This past weekend I went to New York City with Dani to visit our friend Lama who had moved away in January. She came back alllllll the way from Dubai just to give us hugs! Well, just kidding, she had vacation time and shopping and other people to see, blah blah. But I like to pretend it was all for me. Because in my world, most things are :)
I left Friday afternoon and had such a good time even starting before the trip officially started. It was a gorgeous day out and I had myself a little snack while waiting for Dani to pick me up to go to the train station. I snacked on an apple dipped into a mixture of peanut butter, honey and cinnamon. I stole the idea for this flavor combination from Julie over at Peanut Butter Fingers (I tried to make her popcorn, and as simple as it is, I couldn't figure out how to melt my peanut butter right) and have been using it to snack with!
While I had the cinnamon out I tossed some plain, dry roasted almonds in some cinnamon to flavor them a little bit to take with me as a snack. I love the cinnamon dusted almonds that you can buy at the grocery store but they are also filled with preservatives so I figured, why not make my own? They came out really yummy and I'm now going to explore more flavored almond combos. I bought things to try these chili lime spiced almonds this week. Yum! The cinnamon almonds were a perfect snack to bring with me on the train.
Traveling with Dani is always an interesting experience for me because she is so very laid back about things and I can get a little more... on edge. When I travel I don't like to have an agenda, although there are some things I do my best to stick to, such as times for trains and planes and things of the like. Dani, not so much. If we miss a train, we take the next one. No biggie.
Now, I know this is the logical way to think about things but something like missing a train really stresses me out. I try to let some of Dani's laid-back-ness get absorbed by me because sometimes I could use it. It's not always a big deal to miss a train when they run every hour. Which, was the case when we missed the train we were supposed to take to the city. This sort of set the stage for the weekend because almost nothing went as we had planned/discussed prior to the trip but it was so much fun nonetheless.
And the timing of the new train worked out perfectly to run into this girl right when we arrived at Penn Station!
Kristen is one of my closest friends and she had told me she wouldn't be around in NYC this weekend. Dani and I had hung out with Kristen last time we went to the city for the half marathon and wouldn't you know it, we walked right into her when we arrived at Penn Station. Small world, I tell ya!
Our weekend in the city was full of lots of food, walking around, shopping, laughing, catching up on life, and making new friends! Let's recap the food a bit before we go any further though.
We started things off eating at Rio Grande on 38th and 3rd in the city. I texted a friend who now lives in LA a photo of the menu and I think made her entirely jealous. At least I hope it did. Because that was the point, in an effort to make her miss the east coast and come back for a visit!
It is a favorite of my friends and I as we are Mexican food fanatics, they've got great guacamole, margaritas and a fun atmosphere. One infamous time eating here, the night we were introduced to a delicious cheesy item on the menu called "fundita" we ate so much that we literally couldn't even go out afterwards and went straight home to just lay down.
Lama, Dani and I fared a bit better than that and the meal was delicious nonetheless. We started things off with the steak nachos and the meal did not disappoint through until the end. These nachos were recommended to us by a friend we made at a table sitting next to us and I think next time I might just order this as my meal. It has everything you need and is so good!
Oh, and did I mention that Friday was Lama's birthday?? So of course, we had to get dessert. And sing! Happy Birthday Lama!!!
The next day we did a lot of walking, visited the Highline, which was my first time doing so (loved it!) and also walked through Chelsea Markets. Next time I go to the city, I am going to have to spend more time there. There were some spice rubs and teas that looked amazing but we didn't have enough time to really browse there (I legit could have been there for hours) as we had to meet up some friends for a late lunch.
I didn't even realize until we were literally in front of the place, but the restaurant our friends had chosen for lunch was in the same building where I worked when I had my internship in New York City in the summer of 2007. In fact, the restaurant we were eating at, opened that summer, and I had eaten there for it's grand opening!
We had some barbecue, which you know I am now an expert in, at Hill Country in NYC. The food was good, but nothing to rave about. My favorite I think was the green bean casserole. I cleaned the plate that had my green bean casserole side in it. It was a really fun time though and a good place to eat as a big group in New York if you're ever looking for a fun, laid back place to take a crowd. And a crowd we were!
It was such a fun mix of people made up of friends, and friends of friends, who were all fun, outgoing and incredibly interesting. It was funny to me that I was the minority in the group of people being American. The rest of the group was all made up of people from outside of the U.S.! Mexico, Canada, Egypt, and Lebanon. I love that I have close friends from all over the world and having friends who live in neat locations makes vacation decisions pretty fun. As you know last year I went on vacation to Rio de Janeiro while a friend was living there. I loved having an apartment to stay at, rather than a hotel. Now that Lama is in Dubai and I was hanging out with a big crowd of people from Lebanon, there was LOTS of talk about how a vacation to Dubai and Beirut should be in my future...
The rest of the weekend included lots of food, silliness and walking around. We had coffee at the Ace Hotel, which is an awesome place to sit back and relax if you are out having a long day of walking around. You can also get drinks, and they've got big leather couches that our whole group managed to find seats on. There was also a photo booth that provided some incredible entertainment and LOTS of laughs.
I actually, even now, cannot look at these photos without smiling. They gave us such a laugh how Dani is literally taking over EVERY photo. Nobody else barely even made it in. I absolutely love these photos and now have mine hanging at my desk at work to keep me smiling all day!
Later that night, we ate dinner at a yummy Thai restaurant called Potjanee. Apparently all that laughing worked up an appetite because I forgot to take a picture until the plates looked like this:
It makes me a terrible food blogger that I always forget to take pictures of my food. But at least proves my case that I do love food so much because usually I just can't stop myself from diving right in once I see the food in front of me. You see a lot of half-eaten plates on here because it isn't usually until a few bites in that I think, "Aw crap, I should take a picture." Here, I didn't even stop until there was literally nothing left to eat. However, we got the pad thai that Lama and I split and I also ate a fair amount of the Papaya Salad off of Dani's plate, which was really good!
Later that night we also visited a bar called Professor Thom's which is actually a Boston bar in NY! The decor inside is all Boston & New England sports associated, which was really fun for me. This probably isn't a surprise to any Boston-ers living in NYC, but if for some reason I am informing you of this place. Check it out for the Thursday Bruins game against the Rangers!!
Like any good weekend in New York City, brunch was had. We ate brunch on Sunday at a cute little placed called La Villette where I got an egg white omelet with goat cheese and herbs. I ate quite a bit of this, as well as, per usual, bites off of everyone else's plates! I am so lucky that my friends put up with me.
So, those were some of the highlights of my trip to NYC! The one thing that I wish I'd snagged a picture of was the gelato that we got at Eataly on Sunday afternoon. Eataly is a really amazing italian market in NYC that has incredible bread, homemade pasta, meats, cheeses, wine, olive oil, sauces (I actually got this pesto there on a previous trip!), coffee, and like any good italian market... gelato. That thing was enjoyed without my camera being anywhere near on my mind. It was so good! I got salted caramel, because, well, you know that's my jam right now. Yum, yum, yum!
It was so good to see old friends and make some new ones and try a few new places in the city, as well as some favorites. And I made a mental decision after my weekend in the city so I now have quite a bit of research and planning and reading to do. Check out the purchases I made at the book store yesterday. I am so excited to start planning my next vacation :)