“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

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Over A Week Late

Well, this post is long overdue. But I blame it on the horrible sinus infection that kept me completely bed ridden all last weekend and this past week. Yeah, not fun. I absolutely hate being sick. And Nick hates me being sick... he thinks it makes me even more high maintenance that normal. I, however, disagree!

Last Thursday night I met up with Ariane, Amber, and Jen at Pure Food and Wine. It is a raw vegan restaurant that only uses plant based ingredients (no processed foods). Also, nothing is heated over 118 degrees to preserve the vitamins, minerals, and enzymes (taken from their website). This was by far the most interesting meal I have ever had.

We started with the cheese plate but it wasn't really a cheese plate... because there is no diary. It was created out of nuts. Now, I am not a lover of cheeses. I just don't get it... my palate has no taste for it. But I did like the "nut" cheese dish. The three flavors had a tangy taste to me but also sweet... I don't know, it just worked. Too bad all cheese plates aren't like this one!

Nut cheese... the way to go!

My main course was sweet corn and cashew tamales with chili spiced portabella. It was definitley different. It looked really good when it was presented before me. I was quite excited... the first bite was a little suprising. It was cold. I guess it didn't really register that it wouldn't be warm. That was pretty hard to get use to... it just didn't sit right with me. Wasn't my favorite...

It was pretty... wish it tasted better

We finished up by splitting sundaes. But, like I said before it's not your typical sundaes. No dairy. I'm still not sure how they created it but it was simply heaven. I had no idea all the ingredients we were eating but I knew it tasted amazing!

Overall, a great experience. Not sure it's necessarily my thing but it is always great to get out a try something new and I experienced it with some great girls!

Next we headed over to Sullivan Hall to listen to MBA Jam. Jen's finance, Joel, plays in the band. I met up with Nick at the bar and hung out until they went on stage.

The girls!

It was packed! I mean there were so many people that we were shoulder to shoulder. It was craziness and it only got crazier when MBA Jam went on stage. They were amazing! They played a lot of 90's and 80's music. We stayed until they took a break and then headed home... it was 12:30am and I had work in the morning.

MBA Jam!

We headed out to catch a cab and came across this couple who were in an intense argument. I think they were on something. They were really yelling at one another and the woman was starting to get even more irate. As we were coming up to them she punched him! In the face! And right before we were going to pass him she threw her burrito at him which sent food flying everywhere. I looked at Nick and realized some of the food hit his shoulder and left a mark... I think it was sour cream. It was too funny! We just looked at each other and started laughing. We are hardly ever out this late and I guess this is what you can expect on the streets of NYC late at night!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Weekend + Monday

This past weekend was a pretty quiet one. After our trip to Philly last weekend and a really busy work week all we wanted to do was relax!

After work on Friday I decided to do all those necessary but ohsoboring household chores. I headed to our local grocery store and stocked up for the week. After that fun adventure I came home and did laundry and cleaned. I know... what a eventful Friday night! The rest of the night Nick and I watched some TV and movies.

Saturday I met up with Amber and Jennifer on the UWS to see The Help. It really was quite good. The movie followed the book pretty well... which I always like. I also have to say there were a couple scenes that really had me teary-eyed. Definitely recommend it to anyone who hasn't seen it!

After the movie I headed to the dentist to fix a whole in my tooth. So much fun... not! I treated myself afterwords to a little shopping for some fall/winter clothes. According to Nick I had success! I only came home with three bags... that's not bad. It could have been a lot worse! Later that night we went to Luke's Lobster for dinner and had some yummy yogurt for desert!

Sunday was not just any other Sunday. It was the ten year anniversary of September 11th. I still remember what I was doing 10 years ago when I heard the first plane had hit. I had just walked into my high school - a few weeks into my senior year. It was all anyone could talk about... "did you hear?" I went to my first class and my teacher had the television on. Everyone's eyes were glued to what was unfolding before us. It was devastating and heart wrenching to watch.

We weren't able to watch for too long because the high school had received a bomb threat. All the students were escorted outside to the stadium while the bomb squad went over every inch of the school. I guess they weren't going to take any chances on a day like that. I don't even think we ended up going back into the school... we were out there for hours and by the time the all clear was given it was time to go home.

Being in the city 10 years after it happened is a unique feeling. I didn't live through that horrendous day but it is still with me like it is with everyone. The city had some terror threats for that weekend and you start to wonder... could they really attack us again? And on this date? You can only imagine the kind of security we had... increased officers, check points, etc. Nick and I watched some of the 9/11 Anniversary coverage and I found the hardest part was watching the families. To see the loss that they have suffered was heartbreaking. It's not a day that anyone will ever forget.

Sunday was also the opening of NFL football so we watched some games. The Cowboy's were the night game... good ole' Cowboys. It was looking so good and then they blew it! I really hope it's not a repeat of last season!

Yesterday was a CRAZY at work. And I mean crazy! It was just constant... I don't think I sat down at all. Luckliy I had plans later in the evening. Jenienne had been given personal cooking lessons from her husband, Mike. She invited myself and her two other friends Annie and Jamie.

Jenienne and Chef Rob

Chef Rob taught us how to make ribs, chicken wings, steak, salmon, pasta sauce, stuffed bell peppers and all sorts of yummy stuff! We drank some wine and learned the basics of cooking. It was fairly easy... I think I might be able to even re-create it.

Chicken Wings and Ribs! Yummy!

Chef Rob was.... well, he was an interesting guy. Highly passionate! He was a little "preachy" in regards to why our food is "killing" us. All the chemicals and antibodies and so forth. Which I definitely believe in learning about that but it came across too strong. It made it sound like his way of thinking was the only right way to think. And I'm not a fan of that.

Overall though... great night! And now Nick is expecting me to make everything I learned to cook! Hah!

Monday, September 5, 2011

The City of Brotherly Love

Nick and I took an overnight trip to Philadelphia for the long Labor Day weekend. We wanted to get out of the city for a little bit. Philadelphia is only an hour and a half train ride from the city so it made for a great overnight trip.

We arrived Saturday morning at 10:30. We went straight to our hotel... luckily they had a room ready. So we dropped our bags off and headed out into the city. We had booked a walking tour that showed us the majority of the historical sites in just over an hour. Since we were only there for such a short period of time we figured it was the best way to see the sites.

Our tour guide was really great and super knowledgeable about everything. I learned quite a bit or I re-learned what I was taught in school! For example, I didn't know or forgot Philadelphia was the capitol of the U.S. before Washington, D.C., I learned that the Liberty Bell is not the original bell - it's actually the third bell made, I learned about where the concept of "I'm American" came from, and all sorts of other interesting facts.

The tour was really fascinating... we thoroughly enjoyed it. I'll show some of the pictures we took and include some information about what our tour guide told us:

In front of the Declaration house.. where the Constitution was signed! The house was a replica. The original house was destroyed.

There was a sidewalk called "The Signers" It had plaques of all the men who signed the Decleration of Independence. Apparently a few years ago someone stole John Hancock's face. They haven't replaced it yet.

Nick in front of Washington's statue

Original brick - 200+ years old. The black checkered pattern is known as the colonial style.

Benjamin Franklin's grave. You throw a penny on the grave and it's supposed to bring you luck. Franklin famously said "a penny saved is a penny earned".

Nick and I at Elfreth's Alley.. this area dates back to the 18th century and is one of the oldest continuously inhabited residential street.

After our tour we decided we had to try a Philly cheesesteak. It's a must in Philly. We went to a placed called Jim's Steak on South Street. By the time we walked there it was about 2pm and we were starving. We were not prepared for the line that greeted us. It was around the block! But, Nick said we had to do it. I was seriously considering the nice Mexican restaurant across the street. But secretly I wanted to try a cheesesteak too! So we waited. It's like a well oiled machine... sandwich after sandwich. About the time we ordered we had waited for 50 minutes. I kept thinking this better be worth it! And it was! We ordered one with provolone cheese and one with cheese whiz. They were both good but I think we both decided the cheese whiz was the best! Another thing to mark off the bucket list.

The very long line!


After lunch we grabbed a cab and headed to Eastern State Penitentiary. When I initially told Nick about this he wasn't too thrilled. I knew about it because of all the haunted places TV shows I've seen. A lot of shows have visited because it's apparently haunted. But that's not the only reason I wanted to go... it has a lot of history. It opened in 1829 and was the worlds first "true" penitentiary.

We were given self guided headsets and the guy who spoke on the audio was Steve Buscemi. Pretty fitting. It really was fascinating. Years and years of history in the place. It had a eerie sort of feeling in certain places. It was pretty dilapidated. Here are some of the pictures we took with some interesting facts:

Inside the grounds

Typical cell

Hospital Wing

On the second level

I joked with Nick that we had a "spirit" enter this picture - see the black shadow at the bottom left corner.... you never know!

Al Capone's Cell

Once we finished we headed to Rittenhouse square and relaxed while eating gelato! Much deserved after a lot of walking. We headed back to the hotel to get ready for the night. We headed to a bar to have some drinks before our dinner reservations at Amada. Amada is a tapas bar and apparently is pretty popular.

We had reservations at 8:45... now, I believe when you have dinner reservations you should be seated shortly to that time. 5-10 minutes after the reservation time is acceptable but after that I start to get a little frustrated. Nick, however, believes with such a popular restaurant it's expected to be like that. I did not agree... I wanted him to go check but he didn't want to "annoy" the hostess. We were seated about 20 minutes after our reservation. We were sat in a really cool area but the only negative was we were right by a vent and it was actually pretty cold. We asked for another table but they didn't have anything and we didn't want to wait for one to open up. We were pretty hungry. We got off to a rough start but the food was amazing!

We had garlic shrimp, a cheese-cherry dish, ham croquettes, shrimp flat-bread, steak flat-bread, and this chichen-broiled egg dish that was literally to die for. I mean amazing... I absolutely love the idea of tapas. Small portions of all different kinds of food! It was so good I forgot to get the camera out!

Needless to say once we returned to the hotel we passed out! It was a long and fantastic day!

The next day we saw the Liberty Bell up close and walked a long the water and saw some really cool ships. We had a nice brunch and then headed to the train station to make our way back home.

Liberty Bell (which is actually the 3rd bell - the first and second were melted down after they broke to create this one)

Nick in front of a torpedo!

Such a great trip! We loved the City of Brotherly Love!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Last Weekend

I've been a little busy so I haven't been able to post about our prior weekend!

Thursday night was the annual Partner's Club wine event. It's an event held for the incoming students and their significant others. Nick and I went last year and had a really good time. It was interesting going back as "second years." I can remember exactly what it felt like to be in their position one year ago. We mainly stayed towards the back with a couple of our friends and talked.

After the event a group of us went to dinner at Keste - a new pizza place in the West Village. It was packed! We were told the wait time would be 30 minutes but it ended up being closer to 50 minutes. We finally sat down and the manager/hostess sent over some free appetizer. We were very thankful for that. It was 9pm and we were starving. Luckily pizza doesn't take too long to cook. I ordered the Margherita pizza... so good! Reminds me of being back in Italy!

We had just finished paying our bill and were getting ready to leave when this rather old, Italian guy came out to our table and said,"Excuse me, my friends have been waiting a long time for you to leave this table." To say that we all were surprised by this is an understatement! I mean, really! Who does that? The waiter overheard and stepped in (in Italian). I'm guessing he was telling him to back off. It was crazy! Needless to say we left right after that.

Friday night I surprised Nick with dinner reservations. We have been trying to get into this place called La Esquina forever! It's one of the top restaurants in NYC and it's so difficult to get into. You pretty much have to know someone to get in... it's one of those hip NYC places. Well I just wasn't able to do it on my own. Krystle, co-worker and friend, got me in! So shout out to Krystle!

It's a Mexican restaurant (now you see why Nick and I wanted to go so bad!) that sits on the corner down in the SoHo area. The restuarant is below ground but above it is their more casual restaurant called The Corner. You would never know La Esquina sits below it! We walked up to a guy holding a sheet of paper. We gave our name and he checked his list. Once we were verified he spoke into his ear piece and opened this unmarked door behind him. Yeah... crazy!

We walked downstairs and were just blown away! It had a very Mexican/Gothic feel to it. I loved it! Bars and skulls and candlelight. It was amazing! We ordered a margarita at the bar and waited for our table to be ready. They are known for their margaritas and let me just say it was so good. Probably one of the best I have ever had! The food was amazing too. We started with the tinga de polla - chicken tostados with avacado and chipotle and bistec - grilled streak taquitos. Amazing! Our main courses were carne asada for Nick and I had the camarones a la plancha. So good... unbelievably good. We didn't order desert and I have to say that it was my fault. The margarita hit me pretty hard and I didn't think I could take any more food. Nick loved it! We had a great evening... I would definitely recommend the restaurant. That is if you can get in!

The next two days were pretty quiet. We were suppose to get hit with Hurricane Irene but that turned out to be a bust! Well, at least for Manhattan. We really didn't see the rain or wind that they were expecting. There was a small amount of flooding down in Battery Park but that was about it. Nick and I just basically hung out at the apartment... read, watched TV/movies, etc. It ended up being pretty nice to just stay home and relax though!