My parallel universe

I was back in California for the first time since officially moving to New York. After being in New York for 8 months or so and feeling as if I was finally where I belonged it was strange to be back in California and seemingly resuming where I had left off. There is so much comfort in “knowing”…sitting at home watching the U.S. Open with my dad felt normal, going to the movies w/ my brother also normal, happy hour w/ the gang, playing with the god kids, lunch w/ co-workers, wedding festivities w/ the Cal Poly folks all of it felt normal because it was my life. It felt like I had two lives running parallel to one another, my life in New York was on pause. I realized that if I wanted to I could just pick up where I left off, like my life in New York never even existed.

The missing link for me in New York is community. I have a few friends here who I spend the majority of my free time with running around trying to snatch up all of the things the city has to offer. Being back in California made me realize how much I miss having groups of friends and routine. I miss Friday afternoon happy hours with the Nikkei crew, seeing my godson on random weeknight dinners w/ Krista & Jared, trying new things w/ Elaine, large birthday dinners w/ the SLO folks and hanging out with my family.

On the flip side though I realized on the plane ride back to New York why I had chosen this life. I have a job with a company that I love, that challenges and excites me. I get my fill of events with authors, musicians, thinkers that I admire and respect. The New York you see in movies and TV is my backyard, is my everyday. I moved here because I wasn’t ready to settle down, I wasn’t really ready for a routine. I wanted to seize back my life and make it what I wanted and not just let it happen to me.

I miss my family and friends in California a lot. It hurts a little when I think about all of the stuff I’m missing. I’m glad I’ll have these type of visits but it’s the New York life for me for the foreseeable future.


Oh the places we’ll go..

I love having visitors. Being fairly new to New York I relish the opportunity to explore the city like a tourist. I recently had two of my good friends Megan & Katy come to stay for a bit. It was glorious good fun, lots of delicious food, long life affirming conversations and raucous laughter. We discovered new places together and savored some of the staples they look forward to enjoying when here. Here are a few of the highlights:

One last delicious bite

Luke’s Lobster : I actually discovered this place when my siblings were in town but I offered it up as a suggestion for potential lunch places to visit. They give a generous portion of lobster on a buttery roll. I don’t like lobster with too many fixins so the simplicity of these lobster rolls were right up my alley. The girls visited more than once which gives me the impression they liked it too.

St. Dymphnas: We had a hankering for some calamari while wandering St. Marks. This bar was a delightful surprise. An unassuming bright little bar. It felt like an italian place, but turns out it was an Irish bar. Cheeriest Irish bar I’ve ever been to. The girls and I had calamari, a cheese plate & beer lots and lots of beer.

Rebar: The magical land of Brooklyn is starting to grow on me. Finding places like rebar is one of the reasons. It had an inconspicuous entrance I figured it was just going to be another cramped NY restaurant but once the doors open you soon realize it’s bigger on the inside (like the Tardis!). The decor could best be described as log cabin resort. Beautiful iron gate doors act as a partition between the bar & restaurant. The tables are huge as if one big mighty tree was felled and fashioned into a dining table for the whole forest. The space is lit by a charming array of rustic chandeliers & lone low watt lightbulbs. The food was good! A bit pricey but delicious the polenta dish was a real stand out. A fun place to meet a bigger group.

Hester Street Fair: The name makes it sound much bigger than it actually is but what it lacks in size it makes up for ┬áin charm. Situated in a little pocket between volleyball & tennis courts (don’t worry there are fences to keep the stray balls from flying toward your face) the fair houses a modest collection of artisans & food vendors. You can literally walk the whole fair in 2 min. We enjoyed sampling the food vendors (Luke’s Lobster is there!) and I managed to find a delicate little necklace just as I was losing hope in finding the perfect gift for a friend.

Serenity - the main ingredient Dragon Tears

Angel’s Share: The perfect place to take someone you want to impress. The bar is located behind an unmarked door in a busy yakatori restaurant. It’s usually pretty packed on the weekends but since we visited on a Wednesday early in the evening we managed to score a table in the back room. It is a classy places with dark wood, white gloved servers & $14 special cocktails made by mixologists.

Joe Shanghai: Soup Dumplings! This place is virtually on every “must eat” list when visitors roll through town. Two tidbits of advice: 1) The dumplings are a meal unless you want a ton of leftovers. For the average party of 3, 2 orders of the Dumplings (1 pork & 1 crab) and an appetizer or 2 (scallion pancakes & green beans are my favorite) are more than enough to satisfy. 2) If you’ve never had these type of dumplings first, watch the people around you and copy their technique otherwise prepare to have the inside of your mouth scalded by an explosion of soup. This place is popular and no frills so be prepared for a long wait and to share a table.

Momofuku Noodle Bar: David Chang is a rockstar of the NY culinary scene. He has a string of Momofuku restaurants around town varying in theme & exclusivity. We like to come here for the Ramen & Pork Buns. My perfect bowl of Ramen hinges on two criteria; the pork & the broth. The ramen here hits the pork portion of that criteria out of the park. Which is also why the pork buns are a winner. We didn’t go to the milk bar (which is a block over) but Momofuku also has excellent cookies which rival my beloved Levain cookies.

My list of places to take people is slowly growing. I try to take visitors to a combination of sure fire hits and new places we can test together. If you ever decide to head out to NY for a visit, I have a handy google map with markers for all of the places I’ve enjoyed.

Looking forward to your visit!

Completely Smitten

I love pretty things and get so much inspiration from my talented and design inclined friends. One of them being my friend Angelique. She is chock full of fun diy ideas and manages to find some of the coolest gifts. When I got back to NY I was delighted to find a package from her, and of course her gift indulged my pretty things & Austen obsession.

Thanks Ange! I’m in the middle of an Austen kick right now, so re-reading P&P in this beautifully bound version is perfect.

Also another inadvertent gift from Angelique is my new earring display.

I had a pretty white wooden box that used to hold my stationary that I re-purposed to hold my jewelry. I hate laying my dangly earrings so was brainstorming ways to hang them. I used the muslin bag included in the P&P package and another muslin bag from Ange’s wedding invitations. Thanks Ange, you’re the best!