chow-dah.

I had other really brilliant post titles. Ones that would surely tantalize your senses and blow your mind. So instead, I went with this one…Last night’s NYC Restaurant week dinner at Ed’s Chowder House was a beautiful redemption after last weekends restaurant fails.

Restaurant week for those not familiar is when many of NYC’s top restaurants offer $35, 3 course prix fixe menus. It’s a great deal and a fantastic way to check out some pricey places for more reasonable prices. That being said, I am often disappointed in restaurant week menus. They are not usually the ‘prime’ choices on the menu (understandably so, but still, this is simply stating the facts) and sometimes the portions are rather chintzy whereas the restaurant normally serves more robust portions off the normal menu. So I don’t always partake in NYC Restaurant week, it can be hit or miss. Luckily, with Ed’s Chowder House, along with 2 other couples, M and I enjoyed a terrific restaurant week meal and experience.

First off, we got the money table. Yes, I’m putting that in green for you. You know, that awesome, incredibly large and pimp posh table where you don’t have to sit on top of other patrons? Or your friends? Victory was ours. We were led to this gem to start the night off right (actual image of the table found online! someone must agree with my pimp status for this table…)

Holler. It was uphill from there. The six of us were immediately attended to by the waiter, which after last week’s Fishtag debacle was a shining beacon of hope for me. In a dark, dark NYC Restaurant Sea (I’m never dramatic. Ever.).

  • The service was spectacular. We had a knowledgeable and honest waiter willing to tell it like it was (ie: “The snapper is 110% better than the pasta, I stand behind that.”) and deliver, what should be, quintessential NYC service. Again, you don’t always see this during restaurant week, unfortunately, since the meal is less expensive and obviously the tips aren’t as good. Just call it like I see it.
  • The food was amazing. Fresh, delicious and extremely generous portions. M & I shared: Manhattan clam chowder (made with crab, not clam, and utterly delicious), salmon tartare to start followed by the snapper (served over a delicious mushroom risotto with parsnips) and the surf & turf (hangar steak w/shrimp). I also ordered a side of brussels sprouts, since I can’t remember the last time in 3 years I haven’t ordered them if available. Favorite. Side dish. Of. All. Time. Everything was well cooked, fresh and with complimentary flavors. Highly impressive.
  • Everything left you wishing you could try another dish. To me, that is the mark of a good restaurant. The good old “This is delicious, I so wish I could also try the…” When you have that feeling about a place, it’s good news.
  • Dessert. Here is where service met delicious in a beautiful harmony of awesomeness. And yes, I just crafted that sentence from the deepest depths of my soul ;). Our waiter decided to bring us over some “extras” for the table. Be still. My heart. Each couple ordered the pear tarte and the banana sundae, thinking we would each split them between ourselves. Our waiter had other ideas for our waistlines evening….

Behold, a  truly drool-worthy Blackberry picture of our dessert spread. No sarcasm intended for this gem. I mean, just please notice the lighting…the positioning… 🙂

Well, it ain’t pretty. But it was delicious-iosa. Banana creme pie and fresh chocolate donuts…

Well, time to get to the gym 😉

Tell me, my fellow foodie lovelies; what are some of the things you think makes for a great restaurant??? And what’s on tap for your weekend?? (also, some of your amazing comments have been going into my SPAM! Trying to rectify this because I can’t say enough how your awesome comments make me smile!! xoxo)

Be back tomorrow with some more restaurant fun and maybe some wedding goodies….

xoxo

s

ps) just because she’s delicious-ly adorable, a Friday treat:

pps) for all of my snow-lovers 😉 this is what my block looked like yesterday. jersey-la was not thrilled on her morning walk…

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ohhh Mexico…

So as NYC gets slaughtered by winter weather, and I get a perma-earful of people complaining about the snow or, discussing the snow. Or commenting on the snow. Or looking at the snow. Or lamenting the snow. Or mentioning the snow….(could I make it any more clear that I DO NOT CARE ABOUT THE SNOW!!! We live in New York, friends. We have seasons. One of them is Winter. Ok, stepping off my Winter-deal-with-it soapbox now...) I do find myself perusing pictures of my December vacation to Nuevo Vallarta longingly. So if you want to step into the sun for a moment with me, I can take you on a brief trip down memory lane...

It started with an amazing find on Expedia. A spa package, a week vacation to Taheima resort. It really sounded too good to be true, all inclusive, one 60 minute massage per person per day, all you can drink…YES I SAID ONE MASSAGE PER DAY!!!? I know, I nearly perished. M & I had been a bit crazy at work, a bit busy and were needing a little R&R in a big way. Enter, Taheima.

The place was paradise. Beautiful, small, private and QUIET. We weren’t looking for a clubby vacation, we really wanted to relax and regroup and ring in 2011. So here is our vacation in pictures (after I deftly talked the concierge into upgrading us to a 2 bedroom with a private pool. yes, my clothes needed their own room…)

There was food. Delicious, healthy food served “spa style”.  Fresh ceviches, whole grain chips, salads, grilled shrimp with brown rice, basically a health-conscious foodie’s dream come true. This would be the one meal we ate off premise. And no, the copious amounts of oil and disgustingly large portion was not healthy. But we all need it live it up sometimes.

There was silly-ness. An overabundance of kissy-face definitely permeated our 200 pictures we ended up with…

There was a private pool. Outside of our room. Enough said.

More silly-ness. And drinking. We’ve never claimed to be cool or chic. Or sober. This is how we roll.

And there was eye-candy. Future hub-sa. Not too bad on the eyes if I say so myself.

and there was relaxation. oh the trials and tribulations of leaving the pool for your nightly massage… and apparently a brave pic of myself in a bikini. YIKES.

So, it’s adios Mexico, and I’m stuck here in the NYC snow globe. But the good news is…. it’s time to plan the HONEYMOON! So two questions for my lovely readers:

1. Where did you go on your honeymoon or where do you WANT TO GO on your eventual honeymoon??? We’re looking at so many places, help!!!!!! 🙂

2. What is your most recent  or memorable vacation that you could just flip through pics of forever???

xoxo

s

 

Refine-moi

I don’t know why when I think of the word “Refine” I think of France. French people. French things. Along those lines after reading that sentence, I don’t know why anyone would continue to read this post. But I will forge on. The lovely Dori had been touting the fabulosity of Refine Method for quite some time. I don’t know about you, but I tend to get into workout “zones”. This current zone I am in is “intense”. It involved fast-paced cardio sculpting classes, quick treadmill speed-runs, sweaty spin sessions and other full body training. Everything I do at the gym lately has seemed really intense, in a specific way. I thought it would behoove me to try a ‘different’ intense. So what is Refine? Well first of all, a chance to hate learn  from Brynn (hello, amazing dancer body…sorry, I call it like i see it… 😉 )

According to the website:


Benefit from Cardio and Resistance Training Together: Through resistance training, we produce a cardio burn while building metabolically-active lean muscle, the antidote to traditional repetitive cardio and the most efficient way to change your shape.

Move the Way You Were Made: We exercise your body in the way it was designed move. Refine’s circuits are made up of Five Essential Movement Patterns to prevent muscle bulk, develop transferable strength and encourage functional mobility.

Harness Refine’s Intelligent Sculpting Sequence: First, we focus on large movements, stoking the metabolism and stripping the fat. Then we move to targeted finishers to activate and attack the smaller problem areas, leaving an attractive, balanced physique.

Escape the Herd: At Refine we want to help you make smart choices about your exercise program. Refine trims the fat off all the fitness jargon, educating clients about what works and what doesn’t so you can navigate the NYC fitness scene and separate fact from fiction.

So I took the subway a cab (sorry M!!!) Saturday morning to join Dori in an effort to “Refine” my current routine.

My thoughts:

  • I was underwhelmed by the studio. And I mean that in a totally AWESOME way.  Follow me here. Walking in and seeing a tiny studio with individual areas dedicated to each person in the class and knowing it wouldn’t be a packed mad-house was IMMEDIATELY calming and centering.
  • The ‘materials’ were few and easily accessible. The pulley system on the wall acted as your weights and resistance, a weighted ball and mat was the rest of the ‘get-up’. I love simplicity.
  • The class was great. The mix of cardio and strength definitely kept me huffing and puffing, but, for lack of a better description, in a “Refine-d” way. I hope Brynn doesn’t kill me for using 1,000 puns to describe her awesome class. I digress. I felt like everything I was doing was focused, tight and appropriately sequenced. I personally believe in circuit style workouts across the board and feel them to be the most researched/effective, and Refine offers just that in it’s own way.
  • Individual attention became key here. Brynn walked around the entire class fixing and critiquing form. There is nothing I hate more than doing a workout wrong. And although Equinox may be my happy place, there is no way in a room of 30 you can offer the attention to posture, form and general practice you can as in a small Refine Method class. There is no substitute for doing something correctly, and only downside to doing it wrong. I see this aspect of the class as a fundamental benefit.
  • Brynn is awesome. Her no-BS attitude and obvious personal work ethic really shows through in her class and teaching, and that really spoke to me

Bottom line? If I lived closer to the studio (for non-NYC-ers the trek to the studio is over 45 minutes for me including two trains) I think this is something I would easily be convinced to add to my fitness regime. So if you live uptown or on the UES?

The first class is free, so no excuses, check it out.

And not to be forgotten, Dori and I shared a delicious brunch at Cilantro

which was new to me and a great recommendation. The omelette (my usual go to on the weekends, egg whites, veggies and some variety of cheese or protein) had delicious and fresh veggies and the place was an adorable Mexican hole in the wall. And I love me some Mexican. Ole. Great workout, great brunch and great company. Doesn’t get much better in my world.

So tell me, lovelies:

  • What’s your go to brunch?? I’m an egg girl, the sweet stuff just never calls to me (I know, weird…)
  • What’s a workout you want to try that’s out of your ‘routine’??


Vegetarians proceed with caution…Meat-y Weekend

So this weekend was somewhat of a foodie weekend. Or supposed to be. I looked at menus, planned my attack, really thought I had some delicious-ness in store for me. And I did, in some respects. I don’t want to slam either restaurant…but I found myself feeling very BLAH Sunday, when I’m usually amped up to share my ‘wares’ (new restaurant experiences) with friends & family…

Fishtag



Extremely, extremely disappointing. I hate writing ‘bad’ reviews, so I will in a non-eloquent way skip to the nitty-gritty.

  • We were seated late and had to wait at the bar which isn’t ideal, but the service at the bar was mediocre to say the least…
  • When we were finally seated, we waited forever for a menu and a waiter
  • When we finally ordered, we waited a long time for our appetizers
  • When we finally got out entrees (which took a very long time after our appetizers/having already waited a long time we were not thrilled..) my Swordfish was cold and poorly cooked. Sh*t happens. But here’s where it got unfortunate. I really do not complain at restaurants. I don’t send things back. But cold Swordfish that is hard to cut is hardly acceptable. I told them it was cold and they kind of seemed perplexed, like did I actually want them to DO something about it. Uhm…yes por favor? So I nicely asked for them (after they asked ME what I WOULD LIKE THEM TO DO) to bring me a new dish, cooked properly. What they brought back was apparently my dish, re-cooked. And the chorizo the swordfish came with was on the side, half-eaten since I had taken a bite before sending it back. My jaw definitely dropped open…
  • I don’t think I need to go into the rest of the meal. They hardly seemed too concerned, it took a VERY long time so get a new Swordfish dish and they gave us “free sorbet/ice cream” at the end which to be honest? I didn’ t want anyway…So that was very underwhelming.

So on that note….! ON TO THE:

Breslin:

MEAT. I was slightly disappointed in the Breslin’s food, but more because of all the hype. Service was great, shout out to our waiter with the 1,000 ear piercings, he was a very cool plaid-clad dude. My only beef with him was when I asked how the lamb burger was he replied “Well, I mean it’s been on TV.” To which I replied “Mc Donald’s burgers are also features on TV” 🙂 But all in good fun, he was a great waiter and we enjoyed our meat-y celebration.

  • Terrine Board (featured above) this was actually delicious. I’m not a terrine fan but I found them all to be extremely well done and not salty as often this manner of food (terrine/pate) tend to be for me
  • Lamb Scrumpets: delicious, but what isn’t really good fried…
  • Beef & Stilton Pie: like a little baby pot pie. With beef. MMM.
  • Lamb Burger & Mackerel: M & I split the lamb burger and the mackerel. The mackerel was a mistake, but that would be my mistake for ordering fish in a plan that tauts it’s full pig carved table-side as a must have. So the fish was nothing great, and unfortunately the lamb burger was EXTREMELY salty. And I like my sodium. The taste was there, but it just didn’t work together.
  • Stuffed Pig Leg: Yes, my carnivorous Father & Brother tucked into this together and found it delicious but…salty. Seemed sodium was the theme of the night….?

I suggest the drinks & apps at the Breslin. The apps are extremely well executed, but I just didn’t feel the main courses had me running back for dinner….

I did also work out, I swear. I enjoy a fantastic REFINE METHOD class with the lovely Dori. But I think I will separate the meat and sweat since this post is getting rather lengthy….Oh and bridesmaid dresses have also been officially finalized. Stay tuned 🙂

Tell me. Am I a beyotch? (really, shoot me straight!) What would YOU have expected would have been Fishtag’s reaction to the swordfish situation…?

(GYM) Pet Peeves…

Since I have four five followers right now, I figured it would allow myself a small rant on my gym frustrations. This came to me (literally, almost poked me in the eye) last night on the treadmill as a girl stretched. Onto my treadmill. Fingers in the face situation.

(Sorry, I couldn’t help myself…above image source)

I must have looked like someone shot me as her stretttchingggg arms cruised towards my face and almost stuck me. Directly. In. The. Eye. I exaggerate sometimes. Ok, more than sometimes. But this is no joke my four readers/friends (PS. Hi Mom & Dad! two of my four…) 😉 Many things came to mind. First was “I should have stuck to that amazing 1 hour morning spin class and not tacked on this DANGEROUS 3 mile run” (Yes, sometimes I am dramatic too…) but I can’t refuse a pretty blonde co-worker asking me to accompany her to the gym for a quick run after work 🙂 ….so I tried to distract my mind with random thoughts and finish that pesky run, and I began to think about my gym pet peeves. So bear with my while i bitc-uhhh list a couple of gym pet peeves:

1. Sports-bra-only-in-the-winter-elliptical/treadmill-girl. Sorry if you’re her. I still like you, except at the gym. Call it bitter apples, but here goes: So it’s 10 degrees outside. Snowing, perhaps. And you’re bouncing up and down on the elliptical half mostly naked. I get it. Nothing jiggles when you move except, well, what your mama gave yah…But come on. It’s really not hot in the gym. You won’t overheat with a tank top on. Wear the sheer white one which shows your washboard abs! Rub it in! I get it, I like bread and wine too much to look like you. But, jealousy aside, put on a shirt, chickie. (source for image)

2. Guy-Who-Sweats-WAYTOOMUCH…You know this guy. There is a PUDDLE behind him on the floor. A PUDDLE!?! His shirt is see through, I’m gagging just trying to describe this too you. I really have no solution (he’ll just sweat through the next shirt he puts on, so he’s not an easy fix) but this is just NASTY. Ew. Glad I got that out.

3. Competitive-Runner-Next-To-Me...Seriously. I am NOT RACING YOU. I am slow. Very slow. Stop looking over at my snails pace while you look like Paula Radcliffe.  I should bring a towel with “I know, I’m not that fast” to put over my treadmill screen….

4. Way too much lotion/way too naked  in the locker room. I don’t think I need to paint a clearer picture for you…I get it, you love your body. Love it in the corner, perhaps? Not center-stage-lockeroom. Before I’ve had my coffee.

5. Hair-Down-Perfectly-Made-Up: Again, call me bitter or jealous. But if your hair is down in flowing, gentle waves or perfectly straight and you have a full face of makeup? You’re making me look bad, sista. So move it. CoughWHITNEYPORTCough I saw you at my gym a couple of months back with said ‘beachy waves’ wandering around… Busted. (source for image below)

Ok, ok…Enough about my gym pet peeves. What are YOURS? Or just pet peeves in general. Like the word MOIST. I mean who really doesn’t abhor that word…

Almost time for the WEEKEND! On tap for moi:

So please, share with me your pet peeves so I don’t look like the ONLY judgmental beyotchahh at the gym. And your weekend plans…?

xoxo

S

ps) this is why dogs turn on humans. But isn’t she the PRETTIEST ballerina-princess???

 

Brave New World…

Intro:

So here goes nothing…I am attempting to embark on a documentation of my crazy life in Manhattan. Including but not limited to: Wedding Planning for my September 2011 wedding (insert squeals and white dresses here 😉 ), aggressive restaurant-going, running, spinning, gym-ing…wherever the wind takes me.

A little about me:

  • Grew up in the suburbs of NYC

  • Have always enjoy a good party/party dress…
  • Went to a Big 10 School. Enough said:

  • Try to go to one new restaurant a week (and intend on sharing these experiences with you) Tomorrow’s attack location

(source)

Followed by Saturday’s Birthday Celebration for my ‘little’ brother:

  • I’m tall (5’9”) and always wonder why people say “You’re so tall!” to me. Do they think I haven’t noticed this yet in my 27 years of existence?
  • Along the lines of “You’re so tall!”… “You have such big feet!” is also a winner. They are a size 10. I know.
  • I have a dog who is the sweetest  and cutest pile of 70lbs you’ll ever meet. And the most spastic. And awkward. And clumsy. Meet Jersey: (Given  name: Dirty Jersey)
  • I’m engaged to an amazing guy who we will call “M” for the sake of the blog. (pictured below, just post engagement at Jean Georges. Told you he’s a keeper)

  • I was introduced to Lululemon about 5 years ago by a good friend who learned about them while visiting family in Canada. If she wasn’t a bridesmaid in my wedding, I would no longer speak to her since I spend the majority of my disposable income there…
  • Speaking of Lululemon, I do love to shop. I just finished picking out my wedding dress. Stay tuned for some pictures of the dresses that didn’t make the cut
  • I am getting married in September of 2011 in NYC.
  • I always wish I was vegan, and then I remember how much I like bacon…
  • Asking me to choose my favorite restaurant in Manhattan is like asking a mother to say which child is her favorite. You know, I probably secretly know. But I could never say it out loud.

So welcome to my crazy world, probably more than you’ll ever want to know about me spattered randomly above… filled with Google calendar appointments (color coded, five colors of pure obsessiveness…), glasses of wine, laughter, friends, family, exercise, puppy-love and food.

So I raise my glass (champagne? oh, ok…twist my arm…) and cheers to new adventures in blog-land…

If you’re out there, leave a comment and tell me something about YOU! I would love to know all 2 of your names 😉

xoxo

s