Saturday, March 22, 2008

death by chocolate?

Ronen and I made a cake. We said it was both a late birthday cake and to celebrate my arrival in the city, but I know it was just because we like to make (and eat) cakes. This was a dark chocolate fudge cake with chocolate fudge icing. I guess I was in a chocolate mood when we went to the store. If it is possible for me to gain weight, I might do it here.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

parade of the elephants

There are a lot of experiences a person could have in New York City that are uniquely "New York." Things that you are not going to experience anywhere else. I am in no way a New York elitist, but I have to admit that some things are 'only in New York'. Because there are so many people from different backgrounds and interests, you can find almost anything in the city. Almost anything you want to do or be - you can do it here. The flip-side to that is that anything you don't want to be or do is also here, which could make a person feel pretty out of place.
Well, on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning I had one of those 'only in New York' experiences. When the Ringling Brothers Circus comes to town, they come in the night before, around midnight. Apparently they come by train, but once they get close, they walk the elephants through the Queens-Midtown tunnel! They pop out of the tunnel on 34th street and walk through Manhattan, past Macy's and many other stores and buildings, until they get to their stopping point at Madison Square Garden. Well, this is such a random thing and I LOVE random things, so I was out there at midnight on Tuesday to see these beasts come into the city. They were a little late and didn't get there until closer to 1am. Maybe there was a hold up in the tunnel? Traffic jam? Who knows.
I wasn't sure if it would be lame or what, but what happened once the animals arrived was crazy! Most people on the crowded sidewalks started running! The elephants were moving much faster than I expected and people ran to keep up with them. With the energy level of the crowd so high, I couldn't just stand there. So I started running too! I was laughing out loud, trying to snap pictures, and running at the same time. It was so surreal! 1:00 in the morning, chasing elephants down the streets of Manhattan. Who would have thought???

Between my running, poor lighting, and fast moving elephants, I didn't get very good pictures. The best I came home with is this shot where I stopped at the corner by Macy's. What a bizarre, memorable night.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Taking Monday Back in the City

Yesterday I met my friend, Catherine, in Manhattan. Catherine and I went to grad school together and had not seen each other since I graduated in December 2005. We had missed each other so much and were so excited to be able to meet up in the city. We had so much catching up to do, so we spent the whole afternoon eating and talking!

We first met at Lincoln Center, which I hadn't been past since I arrived last week. I thought we would meet at the gorgeous fountain - forget that! - Lincoln Center is completely under construction. I am surprised we found each other at all amidst the jackhammers and forklifts! What is going on???

We ended up walking to a nearby sandwich place for lunch. Then we decided it was time for COFFEE and desert, so we walked over to the adorable Crumbs bakery on Amsterdam Ave. They have locations all over Manhattan, so if you are ever craving a cupcake while you are walking around the city, I highly recommend this place!

After much pondering at the display case, I went for the Reese's Cupcake: "Rich chocolate cake with a peanut butter buttercream center. The cupcake is frosted with Crumbs signature peanut butter buttercream and then rolled in peanuts and covered in chocolate chips and real pieces of Reese's buttercup." Again, I highly recommend this thing, especially if you are in need of a sugar boost. With a fresh cup of coffee - what could be better?

We sat and talked over our coffee and cupcakes for probably a couple of hours before we met her friend and decided to move on to dinner! We ate at a great Vietnamese restaurant even farther up Amsterdam. I wasn't exactly starving at this point, but I had a very good shrimp curry noodle soup. Just the right amount of heat and spice for me on a chilly evening.

Great food, coffee, and conversation. Now that is what I call a perfect day!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

coffee cup conundrum

While in New York, I have to be productive. I have to practice, work, and be focused. But I just can't do that all the time! I have to go shopping and see the city. I have no choice but to see what I can get into while I am here!
Yesterday I went out and did a little shopping. I went downtown to a huge discount department store. Some discounts were great, but a discount on a designer dress leaving a $2,300 price tag just isn't good enough for me. So what do I end up buying? A coffee cup. Yes, I am pathetic, I am aware of this. BUT - I must explain myself.
I am kind of picky about the mugs in which I drink my coffee. They need to be the right size, the right weight, and have the right 'feel'. The handle needs to be comfortable. I don't really like clear glass mugs. They make the coffee look lighter and more transparent. I like my coffee to look dark and thick - in no way resemble tea. I guess it is a little obsessive, but I think the coffee cup OCD runs in the family. You won't see my dad using just any old mug from the cabinet. He would be lost without the FSU cup. And we won't even talk about Mom's cup at Mama Honey's - someone might loose an eye over that one!
I did not bring any of my own cups from home because I am in a furnished apartment. But the coffee cups were lacking and I had to take matters into my own hands. I am happy now and without further ado, here she is:

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

fiery falafel

I made it to New York. I survived the trip and have spent the last few days getting settled in.
I have spent some time getting acquainted with my neighborhood and its lovely coffee shops and delis. Last night I ventured over to Astoria and had a little bit of two things I love about New York.
  1. A huge variety of ethnic foods from all over the place.
  2. Delicious street food.
I had a fabulous falafel sandwich from King of Falafel. This street cart, located on 30th and Broadway in Astoria has some seriously good Middle Eastern food. How a girl from West Virginia got so interested in different kinds of food, I can't explain. But I always love to try something new.
Anyway, I have been hearing about it for years, but this was my first experience with the King. You know a street cart is good when it has been in the same place for years and it is always busy. The van parked behind the cart with newspaper clippings and awards helps too. But let the food speak for itself! Yummy! And messy! Oh yes, the best foods are often messy. Can a person fully enjoy street food without getting a little messy? I think not.
Well - I fully enjoyed my sandwich and went on with my evening. Today I checked out their website and found they give recipes! This is exciting! I may have to try making my own. It won't have that "street" taste, but it might not be too bad. I have only attempted making falafel once before and almost had a bit of a kitchen fire. The one and only time I have had a flare-up during cooking was with those things. Oh well - better luck next time.

Friday, March 7, 2008

an empty suitcase on a cluttered floor

When I need to be organized and get things done, I am usually pretty good at doing so. But, let me tell you something, when it comes to packing - I am AWFUL. I have the hardest time packing for anything from an overnight stay to a large move. Considering all the moving I have done in the past decade (5 in just the past 3 years!) I should be pretty good at it. I am not.

I am trying to pack for New York and have been trying for a few days now. I am not having very much success. I have such a hard time deciding what to take because I think "well, I could run into this situation, or that situation." Then I procrastinate big time and end up a big stressed out mess. More than once I have tried to have things packed so when the "movers" (parents) arrive we can just load up the trailer and hit the road. They get to my place and there is stuff strewn about. I am the queen of "debris" when I try to pack- a stack of papers here, a pile of clothes there, random clarinet reeds in strange places, and we won't even talk about the shoes! I just don't know how to pack! Help me!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

It's up to you...

...New York, New York.

Guess what, blog buddies? This weekend I will be putting on my nomad gear and heading up to New York for a while. I have a few opportunities in the city and want to see what else it might have in store for me. I plan on packing this blog with exciting stories of things I am experiencing. I know I will have endless opportunities to eat amazing food, hit up quirky shops, take a billion pictures, and properly tend to my caffeine addiction! Stay tuned...