currently :: october 2012

getting pumped for… The Nike Women’s Half Marathon on Sunday! Travis and I are traveling to San Francisco on Friday with Team in Training where we will meet up with Chelsea. Chelsea is running her first full marathon. Travis is cheering. And I am planning to just enjoy the half marathon course and receive my Tiffany necklace at the finish line! Yes!

eating… wood fired brick oven pizza from Toby’s Public House. (I actually just visited this South Slope restaurant for the first time last night, but it was delicious and casual and cool. Must go back soon.)

watching… an obscene amount of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. I am working my way through the series and am already on Season 3. I sort of hate it. Too many Cardassians and Ferengi. But I press on.

wishing for… new fall shoes! So many great styles, so few affordable prices!

still processing… The Grey. So much less wolf punching and so much more traumatic death and sadness than I was expecting.

thinking about… the next steps… in running, Swap-bot, life…

::

What are you up to as fall descends?

The Color Run

With a group of running friends, Travis and I signed up for The Color Run this summer. The multi-city race is billed as “the happiest 5k on the planet” and the NYC event sold out within two days, despite the $50 registration fee. The photos and videos online made it look like a lot of fun, so we were excited to try it out.

A 5k is sort of low mileage at this point in our marathon training, so it was a little annoying to wake up early and drive deep into Brooklyn on a Sunday morning for three un-timed miles, but we were still pumped. Many members of our Brooklyn Team were there decked out in the required white t-shirts. We had fun dancing and throwing color on each other before and after the jog through the course on an abandoned air strip.

There were four “color stations” on the course where volunteers sprayed you with colored powder. There probably should have been more color stations, since otherwise the course was completely boring… but there was music and lots of young people acting crazy, so we stayed entertained. After the finish line we were instructed to throw our color packet (basically corn starch and dye) in the air for the grand finale. It made for fun photos. In fact, the photos were definitely the best part of this race.

It was a fun morning. And yes, all of the color washed off… eventually. Overall, I am glad that we tried out The Color Run, but I probably don’t need to do it again.

Have you done The Color Run? What did you think?

currently // August 2012

planning… a trip to the beach tomorrow! The Brooklyn Team in Training is doing our annual run to Coney Island and hopefully recreating this photo from 2010.

eating… Pork Slope! Well, not yet. This new dive bar/bbq joint is opening very near our apartment on Saturday. I can’t wait to check it out.

laughing at… The Joe Biden Fan Club. But seriously, I love that guy.

looking forward to… Reach the Beach. A 24-hour, 200-mile running relay in September.

needing…. the new iPhone5. According to the rumors, they might be announced on September 12th, with a ship date of the 21st. It can’t come soon enough because I dropped my phone on the sidewalk yesterday and destroyed the glass. Ugh. It still works, though.

What are you up to as the summer of 2012 winds down?

IronMan

Somewhere in a box of memories in my parents’ basement in Kansas is a list I made when I was 19. The list was my extreme athletics plan and it went something like this: Marathons > Triathlon > IronMan > EcoChallenge* …and the list may have ended with Olympics. (2000 was a Summer Olympics year, after all.)

Well, I can cross Marathons off the list. And, as of last Saturday, a triathlon and eventually an IronMan have been moved to the top of my endurance priority list!

Saturday was the Inaugural IronMan US Championships in NYC. An IronMan, by the way, is a 2.4 mile swim + 112 mile bike ride + 26.2 mile run. I did NOT participate, but I DID volunteer.

Team In Training and the LLS (my charity of choice) manned an aid station at Miles 22 & 25 of the IronMan marathon course. We arrived early, set up aid tables, chalked the route with encouraging words, then waited to hand out water, food, sponges, and Coca-Cola to the athletes.

Volunteering was thrilling and I would love to do it again, but even more exciting was tracking and cheering for our friends on the course. TNT had an “IronTeam” and three of my Brooklyn teammates (Hi Joel, Yvonne, and Ronald!) were crazy ambitious enough to sign up and spend the last year of their lives training for this huge event.

A group of us got up early to go see the beginning of the bike before our volunteering shift. (The “Go Complete Stranger” sign was a huge hit, btw.) Then, in the evening, we camped out near mile 22 of the marathon and waited for our TNT peeps to run by…

We were there to cheer for all of the athletes, but especially the TNT athletes, and MOST especially Brooklyn TNT Coach Joel. There is legend surrounding the greatness of Joel, but all you need to know is that last fall he traveled to Washington DC on HIS BIRTHDAY to coach me (and a tiny & terrific Brooklyn TNT contingent) in the Marine Corps Marathon. That race day was one of the best days of my life and I needed to repay the kindness. (Also, Joel once gave me an epic birthday gift.)

We saw a lot of exhausted athletes Saturday evening, but Joel was not one of them. He was strong and happy and fast at the end of a MARATHON at the end of an IRONMAN! So strong and happy in fact, that I think I am completely underestimating the difficulty of the event when I say “I want to be an IronMan.” But… stating a goal is the first step in achieving it, right?

I guess I better go buy a bike…

*Travis and Adam agreed to be on my EcoChallenge team and don’t think I am forgetting that even if the adventure race reality show has been off the air for a decade. We ARE doing it!

new brooklyn restaurant: Brooklyn Crab

Seafood! I love it, but it can be intimidating… or at least too fancy and expensive. So, I was really excited to go try out Brooklyn Crab, a brand new, totally casual, giant, three-story crab shack in Red Hook. Reviewing the menu online had me craving crabs and oysters and lobster… yum!

Brooklyn Crab officially opened about two months ago, but I was a bit behind in my restaurant watching. I hadn’t had a chance to read many reviews before Travis and I went to check it out with four friends the Friday before last.

It is a good thing I hadn’t read many, because the reviews have been pretty harsh. The up side is that most of the complaints center around the long waits for tables and the disorganization of the staff, not necessarily the food.

After taking the Brooklyn Crab shuttle from Carroll Gardens, we did indeed have to wait for over an hour for our table, but it was actually for the best. We grabbed drinks and ordered the Cool Platter seen above (1/2 lb. Snow Crab Legs, 1/2 lb. Spicy Peel & Eat Gulf Shrimp, 4 Oysters & Creamy Mustard Sauce) which you can get at the bar.

Then, after chowing down on our fresh, delicious, chilled appetizer, we checked out the game yard. Brooklyn Crab has a full 18-hole mini golf course and cornhole (bean bag toss) games. The games were free to play when we were there, but apparently now it costs $5 for a round of mini-golf.

Travis got two putt putt holes-in-one and our friend Nate dominated the bean bag toss, so basically it was a very fun ninety minute wait.

I was pleased when we were seated in the upper area of the restaurant at one of the big picnic tables. The table was perfect for our big group and the views of the water and city were incredible. We could see both the Statue of Liberty and the Manhattan skyline. I wish I had taken better photos…

The meat-eating side of our table ordered two Steam Pots: the Northeast (1 1/2 Lb. Lobster, 1 1/2 Lb. Jonah Crab, Mussels, Gulf Shrimp, Red Potatoes & Corn on the Cob) and the Southern (Blue Crabs, Shrimp, Andouille Sausage, Red Potatoes & Corn on the Cob in Old Bay). Our friend Casey (who took the photo above) is moving to North Carolina from NYC this summer, so the two Pots felt quite appropriate.

I was absolutely in LOVE with all of the seafood. Of course, it took a bit of work to eat all of the crabs and lobster, but cracking the shells is half the fun! The spicy, peel-and-eat shrimp and the sausage, with their Old Bay seasoning, were also delicious. The only item that I wasn’t thrilled with was the Jonah Crab… it had a strange flavor to me. Overall, I was extremely happy. Nothing was overcooked and I was satisfied, but not stuffed when we finally managed to finish up the very last bits of each Steam Pot.

Travis and our friend Amanda ordered the Vegetarian Steam Pot and Macaroni & Cheese. They were quite happy with their selection. You can tell your veggie friends that they don’t need to skip Brooklyn Crab.

We finished the meal with Brownie Sundaes and Steve’s Authentic Key Lime Tart Рboth received raves from everyone at the table.

Don’t be scared of the Yelp reviews of Brooklyn Crab. I had a great experience. As long as you aren’t in a hurry and are willing to spend $40+/person for a very casual, but delicious and fresh seafood meal, there is no reason not to go check it out. It is the perfect place for a fun & easy summer meal. Get there when they open at 2 pm on Saturday or Sunday and make a whole afternoon of it!

Check out Brooklyn Crab online or follow them on Twitter.

Have you been to Brooklyn Crab? What did you think? Which Brooklyn restaurant should I check out next?

TNT night at the Brooklyn Cyclones

I have been spending a lot of time volunteering for Team in Training and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society this season. I am the Brooklyn borough TNT Social Captain and I had the opportunity to help plan a fundraising/awareness/social event with the Brooklyn Cyclones minor league baseball team this month.

Participants could purchase the tickets for a low price and then sell them for more to raise money for their personal TNT fundraising. Our TNT crew bought and sold 500 tickets to the game!! I was blown away by the response.

The game happened on Tuesday night at the Coney Island stadium and it was truly a fabulous time. So many of our Brooklyn friends were there and it seemed like everyone had fun. Brooklyn team members participated in some on-field fun (including a hot dog race!), sang Take Me Out to the Ball Game during the 7th inning stretch, and ran the bases at the end. Lots of crazy fun! We also manned a TNT info table (where we raffled off a signed Cyclones jersey and made over $600 for LLS) and a bone marrow donor registration drive inside the stadium. All in all, a very successful event. Fun and fundraising for a good cause — can’t beat that!

I have been putting a lot of time — maybe too much — toward TNT this season, but it is rewarding and fun. There are so many incredibly good people on our Team, I feel lucky to be a part of it.

extreme summer

It has been a BIG summer. It is only half over, but I feel like I have already packed it as full as possible with fun adventures. Including…

Lake Placid

The weekend after I completed the San Diego marathon, Travis and I piled in a van with a few of our friends and drove upstate to cheer on our teammates in the Lake Placid full and half marathons. It was a quick, one-night trip, but we had a great time dancing on the side of the road and eating Purple Cows at Stewies. View the full photo set.

Heather’s Wedding

My cousin Heather was married on June 15th in Rhode Island. The event was beautiful and I had a great time running the cliffs in Newport, visiting with my cousins, and dancing at the reception. View the full photo set.

Mom & Dad visit NY

After the wedding, mom and dad traveled with us by train to New York City. We had three fun days of eating pizza, donuts, visiting the Tenement Museum, and exploring the Cloisters. View the full photo set.

Camping at Mongaup Pond

At the end of June, my friends Joel and Casey planned an awesome upstate camping trip. We had a great, relaxing long weekend of putting up tents, swimming in the pond, making S’mores, and getting shushed by the park rangers for laughing too much. Such a great time. I hope to do it again before the summer ends. View the full photo set.

Fourth of July

The Wednesday holiday started with a seven mile run to Coney Island, a dip in the ocean, Nathan’s hot dogs, and the Cyclone roller coaster. An epic Brooklyn morning. In the evening we had some friends over to watch fireworks from our roof. View the full photo set.

Boilermaker 15k

While Travis was in Kansas City going to the All Star game with his dad, I went on one more quick, impromptu road trip upstate to run the Boilermaker 15k in Utica. The race is a huge small town event and it was amazing. The whole town came out to cheer and there were popsicles and beer and music. I recommend it. View the full photo set.

More and more running

Travis and I are a month into our Fall season with Team in Training, and like usual, we are having a great time. Running has nearly taken over my life, but I couldn’t be happier. My training is going very well (so far) this season. I feel strong. I have ambitious goals. I hope to never stop. View the full photo set.

In between all of this fun, I’ve been working hard on Swap-bot and doing a large amount of volunteer work for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. I am definitely staying busy. What have you been up to this summer?

new brooklyn restaurant: Talde

I do not watch Top Chef, but if you do, you probably know that Dale Talde was a contestant on Season 4 and Season 8. And, if you are a fan, you probably also know that Dale (along with John Bush and David Massoni of Thistle Hill Tavern) opened his namesake restaurant, Talde, in Park Slope in January. The new Asian-American (i.e. asian fusion or pan-asian) restaurant has already received rave reviews, including “best dumplings” from New York magazine. It seems that Brooklyn truly is the place to be for hip, new, delicious restaurants!

I was interested in Talde, but had heard that the wait to get in was ridiculous. Luckily, my friend Becca organized a group outing for last Thursday. (You can only get a reservation for a party of six or more.)

We ordered just about everything on the family-style menu, including two orders of the pretzel pork and chive dumplings (seen above) and the crispy oyster and bacon pad thai (seen below), plus Hawaiian bread buns, chilled soba noodles, Korean fried chicken, grilled kale salad, Saigon fried crepes, fried rice, black pepper butter toast, and roasted corn. Between the seven of us (Travis was there, but not in the photos) we had no trouble finishing everything. There were plenty of vegetarian options for Travis and lots of seafood and meat options for the rest of us.

I don’t know what I can say that more eloquent food critics have not already said, but everything was delicious and interesting. The pad thai with its thick chunks of bacon and the dumplings with their salty pretzel exteriors were my favorite. The Hawaiian bread buns were fun, tasty, little sandwiches, and I could have easily eaten the full bowl of soba noodles. I loved passing the dishes around the table and trying a little of everything. It was the type of meal that makes me grin uncontrollably and continuously blurt out, “This is so good!”

Dale Talde is proud of his new restaurant and he is in the kitchen most nights. We saw him walking the floor early in the evening thanking a few customers. After our meal I thought a photo of the kitchen (and maybe Dale) would be an excellent edition to this blog post, so I ventured over to the kitchen with my friends Casey and Sarah. Somehow Dale came out and started to chat with us! He was kind, and funny, and very excited about Talde and his future restaurant plans. I learned that he will be opening Pork Slope, a roadhouse-style bar and barbecue place, on 5th Ave where Aunt Suzie’s used to be. I can’t wait since that is very near our apartment!

Mr. Talde was nice enough to pose for a few photos. It was awesome to meet such an enthusiastic and talented chef and restauranteur. I wish I could eat at Talde once a week, but its popularity will most certainly prevent that…

You can follow Dale Talde and Talde on Twitter, and check out the restaurant menu here.

In addition to Talde, I’ve visited PokPok Ny, Fort Reno, and Mile End Delicatessen. What should be the next stop on my trendy Brooklyn restaurant odyssey?

currently // May 2012

running… The Brooklyn Half Marathon on Saturday. We have been looking forward to this race for months. I hope it lives up to all the hype! If nothing else, we will have fun ending it in Coney Island and riding the Cyclone.

looking forward to… The Great GoogaMooga Festival this weekend in Prospect Park. It is a brand new food and music festival. I hope it also lives up to all the hype!

wishing for… Something ridiculous: A Proenza Schouler PS1 Large bag. The price is completely prohibitive and insane, but I can’t stop thinking about these bags! I’ll take any color.

eating… Ample Hills Creamery peppermint pattie ice cream. I’ve actually only had it once, but I want more, more, MORE!

also eating… Zito’s! This Park Slope sandwich shop is delicious and laid back. It is a great place to go for post-run food.

What are you up to these days?

new brooklyn restaurant: PokPok Ny

I must admit, I feel quite hip. On a surprise three-stop date on Saturday (planned and executed by me!) I took Travis to the very new, much hyped PokPok Ny. A tiny Thai restaurant which just opened in the Brooklyn Heights/Cobble Hill/Red Hook area of Brooklyn on April 18th.

PokPok Ny is the newest addition to chef and restauranteur, Andy Ricker’s, Portland (as in Oregon) Thai food empire. His restaurants and special fish sauce chicken wings (seen above) have been winning awards since he opened the first PokPok in 2005.

My secret sources in Portland suggested that PokPok PDX is a bit over-hyped and more of a scene than a comfortable restaurant, but I was still determined to try those fish sauce wings just the same…

Travis and I arrived at PokPok Ny at 5:30 pm and were already the fifth party in line outside the door. If you plan to go, I suggest doing the same. They don’t take reservations. The restaurant opens at 6 pm, Wednesday-Sunday, and by the time the doors opened there were at least 30 people in line. Travis and I sat inside, where there are probably only 24 seats, but thankfully the tented outdoor space was open for seating as well. I think the entire restaurant was full by 6:05.

We ordered the specialties: Ike’s Vietnamese Fish Sauce Wings and the Papaya PokPok, a fresh salad of papaya, chili peppers, peanuts, and tomatos. Plus, Travis ordered vegetarian Khao Soi, a curry noodle soup with tofu. We also ordered both the sticky rice and the jasmine rice to mix with everything.

It was all so fresh! The Papaya PokPok was excellent, especially when you had a bite with plenty of peanuts, but it was spicy! Maybe I’m just not accustomed to so much spice, but my mouth was burning! I drank a lot of their initially strange, but ultimately refreshing Pandan table water to cool it down. I suggest pairing the Papaya PokPok with lots of sticky rice (which comes to the table inside a plastic bag in a grass basket) to cut the spiciness.

The wings were awesome!! NY Magazine just named them the city’s Best Wings, but I was not sure if I should believe the hype. I am not much of a “sports bar wings” person, but these sauce-coated, salty, sweet, spicy, crispy, mini chicken parts were delicious. At first I was skeptical of their top tier status, but the more I ate, the better they tasted. I ate the entire plate and attempted to totally clean the bones of any sauce. I think my dinner consisted almost entirely of saucy chicken skin, but I didn’t leave feeling greasy-food-gross or overly full.

In addition to simply being at a new, talked about Brooklyn restaurant, I felt even more NYC cool because I am nearly positive that Travis and I were sitting next to one of my favorite cool girl bloggers and Captain America party friend, Edith Zimmerman. Darn. It turns out it wasn’t her, but whomever it was, they truly were dining with a food critic (I’m guessing from NY Magazine). Andy Ricker (the actual restaurant owner and chef!!) brought at least a dozen dishes, half a dozen drinks, and three desserts over to their table over the course of the meal. I was jealous of all the food, but just sort of silly-happy to be part of the scene. I am most certainly a dork.

Anyway, if you like Thai food and a unique, casual dining experience, definitely try out PokPok Ny. It is not ousting Fort Reno as my favorite Brooklyn restaurant, but I must go back because I didn’t get to try their “drinking vinegars” or the highly recommended Hoi Thawt.

What NYC restaurant should I try next?