Tag Archives: Brooklyn

Smorgasburg: A Little Bit of This & That

When I first heard about Smorgasburg, I couldn’t help but think of Fat Templeton from Charlotte’s Web. It might sound odd (and troubling) that a rat from one of my favorite childhood novels was what I thought of when I heard about a food festival, but I have a reason! At the fair where Wilbur and Charlotte are, Templeton realizes that once the fair is closed for the night there is trash everywhere. He refers to the trash-filled fair grounds as a rat’s smorgasbord.

So after hearing about it from pretty much everyone, I finally made the trip to Williamsburg on Saturday to check it out. It was a beautiful day and when I arrived at around 3pm there were plenty of people getting their eat on. I had asked a few friends for suggestions, but decided to take a lap around to (try to) see all the vendors before making any decisions. I only had so much stomach real estate and I wanted to make every bite worth it! They have pretty much everything you can think of: Thai street food, Vietnamese, burgers, lobster rolls, tacos, mac ‘n cheese, ice cream, ice pops, doughnuts, fried chicken and waffles, BBQ… the list goes on and on.

My first stop was at the Chickpea + Olive stand, where they were slinging beet burgers and sliders. I wanted one of everything, but eventually settled on their Calexico; a beet slider topped with jalapeño, pickled red onion, avocado, tomato, daiya cheddar cheese, and a chipotle aioli. The beet burger (made with beets, lentils, brown rice, and mushrooms) had a nice char to it and the toppings were awesome. The pickled red onions and chipotle aioli were plentiful and really made the slider next level. It was absolutely delicious and I was so sad when it was gone… but since it wasn’t a full-sized burger (which they do have), it was the perfect size for my quest to try a bunch of different things. I also got an iced coconut black tea which was equally delicious and refreshing.

Next up was a stop at Oaxaca Taqueria for a taco. I mean, you didn’t really think I’d go somewhere that had tacos and not have one, right?! I settled on the Papas y Rajas, which included roasted potato and poblano peppers, pickled red onions, salsa roja, avocado salsa, cojita, and cilantro. The tacos were listed as $4 for one, $7 for two, etc.,  but I decided to just get one since I wanted to be able to try other things. The taco was literally two bites, but it was two delicious bites. It was super fresh and vibrant thanks to the salsas, and it really was a great bite sized snack. If you aren’t planning to try a bunch of different things, I would definitely suggest ordering a few – one just isn’t enough. This was my second dish of the day with pickled onions, and again they were a great addition to the taco. I guess I need to start adding pickled onions to more things!

After the taco, it was time for frites! My love affair with frites hit an all time high when I was in Brussels, Belgium in January, so I was thrilled to see Home Frite there. While waiting in line, I weighed my menu options and eventually decided on the “Dutch” (I mean, might as well go all in), which included curry ketchup, garlic aioli, and chopped onions. It was super messy to eat, but absolutely worth it. The fries were piping hot and crispy, and the curry ketchup and garlic aioli added a nice creamy element. While I was bummed this particular version of their frites didn’t come in a paper cone, the fact that they were delicious helped make up for that.

frites

To end my tour of deliciousness, I made a stop at Kelvin’s for a slush to wash it all down. I don’t think I’ve had a slush drink in quite some time, but growing up I was a huge 7-11 Slurpee fan (how could I not be?!). So I was thrilled to see a grown-up version of a childhood favorite. The line was long and while we were waiting they had to give the machines a few minutes to re-freeze, but it was worth the wait. They had either Arnold Palmer or Ginger slushes with a few different flavor add-ins (white peach, pear, guava, etc.). I decided to go with the Arnold Palmer with the white peach add-in, and it was amazingly refreshing.

kelvin.jpg

By the time I left, I was happily satiated and wishing I could get my Smorgasburg on every weekend. I mean, what a fantastic idea! It provides people who don’t necessarily have the funds (yet) to have a storefront or food truck to showcase their delicious treats, and also those that have found success and have storefronts to reach another audience in a laid-back and fun environment. Plus, it provides people like me who love to eat and to try new things the opportunity to do that in one space, and without breaking the bank. Everyone wins if you ask me!

Tell me…
Have you been to Smorgasburg? What were your favorites?
If you don’t live in the NYC area, have you been to any similar food events?

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Filed under Food Blogging, Food Review, Restaurant

A Marathon Weekend

I can’t believe I haven’t blogged in almost a month – whoops! But have no fear – I’m back!

This past weekend was full of running, so I had to share. Since my last update in regards to not running a marathon this fall and planning to make (small) racing decisions much closer to the actual date of the race, running has been going really well. Though I’m sure I’ve now jinxed myself. I managed to squeeze out 100 miles in October which is the highest mileage month I’ve seen since June! My paces are starting to get closer to where they were pre-foot drama, and I’m hoping to be able to do a 1:50 or lower in the Richmond Half and keep on truckin’ after that. I have some ideas for races after that, but no solid plans.

But back to the weekend – it was New York City Marathon Weekend!! While I’ve never run the race (was supposed to last year), I’ve spectated a few times and grew up loving the NYCM excitement. Now that I have so many runner friends (in real life and on the internet!), it wasn’t even a question if I’d make the trip into the city to cheer everyone on – I knew I had to be there. Conveniently, one of my good friends from home now lives in Brooklyn, (in the same neighborhood where I grew up many moons ago) which made it easy to head into the city early Saturday morning, stay over, get my cheer on, and leave afterwards.

Since a bunch of Oiselle Team members were running the marathon including the top bird Sally, we all got together for brunch on the Upper West Side at Josie’s. I took an early train into the city (that was already running 20 minutes behind schedule at 7:45am), and met up with my teammate Lauren to walk from Penn Station to the restaurant. It was an absolutely gorgeous day (I was sweating a bit wearing my long sleeve shirt!), and it was fun to see the throngs of runners out for their pre-marathon “shakeout” runs. Brunch was fabulous (how can I ever say no to a breakfast burrito?), and I had a wonderful time getting to know new teammates and catching up with others, while also checking out some of Oiselle’s spring line!

Picture from Steph! Me, Steph, Sally, and Victoria!

Picture from Steph! Me, Steph, Sally, and Victoria!

After brunch I took advantage of the beautiful weather and met up with my friend in Brooklyn and hung out in Prospect Park for a bit. It’s funny going back to a place where I spent so much time when I was younger, thinking about that giant and beautiful park in the middle of the “concrete jungle” where I used to force my mom and dad to play some completely ridiculous games with me. While we were sitting on the grass at one point, I mentioned how I used to play “rolly-polly” and insist my parents join in… which was basically starting at the top of a hill, and barrel rolling myself down it. Only a few minutes after talking about that, three adorable little kids came running over, threw themselves on the ground, and started rolling down the hill. It was quite a moment of nostalgia!

The "Dog Beach" at the park

The “Dog Beach” at the park

It eventually started to drizzle, so we made our way to a fun new wine bar on 6th Street where we each had a wine flight of 4 different white wines. The bar is small, but they have artwork (available for sale) and some really great wines you can get by the glass or bottle. The rest of our evening was low-key, since we had plans to get up early for a run, followed by marathon cheering!

We woke up around 7am (thanks to the extra hour of sleep!) and made our way back to the park for a run. It was gray and windy, and I couldn’t help but think of all the runners huddled at the Verrazano bridge anxiously awaiting their start. I hoped the wind would die down, and it did, but not until early afternoon. I did a loop of the park, and headed back for a total of 5.55 miles. After doing my “long” run of 10 miles on Friday and walking about 8 on Sunday, the 5 miles was more than enough. Plus, it finally got me to 30 miles for the week, which I haven’t seen in a very long time!

Oh hai Kim Smith & Amy Hastings!

Oh hai Kim Smith & Amy Hastings!

After the run we quickly got ready and claimed our spot on 4th Avenue and 10th street, which was a perfect spot to see the elites come ripping through. We stayed in Brooklyn for a bit after that in hopes of seeing some friends in the first waves (I missed most of them, of course), and then we quickly took the train to Manhattan, where I met up with Ashley & Co. for some cheering at the 30k mark. I was able to see everyone I was hoping to see (with the exception of a few), and even got a sweaty hug from Kara! After the last of the runners I was hoping to see came past the 30k mark, I was ready to head home. I never realized how tiring cheering can be since I’m usually the one out on the course! So naturally when I got home I ordered a pizza and found myself in bed by 8:30pm.

Cowbellin'

Cowbellin’

While I was out there cheering, I had mixed emotions. Part of me was so relieved to be on the sidelines cheering, while part of me wanted to be out there, crawling my way through the city. And of course, like any logical person, I randomly teared up and had to take a moment here and there throughout the day. The marathon is such a beast – I love it, I hate it, it makes me happy, it makes me sad, and I can’t get enough of it. Hopefully I can get myself through some longer runs “for fun” in the near future (i.e. running a 14 or 16 miler without the pressure of official marathon training). If I’m able to do that, I’ll consider signing up for my next marathon. But until then, I’m going to stick to 13.1 and under. And if anything, this weekend reminded me of one very important thing: I LOVE RUNNING AND THE RUNNING COMMUNITY!

Tell me …
Did you run the NYC Marathon this weekend? 
And if you didn’t, when/where are you racing next?!

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Filed under Running

New York (city), I love you

Okay so that might be the title of a movie that came out this past fall with a story-line similar to Love Actually. But I’m not here to talk about the movie. I’m talking about the city in general. Seriously, it rules (mostly). Having been born at the NYU Hospital and then lived in Brooklyn for a few years with family still there today, NYC holds a special place in my heart.

The weekend was full of running, sweating, and of course, eating. On Friday my fiancé and I headed to Central Park for the 5th annual Jamaica Underwear Run. Yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like; a run through Central Park in your skivvies. Since it was just the two of us, we decided to keep our personal belongings with us, instead of haphazardly checking them. Let me tell you, running with a drawstring backback or camera bag is tough! Not being able to use your arms properly and having something slam against you makes running difficult. Not to mention it was a million degrees out. I never would have thought those 1.7 miles would have felt like that. At any rate, it was a leisurely run through Central Park, and my fiancé and I finished hand-in-hand at around 16 minutes.

Before the Undie Run Started!

From there, we headed to my friend’s apartment in Brooklyn, where we went on the prowl for some food. By the time we got there, showered, and we ready to go it was about 10p. Well, apparently not many restaurants in Park Slope are open past 11, and if you try to walk in at 10:15p, you’re turned away. We were going to grab Indian from Baluchi’s, but we just didn’t make it happen. The only places that seemed to be open later were Mexican joints, which I was more than happy with so we settled on Piramide.

The restaurant wasn’t empty, but being that it was 10:30p, it wasn’t crowded either. We started off with some made to order guacamole (extra spicy) which was super fresh. Definitely a step-up from my poor man’s guacamole, but hey – desperate times have called for desperate measures. I ordered the Piramide Pobalano Combo which was two poblano peppers; one with chicken and the other with cheese, fried to make it a delicious chile relleno and topped with a tomato chipotle sauce, served with rice and beans. It was very good, but at nearly double the price of Jose Tejas’ chile relleno which is a bit bigger and much fuller, I was merely okay with my decision.

Poblano Combo

My friend went with chicken fajitas that were seriously sizzling, and she enjoyed them. My fiancé ordered the Burrito Loco with steak, which was stuffed with peppers, onions, rice, beans, pico de gallo, sour cream and cheese topped with a salsa verde. This was also pretty good, but nothing out of this world. Because my fiancé and I have a similar palate and are often times indecisive, we decided to switch our plates half way through, so we could each sample two dishes. I think the guacamole was probably the highlight of the meal, which is okay since I love it.

Burrito Loco

After that our night ended, since we had to be up bright and early for the Central Park Conservancy Run, a 4-miler through the wonderful CP. Since we ran the night before and the registration fee was a little to steep for our wallet (nearly $40 by the time we knew about the race), my fiancé and I decided to be spectators instead of runners. This is actually the first time either of us attended a race, and didn’t actually run in it. It’s a weird feeling, similar to attending a swim meet and not swimming; you are relieved to not have the pre-race jitters and actual race pain, but at the same time, you feel a bit like a slacker. That’s exactly how we felt Saturday morning, but because it was so brutally hot, I was more than okay with being a spectator. We got ourselves a sweet spot at the finish, and were able to spot my friend (wearing the same polka dot shirt she does for every race) cruise across the finish line in 25:22. Yes, you read that correct. A fellow former swimmer running 4 miles in just over 25 minutes – and she looked comfortable the whole last leg. Envy I tell you, pure envy. It made me realize my running and excuse department is a bit lack-luster, and I should probably get myself out there more. But yes, enough whining about my running ability and back to the food. But seriously, awesome job Kir!

From there we headed to Washington Square Park, so I could get my hands on some Cake & Shake. A newer food truck on the scene, they offer daily cupcake and shake flavors and they also have pupcakes for the dogs! Since there were two of us, my fiancé and I decided to share a cupcake and a shake, and we picked the whatchamacallit cupcake and salted caramel shake. They were both equally awesome. The whatchamacallit is a milk chocolate cake with caramel mousse and a nougat frosting. The salted caramel needs no explanation, and was the perfect combination of sweet, creamy, and refreshing. If you are ever in the area, you need to get yourself a cupcake and/or (probably and) shake. I have every intention of heading back to get some more!

Salted Caramel Shake & Whatchamacallit Cupcake from Cake & Shake

Continuing our galavanting after hanging out in the park for a bit, we ventured over to Petite Abeille for some brunch. What a cute place! As soon as you walk in you’re welcomed with the smell of delicious Belgian waffles, and are then quickly ushered back to a table. They offer specials throughout the week (such as all you can eat mussels and a Stella on Wednesdays) and have an extensive beer list. Since it was brunch, I decided to order the Madame Croquet, which comprised of grilled ham and gruyere cheese and a sunny-side egg on top with a side of fries. My fiancé ordered the Gaufre Dame Blanche, which simply put were some Belgian waffles with ice cream and whipped cream, topped with a chocolate sauce. Both of our meals were good, but definitely not filling. We each ordered a coffee, mine iced and my fiancé’s hot, and his had a ton of coffee grinds floating in, and at the bottom of his cup. Our water also had a crayon-like taste, which was disappointing considering how incredibly hot it was outside. Overall, the food was okay, but the restaurant itself is adorable and the staff is friendly. If you’re looking for something small to eat, I’d recommend it, however, don’t expect a big hangover curing brunch because you won’t find it here.

Croque Madam from Petit Abeille

Gaufre Dame Blanche from Petit Abeille

To end the day, we headed to Coney Island for The Village Voice’s Siren Fest – a free music festival right in the heart of Coney Island. I was excited at the opportunity to see both Ted Leo and the Pharmacists and Matt & Kim, but unfortunately they didn’t go on until 7p, and it was just too brutally hot outside. We walked up and down the boardwalk a few times to use the breeze to our advantage, but we were still basically dripping sweat. We were too full from our stops earlier to enjoy some Nathan’s, so we called it quits pretty early, and headed back home.

Overall, there was a lot of eating and sweating this weekend in good ole NYC. Often times I’m envious of the lifestyle New Yorkers have, and this weekend was definitely a weekend I felt that way. There were a million options of things to do, and they could be done by simply hopping on a train. Not to mention the food is always amazing, and I really enjoy walking around everywhere. No wonder so many of you New Yorkers are so thin ;-). But then I remember it’s also nice to have my own backyard, and a slightly lower cost of living. But have no fear, I’ll be back again soon, because New York, you’re just too awesome to stay away from!

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Filed under Food Review, Restaurant, Running, Spanish Food, Travel