First, apologies for YOLO. I’ve never used that acronym before and I promise to retire it immediately. The term, that is. The sentiment? Not likely.
I’ve got a little trip planned with three of my besties – a long weekend in New Orleans. I’m rather ridiculously excited. I’ve never been to this city before, but its reputation as a destination for eating, drinking and music has interested me for years. Factor in 5 nights with terrific company and this is about to get real!
The girls and I are in accord when it comes to travel – make a reservation or two, include a nonnegotiable destination or site and wing the rest. Here’s what we have so far:
- Dinner at Restaurant R’evolution. We plan to experience their traditional holiday four-course meal known as Reveillon.
- At least one visit to Taceaux Loceaux. I’m hoping to try the avocado fries and the bourbon glazed pork belly.
- Coffee and beignets at Cafe du Monde.
- A garden or cemetery tour
- A riverboat cruise
- The national WW II Museum.
What else? Anything you’d recommend? How about a place for breakfast or great music? And, lastly, I have repeatedly heard that it is important to stay within a fairly small perimeter for safety. I don’t know, I remember hearing that it was treacherous to drive in L.A. and I wasn’t overly impressed by that experience. It seems to me that if you’re a New Yorker you know the importance of remaining aware of your surroundings without living in a bubble. What do you think? How about places to get a few miles of running in to offset the decadence? Any experiences or tips you’d like to share would be welcomed!
This past weekend may have been close to perfect. One of my favorite girls arrived prior to the snow and we settled in to an afternoon of satisfying household tasks. There was cooking, roasting and baking. A tree was agreed upon and chopped down, by me. Later, it was beautifully decorated, not by me. I call that a win-win situation.
With our bellies full of delicious chili and layers of spandex and Lycra firmly in place, we ventured downtown to the starting line for Albany’s 2013 Last Run. Being smart and all, we stashed some clothes at the Wine Bar for a post-race nosh. We are not amateurs, my friend.
I’ve done this race three years in a row and I have to tell you – it is the most fun race I do each year. The fireworks, the costumes, the crowd, the lights – it is consistently a blast. This year, despite the weather conditions (pretty damn cold with face freezing precipitation) I had the most fun ever, probably a combination of the perfect running friends and an entire day devoted to holiday tasks and festivities. Joy to the world, for sure!
We followed our exertions with a fantastic dinner at the Wine Bar. You might think that I praise the food at the Wine Bar with such frequency because I work there, but you’d be wrong. The reality, though, is I work there because the food is so damn good. Truth. My meal, from the grilled Caesar salad to the phenomenal pork shoulder to the epic wedge of cheesecake from Cheesecake Machismo was flawless. Perfect.
There was another Lilly enjoying her weekend’s activities and menu, Cassidy Bono. She feasted on sirloin steak, ground beef, sardines and chicken breast, punctuated with plenty of biscuits. There were lots of cuddles, along with belly rubs, and what turned out to be our last weekend together will always be a time which I will treasure.
We both had a good run.
Filed under aging, Albany, Christmas, Cooking, Dinner, Events, favorites, Food, friends, Lark Street, Local, running, snow, winter
Here’s a summary of what I’ve been talking about over at my other home on the web…
Christmas always makes me feel melancholy. I don’t think it is a lack of presents or cookies or family or traditions – I have as much of those things as I desire. Each year when this emotional deflation occurs, it surprises me. The unanticipated sobering, despite festive bubbles imbibed, seems to sneak up on me when I finally have met, to the best of my abilities, my holiday obligations. The shopping, cleaning, prepping, wrapping, cooking flurry has come to an end and what’s left? A sense of … not quite disappointment or dissatisfaction, just a slightly disconcerting hollowness. There’s something missing.
In years gone by, I’ve been able to look to physical and mental tiredness as likely culprits for my reflective mood. Lack of sleep and overindulgence certainly could be held responsible for my feelings. For many years, we hosted a decadent dinner party on Christmas Eve, which, naturally, was followed by a too brief night’s sleep and a midmorning drive east to join family. That’s not the case, though, now. My house is quiet and a nap beckons. The boys are gone – they even took the dog. They’ll continue to make the drive East for the foreseeable future, a realization that makes me smile.
Last year, I flew to the desert on Christmas Day. I spent 5 days running and doing yoga and absorbing sunshine and love from a dear friend. It may have been my favorite Christmas ever. Self-indulgent without being an orgy of commercialism or consumption, it was stimulating and relaxing in equal measure. I came back to New York renewed and satiated.
Thinking about that trip makes me feel happy. So, today, I’ll snuggle back into my flannels, close my eyes and hopefully dream about the magical desert mountains where the sand flies when my sneakered feet pass through. When I wake up, I’ll pull on my running clothes and make the dusting of snow outside do something similar. As I count off the miles, I will remember Christmases gone by and imagine Christmases future, but mostly I will try my best to enjoy the present of today. Merry Christmas.
The 9th day of Christmas would be the ideal time to visit the big sister on the block – Nicole’s Restaurant. This family run spot is most definitely an established business in the DelSo, really, it’s practically an institution. Established in 1986 (!), Nicole’s has long been a consistently great spot for a romantic dinner for two, a family meal or festive group dinner. The political types that litter Albany during session even make the trip down Delaware to enjoy items such as Eggplant Roulade and Hazelnut Chicken – you’ll recognize them when you them, trust me. I really appreciate that meals are available in full and small portions and they also do a terrific “to-go” meal deal during the week that I plan to check out after the holidays. And don’t forget them when you’re looking for a caterer for your next event – there were rave reviews for the food they provided in November for the Historic Albany Foundation’s BUILT show. Check back in January for a post about their to-go meal specials – something for us both to look forward to in the New Year!
On the 8th day it was time to check out the bar(tenders) at a favorite neighborhood joint – New World Bistro Bar. This place has been such a huge asset to the DelSo area. Seriously, it probably single-handedly started the resurgence of Delaware Avenue when it opened a few years back. I think the appeal of NWBB is its ability to be everything to everyone. Need a quick bite pre or post movie? Check! Looking for a place for a meal to impress a date or group of friends? Yep, they do that. How about a spot for a well mixed drink and a nosh at the bar? Yeah, they’ve got that covered, too. The space is funky, the servers familiar veterans and the food creative and consistently well-timed to the season. And speaking of Christmas – this place is in fact open and ready to give you the gift of a stellar meal. Here’s their new winter menu. – a present to each and every one of us.
Filed under Albany, Brunch, Christmas, Delaware Avenue, DelSo, Dinner, drinking, Eating, favorites, Local, Recommendations, Restaurants
On the seventh day, God rested, right? Well, on the 7th day of Christmas, so did I – at Mingle, that is. Here’s how it went down… Following a fun run and a delicious cocktail, I knew I needed to get back to the DelSo, park my car for the night and walk somewhere to continue
drinking the evening’s repast. Mingle was the perfect spot for so many reasons – proximity, menu options, and comfort level, just for openers. Lisa and I found our way to the bar (amazing how adept at that we are!) and settled in with bartender, Dave (David?), taking good care of us. After a perusal of the menu, we made our choices: small Caesar salad for me, followed by the Tuna Un-Hui and dumplings and the bibimbap for Lisa. I went with a glass (eventually 2) of Gruner-Veltliner, which was the perfect accompaniment to both of my courses. To finish, I did my best to consume an amazing orange-scented tiramisu, with a lovely glass of tawny port on the side. God, I love port! Without exception, our meal was terrific. I loved my tuna and Lisa’s beef dish, (the leftovers which, much to her regret, she forgot in my fridge!) was wonderful. The seasonings were perfectly balanced in terms of their aggressiveness and the portions were generous without being silly big. Dave was knowledgeable without being overbearing, Jose checked in on us for a chat and the dining room looked to be running like a fine-tuned machine. As an aside, I absolutely love the relationships that have grown between the neighboring businesses on this little strip of Delaware Avenue and think it is a true community model.
Ah…the perfect Saturday came to a lovely conclusion and the seventh day of
Christmas dining DelSo brought gifts to be enjoyed all year long.
As I captioned this on instagram – “This is why I run!”
Filed under Albany, Christmas, Delaware Avenue, DelSo, Dinner, Eating, favorites, Food, friends, Local, Recommendations, Restaurants