Monday, May 14, 2012

summertime in the city

Great things that happened this week:
Kurt returned from his trip to Samoa and New Zealand!
I got word I passed the last test I took!
And the weather is finally gorgeous here! 

On Monday, Kurt was in need of some greens after his travels, so we went to Bar Toto to celebrate his return and my passed test with an enormous pile of arugula.

Kurt was sweet and brought me back an awesome bottle of wine from New Zealand. This is only a picture of his fabulous wrapping job. The bottle will have to be revealed in a later post. My imported present is seen here propped up against another gift Kurt found on the street for me...

It's this awesome flat screen TV with a sign that says "it works :)" In fact it does work but has a smashed screen :( It seemed too good to be true. Thanks for thinking of me, Kurt. I will just have to stick to plan of buying myself a TV once I pass all my AREs. Sigh.

This week I had a work meeting at the Plaza Hotel. Our office mainly does residential work but has a great relationship with a French chocolate shop and do all their New York boutiques. The Food Hall at the Plaza will be opening in a few weeks and I had to check in on our almost-completed shop there. 

I can't wait to see it when it is all finished (and all the kinks are worked out)!

Central Park is across the street. I make it up that direction much too infrequently.

All the horse drawn carriages line up at the park right near the Plaza. This shot is for you, Mom!

On Thursday, we went to see This American Life LIVE at BAM in Brooklyn. I miss taking a train over the bridge everyday. That view of my beloved Brooklyn never gets old.

I have a feeling I am going to have an over the top relationship with Habana Outpost this year. We're off to a good start!

Bikes lined up at BAM. Hipster parking :)

This American Life LIVE was amazing and hilarious! We had such a good time. All the guests had great stories, we saw a funny short film, watched some impressive dance performances, and even took part in an interactive musical performance with Ok Go! 

Friday night, we took an excursion to Carroll Gardens/Red Hook. After drinks and snacks at Abilene, we made our way to Jalopy for the Bayou N Brooklyn Festival.

My main complaint with Jalopy is that they don't have a great dance floor because it is always taken up with seating. I was pleasantly surprised to see they had moved the salvaged church pews out of the way so all the Zydeco lovers could bust a move on the dance floor all weekend.

Red Hook must have been the theme of the weekend because we rode bikes down again on Saturday to take part in the Total Red Hook Immersion. WE. HAD. THE. MOST. GORGEOUS. WEATHER. EVER. I can't even tell you how ecstatic I am. I put up with crazy NYC weather for most of the year because of two or three months that are like this. I am in my element. If you need me for the next few months, you can find me outside working on my tan.

Our journey began at Rocky Sullivans where we learned they were giving away free beers! A special card entitled you to one free beer at four different bars. We took that as a challenge and set off on our beer crawl through Red Hook.

Our next stop was the Brooklyn Ice House. They have great backyard which was packed. The last time I was here, I think Kurt and I were the only patrons. I guess free beer tends to draw a crowd :)

Even free beer on an empty stomach is bad news, so we waited in line at the Red Hook Lobster Pound which was offering discounted lobster rolls.

Huge tanks full of crustaceans!

Jenn and I split a Maine style lobster roll. In hindsight, I could have probably eaten one on my own. Actually, they were so good, I would have enjoyed multiple :)

Our next stop was Fort Defiance for a complimentary drink. Red Hook is so off the beaten path that people were just hanging out on the sidewalk with their beers. I love how laid back it is.

I was incredibly excited to make it to Botanica for our final beer of the afternoon. That place is gorgeous. I want to go back soon--like tomorrow. It is next door to a chocolate factory called Cacao Prieto. I hear they have tours!

Not only did we drink on the sidewalk, we ventured out to the middle of the street, the cobblestone street, mind you. 

Not ones to turn down a deal, we also ran by Steve's Authentic Key Lime Pie shop. We all got "shwingles" which are key lime pie tarts dipped in chocolate. We ate ours on the pier and it was delicious!

I love Red Hook. I just wish it wasn't so hard to get to. But then it probably wouldn't have the same remote character if it were easily reached by public transit. So I will continue to enjoy it when I am ambitious enough to take the bus or ride my bike down there.

If an afternoon beer crawl wasn't enough entertainment for Saturday, we had to rush back to Jenn and Kurt's apartment for our newest culinary competition: the Pizza Off. 

Ever since Jenn sent out the Pizza Off invitation, I had been bookmarking pizza recipes I came across online.  I finally settled on an Egg, Prosciutto, and Asparagus Pizza (adapted from a recipe from How Sweet It Is). I  cut a few corners and used prosciutto instead of bacon in the original recipe and used a store bought dough from Trader Joe's. I was excited how pretty they turned out!

The pizza spread in Jenn's backyard. There were so many yummy options! I'm always impressed at people's creativity and the variety we always get at the Cook Offs. There were sweet and savory options using all sorts of interesting ingredients.

The taste testing. We take it very seriously. Isn't there some joke about sex and pizza? That even when it's bad, it's still pretty good? I'm no comedian but I think there is some connection there :)

The aftermath. Only a few crumbs were left.

After some secret ballot voting, I came away with Best Overall! It feels good to have an Off trophy back in my possession (I have to give up my Lemon Off title after falling in the Beet Off competition :( ). Chris and Pilar took the Best Savory award for their Mexican Pizza and Hillary conquered the Sweet category with her Nutella Calzones and Strawberry Dipping Sauce. Great job everyone!

And now here I am enjoying a mint julep while studying for my Programming, Planning, and Practice test. Summer weekends are may favorite :)


  1. Congrats on your winning pizza! It's a very classic northern Italian (Milanese and/or Brianzolo) style pizza. Nailed it.

    I'm still miffed at how many people have issues with salmon and thus didn't like the pizza Will and I made...

    Oh, it's good to be back! I'm working on editing pics and I'll get cracking on my guest-post.

  2. I agree about Red Hook - love it, wish it weren't so remote, but then it wouldn't have the same charm I guess! We passed Botanica on our way home from Fairway the other day - it's so beautiful! I need to head back down there to check it (and the chocolate place) out.

  3. Those key lime pies are so so good! Seeing them gets me excited for summer! :)

  4. That looks like a great time - you have managed to fill your days right up! Welcome, summer!


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