Tag Archives: New York City

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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Birthday Cupcakes

If you’re a somewhat regular reader of this blog, or even if you simply look at the tag cloud on the right of the blog, you know that I love cupcakes. So it’s no surprise that I made sure to have plenty of cupcakes in the days surrounding my birthday!

On Sunday, the fiancé and I headed into the city with plans to go to a museum. Unfortunately we forgot about The Pride Parade, so our plans were interrupted. We certainly had plenty of entertainment watching the parade, though. On our way home we stopped at a bakery called Sweet in Hoboken for some cupcakes. Since we live in New Jersey, we try to find the easiest (and cheapest!) ways to get in and out of the city, and on Sunday we figured driving to Hoboken and parking there would be our best bet.

Sweet is cute and simple, and more importantly, has delicious cupcakes. We happened to get there at 5pm when they were closing at 6pm, so all of their cupcakes were by one-get one free! They have both regular and mini sized cupcakes, so the fiancé and I figured it was the perfect opportunity to sample a lot of what they had to offer. I also appreciated the fact that they were looking to get rid of the cupcakes, meaning they  make them fresh every day – no one likes a cold, stale cupcake! For a mere $4.75 the fiancé and I each got to sample a red velvet, vanilla, mocha, ganache, coconut, and fluffernutter (only 4 pictured below). They were all delicious! I wish I had them in the full size so I could have enjoyed even more of them.

For my birthday on Tuesday, of course I had to have cupcakes to celebrate. So, my family brought over four Crumbs cupcakes to try (King Cone, Baba Booey, Three Muskateers, and Peanut Butter Cup). Between the six of us (my parents, sister, her boyfriend, and the fiancé) we each sampled each of the cupcakes – YUM.

Not only did we have the Crumbs cupcakes to enjoy, but I also received cupcakes from Serial Baker! Now this girl is serious – she dropped off birthday cupcakes for me at 10:30p on the eve of my birthday. I was so zonked from my morning run that I was already in bed, so my fiancé actually received the package for me. I had a recipe for a twist on S’mores cupcakes in my head, and she was able to bring them to fruition. I had mentioned I had a recipe for them and wanted to make them, but just didn’t have the time or energy, so I opted to make two simple pies and bring them to work. So, she decided to make them for me! I have such good friends – look at that bad boy. [The picture is actually from Serial Baker’s post, but was taken by my fiancé – circle of blogging!].

Needless to say, my birthday was pretty sweet! It was made even sweeter by the awesome gifts I received – a no-slip yoga towel, running socks, a yoga mat carrier, a cupcake stand, and a Marc Jacobs bag I’ve been eyeing up for a few months. Next up in terms of celebrations are my bridal shower, bachelorette party, and of course, the wedding. I can’t wait!

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Filed under Baking, Cupcakes

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

A Failed Attempt at Cupcake Camp NYC Still Ended Sweetly

This past Friday was the second annual Cupcake Camp NYC. You may find yourself asking, “What is this camping cupcake nonsense?” Well, yes, there are cupcakes, but no, there isn’t any camping. It’s basically an ad-hoc gathering for cupcake lovers alike. From bakers to writers and bloggers, and everyone in between, it’s an event to get together and mingle with other cupcake nerds. And Cupcake Camp happens all over the WORLD!

Having heard about the event awhile ago, I was pumped and ready to go. When the tickets were finally made available in March, I made sure to get myself and my fiancé a pair. Since they were free, I was more than ecstatic at the mere thought getting to see (let alone eat) some awesome cupcakes, and potentially brush shoulders with some seriously important cupcake people. You know, like my favorite blog Cupcakes Take the Cake. Or the owner of Buttercup Bake Shop! So once the day rolled around, my fiancé and I made sure to leave work 45 minutes early to get into the city as soon as possible.

Cupcake Camp was held at Happy Ending on Broome Street on the lower east side. When we were approaching our destination, my heart sunk. The event started at 7pm, and it was only about 7:10. The line was not only out the door, but down the street, and around the corner. I mean, I knew it was going to be crowded – everyone loves cupcakes. I couldn’t help but think to myself; “I got my tickets a month early! I love cupcakes way more than these people! I’m even wearing my cupcake necklace! My fiancé and I have mushy gushy cupcake love! THIS ISN’T FAIR!”

The dreaded line

The dreaded line

After whining in my head till the end of the line, we got in line, and waited. We waited and waited, and we didn’t actually get in until just a bit after 8pm. On the way in, we heard a few people echoing “There aren’t any cupcakes left!” while they walked out with boxes of leftover goodies. I sincerely hoped they were lying, but my hopes were dashed once I finally got inside. Any cupcakes that were left were already spoken for by others. There were a few authors selling their cupcake books, and everyone was just mingling and enjoying one another’s company. The bar was so packed, it was nearly impossible to move. After making our rounds, my fiancé and I left, a little disappointed, and very hungry.

I am utterly shocked at how many people were there! It was truly impressive. I mean, I know cupcakes are the “it” trend right now, but man! I suppose the word “free” might have played it’s part as well. I’m definitely going to make an attempt at next year’s gathering. But I think some camping might be involved this time. Forget about leaving work 45 minutes early – I’m going to need to take the whole day!

After that fail, we decided to head over to Dos Toros Taqueria, a place I had read about on SeriousEats. They compared it a lot to Chipotle, so as a burrito fanatic, I was in. When we got there, though, we faced our second fail of the evening. It’s an extremely small place – only one window bench with about 4 seats. And, the line was out the door. Since it was a bit chilly and windy, we decided to save that deliciousness for a day we could really enjoy it. We settled on the Thai restaurant Spice. We passed one of their other locations en route to Dos Toros and had already perused the menu, so we figured that would suffice. I really think Friday was the night of the foodies. We walked past Momofuku‘s Milk Bar and that line was even more outrageous! [I still need to get in on that chicken dinner!]

When we got to Spice, we were told we’d have about a 20 minute wait, which isn’t so bad for 9pm on a Friday in the city. Thankfully, we only wound up waiting about 10 minutes, and we were brought upstairs to our table. We decided to get an order of the spicy calamari to share. It wasn’t spicy so much as it had a nice crisp black pepper taste. The dipping sauce was sweet, tangy, and peanuty with a little kick all at the same time. I really enjoyed it.

Spicy Crispy Calamari with Sriracha honey chili sauce

For our entrees, I went with the Drunken Man Noodles, and my fiancé went for his go-to Pad Thai. The Drunken Man Noodles were broad rice noodles (my favorite!) with chicken, shrimp and squid along with chili, egg, and green beans.

Drunk Man Noodle

Our food came quickly, and it was actually really good. Being the spicy lovers that we are, we asked for extra spice. Surprisingly, despite the restaurant’s name, the food wasn’t spicy. That would be my only gripe about the place. The service was friendly, but they didn’t check-up on us once. It worked out since everything was fine, but if it hadn’t been, I wonder if we would have had trouble flagging someone down. At any rate, for a $30 dinner in the city, I really can’t complain.

To end our night on an even higher note, we headed over to 16 Handles. My fiancé and I actually went here on our fourth date, after dining at the Telephone Bar which is sadly now closed. 16 Handles really is as great as it sounds. There are 16 different flavors of frozen yogurt that you get to choose from yourself, followed by a plethora of toppings. It’s all done buffet style, so you get to pick your cup size, yogurt and topping choices, and then pay by weight. They have everything from sweet to tart flavors, non-dairy and low fat options, and both fruity and candy-like toppings. Being the sweets junkie that I am, I went for red velvet, cookies & cream, New York cheesecake and peanut butter yogurt (just a dollop of each!). I then topped it off with some cookie dough bites, brownie bites, crushed graham crackers, crushed Oreo, and mashed Reese’s peanut butter cups. Oh. Yes. Take a look at the masterpiece!:

16 Handles of deliciousness

So all in all, despite not getting a cupcake, I think I had a successful foodie evening. And I made up for the lack of cupcakes by getting a Crumbs cappuccino and half baked cupcake Saturday. Plus, I’m on Sunday I was able to whip up some peanut butter cupcakes from my 500 Cupcakes recipe book! Maybe next year I’ll be adventurous and bake my OWN cupcakes for the event! We’ll see 🙂

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Filed under Cupcakes, Food Review, Restaurant