Finally made it!
Tonight Carter and I dined on the floor of Arpeggio Grill, one of Austin best kept Mediterranean secrets.
My latest article for CultureMap Austin is a scrumptious one and it’s sure to make any Thanksgiving feast very interesting.
Click the photo below for the jump…
This weekend Carter, Bella, and I took a trip out to Marble Falls.
It had been years since I’d been out to those parts and, I’ve got to admit, I was a little disappointed. For starters, there were no “Falls” to speak of – the Pedernales River was as a dry as a bone; the ghosts of boat docks wobbled in high grass. There was, however, a ton of marble and granite. Everywhere I looked – marble, this, granite, that – enough already with the marble, we get it!
Barren rivers and masonry aside, the real reason we ventured to Marble Falls is because of Sweetberry Farm, otherwise known as the best spot for strawberry-picking in Central Texas. Strawberry’s ain’t your thang? Sweetberry also has onions, potatoes, bouncey dome, a tracto-pull, blackberries (when in season), goats, and donkeys.
The latter, of which, made me a little sad.
Shamefully, I cannot believe that it has taken me over two years to visit the Bronx. This time last year, I was training for a foot race in Van Cortlandt Park before I sprained my ankle. Ever since, the Bronx has been a non-priority, that is, until I ventured to the New York Botanical Gardens today. And what a perfect spring day! When coupled with a warm breeze and crystal cloudless skies, the gardens were a veritable fortress of solitude.
Luckily, while wandering the grounds of the property, I spontaneously remembered that the Bronx is known for its Italian neighborhoods – specifically its restaurants. All it took was a quick search on Yelp and (poof) I was suddenly at Zero Otto Nove, one of the highest rated Italian restaurants on Arthur Avenue. And what is a good Italian meal without an even better dessert? I can thank Egidio Pastry for the chocolate-dipped cannoli and cappuccino.
I can also thank NYC roads for the chug-holed, stop-and-go, and smoggy ride home. Ten miles (if even) took over one hour!!
I’ve been dying to check out Pylos, purportedly the best Greek food in all of New York City. Even Astoria? Even Astoria.
Located in the wastelands of Alphabet City, Pylos was worth the walk. My friend Mike even joined me for the smorgasbord, equipped with dolmathes, pita, giant white beans, lamb shank, and Tetramythos wine.
By the time I left, I had eaten so much that I was literally moaning. Pure misery but in a really great way.
Some times, when you’re feeling really low, the last thing you wanna do is exactly what you need to do.
I’ve found that when I focus on the negative – things I don’t have, what I fear, worst case scenarios, etc. – it paralyzes me in the present. In other words, I stop moving forward. For a creative and driven person, this can feel like a death sentence. In moments like these, I often know exactly what I need and it’s probably the last thing that I really want. This means doing something (or a combination of things) that I really love. But why would I have to remind myself to do something that I love?
Because bad feelings have a tendency to make us short-sighted. We can only focus on the negative present- what is wrong now, what is scaring us now, etc. – instead of thinking about what we want for the future (ie. what we need to do to get happy). For me, this means going for a run, eating well and creating something.
The hardest part of this process? Actually doing it.
Always follow your bliss.
A trip to Juiceland after a run.
Love is greater than fear.
Manhattan’s culinary stalwart One if by Land, Two if by Sea has a reputation for being haunted but it wasn’t until I examined a recent photograph that I actually began to take these claims seriously.
The restaurant was once the carriage house of vice president Aaron Burr, who infamously murdered Alexander Hamilton in an 1804 duel. Many patrons and employees of the establishment have reported cold spots, footsteps in the attic, and have even seen the specter of an African-American man at a balcony table.
I was at One if by Land for “Restaurant Week,” which actually spanned the entire month of August. My dining companion and I sat in the center of the main room of the restaurant, beneath the stern gaze of a large portrait of Burr. Throughout our three-course meal, I intermittently spouted facts about the politician and criticized his dealings with Hamilton. I repeated the lore of the carriage house to my friend, pointing out creeping architectural details and placing particular emphasis on a tombstone that was purportedly discovered in the basement.
Before we left, I placed my camera on a table by the entrance and opened its aperture. What I caught is at best a little perplexing.
I love Philadelphia. Duh.
My Dad used to live in Bucks County, I interned in Center City, and I happen to love cheesesteaks. So when Valerie invited me to a block party at her friend Erin’s house in Fishtown, I jumped at the chance to go. I hadn’t been to Philadelphia since New Year’s 2010 and, God knows, that was another lifetime.
Here’s to making new memories in the City of Brotherly (and Sisterly) Love!
Erin and a mister.Just chillin’.Valerie.Kids.Nehemiah.Heirloom.
Totally into it.
Last night, after Ariel and I got caught in the freak storm that descended on Williamsburg, she went back to the City and I began to wander home. En route, I stumbled upon the annual Giglio Feast for Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church.
Although the streets were packed with generations of Williamsburgers, street vendors, lotharious Carnies, and rickety-looking rides, the main attraction was the festival float. Not only did this float carry an eight-piece brass band but it also held a 65-foot obelisk with the likeness of Saint Giglio on top. To make matters more interesting, there were 100 sweaty men in the hull of the float, pushing it down the street. When the brass band played a stoccato number, the men underneath would bob the float along to the beat. When the brass band played a slow number, the men would make the float sway. It was all very impressive.
Upon eavesdropping on a conversation between two neighborhood Joes (everyone at this festival was either named Joe or Gino, by the way), I discovered that the job of “float-pusher” is considered quite a prestigious one among patrons of the church. One man boasted that his uncle Gino trained for months to be a part of the 1962 Mount Carmel float crew. The other man “oohed” and “awwed” in amazement, while I kept my interest to myself.
When I got off the train at Grand Central this morning, my AM New York dude was nowhere to be found.
In his place were college-aged types in cotton candy-colored t-shirts shouting the phrase “Roseanne’s Nuts!” and handing out packages of salted macademias to passersby. Apparently, Roseanne Barr’s new series, in which she lives and works on a Hawaiian macademia nut farm, premieres on Lifetime tonight. Every preview that I’ve seen looks pretty hilarious. Honestly, I like Roseanne (especially her recent article in NY Magazine) and I like the fact that Lifetime is attempting to rebrand itself. Another thing I like? Free macademia nuts.
The lobby of the Menger Hotel, San Antonio.
Garden of the Menger.
My little cousin Leah.
The Alamo in the baking heat of the sun.
The Alamo at sun set.
Day-drinking, sweltering heat, new bars, and a giant slip’n slide party – I missed you, Austin!
Even though this Fourth of July didn’t include any fireworks, on account of a stubborn drought and resulting burn ban, it was still tons of fun. Loren, Angela, Amy, and myself ended up at a couple events, most notably the madness of the epic slip n’ slide party. I must say, regardless of how much fun the shindig was, the whole slip n’ slide thing seemed a bit environmentally irresponsible on account of the aforementioned desert-like conditions of Central Texas at the present.
Gah Shan, what a BUZZ KILL.
I’ve heard of party busses, party barges, and even party trains but party battleships?
Last night I had the pleasure of attending the PromaxBDA conference opening party, held inside the massive USS Intrepid. Call me nerd but I think the concept of attending a party on a battleship is pretty radical. Did you know that the USS Intrepid survived five kamikaze attacks during World War II? This is especially interesting to note considering that the flight deck is now more like a peaceful observation deck, with panoramic views of the Hudson River and Midtown West.
Inside there were virtual reality rides, helicopters, booze, and a photobooth. The latter, in which I took some really horrible pics at the urging of the Polish attendant. Głupi operatora!
Old Gray Mare.
The flight deck.
Just some wartime aircraft, that’s all.
My obsession with New York City street fairs continues with this beauty just two blocks from my work.
I especially liked the girl on the Gyros sign. She looks so knowing and… satisfied.
Yesterday marked my first Mets game ever and, true to form, those underdogs were defeated not only by the rain but also by the pesky Oakland A’s.
Of course, I adore baseball – what am I a Communist? However, no patriotic love is great enough to weather the conditions of a 45-minute subway commute to Queens alongside tens of stinky, cranky New Yorkers. That was basically the closest thing I’ve come to experiencing hell on Earth. The Mets game? Much better.
Even though it was pouring for the first hour we were at Citi Field, the rain let up just in time for Adam, Sara, Dre, and myself to eat some junk food, yell at the megatron (Steve Guttenberg was present!), and for me to photo-bomb some poor couple’s pic.
Good, old-fashioned American FUN.
Hell on Earth.
Messy, messy, Metsy.
Sara waited in the rain for a Shake Shack burger and fries.
When the rain let up, it wasn’t so bad.
This is after we saw Steve Guttenberg.
Dre and Adam pigging out.PHOTO-BOMB!
Today was Kila’s last day of fifth grade. There was a surprise dance, face painting, pre-k sing-along, and a private a pool party.
Then we pigged out at Beef O’Brady’s and I made Kila wear a mustache made out of her own hair.
Pretty good day, if you ask me.
Fifth graders going wild.
Kila with a gator and some shutter shades.
Dad leading a pre-k sing-along.
Kila hula-hooping by the pool.
Lamping by the pool.
It’s been since the Fourth of July that I trekked down to Coney Island but, as I suspected, it was just as I left it last year: Freaks, corn-dogs, and the illustrious Luna Park.
Although my initial objective for the day was to gorge on corn-dogs and light beer, it soon (d)evolved into a smorgasbord of carny food including teeth- and lip-bluing cotton candy, a caramel apple, and a really weak boardwalk pina colada. I was supposed to be saving my appetite for a Russian feast in Brighton Beach.
Speaking of which, I went to Brighton Beach for the first time yesterday. It was pretty cool. I realized that I’m kind of obsessed with trashy Russian women. Maybe it’s because I could pass for one with the help of a stringy blond wig, a push-up bra, and a pack of Capri cigarettes. There’s always next Halloween…
Where my freaks at?
Bart Simpson lives!
What are you laughing about?
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Pony in the Coney.
Noshing in Brighton Beach at the Cafe Glechik. На здоровье!
I thought I saw Viggo Mortenson down this close.
It’s official: Adam is old(er).
On Saturday night the gang celebrated his 31st birthday at Papacito’s in Greenpoint. It was Mexican-themed so that means there was a pinata, sombrero, some fake mustaches, and lots of gaucamole. After our Mexican feast was complete, we headed to TBD (a complete disaster) and later to the Diamond Bar – the site of last year’s pie bake-off.
I was dragging and exhausted for the entire party. On account of my crazy night before, I was running on fumes and (literally) barely standing. The photo below does my fatigue on Saturday night no justice.
Alissa and Quakenbush.
Today, while eating lunch with Ariel at a midtown business “park,” a butterfly landed next to my sushi.
It stayed on my lap for so long that I thought it was stuck to my napkin. Turns out, the wee guy was just hanging out.
It stayed on my lap for so long that I thought it was stuck to my napkin. Turns out, the wee guy was just hanging out.
Some cultures consider this to be a sign of impending good luck. I certainly hope so!