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16 Handles

14 Jun

In addition to lovely brunches, I enjoy a lot of frozen treats over the summer.

Whether it be ice cream, frozen yogurt, soft serve, or sorbet, I’m a happy camper.  I don’t discriminate.

One of my favorite fro yo places is 16 Handles.

The location closest to our apartment is relatively new, as in this will be the first summer I don’t have to hop on the subway to enjoy 16 Handles.  Luckily, it’s still about a mile away so it won’t become a daily treat.  And, each time I go, I’m sure to walk at least two miles so that justifies an extra topping, don’t you think?

In case you haven’t been to 16 Handles or a similar type of place, I’m going to tell you all about it.  Each day 16 Handles offers 16 different flavors of frozen yogurt.

The flavors range from peanut butter (my personal favorite) to cake batter to watermelon sorbet, and everything in between.  Everything is self serve so you can get as much, or as little, as you want!

They also have a deluxe topping bar that’s sure to please everyone.

Some toppings include fresh fruit, mini peanut butter cups, cookie dough, and gummy bears, among many others.

On my last trip, I enjoyed peanut butter, banana, and cake batter frozen yogurts topped with brownie bites, peanut butter cups, and graham cracker crumbs. 

Yum!  I can see many more trips to 16 Handles in my near future.

What’s your favorite summer time treat?

Cilantro

13 Jun

Summer has certainly hit NYC.  We had two days last week that were well into the 90s!  Not mention the ice cream trucks are out in full force and most women are wearing skirts or shorts that would make their mothers blush.  Not me of course (Hi Mom!).

One of my favorite summer time traditions is brunch.  Now you may be wondering, why is brunch reserved for the summer?  Well, in theory, it isn’t just a summer time activity but it’s just so much more enjoyable in the warmer weather.  There’s nothing quite like strolling to brunch in the sunshine after spending a lazy weekend morning in bed knowing that I don’t have to cook or clean.  Bliss.

This past weekend, Alex and I went to one of our favorite brunch locales; Cilantro.

Cilantro is a favorite for a number of reasons.  The environment is casual and family friendly, the food is top-notch, and the prices cannot be beat!

As usual, we started our meal with a basket of chips and salsa.  They also offer fried plantains which are great!  Crunchy, salty, and… gone.

For our entrees, I got the shrimp fajitas with an array of sides and whole wheat tortillas.  The thing I love about fajitas is that you have the ability to make it what you want.  You can be sure that I ate all the shrimp, peppers, and guacamole 🙂

Alex got his usual dish; steak and eggs.  He got this entire dish for $8!  I’m telling you the prices are ridiculous.  Let’s just hope no one from Cilantro reads this and increases the prices, haha (highly unlikely, indeed).

As always, we left as two very happy customers.  If you’re ever looking for a great brunch place on the upper east side, Cilantro never disappoints.

What’s one summer time tradition that you love?

NYRR Mini 10K

11 Jun

This morning was the annual New York Road Runners Mini 10K.  The Mini started in 1972 marking this year as the 40th year.  It began as a celebration of women’s running; a celebration that continues to this day.

This year’s race was dedicated to Grete Waltz.  Grete was  a nine-time NYC marathon winner and five-time Mini 10K winner.  Just two months ago, she lost a long battle with cancer.

It’s humbling and inspiring to think of Grete and all the strong women runners that have paved the way for the rest of us.  When I was struggling to get to the finish line, I thought of all that they’d accomplished, and it gave me the strength to keep going.

I covered the entire 6.2 mile course in 54 minutes and 3 seconds.  I couldn’t be happier.  It isn’t a personal record, but I know that I gave it my best!  I’m already looking forward to next year’s race 🙂

Have you ever run a road race?  Did you enjoy it?

99 Miles to Philly

2 Jun

Last night Alex and I found ourselves in the East Village.  We headed downtown after work to meet up with a potential DJ for the wedding.  I have to say, it’s been nice to explore different neighborhoods due to wedding planning!

A few months ago, Alex went to 99 Miles to Philly with a friend and has been raving about it ever since.  In fact, we’d already agreed that we’d go sometime and last night turned out to be the perfect opportunity.

One of the great foodie accomplishments of Philadelphia is its cheesesteak sandwich.  The simple combination of steak, cheese and grilled onions has won the heart of many, my fiance included.

Before last night, I’d never had a classic Philly cheesesteak and some might argue that I still haven’t.  For one thing, I was still in NYC and another thing is that I ordered my sandwich with chicken.  Regardless, it was still pretty fabulous.

99 Miles to Philly is a small restaurant with limited seating.  It wasn’t an issue for us as it seems they do a lot of business through pick ups and deliveries.  When we walked in, we headed straight to the counter as that is the only place to find a menu. 

They offer three basic starters for a sandwich, steak, chicken, or vegetable.  From there you have the choice of three different cheeses, American, provolone, or Cheez Whiz.  I went with provolone as I’m quite partial to it.  And finally you can add any number of veggie; onions, mushrooms, sweet or hot peppers, etc.  Essentially, you’re building your own Philly cheesesteak.  They also offer a number of side dishes, such as waffle fries, chili, potato salad, etc.

The portions are huge!  The picture above is only half of the sandwich.  The rest was still wrapped up on the right.  I was only able to make it through half and gladly took the second half home for leftovers.

I found the food to be great.  It came out piping hot and full of flavor.  There was plenty of meat and a decent amount of veggies.  I also liked that it wasn’t overflowing with cheese as some places are wont to do.  The service was great; very quick and friendly.  We’ll definitely be back soon!

Have you ever had a real Philly cheesesteak?  What’d you think?

Will you hold me accountable?

23 May

Hello there!  Welcome to another week.  This week is going to fly by for me because I only have to work three days.  Love that.  This Thursday, Alex and I are flying down to North Carolina to visit some of my family.  Then on Saturday, we’re hitting the road to Hilton Head, South Carolina to see some of his family.  It’ll be a whirlwind trip as we’re due back in NYC by Monday evening.  Phew!  I’m looking forward to it and hope to blog a little bit about it on the way 🙂  Do you have any plans for Memorial Day weekend?

Because I’m going to be in and out all week, I thought I’d discuss my daily eats.  I also want to start using the blog as a way to hold myself accountable.  I know I’ve mentioned a few times before that I’d like to lose a little weight before my wedding.  (What bride doesn’t, after all?)  Unfortunately, I’ve found that since I got engaged my weight has been going in the wrong direction.  Now I know that the number on the scale isn’t the best measurement of overall physique.  After all, muscle weighs more than fat.  But I’ve noticed that my clothes are a little tighter and my energy levels are lower.  So, I’m going to work hard to change things up and I hope this will help me stick to it!

My latest challenge has been to cut back on the amount of nutbutter I consume.  I know that nuts are a great source of healthy fats but I think I’ve been over doing it lately.  Changing up the proportions of each micronutrient will help me a lot.  My plan right now is to aim for 30-40% protein, 50-60% carbs, and about 10% fat.  I do not have any support for those numbers besides what’s worked well for my body in the past.  (Please remember that I’m not a nutritionist and am not recommending you do the same.  Be aware of your own body and do what’s best for you.  But please read along as I try to figure what’s best for me!)

Let’s start the day, shall we?

Breakfast

For breakfast I made one of my latest (and greatest) creations.  Greek yogurt ice cream!  I know you’re probably thinking I’m crazy for eating “ice cream” for breakfast, but allow me to explain.  What you’ll need is 3/4 cup greek yogurt (I use Fage Total 0%), 2 to 3 Tbsp unsweetened almond milk, and 10 drops of stevia vanilla.  Mix until all three are well incorporated.  Now taste and tell me that doesn’t taste like ice cream!  On top, I dumped 1/2 cup Kashi GoLean, 1/2 cup Fiber One, and 1/4 organic blueberries.  Yum!

Lunch

Today’s lunch is brought to you by Tossed.  Tossed is a great salad and sandwich place located in midtown.  They have a wide variety of ingredients and a nutritional calculator so you have an idea of your micronutrients.  Very nice.  Today’s salad included:

  • Roasted Chicken
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Sugar Snap Peas
  • Apples
  • Bean & Corn Salsa
  • Egg Whites
  • Fat Free Raspberry Vinaigrette

I also munched on a fuji apple that went unpictured.  But I’m guessing you know what an apple looks like 🙂

Snack


Today’s snack was a treat!  I had a chocolate chip protein muffin.  It was just as scrumptious today as the day they were baked.

I also nibbled on a couple handfuls of Kashi GoLean because my stomach was still grumbling.

After completing a full workday, I still had energy to work it out at the gym.  Tonight’s class was Chisel.  I may have mentioned this before, but just in case I didn’t, this class uses weights and calisthenics to sculpt and shape muscles.  Woo hoo!  It was a tough workout and just what I needed.

Dinner


Now dinner is not as in line with my new goals as I would have hoped but I had to clean out the refrigerator since we’ll be gone for a few days.  Besides, a little cheese, bread, and wine never hurt, right?  I think “a little” are the key words there.  Alex and I shared the above plate and had a glass of red wine each.  It’s such a nice indulgence that we both really enjoy 🙂

That’s about all for today.  I might try to find something in the way of fruit for dessert.  Hopefully I’ll find something good!

How do you hold yourself accountable when it comes to healthy eating?  I can use all the help I can get!

D.U.M.B.O.

17 May

If you aren’t familiar with NYC, then chances are you’ve never heard of D.U.M.B.O.

DUMBO is a neighborhood in Brooklyn and it stands for “Down under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass.”

This past weekend, Alex and I found ourselves in DUMBO so that we could meet with a potential wedding photographer.  The meeting and our visit went well!

First up, we stopped for lunch at O’Crepes.

O’Crepes is a small creperie with a menu that features local and organic ingredients.

They offer both savory and sweet crepes with the option to create your own if you don’t like any of their signature crepes.  Everything looked so yummy but we were there for lunch so we stuck with savory crepes.  I ordered the J Hook which was a buckwheat crepe filled with cream cheese, smoked salmon, and spinach.  Alex went with the Architectural Digest which had chicken, mushrooms, ratatouille, and onions.

We got to watch the chef hard at work!  He made the crepes right in front of us in no time flat.

Yum!  This crepe was huge!  I couldn’t finish the whole thing but the part that I did eat was great.  My only complaint was that the smoked salmon was very salty.  I think if I ever find myself back at O’Crepes, I’ll order what Alex got.  His dish was fantastic.

After lunch, we had a little bit of time before our appointment so we decided to walk around.  Not two steps from the restaurant, what should we come across?  A humongous candy shop.

Alex was thrilled.  He was very focused and had to make sure he walked away with the best of the best.  Candy shopping is no joke. 🙂

Dewey’s was such a fun shop!  There was so much to look at and to taste.  Alex and I were quite pleased with our purchases.

As we finally made our way to the photographers, we ran into this guy.  I couldn’t leave without snapping a picture!  He said hi and requested that you go to Brooklyn for a visit.

🙂 We had a great time and hope to go back soon.  There was so much to see that we only scratched the surface!

Have you ever been to Brooklyn?

El Centro & The Freelance Whales

5 May

Have you ever heard of the Freelance Whales?  Chances are, you haven’t.  If you’d asked me that a couple of months ago, my answer also would have been no.  However, when I heard Alex playing their catchy, upbeat songs I couldn’t help but hum along.

Freelance Whales is an indie rock band from Queens that got its start by singing on subway platforms throughout the city.  Over the past year or two, they’ve been working their way up through live performances, television soundtracks, and commercials.  Last night, we were lucky enough to see them in concert.

Before the show, we grabbed a bite to eat.  We decided to go to El Centro in Hells Kitchen. 

We’d been once before but it had been quite a while so this was the perfect chance to head back.

After browsing the menu a bit, I decided on the shrimp fajitas and Alex went with the hanger steak.

We munched on some tortilla chips and salsa while we waited for our food.  The chips were great; very crisp and salty without being greasy.  Unfortunately the salsa was a little watered down for my liking but I ate it nonetheless.

And then, dinner was served!

My fajitas were served with three corn tortillas, various sides, and rice and beans.  While the food was very flavorful, the portion was a little small for the price.  I only got five pieces of shrimp.  That’s less than two per fajita!  Also, I sure could have used a little more guacamole.  I love that stuff 🙂

Alex said his dish was also good but they were stingy on the beef.  You can see from his plate above that more than half was just rice and beans!  After the meal we both agreed that while the food was good, the prices were much too high for the amount of food served.  We most likely won’t be back.

Next up was Terminal 5 for the Freelance Whales show.

The venue was intimate without being crowded and there was no point at which we thought the music was too loud.  In fact, there were times we were struggling to hear certain instruments.  After the show, Alex made a good point that the sound distribution was off for some of the instruments as they could not be heard at pivotal points of the songs.  It could have been an issue with the venue or the band, but either way it wasn’t enough of a problem to take away from the show.  We definitely had a great time 🙂

The opener was a band called the Foals.  This group was new to me but I still enjoyed a couple of their songs.  That’s one of the great things about concerts; it exposes you to music you might not have heard otherwise.  Now that I’ve heard them, I plan to look into their music a little bit more.

Finally the Freelance Whales took the stage for a pretty awesome set.  The band has five musicians and they are all so talented.  I don’t even know how many instruments they had on stage but each took their turn playing something different.  It’s remarkable what they could do!

It was a fun night out and not too wild for a weeknight.  I have many habits that rival those of a 70-year-old woman; an early bed time is one of them.  😀

What was the last concert you went to?