Eastern Destination #2: Buffalo/Niagara Falls, NY

I've been insanely busy my first week of work! I seem to have a knack for starting new jobs that require immediate overtime, ugh. In any case, here's a delayed post on our trip to Buffalo and Niagara Falls.

Buffalo, New York: it's the perfect place for a destination wedding, isn't it? It is, of course, if the bride-to-be is a Buffalo native! It was a beautiful wedding and so great to see SF friends again.

The ceremony was held at the St. Louis Catholic Church in Downtown Buffalo (aka, the B-lo).After the requisite routine of standing, sitting, and crossing that goes into a traditional Catholic wedding, the happy newlyweds, Amy and Matt, emerged, beaming!We had a bit of time between the ceremony and the reception, so per the bride's recommendation (I have been working too hard), we had our first plate of proper wings at Gabriel's Gate. (Note: if you want to look like a native, wings are just called wings in Buffalo.) Mmm, these were quite tasty!Clearly.Fortified with wings, we headed to the reception, which was held at the Briarwood Country Club in Hamburg, NY.I don't have too many pictures after the reception started and the west coast girls hit the dance floor. (Seriously, the only other guests who really got down were all of the older women to the tune of Billy Idol's "Mony, Mony."* Who knew it was such a favorite?)

On Sunday, we took a trip to the American side of Niagara Falls, which in and of themselves are beautiful and quite impressive. (The surrounding touristy environs...meh, not so much.) No Maid of the Mist tour, but maybe next time, ha.
Other noteworthy, but unrelated sights include the Smoker's Oasis and Butt Depot.Not sure if this is exclusive to Western NY, or if it's an east coast thing. (KW and KN, please clarify.)

We capped off our trip to Buffalo with another one of its specialties, Beef on Weck. Kind of like a french dip roast beef sandwich, but on a wonderfully soft salt and caraway seed encrusted roll. Now this is something I could eat fairly regularly! (Not that I couldn't eat wings regularly, but I think I would explode if I did. Note: the beef on weck actually came with a side of wings, ha.) Such a fun, but quick weekend. Before we knew it, we were flying back home! (See Central Park below.) Until the next eastern destination getaway!

*In the spirit of the last post, here's another musical interlude to get you dancing. Go on, cut a rug!


Shea hello, Shea good-bye!

We interrupt our usual eastern destination posting to bring you a Mets win from Queens! Tonight, superstar ace, Johan Santana took the mound to the beat of Rob Thomas and Carlos Santana* to pitch a brilliant game against the Chicago Cubs. His focus remained intact, even after the field was rushed by an overweight, but quick and likely inebriated fan. With the Braves beating the Phils and Milwaukee losing to the Pirates, the pennant race is on!** Here's one first and last look at Shea Stadium before it's replaced by Citi Field.*In case you've been living under a rock, here's a little musical interlude to refresh your memory.

**Special thanks to my sporty guestblogger. (Buffalo post coming soon; this working girl misses her life of leisure, ha.)


Last days as a lady of leisure

Damn my complaining about the humidity! It's subtle, but there's a noticeable chill in the air and the shadows are getting longer as we enter autumn in New York City. Pretty soon, we'll be saying good-bye to the Mister Softee trucks on the street corners. It's a time for transition -- and the end my days as a lady of leisure. Come Monday, I will be gainfully employed. Footloose and fancy-free in New York City no longer, bah.

As a final Friday free day hurrah, we treated ourselves to one last weekday special lunch at Land.A bite of gelato from Grom (pistachio and bacio in the background and yogurt and pear in the foreground).And to go out with a bang, $52.58 worth of Murray's Cheese, Vermont cultured butter with sea salt, spicy soppressata, cornichons, and a bamboo cheeseboard. (We bought a bamboo board, but I thought this olive wood one had a great description and My Fair Lady reference.)

I guess I have to support my expensive cheese habit somehow, sigh.

Off to Buffalo for a wedding, so have a great weekend!


Longchamp Spotting, 2008

I'm on the hunt for the perfect NYC girl carryall. Everyone and their mother carries the classic Longchamp bag, in all manner of colors and sizes. And I mean EVERYONE. Granted, they are lightweight, foldable, entirely functional and très chic, but are there seriously no other alternatives?


City Walk #1: Chelsea

A couple of weekends ago, right before Hurricane Hanna walloped us, we squeezed in a nice walk through a bit of Chelsea. I had decided to go through each one of the City Walk cards that Krissy gave me -- at least until I lose motivation. So we hopped on the 1 train, transferred at 42nd St. to N/R/W and got off at 23rd St. Station.It's a very lovely neighborhood with historic and handsome houses, cute cafes and boutiques -- very reminiscent of London and of SF's Russian Hill neighborhood. With it being fashion week, we stumbled upon models and fashionistas spilling out onto the sidewalk after a show at an Episcopal church. No pictures, unfortunately, although we did see NY Times fashion blogger, Bill Cunningham snapping away at towering gladiator heels and boney clavicles.

It was a short walk, but we fought off hunger pains (and ate vicariously for the models we'd just seen) by tucking into Billy's Bakery, where we nibbled on a peanut butter and chocolate chip cookie and a moist yellow daisy cupcake with rich vanilla buttercream frosting. Mmm. I wish I had taken more pictures, but torrential rain started rather abruptly, forcing us to find cover, coffee and crossword puzzles at Joe, which coincidentally, uses my favorite Bay Area local Blue Bottle Coffee for their drip coffee. (Insert smug SF pride here.)

Check one City Walk card off the list! (Again, this may or may not be a series of posts).


My late summer obsession...

...and what humidity does to it: Another humid day, another Advil. Ugh.


A taste of the Greatland in Manhattan

For four days, we get a taste of the Greatland in Manhattan! Today, I took a trip to SoHo to check out one of Target's Bullseye Bodegas. There are four temporary Bodegas set up in Midtown, Union Square, SoHo and the East Village, all of which feature clothing, beauty products, and housewares from 22 of Target's top designers. For an inside look, click here. I was hoping to score some super cute low-end Sigerson Morrison flats, but I'm sorry to report that they were a bit too glitzy and rhinestone-encrusted for my taste. Bleh!

I did pick up a couple of Dwell Studio things for my baby nephew-to-be and a boy's Mossimo shirt for me for only $9.99. After the Bodegas close up shop tomorrow, I'll either have to trek to New Jersey or order online to quell my Target fix, boo.


It's coming!

I have been wanting to go to a New Yorker Festival event ever since I was fifteen and first introduced to the magazine by my sophomore English teacher. While I (SO) sadly missed out on the hottest ticket, "The American Dream with TC Boyle, Jeffrey Eugenides, and Jhumpa Lahiri," Evan and I were able to score tickets to "Oliver Stone talks with David Denby." October is looking up already!


On being healthy (two buck Chuck swilling) Californians

All is not lost: we have a Trader Joe's! Last Friday, Evan and I took a trip to Union Square to stock up. New York law limits the sale of wine and spirits to liquor stores, hence the existence of this:Woohoo! The regular store itself was a bit of a madhouse: But it's comforting to know that our favorites (tartes d'Alsace, creamy unsalted peanut butter, raw almonds, trail mix, and cheap wine) are only a few subway stops away. Yay!

(On Sunday, I also checked out the Whole Foods in the Lower East Side, which has its own pommes frites COUNTER. Ooh baby! Healthy ways begone!)


Eastern Destination #1: Fire Island, Suffolk County, NY*

This west coast girl can get used to east coast beaches! Being on Fire Island is like being in an episode of Barefoot Contessa -- sans Jeffrey, my black convertible Mercedes, and my astonishingly handsome gay bridge partner. The sea grass and cedar fences that dot the soft sand dunes along the Atlantic are a sweet contrast to the rugged and craggy beaches of the California coast. It's the perfect place to escape the hussle and bustle of Manhattan.Thanks to Evan's friend's parents, we had a chance to experience living at their spacious and well-appointed beach house for 4 days. We left the city Friday late morning and took the 20-minute ferry ride from Bayshore, Long Island to the Fire Island Seaview Terminal. There, we were greeted by cute wagons that families leave tied up near the terminal to cart their belongings to their (2nd/3rd/4th/?) homes. Carfree, it's the perfect place to: ride beach cruisers,
play with Molly, one of the sweetest dogs in the whole wide world,watch out for jellyfish, and find my dream house. Come Monday night, I was sad to see the wagons all tied up and to say good-bye to the last hurrah of the summer, but there's always next year.Fire Island in late August: as Ina would say, "how bad can that be?"
*Technically, my first east coast destination outside of the city is Paramus, NJ, which is surprisingly just as blogworthy, but for different reasons. Ha.


Here and at home

Hello again! I know it's been a week without a single peep, but I'm here. After a glorious weekend away on Fire Island, I'm actually starting to feel at home. It's been a tiring week of settling in, which involved a trip to the IKEA in Paramus (my first trip to NJ ever, ha), waiting at home endlessly for deliveries, assembling IKEA furniture, unpacking, and assembling more IKEA furniture. Our apartment is in pretty good shape though considering we've only had a few days to work on it together. It's funny how household tasks like getting new pillows become novel when you buy them from the Bed Bath and Beyond in Lincoln Center and schlep them home on the subway.

It's also strange to fight that touristic urge to see and do everything all at once. Aside from the trip away and a run around the Central Park loop, I haven't even stepped foot in any other NYC neighborhood besides my own. It's comforting to know that I actually live here (self: yes, really!) and that the city will let me wind my way through it at my own pace.

I am learning lots of new things every day, but namely, how to think in seasons. In SF, there are only two seasons: foggy and clear. In either one, you'd never pack away your wool coat because god knows you'll still need it in July. Here, it is stubbornly summer: shoulders are getting brown and freckly, girls are in cute, breezy dresses, boys are in shorts, chapeaus, and the ever-so trendy black Wayfarers, and diners are eating al fresco. I can't wait for autumn, but from a practical storage standpoint, I have to pack those sweaters, coats, and knee-high boots away until at least October. Seasons: who knew?

On a related note, does any East Coaster know what kind of tree this is with yellow leaves that are perfectly white underneath?
Very curious. I spotted these this weekend. More on that soon!