Wednesday, May 26, 2010

My New York Adventure

Living in New Jersey, New York has never been more than an hour away by train.  I even lived there for a year during my freshman year of college, until I realized that I had no desire to spend another three years studying at the New School and elbowing my way through throngs of people just to get outside my front door.  Now I rarely visit New York, partly because the fiance works hours that aren't conducive to such trips and partly because it costs more money than we normally want to spend in a day.  But currently my bank account is content from a prize I recently won and graduation money, and the fiance has some vacation days to use or lose, so we decided to make a trip.  We of course could have saved the money for married life and an impending increase in rent but hey: we didn't spend that much and sometimes you just need to indulge.

Our first stop was Union Square, the site of my former elbow-jostling front door and an amazing farmer's market.  All we bought was a cup of mediocre, not-so-cold "Ice cold apple cider," but we made up for that in free samples of jam and apple slices.

From there we visited the Whole Foods that looks over Union Square, where I used to buy a lot of my food (it's honestly not much more expensive than the more conventional "Food Emporium" nearby).  Nowadays I rarely get to go to Whole Foods because the closest locations are all at least 45 minutes away.  Ah well, it's better on my wallet that way.  My goal there was to find raw macadamia nuts in bulk, because they're hard to find around my house and I really want to make Gena from Choosing Raw's fermented macadamia nut "goat" cheese.  Failing at that, I grabbed a jar of unsalted roasted macadamias and went exploring.  The goods:

Almonds, ricemellow cream (I have visions of vegan chocolate ice cream with swirls of marshmallow cream), tazo chai (so much cheaper than a box from Starbucks and my beloved Great Lakes Chai), and Choco Dream cocoa-hazelnut spread.  Yum!

Our next stop was the Strand.  The Strand is a world-famous bookstore on the corner of 12th and Broadway, boasting 18 miles of books, all of which are crammed into every possible space that a book can fit into.  Needless to say, there is much elbow-jostling.  When I lived in NY I actually found it rather intimidating and rarely visited, but since then I've fallen in love.  It has just about anything you can imagine (if you take the time to look) and lots of specials and used books (half-price!).  The fiance promised me for my graduation that he would take me book shopping, so the Strand seemed like the perfect way to (soy)milk that gift for all I could!  The goods (including a Strand tote bag!):

  • The Garden of Vegan by Tanya Barnyard and Sarah Kramer
  • Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
  • The Widows of Eastwick by John Updike
  • Middlemarch by George Eliot
  • Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie
  • Jacob's Room by Virgina Woolf
  • and Frommer's Bahamas 2009 (for our honeymoon!)
Then it was dinner-time.  We visited the famous Angelica Kitchen, which I will review in its own post, but here's a sneak preview for you:

Then the fiance, who didn't love his dinner, got some frites while I indulged in some vegan ice cream from Stogo and we relaxed on a bench.  I had chocolate with a coconut milk base and chocolate hazelnut with a soy base.  Both were delicious but the coconut ice cream was creamier.  The soy wasn't exactly gritty, as I've seen it described, but it just wasn't as smooth.  Both were declicious though and I'd happily have them again if it wasn't so cost-prohibitive (two scoops cost more than a pint of So Delicious coconut).

We still had some time to kill before the comedy show we wanted to see, so we wandered a bit and ended up in Peanut Butter & Co's sandwich shop.  This place has a whole menu devoted to the peanut butter sandwich: everything you can imagine from the classic to the Elvis (bacon optional).  We had already eaten, so I just sipped a chai latte while the fiance sipped a soda and we both read a bit.  I also picked up two jars of peanut butter: Dark Chocolate Dreams for me (us! I really need to start thinking in plural) and The Heat Is On for my dad.
Finally it was time to head over to The Comedy Cellar, a comedy club that we'd been to once before for the fiance's 21st birthday two years before.  Because it wasn't a weekend night, we were able to get free passes that we printed out that morning, so we didn't have to worry about the $10 cover charge.  There was, however, a two item minimum per person so we indulged in a pitcher of beer, which counts as four items.  Despite costing less than four mugs of beer, we soon learned that it actually contained the equivalent of six mugs and we are not used to three drinks apiece.  Now, you're probably wondering why I haven't mentioned the comedians yet.  That is because these were Monday night comedians who were laughed at more than they were laughed with.  That's not to say that they didn't elicit a few genuine laughs but we actually liked the emcee better than any of the comedians, despite the fact that he made the same jokes that we heard him make two years ago.  In hindsight, it was probably a good thing we had all that beer.

And this has nothing to do with anything, except that I saw it and it's cute:

On a completely unrelated note, I apologize for the horrific quality of my pictures but I don't have a fancy camera (yet) and have to make do.


  1. You left out the part where Harrison Ford and Eddy Curry accosted us on 10th Street, demanding chocolate muffins.

    OK, maybe that didn't happen, but I'm always disappointed when a trip to NYC doesn't end in random celebrity encounters.

    A fun trip, but Angelica's Kitchen really ought to invest in some guacamole. Gotta keep up with the competition.

  2. Not to sound too third wheel-y, but I want to go to the city with you guys again! It was so much fun last time we went and way too long ago.

    Also wondering if it would be at all worth it to drive to a train station closer to the city for cheaper tickets or would the amount of gas used make it pointless?

  3. It would probably be pointless especially since you'd probably have to pay for parking also. Plus, Mother Earth prefers public transportation. It's true, she told me.