Oh, New York

I am currently flying back to San Francisco and was given complimentary WiFi (thank you!), so I wanted to pop in and type up a list of this-and-thats from the first half of my whirlwind week.

New York City was good to me, I must admit. A big part of it due to having friends nice enough to let me be in their presence and take over their apartment. 🙂

Aside from doing a million things in a day, the trip overall was very relaxing. I spent a lot of time walking around and exploring different neighborhoods, enjoying museums and eating everything in site. Is that not a good formula for a great vacation?

To save you from a ‘Dear Diary’ type of post, I will recap my thoughts in dash form.

-Blogger meet-up

I had the pleasure of meeting the famous and beautiful Ameena for coffee on Saturday! After getting in from a red-eye, I was so exhausted that I took a lengthy nap at my friend’s house and was afraid I was going to miss this occasion. Luckily, everything worked out and we met at Maison Kayser for an espresso by Pound Coffee (me), sparkling water (her) and delicious dark chocolate cookie (us, but mostly me).

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It was raining my first day there and there was even snow on the ground! Or do you just consider that ice? Whatever it was, Central Park was gloomy and it seemed as if my good friend Karl has followed me across the country.

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Notice that the pond is frozen. At first I was amazed because A. when does that ever happen in California and B. there was a small squirrel ice skating near me. I was worried for his safety.

Then, C. the rain started coming down and I got out of there before the French family next to me could even blink.

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Laziness will cause you to eat dinner at Bouchon, not that there is much to complain about there. Tomato soup for the first course and a lovely roasted chicken with braised Tuscan kale, white beans, crispy sunchokes, heirloom carrots and sauce Charcuterie.

PS: A lot of the photos in this post are going to be little collages. Usually I am against them, but if I did not group pictures together, then your hand will get carpel-tunnel from scrolling for so long.

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-Museum crawl

Can you call it a museum crawl if you only went to two? Especially if they were on two different days? I do not know and frankly can not think of another name besides ‘museums’ or ’two museums’.

Sunday was spent at the Met and holy anxiety when I walked in and saw the Egyptian exhibit. Of course this museum has a fine collection of Picassos and Van Goghs, but so does many other museums I have had the delight of visiting. I have never seen an Egyptian exhibition as large as the one I saw on Sunday; being impressed is an understatement. I was also very fond of their Magritte collection as well.

No Treachery of Images though, listen to this. I googled that night where it was on tour in NYC and found out that the MoMA’s last day of hosting the Magritte tour was that same day. If that is not sad, then I do not know what is. I missed it by a few hours.

With that note, I still had an amazing time at the Met and could have probably stayed there all day.

I visited the American Museum of Natural History on Monday and had an okay time. While there is no way I can seriously knock anything educational, there was a slight diorama overload and the way the exhibits are set up are a bit confusing. I had three people come up to me to ask me questions about the map that I could not answer because I was lost as well. The floor with the dinosaurs was really interesting, I do not think I have seen anything like it in my lifetime.

I also have a yearning to watch Night At The Museum again.

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-An Italian evening

I spent one night dining with my Italian friend. We ate an Italian dinner and then took a trip to Eataly after to see what a modern day Italian heaven looks like. I did not realize how amusing this was until I was sitting on my host’s couch at home. That is the short version.

The long version includes me squinting my eyes and zooming in Lightroom for ten minutes trying to figure out the name of the restaurant. As pretty as aperture makes a photo, it also makes it hard to remember where I have eaten when my memory is slightly forgetful. Does anyone recognize these plates? I will give you amor in exchange.

What is this restaurant called? A helpful hint for you is that it is part of a hotel and somewhere near the Flatiron building (which is pretty bad ass).

Starting at the upper left corner, you will find a divine cheese plate. I am pretty sure the harder one is a Pecorino, while the softer cheese is a cousin of Taleggio and the bottom is an ash-veined goat cheese that is milder than it looks. Forgive me if these are not correct, I am trying to go off memory and cheese is not one of my strong points (as delicious as it is).

As a reader, you should know about my endless love for charcuterie. Sometimes I wish I lived with a garde manger so I can have a plate waiting for me when I get home from a long day. Our two selections was a Soprressata Picante and Finocchiona (from SF!). Fantastic. Or as the Italians would say, fantastico. 😉

I originally ordered an ox-tail ragu, but we did a switch-a-roo and I ended up consuming the suckling pig and arugula served on top of malfatti pasta. They both were amazing and I wish you were there to try.

Last on the menu was a budino with hazelnut ice cream. This was the best meal out of my whole trip to the East Coast.

Looking back at all these pictures, it looks like we did it right. I am a lucky girl.

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Obligatory pictures of Central Park

One thing I like about New York is that you can take a picture from the same place during different times of the year and they will all turn out different. In California, the weather is pretty much consistent all year, besides May Showers in San Francisco and June Gloom in SoCal.

I have a picture of this lake back when I came for Jacq’s wedding and the contrast is remarkable. I remember in the summer that there were children racing little sailboats and now the water is frozen. It is just the little things, you know?

You are probably expecting a comparison shot but I cannot find it. Sometimes I wonder why you even put up with me, ha.

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I should squeeze in the fact that I tried Lauderée‘s macaroons for the first time. We did not have to wait very long, I heard the line goes out the door very easily. Chewy on the inside but still retained it’s texture overall, how a macaroon should be.

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What time is it?!

While having a meal with a cutie, I was informed of a certain performance act that makes all NYers subway riders invoke a panic attack. As much as these buskers can wear you down after a long day, I really wanted to see one. It would have been my ultimate tourist moment. I YouTubed ‘showtime nyc subway’ went I got home and spent an embarrassing amount of time looking through all the street performers and parodies. Can we talk about how their moves would make the raunchiest stripper jealous?

While I didn’t get any Showtime boys, the next day I did have (1) a quartet of Mariachi and (2) what I thought was an accordion player playing for money actually turn out to be an accordion player practicing his lessons while going to his teacher’s house. Luckily I only had to ride three stops for that one.

You keep me on my toes, New York. However, at least your subway performers do not attack people. Naked. (Do not click that link unless you want to see a naked acrobat attacking people on Bart, this is your warning).

-Lunch in the UWS

We randomly walked into a huge restaurant before she had to go to work on Monday and devoured this beautiful tomato soup with a side of grilled cheese.

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I also wandered into an Italian ceramic store by accident and walked out with two handmade espresso cups and saucers. I will just consider it a souvenir for myself. 🙂

-It is indeed a small world after all

I spent my last night walking The High Line in Chelsea and bumped into one of my first best friends from elementary school!! We have not talked or seen each other in years. If that is not a coincidence I do not know what is. We stood in the cold, catching up for fifteen minutes before realizing that dinner in a warm and cozy restaurant sounded much better. She took me to Pure Thai in Hell’s Kitchen and it was exactly what I needed. I have not had rice for about five days at this point and was starting to go stir crazy. They are known for their spiciness and house made noodles, the actual shop is pretty skinny so I do not recommend going with a big group but I thought the food was great!

Also realize that I was tired of lugging my camera around at this point and just had no aspiration to bring it out…cue the iPhone photography.

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-265 Riverside Drive

A family member of mind saw that I was in NY through Facebook and gave me the address of where my dad grew up. On my last day there, I took the subway there so I can see it in person. Definitely worth the trip, I love seeing little nuggets of my family history. Next time I go out there, I will have to look up my grandfather’s designs in the NY Public Library record archives.

I did not realize how creepy my eyes looked until I e-mailed it to myself. It was as far away as I could get in the picture, while still seeing the front of the building, without crossing a fence. Writing this entry made me realize that it is actually the only picture I took of myself the whole trip, so cheers! 🙂

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-Closing statements

1. The two things I was stressed about before coming was the weather and getting a cab. It happened to be (relatively) warm and I conquered my irrational fear of hailing one. In San Francisco, no problem, I can do it anywhere and anytime. New York is just a little more intimidating but I did it! My poor cab driver poured his heart out to me about his love life. I tried my best to console this crestfallen stranger.

2. I am upset at the passenger sitting in 13E for eating a tuna sandwich in the middle of their flight. 🙁 It is like they went to the terminal deli and ordered the most obnoxious thing to eat in an enclosed cabin with recycled oxygen.

Flying to Denver to see my sister on Thursday, it will be legen-wait for it….

Did you recently travel or traveling anytime soon? Tell me where so I can be jealous. +1 if it is out of the country.

What kind of activities do you enjoy doing when you travel?

Pan Seared Brussels Sprouts

Why couldn’t Brussels sprouts taste this spectacular during Thanksgiving ’96 in the Condell household?

That is what I was saying to myself as I was creating this week’s recipe. I don’t know what’s going on with me, but everything coming out my kitchen has been straight fire! If there is a roll, I am on it.

Now, why did I feel like making Brussels sprouts this week? Well, they are slowly coming into season so we have plenty of months to recreate this recipe and it was my meat week so it only felt right to include Italian sausage and bacon. 🙂

Pan Seared Brussels Sprouts W/ Italian Sausage, Bacon and Mushrooms

Prep Time: 15 Minutes

Cook Time: 20 Minutes

Serves: 3-4

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Ingredients:

  • 10-Oz Brussels Sprouts, cut in half
  • 6-Oz Crimini Mushrooms, sliced
  • 10-Oz Bacon
  • 2 Italian Sausages, cut in 1/2 inch pieces
  • 3 Cloves of Garlic
  • 1/2 Lemon
  • 1/2 Tsp Paprika, Herbs de Provence & Thyme
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • Cast iron or heavy bottomed skillet

TO PREP

1. Wash the brussel sprouts, remove the outer leaves and cut them in half.

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2. Wash the mushrooms thoroughly and cut to 1/4-inch slices. Slice the sausage to 1/2-inch pieces. Cut the garlic into paper thin slices.

TO COOK

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3. Brown the bacon in the skillet over medium high heat and let it cook through. Remember to flip a few times for even cooking. After it’s done, move it to paper towel covered plate to absorb the extra fat grease. Keep the bacon fat in the pan.

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4. Drop the Brussels sprouts and sliced garlic in the skillet (cut side down) and cook it in the bacon fat. Stir after three minutes. Salt and pepper lightly.

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5. After five minutes of cooking the Brussels sprouts, add the cut pieces of sausages and stir occasionally.

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6. Drop in the mushrooms.

7. Cut the bacon into small bite sized pieces and mix it in with the rest of the food in the pan.

8. Season with the herbs de provence, paprika, thyme, salt and pepper. Always taste your food and under/over season to your preference!

9. Food should be done around 15 minutes. Brussels sprouts and mushrooms should be tender.

Voila!

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10. Squeeze half a lemon on top to top it off!

How did I eat it? I prepared bow tie pasta and made a simple garlic, butter and lemon sauce to compliment all the flavors from my pan seared Brussels sprouts!

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I like to give vegetarian options at the end, but this dish really taste so good because of the meat and bacon fat! I would sear the Brussels sprouts in grape seed oil, add more mushrooms and maybe cook it with a white wine.

PS: Does anyone else wonder why we call them Brussels sprouts? I thought there would be a cool back story to the mysterious proper noun that I could interject when meeting new people (jk), so I turned to Google.

Turns out, they were quite popular in Brussels, Belgium. Not so interesting…and kind of makes sense if you think about it.

PPS: The word Brussels starts sounding weird after typing and saying it in my head for thirty minutes straight. Carrying on…

Can I reminisce about New York for a little? I didn’t think I would enjoy the city as much as I did.

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A few more days would have been nice.

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I need to explore Central Park a bit more and all the museums that NYC has to offer!

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Already looking at flights for January, my friend just moved out there last week and it would be a nice surprise to visit her. 🙂

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What is the most exciting fact you know? Brussels sprouts, love them or could not care less?

To The Cardamones!

I am back from New York and want to go back already! Does anyone want to sponsor this girl to explore? (Kidding, not really kidding).

This past weekend, Bailey and I celebrated the unity between our good friend Jacque and her new husband Michael. My whole trip start on Thursday night, when we caught a red eye from SF -> JFK. I always thought the idea of a red eye didn’t sound so bad, but now I know better to avoid them at all costs. I am the type of person to knock out before take off and wake up a few minutes before landing. Apparently, my Circadian Rhythm didn’t agree.

It was all worth it by the time we got to Jacque’s lake house in the Catskills. Being born and raised in the city really made me appreciate the outdoor scene. The house didn’t have WiFi, so I spent a lot of the time sitting on the porch, watching the clouds roll by, reading old issues of National Geographic and East of Eden.

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An air-conditioned bus picked us up on the corner of the abandoned Dairy King and gas station (welcome to the Catskills) and took us to the wedding site twenty minutes away.

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I immediately fell in love with Jacque’s wedding because everything pieced together perfectly without seeming too over done.

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The boys all looked very handsome,

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but it was the bride that stole the show. Jacque looked absolutely stunning. Breathtaking, even.

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Their vows reflected their personalities so well. For example, Jacq recited a silly (and impressive) rhyme to express the love she felt for M.

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I had about half a second to grab a picture with the newlyweds before they were whisked away by the photographer. Too bad I was looking at the wrong camera. 🙁

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Luckily Bailey and I caught her again for a re-do.

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I thought I took more pictures but I guess I was distracted by all the shenanigans surrounding us. It was such a incredible time and I was delighted that Jacque allowed us to join her during her special day. All in all, I met a lot of charming people and had a great time eating, talking and dancing under the stars.

We went back to the Big Apple (does anyone really call it that?) Sunday afternoon and went straight to chow down on NY thin crust pizza. Grimaldi’s came up on everyone’s recommendations and was near where we were staying so it worked out perfectly. When we got there, the line was long and people actually recommended Juliana’s next door, where Patsy Grimaldi re-opened another pizza place after retiring and a long game of business politics.

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I really wanted to try the Scamorza, which was their best seller. However, it had pancetta and my friend is vegetarian. Next time, Juliana’s.

Instead, we ordered a classic Margherita, which was more than I could ask for.

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A taxi ride later, we were finally at a mutual friend’s enchanting Williamsburg apartment. They had an amazing view of the New York skyline and graciously gave us tips on what to do the next day.

Seven hours later, we schlepped our way to this beauty.

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I was surprised to see so many people walking to work! It made more sense after learning that it’s only about a mile long.

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We found ourselves in the Lower East Side, eating brunch at Clinton St. Baking Company. I heard that the lines get as long as two hours, but I believe we only waited around 30 minutes which was a nice change from the San Francisco hanging game.

Clinton St. Omelette- spinach and mushroom w/ hash browns & sourdough toast

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Next, my favorite thing I ate the whole day. Brioche French Toasted w/ caramelized bananas, roasted pecans and warm maple butter.

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I pretty much said I ate the best french toast here, here and here but this might take the cake. Especially with their house made raspberry jam. Divine.

Finally, we wrapped up our day at the number one must-see location in NYC, Central Park. I could of spent a whole day here! Bailey and I were on the move non stop, it felt nice to just stop and smell the flowers for the first time all weekend.

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New Yorkers, where must I go the next time I visit? Any late summer weddings in your near future?