Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Pairs: The Beginning

I'm in Paris now! My little brother and I are here for two weeks. We've already accomplished so much, and we've only been here for two full days! We rented an apartment from Airbnb.com, and it turned out so well! Here are few shot of it. It's just a studio, but it has to twin beds, a clothing washer, a dish washer, and a tiny but very clean and modern shower. And, the best part, it has a gorgeous balcony! Check out that view.

Monday, July 30, 2012

New York Green Spaces

I once got into a fight with a guy who was from San Diego but attending law school at NYU about whether Los Angeles or New York was greener. He was a firm believer that LA was greener, mostly because there is no winter. I am a firm believer that he's just wrong. Beyond the huge parks (Central and Prospect), there are little parks everywhere. Some of them private, some of them public. My friend Allie and I spent the morning eating pastries from 2 Little Red Hens* and drinking coffee in both types of parks. I just loved being able to stand in the perfectly manicured grass of some hidden garden one moment and stare out on the East River from Carl Schurz Park the next. It was the perfect way to spend a lazy morning before it became too hot.

*In addition to breakfast pastries, 2 Little Red Hens makes the most delicious cupcakes. I got a banana bread cupcake with cream cheese frosting, and it was so good that I couldn't even spare a moment to photograph it before I demolished it. 2 Hens is also a must see!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Mast Brothers Chocolate

I made it to Mast Brothers during my brief 26 hours in New York City! It was intoxicating. The smell of chocolate was intense but unlike any chocolate I had smelled before. I guess I shouldn't be surprised that when someone uses extremely high quality ingredients and fine techniques, the end product will be nothing like your average Hershey's bar. But it was still an eye opening experience to sample the bars and actually be able to identify different flavors from each bean. As far as the basic chocolate bars go, I loved Moho River which has fruity hints. But I also tried some of the flavored bars. They are all very intense. By far my favorite was the Stumptown coffee bar. So good! Even better than actual Stumptown coffee, I think. If you find yourself in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, Mast Brothers is an absolute must! And be sure to try a brownie too!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Done with the Bar! Now off to New York and Paris!

Hey guys, guess what?! I finished taking the bar yesterday! EEEEEEEEE! Now we just have to keep our fingers collectively crossed that I actually passed. So I never have to put up with another 2 months of this:

Actually I mock, but these were two of my favorite video lecturers. They were very . . . animated. They kept me from falling asleep. But still I'm excited to leave those fellas behind and, instead, spend time in NYC with some friends from college who have kindly agreed to celebrate my new freedom with me. I'm thinking coffee and croissants in the park and then maybe a tour of Mast Brothers Chocolate Factory? Followed by copious amounts of wine, of course.

Then on Saturday, I'm off to Paris with my little brother. I absolutely cannot wait to spend 15 days looking at art in the morning, having a leisurely lunch, spending afternoons reading in the parks or shopping on cobblestone streets, and then roasting veggies and finishing a bottle of wine for dinner. It sounds like absolute perfection when you've spent the last 2 months studying or (more often) feeling guilty because you weren't studying. I'll be sure to send lots and lots of updates!

All image sources: fireworks, Kaplan screenshots are my own handiwork, the City, celebratory cake, taxis, champagne, Eiffel Tower.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Will Return After the Bar

It's crunch time. God, I hope I don't fail. I'll be back when the bar is over, and then I'll be updating from Paris!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Happy Friday!

Well only 2 weekends left until I take the bar, so I don't have much fun planned for this weekend. It will be mostly flash cards and practice essays. We are going to whip up the Oceanaire crab cakes again for a low key dinner tonight, and tomorrow we'll grab a quick dinner at Wood Spoon. I've never blogged about it, but it's a lovely little Brazilian place at the corner of 9th and Spring. Maybe I'll get a chance to share after taking the bar. I hope you've got something fun planned for the weekend!

PS: This was a shot I took when I was up in Yosemite earlier this summer. After the bar, I promise to tell you all about that too!

Dinner at Towne Food & Drink

Admittedly there were a few hiccups during our dinner at Towne (the pace of drink and dessert service could be described as glacial), but since the restaurant had only opened 24 hours earlier, I'm going to chalk that up to the normal kinks that need to be worked out in any new business. I'd rather highlight how delicious the food was, how enthusiastic the service was, and how beautiful the space is!

We tried a lot of their small plates since everything looked so amazing, and almost all of it lived up to or surpassed expectation. The best ones were the roasted carrots, which is actually a full on salad with avocado and honey comb and whole carrots, and the lobster pig in a blanket, which replaces the hot dog with a sausage made of shrimp and lobster. They were both absolutely fantastic. Also incredibly tasty was the lobster mac'n'cheese (though don't expect much lobster, it's more for a cheese lover) and the pretzels rolls with mustard butter that come complimentary. The only small plate that I wouldn't order again was the tuna tartar. There was nothing wrong with it, but it didn't live up the other dishes.

For entrees I tried the artichoke pizza, Katie tried the scallops, and my boyfriend tried the burger. The burger and scallops seemed to be winners based on the fact that my dining companions left nothing on their plates. I thought the pizza was fine, but I wasn't in love with the toppings I chose. The crust is great, though, so I would order the pizza again but just choose different toppings. The squash blossom and burrata pie, in particular, is calling my name.

As for desserts and drinks, we had a mixed experience. Here's a thorough review of the ups and downs of the macarons, and in addition we tried the espresso chip cookie sandwich. No complaints about that! Katie went 50-50 on her cocktails. The first one, the CoCo Punch, was underwhelming. It just tastes like you dumped bourbon into your kids chocolate milk. The flavors did not mix well. She followed that up with the Eastern Mule, which she liked much more. I, on the other hand, was impressed with their liqueur and wine selection. They had my new favorite aperitif, Aperol! And they had the 2010 Kali Hart pinot noir that I tried at Corkbar! The only downside was the price; almost all the drinks are $12 and up.

Overall the meal was really enjoyable. When service was slow (or when or waiter forgot to order the tuna tartar), the annoyance was made up for by the staff's positive attitudes. Towne definitely left me wanting to come back to try more.