Off. after running a half marathon on Oct. 9, hopefully this 5-miler will feel like a piece of cake…or at least like a big bowl of froyo, which i plan to devour immediately after all my long runs.

priorities, people. will run for Pinkberry.

i can’t seem to stay away from goats stories. they follow me. such random little animals, i really don’t know what to make of them…but they stalk me, i swear it.

two years ago this fall, i was walking into a fabulous independent bookstore in Manchester, VT (love those outlets), and this big stuffed goat stood guard at the door. i figured, “hey, it’s VT, maybe goats are a thing here.” the boy i was on a second date with surprised me by suddenly uttering, “i like goats.”

never had that come out of a date’s mouth before. but then it hit me: he totally wasn’t American.

“oh, that’s right!” i said (without thinking at allll). “they’re everywhere in your country, right?”

i’m picturing dusty streets riddled with milling animals that interrupt the everyday flow of civilized life.

helllllooooooo, white girl. pretty sure he never had that come out of a girl’s mouth before.

turns out all those scenes from Blow and Once Upon a Time in Mexico and Traffic and every other reputable source from which i so intellectually glean my information about Latin American countries might have misled me a teensy bit. apparently, Colombia does not have goats roaming aimlessly in the streets and holding up traffic.

who knew.

but anyway, i like that story. and i like goat cheese, like, a loooot. quite possibly my very favorite cheese ever.

and now, as of Friday night, i discovered that i like goat’s milk froyo/ice cream.

rewind to one night this summer, when i was walking on Bleecker St. in the world’s best neighborhood, and this woman stopped me and asked, “do you know where that place is that serves goat’s milk ice cream?” i thought maybe she was bat-ish crazy, but then i remembered, this is the West Village. she probably knows what she’s talking about.

turns out, she did. and i went to Victory Garden on Friday night with the lovely miss Hanne to experience our very first tastes at goat’s milk ice cream…which Hanne admitted she was afraid might taste like goat cheese. i hadn’t even considered that, because usually i hear the words “frozen yogurt” and just think of deliciousness.

thankfully, it didn’t, and we both agreed that it was pretty darn yummy.
(please enjoy this lovely photo of Hanne, and you’re welcome for not posting one of my sweaty post-gym, non-matching self.)

Victory Garden is a tiny little shabby chic drop-in of a spot on 31 Carmine St., just off of Bleecker. you’ll miss it if you’re not looking for it closely — there’s no awning or big sign, and it’s as unassuming as you’d picture a quaint little novelty shop to be.


i want that frosted on my window.

they offer a changing selection of unique ice cream flavors (all goat’s milk): i had Ethiopian Coffee swirled with Chocolate Rosemary, and Hanne opted for Violet swirled with Madagascar Vanilla. (hers was better, but they were all yum.) they also sell cheesecakes and little cookies and soaps and other such boutique-y gifts that can be made with goat’s milk, and there’s an innocent, quaint little feel about this store, almost as if it’s a throw-back to a simpler life in a rustic town where people actually dropped in on their neighbors and shared pie in the afternoon.

i’m not entirely sure what i’m talking about. but this place made me smile, in a tucked-away-from-city-life sort of way.

and then there are the goats, of course. i’m not quite sure what’s going on in this photo. it was a little disconcerting, to be honest, but we forgave them for their choice in uncomfortable artwork and attacked our ice cream with our backs to the bleaters. 

goats are much nicer when they come from a soft serve machine.

i’ve wanted to go to San Fran for the past year or so in a baaad way. after seeing LA, Orange County, & San Diego, i’ve full confirmed my assumptions that i was, indeed, born on the wrong coast. sure, i love NY and am more than content as a NYC girl…but my heart beats differently in California. i just know it does.


who’s with me? any takers?

i happen to be the proud possessor of the world’s very best friend (and most amazing pastry chef) whom, for my 30th birthday, surprised me with a ticket to San Fran.

does life really get any better than a trip to California (including wine country) with your best friend? i’m not really sure it does.

Cali bound

*side note: my brother just saw me post this pic and goes, “you look like an Afghani woman or a Persian princess or something in this picture. definitely not a white girl.”

umm okay so, moving on…

we did soooo much that i’ll probably have about 5 more San Francisco posts, so you’ve been warned — Cali will be consuming this blog for a bit.

the first day there, we walked from our apartment in the Marina District (we lucked into snagging the most adorable lil place ever — if you haven’t used airbnb.com, definitely check it out for your next trip!) to Ghiradelli Square, which was so quaint and picturesque.

we took a little tour of the chocolate making extravagance:

see that glass? that's so we don't find a long straw and take liberties...

i've heard of a post-run ice bath, but this takes relief to a whole new level

do i look like a chocolatier?

do i look like i just tried to jump the glass?

the best thing about Ghiradelli Square wasn’t the chocolate making, though…it was the tea salon, Crown & Crumpet. we stumbled upon the quaintest, girliest, most adorably-pink tea shop a girl can ever conceive of. i totally went Japanese tourist on them and tried to document as much as possible so i can re-create it on the East coast. like, say, for my bedroom.

how very classically English, no? Crown & Crumpet, so regal and classy. i know i’ve never had a crumpet but i just love the name of this place.

"shall we do tea, dahlings?"

the place was frilly and elaborate in the best way possible, with a thousand little charmingly superfluous details to “ooh” and “ahhh” over. we didn’t stay for tea, but i plan to make that a priority on my next trip back. (oh for sure there will be more trips to San Fran!)

sugar & spice and everything pink

i felt like i was in a fantasy, dollhouse dreamworld. i half expected to see Tinkerbell come glittering out to give us a tour, it was that sugary sweet. i’d never seen anything quite like this place, and i know that my little girl self would have just lost it here.

who am i kidding. i almost lost it at 30. i couldn’t stop exclaiming, “oh my gosh it’s SO CUTE! look at this!” over and over. i think the teenage girl behind the counter thought i was seriously crazy.

do you serve frozen yogurt, too? because if so, i think this must be Heaven.

they even had a champagne bottle with Hello Kitty on it. (see the bottles all the way on the left end of the counter? that little pink rosé champagne…yup, that’s it. i was thisclose to buying it. you know, to match my credit card and all.)

can i stay here? like, for the next four nights?

it was almost too cutesy and overwhelmingly cotton candy-esque to be true. we took the fact that we stumbled upon this charming spot on our very first morning in San Fran as an obvious God-given sign that we were going to love this city. so far, so fabulous.

more fun San Fran posts to come, i promise. later, loves!

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