restaurants

Pause.

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Happy Friday! Hope you’re looking forward to a wonderful weekend ahead. Can you believe we’re already getting into mid-February?

I just want to hit the “pause” button and go back to one of my New Years resolutions for 2014, which was to catch up with friends over drinks or a meal at least once a month. So far I’m really happy that I’ve done well with that one—I feel like I’ve been making up for lost time, even.

spring natural kitchen stir fryLast night, I enjoyed a delicious meal with a friend from grad school at Spring Natural Kitchen on the Upper West Side—everything was perfect: the food, the wine, the ambiance. I already can’t wait to go back. I highly recommend the stir-fry. Ginger-tamari anything is pretty much always a great idea.

What  are you looking forward to this weekend? Any good restaurant meals lately? 

I’ll Have What They’re Having

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I remember when I was in college and kind of going out with this guy who suggested we watch When Harry Met Sally one night. It was a big moment for me, in the manner of, “Oh, I don’t have to hide the fact that I love this movie?” As I would later learn, it’s basically one of the only romantic comedies that both men and women seem to freely cop to enjoying. Maybe it’s so funny because so much of it is true!

Anyway, lots of bloggers have been sharing this video of the recent recreation of the famous “Orgasm Scene” in Katz’s Deli. I particularly dug the recap on Cup of Jo. You can also watch the video here:

Have you seen When Harry Met Sally? If you have…What do you think—can men and women really ever be friends? 

Mercer Kitchen

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Despite being sick all weekend, I did manage to pull myself together to go have lunch with my mom and sister downtown on Saturday. We’d been planning it for weeks, and fortunately, by the time Saturday morning rolled around, my immune system was amenable to my leaving the house.

I’m going to be totally honest and admit that it takes a lot to get me down to Soho on a Saturday (or anytime, really), when  it’s teeming with a maddening combination of tourists and well-dressed hangover monsters who will walk right the f*** into you.

Mercer Kitchen SalmonThat said, there are some damn-good restaurants in Soho, so when my mom suggested Mercer Kitchen, I was totally game. Though I wouldn’t put it on my list of all-time favorites, I’ve enjoyed it every time I’ve been. The highlights this time was the yellow watermelon salad (with goat cheese instead of feta—nice!) and perfectly cooked salmon, which came in a cherry tomato vinaigrette over corn pudding. Oh, and a glass of prosecco, which seems to be my drink of the summer. The three of us had a really nice time. It’s so rare that the three of us can get our schedules to coordinate, so it was great to catch up a little.

What was the last restaurant meal you had? New Yorkers—do you know any places in Soho I should check out? 

What I Ate Wednesday #122

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Good morning and welcome to another What I Ate Wednesday. Any Firmoo giveaway winners who haven’t contacted me, you still have another few days to claim your prize!

Thank you as always to the lovely Jenn of Peas & Crayons for hosting the weekly link party. Take a visit to see more WIAW from other bloggers!

Last week was pretty weird, since I had off Monday because I was working Saturday, but luckily, I still managed to enjoy a nice weekend and recharge to take on the new week.

Friday night I had dinner with a lady-friend, and then Saturday after working and a nap, I enjoyed dinner and a movie (The Conjuring wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be, though I fully admit to keeping my head down through a lot of it). Sunday was pretty mellow and productive: a day in which I both enjoy a sunny walk in the park and get a bunch of cleaning, cooking, and errands done is pretty sweet in my book.

Here’s some of what I ate over the weekend:

  • Breakfast: Saturday I enjoyed the usual desk breakfast of zucchini bread oats with coconut-PB spread; Sunday I never got around to breakfast (rare but almost always for good reasons)
  • Lunch: While working Saturday, I enjoyed some unpictured cherry tomatoes; another mini-frittata served over leftover garlicky bitter greens and a mix of broccoli & cauliflower that needed to get used; lunch “dessert” was a single-serving bag of kettle corn popchips. I’m glad I finally tried them, but I don’t know if I’d go out of my way to buy them again—I’m not really a chip-eater.
  • Snacks: Saturday afternoon I enjoyed some Greek yogurt with PB2, fruit, and a little cereal after a disco nap. Freaking glorious.
  • Dinner: Friday night I enjoyed a skirt steak with arugula and a spicy tomato sauce at an awesome Tuscan restaurant; Saturday night involved fried calamari and a delicious ahi tuna salad at The Smith. And prosecco.
  • Dessert/Snack: Greek fro-yo with roasted figs is in the rotation again—so lovely.

What was the best thing you ate this weekend? 

Pretend Vacation

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After a weekend in Newport at the Folk Festival, I felt really lucky to have this Monday off, even if it’s because I’m working Saturday.

My parents also happened to be free today, and they invited me along to see the new Woody Allen movie, Blue Jasmine, and join them for a late lunch. I had a lot of things to catch up (laundry, food prep for the week, freelance stuff, etc), but I’ve learned that it’s important to take time off to do fun things too, especially when it involves friends and family. It’s like being on pretend vacation, and I feel like it makes me more productive when I get back to work because my brain and body think I did something cool, even if I only walked a few blocks.

Smith wine glassThough I can’t say the movie was a feel-good flick, I kind of like it when Allen gets a little dark, and I got a lot out of the film. Afterwards, we ended up at The Smith, an Upper West Side spot I’ve been meaning to try for a while, and my folks were game to try something new.

My dad ordered a grilled chicken sandwich that looked great, while my mom and I both went for white wine and  delicious lobster salad that had frisee, zucchini, cabbage, carrot, avocado and a buttermilk vinaigrette. It was more indulgent than I’d normally go for lunch, but it was a nice treat. Between that and the lobster roll I enjoyed Saturday, I think my craving is satisfied for a while.  Smith Lobster Salad

It’s back to the grind tomorrow, but I’m thankful for the mini-break I was able to enjoy the past few days. Hope your week is getting off to a good start!

Seen any good movies lately? Are you a fan of mini/pretend vacations? 

Do’s & Don’ts of Brunch

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IMG_2117I go through phases sometimes where I feel the need to take breaks from social media because whenever I log onto Facebook it seems like everyone is going on more vacations, having more sex (or so I—probably wrongly—assume from status updates about saccharine couple-y things), and eating more brunch than me.

But then I go through phases where I’m too busy eating brunch and having sex and (pretending I’m) on vacation to care. The pendulum swings one way and then the other and then the other…or however the saying goes.

Though I’m in between these two modes right now (aka Facebook doesn’t bother me that much but I still have time for it), I appreciated this Glamour magazine Do’s & Don’ts of Eating Brunch. As an early riser, “brunch” is usually straight-up lunch for me, but calling it brunch makes me feel like I’m living that Big-City Life or something. 17-year-old me would think my 27-year-old self was super-lame for waking up so damn early on weekends, but hey, DNA.

A few of my personal brunch Do’s & Don’t’s:

  • Water before coffee. Coffee before booze, especially if you order drinks before deciding what to eat—it’s easier to make good decisions  (food-related and otherwise) when your head is clear.  Whether I order alcohol depends on whether I have anything in my stomach and what else I have to do that day.  I usually skip the mimosa (the OJ is way too sweet) in favor of plain sparkling wine or a bellini—peach puree and champagne are lovely together. A bloody mary can be a good choice too, as long as you keep in mind that you’re likely getting a lot of sodium in there.
  • Eat for energy—I usually choose my meal based on what I think will help me feel energized and ready to take on the rest of the day. I’m an easy sell when it comes to anything with poached eggs and veggies. Bonus points for avocado. I also try to go for things that involve mixed greens as a side. A mix of carbs, protein, and healthy fat helps keep me satisfied. 
  • If you’re craving bacon, order bacon. If you don’t, you’re just going to be thinking about it all day/week/whatever. Ignoring a craving sets up up for feeling deprived and overdoing it later.

Is it “brunch” or “lunch” for you? What do you usually order? 

Boulud Sud

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As I mentioned  yesterday, May is a big month. My mom is super-busy, so when she suggested we go out to celebrate, I set aside a night to have dinner and catch up. Though my family has plenty of favorite restaurants, it’s fun to try new places, so my mom made a reservation at Boulud Sud on the Upper West Side. It was such a nice treat!

I have no idea what our server’s name was, but he was so awesome about recommending tree-nut free dishes (and offering to prep a few things without them) and convincing us to split a bottle of rose wine. The whole meal was excellent—the perfect celebratory mother-daughter dinner.

To start, we shared these sea urchin and crab tartines. Then we each had a gorgeous salad with artichoke puree, fennel, and celery—so freaking good! For our entree, we both got the grilled loup de mer and shared some charred broccoli rabe and roasted cauliflower. Everything had this subtle lemon flavor going on that was out of this world.

In the past few months, I’ve noticed that sometimes I actually really like having cheese for dessert instead of something sweet. Funny how your palate changes over time. In either case, though I can’t remember which cheeses we got, they were both outstanding.

What was your last restaurant meal?