“We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.” - Jawaharal Nehru

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Sandy and the Nor'easter

It's been a week and half since Sandy. Yesterday the eastern coast was hit with a nor'easter. What is going on with the weather?!

Nick and I were extremely lucky with Sandy. We live in the Upper East Side... aside from some wind we really didn't experience anything. It was a drastic difference in lower Manhattan. You were in a completely different world if you lived lower than 34th street.

Picture by New York Magazine - New York City with no power is an eerie experience.

Lower East Side. Underwater. Unreal. 

Sandy and I had no real issues... we didn't lose power, our apartment didn't flood, etc. The only issue I had with Sandy is when it caused my mom's flight to get cancelled. She was suppose to fly into LGA on Thursday night. Sandy flooded the whole airport causing a tremendous backlog of flights. Because of that she was unable to spend the weekend with us. In hindsight, it's probably best because the lower half of the city was still without power... not much of a fun weekend. So, she will be here next week! Yay!

It's really sad. A lot of people lost absolutely everything. I can't imagine what that would feel like. What I've learned about this city, in the two years that I've been here, is that it is resilient. People come together and rebuild. It might take a while but it will get done.

Yesterday another storm hit - the Nor'easter. The eastern coast can't catch a break! Lots of wind, snow, and blistering rain.

 First snowfall of the year

I'm just hoping for some sunshine... apparently we get that on Saturday and Sunday when it's suppose to be in the 60's. I just can't keep up with all the weather changes!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween

It's Halloween in NYC! However, I do believe it will be the most un-Halloween ever... due to hurricane Sandy. I'm sure you've seen the news... lots of damage. But hurricane Sandy gets its own post in a couple of days.

Last Friday night Nick and I went out with our close friends Matt and Pam. We love them! Pam is Nick's "work wife"... they have spent a lot of quality time together!

We met after work and headed down to the lower east side. We were having dinner at 'inoteca. Three of us (Matt, Nick, and myself) had all had dental work done earlier in the day and we were starving!

'inoteca is this great restaurant with a really cool vibe. We sat down and immediatley proceeded to order some wine followed by A LOT of food. And when I say a lot I mean it. I don't think I've ever ordered that much food before. The food was delicious - I was surprised I really enjoyed all the dishes brought out.

We ordered truffled egg toast, prosciutto,7 different kinds of bruschetta, porchetta panino w/ salsa verde, arugula, mustard seed mayo, and we each ended with our own entree - pasta. Delicious!

It's a little dark - I always forget to put the flash on. 

After dinner we headed a few blocks to The Killers: New York Haunted House. It's Halloween time and of course we had to do a haunted house (I mean... it's me you are talking about)! We had timed tickets so we only waited for about 20 minutes. This was actually the first house that I allowed the actors to "touch" me. We were marked with this red paint on our forehead that allowed the actors to know they were able to grab us...

Pam and I were definitely grabbed. Must have been because we were girls and the actors were mainly guys. Mine wasn't too bad but Pam's actor had her up against the wall and put some nasty fake blood on her neck... not smart actor - she was in a white shirt!

Overall the haunted house was okay. There were about two times that someone jumped out at me that got a good scream. I always compare haunted houses to the one I visited with a group of friends senior year back home. It was 45 minutes of pure terror. Nothing has lived up to that yet.

Overall a great Halloween festive night with some great friends!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

5 Years of Marriage

This past weekend Nick and I celebrated our 5 year wedding anniversary!!

Friday night Nick took me to L'Artusi in West Village. This restaurant is now on our Top 10 list. Every single bite we had was amazing. The restaurant ambiance was great and the waiter we had was incredibly nice!

We started off with the roasted mushrooms - pancetta, fried egg, and ricotta salata. This is one of the dishes they are known for and it lived up to it. So flavorful. We also started with the dayboat scallops. It wasn't what we expected when it came to the table but it didn't disappoint either. We were definitely off to a good start. I ordered the spaghetti - garlic, parmesan, and chilies. It was the freshest spaghetti I've ever had. Nick ordered the orechiette - sausage, salumi, and pecorino pasta. Another amazing dish! We were 4/4. And then came dessert - our favorite part. We decided to splurge and order two... First up, apple tart surrounded by applesauce with vanilla ice cream. Second, hazelnut chocolate torta - I have to say Nick's was one of the best desserts I've had... and I don't even like chocolate that much! It was such a great meal and a wonderful way to start off our anniversary weekend.

I can't even describe how good this was! 


Saturday we decided to have a "young at heart" day. We rented a car and drove up north into the Hudson Valley area. There was an apple picking farm called Barton Orchards in Poughquag, NY. You could pick apples, pumpkins, and vegetables. They also had live entertainment and tons of delicious food stands. Most importantly apple cider doughnuts (heaven!), funnel cake (whenever there is a funnel cake - you have to get one), apple pie, and many more delicious treats.

Apple picking!

Every tree had hundreds of apples below it - Nick and I wondered what happened to all of them at the end of the season?

I got one!

After we finished picking them from the tree we stopped at the bins that had some already picked!

Nick and I had an amazing time. The weather could not have been more perfect and the fall colors were gorgeous!

We made it back to the city in time for our dinner reservations at August in West Village. This restaurant is so small and cute. Very nice date spot. August had a lot to live up to after dinner at L'Artusi. It was definitely a wonderful meal but not quite as good as L'Artusi.

We started with the margherita pizza which was quite tasty. I ordered the scallops with mashed potatoes and Nick had the baked Skate - which is a white fish. Very flavorful. We opted not to get any dessert - we had doughnuts waiting at home!

I really feel quite lucky to have Nick by my side. We've been together for a total of 11 years now and I love him more every day. He's my best friend and I couldn't imagine my life without him.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Wedding in Rosemary Beach, Florida

I love weddings! And I especially love weddings on the beach!

David Dix and Sloan Looney got married in Rosemary Beach, Florida this weekend. It was beautiful, lovely, heart-warming. Not to mention perfect weather. You couldn't have asked for a more wonderful weekend.

Nick and I flew to Atlanta on Thursday night and spent the night with my aunt and cousin. It was so great to see them. Lisa will make anyone laugh! We didn't get to bed until midnight and then had to wake up about 5:45am to catch our flight out of Atlanta. So much flying... didn't like it one bit. The flight from Atlanta to Panama City, FL was diverted to Fort Walton because of visibility. We landed in Fort Walton and refueled and waited for the fog to clear. For someone who is terrified of flying.. this sucked. Another take off and landing... awesome.

But, we made it! And it was gorgeous. We quickly unpacked and made our way to the beach. We met up with all the wedding guests and saw David and Sloan - who looked incredibly happy and relaxed. This day was dedicated to relaxing under the umbrella and swimming in the ocean. We loved every minute!


Town Square of Rosemary Beach - the entire area is beautiful. They really did a wonderful job with this community - modeled after the West Indies.

Nick and I also met up with an old friend from high school who happened to be friends with David as well. I hadn't seen Daryn since graduation (which was 10 years ago). It was so great to see her and meet her fiance Matt. It really is a small world.

That night Nick and I had dinner at George's... lovely outside setting with the sunset in the background. The food was amazing. It was a really nice evening just being with Nick... peaceful. We don't get a whole lot of that in the city. After dinner we made our way over to the restaurant where the rehearsal dinner was finishing up. They were serving drinks and dessert - yummy margaritas! We didn't stay too long because we were exhausted. Traveling takes a whole lot out of you.

Saturday = wedding day! And we had another lovely day at the beach! Nick and I rented some chairs on the beach and relaxed for most of the day. The only irritating thing about this trip was the flies... they wouldn't leave you alone. It was bad enough that we had to go get bug spray. And these flies were mean - they bit you and it hurt

The wedding was held on the beach and it was a beautiful set-up. There was clear, blue skies in the background with waves crashing on the sound. The groom and groomsman were in white shirts and khaki and the bridesmaids were in a lovely orange color. The ceremony was beautiful and it really made me thankful for Nick. I cherish the time we spend together and couldn't imagine my life without him.

David and Sloan with Georgie - their daughter. She is precious!

The reception was a full on party! It was on this large green space with an open tent. Lights were all around us and the decor was just right. The food.. oh the food! Shrimp and grits, mac-n-cheese, wings, burgers, sweet potato fries... perfect Southern food! I fell in love with the shrimp and grits. And then there was the cakes... delicious!

David is a huge fan of the Mavericks... and his cake looked like an exact replica of a basketball.

And then there was dancing! Surprisingly, Nick and I were out on the dance floor most of the evening. Who would have thought?! And it wasn't even slow songs... we were getting our groove on! We sent Dave and Sloan off into the night with bubbles. A perfect end to a perfect wedding.

Nick and the groom!

Daryn! So glad we were able to catch up!

There was an after-party that all the "young" people went to. Nick and I didn't stay too long but we did stay long enough for Nick to get a little "tipsy." I won't go into details but lets just say the walk home was pretty entertaining!

Matt making Daryn and Nick shots! 

Sunday morning we woke up and spent a few hours on the beach before we had to head to the airport. It couldn't have been a better weekend. We are so grateful we were able to celebrate David and Sloan. Nick and I wish them all the happiness in the world!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Labor Day Weekend Food Extravaganza

This was a GREAT holiday weekend! I love three day weekends... I really think we should have them all the time. But sadly that is just not the case.

As the title suggest Nick and I had quite the foodie weekend. Lots of new places and new foods! We loved every minute of it.

First off was a new Mexican restaurant on Friday night. Nick had booked a special on Groupon and we thought we would give it a try. Turns out it was pretty decent. The pitcher of margaritas was tasty (plus strong!) and chips with guac and queso was delicious. We ate a whole bunch of chips! Sadly, the fajitas were not up to the standard we are use to. They used this odd sauce that just didn't work. We would gladly go back - just order a different entree.

Saturday I took Nick to Bar Pitti. I had been there once before with some girlfriends but it's such a great, traditional Italian place (and cheap!). The city was quiet... a lot of people got out of town for the long weekend. We sat outside and enjoyed the beautiful weather. We ordered Fettunta E Proscuitto to start - grilled country bread with prosciutto di parma, garlic & olive oil. I love proscuitto! Nick and I both went with a traditional pasta dish. Mine was excellent... Nick's needed a little more flavor in the sauce but overall he enjoyed the restaurant.

After lunch we made our way to our favorite gelato place... we really can't get enough. Every time we are in West Village we have to stop. Once we had our gelato we made our way up to Barney's Whole Sale event. Nick informed me we were NOT buying anything... just looking.

Yeah - that never happens! He ended up with a new tie and shirt and I found a really cute pair of grey skinny jeans. The discounts were amazing and the store was packed! The men section had a lot more to choose from... the women's was a little picked over. We still made out of there dirt cheap - if we had bought those three items at normal price it would have set us way back!

There were some elbows being thrown in the women's section!

Saturday night I made reservations at Jane. I really didn't know much about it but the reviews were excellent. The restaurant was in West Village and it was incredibly cute. Perfect date night restaurant - we really enjoyed the ambiance. And the food! The food was the best. Every dish we had we absolutely loved! I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.... I highly recommend this restaurant. We will be back!

Pork chop with cheese grits... yes, please!

Steak and fries.. you really can't go wrong!

One of the best desserts ever! It completely upstaged my apple crisp. Nick ordered cookies and milk... warm chocolate cookies with cold milk with a scoop of vanilla ice cream in it. Heaven! 

Sunday afternoon we decided to see Total Recall at the Union Square theater and then head to dinner afterwards. The movie was okay but what had us excited was the stadium seating. It was so nice to be in comfortable chairs, be elevated, and see the screen. Stadium seating is one of the things we miss most from back home!

We made our way to dinner after the movie. It was a place called Freeman's in the Lower East Side and it's location is quite unusual. The lower east side is a bit of a transitional neighborhood. Some parts aren't too nice... this restaurant was located in a back alley. You wouldn't know it's there unless you were looking for it.

The restaurant had a real old world feel to it. It was extremely warm and inviting. We started off with some cocktails and for our appetizer we ordered the grilled cheddar toasts and the devils on horseback. Now, we didn't have a clue what devils on horseback was. We asked and turns out it was prunes wrapped in cheese and bacon. Definitely interesting... we were feeling adventurous so we decided to try it. Turns out it was really good. Nick says bacon makes anything good! Nick ordered the herb-roasted chicken with mashed potatoes and I had the seared scallops with heirloom tomatoes. Everything was perfect - I especially loved the tomatoes! Dessert = brownie with vanilla ice cream (you really can't go wrong!)

The picture is a little dark... the figs are on the left. I didn't want to be THAT person who takes a picture with a flash on in a dim-lit room.

On the way back to the subway we passed Rice to Riches. We had seen this on TV and Nick wanted to give it a try. I was pretty confident I wouldn't like it. And I was right - the texture was just something I couldn't get past. Nick thought it tasted just like chocolate pudding.

This was on the main door. I love it!

Monday was a fairly realxing day. We had planned to go downtown for brunch but after being down there the whole weekend we decided to go to our staple brunch place - EJ's. Love this place - best french toast!

Yes there is the option to get toppings but I like my french toast with just butter and maple syrup!

I made shrimp tacos for dinner and I have to say it was pretty darn tasty. Definitley one of my better recipes!

It was a wonderful weekend. I feel so fortunate to be in a city that lets us explore the way NYC does. And I really have to be one of the luckiest women because I never tire of spending time with Nick. He's not only my husband but my best friend and I enjoy every single second with him.

Our plans for next weekend... in the words of Nick, "We are doing nothing - think CHEAP!"

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Surprise Vineyard Day Trip

Nick surprised me last weekend with a group dinner Friday night and then a day trip to a Hudson Valley vineyard.
Oh how I love when he plans things for us! 

Friday night we met up with some great friends Pam and Matt & Jeremiah and Julie. We had reservations at Landmarc and it was a perfect evening of steak and potatoes! Pretty much everyone at the table either ordered a steak or burger. It was so great to see everyone and catch up!

Saturday I had no idea where Nick was taking me. I knew it involved about a 2 hour train ride. It was quite the hike! Towards the end of the second train ride Nick asked me if I had any idea where we were headed.... none. I didn't have a clue which for some reason surprised him.

I didn't realize where we were going until we got off the train and headed to the shuttle (and by shuttle I mean the small school bus). And the only reason I knew at that point was because our driver held a sign that said, "Millbrook Vineyards." Yes.... wine tasting! Perfect!

Such a great idea! By the time we made it to the vineyard it was lunch time and I was starving. We made our way down the path towards the outdoor kitchen. After a few decisions we decided on a glass of wine, two burgers, and a chocolate chip cookie. The vineyard had picnic tables set up all around the water and grapes... so we sat and enjoyed the scenery.

It was such a beautiful day we decided to take a short walk to the overlook where you can see for miles along the Hudson Valley. Such peacefulness. I've said it before and I'm sure it won't be the last time... it is so great to get out of the hustle and bustle of the city!



Afterwards we had a short tour of the vineyard and then finished with the wine tasting. The wine was really good and relatively inexpensive for a bottle. Perfect combination. It was the perfect day trip - I have a pretty amazing husband. He did joke that this "surprise" should give him points for at least 6 months!

Love this man!

Monday, August 13, 2012


Cafeteria = new favorite restaurant in the city! More on that in a minute...

Friday night Nick and I decided to stay in. We've been trying to be more healthy lately. Better meal decisions. I decided to make chicken fajitas with corn tortillas and this black bean/corn dish as a side. Plus a little chips and guacamole (even though that's not real healthy).

The dinner came out wonderful! It was my first time making the side dish and guacamole and I could not have been happier. Especially the guacamole - I loved it! Super easy to make. I have to say it is one of the better meals I have made.

Saturday was a big day for me - I ran my first three miles EVER. Anyone who knows me knows I hated anything over 400 yards... even 400 yards was pushing it. I was a sprinter in high school and despised long distance. So the fact that I ran three miles is a huge accomplishment! I was quite proud of myself. My next goal is to run a 5K...

Nick and I ran a few errands and then had lunch at Cafeteria in Chelsea. It.Was.Delicious. This restaurant is my new favorite in the city. I don't know why we haven't been before but you can count on us returning. Everything on the menu looked tasty - it was really hard to decided.

We started off with some drinks - margarita on the rocks for Nick that had a little bit of a twist and a blueberry mojito for me. Just what we needed on a hot, humid day. After taking a long time to review the menu we finally decided.

Nick ordered the fish tacos (way to be healthy!) with a side of truffle parmesan fries (not so  healthy) and I, well... I didn't order so healthy. I ordered the fried catfish with a side of cheese grits. That's right - a Southern meal. I can't even begin to explain how satisfying this meal was. I savored every bite - the catfish was fried to perfection and the grits had just the right amount of cheese mixed in. Nick's meal was every bit as delicious as mine. Both of us had nothing left on our plates.

Afterwards we met up with some of Nick's prior classmates at The Frying Pan. It's this large boat that sits on the Hudson. It's basically a huge bar... and it was packed! The environment was really neat and we had a great table towards the front that looked over the Hudson. However, I couldn't stay too long... the motion of the boat was making me nausea. It was a constant back and forth motion and after about an hour I was ready to be on solid ground.

 The rest of the weekend was quiet - a relaxing, lazy Sunday. Just the way we like it!