Sunday, September 11, 2011

meal plan: the decision.

as a non-freshman, i have the option to opt-out of the university dining hall program. however, i think i'm going to get a meal plan. the smallest, but still a meal plan. 

why? well, nyu totally shatters stereotypes about 'dorm food' here are some pics from last year's dining hall meals:

black bean burger on whole wheat bun, salad with mixed greens, shrooms, beets, onions, sauteed sweet potato wedges,  tofu, cookies, soy milk

although i don't like a lot of things at nyu, i must say their dining services kick-ass.

there are tons of vegetarian/vegan options, often use local and organic ingredients, always have bountiful fresh produce, and have interesting dishes like cilantro cumin brown rice and orzo with sundried tomatoes, mixed vegetables, and feta

there's also a great spot for lunch with probably the best salad bar ever:

spinach, artichoke hearts, tortollini, shrooms, beets, chickpeas, blackbeans, cottage cheese, fresh mixed fruit (which included pineapple, watermelon, strawberries, and blueberries)


 with a nice view, too!

my go-tos are big salads, hummus wraps with lots of veggies, grilled veggie wraps, made-to-order stir-frys and/or pastas, and of course, veggie burgers !

they even have fage...FAGE !

nyu dining even hosts strawberry fest, where each year they make the world's largest strawberry short cake. more like a strawberry longcake! lolz


i know i don't have to have a meal plan, and a lot of my friends don't. but i think i may stick with a small one. when you do the math, the meals average out to $11 each, which some argue is more than they'd spend on a meal out. however, when i can get a hummus wrap, giant salad, three pieces of fruit (and two to go), sweet potato fries, juice, coffee, soymilk AND frozen yogurt for dessert....well let's just say, for those of us who eat lots of produce (which is raising in $$) and have hefty appetites...i think i get my money's worth.

what would you do?
how was/is your dorm food?

Friday, September 9, 2011

craziness (FNO) & finding calm in new york city


last night was fashion's night out in new york city. and it.was.nuts. even crazier/bigger than last year.
i headed to soho to celebrate. on the way, this sign caught my eye and totally worked. i went in the store.... 

sadly, the puppies weren't even THAT cute. disappointing.

once i got to soho, i met with a friend who had just met pharrel williams. we headed to the dash store to see dj pauly d (yup, i shamelessly love jersey shore) spin. it was insane:

in fact, the police closed it before people were even let in! lame.

we then headed to DVF and did a cool mini-photoshoot where they took continuous pictures for 7 seconds and turned it into a flip book - cool souvenir ! while in line, hot guys came by with champagne and h'or dervs. i grabbed a mini toast with goat cheese and beats. it was as delicious as it was cute. i love tiny things.

background for flip-book photo-shoot.

we kept walking, and tyler the creator ran out of the billionaire boy's club into a taxi, which was then swarmed, and caused a huge fuss. people were standing/cheering on his taxi. sometimes i feel bad for famous people. that's gotta be stressful!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

what i [didn't] eat wednesday

this was something i could not have today. (okay i cheated and totally had some). but i shouldn't have. but i was told, that to help some lingering discomfort to stay away from coffee, cream, and...

high sugar/fat/butter based desserts.

whipped cream - which is possibly one of my favorite foods ever.
also, if you like whipped cream - this brand is the best after homemade. no preservatives. just real cream, vanilla, and powder sugar. less = more.

nor any of these....gasp!

 salsa (my love), hot sauce (another love), or katsup. not to mention vinegar or mustard. the horrors !

saldly, it looks like the closest i'll be getting to anything high in acid, unhealthy fats, or processed foods will be the following erasers which sit cutely upon my desk:

 so what's wrong with me? well, this card (from the hilarious card collection grandma's dead, purchased at urban outfitters) offers the explanation:


the lumps in my throat for the past few months and my dull chest pain are apparently acid reflux. :-\
meaning i have to cut back on a lot of my favorite foods :-(
obviously, i'm mega-bumbed, but everyday i'm thankful that i don't have a debilitating psychaitric disorder or a fatal disease. i've struggled with major depression and still battle with my adhd on a daily basis, but these struggles only make me stronger. anytime a clusterf*#&k comes my way, (ie: getting lice at the end of last semester...ick!) i keep in mind how lucky i am to have my health, my stability, the opportunity to pursuit an education and a career of choice, and the support of my friends and family. seriously

the world is not ending over my acid reflux.
and it's not all bad. this will force me to get more creative in the kitchen. i'm going to have to think of new ways to flavor my foods and still enjoy them without all the heat and punch i normally like them with. 

and i'm already excited for this excuse to try new things, like non-dairy cheese.

AND i can still eat some of my favorite foods. including vegetables (thankgawd), whole grains, sweet potatoes, apples, bananas, and greek yogurt:

my beautiful beautiful greek yogurt 
(pictured above as pumpkin-spiced greek yogurt)
greek yogurt is alright in moderation
which may actually be a challenge for me. considering my supply and my ability to down that goodness like it's my job

and speaking of greek yogurt, i plan to do a post very soon with several of my favorite ways to eat it :-) so stay tuned

 finally, ending this on a zen note, i did something else bad for my acid reflux

how do you keep things in perspective when things are tough?
did you ever have to (temporarily or permenantly) cut out some of your favorite foods?
any advice/tips/personal acid reflux experiences?

Monday, September 5, 2011

buckling up to get down with the textbooks.

yikes. tomorrow, this starts:

hopefully these will help:

alterra coffee from home

 a friendly note-to-self. 
no laughs, please. i made myself one of these last year and it worked wonders.

so before the chaos kicks off, i tried to do things today to settle in. like finish unpacking. and buy a printer. while i was out shopping i got handed some of these from a promoter...

tickets to barilla's annual cooking festival in central park. neat-o!

another highlight of my day was basically stealing from whole foods.
i say that because individual greek yogurts (which generally run at about $1.99/each) where on sale $5/5. so of course i stalked up!
but how did i get 12 yogurts for $9 + tax, you ask?
well, it just so happens that if you buy a case of anything at whole foods, even if its on sale, you get a 10% discount. just ask a sales associate to get you a case. 
so for things you know you'll use, why not! i assure you none of these yogurts will go to waste.

also, on a walk today i saw this little dude:


obviously, he made me (and many other people) smile. he was drawing quite the crowd, this wittle bugger. 

off to make dinner with some friends! ta-ta.

do you love a deal? every time i get a good deal, i feel like i'm on top of the earth!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

another 24 hours fal-FULL of good eats.

last night i reunited with two old friends i have been missing for the last 3 and a half months. one of those friends was human. the other was taim falafel and smoothie bar in the west village.

from the outside it looks like this:

a tiny little cave in the wall. i'd guess it sits about 6 people. max. but it's always crowded inside and out. why? because it is the best.falafel.ever. just look at what they got going on...

uhhhh yes, please. they serve three kinds of falafels, as well as mediterrian platters and an assortment of salads. last night i got the only thing i've ever had there. i really wanna try like, the whole menu, but i just keep going back to this baby because it's so delicious. this would be the harissa falafel sandwich (which comes with like, 5 falafel balls, hummus, israeli salad, tahini, and amba sauce) on whole wheat or white pita (i usually get whole wheat, but they were out wahhh). here's a picture. i assure you it tasted much prettier than it looks:

harissa is spicy, and has tuscan spices mixed in. i have no idea what is in that spice blend. but i'm guessing there is probably some crack. this is, without a doubt, the most delicious falafel i've eaten in my life. in fact, the first time i tried it, i was walking and had to sit down. i also shouted some profanity in delight through the quite streets of the west village. it was a little embarrassing, but delicious, nonetheless.

after my friend, mom and i savored these giant sammies on a bench, we were all stuffed (if you want to be as full as long as possible for $6.25 - get one of these) and just enjoyed some nice strolling and retired early for the night. 

i was so full i didn't even want to eat a bedtime snack. that is unheard of for me. it was almost uncomfortable / scary.

this morning, my mom and i did a little more west village strolling, this time to the original magnolia bakery.

the place is pretty cramped, but super cute and old school. there is surely something comforting about it. maybe its the smell of freshly whipping buttercream.

i love magnolia cupcakes. probably because of their simplicity. i own their cookbook and all their recipes are simple, made from real ingredients and honest. and they all taste amazing. you can taste that they are made fresh daily from scratch and are not massed produced. i dig that.

i also think they are cute. some people like crumbs cupcakes. i prefer magnolias. i feel crumbs are all huge and ookey and all for show. like yeah, your cupcake is like, 9 different colors and has 18 kinds of candy in/on it. but it tastes kinda stale and icky. so what's the point?

the lonely, damaged, neglected cupcake... (i'll still eat it!)

i didn't get one (too early for me for all that sugar) but my mom got a couple to bring back home. we then did some sampling/shopping at chelsea market:

which also happens to be the food network headquarters, and where many of the shows are filmed. 

after i bought/ate an organic peach that weighed almost a full pound, we walked along the west bank over the city on the highrise. the highrise is an elevated sidewalk, basically. it's pretty neat. you can see the river and it has some nice views of the city.

we then saw this pimp trying to see dog further explanation needed for this feisty critter.

lunch today was, as i half jokingly said, the same thing i had yesterday: heirloom tomato, watermelon, feta & mint salad at le pain quotidien. my mom also hopped on the delicious train and had it too. the afternoon was shopping, unpacking, and hanging with friends. and now i'm officially pooped.

have a wonderful holiday !

what's more important to you -- taste or eye appeal?
do you repeat foods you like over and over?

Saturday, September 3, 2011

back to foodie town & a run in with a foodie celeb !

its no secret that nyc is huge on food. and within 24 hours of being back, i've gotten a lot. of good. food. 

between my trader joes / whole foods runs last night and this morning, i racked up $151 in groceries, but am happy to say i have a bad-ass pantry ready to kick off the semester with. 

another highlight of being back was that this morning i saw this guy:

 i'm such a dog-lover ! i was petting the pants off of him when i looked up to ask his name and realized he belonged to this guy:

yup, that's iron chef micheal symons.

i then realized i had walked into this going on...

...something being filmed for food network. oops ! so cool. 
i didn't ask for his autograph or a picture with him or anything because honestly i've run into a lot of celebs while living here and always feel too awkward to do anything. it just feels weird when you see them up close and realize they're like, normal people.

i then hauled my booty over to brooklyn to go to what is sadly the nearest target and spent too much money and looked way to rediculous carrying $158 worth of dorm stuff back from brooklyn to my apartment. rough.

luckily, lunch was the opposite of rough. because my mom and i went here:

le pain quotidien. think panera. only way, way, way better.
soups. tartines. quiches. mind-blowing crusty bread. salads. pastries. desserts.
all fresh, all organic, and tons of vegan/vegetarian options too. love.

looks good, right?

i didn't ususally get a salad with red quinoa, arugala, sundried tomatoes, and basil pesto. or the black bean hummus tahini & avocado tartine. but today, a seasonal special caught my eye...

heriloom tomato & watermelon salad. 
with feta, fresh mint, cucumber and Majoolah olive oil. best flavor combination. EVER.

just look at that beauty...the sweetness of the watermelon with the fresh mint and salty feta was so surprising, and so, so delicious. the greens were also unbeatably fresh. and that bread...that crusty crusty bread... 

mama got a ham, swiss and leek quiche with a side salad and melon. she said it was the best quiche shes ever had. and seriously, it may have been the best salad i've ever had. or one of the best. honestly, i'm sad this is a summer seasonal item. i very well might get it again tomorrow...

oh, and another great thing about le pain is what they give you to top your bread...hazelnut spreads, praline spreads, white chocolate spreads, a million jams & jellies, and italian honey and agave. bomb digity.

and amuse-bouche i set up for my mom. she was blown away, too.

...that meal didn't stand a chance. i could have eaten it ten times over.

the rest of the afternoon was spent meeting up with lovely friends i've missed all summer long! now its off for a dinner i've been craving for forever...and yes, i'll post on it later.


Friday, September 2, 2011

back in the city.

today it’s back to reality: its time for school. boo. between organic chemistry and biology this year, it’s gonna be a rough one. and I’m not 100% sure I’m ready.

washington square park tonight.

today was difficult for me. i had a really hard time leaving to go back to school. since i started college in nyc i’ve had a love/hate relationship with the city and pursuing a degree at nyu. i love the vibrancy of the place. i love some of the unique opportunities living there has given me (i mean, who else can celebrate finishing spring finals by seeing the alexander mcqueen exhibit at the met?). new york city is a beautiful place and i really do like living there. its just sometimes, well, it’s not easy.

 from last winter when i saw gossip girl being filmed a block from my dorm

in fact, sometimes its really hard. moving back and forth is a real pain. when im at school i miss my mom and dog so much its painful at times. i also just like the quietness and familiarity of home.and sometimes, I  enjoy looking up and seeing stars and hearing silence.

 although you can find some peace and quiet in the beautiful west village

anyways, another thing I feel like I’m missing out on is, well, college.  nyu has no real campus. there is no union. no big football games. greek life is negligible. compared to when I visit friends at big 10 schools, it just feels, well, strange. like i’m away at learning camp in the most chaotic city in the states.

 overlooking the hudson

but the city and school has done a lot for me. as i sit on the plane nyu bound i cant help but reflect on how much ive changed since i moved in last fall as a freshman. my dad had suddenly and  unexpectedly died a mere two months before i left to move half-way across the country to a city i knew almost nothing about and to start college. my major depressive disorder was at its absolute worst and I was not myself for a very long time. things got better over time, but i had a hard time making friends and most of the time I felt lost and isolated yet always surrounded by a million people. I was miserable.  nyc truly did force me to grow up in a new york minute. there was no more whining for someone to help me navigate the subway or carry two 50-lb luggage bags to the bus station and to the airport. I really learned how to suck it up and deal.

 nyu strawberry was nuts!

I also found my passion at nyu. I was totally unsure which route I wanted to go for schooling and second semester I was totally hooked on / inspired by my child & adolescent psychopathology class from day one. I have never been more academically interested or passionate about anything and this department of nyu is truly outstanding. Ive gotten some great research opportunities last semester and have been asked back to help with a year long adhd study, which I’m very very excited about.

the city has also turned me onto some amazing food. for example…

 le pain organic/natural chain of cafes that are mindblowing.




 restaurants. frozen yogurt. cupcakes. foreign markets. farmers markets. outstanding grocery stores. oh man, I could go on for hours… but I’m hoping to build this up in my newly launched ‘nyc restaurant reviews’ tab, above.

so while i’m still not 100% sold on nyu, I’m going to give it another chance. once I’m back in the swing of school hopefully things will get better. and if not, transferring is one (big hassle of an application) away. for now, I’m off to unpack and meet up with some amazing friends I haven’t seen in a few months. enjoy your weekend !

how did you know your college was right for you? did you "just know" ?
should i give it more time?