Monday, April 20, 2015

#3 bon appétit: estela (nyc)

It felt like spring in my beloved city. The last trip caleb & I took to new york, we were greeted with rain and cold (don’t get me wrong, we still had a great time; however, the weather this time around was a sweet surprise).

I had many “places” to visit, most of which included food. Considering I was on a post-vacation depression from Disney, I dived into planning this trip and had quite the list.

The first stop was Estela. Bon appetit’s #3 rated restaurant in the nation. ((I was so excited to try all 3- && thankfully each one was settled on the east coast & within drivable distance))
it’s funny, some people visit baseball fields, others visit every state, some like to see lighthouses- mine, restaurants.

In my personal opinion, estella should be rated #2, a close second to roses luxery. We started with baratta cheese which I have never had && honestly had to “google” it.  The treat tasted airy and whipped. I love cheese and whipped crème so the combination of the two was delightful. Next, we tried the lamb ribs, incredibly tender, perfectly spiced &&  on a different planet from all other types of “ribs” I have tried. We ended the meal with dumplings in a delectable mushroom broth. I have this recent obsession with mushrooms and this dish truly hit that spot.  I would definitely say it is one of those places that you crave once you leave.

My second favorite spot on the trip, next to Estella, was a little pizza place hidden in Brooklyn, Paulee Gee’s. we got to meet the owner && had “hot honey” drizzled on the pizza- I have never experienced “hot honey” but I am now a believer.  

A close tie for second, yet coming in third, on our last night was la espana. I wanted to surprise caleb and took him to this "mystery" dinner. He loves speakeasy bars && this was a restaurant similar to one (seriously new york- what don’t you have up your sleeve!?!?). As we walked in the front, caleb looked at me and murmured something like “this is it?”- I couldn’t wait to tell the maître de our “password” a.k.a. our reservation, and enter into the downstairs. (at this point, caleb quickly changed his perspective on the whole experience && I loved watching his face light up). I can’t say I have really ever eaten in a basement at a restaurant; however, this felt like we had just hit the spot of an all-exclusive setting && I love finding these hidden gems.

Other favorites on the trip included Brooklyn brewery (double chocolate stout), dough (order the doughnut with the almonds on top!), jacob’s pickles (biscuit pancakes, bacon crumbles && fried chicken...seriously, yum!), Chelsea’s market && momofuku milk bar. Okay this place, momofuku, although its’ crazy name, has a serious following and a line to show for it. But for good reason- because it’s so unique: cereal ice cream which literally tasted like cereal & rosemary caramel sea salt ice cream- seriously, every word I just spelled out, you can taste && crack pie- which literally is eating butter && sugar

If we hadn’t treated ourselves enough, we dived into a City Bakery chocolate chip cookie (seriously worth the trek) && a Witch’s Brownie (my favorite brownie in the city) for the ride home!

All in all, it was a wonderful treat to visit the city, again.
I obviously can’t wait to go back!
Until next time, NYC, you are for dreamers (&& eaters)

 ^^^^ milk bar. yummy!

 ^^^ hidden gem in the city- speakeasy restaurant^^^^

^^^ these are a few of my favorite things..

^^^ my favorite building (way off in the yonder..)

^^^ life on the high-line

^^ yes, we ordered deep fried pickles at jacob's pickles

first course at estela :)

^^^oh central park, how i love you :)

&&& city bakery chocolate chip cookie... wow! dreaming!

Monday, March 9, 2015

oh disney

i think i had forgotten the "magic" of disney.

the last time i embarked on the magical land was shortly after graduating college. i remember being so anxious about "real" life during that last trip. i then had no job, no place to call my own && a nice, crisp white piece of paper declaring a college degree framed nicely with no where quite yet to hang it... the only plans i really had during this time in my life was a trip to disney, a tradition my family had for vacation nearly every year, yet i hadn't returned since.

now looking back, within these three and a half short years, i have moved to two new states, held two different teaching jobs && been married. during these years, there has been so much "life" that has occured, traveling and experiencing so many new and exciting events and places, yet i sadly seemed to have forgotten about the magical land i once loved so much until this past week.

(i actually must admit, i was even slightly embarrased to tell friends i was going on a disney vacation and cruise. i almost felt "too old") silly me- you are never too old for disney!

the trip this past week was a year in the making.
my sisters && significant others traveled to the "magical" land to celebrate my parents thirtieth anniversary.

it seemed fitting to celebrate my parents here considering disney was a place my parents took us since we were babies. a place that tends to shine as highlights throughout our growing up years. we loved it all: character breakfasts to rides like splash mountain to viewing the electrical light parade, not to mention our beloved resort, riverside at port orleans &&& don't even get me started on the mickey shaped waffles, the piano man && chocolate covered rice krispy ears.

so many treats, locations && memories come to mind when i think of all my experiences at disney && this trip was very nostalgic and reminiscent of them all.

i think i love disney because it's the kind of place that allows you to let your hair down, you forget about "real" life and enjoy the little delights that we far too often pass by. it seems okay to eat chicken tenders & fries for lunch when your in your twenties, wear goofy hats and ears, sing along to every familiar tune && actually believe it is a magical place, because it truly is for my family.

during this trip we embarked on some of our favorite traditions && tried new ones, like the cruise, something we have never done before. i must admit, it was wonderful to wake up to waves every morning & anticipate the day's activities. bahamas. disney's private island. day at sea. magical kingdom. animal kingdom. grand floridian character breakfast. polynesian luau. everyday (for the past seven days) was filled && marked by events that will be treasured and stored as new, favorite memories.

the trip was truly delightful. one that i don't think any of us will ever forget.
i am thankful i had the opportunity to come back to the place i loved growing up && was able to share it with my "grown up" summers family && husband.. or should i call him, goofy now.
thanks disney for another truly magical week. i promise i won't wait so long next time.

"it's kind of fun to do the impossible"- walt disney

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

city of love && bon apettit #2

so naturally my first choice of a weekend trip is nyc. however, this time, we were having too much fun in this city of love. 
i had been here once before to run the half marathon last fall while caleb was in houston. 
i was excited to share with him some of my findings from before but also to find new loves.
first, we went to some of the historical settings: liberty bell, independence hall && art museum. 
of course, running up the stairs as rockie would.
(no, we are totally proud to be called tourists. no shame.)
&& the perk with it being so cold, no lines. 

while researching places to eat, i found that bon appetit named the second best new restuarant in
... philly. 
i had to go. 
i called everyday for a week (i wish i was joking).
yet no reservations. 
however, thankfully, (i think my persistance won !!!) saturday at six, we were dining at high street :)

later that evening, a new favorite of ours is comedy clubs. 
there is something about going somewhere && just laughing. 
we love it. so we found the local comedy club, helium comedy  && laughed with the locals.

we also tried pats && ginos. 
i had no idea that you sat outside 
(which doesn't seem to make since considering philly's climate, but not my decision)

so caleb && i picniced in our car, trying the city's iconic cheesesteaks. 

caleb was persistant: "no, whiz!" && however, it was required (he had no idea)
our choice, hands down, pat's wins! 

finally, we tried the brewery, yards, and fell in love with their "love" beer. 
not one,but two bottles traveled home with us to go to celebrate the up & coming valentine's day. 
who knew, i would choose beer to celebrate love. 

philadelphia, you truly are a city of love. 
we will come back again. 
maybe you will choose to slow down your wind chill next time.

^^^ dinic's reading terminal. pork && brocolli rabe. 
recommended by many. however, our personal favorite in reading terminal was the chocolate molds && beiler's bakery

 ^^ second top restaurant according to bon appetite

 ^^ federal doughnuts. my second favorite to dough in brooklyn

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

bon appetit - rose's luxery

so i have come to terms. i may be obssessed with restauarnt reviews. 
yelp- my go to. 
bon appetit- yes, please! 
friend's recommendations- you may have recieved an email or two before (thank you)

choosing a restaurant may be the best && most difficult decision i make for any special occasion, saturday evening or vacation

naturally for my birthday, i wanted to visit the number one rated best new restauraunt

oh caleb, what a guy! 
we showed up at 5:30 when the restaurant opened- mind you, on a cold, rainy monday night after thanksgiving. 
a soggy wet line. 
a three hour wait. 
... oh that didn't stop us.
we were ready. 
&& boy was it worth every minute!

recommendations: "hot" chicken (if && only if you like spice, it was a little spicy for caleb), lychee salad, truffle pasta- i still dream of this dish, brown butter cocktail, pistachio icecream... 

^^ i can still smell && taste the truffles. divine

“I want a life that sizzles and pops and makes me laugh out loud. And I don't want to get to the end, or to tomorrow, even, and realize that my life is a collection of meetings and pop cans and errands and receipts and dirty dishes. I want to eat cold tangerines and sing out loud in the car with the windows open and wear pink shoes and stay up all night laughing and paint my walls the exact color of the sky right now. I want to sleep hard on clean white sheets and throw parties and eat ripe tomatoes and read books so good they make me jump up and down, and I want my everyday to make God belly laugh, glad that he gave life to someone who loves the gift.” - shauna neiquist

happy day!