May 13, 2013 § Leave a comment
Part of Arrested Development’s debut on Netflix streaming includes clever marketing events like this Frozen Banana Stand that is traveling across the country. The stand was giving away free chocolate-covered frozen bananas and supposedly the actors from the show were supposed to be hanging around.
Unfortunately, when Annie and I got there at 3:00, we waited in an enormous line for about 25 minutes then they ran out of bananas.
Womp womp. But that’s okay – all I really wanted was a photo with the stand and to check out the scene…
…It was also easy to cheer ourselves up with a visit to the Magnolia Bakery across the street.
January 9, 2013 § Leave a comment
To top off the busiest travel month I’ve ever had, Nick and I flew to Paris on an overnight flight on the eve of December 28th. We had heard that it was a great place to celebrate New Years Eve and thought “why not?”.
We decided to splurge on a nicer, more comfortable hotel since we wouldn’t be spending quite so much time outside. We settled on the wonderful Hotel Relais Saint Germain, located in the 6th arrondissement of Saint Germain. There was a view of a tree with books hanging from its branches from our room (above) and even free wifi!
Like Stockholm, we crashed as soon as we got to our hotel (red eye flights are awful) and woke up later that afternoon to get some dinner and walk around a little.
We were both obsessed with Shakespeare & Company and decided to see Notre Dame again since it looked so pretty at night.
The next morning, we got up in time to enjoy our hotel’s free breakfast. This is no Best Western continental breakfast. We were given a basket of very fresh croissants and baguettes, fresh juice, a cup of orange slices, amazing cheese, and ham sliced right off of a pig’s leg on display at the bar. And of course, amazing coffee. After this deliciousness, we walked along the Seine to Musee D’Orsay.
This museum is made from an old train station and is so beautiful. Unfortunately, a gazillion other visitors to the city had the same plan as us, so we didn’t spend too much time inside. It was very cool to see some Van Goghs, Monets, and Renoirs in person though!
It’s hard to tell, but this room was absolutely PACKED. You’re not supposed to take photos here, which I just don’t think is right, so I did anyways. Someone was poking me on the shoulder to scold me as I walked away. But look, that guy’s doing it too!
Walking down along the left bank, we found more visual treats, like some Arago Line markers. AKA Rose Line, if you’re a Dan Brown fan or a conspiracy theorist.
I guess I was supposed to stop in here, but didn’t!
The view of the Louvre from across the river.
I see you, Nick!
One place I wanted to make sure we went was Les Deux Magots, a cafe that used to be an old literary and arts hang out. Hemingway, Wilde, Camus, Picasso, Sartre. Think: Midnight In Paris.
Nick The Coffee Hater even drank a cappuccino here!
This visit, we spent most of our time in Saint Germain and didn’t even get on the subway. It’s such a great neighbourhood with so many shops, cafes, restaurants, etc, we didn’t even have to. On another note, look how generously they fill your glass of wine in Paris!
Of course, we also had to go back to curiosity and taxidermy shop, Deyrolle!
And see the Louvre at night.
Such a beautiful place.
The following day included a visit to Saint Sulpice church and much more cheese, bread, wine, and coffee.
That night, we had New Years Eve dinner reservations at Pinxo, so we got dolled up to celebrate right.
Our prixe fixe meal was 5 delicious courses, including my favourite, dessert with macaroons!
After dinner, we walked to the river so we could watch the Eiffel Tower’s light show for the countdown to midnight.
Once, it was 2013, we walked back to Saint Germain over the Pont de l’Archevêché bridge to add our love lock. This was by far the most romantic New Years Eve I’ve ever had!
We spent New Years Day, our last day in Paris, with more walking and eating. A walk through Jardin Du Luxembourg was absolutely beautiful on this warm, sunny day.
We spent our last night in Paris at the movies! We’d been meaning to see Argo for months and it was playing around the corner from our hotel. Who would have thought we’d finally see this American movie in English with French subtitles?
Thanks for a lovely time, Paris! Such a magical city that we hope to return to someday for more coffee, bread, wine, and cheese!
October 15, 2012 § 3 Comments
As some of you already know, Nick and I have birthdays two days apart. When we were dating long distance, Toronto to New York, this usually meant just one of us would actually get the other one on their actual birthday – whichever date was closest to a weekend. Even though we’ve been married for over two years now, this year was the first year we decided to celebrate our birthdays completely together and make it into a fun “birthday week”.
You already saw what I did on Tuesday, but the celebrations didn’t end there. On Wednesday night, as a lead in to Nick’s big day, we went to see the Yankees play the Orioles. It was great to drink a beer, eat some greasy food, and cheer on NYC with their biggest fan. We ended up leaving after the 7th inning because it looked like they were going to lose, but by the time we got home, they won!
On Thursday, Nick’s birthday was quiet by request, but we did get to eat burritos and watch Prometheus.
On Friday night, we headed into the city to finally watch our good friend Ben’s documentary Unfinished Spaces play at the Cooper Union. It was so interesting and really cool to watch him participate in a filmmaker’s panel after the movie. One snooty architecture professor in attendance even told the entire theatre that Ben reminded him of Wes Anderson. I can kind of see it now!
Saturday night, was our big celebration. We invited 10 of our favourite New Yorkers out to dinner at Supper Restaurant. A lot of these people hadn’t met each other before; they were from totally different social groups. It was so much fun to see them meet. As Nick called it, “a social experiment”. The food was delicious and the company was so great. We love you guys!
We got a few drinks at three different bars afterwards, before we headed home to get our beauty rest because on Sunday morning I got up early to get breakfast with…
Rob and Tami! They were in town visiting from Toronto. It was great to have them in my neighbourhood and introduce them to Brooklyn Label.
Running purely on fumes by Sunday afternoon, Nick and I brought the chocolate dot cookies I made over to Annie’s “pumpkin party”. We ate so many delicious things made by everyone in attendance and Nick got to play with the cat and dog of the apartment.
We finished up our weekend by eating a healthy dinner (after pasta, wine, cupcakes, and bacon-wrapped figs) and watching the season premiere of The Walking Dead.
What a great week! Thanks to everyone who made it so special for us <3
October 10, 2012 § 3 Comments
Yesterday’s birthday was wonderful. Having a birthday on a Tuesday kind of takes the pressure off, you know? Instead of planning anything huge for it, I used my day to its full potential, concentrating on doing what I wanted to do instead of what I should do.
I woke up at 6:30 to get ready and head into Midtown for Grind’s “Rethink the Interest Graph” at 8:00, which was a talk about online social media content. Noah Brier spoke while I sipped Intelligentsia coffee and ate a bagel.
I decided to take the 7 train home specifically because I’ve been meaning to take photos of the group of buildings it passes in Long Island City that are absolutely covered in brightly coloured graffiti. Gotcha!
Daytime was work as usual, but broken up by constant Facebook comments, Tweets, Instagram posts, emails, and phone calls wishing me a happy birthday. You guys sure know how to make a birthday girl (or should I say lady? 31!) feel special. Also thanks to Starbucks for my free birthday drink and don’t mind my yoga hair-do.
Nick came home early to make me feel even more special. Roses!
A Howard Wolowitz bobblehead!
A Kate Spade wallet!!!
And then we ate pizza.
One of my favourite birthday gifts was just this video of my niece and nephew sent from Jenn. I mean….!!!
I wasn’t called a cougar this year, but what a great birthday. The celebrations continue tonight at a Yankees game as we head into Nick’s birthday tomorrow!
July 31, 2012 § Leave a comment
New York has so many bars and places to purchase alcohol, you almost don’t even need me for this category. That is, unless you have a more refined taste for drinks and want to try something new and special.
I’m primarily a beer drinker, but when I go out for drinks with friends, I like to treat myself to a well-made cocktail now and then. That’s why most of my favourites are speakeasies. Read on for my Top 6 Places to Drink in NYC!
1. Radegast Hall & Biergarten – Brooklyn
I love this old-fashioned beer hall. You’ll feel like you’re in Europe with the vast selection of beers from around the world, served in huge beer steins that you lift to your mouth with both hands. Enhance your experience by coming here a night they have a live jazz band playing and eat a pretzel and kielbasa when you’re not dancing.
2. Raine’s Law Room – Manhattan
My favourite speakeasy! Ring the doorbell for the Belgian doorman to let you know if there’s room for you, otherwise they will take your number and call you when there is. Feel like you are in Paris in the thirties while you sip your drinks slowly, enjoying the ambiance and decor of this gorgeous downstairs spot. Make sure you check out their custom-made wallpaper!
3. Pegu Club – Manhattan
My good friend Courtney first brought me here years ago. This gorgeous bar will make you feel like an Asian gangster from the sixties. Shelling out money for the Earl Grey martini will be the best decision you made that day.
4. 2nd Floor on Clinton – Manhattan
My speakeasy-finding partner Kate and I found this place one night after dinner in a noisy restaurant and were delighted to relax in this quiet, dim, and relaxing upstairs spot that makes you feel like you’re in someone’s home library. In addition to carefully-made cocktails, they also sell chocolates!
5. Beauty & Essex – Manhattan
Beauty & Essex is quite a scene, but definitely worth checking out at least once. This restaurant is “hidden” behind a pawn shop facade. The drinks are great, but pricey. Luckily, if you’re a lady, you can even out the cost by partaking in some of the free champagne served in the restrooms by beautiful bartenders (seriously!)
6. Death + Company – Manhattan
Another speakeasy that you must get past the doorman to enter. It’s small and dark, but worth the wait. If you’re a design-lover like me, you’ll appreciate everything from the custom-made coasters you get to the bar’s decor.
I couldn’t quite make it to 10 for my favourite bars, but if you have any suggestions of places I haven’t named here, please let me know! I’m always up for trying to new places :)
July 30, 2012 § 2 Comments
Like restaurants, New York has countless stores. Some people come to New York just to shop! With all the choices you have out there, sometimes you need a little guidance, someone to point you in the right direction. If you have taste similar to mine, I’m sure you’ll enjoy my Top 10 Places to Shop in Manhattan and Brooklyn.
1. Uniqlo – Manhattan
This store makes New York the envy of every other North American city. Well, maybe it’s just one of the reasons. Really though, with their incredibly affordable basics and great jeans, I can’t begin to tell you how many Canadian friends ask me to buy them things here to bring home when I visit. Do yourself a favour and make sure you hit up one of their three NYC locations when you’re in town and stock up on your favourites!
2. Strand – Manhattan
This legendary bookstore is a must-visit for bookworms visiting New York. It’s full of new and used books as well as great Strand and NYC merchandise.
3. Dalaga – Brooklyn
My personal favourite clothing store for the past three years. This boutique is owned by sisters Michelle and Mary, but every lovely lady who works at this store is friendly and helpful. Have a question about how comfortable that shoe is? Chances are, one of the girls working there is wearing that pair and can tell you all about it. The best part is that the clothes are gorgeous and unique, but are still affordable. I love to bring friends visiting here and watch them buy half a new wardrobe.
4. Catbird – Brooklyn
The mecca for cute, beautiful, and unique jewelry. Much nicer than costume jewelry, but it won’t break the bank. They also sell letterpress cards, Saipua soap, and summer hats.
5. ABC Carpet & Home – Manhattan
A perfect destination for window shopping, interior design lovers. Even if you can’t afford that $1500 end table, you will be inspired by their displays and merchandise.
6. Journelle – Manhattan
This lingerie shop is the anti-Victoria’s Secret. Find pretty underthings from Eberjey, Elle Macpherson, and Fortnight that make you feel beautiful instead of like you’re some kind of unfamiliar raunchy version of yourself.
7. J. Crew – Manhattan
I love J. Crew’s new, fresh, colourful, and fun looks these days. Great for bright jeans, cute tops, purses, shoes and more. A great place to go just to get outfit inspiration.
8. Madewell – Manhattan
Sometimes called “J. Crew’s little sister”, Madewell is a chain that’s clearly in-tune with the latest fashion trends. The store in Soho can be a little overwhelming as it fills up fast on the weekend. Just take your time and try to shop through all those racks of cute stuff while dodging people!
9. Word – Brooklyn
I’m lucky to have my favourite bookstore right in my neighbourhood! This shop is cozy and on the smaller side, but this just means quality over quantity. The staff gives great reading recommendations and their comment cards provide the perfect opportunity to get rid of your “reader’s block”. I buy almost all of my greeting cards here too.
10. Eastern District – Brooklyn
This beer and cheese shop is such a treat for food lovers. Order a turkey sandwich with gouda and bacon marmalade on fresh bread, pick up some tasty cheese, try some new craft beers, or take home some tasty treats (anything from chocolate to honey to pickles). You’ll be glad you did!
(photo: Benjamin Lozovsky)
July 27, 2012 § 1 Comment
Of course there are countless food options in New York (especially when you’re exploring both Manhattan and Brooklyn), but I’ve managed to pare it down a little with my current Top Ten Places To Eat. Enjoy!
1. Paulie Gees – Pizza, Brooklyn
Hands down the best pizza I’ve eaten in my life. And I’ve eaten a lot of pizza.
Bonus: Paulie himself plays host every night. He walks around the restaurant with his coffee mug, asking how your pizzas are, what you ordered, and where you’re from. He loved it the time I brought 5 Canadian girls in for dinner.
2. Eataly – Italian, Manhattan
A huge Italian grocery store, owned by super-chef Mario Batali, smack dab in the middle of Manhattan. You can choose one of the many cafes in the store to eat at – including pizza, pasta, fish, gelato, meat, and vegetarian restaurants – and you can buy some pasta, bread, or sauce to bring home with you!
Tip: go on a weeknight. It’s much less busy.
3. Five Leaves – Cafe, Bar, Oysters – Brooklyn
Surrounded by hype and sometimes line-ups of hipsters waiting to get in, Heath Ledger was one of the restaurants’ first investors. Go early and enjoy one of their tasty gin cocktails. My favourite meal so far is the Atlantic Char, but I’m working my way up to the Five Leaves Burger! (Pictured above.)
4. San Loco – Mexican, Manhattan & Brooklyn
This spot is almost fast food, but still way beyond Taco Bell. Get a Guaco Loco – a hard taco, wrapped in a soft taco shell, held together with guacamole. Beans or catfish are my favourite. Enjoy with a Corona or, if you’re feeling saucy, a frozen margarita!
5. Dos Caminos – Mexican, Manhattan
When you find yourself in the Union Square/Gramercy Bermuda Triangle of not knowing where to eat, settling on this chain is actually a pretty decent bet.
My favourites: sangria and their great guacamole!
6. Peter Luger Steakhouse – Steakhouse, Brooklyn
This is a steakhouse the serious meat lover. Go here and feel like you’re a New York mobster. Have waiters ask you “how much steak you want?” instead of giving you a menu. If you aren’t so keen on spending a small fortune on meat, I actually prefer their burgers. BEST BURGERS EVER. But be warned, they are only available at lunchtime. Finish off with cheesecake.
Tip: Make a reservation, even for lunch.
7. Juliette – French, Brooklyn
“A Taste of Paris in Brooklyn”. My favourite brunch spot in Williamsburg. Very cute decor with a pseudo-patio you can enjoy in any weather.
8. Smorgasburg – Food Stands, Brooklyn
This is a food festival to end all food festivals. Best of all, it takes place every Saturday from about May to October. Eat everything from anchovies to BBQ to donuts to roti to pupusas. Go ahead and eat three lunches then dessert!
9. Sidewalk Cafe – American, Manhattan
A good staple, perfect for meeting friends for dinner and drinks after work. With a 2-for-1 Happy Hour, you can get a little tipsy with your tasty meal for about $20!
10. Anywhere you can get a good New York bagel!
These aren’t your store-bought bagels, they’re chewy, salty, hearty, and soooo delicious.
My favourites: Murray’s Bagels, Baker’s Dozen, but of course there are many more throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn. Get the whole experience and slap some lox on that bagel along with your cream cheese! Yum.
July 3, 2012 § 1 Comment
Nick and I met our road trip soul mates this weekend – Kate and Bryan! Of course, we’ve actually known them for years, but this was our first time taking a trip together. Aside from a storm coming out of nowhere and trying to kill us on the way there Friday night, our weekend in Baltimore went perfectly!
Saturday morning we woke up early and walked over to the Baltimore Aquarium. Kate’s good friend Rachel and her family met us there. I swear Nick was as excited about seeing “the creatures” as Rachel’s six year-old son.
There was a big pool on the ground floor that had sharks, rays, and a giant one-armed sea turtle in it.
This guy was the scariest:
This fish wanted all the attention. Photobomb!
My favourite part was the sloth who was “in overdrive” in the rainforest on the top floor.
Everyone was very impressed at the amount the sloth was moving.
Just when you thought you were done, you enter the jellyfish exhibit.
That afternoon, we went to Camden Yards to see the Orioles play the Indians. Our seats were so hot, you had to ease into them like a hot tub.
We were seated in the second row of left field. Thankfully, we didn’t get hit with any foul balls. I think I paid attention to the entire game for the first time ever.
We were also incredibly thankful that the sun moved and our section turned into the shady part of the stadium!
Saturday night, we went out for dinner to Fogo De Chao, a Brazilian steakhouse, recommended to me by some guys are our hotel. Have you ever been to one? It’s a pretty amazing concept. There was a huge salad bar you could help yourself to, then each person had their own card beside their plate that you could change from “no thanks” to “yes please”. Depending on how yours was turned, men with large sticks of meat would come by and shave servings off for you! Everything from steak to lamb to bacon-wrapped-chicken! The boys were in heaven.
Sunday morning, we headed home. Ponch kept Nick and I company in the backseat.
Of course, no trip through the suburbs would be complete without a trip to Target!
What a great weekend trip – hopefully the four of us will collaborate on some more in the future!
June 11, 2012 § 4 Comments
Earlier this Spring, Nick and I signed up for a Vegetable and Egg share from Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative and it’s the best decision we’ve made in a while. Every week, I pick up a big box of vegetables (and every other week, fresh eggs) from a drop off point a few blocks away from here. Each week, the contents are a surprise – all you know is that you’ll get the freshest seasonal veggies available. How great does that sound?
This farm share has really given my cooking a good kick in the bum! I was finding myself going to the grocery store and buying the same things over and over again, and therefore I was making the same meals over and over. It’s been really fun to get a new vegetable and look up recipes for it online, and it’s been amazing to create brand new dishes that are so healthy and delicious!
So far, my favourite new things to cook are kale, bok choy, and kohlrabi, and I love love love the fresh greens we get each week. Pre-washed spinach now tastes like rubbery paper to me! And fresh eggs – don’t even get me started. I signed us up for the delivery of one dozen every other week because I knew if we got a dozen each week, I would eat them all and have the cholesterol levels of an old man.
Have you ever done a veggie share? What were your favourite things to make? Do you have any seasonal vegetable recipes to share?