Archive for the ‘outdoorsy’ Category

New York Adventure Day: Red Hook!

May 21, 2010

It’s Spring, people! But with this weather we’ve been having in New York (oy the heat!), you could easily trick me into believing it’s summer. Regardless. It’s warm. It’s lighter later. Let’s get on our bikes and find some ice cold beverages.

Welcome to one of my favorite new neighborhoods: Red Hook!

I feel like I’m telling the world about a great secret whenever I talk about Red Hook. Although many have explored and enjoyed the neighborhood before lil’ ol’ me came along, it still feels like uncharted territory. It has a small community feel and a very beachy vibe. And as a California girl, it really felt like home. It’s the type of place that makes me wanna listen to Jack Johnson and take a long nap. And maybe bring along a sketch book.

The first time I visited, I remember thinking, “This type of place exists in New York? And it’s a mere 20 minute bike ride from my apartment??”

I tell ya, it’s worth the trip.

Not only is Red Hook home to the only Ikea in New York, and the 2nd location of the huge amazing market, Fairway. But it also hosts a number of delightful small businesses (which is the more appealing aspect of Red Hook to me personally). You can’t swing a dead cat without hitting a delicious bakery, or a homegrown nursery or flower shop, or a fresh lobster place. They have everything!

With a free Saturday and a loose gameplan, my boyfriend and I set out to do some Red Hook exploring last weekend. Here are the highlights.

Calexico. Holy moly. This is some of the best Mexican food I’ve had in New York. I felt like I was transported to San Francisco. They’ve been getting some crazy press (they used to be just a food cart, and now they have this store front! YAY Calexico!), so I was eager to see what all the buzz was about.

This food was outrageously good. It was the perfect fuel to keep us going for our bike ride. The atmosphere is not pretentious at all and the food is such good quality. Calexico gets an “A+” in my book. And David was very pleased as well.

Please allow me to recommend the Carne Asada Quesadillas. Promise me that you’ll get this when you go there. It was a recommendation from my friend Jessica, who said to me: “I know, I know, quesadilla?  What are you, 11?  I’m telling you, you won’t be disappointed because it comes with the crackiest of crack sauces I’ve had in a long time”. She was right. The Crack Sauce. Mmm! Don’t even get me started. Here’s their website.

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Free kayaking! WHAT!? Yes. Red Hook is, apparently, just that cool.

As a totally unplanned unexpected bonus, David and I happened upon this amazing program sponsored by the volunteer organization called the Redhook Boaters. The kind and good-hearted people of Redhook Boaters set up shop at Louis Valentino Jr. Pier Park (phew, what a mouthful!). And in exchange for helping them clean up the waterfront, they provide free kayaks to take out on the river. With gorgeous views of the Statue of Liberty and the satisfaction of knowing that the Red Hook waterfront has a few less cigarette butts and bottle caps as a direct result of your help, an afternoon spent at the Pier is a win win!

It was a blast. And a pleasant little work out! When we got there, it wasn’t super crowded and we didn’t wait more than 10 minutes for a kayak. But I would recommend checking it out soon before word gets out that this is the best deal in the city. They’ll be at the Pier every Sunday, and during July and August they’ll be adding evening kayaking on Thursdays from 6-8pm! Checkemout.

Say hello to Steve’s Authentic Key Lime Pies. If you’re a key lime pie person (which, why shouldn’t you be?), then fuggedaboutit. Yer done. This is all you need. These little treats are off the hook.

David and I kept things classic with their 4-Inch Key Lime Tart. But if you’re lookin’ to get crazy, try their Swingle: a key lime tart, on a stick, dipped in semi-sweet chocolate. I have yet to sample one myself, but I hear good things.

I heart Red Hook. It’s so quiet and charming…in an abandoned-warehouse-beach-town-sorta-way. There are a few other wonderful little places that I love, but didn’t mention in this post.  They are definitely worth a visit:

*Baked – their Sweet & Salty Brownies make me weak. And check out Jen’s delicious blog post about her first time at Baked!

*Fort Defiance – order their Muffuletta and Ginger Soda, and you’re looking at a perfect lunch.

*Saipua – a flower and soap shoppe, this is the best-smelling storefront in Red Hook. The gorgeous bouquets that they post on their blog cheer me up daily. (Click here to check out my amateur, but beautiful, bouquet I assembled there!)

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A Getaway San Francisco Weekend

April 19, 2010

Before I get on with this post, I just have to state the following fact: I AM BLOGGING THIS FROM A PLANE. That above photo is my view RIGHT NOW. What!? I know! I’m just as shocked as you are. Is this the future? Where’s my hover car? Am I on some supremely boring candid camera show? Yet another reason why Virgin Airlines is my jam: they allow me to feel the exhilaration that comes with blogging at 35,000 feet.

Okay, now that that’s out of the way, I can get on with this post. Ladies and gentlemen, San Francisco!

So, the reason I’m on a plane in the first place is because I’m coming back from a weekend trip to San Francisco! That’s right. The home to Rice-a-roni, trolley cars, and the Tanner family.

Though the vacation was brief, I seemed to pack a lot into just a few days. Also, a trip like this reminds me how necessary it is to get out of New York, if even just for a little while. I feel like I say that every time I take a day or weekend trip out of NY, but you guys, it’s true! New York, I love you…as long as I can escape you every now and again. Don’t take it personally, New York. You’re still my favorite. You just better not be raining when I get back, or else we’re having words.

The fresh familiar air of California was the sweetest way for me to recharge my sun-craving batteries.

My trip to SF was grounded by one main event: my great friend, MacKenzie‘s, 100th birthday party. Well, “100” collectively: she turned 25 and her dad turned 75. So a group of us gals made the trek, 3 of us coming from Brooklyn and 1 from L.A., and we partied in her Bay area hometown. The party was a blast. It was hosted in the upstairs dining room of her family’s Hunan restaurant (I think every family should have a family-owned banquet hall, they come in handy!).

The soiree fit MacKenzie’s quirky, kitschy, foodie personality to a tee. There was plenty of pig to eat, a spirited “Oh Danny Boy” sing-a-long accompanied by her cousin on the accordion, your typical family life-sized cardboard cutouts, and custom-made pinatas of the evening’s honorees. MacKenzie going to town on her own paper-mached head with a baseball bat was incredibly bizarre. But then again, delicious butterscotch candy came out of her face, so who am I to complain!

Fortunately, our group of girl friends all had a similar agenda for the rest of the trip. Eat, shop, drink, sun, and more eat. Naturally our first stop was a little local food tour led by MacKenzie.

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And the grand finale, a bakery that I absolutely fell in love with. The sweetest little pink and yellow bakery with a variety of handmade sweets. Miette is a sweet-toothed girl’s heaven. If you don’t “aww” over the adorably decorated cupcakes, then I guarantee you’ll at least love the cheerful wallpaper.  The pastries at Miette were a little more formal than the comfort sweets that we make for Fanny & Jane, but certainly got my bakery wheels a-turnin’!

And I couldn’t leave without trying one of these little guys:

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And on the last day of my trip, my mom flew up from Los Angeles to spend some time in San Fran with me! She splurged on a super swanky hotel for us to stay the night! The kind of hotel that has random artsy chairs in the dimly-lit lobby and an iPod dock with speakers in each room. So we (I) jumped on the beds, played some backgammon, caught up over coffee, and took nice long sunny walks. It was, simply put, THE BEST.

family time with cousin Tony!

It was certainly a trip packed to the brim. I’m hoping to get in another visit to California this summer. But instead of NorCal, I’d go down to my hometown L.A., to visit my family and friends. And favorite restaurants. Naturally. But until then, I’ll be dreaming of the amazing Cali Mexican food that NY just can’t hold a candle to.

(p.s. Would you believe me if I told you that it took me the ENTIRE plane ride to put this post together? I guess in-the-sky-wifi isn’t as speedy as it’s on-the-ground counterpart.)

Can Every Day Be a Lazy Saturday?

March 11, 2010

Another reason why I am convinced that I will never move (have I ever mentioned on this blog just how much I love my apartment?  I love my apartment), is my close proximity to Prospect Park.  It’s like having a really big backyard…open to the public.  But the cutest public imaginable: lots of babies and little puppies.  And being just minutes away from the Grand Army Plaza entrance has it’s perks, one of which is the Saturday greenmarket.  Every Saturday, in front of the big arch, farmers set up their wares and all afternoon you can stop by for a fresh focaccia, refreshing milk, or even a succulent plant.

Look at these kids playing in the little patch of snow (bottom right)!  A-door-a-bull.

Come on, Spring!  I’m ready to let the sun shine in.

A Fine Night for a Picnic

March 10, 2010

*This evening was sponsored by The High Line and Trader Joe’s*

Yesterday’s high of 55 degrees and low of 42 degrees had all of New York City in a wonderful mood.  The air was crisper, people were smiley-er, coffee was sweeter, and the subways were still fairly smelly and unreliable…but not as bad as usual!  The random patches of dirt-covered snow hadn’t even fully melted from every sidewalk, but everyone was out on park benches with their ice cream cones and their lighter jackets.

My sweet boyfriend met me after work with a bag full of Trader Joe’s goodies, and we snacked and strolled along The High Line for an hour before I had to go to Harvard Sailing Team rehearsal.  One of the entrances is right near my office, and after last night, I promised myself I would take advantage of escaping to The High Line more frequently.  I hadn’t been back since I blogged about it in the summer, and it’s interesting to see how the place changes with the seasons.  It’s still just as magical, but the overgrown dried-out grass (see first photo) added an eerie feeling that reminded me of what the original abandoned railway tracks must have been like before they revamped ’em.  But there is just something so peaceful about being at eye level with many of the surrounding buildings.  When we perched on a chaise lounge, I looked up at the sky, and I swear I saw at least a star and a half.

We’re Back

February 26, 2010

puppies!

Hi friends.  Thanks for allowing me a few months’ hiatus.  It’s been some snowy days today and yesterday (New York, are these not the hugest flakes you’ve ever seen?), and it’s got me feelin’ all introspective.  And in my introspection, I realize that I’ve quite missed this blog.  I’ve missed posting my photos, and sharing my stories, and giving the latest updates.  So let’s start up again: my name is Faryn, I started a new job in September, I like it, I’ve also started a bakery with my friend Jen, I take pictures of food, lots of pictures of food, I love living in Brooklyn, my boyfriend is funny nice and loving and his name is David, Harvard Sailing Team is the sketch comedy group I’ve been performing with for the past four years, they are my family, I still don’t have a cat but I work daily on warming my roommate up to the idea of a cute little adorable sweet playful kitten pouncing around the apartment and snuggling with us on the couch.  Now you should be all caught up.

I know you’re dying to know about all the meals I’ve eaten, friends I’ve seen, Brooklyn experiences I’ve had, and general life updates (mom).  So thanks for coming back, and I promise some great new posts veddy veddy soon!

A Very Voorheesville Thanksgiving

December 1, 2009

The friends and good times…

And then there was food…

Well, that just about sums it up.  A 3-day vacation with some of my besties was just what the doctor ordered.  New York City is a funny place – I love it dearly, but every few months I just need to get the hell out.  And the crisp air of upstate New York, amazing comfort food, and some serious 3 on 3 basketball games were a the perfect little rejuvenators.  It was nice to have all the space in the world to run around, and also to have the option of staying in pajamas till 5pm.

With December practically here (holy cow, what!?), I’m hoping to take some more time off, and go visit my family in California during the holidays.  But procrastination really got the best of me this time, and airline tickets are already in the $600-$700 range!  Eeep.  Not an option.  I’m praying for a miracle, or some mercy from Virgin America.  Otherwise, I might have to get creative and plan a train-able/zip car-able/hitchhike-able East coast adventure for myself!  Any ideas?

And now I’m back in the city.  Back to the daily grind.  Everyone at work today was moving just a bit slower than usual.  It seems I’m not the only one who wasn’t quite ready to return from vaycay.  Or the lethargy could also be attributed to everyone’s happy little lingering buddha bellies filled with mashed potatoes and pie.

My Favorite Tree on the Block

November 25, 2009

Looks like this…

It’s the only tree on my block that goes  yellow this every autumn.  All the other trees’ leaves are red, orange, or brown prone.  As a girl who was born and raised in L.A., I am still in awe of the actual season changes.  You don’t see trees like this, with such vibrant yellow leaves, on Wilshire Blvd!  Shawna, also a fellow Los Angelina, and I marvel at it daily as we walk by on our way to the train in the morning.  And those sprawling branches!  It’s like if Big Bird were a tree.

I took the above photos a few weeks ago, and now the branches are quite a bit more bare, and the leaves are definitely starting to fall…

Is December really this close already??

A Monday to Ourselves

October 19, 2009

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*all photos courtesy of David’s iphone.

As I mentioned in this post last week, ever since I started my new full-time job three weeks ago, my free time is very precious, since it is fewer and farther between.  Thanks to Columbus day last Monday, I had the entire day freeee!  Luckily, David and my schedules miraculously coincided (I guess even Apple store specialists can catch a break on Columbus day), and so we took the entire day to venture around Brooklyn and Manhattan together, free as boids.  Because of our crazy schedules and multiple extra curriculars, the chance for David and I to both have a free day with not a thing on the books is very rare.  Sometimes when this happens, the realization can be so surprising and exciting for me, that I get overwhelmed by all of our potential day options (let’s finally go to the Statue of Liberty!…let’s go to that museum we keep talking about!…we have to try this new restaurant for breakfast, that new place for dinner, and the other cute little cafe for a snack!…)  But micro-planning a day like that can, not surprisingly, have the opposite effect of the desired relaxation we’re both hoping to enjoy together.  So we chose to celebrate with a semi-structured-loosely-planned-not-over-the-top day…and we started off by affording ourselves the beautiful luxury of sleeping in a little.  Then we grabbed a deelicious brunch at egg–a Williamsburg breakfast hotspot that I’d been dying to try, next we quietly spent some time (with several brazen, and hungry, geese) on the shore of the East River Park.  We finished the day with a massage in the city, and finally sat down to a homemade dinner and watched “I Love You, Man”.  It was bliss. 

I’m craving that freedom to be outside and eat good food and spend time with my boyfriend, as I sit here at my desk on this rather quiet Monday.

Autumn in New York

October 14, 2009

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This tree on my block confirmed it: it’s happening!  My favorite season is here!  I’m dusting off my scarves and bringing out my mom’s chocolate chip pumpkin cookie recipe, and counting down the days till Thanksgiving feast.

The leaves are changing.  It’s official, people.

\”Autumn In New York\” by Billie Holiday

Summer, Where Ya Goin?

August 18, 2009

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Sitting atop my friend’s Williamsburg roof the other day, I became acutely aware that we’re in the middle of August, quickly heading towards September.

Staying true to my fear of missing out, I’ve been having slight anxiety about the summer slipping away and the feeling that I didn’t take advantage of everything that a New York summer has to offer a young, energetic, movie and food-loving girl like me.  I know it’s unrealistic to expect myself to attend every drink special event at Beer Table, or get a front row seat at the Coney Island Mermaid Parade, but still!  I read my issue of Time Out New York every week.  I’m well aware of all the events potentially at my fingertips!  I’m ashamed to admit that I haven’t made it to ONE outdoor movie screening this entire season (how could I have allowed myself to miss “Harold and Maude” in Bryant Park??).

I guess I don’t really have a good excuse.  Sure, I’ve been baking my butt off, and this summer has turned out to be one of my hardest-working New York summers yet (what happened to summer vacation?).  I think I’ve just been experiencing some serious wander lust lately.  In recent summers past, I’ve had an EscapeFromNewYork to look forward to.  Whether it was a trip to a faraway land (Israel) or a trip to some other faraway land (Burning Man), knowing that I had some trip to look forward to, somehow made it easier to chill out, pat myself on the back and say, “Good job.  What a rejuvenating summer.  Way to treat yourself, Self”.

Because of an uber busy schedule and due to financial restrictions, it seems there will be no big (or little) trip for me this summer.  Although, there has been some recent buzz about a group camping trip!  Fingers crossed that it pans out.  I do feel bad complaining though, because even though my summer has been seemingly non-stop obligations, it has been for things that I enjoy – consistent Fanny & Jane orders coming in and big Harvard Sailing Team comedy video projects to shoot and shopping for furniture and paint swatches to re-decorate my living room – it’s all good stuff!  I think my nights of staying up until 2am and waking up a mere 6 hours later, are finally starting to catch up with me.  To be expected.  All I’m sayin’ is that a massage would be really nice.  In Greece.  Fine, I’ll take Jersey.  Just so long as it’s before Autumn.