Category Archives: Restaurants

Mid-Week and Mid-Mileage

Welcome to Wednesday (deep sigh). Hope you are breezing through your week. My week has been busy and moving along pretty quickly. I’ve been enjoying reading some of the Boston Marathon recaps that bloggers have been posting already. Good for them – it just might have taken more than a month to finally post my recap. Oops.

It’s good old Wednesday and that means we’re halfway to the weekend and MAYBE for some, halfway through your training week. Now, if I had actually gotten up this morning to run, I could say that was me. But nope. Tired and slept right through my alarm. So after-work run, here I come. At least it’s not 90 degrees outside today. I still don’t know how the Boston Marathoners did it. Seriously, majorly impressed with any and all finishers.  

So far this week, which is lucky number week 13 of training, I logged an 8-mile run on Monday and 5 miles on Tuesday morning. Yup – you read that right. MORNING. I don’t know how it happened, but it was a beautiful thing. I mean, I really do LOVE running in the morning. It’s not too hot, it’s beautiful, the running areas are pretty clear, and I feel great afterwards. Come one – what’s not to love? Right – not being to drag myself out of bed.  It’s just so darn hard!

Yesterday I managed because I had happy hour plans after work. A few of my old colleagues and I tried a German Biergarten called Loreley on Rivington Street. Being that it was 80 degrees out yesterday and sunny, we obviously wanted some outdoor seating. This place did not disappoint. They have a decent sized back patio space with picnic tables. If you don’t mind possibly sharing your table with a random person or two, then you should be just fine.

(Source)

We had a few beers, snacked on some pretzels, ate a cheese plate (not very good), and a basket of pork meatballs with fries. It started to get a little crowded and loud as it got later, but nothing intolerable. Overall, I would definitely go back to this place. It’s pretty unnoticeable – you would never think to stop in just based on the exterior, but I recommend it!

In other news, I am currently reading “Real Food: What to Eat and Why” after reading a recommendation and I’m really liking it so far. I will definitely try to post a review on this one. Then next on the list is “Fifty Shades of Grey” for book club and I’ve heard a lot of mixed things. Should be interesting.

What are you reading right now? Any great recommendations? I think I am next on the book club list to select a book. Ohh the pressure – help!

 

 

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Mid-Week: The Good, The Bad, The Sweets

Hello Wednesday. I wish you were Friday. So far, this week has been one of those really never-ending weeks. I’m actually glad I’m back in training mode because it’s keeping me sane.

The Bad
Besides having some residual head cold symptoms lingering, it just seems like every day there is another new issue to contend with or another frustration. My motto this week has kind of been two steps forward and eight steps back. And for a control freak like me, that is tough to handle.

The Good: Training on Track
But, I’m trying to focus on the positives. One being that I ran on Monday and Tuesday. Monday I logged 3.5 miles at the gym and Tuesday, I got my butt out of bed in the morning for a brisk 5-mile run. So far, I am on track for my mileage this week.

The Good: Delicious Dinner
Also on Monday, I made a delicious dinner after my run. I baked some tilapia, topped it with butter and lemon, and then sprinkled with dill, cilantro and garlic powder.

Our side dish was a vegetable medley. My colleague brought in some fresh kale from his garden, so that’s what inspired the dish. Along with kale, I added zucchini, potatoes, mushrooms, asparagus, and a few grape tomatoes. It was very filling and delicious. 

The Good: Balade
Ok – so another positive was getting together with a friend last night for dinner and finding a new hidden gem. My friend Katie and I love exploring new ethnic, eclectic cuisines. We used to have a monthly date where we would try new and different restaurants. I think we kind of forgot about that tradition when we joined our book club.

But last night took us back to exploration. We ended up around Union Square and then walked a little south and east. We would up at: Balade – a Lebanese pitza and grill.

The waiter was super nice and helped us with our pronunciation and meal selection. We chose to share a bunch of small plates and it was the perfect amount of food.  We started with some hummus that had a light touch of lemon and was really good.

Then we had the Sambousik: “decadent pastry pockets filled with seasoned ground beef and toasted pine nuts.”  Along with the Grilled Halloumi Cheese: “grilled, sizzling hot cypriot cheese slices served with tomatoes and cucumber.” 

And last we had the Fatayir with Spinach and Feta (my favorite): “mini-pies stuffed with chopped spinach and feta cheese.”  

Unfortunately, I completely forgot to take photos. It’s taking a little time to get back into the swing of things, but I’m working on it.

I guess, upon reflection, although my week has been kind of tough, it’s also had some high points. It’s all about balancing the good with the bad. I’m hoping that my little head cold will work its way out of my system today when I sweat it out at the gym and then eat a healthy dinner.

The Sweets: Sugar, Sugar
I guess I might as well also admit another bad point of my week have been my intense sugar cravings. I don’t know why they are so out of control, but with Valentine’s day candy and cadbury eggs showing up, I’ve found myself veering off my course and making unplanned stops at CVS and 7-Eleven to stock-up on totally unnecessary and unhealthy sweets. It’s my weak spot and I’m totally failing.

My new plan is to allow myself just a hint of the sugar I am craving tonight. I bought those ever-so-delicious-and-addicting sweettart hearts, and I am only allowing myself to eat five mini hearts tonight after a healthy dinner. I will give moderation a shot, and if that fails, I might have to just throw them out.

What about you (if anyone is reading) – how do you squelch temptations? Can you have them in the house or do you have to get rid of them? Can you practice moderation?

 

 

 

 

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Oh What a Productive Sunday

Happy Sunday all! I wish the weekend wasn’t over already. It really flew by. Hubby and I both got our long runs in yesterday, I got a hair cut, and then we went to dinner and a movie.

We tried out a new place about a block away from our house called Felice 83. It’s a new wine bar located in a very tiny space. I felt kind of cramped right away when we sat down. I hate feeling like I can’t really have a conversation with my husband when we’re at a restaurant because the people next to us are basically eating with us.

I got over the tight quarters and checked out the menu. There were some pretty interesting selections on the menu, and I finally settled on the quinoa dish. Hubby and I started off by sharing a salad (overpriced at $15), and we each had a glass of Cabernet. The negative was that, for a wine bar, our glasses of wine were very small. And at $8 and $15 a glass, we were expecting a decent-sized goblet. Not so.

The salad was very good, and my quinoa was delicious. I tried some of Hubby’s dish and it was good too. Overall, I’ll say the place is decent. It offers organic and local selections, so I guess I can see why the prices may be a bit more. However, I think we will be trying some other local places before we go back to this one again.

After dinner, we went to see Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.

(Source)

I was a little hesitant about this movie because I knew it would be tough subject. But it wasn’t focused solely on 9/11 – it was really more of a close look at a family who lost a father/husband in one of the buildings. The boy in the movie was so good. He was pretty amazing. It was a very emotional and heart-wrenching movie, and I probably cried for most of it. But I certainly wasn’t the only one – I heard people all around me sniffling too. It was a good movie, but you have to be prepared for it, and in the right frame of mind to watch it.

Sunday
So after our busy Saturday, one might think Sunday would be a relaxed day. Not so. Before I got down to business, I fueled up with a delicious french toast breakfast.

With both of us in training now, we have more stinking (literally) laundry than ever before. It was overflowing and I knew it was going to be a big project. Four loads of laundry (up and down five flights of stairs about 20 times), and it was all finally gone.  So now we can start our second week of training off with clean clothes and an empty laundry basket.

The rest of my Sunday was filled with cleaning, running errands, and then making a delicious veggie lasagna.

Here is the recipe:

Vegetable Lasagna (6 servings)

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 3/4 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 3/4 cup chopped zucchini
  • 1/2 cup sliced carrots
  • 1/2 chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 3/4 of a bottle of tomato basil pasta sauce
  • 1 (15 oz.) carton of part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 6 hot cooked lasagna noodles (halved)
  • 3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (I used skim)

Pre-heat the over to 374 degrees. Cook the noodles and then saute the mushrooms through the red onion for 5 minutes. Then add the sauce and simmer for another 10 minutes.

Then spray an 8-inch square baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Line the bottom with 1/2 cup of the tomato mixture, then lay 4 noodles on top. On top of the noodles place 1/2 of the ricotta cheese and then 1 cup of the tomato mixture on top of it. Repeat the layers and end with noodles. Then put the last remaining tomato mixture in a thin layer over the noodles and sprinkle it with mozzarella cheese.

Then bake it covered for 30 minutes, then uncover and bake it for another 20 minutes. Then take it out and let it cool for about 10 minutes.

This is the second time I made this lasagna and it has come out really well both time. And I now have lunch for about four days this week. I love leftovers!

Okay – time to watch the rest of the SAG Awards and head to bed. Week two of training starts tomorrow!

How was your weekend? Anyone training for a spring marathon too?! What races?

Restaurant Review: V-Note (Vegan)

I remember that about a year ago I was very excited to try the new Blossom Restaurant that had opened up on the UES. But my plans kept changing and I kept pushing things back, so that finally when I had a day figured out, the restaurant was CLOSED!! Sadness. I still plan to make it to one of the other Blossom sites in NYC, but imagine my excitement when I found out that another vegan restaurant was opening on the UES. V-Note!

And as fate would have, this new restaurant is owned by the same owners of Blossom. Who knows what happened to the one on the UES and why it left so quickly, all I care about is that they brought in a new place!

And then a few months back, I happened to see a Groupon for V-Note and I pretty much HAD to buy it. Last weekend I was finally able to use the Groupon when I went with a few friends to V-Note for the first time. I made a reservation the day before – yes, they do accept them. And we arrived at 7 p.m.

We were seated pretty much right at the front in a nice little booth spot, but I wish I had explored the location a little more. The three of us ordered the Roasted Pumpkin and Sweet Potato Gnocchi for an appetizer, along with a bottle of the Pizzolato Cabernet, while we waited for our fourth.

She arrived just as our appetizer and wine arrive and we all dug in. The appetizer was delicious, as was the wine. I forgot to snap a photo of our app. We were all very excited for the next course.

For my main meal, I ordered the Chile Relleno – a baked poblano pepper stuffed with vegetable ratatouille and cheese, spinach citrus rice, tomato coconut cream, and pineapple salsa. It was seriously AMAZING!! I was thrilled with my choice and think if (and when) I go back again, I may order it again!

Everyone else also enjoyed their meals – I believe they ordered the Mushroom Walnut Ravioli, Medallione Au Poivre, and I can’t recall the last one. But I had a taste of each one and they were all good! Here is mine: 

As we were eating our dinner, we saw a couple order a delicious looking dessert and we all decided we had to have it.

Mmmm Dark Chocolate Fondue – very nice!! The dipping choices were mainly fruit. Surprisingly, I really like the pineapple with the dark chocolate, but not the melon. Overall they were ALL yummy!

All in all, this restaurant was delicious. The service was a little bit slow, but we weren’t in a rush, so it didn’t really matter. The atmosphere is also posh and more upscale than I expected. I’ve been to a few vegan restaurants, so I was expecting a more casual mish-mosh of design. I would completely recommend this restaurant to vegans, vegetarians and meat eaters. It was that good! Enjoy!!

Book Club, Race for Hope and a Baby Shower

Busy – that is the word to best describe my past week. Coming back from a long weekend (Labor Day) is always tough because it means squeezing a ton of work into four days.

But as busy as things were, I had to take time out to go to book club on Thursday night. We meet monthly and are each responsible for selecting a book for our month. This past month, we read The Hunger Games and you can check out my review here. But the first book was soo good, that most of us read the second and third book as well. Every month, we also try to choose a restaurant that goes along with the theme of our book. This month we thought it would be kind of tough, but turns out that Korean BBQ was the perfect choice! We went to Yakiniku West in the East Village. And soon it was time to cook our meat and veggies, just like Katniss did in The Hunger Games – okay… well kind of.

It was a great choice. We split four entrees, a few appetizers and several pitchers of beer and it was still very affordable and delicious!

With Thursday over, it was time to head upstate again on Friday evening. We drove up to Albany and got there in time to watch my cousins play in the CBA vs. Albany football game. CBA crushed them. I headed home early and went to bed because I had a race the next morning!

On Saturday morning, I ran the Race for Hope in Slingerlands, NY with a few friends. I can’t say it was the most organized thing in the world. They had one person working the table where they were handing out the tags, so the race started about 15 minutes late. But regardless, we were off and running. The course was a little hilly and pretty suburban, but it flew by.

According to my Garmin, I finished the 5k in 23:52. Not my fastest, not my slowest. That’s fine, I’ll take it!

After the race, we “raced” home to shower and get ready for a friend’s baby shower. I didn’t have my camera with me, so I have no photos from the shower, but I’m hoping friends will send a few my way. We had a gorgeous day for the shower, which was outside, and it was a lot of fun. Lots of food, fun baby stuff, ginormous CUPCAKES, and a very pregnant friend who looked fabulous. Seriously, she is eight months pregnant and so very mobile and comfortable looking.

After the shower, I headed to Clifton Park to spend the evening at another friend’s new house. She moved in about a month ago and already it’s looking pretty good. Know what else looked good? The mounds of food we brought…

…and devoured. We had so many awesome snacks, that we didn’t even end up needing to make the actual dinner foods that were prepared. To be honest, sometimes I prefer that. I love appetizers and snacks.

The night was filled with lots of laughs, girl talk, wedding talk, baby talk, and almost anything you can think. We go off on some serious tangents when we get together.

On Sunday it was time to head back to NYC, but not before stopping at Lindsey’s Country Store for some freshly picked apples and apple cider. It’s such a cute little store and I love it because they spell my name right!

We bought some gala and honeycrisp apples. Is there anything better in the fall?

And lastly, I will leave you with what we came home to on Sunday night…

Such a teaser – as soon as you go over and try to smush his stomach he tries to attack you. He’s sneaky like that.

What are you most looking forward to as fall approaches? I am torn between fall clothes, delicious fall flavored coffees, foliage, our wedding anniversary and apples. If you couldn’t tell – fall is my favorite season!

Kennebunkport, Maine Vacation Recap

I can’t believe it’s already September. I feel like Hubby and I just got back from our Maine vacation, but in reality, we got back on August 22. We stayed in Kennebunkport, ME from August 18 – 22 in this adorable Bed and Breakfast called Bufflehead Cove. Our room was really cute and had a balcony, a Queen bed (ahh the luxury!), a full bathroom and a Jacuzzi tub. The B&B was situated right on the river and we got to enjoy our breakfast each morning on the front porch watching people kayak and paddleboard on by.


And let me just say that the breakfast each morning was AMAZING!! Seriously delicious, homemade and usually most ingredients were all-natural. I missed taking a picture of the first morning’s spread, but here are the other days:

Mmm yummy. I am getting hungry just thinking about our breakfasts there. But enough about the B&B food, we did get out and explore the area quite a bit. Our first day there, we arrived in the late afternoon, checked in and then headed into the town of Kennebunkport. Our B&B was just outside. We walked around the cute little town exploring and relaxing and then we headed to dinner at Arundel Wharf. It was a gorgeous night, right on the water, so it was just perfect. We enjoyed our meal on the deck and sipped on some white wine and beer. We called it an early night because we had plans to head to a few nearby towns the next day.

On Friday, we devoured our delicious breakfast, which was served everyday between 8:30 – 9:30 a.m. and hung out with our buddy Loqui the cat while we ate. He reminded me of our Murphy, only not quite as large and in charge.

After breakfast, we drove to the town of Ogunquit and took a nice long walk on the Marginal Way (a long walkway above and along the beach)


and then we drove to York and saw the Nubble Lighthouse.

After our long day excursion, we headed back to the B&B, showered and then had dinner in town at Bandaloop. It was a little bit of a different place, but totally delicious. On Saturday morning it was another busy day after breakfast. We took a schooner ride from Kennebunkport out for about two hours on the water and got to see the Bush estate (it is gigantic). The weather was amazing, sunny with a slight breeze, and our trip was fabulous.

After we got back from our boat ride, we headed to Cape Porpoise for a nice relaxing lunch on the dock outside the Chowder House. There was a pretty decent view of a nearby lighthouse from the Pier. And again, we had such a gorgeous day.

So after exploring Cape Porpoise, we headed to Goose Rocks Beach and chilled there for a little while. The water was a little bit colder than I like, but it was nice to spend some time walking around and hanging out.

After hitting up the beach, it was getting close to dinner so we showered back at the B&B and then headed back into Kennebunkport. We had reservations at Mabel’s, which is supposedly a Bush favorite. I don’t know what I was expecting, but a tiny little shack wasn’t what I envisioned. Mabel’s is completely unassuming and small. We made reservations for outdoor seats and we were almost sitting in the road!

But I completely loved the place. The food was delicious and reasonably priced. My only hang-up was having to drink my beer from a Patriot’s glass. But other than that, Mabel’s gets an A in my book. Here is my dinner from Mabel’s…

The next day (Sunday) was our last day in Maine. We decided to head to Portland for the day and stopped at Orchard Beach to visit one of Hubby’s friend’s along the way. After our morning get-together, we made it to Portland and explored a bit, had some lunch and hung out.

As the afternoon turned into evening, we drove to Kittery to have dinner with one of Hubby’s co-workers. And I got to watch Hubby learn how to properly eat a full lobster, with the bib and all. These instructions helped, as did his friend’s coaching.

Hubby did a pretty decent job. We finished off our night with some ice-cream and headed back to Bufflehead Cove for our final night of our mini vacation.

We thoroughly enjoyed our last breakfast on Monday before we loaded our stuff into the car and headed home.

So what was my overall Maine experience? It was fabulous! We had such a good time, explored some really beautiful areas, ate a ton of great seafood and managed to run into a bunch of people we knew. Seriously, Maine is some sort of hot spot. On top of the people that we actually planned to get together with, we also ran into a neighbor from Hubby’s parent’s neighborhood in upstate NY, another co-workers at Hubby’s company, and a girl I went to college with. It really felt like such a small world in Kennebunkport, ME. And I loved it!!

A Weekend of Fun…And Not a Photo to Show

Happy Tuesday – hope you all had a nice weekend. I had a fabulous time seeing some great college friends, but not a second of it was caught on camera. We either didn’t have a camera or didn’t think to snap a shot. So now I will artfully describe for you what my weekend entailed and hopefully my wordy description will cut it.

Saturday morning I woke up a little late and was only able to squeeze in a 5-mile run before I had to head out. I had hoped for more, but took what I could get done.

On Saturday afternoon, I headed to Connecticut to my friend’s father’s house for a delightful little BBQ. At said BBQ, we had: chicken, burgers, veggies, burger, corn on the cob, and fruit salad. If that doesn’t scream good-0ld fashioned BBQ, I don’t know what does. It was perfection.

We spent the rest of the day hanging out and catching up, watching an adorable baby gurgle and laugh – you know, all the important stuff.

Alas, the day ended and it was time to think about dinner. Anyone who knows me well knows that this is pretty much how my day is split up: When is the next meal, where will it be, what will I eat and so on. Food rules my life. We headed to my other friend Kim’s house to pick her and determine where to go for dinner.

We hit up Butterfield 8 (yes, there is one in NYC) for a casual dinner  and spent the rest of the evening chatting and catching up.

Sunday I headed home and did laundry, cleaned, etc. for the rest of the day. I finished the evening by baking some delicious Banana Bread. I only remembered to take a “before” photo though.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 eggs (beaten)
  • 1 c. mashed ripe bananas (3 medium or 2 large)
  • 1/2 c. agave nectar
  • 1/4 c. canola oil
  • A pinch of sea salt (1/16 tsp.)

Directions:

  1. Coat an 8x4x2-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside. Mash bananas and set aside. In a medium bowl combine whole wheat pastry flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and sea salt. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl combine egg whites, banana, agave nectar, and oil. Once mixed well, add flour mixture all at one time to banana mixture. Stir until moistened. The batter should be lumpy. Spoon mixture into pan.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 to 50 minutes. Test doneness by inserting a wooden toothpick near the center of the bread. The toothpick should come out clean.
  4. Cool in pan on a wire rack for approximately 10 minutes. Remove bread from pan and cool completely on the wire rack.

My weekend ended with Trueblood of course! I thought this week’s episode was REALLY good. And now all of  a sudden its Tuesday evening already!