Tag Archives: Recommendations

5 Things to love at Peck’s Arcade

  1. The delight of sitting at the kitchen bar (aka worshipping at the altar of Nick Ruscitto) next to my sweetie, perusing the menu.image
  2. These insane, buttery, crisp crab fritters.image
  3. The wonderful take on surf and turf we indulged in – beef short ribs and crab legs.  That chimichurri is so beyond what any pesto could ever hope to be.image
  4. The perfectly stimulating, yet satisfying dessert melange we enjoyed – so many flavors (chocolate, coconut, toffee, salted caramel) and textures (dense, chewy, airy)… What a treat to sample Greg’s talents!
  5. The unabashed enthusiasm of an owner who is able to indulge his inner DJ knowing that he (and his partner/wife) have assembled a professional staff who can keep the floor and kitchen consistently humming.

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    (photo snagged from Twitter)

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Filed under Eating, favorites, Food, Local, Restaurants, Troy, Wine

Yoga to the People

Jumping on a train for a Friday night show may conjure up a bit of je ne sais quoi, but trust me when I tell you, for me, it upends the entire weekend. I enjoy easing into the weekend. Fridays often mean some sort of exercise or maybe my monthly massage, not a dash to the city and a concert that doesn’t really get started until after 9:00. Sorry to disappoint if you imagined otherwise.

Now, in no way am I complaining about a night in the city, my only intention is to point out that trekking to NYC takes me away from my routine, something to which I am quite committed. Fortunately, as I discovered doing a Yelp search, the means for grounding me was available right around the corner from my hotel – Yoga to the People.

Yoga to the People is a chain of yoga studios with locations in 3 states nationwide. There are 5 studios to choose from in NYC, some with set prices for classes and others available on a pay what you will basis. I attended a 90-minute hot yoga class at the W. 27th Street location and couldn’t have been more pleased with my experience.

The studio is on the third floor and isn’t immediately visible from the street. Fortunately, a fellow yogi pointed me in the right direction and I soon found myself in a bright, clean space with helpful folks at the counter. I paid for the class ($10) and rented a mat ($2), filling out a reusable name tag to leave beside my mat for the instructor’s convenience should she have any personal corrections to make.

We had a large area in which to practice and there were probably a couple of dozen attendees. The floors weren’t marked to indicate where mats should be set up so I ended up practically sucking the toes of the guy in front of me (not my idea of breakfast) since he placed his mat approximately six inches away from the top of mine.  Eventually I did ask him to move a little and I only wish I had done it sooner.

On a happier note, the studio and the bathroom were both clean with the perfect hint of bleach.  The 90-minute Bikram influenced class was great and I will definitely remember this place next time I’m staying in Chelsea.  Yoga to the People delivered.

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Filed under NYC, Recommendations, road trips, Uncategorized, yoga

Spinning my wheels getting hot

Last Thursday night I doubled up my workout with a really cool event co-sponsored by The Revolution and The Hot Yoga Spot.  Billed as “Hot Revolution,” it was essentially a 45 minute spinning class followed by a 45 minute hot yoga class for the total bargain price of $20.

We began at 5:15 at The Rev’s Latham studio. Getting there with evening rush hour traffic was a beast of epic proportions but my friend, Will, saved me bike and I clipped in just as the class was starting. This was my first time at this spinning studio and it is really top-notch with quality equipment, audio, lights and instruction. I hadn’t been to a spinning class in at least 3 or 4 years and I was quickly reminded why that was the case…I really don’t like spinning! Obviously, this is my issue because plenty of people looked really happy to be there.  The enthusiasm of the instructor got me through the class but I was pretty glad to take off my cycling shoes and dash over to Latham location of the The Hot Yoga Spot.

I hadn’t been to this studio since it was Saratoga Hot Yoga, a place to which I never felt connected.  It’s really spacious and the locker room and facilities were definitely capable of handling the fairly large group who attended the class.  Aaron taught a terrific class which truly straddled the abilities and experience of a diverse group of people.  It was awesome.

If this combo class sounds like something you’d be interested in giving a “spin”, I suggest you “like” the Spin Revolution and The Hot Yoga Spot on Facebook or follow them on Twitter. This opportunity first came to my attention on one of those social media platforms.  Also, don’t hesitate about giving a challenging workout a try.  There were all sorts of body types and fitness levels present and it was pretty cool to see a variety of people united in their interest in trying something new.  Try it – the trip from bike to mat is one worth taking.

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Filed under biking, Events, Exercise, Local, Recommendations, yoga

Hot yoga, even when it’s not hot

With Andrea from The Hot Yoga Spot

With Andrea from The Hot Yoga Spot

Saturday I took advantage of the kind of deal that makes a cold January morning hot – a free 45 minute class taught by Andrea of The Hot Yoga Spot studio(s) and hosted at the new Athleta store at Crossgates Mall. This awesome community partnership will provide additional classes for each subsequent Saturday this month and I intend to make it to at least two more sessions. Maybe you should come, too!

So? How does it work? Simple. Take a look at the schedule, call the store to RSVP and show up with your mat, water and a towel. The classes are held right in the store (which is on the upper level across from Pottery Barn, next to Williams-Sonoma) before the store opens. Yesterday’s class was fairly small, but there is plenty of potential room for larger classes since most of the displays are on wheels and can easily be rolled out of the way.

Photo taken from Athleta's Twitter feed.

Photo taken from Athleta’s Twitter feed.

The class was a perfect way to begin a busy morning, gentle enough for newbies but with enough flow to create a little heat. The store is definitely not your usual yoga space, but an effort was made to keep the lights fairly low and the lack of mirrors convinced me I was doing everything right. A bonus for sure is the opportunity to shop prior to the store’s opening to the general public. I didn’t purchase anything yesterday, but I’ve got my eye on a sweet cashmere sweater and hope to snatch it up next week.  Don’t forget to ask for a Chi card.  If you attend 4 classes or events this month submit your completed card and you’re entered to win a $250 outfit!

3-legged down dog

3-legged down dog

I just made my reservation for next week’s class scheduled to be taught by one of my favorite of The Hot Yoga Spot’s instructors, Aaron. Now that my spot is secure, I can comfortably hit “publish” on this post and invite you all to book a little mat time for yourselves, but, I’d appreciate it if you could leave that adorable cropped cashmere sweater for me, ok?

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Filed under Albany, Events, Exercise, Local, Recommendations, yoga

Running to hide in the dark

It’s times like this that make me understand the appeal of going to the theater to see a movie. Or three. I don’t often get to the movies for a film that is anything other than rated PG, but during my winter holidays, I found my way to the Spectrum three times for grown up movies.Two of the movies I saw were based upon books which I had very much enjoyed, while the third appealed to my curiosity and is the one which I’ve found myself reflecting on with surprising frequency. All provided an opportunity to escape.

Escape from what, you ask? Christmas and the stress which it can bring, the reality of who is present in my life and who is not, and a grief that I found I could not run away from no matter how rapidly I moved my sneakered feet. The holidays are a cruel time for death to visit.

So, I went to the movies. First, my middle son and I took in Birdman (and a medium popcorn) together. The plot was interesting without being groundbreaking and I thought the cast was outstanding. Michael Keaton was utterly convincing in the title role and Edward Norton was his standard mesmerizing self. Emma Stone continues to be difficult to look away from and I only wish Naomi Watts had been in more scenes. Overall, I found the film a bit disturbing, but that’s just coming from literal me. I like movies that neatly tie up in the end, and this definitely did not do that.

Christmas Day I made my way back down Delaware Avenue for a matinee of Unbroken. I’ve been waiting to see this movie since I read the book 3 years ago and, while I think the adaptation was respectfully done, the film simply could not live up to the printed page. There just isn’t any way to capture the richness of Hillenbrand’s book and Louis Zamperini’s life in 120+ minutes. By all means, see the movie but do not think it tells the complete story. Read the book.

I completed my trifecta with another film based on a biography, Wild, starring Reese Witherspoon. I just recently read and loved the book and think the movie accurately portrayed the journey that Cheryl Strayed took in the aftermath of the demise of her mother and her marriage. There are always creative choices to be made and I think the scenes taken from the book and depicted on screen were wisely made. I liked it, but, you should still read the book if you haven’t already.

Hooray for Hollywood and thank God for books and running.

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Filed under Books, Christmas, Delaware Avenue, DelSo, Movies, Recommendations, running, winter

The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone – by Adele Griffin

image: slj.com

You know how certain books seem to take up residence in some internal place? Maybe your head, sometimes your heart, at times your imagination and occasionally your soul? This is one of those books. From the opening page this novel that presents as a work of nonfiction, absolutely grabbed me and I can’t wait to booktalk it at the high school.

Told completely in interviews, news excerpts and images, this book magnificently wove a most believable cloth from threads of a fictional girl’s life. We learn on the very first page of the book that Addison Stone, a heartbreakingly beautiful and talented young woman, has fallen to her death while attempting to plaster a billboard with one of her own original art pieces. Knowing how Addison’s life ends does nothing to alleviate the almost palpable need to know how she lived and I struggled to put this book down. Super compelling.

I have something to confess. Author Adele Griffin so masterfully told this story that I actually spent some time searching the internet for clues about the art which accompanies the text in the novel. My attempt at determining responsibility for the book’s artwork is a testament to the authenticity with which Griffin relates Addison’s life.

As her friends and family, along with various other players from her abbreviated life, relate their impressions and memories, a picture which reveals a gifted, yet mentally unstable girl becomes increasingly more apparent. Poor Addison! Her sensitivity to all she alone could see made her, like many artists, too vulnerable to survive. Read this book. It will help to keep Addison alive a little longer.

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Filed under Books, Recommendations

Seven-year (p)itch

So…this Wednesday, 12/17, is the 7th anniversary of the Wine Bar & Bistro on Lark. Yes, that did go fast! I’ve been onboard for the last 4 years and consider myself fortunate to be able to continue having a presence in the local food scene in such a special spot, especially since my availability is generally limited to a single night of the week.

Lucky me, though, – I work Wednesday nights and will be on hand to celebrate our milestone. And you know what? You should be, too! We’ll be featuring a few items from the original menu, at the original prices, and selected bottles of 2007 vintage wines will be available at a 50% discount. See? You’re lucky, too!

That’s a date then, right?

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Filed under Albany, Dinner, Eating, Events, Food, Lark Street, Local, Recommendations, Restaurants, Wine