Saturday, June 29, 2013

Knitty in the city

Handmade knit top  | Knitty in the city on *sparklingly  |
{  Blocked and folded!  |  22 June 2013  }

Over the last month I've shared little glimpses my "big project"—both starting and (sigh) restarting it and now I'm so, so happy (and shocked) to say that it's (finally) done!

Handmade knit top  | Knitty in the city on *sparklingly  |
{  Finishing up!  |  22 June 2013  }

I used to knit / crochet / cross-stitch / sew / and wield a glue gun as a little girl, but gave it up when I hit middle school. As a career girl (woman) I work at a computer all day and (used to) spend my evenings fiddling around online. A few years ago I decided this was insane, so I made it my mission to pick up handcrafts again to give myself something productive and non-screen-requiring to do after work (and before snuggling down with my book before bed).

In the last 3.5 years I've made socks, ties, pocket squares, washcloths, dinner napkins, scarves, cowls, armwarmers / wristers, baby booties / hats and blankets. Even though I've gotten better (and made less mistakes) with each project, I was still too nervous to make actual clothes for myself. I was scared it'd be a waste of time and money, that I would hate whatever I made and feel like I "had" to wear it after all the effort it took to knit. I also worried that the monotony of a "big" project would be too boring and that it would would never fit me correctly (knitting clothes is harder than sewing, not so easy to fix mistakes or "redo").

Handmade knit top  | Knitty in the city on *sparklingly  |
{  In progress  |  22 June 2013  }
Handmade knit top  | Knitty in the city on *sparklingly  |
{  All done!  |  22 June 2013 }
Which are all just ways of saying I was scared to do a big project and felt safer in my smaller ones. But, when I saw this sweet little top (with a wee hint of risqué-ness) on Purl Bee, Purl Soho's craft blog, I forced myself to go out and buy some fancy yarn and one month later, I can finally wear my first "bespoke" piece!

It's definitely not "perfect", but it's completely wearable (and I'm probably the only one who notices that it's maybe a smidgen too long and that I should have perhaps worked in one less decrease at the hips to make it lay better). But, despite the 91F temps earlier this week, I donned this little guy with (schvitzy) pride!

 Now comes the fun part—deciding what to make next!

Handmade knit top  | Knitty in the city on *sparklingly  |
{ Wore it to work...despite 90F temps  |  24 June 2013 }

Friday, June 28, 2013

Tacos and tortillas and tequila, oh my!

Delicious Mexican dishes from Fonda Manhattan  |  *sparklingly  |  Tacos and tortillas and tequila, oh my!
{ Delicious Mexican dishes from Fonda Manhattan  |  25 June 2013 }

My heart beats for tacos. Soft, pillowy masa rounds filled with slow-cooked pork, topped with pickled onions, dotted (let's be honest: drenched) with fiery salsa and washed down with a potent tequila.

I've always felt this way about Mexican food, but our little jaunt down to the Yucatán Peninsula earlier this summer, plus non-stop taco (and taco-like) eating, confirms that yes: I am wholly consumed by the thought of my last taco and where my next will be coming from.

That's where my dear Fonda comes in. I first went to the restaurant with a few girlfriends a year or so ago. It was the end of summer and already a little fall'ish outside—the food was delicious and memorable, but there's just something about tucking into a table full of tacos and tortillas when the weather outside is sultry. After refreshing my memory of its goodness at the Seaport Smorgasbar, I had to take R (whose eyes grew wide as he took his first bite from the kiosk) for a proper dinner date.

So in the midst of the heatwave this week we booked a table at Fonda. The morning of I made sure to wash my hair and wind it up while wet in braids and buns (my portable A/C), to put on a blowsy brightly-colored top (I like to echo my surroundings), and pulled up the menu on my computer (to periodically re-tabulate my ordering strategy throughout the day).

And, my goodness, when our reservation time finally rolled around (and I swam through the mugginess of Soho and the East Village to arrive in Alphabet City) it didn't disappoint. The only thing I would do differently the next time we go (because, yes, there will most certainly be a next time), is not to make the rookie mistake of sitting at a table a few feet to the left of the bar, instead of right at it, because the menu served over there offers most of the same dishes that we ordered, but at "Happy Hour" (which lasts the whole evening!) prices. Noted: cocktails and apps at the bar, entrees and tequila at a table.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

A smorgasbord of Smorgasburg

East River Ferry to Williamsburg's Smorgasburg  |  *sparklingly  |  "A Smorgasboard of Smorgasburg"
{ The East River Ferry from Wall St./Pier 11 to Williamsburg  |  June 2013 }

I've now experienced all three of the Smorgasburg food outposts (have yet to visit either of the Brooklyn Flea locations), and I can say that the South Street Seaport Smorgasbar is my favorite. And no, I'm not giving it more weight because it's in my neighborhood (although, that's obviously a nice perk!), but it's just so much more manageable. Crowds and I do not mix, as you may remember.

I visited the Dumbo Smorgasburg way back in October last year, at the tail end of our Hurricane Sandy experience. After a week of no electricity, water or heat, we gratefully took my boss up on her very generous offer to use her family's apartment in Dumbo for the day while they were upstate so we could clean up, warm up, charge up and generally feel like humans again. Part of that included a fall'ish walk around the neighborhood and stumbling across the Sunday Smorgasburg in Dumbo's gorgeous Tobacco Warehouse. It was so lovely and tranquil, until I realized we were only in one section of it, and I had already purchased some nibblies before coming upon another whole area with (even tastier) options! A little whining ensued.

As for the original Williamsburg Smorgasburg, I finally experienced it a few weeks ago when friends met me downtown for $20 manicure/pedicures in ridiculously comfortable massage chairs (Bless you, New York), before hopping on the East River Ferry up the water to Williamsburg. The New York Water Taxi (the jaunty yellow boat in front of ours in the picture above) runs a similar line, including the free trip to IKEA in Red Hook. But, the East River Ferry is the only one (that I know of) that will take you right from my backyard to Smorgasburg's for $4.

We arrived pretty quickly (although we were in no rush—any time you get to be on a boat in the NY Harbor in good weather, it's time to savor). But, I got a little nervous / cranky when I saw the crowds from the boat's deck. We decided to do one fast loop so we had an idea of all the options available (lesson learned from the Dumbo Smorgasburg) and then split up to forage for our lunches.

I chose Palenque Colombian Food (can't get enough of arepas and tacos this summer!) for my lunch, followed by dessert from Alchemy Creamery. My $8 pork arepa was tasty, if a little dry, and my $6 teensy cup of vegan, gluten-free dark chocolate sea-salt chai "potion" from Alchemy was also delicious, but the price tag (especially for the size) took away from my ice cream euphoria. I'm generally more "relaxed" about food options at festivals, but both did leave me a little miffed (note: Fonda's tacos at Smorgasbar were delicious! I've been to the brick-and-mortar restaurant a few times, and the dishes we had at the Seaport were just as good.).

It was also not the prettiest of locations to me—lots of open space, but not very many shady/sitting areas. Luckily I bought my picnic blanket and there was a sparse little sapling throwing off a few feet of shadow, so we parked ourselves under it (a bit too close to the porta potties for my liking), and made the best of it.

In the end we did enjoy ourselves, I mean, spicy food + good friends + a beautiful day is pretty much all you need, right? But, perhaps the nicest bit of the whole Williamsburg jaunt was a walk around the block after we finished our lunch and leisurely chat and happening upon Fabbrica, the prettiest little Italian lounge / restaurant / market occupying the corner space of a chic block. Think huge lofty windows and French doors opening to the sidewalk, black interiors brightened up by pretty fixtures and antique mirrors that reflected light every which way. We sat at the bar in the direct path of the breeze for a refreshing tonic before heading home.

I'll consider this a win for Williamsburg (although, thanks be that the Seaport Smorgasbar is only a few blocks away until October!).

Monday, June 24, 2013

Cavorting with the masses, or not

Consulate General of Sweden's 2013 Midsommar / Midsummer party in NYC |  *sparklingly |  "Cavorting with the masses, or not"
{  The Consulate General of Sweden's Midsommar party in Battery Park  |  21 June 2013  }

Crowds. Navigating the masses, trying to avoid trampling toddlers, straining to hear above the clatter.

Big parties. Introductions, mingling, small talk, pleasantries.

Two situations that I'm exceedingly bad at. It's the reason I hyperventilate at the Union Square Greenmarket (and why I never go anymore). It's also why I never rushed a sorority, and why I'm not  too enthusiastic about big gatherings or festivals (last week I took the ferry across to Williamsburg to visit the original outpost of Smorgasburg and I panicked getting off the boat when I saw the crowds.) Probably a combination of my huge level of shyness and my inability to be calm when I'm thirsty / hungry and it looks like procuring something to assuage my parched mouth and grumbling stomach will be difficult (which is exactly what happened at Smorgasburg).

All this slipped my mind this weekend.

First, when we realized that we could finally make this year's Midsommar party thrown by the Consulate General of Sweden. To be fair, I didn't think we'd be in the midst of masses of people. Seriously, look at these pictures (this is from last year, but the crowds were the same, if not increased, this year)! Who knew there were so many Swedes in New York?

I walked down from work in Soho (carrying my laptop and walking 2 miles in the heat probably didn't help my frame of mind) to meet R outside the park. Within two seconds two things were clear: Swedish children with wreaths of flowers are adorable, especially when they're holding hands and skipping around and, there were only 5-6 kiosks with food and drink for the hundreds of people milling around. The lines were ridiculously long, but at least Swedes, being Swedes, the lines were also frighteningly straight and orderly.

We had already missed the raising of the Maypole (it's done at 5PM and we were still at work), but we had hoped to watch the dancing and singing. Sadly, after 20 minutes of trying to fight our way through the crowds we decided we had soaked up enough Swedishness and walked up the Esplanade to the North Cove Harbor to sit out by the yachts with a platter of chips & guacamole and pork tacos for me, burgers for R and beer for both.

It was delightful. And there were no crowds.

And, because I hadn't learned my lesson, I went to a housewarming in Dumbo Saturday night and didn't time my arrival well. R wasn't able to come (he excels in large social situations), so I was left to fend for myself and try to talk to people for the first hour and a half. Then, mercifully, another gal I'm close to arrived and we escaped to the roof with two others (one being the hostess), and finally, we got to chat and sip our drinks and enjoy the view of Manhattan.

So, here's my new official lesson/survival tactic for overwhelming social situations: When at a big party, form your own smaller one. (And if smothered in a large crowd, leave and create your own—because who needs that?).

Friday, June 21, 2013

Home linens

Hiya! I realized that in all the recent citizenship hurrumpus, I haven't shared my latest crafty doodads—humor me for a moment while I show these off. First up: a crocheted Christmas blanket.
Granny square crocheted blanket  | *sparklingly | "Home linens"
{ Crocheting for charity!  |  May 2013 }
Yes, it's the middle of the summer, but I had 3 years of yarn scraps from various projects left over—too little to make something, but too much to discard. So I had an idea to put together all the remnants to crochet a blanket to donate this winter. All I had to do was purchase a few bundles of neutral, cream yarn to tie it all together and then I made a small "granny square" and just kept going around and around, working in scrap color after scrap color (with rows of cream in between to marry all the vibrant colors together). 
Granny square crocheted blanket  | *sparklingly | "Home linens"
{ All spread out  |  May 2013 }
Granny square crocheted blanket  | *sparklingly | "Home linens"
{ Another view  |  May 2013 }
It's the perfect size for a couch throw, so even though this isn't for us, I've stacked it up with our couch snugglies for now and I'll pack it up when our building has its annual collection for winter clothes and home goods in the Fall.
Granny square crocheted blanket  | *sparklingly | "Home linens"
{  Folded up on our stack of throws for now  |  May 2013  }

And, I finally finished our set of handmade napkins, after coveting the stack I made for a friend. The first two came off my needles a few weeks ago and I debuted them during one of our Sunday suppers, but it took a while to finish the third and fourth. A bigger project intervened for a bit—which hopefully I'll f.i.n.a.l.l.y. be done with soon!
Handmade knit cotton dinner napkins  | *sparklingly | "Home linens"
{ In progress!  |  May 2013 }
Handmade knit cotton dinner napkins  | *sparklingly | "Home linens"
{ In action   |  May 2013 }

Handmade knit cotton dinner napkins  | *sparklingly | "Home linens"
{ In situ |  June 2013 }

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

An Italian intermezzo

Consulate Generale d'Italia citizenship request interview | *sparklingly | "An Italian intermezzo"
{  Consulate Generale d'Italia a New York  |  18 June 2013  }

After some depressing revelations plus a fluster-filled trip to the bank last week, I'm happy to say the long-awaited, much-feared morning of my appointment at the Italian consulate has come and gone and I am done. D.O.N.E.

First though, you need to hear about that bank trip.

Despite not having a key document (at least the technically not-expired-one) yet, we decided to just act like we had everything we needed and go to our appointment at the Consulate Generale d'Italia a New York this morning as planned. To do that though, we needed to complete a wire transfer to the Minister of the Interior in Italy for my application.

So last week I went to my bank with instructions (printed from the Italian Consulate's website) and hand them over to the banker to get the money on its way. She informs me that the information I've given her is missing an address, which is required for foreign transfers. Luckily I had 10 minutes before the Italian Consulate's phone line closed (they're only open for 90 minutes a day—obviously), so I quickly call and explain the situation and asked for the address to include in the transfer.

The woman says:
"No one has ever needed an address, so I do not know why you decide to need one."

I relay this to the banker, who says she absolutely cannot send money abroad without an address, to which the Italian woman says in all seriousness:
"All the information you need is on the website, I cannot offer you any more advice than I already have, so if your banker requires something extra, I suggest you to change banks."

Awesome. So helpful. Mille grazie.

After hanging up I did some furious Googling while the banker taps her pen on the desk and found the address on the Consulate General d'Italia a Melbourne's website—thank you, Australia!—so I was able to leave with my receipt showing that yes, I did send a few hundred dollars to the Minister of the Interior in Italy for my citizenship request.

This morning I woke up completely nauseous, as I was 100% sure they'd deny my documents—either the one that was older than three months or some other one for a silly reason. Once we arrived at the Consulate (see the picture I snapped this morning, isn't it pretty?) with all my newly re-issued, doubly-paid-for, generously notarized and Apostille'd documents + stack of filled-out forms + hefty wire transfer receipt, I calmed down a teensy bit. Especially after I realized it's almost exactly 8 years to the day from when I first met R, so there's got to be some luck in that, right?

Turns out our case reviewer was the same woman who I spoke with on the phone! While I was a little annoyed with her last week, she turned out to be quite sweet and understanding. And, except for one tiny little snafu (the Italian document we have that certifies our marriage is registered in R's city hall is only a "certificate" instead of the long-form registration), all our documents were accepted!

We did have to pay another sizable fee (which was not mentioned anywhere else, of course), but we left with the promise that we'd receive a case number via email in a day or two and that the Italian government says the maximum waiting period to receive citizenship is 730 days (two years)! So, I have no idea why the woman we met last week is still waiting, but I'm holding them to their promise!

Technically we still have to get the longer (proper) form certifying our marriage is registered in Italy to have as backup just in case our abbreviated version doesn't suffice, but I'm just going to go ahead and declare that I am done! DONE!

If we move, it's easy enough to transfer our case (so they say), so sometime in the next two years, regardless of where I am, I'll get an email that asks me to come to my local consulate to swear my oath to Italy.

Best part of all this? No exam! (You actually don't even have to speak Italian, which put our case reviewer into a huff when she told us, and understandably so). For American citizenship, you have to pass a written and oral English exam AND take a test on American history, politics and laws! (I may have forgotten to mention, but we got a letter last week that R's American citizenship interview and exam is scheduled for next month, so he's studying and things are just rolling along nicely now!).

So, there you have it, my long-winded story to get to this point and now I shall make like an Italian and enjoy my much-deserved intermezzo. Whew!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The case for Svenska

{  Summer Barrel Tasting @ City Winery  |  Tribeca, NYC  |  11 June 2013  }

We ended up going out for pizza last night. Of course we did.

But first, I met R at City Winery for a little shindig they were throwing that we had absolutely no business being at (it was an event for the Classic Cars Club of Manhattan—of which we are definitely not members of, but the CW manager is a friend of R's so he kindly added us to the list). I walked over from my office in Soho after work, noted the adorable Shelby parked out front, and gave my name at the door to enter the winemaking part of their complex. Huge wine vats were being tapped with a serious number of wines out for tasting. City Winery is a restaurant, educational center and an actual winery—they make their own wines and allow members (something we are also not part of, oops!) to make their own wines there, as well.

After we sipped and sloshed our way partway down the line, we took a break and parked ourselves at an overturned-barrel-cum-table. At which point I felt it was a good time to launch into an emphatic, wine-fueled tirade against the Italian Consulate (naturally, since I was incorporating hand gestures, I had to revert to Italian). When I petered out I leaned my head against R's shoulder, sighed heavily and surveyed the room—at which point I noted a friendly-looking lady standing near us, so we all began chatting.

Surprise, surprise, she ended up breaking out into near-perfect Italian when R introduced himself (and she asked upon hearing his accent where he's from). Turns out she's been married to a man from Milan for 6 years. They're planning a trip to Sicily this summer so we were showering her with ideas and advice. She also casually mentioned to us she was waiting for her Italian citizenship through marriage to come through. Something she had applied for three years ago.

Three. years. ago.

She's still waiting for it! And, they live right across the Hudson River in New Jersey, so she submitted her application through the Newark consulate, which I imagine has significantly fewer cases than the Manhattan consulate—my local branch.


She was a lovely lady and it would be nice to do something with her and her husband, as she suggested, but, oof! that news was unwelcome. The only thing that could cheer me up after that was a lush, burrata-topped pizza from Emporio, one of my favorite sources of gluten-free pies—although they've just begun charging extra for it!—in the city.

So, lessons learned?

1. I need to start studying Swedish. Luckily I wasn't saying anything horrific in Italian that may have caused offense, but—more than once—I've been saying something somewhat sassy under my breath to R and turns out the people next to us speak Italian. This happened just last month on the way back from Mexico!

2. The citizenship process is basically a never-ending stream of nonsense. Although, perhaps I already knew that. Yep, definitely knew that.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

How sure are we about this Bella Vita nonsense?

Homemade pizza on *sparklingly []
{  Our delicious homemade pizza—who needs Italy?  |  June 2013  }

Y'all. I am feeling completely despondent and sick to my stomach—this time, not physically, but emotionally. I'm so over not knowing where we're going to end up, but even more over the stress of dealing with all these bureacracies.

That Italian Consulate appointment that moved up? It's next week. And we're still missing one document. From a federal agency. Which has informed me it won't be here in time.

And knowing those Italians, if we cancel the appointment, we'll have to reschedule it (it took 10 months to schedule this one) and re-do all the documents again, as they'll expire (that'll take another $250'ish dollars, which you'll remember, we've already paid twice).

Hence my nausea.

The other option is to go to our appointment without the missing document and hope we can just laugh it off and return with it as soon as it arrives. I can also bring the previous version, which is only six months old, but they're quite strict about the 3-month validity required, so I'm pretty sure they'll send us home and we'll have to do it all again anyway.

My desire for Italian citizenship is waning, and the only reason it hasn't completely disappeared is because Sweden is now giving us a tough time. We heard from them this week—they have more questions about our situation—I have no idea what the problem is. My husband is a citizen. I paid your fee. I submitted all the proof. What more do you want?!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Turmeric & ginger chocolate tummy tamer

Tumeric & ginger chocolate tummy tamer on *sparklingly []
{  Turmeric & ginger chocolate tummy tamer  }

Feeling achy? Crampy? Tired, but can't fall asleep? Maybe a cup of this little guy can help.

I woke up 4.5 hours before work today because I felt so horrible. After hobbling around doubled over in pain I finally decided to take a very hot shower (targeting the spray at my midsection), and then to curl up on the couch with a mug of this hopeful-healer. I feel a wee bit better, so thought I'd share with y'all.

Stir the following together in a little saucepan until its nice and blended and frothy and simmering gently:

+  1 cup of your preferred milk (I used Ronnybrook's Creamline)
+  1 tablespoon of chocolate (I used Navitas raw, organic cacao)
+  2 teaspoons of chicory (completely optional, I happened to have a smidgen of Dandy Blend left)
+  1 teaspoon of turmeric
+  1/2 a teaspoon of ginger
+  1/2 a teaspoon of cinnamon

Chocolate has actual health benefits, but I used it this morning just to make me happy. Who doesn't want chocolate on a Monday morning? The real helpers are the other anti-oxidants: turmeric (an anti-inflammatory and natural painkiller), ginger (another anti-inflammatory, as well as an anti-nausea and muscle relaxer) and cinnamon (which, like the others, warms the body—a good thing when you have bad cramps, even if it's hot and humid outside!).

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Date night, sort of

When my turn to plan a date night coincided with the arrival of an email for the "Distill my Heart: Bourbon and Cheese" class running at Murray's Cheese on the exact same night we planned to go out, I thought it was perfect. I wanted to do some fun activity, we both love bourbon, we both want to learn more about food history and pairings, and Murray's is adorable. But, the $150 price ticket for two seemed a bit steep, especially since it came with a 10% discount for dinners that night at Murray's Cheese Bar next door, which seemed to hint at a not-very-filling-tasting-class that would require a meal after. So, we went back to the old standby: dinner & a nice walk.

I've had Rosemary's Enoteca & Trattoria on my list (alongside Locanda Verde) for a long time—it seems so quaint and darling. A rustic restaurant in the West Village with a rooftop farm for the chefs to pluck greens from for the kitchen—sounds (and looks) lovely, right?

{  Rosemary's Rooftop Garden  |  via  }
{ Rosemary's Main Dining Space  |   via  }
{ Stairs up to the Rooftop Garden at Rosemary's  |   via  }
But, we never made it there two nights ago. Well, we made it there, right up to the hostess stand to put our name down for a table (they don't take reservations), and we were told it'd be an hour wait. As the restaurant was obnoxiously jammed with people yelling, and we were famished, we hurried out to the sidewalk to find something else close and good (and less deafening).

We ended up going to a restaurant we'd been to before and liked (but we had a less-than-good experience this time), so date night was a bit of a downer in the end—especially since I was so looking forward to Rosemary's (and had already studied the menu intently!).

Things looked up once we came home and I removed the shoes that were a good idea until we ended up walking home from the West Village. Cozying up on the couch together with a little bowl of ice cream helped, too (pink peppercorn + basil from il laboratorio del gelato, if you were wondering—I will always be the person who orders the oddest food combinations on a menu).

And, Rosemary's texted me 2.5 hours later to tell me our table was ready. They're a little nuts (and need to start taking reservations!).

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

All the small things

All the small things on *sparklingly { }
{  Pre-incident  |  May 2013  }

I sometimes find myself getting catastrophically upset / disappointed over small things (also known as: seriously sweating the small stuff).

Like last week. I was walking a few blocks in Soho to drop off a bag of clothes at a thrift store. I had on camel flats with gold accents, hot pink cropped pants, and a gray tee with a hot pink graphic. I also had my hair up in my Scandi braided bun and was sporting an Indian gold ring with a fuchsia ruby and one of my pairs of dangly, probably-too-much-for-work, gold earrings. I tell you this to underscore how cute I felt—until the usually charming cobblestoned Crosby street caused me to lurch awkwardly forward, sending my beloved gleaming Samsung Galaxy 3 shooting out of my pants pocket and tumbling down onto the rocky street.

After swaddling the poor thing and toting it back to the office I examined it thoroughly (post-disinfection, naturally), and lo—after just over a year of ownership, I had my first smattering of screen scratches. At first I thought they were linty bits from my tote bag—that's how airy and light they are, but no. Obnoxious, full-on scratches on my Gorilla Glass. Pretty remarkable that it lasted a year being scratch free, but now my formerly glam phone is looking a little schlumpy. Of course I'm the only one who would ever notice, but that didn't prevent a frenzied, panicky Googling episode to figure out how to remove all those pesky marks without spending a fortune.

See? Totally sweating the small stuff.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Sublime Saturdays & Sundays

Sublime Saturdays & Sundays on *sparklingly [ ]
{ Hudson River Park laziness  |  NYC  }

This weekend was, well, perfect.

No work (okay, a teensy bit of translating), no errands,  only a smidgen of cleaning/needy-plant-nurturing and hardly any time spent at home at all (so, the exact opposite of the last two weekends.)

R and I work different schedules—my weekends are the typical Saturday/Sunday deal that all us corporate types get, whereas R, who works in hospitality, has his days off during my work week. But, on Saturday he started much later than usual, meaning we could finally bring back an old favorite, a classic NYC institution: brunch. I poured over Open Table openings and menus and finally decided on Locanda Verde. It's been on my list for ages, having passed it numerous times during Tribeca neighborhood walks, as well as having heard lots and lots of good things. So lush and green (of course) and the menu? Delicious. Plus, slightly selfishly, the idea of being a block away from the water, for some post-prandial strolling and lounging, was very enticing.

And then—boom, R realized he wouldn't be able to make it after all. Someone else might have rearranged their plans, but I'm the type to get an idea in my head and then never let it go. I had already decided what I was going to order, so I couldn't get the menu off of my mind, meaning, I decided to take myself there for an early dinner on my own...but first:

I took myself to the Hudson River to sprawl out on a blanket in the shade (it was 90F outside, after all), along with a bottle of fizzy water, a mess of frozen groups and two books (finished one!). I let the grass play between my bare toesies while the light filtering through the tree boughs above made patterns on my open book and just dawdled the hazy, balmy afternoon away.
Sublime Saturdays & Sundays on *sparklingly [ ]
{ Dawdling away the afternoon on the Hudson River }
Sublime Saturdays & Sundays on *sparklingly [ ]
{ Hello kale + sardo + eggy goodness!  |  Locanda Verde  }

And then, off to Locanda Verde! I settled myself at the bar around 6PM, with my second book and a list of drinks before me. First up—the Piccoletta cocktail (marrying two of my favorites: Campari + Tequila, who knew they'd be so delicious together?). Then, a glass of nebbiolo and a ridiculously profuse kale salad with a shredded hard boiled egg + white sardo, followed by a beautiful platter of steak tartara (such a sucker for crudo on rustic wood, especially when topped with truffle oil, quail eggs and bacon!). Before heading home I figured no self-indulgent meal was complete without some chocolate, so a chocolate budino + mint gelato had to be had. You understand, right?
Sublime Saturdays & Sundays on *sparklingly [ ]
{ Me + a book + a snazzy cocktail  |  Locanda Verde, NYC }
Sublime Saturdays & Sundays on *sparklingly [ ]
{ Steak tartar-y goodness  |  Locanda Verde, NYC }

At 8:30PM, the setting sun on the West Side still burnishing the city, I headed home to settle myself on the couch to wait for R's return.

+ + + 

When I clambered out of bed Sunday morning, R was already at work, so I spent a few hours by myself at home with brewed cacao, my knitting and the fan blowing at me. Then I headed out to stock up on fresh flowers and pure chocolate for the week, before meeting R at SmorgasBar at South Street Seaport, an amazing offering from the folks behind Brooklyn Flea (massive flea market + food market) and Smorgasburg (massive local food market).

Sublime Saturdays & Sundays on *sparklingly []
{ Carnitas taco goodness from Fonda  |  Smorgasbar  | South Street Seaport, NYC }

Since the South Street Seaport (love their SEE/CHANGE campaign!) has been desolate since Hurricane Sandy, the developers chose it as the location for their newest market—their first in Manhattan—to bring some life and energy and much needed funds downtown. It was lovely. We sampled goods from Fonda: pork carnitas tacos and a jicama salad, with some ginger beer from another stall.

After our bellies were full we ambled over to the East River Esplanade to lay our blanket down on the grassy areas of the raised park to enjoy the rest of the evening. Babies toddled around, kids raced past us, dogs lumbered about, boats sailed by at the end of our pier, planes zoomed overhead—either slowly descending into LGA or JFK or racing up and across the sky as they took off. And so my sublime weekend ended.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

2013 in pictures: May

Click to catch up!
{ Smited by the Gods  | May 2, 2013 }
{ Fleeing the foolishness | May 6, 2013 }
{ Postcard from Mexico  | May 11, 2013 }
{ Lullaby oil concoction | May 14, 2013 }
{ Playing with pauses  | May 16, 2013 }
{ Welcome back | May 18, 2013 }
{ Pitter-patter-y weekends  | May 20, 2013 }
{ Tonics and potions | May 24, 2013 }
{ Long weekend  | May 25, 2013 }
{ Blueprints | May 28, 2013 }
{ 100  | May 29, 2013 }
{ Me, then...again | May 30, 2013 }