Category Archives: friends

Let Freedom Ring

My Fourth of July weekend was all sorts of fabulous. Let’s recap, shall we?

Friday: After work, I forced myself to run a 5K. I wanted to make sure I could do the length, since Chris and my first official 5K race (since I was in high school) is coming up soon. It wasn’t so bad! My biggest issue with the run was pacing myself. I went out too slow most of the time, since I was scared I couldn’t make the distance, and then ended up finishing with a lot more to give. I guess over time I will remember how to pace myself? When I ran in high school, I was able to autopilot whatever time I sought, but that skill is long gone. I guess there could be worse problems.

The run paid off. I already proved I will run for pasta. Well, I’ll also run for Mexican. Chris and I meet up with Lauren and her BF for Mexican food. It was finally good real Mexican food, none of that fancy NYC Tex-Mex that drives me nuts. We shared guac to start (fresh-made at our table = awesome), enjoyed sangria (BYOB wine and they do the rest), and I polished off my entire veggie burrito plate, rice and all. I paid for that with a food coma, but it felt so worth it at the time.

Insane amount of Mexi food.

After dinner, I watched my new obsession HGTV, and Chris and I fantasized about buying property all over the world. Julian Alps, I’m coming (one day) to you! We ended the night watching She’s Out of Your League. Good concept, but meh movie.

Saturday: Woke up early for a Saturday (before 9AM = early on the weekend) and headed down to my brother’s place near Princeton. Hadley meet bro’s adorable pup that he rescued last month, Rider, for the first time. At first Rider was timid, but Hadley showed him the ways of the good life. By the end of the weekend, Rider was all play all the time.

Hadley and Rider playing tug of war.

After introducing the pups, we took them on a hike that lead to a pretty waterfall. Hadley was even brave enough to follow us into the water, but then freaked out a little (water and kayakers are Hadley’s two big fears). Even with lifeguard Hadley (I swear he thinks that water is dangerous and only he can save us from it), it was a great way to spend the afternoon.

The evening was spent in New Hope, PA. My brother’s GF recommend an awesome garden restaurant there that offered American, Italian, Thai, and Mexican food! We all choose Thai, and I had my first yellow curry. Very yum. Dinner was followed by walking around the cute town, the bro and his GF trying out chocolate covered bacon, and then we all ended our food fest with ice cream. Homemade ice cream is always a good thing.

Teddy bear shaped rice with my yellow curry.

Sunday: Sunday was supposed to be a beach day, but it was raining. We slept in and then headed to a famous Princeton pancake spot, PJ’s Pancake House. We ate at the counter, which made me feel like a kid, so I went with that feeling and ordered a chocolate milk. It really hit the spot.

Chocolate milk goodness.

My egg white veggie omelet with a side of pancakes was huge. I ate two of the pancakes, but failed to eat the rest. Next time, I must remember that my eyes are bigger than my stomach (sometimes).

Too much!

We spent the rest of the afternoon food shopping (outside of NYC = real super markets) and playing lawn sports when the rain finally let up. My parents joined us for a pizza party at night and supplied a strawberry shortcake. Yes, this weekend was a fattening fest.

Monday: We were up early to head back to our apartment. Chris and I spent the rest of the day prepping for our Fourth of July party. We are lucky to have a view of the Macy’s fireworks from our apartment terrace, so we invited over friends to share in the festivities. It was the first time I saw the fireworks live (something I’ve always wanted to do), and it was really great to be able to do so surrounded by friends both old and new. All in all, it was a wonderful weekend.

Let freedom ring (they looked better in person!).

Now it’s back to eating healthy. Today so far = chobani kids yogurt with honey bunches of oat cereal for breakfast and a TJ’s frozen Indian meal for lunch. Some fresh sliced strawberries and blueberries are coming up soon for a snack. You know what, healthy is yummy, too!

How did you spend your Fourth of July weekend?

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Mamoun’s v Maoz

Lauren and I are on a quest to find our favorite falafel place. To achieve this goal, we have to try lots of different falafel. Hard, I know. Two weeks ago, we tried out Mamoun’s. This week, it was time to try out a popular falafel chain, Maoz. I’ve heard good things about Maoz from friends, but in general I’m always weary to try out any chain place (including Mamoun’s which is a smaller chain), because I never find chains to be good as individual restuarants. Still, it was on the list of falafel places, so last night we hit it up.

One of their many locations.

We both order falafel pitas. I chose to add feta to mine (everything is better with feta) and paired it with a soda. It came out to a little under $9. This was more expensive than the uber cheap Maumod’s, but still cheap for NYC standards.

Maoz works by giving you a pita stuffed with only lettuce and falafel (and in my case feta). Then you hit up their extensive salad bar to stuff your pita. The only problem is, it was hard to choose from all their options. This is what happened:

How does one eat this?

 I learned that I cannot properly stuff a pita. My pita was so overstuffed that I lost a falafel ball to the floor. This was pretty sad, until I tried the falafel and decided it didn’t have much flavor. In fact, the whole thing just didn’t taste right. The feta was chewy and tasteless – I never don’t like feta so this was a big thing – and a lot of the pickled veggies tasted sort of sweet. Really, the whole thing was just odd and a disappointment. So Mamoun’s v Maoz? Definately Mamoun’s.

After our disappointing dinner, Lauren and I decided we needed something reliably tasty. We took a walk and grabbed Italian ices. Lauren was sweet and bought mine for my belated birthday, so I went all out and threw some custard on top to celebrate.

Mint chocolate chip and cheesecake ices topped with chocolate custard. Yum!

 When I came home, I found Hadley hiding from the heat. This dog just does not do warm weather. Give him snow, and he’ll play in it for hours. Give him sun, and you’ll find him here:

What? Caves are coolest.

Chris worked late so I took the time to do me-time things. I watched the Oprah finale I DVRed, which was a bit of a let down. Then I read Women’s Health in bed, and learned some great information. I just ordered a year-long subscription last night for $5 from a deal site. They offered me to add a subscription for Self for $2 additional. Lots of good magazines are coming my way!

What are your favorite me-time things to do? Favorite magazines?

MDW Recap

I hope everyone enjoyed their Memorial Day Weekend! Mine started out right with a visit from my best friend from college, Kelley. We had dinner with Chris at a restaurant I’ve wanted to try out for a while, Westville. We actually went to their Chelsea location, go figure. I was drawn to the restaurant because it’s a fun setting and provides both healthy and not so healthy eating options. We started with their four-choice market vegetable plate. We shared grilled asparagus, chickpea and olive salad, plantains, and a mushroom medley. It was so yummy that I forgot to take a picture! For our main course we all choose two hot dogs and a side. My hot dogs were vegan hot dogs and topped with relish and sauerkraut. My side was Dijon cauliflower.

My main course wasn’t nearly as good as the veggie plate. Chris liked his a lot, though, as did Kelley. Still, I would go back. The restaurant was really inviting and the salads that passed by my table looked amazing.

Chris's hotdogs: one meat chili, one relish and a side of fries.

After dinner, Chris went to meet up with a friend, and Kelley and I checked out a Comedy Club. It wasn’t our type of humor, but we decided it was worth it to try something new. You win some, you lose some, right?

Saturday started off with brunch outside by the Hudson. It was a perfectly sunny day and more than enjoyable. After brunch, Kelley and I got our exercise in by spending the next four hours meandering through NYC. We stopped at a Street Fair for some fuel:

Mine. I dream about grilled corn.

Hers: can't go wrong with a nutella crepe.

 And saw some pretty sites:

And I used a gift certificate (thanks Carrie!) to get this new toy:

Food processor!

After our walk, we got ready for my birthday party. Kelley was my college roommate, and I forgot how much fun it is to get ready with another girl. Chris just doesn’t get the singing to music while trying on clothes thing. Boys. When we were all ready, we met up with the rest of my friends at a small Italian restaurant. They set a long table for us lined with candles – perfect! Most the pictures didn’t come out, because of the low lights, but everything was delicious. Dinner was followed by drinks at a bar. It was a great night, and I’m thankful to have so many wonderful people in my life.

Sunday can be summed up in one word: lazy. We slept late, Chris made us all waffles and eggs (including Hadley regarding the egg), Kelley introduced us to HGTV, and I finally suggested a Target trip. Chris and I were so excited to have Kelley’s car to use instead of our normal routine of dragging everything back that we went a little overboard. I know have a fully stocked kitchen!

Our best find, this huge thing of olive oil for $6! decorations.

 Monday was a great capstone to the long weekend. Kelley, Chris, I ate lunch outside at an adorable falafel restaurant. My falafel pita was oh so good! Plus, they had some cute decorations.

Nom nom nom.True beans.

 

Lunch was followed with Kelley having to say goodbye to head back to Philly. Chris headed to work, and I headed to meet a friend at Union Square. I made a quick trip to Trader Joe’s – because after Target we needed more food – but really, because I can’t resist their good deals.  I then headed home to give my apartment the cleaning love it needed. I ended my night making hummus. Recipe to come!!!

How did you spend Memorial Day Weekend? If you made it to the beach, I’m jealous!

I Don’t Know How to Relax

Yesterday I was excited all day to hit up Anthropologie for their bi-annual Tag Sale. In the past, the sale supposedly was awesome. I even asked Chris to make sure that he could come home from work at an acceptable hour to let Hadley out for a walk, so that I didn’t have to rush my shopping. I figured I could pick myself out a nice birthday prezzie. There was a lot I was lusting over.

Why won't you go on sale?

Sadly, the Tag Sale was a huge let down. Most things I liked weren’t on sale. In fact, very few things were on sale. Stop playing games with my heart Anthro.

You know you gotta stop, you're tearing us apart.

I went home feeling somewhat down, but was quickly made better when I realized that Chris and Hadley were at the dog park. The dog park is such a happy place. I was able to witness Hadley chasing around a Wheaten and rolling in the mud. That sure put a smile on my face.
 

Hadley at the dog park meeting another Welshie. This is my happy.

What else put a smile on my face? I have been craving chocolate chip pancakes for a long time, so last night I decided to have them. I complained to Chris that I was feeling lazy and wished the pancakes would just make themselves. Well, the next best thing to magical pancakes happened. Chris made me my pancakes and served them with a glass of white wine. Pancakes cooked by your boyfriend and a glass of white wine? I’ll have seconds please.

Not my actual pancakes, but you get the idea.

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Tonight I’m excited to have plans. I was good at scheduling things to do on weeknights before vacation, but have been lazy since I’ve been back. I am one of those people that suck at just relaxing, so without plans I tend to get bored and cranky. I guess after 3 years in law school of constantly being on the move, you just get used to the lifestyle. Anyone else suck at relaxing?

Tonight I’ll be attending Pilates (second class this week – I’m back, baby) and meeting my friend Lauren to try out a new falafel place. We then are going to catch up and watch my favorite show still on TV, Modern Family. I just watched last week’s episode last night, and the puppy made me so happy.

So give me advice: are you any good at relaxing? What do you do with free weekday evenings?

Swearing-In and Awards

I’ve had a busy long weekend that I was sad to see come to an end. Friday I went to Friday Night services for the first time at a new temple, which I really enjoyed. I followed services with a long and leisurely dinner with two friends. We went to a new place selling itself on fresh harvest foods. It was also BYBO – always a plus. We split the guac and chips and I splurged on a pasta dish with fresh veggies and mozzarella. We ended the night splitting two desserts – both the molten lava cake and bread pudding were decadently delicious.

Saturday started with a wonderful brunch, which I plan to recap in a later Foodie Friday post. Then, I went out to visit my friends Michelle and Frank who just moved into a lovely new apartment together in Central Jersey. It was fun to visit and to hang out in some of my old haunts. Sunday started with book club – pictures to come tonight – and ended with my mom coming to spend the night. Chris, my mom, and I enjoyed a giant salad for dinner followed by mango sherbet for dessert.

Monday was the big event. I got sworn into the NY Bar. Officially lawyered! The ceremony was really nice. It was held in a beautiful courtroom and was short, sweet, and to the point. We got to recite the oath and then we were attorneys. Crazy. Call me esquire. 😉

Want.

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So after the nice long weekend, I wasn’t 100% looking forward to go back to the grind. But then when I woke up this morning and checked my blog, I was happy to see that I received my first blogging award! What a great way to start a shortened week. My Wandering Spoon – one of my favorite blogs for recipe inspiration – awarded me with The Circle of Friendship Award.

The Circle of Friendship Award goes out to 10 other bloggers whose blogs inspire me with their creative recipes, thoughtful posts, and amusing life stories. They also are bloggers who offer comments on my blog that are both encouraging and make this whole blogging thing worthwhile. I could probably make a list that goes on and on, but here are my ten bloggers for the Circle of Friendship Award:

–          Tiffany at Simply Shaka

–          Diana at My Marble Rye

–          Sarah at Every Day’s a Picnic

–          Ashley at Run With Me

–          Lofty Appetite

–          Hungry Child in the City

–          Stephanie at Love Life Project

–           Madeline at Greens and Jeans

–          Kristina at Life as Kristina

–          Alex at Healing Beauty

“Sometimes I Really Just Love NYC” Sunday

Best way to start a morning? If you guessed freezing rain, then you are wrong. If you guessed Dunkin Donuts coffee, then ding ding ding, you are correct.

Few things both relax and perk me up like a D&D coffee. When I saw it was a rainy mess this morning, I took the opportunity to grab a cup of hazelnut coffee from D&D. Morning saved. I’m enjoying the coffee with a bowl of Honey Bunches of Oats and a baggie of assorted dried fruit.

Yesterday was a wonderful Sometimes I Really Just Love NYC Sunday. Often, I find myself screaming at NYC (usually to/from work, because I can’t stand the area of the city I work in), but some days, the City gets it just right. Yesterday was one of those days.

The day started at a NY Vinters wine-tasting class. The wine store offers a variety of wine classes. Cheryl and I bought a Groupon some time back, and used it yesterday to attend their Wine 101 seminar. I highly recommend this class if you have an interest in wine, but little knowledge about the drink. The classes are held in the back room of the wine store, where you’ll find two long beautifully set tables.

You take your seat and sip on a glass of bubbly while you wait for class to start. The class itself is informative and covers the basics of how to judge a wine on appearance, taste, smell, and acidity. The instructor is down to earth and makes you feel okay to ask questions. It is in no way a pretentious wine-tasting and most the wines tasted sold for under $25/bottle. You’ll taste 3 whites, 3 reds, and a dessert wine. To clean your palate, there are assorted crackers, cheeses, and olives on the tables. The pours are heavy with nearly a half glass for each wine – if you were planning on drinking them all you would walk away needing a nap after the 2-hour class – but there is a pour bucket so there is no need to get sloshed. Overall, if you are looking for a good wine class, I highly recommend NY Vinters. They offer a lot of different classes, such as pizza and wine pairings and cheese and wine pairings. They also host on occasional Fridays an 8-course dinner and wine pairing, which I am tempted to try out sometime. I have pictures of the tasting that I will add as soon as I locate my camera cable.

After my wine education, I made my way to Greenwich Village, where I stopped in a nail salon to get a manicure. I have an important meeting this week, and Cheryl and I both agreed that I couldn’t go without evening out my messy nails. The salon was friendly and clean, if not a little over priced, but I guess that’s what you get when you get your nails done in the Village. I choose a light yellow color, because it said Spring! to me, and I am very happy with the sunny results.

My nails match the post-it notes.

When my nails were dry, I wandered on my own through the Village and peered into many stores as I made my way up to Union Square. I had initially planned to go to Trader Joe’s, but there was a line to get in. Who waits on line to get into the supermarket? Instead, I used my new found wine knowledge and stopped into their much less crowded wine store and picked out a bottle of red and white. I came out with 2 wines for under $15, which made me love TJ’s wine store. I popped into Whole Foods, which was surprisingly not crowded (all of NYC was perhaps at TJs?) and picked up some goodies for the week.  Look forward to new product reviews and recipes!

I ended the day, meeting Chris for dinner at our favorite Indian restaurant and watching the new Army Wives. It really was the perfect way to spend a NYC Sunday. Plus, I got so much walking in that I felt sufficiently exercised.

How did you spend your Sunday?

Foodie Friday: Agave

140 7th Avenue South, New York

Last night was fabulously fun. I meet my friend Jaclyn for dinner at Agave. I planned on being brave and ordering their Squash Blossom tacos, but they were all out! I suppose lots of other people were intrigued by the idea of flower tacos, too. My curiosity is now whetted, and I want to try these out. Has anyone ever tried Squash Blossoms?

Yum?

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Instead of flowers, Jac and I decided to split a guacamole app. The guac was super fresh and came with pico, sour cream, and blue corn chips. The serving size was so large that the two of us couldn’t finish it all. It did come in at a hefty price for guac at $12, but since you could probably split this three ways it’s not so bad.

While we waited for dinner, Jac sipped on a Blood Orange margarita. I didn’t order one, because I had a headache all day, but I tried hers and it was awesome. Agave is known for their extensive drink menu – especially their tequila – and this marg was something special. They are also popular for their jalapeño infused margs, but being that I am not a fan of jalapeño’s, I didn’t sample one.

Happy Hour prices are supposedly reasonable.

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For dinner, I decided to try one of their many eclectic quesadilla options. I ordered the Asparagus, Goat Cheese, and Roasted Tomato quesadilla. The best thing about it was the asparagus. I haven’t had asparagus in a while, and I forgot how much I enjoy it. Since it’s in season, I will have to buy some soon. Overall, the main course wasn’t anything special. Though the veggies were good, the cheese was kind of bland, which is odd since goat cheese usually has a strong flavor. It wasn’t bad or anything, it just wasn’t memorable.

This restaurant is a great place to come during happy hour, sample some of their many yummy drink options, and split and app with a friend or two. The décor makes you feel that you entered a cave with a distinct Southwestern vibe without being overly themed. The space is large, which is something I always appreciated in NYC. So many restaurants in the City are so small that you find yourself sitting on top of everyone. I would definitely be interested in going back, if only for that Blood Orange marg.

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