A Summer Weekend ~ NYC Does Country

What is your favorite thing to do on a summer weekend?  Boy the options are endless, aren’t they?  I would love to wake up and run, go to the farmer’s market and pick up some items for dinner, and then go to the beach or even a hike.  Somehow I’ve let those activities go to the wayside (well besides the running 🙂 ) and instead invested some time in more unique city opportunities.

How about road races (no, not that it’s new to this blog) and a country music festival?  Yes, the weekend started off with a November Project workout – Sunrise 6k race – compete with bibs (looking pretty spiffy right? they were actually handed to us as we finished), cold brew coffee (thanks Chameleon!) and deadly and delectable doughnuts (thanks to Strava)

IMG_0722 ^^ I normally look for the regular flavor of cold brew (rather than vanilla or mocha) but this wasn’t half bad!

Friday afternoon was the first day of Farmborough, NYC’s first country music festival.  Sure, if you know NYC, you may be thinking why in the world would they have a country festival?  Well, it seems that there is a demand for it.  Sure, there weren’t nearly as many people there as at Stagecoach (CA) or even the Governor’s Ball, which is held at the same location, but they did have a decent showing, even with the rain.  Yes, rain.  I”ll get to that in a minute.

The festival was located on the upper upper east side of Manhattan on Randall’s Island.  Our best bet was to take the 4 train up to 125th street (practically a different world up there) and walk the 30 or so minutes across the bridge.  I wouldn’t advise walking alone up there but would recommend checking it out.   The festival lasted three days and “doors” opened around 2pm.  They had one main stage as well as a side stage with some up-and-coming folks.  I managed to get out a bit early on Friday but still didn’t make it to the venue until 3:30/4.

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^^ Boots and denim and I’m ready to go!  Note to self, don’t expect a cheap pair of DSW boots to last forever.  The heels somehow imploded and I was left with a soggy and destroyed pair of faux leather boots.  At least my outfits looked good! 😉

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^^ We were trying not to spend too much money over the course of the weekend, mostly because we had fished out a handful for the tickets and items were pricey, but with this mac & cheese being offered, I could not resist.  Some of the other popular foodie favorites included:

  • Savory and Filling Category:
    • Stuffed risotto balls
    • Key West Noodles
    • Southernmost Falafel (falafel, gyro, hummus…the whole gang)
    • Corndogs + Pizza + Burgers (duh)
    • Beecher’s Handmade Cheese (flagship, just jack, penne & chipotle…swoon)
  • All Aboard the Sweets Train:
    • Fried Oreos
    • MELT + Coolhaus Ice Cream Sandwiches
    • Risotto Ball w/ nutella
    • Rita’s Italian Ices (mango, raspberry, lemon, green apple, or cherry)
    • Funnel Cakes (allllllmost got this but refrained)

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^^ Friday night highlight was DIERKS BENTLEY!! I had seen him in concert last summer with my sister (Hollywood Bowl made for an awesome venue) and was stoked to see him again.  Arguably one of my favorite country artists.

**On Friday 6/26, the Supreme Court declared same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states. This weekend also happened to be Pride Weekend in both San Francisco and New York City.  November Project helped to cheer on runners at the Pride Run 5m on Saturday morning.  (yes, the signs are a bit explicit. watch the video here and a recent blog post here to learn more about the November Project movement before making any assumptions)

IMG_0787 ^^ I was on the cheer squad rather than #raceeverything squad.  my legs are screaming for a much needed rest.  I don’t know how some of my friends pull off marathon after marathon or epic 50milers (or even 100 milers…gasp)

IMG_0795^^ the festival view for Saturday.  yes, that time above where I mentioned rain. it started raining around 3 and did.not.stop.  it pretty much POURED on us.  stark contrast to stagecoach’s 100+ temps, right?

IMG_0800 ^^ those who love country music, stick together (also the fact that we are all roommates and sort of have to stick together. just kidding, love them lots)

I went into Saturday night, not really expecting to enjoy myself, mostly because it was so darn miserable outside.  But with an attitude adjustment, the realization that you really do only experience these things once, and some good company, it ended up being a blast.  We stuck around in the smaller side stage (the lesser known or blossoming artists) until Brad Paisley came on around 9:20pm.  I wouldn’t say he was my favorite but give him mega props for coming out and singing in the rain.

We dashed out a bit early and practically jogged our way home in the rain (absolutely drenched) and passed out a little after midnight.

Sunday’s set list might have been one of my favorite, mostly because it ended with Luke Bryan (oh the poor people who hashtagged #lukebrian on Instagram…not true fans).  I actually started the day with a kick boxing class, a first for me and one that left me sore to this day.  The benefit to having a festival in the city is that we can sleep in our very own beds and don’t have to worry too much about food or time outside of the concert.  We could just get ready at our leisure and I even brought my own dinner of stuffed bell peppers two of the three nights.  Yes, I was that person.

IMG_0875^^ Yes, that is my kind of night indeed! Or at least one of my favorite kinds of nights 🙂 Good times, good people, and good music.

 We pretty much arrived around 4:30, didn’t leave until 10:30, and stood the entire time.  Needless to say my legs really could use a break!  But the entire weekend was a blast, despite the rain (thank you east coast) and another item checked off the bucket list.

Do you like country music? (I know it’s a hit or miss)  How about festivals or concerts?

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Living Up Mardis Gras

Mardis Gras, Fat Tuesday, Shrove Tuesday or Carnival Season – whatever you may call it, it’s here and time to celebrate.  The Fat Tuesday reference refers to tradition of eating the richest and fattiest foods before the Lenten fast begins on Ash Wednesday.

Most of the celebrations occur in French regions of the country and world.  Our country’s Mardis Gras center is New Orleans and my is it a party.   Each year there are hundreds of people who arrive in full costume to fill the streets, drink and celebrate to their heart’s content, watch the annual parade, and just have a great time.

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I haven’t been able to make the trip down south to New Orleans to celebrate the parade and insane festivities that occur during this time.  However, I did have a chance, almost two years this month, to travel with a group of Santa Clara undergraduates and alumni to New Orleans to help build houses.

P3290635Here I am on Bourbon Street, rocking it to the best of my ability in the southern humidity.  Being from California, I was not accustomed or ready to tackle this weather.  It’s probably what I’m worried most about living on the east coast (cold weather almost being finished), but thankfully I’ve got some time.

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No adult beverages for us as we were on a school trip.  But, there’s always hope for a future trip down south for the famous daq-shacks. 😉

P3250468We did however make plenty of time and space for the unique cuisine.  From gumbo to beignets, we had it all. 
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Growing up Fat Tuesday was celebrated in my house with breakfast for dinner – more notably, pancakes for dinner.  Maybe I’ll make it around to making pancakes tonight post-gym but in all honesty to myself, I doubt that will happen.

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Do you celebrate Mardis Gras?  Ever made (or survived) the trek to NOLA for Mardis Gras?

New York’s Food Festivals

The two more popular food festivals that I have encountered include the fall favorite, Manhattan’s Madison Square Garden Eats, and the weekly Smorgasbord in Brooklyn.

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The monthlong event was put on by Madison Square Park and UrbanSpace and was open daily from 11am-9pm from September 27th until October 25th.  It was filled with fun restaurants and food vendors selling burgers, macaroons, gourmet beers and wines, and even fried pickles.  People would PACK their way into the small square, grab a few bites and mingle with their friends.

It happened to be located right across from my gym and down the street from my work.  What’s funny is that I would walk through it pretty much every day and would gaze at all the various options, but never actually got around to purchasing anything.  Additional information on vendors can be found here.IMG_4137

Another favorite is called Smorgasburg, a flea market of food, perfect for every culinary taste. It’s easily accessible via the L and although mostly popular during the summer, it has its fair share of participants during the fall months.  From hipster kombucha kits to every type of doughnut, gourmet mac & cheese to cider and beer, there’s lots to feast your minds on and fill your bellies.

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Everyone I knew at work couldn’t stop talking about this festival. Yet, every time I tried to go, I was sidetracked by other plans and getting lost.  Of course when I ultimately found it, Hope and I had just finished stuffing ourselves with waffles.  But, it was neat to take a turn about the park and check out some of the eats.  IMG_4099_Fotor_Collage

Something I have yet to do is sample some “Original New York Cheesecake”. Not that you have to twist my arm 🙂 IMG_4099_Fotor_Collage

How about a sweet treat?  I even saw one vendor putting the final touches on a freshly made s’more.  He was actually using a blowtorch to perfectly brown one customer’s marshmallow.  How neat is that?  Tip-top service if you ask me.

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It happened to be Apple Cider week, so there were lots of stands featuring the festive fall beverage.  How hipster can you get with kombucha and quinoa?

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I figure most of the pictures speak for themselves but for even MORE information, including what other amazing food festivals are happening and what local vendors will be present, check it out here.

IMG_0936Repeat picture I know, but this was actually taken at the food festival, so deal. 

Smorgasburg
East River State Park (90 Kent Ave at N. 7 St.)
Saturday 11am-6pm
All Food • 100 Vendors
Thru Nov. 23 • No Dogs

My Kind of Party

Honestly, the past couple days were beyond imaginable.  I had never attended a music festival and honestly never attended a legitimate country concert.  I was worried about all the logistics earlier last week, but it was all worth it! I have to thank my best friend Liz for that.  We work together perfectly.  As she put it, I come up with ideas, but don’t always have the confidence to carry them out.  She helps me social in a good way. Continue reading