Movie Night

Standard

It’s summer, and I still live at

home. As we roll and rattle down the

Mass Pike, in a car older than any of its

three passengers 150 miles from my own

suburbia, I watch as the tops of the trees

engulf the sky in the low dusk light

like stagnant black smoke, and I think

about how much bigger the sky looks here.

 

I’m listening to your laughter bounce from

the windshield to the backseat and back

again, and as per usual I don’t know what

you two find so funny but I can say with

absolute certainty all I want is to bottle your

giggles, film you cackling so hard there are

delicate lines of mascara tracing trails down

your cheeks, and to watch you both catch

moonlight between your fingertips forever.

Advertisements

Very Bad Blogging

Standard

In my struggle effort to reach the coveted title of “semi-functioning adult,” I realized I’ve fallen into this hole of forgetting to carve out time for food adventures. Neglecting the blog and all of the wonderful things there are to eat in this world is the last thing I want to be doing, so I offer you some notes on three Manhattan spots that have taken the internet by storm. Let’s raise our desserts to making time to do what you love.


Milk & Cream Cereal BarLittle Italy

My old roommate and I actually stumbled upon Milk & Cream by accident, on a gray Saturday afternoon in May. It plays upon the success of Momofuku’s infamous and ever Instagram-worthy cereal milk ice cream, but on a major sugar high. If you go traditional, you’ll be allowed one cereal choice to blend into your ice cream and one topping, all in a cup or in a The Konery cone (As a heads up, the Birthday Cake Konery cone is pretty but is not a good choice.) If you’re fancier, go for a Signature Blend. No worries about the size of the line, the staff is totally on it!

20813424_10212540095689933_1934283106_o

Personal fav: Vanilla ice cream with Cinnamon Toast Crunch blended in, topped with chocolate chips *drools*.


DOGreenwich Village

DO now has adorable storefront Greenwich Village, after churning out edible, egg-less cookie dough from a kitchen in Kips Bay for quite a few years.

It’s sugary, creative, and actually feels kind of naughty… like you should be eating all of whatever you order before whomever used to bake cookies with you comes back to scold you for sticking your fingers in the raw dough and give you a lecture on the dangers of eating uncooked eggs. However, just like back in the day, one scoop is probably all you need, even without the raw eggs; it’s very dense. Prepare yourself for a minor food comatose shortly following.


EgglooChinatown

When my friend Kendra comes to town, all we do is eat. So when she told me she wanted to find Eggloo, I knew it was going to be good.

20821269_10212540095729934_293178327_o

And it was. It’s not fancy, just fun. You have your choice of bubble waffle and your choice of ice cream. Oh, and your topping limit is uncapped. Smother your whole life in mini M & M’s and chocolate Pocky while you can.

My House in Budapest

Standard

I’m not a scientist, but I’m almost positive something chemical happens in my body when I find a place I truly love. The silly, floppy kind of love. While yes, I have a tendency to set one foot down in a city and declare that I’m staying forever, the electric sensation of being in love has happened with only a few of those cities… and now I’m adding Budapest to that list.

Budapest is enchanting. All the romance of Paris, without the grime (sorry, not a Paris fan…). I was floored at how quickly Budapest became my reality, a reality I adjusted to like nothing I’d ever adjusted to before. I fell into a rhythm of knowing I’d learn something on every single street we walked down. Ever a fussy eater, I simply accepted that I’d never know what the heck I was ordering at any given meal because Hungarian is very, very hard. It was that kind of love, all in one day.

DSC00339

Our Contiki itinerary gave me just one day in Budapest, but that was all it took.

In the morning, my friend and I walked over a mile from our hostel to the Széchenyi Baths, in which we floated about blissfully with people from all over the world. Probably a mildly gross concept, which we ignored, as time became nothing but a fleeting concept once we started splashing around. It took everything we had not to just stay there all day.

IMG_3380

We lapped the city at least three times. We passed by St. Stephen’s Basilica, hunted down a Costa Coffee (True American northeasterners; we had to have the coffee. Costa is a British chain. We found one in Krakow, too. Get an iced latte if you do ever find one. I’m ashamed by my inner American, but I do love iced coffee.), tried on the iconic embroidered Hungarian shirts in Nagycsarnok, the Great Market Hall, and stopped in one of Budapest’s adorable cafes (full recap on that here). I think that was what I was most bummed about; there were so many cafes to try, and 24ish hours or so was not enough time to try them all. That, and there’s a big emphasis on vintage clothing and thrifting in Budapest. My carry-on sized suitcase hardly allowed for that either (I may have a slight shopping problem, which was very evident once we got to Italy.).

DSC00378

St. Stephen’s Basilica

DSC00373

So no, I don’t actually have a house in Budapest (yet…), but Budapest now has home in my heart. For me, revisiting places internationally tends to happen on a “this opportunity fell into my lap” kind of basis, but I’m breaking that pattern with Budapest.

I could never let all those cafes and vintage stores go untested anyway; I just might need a bigger suitcase next time…

IMG_3384

Venetian Fairytale

Standard

In 2012, I went to Italy for the first time with my family, and I hated Venice.

Right after I’d graduated from high school, my sister and I begged and pleaded to go abroad, and my foodie parents selected Italy. We all loved the food and the culture, but not one of us was big on Venice. It was July, and therefore it was hot, dark, crowded, and confusing. We stuck to St. Mark’s Place for almost the whole day.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Kind of blurry in Venice, 2012

On Contiki’s Eastern Trail, we got to spend one whole, incredible day in Venice, which completely changed my perspective.

We were set loose upon Venice with zero plan. My friend and I opted out of the trip’s additional activities for Venice in favor of others at different stops on our trip, but our own personal wanderings gave our fellow travelers a little something to be jealous of.

We picked just any cafe for lunch, mostly because we were ravenous by the time we arrived in Venice, after being squished on our bus all morning (There was a lot of being squished on the bus all morning on our trip, but I kind of love the whole mush-pile tour bus thing? Long bus rides are for deep thought, finding yourself, and unintentionally cuddling with whoever ends up sitting next to you… or for taking intense, mouth-open kind of naps. Whatever floats your boat… because Venice. OK, I’ll stop now.).

DSC00437

Afterwards, we took a lift to the very tippy top of Campanile di San Marco (Eight or nine euros for a breathtaking view. No, I did not cry, but it was definitely one of those “this is actually my life” moments in which I got dangerously close) and very carefully navigated the warped floors of Basilica San Marco to avoid any ankle-breaking. We then spent the afternoon happily lost, souvenir shopping and treating ourselves until we could no longer find any justification for our purchases. We followed the yellow and black signs from Rialto Bridge to Piazza San Marco and back again, before making ourselves at home along the Grand Canal with our loot and two Aperol Spritzes. It was my favorite afternoon of our whole trip, and probably one of my favorite afternoons ever.

DSC00456

I will never get over this view.

DSC00484

IMG_3506

Aperol Spritzes

We did dinner in reverse and started with dessert, because when you find what you’re looking for in Venice, you do not walk away because you’ll never find it again. Gelato is acceptable for any meal anyway, right? Our backwards dinner were some of the best things I ate, which can be found here.

DSC00496

I found myself exceptionally sad as we boarded the little charter boat back to our bus, as I watched Venice disappear behind us, and as our bus driver drove endlessly around a roundabout so we could finish singing along to a playlist our group had curated. It was a day I’d only heard other travelers tell stories of. One that never felt like it’d ever be mine, and in such a place I had so disliked years before.

DSC00467

But it was mine, and it was pure magic.

I Traveled With #NoRegrets

Standard

October, 2016.

Everyone I know is still attempting to adult post-graduation. My friend texts me and asks if I want to go to Europe, to which the answer is always yes.

By November 2016, we’d booked a trip through Contiki, a high-energy tour operator intended for travelers from all over the world between the ages of 18 – 35. We were to embark on Contiki’s Eastern Trail, which made stops in Vienna, Krakow, Budapest, Ljubljana, Venice and Rome. Contiki encourages all participants to seize the day and travel with #NoRegrets. My friend and I then spend the next several months tagging each other in things on Facebook and sending screenshots of our respective countdowns to our trip.

April, 2017.

Our trip comes and goes far too quickly, as trips always do. We loved every second of it. Here are some notes on our adventure if you’re considering Contiki for your travels:

1. Your Group

Your group is a complete toss up. Ours happened to be 3/4 Australian girls between the ages of 19 – 21, with a smattering of other new friends from England, New Zealand, Canada, America, and Japan. This is not at all a negative; just something to keep in mind. Our group was fun and loud and loved to party, and were very accepting of my friend and I, who kind of became a package deal (Entirely my doing without explicit consent from the other party involved. Major points to my friend for always putting up with me.).

We actually joined in the middle of a trip that had been running for about two weeks. Our group, endlessly social and welcoming, wanted to get to know us from the second we joined, tossing names and hometowns at us, which became a lot for two already-kind-of-introverted and nervous people. I can only imagine it could’ve been ten times more overwhelming as a solo traveler. Everyone seemed to have an established group or at least one friend already. We had several pairs in our group, including a set of sisters, two coworkers, and two or three actual couples. However, most of our group really was solo.

Whether or not you wish to travel with a buddy is entirely up to you; Contiki trips work for either. Prior to departure, I was told that Contiki trips are all wild and rowdy. In general, I am a little bit socially anxious, so such news was disconcerting. I was grateful to have a travel buddy on this one. As a collective unit, we were more muted than the rest of the group. Now that I know what to expect, perhaps I’d consider going solo in the future, but my trip wouldn’t have been nearly as amazing as it was without my friend.

IMG_3513

2. Your Itinerary

There’s a chance your itinerary does not actually start in the city it lists first. Just be careful on this. While we “started” in Vienna, because of the nature of Contiki’s modular trips we actually arrived on the rest of the group’s last day in Vienna, so we did not make it in time for any of the activities. By the time we arrived, we hadn’t slept in approximately 36 hours, but we were a little disappointed that we wouldn’t get to see any of the city.

Otherwise, the itinerary was exciting, accurate, well-managed by the Contiki team with us, and was always on time. As far as Contiki’s “Me Time” additional events, we enjoyed them but also savored our free time. We opted out of some in favor of having the opportunity to wander. My friend and I loved having time to just do our thing or check things off our own personal bucket lists, and join back up with the group later.

3. Your Experience

You’ll probably drink a lot, swear a lot, and find yourself picking up some new words for the duration of the trip. You will meet cool people from all over the world, ones genuinely interested in getting to know you and sharing their experience. You’ll get up early, you’ll walk kilometers on the daily, you’ll stay out all night and then do it again the next day. You’ll get very lost, stumble upon exciting things, sing on the bus, and learn something new every single day. A Contiki trip is what you make of it.

DSC00586

Thanks for sharing Krakow with me, for making me fall in love with Budapest, for introducing me to Lbjuljana, for giving me the most perfect day in Venice, and for allowing me to see Rome again, Contiki. I truly have #NoRegrets and can’t wait to do it again someday!

Hangover

Standard

I’m half-awake
blinking
blurry-eyed at
the ceiling fan
listening to
your breath
as it grows
shallow.
Your knees
are pressed
into my
left hip.
Our heads
keep lazily
rolling
off the mountain
of pillows
falling inwards
tangled
in hair
and charging
cords.
I’m afraid to
wake you.

Lonely

Standard

I lay
in bed
that night
counting
slivers of
light painted
across my
bedroom wall,
tears dropping
off the
very end of
my nose,
for my
heart
was
so full
but only
in my mind.

Return

Standard

You

returned to

the city, though

brief,

and suddenly

the avenues were

alive

once again.

Rhode Island Gems

Standard

New England in the fall. Ask anyone who’s lived there, and they’ll probably tell you that’s what they love most about the area (or they’ll tell you it’s the only thing they love about the area, but that’s beside the point..).

15824538_10210533424604410_1314771528_o

Providence is not your average city; there are no Starbucks on every corner to pee in if the need arises. That’s one of the top things I adore about it. There are few cities in this world in which commercialization does not reign supreme. Instead, my friend and I spent the weekend exploring, eating, and stomping through the leaves.

My friend took me to Wickenden Street for a day. Wickenden is more of a small-town shopping street than a big city avenue, but it is home to a spot for afternoon tea, a place that does pancakes at all hours, and a three-floor thrift store. See why it’s perfect?

Nostalgia is a massive antique store with zero rhyme or reason to their arrangements, departments, or merchandise. It’s an ideal hodgepodge of everything with just a sprinkle of Boston pride in case you’ve forgotten where you are (You’ll find occasional Boston Bruins stuff). It reminded me of Uncommon Objects on South Congress in Austin. While we didn’t purchase anything, we were happily lost inside for about three hours poking through everything.

15824049_10210533425164424_656845150_o

All the fun warrants a meal. We went to The Duck & Bunny. To be honest, I didn’t know what to expect. It could’ve aired on the side of snooty, or it could’ve been a real rare find. The other guests were snooty, actually. But putting that aside, the food is 400% worth it.

15857197_10210533425004420_1022846627_o

The “snuggery” serves a full menu. We started with savory crepes; mine was a ham/cheese/mustard sort of situation. But like, the world’s most outstanding honey mustard. It just begged to be devoured shamelessly.

15877661_10210533424124398_1182717233_o

From there we moved to cupcakes. I say you can gauge how good a place’s cupcakes are by ordering a classic, which is how I’ve earned my title of “That Annoying Food Blogger Friend,” to which I say you should still get a Red Velvet at The Duck & Bunny because it will be unforgettable. The cake and the ultra-sugary icing quite literally melt in your mouth. My friend (who went Chocolate Mocha) concurs, to give you some further perspective. Because Red Velvet is simply just another cake flavor dyed red, it usually isn’t very unique, but at The Duck & Bunny it really is in a category of its own.

And while all that’s fine and dandy (That’s a new verbiage situation for me, OK sure, let’s roll with it…), the only thing that makes it even better is a buddy who will join you in intentionally and ruthlessly destroying neat leaf piles or eating for 95% of the day.  That’s one of my mine below. We’ve been friends since we were four years old. If you were wondering: yes, we are secretly the same person, and yes, it is absolutely adorable.

15817547_10210533423404380_247445664_o

Many more adventures coming soon!

Bakery Dreams

Standard

The iced coffee was so on point I thought I dreamt it.

Just steps beyond the wrought-iron gates of Providence College exists the most delectable hidden gem: LaSalle Bakery. It’s far from a cute coffee shop. It looks like the town bakery down the road from my childhood home, except all of their cakes are painted with Patriots colors instead of the New York Jets or the New York Giants. It’s bustling with students almost all of the time, and I’m told they’ve got a wildly different radio station on every day. Almost everyone, even the kids behind the counter, are in sweats. Ask any Providence grad and they’ll tell you it’s a rite of passage to go there, and then they’ll tell you it becomes a weekly (if not daily) ritual.

14625733_10209850313767066_1735944875_o

They’ve got an Iced Coffee flavor menu long enough to give Dunkin’ Donuts a run for their money. I always ask someone behind the counter what their favorite thing to get is, although apparently since a cute guy was helping me it comes off as flirting (Whoops?). Regardless, he said Vanilla Almond, which secretly was the flavor I was leaning towards anyway, and man was he right (Always ask for recommendations from someone assisting customers, they’re the experts on what’s good!).

14795990_10209850313847068_1181671475_o

The egg & cheese sandwich I chose was outstanding for genuinely no reason at all, like my coffee. It was all just good. And honestly, I think that’s the magic of it. Without having to do much work, you’ve eaten magnificent food and have been welcomed to the community. It’s easy to see why students and locals alike frequent LaSalle.

I myself even made a double visit for the full effect. 😉

14799744_10209850313887069_1136969844_o

Coffee so nice, my friends & I went twice!


LaSalle Bakery

993 Smith St.

Providence, RI

or

685 Admiral St.

Providence, RI

http://lasallebakery.net/