Sunday, July 31, 2011

Smorgasburg: Tasting Brooklyn

It started with the Shorty Tang noodles at noon.   M said we had to go to Smorgasburg, we just had to go.  He went earlier July when I went to Ellington.  He raved about all the good things to eat, the view of Manhattan, being near the water in Brooklyn.  I love a good view, and I love to eat.

Smorgasburg is a weekly food court and market in Williamsburg, land of the hipster.   Over 100 vendors took over a vacant lot, in an extension of the Brooklyn Flea Market.  The place was popping by 1 pm and if you don't get there before a certain point in the afternoon, what you want might be gone.  Things aren't cheap, but they certainly are tasty.

So the Shorty Tang noodles.  Cold sesame noodles mixed on the spot to order.  Shorty Tang was a real person in Chinatown (of Hwa Yuan restaurant).  Tang died years ago, but his recipe has been picked up and carried on. And it's available here.

Next we moved on to the main course.  M was going to get the raved-about chorizo sandwich.  I was pulled in by the Country Boys tacos.  They looked authentic.  This vendor has won a Vendy and usually sets up shop at the ball fields in Red Hook.  A chicken and pork taco with everything was soon handed over.  On corn tortillas.  This was what really sold me, and if you've seen my Austin post you know I can't say no.

Delicious.  So delish, M had one and we didn't get to the chorizo.  You can see a little of Manhattan from our shady lunch spot.

The whole thing is great.  Lots of seating and great people watching.  I loved the Charlotte- Hornets-trucker-hat wearing tattoed-to-the-hilt, skinny-jean-wearing guy pushing his Maclaren.  Who says you have to stop being a hipster when the kids come?  

We didn't stop with the main dishes, but I'll save dessert for tomorrow.  Let me rephrase that.  DessertS because we couldn't have just one.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Ice Cream Sandwich Crackdown

Yesterday, I was checking my food blogs and saw a quick story about buy one get one ice cream sandwiches at the Sweetery Truck, to promote something for Visa.  And the picture in Midtown Lunch looked like a Melt Bakery ice cream sandwich (see my May Post to learn about Melt Bakery).  So I even put a note on my calendar to remember to run out if I had time this afternoon.  

Well, well, well.  Apparently, they just USED the picture of K's Melt Bakery Ice Cream sandwiches.  So I was tasked to learn more, since they would recognize K.  I felt like I was on Dateline, getting to the bottom of this. 

K breaks left down 53rd, I continue on to the truck.

There are only 2 kinds.   These aren't the Melt wrappers.  This is the thing, Sweetery carries Melt products, so what is with this new sandwich?  

I ask are there always these kinds.   I ask where else can I get them.  She's evasive.  And honestly, I can't remember what exactly I asked now, but it was along these lines.  I'm not sure I'm Dateline material quite yet.

We open up the wrappers.  I think one is salted caramel ice cream, the other is chocolate.  Watching the waist and knowing I had a hard run later, I didn't need to eat the entire thing.  But the cookie was a little soft.  I was told it was undercooked.  And when you freeze undercooked cookies, there is more moisture in them so they end up icy.  And they were very buttery.  I'm depending on the expert here at this point.   But the moisture thing is something I need to remember when I make ice cream sandwiches at the beach in August.
So don't go to the Sweetery Truck for this deal.  Go straight to Melt Bakery at the Hester Street Fair or on the High Line.  And tell K I said hello!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Summer Equals Salad

Another trip to the Farmer's Market.  This time we actually talked to Keegan and Liam (of our favorite stand).  Keegan recognized M, as they've talked about being a "grower" versus a "farmer".  We talked about marketing the vegetables.  Not surprisingly, big piles draw people in.   They did share the secret behind their big beautiful radishes and carrots.  It's the soil.  Apparently it's quite rare and is only in 3 places in the country.  It's a black soil that's very light.  So the vegetables can grow very big, versus vegetables in dense, more compact soil.  

Our salad was great.  Just tossed with a little olive oil and white balsamic.  With a classic baguette from Eataly.  And some nice rose wine.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Friday: Hot Hot Hot

It's hot here.  That's how I'll sum it up.  I'm not sure I realized what 103 felt like, but that sun is brutal and there is just no escape if you are walking somewhere.  Even with all the free snacks and drinks at the office (yes, I am appreciative), sometimes you just want a change, or to get out.  So McDonald's smoothies all around.  I opted for the ice cream cone.  As basic as it gets, but very tasty.

Goal today:  Keep Cool

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Double Rainbow

Happy Friday!  I forgot about this picture from last week.  It was a beautiful day and we were on our way home from the gym.  I noticed the Hudson looked a little rough from spin class, but our instructor had just commented on what a beautiful view it was with the sunset. So I didn't think much of the waves.  As soon as we were about to leave, it was a torrential down pour with rain pelting the side of the building.  

And then this double rainbow.  You need to look close.  The second is a little faint.  Right between the IAC building and the Jean Nouvel apartment building.  No, unfortunately, this is not where I live.  It makes me feel better when I think the people in there back right up to the female correctional facility (the brick building to the left).  See, it's not all that great.

What I wouldn't do for a nice down pour now.  Something to take away this humidity.  

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Collin's Creamery

Ice Cream, can it get any more summer than this?  Our last stop before we all headed home was Collin's Creamery where they make their own ice cream.  My parents go nearly every weekend, I didn't want to miss the trip.  I'd like to think my decision making skills about things like dinner and ice cream flavors has gotten better as I've gotten older.  

Alas, I couldn't decide so ended up with a scoop of coconut chocolate chip and a scoop of peppermint.  Not your typical ice cream paring.  But, yum.

We all took our ice cream out to the picnic table and enjoyed the peace and quiet.  Yup, those are cornfields behind me.  The Ellington area is rural, what can I say?

I couldn't have been happier.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Going Home, Always Good

When I think of summer, I think of corn on the cob.  Grilling.  Relaxing with family.  Ice cream and popcicles.  It's always good, especially when I get to spend a full weekend with my parents and sister.  Ellington is a small town, with a few newer additions since I was a kid running around the neighborhood (Big Y!).  But it's still Ellington, where they tell you to take an extra few ears of corn because this is the first harvest and they are a little small.  Oh, and where you can buy bunnies, apparently.  Not sure M. would have appreciated that little addition to the apartment.

My mom has bran muffins and coffee ready for my arrival.  We stand around the kitchen and catch up, words and updates flying back and forth.  Then it's off for some shopping where my Dad has the patience of a saint.  What man really wants to let 3 women loose in DSW?  My Dad.

And then we head back home for hamburgers on the grill.  Oh, and Birthday Cake for Amy and Jill!  We both get our names on the cake because that's the only fair way to do it, of course.  Yes, I departed so quickly after Christmas to avoid the storm, we didn't get to have my early birthday cake.  My mom remembers this detail, of course.  And despite all the years, my mom and dad give me a gift on my sister's birthday (because that's what she did when we were little so no one would feel left out).

What a great weekend.  

Friday, July 15, 2011

Guest Post: LC In DC!

Loyal readers, I'm heading to Ellington, CT for the weekend. I need to assure my mom that I am indeed alive and well.  To get my sister and I at home for one weekend requires great feats of scheduling.  But I didn't want you to not have a post leading into the weekend, so am presenting a guest post from LC, a dear Darden girlfriend.  And she doesn't disappoint, she sent me food pictures to include!  Enjoy!

Hi Jillie readers…every week when I read this blog, I feel guilty that while J. and M. are hitting the NY hot spots, E. (hubbie) and I continue to have the same routine pretty much every weekend – dinner at usual spot, come home to Comcast OnDemand movie, punctuate occasionally with a dinner with friends.  We do not have the excuse of children – really we have no excuse for not getting out more.   In fact, as E. reminds me, we live in one of the oldest cities in the U.S., never mind that it’s 10 min from DC.

So last night we decided to venture to a Nationals game.  I am a huge baseball fan, and I haven’t been to a game since…well, it’s been a long time and I believe it was the Round Rock Express (Double A), where my former employer used to occasionally rent a skybox.  But that was the minors anyway, which doesn’t really count.

We started by boarding the water shuttle at the pier in Old Town Alexandria.   If you live in or near Alexandria, this is really the way to go – a lovely 20 minute boat ride later (complete with a bar), we arrive right at the first base entrance.  The Nationals are playing the Rockies – along with the game, I enjoy a fat Hebrew National hot dog and nachos with the yummy cheese you only get at the ballpark.  I wanted ice cream too, but the game ended abruptly with a depressing double play (and subsequent win) by the Rockies, and we had to board our boat home. 

As an added bonus for my first guest blog, I thought I would share my Sunday morning too, which includes 2 other historical treasures from my home town.  First, as E. also reminds me, our church is a famous historical site where many founding fathers attended service.  Last week for the “Independence day” service, they brought G.W.’s Bible up from Mt. Vernon and read from it (no kidding).  No such luck this week.   Bonus – the church is also down the street from one of the most delicious French cafes I have ever visited (even while living in France) -- Le Pain Quotidien.  

The chicken chorizo and organic cheddar omelet is my fave – today we had it with the blueberry and corn scone.  Yum!

Thanks for indulging me…if Jill lets me, I hope to be back once in a while with more hometown adventures.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

New Orleans Style Iced Coffee

San Francisco:  Blue Bottle @ the Ferry Bldg
I missed our Joe coffee trip on Saturday, but it was the kind of day where I was up for coffee a little later.  Maybe an Iced Coffee.  M said that Blue Bottle had a spot on the High Line.  Blue Bottle is a San Francisco thing, and something I didn't write about in my May posts about my trip out there.  I really wanted to try it, it was just hard to fit it in during my afternoon at the Ferry Building

Iced Coffee @ the High Line
I had my chance. Granted, it wasn't hot drip.  I went with the New Orleans style.  Now, I've seen this around, but didn't know exactly what it was.  It says it's sweet, and I don't like my coffee drinks too sweet (because I wonder how much sugar and calories are in it). But she sold me, she said the "slight" sweetness balanced the chicory of the coffee.

And it was great.  Even better with the whole milk because it's creamier.  Loved it.  Will be back, and would like to get to the Brooklyn outpost. I heard it's coming to Rock Center, so that might be easier.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Vegetables This Week: Jersey Tomatoes

I think I've posted a picture from the Union Square Greenmarket for 3 weeks in a row now.  Well, we were back this weekend.  

We love Stokes for our tomatoes.  There is a list to tell you how to tell if it's ripe (don't squeeze!).  Look at the color on the top and bottom, they should pretty much match.  The Stokes Grower (yes, it's a Grower versus a Farmer) helped pick one that was good for a salad Saturday night.

And when did squash and zucchini start to come in round shapes?  I was intrigued so had to get a few.   

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Coney Island Swim Time

Just a month left of training and we are in our last big push to be race ready.  So we train like we'd race, picking up the pace towards the finish.  At least that's what the coaches want us to do.

Last weekend I came home after our 38 mile ride and actually said "I think I could just do the Half Ironman from here".  I figured it's only a 50 mile bike ride and I was running 9 miles.  I'm so close!

Well, I was jolted back to reality today when we had our open water swim practice at Coney Island.  I don't know if it was my dinner Friday night, dinner with a mix of salt water, the wetsuit tight around my neck, or the 100 people in my intermediate group.  But I was not feeling it yesterda morning.  I wanted to stand up and ask if I could be done.  Lesson learned: maybe don't have falafel, wine, hummus and the works the night before.  

We swam between the rock areas that separated the water in the picture up above.  It was a great day weatherwise, though.  My first time to Coney Island and Brighton Beach.  I only know the Q train from 59th & Lex to Herald Square...not all the way out to Brooklyn.

But I made it!  It was only 7, so very calm and peaceful before the crowds.
Getting Instructions from the Coaches

We swam then hit the boardwalk for a run.  Now, had I been feeling up to it, I would have had some Russian Food in Brighton Beach.  But not today, another time.  It was fun to see, lots of Russian, and old ladies in their swimsuits.

Getting Ready for the Swim
Now, I've done this 3 times already and know exactly what the swim is like.  And I've made it to the swim end successfully 3 times now.  So this shouldn't be a problem.  It all sounds so easy, but when you start combining the pieces and mix in some adrenaline, water and the mechanical issues of the bike, well, it all seems alot more involved.  
Everyone Suited Up for the Swim

Am still thinking about that NH Half Ironman though, I haven't completely given up the thought!

One last shot:  
I couldn't NOT take a shot of Nathan's.  No, I didn't have a hotdog like the rest of the team afterwards.  A few people stopped on the Boardwalk for a chili dog post run.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Soba Noodle Time: Sobakoh

A nice plate of homemade soba noodles in the East Village.  

We were in the neighborhood for a Japanese comedy show (Kenji in America) to support a few friends, and we needed dinner before.  We happened upon Sobakoh and gave it a try.  There is a guy making the noodles right in front, so I watched him stretch and cut while we waited for our dinner.  

I had the Tsuke Tororo cold soba with a sticky yam dipping sauce.  I'll admit I wasn't exactly sure what to do with the quail egg, so I added it to the broth.  I have no idea if that's the right way to do it!

 Very clean.  Very fresh.  

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Bright and Cheerful

We were walking through Washington Square Park the other weekend and came upon the "sandman".  It's just a guy, a bunch of bags of colored sand and a free canvas.  The kids love him.  I like to watch him, too. Very nice guy, he was answering questions from onlookers.  Apparently he's never been told to leave in New York.  Somewhere else, but not here.

Just something bright and cheerful for you mid week.
By the way, I watched a documentary on Helvetica (the font) this weekend (I know, we were really searching on Netflix).  But it was actually really interesting.  Helvetica is everywhere!  So, I'm going to go with Helvetica for a bit.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Fourth of July!

Our day ended with Strawberry Shortcake.  I had a craving for it, the kind with drop biscuits and Cool Whip or Reddi Whip.  Just like when I was a kid.  My grandmother also did the drop biscuits.  Mine were care of Trader Joe's mix.  And I really was going to make real whipped cream, but I didn't want to dirty another bowl, I'll admit.

Earlier in the day we went down to the South Ferry stop and walked up through Tribeca.  Here's a shot of Lady Liberty, how appropriate for the Fourth.  Lots of tourists, I felt like one taking pictures.
And then I wanted to see how the World Trade Center area was progressing, it's really coming along.  They even have the glass on the outside now.

Finished up our day with a burger at The National on Rivington (it was really good!).  Juicy, the right bun, and some blue cheese on top.  Good call, M.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Rainy Sunday = Coffee & Doughnut

Rain.  More rain.  But it's Sunday and we like our coffee. So we geared up (me with umbrella, M is too much of a man to carry an umbrella apparently) and set off.  

First stop:  Doughnut Plant.
We didn't even check to see if it was open, we took our chances.  As we approached, the blackboard was not out, but I saw movement inside.  YES!  I hadn't seen the oatmeal cake doughnut out before, but had heard good things.  M got his cinnamon bun.

Second stop:  Lavazza at Eataly
This is one of our favorite coffees in the city (I still want to check out the west coast Blue Bottle in Brooklyn).  Yes, we brought our own pastries.  I like the Italian ones at Eataly, but not as much as my Doughnut Plant doughnut.

So a quick report out.  This doughnut was really really good! I didn't know what to expect with the oatmeal, but it created a crispiness on the outside.  And the outer edge of the doughnut has a crisp crumb to it.  And the glaze soaked in to make it moist.  Loved it.  There were some fruits or something in there.  Delicious.  I was doing research on the other flavors and saw the Carrot Cake has cream cheese in it.  That's my next one.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Summer in Full Swing

Sour Cherries at the Greenmarket in Union Square.  

Does't this just look like summer.  Granted, I'm not sure what you make with sour cherries.  I like my cherries in pie.  Gearing up for a long weekend, with some city exploration, some tasty eats, and a bounty of fresh vegetables from our Greenmarket trip today.  We've got fresh garlic and dill for the buttermilk dressing.  Tomatoes (ones with taste!), carrots, radishes and fresh lettuce for the salad.  And with some Whispering Angel, we're set!


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