Category Archives: Lifestyle

A New Yorker’s NYC Favorites: A Travel Guide of Sorts

A New Yorker’s NYC Favorites: A Travel Guide of SortsIf you follow me on Instagram, you know what today is (mostly because I won’t shut up about it!). I’m headed to Maine, y’all! We are packed into a station wagon and headed north with big plans to do as little as possible.

After living in NYC for almost twelve years, I love getting out of town, but I know plenty of you can’t wait to visit this incredible city. Today, I’ve made a list of my favorite places in NYC (mostly Manhattan and Brooklyn), just in case you ever wanted to know what I love about this place and what we’d do if you came to visit me.A New Yorker’s NYC Favorites: A Travel Guide of Sorts

Museums & Popular Attractions

A New Yorker’s NYC Favorites: A Travel Guide of SortsCooper Hewitt (Upper East Side)
Inside a beautiful old mansion on Fifth Avenue is this incredible museum dedicated to innovative design & sustainability. Nearly everything there is interactive in some way, and all of it can be “bookmarked” for further investigation by renting a special electronic pen at the front desk. I’d try to explain it, but I’m not that smart.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art (Upper East Side)
A NYC classic! Go for the permanent collection, or to see Camp before it closes. I’ve also been to the Met Breuer, which is located in the Whitney’s old space. Definitely worth a look.

The Frick Collection (Upper East Side)
Go for the art, go for the stunning mansion it’s housed in.

American Museum of Natural History (Upper West Side)
Another must-see! My beloved Hall of Gems & Minerals is closed, but there are dinosaur bones, a whale, a planetarium, and plenty more things to see.

The Brooklyn Museum (Crown Heights, Brooklyn)
This one is definitely worth the trip across the bridge! This is a beautiful building in a stunning Brooklyn setting, and has recently hosted exhibitions on David Bowie, Frida Kahlo, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Kehinde Wiley.A New Yorker’s NYC Favorites: A Travel Guide of Sorts

One World Observatory (Financial District)
I don’t usually recommend paying a bunch of money to take an elevator, but the 360 view and the knowledge of the staff are well worth the cost of admission.

Beaches & Waterside Communities

A New Yorker’s NYC Favorites: A Travel Guide of SortsA New Yorker’s NYC Favorites: A Travel Guide of SortsA New Yorker’s NYC Favorites: A Travel Guide of SortsRed Hook Waterfront (Brooklyn)
Red Hook is probably my favorite neighborhood in Brooklyn. This waterside community has cute shops, excellent restaurants (looking at you, Hometown Barbecue), and an incredible waterfront park. It also happens to be home to the best grocery store in Brooklyn, if not all of NYC. This neighborhood is not convenient to the subway; it’s accessible only by bus, car or ferry (or your own two feet), but it’s worth the minimal effort. I took my parents down there for a lobster roll and an ice cream cone a few weeks ago (more on those below), and I think they’d agree that it’s worth the trip.

Coney Island (Brooklyn)
This neighborhood is home to the famous Luna Park theme park, beach and boardwalk. My favorite thing to do down there is to catch a Brooklyn Cyclones baseball game.A New Yorker’s NYC Favorites: A Travel Guide of SortsA New Yorker’s NYC Favorites: A Travel Guide of Sorts

The Rockaways (Queens)
I’ll admit that I’m not much of a city beach person, but I finally made it out to The Rockaways earlier this summer to see what all the hype is about. I ate an arepa, walked the boardwalk, and got my toes in the surf—no complaints. I highly recommend taking public transit (subway or ferry) to get out there. Don’t drive—parking is a nightmare.

Restaurants

Sole Di Capri (TriBeCa)
This small Italian restaurant is one of my favorites in all of NYC. They have a regular menu, but their specials are plentiful and change constantly. I’ve never has anything that was less than spectacular. My only real recommendation is to get whatever salad has the house-made mozzarella on it. So, so good.

Hot Kitchen (East Village)
My friend, David, introduced me to this Sichuan restaurant and it’s seriously fantastic. Get the cumin lamb!A New Yorker’s NYC Favorites: A Travel Guide of SortsA New Yorker’s NYC Favorites: A Travel Guide of SortsKatz’s Delicatessen and Russ & Daughters (both East Village)
These institutions don’t need my endorsement, but I’m just here to confirm that getting a Katz’s 1/2 pastrami sandwich + matzo ball soup and following it up with a Russ & Daughters raspberry hamantaschen is always a good idea.

Momosan (Midtown)
This is Masaharu Morimoto’s ramen bar. I went with my best friend, Emily, a few weeks ago and we both loved it! Get the tsukemen and the Peking duck tacos.

The Plaza Food Hall (Central Park South)
This is a high-end food court located immediately below the Plaza Hotel. There are many options and all of them are fantastic. Plus, you get to say fancy things like “I’m going to lunch at the Plaza.”

Capizzi (Theatre District/Times Square)
This pizzeria is located just below Times Square near Port Authority. If I am going to the theatre with company, this is almost always my pick. The pizza is good, as is the service, and I’ve never had a problem getting a table.

5 Napkin Burger (Restaurant Row/Times Square + 2 more)
Another theatre district favorite! This is a great place to get a burger, fries, a sundae, or all three (!) before or after a show. Their onion rings are truly something to behold.

Bar Tabac (Boerum Hill, Brooklyn)
French food in an adorable setting in a neighborhood that I lived in for seven years. Their lone drawback is that they only take cash and AmEx.A New Yorker’s NYC Favorites: A Travel Guide of Sorts
Red Hook Lobster Pound (Red Hook, Brooklyn)
After you go check out the waterfront, stop for a lobster roll and a Maine Root root beer. The crispy brussels sprouts are great too.A New Yorker’s NYC Favorites: A Travel Guide of Sorts
Ample Hills Creamery (Multiple Locations)
A super cute & creative local ice cream chain.

Broadway ShowsA New Yorker’s NYC Favorites: A Travel Guide of SortsI’ve gone to a lot of Broadway shows this year and it has been a ball! You don’t need me to tell you to see Hamilton (but like, it lives up to the hype) or The Book of Mormon (also great—saw it twice), and you certainly didn’t ask for my theatre recs, but this is my blog and you’re getting them anyway.

Shows I *love* that are currently running: Hamilton, The Book of Mormon, Waitress, Dear Evan Hansen, To Kill a Mockingbird.

Shows I like that are currently running: Come From Away, Beetlejuice, Beautiful, The Lion King.

Shows on my list to see soon: Hadestown, Oklahoma!, The Prom (closes August 11th), Moulin Rouge.

How I get Reasonable Tickets
TodayTix is my go-to for tickets. They have Broadway, Off-Broadway, and specialty shows (looking at you, Golden Girls Live!) all at reasonable prices. Highly recommend!

For the really pricey shows (Hamilton, Hadestown, To Kill a Mockingbird) I like to use GameTime, which is an active marketplace. Prices drop as showtimes get nearer—still regretting not taking a pair of $61 front mezzanine tickets to Hadestown the week after the Tonys. Don’t be like me!

If you’re still at a loss, some shows have standing room tickets ($25-$40) available at the box office. Be prepared to stand for 2-3 hours.

Baseball
A New Yorker’s NYC Favorites: A Travel Guide of SortsI love baseball and try to make at least one game a year (ideally when the Texas Rangers play the New York Yankees). I use GameTime to get crazy reasonable seats—seriously love that app.

Favorite Stores

These are the places where I spend my money.

Specialty FoodA New Yorker’s NYC Favorites: A Travel Guide of Sorts
Zabar’s (Upper West Side)
A NYC institution! Go for the coffee and the babka, or grab a few things at the deli counter and go picnic in nearby Riverside Park.

Sahadi’s (Brooklyn Heights, Brooklyn)
This Brooklyn favorite is where I buy all my coffee beans, dried fruit, and cheese. Everything is shockingly reasonable, the staff is sweet, and they make the best hummus, period. I also used to work as a cashier here, and can say that the Sahadi family treats all their employees with the utmost respect. Love that.

Vintage & AntiquesA New Yorker’s NYC Favorites: A Travel Guide of SortsA New Yorker’s NYC Favorites: A Travel Guide of SortsPippin Vintage (Chelsea)
My favorite store in NYC. Great vintage and antique clothes, furniture, and jewelry (fine and costume), all at reasonable prices. I’ve never brought anyone there who didn’t totally fall in love with it. If nothing else, go to see the store itself, which is a small house set back from the street. It’s only accessible through a hall of antique mirrors!

Yesterday’s News (Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn)
The best vintage and antiques in Brooklyn. I bought my dresser here, as well as countless unique gifts for all my favorite people.

Used Bookstores

Alabaster Bookshop (Union Square)
A hidden gem around the corner from the famous Strand Bookstore.

Mercer Street Books & Records (NoHo)
A great bookstore around the corner from the Angelika. It makes for a wonderful start or end to a movie date.

Unoppressive Non-Imperialist Bargain Books (Greenwich Village)
A left-wing community bookstore with grouchy staff that I love.

Random Free (& Cheap) Things

NYC is full of free things to do. Here is a list of ideas, just off the top of my head:
A New Yorker’s NYC Favorites: A Travel Guide of SortsGo to the Brooklyn Flea. It costs nothing to browse.

Picnic in any park.A New Yorker’s NYC Favorites: A Travel Guide of Sorts
A New Yorker’s NYC Favorites: A Travel Guide of SortsWalk the Brooklyn Heights Promenade and/or the Brooklyn Bridge.

Explore Green-Wood Cemetery. Seriously.
A New Yorker’s NYC Favorites: A Travel Guide of SortsGet some soft-serve from a Mister Softee truck.

The Union Square Greenmarket is a great place to spend some time (even if you don’t end up buying anything).A New Yorker’s NYC Favorites: A Travel Guide of SortsGo to the Balloon Saloon.

Tour Theodore Roosevelt’s birthplace.
A New Yorker’s NYC Favorites: A Travel Guide of SortsGo take pictures at the Oculus.

Check out the reading room at the central branch of the New York Public Library.

Go take a look at Grand Central Station.
A New Yorker’s NYC Favorites: A Travel Guide of SortsWalk into open churches.A New Yorker’s NYC Favorites: A Travel Guide of SortsTake advantage of summer street fairs.A New Yorker’s NYC Favorites: A Travel Guide of SortsAs you can see, there is literally no excuse to be bored here. That’s why I have to go to Maine.A New Yorker’s NYC Favorites: A Travel Guide of Sorts

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Baking & Blogging The Artist’s Way

I’m taking a break from recipes today to talk about something important: intentional creative growth, namely my experience doing The Artist’s Way over the last few months.Baking & Blogging The Artist’s WayIf you’ve never heard of The Artist’s Way, it’s a best-selling book and program by Julia Cameron that is intended to help adults re-capture their own creativity, and to assist people in creative careers to move past artist’s block. I am in recovery in other areas of my life (six years sober last week!), so when my friend, Angela, proposed that we start the year by doing The Artist’s Way, I figured it would be a way of applying that sort of care directly to my career and creative pursuits. You see, for me, baking and blogging are, first and foremost, artistic endeavors. I’ve always thought of myself as an artist of sorts—a creative type, at the very least—so this seemed “on brand” with the sort of life I want to live.

I had heard of The Artist’s Way before and been clued in when various mentors and acquaintances were starting up, but always passed on the opportunity. It seemed like a lot of non-essential work and there were meet-ups and I was intentionally creative everyday in my kitchen and on this blog and I love art (especially theatre and film) and…as you can tell I had about 47 reasons why I did not feel like I needed “A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity.”Baking & Blogging The Artist’s WaySo, why did I agree when Angela suggested we do this? Well…I blame January and the “New Year, New Me” mentality that I love to hate. That, and feeling a little burnt out and blocked from two solid months of holiday baking. Creating content for this blog is one of the great joys of my life, but even doing the things you love can be exhausting. I needed to get back to basics and The Artist’s Way seemed like a good way to attempt that.

As with anything that I agree to do that is beyond the realm of absolutely essential, remorse quickly followed. I am a hardcore introvert, so being out doing anything social is exhausting, but this required homework too. Hard pass…or at least that was the plan. By the time I got the courage to bail, Angela and our friend, Arnab, had both acquired their books and notebooks and created a group text called “Art Squad,” so I gave in, bought my materials, and told myself I could quit anytime I wanted.

Spoiler alert: I didn’t quit! We didn’t quit!Baking & Blogging The Artist’s Way

How The Artist’s Way Works

First things first: you have to buy the book. The internet will try to convince you that you need a fancy journal too, but you don’t. Any notebook will do—just make sure the pages aren’t too large (you’ll see why later). This will be for your Morning Pages aka daily free-writing. I got a second notebook for tasks outlined at the end of each chapter, but feel free to skip that extra purchase if you’re not as particular as me.Baking & Blogging The Artist’s WayThe basic format is that you will read a chapter a week for twelve weeks, complete as few or as many tasks as you are able, and then meet up with your fellow creatives to share your feelings and results. All the while, you will complete daily Morning Pages and weekly solo Artist Dates. It seems like a lot, but it comes down to about 15-30 minutes a day, with the exception of the day you read the chapter and the day you do the meet-up.

The Reading & Tasks

The Artist’s Way is organized so that each week is dedicated to unearthing and “recovering” a part of your artistic self. These include safety, identity, power, integrity, possibility, abundance, connection, strength, compassion, self-protection, autonomy, and faith. Each chapter runs about 8-20 pages and is followed by a list of ten or so tasks of varying intensity. Julia Cameron recommends that you begin your week by reading the chapter and then complete the tasks in the days leading up to your next meet-up. I, however, am simply not that organized and therefore did all my reading and tasks in a day, usually the day of the meet-up. This meant that some tasks were not completed on time (there’s a surprising amount of window-gardening, vintage shopping, and cleaning out of closets), but I found myself doing a lot of them of my own volition before the twelve weeks were up.Baking & Blogging The Artist’s WaySome of my favorite tasks were making simple lists of things that make me happy, remembering what I was like when I was 8/imagining what I will be like when I am 80 (hint: I want to be in Maine), and planning a solo road trip. It might be obvious, but a large part of artistic recovery is fundamentally reconnecting with yourself.

I felt like some of the tasks were corny. Like, I am not going to mail myself a letter; I don’t mail anybody letters. I *loathe* the post office. I was also very resistant to a worry box aka a “God Box” aka a vessel in which you put slips of paper with your worries written on them, but I have warmed to the idea. It’s nice to have a tangible way to “let go” of some anxieties. I went to my favorite antique store looking for a little box, but didn’t find anything I loved. Instead, I am using a vase that has sat empty on my bedside table for years. Now it has purpose.Baking & Blogging The Artist’s Way

Meet-Ups

These are simple enough: meet up once a week with others doing The Artist’s Way to discuss your progress as it pertains to the reading and tasks, Morning Pages, Artist Dates, and how you are exercising your creativity. You can, of course, do this alone, but it’s nice to have the support and accountability of a group.Baking & Blogging The Artist’s WayBaking & Blogging The Artist’s WayFor the Art Squad, meet-ups were on a weeknight at one of our apartments so that we could include Lulu and Dottie, Arnab and Angela’s respective perfect dogs. The usual format was to spend an hour going through the list of tasks for that week, pointing out any insights we had on the chapter, and sharing our Artist Dates and the number of days we did our Morning Pages. We are all in different fields and have different artistic pursuits—Angela is an art director and Arnab is a photographer—so while we did The Artist’s Way as a group, our experiences were all different.

The most important thing about the meet-ups? They must be judgment-free zones. Personal information comes up as you work through The Artist’s Way and the meet-ups serve as a safe place for those feelings and insights. This is greatly helped by choosing to do this program with fellow artists who are also trusted friends.Baking & Blogging The Artist’s WayBaking & Blogging The Artist’s WayWhile it was a bit of a pain to fit an extra commitment into the week, the meet-ups didn’t take much time and they had the benefits of friends, dogs, and creative progress, so I can’t complain. We have discussed keeping these up on a monthly basis, but we shall see. Either way, we celebrated finishing Week 12 by sharing a slice of Butter & Scotch’s famous Birthday Cake. We all agree: it lives up to the hype.Baking & Blogging The Artist’s WayBaking & Blogging The Artist’s Way

Morning Pages

Morning Pages are one of the pillars of The Artist’s Way. They were the part of this process that I was dreading the most because they are a daily requirement so, of course, they are the part that I value the most. The idea behind these is simple: write three full pages of whatever you want everyday, preferably first thing in the morning.Baking & Blogging The Artist’s WayFor those of you who are not morning people 🙋‍♀️, you can write these any time of day. Julia Cameron recommends the morning simply because your brain is usually less cluttered by the outside world first thing after waking up, but I have benefited from writing Morning Pages at many times of day, including an hour before bed. The point is to write them, period. Inevitably, you will miss some days (I have missed three since I started on 1/13/2019), but forgive yourself and go back when you remember. It’s worth it.

I hated the uncertainty of Morning Pages at first—what would I write? I started out with what I had done the day before and my plans for the day to come. As I began to become more comfortable sitting down to three blank pages, my Morning Pages evolved. On blog-writing days, I’d spend the second page writing about whatever recipe I needed to post, and then followed it up by jumping into blogging. This practice frequently resulted in a faster writing process and a clearer, more concise blog. My current Morning Pages don’t have any sort of set “plan,” but I feel like they are still beneficial. If nothing else, they serve as a way of confronting my own anxiety, depression, and artist’s/baker’s/writer’s block, and as a place to put my ideas. There comes a point in the chapter tasks where you go back and read your pages—it’s amazing how many blog ideas I had written down without even noticing!Baking & Blogging The Artist’s WayJulia Cameron recommends addressing “blurts,” aka negative statements about yourself, as they come up in your daily writing. One that I noticed is that I write that I will “maybe” do things a lot. I have made an effort to write in more decisive statements because this is my life and my creative journey and I deserve to have decisive feelings about it all.

She also recommends using positive affirmations as part of your Morning Pages. I started with a couple that she recommends verbatim (“Treating myself like a precious object will make me strong” and “I have a genuine talent”), and have expanded the list to include eight more that are increasingly specific to me. I write them everyday in the last half-page of my Morning Pages. I should mention that I have always thought affirmations were a bit silly (and I still do), but I am open to them and taking a minute to write a list everyday certainly isn’t harmful.

A few tips for Morning Pages success:

• Remember how I said to keep the notebook small? It’s because the larger the page size, the longer writing your Morning Pages will take. I use relatively small notebooks, so my Morning Pages take about fifteen minutes.
• Speaking of time, write as fast as you can. Not only will this cut down on how long your Morning Pages take, but it will get out more of the things cluttering your mind. I’ve been listening to a lot of You Made It Weird with Pete Holmes lately and artists of all kinds say it in almost every episode: write as fast as you can and worry about perfecting it later. I do this with both my Morning Pages and my blogging and have mostly liked the results so far.
• Keep your notebook near your bed or desk or favorite chair—wherever you spend the most time. This way you can just grab it and write whenever the mood strikes.Baking & Blogging The Artist’s Way

Artist Dates

This is probably the most fun part of The Artist’s Way. An Artist Date is a weekly excuse to take your inner artist out for an adventure. This can be anything from a long walk with a decaf cappuccino to taking a day trip upstate—anything that inspires and rejuvenates you spiritually and creatively. The only rule is that it should be a solo venture.Baking & Blogging The Artist’s WayOne of my pre-The Artist’s Way goals for 2019 was to see more live performances, so that has played a major role in my Artist Dates. I have seen eight Broadway and Off-Broadway shows so far this year, and five of them were a direct result of The Artist’s Way giving me permission. For those of you thinking I am made of money, know that I am *very* not. I buy only the cheapest tickets and frequently sit last row-center, but I am thrilled to be in the room. I have seen more theatre this year than any other I’ve been in New York, and it’s only May!Baking & Blogging The Artist’s WayI also took myself to see Elton John on a whim—I bought shockingly cheap resale tickets the day of his last show at Madison Square Garden. I never would have done that without encouragement from this program, and I am so incredibly glad that I took the chance. I will never regret spending that money or having that experience.Baking & Blogging The Artist’s WayBaking & Blogging The Artist’s WayA slightly-less-pricey way I have incorporated Artist Dates? I have started watching the 2007 AFI Top 100 Movies with the Unspooled podcast and participating in the associated Facebook discussion. I went to film school and am a lifelong movie nerd, so I have already seen many of the films, but I am really enjoying watching some classics for the first time (Double Indemnity is a new favorite) and rewatching some that I haven’t seen in a while (I was blown away by my recent viewing of All the President’s Men).Baking & Blogging The Artist’s WayThe last and probably most obvious way I do Artist Dates is by allowing myself to play in the kitchen. Baking just because I like to and I can, not because I need a new blog post or because someone wants a birthday cake. This practice has resulted in some of my favorite recipes so far this year: Neapolitan Cake and Chocolate Banana Bread!Baking & Blogging The Artist’s Way

Results

I am so glad to have done The Artist’s Way. I’d be lying if I said I weren’t relieved to be done with the weekly reading and tasks, but I have kept up with the Morning Pages and Artist Dates so far. They’ve been so beneficial in keeping me inspired and disciplined when it comes to this blog and my other creative pursuits that I can’t imagine willingly parting with them.Baking & Blogging The Artist’s WayI also feel like the weekly meet-ups really helped to deepen friendships that I already valued. I knew Arnab and Angela before we began The Artist’s Way, but working (and complaining) through this together has been so much more important to me than I had imagined.Baking & Blogging The Artist’s WayPositive results of The Artist’s Way:

• Morning Pages have made me a better writer. By blogging immediately after writing my pages, I am already in a headspace to write about recipes. Where composing the body of a post used to take anywhere from 30 minutes to six hours, I now spend an hour or two writing initially and then edit a couple of times before posting.
• I go to bed earlier because I don’t stay up too late fighting writer’s block while trying to blog. Instead, my posts are usually complete at least twelve hours before they go live. This is very new to me, and I am really enjoying having more of my evenings back.
• Since I am going to bed earlier, I am waking up earlier and getting more done during the day.
• I am now running three to four blog posts ahead, whereas I used to run one to two ahead. This has allowed me time to say yes to more social engagements, opportunities, and theatre tickets that I might have declined a few months ago in the name of last-minute blogging.
• Playing in the kitchen has reminded me why I love to bake and has lead to more inspired content. I have so many great recipes coming over the next few months, and they may never have existed if I hadn’t taken this time to nurture my own creativity.
• I really love the quality of the recipes, photos, and content I have created since January. In the last month, my work has been featured by four brands on social media and I am gaining new readers all the time (hi new readers 👋💗). I am proud of the direction this blog is going.
• I have taken more pride in self-care. My meals are more nutritious and my weekends are more restful, even when they are full of plans. I do things with intention instead of doing them because I have to, and that has made a huge difference.
• I have fallen in love with film and theatre again. While I don’t necessarily see my creative dreams going in those directions at this moment, I’m loving the inspiration I’ve gotten from my Artist Dates.
• I cleaned out my closet and donated five huge bags of clothing. For a while, I had been feeling like I had too many clothes and nothing to wear. Now I have fewer clothes, but I like all of them. Never underestimate the power of feeling cute everyday.
• I’m braver and more confident. I am more likely to do things alone than not do them at all.Baking & Blogging The Artist’s WayNegative results of The Artist’s Way:

• I have become attached and am going to have to make more distinct plans to see Lulu and Dottie every week…?Baking & Blogging The Artist’s WayBaking & Blogging The Artist’s WaySo, yes, The Artist’s Way gets two thumbs up from this baker/blogger/recipe developer! If you are looking for a way to access your own creativity, I can’t recommend this method enough. I look forward to doing it again in the not-so-distant future and seeing how much further I can go as a self-avowed artist…er, creative type.

Have you ever done The Artist’s Way? Did you like your results? Let me know in the comments!Baking & Blogging The Artist’s WayBaking & Blogging The Artist’s Way

Guac O’Clock & Other Meals on Swan’s Island, Maine

I’ll be real with you—I’ve been doing island things instead of baking.Like wading into the fuh-reezing Atlantic Ocean with three of the most fabulous women I know.And picking blackberries with my sister.But, I mean, we still have to eat. We might as well do it in style.Meals here on Swan’s Island are meticulously planned. Four years in though, we sort of know what we’re doing.

We have a meeting before we leave NYC. There’s an organized menu. There’s an itemized grocery list. There’s one harried/hilarious trip through the Hannaford in Ellsworth, Maine. And then there’s cooking every last meal, snack, and dessert we eat on this beautiful island.If it sounds like work to vacation here, that’s because it is. Fortunately for me, it’s the sort of work I love most. I mean, what’s to complain about when there’s daily Salsa O’Clock?And don’t forget Guac O’Clock. It’s very important when you are on vacation.It’s impossible to be grouchy in the morning when VJ makes you gluten-free vegan waffles……and blueberry muffins. The bacon was my contribution.There were Migas, too……and the Blueberry Baked Oatmeal I told you about on Wednesday.And cantaloupe. (Can you tell I am in love with the white prep table?)Lunches have been less curated, but this chickpea-centric spin on my favorite Jacques Pepin soup recipe really hit the spot on Sunday afternoon.And don’t forget extra-toasty grilled cheeses.Dinner is an event though. We’ve had a Roast Chicken with Schmaltzy Onions, and some extra caramelly maple-roasted carrots.There was vegan cornbread, too. (My recipe, but with non-dairy milk + vinegar, vegan butter, aquafaba for egg, 1/4 cup sugar, and 1/4 cup more cornmeal.)And Eliot made my crowd-favorite Everyday Cassoulet and some garlicky kale.Last night was taco night. Hooray for using up leftovers!Dessert has been plentiful. I mean, I’m here.I made a batch of Toasted Oat Graham Crackers,so naturally, there were s’mores.There have also been also S’moreos.And just straight-up toasted marshmallows.Also, lots and lots and lots of coffee. Arnab finally learned how to use the French press we bought him for Christmas. #adultingSo, as you can see, we have not starved. We have some produce to finish and a few things we’ll divvy up on our way back to New York, but we have, by and large, used everything we brought.I’m planning to do some last day of vacation baking today (all those blackberries!), but I may also just sit on a rock and watercolor.The day is young.

24 Hours in Rockland, Maine: What We Ate

Hello! I’m headed north for my annual trip to Swans Island, Maine, and I am SO excited 🙂 24 Hours in Rockland, Maine: What We AteIf you follow me on Instagram though, you know this isn’t my first trip to Vacationland this summer. Heck, it isn’t even my first this month! My parents decided on a whim that they wanted to attend a car show near Rockland, ME, about three weeks ago. Two weeks ago, my little sister and I decided we’d drive up to join them. One AirBNB reservation and a rental car later, we drove up to spend 24 hours with our Mom & Dad. It was a quick visit, but between the family, the cute town, and the food, it was totally worth the haul up there!

Hill’s Seafood Co.

24 Hours in Rockland, Maine: What We AteWe just had to start out our trip with a lobster roll! This one from Hill’s Seafood Co. absolutely hit the spot after our long drive north. Eliot and I especially liked that we could skip the fries and get a side of broccoli instead. The service and harbor view were great too. No complaints from the peanut gallery. I wish I had more to say, but I was so happy to have food that I didn’t notice much else 🙂 24 Hours in Rockland, Maine: What We Ate

Rock City Coffee24 Hours in Rockland, Maine: What We Ate

I’m a two large coffees-per-day sort of gal, but after our early morning drive, I needed a third jolt of caffeine. After getting things settled at our B&B, Eliot and I popped over to Rock City Coffee so I could get my fix. I got the iced coffee I needed and Eliot got a blueberry-hazelnut Italian soda with an adorable Maine-y name that I can’t remember. She said it was delicious.24 Hours in Rockland, Maine: What We AteEven if coffee and artisanal beverages aren’t your thing, I recommend checking out Rock City Coffee for the bookstore in the back. That’s right—after you grab your coffee, walk to the end of the counter and you’ll find Hello Hello Books! It’s totally adorable and sells all sorts of new and used books and other fun things. I thoroughly enjoyed scouring the cookbooks and Maine-specific sections.24 Hours in Rockland, Maine: What We AteAs you may be able to tell, I didn’t capture any photos of my coffee (rest assured, it looked like coffee), but I did capture this guy in all his cinnamon glory ❤

We loved the location with the bookstore as well as a smaller outpost next door to our parents’ hotel. As with Hill’s Seafood Co., Rock City Coffee had great service–super friendly. I highly recommend stopping in if you’re in Rockland!24 Hours in Rockland, Maine: What We Ate

Primo

Primo was recommended to us by the owner of our B&B. From the way she described it, we were sort of amazed when we were able to get a day-of reservation!24 Hours in Rockland, Maine: What We AtePrimo is a farm-to-table restaurant right on the border between Rockland and Owls Head, ME. The restaurant itself is in a beautiful Victorian house, but the real magic is in the farm behind it.24 Hours in Rockland, Maine: What We Ate24 Hours in Rockland, Maine: What We Ate24 Hours in Rockland, Maine: What We Ate24 Hours in Rockland, Maine: What We Ate24 Hours in Rockland, Maine: What We Ate24 Hours in Rockland, Maine: What We AteMom, Eliot, and I zipped over right after we made our reservation and spent a good 40 minutes wandering through the farm. We loved all the colors of the vegetables, and we named every animal. All the chickens were named after characters from Frasier. You won’t be surprised to learn that none of us ate chicken or pork.24 Hours in Rockland, Maine: What We Ate

The menu at Primo changes everyday. To start, we all split a red lettuce salad with castelveltrano olives.24 Hours in Rockland, Maine: What We Ate

My entree was halibut and rock shrimp with a summer squash risotto, and it was spectacular. That’s saying something since I had a horrible cold at the time and could barely taste anything!24 Hours in Rockland, Maine: What We AteWe had to get dessert too. I had this chocolate budino cake with mint gelato and local strawberries. Eliot went for this almost comically large affogato with the lightest zeppole ever. So dreamy.24 Hours in Rockland, Maine: What We AteOn top of the amazing meal and farm, Primo had spectacular service. I’m starting to see a trend 🙂

I highly recommend going to Primo if you are in Rockland. It’s pricey, but it’s also an experience. And if you aren’t as lucky with getting a reservation, they have bar seating upstairs and will allow you to order off the bar menu and the regular dining menu. Love that.24 Hours in Rockland, Maine: What We Ate

The Lobster Shack

We all did our own thing for breakfast before going to the Andrew Wyeth and Ai Weiwei exhibits at the Farnsworth Museum. Before long though, we were hungry and wandered over to The Lobster Shack. It’s basically exactly what it sounds like—a shed with a kitchen and some open air seating.24 Hours in Rockland, Maine: What We AteAll four of us got the Shack Fave: half-lobster roll, half-crab roll. I mean, we were only in Maine for 24 hours—two lobster rolls were a necessity. Plus, Rockland is the lobster capitol of Maine. Who knew?!24 Hours in Rockland, Maine: What We AteOur lunches came with potato chips, cole slaw, dilly beans, and a wedge of watermelon. Everything was delicious, but I’ll be honest and say that I personally prefer lobster over crab in this particular instance.

This was a perfect way to cap off our quick trip. I definitely recommend stopping for lunch at The Lobster Shack. Heads up that it’s cash only—come prepared!
24 Hours in Rockland, Maine: What We AteAfter lunch, we went over to the Owls Head Transportation Museum to see what all the fuss was about before heading back to Boston. I don’t have any particular feelings about old cars, but my dad was having a ball. For Eliot and me, the highlight was meeting this new moose friend.24 Hours in Rockland, Maine: What We AteAlright, that’s enough of that Maine trip—now it’s time for another 🙂 We’re spending the night in Portland tonight and headed up to the island tomorrow! Make sure to check in next week so you can see what we’re cooking (and baking!) up on Swan’s Island ❤ 24 Hours in Rockland, Maine: What We Ate

Beyond Baking: Getting to Know E2

Hey y’all! We’ve been having some repairs done in our apartment for the last couple of weeks, so baking has been less frequent than I’d like. I don’t have a new recipe for you today, and while I could have gone and written a Friday Favorites post, I thought I’d get a little crazy and write about myself instead 😉

I have posted more than 250 recipes in the last two and a half years, and while a lot has changed (my photos are sooooo much better now), my About Me page has basically stayed the same since day one! For those of you that don’t know me personally, I thought I’d take the liberty of giving you a few fast facts. Or 30 of them.

Let’s start off with the basics, shall we?Beyond Baking: Getting to Know E2I’m from Fort Worth, Texas, and have an amazing family. I’m the middle child.Beyond Baking: Getting to Know E2I’ve lived in New York for 10.5 years. The honeymoon is definitely over and sometimes I hate the NYC grind, but just when I’m ready to give up on this city, I fall back in love with it.

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Hershey loves asparagus and me, in that order.

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Cocoa’s disdain for me is equivalent to my love for her.

I have always considered myself a dog person, but I am obsessed with my day job work cats, Hershey and Cocoa. #secretcatladyBeyond Baking: Getting to Know E2I am not athletic, but I love to watch baseball. I am a diehard Texas Rangers fan, even when they are terrible. Two of my biggest “bucket list” items are going to games at Wrigley Field and Dodgers Stadium. I crossed Fenway Park off the list last fall.

My favorite word is “pocket.” My least favorite word is “veggies.” They’re vegetables.

I don’t know how to ride a bike.Beyond Baking: Getting to Know E2I love musical theatre. I got to see Hamilton last year–totally lives up to the hype.

My heroes are Nora Ephron, Ruth Reichl, and Martin Scorsese.

My favorite movie is GoodFellas. When I’m having a bad day, my comfort movie is You’ve Got Mail. I will not apologize for loving 1990s Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan movies.Beyond Baking: Getting to Know E2I collect cookbooks (shocker!), and love finding them at thrift stores and on stoops. My best find so far is a near-pristine copy of The Gourmet Cookbook that I found in Beacon, NY.

Beyond Baking: Getting to Know E2

With Sally McKenney Quinn of Sally’s Baking Addiction.

I first got interested in baking while reading Sally’s Baking Addiction. I got to meet Sally just a week or two after I started my own baking blog!

Beyond Baking: Getting to Know E2

With Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen.

My favorite food blog that isn’t this one is Smitten Kitchen. Deb Perelman is a queen, and just as delightful in person as she is online. Orangette is my second favorite. Molly Wizenberg doesn’t blog much these days, but her Instagram and podcast are amazing.

Speaking of podcasts, one of my favorites is WTF with Marc Maron—it’s great background noise for baking the day away. I actually saw Marc Maron on the Highline last summer and immediately burst into tears like he was a Beatle or 1997 Leonardo DiCaprio or something. Luckily he didn’t see me!Beyond Baking: Getting to Know E2If I could up and move anywhere, it would be Maine.

My greatest accomplishment is quitting drinking almost five years ago. I also quit smoking nine months ago.Beyond Baking: Getting to Know E2The best job I ever had was working at Sahadi’s. It’s still my favorite store.

My dream day job is to open a cooking school for children. I even know where it would be and what the classes would entail.

I wish I knew anything about coding. I’d love to streamline this site.

I have never worked in a restaurant and have little desire to own a bakery. One day, I’d like to be a legitimate food writer.Beyond Baking: Getting to Know E2My current favorite recipe on this site is Overnight Yeast-Raised Doughnuts. They’re as delicious as they are beautiful.img_1645The thing I am most excited to make in the coming months is a wedding cake!img_3210My goals for the next year are to be happy and do meaningful work with food.

In five years, I hope to be making at least half of my income from writing. I’d also like to find someone great and settle down. And I’d like to have a dog…or a cat.

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Poor furious Cocoa.

Now that you know more about me, tell me about you! What’s your favorite movie? Least favorite word? Favorite podcast? Inquiring bakers want to know! You can ask me something, too ❤

Have a great weekend, y’all!