Ess-A-Bagel

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What makes a NYC bagel dough so special?? Certainly beats me, but I’m hooked.  That is a strong statement coming from the girl who really could do without most bread products.  Usually they just don’t appeal to me unless smothered in some form of sauce or spread.

Some claim it’s due to the city water.  Others believe it’s how they boil the bagels before serving.  Whatever they are doing, please don’t stop.

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Look at those schmears!  From lox to blueberry and oh so many more 

Do not under any circumstances ask for your bagel toasted.  A big no-no here.  I guess it’s all about the New York process of eating a bagel.  Sure if you really want your bagel toasted, I’m sure they will do it but you will certainly get a lot of dirty looks and grief for asking.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

IMG_5336Apparently Ess-A is known to be a distributor of one of the top 3 Black & White cookies in the city.  I can vouch for their deliciousness; light and fluffy cookie with a decadent frosting.

I told myself I wouldn’t fall in love with the city too much as it would make it difficult to leave.  This clutch combination certainly won’t make it any easier when that time comes.

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whole-wheat everything bagel w/ blueberry schmear + iced coffee

Ess-A-Bagel
~ All products served are certified kosher ~

359 1st Ave (1st + 21st)
New York, NY
**Original location est. in 1976

831 3rd Ave (3rd + 50th)
New York, NY

Rhode Island Travels

I feel as though I have experienced a modern version or planes, trains, and automobiles – jet-setting around the NE.  Seeing as my ultimate goal is to explore every state and locale around the country (even if it’s for a mere hot-second, quick snapshot, or postcard), I seem to be making a pretty solid effort.

Last weekend I was lucky to be invited to Rhode Island to stay with some family.  Funny enough, this family is from Southern California, but happened to be out on the east coast for a few weeks while my cousins were involved in lacrosse camps.  The sport has somewhat made its way westward, but there’s no comparison in terms of the level of play.

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I arrived in Providence on Friday evening and was able to catch up with Sarah over some much anticipated ice cream.  She was a complete doll and agreed to pick me up from the train station and drive me to where my cousins were staying.  Even though we communicate weekly via text, it’s always nice to catch up in person, don’t you agree?

Cooked Goose

After sleeping in on Saturday morning, we headed out for a midday meal at the Cooked Goose; a homey favorite for the locals of Westerly, R.I.  I’m always a sucker for neatly designed t-shirts and funky-named entrees

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A quaint little setting with cookies the size of your face and filling homestyle breakfasts.  As you can see we were all over the menu from breakfast burritos to chocolate chip pancakes to spinach/feta omelets.

The Cooked Goose
~ Menu ~
92 Watch Hill Road
Westerly, Rhode Island 02891
*Breakfast, lunch + take-out

Newport Beach - 1

I’ve been fortunate to have traveled to many places over my 23 years of life and I’d like to think of myself as somewhat cultured.  However, I can’t help think that the east coast is just a different place.  I’m certain I spent a majority of the trip just gawking and soaking it all in (hopefully not in a rude way, just as a baffled and quite interested manner).  From the people to the architecture to the beaches to the style of clothing.  I can’t even begin to describe it besides “so east coast.”  Maybe it’s the fact that California has been so engrained in my mind as home, everything we do as “normal” that makes me try to comprehend the lifestyle out here.

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After breakfast (or really more of lunch) we drove up the coast to Newport for some time on the beach and obviously some Del’s Frozen Lemonade.  Originally started in Rhode Island, Del’s has now expanded to 20 different states, even California!!

IMG_5414  One sip and I fell in love.  It had a fresh and fruity flavor with actual chunks of lemon rather than the syrupy mess that Minute-Maid sells at sporting events and theme parks.  No, no, this was quite a treat.

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~ NEWPORT, RHODE ISLAND ~

Newport - 3~ A trip to the wharf to people watch ~
~ Indulge in some ice cream (Ben & Jerry’s for Katherine, gelato for Katie, and self-serve Pinkberry for me) ~
~ A visit to the Alex & Ani flagship store ~

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~ Sunday Funday ~

I started with endless cups of coffee and reading off my kindle.  From there it was time for breakfast at the local sandwich joint – a bagel w/ egg + arugula for her and a spinach/blueberry/banana/granola smoothie for me

10 Sandwiches 
98 Bay Street, Watch Hill, R.I.
(Selling Dave’s Coffee coldbrew)

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We walked along the beach, spotted Taylor Swift’s house from a far (bottom left), got caught up in some of the local shops, and enjoyed our afternoon with a fruity drink and crudite platter at the Ocean House.  I do have to say, our drinks were some of the finest I have every tasted (probably because I couldn’t taste the alcohol) and am totally willing to mix one up for anyone willing to be my guinea pig ;)

Ocean House Colada ~ Ciroc Coconut Vodka, Coconut Water, Mint

The Low Tide Painkiller ~ Mount Gray Silver Rum, Pineapple Juice, Creme de Coco, Midori, Grapefruit Juice, Creme de Strawberry

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The Ocean House was built in 1868 and known as the last remaining water front Victorian Era hotel on mainland Rhode Island.   It originally did not have any heating, cooling, or ventilation, as most homes in this area didn’t.  Seeing as they were all “summer homes”, they were only open 3-4 months out of the year.  It was demolished in 2005 and reopened in 2010, built brick by brick to mirror the original building.

I definitely recommend either getting dressed up to have a cocktail inside or even stopping by to have one along the water.

The Ocean House
1 Bluff Avenue, Watch Hill, R.I. 02891

I believe there’s an element of old school living that shines through – the fact that people have been settled here in these towns for ages.  They vacation in the same spots year after year, while our families were exploring the mountains and lakes on the west coast.  The slow mornings, the fact that everyone knows each other, the east coast prep style (from Lily Pulitzer to Sperry’s to folks dressed in all white and playing croquette), and the distinct difference between the seasons.  It’s just plain ‘ol different and for now that’s all I have to describe it.

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All in all it was a lovely escape from the city and I was oh-so-happy to spend time with my family.

Have you ever been to Rhode Island?

Big City in the Summer

NYC ’14 SUMMERTIME BUCKET LIST

We may be midway into summer but better late than never, right?

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Participate in Summer Restaurant Week (Jul 21- Aug 15) More Details Here

Smorgasburg, Williamsburg

Play musical chairs in Bryant Park

Run in a NYRR race

Eat brunch at the Boathouse (#1 + #2)

Walk along the High Line

Music in Central Park ~ NY Philharmonic

Visit Rhode Island

44 Frozen Treats to Try in NYC (Buzzfeed)

Kayak in the Hudson…for FREE

Attend a baseball game (Mets and/or Yankees)

Coney Island (Brooklyn Half)

Take a trip to the beach (Memorial Day + July 4th)

People’s Pops, Manhattan

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“Summertime is always the best of what might be.” 
― Charles Bowden

Ice Cream Loving

Long days and warm nights seem to breed the perfect environment for a scoop of ice cream.  July happens to be the national ice cream month, but I certainly believe the frozen treat can be enjoyed year round.  There’s even an ice cream festival happening this weekend (July 19 + 20) out in Brooklyn.  More information here from Sister Sister NYC.

You’ve got your Ben & Jerry’s and Haagen-Dazs, but how about some new fun favorites?  One bite and you will be hooked! (Maybe you’ll have suck a hankering for it that you’ll breeze past the $6+ price point ;) Or at least save it for a special occasion)

IMG_5340Happy cows produce solid ice cream, right?  These days there are so many types of ice cream and custards to fit all sorts of palates and dairy or dairy-less needs

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Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams
~ Scoop Shops (NYC) ~ Where to Buy ~ Give as a gift ~

Gourmet midwest flavors right in your freezer.  Luckily (or dangerously) I’m located above a Gracefully market that sells these gems.

~ Ice Cream ~
Brambleberry Crisp – Black Coffee – Cherries Kickapoo – Pistachio + Honey – Savannah Buttermint – The Buckeye State – Yazoo Sue w/ Rosemary Bar Nuts – Whiskey + Pecans – Wildberry Lavendar

~ Sorbets ~
Cantaloupe + Sun Tea – Hot Toddy – Riesling Poached Pear

~ Frozen Yogurt ~
Apricot – Grapefruit – Lemons + Blueberries – Cultured Key Lime – Lime Cardamom – Mango Lassi – Passionfruit – Pineapple Upside Down Cake – Rainbow – Red Raspberry

When I was at the Fancy Food Convention, I was able to sample a summer classics – brambleberry crisp.  Oh man, it was so refreshing and delicious with complete chunks of chew crisp in every bite.

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Magnolia Ice Cream
Tropical Flavors from the South Pacific

Maybe you are looking for that snack to help you escape the 9-5 grind or maybe in the mood for a mental tropical getaway?  This was yet another ice cream company I discovered at the Summer Fancy Food Convention.  With their pints of purple yam and guava, there’s no end of possibilities.

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Magnolia was created back in 1969 as one of the original tropical and Filipino products for American audiences.  Manufactured out in Northern California since 1972 and packed with real California milk (happy cows come from California…duh) and the best fruit around.

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NYC Ice Cream Classics

Sundaes + Cones (95 E 10th St., Manhattan)
OddFellows Ice Cream Company (175 Kent Avenue, Brooklyn)
Chloe’s Fruit Soft-Serve (25 E 17th St – Union Square)
Pop-Bar (5 Carmine St. @ 6th Ave.)
Ample Hills Creamery (Brooklyn)
Il Laboratorio del Gelateria (188 Ludlow St., Manhattan)
Big Gay Ice Cream (East Village + West Village + Los Angeles!)

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Parm (248 Mulberry Street @ Prince Street)
People’s Pops
Emack & Bolio’s (73 West Houston St – 1564 1st Ave – 389 Amsterdam Ave)
Williamsburg Creamery
Momofuku Milk Bar (East Village + Midtown + UES + Williamsburg)
Culture (331 Fifth Ave., Brooklyn and 60 W 8th St., Manhattan)
5 Oz. Factory (Wisconsin Custard) – (24 W 8th St)
Mister Softee (all around town)

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What I’ve Been Eating This Summer

Goodness gracious.  It’s been ages since I shared some good ‘ol WIAW eats and I thought it would be fun to share some worthy summertime goodies of late.  Bon appetit!

BREAKFAST

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Most days I have been creating my own sort of parfait with frozen blueberries + frozen peaches + oat bran/granola + fage yogurt

IMG_5229Stuffed French Toast

IMG_5337Ess-A-Bagel
~ whole-wheat everything w/ blueberry schmear + iced coffee ~

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iced coffee for the win

LUNCH

Most of my lunches are quite forgettable.  No really, either “eh” or just pictureless.  Salads from our cafeteria, trips to Dig Inn, sometimes a splurge at Whole Foods, or just leftover snacks from my fridge.

DINNER

Balance between the usual salmon + grilled veggies and oodles of kale + omelet at home and cooking up a storm with friends

IMG_5319summer produce cooking w/ some new friends

~ watermelon + feta + argula salad ~
~ spinach + blue cheese + pecans + dried cranberries salad ~
~ grape tomatoes + sautéed peaches + corn + squash ~
~ string beans + caramelized onions ~

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Nectarine Pizza w/ Basil and Mozzarella
Recipe inspired from here

Ingredients
1 bag Trader Joe’s pizza dough
1 large nectarine
buffalo mozzarella
handful fresh basil leaves
extra virgin olive oil
balsamic vinegar (we used reduced-fig flavor for extra fruity punch)

Directions
Preheat oven to 425F
Let dough sit at room temp ~ 20 minutes
Roll out and set on an oiled baking sheet (flip once so both sides are rubbed with EVOO)
Slice mozzarella and layer on top of dough
Alternate nectarines + basil
Pop in the oven for about 15 minutes or until the bottom of the crust starts to brown and the cheese has melted.
Dig in

 DESSERT

IMG_5318it’s cherry season folks…good ‘ol fashion pitting party

IMG_5298the finished product = gluten-free cherry cobbler

IMG_5188blueberry pie + ice cream

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What have you been enjoying during these summer months?

Camelbak to the Rescue & A Giveaway

Water, water, water.  It’s one of the most precious resources we have and it’s oh too often taken for granted.  Sure, I’m guilty of taking one too many (long) showers and I guzzle it all day long without thinking of where it’s coming from or feeling grateful for the accessibility.

It’s the summer days where I find myself drinking the most water.  Time spent running in the heat and humidity and afternoons hiking along Mammoth Mountain’s best trails.   I guess you could say that water is my beverage of choice – filtered, fresh, sparkling, or flavored.  After all, it keeps the body hydrated, the skin clear, and the metabolism revving.

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As a runner, I learned to consume my fair share of water so that I could stay hydrated.  There were times during my prime where I was guzzling almost 6 bottles before lunch.  That was not the smartest of plans, but then I was trying to do everything in my power to follow the rules and drinking water was one of them.

But where does your water come from?  Yes, the original source is important but let’s bring it down to more of a personal level.  Do you drink tap water right out of the faucet?  Do you splurge on bottled water? (cough cough TFred) ;)  To be honest I’ve never been picky about where it comes from and usually end up filling right up from the tap.

IMG_0873Sure, this is plastic but it was pre-nalgene ownership

Back in high school I started carrying around a large purple Nalgene with me.  Later on I discovered the Camelbak water bottle with a built-in straw and thought it was one of the greatest inventions.  Now I alternate between 2 or three different bottles and still love my Camelbak.  It’s handy when at the office or walking around town and gives me some piece of mind that I’m helping to reduce the trash tossed into the landfill.  Not to mention that one of my favorite places is the beach and the ocean and it just about kills me that we dump so much of our waste into such a precious resource.

Now that I live in the grand old city of New York, I’m surrounded by apparently the best water around.  The local folks claim it’s what makes the bagels and pizza dough that much more desired.  When I was at the Blend Retreat I picked up a Camelbak Relay.  While the NYC water is pretty tasty, I like having a filter in the fridge to clean it up just a bit more.

This jug has a 10-cup capacity and really is perfectly sized for any fridge, even the itty-bitty one I had back in college.  Sure the filter seemed a bit large at first, but you can taste the difference.  Not only that, but it filters quite quickly in comparison to my old Brita.  When I’m feeling extra fancy or motivated to drink more water, I like to throw some lemon slices in the mix. Not filtered of course, just in the base :)

Do you filter your water? Tell me your favorite way to drink water (hot, cold, with lemon, etc) :)

Comment below and one lucky winner will receive their own CamelBak Relay (water filtration pitcher).  Submissions must come from users within the US and must provide a non PO Box address if selected.  Giveaway ends this Friday at 12pm EST.