Monday, October 5, 2015

Insides

What initially drew me to tacos was their versatility.  You can put anything into a taco.  The classics are, well, classic.  Yet there are more and more adventurous taco fillings that have been popping up and delighting diners everywhere.

Breakfast taco.

Lobster taco.

Choco taco....

Thanks to The Daily Mail, you can now learn about all the insides and begin drooling.

http://www.thedailymeal.com/eat/guide-almost-every-taco-filling

Provecho!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Lunch Boredom Be Gone!

I work in Times Square.  Beyond the tourists, the Elmo/Cookie Monster/Spider Man/Topless Ladies asking for photographs and tips, it's also a bit of a dead zone for delicious easy going lunch options.

There are some gems nearby -- Le Pain Quotidien near Bryant Park, City Kitchen (the Smorgasburg of Midtown/Theater District Eats), and if you're down to take a walk to 11th Avenue, you can always indulge at Gotham West Market.

I typically eat a salad for lunch and will run out to grab something and bring it back to my office.

However, the $8 salad from the place across the street is getting old.

Out of laziness and a desire to walk out of the office with only my cell phone, I looked on LevelUp to see where I could go and pay with my phone. [Much more can be said about "mobile wallets" and loyalty programs and how are phones are changing our behaviors.  Another time.]

So, I open the app and see what's around and BAM.

Lenwich (the new Lenny's) is on LevelUp AND they're offering a $7 credit.  The salads typically run $8-$10 so I felt like a $1-$3 lunch today was a great deal.



I chose the Kale Joy salad and substituted tuna for chicken and added feta cheese, edamame, and apples (no longer a $10 salad), held my phone to the LevelUp scanner and walked out with my lunch.  Moments later I was notified that my credit had been used and I had a receipt in my inbox.

Seamless. (Without the online delivery.  Get it? Ha.)

Plus, the salad was delicious and enormous and I will likely go back to Lenwich, even without those extra $7 to spend.

Now I know where to turn when looking for lunch inspiration.  And a deal!

Friday, April 3, 2015

Anticipation

My best friend/neighbor has a dog named Nellie.  Over the past few months I've attended Nellie's birthday party, walked through the Farmer's Market with her on Saturday mornings, spent countless hours snuggling on the couch with her, and even invited her to sleepover when her mom was away.

This is Nellie!
This morning, I saw Nellie across the street and when she noticed me her entire body reacted.  Tail wagging ferociously, she tried to bound into the street without care for the cars zipping by just to great me.  When she finally made it over, we spent about 2 minutes saying hello.  Watching the progression from walking, seeing me, anticipating our reunion, and experiencing it was a lesson in the beauty of raw and unbridled emotional expression.  Dogs just do what they want.


I started feeling a bit like Nellie later in the day.  My heart was pounding and my body temperature was rising.  As a thin layer of sweat coated my hands an enormous smile appeared on my face.  I was standing in the check-in line at JFK.  This usually doesn't conjure up feelings of excitement and joy for most people, but standing in line surrounded by people speaking Spanish and knowing I was en route to Buenos Aires to a) be reunited with my roommates, b) eat a lot of steak, c) drink copious amounts of mate, Fernet, Campari, and Dos Toros Pomelo soda, and d) celebrate an amazing couple and their relentless love for each other, brought a degree of anticipation, excitement, and joy that was quite overwhelming.  I wanted to laugh and scream and cry and jump up and down.

I'm headed to Argentina, a place where 14 months ago I underwent a profound life evaluation and discovered a lot of what it means to be me.  Argentina re-inspired this blog and fostered my relationship with my (future) brother-in-law and gave me a place to be spontaneous -- like that time when six hours before I was supposed to leave for the airport I extended my trip by three days.
 

In many ways I'm in the same place as I was 14 months ago, and yet life is entirely different.  I love the feeling of returning to a familiar place with the memories of what it and what I was, and the anticipation of what this instance will bring.

Bife de Chorizo
With anticipation can come expectation and with (high) expectations can come disappointment.  The great thing about expectations and disappointment in Argentina is that it doesn't happen!  Plans change, life is fluid, and for me, expectations fluctuate as quickly as they are formed.  I will be upset if I don't eat steak and dance until 7am at a boliche, but that is the equivalent of saying I will be upset if I don't breath.  Life in Argentina is defined by steak and dancing.

Best ice cream on the planet.
So I go.

With little to lose and a lot to gain and feeling completely overloaded with feelings.

Que buena onda.

And Shabbat Shalom.  Happy Passover. Chag Sameach. Feliz dia de La Pascua.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Shabbat Stroll

Shabbat Shalom.  TGIF.  Weekend kick-off.

Today is Friday.

Feeling in need of a mental detox post-work and pre-weekend, I decided to walk along The High Line.  In college as a Project Wildcat counselor, I led groups of incoming freshman on multi-day backpacking trips through Minnesota.  We encouraged our campers to go on a solo hike or a pair hike.  This was one of the only times on the trip when they had the chance to really decompress, reflect, get to know themselves or another person, and just be.

On my solo hike in this urban jungle of New York City I did just that.

Lots of thoughts crossed my mind.  I decided I wanted to become a famous Instagram personality.  And take a photography class.  And buy an apartment.  And move to Australia.  And become a regular at some hip NYC restaurant.  Those are a few of the many ideas that sprouted on my walk.  I relished this time to just let go and let be.  The thought that it was Friday, that this was the start of my Shabbat, was inextricably linked to this experience.


Since moving to Brooklyn and traveling to Israel this summer with the Shapiro Family Fellowship, I've tried to reincorporate aspects of Shabbat into my life.  Growing up, Shabbat meant a weekly family meal that marked the end of the week/start of the weekend.  My dad, serving as the President of our temple, would run off to services after dinner and my sister and I were free to do as we please with our Friday nights, but there was that time between 6-8pm (roughly) when we all came together for Shabbat.  In Brooklyn, I've shared many a Shabbat with my sister, her fiancĂ©, friends, neighbors, dogs, children, and good food (of course).  We don't do this every week, but when we do I feel great.  As the week progresses, I look forward to Shabbat and the newness it brings; Shabbat revives me for the week to come.


People often ask me what I love so much about Israel.  Shabbat is often the answer.  In Jerusalem, the city shuts down.  It's easy to decide to relax and ignore "real life" when it seems like everyone around you is doing so.  Yet even in Tel Aviv where the religious aspects of Shabbat can seem quite distant, there is a notion that Shabbat is there and welcoming you to stop, to think, to take a few minutes to breath and change the pace of life you've maintained since Monday.  Books and articles and people boast of the benefits of meditation and slowing down.  What they should advise is everyone take a big ol' dose of Shabbat.  And the same way that some people meditate seated and in silence, others through guidance, and others by running, Shabbat can be "observed" in a variety of ways.

When I was in Jerusalem for Shabbat this past July, it was an emotional time.  We were nearing the end of our trip to Israel and tensions between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip were rising.  On the brink of a new war, we used Shabbat to begin to "unpack" the meaning in many of the conversations and discussions that had consumed our days.  As we walked from East Jerusalem back to our hotel, the sounds of....canons signifying the end of Ramadan? Rockets? Fireworks?....reinforced the doubt and uncertainty of the region and, for me, the mixed and evolving feelings I had about Israel, Judaism, my religious and cultural identity and my "life goals".  Three minutes into the 25 minutes walk, a dog started barking and running at us.  Half the group was terrified, but as the dog approached she calmed down and began "leading" us back to the hotel.  She stopped in the road and did not continue until the entire group crossed the street.  She ran ahead, stopped, waited, and continued on with us.  As we crossed the street onto the block of our hotel, the dog looked back at the group and then darted away and disappeared.  I made a big deal that she was the Sabbath Bride coming to lead us to safety.  Yes, I believe it.  If there was a time for a miracle to happen, it would be on Shabbat.


Today I am extremely grateful for having Shabbat, for having New York, Israel, family, friends, and a brain that befuddles me and amazes me on a daily basis.

Shabbat Shalom



Sha-sha, the Sabbath Bride





Shabbat Services on the water in Tel Aviv

Afternoon Shabbat Ice Cream

Hanging at the beach on Shabbos!

Jerusalem Shabbat
A note to (my many...hi fam!) readers:  I chose not to read through this post and edit meticulously.  I like thought flows and I stopped into the Apple store on 14th Street so I could thought flow and blog simultaneously.  What I wrote may only make sense to me and I love that.  And if it makes sense to you and resonates with you, cool.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Why Taco when you can Tostada?

I really love tacos.  The soft corn tortilla, the warm and flavorful meat, the endless options of "toppings" -- cilantro, onion, guacamole, salsa, pomegranate seeds, mustard (yes, try the Short-Rib Pastrami taco at Empellon Cocina), 

Sometimes, when I want to spice things up, I order Tostadas.  It's a completely different experience.  Crispy. Slightly messy.  Usually with beans, guac, and/or sour cream.

Well, today I discovered (via Instagram and The Infatuation), Taqueria Diana.  When you first open their website and the menu page, it looks like they only serve chicken and tostadas.  I got really really excited.  A place with only tostadas?! That's like a Taqueria revolution.

Quickly came to realize that their menu contains more than that, but I'm excited to go and try their tostadas!