Empire State of Mind

Bryant-Park

I’m so excited to celebrate my birthday in NYC next week.  I’ll be spending a couple of days with grad school friends (We are Penn State!) along the North Shore of Long Island.  Then it’s off to the city for 3 days of exploring, eating, people watching and soaking up the energy of one of my favorite cities.

I’m usually not one to plan out a vacation itinerary.  I like to do whatever I feel like on a whim.  It’s one of the many joys of being single.  However, there are a few places on my NYC “to do” list.

  1. Dominique Ansel Bakery – I must try a cronut.  The sheer idea of a hybrid pastry that’s half croissant, half donut has my taste buds grinning from ear to ear.
  2. Eataly –  Mario Batali and the half dozen friends who keep raving about this gourmet Italian food mecca can’t be wrong.
  3. Grimaldi’s – Ever since I spent a month living in Brooklyn Heights, I’ve been enchanted with that neighborhood.  Eating a few slices of pizza followed by a moonlight stroll along the Promenade is high on my list.  (Yes, there’s a theme here.  Food makes me happy!!)
  4. TKTS – I always love the thrill of waiting on the TKTS line, asking for the best available solo ticket (often in the first few rows) and spending a night on Broadway.
  5. Shopping in SoHo – Sorry San Francisco, I love you, but your boutiques kinda suck in comparison to NYC.
  6. The Met – Even after visiting Cairo, I still feel a sense of mystery and excitement walking through the Egyptian exhibit.  My trips there are usually followed by a walk through Central Park with a hot dog and/or ice cream cone in hand.

If you have any favorite places in NYC that I should visit, I’d love to hear from you.

Advertisements

Saturday Morning Ritual

Cafe-des-Amis

I recently started a new ritual that always kicks the weekend off on the right foot.  I sleep in past 8 am.  I roll out of bed and into sweats.  Orelia and I pick up the newspaper on the stoop and stroll down to Union Street.  After oohing and aahing at the Golden Gate Bridge and the Pacific Ocean in the distance, we plop ourselves down at Cafe des Amis.

Yes.  The usual, please.  Water bowl for her.  Quiche Florentine (ie quiche with bacon and spinach) with a glass of orange juice for me.  I read the paper.  I people watch.  Orelia barks at small children as they stroll by with their parents.  We both leave fulfilled and happy.

Until next Saturday…

Cafe

Orelia{Orelia on the look out for kids and crumbs.}

Fleurs

Stop and Go

MissionBeachCafe

Just when I think I have this thing called life figured out, something comes along to make me realize I have no clue what I’m doing.  It’s exciting and incredibly humbling.  I’ve taken on a new job and spent three days in a row driving down to San Jose in stop and go traffic…two hours each way.  I came home drained and feeling a tad bit defeated.

Yet alas, it’s a brand new week; and I’m confident life will flow smoothly again soon.  Until then, I’m taking comfort in amazing friends, Orelia, wine (thank goodness for wine!) and delicious meals.  Like this melt in your mouth crab and shrimp benedict at Mission Beach Cafe that I shared with a lovely new friend over the weekend.  Great choice on a brunch location, MC!

Crab-Shrimp-Benedict-MB-Cafe

Mendocino, I’m on my way!

Mendocino_coast,_late_sunset

I’m off to Mendocino for the weekend; and I can’t wait to get on the road.  It may be a 3 hour drive but it’s through one of the most beautiful and least touristy wine regions in California…Anderson Valley.

I’ve already booked a dinner reservation at Albion River Inn and will surely stop by Café Beaujolais as usual.  And Saturday afternoon I’ll be riding a horse along the beach via Ricochet Ranch.  Woohoo for the weekend!

Guilty Pleasures

Bubbles

{Bubbles at Domaine Carneros over the weekend}

Originally, I wanted to share a list of my guilty pleasures like going to the corner store and getting a bag of Cheese Puffs for a late night craving.  And I still want to share those, but something else occurred to me as I made this list.  Why should I feel guilty about anything that brings me pleasure as long it’s not harming anyone?

Here are a few things that bring me pleasure and starting today I’m not feeling guilty about a single one of them.

  • Taylor Swift’s 22:  I can dance around my kitchen to this song 3 times in a row and never stop smiling.
  • Chick Lit:  I love a good Danielle Steelesque romance novel every once in a while.  I just finished Three Sisters and thoroughly enjoyed it.
  • I love a good afternoon nap.  30 minutes is good, an hour is even better.  Those ex-boyfriends who dared to insinuate that I’m lazy b/c of this…kiss my grits.
  • McDonald’s: Once a month I allow myself to roll through the drive through and order a Big Mac and fries.

What are your “guilty” pleasures?

A Little Ice Cream Goes a Long Way

Swensen-SF

One day last week I was feeling a little down.  Nothing specific had happened, but it was a rather humdrum kind of day.  So around 3 pm in the afternoon, I stopped working and asked myself a question.  What would thrill and delight me right now?

Ice Cream!  Not just any ice cream, but a hot fudge walkaway waffle cone sundae from Swensen’s. I immediately bid a quick adieu to Orelia and hopped in my car.

The minute I walked into Swensen’s I started to feel better.  The storefront is tiny without a single place to sit.  So I got my waffle sundae and walked along Hyde Street until I found a staircase right smack in the sunshine.  I sat there, enjoyed every bite of my ice cream and waved to tourists as they went by on the trolley car.  And all of a sudden, the day went from blah to magical.  I heart you, San Francisco!

Swensons Sundae