The first weekend with part-time lover, also known as New York City, was low-key. Of course, it all centered around food. Here are a few suggestions for places to eat:
Chez Oskar-You know when you’re crushing on someone there tends to be a body part that you adore? It may be the shape of his or her fingers, the teeth, or legs. If New York City’s neighborhoods were body parts the one that attracts me every time is Fort Greene, Brooklyn. Chez Oskar is located right in Fort Greene. A French restaurant that serves all-you-can-eat mussels and french fries on Tuesday that a friend adores (I’m not a fan of bivalves), I do enjoy the laid-back vibe and scrumptious food. I would recommend the salmon with parmesan grits and a green veggie (I had to swap out those brussels sprouts). The crepes are also divine if you need to feed the sweet tooth. The complimentary bread gets me every time. I have tried to limit my carb intake on numerous occasions, but it’s just not meant to be.
Lemon Grass Grill-Now this Thai place is in the Cobble Hill, Brooklyn neighborhood, another neighborhood I enjoyed walking through but did not stroll around nearly enough (156 Court Street). I love the intimacy of the place. It’s never crowded, the curries are perfectly seasoned, and the wait staff is attentive. When I organized a small retirement party for a co-worker, the wait staff offered to hide the cake and placed a candle in it to surprise my colleague. I took two former students there (they’re completing their first semester of college now!) and the waitress gave us complimentary mango rice that I never would’ve ordered on my own but ended up eating ’til it was gone.
Urban Vintage--Located in the Clinton-Washington neighborhood in Brooklyn (one of my favorites), the decor of this coffee shop/cafe is beautiful. From the draperies to the jewelry (that I never buy) to the cushioned seats, I feel welcomed every time I trip into its doorway (there’s a half an inch step down that I always forget about). On this last visit, the Moroccan mint tea and chocolate cupcake with raspberry icing were wonderful.
Choice Market–around the corner from Urban Vintage, this cash only spot is warm and cozy. The salmon burger with the french fries and rosemary mayo is delectable. The one wooden, communal table is a nice place to cool your heals (if you can grab a seat) while eating the beautifully seasoned food. I can’t even lie, I’m too busy ordering that salmon burger or wings on a regular basis to say I’ve even tried anything else on the menu. When the weather’s warm, it’s nice to sit outside on the benches too and eat. The portion sizes allow me to think that I’m in the South and not New York City.
Essex–I have to admit, when I first walked into this Lower East Side restaurant all I saw was the young, blonde, and “I’m trying to make it in New York!” set. The LES never grew on me though I’ve had nothing but positive memories of the neighborhood.
Essex’s big draw? The brunch special includes three drinks with your meal for about $25.00 (cash only). Total. That’ll keep New Yorkers flocking. Our waitress kept the mimosas pouring long after the three drink cap. I had to put my hand over my glass and tell her no more to ensure that I wouldn’t fall into an alcohol-induced sleep on the train.
Republic-This Asian-inspired restaurant gives more than its simple facade suggests. Located in Union Square, I passed by this restaurant for years. My final months in NYC a friend suggested it. Surprised at its actual size, the service is fast, the food hearty, and the conversation free-flowing. The last time I went I did think the music was too loud for easy conversation, but they make up for the conversation intrusion with the food. I would keep going back for the calamari alone.
I can’t even lie, I wanted to look GOOD for my part-time lover the moment I stepped off the plane. Upon laying eyes on me, I wanted part-time lover to say “Venezuela has been good to you!”
I don’t own (let alone wear) make-up and I’m not the girliest of girls. My definition of looking good is getting my eyebrows, nails, and hair done. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve had all three done simultaneously.
I’m happy though and I suppose that makes you shine…that and eight hours of sleep a night and good food. Every time I spoke to a friend or former co-worker people told me I was glowing.
I’m struggling to simply accept the gift that is my life right now. I am always waiting for the other shoe to drop. Now, I’m realizing that all of the shoes have dropped.
This is my life and I allegedly glow because I feel blessed and at peace. I can’t even explain the feeling I get in my chest every day I wake up and remember I’m in my country. My country with its serious flaws and redemptive qualities.
I also can’t explain how humbling it is to be at a school that I enjoy while crossing off another item from my bucket list: living in a Spanish speaking country.
Part-time lover is getting me reacquainted with good food, the beauty of fresh snow, and the wonder that is a hot shower that lasts longer than five minutes. Part-time lover is being good to me.