An Unintended Hiatus

Blogging can be a lot like exercising or that pile of clothes on the floor… once I’m too tired to go to the gym or too tired put my clothes away, it’s always just a little bit easier to be too tired the next time comes around. So in that way, I am coming back from something of an unintended hiatus, and I’m not saying I was just too tired to blog for the last few weeks, I was just spending my energies elsewhere and I guess I needed a break. But I’m back!

And since late February –

I learned to make homemade enchilada sauce with chipotle peppers in adobo sauce – more on that decliciousness to come.

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Had two great friends from college visit / my first pedicab expericence…

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Keep in mind, in pricing quoted with pedicab drivers are per person. (Read: they’ll definitely rip you off.)

And tried my first St. Patrick’s Day dinner like my mom would make – corned beef and cabbage + carrots, turnips and cauliflower mash (instead of potatoes!). I would say it went pretty well – we didn’t have much leftover but cabbage! And you can only eat so much cabbage anyway.

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That’s a very brief summary, but I have to save the rest for all the posts I’ve been backlogging in my head… stay tuned and come back!

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Long Weekend Company & Recap

My sister and brother-in-law visited this past weekend, and I think we did a prettay good job showing them the city condensed into about three days – which is actually quite difficult.

We kicked off Saturday morning with the most involved brunch I have ever made – thanks to Smitten Kitchen, I tried some new recipes: spinach strata, cinnamon chocolate chip bread and made one up –  citrus fruit salad, accompanied by some lovely hickory smoked bacon fried by Hewitt and fresh OJ for mimosas courtesy of Fresh Direct. More on the recipes and deliciousness later- but I’m definitely planning to make them all again. For sure.

(Photo doesn’t do the table justice.)

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For my sister’s birthday, we gave her tickets to see the NYC Ballet perform Sleeping Beauty – and it was perfect. Truly, the sets, the feet, the costumes… it all reminds you of the importance in slowing things down and taking it in. Cathleen and I were kids again watching the girls in tutus we wanted to be, and although we never were, it’s a memory and a dream we get to keep and an appreciation for been a part of it.

(Yep, that’s Prabal Gurung for Target – great color / print / fabric.)

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We snapped a few pics when the boys met us at Lincoln Center, post-ballet –

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We were both taken by the Rigaletto banner at the Met (although we were unaware of the kiddo taking on the fountain behind us) –

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Sunday was freeeezing, so we sought warmth and caffeine and jewelry at Chelsea Market, and I spotted this gem painted on the brick.

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Who doesn’t love an Oreo? :)

We didn’t last long on the High Line – the wind was insane, but we managed a quick picture.

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Survived / enjoyed Top of the Rock – even though it was so windy the 70th floor was closed… and the 67th and 69th perhaps should have been! It was so windy. And freezing.

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We look a bit freezing. And windblown.

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Monday, for President’s Day, we took the Staten Island Ferry to see the Statue of Liberty, took on the subway, saw The Big Piano at FAO Schwartz and saw Central Park / took a quintessential photo.

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Not my best face, but a funny photo, framed by the between-bench-space I always gravitate to on the subway…

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Cathleen was a bit more cavalier with her swing, but Matt, you’ll get it.

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Like all weekends, it came to an end too soon, but since we’re family, I know we’ll get to do it again. I am quite pleased with how our little apartment has fared with guests so far  – thankfully, no one has come in expecting their own room, etc… but it just feels 20-something and cozy to have your sister and brother-in-law on an air mattress in your living room, measured to fit perfectly between the coffee table and writing desk, waking you up to let you know the coffee pot hasn’t come on yet.

So please, come back and see us.

Let the Countdown Begin

These crazy kids / my sister and brother-in-law are coming to visit us for the long holiday weekend! Obviously, I’m excited, and you can count on a recap post with lots of photos and hopefully tales of yummy dinners (Minetta Tavern, black label burger, I am coming for you) and treats (Cones, Magnolia, Waffles & Dinges… where to begin).

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Also, we’re going to see Sleeping Beauty and The Fantasticks. Talk about a weekend. Get ready, guys.

Happy Valentine’s Day, Windows

The Christmas windows in New York are an item to see on most people’s lists in December, but I thought the festive Valentine’s windows in our neighborhood deserved a little love, too.

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This one  is my favorite – I love the simplicity of the neon heart. (I also love their bags.)

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So Happy Valentine’s Day, to you and yours from our little decorated part of the world.

The City That Never Sleeps

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That’s what they say about New York – it’s the city that never sleeps. This is definitely true – there is always a restaurant or drugstore or food truck open, always something to do, see or take part in or a 10:00 dinner reservation to make. But I have found that we’re more a city that sleeps… late.

In Charlotte, if you wanted to catch the neighborhood still sleepy and just waking up, your morning run had to be at 6:00 am at the latest. Otherwise, by 8, you’re running way late for work, all the papers have been retrieved from the driveway and the day has long begun.

One thing I love about life here is the delayed start and end. I am not a morning person, nor have I ever been, and staying up later and starting the day later is a great fit. Here, if you’re up by nine on a Saturday or Sunday morning, the street is yours. The neighborhood is sleeping and the line at your favorite coffee shop is nil. By 11:30, you’ll have an hour wait for brunch… but I can handle having to be somewhere by 11.

So here’s to the city that rarely sleeps, but when she does, she sleeps in.

The Thores and the City

It has been quite some time since my last update – and I have to say, we have been busy! Last time I wrote, my parents were literally en route to meet me at my office, and I think Hewitt and I have been going pretty much nonstop since then!

The summary here if you’re a TLDRer is – we had the best  time and literally packed as much into the weekend as we possibly could.

My mom and I are pretty serious coffee drinkers, and we kicked off our reunion with lattes and Italian cookies, cantuccis (and a Diet Coke for Dad!) from Il Cantuccio – one of my favorite neighborhood spots, and a former haunt of mine before we had a coffee pot, and before I had a job.

Continuing with the theme – we opted for Italian and had Malatesta for dinner, another favorite neighborhood spot! Before dessert, we went walked to Washington Square Park, so we could over-indulge on the dessert I made.

And serving it with ice cream and a little sprinkling of graham cracker crumbs on top – was the right decision.

On Saturday, we met for an early breakfast and took in the World Trade Center Memorial. Again, it’s the kind of thing you just sort of observe and absorb. It isn’t so much a photo-op or destination, it’s a place that’s meant to be felt.

We watched the Heels knock out Virginia Tech (!) at Brother Jimmy’s over some southern-inspired barbecue. The consensus was unanimous – it’s pretty good for New York, but it will never be Lexington Barbecue. Or “#1”, if you will.

Of course we made the quintessential trip to Magnolia Bakery – for cupcakes.

And banana pudding.

Treats were followed by a walk on the Highline… where we discovered this.

David Blaine suspended and having 1 million volts of electric currents pass  through his body over a period of 72 hours in his stunt, “Electrified.

It was loud and kind of bizzare, and with the Ultrabook branding everywhere, it will almost certainly serve as “branded content” that will later surface in a television campaign. Or rather, that’s my guess. Especially since we agreed to appear in photos and videos by donning the paper bracelets required for admission.

My mom and I decided it would be fun to cook together in our little kitchen because while it’s something we both enjoy, we don’t get to share in it together that often. I opted for a few of Hewitt and my favorites – dijon and scallion chicken and roasted broccoli with cracked red pepper. Both delicious and prettyy nutritious.

For dessert, we had Waffles and Dinges – track them at @waffletruck and you won’t be disappointed.

Sunday morning came early and we headed north to Redeemer on the West Side, got lucky enough to hear Tim Keller!, and then commenced a day spent, oddly enough, in Times Square.

Hewitt discovered and put together a table at BB King’s Harlem Gospel Choir and brunch — which we loved. Then we took in the history of espionage at the Discover Museum, somewhat in preparation for the upcoming release of the next Bond film…

We saw Newsies, which was filled with one anthem and crescendo after another. Everyone loves a triumphant story where the kids are the heroes and the good guys win.

For a late dinner we went to John’s of Bleecker Street and then just down the street to Cones for some amazing artisanal ice cream. If you haven’t had been to both of those places, please go.

Before they caught their flight home, and I headed into work, we had time for one last coffee and breakfast…

Even though I tried to keep this post brief, its length is indicative of how much fun we had together and how grateful we are to finally have been able to share our new home with people who are this important to us. Until next time!

The Company That Visited

Previously, I blogged about my college roommates who were coming to visit a few weeks ago, and life has been crazy since then. So here is my overdue recap of the fantastic weekend we had with perfect weather, successful shopping and great food, drink and time together.

We kicked things off at my apartment with some pre-dinner indulgences – the chunky blue cheese & yogurt dip and fresh pico de gallo were definitely a hit. You’ll see the chunky blue cheese dip (actually made with gorgonzola) featured here with yummy broccoli (blanching before serving is the trick!), Stacy’s pita chips and endive. (Thanks to Moriah for this action shot.)

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Highlights include but are not limited to –  a great small plates dinner at Barrio 47, complete with a toast and complimentary treats thanks to a mass Foursquare / Yelp check-in.

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Very New York bagels at Murray’s (don’t ask them to toast!) followed by an intense round of shopping through Soho, primarily at Piperlime’s first store. Such shopping warranted a trip to Shake Shack in Madison Square Park. It was the perfect afternoon pick-me-up- even if we had to wait more than an hour at 3:30 pm.

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Nice Work if You Can Get it was. so. much. fun. Matthew Broderick and Cameron Adams were delightful. It was probably the funniest and lightest show I have ever seen on Broadway, and the title song is actually still stuck in my head.

The name of the speakeasy in the show is called “Sweet and Lowdown”, and I just found these Sweet’n Low packets on twitter.  How perfect!

One of the best parts of the show was when Cameron, who was Kelli O’Hara’s understudy, said her name was Bobbi, instead of Billie. For just a moment, the cast got tickled, but then seemingly improved their way out of it. It definitely made our performance feel unique!

After the show, we checked out a perfectly cozy French place in Greenwich Village called Amelie. The service and ambience were amazing. As was the food; especially the ravioli, or Gratin de ravioles du Royans.

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They even delivered the check in cute French paperbacks. I’ll definitely be back!

On Sunday we had brunch at Tipsy Parson – a sweet and savory, Southern-influenced favorite of mine. They also serve Stumptown Coffee, which is delicious and have books painted on the wall, which I love.

Everyone started to taper off as the day went by and flights home beckoned, but a few of us were able to visit the 9/11 Memorial. Our conversation actually ended up on where we were, as freshman in high school across North Carolina the morning of September 11, 2001. How much has changed for all of us since that day. It was a sobering place to visit, and we all agreed that once complete and open to the public, it will be a safe harbor for reflection and remembrance.

In summary, we had a blast, and although I got us a bit mixed up on the subway once or twice, I hope they’ll all be back to visit soon!