Hello Lady Liberty!

When I first decided to move to New York, I put together a list of places that I wanted to visit and explore or eat at.  We shall call this my New York Bucket List.  Some of the things I have accomplished and blogged about and others remain outstanding.  Of course, I’m starting to realize that not everything that I have written there (or in my head or iphone notes) is a “must do” or maybe isn’t something that I need or want to do.  Like the clubbing or hot spot bars in the city? Yeah, it’s likely I won’t be hitting all of those up.  Not my jam and you know what?  That’s a-okay.

Something I have wanted to do is see the Statue of Liberty and climb my way to the crown viewing point.  When my family visited about 10 years ago, we were able to visit the Statue + Ellis Island, but because this was post-9/11, the crown was closed to visitors.  I had thrown around the idea of visiting again with a few friends but of course no one wanted to commit to a certain day.  So, in the end I decided to take a solo jaunt and booked my ticket back in July.  Yes, back in July because only so many people are allowed up to the crown each day and spots sell out rapidly!  Not as quickly as Jimmy Fallon tickets, but that’s a story for another day.

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I highly recommend planning your trip months in advance as tickets sell out super quickly.  Of course, if you aren’t looking to climb all the stairs and would rather just visit the island and stop by Ellis Island, you could probably do this day-of.

Back in July I thought that a 9am trip would be a good idea.  Sunday morning I did not think so.  But, I got my butt out of bed and trekked down to Battery Park to see Miss Lady Liberty.  As you can see in the ticket above, it really is only $21 to see this monument and soak in all that history!  Audio tours are included on both the trip to the statue as well as Ellis Island.  I’m not kidding when I say you could make an ENTIRE day of this.

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The time on your reservation is not the time you should arrive, nor the time you actually depart.  I ended up picking my tickets up around 8:40 for a “9am” ticket.  We did board the boat around then, but didn’t depart until 9:30.  Like most things in life, you should just go with the flow on this one.

If you JUST want a view of Miss Liberty, I recommend taking the local trick or tourist hack and jump on the Staten Island Ferry.  For a total cost of $0 (yes…FREE) you can ride the 25ish minute ferry to Staten Island, gazing lovingly at the symbol of liberty and freedom (according to history) and then take the 25ish minute ferry back.  This is also located in Battery Park but does not come with an audio tour nor a trip to educate yourself on Ellis Island.

IMG_2943 Sure, let’s take a selfie, shall we?

IMG_8144 IMG_8152^^ Yes, those would be part of the 377 steps going from the lobby to the crown viewing platform.  The engineering is brilliant as the double spiral staircase allows for one ascending direction and one descending direction – allowing for ease and flow of traffic.  One thing to point out (maybe captain obvious) but if you are at all claustrophobic, I don’t know if you want to put this on your bucket list.  With 18 inch wide steps and clearance of just about 6 feet…just throwing that out there.

IMG_8155 My view from the crown – the only really good view to give perspective of how high up the viewing platform is.

IMG_8157 IMG_8162 ^^ Can’t really believe I was all the way up there!  Waaaaaaaay back in the day, the torch actually was open to visitors but as you can imagine it was closed because of structural damage in the early 1900’s.

IMG_8169^^ Because this is New York and we like to commercialize everything.  My sister and dad (both of whom are essentially my accountants) would be proud – I spent no money on souvenirs or over-priced/low-quality food – just $2 for a locker to hold my purse while I climbed the stairs to the crown (security logistics, can’t beat around that bush)

IMG_8132Next up was Ellis Island.  The Statue Cruise NYC ticket actually includes a trip to the statue and Ellis Island + museum, so you might as well make a day trip out of it.  Since I had already taken this trip before, I didn’t end up reading through each and every museum sign.  It also happened to be the first day of freezing weather (like in the 30’s when I first arrived at Battery Park) and I was ready for my warm and cozy apartment. **Please don’t get me wrong, there is a LOT of history to absorb and understand on this island and should not be discounted.  I was lucky enough to have had the great opportunity to experience this before.

IMG_2960 IMG_8178 IMG_8184^^ Take a look at the main hall and how immigrants waited in lines for hours at a time. Then take a look below to see how it looks today.  Neat comparison, right?   Many immigrants arrived at Ellis Island, looking to start a new life right away but often had to wait through long lines, health check-ups and more.  This would last from weeks to even years!

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The entire experience on Ellis Island is truly amazing, showcasing the ins and outs of how immigrants were or often were not welcomed into New York.  If you have the time to visit and walk around the museum, I highly recommend doing so.  You can even spend some time (and possibly $) tracking your lineage to see if you had any ancestors who traveled through Ellis Island.

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Statue of Liberty + Ellis Island
~ Crown Tickets ~ Information ~ Nearby Attractions ~

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“All journeys begin by leaving one place to venture to another” – Ellis Island

Live from New York, it’s Saturday Night!

Since 1975, this line has been spoken, shouted, and sang every Saturday night at exactly 11:30pm across the country.  Sure, I may not have the ability to stay up this late to watch the show each week, but the network and the show has a soft spot in my heart.  I am a HUGE fan of NBC – always have been – and continue to watch the Today Show and pretty much anything else that airs on the network.  There actually was a time where I dreamed about growing up and working on the Today Show, but I seemed to have missed that road.  Who knows, maybe I’ll end up working for NBC in some capacity during my life but for now, I will live it up by walking through Rockefeller Center and just knowing that I live so close to the genius folks that work there.

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Let’s get some basic facts straight – Saturday Night Live first aired on October 11, 1975 and has run to this day as a late-night live TV sketch show that pokes fun at current culture and politics.  It has been the stage for comedians and brings in all sorts of guests and hosts – from athletes to actors and actresses, politicians, and other musicians.

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Did you know that SNL has run over 780 episodes and after its 40th season concluded in May of 2015, it stands as one of the longest-running network TV programs in the US!* Not only that but it has won 36 Primetime Emmy Awards (156 nominations!!), 2 Peabody Awards, and 3 Writers Guild of America Awards.

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Last week I took a trip down 5th Avenue to the relatively new SNL museum.  I don’t think it’s a permanent feature, so I highly recommend checking it out in the near future!  My other life goal (or goal while living in NYC) is to see Saturday Night Live.  I may have to learn to stay up and watch every single episode so it has more of a sentimental factor if when I actually see it live, but baby steps, right?

Plus, humor is quite possibly the best thing to happen to human kind and it even is beneficial for your health.  Did you know you burn calories while laughing? Ha ha ha.  Ok, moving on.

IMG_7726 The museum takes you through the start of SNL and the week-long process that accumulates with the show live on Saturday night (hence the title…but I hope you already knew that).  I knew that the show was built from scratch on a weekly basis but had NO clue how much effort went into it all.

IMG_7730 There were mini videos with some of the hosts, writers, and even top moments or skits on SNL.  Thank goodness the museum wasn’t too full for a Friday afternoon, because I was cracking up at each video.  No shame at all.

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They also had tons of the props and sets at the museum, some paired with the actual video clips that the props were featured in!

IMG_7732 IMG_7734 ^^ Yes.  Best pair of comedian/actor duo. Enough said.

IMG_7735 ^^ All the amazing costumes that have changed SNL history over the years.  Who knew so much thought went into the production on a week to week basis!  These folks are killer!

IMG_7740 Towards the end of the tour, you got a glimpse at the behind the scenes look of Studio 8H, how people behind the scenes make sure the filming goes (relatively) smoothly, and one last word from Tina Fey.

IMG_7745 IMG_7747 ^^ Because a little bit of Bruno Mars and “Uptown Funk” is what you need for a Friday afternoon (or any point of the day)

IMG_7748 ^^ Comedian after comedian after comedian.  So many of the greats have made their debut or start in the industry here in New York City.

IMG_7749 IMG_7750 ^^ A look at the Weekend Update Desk (sans photo at the desk, as that would have cost $20). Yeah….no.  I’m still obsessed with the one clip with Seth Myers about Kelloggs dropping Phelps because of his drug use and said photo.

And of course a museum visit isn’t complete without a trip to the gift shop!

IMG_7751 IMG_7752 IMG_7755 ^^ Ah the Californians.  We aren’t all like the characters but we do love to chat about oru commutes.  That being said, I know I’ll be happy to be back in California someday, but those commute – oof – not pleasant.

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SNL The Exhibition
417 5th Ave, New York, NY 10016

” ‘SNL’ is this part of American culture with a certain timelessness to it.” – Thomas Bangalter

January Life of Late

To say that this year has been uninspiring thus far would be a terrible mistake.  Despite having to spend a majority of my day staring at a computer (hello Excel and Outlook! My bestest of friends), I have already traveled to new places (mostly within New York City), met new friends, visited new restaurants, and just lived in the moment.  Oh, not to mention, applied and received a promotion at work, so that’s pretty nifty.  I’d say that’s an excellent start to 2015, don’t you?

What have I not done?  Well, a sugar cleanse & dry-January (um, seeing as I rarely drink, it wasn’t such a big deal and netted out to drinking 2 days out of the month), worry (too much) about the future, or save the world.  Not too shabby and can all roll over into February.  Yes, even saving the world.  But, there’s more to this city than that.  Grab a cup of tea and stay awhile.  Here’s some of the fun that living in such a unique place like NYC can offer.

IMG_8152Times Square
Now that all the holidays are over, the city is a little bit better to navigate.  Sure, I try to avoid the main tourist traps, but walking through this central hub of lights makes me think I live in a dream.

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Museum of the City of New York
1220 5th Avenue, New York, NY 10029
(Btwn 103/104 on the right side of Central Park)
~ More ~ Visit ~ Exhibits ~

I first read about this museum and the following exhibit in particular in the New York Times news paper.  As a matter of fact, I may have received the article from a grandparent, but I don’t entirely recall.  Anyways, this gem of a museum is hidden on the Upper East Side and not talked about as often as I think it should be.  Sure, it’s not your MET or MOMA, but it has so much history that it’s another fabulous stop on a rainy or snowy day.

The main reason I wanted to go was to see the “Mac Conner: A New York Life” exhibit, which highlighted the works of one of the first “Mad Men.”   Mr. McCauley (“Mac”) Conner (born 1913) was quite influential in the city’s growing publishing industry.   The exhibit will take you on a journey through his Navy publication days and into his hand-painted illustrations for advertising campaigns and women’s magazines (Redbook and McCall’s) created post World War II.

~ Huffington Post Review “Meet One Of The Real ‘Mad Men,’ 1950s Ad Artist Mac Conner” ~

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NOVEMBER PROJECT

IMG_8155Wake up the Sun @ Upper West Side ~ 116th and Morningside Drive

Sure, when my alarm goes off, I don’t always want to get up.  But, when I know that there will be smiling and friendly faces at NP, I know it’s worth it.  I know that starting my day by working out is the best thing that I can do for myself.  A happy (yet slightly tired and wired on coffee and tea) Kaitlin will be much better for the world, just trust me on this.

Some of our other favorite phrases and hashtags are: #weatherproof (we will work out in any weather – rain, snow, sunshine…the latter preferable but rare in these NYC winters), #justshowup #verbal (letting others know that you will be at the workout. it’s called ACCOUNTABILITY!) #positivity #grassrootsgear #wakeupthesun

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IMG_8074For those of you who are still intrigued (or confused…it’s totally ok to be confused) about November Project, I HIGHLY recommend checking this site out and watching this video.

Still trying to figure out why people want to wake up at the crack of dawn and go running around their respective cities?  Read Gabbi’s (Run Now Wine Later) recap of her year at NP-SF and you will know.  It’s just that amazing of an environment and I’m pretty positive that this is how we all feel about our tribes. 

IMG_8080Really though.  How could you not love this view?  Living on the east coast has made me appreciate the value of a sunrise.

IMG_8095ACAI BOWLS + GREEN SMOOTHIES GALORE
Thank goodness for Juice Generation, Liquiteria, and so many other pop-up shops.  Sure, the $8-10 price-range isn’t ideal but a bowl full of nut butter, fruit, and greens sounds like heaven to me.  At least I feel slightly healthy inhaling all those natural sugars and protein.

Also thanks to my planner who gave me a Juice Generation gift card for Christmas, it hasn’t been too terrible for my bank statement.

IMG_8088My terrible habit of having at least three beverages going at a time.  My family (and now roommates) have to deal with me constantly rotating cups and leaving them around the apartment. I may have three-four partially consumed drinks going at a time.  Sometimes I extend them out over a few days (of course putting them in the fridge and such), but they will be consumed. Eventually.

IMG_8085Just some friends playing Jenga and competing to make the tallest tower.  Ah New York.  You really do have it all.  (Sidenote: we were having such a good time that people around us were highly jealous of our Jenga skills)

IMG_8147Summer Roll  (Tuna,Avocado,Crab,Lettuce,Asparagus,Cucumber and Kaiware Sprouts Shrimp Tempura) … quite the mouthful.  Really.

Lunch at Sushi Zen
108 West 44th Street, New York, NY 10036

While some of the perks of my job include taking clients out to lunch and getting our nails done (free mani/pedi? Worth the long hours in excel), this was from lunch with my AWNY (Advertising Women of New York) mentor.  It’s what my dad told me (a younger Kaitlin grudgingly agreed at the time and is now thankful) that it’s all about – networking, networking, networking.

IMG_6557Wouldn’t you know that just across the water and 7 Train, there is this place called Long Island City with some delicious restaurants and recently renovated parks?  Thanks to my previous manager for this tip!

IMG_6527Just a couple of friends playing tourist for the day.  (Notice how Rock Center is not NEARLY as packed as say two months ago during the holidays?)

IMG_8130Because views like this make my day, week, month, and year.

“Be a first rate version of yourself, not a second rate version of someone else.”
– Judy Garland

Weekending the NY Holiday Way

Welcome back to a lovely Monday morning.  Looks like this was my last full weekend in the city for 2014.  Hard to believe but by the time I fly back after the holidays, it’ll practically be the new year.   I actually lucked out this past weekend because I had a four days off thanks to my works awesome paid vacation schedule.  I had two more days to use or lose so Merry Christmas to me.  Sure, I could have jet-setted on a trip up or down the coast, but sometimes sitting back and soaking up your own city can be just as nice.

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On Friday, I woke up early to attend the special selection November Project location – Borough Hall – out in Brooklyn.  After a quick workout, breakfast with some NP folks, I decided to jog my way back into Manhattan.  Now, how’s this for a picturesque view?  There’s only one other time that I saw the bridge this empty and boy was it a treat to just glide over rather than elbowing my way through tourists.

IMG_7530I thought it would be nice to walk through the city and see all the festive decorations and lights.  Walking through Macy’s, Bryant Park, and 5th Avenue, may have made me regret this decision.  But, in the spirit of the holiday, it was fun to see all the shiny and sparkly decorations.

IMG_7543^^ How’s this for some patriotic cheer?  You go Bryant Park!

IMG_7546 Do not be fooled by this picture.  I swear everyone and their mother (no really, lots of families out there) was trying to get the most artsy angle. I also think that every tourist in the city had made their way to Rock Center because it was a gridlock from every direction.  In the 13-14 months that I have lived here, I don’t think I have ever seen that many people in one spot.  Ever.

IMG_7549 Lindsay’s family was in town this weekend and were kind enough to let me tag along to a few dinners and Sunday brunch. They are quite the foodies and love Mario Batali, so snagging a reservation at Babbo was practically a dream come true.  (Lindsay actually went in person to make the reservation a month ago!)

Babbo
110 Waverly Place
New York, NY 10011
212.777.0303

The meal itself was honestly divine.  I normally enjoy narrating through pictures, but sadly the lighting didn’t allow for a full meal recap.  So, we’ll go old-school with a little written narration with some help from the Babbo menu.

We each started out with a special cocktail (spiced rum for myself) and a hearty slice of sourdough bread.   For the main meal, I ordered the beef carpaccio with white truffle sauce and arugula.  Apparently this is more of an appetizer, so a side of brussels sprouts and pancetta helped fill me up.  All of the portions are relatively small (at least on the American standards), so while we were quite full, we were able to manage a tiny bit of dessert.

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^^ What a festive looking sight.  Only a few hours earlier, this park was filled with hundreds of people protesting.  Fascinating how the city can change in a blink of an eye (or maybe just a couple of hours and 10 degrees)

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On Sunday, I decided to wake up and go swimming at my local gym before meeting Lindsay and crew at the Boathouse for brunch.  This lovely shot above is how I like the streets to look.  None of that jam-packed tourist action.  Dream on Kaitlin, dream on.

IMG_7558 Doesn’t it just look darling?  We arrived around 9am on the dot for the 9:30 opening.  While there were quite a few dog owners sipping their coffee out front, there weren’t too many waiting in line for the dining room.  We practically waltzed right in when the doors opened and were seated right in front of the water.

IMG_7561 ^^ One can never go wrong with the eggs florentine.  I even asked for a side of jam (typical of me and my love for condiments) and was presented with a trio of sweet options.  Lesson – all you have to do is ask. 🙂

IMG_7564 From there, we walked north to visit the Guggenheim and the current Zero exhibit.  No real explanation here as I’m not quite sure how to interpret modern art.  While I don’t really enjoy abstract art fan (no offense or digs to those who are – it’s just not my cup of tea), I did thoroughly enjoy the architecture.  Actually, I happen to be reading a book about Frank Lloyd Wright (and his affairs  but besides the point), so it’s also a bit thematic, don’t you agree?

Back to the apartment for some rest and relaxation, food prep for the week, and packing for home; all while watching “White Christmas”. Hope everyone has a fabulous Monday and rest of the week.  Power on!

When One Lives in New York City

When one lives in New York City, there are endless opportunities.  This includes jobs, places to eat, things to see, places to go, etc.  Sure, we don’t have too much in terms of the “great outdoors”, but if you are creative and willing to try something new, I’m sure you will find something.

It has been so much fun having one of my friends live from home join me out in the Big Apple.  Lindsay and I have made some excellent memories by wandering the parks, shopping along 5th Ave, and testing out some of the top museums.

IMG_7008Always a classic.  Lucky for us, my work offers a corporate discount into the museum, so we can pretty much pop in and out whenever we please.  Although, I keep thinking that Ben Stiller or Robin Williams will show up at some point as if I’m in the “Night of the Museum” series.

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I really should snap a picture every season of this walkway in Central Park.  It’s yet another picturesque place to be when the leaves start to fall and people walk around all bundled up.

IMG_7018 Christmas has arrived at Macy’s!

IMG_7046Veteran’s Day cupcakes by one of the people at my work.  You can find her on Instagram @cupcakesbyjana and see all her mouth-watering and absolutely adorable creations.  I love that she has such a passion for these treats and it’s a fabulous hobby to have!

~ Blog ~ Instagram ~ Pinterest ~

IMG_7068 Nothing like celebrating a Thursday night with a little bit of bubbily (or a lot…).  This was a Champagne tasting class that my roommates and I decided to attend at Chelsea Market.  Champagne happens to be one of my favorite alcoholic beverages and who knew that there were so many different varieties?  From the brut to the rose, and even a Chardonnay 🙂

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Lindsay, Gaia, and I went to see “Intersteallar” in theaters last week and I have to say, it was amazing.  I can’t even remember the last time I went to an actual movie in the theater, but the expereince was long overdue.  Too often (such as now), I find myself popping in a movie in the background (“You’ve Got Mail” as I type this up) but end up distracted as I blog, clean, craft, or chat with my roommates.

I never was able to see Gravity, so I can’t really compare the two, but this was much better than any other world-ending, civilization at risk types of films.

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Yes, I understand that this (and sometimes all of November Project) is a bit intense, but it is awesome.   My mom told me that I looked like I was a part of “Orange is the New Black”.  Thanks but no.  She redeemed herself when she told me that she had watched a few of the NP videos and told me that she understood why I loved it so much – it’s so “me”.  I guess this statement only makes sense to those of you who know me in person, but the ability to put all your emotions and energy out there, to work out with people who enjoy it just as much (if not more) as you – it’s a dream come true.

 “Excellence is not an act but a habit. The things you do the most are the things you will do the best.” – Marva Collins

NYC Summer Discoveries Part 2

After drafting and posting part 1 of my marvelous NYC Summer Adventures, I realized there was no turning back and a part 2 was absolutely necessary.  Goodness knows there is enough in the city to fill my time and the space on my camera.

Brunch  @ Freeman’s 

In New York, we like to brunch.  It’s not as much of a meal as it is an activity or an art form. When you ask people what their plans for the weekend are, they generally will be brunching on Saturday or Sunday or maybe even both days.  Having been here for almost a year, one would think I would know where to go around the city.  Well, it is true that I’ve walked pretty much every street in Manhattan, yet I don’t always go out to eat.  That being said, I’ve drafted a list of restaurants to hit up, hopefully over the span of my stay in NYC.

Freeman’s was a recommendation from my manager and oh such a goodie.  It’s hidden between Bowery and Chrystie and opens around 10.  I highly recommend getting there on the early side because once the clock strikes 11, be prepared to wait for your seat.

The interior is quite quaint, or rather on the hipster side of decorating.  As always, I wavered between savory and sweet for my breakfast (brunch) entree and ended up with the skillet eggs (eggs, bacon, spinach, and Gruyere).  Oh how absolutely delicious it was!  No regrets indeed.

Freemans BrunchFreemans
191 Chrystie St, New York, NY 10002
(Off Rivington btwn Bowery & Chrystie)
www.freemansrestaurant.com/

If you have brunched properly, you will be absolutely stuffed and in dire need of a walk.  Take a stroll heading north and soon you will find yourself immersed in Washington Square Park.  From those soaking up the sun to dueling jazz bands, it’s quite a sight.

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Washington Square Park
(~Avenue of the Americas/4th & NYU’s main campus)

One of the 1,900 public parks in the city and located in Greenwich village.  It’s most known for the Washington Arch (1892), where people come to gather and celebrate nonconformity.

IMG_5722If it’s a rather warm day, you might be able to sit and rest as you soak your feet in the fountain.  No swimming allowed, although I did spot a few kids trying to break or twist the rules on that one. Not sure I would want to know what was in the water but that’s just me…

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Now I know this isn’t the most strategic of itineraries since I’ll have you take the subway up to the Upper East Side, so these are just ideas of places to visit 🙂 Also, if you happen to live in the city and have an unlimited pass, that shouldn’t be a problem.

Off to the Guggenheim Museum for a bit of art and cultural education.  If for nothing else, check out the amazing architecture designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

The Guggenheim Museum 
1071 5th Ave (5th Ave btwn 88th and 89th)
Hours: 10am-5:45 (Sat until 7:45) & Thursday closed

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The Guggenheim ~ Home to some of the finest art around (next to the Met of course).  From Impressionist to Post-Impressionist, early Modern to contemporary art, the Guggenheim seems to have it all.

Of course, as I mentioned above, if you only see the exterior and interior of the building, you’ve been enlightened by the work of Frank Lloyd Wright’s talent.

IMG_5691So on to more food.  Pick a restaurant, any restaurant.  Maybe even arrive during one of the two Restaurant Weeks.  There you can indulge in a three course meal at some of the best spots in town without breaking the bank!

What marvelous things have you been up to?