Wednesday, April 16, 2014

the neighborhood bar

when the boy and i left williamsburg, i never thought i would find a neighborhood bar that could rival trophy.  the owners and staff are genuine, laid back, and serious about food and booze.  the vibe was unpretentious and incredibly friendly.  on an off night or before the rush, you could find yourself chatting with the owners for hours or hitting it off with a fellow patron or helping taste test a new drink or menu item.  so many happy hours, birthdays, and good memories.

i am relieved that lloyd whisky bar proved me wrong.  from the first time i walked in, i felt at home. . . dark wood floors, a fantastic leaning bar and cosy decor.  it doesn't hurt that the owner also hails from brooklyn and has also done stints at whisky ward and verlaine, my old go-to.  all the elements are right- perfectly concocted cocktails, an impressive whisky and bourbon selection, surprisingly delicious food and most importantly an awesome staff.

in the face of our often unusual work schedules, i have come to look forward to our weekly standing date night at lloyd.  boiler maker for him.  dirty gin martini for me.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

sushi on my mind

sushi is one of my favorite foods and i enjoy a variety of types and levels. kind of like my taste in movies.

sometimes i like pure, minimalist sushi- reminiscent of a great film- where superior quality means everything and subtlety is sublime.

yet i also enjoy those quirky rolls- indie films- that test the senses with unusual flavor and ingredient combinations that delight you when they work.

and honestly, sometimes even grocery store sushi, much like a rom-com, while lacking in substance can do the trick.

living in nyc spoiled me.  so many options.  not enough time.   i was able to satiate my sushi cravings with the press of the dial- i admit to almost weekly deliveries from sumo sushi (yes, one play boy roll and spicy tuna tartar please!).  often meeting up with friends at kanoyama or cherin sushi depending on the weekly budget. . and for special occasions- sushi of gari where i experienced my first sushi-gasm.

having a few months of philly under my belt, i was starting to get the feeling that finding a good sushi joint might be tough.  our first attempt was hikari in northern liberties, a small restaurant tucked away on north american street.  service- fine.  atmosphere- fine.  prices-fine.  food- m'eh.  all in all, not a bad experience but not worth repeating. . . a shame- would have loved to have had a winner in walking distance.

on a whim, the boy and i decided to try umai umai in fairmount.  we got to the neighborhood, which feels incredibly similar to park slope, around 9:40 and i'm feeling slightly anxious because they close at 10:30. so we do a lap to find parking, and then another, and then another.  luckily we were able to squeeze into a  mostly legitimate spot around 10pm, directly in front of the restaurant.  we get seated promptly and start looking over the menu.

we order oyster shooters, the sashimi platter, the spartan, eternal sunshine and the poseidon roll.  the oyster shooters were divine- kumamoto oysters with sea urchin and quail egg in a citrus, cilantro dressing.  the sashimi was a little too cold, but respectably fresh.  the winners were the "designer" rolls, especially the eternal sunshine which i really didn't think would work but was delicious- panko crusted flounder with avocado, salmon, cucumber, apricot miso, blueberry balsamic, and pine nuts.  our waitress was lovely and attentive and the scene was a lively thanks to the byob policy.

i left dinner with a full belly and cautiously optimistic about discovering more worthwhile sushi restaurants in phily. . . next up fat salmon, and maybe for a special occasion morimoto. . .

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Run V Run

On my 34th birthday... feeling a little out of shape and vowing to be at my fittest at 35, I signed up to run in the #PhillyLoveRun.  It has provided much ended motivation in maintaining a workout routine and eating well...upping the stakes was getting my sister to sign up as well.

4.5 months whizzed by and race day snuck up on me. Weather outlook looked bleak and did not let up... We woke up to gray skies, drizzling rain and cold winds.

There is something inspiring being part of a ten thousand strong group just crazy enough to run 13.1 miles in a torrential downpour on a Sunday morning. Not only does Philly feel a little more like home, but I am now officially hooked on half marathons. It is the perfect race distance- serious enough to involve rigorous training but much easier on the knees and joints!

Just tying to figure out when my next race will be!

Celebratory brunch followed at Garces Trading Co, one of my favorite brunch spots in Philly. I opted for the brunch special starting with bubbly (a must for any festivity!) endive and frisée salad with Gorgonzola, citrus and golden raisins, unctuous baked eggs with spicy tomatos and lardons served with crostini with a black olive tapenade as well as a side of bacon (hey in did just run 13 miles!).  

I insisted that my husband get the Croque  Madame - one of the best versions (as good as Schiller's in the LES).  He was not disappointed!

*note to anonymous- I have been horrible with blogging- work/moving/all the usual excuses...but hope to make more time good forward!  Philly is a foodie delight and I am excited to share my finds!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

i never thought i would say this

i am officially sick of going to ikea (at least for the next year or so)- i don't mean to sound ungrateful because we have gotten some truly great furniture and housewares at affordable prices. . . but we've gone so many times in the past few weeks that we know exactly what time it opens, recognize thomas the customer service associate and know exactly WHICH aisle and bin to get components for our storage closets!  so yes, we're definitely starting to settle in and the husband asked me today if i felt like i've moved to the suburbs. 

honestly, no, i feel like i'm in another part of brooklyn.  there are a multitude of fantastic restaurants and bars in walking distance, community gardens galore, easily accessible subway and bus stations, grit mixed in with uber hipsterness (at least kensington/fishtown does not have the shishiness of northern liberties). so far i love our section philadelphia. it will take some time for sure, when it feels so familiar and when it feels like home rather than some new adventure. . . picture of front and back yard below!

but we are off to a good start and our neighbors are unexpectedly friendly. . forcing me out of my shyness and nyc silo mentality. dare i say i see some potlucks/dinner parties ahead? 

today the boy and i ventured to mid century warehouse in their new fishtown location (this is AFTER going to ikea to get more outdoor furniture and hangers - seriously 8 wooden hangers for $3.99 can't beat it!).  we had scored a beautiful dentist (we use for liquor) cabinet and dresser years ago. . .and hoped to find the perfect table/desk for the bedroom.  while we left empty handed from MCW, we did explore kensington avenue and a nook of vietnamese restaurants.  

we ate at Cafe Pho Ga Thanh Thang.  no menu.  cash only.  they serve two things.  chicken and beef pho.  we ordered two large bowls of chicken pho and a plate of chicken- all for $22! the broth was delicious and while i was slurping away, i happily surveyed the tables full of vietnamese, latino, thai and caucasian guests.  tables turned quite quickly yet there was a line out the door to get in. . . can't wait to try the bun bo hue place next door and thang long across the street.

Monday, July 22, 2013

a good summer read

on my morning run through haverford college's nature trail, i listened to an interesting episode of "freakanomics" about government employees gone wild. 

apparently, the government publishes an ethics guide called the "encyclopedia of ethical failure" which gives true accounts of government employees who have acted unlawfully or otherwise have demonstrated seriously bad judgement in their positions

e.g. one former naval officer cheated on his wife and got his mistress pregnant, than tried faking his death to his spouse!

i will be checking out the full document tonight. . . but wanted to share the link, enjoy!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


almost as quickly as i made the move some years ago from LA to NYC (a month from decision making to unpacking my boxes in brooklyn), the boy and i have found ourselves a new home in the city of brotherly love.

despite great effort and strategic planning- things unraveled unexpectedly.

the boy gets a job in philly we find our dream house in fishtown.  i tell my boss we are moving out of NYC- they are not okay with it so i start job hunting. we move in with my brother and sis-in-law. my company decides they are okay with the move but then an offer i can't refuse comes along.   

in a couple weeks, the dust will begin to settle. . .then, there will be time to explore the new neighborhood, uncover philadelphia's treasures, and start some new adventures!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

uncovering the culinary delights of Ft Greene

my first experience with ft greene was years ago attending a friend of my husband's housewarming party.  to this day THAT loft remains perhaps the coolest real (a.k.a. not in a magazine or t.v. show) apartment i've ever been in.  high ceilings created a sense of spaciousness that one longs for in NYC, a to-die-for walk-in close, books neatly stacked up in towers, an antique clothing rack with jeans artfully displayed, and the clincher . . . an enclosed backyard patio!! being owned, remodeled and decorated by an uber designy couple didn't hurt.  nonetheless, int hose days ft greene was still a bargain to live in and felt remote.  there was little in the way of shops, entertainment or restaurants.

no longer a hidden gem, ft greene is rapidly developing with new restaurants galore, cute boutiques and a farmer's market stationed in the park.

the boy and i had a chance to meet up with friends at the brooklyn sandwich society last saturday.



in terms of food alone- literally, the best brunch i have had in a really long time.  i ordered the roasted oyster mushrooms served with creme fraiche and seasoned with rosemary and topped with an oh so rich, runny duck egg.  a bowl of generously buttered, crispy bread was thoughtfully provided to sop up that unctuous yolk.  

for the table, we ordered to share (1) biscuits & gravy that would make any southern grandma proud and (2)  "meat in a skillet" aka duck sausage and berkshire bacon (we should have ordered 2!). the biscuits were moist and the duck sausage gravy imparted amazing flavor (i am really over bland gravy, i mean what's the point and such a waste of calories?!)

every morsel was mouth-watering and delicious with succulent flavors not for the faint of heart or health conscious.  these guys are doing it right and i can't wait to try their dinner menu!