New York, New York Part 1

I really love New York. Partly because my sister is there but also because of the energy. That city really is like no other.

We had an amazing visit and were really sad to see it end yesterday. I wish we could have birthdays all the time!

I’ll do my best to swiftly recap the weekend without boring you all but we crammed a lot in the two days so this may seem like a photo bomb.

We drove down on Saturday morning. I’m so used to the long state of California where you drive for 4 hours and are still in CA that it always surprises me when we cross state lines so quickly. It’s like you blink and you’re in Connecticut.

We quickly headed to brunch after dropping our stuff and Eli off at my sister’s place. I would show you brunch photos but to be honest that food was sub par and the service was even worse. We left the meal hungry and disappointed, not a good start.

We were on the Upper West Side so we explored that area for a bit and then stumbled on the Empire Hotel. Considering we’re all huge Chuck Bass fans and we were right there, we stopped in for a drink.

I loved this bar, classy, ornate and relatively quiet. Maybe that’s because it was 3 in the afternoon ūüôā

Empire Hotel

Here’s the birthday girl showing off the new watch her beau gave her.

birthday girl

Couple shot.

Michael and me

And a pic of the good company I was in! The conversation was just so exciting. Can’t you tell?

Phone Obsessed

After a drink we decided to go bowling down at the Port Authority. I thought it would be ghetto but it was super swanky! The lanes were really nice and they played top 40 hits with coordinated neon lights and huge screens playing music videos at the end of the lanes.

bowling sisters bowling

I managed to lose best out of two against Michael and am now washing a weeks worth of dishes. ūüė¶

I wish I had taken a picture of the snacks we had. The menu was great for being a bowling alley. We had a huge bowl of hummus with carrots and pitas and some edamame fritters.

We headed back to my sister’s after bowling to get gussied up for dinner. We had dinner at Monument Lane in the West Village. The restaurant was adorable. Loved the decor and the vibe. The food was hit and miss. The brussel sprout appetizer was amazing (you can kind of see it in the background), I hope to recreate it somehow. Michael’s fish was apparently very good and my veggie hash was fine but very expensive for some parsnips, carrots and sweet potatoes. It also reminded me of something very familiar…this!

vegetable hash

The company was lovely, of course.

Sarah and Me at dinnerMichael

This post is getting a little long so I’ll recap Sunday tomorrow which includes a delicious veggie burger and Jenga. That’s right you read correctly, Jenga!

Have a wonderful Tuesday.

Enjoy and Exhale!

Farewell to Football

I have come to dislike the Ravens A LOT! I care about three NFL teams and Baltimore beat all three of them in consecutive order leaving me feeling frustrated and sad. Okay, a little dramatic I admit. But we’re now so far away from football season, I would really like to have spent the next 6 months happy about the 49ers being so awesome. Oh well. Enough. I can see the virtual eye rolls from all you non-football fans. The silver lining is that with the end of football also comes the start of baseball and spring so not all is lost.

With no segue at all I’ll just move on to my weekend. Friday night I met a friend for drinks and snacks at a new-to-me bar called the Hawthorne. We got there early and managed to get a set of big, comfy chairs in the corner. I can’t say enough good things about this place. The service was stellar. The drinks were bubbly and cold.¬†The food was tasty.

sparkling rose

We shared a hummus platter with veggies and potato chips and the pretzel rolls with honey mustard sauce. I love soft pretzels and these were soft, warm and accompanied by the perfect spicy mustard.

hummus platter pretzel rolls

I’ll definitely be back.

On Saturday morning I headed to All One to teach my Power Yoga class. That class is so fun to teach. There was a great crowd to heat up the room as we balanced, twisted and backbended our morning away. The collective sigh at the end of class when everyone peacefully surrendered into savasana filled me with certainty that I made the right decision to teach full-time. I’m really loving teaching and although I often tend to focus on what I don’t know, it’s good to remember that I have a lot to give in this very moment.

Saturday night I had my first opportunity to meet one of the friends I’ve made through blogging. Courtney over at Healthy Girl and the City was in town for the evening and we met up for a few hours. It was so nice to put a face and personality to the blog! Looking forward to more chances to meet my fellow bloggers.

Yesterday was all about football, duh!

Our friends came over for the game. For food, I made the typical Superbowl fare, mostly.

Southwestern Quinoa,¬†7-layer bean dip, guacamole and chips, veggies with vegan ranch, a vegan artichoke dip that was not good and will not be shared ūüôā and some gluten-free peanut butter cupcakes from my friend Nicole’s soon-to-be cookbook that were excellent. Hopefully when her cookbook is out later this year I’ll be able to share the recipe with you all.

Superbowl spread

Superbowl 2013

After the world’s longest game we crawled into bed to get ready for another week. Hello Monday!

Tomorrow, this smoothie that pretty much tastes like a chocolate milkshake.

chocolate banana smoothie

Enjoy and Exhale!

Celebrating My Birthday Weekend

Oh what a lovely, long birthday weekend. Firstly, thank you for all the texts and comments and phone calls and Facebook posts. You all made this girl feel very, very loved.

This was probably the busiest weekend I’ve had in a really long time so I’ll just start at the beginning.

On Friday night my friend Kristy and her sister Kim hosted a ladies Bunco night. If you don’t know what Bunco is it’s a dice game that requires very little skill besides keeping score but is still super fun. I think there were 16 girls at Kim’s apartment and what started out timid and shy ended up rowdy and loud. It was amazing. I didn’t take any pictures of the ladies but I did take one of my losing score card which earned me a pile of loser gifts including some Mitt Romney toilet paper, a charm necklace from the 90210 era and a pear shaped candle!

Bunco Score Card

Saturday morning I woke up to the sound of the juicer. Michael woke up early to make me breakfast in bed before my classes. He made me a kale, cucumber, apple, carrot, ginger, lemon juice that was SO good. He may be my new official juice maker from here on out. He also made me a bagel with smashed avocado and tea accompanied by red roses. He’s a keeper.

Birthday Breakfast

I also opened one of my gifts that morning. These guys!

Patriots Tickets

I had to rush off to classes soon after presents and right after class I headed over to Back Bay Yoga for a teacher training. The training was a 12-hour workshop on how to teach Hip Hop Yoga. Although I don’t think I’ll be teaching Hip Hop Yoga specifically I learned a lot from the training. We did a lot of teaching with the wireless mic over loud music. It really helped me work on projecting my voice and how to teach with more energy which will be beneficial in my own classes. It’d been a while since I’d taken a training and it got the creative juices flowing again. Reminds me that I can’t get stagnant or complacent in my career, regardless of what that career is.

After training Michael took me out for a birthday dinner at the Top of the Hub. The restaurant is on the 52nd floor of the Prudential Building and overlooks all of Boston. We got a great window seat looking south. We ate in the lounge as they have a different, more veg friendly menu that catered better to me.

We started with cocktails. Wine for Michael and a vodka martini for me. I don’t drink a ton of martinis. I sort of burned myself out when living in Sacramento after college. My coworkers at the time were obsessed with them and got me hooked. But, it was a special occasion and I was starving so I wanted to eat the olives as an appetizer while we waited on the food. ūüôā

Vodka Martini

My lovely date all dressed up.

Michael

City views.

Top of the Hub

Olives are great and all but our real appetizer was way better. Beet salad!

beet salad

I had the veggie burger with sweet potato fries, so predictable. Michael had a steak of some sort.

After dinner we decided to walk home but there was one more surprise stop. We had dessert at the Wine Cellar this adorable fondue place on Mass Ave. We had three different types of fondue with fruit and brownies and cake pieces for dipping. The perfect dessert.

chocolate fondue

Once home I opened my second gift which will benefit us all. Hello beautiful!

Nikon

Sunday was more training and then we headed to Foxborough for the Pats game. I was so excited that I didn’t even feel the cold until the second half when the Pats decided to stop playing football and let the Ravens run all over them. So depressing. I guess I’ll be a 49ers fan for the Superbowl now.

Pats game

The rest of the weekend isn’t really worth writing about especially since this post is getting wordy as it is.

Hope you all had a great long weekend.

Enjoy and Exhale!

Weekend Update

Weekends are just the best. Even though I ‘work’ on Saturday mornings they are still so much better than the rest of the week. This weekend was no exception.

Friday night we laid low. We are obsessed with a little Thai restaurant in Allston called Brown Sugar Cafe that happens to deliver. The food is so good that we’re basically on a first name basis with the delivery boy. I had the veggie rolls with peanut sauce and the vegetable curry which is spicy but not too hot. Michael had the tofu pad thai which is pretty much the same thing we always order. What can I say, when it’s good why mess with it?

Brown Sugar Thai

Saturday morning I taught. I’m starting to get some regulars in my classes and it’s so nice to see familiar faces every week. I love sharing a part of the weekend with such lovely people. I’ve said it before but Saturday morning classes are extra sweet. Everyone’s mood is a little brighter and the energy is so positive.

Saturday night we headed to Somerville to meet up with our friends Kristy and Erik.

Kristy and Erik

We watched the playoff games at the Thirsty Scholar which happens to also be where they shot scenes for the Social Network. It’s a pretty awesome little restaurant but they do¬†make it out to seem much more glamorous in the movie.

The bar was filled with Packers fans and after a half of listening to them hoot and holler we headed over to Kristy’s sister and husband’s house. We ended up playing the world’s greatest game, Apples to Apples, until way too late.

We had a game group in SF that we miss terribly so it was really nice to find some friends to play with out here. As the night wore on the winning cards started to make less and less sense. This is just an example of the winning cards…spiders are glitzy? I know this means nothing if you haven’t played before but trust me it’s as nonsensical as it seems.

Apples to Apples

We slept in late Sunday morning, an anomaly for me, then went for a coffee walk.

It was sunny and warm this afternoon and by warm I mean in the 40s (I can’t believe my definition of warm is this warped) so I took Eli out for a run. We did our usually loop along the river at a moderate pace with a couple of stops in between for puppy sniffing.

01/06 Run

It sort of surprised me but parts of the Charles have frozen over; I assumed it was too deep to freeze. It gives the river a surreal quality.

Boston winter Boston winter

The rest of Sunday has been spent watching football and looking for a decent vegetable stew recipe. Haven’t found one quite right yet so I’ll be experimenting on my own version tonight. If it’s any good I’ll share this week.

Hope your weekend was lovely.

Enjoy and Exhale!

Happy Birthday Weekend

Now that the flurry of activity surrounding the Jacques has subsided let me go back to last weekend. My favorite guy had a birthday on Saturday. We woke up to unseasonably warm weather that morning. I had to teach but we still managed to sneak in an early morning walk for coffee with the pups beforehand.

Once back from class we went to brunch at Mike’s Diner in the South End. Not very veg friendly, unless you want pancakes, but I wasn’t in the mood. I ended up getting a ACLT or avocado, cream cheese, lettuce, tomato sandwich and some potatoes. Nothing too excited about it but did the job.

Michael had the turkey hash and looked very happy and handsome.

After brunch the birthday boy wanted to go to a movie. So we hopped on scoot and headed back to Fenway to see Argo.

Huge popcorn and soda for Michael, Raisinettes for me.

The movie was very, very good and incredibly suspenseful. I nervously chewed my nails through the entire second half. After Argo and The Town, I’m starting to really like Ben Affleck again.

After the movie we came home to get ready for dinner. I made reservations at Hamersley Bistro in the South End. Definitely an older crowd, but it had its own vegetarian section and lots of gluten-free options.

We started with some wine and red onion soup. The soup tasted just like French Onion soup but without the beef stock and bread. It was really yummy, I’m going to attempt a recreation at some point.

For our entrees, Michael had the roast chicken with fingerling potatoes. He said the chicken was tasty. The potatoes were so-so.

I had the falafel plate. The falafel was okay but the real stars were the roasted apples and plantains. Such a weird thing to find on a falafel dish but the flavors went perfectly together.

We came home for dessert. I made a gluten-free lemon cake with caramel ice cream. We were too full to taste it that night but I insisted he blow out a candle for good luck anyway. We actually still haven’t tried the cake so hopefully it still tastes good when we try it tonight.

We then promptly all fell asleep on the couch. Party animals.

Happy Birthday Michael!

You don’t know Jacques!

What an amazing evening. As Sarah and I walked home from the event, on an unbelievably warm November night, we couldn’t stop grinning from ear to ear. We proclaimed it the best sister-sister¬†night of our lives, narrowly eking out a whirlwind evening in Barcelona when the football team won the Champions League, but I digress.

We started the evening with dinner at Candle 79. We’d been meaning to make it there for a really long time and the event and the restaurant were both on the upper east side so we decided the time had come. I’ve been hearing about how good the food is on numerous blogs forever and it did not disappoint. There were so many things we wanted to try but managed to not over order, a minor miracle.

It was really dark in the restaurant and the pictures are almost impossible to make out so I’ll just share a quick list of what we had.

They started us with an amuse bouche of white beans with a poblano sauce. Perfect mix of savory and spicy. I could have eaten an entire bowl.

Sarah had the wild mushroom squash risotto which was creamy and delicious. I ordered the grilled kale salad with lentils, squash, sunflower seeds and spelt berries. I all but licked the plate clean! We also shared the polenta fries which were crunchy golden brown perfection.

Had the photos turned out I could have done a whole post on the service, menu options and the drinks but there are more important things to discuss.

An evening with Three French Chefs in NYC was put on by the 92nd Y. If you live in the area check them out. They have a great line up of chefs and actors come through. Sally Field is speaking tonight and Rachel Ray on Wednesday. If the tickets were anything like ours, these lectures cost less than dinner out.

We got there 45 mins early but it was worth the wait when we got seats in the second row!

There were some late changes to the speaker list so we had the pleasure of listening to Andre Soltner, Jacques Pepin and Jacques Torres speak. We also grew up watching Jacques Torres so we were thrilled to see him on the panel.

The discussion centered mostly around the history of French kitchens in New York. Andre Soltner is an old school chef and brought a level of tradition to the panel. It was interesting to see him juxtaposed to Jacques Torres who is much younger and less traditional. The moderator was pretty awful but it didn’t really matter because the q&a at the end was the most interesting part.

They were asked what made a good chef and it was no surprise they all felt strongly that technique, knowledge of the basics and experience were important but that there must be a love of food and talent present as well. I forget which one said this but it resonated with me for its simplicity. “You need to love food in order to know good food from bad food.”

After the panel there was a champagne meet and greet with a book signing. This is when the real fun began. We bought both Jacques Pepin and Torres’ books and had a chance to talk with both of them. Torres is a ball of energy, he came out from behind the signing table to personally greet us in line, sign our book and take pictures. He also invited us to tour his chocolate factory today, we’re hoping to make it down there this afternoon.

As for Jacques Pepin, well, he was just as fabulous in person. Soft spoken, incredibly knowledgable and lovely. He also gave me a contact for the woman who coordinates his cooking demonstrations at BU. Apparently you don’t need to be a student to attend!

We were true groupies and hung around until the very end at which point we sadly had to say goodbye.

We ecstatically called our mom on the walk home and pretty much floated all the way home.

Such a great night. Happy Tuesday to all.

 

 

Weekend Eats and Travels

More wind and rain but otherwise nothing significant to report here. Except the elevator in our building is making quite a raucous and it’s driving me CRAZY! I’m now hiding out in our spare bedroom to get away from the constant screeching.

Before all the wild weather started yesterday we had a lovely weekend.

On Friday night we went to dinner with some friends, Kristy and Erik. Kristy and I worked together when we were both living in Sacramento many years ago. We both happened to move to Boston within a month of each other and wanted to set up a double date now that we’re both settled in Boston.

Kristy made reservations at a place called West Bridge in Cambridge. The food was good, but rather expensive for the portion sizes. The company was wonderful.

We started with cocktails.

Then onto apps.

I had the mushrooms and sunchokes. It had some kind of yogurt sauce. The sunchokes tasted amazing. I plan to pick some up soon and find something to make with them.

Michael’s app was quinoa and carrots, which sounds boring but was actually incredibly flavorful. I snuck many bites of this dish.

He had the monkfish for his entrée which he raved about.

I had the farro. I am a huge fan of farro but don’t make it at home because it’s not gluten-free so whenever I see it on menus I gravitate toward it. The flavors of this dish were good but it was overly salted which was a bummer because otherwise I would have eaten the whole thing.

Afterward we went to a brewery across the street and the boys talked for many hours about the Broncos (they are both from Colorado).

On Saturday Michael, Eli and I took a drive to Cape Cod. One of the things we were most excited about when moving to the East Coast was its proximity to great weekend trips. Neither of us had ever been to the Cape so we thought we’d check it out before winter hits.

We drove all the way to Provincetown or P-Town. It’s pretty much what I expected. An adorable, quaint beach town with lots of restaurants, coffee shops and tourist-y stores. I wish we had been able to stay the night. I would love to have spent more time exploring the other towns on the Cape.

P-town also has a large gay population and they really got into the Halloween spirit. They almost put the Castro to shame, almost. It was such great people watching.

We also went to the beach where Michael proceeded to show me how to skip rocks. Epic fail! I couldn’t stop laughing as I sunk one rock after another.

It only took us about an hour and a half to get back but we were starving when we got home. We made the best sweet potato, brussel sprout tacos. I took approximately zero pictures of the meal but when we make them again I’ll share with you all. Don’t worry, it’ll be soon.

Off to figure out how to get down to Allston in the rain.

For those local folks reading, I begin teaching at All One Yoga this week.

Vinyasa All Levels on Thursdays at 4:30 and Power Yoga All Levels Saturdays at 10:30. Come join me!

Little Bits of Random

I’ve never been one to take a ton of photos but since starting this blog I realize that that’s what most people want to look at so I should probably get my butt in gear and start taking more pictures.

This all seems like a great idea, but then you end up with 100s of random pictures that don’t fit into a specific blog post. So everyone once in a while I’m just going to post random photos that have no correlation whatsoever. ¬†Hope you don’t mind.

I present you with Little Bits of Random 1!

There’s a cat that lives at the corner store down the street. ¬†Most of the time he’s by the door to greet you when you come in. ¬†The other day we walked in and didn’t see him until he was spotted curled up in a box of candy on the counter.

Eli on a walk.

Morning wake up call.

Guy reading his Kindle. He was reading Before I Go To Sleep which is a weird but really interesting book.

Rainy day farmers market. So many sunflowers.

More fall foliage on my walk to yoga.

Lunch at Life Alive. I had their warrior bowl with red lentil hummus (must re-create soon), tofu, veggies and miso dressing.

Michael had the quinoa, brown rice, kale, avocado bowl with nutritional yeast and some kind of dressing that I can’t remember.

Carrot, fennel, ginger, lemon juice. If you haven’t tried fennel in your juice you should, it gives it a spicy flavor that goes really well with the ginger.

Last night’s pesto put to good use. Gluten-free pasta with pesto, steamed veggies and chickpeas.

Off for a run in the foggy, drizzly weather. Only 5 days until the Tuft’s 10k.

Have a great Wednesday.

Weekend and Kale Salad with Miso Dressing

Happy Monday.

Hope you had a great weekend.  Ours was filled with more house stuff, some restaurant exploration and a lot of football.  Plus a little bit of cooking of course.

We spent most of Saturday furniture shopping, picture hanging and picking up the last odds and ends for the house. ¬†Our furniture is being delivered on Wednesday at which point I promise apartment pictures. ¬†We’re almost there!

We also tried out one of the many vegetarian restaurants in the city. ¬†We had an early dinner at Veggie Galaxy in Cambridge on Saturday. ¬†It has a diner atmosphere but the entire menu is vegetarian. ¬†Although everything looked wonderful, both Michael and I decided on veggie burgers. ¬†I’m on a burger kick apparently. ¬†We had their Chipotle Black Bean and Mushroom Chickpea patties, both were very tasty. ¬†I meant to take a picture but by the time I remembered I was half way through my meal.

Regardless, we did remember to snap a picture outside.  Of Michael!!  See, he does exist.

michael

On Sunday we went on an early morning run and then grabbed coffee at Thinking Cup, which ended up being this adorable coffee shop.  They had great coffee and a yummy chai latte.  Then we had breakfast at Globe.  Although it was nice sitting outside the food was just okay.

The rest of the weekend looked a lot like this.

Couch time, work and football.

What happened to the Pats?  I move here and they lose to Arizona?

Although the 49ers are looking good!

Anyway, none of the above has anything to do with kale salad except for the fact that it’s super easy to make so you won’t miss even a little of the game to make it.

Kale Salad with Miso Dressing

For the salad:

1 bunch of kale, torn and steamed

1 carrot, peeled into ribbons

1/4 cup pepitas

For the dressing:

2 tablespoons white miso

1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar

1/2 tablespoon olive oil

1/4 teaspoon Bragg’s liquid aminos (you can substitute soy sauce or tamari)

1/4 teaspoon garlic

Juice of half a lemon

2 1/2 tablespoon water

pinch of sugar

Wash, tear and steam kale.  If you prefer raw kale just wash and tear into a big bowl.

kale

Peel carrot into ribbons, add to bowl.

Mix all dressing ingredients in a separate bowl with a fork.  Add water last.  Depending on how much juice your lemon has you may not need the full 2 1/2 tablespoons.

Toss dressing with salad.  If you are using raw kale be sure to massage the dressing into your kale.  You should use your hands to work it in well.

Add pepitas.

Serves 2.

Enjoy!