Entries Tagged as 'guacamole'

A Few More Days in New York

June 10th, 2013 · 3 Comments

Last week I was out in New York for work for a few more days.

Like every trip, mine began with a stop at Tortas Frontera at O’Hare. I was actually kind of afraid I wouldn’t be able to stop because of timing, but then my flight got delayed an hour and I had more than enough time. I changed it up this time and instead of getting a torta, I got the tortilla soup and the fully loaded guacamole. The soup broth was really rich and flavorful. The guacamole was good, but getting all of the toppings was a mistake, I think. I’d stick to just one or two or none next time. Also, maybe it was a fluke, but the chips were SO salty.

Even though my flight was delayed, I arrived early enough to visit with Jeannette and Yvan and Juliette (6 weeks old now, I think). The skies were bright and mostly sunny in Long Island City, so I don’t know what was up with the delays. It seemed fine on the Chicago side too. It didn’t even start raining in New York until later at night. Dallas was flying to Newark at the same time I was flying to New York and he had way more issues than I did.

I stayed at an SPG property called the Element Times Square West, located at 39th and 8th. I booked the room because it was a good rate, but it ended up being pretty nice and spacious for a New York City hotel room. Not that I used it, but each room in the hotel had a kitchen with a big fridge, two burners, a sink, dishwasher, microwave, dishes.

Even though I think the Element was on the lower end of the SPG spectrum, they still had the Heavenly bed that they have at the Westin, which was nice.

The view from my room at the Element.

Most days I took the subway to and from work, which made me feel like I was living there again.

While at work, one of my coworkers was on vacation for two weeks so I used his desk. He has a pretty nice view of the East River, the Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan Bridge!


The food in New York is always great! With my coworker, Stephanie, I had lunches at Flavors Cafe, where we got some great salads, and CRISP, a modern Mediterranean spot. My coworker from Chicago, Ranee, has been traveling to New York a ton and took me to Zaitzeff, a great burger spot. The menu is short and to the point, not straying all over the place with fancied up burgers. All the beef is grass-fed here. I got a cheeseburger with avocado and grilled mushrooms and it was amazing. Ranee and I split fries and neither of us finished them, but I was so full from the burger that I didn’t even eat dinner really! I think I had a fruit cup!

I also met up with Jess one night and we had dinner at Tia Pol, a tiny little Spanish tapas spot on 10th Avenue between 22nd and 23rd. I’d hoped to see her new apartment that she just bought and moved into the week before, but it was getting late. I was still glad we could catch up while I was in town!







Lastly, but not leastly, the food highlight of the trip was when I finally visited Eataly with Ranee and her cousin, Isabelle. Eataly is a high-end 50,000 square foot Italian food market and shopping center. Mega chefs Mario Bitali and Lidia Bastianich teamed up with restauranteur Joe Bastianich (Lidia’s son) for this amazing creation. The shopping and the tasting rooms are all mixed into one huge crazy experience. You walk along and look at meats and cheeses and then theres and area to sip wine while eating meats and cheese. You’re looking at the bins of fresh produce, when you stumble upon the vegetarian restaurant. There’s seafood and freshly made pasta, a beer garden, an amazing bakery, meats and produce and a whole line of Italian desert stands. I could have spent all day there!





In the end, we put our names in for the pizza and pasta spot and there was a wait, so we went to the vegetarian restaurant, sat at the bar and shared and artichoke that was BY FAR the best artichoke I’ve ever eaten. As we were finishing, with perfect timing, we were texted that our table was ready for dinner. I love gnocchi, but a lot of places screw it up, so I don’t order it too much, but I figured this was the place to get it. The gnocchi here was served with braised lamb shank ragu and was AH MAZE ING! To finish, I had the salted caramel gelato. OMG. So done. I’m sort of glad I don’t live in New York because I’d go broke at this place!

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Sunday Funday at Emporium Arcade Bar and Antique Taco

June 26th, 2012 · 1 Comment

Last Friday Dallas and some friends went to check out Emporium Arcade Bar, but it was super packed, he said. Trevor mistakenly bought $20 worth of tokens (you put in the machine instead of quarters, though they still only cost a quarter), but Dallas only needed one. He put one token in the Street Fighter 2 and then beat every person who walked up to challenge him. After a while he just gave up!

We went back to Emporium Arcade on Sunday to check it out and it was not packed at all. During the day the bar was bright and pretty. Lots of nice wood. The arcade games line the walls and there was plenty of seating for our small group. Trevor had given us his $20 worth of tokens, so we had plenty of gameplay. I checked out Double Dragon, Rampage, and of course Tetris. I remembered all of these from when I was young. Dallas played a bit of Street Fighter 2, but was disappointed that there was no one there to challenge him! He was up for some more butt kicking.

The arcade doesn’t have a kitchen, but you can bring in whatever you want. One of Dallas’s friends showed up with tacos and said he got them two doors down. I assumed it was some old taqueria, but when I headed over, the “taqueria” was Antique Taco, a new restaurant I’d read about that had just opened a month or so ago. So, yay. I got to try two new things in one day, and both of them were great.

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Brian and Sara’s Wedding Reception

March 18th, 2012 · No Comments

Mariachi played during the cocktail hour.

Cocktail hour aperitivo: Chips, salsa, and guacamole.

Adam and Andy

Brett and Kelly with coconut drinks.

Brett and her coconut!

Even Dallas had one.

I noticed that the wedding photographer was taking shots of the wedding party on the pier at sunset. Beautiful!

Trevor and all his friends! Just kidding! He stepped away to smoke and take in the sunset.

Soon, everyone joined to watch the sun set.

The dinner setting was gorgeous during the sunset.

Table #5, Couple #1: Kate and Trevor

Table #5, Couple #2: Mitch and Emily

Table #5, Couple #3: Dallas and Rachelle

Table #5, Couple #4: Damian and Vanessa

The photo slideshow that friends put together. The photo showing is of ziplining in Hawaii on our wedding trip!

Surprise! Guy on stilts with a live marionette puppet!

We followed them down to the beach.

Fire dance!

Brian and Sara’s first dance as a married couple.

Everyone rushing the dancefloor!

Brian busting out some Michael Jackson moves. He also did his signature move, the worm.

“…. now I had…. the time of my life… ” (Josh and Kelly)

“…. I put my hands up, they’re playing my song….. “

It’s a Party in the USA Mexico

Mike and Todd

Josh and Dallas (and their horrible dance moves).

Mike, Todd, Josh, Dallas

Kelly and Vanessa

After Brian and Sara’s wedding ceremony, we all went back up to the palapa where a mariachi band was playing. On the boat I said something like I’d hoped there would be mariachi, so I was extra excited about this! The band played for the cocktail hour, where we chowed on salsa, guacamole, chips, and many, many fruity drinks. On this trip the Miami Vice had been the most favorited fruity drink, but during the cocktail hour the favorite was definitely the drink in the freshly chopped coconut!

For dinner we headed up to the upper palapa. Dallas and I were at Table #5 with Damian, Vanessa, Trevor, Kate, Mitch and Emily. We had been hanging around with all these guys for the whole vacation, so it was a fun table to sit at. Adam gave a really nice (and funny) speech during dinner and Brian’s brother Mike poignantly stood up to say that he wished their mother could be there with them that day.

Next, some friends put together a surprise slide show with photos of Brian and Sara throughout the years. At first everyone paused dinner just to watch the show and take a trip down memory lane with Brian and Sara, but it soon became apparant that this thing would go on forever, so dinner resumed. (I helped edit a lot of the photos, so I know there were over 500, which would auto-play for something like 40 minutes.)

At the end of dinner everyone was surprised when an elaborately dressed guy on stilts came in and was controlling a life-sized, real-live-person marionette puppet. This grand entrance was punctuated by the two guys following, who were playing a slide trombone and a drum! They moved all around the dinner space and then all the guests followed them to the beach where they performed a fire dancing show. Extra impressive, since it was a very windy day!

Next up, Sara and Brian had their first dance. After that everyone basically rushed the dance floor and it was nonstop til the end of the night! People danced their butts off! Especially to Brian’s favorite Miley Cyrus song! :) What a fun wedding! Thanks to Brian and Sara for inviting us to be a part of it!

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