Monday, April 28, 2008

we are happy to present....Nowlze!

As promised, Nowlzie's guest blog appearance! And, stay tuned for my Rampin'-It-Up Reprise this week!

from Nowlze....

well, dear e, allow me to tell you about my lunch at google....

my friend, chealsea, works for a company called double click, who were recently bought out by google. i had heard tale of google's fantastic meals, and of their compound in CA, replete with pool, lounge chairs, smoothies made to order, etc. in fact, our good friend deidre's (aka "dabby's") husband was working there in CA, and i believe dabby was told that she, in fact, could not just stay there all day and hang out. bummer.

but new york is not cali...there is no pool, not a lot of craziness of that ilk aside from some lounge areas set up with guitar hero and coffee areas brimming with complimentary snacks (pita chips, power bars, gum, mints, candy, fresh fruit, all manner of soft drinks, waters, and juices...all complimentary.)

cheal gave me a mini tour, and we waltzed through many micro-kitchens as well as two cafeterias on two different floors. these were less cafeteria and more mall food court (but mall food court if whole foods took over and everything was fresh and organic.) there was a sushi bar complete with chef. as we got our trays, i grabbed a smart water (heh) and swiped a pack of gum. we traipsed through the caf, surveying the day's selections.

one area was completely raw and vegan...of course, they had the typical salad bar fare, but i also spied daikon salad among other prepared raw salads. i helped myself to some roasted tricolor beets, quinoa salad with cranberries and orange zest, and various other delicious fresh veggies and drizzled it all with an avocado dressing (wish i had a recipe for that.)

in the hot areas, there were lots of pastas made to order and, of course, many meaty things. for lunch that day, i went greek, and had some DELICIOUS roasted artichoke bottoms in a creamy yogurt dill sauce with some gorgeous salty greek olives. it was divine.

for dessert, a homemade, hot-from-the-oven pecan chocolate chip cookie. fantastic.

did i mention that all of this was free? gratis? on the house? little does cheal know her fatal flaw: she just may have a bi-weekly visitor, as goodle ny is but blocks from the tv studio that generally provides us with meat, meat, more meat, and oily pasta with salad from a bag. such a contrast. cheal says that she could eat three different meals there a day, any time of the day.

ah, to be a programmer...

............................................

Thanks, Nowlzie!!!

If you'd like to read more about what Google spends on (free--for employees) employee food, here's an article about the $72 million (!!!), about $7530 per employee, per year.

Friday, April 25, 2008

meatless loaf

I'm so annoyed with myself that I didn't have my camera last night to photograph my dinner because it was so perfectly A Home Cooked Meal.

I'd been wanting to try to make a version of "meat"loaf since I'd had the Meatless Loaf Hero sandwich platter at Kate's Joint when Barbara and I were visiting NYC. I'd asked our waiter what the base was, and he thought it was Gimme Lean ground beef style. So, I found this recipe, and tried it out last night. It was so good! It totally reminded me of my mom's meatloaf when I was growing up. Unlike lots of other kids (if the TV can be believed), I *loved* meatloaf. It was one of my favorite comfort foods. Now it is again! It was perfectly moist with the fantastic (and so simple) tangy glaze. I had it last night with roasted blue potatoes, sauteed green beans, and some challah. Today I'm going to have it for lunch on a sandwich of challah bread, and leftover green beans on the side. Yum.

I'm going to try to make a snack either tonight or in the morning for our road trip to the Ramp Festival. Last year I made some of (a riff on) Heidi's pocket tarts (and, while delicious, they were a pain in the behind to make because I used phyllo instead of puff pastry). But, I made the curried potato-pea puffs for new years (using actual puff pastry), and they were great and not to difficult. I've had a request for them again, so I'm gonna try to redd up some. Will report back...

Also, stay tuned! My good friend Nowlzie will be guest blogging for us about her recent lunch at a Google location (they're known for their FREE gourmet-style meals. I can't wait to read all about it!!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

ramp, ramp, ramp it up!

I know I'm probably sounding like a broken record, but I have been busy! All good stuff, but still. Blogging has been a diminished priority. And, I'm sorry, dear readers. I do miss you, and going forward I'm going to try to post twice a week. Try, I said. We'll see. At least once. Okay.

There definitely have been some good times and good eatin' going on. Some have been photographed, some not so much. One of my favorites, which was coincidentally photographed, was brunch last Sunday. Barbara and I went over to Maggie and Ellen's. Mags made her famous french toast, I made some fresh frozen yogurt and sliced some strawberries, and we put that on top of the french toast for a beautiful breakfast sundae kinda thing. Isn't it lovely?
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I also got to have lunch on Monday afternoon with the chef from Casbah, Alan Peet. I'm such a nerd when it comes to writers, chefs and artists. It was super fun, and the food was great. We started with some hummus, muhamara (which I learned how to say, and then promptly forgot), and eggplant spread (that was super light and fluffy, and the texture reminded me of pumpkin pie filling). Then I had a tomato and grilled vegetable sandwich and a small salad. Annnd, I wrapped that up with the Strawberry-Rhurbarb Mille Fueille. Wowza.

And, since spring has officially sprung, it's time for ramps! Barbara, Mags, E-dawg and I are hitting the festival in Helvetia this year. Helvetia is a magical place, and I haven't been for many years, so I'm really looking forward to it. Plus, my parents are meeting us there. Which, incidentally, will also be there first time the 'rents meet Barbara. Or, uh, any girlfriend. (gulp!)

Here's a great article that E-dawg found on Helvetia. And, here's a recipe for Ramp Pizza I made last year (and a confession about harassing Alison Bechdel...).

Okay, will report back about the festival and the ramps!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

so much stuff, so little time (to blog).

My birthday was super. It was nice to go the low-key route, especially since this sinus infection has pretty much Taken Over My Life. But, even though (on my birthday, last Thursday) it was just a leisurely dinner, and I didn't have anything stronger to drink than water and herbal tea, just being up until 1 a.m.-ish kicked my behind. I was exhausted the entire next day.

It is this way with those of us who are old(ish).

For the big night out, I'd asked around to some people for suggestions. I couldn't decide where to go, but I wanted somewhere off my regularly beaten path--somewhere festive, somewhere good, somewhere not crazy-ass expensive. And, a friend suggested we try The Melting Pot in Station Square. I have a long-time love for fondue, since my mom went through her Fondue Period in the mid-70s, so I thought it just might be wacky enough to work.

To start, it was just kind of surreal to be in Station Square. It's weird down there. I think it's for tourists who desire an inauthentic glimpse of Pittsburgh. Or, suburbanites who want a taste of the Big City, but to not get dirty. I'm not really sure. The Melting Pot is in the mall-type thing, which is also very bizarre. Any time I've been there I've wondered at all the odd shops and the nearly non-existent clientele. How do they stay afloat? But, anyway, back to dinner. It was fine, but not stellar, definitely designed for meat-eaters, but we had a great time nonetheless. Our group was a small foursome--just me, Barbara, Mags and the E-Dawg. We think our waiter may have been very, very stoned.

Afterwards, we met back at Barbara's. She'd made a strawberry jello cake (which I'd reminisced about several times). And, E-dawg complimented the cake with some Toasted Coconut ice cream. Yum!! The (figurative) icing on the cake, was that B got me some awesome cooking-themed gifts that I LOVE! A Cuisinart ice cream maker (electric! with an extra canister!), a copy of David Lebovitz's The Perfect Scoop, and a set of baking ramekins. So fun! (the next day I made some frozen yogurt--exactly how I like it, maybe better than Pinkberry).
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We stretched the celebrating on out to the weekend, and had a little family party (I borrowed Barbara's family) on Saturday afternoon with her mom, sister, brother-in-law and niece. She and her sister, Sissy, made a snowball* cake!
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*Now, it must be noted that Barbara broke the news to me several months ago that Hostess Snowballs are not vegetarian. I didn't realize this, and had long considered them to be my favorite of the snack cakes. I'd been missing them sorely. And, maybe, holding a grudge since Barbara ruined it all for me--as if she'd added the animal fat all by herself. All is forgiven now! It was SO good!!!

And, yesterday I concluded (?) my multi-day birthday extravaganza with my pal Maria. We had dinner at Casbah. It's been one of my favorite Pittsburgh eateries for years, but my pocketbook hasn't allowed for very frequent visits. But, now with my fantastic employee discount (and a generous friend celebrating my birthday), that has changed! We really had a beautiful meal--the food was gorgeous and delicious, the service was really nice, yet understated, the presentation divine.

I started out with a Parisienne Fizz to drink, which was a glass of champagne with a splash of an elderberry liquer. I love champagne and champagne cocktails, and this one didn't disappoint. It was light and floral and a little sweet, but in a good way, not cloyingly. And, I chose the Mixed Greens salad which was a mix of romaine, raddichio and spinach, with feta, crispy fried banana peppers, fried blue cheese stuffed olives (don't let the "fried" make you think this was heavy--it wasn't, but was extremely flavorful and interesting), tossed in a creamy red pepper dressing. Some fantastic bread on the side (I think it's the Mt Athos Fire Bread from Mediterra).

My entree was one of the best things EVER. I had the Sweet Pea Risotto, and it was like spring on a plate. It was the most perfectly creamy risotto I've ever had with tender little peas studding the rice, and it was accented by some wild forest mushrooms, julienned slices of preserved lemon, some beautiful al dente baby carrots, and topped off with a little shaved parmigiano reggiano. If I couldn't gotten away with it, I'd have licked the plate.

For dessert, I chose the Meyer lemon crepes. The crepes were filled with house-made ricotta and Meyer lemon curd, the plate was drizzled with a Meyer lemon-vanilla vinaigrette, and topping this lovely plate was a scoop of olive oil gelato. Woah. Wow. Geez. Gosh. It was amazing!!! (Thank you, Maria, for the lovely meal and the sparkling conversation!). Maria had the Arugula Salad, Orecchiette pasta, and the dark chocolate and raspberry bread pudding. She also loved her meal (I had a few mouthfuls here and there, and it was fantastic). I wish I had photos of my meal. It was truly stellar. [And, for work, I get to meet the chef (Chef Alanson Peet) tomorrow! I'm totally geeked about it. (Geek being the operative word)].

Thursday, April 10, 2008

i like a fuss.

...because it's my special day! Yep, the big 3-5 (although I was guessed at 36 this morning, dangit)!

As you know, I recently started a new job with big Burrito. It is busy as all get-out, but I'm really enjoying it. It's a great working environment, super co-workers (even the one who guessed me at 36), a challenge (in a good way), and a pretty good time all around. *Especially* if it's your birthday!

Seriously. These peeps treated me right! I got to order lunch from wherever I wanted (Spice Island for some Java Fried Rice--vegetarian with tofu; egg okay. natch.), got the dessert of my choice (I said "coconut cake or cupcakes with ice cream", and got some *amazing* coconut cupcakes in both white and chocolate cake, with a coconut custard center, and white coconut buttercream from Vanilla Pastry Studio--YUM), a gift certificate for the restaurants, some gorgeous hot pink roses, a really cool little succulent houseplant, some Incredibles note cards ('cause I'm incredible), a mug, some cookies, an amazon gift card....

Have you ever heard of such a thing?! I've never had a fuss like this from a workplace--especially considering I've only worked here for a month! It's so super sweet, and I'm just blown away by the generosity, and that it feels really genuine. It's like a big family here, and I'm the newest baby.

Other than all that goodness, I did get something else for my birthday--a sinus infection! Yesterday I felt like something or someone was standing on my face. My body hurt. I wanted to cry and I wanted my mom. But, I got squeezed in for a doctor's appointment, and got some antibiotics. I generally try to avoid taking them, but I'm so thrilled I'm taking them now! I feel a gagillion times better today than yesterday. I [heart] antibiotics, and you--I'm looking at you, Louis Pasteur.

Tonight I will be celebrating with my lady, Mags and E-dawg in a low-key kind of way. I love having a birthday as my own personal holiday of all that is right and good. Hooray!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

3 items! "Happy Birthday, China-Bear!" & "A Dozen Delights!" & "An Update on the K-Bear!"

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, CHINA-BEAR!

In more pet news this week, China-Bear, my cat and long-time companion, turns 16 today! She was all in a flutter yesterday picking out her birthday outfit, birthday meal(s), gifts, and other such festive fancies. Here she is thinking about it:
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Also, I'm not exactly sure what happened after I went to bed last night, but all I'm sayin' is that the China-Bear woke up feeling mighty darn frisky this morning, and the Meerkat seems to have become a man. Coincidence?
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and, now...

A DOZEN DELIGHTS!

You may have already surmised that I'm a big fan of Dozen Cupcakes, Dozen Bake Shop, and the owner of both, the King of Cupcake Manor himself, James. Well, now there's even more to love! Dozen Bake Shop just started doing a vegetarian/vegan dinner on Friday and Saturday nights (three seatings each night, go here for more info and to RSVP).

Pittsburgh doesn't have a lot in the way of vegetarian dining, which constantly hurts my little heart, so I'm thrilled to have another option! I went on Saturday evening with Barbara, and met up with Mags and the E-dawg. We sat upstairs in the new seating area (with a little outside seating area/balcony, too!). The structure is that you RSVP in advance, then you come in, there's a limited menu on the board while you're waiting, you order at the counter, get your drinks and a table number, and then shortly some fantastically delicious food arrives at your table.

We all ordered the eggplant lasagne, which was a HUGE crock of bubbling goodness--eggplant, sauce, lots of ricotta, breadcrumbs, cheese, with a little lightly dressed (as it should be) side salad. We also ordered the starter/small plate of the 7 Onion Tart with red wine reduction. It was YUMazing! Seriously--so good! We didn't order some other items, but James dropped by with some to share--and I'm SO glad he did--the Seitan Po'Boy (with sweet potato fries) and a slice of some beautiful red velvet cake. By the time we left, I was stuffed beyond all reason, but happy as a (vegetarian) clam!

The Seitan Po'boy and the 7 Onion Tart tied for first place in my affections. The seitan was perfect with a vegan (onion?) gravy, and a spicy sauce, and the bread was also fantastic. The onion tart was simply a taste sensation.

In fact, all of our food was so delicious that I only remembered to start snapping pics after we'd already made a significant dent in the offerings. But, check 'er out.

Eggplant Lasagne:
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Seitan Po'Boy, and a space where the sweet potato fries once were:
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7 Onion Tart, nearly completely decimated:
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Red Velvet goodness:
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Good food = good times:
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*note--there was also a butternut squash casserole with maple infused creme fraiche on the menu, but we didn't taste it. sounds good, though, huh?

Check it out! Support LGBT-owned businesses and good vegetarian food options! Where it's at, yo!

AN UPDATE ON THE K-BEAR

Okay, and lastly, I just wanted to say thanks for all the sweet messages, emails and calls about the K-Bear. He's actually doing really well! He seems to have shaken off the soreness, and has started to heal. He now likes to go by the nickname "Face" (he thinks it makes him seem tough. never mind the yellow kerchief...). He's looking pretty good, eh?
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Sunday, April 6, 2008

who could hurt a k-bear???

A big brutish pitbull, that's who. Not that I'm saying all pitbulls are bad. But, I am saying it IS bad to have an aggressive one off-leash in the dog park.

On Thursday evening I was walking into the off-leash area with Zeke (my dog-sit pal, and spottiest man about town) and Caleb. I'd just taken off Zeke's leash, and was bending down to take off Caleb's when he was charged and attacked by the aforementioned pitbull. And, then pack mentality took over, and several other dogs got into the mix. I thought I'd been bit at first, too, but only got a couple scratches and bruises. Caleb, on the other hand, sustained some bad facial injuries. A couple milimeters higher and he would've lost his eye.

Here's a link for the post-attack photo. I'm posting it as a link so you don't have to see it if you don't want to. It actually looks worse in person, but you get the idea.

http://i206.photobucket.com/albums/bb286/ehrrinkeenan/IMG_6995.jpg

I rushed him to the vet, and they gave me two options--to have surgery right then, and take the chance that his organs could handle the anesthesia (he's over twelve years old), or to try cortizone, antibiotics and neosporin first, and then reevaluate if it's not healing properly. Option 2 results in a slower healing time, and bigger scar, but also didn't potentially risk his life by putting him under anesthesia without the blood test to see if he could handle it (the test would take overnight to come back, at which point the surgery option would be moot; if he has to have surgery later, they'll have to "trim" the tissue first).

So, I opted for Option 2. And, it actually seems to be already starting to heal. He was pretty sore and stiff for the first couple of days, but seems to be pretty much feeling back to normal now. It was just a really scary experience for both of us.

I found the owner yesterday, and she agreed to pay the vet bill, but still seems to feel it's okay to take her dog into the park. I'm relieved about the first part, but bummed about the second part. I'm not going to take Caleb to that dog park anymore, and am considering whether we should possibly just avoid dog parks from here on out. This stinks because dog parks are his favorite spots. (It was in West Park, in the North Side adjacent to the Mexican War Streets, fyi).

[This is the second time Caleb has been attacked by a pitbull. The first time was ten years ago, right after we'd moved to Pittsburgh. That time his arm (right front leg) was fractured. That time it was a dog in the neighborhood with an owner, but off leash].

I wish dog owners would be more responsible--especially when they have a dog that powerful in their care.

If you're a dog-owner, please be responsible, and also be cognizant about the other dogs around you and their demeanors. And, please wish the K-Bear a speedy recovery.
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Wednesday, April 2, 2008

NYC or bust!

We had a fantastic time in NYC! Spent time with friends (though not enough, never enough), ate fantastic food, shopped 'til we dropped (literally), racked up walking miles like they were going out of style, laughed until our armpits hurt, enoyed one another to the fullest, showed the meerkat the sites, got the most use out of a whoopie cushion ever in the history of whoopie cushions, and generally had the Best Trip Ever. I [heart] NY. For sure.

Here's a little run-down of our adventures, day-by-day style.

Thursday:
We arrived in the afternoon, and headed straight for Kensington to visit pal Sarah, drop our bags, and start the eating tour. We walked down to a 'hood haunt called the Vox Pop Cafe for some eats, while the Meerkat read (with a little help) and laughed it up over how we'd used the whoopie cushion on the plane.

Then we wandered over to Park Slope to check out the ladybar Ginger's where they were not having karaoke, despite the advertisement that proclaimed they were. Still a good time, though. But, after a beer, our travelin' caught up with us and we retired back to Sarah's to have a chill evening and get some rest.

Friday morning we met up with my pal (and Beach Baby!) Doggie. She showed us around her 'hood in Williamsburg. We lunched at Bliss (where a mean Heidi Klum-ish waitress deigned to serve us between sneers). The food was eh, but it was a great time catching up with the Dog and people watching. Then we set out touring the nabe. Doggie showed us her favorite shop, Fuego (formerly Loveshine) which featured all kinds of awesome little things and Alex, the friendliest shopkeep ever. He had a little lotteria game that we got to play when we checked out that earned us 20% off. And, then he threw in an extra 5% because he wanted to play, too. Seriously, one of the nicest guys I've ever met. If you find yourself in Williamsburg any time soon, definitely stop in. Definitively a Good Time.
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We stopped into the Bedford Cheese Shop. All I can say is: wow. I've been lucky enough to try cheese from this shop when the NYC Beach Babies have brought some to the beach. It surpassed all my hopes and dreams. The shop is fairly small, but was packed with fantastic, unusual and interesting cheeses, cute-funny-snarky signage, and uber-knowledgable staff. I tasted several, and lamented not being able to throw away everything I'd brought with me to stuff my bag full o' dairy delights. Another must see/try.
Bedford Cheese Shop on Urbanspoon

After that we bid Doggie farewell for the afternoon (although she and her pup, Java, did make another brief appearance!), and sat in a cafe for a bit. The one we wanted to try was filled to the gills, so we went across the street and settled in at New York Muffin. Perhaps we were asking for it by shunning the muffins in a muffin-based establishment, but our snacks were kinda grody. Great people-watching, but bad eatin'. Eh. Barbara fears and loathes any kind of wetness on a bread, and her eclair was actually dripping. However, I have a theory on how it got that way:
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After that we made our way over to Nowlze and Bdub's. I love the Wolfinellis! They're in B-Burg, too, so after we made their dog, The Biscuit, sit on the whoopie cushion (and he called us "jackholes"), we hit the town for a dinner of fancy pizzas and more whoopie cushion hijinks. Dinner was at Fornino, and was fantastic! We each got a small pie. I had the special which was fresh mozzarella, gorgonzola, spicy olive oil, arugula and figs. Barbara got the Spinach Pie with olive oil, garlic (she swears she didn't taste any, but I swear it was loaded with garlic), mozz, spinach and pine nuts. Nowlze got the Margherita Classica, that was straight-up classic and delish. Bdub got the funghi misti with mixed wild mushrooms, truffle oil, thyme...and I forget what kind of cheese. We split a salad of baby greens, frisse, walnuts, dried cranberries and humbolt fog cheese, with some little cheesy crackers on the side. And, we had a pitcher of some of the best sangria I've ever tasted. Yum and yum.
Fornino on Urbanspoon

The Wolfinellis had to work on Saturday, but we met back up with Doggie for a lovely breakfast at the Roebling Tea Room. The restaurant is housed in a gorgeous old building (I'm really curious what it used to be). The service was plagued by hipsteritis, but the food was interesting and exciting, and the food was so good the blas├ę attitude of our waitress ceased to matter. I had the Scrambled Egg with wild mushrooms, thyme and marscapone on brioche with a side of grits served with a sharp white cheddar and chives. Seriously fantastic. It tasted like a highbrow version of my favorite breakfast my mom made as a kid (called "egg gravy"). The eggs were creamy without being overly wet, the mushrooms were perfectly toothsome, the brioche was perfect, the grits divine. Really super. Plus they use as much local and organic ingredients as possible, which I always love. Yumazing.
Roebling Tea Room on Urbanspoon

Afterwards, we hopped the train with Doggie to Union Square to hit the market. So great! We almost skipped it, and I'm so-so-so glad we didn't! I bought several small prints at great prices from friendly and talented artists, we got the most hostile looks so far from some yuppies when we used the whoopie cushion and then howled about it, bought several flavors of locally-ish made maple candy (pure, pecan--my favorite, coconut and ginger), and looked at some gorgeous produce and other various offerings. It was sunny, and the perfect afternoon activity.

We then bid Doggie adieu, and hit The Strand--18 miles of books! Heaven! It was so packed that we didn't stay awfully long, but had a great time browsing. It's amazing to see that many books, and even though navigating the stacks was difficult, it was inspiring to see so many people in a book store.

That night we checked into a hotel (courtesy of my Marriott points!), dropped our bags, relaxed for a bit, then headed out to the East Village trekking to Kate's Joint. This place is a vegetarian/vegan dream! It's all about the comfort food, and has a huge menu of mouth-watering choices. We both started with an awesome caesar salad (that tasted like the one I made from the Veganomicon recipe) I went with the Meatless Loaf Hero, a "meat"loaf sandwich on foccacia with grilled onions and "special sauce" with a side of mashed potatoes and gravy. Barbara got her favorite, the Tofu Francese. It's a "crispy pan fried tofu in a lemon, herb, caper, garlic wine sauce" with mashed potatoes. This was definitely one of my favorite meals of the trip.
Kate's Joint on Urbanspoon

And, then afterwards all my hopes and dreams and prayers to the baby jesus were answered when we spotted a Pinkberry! I LOVE frozen yogurt, and it's hard to come by in the 'burgh. The craze has definitely hit NYC. There were gagillions of fro-yo spots newly popped up on every corner, but none compared to Pinkbery. It's freakin' awesome. Seriously awesome. I'm now officially an addict, or groupie as the case may be. I gotta get a new ice cream maker so I can make my own every single day. I got Pinkberry twice while we were there (and one knock-off pinkberry). I could probably live on it for every meal forever. I like the original with strawberries and mangoes. Dang.
Pinkberry on Urbanspoon

Sunday we were going to stay with another friend, but loved staying in a hotel so much that we decided to keep on keepin' on. However, that particular hotel was a little rich for our blood so we checked into the Comfort Inn in Park Slope. The rooms were small, but it was great! Really good location, super-friendly (and predominantly queer) staff, free breakfast--what more could you ask for? Highly recommended! I love hotels. I could live in hotels 4-eva, TLA.

We got up early, and combed the Brooklyn Heights neighborhood for a breakfast spot, and found Teresa's, a Polish cafe near The Promenade. It was fine--not bad, not great. The Promenade was lovely. Then we went to Vegetarian Dim Sum House in Chinatown for lunch, but it was disappointing. (Nowlze and Bdub were planning to join us, but poor Nowlze got some kind of flu-ish nastiness. Suck.) It's long been one of my go-to spots when visiting NYC, but it was really just kinda eh, and after fighting our way through all the foot traffic in Chinatown it made me grumpy for a moment. But, then we walked over to Soho and did a little shopping at Pearl River, another of my must-hit spots--which lived up to my rememberance. We peeked into the MoMA Design Store, the Paul Frank store, and Babeland, but were so tired, we just hopped a train back to Brooklyn to rest a while before dinner.
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For dinner we met up with Sarah again, and hit Veselka for some delish Ukranian food--pierogi (potato and an arugula-goat cheese special), vegetarian borscht, challah, and Barbara's favorite--baked chocolate custard. Afterwards I hit up Pinkberry again (love!). Then we retired back to Brooklyn to a nice little neighborhood bar, Great Lakes (with a fantastic jukebox). By a weird coincidence I'd actually been to both Veselka and Great Lakes before!

Monday morning we strolled in the drizzle around Park Slope starting with a great diner breakfast at Dizzy's where I had some (really, really hominy-y) grits, hashbrowns, and chocolate-almond stuffed french toast. Plus, we were greeted by a friendly dyke when we walked in, our waiter looked like The Jesus from The Big Lebowski, and a little girl at the table next to us infiltrated our minds with her sing-songy chant of "yellow tur-tle, yellow tur-tle".
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We wandered around afterwards, popping into any shop that caught our eyes, got some tea at Cousin John's, and then stopped next door at La Taqueria for some giant burritos and street-style corn (mmmm). Then a quick stop to YogoMonster for a Pinkberry-style knock-off (good, but you sir, are no Pinkberry).
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After that, it was time to depart. Sarah picked us up at our hotel, and hauled us out to JFK where we had the only real bummer of the trip. Our flight was repeatedly delayed, so we didn't get home until 3 or 4 in the morning. (I lost count at that point). But, the rest of the trip was so great, that even that was pretty okay when I was in the company of the finest lady in this here township or all of NYC, and the cutest meerkat in the land. All in all one of my favorite trips of all time.

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[p.s. darn it. i had some really cute slide shows included in this post, but i keep getting errors about the html. hmm. perhaps i'll try again tomorrow from another computer...]