Another week, another check mark on my list next to something I’ve been wanting to do for ages: go to Summerstage. That and a few other things below make up this week’s roundup:
“Inferior people talk about others,
average people talk about things,
superior people talk about ideas. ”
– My very wise grandfather
Age is a weird thing. My mid-July birthday would always mark the beginning of the end of the summer. After the chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting came back-to-school shopping, ripe peaches and – before I knew it – Labor Day.
With each birthday that passes, I long for the carefree days of being an innocent kid, when life was good because of a simple cupcake for a friend’s birthday or staying up an extra hour past bedtime.
I’ve also realized how much you can miss people as years go by. Whether it’s grandparents that I had the chance to meet but with whom the time ended too soon, or for the one who I’ll never meet but only know from stories, photographs and sayings like the one above. As I turn a year older next week, I hope I can still learn from my grandfather. I’m lucky to take a shortcut and reap the benefits of his wisdom, which surely came from years and years of experiences.
“Dis-moi ce que tu manges, je te dirai qui tu es.”
Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin
Also visiting were restaurants in the city that are of North African influenced, like the tajine restaurant where I got this delicious truffled mac and cheese.
I visited with my mom, and we – of course- couldn’t leave without grabbing a crêpe. On the busy, gray streets of New York, it was so special for me to share my passion for France and French culture with the woman who instilled it in my years ago.
And you always need a French-themed animal balloon. Pourquoi pas?
With limited funds from an unpaid internship and a hungry appetite, I’ve found that most of my outings of consisted of food. Shocker. Here are my favorite moments from recent adventures:
Bar Primi, from left to right:
Ricotta and spinach ravioli with lemon and asparagus
Central Park never gets old
Meatball parm on a roll at Parm
One of my favorite Parisian instagrams giving my travel inspiration
My dad’s newest painting, still in the works, which gives me inspiration to follow my passions at any time in my life
Going to Levain on the Upper West Side has been on my to-do list ever since I read about the amazing cookies on Serious Eats. A friend came to town this weekend and was practically forced by her former boss to visit the popular bakery, so it became the perfect opportunity to see what all of the fuss was about.
I opted for the classic chocolate chip walnut cookie, while my friend got double chocolate chip. Though we each shelled out $4 per cookie, the result was truly the best cookie I’ve ever tasted.
The outside is crunchy enough to hold in the gooey dough on the inside. But barely. The amount of chocolate and nut in each cookie was perfect, and I have to admit, I was pretty much licking off melted chocolate from the inside of the bag.
My suggestion is to head to the deli around the corner on Amsterdam for a $2 individual serving of Horizon milk with a straw. You’ll need it, and you won’t be able to wait til you get home to dig into these amazing cookies.
Not only did I walk across the Brooklyn Bridge this weekend, but I saw and tasted a number of amazing things. Here were some of my favorite moments:
I can’t decide if I’m a good New Yorker or a bad New Yorker for having never visited these New York hotspots. But nonetheless, here’s a list that I’ll attempt to get through before the end of the summer:
1) Ellis Island – After a family heritage project, I became obsessed with knowing everything about my heritage. My school gives students free access to Ancestry.com, and I was able to trace back the journeys of my Italian, Irish and Portuguese relatives. I want to go to see the documents in person with my dad, if I can.
2) Empire State Building – Secretly just hoping to find a backpack with a teddy bear named Howard.
3) Walked across the Brooklyn Bridge – I’ve driven across it, but never walked. Such a depressing confession, but, unfortunately, a true one.
5) Go to the Statue of Liberty – Speaking of ferries, I’ve been on the Cruise Line which swings around the Statue of Liberty. But I’ve never actually been to Lady Liberty herself.
Gulp. I’m ready for judgement that will come my way. Also ready to make some changes to my New Yorker anti-tourist attraction mentality.
If you’ve seen my Instagram lately (@maddiemonmon which is private – but I’m pretty open to accepting followers), or at least have looked at the right sidebar at my two most recent photos, you will notice that I’ve been very into taking photos of architecture in New York lately. The crisp black and white filter comes from Nigel Barker’s Instagram, which is one of my favorite odes to NYC. I took an architecture class in Paris, and ever since, I’ve been more aware of architectural beauty. Here are some of the buildings in New York that I find to be five of the most beautiful.
1. The Frick Museum – One of my friends and I have joked since high school that this is our future home. Right on 5th Avenue with Cherry Blossoms that bloom in the spring, this mansion-turned-museum is quite a beautiful view from the M1 down 5th Ave.
2. St. Ignatius Loyola Church – Studying architecture in Europe means studying a lot of churches and cathedrals. That’s why I think of St. Ignatius Loyola as one of the best examples of classic architecture in NY. It is elaborate and has egg and dart and pilasters all over. You can tell it’s nestled among posh Park Avenue apartments and has parishioners like Kennedy’s by the way its beautifully kept.
3. Cooper Hewitt Museum – Formerly Carnegie’s mansion, the museum has been under construction for the past few years. But its beautiful facade and even more beautiful hardwood interiors are architectural beauty at its finest.
4. Ralph Lauren, Madison Avenue – Would you believe me if I told you this building was built in 2010? Ralph Lauren mimicked his other building just across the street for his new flagship store on Madison Avenue. I’d happily give up the Frick to my friend to live in this Madison Avenue masterpiece.
5. Classic Brownstones – New York’s brownstones give it much of its personality. From Carrie Bradshaw’s rent-controlled apartment everyone in New York simply dreams of, to the cute and homey brownstone Meg Ryan called home in You’ve Got Mail (shown below), brownstones are classic New York.
I’m a list-maker, so in order to make the most of my summer – potentially the last I have in NYC if I move come graduation – I’m going to make a number of lists that I’ll share with you via my “Summer in the City” series.
This first list is one of my favorites: my “to-eat” list. I have bookmarked and taken photos of things I need to try in NYC this summer. For those of you looking to make lists in your own cities, Serious Eats is one of my favorite sources of inspiration, but Pinterest is always a reliable one, too.
ricotta gnudi, The Spotted Pig, $18 – I think Serious Eats will make you understand if the photo below doesn’t already: “the warm, tender, sheep’s milk ricotta burst out of its paper-thin pasta shell, a drizzle of browned butter, sage, and mounted butter the only other ingredients that share the plate.” I mean… that’s all.
The Fat Radish – I tried to find plates to mention in this post, but as I looked at each the brunch, lunch and dinner menus, I really couldn’t decide. All the more reason to go to The Fat Radish, a farm to table restaurant, with a group of friends so I can try more than one thing on the menu. Here’s what I THINK I’d try:
Spring pea pot pie ($16)
Asparagus Frittata, lively run goat feta, sunflower sprouts ($16)
House made donuts with seasonal jam ($9)
Charred spring garlic & sheep milk yogurt with naan and breadcrumbs ($12)
Warm roasted vegetables & quinoa salad ($12)
BLT Sandwich, avocado, farm poached egg ($15)
*Special: NC Shrimp and Grits
*Special: Poached egg & farro, charred greens, dashi broth
rigatoni with eggplant, ricotta salata and basil, Bar Primi, $16 – This new homestyle Italian food joint on Bowery is going to be the talk of the town. With homemade pastas and dishes to match its classic Italian decor, this is one I’ll stop by for a delicious taste of familiarity.
patty melt, Court Street Grocers, $12 – I read about this sandwich in Bon Appetit, and now that I’ve read that it’s served on Orwasher’s rye, home to one of the best baguettes in NY (which I can tell you from experience is absolutely true), this sandwich became even more necessary. The magazine described it as “one hot mess” with “tender meat with sweet caramelized onions and melty cheddar on buttery rye.”
pancakes, Clinton Street Baking, $14 – These are some of the most famous pancakes in NYC right now, and as per my sister, it’s for good reason. They’re fluffy, and with a choice of blueberry, banana walnut and chocolate chunk and served with warm maple butter, can it get any better? Oh, and did I mention the spot serves breakfast for dinner?