Smorgas Saturday

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This summer New Yorkers from all boroughs have been flocking to Brooklyn on the weekends for a food lovers heaven. Smorgasburg is a food flea market offering some of the most innovative and delicious treats. From flavored horseradish (‘Dish) and truffle honey samples to jumbo ice-cream sandwiches and ramen burgers; this place has a little bit of everything.

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The gates open at 11am and my recommendation is to arrive as early as humanly possible. We arrived at noon and were able to make a loop of the area with ample space to meander between vendors and no lines to wait in. By our second loop (about 12:45pm) the space was already getting tight and not even my hunger could justify the length of the lines at some of the top spots.
After committing to a few items (ice-cream, fancy lemonade, tacos and pizza), we took ourselves to the lawn and relaxed in front of the city view.

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When we had enough of the warm sun, we jumped in a cab and went down to DUMBO (the area where Smorgasburg is held on Sundays FYI) for a quick afternoon cocktail at Atrium.

A top-notch Saturday afternoon if I do say so myself.

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Little trivia for you: DUMBO means Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Underpass. Did you know that?

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Becoming Caveman

I have never been a dieter. Up until about 3 years ago, I was an athlete who worked out about 40 hours a week. I certainly had to make sure that I was eating the correct proteins and carbs to gain muscle and preform at my peak, but I never had to worry too much about gaining weight from what I ate. If I binged on cookies or french fries I had a 5am work out to burn it off. Nice life huh?!

Well those days are over. Not only have I exchanged my workouts for a 45/55 hour work week, but I am getting older. Those calories just stick to your sides better when you’re older I think. Not to mention that finding time to work out is difficult during the work week. But as I mentioned, I have never been a dieter. I enjoy the freedom of eating what I want, and I guess there is a possibility that it has something to do with being impatient to wait for the results of a diet and having no will power to say no to a juicy hamburger. But hey..that’s why Im writing this, because I have actually found a “diet” where I can eat most of the things I love and notice slimming and toning results.

Last month I turned Caveman (cavewoman maybe?) and I loved it. I ate all the meat I wanted along with fruit, veggies and nuts. I even made delicious coconut brownies from dates, eggs, and a bunch of coconut products. I think I semi became a coconut addict during my month on Paleo. I ate seafood, and trail mix and meat and eggs and veggies…so the day to day was not that bad. There are also a plethora of blogs, books and recipes available for this diet.  I found it was easy to make the change in lifestyle and felt pretty good during the process with only a day about three weeks into it when I had strong cramps relating to the strict change in the food I was eating.

As someone who wasn’t looking for a diet, this whole experiment began when my roommate jumped on the bandwagon to support her mom who was prescribed the Paleo diet for medical reasons. She tends to fill our fridge with awesome food (she loves to cook( so I figured it would be easy to emulate her shopping and cooking habits while trying out a healthier eating style. I have heard people describe the Paleo diet as a glorified Atkins, but I really believe that the benefits are a lot more. The food you cut out decreases a lot of inflammation in the body and a simple elimination of bread really does feel good.

I have since taken a break from the regimen because of recent travel that made it difficult to be a picky eater, but I find that I still choose certain meals based on the Paleo thinking. As for my roommate: she is going strong and has even begun intense workout trainings (a reason that many people become cavemen).

Have you tried this diet?

Walking in Tourist Shoes

I’m so excited because one of my best friends just moved up to my New York neck of the woods. When I moved here over a year ago, it was to pursue my career (although I didn’t know what that was yet) and to throw myself into a new (and fun) experience. I have enjoyed the ups and downs this city has thrown my way, but it has not been easy to be away from my friends. I think that many young girls who decide to move to Manhattan in their 20s do so with a group of close friends. Like an episode of Girls, they learn to master the subways and live in a box without air conditioning with one another’s support.  For me, these challenges were overcome alone and with the help of old friends and a few brand new ones too. I loved getting to rekindle various friendships in my new city, but I would have loved to do it all with ‘my girls.’

So when Sara told me that she was moving up this way, you can imagine my excitement. The best part is that she is super excited to explore the city, something I used to do daily but recently have forgotten about (which explains my lack of blogging material). I think you reach a point, wherever you live, when you have to remind yourself to be a tourist in your own world. I had reached a point of repetitive routine and I’m counting on Sara to jazz things up a bit.

The first thing we did together in NYC was take a walking food tour of Greenwich Village. I lived in this area during my nomadic life in NYC, had passed the stores and eaten in the pizza places on the line-up but I never took a tour of the area. Man did I learn A LOT!

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We began in Washington Square Park where I learned about the Pauper cemetery that used to be there and the fountain that was the inspiration for Friends‘ opening credits. Then we walked Macdougal Street where I had a cappuccino from Caffe Reggio the first caffe in the US to serve one! This place is so neat and I will definitely be back with a book and a free afternoon  this winter. Idyllic. We ate Artichoke Pizza and falafel from Mamouns (I mentioned this was a food tour, right? I swear I don’t eat this much normally). We walked around Bedford Street to see the Friends’ apartment (I think our tour guide was obsessed with the show), ate rice balls from Faicco’s and pizza from Bleeker Street. Honestly, I couldn’t even eat the last few spots, but it was still so worth the walk because of the information I got to learn about this area of Manhattan.

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New Manhattanites or lifers, I really suggest checking out these tours and acting like a tourist for a little bit. It does the body good.

Food love and a new travel destination

One of the places I wish I visited while living in France was Northern Africa. For years the French people have taken their vacations in places like Tunisia and Morocco due to the proximity and the affordability. Although I’ve never taken one of these trips, I have recently found my plate filled with Mediterranean cuisine (which I am grouping as Moroccan, Greek, Arabic and Middle Eastern). I am not new to Mediterranean cuisine; in high school our friends used to meet at Arpeggios (a Mediterranean BYOB) sometimes simply for the pita and humus, and in college I almost always ordered the lamb souvlakia from Daves Taverna (the go to Grille), dipping my fries in the excess tzatziki sauce that dipped from the sandwich. Here in Hoboken, I found Mamoun’s Falafel Restaurant, a very affordable and delicious place where you can fill a plate with an assortment of Baklava, Tabbouleh and stuffed grape seed leaves among other things. So although this cuisine isn’t a new discovery, I am just realizing how much I prefer it, especially after this weekend’s trip to Williamsburg and the realization that I had eaten a ton of food and didn’t feel the need to unbutton my pants.

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Café Mogador, in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, is not only adorably cute in its décor (we sat in a greenhouse type room with colorful throw pillows and neat light fixtures), but the food is beautiful as well. For our meal this weekend we ordered humus and matbucha to start. Matbucha, a cooked tomato and roasted bell pepper salad, was new for me and I found it nicely complemented the humus. For my meal I got the grilled merguez with basmati rice and veggies. It was served with a tzatziki sauce, brining me back to college, and an Arabic salad – extremely simple yet perfectly balanced with refreshing herbs and a tangy lemon vinaigrette. We ate a lot, and yet, as I find with this food, I didn’t have that stuffed feeling at the end. Café Mogador is also located in Manhattan’s East Village and I recommend it for those who enjoy this type of cuisine.

Honestly, Morocco wasn’t a place on my radar for travel before living in France, but since my recent food experiences I must say that it has jumped to a high-ranking on “places to go” to do list.

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Have you been to Morocco, Tunisia, or any middle Eastern or Mediterranean countries? Do you enjoy the food?

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MDCV

Happy Friday everyone.  It has been a gorgeous afternoon.  I hope the weather cooperates all weekend because I have a baseball game to attend and some major Vitamin D to soak up 🙂 

Here are some random (if not very food-related) notes from my week on the web.

I really love this story about a Prussian baroness and her car.  Lifestyles like hers always seem unreal to me.  Credibility was created when I read that they found a cigarette with a lipstick stain in the car.  Like she just vanished…facinating!

Remember my post about fruit cakes?  Well, I was reading some David Lebovitz the other night and whattaya know…he made a fruit cake. Of course he called it Tu bi’Shvat, a Hebrew word, but it was a fruit cake for sure.  I enjoy David but I’m still not on board with the cake of fruit.  Lets just enjoy some dried fruit and stop putting it in cakes.

Alone time is so great and often overlooked in life.  Make sure to take time for you this weekend.

New restaurant Rosemary’s opens this coming week.  I love that the food from the rooftop garden “gets dropped down to the dining room in a basket on a block and tackle.”  Adding this spot to my list. 

Summer and popsicle. Who doesn’t have a memory involving these two delights? For me, I remember desserts of Dole fruit popsicle as a kid.  My sisters and I would grab a popsicle and run to the swing set in our backyard where we would swing for hours as liquid juice dripped down our hands.  After reading this article I may just have to find a swing set to go with my “adult popsicle” 🙂

Summertime fruit make me so happy