Dec 29, 2010

Year in review, à la iPhone

This post was a serious pain in the ass to put together, but I had so much fun going through my old pictures and trying to figure out where half of them were even taken. These are by no means the best pictures (I chose three per month) but for the most part, they represent either an interesting or new experience from that month. Some months, I felt I had captured almost nothing good on my phone, whereas for others, choosing only three was painfully difficult.

I'll try to keep this recap short, but there's a lot here (links to posts where applicable).

(Just got my new iPhone at the end of this month before I started a brand new shiny job, my first one out of college.)
• View from one wall of the office (7 WTC).
• iMac selfie on the first day of work.
• A seriously gorgeous office. Seriously. This doesn't even begin to capture it.

• Snowy train ride to Philly to see college friends.
• The (HUGE) cat I shared a bed with when I crashed at a friend's in NY to avoid commuting in a blizzard.
• New apartment in Manhattan!! I slept on an air mattress for a few days and computed on the floor.

• Stayed at the office until 2am. At least there was a pretty view.
• Began documenting my affair with good coffee. (As I went through my pictures I realized I probably need to do an entire 2010 coffee roundup post on its own!)
• Discovered Mark and its $2 sliders, $3 fries, and $4 beer, hello!

• Gorged on cupcakes almost every day after lunch. This pretty one was made by the talented Joyce.
• Did a solo trek of the Brooklyn Bridge with my new Minolta film camera.
• Went back to Penn for Spring Fling. Good times.

• Took the Pentax 67 with me over the High Line.
• Dined by myself at a sit-down restaurant for the first time.
• Went back to Penn for my official graduation (and they forgot my name in the program!).

• So freaking thrilled to have an abundance of peonies from the Greenmarket.
• First experience with molecular gastronomy at wd-50.
• A fun start (in more ways than one :)) to summer at Terroir Tribeca with the summer of riesling.

• Probably the grossest thing I ate all year - squid guts.
• Amazing joyrides in Mai's new car with the top down kicked off my summer of funemployment.
• Finding myself sitting at the Central Park fountain on a summer date.

Quick weekend trip to Boston.
• The window at RBC that lets in glorious light.
Dizzying view from the top of the Empire State Building.

• I met Cindy! (And Seth and Emma :))
• George Mendes in the kitchen at Aldea.
• I met Cleo!

• Stumbled upon this fantastic community garden back home in East Brunswick.
• Took the ferry to Staten Island for an out-of-this-world home cooked dinner at Rich's.
• Shot my first wedding alone! Standing on a chair here because I swear I'm too short to shoot weddings.

• First time at Hiro. It was surprisingly fun.
• Home sweet home for Thanksgiving weekend.
• Post-Thanksgiving means it's ok to put up Christmas lights!

• THE ultimate birthday meal.
• Cheesy (not literally made with cheese) Christmas cupcakes from Magnolia Bakery.
• Snowpocalypse. See below post.

Whew, that was exhausting! I can't even imagine how long it would have taken if I had gone through my entire digital photo archives of 2010.

Happy New Year and see you guys in 2011!!! I will probably be eating and drinking merrily when the clock strikes 12. It is only appropriate. :)

Dec 28, 2010

Shelter from the storm

I know people may be sick of blizzard talk by now, but here is my little story from Sunday. My friend Bryan and I had good intentions of taking photos all around, but our plans might have been a bit ambitious. The wind was especially killer, the light died quickly, and we got hungry. We struggled with the storm, took a few pictures (see his photo of me here) but when I felt my limbs were about to fall off, we sought warmth and food. The financial district is already a ghost town on the weekends, but it was obviously even quieter that day.

We eventually found ourselves at Ulysses Folk House (always a good go-to down in these parts) thawing with beer, nachos, fries, and steak sandwiches. The place soon filled up a bit more with other shelter seekers. Not such a bad way to deal with the storm, after all!

Cozy and quaint, ain't it? Lemme tell you, it doesn't look this way during weeknight happy hours!

Dec 27, 2010

A look from above

I love the whole above the table shot, but it's hard to do with my usual 50mm and somehow I don't think standing on my chair at a place like Per Se is gonna go over particularly well. With a point and shoot, I can just reach as high as I can, attempt to aim and hope for the best.

Here's a weekend of lunch/brunch eats. I like it when you can see snippets of my dining companions, and I feel like the above the table shot tells more of a complete story than my usual standalone dish photos.

Nothing quite beats brunch fare.

Dec 26, 2010

Christmas eve in the city

My parents came to the city on Friday and we trekked around Central Park after some Bouchon Bakery noms. The park looks so different in the wintertime. Dad joked (I hope!) that I wasn't allowed to use these photos without some model release or whatever but they were too cute not to share!

I also totally creeped on this little girl near the Rockefeller tree, heh heh.

It's back to the grind tomorrow. Lucky you guys who have the week off!

Dec 24, 2010

Happy Christmas!

May Santa bring you everything you wanted and more. :)

Rockefeller Christmas cheer.

Dec 22, 2010

Weekday morning at Jack's

I have blogged about this little place in the South Street Seaport more times than I can count now, and probably have taken almost the same photos (digital and film alike), but I guess I'm just drawn to the fresh flowers, the exposed brick, the great muffins, and the austere wooden furniture. Sounds about right, no? Oh and of course the good coffee and that it's just about close enough to go out of my way for in the morning.

I present to you Jack's on Portra 400NC. It's not too hard to guess which picture I liked best. I could eat those delicious film tones + a little grain right up.

It appears most of the blogosphere has taken off for the holidays. Wah! I'll probably slow down a bit myself, but no serious blogging break for me. :)

Dec 21, 2010

Friend of a farmer

Ah, the dilemma with weekend brunch is always that anywhere worth going also has a crazy line. So when we only had to wait maybe 25-30 minutes at Friend of a Farmer this past weekend, we considered ourselves lucky. I really loved the interior of this place - it felt like we were dining in someone's home. Unfortunately it was crowded and cramped, and I was with three others who I didn't want to make suffer as I took pictures, so these were all taken really hastily and I'm not happy with them. I actually hesitated to post these, but I did want to still share. It's just that this place invites such great photography, and I don't think I did it justice!

I'm a sucker for Eggs Florentine so I went with it, but it was a tad on the bland side, and I sorely regretted not getting the blueberry pancakes I was eyeing. Ah well! I was at least happy with my super pulpy orange juice.

Friend of a Farmer | 77 Irving Place

Dec 20, 2010

Locanda Verde meets film again

I was so pleased with the way Locanda Verde looked on film from my last visit, I couldn't resist shooting it again. I think I liked this round even better - the Portra 400NC is just fantastic for indoor shots + natural light. Plus I am terribly drawn to the rustic feeling of this place and love the bare wood tables. I think I'm starting to only want lunches so I can use film!

I had to get the sheep's milk ricotta with sea salt and herbs again, and as soon as my eyes got to the pumpkin agnolotti I stopped scanning the menu (a no-brainer). But the sausage grinder photographed the best here I think.

I love their festive bakery section and still need to return to try the blueberry muffins.

Hope your Mondays weren't too painful!

Dec 19, 2010

Warmth vs. coolness

I thought I'd continue this little film vs. digital series with a shot from my latest roll of Kodak Portra 400NC. So far I think I'm liking the 400NC better than the 400VC but I can't decide if I like it better than the Fuji 400H... ahh too many suffixes. It's probably a moot point since the NC and VC are being discontinued.

Indoors, the differences are much more obvious (at least here it is). I love the "filmy" tones/feel of indoor shots and the much more noticeable grain. I think the film version is more inviting and moody while the digital version is a bit sterile and blah. (Even teddy can't make this digital picture interesting!) I've been told and have seen that Canon's colors are much cooler in general than Nikon's, so that could play a big factor here. Also, the EOS 3's autofocusing knocks the socks off the 5D's - notice I failed to focus the digital shot properly using autofocus.

Both shot at ISO 400, 50mm, f1.8, 1/2000.

Obviously I <3333 film.

Dec 17, 2010

Are you sure this isn't a Canon ad?

I know this has been done by almost everyone already and super cliché, but I've always wanted to do a self-indulgent "What's In My Bag" type post. I tend to stuff way more than I should in my poor bags. It doesn't help that I don't use a real camera bag for my daily carrying needs so my cameras just get tossed around inappropriately. Let's have a looksee...

• My bag of choice is this lightweight Bottega Veneta hobo. When my camera already weighs a ton, I don't need the bag itself to add too much to that! Plus this leather is just godly (like butter, I tell you) and I seriously find myself stroking it sometimes, heh.

• These days I'm either lugging around the Canon EOS 3 (an incredible film SLR) or the 5Dmkii. The EOS 3 is actually a tad bigger than the already behemoth 5Dmkii. It's currently loaded with some Kodak Portra 400NC (can't wait to finish the roll, as it's my first time using the 400NC!). In my bag, I've got another roll of the Portra and some B/W Tri-X waiting impatiently to be shot.

• The Canon S95 is a little guy that packs some serious punch. I like it especially for party snapshots that need flash and macros of food, but it's really just a great backup for all needs.

• Boring essentials: keys, iPhone (aka another backup camera), earbuds, extra battery for the 5dmkii (god forbid I ever run out of batteries!), lens cap.

• Seriously essential essentials: L'Occitane shea butter hand cream, Smith's Rosebud Salve lip balm, cosmetic case carrying mostly eyedrops and usually my contact lenses in case I need to do a Superman switch out of nerdy office girl, bandaids for blisters or my general clumsiness, a pair of thin and light flats (still need to find some roll-up flats for extra compactness) in case I can't handle the heels I'm probably wearing anymore.

• Others: mirror, Make Up For Ever lipstick (currently toting around either "Satin Nude" or "Satin Rosewood"), wallet (birthday gift from a dear friend :)).

Whew, sorry if this became a TLDR post. I'll have to make sure the next few posts are picture-heavy.

Anyway, happy Friday!

Dec 15, 2010

The last of the birthday hoorahs

All right, this should be my FINAL birthday-related post. Something about having a Wednesday birthday allowed me to stretch the festivities out from the Saturday before it to the Saturday night after it. It was seriously more like a "birthweek" but I'm not complaining! This time, I headed into the middle of nowhere for a dinner at Ninety Acres which is located on a sort of farm/estate in northern NJ. Thank heavens I was not doing the driving because the road to the restaurant is deathly dark, winding, and narrow. I am sure this place is beautiful in the day time but I unfortunately could not see much. It would also be stunning under a blanket of fresh snow, but the road would be even more treacherous.

The restaurant itself is surprisingly cozy and inviting given the reputation of the place as a fine dining locale (ahem... not to hate on my home state, but it is just NJ after all :P). Even making reservations over a month in advance, we only secured an early dinner time. I also noted that every female in this place looked like they belonged in The Real Housewives of New Jersey. The woman with the giant Birkin and Hermes belt could stand to tone it down a bit. Sheesh. The portions here are huge. It was more like comforting food with familiar tastes - nothing super inventive or interesting, but just very nice. I did get a little annoyed with the servers who were not very subtly trying to turn the table over.

Thank you to Mr. B for this lovely dinner. :)

Below is an adorable cake from Black Hound that I received from Alicia. Thanks, dear! It was very well-enjoyed.

I took these in a horrible dark room but with my Speedlite 580ex ii. I really ought to use that thing more - don't you think it could almost pass for natural light here? Or am I just crazy.

Dec 14, 2010

All thai-ed up

14 people. 10? 11? bottles of wine. 11 x 2 dishes of food.

That's pretty much how the Mouthfuls meetup last night at Sripraphai went down. With somewhat great effort, we left almost no crumbs on the plates and no drops in the bottles. Definitely an eclectic group of people and always tons of fun.

Can you believe I still had Thai for lunch today?

Dec 13, 2010

A walk to remember

Please excuse the corny title - I thought I'd dig into my archives a bit today to hunt for pictures that never made it to the interwebs. Almost exactly a year ago, I took a break from some horrid final exam studying so I could capture Locust Walk in all its festive lights glory. (I was joining my talented friend Natalie Franke for this brief photo walk in fact!) I'm pretty sure these lights made everyone cheerier during exam period and the bitter cold. We just about caught the early sunset, clicked away, and headed back to the books. Oh, college life, you seem so long ago.

Not a shabby walk at all. I don't think I realized how beautiful Penn was when I was actually there. I suppose that is almost always the case.

Dec 12, 2010

Hey, that looks familiar...

This is actually my third time blogging about meals at Degustation and looking at my last post on it, I realized just how similar this post is to it... whoops! This is what I ate on my actual birthday. It was unplanned and got off to a super late start (after a failed attempt to dine at SHO Shaun Hergatt because the kitchen had just closed when we got there), but it was a nice way to end the day. We went with the shorter five-course option, but they were really nice and gave us side-by-side pairings so we'd have more variety.

I must say I love the salads at this place. And I could still do without the fried sweetbreads.

Ugh, that caramelized brioche never gets old. How many birthday wishes are we allowed to make anyway? :P (One final birthday meal post coming up soon!)

Dec 9, 2010

An east village backyard

JJ lives in a cute little studio in the East Village - totally different from the charmless high rise apartment building I inhabit. He even has a backyard that he shares with a neighbor who is something like a wardrobe director for TV. I love the way she styled the backyard. It's not quite all captured here (on Kodak Portra 400VC I might add), but you get a sense of its vintagey aesthetic.

I also love the exposed/rough-edged panels of the door. I would say it's definitely a bit of a luxury to have a backyard in NY of your own. I'm already envisioning lazy summer evenings spent there in lawn chairs with ice cold beers and strings of adorable paper lanterns... oh sigh.

Charm vs. convenience

I thought it'd be fun to start a possible series on comparing the same scene captured in film vs. digital. I spotted this berry tree in Central Park last weekend and practically made a beeline for it. I loved the way the red popped against a sort of cooler winter palette. Below, I have Fuji Pro 400H on a Canon EOS 3 with 50mm f1.8 lens against my 5Dmkii with 50mm f1.4. Both are just about straight out of the camera.

I'm actually not sure which I prefer in this case. I think I usually like indoor film shots more because of that nice obvious film tone. Outdoors, it's a little less apparent. The digital definitely looks warmer but I like the slightly subtler contrast in the film. Haha does anyone else even care? :P

Thank you all so much for the birthday wishes! I can't tell you how much I appreciate your comments.

Dec 7, 2010

Twenty three candles

Thank you to my readers who wished me a belated birthday in my last post - I should have mentioned that it's actually on the 8th, so you aren't late at all!

So now, on the eve of my birthday, it feels terribly appropriate to reflect on the past year a bit, especially as this last year contained the grand transition from student life to the glorious "real world." Many people make lists for what they hope to do in the next year. Lists do feel oddly appropriate on birthdays, don't they? I thought I'd make one for the past year instead. The below list is a bit random and covers both the ups and downs.

22 memorable things:

1) Created this blog which I am now pathetically attached to. :)
2) Graduated college, went through a stressful apartment search, and finally moved to NYC.
3) Realized I will NEVER have enough money for this city. (And that's okay, because nothing makes me happier than walking around taking photos of it and that is mostly free.)
4) Discovered the beauty of polaroids and film photography.
5) Met some amazing photographers. (I'm lookin' at you, Cindy and Seth!)
6) Worked in two very different industries and office environments.
7) Expanded my coffee palate by more than I thought possible.
8) Regrettably said goodbye to many good friends who are no longer a hop skip away. (Miss you guys tons.)
9) Had my wallet stolen under my watch.
10) Took a class on how to pull an espresso shot and steam milk properly.
11) Saw NYC from the top of the Empire State Building.
12) Consumed more tasting menus (and calories) than I can count.
13) Had more quarter-life crises than I can count.
14) Found my photo in a Yahoo Shine article.
15) Quadrupled my camera collection.
16) Had my heart broken.
17) Discovered my parents are actually pretty cool people.
18) Recognized by a flickr contact at a cafe.
19) Met JJ and have been having a blast.
20) Dreaded turning 23 and not being where I want to be in life. (Sounds ridiculous, I know.)
21) Ate macarons for the first time.
22) Lived, as much as I could.

I will make this year a good one. It does has some pretty big shoes to fill, though. :)

Dec 5, 2010

A little bit of magic behind blue doors

Yes, my birthday lunch at Per Se this past weekend was a beautiful treat. I could not have asked for anything more. Even though I felt like I waited for this meal forever, I really wasn't sure what to expect. The dining room is small, hushed, and elegant. There is a lovely view of Columbus Circle and Central Park. Everything just feels very personal, notably the menu which was printed with a "Happy Birthday Alice" note and the exceptional service. I decided to be a bit daring and seize this opportunity to shoot my meal in film (since the light was so great in that dining room), and I'm so glad I did. Because I was limited to the few rolls I brought with me, I pretty much had to get each shot just right, and because I couldn't preview my shots, I paid more attention to the meal and experience. (Ok, I will admit that I brought the 5Dmkii as a backup. :P) I thought the Fuji Pro 400H performed excellently for this and I want to shoot more film more than ever now. There really is an inimitable quality that I cannot achieve with my digital images.

I ordered the Tasting of Vegetables (my choices are on the right) but got to sample all of the regular Chef's Tasting Menu dishes anyway (on the left). I'm not going to go into laborious detail over each course (mostly because this post took me over six hours to complete from waiting for film developing to scanning negatives to fixing all the dust/scratches to finally putting together the collage - all worth it, I hope), but I may post a picture of the menus a bit later this week. This post is a bit overwhelming as it is anyway!

Cheese, desserts, coffee and mignardises below.

So...when can I go back?? :D

Dec 3, 2010

Bits of my room, film edition

A few more stragglers from my last film round - probably the last ones until I get some more developed. These were from the Portra 400VC roll. My windows face east so I am lucky to have streaming light like this.

Happy Friday! :)

Per Se tomorrow. I have been looking forward to this for a very long time. You can obviously expect a (long) post on this to come.

Dec 1, 2010

Coffee roundup, film

These scans never made their way onto my blog during my last film round, so I thought I'd compile some cafe shots. These were all taken with Fuji Pro 400H film on my Minolta X370s. I think this film produces really natural colors and subtle film tones - quite different from the Portra VCs! My scanner must be horribly dirty or something. These are the results after I got rid of most of the dust and scratches. I still have issues with manual focus. I think I get too impatient and try to compose the shot as quickly as I can and then sacrifice getting the focus just right.

Kaffe 1668, Stumptown, Think Coffee, and Jack's Stir Brew Coffee - seriously cannot go wrong with any of these. :)

Nov 30, 2010

Sunset (Sunday, part iii)

One more quick post from Sunday. Of course you are only afforded some of the best views of Manhattan when you get out of it. Here is the last bit of light from the day.

I still cannot believe it is December tomorrow. I had a few rough edges in November, but overall, it was good to me. Here's to hoping December will top this past month! :)

Nov 29, 2010

Leaving the island (Sunday, part ii)

Seeing as how I've just about conquered all the Manhattan cafes in the coffee list on The Scoop app (whoops - perhaps I could have paced myself a little better), it was about time I dipped my toes beyond Blue Bottle in the Brooklyn list. It was a beautiful day (except too chilly) yesterday to walk across the Williamsburg bridge and wander around a neighborhood I'm completely unfamiliar with. Everything was terribly cute and charming, it made me squirm a little bit.

There were some cool spots with fantastic light on the bridge for portraits. :)

We headed to Bakeri which is tucked away on a pretty quiet street. Not that this usually stops me, but having had enough coffee to wake the dead already that day, I opted for some green roobois tea and a slice of pumpkin spice bread (not pictured here). JJ had the butternut squash and feta tart with orange spice tea. We found that our teas paired much better with the other's food dish. Ah well! This place killed me a little bit with its character and coziness. Everything is super mis-matchy, a bit rustic and Anthropologie-feeling. Old-fashioned trinkets line the walls and decorate the floors. Naturally, we didn't leave empty-handed after seeing the cookie selection. I must revisit for coffee and more baked goods - the selection is just too great.

Nov 28, 2010

Sunday's coffee

What better way to kickstart a gorgeous sunny day than to brew some El Salvador coffee siphon style and complement it with mom's homemade coffee biscotti?...

... And then wash down an amazing gooey egg sandwich with a cortado with perfect milk foam art?

On another note, I must say thank you for your feedback on the new style I was trying out in the last post. It clearly needs some work! I tried again here, just a little bit, but I think I'll have to fiddle with some different ideas before I settle down. I'll of course keep the whimsical text too when I think it's appropriate.

I had much fun in Williamsburg today and will definitely need to venture off this island more. Posts to come!

Nov 27, 2010

J'adore Adour

This post is less about the food than the two new things I'm trying out. One is pretty obvious - see the third picture in this layout. I was hoping to go for a more magazine-like feel (too much inspiration from all of the fantastic e-magazines circulating online right now). Whaddya think, thumbs up or thumbs down? I'd love to try more collage layout tinkering because it is just too easy to go with what I'm used to. At the same time, I don't want to fix what ain't broke. The other is that I shot the food pictures in RAW with hopes of achieving better white balance. I'm still not thrilled with my adjustments... how the hell does ulterior epicure do it?!

I remember wanting to go to Adour a few years ago and having a heart attack at the caviar prices (though the white truffles we had as a supplement this time were no joke either). We went here as a bit of a pre-Thanksgiving feast on Wednesday night. The dining room is spacious and elegant and the food is confidently French. Everything was wonderful except perhaps the portions could have been sized down more. Dessert for the first time that I can remember was a struggle! This was a pity because both were greatly complex and exciting dishes. We also took home a very pretty box of macarons and chocolate truffles. :)

Nov 25, 2010

Giving thanks

Happy Thanksgiving to my readers! I am grateful to all of you for keeping me motivated to produce better content and update consistently. Hope your bellies are happily sated tonight. :)


Nov 24, 2010

Greenmarket, autumn edition

Getting out of work today early was a nice unexpected surprise. I wasn't sure what to do with myself but hey, I had my camera and it's been a while since I last shot at the Union Square Greenmarket. Also I was feeling particularly inspired by Jamie Beck's amazing post today. Her work kills me.

If you compare this post with the last one, the feel and colors are noticeably different. I wished the sun didn't get in my way so much though.

Ahh, I can't wait until spring flowers arrive at the Greenmarket. The current pickings are a bit meh for my liking.

Oh, and Happy Thanksgiving! Feeling my waistband get tighter already...

Nov 23, 2010

Tilt-shift love

Can't help but reblog this photo from Cindy's stream that she took with her (well, rented) 45mm super awesome tilt-shift lens:

Cobblestone in SoHo + good looking friends + talented photographer + ridiculous lens - cannot possibly go wrong. Now to get my hands on a Canon TS-E...Santa? :)

*photo by Cindy Loughridge

Nov 22, 2010

Us crazy photographers

A band of slightly insane photographers united this past weekend and shot the hell out of each other. It all started Friday night at Cabrito...

Since I had to shuffle off to my next dinner that night, I didn't get to stick around for long, but it was great fun to meet Daniel Krieger (whose work I've admired on Eater!) and Jennifer Sosa (whose wedding work I love).

Early on Sunday, we reconvened in the West Village, and were later joined by a few more faces. I somehow managed the day in 4+ inch heels! We discovered a great alleyway near a fire station and made quite a bit of commotion there, when a fireman poked his head out the door and screamed angrily, "WHAT THE F- is going on out here?" We all sort of stopped dead and meekly explained we were just tourists taking photos, when the angry guy was like, "Yeahhh I'm just messing with y'all" and went back inside. Good times, good times. Two coffee shops and a tapas brunch later, we had to part and head back to reality.

Seriously so so great to hang out with all of you fun and amazing photographers! I feel so lucky to know all of you and to have been shot by you guys. I don't even care that this blog post took me ~4 hours to put together. Heheh, much love to all of you, and hope we can do it in the near future - SF trip, anyone? :)

P.S. Check out everyone's work:

Nov 21, 2010

Another multi-course night

As my backlog of photos grows, and half-finished posts build up, I still always end up wanting to show more recent content. And the cycle continues. Friday night involved a two-part dinner and two doses of great company. I started off in the West Village at Cabrito, meeting old and new photographer friends (hi Cindy, Seth, Bryan, Jennifer, and Daniel!), while trying very hard not to ruin my appetite for my next dinner at Cafe Boulud in the Upper East.

This was all around a great tasting - especially because it hit on so many of the dishes I was eyeing up in the a la carte menu and couldn't decide between. Since there were five of us, for most courses, we got three of one dish and two of another, which made for even greater tasting variety. The amuse consisted of a peekytoe crab salad, beausoleil oyster, and I think a slice of salmon. Next arrived a chicken terrine with black truffle and some sort of tuna and couscous dish. Then we all received the short rib dumplings (good thing, because I wouldn't want to share these!). After that came pumpkin tortellini and some potato pasta-y dish (not gnocchi, but memory fails me), both rich and hearty. We then got two fish dishes - a striped bass and a dorade. The last savory was a roasted quail and beef prepared a few ways. Finally, we were each presented with a different dessert. As I eyed the other ones greedily, we decided to each take a fifth or so, and pass the plate on. It turned out my dessert (a poached pear with some addicting crispier bits) was probably the winner of the night. The pumpkin cheesecake was, of course, wonderful too, but hell I'd probably eat rocks if you put pumpkin on it.

Cafe Boulud is definitely definitely worth revisiting in the near future. The service is also impeccable here and rivals that of four-star restaurants. We ate happily until nearly midnight. Not a bad Friday night if I do say so myself.

Nov 18, 2010

Stone barns, polaroid edition

I meant to post these a while ago (ugh I'm slacking pretty badly recently) - polaroids taken during the weekend trip to Stone Barns. I used a pack of the Edge Cut 600 film, which I bought when the Impossible Project was selling a limited batch. It was a bit chilly that day for ideal polaroid developing temperature so I tried to stick them under my armpits (heh) to get them out of the cold. Most of them came out all right, but as you can see, something weird happened in the last shot. I was pretty upset because I loved the way the light was shining through the trees and on that leaf, and by the time I realized the photo messed up I had moved far from that tree and might not have been able to set up the shot exactly again. You can still sort of tell that it would have been a cool shot. :P

The chickens were funny. They followed us around completely unfazed, and one of them undid JJ's shoelaces hah.

Nov 16, 2010

West and east

It is fast becoming too cold to comfortably eat outdoors now, but here are the remnants of warmer weather captured in these outdoor seating areas. I just can't seem to walk by setups like these without itching to get my finger on the shutter.

It should come as no surprise that these were all seen in the West Village.

Of course, the East Village is great too, so densely packed with all sorts of great food (especially of the late-night-drunken variety), cafes, and boutiques. And scenes/streets like this one:

I feel like it doesn't get much more quintessentially autumn in New York than something like this.

Nov 15, 2010

Hearth, Terroir, and an odd request

These dinners took place on November 3rd and October 25th respectively. Whoops, major slacking on my end. Hearth and Terroir are two solid places that I have enjoyed immensely in previous visits too, but Terroir especially holds a little special place in my heart for a reason maybe a tiny handful of my readers know about. :)

With the return of the tasting menu at Hearth, we were eager to revisit. I don't have pictures from my first visit in September, but what I particularly remember is a salad that I would happily eat plates and plates of every day- not really something you can say of most salads. The salad this time was also really well put together and I ate through it and the bread (which is addictive) heartily. I remember a lot of nuts (pistachios and hazelnuts) in this meal, which was great. I think I only wished that the portions were a tad smaller; by the time we got to the seriously good savory dishes, I was leaving food behind on the plate (blasphemous, I know). The dessert was a sort of apple donut and it just about knocked my socks and boots off. I don't get that excited about many restaurant dessert offerings anymore, and I can say this was one of the best I've had in a while. This put Doughnut Plant donuts to shame.

We didn't get a chance to sit at the chef's counter so I guess another visit is in order? A fate worse than death! </sarcasm>

Backtracking some more, I had posted a while ago about this fantastic drink (the Pembrokeshire) I had at Terroir's brunch. Somehow it made its way out there on the twitterverse and @terroirNY jokingly suggested I bring a growler in and fill it up with said drink. How could I pass up such a proposition? So, a growler I got. This required a little shamelessness but in the end, all was well. Thanks, Nicole and Steven!

Mm this is how bar food should be. I distinctly remember having eaten dinner #1 before coming here but I could not resist any of these dishes. As per the menu instructions, we put our "ass in the seat" and let them feed us. Never a disappointment here.

Hearth | 403 East 12th Street
Terroir Tribeca | 24 Harrison Street

Nov 14, 2010

A lunch tote and old books

When a friend alerted me to the new seasonal macaron flavors at Bouchon bakery, I knew I had a rightful excuse to head back up there (as if the bakery items weren't good enough reason themselves! :P). At the time, I was still working hard on my box of Ladurée macarons, so this visit got pushed back a bit. I also just love the lunch options there, and they have this cute little "lunch tote" (more of a cardboard box) option that gives you two sandwiches, two macarons, two bags of chips, and two Gus sodas - perfect for unpacking on the steps at Columbus Circle.

Damn, the pumpkin macaron is ridiculous. The filling tastes like pumpkin pie, pretty much. I also am a sucker for all things gourds and have been on a massive pumpkin kick recently...soup, muffins, mmm.

Sunday included an impromptu visit to the Morgan Library & Museum, which recently underwent renovations. I got reprimanded for taking pictures indoors unfortunately; it's really a shame because the rooms there were so majestic and his library almost too perfect. I especially enjoyed the photography exhibit on the second floor. There's also a neat Mark Twain exhibit with many great portraits of him sitting in a rocker, cigar in hand. Perhaps a lesser known museum in the city but definitely worth a visit if you're in the area.

Ahh, I need to get chugging on a backlog of restaurant visits...much food porn to come.

Nov 11, 2010

Bits of my room

More often than not, my room is super cluttered and not exactly a haven for inspiration. What I do have though is great light during the day and a flurry of fresh flowers in charming metal buckets. Nothing to complain about there! I especially love the golden color of these guys in the tall bucket. (Anyone know what they are called? They look almost like a mix between dahlias and mums and gerberas.)

Things of note on my bookshelf/organizer: Ilford HP5 120 film that I have sadly still not gotten around to using, raspberry print from my dear photographer friend Brandon, and way more makeup than I actually need!

Nov 10, 2010

What you don't see

A warning that this collage contains an unnecessarily generous amount of pictures of yours truly, but I thought it'd be fun to show some "behind the scenes" from the Stone Barns Center trip. These are pretty tame actually - no teetering on chairs, hanging off trees, laying on the ground (hey, there was a lot of farm animal poop) or anything like that. Still, this was pretty much the making of the post down there (yeah, that one). At such a photogenic location like this one, it's hard not to have my finger on the shutter and face buried in my camera the entire time. It didn't stop me from enjoying the charm and beauty of it though. In fact, I sometimes think being so camera focused helps me appreciate the place even more, and I can't imagine experiencing it any other way. It's probably frustrating for my photography uninclined friends though, and I really appreciate when they can understand my bolting from place to place or else lingering around one spot for too long.

I just find some of these shots amusing, heh heh.

Thanks to JJ for these pictures. :)

Nov 9, 2010

All things beautiful

I'm currently in love with this new magazine. It is packed with pages of blissful inspiration. Sometimes these things almost hurt to look through, because I curse myself for not being out there creating more and pursuing more opportunities. I've grown increasingly frustrated with myself these past few weeks for not doing more, but I need to remind myself that this kind of stuff that I do do (like blogging) should, first and foremost, be something I enjoy for myself and a DE-stresser from the daily grind. I hate to sound all down, because I'm not! Whining never got anyone anywhere, and I know nobody is stopping me from doing more but myself.

Anyway, on a happier note, I'm looking forward to devouring the rest of this magazine over the next few nights.

Nov 8, 2010

You had me at "farmer's feast"

So the real reason we made the little trip upstate was for Blue Hill at Stone Barns, a unique restaurant very much dedicated to sustainability and fresh ingredients. Since Saturday reservations are near impossible, we headed up without one and decided to get there as soon as it opened to claim bar seats. We were told the full menu was served there and it seemed like a great idea since I actually really enjoy eating at bars anyway. Just a minute before 5pm, the doors opened and we tentatively stepped inside (literally the first guests there) and successfully secured ourselves some seats at the bar. (Note, the bar filled up within 15 minutes.)

Here, the tasting menu is known as a "farmer's feast." And a feast it is. It is also incredibly accommodating and tailorable. I overheard many odd requests (e.g., one girl asked for a vegan tasting, another didn't eat beets or peppers); we said we'd eat whatever they put in front of us. Seems like the only proper way to do these, no?

I loved the rounds of canapes (new EMP style) which included fennel soup, crudités, beet burgers, salsify, kale & potato chips, and charcuterie (the picture is missing two slices - oops).

Perhaps the main food highlight was actually a plate of shiitake mushrooms with very thin slices of seckel pear. It sounds underwhelming almost, but what an incredible combination it was. There was also a plain piece of grilled onion served with four different spreads. The breaded egg with chicken hearts was great, too. I had my very first smoked lobster which was served with a "Manhattan" style chowder and first goat (from the farm). A slab of berkshire pork was lovely as well.

Also, I must emphasize how amazing the bread is. First of all, it is piping hot. The crust is super crispy and the innards are fluffy and perfectly chewy. And naturally, dessert was polished off with no problems.

Blue Hill at Stone Barns is a beautiful place overall. Well worth a revisit in the springtime. :)

Nov 7, 2010


A short weekend trip to the beautiful Stone Barns Center was a nice getaway from the pace of NYC and its routines. I had been looking forward to heading to the countryside while the leaves were still turning and this weekend was a great time to go. So what drew us to Stone Barns? Well, I'll get to the main motivation in a part ii of this post, but the grounds of the center were worth seeing just for their own sake. It was really only a hop, skip and a jump away from Grand Central Terminal, but we decided to make an overnight trip of it and enjoy a brief respite from the city in the quiet of the country.

Polaroids and part ii to come soon.

Nov 4, 2010

More golden hues

Last weekend, I headed to Penn for a tiny bit of time (it felt like a sprint!) and more time was definitely spent on the road than in Philly, but it was well worth it. It's amazing how different the campus looks to me when I'm purposefully seeing it through the frame of a camera. It was just a shame that I didn't have time to take in more sights, because the campus is seriously some kind of beautiful this time of year.

It really just glows.