Summer Weekends Wind Down

On Friday, after losing my cell phone, I treated myself to a later lunch/early dinner at a place that has long held a top spot on my bucket list - Jack's Wife Freda. 

I knew the chances of having the patience to wait in line for a table on a hungry Saturday or Sunday morning were slim to none - so I figured going at 3:00 p.m. on a random Friday would be a better bet. 

I left the office and made my way to their new location on Carmine Street (just around the corner from my old apartment!) To my surprise, they place was FILLED with people eating linner (lunch + dinner, duh). Every table was filled, but as it was just me myself and I, I was was able to grab a table at the bar. 

The restaurant was very chi and trendy looking - light colors made it seem open and airy despite being jam packed. 

What Jack's Wife Freda is known for are their brunch and breakfast dishes, although they do have some tempting sounding lunch and dinner entrees like the mustard seed crusted tofu served with spaghetti squash. 

My runner up dish was the Green Shakshuka (2 baked eggs in a green shakshuka served with challah toast), but I had just made it for myself the week before. Mashed pea and ricotta toast was tempting too. But ultimately, I decided to go with the Mediterranean Breakfast - a wonderful mix of 2 eggs (over medium), chopped salad (cucumber, tomato, onions), labne (Greek yogurt that is incredibly thick, rich and creamy), avocado and pita bread. 

I was incredibly saddened by the fact that I could only photograph this beautiful meal with an iPhone 4 camera - doesn't do it justice! I'm also kicking myself for not poking that yolk for a pop of yellow in the composition. No seriously, what was I thinking?

The chopped salad and labne were both excellent, and I loved loading everything up on the pita bread to make little sandwiches.  But at the end of the day, this meal wasn't anything incredible, and I'm not sure I understand the hype surrounded Jack's Wife Freda - aside from the fact that it's trendy and on Instagram a lot. 

After my meal, I walked around SoHo, taking in all of the stores where I will likely never afford to shop. 

I stopped at REI to check out bikes and cycling shoes, where I asked a bajillion questions and made it incredibly obvious that I was not a cyclist. Hopefully one of these days though! I didn't end up buying anything - but I did feel a lot more educated on the shoe-front. 

That Friday night I did a whole lot of nothin' - which was fine by me! I've started watching, and loving, Orange is the New Black, so it was me, my couch and Crazy Eyes for the night. 

Has anyone seen these advertisements around the city? I think they are hilarious and really clever. 

Saturday morning Peter was up and out early to run a 5K in Harlem. I was a bad girlfriend and didn't go to cheer - instead, I went to the gym for 2 hours. Might sound weird, but I love spending my mornings playing in the gym. 

And by playing I mean doing a shoulder/back workout, a couple minutes of spinning and a swim. 

Afterwards, I did some grocery shopping and went home to make myself a big delicious smoothie.  Well, it was big, and it was filling - but maybe I wouldn't use the term delicious. I thought skipping the step of brewing the coffee first and just throwing in the ground coffee beans would be an OK decision. It really wasn't. 

But anyway - besides for the bitter and crunchy factors - the flavor was pretty good! I'll definitely have to work on perfecting this as a post-exercise smoothie. 

1 Banana
1 cup of unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 tablespoon of coffee (mistake)
1 tablespoon of cacao powder
1 teaspoon of almond extract (MMM - new purchase)
1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed

I drank my smoothie on my way to Peter's apartment and decided he deserved a present for running the race that morning. So I stopped at the super German bakery on his corner, which I've heard has the best black and white cookies. Glaser's is a family-run business that's been closed a lot this summer as the owners traveled. 

Glaser's has been around since 1902. Crazy! 

Immediately upon entering, the two women working introduced themselves, gave each customer a GIANT smile, and were super helpful. 

I brought the giant, soft black and white cookie over to Peter's and it was most certainly enjoyed. The frosting was soo good and the cookie was crumbly but in a really moist, soft way. 

We headed down to 59th Street to pick up our vehicles for the day - CITI BIKES! Initially, we wanted to rent nice bikes from a store or Bike & Roll, but I guess a ton of people had the same idea as us because the store we called was completely out of bikes. Then we decided Citi bikes could be a good idea since we could check them into places as we went - stopping for food and drinks and ice cream along the way. 

For just $11ish dollars for each bike, it was a great deal! We spent the whole day with them - about 4 hours total. Checking them into Citi bike stations every 30 minutes was a little stressful, and we cut it super close sometimes - but we never got charged any late fees (and they're only $4 each time, anyway). 

We started off on actual streets which freaked me out, but soon enough we were on the East River path cruising along. The bikes were a lot nicer than I thought they would be, and I could adjust the seat nice and low since I'm a midget. 

Our first stop was Southstreet Seaport, where Peter tried a delicious Blue Cheese and Bacon sandwich from Melt Shop and a beer. And coffee (he assures me he can quit any time...) 

It was such a beautifulllll day - we went all along the island, down near the ferry to Governor's Island, past the ferry to the Statue of Liberty. I tried soaking it all in through my eyeballs instead of through my cell phone camera. 

We peeled off just before Chelsea Piers and headed to the Meatpacking district to enjoy a margarita at Dos Caminos outside in the sunshine. 

Their menu had so many tempting margarita options, but after much back and forth, I settled for a classic. 

Of course we couldn't sit there with no guacamole in front of us. We ordered the Orange Chipotle Guacamole. I wish that the orange had come mixed throughout the guac, instead of a few pieces on top - because when you took a bite with that fresh pop of citrus, it was wonderful. Sadly, we asked for medium and there's wasn't much (ok, any) kick to it. But I did love that it came served with chips and as a healthy option, cucumber slices! 

I guess the margaritas had their share of alcohol in them, because while my intention for the day was to start a streak of no alcohol, healthy eating, and being active, I found myself suggesting a second margarita at Bamboleo's - my favorite place in the West Village. 

So we hopped on our bikes and went over to Bleecker Street. We enjoyed a strong $5 margarita, made some friends at the bar, and decided we needed ice cream. 

So the next stop was Big Gay Ice Cream Shop (you can see how my resolution to not drink and to eat healthy ended up going...) Peter got a Monday Sundae which I took my fair share of while sitting on a stoop. Some guy  passed us and told us what a cute couple we are. D'awww. 

If you're wondering - the Monday Sundae is a Nutella lined cone filled with twist soft-serve ice cream, dulce de leche, sea salt and whipped cream. 

What did I suggest then? Beer pong. I wanted to play beer pong.

Luckily, my partner in crime agreed that beer pong should totally happen. 

We tried Down the Hatch but it was still dead. Same for 3 Sheets. Luckily, Off The Wagon had a little more going on. We sat at the bar to order a beer and were handed Fireball Shots. 

Ok. This day just kept veering wildly off course. But we went with it. 

Eventually we played some beer pong but I was just doing horribly. 

Time for more ice cream? Sure. 

Have you heard of 10 Below ice cream in China Town? It's all the rage on Instagram these days. There's usually an hour long line! The draw? They make ice cream "Thai Style" by using an extremely cold stone to scrape ice cream off into little rolls. 

Well, we just happened to notice a new shop on Macdougal Street called I CE NY that makes these same Thai ice cream rolls with NO line. And I've since heard some people saying it's even better than 10 Below! I wasn't expecting to be impressed with this kind of ice cream, but Peter and I found ourselves loving it! It was much creamier than we thought it would be which was a pleasant surprise. The fact that you get to watch them make it is a nice touch too! 

We got the vanilla ice cream with oreo mixed in and whipped cream and caramel on top. Definitely worth a try to see how you feel about this new craze! But I would check out I CE NY and skip the hour line! 

You would think I had strayed from my healthy active biking day enough to call it quits and head home. Nope. 

Next up was live music at the Red Lion and one final indulgence - a $1 slice from my all-time favorite pizza place -  Percy's! 

THEN we called it a night. 

Sunday I woke up and went to yoga at Lulu Lemon and then did a whole lot of lounging around, watching Orange is the New Black and cooking! I made myself a frittata for the week - 4 eggs, spinach, mushrooms, sweet potato, onions and a little cheese. It was good, except that I sauteed the veggies in coconut oil and I'm not too sure I loved that taste mixed with my eggs. 

I also realized that I had a pie crust in the fridge that needed to be used up - so I looked around and pondered what the heck I could throw together using ingredients I already had in my apartment. I came up with - SWEET POTATO PIE. 

Of course, I wanted to make this healthier than the butter, flour, oil - packed recipes I was finding. 

I made mine loosely based off of this receipt - but I only had 1.5 sweet potatoes so I guestimated the amounts...

3 Tablespoons cornstarch
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 sweet potatoes, cooked
3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 teaspoon cinnamon

The best part was using the Kitchenaid for the first time! It's so nice!

I added some walnuts to the top of this, and voila! It was actually super tasty. Even Peter and my mom agreed! 

This was one of the few weekends I spent entirely in NYC with no big plans and it ending up being perfect and lots of fun.