Sunday, October 30, 2011

Vacation part VI - Brooklyn

On Thursday, I visited my friend Jenn at work (etsy) in Brooklyn. Etsy is in DUMBO, which is basically the most adorable place, although almost a little too adorable (in a sort of boring/fake way).

I got a giant meringue for breakfast at Almondine, and I ended up eating the whole thing because the smell of other baked goods made me hungry... the meringue was boring compared to whatever deliciousness I was smelling, unfortunately, although it had a great texture - crispy on the outside, soft and marshmallowy on the inside.

Etsy was also way cute, but not in a boring way. I would definitely apply for a job there if they had an office in SF or I lived in NY. It was really fun to visit and join them for Eatsy lunch. Indian food on the day I was there - yum! (no photos, too busy eating.)

Some of the fun decor:


at work!

If you're in the area, I also recommend stopping by Brooklyn Industries - super cute clothes. Window shopping without buying was kind of painful! (no photos, but check out their site.)

I had one more day in the city, but I didn't take many photos. I was really worn out from exploring on my own so much, so I sat in a coffeeshop with my laptop and then had dinner and drinks out with my host and high school friend, Chris. On Saturday I flew to Baltimore to visit my cute little niece and nephew, as well as other relatives - photos soon, for sure!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Vacation part V - rainy day in NY

This was a short day in terms of sightseeing - some combo of weather, homesickness, and exhaustion got me feeling really down, so I went home and moped and napped fairly early in the afternoon. Conclusion: 5 days alone in NYC is too many, even if you don't really ever run out of things to do. At least for me, there is only so much exploring you can do before you want a nice day in. Even coffee shops hardly count, as you have to keep buying things to stay there... I'm pretty sure too much caffeine didn't help my situation by mid afternoon.

I started off the day at Ninth Street Espresso in the East Village - I'm pretty sure this is where I would live if I moved to New York. Such a cute neighborhood, and maybe a bit reminiscent of San Francisco? This shop was great - fantastic coffee, cute atmosphere, and not many tourists, as far as I could tell.

I ventured out into the rain for lunch at S'Mac, recommended by Alex. I got Parisienne mac - brie, mushrooms, figs, and rosemary. Delicious, but even the smallest size was overwhelming. So rich.

I happened to see a consignment shop (Eleven) while walking around, and I ended up with a denim mini skirt, which I've been wanting for awhile! They had a lot of high quality, brand name stuff (Prada skirt, anyone?), which was a nice change from sorting through lots of "meh" stuff at thrift stores. It wasn't super cheap, but way better than brand new! A week later, I am wearing the new skirt for at least the third time.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Vacation part IV - lower Manhattan

I spent my first two nights in Manhattan, sleeping on my college friend Reid's couch - most comfortable counch ever. I slept so well. Reid and his roommates were great hosts, and I got an awesome view of Manhattan to boot! (midtown? downtown? Not sure which it technically is.)

the view from Reid's room
same view, looking up
I spent my first full day in New York walking a lot. Fortunately it was a really nice day, so it was great to get a bit of exercise and see a lot of neighborhoods all in one go.

My walk:

View Larger Map

I started off at the Highline - old raised railroad tracks which have been converted into a garden walk that is several miles long. I loved the contrast between the city below and the plants around me. It was noticeably cooler up on the highline.

Looking down - old framework, new glass railing.

This is what most of it looked like.

Looking down at a lower level pathway.

Some pretty windows underneath a building that the highline cut through.

A bit of fall!

The highline ended around the Meatpacking District, where I happened to see Law & Order SVU being shot.

You can see a bloody-faced actress and the medical examiner from the show.

I cheated and knew what was being filmed based on this.

I was getting hungry, so I looked for bakeries in the area and discovered Magnolia, which is apparently famous. I stopped by and got a great iced coffee and the best caramel cupcake ever - little crispy bits of caramelized sugar were baked into the cupcake, and it had my favorite frosting - swiss meringue buttercream. Looks like I have something to aspire to! I probably should have gotten a cute tshirt, but I left before tasting the cupcake and knowing that it was worth getting a souvenir for.

Turns out a cupcake isn't really "lunch", so I found a Greek restaurant on my way to SoHo, Snack Taverna. A Yelp review recommended the lamb sandwich, so that's what I got - and oh my goodness. The lamb had the consistency of great pulled pork - super moist and falling apart. It was topped with arugula and sweet roasted tomatoes, and the whole sandwich was just amazing.

As a side note: eating alone in restaurants is something I never do at home - I either get takeout or cook at home. Somehow, though, it has been a lot easier to do this here, even in nicer places. Maybe this is something I can take home with me - the courage to treat myself to a nice dinner out even if no one is around to join me.

I wandered around SoHo for a bit, but I didn't buy anything, as it's mostly pretty pricey and I am, of course, between jobs. I did stop into the cute Purl SoHo and gaze at the lovely yarns and fabrics. Bonus points for SF though - my local favorite, Imagiknit, has a much larger selection of yarns, so I resisted buying anything only to have to lug it home to Cali.

Lots of reflection - the perils of a nice day!

I walked up towards "home" again, grabbing some roasted nuts in Union Square, and I stopped by some thrift stores recommended by my friend Alex, particularly City Opera Thrift. It was a nice shop, but aside from a large china cabinet that I wished I could bring home and paint, nothing really grabbed me.

I got back at around 3 and spent the rest of the day in, recovering from my walk and people-overload, until dinner. Reid, his roomies Sophie and Dan, and I went to Rare, a fantastic gourmet burger restaurant near their home. It definitely continued the "amazing food" trend that NYC has shown me. No photos, but I totally recommend stopping by if you are in Manhattan!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Vacation part III - East Village

I got into JFK at around 2pm on Monday, which meant I had some time to kill before meeting up with my college buddy Reid, who I stayed with for two nights. Admission - I started getting pretty homesick once I got off the plane. I don't travel much at all, and I am a huge homebody - suddenly arriving in such a huge, unfamiliar city kind of on my own (combined with knowing I wouldn't be home for another week and a half) was certainly a shock. I calmed myself down and asked Reid for suggestions for coffee shops to kill time. He suggested one in the East Village, so I spent the afternoon there.

The coffe shop, Ost, was cute and made a good mocha, but their one hour limit on internet and "no computers after 5" posted rule didn't encourage me to stay long. I walked around the area and found Tompkins Square Park, then Yelp helped me find dinner.

the park

I ended up at Flea Market Cafe, and it was such a good choice! It was small, not crowded at all, and had delicious french food. Since I went before 7, I got the sunset menu - a glass of wine, an appetizer, and an entree for under $20. Seriously. I got baked escargot, which was in some delicious butter herb sauce, and it came with a side of the best bread - warm and fluffy on the inside, crispy but not too hard on the outside. Amazing. My entree was mussels and fries, both of which were also truly excellent (and big portions!). I left feeling just the right amount of full and perfectly content.

at the bar in Flea Market Cafe

so cute, and almost empty
wine, snails, bread

delicious snails

so much food. mmmmm.