Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Get'cha Head in the Game

All this news about Carmelo Anthony coming to the Knicks gives me the opportunity to revisit when Emily and I went to see the Knicks in the fall.  One of our prizes for winning first place (and completely dominating every single other team) in the Hoboken Amazing Race was tickets to a Knicks game.  

The guy running the Amazing Race was able to get pretty sweet tickets from his work for "almost any home game within the first few months".  We decided that it would be most fun to watch the Knicks play the Celtics even though that game was preseason, so we attended the home preseason opener on October 13th at Madison Square Garden.

I really liked the environment at MSG.  Basketball is such a great game to watch live since there are points scored every thirty seconds and the crowd goes wild each time.  Em and I were also on the lookout for celebs.  I guess because it was the preseason opener rather than the season opener, Spike Lee and Jay Z had other plans.  We did see a few D-listers (don't worry, I'm aware I am currently a Z-lister) like Josh Groban and Mark Hopper from Blink182.  And apparently that guy who played the genie in Kazaam is now on the Celtics and although he didn't play (because he's 80), he was sitting courtside watching his team.

Shaq Attack

So although the Knicks didn't win (104-101, Celtics), we had a really good time.  We talked about trying to come see LeBron play but never went through with it.  But there will be more chances next season, plus I gotta check out this 'Melo fellow sometime.


Monday, February 21, 2011

Blades of Glory

Today I was able to knock yet another item off my 26 list.  This item was also actually on my Holiday To-Do List (President's Day counts as a holiday, right?!) AND my NYC To-Do List - is that cheating?  I had a successful ice skating experience at Citi Pond at Bryant Park this morning!

This picture was taken at 6:51 am...
A lot of items on my 26 list are "successful" blah blah blah - successful ski trip, successful sushi experience (check to both from my 25 list); successful camping trip (will probably be transferred to my 27 list) as a redemption for experiences I had when I was younger which didn't go exactly as planned.  I *think* the last time I ice skated was with my Girl Scout troop way back in the early '90s.  The way I remember it, I tried it, fell a few times, and quit so I didn't get hurt anymore or embarrass myself further.

More sweet kicks
For some reason, getting hurt and being embarrassed doesn't matter to me anymore so I decided to sign up for a volunteer opportunity through work (also an item on the list, to volunteer more) to help out with an ice skating event in Bryant Park.  Last night I was hesitant about my decision to sign up because of the forecast for those dreaded words, "wintry mix", also known as snow/rain/sleet.  Luckily, it ended up just snowing - did you ever think I would say it was lucky that it snowed?!  I was thinking I was going to sit out for a little and watch people first but one of my friends convinced me to get out on the ice right away. 

Do I still look like Tonya Harding?
It was awesome!  I picked it up pretty quickly and ended up staying out on the ice for about three hours - in spurts of course, since there were breaks for presentations and ice-cleaning.  Here's the most amazing part.  If you know me, you might fall out of your seat right now...I only fell once! 


Monday, February 14, 2011

I'm Bowling Your Mind

It still fascinates me how New York City, with a population of 8 million, can sometimes feel just like my hometown, with a population of 12,000.  Today I had this feeling because of how a completely boring Sunday that would have involved me watching four straight movies on FX magically turned into an unplanned adventure with wonderful friends.  I feel like when I lived at home during the summers in college it was always easy to just call up a friend without plans and spend the whole day together.  Today that happened as well.

During my potential 4-movie marathon (what could have been "27 Dresses", "What Happens In Vegas", "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" and "Stepbrothers") I randomly texted Ravi who luckily agreed with "I want a burger."  Ravi made his way to my place and we went over to 5 Napkin Burger, which I've been dying to try since I moved around these parts. 

Ravi ordered the Original 5 Napkin Burger, "10 oz. fresh ground chuck, carmelized onions, gruyere cheese, rosemary aioli, soft white roll".  I initially was also going to go for this, but I changed my mind and got the Bacon - Cheddar Burger, "10 oz. fresh ground chuck, sharp cheddar, bacon, raw onion, lettuce & tomato, soft white roll".  I definitely was right in switching my choice because my burger was way better (for me) than Ravi's, although he insisted that his was better.  But we were both very happy with our choices.  Of course, as Ravi said "I always think the burger that I'm eating at the moment is the best burger I've ever had," which I definitely agree with.

Ravi and I were trying to think of something to do after lunch and came up with bowling at Port Authority.  Yes, you can bowl at the bus station, that makes a lot of sense, right?  We texted a few of our friends to see if anyone else was around and luckily Adam was available as well.  Then on a whim, I decided to text our friend (and fellow blogger) Amanda who we both hadn't seen in months and she was totally down which pretty much made my day.  Who knew after months of trying to plan things to do together and then not having it work out, all it took was a spontaneous bowling trip?

Amanda and Adam met us at Frames, the bowling alley, shortly after lunch.  The alley had "league play" until 5:30 so we made our own fun and played in the arcade and then sat at the bar until we could get our own lane.  We paid for an hour of bowling and picked out our (hideous) shoes and got rolling - see what I did there?!  For some reason, I was either rolling strikes or gutterballs, never anything in the middle.  But we had a great time and any bowling alley where I can dance just as much as I was dancing the previous night is okay with me.  Also, it's pretty cool that Justin Bieber's music video, "Baby", was playing, as you all know it takes place in a bowling alley.

My sweet backswing

My sweet kicks
After bowling, we walked on over to Amanda's family's restaurant, Zigolini's Pizza Bar (9th and 46th), which although I hadn't been before tonight, I mentioned in my pizza post this fall.  The best way to experience a friend's restaurant is definitely by going with said friend.  We dined on a fabulous meal of sangria, Peronis, bruschetta, arugula salad, margherita pizza, pesto pasta, rigatoni with sausage, and my favorite part, because my sweet tooth is the size of Texas, the Pizzetta da Dolce Vita aka S'MORES PIZZA.

Smells so yummy!!

Can't wait to hang out with this crew again soon.  I will forgive you all, for blowing my mind today.


Saturday, February 12, 2011

Walking in Memphis

A couple weeks ago, a few friends and I went to see the play "Memphis".  If you are keeping track (which I'm sure you are), this means I only have four more shows to see in order to cross this item off my "26 Things" list.  Any recommendations?  (No, not planning on seeing "Spiderman".)

"Memphis" won the 2010 Tony Award for Best Musical and it is easy to see why.  It was amazing.  The story takes place in Memphis (shocker) in the 1950s, when DJs on "white radio stations" started to play "black music."  The songs are awesome and the cast was incredibly talented, especially the male lead, "Huey" (Chad Kimball) and the female lead, "Felicia" (Montego Glover), both of whom were nominated for Tonys for their respective parts.  We ended up seeing Montego walking out of the theater so we bombarded her.  

Please disregard the fact that I look like a boy here
After the play, Chris, Kater, and I walked across the alley to Junior's because Chris wanted a piece of cheesecake.  Kater and I hadn't heard of this "New York Tradition", but who are we to deny ourselves cheesecake?  I ordered a peanut butter cup cupcake and a ridiculously large slice of devil food cheesecake (four days' worth) and told the cashier that I did not need a bag.  He told me that it was easier *with* a bag and I said that I really didn't need one since I was just walking a little further.  He insisted again that it was easier to just give me the bag and I gave up on trying to save the world and accepted my treats anyway.

The funny part is that when I got home, I saw the same bag on the living room floor that indicated my roommate had also gotten a Junior's treat earlier that day.  I thought it was probably a sign of some sort that I hadn't heard of Junior's before that day and my roommate ended up getting it the same day.  A sign of what, I'm not sure.


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A Really Spicy Day

I think that winter got mad at me for my last three posts since it made me so sick last week I couldn't even stay awake, let alone write!  Luckily I felt better on Friday and was able to enjoy NYC's Winter Restaurant Week twice in one day.  Today I saw that, as expected, the deals were extended until February 27th.  This happened with the last Restaurant Week that ended up lasting almost two months.

Here's the deal.  Three courses for lunch, $24.07 and three courses for dinner, $35.  Hundreds of restaurants participate and you are able to get a nice sampling of their menus for much less than you would normally pay.  For lunch on Friday, a few of us from work took a nice long lunch and went to Tamarind in Tribeca (99 Hudson Street).  Tamarind is an Indian "fusion" restaurant with another location on 22nd and Park.

Tamarind's "Restaurant Week" menu is actually also their "Executive Lunch" menu at a 43 cent discount.  The menu changes every few weeks but you do get one appetizer, two selections for the entree, and a dessert.  My picks (as copied from the menu): 
  • Murg Chaach Tikka - Chicken breast marinated in tandoori spices, buttermilk, goat cheese, cardamom and coriander, spicy mint and tomato chutney
  • Hari Chaampe Aur Benarasi Aloo - Tandoori lamb chops marinated in hung yogurt, green onions, jalapenos and oregano, spicy potatoes with fennel, mustard and cumin seeds, peach and pineapple chutney 
  • Assamese Niharu Jhinga - King prawns marinated in garlic, yogurt, parsley, lemon zest, on a betel nut leaf, dill, yogurt and cucumber chutney 
  • Leeche Kulfi
Everyone at the table also got fried okra (delicious and my first sample of okra!), basil naan, spicy potatoes and chickpeas (oh and hot hand towels - which I love).  I enjoyed the prawn more than the lamb which I thought was nothing special, but others at the table liked the lamb better and wished they had two instead of prawns at all.  But I thought everything else was really good and they really take care of you there, so we will probably come here again for the Executive Lunch even though we will have to scrape up the extra 43 cents.

For dinner, after a two-week long g-mail chain, a decision for Italian food, and reservations made at two different Italian restaurants, my friends and I somehow instead ended up at Maya (65th and 1st), a modern Mexican restaurant.  I decided to go off the Restaurant Week menu and ordered:

  • Margarita Maya - el jimador blanco, tamarind fruit, citrus juices
  • Guacamole
  • A scallops appetizer that is not in the current online menu but was AMAZING
  • Pechuga Adobada - adobo marinated grilled chicken breast, huitlacoche (which, when googled, came up as "corn smut?!") dumplings (mmmm), warm pico de gallo, cilantro pesto
  • CHURROS (discussed below)
So the downside to Maya was that the service was pretty terrible, roomie's soup came out cold, and our table was really just plywood on a stand.  The upside was that it ended up being one of the best four-hour dinners I've had in the city both because of the company and the food.   Every single person but me finished every bite and every spoonful of sauce on their plates.  I have so much trouble eating everything that I want to, but that just means I got to enjoy my chicken today again for dinner.  I wish I got to enjoy the dessert again too...

THE CHURROS WERE SO ADORABLE!   Obsessing a little here, but these were not your  typical UTES-style taco-day cafeteria churros, and even those I think are really good.  My favorite part about them was the mini cups of caramel dipping sauce and hot chocolate!  I mean look how cute you can look whilst indulging:

The maraschino cherry on the day was definitely our cabride back.  Our cab driver told us he knew every single country in the world's capital so we tested him with as many countries as we could think of and he got all of them!  We even threw in some hard ones (for us) like Montenegro, Trinidad and Tobago, and Canada.  THEN he quizzed us on state capital trivia all the way back to our apartment!  Four state capitals named after presidents?  Four states capitals that start with the same letter as the state?  We pretty much got into Ca$h Cab but instead of being paid, we had to pay the game show host.  Maybe next time we will get the real Ben Bailey.

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