Last weekend I went camping for a night in New Jersey in 40ish degree weather with a deflated air mattress. Although it was nice to see trees and birds, I was glad to have a more relaxing weekend.
Friday night E & I met up after work at Ten Bells, a place I've been wanting to try for their "oyster happy hour," where the oysters are only $1. The oysters on the half shell were actually quite good, but they did have some grit in them and were too salty. E wanted to leave ASAP. So we did. I've heard so many raves about this place, but it really is overpriced...$1 oysters are nice but when the cheapest glass of wine is $9...I mean come on, it doesn't really even itself out.
We ended up going just next door to Barrio Chino, a fantastic Mexican restaurant I had my 24th birthday party at with several friends. Except for 8+ people, they don't take reservations, so it's usually tough to eat at, since there are maybe 30 seats...one time E and I put our name down and they called when we were paying the bill at the restaurant we ended up going to. So, anyway, we were able to sit right down since it was so early..like 6:15-6:30 on Friday. They have amazing cocktails, so I made E get a jalapeno grapefruit margarita. I wanted him to have the jabanero one but the waitress said that would be mean! I tried an elderflower lime one, which was nice, and later we had a strawberry vanilla one, which would have been better before the meal. Great enchiladas verde and I had some kind of stuffed chile with this awesome ground meat that had, apparently, pears and dried fruit in it, though I couldn't see it. Oh, and we had shrimp tostadas as an appetizer. I'm kind of meh on shrimp, mainly because you always seem to get these flaccid, flavorless things. Small yet firm and full of flavor, these shrimp were the shrimp I wish I could eat more regularly.
Saturday, we tried to make a dutch baby, a kind of puffy pancake, but it was a bit of a fail. The edges were nice and puffy but the middle was just thick and yucky.
I decided to go on a run for the first time in months. It was a huge success! I was able to run at a slow pace comfortably for about 10-12 minutes (I had only planned on going on a 20-minute run total to warm myself up). I then did some interval/sprint training. I did a couple walk/sprints, then a walk/build, then wound down with some slow run/walk intervals. I read a year ago that it's actually better to WALK for part of your run if you pair it up with sprints and builds, and I think it makes sense. After all, we used to do that in swimming all the time. It also makes the run more interesting, and I got my heart rate up really high (um, over 200? I think that means I still need to get in better shape, apparently the "target" is 165 for a 26-year-old). Plus, I ran for 32 minutes, 10 minutes more than I wanted to ease myself into. Today, my inner thighs are way sore but I feel more refreshed and energized.
That afternoon we did our Whole Foods trip in the rain on our bikes, leading me to release a primal scream on the way back when there was so much rain blowing in my face and some of these crazy 30mph winds that seem to be the norm for NYC (and are much worse when you're biking into them..walking the wind is slightly more tolerable). We filled up our growler, and I'm enjoying the beer from it right now.
While I was doing my run, Eric went to Marlow & Daughters, a butcher shop across the Williamsburg Bridge. He got a whole chicken, some lamb for Sunday, house-cured bacon, and some sausages they gave him to try. I love local butchers! Though I was trying to start a health kick (the run and all), he insisted on fried chicken (another America's Test Kitchen recipe), and it was fantastic. Damn, I never knew I liked fried chicken til I met this man! Earlier in the week, pre-health kick (and reading this stupid (as in probably right) Magazine article, "Is Sugar Toxic?"), I had expressed interest in making blueperry pie, so we did that. The crust had two sticks of butter (for top and bottom crust), but actually I added only 2 tsp of sugar to the crust and 1/2 cup to the blueberry filling, so it was naturally sweet, at least. I was so full of chicken, but I made room for pie, with some of my favorite vanilla gelato to make it a la mode. Seriously, is my whole life preparing for meals and eating? I blame my boyfriend.
We watched Vicky Cristina Barcleona, which I had been meaning to see forever. It was nice, light, and a little sexy. Go Woody Allen.
Today we traipsed over the Williamsburg Bridge on bike, checked out Marlow & Daughters, and biked though W-Burg. The hood has changed so much in a few years, and not for the better. The main drag, Bedford Ave., was totally overcrowded with people. The side streets are still more deserted, a mix of broken down abandoned warehouses and spanking new condos (some of which are unfinished thanks to the housing crash). The best places are kind of on the edges and away from the main drags, but that makes them a little harder to discover. There's an uptick in the amount of baby carriages, and the neighborhood isn't quite as uniformly hipster anymore, but it's just so darn young. It's like a college/grad school campus. It lacks diversity when it comes to age. Also, when I come to W-Burg I expect to pay a little less for dinner/drinks. A lot of places make good on that, but there are some places that charge Manhatten prices..that SHOULDN'T. E says I think about money too much. But what can I say, it's who I am!
Tonight I made a healthy-ish banana bread from a Moosewood cookbook, and we're having lamb and fingerling potatoes. I think it will be a good night.
Oh, and last night I finished Three Cups of Tea, which is about an ex-mountain climbing guy building schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Today, I find out "60 Minutes" is doing an expose on him, saying he's a liar. Just in time, right?