What I Ate Wednesday: NYC Edition

Today I’m coming to you (a week late) to share what I ate during my weekend in NYC!

Hosted by Jenn over at Peas & Crayons, What I Ate Wednesday is an opportunity for wannabe-foodies-slash-voyeurs like me to see what other bloggers eat. Such an awesome way to think of ideas to get you out of a food rut.

Unfortunately, I totally chose the wrong week to display for Love your Veggies Month (as you’ll see, not many veggies were consumed during my mini vacation!). However, y’all know I’m a veggie lover the rest of the time! If all my pictures of stir fry and produce on Instagram are any indication… 😉

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I had a long day of travel ahead of me (starting at 4:30am Cali time, and I didn’t arrive at Arielle’s apt in NYC until after 6pm!) So I made sure to load up on lots of healthy snacks for the trip. I ate pretty much everything except the Detour SMART bar, which I saved for a pre workout snack the next day, and the Ring Pop (LOL waaait…how’d that get in there?!)

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During my layover in Chicago, I also found a healthy (albeit pricey) chickpea salad at Starbucks, which I paired with a Dirty Chai Latte..bc sista was workin on 3 hours of sleep!

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Then, I arrived in NYC, surprised my best friend, danced the night away, and came home to her apartment w/her roommate and ate half of this cheese pizza from 7/11. People, I am not exaggerating. Alex only had one slice of what you see gone above. You’ll also notice I decided I wasn’t going to eat the crust…probably so I could fit more cheese and tomato sauce into my stomach.

Needless to say, my New York family was extremely disappointed in me for eating pizza from 7/11 when I was in NYC, which boasts some of the best and cheapest pizza in the world. I am also disappointed in myself, but I REGRET NOTHING. #zerofucks

The next evening, Alex and I enjoyed dinner at Butterfly in Tribeca, where I got bratwurst sliders and a side of some of THE BEST brussels sprouts I’ve ever had. (Hey look at that! Veggies!)

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Alex was still hungry after his ravioli, so we ordered some fries. I have become something of a fry connoisseur recently and have been trying them EVERYWHERE I go. These thick cut steak fries were perfectly cooked- nice and crispy on the outside and actually cooked all the way through. I was definitely a fan!

After dinner, we stopped at Whole Foods and I picked up a variety of cookies, including the famous Black & White cookie. It was so good. I am a sucker for frosting 😉

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Speaking of french fries…We went to Sixth Ward in the Lower East Side for brunch on Joanna’s actual birthday, and they were out of homefries, so we all got french fries with our breakfasts instead. No complaining here!

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In fact, because Rebecca & I were still hungry, we ordered more….

I’m telling you guys. I have a problem. And it involves deep fried potatoes.

For dinner/dessert, we went to the famous Max Brenner’s in the Village. We weren’t particularly hungry for dinner, but hadn’t eaten anything since brunch and didn’t want our dinner to be just chocolate, so Joanna & I split a chicken panini. Oh and again…french fries. You can never go wrong with waffle cut!

The real reason to go to Max Brenners, however, is not the dinner food (which was just so-so), but the CHOCOLATE.

We ordered 2 different kinds of fondue: the classic european (white chocolate, milk chocolate, & caramel, which came with fruit, brownie & cookie bites, and marshmallows) and the churro fondue (white chocolate, milk chocolate, some kind of raspberry sauce, and churros of course!)

Oh my god you guys.

I don’t think this amazingness requires any more explanation.

The next day was my last, and I was super excited that I was able to meet up with my Aunt Jeanne and her husband Mike. I had heard about Eataly and suggested it to them for lunch, and everyone jumped at the opportunity (Joanna included)!

Eataly is basically a giant Italian market/group of restaurants/shop/cafe/PLANET in the Flatiron District. We decided on the Pizza & Pasta restaurant (they also have a wine bar, a couple of really high end restaurants, and like 5 other assorted restaurants).

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We started with a formaggio misti, which was a cheese plate. There was goat cheese, some kind of parmesan, and a cheese made from cow/sheeps milk (? i think?) alongside some kind of chutney.. I don’t think I’ve ever met a cheese I didn’t like, so you can guess how I felt about this part of the lunch 😉

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We also ordered 2 pizzas and I finally got to make up for the 7-11 incident! Both were margherita-type pizzas, and sooooo so good. Love the thin crust!

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To finish, the 4 of us shared gnocchi with lamb. I don’t know if I’ve ever had gnocchi with a texture so light and fluffy. The lamb was super tender as well.

Overall, an AMAZING meal!

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We spent a lot of time looking through the whole complex, which had a bakery, grocery store/farmers market, kitchenware section…

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AND GELATO! I was trying to choose between salted caramel and hazelnut…The salted caramel had an amazingly creamy texture, but the hazelnut tasted too much like Nutella to say no!

And that was that! Luckily for me I got in a good work out and 3 of my 4 days were 10,000+ step days, because if not I probably would have returned home with a bit more meat on my bones than I’d like! Either way, it was worth it!

Have you ever been to New York City?

What is your favorite style of pizza? I love anything thin crust, so New York style is right up my alley!

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Surprise NYC Weekend in Photos

Greetings from snowy NYC!!

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Anyone who follows me on Instagram knows (and may have known for a while now) that I flew to New York City this weekend to surprise my best friend Joanna for her birthday. I got the idea back in November when tickets were really cheap, and bit the bullet & made the purchase just a week or 2 after Thanksgiving. This is the reason why there are very unspecific “travel day”s worked into my half marathon training plan…I knew this Saturday I’d be flying across the country!

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But first, I had to celebrate Valentines Day in Sacramento! Yvette and I met up with a big group of girls for sushi, but got there early and had our own private dinner date 😉 as soon as we finished our food (we were starving!) we joined the rest of the ladies. Unfortunately I didn’t stay long, cause I had a 6am flight to catch!

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And fly I did! My brother graciously picked me up at 4:30am and took me to the airport. There was snow on the ground when we connected in Chicago which I knew was a bad sign. My flight to NYC ended up delayed about an hour and a half (most of it on the runway).. THEN, the pilot announced we were in a holding pattern circling LaGuardia, and everyone on the plane started purchasing alcohol LOL- myself included. We made it eventually to NYC, where snow was in the air!

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I hightailed it to Joanna’s friend Arielle’s apartment where I could stash my stuff and get ready for the surprise party. Joanna’s roomie (and our longtime friend from middle/high school) Alex arrived and we had a photoshoot on Arielle’s amazing balcony!

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Eventually we made it to Swift, a bar in the East Village where Joanna was unassumingly led by her boyfriend. She was already crying before she was led to the corner where I was hiding and I was revealed.. It was an emotional moment when she realized I was there and not on a dodgeball pub crawl in Sacramento wondering which boy I should invite (like I told her I was 😉 )… I even sent her fake workout selfies and claimed I ran 11 miles that morning- HA!

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After drinks at Swift and dancing at Bowery Electric, I headed back downtown to Alex & Jo’s place, where I frolicked in their snowy rooftop lounge while waiting for Alex to get back and buy a pizza from 7-11. Which I proceeded to eat HALF OF. I was running on 3 hours of sleep and totally needed the fuel! Let’s just say it was glorious.

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I made up for it by having a healthy banana + coffee + kombucha recovery breakfast before high tailing it back up to midtown to get my stuff from Arielle’s apartment. Like my outfit? I call it “morning after chic” 😉

Then we took advantage of Joanna & Alex’s gym and I got in my best non-running workout in months! Made me kinda having a gym…

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Joanna headed out for her bday dinner with the BF, and Alex and I decided to walk around TriBeCa until we found a good spot to eat. Um, bad idea when it’s 25 degrees outside and feels like 18! After what felt like hours of walking, we started getting desperate and ducked into a cute little place called The Butterfly. I got bratwurst sliders and Brussels sprouts with bacon & apples and Alex got ravioli and it was all SO good! Pleasant little surprise!

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At dinner, I had the genius idea of staying in and watching the new season of House of Cards. After seeing (and posing with) an ad for it, we knew we had to do it! We stopped at Whole Foods to get a couple of fancy beers then plopped down in front of the tv for what turned into 3.5 hours of Netflix. We watched the first 4 episodes back to back… Soo good!

The weekend is far from over, as today is Joanna’s actual birthday and I’m not leaving until tomorrow. We are hopefully going for a long run this morning followed by birthday brunch, and I cannot wait! So excited to be here and celebrating with her in person! Happy birthday Joanna!!

Have you ever surprised a friend or had a surprise party thrown for you?

Have you been to NYC? How about in the dead of winter?!

What I Ate Wednesday – New York edition!

Look at that, another WIAW post!

Hosted by Jenn over at Peas & Crayons, What I Ate Wednesday is an opportunity for wannabe-foodies-slash-voyeurs like me to see what other bloggers eat on a regular day. Such an awesome way to think of ideas to get you out of a food rut. However, there’s nothing regular about today’s edition – I’m just sharing all the food I ate on vacation 😉

My parents, brother and I got back late last night from New York after an amazing week with family and friends! Though we were there for a whole 7 days, I was actually only in New York City for the weekend + Monday. The rest of the time was spent all over Long Island (Smithtown, Ronkonkoma, Sayville, Amity Harbor, Lynbrook, Farmingdale…you name it, we went there!) visiting family and enjoying wedding festivities.

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First thing’s first – after arriving Wednesday morning on a red-eye, we went to my grandpa’s house in the evening and asked him where he wanted to go for dinner. He of course took us to his favorite New York pizza spot, Joe’s Pizza in Copiague/Amity Harbor. Those weird worm lookin’ things were actually sausage, and were also amazing and delicious.

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This was probably the one and only healthy breakfast I had the entire trip, haha. Most mornings I slept in till 10 or 11am (I tried to stay on West Coast time while we were there), so we’d just go straight to lunch. This was actually also the morning of the wedding, so it was definitely a good idea to get a good workout and a healthy breakfast in before drinking and eating the night away!

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After a super adorable ceremony at the church, we all went back to the hotel to get ready and piled into the party bus that took us to the reception. First was a Cocktail Hour, complete with 4 food stations just like this one and an open bar. Heaven!

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In the ballroom, a lovely little salad awaited us

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Followed by crab risotto topped with a couple’a shrimp!

{Please note that at least 15 minutes of dancing ensued in between each of these courses. So much dancing….}

My main course was chicken and a side of lasagna, but apparently I dug in too quickly to snap a photo. But I got the cake!

[photo courtesy of my cousin Sami]

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YUM. I’m not a huge fan of fondant, but I definitely liked that there was chocolate and vanilla!

The next day (Saturday) was spent relaxing at my aunt and uncle’s house (the mother and father of the bride) and avoiding hangovers…

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Nothing better than a little hair of the dog, right?

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Someone busted out this amazing PASTA PIZZA. That’s right. PASTA. On PIZZA. I was a little hesitant, but it was seriously amazing. Perfect use for leftover baked ziti! Carbs on carbs on carbs.

After that, it was off to the city for me:

I stayed with my close friends Joanna and Alex, and this is the view from their rooftop lounge in the financial district….. I KNOW.

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On Sunday, Alex humored me by letting me drag him to Rockefeller Center to take my picture at 30 Rock. As soon as I realized Bouchon Bakery was right next door, I HAD to go buy some overpriced macarons. I got the cheaper mini variety so I could sample a bunch: funfetti, caramel, pistachio, and vanilla. Loved the caramel flavor the best, but the macaron texture of the vanilla was so so so perfect!

Oh and then on our way from Rockefeller Center to the High Line, this happened:

Me: “Oh look, Alex! First Date! That’s the Broadway show Zachary Levi is in! He is like the epitome of what I find attractive. Seriously, when I think in my head of what a hot guy looks like…it’s him.”
Alex: “Uh, okay…”
*2 seconds later* *spots Zachary Levi standing 10 feet away*
Me: “OMYGOD OMYGOD OMYGOD OMYGOD OMYGOD OMYGOD ”

— Sadly not an exaggeration.

After walking the High Line and making a lil trip to Whole Foods, Alex and I made some awesome “deep dish” pizza:

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Manhattan living…ain’t nobody got time for real baking sheets!

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The next morning I woke up to texts from Joanna asking what kind of bagel I wanted.. YUSSSSS. I went with a whole wheat everything bagel toasted with cream cheese, and it was amazing. New York bagels are seriously in their own league, SO good.

Then it was back to Long Island…

And more pizza from Joe’s! I didn’t get a picture of our second time there, but we got a Sicilian pizza like this one and I liked it even more.

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Fast forward to our last day –> we were headed to my mom’s college roommate Linda’s house and decided to bring Italian Cookies. AKA probably one of my favorite things about Long Island- they’re at all the Italian bakeries there and they are amazing. My favorite are the kinds dipped in chocolate, but my momma likes the ones that have jelly sandwiched between them.

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Little did we know Linda’s daughter had also made us all a yogurt/custard/fruit parfait! We feasted on bagels for breakfast, then sandwich wraps for lunch, and definitely had full bellies when we got back on the plane.

As you can see, we ate real well. Thanks to a couple of workouts, a ton of walking in the city, and a general tendency to not overeat, I think I came out of this vacation with only 1 pound gained! This is a first for me 😛 And now I’m trying to brainstorm ways to get back ASAP.

Have you ever been to New York? What did you eat?

What food is your region known for?

Fitness Friday – on Vacation

Something I’ve never been great at is exercising on vacation. Who’s with me? (99% of everyone, I’m guessing :-P)

When we come to New York on vacation to visit family, we know we’ll be eating the whole time, so, to be honest, my “healthy diet” often goes out the window…and I’m okay with that. It’s called vacation!

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(These are the snacks my brother and I bought for the hotel/plane. Only the essentials!)

But to offset some of that eating, I decided to make an effort to exercise this time around. I wanna look good in my dress today….it’s wedding day!

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Happy wedding day to my beautiful cousin Kimberly and her fiancé Brian, who has pretty much been in our family for 10 years anyway 🙂

Anyhizzle, on with the workouts!

I got my elliptical + abs in on my lunch break on Monday, amidst a crazy 2 days at work that included scheduling 30+ meetings for my bosses (to take place over 2 days) and training my temp.

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The next day, we were taking an 11:50pm red eye from Sacramento –> NYC. I decided to go for a run in the evening, thinking I’d wear myself out enough to sleep on the plane.

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It worked! Kinda. I was exhausted by the time we were at our gate. Then, we were delayed 20-30 minutes, and the anxiety associated with that mess just woke me up more. I slept about 45 minutes out of our 5-hour flight. Lets just say I was not the happiest camper to deal with when we landed at JFK at 8:30am. Our waitress at IHOP got my order wrong and I was pretty much crying in our booth….drama queen! Needless to say, I didn’t have the energy to exercise on Wednesday, and that was A-okay.

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Yesterday morning I hit up the elliptical in our hotel gym, but couldn’t do much more than that since the gym was tiny and occupied by 2 wannabe guidos.

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So I improvised and did some ab stuff on the floor in me & my brothers room, complete with my boom box iPad. Depending on whether its raining outside (it has been SO humid), I will either go for a run this morning or repeat my elliptical sesh. Definitely wanna work off some of the drinks we’ll be having later!

Do you work out on vacation?

What’s your favorite no-gym-required workout?

New York City by iPhone

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Museum of Natural History

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In line for Jon Stewart!

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Mike Huckabee was the guest. We got his book fo free, then ate some cupcakes.

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Washington Square Park

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Hitchin a ride on the LIRR

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Katz’s Deli

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Vertical panorama of the new Freedom tower (that’s why the other buildings look a little janky), with one of the World Trade Center reflecting pools at the base

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Times Square at sunset

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Us, now, at JFK. I hate how I look (took a jog this morning and went straight from shower –> car) but T-Man’s sad face is too good!

See y’all back in California!

Leaving on a Jetplane

So, we’re doing it.

My friends are still evacuated from their downtown apartment and my aunt is still awaiting power on Long Island, but T-Man and I are still leaving for New York early tomorrow!

I actually love traveling. As you all know, I studied abroad for a year in college. During that year, I made frequent weekend and week-long trips to a grand total of 18 cities in at least 12 different countries.

Going to New York for 5 days isn’t exactly a huge adventure like traveling to another country is (especially when I’ve been visiting family there since i was a kid…The last time I went, I spent way more time hanging out with friends and family than sight seeing). But T-Man has never been to NYC! So it will be for him!

Any tips on must sees that aren’t too pricy? We only have 2 1/2 days in the city so we won’t have a ton of time. Our only plans thus far are a taping of the Daily Show (!!!) and the Tenement Museum. Oh, and going to Rockefeller Plaza because though I claim I have seen enough touristy things in NYC, I always have to stop by 30 Rock and gaze at the Plaza adoringly and wishing I could work there some day.

So in anticipation of my first cross-country trip in a couple of years, I’ve done am doing a few things to prepare.

1) Bought a new camera: The Nikon 1 J1

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I’ve been thinking about replacing my Canon Powershot Pro1 (circa 2005) for a while now, and upgrading to a DSLR. I decided to instead go for the compact Nikon 1. I’m not sure how I feel about it yet…it is a very good quality camera, but I have yet to find a manual mode, which means I might not have as much control over my pictures as I’d like. It seems like a pretty smart camera with a fair amount of settings, though, so maybe I won’t miss it. (all the photos in this post were taken with it {besides the one taken OF it, obviously})

2) I made pumpkin granola to bring on the plane. (Well, I’m making it right now and it smells delicious.)

I used this pumpkin granola recipe, but decreased the amount of sugar and syrup. I’m hoping it turns out; I’ve tried making granola before with Quick Oats (which is what I have on hand 99% of the time) and it never really works out right. My apartment smells delicious though, so at least it will taste great, even if it doesn’t have the same crunch as store-bought does!

3) I packed our bag am in the process of packing our bag

This is not a packed bag, as it may seem to be. This is my suitcase filled with a couple of cold weather items I grabbed from my parents house that I thought I’d need for the trip…So…I’ve got a ways to go… Haha. Plus, we found out you have to pay for checked bags, so T-Man is going to take most of his stuff in his carry-on, and I’m going to check a bag for both of us and fit whatever else I can of his in there.

I do consider myself a pro-packer, though. For a 5 day trip, I’m thinking I’ll probably bring 2 pairs of jeans, 2 pairs of shoes (one comfy, one cute), and a couple of different shirt + sweater combos. I’ll be wearing all of my bulkiest clothing tomorrow (bulkier shoes, and my heavy jacket) so I can fit more in the suitcase. Tips of the trade, I tell ya. When I was in France, I used to bring only a backpack for week-long travels. Check this out:

This was what I brought with me on a 8 day trip (at the end of October…COLD!) to Edinburgh, Dublin, and London. I’m wearing a tank top, sweater, hoodie, scarf, AND a jacket. I pretty much just traded the same 2 sweaters and 3 different shirts the whole time. Ballin’. Hey man, it’s what you’ve gotta do when you’re flying Ryanair (the airline who charges 14 euros per flight, but 25 euros for each checked bag) the whole way.

Wish us luck!