Six Pack Sunday: Boozy Brunch and Subpar Sapphire

(Written on Sunday, I promise.)

Whether it’s Megabus, Bolt Bus, plane, train, or automobile, I will always find a way to get to the ones I love. And now, living in Philly, those trips just so happen to be a little shorter.  Which is great, because I love nothing more than weekend jaunts to my dear buddies in New York. So, in a throwback fashion, and since I haven’t even thought about Six Pack Sunday in forever, let’s bring it back to my roots.

1. Year of Cheese

In case you missed it, 2013 is all about cheese. I became every fellow bus-riders worst nightmare by toting along a rather fragrant Morbier in my purse. Luckily, I didn’t have a seat-mate, until I joined my cheese-loving partner for the weekend.

Food, Claire, and Beers

Food, Claire, and Beers

Not only was Claire my incredible hostess, she also makes a mean cheese plate complete with gourmet pickles and flax seed chips.

Jealous? Should be.

2. Found Nemo

This wasn’t a highlight as much as it was…. the bane of my existence.



Snow is disgusting. Snow in a city immediately turns into salty slush, and is disgusting on every possible level. When does Summer start?

3. No, Diggity.

Anyone else confused by that commercial during the Superbowl where Beck’s decided to transform Blackstreet into a beta fish who sings to a bottle of Beck’s Sapphire (which ironically has a ruby on it)? No? Just me?

Yeah, thought so.

Anyway, I had to figure out what the fuss was all about.

The first taste.

The first taste.

The verdict?



I’ll leave it to the beta fish.

4. Boozy Brunch at The Sunburnt Calf

The Sunburnt Calf is a delightful little slice of Australia nestled in Brooklyn. And, since Claire’s got a particular affinity for Australia, obviously that was our only choice for brunch.

Oh, hello there.

Oh, hello there.

The $20 endless mimosa brunch + coconute pineapple french toast didn’t hurt, either.

Come to mama.

Come to mama.

Since I basically ALWAYS put coconut in my french toast, I couldn’t resist this dish. And, though the portion was a little smaller than I expected for $10, the bread was soft like a pillow, the roasted pineapple was sweet, and the toasted coconut tasted a lot like what you imagine when you rub your body down with coconut body lotion. Not lotiony. Just delicious and tropical and made me forget the nasty weather just waiting outside.

5. Kindred Spirits

I realized, on the snowy Friday night of my arrival, that the reason Claire and I probably get along so well is because we get dolled up, do our hair real pretty, wear some sexy boots, and head to a bier garten. And we order beer by the liter and then we are perfectly content to beep boop bop as we occasionally talk to each other but sometimes a lot of times we happily tap away at our phones and show each other pictures and funny tweets.

Scenes from Friday

Scenes from Friday

We both commented that we wished someone was there with ANOTHER iPhone to instagram our overactive iPhones and our ridiculousness.

Whatever, don’t blame me for my generation’s pastimes.

6. Did I develop a lazy eye on the bus ride up?

(My fraternity-based "Little Brother"'s ACTUAL little brother, who is also in the fraternity. It's complicated.)

(My fraternity-based “Little Brother”‘s ACTUAL little brother, who is also in the fraternity. It’s complicated.)

What’s wrong, righty? Didn’t wanna come to the party?

I don’t even know what’s going on, y’all.

Favorite boozy brunch beverage?

Had any good cheese, lately? If yes, which one? If no, you better hurry! It’s almost mid-February!!




Megabus or BUST!

When I decided on an impromptu journey to NYC for the weekend on Friday morning, I never thought I’d be waking up Sunday and Monday mornings to this ugly mug:

Hello, you fool. DON’T LOVE YOU!

But, other than a furry alarm clock that woke me up a few hours too early each morning with a scratchy tongue and a desperate Meeyooooowwwwww, this was just the most pleasant little surprise trip to visit my buddy Claire.

Goals of the weekend?

  • Eat good foods
  • Avoid any/all football games (televised, IRL, college, NFL, Fantasy, foosball…)
  • Don’t spend too much money
  • Get outside

Mission: accomplished.

Scenes from the Megabus Experience

After my first actual floor shift at Athleta (my new employer, in case you missed this post), I hauled booty over to Philly’s infamous 30th Street Station to hunt down the Megabus stop. After walking around like a sleepwalker for a bit, unsure of what I was doing, I spotted a Bolt Bus and figured it couldn’t be too far…  And, after chasing a bus turned fruitful, and the Megabus was about 20 minutes late, I hopped on and secured a window seat.

If you follow me on Twitter, you might also know that I secured my own row on the bus.  This was achieved by looking generally surly and standoffish and pulling my hood up over my eyes. I’m pretty sure no one on that bus wanted to be my friend.  That’s fine, I didn’t wanna be their buddy either and about 2.5 hours later, I pulled up to the stop in Chelsea to meet Claire!

After a long week for both of us (first full week of school, first few shifts of work for me; she’s apartment hunting and working full-time), any pipe dreams of GOING OUT!! TO THE DISCO!! MAKING MOVES FOR A NYC PARTY WEEKEND!! were kicked to the side as we both looked at each other, then down at the container of pimiento cheese in my hand. Cheese party for two? Bring it on.

Gorgeous, much?

The next morning, we slept in, but the sun did not, and it was a PERFECT day to head to Brooklyn for one of my favorite parts of the city, Smorgasburg! I was introduced to Smorgasburg last November, and basically dream about it every weekend. And, after reading all about the Vendy Awards this weekend, I was itching for some goodies. Sunday Smorgasburg delivered.

Lunch of Champions

Lunch was a Coconut Chicken Curry bun from Bite Size Kitchen and a Baja Asada (grilled fish!) taco from Choncho’s. I FINALLY tried a direct squirt of Sriracha, and I’m chomping at the bit to get to the store and get a bottle (or four) of my own.

And dessert, of course.

Dessert was sweet and refreshing. Miniature maple butter tart from Cutie Pies NYC and, my favorite new treat, Kelvin Natural Slush!! Arnold Palmer flavored with a bit of Raspberry added in, and ideal on a sunny afternoon laying out on the grass.

Since we were (sort of) in the neighborhood, we headed over to Brooklyn Brewery for a little Sunday Funday.


This might be my favorite brewery scene I’ve ever been to (this was my second visit) and we enjoyed tasty beers and fantastic company.

MANY tasty beers.

Rainbow of beers! Rain-beer?

After galavanting about Brooklyn a little longer, the sun had sucked out the last of our energy. The night was spent eating more (what else?) CHEESE!

Tallegio, goat cheese x 3, and fig jam? We fancy.

I secured another entire row for myself this morning on my bright and early Megabus back and I’m basically FLOORED by the ease of getting to/from NYC. I’ve had more trouble getting to South Philly….

Megabus goes from Philly to Boston, Baltimore, State College, DC, and Toronto. I wonder where I’ll go next.

Any suggestions?

What’s your favorite method of long-distance transportation?

How about your favorite food to eat in NYC? Mine is everything

Big Apple Eats

I love being back in the North. The drivers are crazier, the rolls are pork-ier, and the proximity to my friends is at an all time high.  So, instead of planning a huge weekend that involves flights and taking off work, I can just hop in a car, then onto a train, and VOILA I’m in the city!  Since I saved all that money on flights, I figured that I’d spend it all on food.

Priorities, right?

Luckily, there’s no shortage of tasty treats in the Big Apple, and I take big bites.

First up, Flea Food Under the Archway from the folks that brought you Brooklyn Flea and Smorgasburg.

Yeahhhh buddy!

First up, Landhaus. Farm to Sandwich, this spot’s steak sandwich with cheddar sauce was flavorful and juicy, with a nice salty mouthfeel. I’ll admit, the potato chips were a little soggy, but the star of the show was the sandwich, and that’s what I was in it for, so I wasn’t disappointed. Next time, I think I’d like to enjoy their Bacon on a Stick. That just sounds orgasmic.

Up next: Brooklyn Oyster Party!

No party like an oyster party, right?

There’s the La-la-la-lovely Laura in the top left, nabbing us a fried oyster plate.

And then, on the bottom right, the oyster plate itself, complete with pickled onions and Old bay Aioli.  While I normally go for the raw oysters, these were practically bursting with tasty brine and the pickled onions added a fresh acidity to the mix. And you can’t really go wrong with aioli, right?


Later that night, inspired by one of my very favorite bloggers, Lauren of Sugar Coated Sisters, I made a rez for my brother and I at Mesa Grill.  Though her post is SERIOUSLY detailed and delicious, here’s a fun collage of my Restaurant Week Meal!

In no real order. Because this photo collage thing does crazy things to my pictures.

The appetizer (bottom right?): Fresh Tomato Tortilla soup with Avocado + Queso

The OTHER appetizer (NOT from the restaurant week Menu, but we HAD to get it!) (bottom left): Cremini Mushroom Quesadilla with Fontina, Ricotta, Fried Egg + Salsa Verde

The entree (Upper left): Cornmeal Crusted Chile Relleno filled with Roasted Eggplant, Manchego Cheese with Sweet Red Pepper Sauce + Balsamic Vinegar

Dessert (top right): Vanilla Bean Custard with Summery Berry Salad

Though I know that Lauren RAVED about the soup, I will have dreams about that Quesadilla and the Chile Relleno. Seriously, maybe I’m just a cheese fiend, but fontina, ricotta, manchego OH GOODNESS!! And topping a quesadilla with a fried egg?


My beverage of choice

I’ve already raved about the Chipotle Ale, but seriously, it was that good.

Birreria did me dirty

I have only see La Birreria completely swamped every time I’ve gone. Admittedly, I’ve only been twice, but both were in the middle of a weekday before work lets out, so I was surprised at the crowds (maybe everyone else is enjoying some funemployment like me?) When we asked for a seat for two for lunch, we were told that we could wait for 30-45 minutes OR check out the bar upstairs, which was standing room only. We opted for the bar, to at least grab a drink before lunch time.

When we reached the rooftop, it was hot, sweaty, and crowded, but a beautiful day. After spotting a small family getting ready to leave, we obtained a seat without hardly waiting at all. We ordered our beers, of which they had an excellent selection of Dogfish Head and house-brewed brews, and were offered some homemade bread made from the spent grain from their brewery (Upper Left). We didn’t try any cask beers this time, but next time I’ll be sure to.

Despite getting the text to let us know a table had opened up, we opted to keep our seat at the bar for the bonus of people watching and proximity to the bartender. I’ll say that the Captain Lawrence Liquid Gold was nothing to write home about, but all the other beers I tried were thoroughly enjoyed. For lunch, my partner and I ordered a cheese plate with gorgonzola, taleggio, and robiola bosina (Upper Right) which was served with a sort of honey hazelnut thing (Bottom Left). Along with the spent grain bread, this was the ideal dish before our “main course” the ProBusto sausage platter with coriander potato and mustard greens. While it seemed a little pricey initially, the sausage was more than enough for the two of us, and was plump and juicy (Bottom Left). Not usually a fan of mustard, this was especially fantastic to enjoy and the potatoes were so well seasoned and well mashed.

And now, I’m on an all salad and omelet diet.

Well, until Happy Hour tonight…


Six Pack Sunday: Hot Towels and Taxi Cab Confessions

Sometimes, the stars and planets align, and it feels like everyone I love is in the same place.  This summer, I’ve got 2 cousins, 1 brother, and countless buddies living in the Big Apple so I couldn’t NOT visit at least once.  And while I’ll have some more specific posts coming, I figured I’d throw in a few bits and pieces for today’s Six Pack Sunday!

1. Hot Towel?

So I’ll be honest, I’ve never actually been to a fancy enough sushi spot to get a hot towel before.  And, apparently, neither had my brother.  The result? We looked at our tray of two steamy towels with confusion initially.  Luckily, my brother just followed his instincts and went with it.

Oh yeah

2. Tiny Teeth

What is this, a toothpaste for ANTS?!?!?!

Solid one use right there.

3. Hella Good

You know who I love? Robin Roberts of Good Morning America.

You know who I got to see IRL this weekend?


And yes, if you’re wondering “Jordan, did you yell out some sort of inappropriate compliment to her right in the middle of the No Doubt concert in Central Park?” the answer is a resound Yes.

(During a lull in music/conversation)

“Robin’s looking HELLA GOOD!”


4. The Rule of Chipotle

I’m a firm believer that adding “chipotle” to anything makes it better. Mayonnaise is great. Chipotle mayo is better.

Chocolate truffles are top notch. Chipotle chocolate truffles TAKE THE CAKE!

Chapel Hill is great.  Chapel Hill was even MORE great when they finally got a Chipotle (I’m generous with the rule).

Needless to say, I’m a huge fan of this new-to-me beer:

Mama likey.

Rogue’s Chipotle Ale  was like a sexy, spicy party in my mouth. The aroma was inviting, like the slightest whiff of that smoky salsa you’ve been itching to try all day.  The taste had heat without being a flavor blast to the face.  True love.

Glad to know that my rule sticks true, even with craft beer.

5. Sorry I’m Not Sorry

Oh, hey stranger. You didn’t wanna be in one of my (zillions) of pictures from the concert?

Well that’s TOO DAMN BAD!

6. Taxi Cab Confession

If you’ve ever had HBO, you may have heard a NUMBER of taxi cab confessions.  This one’s a little different.


This driver’s confession?

I don’t really know how to drive a taxi cab.

Oh, NYC, you never fail to amuse.

Fan of chipotle? How about Chipotle?

What would you like to do with a hot towel RIGHT NOW?

NYC Take Three: Cousins Club Takes Aqua Grill

So in case you missed them, here are a few recaps from this weekend’s trip to NYC:

Saturday night, though, was for family.  If you’ve been reading for a bit, you may remember my cousin’s NYC wedding last month!  Well, the happy couple just recently got back from a glamorous honeymoon in Turkey, and offered their home for a little happy hour before dinner.

Ted and Whit, the happy couple!

The title of this post actually references to the “Cousins Club” that all of my younger cousins had growing up. My mother’s one of 8 kids, so you can imagine there are quite a few cousins in that club.  Well, this past weekend, I felt like we were the grown up generation of the Cousins Club!  And what’s more grown-up than a bit of a cocktail hour for the Cousins?

Whitney and Ted were fantastic hosts, and really pulled out all the stops for their guests (namely, Claire and me).

Quite the spread.

Quite the spread.

We got to tour Whitney and Ted’s apartment, which was adorable and perfect and totally reflected them.  Whitney even picked up some tasty craft beer, knowing how much I love it!

Clearly I was a fan.

Clearly I was a fan.

It was the Smuttynose Imperial Stout, and it was rich, malty, and oh-so-drinkable (perfect to go with all the salty cheeses and meats!)

After a quick photo op, we were on our way to one of their favorite restaurants, Aqua Grill.

Tiny tiny tiny

Tiny tiny tiny

Aqua Grill, located in the Financial District, is one of the newlyweds’ favorite spots and, the moment we walked inside, I could tell why.  The atmosphere was infectious. Even though it was a late dinner (around 10pm), the joint was bustling. There was a din of chatter and laughter, the lighting was warm, and they had a gorgeous display of raw oysters as we passed the bar.  I could tell we were in for a treat.  I ordered a Jalapeno Quencher, the spicy cocktail I mentioned in this week’s Six Pack Sunday. It was delicious and, after careful deliberation, we decided to order four different kinds of oysters for the four of us (16 oysters. MATH!) I even took a picture so I wouldn’t forget which ones we ordered.

Ah, memories.

Ah, memories.

We did an impromptu “oyster tasting”, which was actually my first opportunity to taste the different types of flavors that you can get from different types of oysters. They were creamy or briny, and we also ordered my first “wild” oyster. Maybe it’s because I date a fellow raised in the Cajun tradition of loving all things oyster, but this was just an awesome experience. We let our tongues do the tasting, and it was an exploration of flavors before the main course.

I'm selfish for shellfish

I’m selfish for shellfish

Ted also ordered us a little sushi type dish but, I’ll be totally honest, while it was tasty, it almost paled in comparison to the oysters and the main course.  For moi?



Seared Diver Sea Scallops with Dungeness Crabmeat Risotto and Sugar Snap Peas in a Tomato Shellfish Emulsion

MY GOODNESS!! This was to-die-for!  I’ve only had scallops once before and these were so on point, matched perfectly with a creamy risotto and the sugar snap peas were a surprisingly crunch every time I bit into one. I think my favorite was putting a little bit of each piece on the fork before eating to merge all the flavors and textures in one divine bite.  I can’t speak highly enough about this dish.

Aqua Grill certainly did not do us wrong. Although there was a bit of a wait for some of the dishes, it was a packed Saturday night, so I kind of expected that. No worries, as the company more than made up for the wait.

My tummy was so stuffed and sated by the end of this meal, I felt like I should either float or be rolled back to the apartment. We made a quick attempt at “going out” but, after weighing our options (and pushing through the crowds at another crowded NYC bar), we thought it might just be more pleasant to fall blissfully into bed, dreaming of salty oyster shots and luscious scallops.

I’d say that if the younger generation wants to compete with this cousins club, they have some work ahead of them.

Visit to Brooklyn Brewery

Merry Tuesday to each of you!! In case you’re curious, today’s the last day of Harris Teeter’s Super Double coupons!

In case you’re just getting here, check out my first day of NYC adventures.  Today’s post is a little bit out of order, chronologically, but one I really was itching to write.  I love to visit breweries, ever since my Senior year in college when, for spring break, I didn’t go get topless in Cancun or make mischief in Cabo. Nope, instead, I went to scenic Pottsville, PA to visit Yuengling, America’s Oldest Brewery!

Knowing that we were going to spending the weekend based primarily in Brooklyn, how could I miss the infamous Brooklyn Brewery?

Actually, the construction outside of the building made it pretty easy to miss (or hard to find, depending on how you look at it.)

Inconspicuous, much?

Oh, there it is!

That’s the good stuff, right there!

Located just a few blocks from Smorgasburg in Williamsburg, we were even able to pick up Claire’s little brother, John, for the trip. This was important because: 1. I think he’s great and 2. He could take pictures of Claire and me! (vanity, thy name is Jordan.)

For $20, we grabbed 6 drink tokens and, if you can’t handle basic math, that meant two beers for each of us.  We arrived around 12:45, just in time to pick up a beer before the “tour” of the brewery.  Each token = one 12 oz beer, so we each went for the East India Pale Ale.

That’s 72 oz of beer right there!!

Read it and weep drink!

Unfortunately for us, but fortunately for the brewery, they’re expanding, so the first room, the brewhouse, which is normally open to visitors, was closed off.  Luckily, they had this handy-dandy illustration that made us feel like we were right there!

Eric, our wise old tour guide, described the process of brewing, explaining how they outsource their bottling (of their smaller bottles) to a factory in upstate New York but their kegs and their bombers are brewed in the brewery in Brooklyn.

Wise owl!

Eric was funny, charismatic, and an excellent guide. I will admit, there wasn’t much to the “tour” as we mostly just relaxed, sipping our beers, in the main room of the brewery.  It was okay, though, because he told some hilarious stories and shared interesting factoids with the group, ones we’d never know about if not for the tour.

Gorgeous logo!

Brooklyn Brewery’s iconic logo was actually developed by Milton Glaser, creator of the I Love NY logo (you know, the one with the heart instead of the word love).  He originally asked WAY more than the $20,000 that Brooklyn Brewery had allocated for logo development. Luckily, though, Milton’s a bit of a beer fan.  So what he did was create a fantastic logo and, in turn, Milton gets free beer from the brewery for LIFE!! (Hear that, graphic designers? Get those pens to the paper!)

Also, when the brewery was created, the NY mafia was taxing EVERY business in the area, and approached the brewery, former Associated Press correspondent Steve Hindy and former Chemical Bank lending officer Tom Potter, for some moneys.  After weeks of negotiation and not really wanting to pay the mafia, one of the bosses approached Tom in the factory, telling everyone to get lost.  Tom, probably shaking in his boots, was pretty certainhe was going to get “offed” and sleep with fishes.  Then, to everyone’s surprise, the boss told Tom he was just messing with him and decided that the Brewery would be good for business and the area, and thus they were exempt from the tax.

We also learned the exciting tale of how the brewery got their tiny chandelier!!

Twinkle, twinkle!

Actually, this was the least interesting story of all. Someone put it up for a holiday party a few years ago, and everyone’s too lazy to take it down.  Gotta respect their honesty.

After getting a quick shot with (some of) the logo, we decided to head back to the bar for another brew!

The bar is only open on Fridays from 6-11pm and Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 6pm, but it’s a lively atmosphere and a great vibe!  They sell water and beer but, if you’d like, you can order pizza or delivery food right to the brewery (they’ll even provide menus!)  It reminded me a lot of the atmosphere of Fullsteam in Durham, very open, very relaxed, and very much about the community. We saw birthday parties, bachelor parties, and a mom who’d brought her kids and some cupcakes while she enjoyed a beer.  I loved it!



True to form, since I can’t go anywhere without making a friend, we ended up connecting with our tour guide while getting our second beer and, since we’re adorable and great (and humble?), Eric treated us to another beer, on the house!I went with the Winter Ale for my second beer (delicious, malty, almost biscuity) and back to the IPA for the freebie.

Thanks, Eric!! We love you!

Everyone was nice, the vibe was great, and, if you’re interested in beer, some history, and a good time AND you’re in NYC, I’d totally recommend getting over to Brooklyn Brewery for a Saturday or Sunday tour!

Friday, I’m in NYC! Eataly, Ippudo, and Farmer’s Market!

Hey there all!! It’s Monday, already, and despite that extra hour, I feel like I could’ve used at least 6 extra hours of sleep.  Such is the life of a jet-setter.

In case you missed yesterday’s Six Pack Sunday: Brooklyn, Baby and hate following me on twitter, I’ll clue you into the good stuff. I spent the past weekend in NYC with my dear friend Claire (yup, the one that I spent Halloweekend with only a few days ago) and, though I’ve been in NYC a bunch of times in my life for conventions, weddings, or field trips, this was the first time I’ve gone in without much in the way of a schedule. I had a list of things I wanted to accomplish or visit, and that was about it.

Luckily, both Claire and I have one thing in common.


No, it’s not just that we love the Hoff.

We are totally and completely Type-A when it comes to planning.

Armed with smart phones and maps and print outs and lists, we will handle our BUSINESS to jam as much into a weekend as possible.  I love that in a traveling partner.

After flying into JFK (and arriving half an hour early!), I navigated the public transportation (if you’re flying to NYC and you wanna use public transportation, FLY TO JFK!! Their AirTrain situation can get you from the airport to Manhattan in about an hour-ish, and for $7.25.) I killed it.

After dropping off my bags at Club Claire (aka her workplace), I was on my own for about 2.5 hours. I decided to kick my legs into high gear and walk ALL OVER THE PLACE!!

First up: Union Square Greenmarket!

Bustling on a Friday afternoon

There were so many options of something to nibble on, but I decided to save my tummy for an exciting dinner later and picked up a few little hard pretzels for crunch and some DIVINE tea to warm my chilly bones.


The hot wild mint tea was sweeter than I thought it would be, and tasted more like cider than anything else.  Luckily, that’s exactly what I wanted so, gloves on hand, tea in gloved-hand, I headed over to 5th Avenue for a little shopping.

Knowing that I didn’t want to fill up my carry-on with stuff I could get in NC, and not wanting to pay for a checked bag, I held myself back.  The other thing that held me back?

H&M (Hectic Madhouse?)

I feel like H&M is always crowded and messy and crazy, no matter where you go.  Oh well.

Next stop was somewhere Claire had mentioned, but I only accidentally stumbled on it (and I’m so glad I did!)

Eataly , an “Italian Culinary Funhouse”, was also a madhouse, but in a much more organized fashion.  This place seemingly had everything, from fresh produce to gourmet cured meats and cheese plates.  Although the Florence-lover in me was initially tempted by the wine, Eataly had something else pretty amazing to offer.

Molto Birra.

Molto Birra.

Their rooftop beer garden, Birreria, was more pleasant than I could’ve imagined.  The heat lamps scattered all over kept me warm (important, considering it was on the 14th floor) and the beer selection was top notch.

I nabbed myself a Captain Lawrence Liquid Gold (mostly because it was a NY based brewery and because it reminded me of this hilarious Velveeta commercial) and enjoyed it, while giving this fellow a side eye.

So much for chivalry

I guess he decided that, although the bar was completely full and people were trying to sit down, his jacket was more deserving of a stool than the rest of us lonely stander-uppers.  The man stayed like that for the 30 minutes I was there, never sat down once.  Thanks for nothing, buddy.

Anyway, after I left Birreria, it was time to meet up with Claire and get our own culinary fun going.  As I mentioned before, we headed to Ippudo (home of Anne Hathaway Drinking White Wine and Reading a Book).  Unassuming from the outside, this place was popping inside!!

In case you can't tell, that says Ippudo.

In case you can’t tell, that says Ippudo.

Once inside, we nabbed ourselves some Sapporo (when in Rome err Japan , or just a Japanese restaurant) and waited about 40 minutes for our spot.  Well worth the wait, though, once we arrived at our seats.  We were greeted with some Japanese words shouted at us (I was told they meant something like, welcome! or Eat! but they could’ve been calling me a clap-having jezebel for all I know) and seated at the “bar” right by where the food was prepped. This was the best seat in the house for a nosy Nelly like myself, and I had front row seats to watch all the food being plated, prepped, cooked, flipped, and served.

Oh lawdy.

Oh lawdy.

The Hirata buns were ordered, described as: Steamed buns filled with your choice of pork, chicken, or shrimp served with Ippudo original spicy buns sauce.

We went with the pork, and were not disappointed in the slightest. In fact, if this had been the end of my NYC trip, I think I would’ve gone hope happy (well, at least my belly would’ve).  Luckily, it was only the beginning.

Next up, the main course!

Having never tried Ramen from anywhere other than a pot in college, this was an experience that just blew my mind. It was hot and delicious , from the broth to the pork, and I think this was the one I got:

Akamaru Modern: The original “Tonkotsu” noodle soup topped with Ippudo’s secret “Umami Dama” miso paste, pork chashu, cabage, kikurage, scallions, and fragrant garlic oil

Totally on point, I slurped up the last drop.  Couldn’t get enough.

Pure Bliss.

Pure Bliss.

After dinner, we waddled our way back to Brooklyn to drop off our things and enjoy some brewskies (Lagunitas, to be more specific).

It was then that I realized the perfect simplicity of something which I tweeted immediately after.

Gloves are like koozies that you wear.

Why didn't I figure this out earlier?

Why didn’t I figure this out earlier?

Ignore the devilish grin and the weirdy out of focus shot, I needed to illustrate this.

We took a bus to The Woods which was loud and fun and crowded.  Someone snuck this picture of me, and I’m pretty sure I make this face ALL the time when I feel bars are too crowded.

Oh, Jordy.

Oh, Jordy.

But, after a Pickle Back (recap: shot of whiskey chased with pickle juice) and a few beers, I was in better spirits.

We danced the night away, then cabbed back to Brooklyn to fall instantly to sleep.  It was an ideal way to start my NYC vacation!

Have you ever had ramen at a noodle house?  What’d you think (and what’d you get in it?!)

What kind of bar is your favorite?

Cozy and dark, loud and flashing lights, discotheques, open, crowded, empty? SHARE WITH THE CLASS!

Rehearsal Dinner at Open Door Gastropub

Good evening, we made it to Wednesday!  Hope everyone celebrated in the right way (namely, No Pants Wednesday). Even though I have volleyball tonight, I’ve taken a break at home to enjoy some No Pants time…  and some blogging time.

Though I teased you all with some tidbits of my cousin’s wedding this weekend, there was more to it than silly mustaches and food on a stick.  In fact, there was a whole weekend of fun.  And it all started with the rehearsal (and rehearsal dinner!)  We were running a little late due to traffic from that crazy Occupy Wall Street stuff, so we went underground. Namely, to the subway!

Get her to the church on time!!

Luckily, we just made it, and the church was stunning.  Having been featured in Godfather II, Moonstruck, Men in Black, and Confessions of a Shopaholic, the Church of St. Anthony of Padua was picturesque, to say the least.

My camera just doesn't do it justice.

After watching the rehearsal go down (since I was giving a reading!!) we hopped a cab back to the hotel, which was luckily a stone’s throw from the location of the rehearsal dinner!  The location of the dinner was Open Door Gastropub  and, after reading some Yelp reviews and checking out their menu, I was specifically stoked for the extensive  drink menu. I decided, with so many options, it was definitely going to be a beer night.

Bottom's Up!

I started the night off with a Goose Island IPA which was tasty but not incredibly hoppy. A good way to start the night.  Also a good way to start the night?

Mini Beef Wellingtons... I'll be wolfing you down all night.

The appetizers were quality bar food, and also included pigs in a blanket. Pretty much a party in my mouth.

The best part of the night was definitely when my oldest brothers finally arrived!!

The Golden Age!

Despite our massive amount of love for my youngest brother and sister (the one I just had the Sister Date with!), the three of us always joke that we’re the “Golden Age”, as it took 3 years for all of us to be born, and 4 years later came the babies.  Well we were reunited in full force!

After all the tasty beers and appetizers, I was not all that interested in the food, but it was a pretty impressive spread.

Hot bar!

I was really looking forward to the infamous Mac and Cheese here… alas, no luck.  But let’s be honest, the real focus fell to the massive selection of beers.  Over the course of the night, I enjoyed:

  • Goose Head IPA
  • Southern Tier 5 Boroughs BPA (Something I’d NEVER seen before!)
  • Chimay Trappiste
  • Ommegang  Hennepin Farmhouse Saison
  • Brooklyn Brewery’s Brooklyner Schneider Hopfen-Weiss
  • La Chouffe
And mayyyybeeee a few more that I forgot to document on untappd.  Clearly, it’s a top notch spot for (affordable) craft beer in NYC, if you’re looking. Oh well, the drinks come, the focus switches from beer listing to family fun!

My lovely lady cousins! (the bride's the one in red...)

Getting our drinks after a looong wait!

Mini cupcakes from Crumbs. Oh my goodness...

Don't worry, I had no interest in this vodka.

My cousin, on the other hand.

All in all, it was a beery, bar-y fun time had by all.  But I still don’t understand the name, Open Door.  Darn doors were closed all over the place.

Or lead to nowhere.

Maybe they were being ironic?

I heard that’s big in NYC.

What’s your dream rehearsal dinner spot?

I’d love something with lots of tasty beers, comfort food, and good music!!


Ain’t No Wedding Like a Family Wedding

This is a huge weekend for my family. My cousin, Whitney, is getting married this weekend in the big NYC and the whole gang’s going to be together. With my mother being one of 8 children, and their children being quite numerous, and me being one of 5 children the hits keep coming.  Not too much time for a post today, as I’ll be bustling about at work before flying home immediately after work (oh, and getting a pedicure during lunchtime) there’s not too much time for blogging.

That being said, I’d love to share some pictures from the LAST major family wedding I went to (and had a BLAST and a half at).

Looking snazzy with the beau.

Hopping aboard the jitney

Freezing up in the penthouse suite.

A Coca Cola and a blushing bride, what more can a man ask for?

Driftwood, beautiful

My cousin (the one who's getting married on Saturday) practicing her bouquet toss!!

My brother illustrating the inevitable hangover the following morning.

Here’s to one hell of a wedding weekend coming up.