Wednesday, June 29, 2011

It Started at Buvette

Back in May we had one of the loveliest dinners I can remember.  It was a spring night, we wanted to try something new, so picked a restaurant from our Yelp bookmarks...and walked to the West Village.  We landed at Buvette.  There was a line, but not too long. Inside it was cute and charming.  Very welcoming, a place you'd come with friends.  

Our French waiter guided us through some cheese selections (a hard, a soft, something in between) and a few other smaller plates.  Honestly, every single bite was tasty.  There was just the right amount of food, not too much.  I loved the duck confit that arrived in a little jar.

Our waiter chatted with us a bit, told us we'd love Paris.  He's been all over, recently new to New York.  What was nice is that he never once made us feel rushed. It was like I was in a friend's house.  He did share the the woman behind the restaurant thought very carefully about every detail of the layout.  She did a good job, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Getting to the wine, though...

At Buvette, a quick pic so I can remember the name
We're both fond of the rose, especially in summer, so opted for a bottle of the French Whispering Angel.  I'll admit, I didn't love the name, but I did love the wine.  It was good to the very last drop.  Our waiter looked at the color before he poured and said it was going to be good (now, who knows if he really knew anything, but it certainly sold me).

So good in fact, that we sought it out after.  Mark found it near Grammercy and we bought a bottle to La Follia (great Italian).  I found it at Sherry-Lehmann near the office.  When we were in Chelsea Market and saw it again...we decided we might need to own a case.  

I told Mark that it is a wine you enjoy the entire way through.  Some wines I get tired with and by the end of the bottle, I'm sort of glad it's the end.  Not my Whispering Angel.  We'll be enjoying a nice chilled glass, or many glasses, all summer.

Whispering Angel at Home

Sunday, June 26, 2011

To me, June is strawberry month.  And strawberry shortcake.  I remember as a kid, going to pick strawberries with my mom and sister.  And we'd eat lots of them.  And have strawberry shortcake.  My mom made it with bisquick biscuits and cool whip.  Super easy.  I think I might have to make some soon.

These are from the farmer's market.  For shortcake, I can live with using Driscoll's from California (because if it's not Driscoll's we can't have it in the house, per M).  But I bet these are good.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Saturday.  Saturdays now mean 7 am brick workouts at Riverside Park.  Honestly, I like it.  I like the team training, I like to see everyone else out there, I like the tips from coaches along the way, and I like pushing myself. Four miles running and about 25 on the bike, not so bad.  And a bunch of hills mixed in.  Oh, and they made us do all these core exercises at the end.  I wish I had the picture of me in my snazzy Team in Training shorts and singlet.  Next week.

But I also like to enjoy good food after some tri training.

This week we headed east towards Alphabet City, with the goal to try something new.  I have this Food Network Guide to Summer Dining a colleague sent when we walked by one of the falafel places in there, Cafe Rakka, I threw that out as an option.  I'll admit, that guide is interesting, there are some places in there I would definitely disagree with and it tends towards commercial or larger names.

I'm not lying when I say I felt like I was in a little place in Cairo. The music, the decor, the back kitchen.  Our falafels were handmade to order.  And crispy on the outside.  I took everything on it.  It was pretty good and you couldn't beat the price.  It's a little different than Taim, which is Israeli, and comes with some sort of salad mix inside.  The pita is a little thinner here.  Delicious, though.  But I think my go-to is still Taim in the West Village. Check out my April 2010 post for more details.

And as I have a sweet tooth the size of Texas. I couldn't resist Butter Lane when we walked by.  This was also in the guide.  I've made it known that cupcakes are hit or miss with me.  They can be really pretty and very dry.   They can be too big with too much going on (um, Crumbs?).  These were very moist, just the right size. And the cream cheese frosting won me over.  I wasn't smiling in this shot, but I was certainly a happy girl.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Best Frozen Yogurt (is it too early to claim this?)

Every Friday I have a lunch appointment.  On my calendar it says 40 CAR GO (a little play on a company ticker, if you are familiar with a Terminal, you'll understand. Oddly, Blogger won't let me put the < > around the GO).  My next door neighbor and I have been to Forty Carrots at Bloomingdale's twice now to sample what I think could be the best frozen yogurt in New York. 

Ok, I need to try other places, I know.  But they keep disappearing:  Red Mango, 16 Handles.  Flavaboom just opened an outlet, but it could be gone soon, too.  Remember the days when TCBY was everywhere?  I never see those anymore.

Yes, I've written about it before (see my March Post).  But I didn't really try it then.  And now I've had it.  The coffee with chocolate, the coffee with plain....maybe plain and peanut butter on Friday.  

You know what it is?  It's just plain creamy, with a healthy serving for the right price.  Pinkberry seems overpriced now.  My cup below is $4.50 if you are curious.  

And while I've always been so so on the tangy thing, this one is tangy AND creamy.  So it's perfect.  

Look at this yummy treat.  And then look at what some tourist got.  Talk about yogurt and fruit. I had to take a picture it was so funny to see.

And just so you can see how much I enjoyed it, this is me digging in back in the office.  Forty Carrots is connected to a little lunch spot on the 7th floor.  Definitely a ladies who lunch crowd.   Me, I need to head back to the office...

I will admit, I will always have a soft spot in my heart for Arch's in Charlottesville.  They had super low cal flavors and something called the Archer with all kinds of mix ins.  Oh, how I loved those in business school.  But I can't get there as quickly, so until my next Charlottesville trip, I fondly remember those afternoons with the girls.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

I Love Stephen

I love Stephen Colbert.  Ok, and I also really like the real Stephen Colbert.  I'd love to be invited to his house in CT (I think that's where he lives) for a BBQ sometime.  And I love the show.  So when my coworker got the ticket release day from a twitter feed, I sent that info to my fellow Colbert lover, and he got us 4 tickets to the show.  We were joined by Dan & Dan, also Stewart and Colbert fans.  

We started the wait around 5 and were let in around 6:45.  You aren't guaranteed a seat, thus the reason to show up early in line.  But you are on a list and you can go stand with your friends when you arrive.  A comedian warmed up the audience, and then Stephen answers questions as himself.  Dan got to ask one, something about who he models himself after seeing that the far right from 5 years ago is not so far right anymore.  He said it was originally O'Reilly, Anderson Cooper (because he's like a bright shiny penny) and someone else.  

I'm not always a big fan of the musical guests, but it was Bon Iver (of Skinny Love).  He was actually pretty good for Q&A with Stephen, and then he sang something off his new album.  Then Skinny Love for the website.  Yes, I know I'm the target for that song, the other 3 guys with me just didn't appreciate it as much.  There were a few retakes, which was interesting to watch.

Our episode:

We are waaaay up in the back in the top row about 2/3 the way over from the left.

Then we were done and went over to the Pony Bar on 10th Ave for a beer.  This is a great spot for a beer.  Lots of really interesting beers on tap. The list changes daily.  Everything is $5 and the food is pretty good too. Just a little far west if you happen to live in Brooklyn or Astoria.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Doughnut Plant: Blueberry

I couldn't pass this up this morning.  We were on our way to Lavazza at Eataly (some of my favorite coffee, I'll admit).  And Doughnut Plant was calling me, especially with new flavors on the board out front.  I couldn't resist the Blueberry yeast donut, covered in a fresh blueberry glaze.  And it tasted SO incredibly fresh.  I've been stocking up on the $2 pints at the fruit stands, I can't get enough so this was totally in my wheelhouse. 

It also came in the cake version, but the yeast doughnut and I have become best friends at Doughnut Plant.  I was never ever a yeast doughnut girl in the past.  The lavender doughnut was a close 2nd, just because I was so curious.  Maybe next week.

Made my day, and gave me just the energy I needed for the 22 mile bike ride in central park.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Kava for Coffee

Kava is Croatian for Cafe.  

Kava opened up just south of the Meatpacking and High Line entrance a few months ago.  With some really nice espresso makers and a cute spot, it was always on our list to come back to.  So on our walk to Hester last week, we stopped in to the Washington Street location.  I didn't need a coffee, but it was a great excuse to check out the space (and the garden!).
There is a nice warm glow to the shop.  It was hard to capture in pictures.  Roman & Williams designed the interior.  This is the same group behind the Ace Hotel and the Standard Hotel.  The owner, John Saric, is a partner at the Ace and lives right around the corner.
The espresso machines here are pretty high tech.  They have the next-generation Strada machines built by Marzocco.  Apparently, there are only 3 in all the NYC boroughs, and 2 are here.  The other is at the Whitney.  They use Stumptown beans (Stumptown is also at the Ace, another great coffee shop).  I just had a regular coffee which was ok...not like my Joe, maybe a little weak.  I really think I need to have one of the lattes, so will be back.  The space won me over.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The High Line: North to 30th Street is Open!

Ever since The High Line opened 2 years ago this month, I've been eagerly awaiting the day the segment from 20th Street north to 30th Street was going to open. And this was the week.  More to come as we only explored it quickly (on the way to ice cream sandwiches @ Melt).  But since the northern end is literally in my back yard, I'll be back.

This is where the new segment ends and the "spur" circles back. I believe the city got the rights to this so will save it.  The large building on the right is one  of the postal facilities.  And to the left off the picture is where NJT and Amtrak head into Manhattan.

This is just such a great example of taking an unused space and making something really cool.  Granted, it took a lot of high profile, wealthy individuals to make it happen.  There are always a ton of tourists walking along the elevated park, stopping at large benches for lounging, taking in the view of the Hudson, looking at the neighborhood from a new perspective.  Apparently, there hasn't been even one issue with crime.  Nothing.  

Here's a stretch of bench an grass for relaxing (and more new construction).
It's been a great success for the Chelsea area.  And I would have to think this new section that ends at what is going to be the Hudson Yards area will do wonders for the area.  Related is the developer behind the location, the same ones behind the Time Warner Center.  Honestly, 20 years ago, no one would have gone to this area (I heard it was all drugs and prostitutes).  But now, with wine bars down the street, million dollar condos,  and Tom Colicchio's beer garden at the base of The High Line, it's a destination.  Oh, and did I mention that food trucks will be parked here all summer to greet the tourists?  Easy access to some of my favorite truck items.  There are still quite a few night clubs and auto body shops to give it character.  But with the new apartments going up, I wonder how long some will last.  

Two new buildings right on The High Line.  The one on the left is around 25th Street.  This is the new apartment building built right up against the High Line on 23rd Street (on the right).  A bit modern, lots of windows.

This is a peak at the Half King bar on 23rd as well.  It's one of those places I've walked by hundreds of times on my way to the gym.  Sebastian Junger is a part owner.  And an art installation that is actually a birdhouse.  The artist was there tending to it (also on 20th St)
I just liked this tree, I've never seen anything like it.  They do a great job of planting seasonal flowers and greenery, so it's always changing.
For a look back at the 1st section, check out my posts back in 2009.

And to give you a sense of what the space looked like before, this is a picture on a bilboard around 18th Street.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Melt Bakery: Melts in My Mouth

What happened to me?  It's nearly the middle of June and I haven't posted this month.  No great reason, just busy with work, enjoying the city and triathlon training.   But to kick things off again, going to talk about our little adventure today. 

It was a bit dreary today.  Too dreary for me to be excited about that 7:30 am Team in Training run for the Tri, but I got myself ready, biked up to Riverside Park....and finished a 9 mile run when all I thought we were doing was running the race course (6 miles).  I had no idea I had it in me, I'll be honest.  Especially since 3 miles on the treadmill last night was incredibly painful.

And the dreariness continued, but it was not going to stop us from walking over to the LES (Lower East Side) and checking out the Hester Street Fair.  With one very particular stop at Melt Bakery's outpost.  I've known they sell their goods here for awhile, but somehow never made it.  

Below is Kareem, one half of Melt (Julien came later).  I know Kareem from work (his other full time job during the day).  There were a few showers so we hung out under the tents, watched the customers come, talked about the business and flavor combinations.  A pretty good afternoon, despite the dreariness.  I even covered the stand while Kareem ran home for a minute. You can find Melt items on the Sweetery truck (whoopie pies!) and at Melt (the grilled cheese shop on the UES), and soon near the High Line (and lots of other places).

I went for The Elvis (peanut butter cookies and banana ice cream).  M went for the very popular Morticia (chocolate cookie rolled in turbinado sugar with chocolate rum ice cream).  And because we hung out for quite a bit and worked up an appetite, I had the opportunity to sample the Cinnamon Toast Crunch (snickerdoodle cookies and cinnamon ice cream).  Yum.
I told Julien there could be a Jill...some accompaniment to The Jack (pumpkin for October).  Maybe it's Candy Corn inspired.  Just thinking out loud here.

The storefront on Orchard is going to open soon.  I heard the peach inspired ice cream sandwich is delicious, we just need to wait for peaches to be in season.  I'll be back.

Melt is stationed at the Hester Street Fair.  If you've watched Bethenny on Bravo, you may know this from the episode where food blogger Nick took her for a food tasting.  Lots of little shops, things to eat, things to buy.  I bought Chai Caramel Sauce at another stand, so you'll be seeing a report out on that soon.

Melt Bakery (they'll ship to you if you aren't in NYC):


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