Tag Archives: food

My New York Minute

First, I wanted to thank everyone who shared, messaged and left encouraging words regarding my last post. Especially living in the South, topics like race, discrimination and the like are SUPER touchy, but I’m thankful for working and living amongst a community of hearts that willingly lean into the discomfort of these conversations. Real life and real change happens when real talk takes place.

In the spirit of the recent New York Fashion Week, I wanted to share some of our favorites in a “Masanotti’s NYC Guide” of sorts. This year, we ventured up north for two glorious weeks of beautiful 80-degree weather.

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I’m just going to put it out there, New York is expensive. But with a little forethought, research and budgeting, you can really DO New York and experience the greatest things the City has to offer.

For a well-planned and relatively stress-free trip, I recommend making a killer LIST about 2-3 months prior. I usually break up my travel lists into 3 major categories. For NYC, I’ve included my top go-to resources for each category.

Confession: I've watched and re-watched Gossip Girl more times than I would like to admit. XOXO Empire Hotel:)

Confession: I’ve watched and re-watched Gossip Girl more times than I would like to admit. XOXO Empire Hotel:)

For this post, I wanted to share the madness behind what my friends know as the infamous “New York” Google Doc. It’s best to set a budget and reasonable expectations well before you leave. For our trip this summer, we budgeted approximately $100/day for food, entertainment, etc. Some days we were well under and some days we just needed to splurge!

Food is MY top priority when planning a trip because, well, that’s just me. When I travel and experience new places, new cities or new countries, food is a major part of the adventure. Jay likes the food too, but he likes to focus on the entertainment, so he plans that part:).

New York is wonderfully HUGE and is jam-packed with thousands of food options. It can be super overwhelming, but to help relieve that stress from the beginning, I break our food list into categories: neighborhood, $$$, cuisine and time of day (i.e., breakfast, lunch, dinner, happy hour).

I don’t plan specific restaurants for each meal though because keeping the spontaneity factor provides the freedom to do what makes sense for the moment…and we all know that no matter how good our “plans” may seem, the best experiences are UNPLANNED. We like to freely wander around New York, so with this list, we have multiple options in each neighborhood, for each craving and during any time of the day or night!

Luckily Jay and I love ALL THE FOOD, so we try to seek out the greatest “food experiences” you can’t find anywhere else. We plan 1-2 extraordinary food adventures per trip which usually means multiple dollar signs for those particular meals (& require reservations a month or so out), and the rest are within that 1-2 dollar-sign/casual walk-in range.

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Such a great gem of a coffee shop right in the middle of Little Italy.

Here’s a snippet of our favorite food places from this summer’s trip:

Breakfast/Brunch

 

The man loves his pizza.

The man loves his pizza.

Lunch

Happy Hours/Bars

  • Amelie’s Wine Bar ($10 Wine Flight w/3 FULL glasses)
  • McCoy American Bistro (When Mermaid Inn has a line out the door at 6:45pm for a 5-7 Oyster Happy Hour, you go to their neighbor for some huge oysters and great drink specials)
  • Hotel Delmano (Hands-down best cocktails with a pretty great bartender!)
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Our Evening Piqniq with Lovely Friends

Rooftop Bars

Dinner

  • Gramercy Tavern ($$$)
  • ABC Kitchen ($$$)
  • Grab your friends, some cheese, fruit & wine and have a picnic in the park
  • Vinnie’s Pizza (BK – when those fancy expensive restaurants don’t quite fill you up, there’s always pizza)

Hopefully this list helps for those of you who may be traveling in the near future. Let me know if you need or want help planning your next trip…to New York or anywhere for that matter, I LOVE making lists. And too, feel free to share some of your favorite NYC food stops in the comments.

My next post will cover some of the entertainment and activities that make the City so fun to experience. Now I’m really hungry and craving another trip to New York (surprises no one, I know).

Transition

Summer has come and gone.

photo 2 (1)For most of you, summer is still in full effect, but for those of us that work in education, this season seems by far the shortest of the four.

Life and work in education is so very cyclical. Good and bad. For the most part, everything happens and functions on the same calendar from year to year. The good part is that you can be somewhat prepared and on top of things. The bad is that the mundanity of it all can and will, at times, wear down on your joy, on your motivation and on your heart. Surely this concept could be applied to any area of life and type of work.

I guess that’s why life happens in seasons. Fall. Winter. Spring. Summer. Seasons of growth, of life, of sadness, of waiting, of death, of disappointment, of hope and of joy. We are not guaranteed only the good ones. In fact, by the nature of this world we live in, seasons of death and life, good and bad, happy and sad are all inevitable. Seasons begin and end.

photo 1Jay and I are in a season of transition. A season of waiting, hoping, expecting and the seemingly inescapable feelings of sadness and disappointment. With all of that and no definitive answers or solutions for anything, I find myself looking back on the last year of our lives with a smile. Sure, we haven’t been blessed with pregnancy or a successful adoption yet; BUT we chose to LIVE and be present. Instead of obsessing over what we don’t have, we’ve celebrated the things we do. We’ve lived my 30th and Jay’s 35th year the best way we know how.

To mark the end of our summer season, Jay and I traveled to our favorite place, New York City, for 10 days. Beautiful weather, amazing food, great company. We witnessed the sweetest wedding of some of our favorite friends, enjoyed cocktails on rooftops, picnicked in the park, filmed a Travel Channel show (more on that later!), reunited with our soul sisters & brothers, made new friends and explored the city hand-in-hand. It was the BEST ending to this season.

photo 3 (2)So here’s my little confession and long-winded way to say I’m also entering a new season in life and on this blog. This place has been so therapeutic for me as we’ve dealt with infertility. Don’t get me wrong, we are still dealing with it and may be forever, but I want to write about more than that. This will officially be my transition to writing more about the things that bring joy and happiness, the things that make me smile…like dinner parties, cooking fun crazy recipes, beautiful adventures, community and our lives that go on…despite the sadness, despite the infertile elephant in the room (haha). I hope you don’t mind and I hope you don’t stop reading.

Snow Days

Living in the south, snow is a VERY rare occurrence. This year, 2014, Winter Storm Pax decided to descend on us and 2 days later, it is STILL snowing. We’ve got 10 inches so far and apart from the impending power outage, the shut-in status and the growing cabin fever…it is really beautiful.

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It’s pretty magical to look out of my window and see the wintery white landscape. Today, I’m slowly working through my Snow Day To-Do list.

Here’s what our snow day(s) have consisted of so far:

1. Play // Our beagle babies, Bella & Champ, have a love/hate relationship with the fluffy white stuff. Bella hates it, Champ loves it.

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2. Read // I used to say I’m not much of a reader, but the truth is, I love to read. BUT I don’t just love to read, I love to binge read. When I start a book, I CANNOT stop…I MUST know how it ends. Knowing this about myself, I have to limit my book reading binges to 3-4 a year or else, I will ignore life around me. Yikers, sorry Jay;).

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3. Cook // Snow Days and weekends are when I actually get to take the time to explore recipes & new cooking techniques. I absolutely love to cook. In the last few years, I’ve had a growing passion for all things culinary.

When I’m cooking, I feel alive in a way I’ve never felt before. To take different ingredients & orchestrate them together – where each element sustains its own distinctive identity, yet perfectly combines & complements the others – and create a delicious, harmonious meal. If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you know this to be true by my constant food pic posting (sorry, not sorry). I am SUCH a beginner when it comes to food styling/photography, so I wouldn’t even dare qualify it as such just yet.

My recent food adventures: (my first ever) Perfectly Poached Eggs, Israeli CousCous, Curry Coconut Butternut Squash Soup from Orangette and Spinach, Andouille Sausage Strata

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I’m so ready for warm weather and spring, but for today, I’m choosing to be present and appreciate these moments to do things I love to do – in the warmth of our home (which is something I’ll never take for granted on days like these when I know there are thousands of less fortunate) and to do it all with “my people”.

Today, my cup runneth over.