New York Meals: Le Gamin

The fourth in a series of posts about the exceptional food I ate in 2.5 days in New York.

Oeuf Gamin - Le Gamin Cafe

Brunch in the garden at Le Gamin on my second morning in New York: a perfectly poached egg atop a wedge of chevre-potato cake, surrounded by ratatouille. Café au lait served in a bowl. Sunshine and a cool breeze. Benignly negligent service balanced by excellent people watching. Good company. A lovely way to start the day.

If you go:
Le Gamin Cafe – several locations, but we went to the one in Prospect Heights
556 Vanderbilt Ave (between Atlantic Ave & Pacific St)
(718) 789-5171


P90E Day 3: Shoulders & Arms

After Monday’s workout, I felt pretty good!  Sure, I could barely do any of the push-up type moves, but I rolled and banana’d and lunged my way through the rest of it without feeling like I was going to barf.  I had a bit of residual soreness on Tuesday – just enough to remind me that I’d used muscles I don’t use very often.  I was feeling good!

And then came the 3.25 mile run home.  As I mentioned, I’m subbing in running for the Cardio X, Kenpo X, and Yoga X workouts, with progressively longer distances and/or intervals as the week goes on.  I headed east from work and looped around the track at Palmer Field, where I expect to start running intervals on Thursday.  At some point between Kerrytown and home, my belly started aching.  Was I hungry? Was this runner’s gut?  No.  This was CORE SYNERGISTICS coming back to haunt me.  Hello little core muscles!  Thanks for making it painful to cough, sneeze, or laugh!

Tonight I came straight home with my delicious farmers’ market goodies (sweet cherries, sour cherries, tomato, cabbage, and SMOKED FISH), plopped everything in the fridge, and hit the deck for Shoulders & Arms.  And man, did I bring it.  I’m still figuring out the Bowflex adjustable dumbbells, but I did my best and upped the weight on most of my second sets.  I even did the bonus round, grunting my way through the last few reps.  I am going to be S O R E tomorrow!

After checking in with Shane on dinner, I tried my best to bring it with Ab Ripper X, but only made it about halfway through before I had a danger sign: my hip popped.  This isn’t uncommon for me, but does give me a very legitimate reason to pause the workout.  I’m going to have to figure out how to make this work.

Days 2 and 3: Brought.

New York Meals: James

The third in a series of posts about the exceptional food I ate in 2.5 days in New York.

A few weeks before my trip, I posted a request for restaurant recommendations on Twitter and Facebook. I ate well on previous trips to New York, but have gotten significantly more into food since my last visit in 2008. I’ve also made a few friends who are very into both food and New York. I was also thinking of this trip as my reward for making it through my first semester of teaching – so I was willing to swing a slightly higher food budget than I would’ve normally planned for a solo trip.

Project 365: Day 155
Photo by Joe Schulz

On my first actual evening in New York, Carrie and I grabbed dinner at a sweet restaurant in her neighborhood that she’d often walked by but hadn’t had the excuse to try. James was both upscale and welcoming, a small space packed full of people yet still surprisingly intimate. A family of three was seated at the table next to us, the small child playing with toys and eating bites from his parents’ plates throughout the meal. The next table over was a birthday party. There were couples out for a private meal – and then the two of us, hungry and tired after long days.

I wish I had photos of the food we shared, but the lighting was low and the food too delicious to wait. We shared three small plates: a fancied-up shrimp and grits – smooth and rich, with a spicy harissa jus – and the asparagus, grilled or roasted and served with an impossibly wonderful Taleggio cream. Oh, and herbed fries, because what meal isn’t even slightly improved by the addition of fries? All in all, a wonderful dinner, followed by Italian ices and a walk with a very cute dog through a very lovely park.


If you go:
605 Carlton Ave (at St Mark’s Ave)
(718) 942-4255

P90E Day 1: Core Synergistics

I feel like I need to write it in all caps. CORE SYNERGISTICS.  CORE SYNERGISTICS! If the blink tag weren’t deprecated, I’d be all up in that right now. ::blink:: CORE SYNERGISTICS ::blink:: CORE SYNERGISTICS

And that, my friends, is what they call “fake it til you make it”. Because that is what I had to do to get through CORE SYNERGISTICS tonight, what with the five or six kinds of pushups and the “superman banana” sequence. If I can set one goal for myself for this whole P90E process, it will be to be able to do a real push up and also a real pull up. Right now I can do neither, and it showed in this workout.

Day 1: Brought.

Waiting for the inevitable

My grandpa isn’t doing well. He’s been declining for a while, but this morning his doctor – a long term family friend, best man (I think) in my parents’ wedding, and my brother’s namesake – called my dad at work to tell him how bad things have gotten.

My grandparents still live in the split-level house they built in the 50s, when my mom was a little girl. Most days Grandpa, age 91, doesn’t get down the stairs – and Grandma, age 93, brings food to him, helps him bathe, and changes his diapers. After six decades as a housewife, she is a nurse again.

For years we’ve tried to convince them to move out of this house that is really too much for them to manage. For years my parents have tried to convince them to hire a caretaker instead of relying on a (miraculous, wonderful) neighbor and a series of college-aged girls that help with the cleaning and yardwork. Mom is going over for the weekend to make another attempt at this argument.

Four years ago, when we were in the midst of our nation-wide job search, Grandpa took a fall. I remember locking myself in the studio and crying and wondering if I really wanted to move to, say, Boone, where getting home in case of emergency would require a full day of travel. We live 7 hours away, but we might as well be on the other side of the world for all the good I can do right now.

In this way, old age is cruel: there’s little more to do that sit and wait, knowing that he won’t be with us sooner rather than later, but knowing there’s nothing we can do to forestall this inevitability. There are interventions for injury and disease. There are no interventions for just being OAD, as Grandma puts it: Old And Decrepit.

I am so thankful for having my grandparents in my life for all of my life. My dad’s parents are barely a memory at this point – I met my grandma once when I was a small child, and my grandpa passed away when I was in high school – but my mom’s parents have always been there for holidays and birthdays and long visits in the summer time – and, of late, for rambling conversations about Detroit. I can’t wrap my head around the fact that they won’t always be there.

With Grandpa!

Jen and Grandpa

New York Meals: Prospect Park Greenmarket

The second in a series of posts about the exceptional food I ate in 2.5 days in New York.

My trip to New York was a dream. Actually getting to New York, however, was a giant pain in the ass. Someone explain to me exactly how air travel has gotten LESS convenient and MORE miserable over time? Oh right, computers. Instead of leaving Detroit at 5:20 and arriving in Brooklyn in time for dinner, I subsisted on a Chicago dog and a terrible beer at the airport, finally getting out at 10pm and arriving on Carrie’s doorstep in a sorry state sometime around 1am. She had to teach in the morning, so we simultaneously said hello and goodnight, and I passed right on out.

I woke up completely and miraculously recharged, however, and headed out in search of cash, breakfast, and coffee in that order. And so I found myself at the Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket on a perfect June morning.

Photo by benderbending

These photos are from other seasons, but let me tell you: this smelled like a summertime market: berries, herbs, and tomatoes all warm from the sun. Myriad options for baked goods and other treats. A long line for fresh fish. Summer produce is only just now starting to appear at the markets in Michigan, so I was delighted to see cucumbers, as was Mr. Pickle:

Cucumber Kin

My breakfast? A vegan spelt pocket containing mustard tofu and some sort of slaw – delicious fillings, but just an adequate wrapper – and a handful of fresh cherries that I ate on my walk to the subway, spitting the pits into the street. I headed into the city with sticky fingers, a happy belly, and the sense that summer had finally arrived.

Market Breakfast

If you go:
Greenmarket at Prospect Park
Grand Army Plaza
Saturdays year round, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Sister Awake

Instead of focusing on work this morning, I’m trying to figure out if I’m still capable of driving upwards of 12 hours round trip overnight to go to a show. Not just any show, though.

That’s right: The Tea Party is touring again. Still only in Canada, except that this time around I live close enough to Canada to make such a trip feasible. Not like in 2001, when I drove up from Rockford to Toronto – 22 hours round trip – for the White Ribbon benefit show:

me and Jeff Martin
Note the very long red hair (and the extra 30 pounds)

Or those two weekends in 2000, when I drove up from Rockford to hang out with the Sister Awake crew, participate in the red car caravan, watch Nickelback videos frame-by-frame while drinking very weak ‘shroom tea, and see the band in Windsor and Sarnia:

Windsor crew

Pardon the very bad scan to .bmp – it’s the best I have

Or seeing them in three countries in the space of a week, hanging out back stage, staying out all night with the band and crew in Amsterdam, and making a very dear (and very small) Australian friend along the way:




So yeah, this is a big deal for me.