Monday, January 30, 2012

The In-betweens

One of my favorite parts of New York is the in-between times. When I am going to meet a friend for dinner, seeing a show, or wasting time until the rest of the world gets off work, I am a brat because I usually get out at 3:45 J, these are the in-between times. During these times, I like to explore my favorite haunts or see a new neighborhood. Last week I just walked through the shops at Grand Central for a good hour. I visited Papyrus, my favorite bookstore, the beautiful food market there, sampled an olive at Murray’s Cheese, treated myself to a raspberry macaroon at Financier, took a gander at the new Apple store, and then hopped on the subway. Another day I went to a movie in a new part of Astoria, and stumbled upon a Panera, which just sent my little suburban heart soaring. Sometimes I will float into the Loft or walk through Bryant Park (not lately however, brrr). These little blips of free time are not always common but always appreciated. Life can be busy and I know that they are a rarity and a luxury. I am thankful for these times and this vast city to waste them in.

“The best way to pay for a lovely moment is to enjoy it.” –Richard Bach

Monday, January 23, 2012

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

This past week I listened to "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" by Jonathan Safran Foer. I also read "Eating Animals," a non-fiction book about the treatment of factory farmed animals, by Foer earlier this year. Its hard to believe that he wrote both of those books which I suppose speaks volumes about his scope of talent. Anyway, the book is extremely incredible. Although it's sad, it's also a great mystery and story of a little boy searching to keep his Dad's memory alive. The book also gives a unique perspective from the side of the child about what it must have felt like to lose someone, the worst being a parent, to 9/11.
On Friday night, I saw the movie. It was definitely a tear jerker, but a pretty good adaption of this somewhat involved story. I cried, but I should have cried. Seeing how this beautiful city was once in a state of complete chaos and has now, for the most part, returned to normal was a credit to the strength of New Yorkers.
Finally, my favorite part of this whole book/movie experience of the last week was NYC. The story takes place mostly on the Upper West Side. Sure, plenty of movies take place in New York City, but this one took place in my neighborhood. It's so special to hear and see places in a movie that you have actually been to and pass all the time. In one scene of the movie, Oscar is laying down on the subway cars, and the hew of the tragically bright orange and yellow seats, that I do literally see everyday, gives you this kind of connection that one doesn't usually receive in a movie. It's hard to explain, but just imagine that you were watching a movie that took place in the ____ spot in ____ that you just passed yesterday on the way to ____. It's such a unique experience to me.
So, in conclusion, see the movie and/or read the book. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. :)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Food Tourin'

Last weekend, my boyfriend and I ventured out into a chilly January Saturday for a New York City food and culture tour. I had given him this tour of Chinatown and Little Italy for Christmas because we have a friend that does them, and Pat loves dumplings so much. I personally avoid Canal Street like the plague as I don't have many knockoff purse needs and it's pretty crazy crowded all the time. In addition to Canal Street, I don't explore either of these neighborhoods nearly enough. So, we bundled up and faced the 18 degree day with high hopes and hunger pangs.
We began our journey in Little Italy where you can just imagine how this neighborhood must have once been buzzing with activity and little Italian women scurrying around buying cannoli and prosciutto. We sampled some of those very things, along with a mozzarella so fresh you just let it melt in your mouth. Our wonderful guide, Alana, gave us great recommendations of how to navigate through some of the "basic red sauce" spots to the really good ones. A rule of thumb for New York dining is if it's been there for fifty or more years, in a city that is constantly changing, it's got to be good.
Next we headed to Chinatown. It's a very mysterious spot in the city to me. They are interesting fruits and vegetables and whole fish sitting in ice. I get a little sketched out by the ducks in the window, as pictured below, but they do make a mean dumpling in Chinatown. We sampled some of those dumplings, delicious Thai food, and a cupcake, of all things, with lychee. Mmmm! The food is delicious and couldn't be more authentic.
I learned so much on this tour, and had a ball eating my way through it. I picked up some Jasmine tea and Chinese candy for the way home. I will think back to that fun day as I sip it until the warm spring arrives again.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Nope, this does not stand for my beloved peanut butter this time, but a new bakery that I learned about called Paris-Baguette. One of my first grader's parents used to work as a specialty food buyer for Williams Sonoma in France, AKA my dream job. Anyway, she told me about this great little bakery in Koreatown. So, I speed walked over there on my lunch break today and fell in love.
Beautiful cases of crossaints, fruit tarts, sugar doughnuts, cream filled breads, pain au chocolate, and decadent cakes smiled up at me as I walked through the narrow store. When you arrive, you get a beautiful wooden tray with wax paper and your very own tongs with which to reach in and pluck out your desires. I had the best feuilletee chocolate, a twisted chocolate croissant, in the world. It was crunchy, yet soft, buttery, but not greasy, and best of all sweet, and a touch salty. Pretty much my ideal food. I also bought some baguetes for a dinner party tonight and a white bread called, Milk Bread. The name alone says enough for me there.
It was just a lovely afternoon experience. If you are ever in the city, please visit! Ít's a thing of beauty. On 32nd Street between 5th Ave & Broadway!
In other news, I had a wonderful Christmas and took a cruise to the Carribean with my family! We made lots of memories and I may blog about it soon. I just felt inspired by this spot today! Happy New Year! Hoping to tell you about many New York treasures in 2012!