Bachelor Party vs. Parental Visit

This weekend Matt atttended a bachelor party out in Las Vegas, so my parents came to NYC to we could have our own equally crazy weekend. It was the first time that they had visited New York since my sister left last fall, so the pressure was on a provide a fun-filled weekend. I spent a lot of time researching things to do, restaurants to dine at and cleaning my apartment for their arrival. I also cranked up the A/C to try and counter the 100+ degree temperatures outside. Here is the itinerary that I came up with:

FRIDAY
My parents arrived in the afternoon, their called filled with wedding presents that had been mailed to their house. We unloaded the car and brought eveything upstairs. I was in the middle of watching the Tour De France when they arrived, so we finished the stage and unpacked some of the things that they brought with them. We then jumped in a cab and headed downtown for dinner. I had originally planned to go to Fette Sau, a BBQ joint in Brooklyn that Matt raves about. However, with the hot temperatures, no one really felt like eating BBQ. So instead, I made a gametime decision and took a chance on the line at The Spotted Pig. We arrived just as they started to seat people for dinner and we were seated within 5 minutes. SCORE! After enjoying a delicious dinner consisting of bacon wrapped dates, the most amazing burger and shoestring fries we headed back up to the theater district for the show, Jersey Boys. This show was incredible. I can not recommend it enough. After the show we walked the 10 blocks home in the heat, stopping for ice cream at Holey Cream. We all ended the day tired and very full.

SATURDAY
We woke up, enjoyed some delicious coffee from our Keurig and looked at the hundreds of wedding pictures that our photographers took. It was really nice to relive the wedding and see a lot of things that I didn’t really get a chance to look at that day. Now I just have to figure out what I am going to do with all of these pictures! Then watched the time trial stage of the Tour de France before heading out to one of my favortite breakfast spots, Nook. We started off with the baguette covered with nutella, bananas and strawberries. I enjoyed an egg scramble, while my mom had the french toast and my dad had a slice of quiche. YUM! After breakfast, we took the subway out to Queens to visit the Museum of Moving Image where the exhibit, Jim Henson’s Fantastic World had just arrived last weekend. As a child who grew up watching Sesame Street until the age of 14 (ok, really 28), this was a one-in-a-lifetime opportunity!

After the museum, we jumped back on the subway and headed to Eataly, a cross between a farmers market and a restaurant. I had never been to Eataly and was dying to adventure in. Let me tell you, it did not disappoint!

I couldn’t believe how large the space was and how many delicious foods there were. We decided to buy food, as opposed to eat at the various restaurant/counters, and cook ourselves at home. We bought a baguette, a few cheese and meats for appetizers, tomatoes, mozerella and basil for a capreses salad and some pasta and sauce for our main dish. Everything was so fresh and so amazing. It certainly inspired me to make the time to cook – recently, I have spent too much time with the microwave and frozen Lean Cuisines! We spent the rest of the evening just relaxing, chatting and eating.

SUNDAY
Whenever I have guests visit, Sunday always feels like a wash. Their pending departure seems to get in the way of any fun plans, even if they aren’t leaving until the afternoon. We woke up and went to Sarahbeth’s, another breakfast favorite. We then walked around the park and went to Crate & Barrel to do a couple errands. Once we got ome, my dad packed up their bags while my mom assembled my new spice rack for me. After they left I rode my bike for a while on my trainer (i.e. something  that turns your road bike into a stationary bike) and made some cookies. It was a fantastic weekend!

Thank you Mom and Dad for making the trip down. And after hearing about Matt’s weekend in Vegas, I feel satisfied that ours was more fun. I mean, casinos and pool parties don’t hold a candle to Jim Henson and the Muppets!

Leaving the Island

Growing up, I lived in a circle with a radius of approximately 5 miles. I rode the school bus 4.8 miles to middle school, rode 6.6 miles to the Mall of New Hampshire, rode my bike 4.6 miles to the Bedford Bluffs where I spent every day during the summer and walked .4 miles to visit my best friend (or .2 miles if I cut through the woods).

When I was in high school, the circle expanded to a radius of approximately 60 miles. I drove 6.6 miles east to school, 55.6 miles south-east to swim practice and 73.9 miles south to visit Matt. Needless to say, I spent a lot of time in the car. During those days, I knew every song on the radio, perfected my ability to dance while sitting, and learned the location of every Dunkin Donuts along Route 3. I attribute my relationship with one of my best friends to the fact that we spent at least 2 hours in the car together every day, not to mention the fact that we shared a near death experience when I decided to shut my eyes for a quick second while driving to practice. We spent a lot of time chatting about school, swimming, and of course, boys.

My life is very different now that I live in New York. I traded my car in for a subway pass, my one hour commute to swim practice in for a 30 minute subway ride to Union Square, and the 3 miles drive to the grocery store to a 3 minute walk to Whole Foods down the block. While living in a city does make some things much more convenient, I would be lying if I said I didn’t miss suburbia.

Now I live on an island.  An island that is 13.4 miles long and 2.3 miles wide. A 23 square mile island with more than 1.6 million people. No longer do I live in a circle with a 60 mile radius. Now I live within a rectangle that is 10 square miles smaller than my hometown, yet has a population that is 80 times larger. I travel within a circle that has a two-mile radius and I never leave the island. That is, until today.

For my Birthday, Matt promised to take me to a cooking class. We have done this before, see prior post, and it was a lot of fun. However, instead of going back to the Institute of Culinary Education, Matt decided to try out The Brooklyn Kitchen, a smaller, “off the beaten path” location (follow their blog here). After reading through the course offerings, we decided on the Fresh Pasta Sunday course. So this afternoon, after a delicious breakfast of irish oatmeal and some time in the gym, Matt and I ventured off the island and into Brooklyn.

We arrived to tree-lined streets, buildings no taller than 5 stories and a strange, but enjoyable, quietness. We could easily walk down the sidewalks to the kitchen without having to dodge tourists and hundreds of people. I suddenly felt at home in Brooklyn.

Our class was amazing. We learned how to make the dough from scratch and worked with a pasta machine. As we put the pasta through the machine a few times, our dough grew into a long sheet. As we cranked the pasta through the machine it flattened out and grew in length. Working together to maneuver this large sheet of pasta, we were able to make angel hair pasta, fettuccine and butternut squash ravioli. At the end of class, we were able to taste the fruits of our labor and bring some of the uncooked pasta home. It was a great experience and I can’t wait to invite Matt into our kitchen at home more often. He is an amazing sous-chef!

I encourage you all to leave your island and expand your radius; you never know what you will find.