Tag Archives: restaurant review

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?









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!!

The Trifecta: Restaurant, Book & Movie Reviews

Good afternoon all! I know I promised you a book and restaurant review today and I wanted to get them up earlier, but then I decided to just lump them together with a movie review and make a GIANT post. My apologies in advance for the length. So let’s begin.

Restaurant Review

I was admittedly very excited when I learned that Hubby’s co-workers were planning a dinner at Nobu that would include significant others. Score! Besides being excited to see some of his co-workers and their signficant others I’d met before, as well as meeting some new team members, more importantly, I was thrilled to hear we would be gathering at Nobu!!

And so it was that I left work last Thursday and headed to Nobu on 57th. The restaurant is actually a bit hidden and set inside a little covered area.

Once our party arrived, we were escorted upstairs and Bill’s boss promptly spotted Ace from American Idol. For those who know me, I’m awful at spotting celebs, so I truly appreciate when people spot them and point them out to me. Apparently, I am oblivious.

Once we got down to business with the Nobu menu, I turned from oblivious to clueless and overwhelmed. Thankfully, I was with some people in the Nobu-know who guided our table to make the right selections. The downside of that – I’m at a loss to tell you what some of these pictures are. I will do my best…

Pretty sure this was the sashimi salad.

Some sort of mushroom salad that was soo tasty.

Rock Shrimp – Hubby’s favorite and might be mine as well. This was amazing. A must-order if you ever go.

Holy sushi and sashimi selection! All the ones I tried were amazing.

All of the food was soo delicious. I’m sorry I can’t go into more detail – I wish I had paid more attention during the ordering. There were also some other dishes that I didn’t post because  literally had no clue what they were. There wasn’t  a single thing that we ordered that I did not like. However, it was not a cheap meal by any means. That is my word of warning to everyone. Be prepared to spend some dough. And also be prepared to see some of the most pretentious and well-dressed people you’ve ever seen. There were some people there like our table – low-key, fun and laid back. But you could also spot a ton of uptight business folk or freshly bo-toxed glamazons . And I swear to you that just as we were about to leave the Jonas Brothers came in, but they were seated behind a wall and I knew it would be inappropriate to try to scale it. Not that I’m a fan of the JBs – just desperate to actually recognize some celebs from time to time.

Book Review

The Girl Who Played With Fire

By: Stieg Larsson
[photo source]

I’ll assume that if you want to read this book or already bought this book that you’ve read the first book: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. If not, I’d like to kindly ask you to stop right there and go back to the first book. You can not read the second book in this trilogy without reading the first.

That being said, this book does have a completely new story-line, but you need the history to gain the full understanding. It’s so difficult to explain Larsson’s plot line within these books. I’ll leave it at saying that  Lisbeth Salander is back and is working with journalist Mikael Blomkvist again on unraveling some criminal activities and mysteries. However, the relationship between Salander and Blomkvist has changed drastically since we last heard from them, so that adds a twist to the feel and direction of the plot.

General thoughts on this book – it made me immensely nervous right from the beginning. I was terrified for Lisbeth and worried about what would happen to her next. I felt this way a little bit in the first book, but this book intensified those feelings and did so right from the start.

As per Larsson’s first book, it’s a fast-paced, intriguing page turner. I cancelled plans and skipped the gym to go home and read this book. I did not want to put it down. However, toward the end there were a few details and situations here and there that I found to be a bit unbelievable or far-fetched. This disappointed me momentarily, but did not affect my overall opinion of the book.

The end of this book way okay, but nothing entirely amazing. Overall though, if you liked the first Larsson book, I can pretty much guarantee you will enjoy this one as well. But remember – it’s not for the faint of heart, there are some serious thrills and chills in these books.

Movie Review

Get Him to The Greek

We watched this movie last night and I have to be honest and say that it did not live up to my expectations. Perhaps it was because before we popped in the Netflix DVD, we had been watching “The Hangover” on HBO. It’s hard to think anything is as hysterical as that movie. So maybe not such a good pre-movie choice.

Regardless, this movie has its funny moments. Hubby doesn’t really like Russell Brand, but I found him to be amusing and a pretty decent actor. He’s got potential. His character reminded me of the washed up rock star from “Love Actually.” Now that was a great movie.

Anyway – this is a short movie and it’s probably better off that way. You’ll enjoy it if you go in with some realistic expectations and a willingness to forgive some predictability. I did really like that they tied it to “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” – now that was another great movie! Somehow, I doubt that I’ll ever say that about this movie though.

That’s all folks!!

“Good Health Cafe” Review

As promised, I have a restaurant review for you today. Yesterday I mentioned a great little hole in the wall place on the UES – I’m talking about  “Good Health Cafe.” Located on First Avenue between 74th and 75th, you would surely miss this place if you weren’t specifically looking for it. Once you enter the unassuming building, you find yourself in a small dining area with about 6-8 tables. Don’t let this deter you.

Sit yourself down and then try to decide what to order off of the fairly expansive and interesting menu. There’s some asian fusion in there, a little mexican, some hearty appetizers, wraps, burgers, fish, delicious sounding salads, and finally a smashing brunch menu.

When I visited this locale, I was firmly set in brunch mode. Thankfully, they serve brunch until 4:30 p.m. Sold! But then the problem became what to order? Look at this brunch list: banana pecan whole grain pancakes with blueberry; whole wheat pancakes; multigrain pumpkin spiced waffles  or pancakes; wholesome belgian waffles topped with banana blueberry sauce;  wheat-free very berry pancakes; organic buttermilk pancakes; corn & wild rice whole grain pancakes; baby blueberry pancakes; very berry multigrain pancakes; cinnamon vanilla french toast.

And my brunch choice isn’t even on there! I ordered whole wheat pancakes with warm apples and cinnamon. It came with veggies patties, homefries and eggs on the side. It was amazing.

Soo yumm! This totally filled me up. Next time though, I may have to give the french toast a whirl. 🙂 Also – they have a big omelet section on their menu as well. There really is something for everyone.

My friend’s boyfriend wasn’t in the mood for brunch, so he got a salad that he absolutely loved. I think it was the Green Tea Soba Noodle Salad: chilled japanese noodle with julienne tofu and vegetables in peanut sauce, served over greens.

I’ve decided this place would be the perfect post run  brunch spot – do I hear a blogger run and brunch calling? 🙂  Who is in? I’d surely have to try to make some sort of reservation to fit more than 4 people in this joint, so let me know. I’m thinking the weekend of November 20th – who’s around?

I’m Still Here & a Restaurant Review!

I swear – I haven’t disappeared. I’ve just been really busy. The past two days were spent in a Leadership Development Class I was selected for about a month ago. They were full day classes about Communicating Up, Down and Across an Organization. It was taught by someone from the American Management Association and it was a really great class. However, since it was all day on Tuesday and Wednesday, I came into work early both days and stayed a little late to get things done, so blogging fell to the bottom of my list.

So anyway – I’m here and trying to catch up on quite a few blogs. But I also promised you a restaurant review! Last Wednesday, my friend Katie and I went to a little restaurant in the East Village.

212 E. 9th St., New York, NY 10003

We arrived at Tsampa fairy early (we’re the early-bird people hehe) and could very well have been the only people in the place. This Tibetan restaurant is conveniently (for me) located off the 6 line and I got off at Astor Place.

If you recall, last week in NYC was pretty sweltering. Wednesday was a really tough day and it didn’t seem like Tsampa’s air conditioning was up to par. As we walked inside, we noticed it was a little cooler, but not too much. We tried not to dwell on the heat as we were shown to our table in the front corner.

We were both ravenous, so we set to work on choosing an appetizer to hold us over. We ordered two 1) Khampa Momo With Chicken and Vegetables – which were dumplings and 2) Tibetan Salad Shredded Cabbage, Carrots, Greens, Cucumber with Sesame Vinaigrette.

one dumpling left

Both appetizers were delicious!

We also decided to try one of their “signature” drinks, which I can’t remember the name of, but looked a lot better than it tasted.

To me, this sort of tasted like soured milk. It looked so refreshing and milkshake-like, but it was not. We were very glad we decided to share this drink and not each get one.

For my entrée, I ordered one of the specials which was made with chicken, rice, cabbage, carrots, leafy greens and spices.

It was sooo good!! And it was really filling as well. I wish it was on the menu all the time.

Overall, our meal was delicious and super cheap. The NY Magazine review of this restaurant also states that all their chicken is free-range. While we both chose chicken dishes, there are a TON of vegetarian options. I would say more veg options than meat dishes actually.

All in all, I think we found a great little place to come back to for healthy, cheap and delicious food!

So that’s all for me today folks. I’ve got a lot of catching up to do. I hope you all have had a good week. I squeezed in a nice 5 mile run on Tuesday night and am going to try to run outside tonight. I’ve got a 4 mile race planned for Saturday morning and I’m hoping it’s not too hot, although the forecast is showing high temps. 😦 I know I shouldn’t complain about the warm summer weather, but sometimes it just makes running feel so awful!

Have a great Thursday all!!