Category Archives: New York City

Charm: A Classic Revival

Fashion enthusiasts and Coach lovers alike surely know that Coach is bringing back their classics.  Beautifully crafted structured handbags in neutral colors with demure gold hardware.  My eye is always drawn to matte leathers in go-with-all colors and simple, yet classy details.  I don’t like excessive chains, zippers and things that dangle.  I don’t like bags that slouch or ones that I can’t wear cross-body.  And I never choose to carry a patterned bag, especially because I choose to put the pattern in my wardrobe (usually an animal print, let’s be honest).  In my sophomore year of college I found 2 vintage Coach bags at a local re-sale store called Crossroads.  My first find was a forest green cross-body bag with a circular structured shape. $12.  Convinced this was not an isolated incident I went back 1-2 times a week just to dig through the purses.  Behold, a soft creme colored shoulder purse in great condition.   $15.

Coach is now selling this purse for $298.  I am squealing with delight!  Who would choose to expel this from their collection or accessories?

Classic leather shoulder purse, $298, coach.com

I adore flea market and vintage bargain hunting, so I couldn’t resist visiting the Hell’s Kitchen Flea Market every other weekend this summer.  My first find was this absolutely gorgeous, super square cross-body bag in a deep mahogany leather,  with only slightly worn gold hardware.  I couldn’t get the seller to go lower than $45, but that still feels like sweet sweet victory.  That SAME purse is now retailing for $298 entitled the “willis bag”.  Their description reads <<At one time, our best-selling handbag. Not-too-big, not-too-small, this right-sized bag was one of the first to use the dowel as a design motif.>>  Why they discontinued this design and shape back then I cannot understand.  It’s effortlessly classic.  It’s just the perfect shape.  Also, I worship the dowel.  I’m never worried my purse is going to pop open, it’s always secure.  I’m in purse heaven.

Willis Bag in Mahogany, $298, coach.com

To own this for 1/6 of the price makes me so very happy.  Last but not least is my final find.  Perfect for evenings out, my small black cross-body bag is just big enough for a small wallet, blackberry, and camera, plus a lipstick or two.  The hardware is of course gold, and the strap a bit thinner than the 3 previous.  I think this has a unique look because a leather flap arches over the opening of the bag and hooks on the front.  I also have the option of zipping it to close, but I find that just hooking and turning the dowel keeps everything in there.  I snagged that one for $25-$30, I believe.  I’m extremely content with my classic collection in black, brown, creme, and forest green, for a fraction of the price of one of the new Coach revivals.  I told myself I would not buy anymore, but on my last trip I spotted a few red leather gems.  Did I mention that small red leather cross-body purses are a Fall 2011 trend?  I’ll let you know if Miss Scarlett joins the family.  Ciao!

Edit: One of my favorite bloggers, Emily of Cupcakes and Cashmere, featured the Coach “station bag” in black leather in her most recent post.  Glad to know that I’m on the right style track.  Dear Emily, please tell me you didn’t pay full price!

cupcakesandcashmere.com

Hunger: Food On Repeat

If there’s one thing I like more than diving into a delicious meal, it’s diving into that same delicious taste a second time.  You can live in New York City and never eat the same thing twice, of course, but when I love something all I can think about is how much I would love to eat it again.  So here’s 4 of my favorites on repeat: breakfast, lunch, dinner, and late night.

Abuelo’s Egg Sandwich, $8.50, Penelope, 30th and Lex

Photo Credit Serious Eats: New York

This sandwich is so mouthwatering I could eat it all day.  I’ve been to Penelope twice and ordered this twice.  Both times the eggs have been perfectly cooked: the first bite sends the rich flavor of the hot yolk all over your sandwich.  The swiss is sharp, the ham smoky, and the somun bread extra crispy.  The combo of balsamic-mayo and swiss compliments the lightness of the egg white and yolk (if you have any left inside your sandwich), and I love that you can really taste every layer of flavor, however simple.

Tarragon Shrimp Roll, $7, The Lobster Place, Chelsea Market

Photo Credit dembellyfull.com

Chelsea Market truly is foodie heaven as Food Network has pointed out in this season of Food Network star and I feel overwhelmed and dissapointed every time I go, simply because I can’t eat everything in sight.  Just knowing that Food Network is upstairs makes me smile from ear to ear.  My upbringing in Baltimore taught me to love crab and shrimp (sorry Bubbie and Zayde!) and I can never get enough.  If I were spending this summer at home I would probably be eating steamed shrimp every other week but it’s basically non-existent on the raw  bar here.  This shrimp roll is the next best thing.  The tender shrimp are mixed with mayo and tarragon, which imparts a minty and peppery flavor on this chilled salad.  I suppose it reminds me a bit of the Old Bay seasoning I’m used to back in my area.  It is then served on lettuce and a buttery piece of white bread, with salted ruffle potato chips and cole slaw.  Try it for the shrimp salad if nothing else, especially if you have a sweet spot for mayo.

Fentimans Ginger Beer, $2-3, cafes and markets

I only discovered this “beer” because it was sitting in a small fridge next to the cash register at The Lobster Place when I was grabbing for a lemonade.  But this caught my eye because I had never heard of it.  I don’t like raw ginger on my sushi or sashimi and I don’t like ginger rounds in my stir-fry, but it works in this ale because the flavor is so strong it’s almost spicy and it adds dimension to smooth, creamier flavors (such as the shrimp salad).  It will also clear up any nasal issues you may be having at the moment.  Trust me, it’s that strong.

Dolsot Bibimbap (with beef and chili sauce), $19, Chom Chom, 56th between 5th and 6th

Photo Credit chomchomny.com

I first tried Dolsot Bibimbap on recommendation from the waitress at a Korean grill in DC.  I found it to be absolutely delicious, but Korean wasn’t really part of my repertoire so it didn’t cross my path again.  The best part of this dish is the DIY feel. It’s served in a steaming, sizzling hot stone bowl that’s been heating in an oven for hours.  Add white rice, Korean marinated beef, shredded spinach, shredded carrots, shitake mushrooms, sprouts, some other julienned veggies perhaps, chili paste, and a fried egg over easy.  You get to mix the veggies, paste, and egg yourself so that everything sizzles and cooks against the bowl and the rice gets extra crispy.  This dish has all the flavor and satisfaction of fried rice, one of my favorite comfort foods, without all the heaviness of the extra oil and fat.  It’s easy to eat the whole bowl and you feel satisfied, but not stuffed.

Extra large slices, $2.75-5, Primavera Pizza and Pasta, 2nd Ave between 53rd and 54th

I don’t think there are any photos of these slices because the consumers, between the hours of 12-3 AM, are only focused on one thing: eating.  They don’t want to take photos of the food, or themselves, after a long hot night.  Anyone in the city knows that the best thing to do before bedtime is have a piece of pizza and a gatorade.  Here the slices are large and the crust is extra thin.  Toppings range from cheese and pepperoni to baked ziti and buffalo chicken.  I prefer plain cheese or a white slice.  I’m always satisfied because each bite is extra cheesy and crispy, with a slightly sweet sauce.  Being in New York makes me crave pizza at all hours of the day, and even though I’ve eaten Primavera around 12 PM and even 6 PM, it never tastes as good as that much needed 3 AM slice.  Ciao!

Hunger: Baked Rosemary Onion Rings

Last Sunday I woke up in a fowl mood after a not so pleasant Saturday evening.  I didn’t get out of bed until nearly 1 PM and when I finally did arise I simply crawled back into my King-sized cave and watched My Sister’s Keeper silently sobbing to myself.  When I’m in a bad mood all I crave is comfort food that is easy, hot and fried and I contemplated ordering from a local diner, going out to McDonald’s and ordering an extra large french fry, or heading to the grocery store for frozen chicken tenders. I had no desire, however, to get dressed or move just about anywhere so I decided I would try my hand at a classic comfort food turned healthy: baked onion rings.

I’ll be the first to say it, the only reason I baked these was because I don’t own a deep fryer or enough olive oil or finesse to pan fry onion rings.  Nor did I  have panko bread crumbs or buttermilk.  I had basically given up hope until I came across Ellie Krieger’s oven baked onion ring recipe with only 205 cal and 3.5 grams of fat (a marvel for onion rings!).  She made hers coating them in buttermilk, flour, and crushed potato chips before baking.  Most who reviewed this recipe were strongly against the potato chip theory, but that was the only thing I had on hand.  I modified the recipe to my pantry.

Ingredients: 1 vadalia onion, 2-3 egg whites, 1/2 cup flour, 3-4 handfuls Deep River Rosemary and Olive Oil Kettle Cooked Potato Chips, 1 handful Stacy’s Pita Chips Simply Naked

1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees and begin slicing your onion, to create those nice thick rings.  Grease the baking pan ( I used a few spritzes of Pam).

2.  Take chips and place in a gallon-sized plastic bag.  Smash, crush, and break chips with hands/feet/glass/plate etc.  Continue to crush until the breading is evenly broken.  Chunks are fine, they make extra crunchy bites.

3.  Take each onion ring, one to three at a time, and dip into flour, egg whites, and breading, in that order.   I used my fingers to do this and kept a wet paper towel nearby, although many suggested you can avoid the mess with chopsticks.  I placed the onions in my chip breading bag and shook until all were evenly coated.  Place coated rings onto the baking sheet in a single layer.  Spray each ring with a bit more Pam, which will help the chip bake even crispier.

4.  Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes until rings are golden brown, or if you like things extra crispy like me, a deep golden brown.

I could not believe the flavor bursting out of these onion rings!  Because the chips themselves are already extra crunchy and highly seasoned, the coating was crispy, fragrant, and not heavy.  They were best eaten piping hot out of the oven.  While there’s nothing quite like a deep fried extra crispy onion ring from the local diner, I have to say these were a welcome change.  My craving was definitely satisfied by the hot and crispy, but it felt practically gourmet to eat a rosemary flavored onion ring.  Sorry for the lack of pictures, they were gone before I even got the chance!  Here’s to never leaving a craving unsatisfied.

2 Days of Brooklyn; Part 2

Ironically, a friend invited me to a concert in Brooklyn the very next day.  After a night of recuperation and a calm day at work, I met friends, old and new, to venture down to Prospect Park for the Celebrate Brooklyn!  concert series at the park bandshell.  I didn’t know the artists, but I didn’t mind, because my second favorite (if not favorite) atmosphere in life is that of the outdoor concert.  Beach towel and picnic time snacks in hand, I couldn’t wait to find that grassy patch to lie down in and soak up the sweet summer air, mingled with the smell of cigar and marijuana smoke, foamy beer, and the detergent I used on my towel.

The acts were a blur of bluegrass and the raspy thick tone of Justin Townes Earl which reminded me of my favorite Whiskeytown sounds.  The Punch Brothers played only one song that I knew, only because I had listened to it four times the night before.  I marveled over pure interaction as my friends merged and I watched how people get to know one another in this type of environment, relaxed, yet still tentative.  I split precious overly priced organic french fries and a chicken kebab with Greg from The Farm on Adderly.  As the sun set, I admired the changing glow of the shell, from rosy purples to pure lime tones and bright yellows.  Strings of lights hung from tree to tree, up to the stage.  I recall a moment where I closed my eyes and embraced the smooth, milky texture of a slow song, and the way in which the woman danced slowly with her bass.  You might be rolling your and thinking, “God, how cliche,” but to be honest I do find the concert atmosphere to be so captivating.  The nights I remember most vividly.

There was a moment near the end of the night when I layed my head down on my towel and looked up at the bright glow of the string lights and stars and I felt so peaceful, a bit hazy from a beer and lots of folk/americana music, and I thought to myself, “This is summer.”  It was exactly the quintessential type of lazy evening I had pictured myself enjoying during my first summer in the city.

Saturday Delights

First Saturday in the city:

Flowy orange patterned harem pants and a simple black tank top to meet up with Lianna, Stephanie and Hayley

A fresh tarragon shrimp roll with perfectly salted artisan chips and just the right amount of spices from Lobster Place

A ginger beer with a flavor so strong it practically cleared my nostrils, which complimented the creaminess of the shrimp salad

My first taste of people’s pops, a sour cherry and plum pop with chunky cherry bits and a simple blend of sweet and sour, just like eating fresh fruit

A casual strong along the High Line, a converted park built on the foundations of an abandoned railroad, perfect for people watching

Thumbing through a independent designer sample sale and the leftovers of an Anthropologie sale, where everything was brightly colored yet constructed in unflattering shapes

Walking to Union Square with Lianna, where we took in the scent of fresh vegetables, artisan bread, and locally grown produce

Mint Iced Tea sweetened with homemade maple syrup, with hints of lemon, lime and basil

Offers of free hugs and massages on the Union Square steps, while hip hop tunes played from a nearby boom-box

Discussing the future, travel, and the absolute magnetic quality of the city

A First-Summer-On-My-Own List

As I mull over the concluding sentences of my final papers and tuck away all my belongings in boxes, drawers, and duffles, I feel it’s only appropriate to do a little goal setting.  There are so many things I want to gain from this summer, so many things I want to try, neighborhoods I want to explore.  It sounds cliche, but I’ve waited a long time to live in New York City.  It’s something I’ve often fantasized about, imagining the ways in which I would decorate my apartment and the cafes and restaurants at which I would become a regular.  This is only is only a 2 and half month stint, so I would imagine I’ll feel more like a tourist.  Even still…these are just a few of the things on my first-summer-on-my-own list.

1.  The reincarnation of my Nikon FM 10 SLR Camera.  My father taught me how to use it when I was about 13 and I’m determined to use it to document my summer in the city, in film.

2. Attend free outdoor concerts, and some type of food festival.

3. Enjoy cocktails with friends in our small NYC backyard on 52nd Street.

4.  Make homemade popsicles.

5.  See all of New York’s islands.

6. Learn to cook vegetables, fish, and chicken well.  Especially asparagus, butternut squash, and salmon.

7. Experiment with new recipes and flavor combinations.

8. Savor every moment that my internship affords me to learn and grow about this field.

9. Keep my fingernails and toes freshly painted.  This one will be hard for me.

10. Master the NYC subway system without a phone app.