Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Here's What Happened...

We got married. But, first, we went on our honeymoon...and that is where we got engaged. We are very happy! More on that later.
This is Saigon (or HCMC), which was the first stop. The scooter traffic was overwhelming.

Friday, October 23, 2009

A Cold Weather Ode to Jimmy B

We took a short flight to Ft. Myers, Florida...and then a looong drive to Captiva Island, a lovely little spot in the Gulf of Mexico. It was beautiful and peaceful, and our pace slowed down for a few days. Sofi and I decorated a large fish with dollars on a day trip to Cabbage Key. The guidebooks claim that this Cabbage Key restaurant inspired Jimmy Buffett to pen "Cheeseburger in Paradise." I suppose that's possible, but we opted for seafood.

And another seafood lover is this guy. I got the feeling that he wasn't very happy to see my and my I walked swiftly away after snapping his lunch.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Possible new home???

J's dream is to renovate one of the gorgeous old brownstones in our Harlem neighborhood. I'm on his team, but never really thought he meant this...

But then I saw this...

And by the time we reached this room, I was reconsidering...

So we left, totally confused, and celebrated my dad's 67th at Zoma, the best Ethiopean restaurant I've ever known (mom + rachel in Zoma below)

And sang to him with treats from the Cupcake Cafe...

And ended the night on our balcony under the stars.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Sunny Sedona with my Honey

We took a long weekend trip to Sedona, Arizona. There were vortexes (vortexi?) everywhere.

I found the love cactus on our hike.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Minnesota with Cherries on Top

We spent a long weekend in Minnesota, unpacking (and then repacking) J's entire childhood in two days while his parents prepared for their big move. His mom taught me how to bake his favorite dessert from childhood...but I bet it won't taste the same when I make it (and it shouldn't, really...)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Home Sweet Home

We didn't know what to expect when we moved to Central Harlem two years ago. We bought our apartment because it had space and light, and we imagined that we could sprawl out there, and not need to move on for a while. We were moving from the Upper West Side, and the new neighborhood seemed to reflect our new apartment: there was space and light, and we a feeling that it was a place that we could grow with and into. And as it turns out, that feeling was right.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Perfect Day in Buenos Aires, No. 2

My second perfect day in Buenos Aires (and fully interchangeable with the first perfect day).

I would start the second day in San Telmo, especially if it happens to be a Sunday. On Sundays, the streets of San Telmo become a feria, with magicians, antiques and tango dancers all competing for attention. Stop for a cortado at Bar Dorado, or a big bowl of pasta at Bar Federal. If you have room left over, try a delicious ice cream at Dylan.

In the evening, head to Voulezbar in Palermo for a delicious meal in a lovely setting.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

My two perfect days in Buenos Aires

The dark forces of work stranded me alone in Buenos Aires for many more days then originally expected, but it turned into the perfect way to spend an early fall week in South America. I've boiled my favorites into two ideal days of wandering in lovely Buenos Aires...

Perfect Day #1

Try to wake up early to avoid the other tourists at Recoleta cemetary. It's a little creepy to be all alone in a cemetary where tombs the size of small houses tower above you, but it's worth it to be alone with the feral cats. Evita's tomb, piled with flowers, is on the left if you face inward through the main gate.

After the cemetary, pass through knick-knacks in the Recoleta feria and then its a simple decision -- empanadas or ice cream? It's an easy walk to Una Altra Volta (Avenida Santa Fe 1826 on the corner of Avenida Callao in Recoleta) for delicious helado, which was more like gelato. I tried a few flavors and chocolate amargo (a bitter, dark chocolate flavor) won my taste test, but I bet that you won't go wrong with any selection. If you are craving a more substantial meal, try La Cumana (Rodriguez Pena 1149 between Arenales and Santa Fe in Recoleta), for delicious empanadas and clay pots of locro (a thick stew with corn, beef and pumpkin).

In the afternoon, check out Palermo SoHo. Begin at Plaza Palermo Viejo or Plaza Cortazar, and then wander to the other -- the blocks are lined with boutiques and cafes. It's the perfect place to spend a lazy afternoon. If you are still hungry after an afternoon of empanadas and ice cream, try La Cabrera (5099 José Antonio Cabrera in Palermo Viejo), by far the best parilla that I visited in the city (and believe me, the parilla list was long). Ojo de bife and a delicious malbec...

Calle de los Suspiros

Indeed, I did sigh.
I spent a single day in solitude in Colonia, Uruguay. It is a quick boat trip from Buenos Aires, but it feels like you've entered another world. The leaves were changing, and I sat outside in the dwindling sun watching the clouds move over the Rio de la Plata.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Bao Noodles: Not So Wow

I went alone to Bao Noodles for lunch this afternoon because it is a beautiful afternoon in New York and I wanted to walk far from my office and trick myself into thinking that it was not a day the majority of which I would spend in front of a computer in a little windowless box.

The restaurant has a cool, old Manhattan bar feeling to it, with big wooden booths that might be old church pews, painted tin ceilings and a cracked tile floor. It's a small and cozy space, but it wasn't crowded at one o'clock on a week day afternoon. There's also a pretty bar with milk glass lights. It's a nice setting, and I was thinking "date night!", or "after work drinks!", or "more solitary lunches..."

But here comes the sad part: Bao falls from grace by way of the "service" of one very bad waiter. At first glance, he just seemed surly. I barely registered his nasty attitude when he slung a glass of lukewarm water (albeit in a very cool shaped Tiger beer glass) on the table in front of me. I started to dislike him when he tossed three pieces of the slightly sticky menu on my table like a frisbee, two pages of which skidded off the table and onto the floor while he kept walking past. When he came back to the table to take my order, he just glared down at me, silent. "Maybe he is having a very bad day," I thought, practicing my mother's advice that I should stop assuming everything is about me. "Maybe he had a terrible break-up last night, and I should be warm and kind to remind him that there are nice strangers in this world..." So, when he returned to the table with my salad, I gave him a big smile and a enthusiastic, "Thanks!"

Crickets. Silence. He walked away quickly.

The salad was weird. It was primarily composed of bean sprouts, which were dressed with an admittedly nice vinegarette on top of very large, uncut leafy greens. I felt like I was eating an entire plant with chopsticks. Halfway through my salad, a messy-haired wild-eyed man came out from the kitchen carrying an armful of surgical tubing. He looked around for a moment, then rushed out of the restaurant. I'm not sure what this has to do with anything, but it seemed worth mentioning.

Surlywaiter returned with my lemongrass chicken, droppped it in front of me in silence, avoiding my eyes. I started thinking, "Do I know him? Did I do something mean to him?" I watched him return to the bar, and then suddenly -- Surly's eyes lit up! A cute laid-off investment banker type appeared at the bar and received Surly's smiles, laughs and immediate service. He started drinking, and Surly actively mixed new and exotic drinks for cute laid of investment banker while continuing to actively ignore me and all of the other people in the restaurant, some of whom were flailing their arms in the air in an attempt to catch his eye for the check.

The lemongrass chicken was fine. The chicken was well cooked and not dry at all, but it was a bit salty. The portion was huge, I could only eat a quarter of it.

Mid-way through my entrée, more people came in and started heavily drinking at the bar. Surly liked these people, too, and he was a rainbow of smiles. When cute laid-off investment banker went to the bathroom, Surly used his alone time to drop off my check and the checks of everyone eating around me, seemingly without regard to where they were in the meals. It didn't matter to me, though. I was happy to cut this meal short.
Leaving the restaurant, I almost stepped on a dead rat on the sidewalk. I know this isn't the restaurant's fault, but I took it as an omen.

Space: lovely
Food: ok
Cost: $9.00 for salad and lemongrass chicken.
Service: nasty

391 2nd Ave
New York, NY 10010
(212) 725-7770

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Everything is blooming most recklessly; if it were voices instead of colors, there would be an unbelievable shrieking into the heart of the night.

- Rainer Maria Rilke

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

All of us are travelers lost,
our tickets arranged at a cost
unknown but beyond our means.
This odd itinerary of scenes- enigmatic, strange, unreal -leaves us unsure how to feel.
No postmortem journey is rife
with more mystery than life.
- Dean Koontz

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Ecuador, Redux

We spent New Years in Ecuador. On this trip, we spent a few days in lovely Quito (the views from the deck at Cafe Mosiaco are incredible!) then heading into the Amazon for hiking and birdwatching. Our affection for birdwatching was an unplanned surprise. The trip ended in Mindo, where we stayed at El Monte. El Monte is definitely, without a doubt, one of my favorite spots in the world. It is romantic and beautiful, and I would return in a heartbeat.
That is my fishing pole in the corner. Piranha fishing. Really.