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Posts Tagged ‘restaurant review’

Hi guys! I cannot believe I’m already preparing for my next weekend adventure, but the time flies when!

I’m honestly counting down the hours until my, erm, FOUR AM pick up this Friday morning, which’ll take me to JFK then onto Charleston, South Carolina for my bestie Frankie’s bachelorette weekend!!!!

Charleston is a dream city of mine—I’m in love with everything I know about it and have always felt a hankerin’ to move there one day.

When you put it that way…

Combine that with a beach house, a cold Blue Moon and my favorite gals…yep, now you’re on my program :).

My eats the last two days have been  extra super-duper yummy, so for today’s WIAW, I thought I’d do a lil’ combo, highlighting the best of!

If you’re new to What I Ate Wednesday, you gotta get in the game! This awesome concept was started by Jen over at Peas and Crayons, and I highly suggest scoping it out to learn more. Such a fun and inspirational weekly blogger “event”!

Here goes!

Yesterday’s Bfast: this meal! Whole wheat English muffin with almond AND regular buttah, sandwiched into doughy heaven post-pic. Plain Chobani with sliced banana, honey, cinnamon and a sprinkle of Kashi Go Lean Crunch! So filling and SO yummy.

Lunch Today: Switchin’ it up and it feels tastes so good! Falafel in a magnificently doughy whole wheat pita. Can’t get enough dough! This was enormous and I did NOT anticipate taking the entire sucker down.

Oh me of little faith. Halfway to the finish line!

Two Oreos with milky tea as a pat on the back 🙂

My first fruitful afternoon:Bowl of the sweetest, juiciest ORGANIC LOCAL cherries everrrr. I had this x2!

And my 2nd! Never gets old!

Yesterday’s Snack: In the running for potential new favorite! Harvest Cheddar Multigrain Sunchips and Cottage cheese. Been craving savory snacks way more?!

Train snack both days, plus a handful of nuts while running out of the office. [uhh just had an imagine of lycra-clad almonds making their personal bests around my office]

The current theme of WIAW is Sensible Snacking, and I’ve been more conscious of my snack choices as a result.

I don’t advocate eating processed foods, but variety truly is the spice of life, and sometimes you just gotta go for what sounds good. So, although some might argue that my Sunchips and Oreos weren’t super healthy, I believe they fit squarely into my idea of an overall healthy lifestyle (ok, I’d let them have the Oreos).

Seeewwww, you may be wondering how my aforementioned DATE went last night….

Best way to sum it up? The quality of the food purty accurately reflects the quality of my time with this particular gentleman :).

To begin with, he chose a killer restaurant for our meal! I’d heard fabulous things about Piadina Restaurant from my West Village-dwelling friend Hillery, but had never wound up there myself.

As soon as we walked in, I knew the spot was right up my alley. Cozy, quiet and rustic, I felt like a traveler abroad in the Italian countryside, going tete-a-tete with a handsome foreigner.

Ti adoro!

Our menu choices only served the perpetuate the fantasy—simply made with fresh ingredients, each dish was more delicious than the next.

Unfortunately, I was too nervy beans to take pictures at first, and our appetizers didn’t make the cut. To begin, we shared a salad of arugula, strawberries, pine nuts and goat cheese (perfect) and a bowl of mussels. My date brilliantly requested a side of bread, and we took full advantage sopping up the leftover garlicky mussel broth!

From my previous due-diligence, I knew that Piadina is touted for its house-made pasta, and one look a the day’s specials made my order choice reeallll easy:

Pappardelle with Lamb Ragu: Midway through our entrees, my sweet date acknowledged my blog and said he was totally comfortable with my snapping pics. What a guy!

I’m a SUCKER for ragus, and holy macaroni was this delicious!

I mean really, is there anything better than a forkful of warm, fresh-made pasta with rich, tender chunks of meat? Methinks not!

And apparently, hethinks not also, and ordered something quite similar:

Tagliatelle with Beef Ragu! Also totally delicious, but I preferred my choice…and he preferred his! Win-win 🙂

I nearly polished off my entire steaming plate of pasta, but I’m glad I didn’t have it in me, because this DUDE suggested hitting up the nearby, famous gelateria Grom after dinner (g’luck deciphering the website)! I’d been wanting to try Grom forever and was thrilled to continue our Italian overseas adventure!

PEOPLE—I can hands down say that I tried the BEST/my FAVORITE ice cream flavor of all time last night.

I ordered a trio and they were all scrumptious, but one-of-these-things-was-NOT-like-the-other

Bottom: Dark chocolate cherry. Right: Dark chocolate hazelnut….Top: Crema Di Grom *** with battifollo biscuits and colombian chocolate chips

That gorgeous, buttery-colored CREMA DI GROM knocked.my.sandals.off. Subtly sweet and milky in flavor, the silken, creamy texture finds its match  in chewy chunks of cookie (a gingerbread/shortbread hybrid).

I could eat this ice cream for days…recklessly….with abandon….for every meal. Cannot WAIT to find another opportunity to head to this neighborhood for a Crema fix!

The Boy ordered strawberry sorbet and double dark chocolate, both of which were wonderful, but I don’t think I could ever deviate.

All in all, the mouthwatering food and fantastic company made for a truly special night, and I went to bed a very full and very happy girl :).

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These days, I judge a book by whether or not it keeps me awake on my morning train commute.

Eyes:

  • Closed→disaster. Set the phone alarm and get comfy.
  • Fluttering and blinking→story has its moments. Not enough.
  • Wide open→winner! Insomnia be damned!

The majority of my reads fall into the middle category, but as soon as I started Blood, Bones and Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton, I knew I’d struck commute gold.

Gabrielle Hamilton is chef and owner of Prune Restaurant in NYC, known for  “the sort of unpretentious home cooking at which she excels, a grab bag of eccentric, multicultural influences that is, at heart, American.” (source).

Blood, Bones and Butter is Hamilton’s raucous, raw, brilliantly written autobiography, and I fell haaard for it. Highly suggest. Shortly after reading BB&B, I had the opportunity to dine at Prune and was thrilled that it lived up to the hype!

SO, you can imagine my utter glee  yesterday when I discovered I’d be having dinner at Calliope, the brainchild of Prune cook Ginerva Iverson and her husband, a former chef at the renowned Waverly Inn!

Last night was Calliope’s SECOND NIGHT open, and I felt like a true restaurant critic as the meal unfolded.

Upon recommendations from the waitress and (if I do say so) my own menu-savvy eye, we ended up splitting a handful of fabulous dishes. [For now, my date will remain an anonymous male human. Stick with me, peeps.]

Provencal tomato tart with savory & olives: My favorite dish–flaky, buttery crust that pairs magnificently with the sweet tomato puree. The olives, deeply marinated in a rich spiced oil, added a crucial piquant bite.

Butter lettuce with feta and scallions in a soft cooked egg vinaigrette: Simple, fresh and delicious–my date rightly pointed out the lovely, unique hint of dill.

Slow cooked Rabbit Pappardelle, English peas and Thumbelina carrots: The braised rabbit and (housemade?) pasta melted in my mouth, and the lima beans were a fun pop of texture! Somehow this heavy-sounding dish managed to feel light and appropriate for summer.

Crispy chicken Thigh (‘pologies for the terrible photo). This dish was the most ho-hum of our choices. The chicken was well-cooked and flavorful, and the accompanying stuffed cabbage roll was a tasty and novel touch. Likely wouldn’t order again.

I was delighted with the food at Calliope, especially as the product of a fledgling kitchen! The service still has a few kinks to work out—we were offered dessert after our appetizers, and I wasn’t asked to taste my wine selection before a full glass was poured. But, they made up in friendliness what they lacked in logistics, and I adored that it maintained Hamilton’s/Prune’s wonderfully uncouth but warm vibe.

Overall, Calliope was an incredibly pleasurable experience, and I would happily return.

As we  finished up dinner, we had our eyes on the prize for dessert. The East Village is home to several of my favorite City sweets, but my date suggested something I hadn’t yet ticked off my list!

Found only by the most discerning.

THE BIG GAY ICE CREAM SHOP!!!!

Words of website wisdom:

Big Gay Ice Cream began as the Big Gay Ice Cream Truck, a summer experiment by founders Douglas Quint and Bryan Petroff that began rolling the streets of New York City in June 2009. Described by The Village Voice as “a cross between Mister Softee and Mario Batali” the menu combines traditional soft-serve ice cream with imaginative toppings such as wasabi pea dust, Nilla Wafers, Dulce de Leche, olive oil and sea salt, and other rotating offerings. These are dispensed the way ice cream should be — with humor and good cheer.

I’d seen multiple plugs for the legendary Big Gay Ice Cream TRUCK on the Food Network and Cooking Channel, but I’d never come across it and had no clue that a store existed!

Original Big Gay Ice Cream Dream

As we approached the shop, we thought at first that we’d taken a wrong turn and ended up in line for a concert or grand opening. Oh, no no—just hoards of devoted BGIC followers. Apparently, we were lucky it was Memorial Day weekend, because the line CAN-SNAKE-AROUND-THE-BLOCK in the summer. There was a sweet lil’ girl outside whose sole job was to admit people inside!

I was daunted by this unexpected barrier between me and my sugar rush, but my date (who knows me rullll well) nudged me to wait it out.

I bided my time by studying the menu, and as we finally crossed the shop threshold, I practically screamed my order at the poor woman behind the counter!

I see skies of blue…clouds of white…

My hand, my Salty Pimp: vanilla ice cream, dulce de leche, sea salt, chocolate dip.

To put it discreetly…where my Pimp goes, I follow.

I took this entire sucker down to Chinatown, uttering cries of grief and delight as I discovered a hidden squirt of dulce de leche in the bottom of the cone.

This night was a culinary masterpiece aaaannd a fantastic end to my Protein Friday! Ok, ok, so I didn’t/couldn’t figure out the protein content in all of the above, BUT I left off yesterday’s post at 74 grams, and I would guestimate at LEAST another 15 consumed at dinner and the brothel. Either way, it was a successful day :).

I’m off to whip up a decadent but healthy treat that I’ll be sharing with you soon, but tune in tomorrow for a recap of today’s adventures! Hints: A Park, spandex, and the New York Post.

Night night!

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Blogging is a learning process, and a huge part of that process is making mistakes, picking yourself up by the bootstraps, and trying somethin’ else.

On that note, I have to admit that I bit off more than I could chew with Protein Fridays.

Irritable Bean Syndrome

I feel so strongly about the importance of protein for woman, and I want a way to convey this on a regular basis. However, I’ve found that trying to come up with a different vegetarian protein source each week that I am knowledgeable about will be nigh impossible. I also don’t have enough control over my schedule to know that I’ll have time to complete such a post at the level of quality that I demand :).

But I won’t admit defeat! Protein Fridays don’t need to disappear, they just need a makeover.

The bottom of my fruit bowl yesterday–from drab to fab! How beautiful?!

The daily protein requirement for the average adult woman is 46 grams.

However, this number can and should vary widely depending on your age, body type, activity level, fitness goals etc.

At 26, 5’9 and physically active, I need  1.5/2x the average requirement. (69-92 grams)

To determine how much protein YOU need, here are a few calculators/methodologies that I found online.

The New Plan:

Every Friday, I will research (to the best of my ability) and post  how many grams of protein I eat throughout the day, with several goals in mind:

  • Increase my awareness of my own protein intake
  • Motivate myself to reach the recommended amount each day
  • Document/be inspired by a variety of protein sources by reviewing my previous posts
  • Offer YOU ideas for ways to incorporate protein into your nutrition
  • Encourage YOU to reach your recommended daily needs and your general health/fitness goals!

It certainly won’t be an exact science, and there will be certain meals that I just can’t even guestimate, like my dinner last night (girls’s gotta LIVE people)!  But I’ll do my darndest to calculate as much as possible, and hopefully give you a sense of how much I’m takin’ in!

So here’s wuddigot for the first new and improved Protein Friday! [note: numbers are approximations based on my own online research]

Breakfast: 27.75 grams

  • Whole wheat English muffin: 6 grams
  • Chobani plain 0% Greek yogurt: 18 grams
  • banana: 1 gram
  • 1.5 tbs almond butter: 2.75 grams

Of champions, for champions

Lunch: 30.5 grams

  • Turkey sandwich with avocado, lettuce and honey mustard on multigrain bread: 28 grams
  • 1 c raw carrots, broccoli and peppers drizzled in pesto: 2.5 grams

‘Pologies this is such a close-up, not sure how it happened but I dove in too quickly afterwards to notice!

Dessert: 2 grams

Unreal brownie ordered from one of our Seamless Web restaurants. I promise I don’t eat brownies every day. Dark chocolate yes, brownie no. Just one of those weeks :).

Snack 1: 0

Granny Smith and cinnamon–foolproof deliciousness

Snacks 2 and 3: 12 grams (probably had about 2.5 tbs total)

Old as water, good as gold! Oat bran pretzels dipped in PB

Pre-Dinner Total: 72.25 grams!

Not too shabby, methinks!  The heavy hitters? My morning Greek yogurt, lunchtime turkey and pb globs.  Feels great to know that at this point in the day, I was already in my prescribed total range for daily intake! I’m actually pretty pumped to keep track of this at least once a week going forward.

At this point in the day, I took of my geek goggles and headed into the city with my sweet friend/coworker Emily for a girls’ night and sleepover! I made reservations for us at my favorite tapas restaurant in the city, Alta.

Work friends = best kind of bonus

The food, drinks and lively atmosphere have proven to be consistent and fantastic over my years in NYC, and I knew it would be a perfect place to take Em (coaxing her to move do it do it!).

Everything we ordered was delicious, per usual! Here’s what went down the gullet:

Signature dish and for a reason: Crispy Brussels Sprouts with fuji apples, creme fraiche and pistachios. This was Em’s FIRST time trying Brussels sprouts, and I got ‘er hooked!

House-Made Pizza porcini cream, Fontina, crimini mushrooms, fried garlic, aleppo

Lawdamercy, this picture doesn’t do this flatbread justice. I’d never ordered this before, but I’ll never dine at Alta without it again!

Whipped Deviled Egg vanilla scented tomato coulis, frisee, lemon omani, aleppo pepper

Avocado Relleno with crabmeat & shrimp, frisee, and orange segments

We also ordered the Braised Short Rib of Beef: Beet-Barbaresco taglierini, fresh grated horseradish, which I forgot to snap–it was good but didn’t wow.

Torija: Marcona Almond Croquant, Mandarin Sauce, Lebne sorbet and grapefruit air. I know not what any of that means, but the ice cream had cornflakes in it, and that’s all you need to know.

Molten Chocolate Cake. Because one dessert is never enough.

All of this goodness got washed down with white wine and their POTENT Ginger Mojito! Proceed with caution.

Emily and I had an absolute blast at dinner. This really is the perfect restaurant for a girl’s night. We briefly debating going out afterwards, but we were content and mojito food coma-ed out, so we headed back to my apartment and enjoyed a great night’s sleep!

Off to soak up some sun on this fabulously warm Saturday!

How do you think you do in terms of meeting your daily protein requirement?

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As many incredible restaurants as there are in NYC, there are still a crushing number of disappointments.  So, when I do find a place that’s just good as, nay, better than I expect–man, it LIGHTS.ME.UP!

Enter EMPORIO RESTAURANT, located in the fabulous Soho neighborhood.

I’d never heard of Emporio until last weekend, when my roommate Carina took her visiting family there upon a recommendation. She returned home with praise and delicious pizza, which she graciously shared. I added Emporio to my must-visit list, but it’s a loonnggg list.

Yesterday, my dear college/life friend Allie was in town for a hot second–red-eyed in from LA for work!–and a few of our girlfriends decided to grab dinner and celebrate her brief presence.

“Neither rain, nor snow, nor sleet, nor hail palm trees”

And what restaurant do you think was chosen for our gathering?

IT’S A SIGN! No really, that’s the sign.

Meant to be.

Despite the slice of pizza I’d had in preparation for this experience, Emporio still blew my mind! We ended up with a sampling several parts of the menu, and nottaone let us down.

Allie’s pasta dish, made on-site with organic eggs: Taglierini--saffron-flavored hand-cut pasta, rock shrimp, cherry tomato, hot pepper.

Scallop Special. Huge, sweet and succulent, over a bed of creamy polenta and sauteed spinach (or kale?)

You know when something is SO extremely good or bad that the absurdity of it induces laughter?!

Speck & Mushroom pizza with stracchino cheese, truffle oil

That was me, ogling and consuming this pizza. I gasped and giggled my way through one of the best pizzas I have ever had.

As I ate, my brain registered only the most barbarian of sensations–warm, fatty, chewy, salty, CREAMY! I had wisely trusted Carter to order for us and hadn’t looked too closely at the ingredient list, so I’d just assumed that it was in fact cream-based.

Today, when I was able to achieve mental clarity (my caveman high lasted through the night), I looked up the menu and noticed “stracchino cheese” listed.

Creamy culprit identified! Stracchino is a type of Italian cow’s-milk cheese. It is eaten very young, has no rind and a very soft, creamy texture and normally a mild and delicate flavour.”

Apparently, Stracchino has a very short shelf-life, which makes it hard to come by. You’d better believe I have my eyes on the prize. Truly, one of the most luxurious foods I’ve experienced.

The rest of the elements were on-point as well–meaty mushrooms, buttery speck (a type of Italian prosciutto) sliced almost to transparency, drizzled with a perfectly prudent amount of truffle oil. The crust was wafer-thin but still doughy around the edges. Magnificent.

Along with the fabulous food, I was also impressed by Emporio’s rustic and cozy interior and its gracious, accommodating waitstaff. A winner all around!

I headed home in a cozy haze around 10 pm and ended my What I Ate Wednesday with a bowl of  Chocolate 1-2-3 Cake–this was my recipe “failure” from Monday night that I’ve been munching on nonetheless. It’s good, just not great, so I didn’t view it as post-worthy.

Enormous blob of Protein Frosting 2.0

I did find a way to make it great though :).

I promised you entertainment, not patience.

1-Minute Healthy Chocolate Frosting

(enough for about 1-2 servings of cake or ice cream)

  • 1 teaspoon melted coconut oil
  • 1.5 tablespoon high-quality unsweetened cocoa powder (I use Dagoba organic)
  • 1.5 teaspoon honey/agave nectar/brown rice syrup (feel free to experiment with sweetener of choice!)

Add ingredients to a microwave-safe bowl and stir to combine. It will seem like there’s too much cocoa powder but be patient. Adjust ratios to suite your taste. Heat for 20-30 seconds if coconut oil starts to solidify before you can add it to your base of choice…or mouth.

Wham bam thank you ma’am

Decadent with an intense chocolate flavor, this frosting is not only tastier than its canned counterparts but significantly better for you. No artificial ingredients, all healthy fats, and it took my mediocre cake to unimagined heights!

Off to enjoy a leisurely Thursday evening. Have a great night :).

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Back to the Shack

Not to be shown up by the very culinary warriors I described yesterday, I set out on a mission last night to conquer one of the oldest-standing items on my “Must try in NYC” food list.

Inspired by our impromptu dessert last week, my friend Rob suggested that now was as good a time as any to go back to the SHACK for the main event.

Reunited

I was blown away by the Concretes that we inhaled last week and had been itching with curiosity to see if the famous Shack Burger stacked up to its sweet counterpart.  The Shack Burger has always piqued my interest, not only for its mere existence as a BURGER, but because Shake Shack is known for using noticeably fresh, high quality ingredients, for a grab-and-go joint.

Rob’s suggestion could not have fallen upon more willing ears.

We made a plan to meet at the original Madison Square Park location at 9 pm–an artfully chosen time for avoiding the usual Shack-fantatic frenzy.

Was blind but now I see.

In the early evening it began to rain, but I held fast to my completely unnecessary in this situation No Excuses mantra.

WE MET.

His divine chocolate mess: Marshmallow milk chocolate custard with chocolate chips, bananas and hot fudge

Mine: Marshmallow milk chocolate custard with chocolate chips, banana and shortbread cookie--I think we all know how easily this went down.

WE ORDERED.

My Original single Shack Burger: American cheese, lettuce, tomato and Shack Sauce.

Rob's DOUBLE Shack Burger--not my picture but it looked a heckuvalot like this!

WE CONQUERED.

Rob, take it away–

Ain't no thang.

Well done, Sir.

My verdict: All IT’S SHACKED UP TO BE

For the price, volume of production and convenience, this is a remarkably delicious burger.

  • Tender, juicy meat
  • Shack Sauce –– some sort of spice-infused mayo — adds great flavor without overpowering the rest of the ingredients.
  • Fresh-tasting lettuce. Meh tomato. I generally go sans-tomato on sandwiches, as fresh tomatoes seem to be a dying breed, and this was no exception.
  • American cheese, usually my LEAST FAVORITE CHEESE/one of few acceptable cheese products, works on this burger, adding a subtle creaminess to each bite.
  • And the star of the show in my eyes, the buttered potato bun! Crispy around the edges, soft and sweet in the middle–this bun adds a richness that, in my opinion, turns the burger into somethin’ special!

Overall, eating a Shack Burger is a soft, extremely pleasant and somewhat messy experience. And one that I would happily repeat!

Mission Accomplished.

I’d like to end this post with a little piece of candy that my partner-in-crime shared with me last night:

Very few things make me laugh harder the more I look at them. This is one.

What is your absolute favorite burger in the world (puh-lease include address if it’s in NYC or surrounding burroughs…make that tri-state area).

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Candy

The windows are open, the streets are alive and I’m filled to the brim with that NYC Spring joy!

My favorite high-school teacher and mentor used to always describe positive life STUFF as “CANDY“, and that description felt so apt this entire weekend!

First things first though, a birthday shout-out to my AMAZING older brother Jack :).

We done grow’d up!

Jack–you’re a son of a gun, a true gentleman, and (believe it or not) I adore ya :).

Happy Birthday, Old Man!

To pick up where we left off, my Sunday was magnificent, punctuated by many small pleasures and the great pleasure of time with some of my closest friends, Rachael and Carter! The three of us had a gym and lunch date that started off at the faaancy celeb-saturated Soho Equinox.

A few days ago, I came across a challenging but fun-sounding at-home workout on the Women’s Health Magazine website. I am always looking for routines that can be done anywhere, without equipment, and I brought it with me for us to test out!

WOMEN’S HEALTH AT-HOME WORKOUT

SUPERSETS: Do each of the following moves as many times as possible in 60 seconds. Repeat two more times.

FORWARD LUNGES

(alternating legs)

 JUMP SQUATS

 PUSHUPS

 BURPEES

 PLIE SQUAT

 JUMPING JACKS

 T-STABILIZATION

 SEATED ROTATION-

(also known as Russian Twist)

If you’re not familiar with some of the moves, check out the Women’s Health video tutorial. Very helpful.

I LOVED this workout–broke a solid sweat and felt the burn! The nice variety of moves also helped the time fly by (aided by some chatter). I will absolutely be incorporating this workout into my overall regimen. [Carter told me that she completed this again tonight! Atta girl!]

After a solid cool-down stretch, we hopped right across the street to a casual eatery called Hampton Chutney. I have come to rely on HC to perfectly execute my favorite sandwich in NYC every time I stop by!

Brick House

The #21: Avocado, fresh mozarella, cucumber, tomato & romaine lettuce (I sub arugula) with Tomato-Basil dressing (I sub cilantro chutney) on whole-grain bread

Hampton Chutney is primarily known for their Dosas: a fermented crepe or pancake made from rice flour and black lentils, which they fill up with fresh, yummy local ingredients!  They also offer a variety of absolutely delicious chutneys, desserts and beverages (The Chai is slammin’).

The Formidable Dosa and a Mango Lassi

Rachael and Carter both ordered the Breakfast Dosa: 2 eggs, spinach, roasted tomato, and the option of cheese, avocado, meat etc. for a small charge.

We were all seriously happy campers digging into our lunch, and I’d highly encourage anyone to make this a stand-by of their own! (There is also an Upper West location)

Afterwards, Rach and I said goodbye to Carter and headed out to amble! I was having a MAD craving for something cool and sweet, and like a seasoned veteran, Rach turned us immediately towards Aroma Espresso Bar in Soho and their ICE AROMA LIGHT.

A Beacon: “This house special is one cool treat – without the guilt! Made with our special mix of coffee, cocoa powder, skim milk and sugar substitute, blended with ice for the perfect sinless frappe.”

Perhaps my unbridled enthusiasm was the result of such a strong craving on a hot day, but boy, did this taste good! Plus, all of Aroma’s coffee drinks come with a free piece of chocolate (Is the addiction written on my face?) 

[NOTE: I am not a huge advocate of artificial sweeteners, and I’m picky about the ones I use (Splenda, Stevia), but in moderation and for the occasional treat, I think they can be a great alternative to an aggressive sugar spike.]

We slurped our way to Union Square, where we chatted for an hour with our faces in the glorious sun. Eventually errands parted us, but I left our day-date feelin’ fulla Friend Love :).

On my way home I made a pit stop at Whole Foods to stock up on some of my favorite goodies that the week just doesn’t feel complete without!

A juicy batch! UNSULPHURED dried apricots from the bulk bin

Totally addicted to this–a spicy ginger kick and bonus teabag-tag mantras to make you ponder. At this very moment “All Knowledge is within you”?!

Last of my Nashville packets. Whoops. Apologies for the bulbous protrusion; I got impatient.

I also popped into my favorite local health food store The Health Nuts (45th and 2nd location) to grab a few samples of different Spirutein flavors for my awesome co-worker Anne-Marie, who just got engaged this weekend! Congrats, AMP!

I picked up a few for myself, since my ‘naner flavor is running dangerously low, and I wanted to see if anything else might make the cut.

Uhhh, this will not.

Taking one for the Tein.

I blended this with a frozen banana and a cup of almond milk, to let the flavor shine. Unfortunately, that flavor was downright medicinal.

No pain no gain, eh? I know the chocolate and vanilla are decent, at least, from past experience.

To mitigate some of the disappointment from my faux-Strawberry disaster, I took my booty ’round the corner and indulged myself with a $10 manicure. Talk about small things that yield maximum reward! (picture above taken post-mani)

Strawberry Improvement

I chose the Essie color Mini How High and was delighted! Nothing wrong with a little Barbie World :).

By the time I got back from ze salon it was time for bed and diving into my new read, The Book Thief. I am really enjoying this so far, and will post a review when I’ve finished! Has anyone else read it?!

Overall, this weekend truly was just one piece of candy after another! So much fun and warmth, and what I can only describe as true life satisfaction. Not that it’s all perfect–far from it–but when you focus on the good, it feels pretty darn close!

Have a lovely night, all!

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HELLO FROM GLORIOUSLY WARM NYC!

Sidewalk Sunshine

Before we begin, I have another confession to make.

As I explain in my About page, Bean is one of my more popular nicknames. So much so that I will respond to the name Bean, should someone desire to punish me in public.

Well, an L.L.Bean catalog arrived at our apartment yesterday, and I have taken GREAT pleasure in the extensive product descriptions that make me lord and master of the rustic suburban furniture world.

  • BEAN’S Adirondack Chair
  • BEAN’S All-Weather Braided Rugs

Interested in one of my Waterhog Mats? I’ll have to get back to you.

I get a huge kick of out this. Please don’t judge me.

Now that’s off my chest, how’s everyone’s weekend been? Mine has been truly STELLAR so far. Both days started off RIGHT, which I’m convinced set the tone for everything else!

Wonders never cease

Into this weekend’s Green Monster Mix:

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 scoop banana Spirutein
  • 1.5 tbsp crunchy PB
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 tbs flax meal
  • dash cinnamon
  • 3-4 ice cubes
  • 4-5 handfuls of spinach

Everybody in the pot and let ‘er whir!

Morning bliss

I honestly can feel the energy that these smoothies give  me slowly spread through my bod as I drink them! So awesome.

After digesting yesterday’s Green Monster, I hit up Equinox for a quick interval treadmill workout. This one is super simple, but it keeps me entertained and is definitely a go-to when I want something relatively short and with moderate intensity.

K.I.S.S. Interval Treadmill Workout

Minute Incline Speed

0-3:00

4 4.8
3:00-5:30 0 7.6
5:30-6:00 0 8.4
6:00-9:00 6

4.6

9:00-11:30 0 7.6
11:30-12:00 0 8.4
12:00-15:00 7.5 4.4
15:00-17:30 0 7.6
17:30-18:00 0 8.4
18:00-21:00 9 4.2
21:00-23:30 0 7.6
23:30-24:00 0 8.4
24:00-27:00 4 4.8
27:00-29:30 0 7.6
29:30:00 0 8.4

*I ended this workout with a 3-5 minute cool down, walking at a zero incline with a speed of 4. And a stretch sesh, always :).

Back at my apartment, I did a super-speedy turnaround, because I had my dear friend Hillery’s birthday brunch to attend in Williamsburg, Brooklyn!

Birthday girl on the left, just doin' her thang!

Brunch was at a very cool restaurant called Dumont Burger, which I’d heard about before through my foodie radar. Hillery’s older sister Christy had done some killer planning for the brunch, so we arrived to a Bean’s long wooden table, replete with the yummy makings for Bloody Marys and Mimosas, as well as an adorable pre-fixe birthday menu! Thanks, Christy!

THIS BRUNCH WAS SO.MUCH.FUN!

We started with delicious salads for the table, and then almost everyone ordered the signature burger for their entree.

It took all of my willpower to snap this shot before diving in.

 DuMont Burgergrilled brioche, Boston bibb, tomato, red onion & house made pickles. I added Gruyere cheese to mine (best cheese ever).

Slapmesideways, this burger was INCREDIBLE!

The brioche bun and pickled onions added a perfect amount of sweetness to the tender juicy (medium rare) beef and the salty Gruyere.

Gone baby gone

This was absolutely one of the best burgers I’ve had in the last few years.

NOTE: It is very easy to get to this part of Brooklyn from the city–quick 10 minute subway ride on the L from Union Square–so don’t let logistics deter you if you’re feeling a Dumont Burger!

Every one of us DEMOLISHED our burgers. Satisfied and full in the wonderful, caveman way that only red meat can provide, we spent another hour or so enjoying eachother’s company and polishing off the Bloodies and Mimosas!

Friend Love + Denim = Good as it Gets.

Nellie and her main squeeze

Birthday babe and HER leading man!

After finishing up at Dumont, we headed to the nearby Radegast Hall & Biergarten to continue the fun!

This place is enormous, with a lively, open atmosphere that’s perfect for a sunny Spring day! I can’t comment on the beer, since a fountain Diet Coke with lime was calling my name, but I CAN comment on their traditional German food offerings, which are displayed loudly on an expansive indoor grill.

Ach, mien!

But I won’t.

While standing in the bathroom line at Radegast Hall, I caught a whiff of the unmistakable scent of (take a big leap with me here)…CHOCOLATE. I commented on this phenomenon aloud, and the girl next to me confirmed my sanity nostrils’ message.

Turns out, we were next door to the famous Mast Brothers Chocolate shop!

I told you it’s been a great weekend.

After leaving Radegast, Nellie and her sweet boyfriend Eli indulged me for a quick peek inside Mast Brother, where they have like TEN different free samples!

Williamsburg, BK for the win!

Everything I tried was fabulous, but my favorite was the Black Truffle, believe it or not. Threw me off at first, but the distinctness of the truffle dissipated as the dark chocolate slowly started to melt, and the two flavors blended into a rich, earthy sweetness.

If I ever get my wonderful mama to Brooklyn, Mast Brothers has its work cut out for them.

Back in the city, the rest of my afternoon was perfectly leisurely.

After fixing myself a yummy dinner, which included a respectable slice of 1-2-3 Cake, I met a friend at the neighborhood Smith Restaurant  for a quick drink. Just wasn’t quite ready to end the fantastic day! The front of the Smith is essentially a giant window, which they open up in warm weather to create a lusciously breezy dining area and bar.

I enjoyed every cold, frothy sip of my Pilsner before heading home for the night :).

Today has been awesome as well, so I think I’ll save the details for tomorrow and we can start the week on a positive note!  Have a wonderful Sunday evening!

WHAT WAS THE HIGHLIGHT OF YOUR WEEKEND?

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