Hold the Tuna

April 7, 2017 § Leave a comment

Almost every time J and I go to Las Vegas, our first dinner is always at Kabuto Edomae Sushi. There’s already plenty of literature on why it’s a fantastic restaurant, so I won’t elaborate, but we’ve always enjoyed our meals here, and the price is really good for the quality, especially compared to similar places in NYC.

This time, though, I was accompanied by the burden of guilt. I had just read this fascinating and compelling article about endangered bluefin tuna, and I knew it was definitely going to show up more than once in the omakase. But I wanted to do my small part as a consumer and stop eating bluefin. So I had to steel my resolve before going so as not to chicken out. Think of the poor tuna!

It was mostly that I didn’t want to create a fuss at one of our favorite sushi restaurants. I don’t actually like tuna that much. Yes, fatty pieces of chutoro and otoro are objectively delicious, but I actually prefer leaner cuts of meat in general, and that includes tuna. I want to taste the flesh, not just fat. (I realize I’m definitely in the minority on this.) And when it comes to any kind of tuna, it’s just not as high on my list of loves as other things like giant clam, squid or amberjack.

Not tuna, still delicious

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Weekend in Hudson, NY

February 6, 2017 § 1 Comment

On a whim, J and I decided to spend the weekend upstate yet again, this time in Hudson, NY. Someone in a travel writing class I took wrote about this cute little town, and I’ve been intrigued ever since.

We left early Saturday morning and arrived just in time for our couples massage at Bodhi Holistic Spa, a relaxing treat after the two-hour drive.

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It was a cozy day spa with a salon and yoga studio on the first floor. The spa on the second floor still looked like the home from which it had likely been converted. Our  light-filled room was inside the bay windows just above the storefront, and the setup was simple — the beds weren’t even heated, which meant I was cold the entire time but tried not to complain about it.

After our 60-minute massage, we got 15 minutes in the sauna, which was this small wardrobe-sized thing:

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Looks weird, but it was cute and provided a pretty decent sauna experience.

I was famished at this point, so for lunch we went to Li’l Deb’s Oasis, chosen because it looked like the most interesting menu in town. Upon arrival, our waitress (who clearly was one of the owners) informed us that the main restaurant — still a bit new — wasn’t doing lunch service yet, so a couple of local Latina women were in charge of a short menu of pupusas for the lunch crowd. “They sent me over because they’re shy about speaking English,” she said. How endearing!

Li’l Deb’s didn’t look like much from the outside, but the inside was a celebration of pastel Caribbean shabby-chic. It was delightful and inviting.

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4-table

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A Rustic New Year’s

January 3, 2017 § 1 Comment

1hed

For New Year’s weekend, we decided to leave town for two nights on a short road trip. As this was planned rather last minute and we wanted to venture off the beaten path (AKA avoid going to another big city), our destinations ended up being pretty random. But we found some gems along the way and ultimately had a romantic and relaxing retreat.

On Saturday morning, we drove 1.5 hours from Manhattan to Cedar Lakes Estate just outside Port Jervis, a town right on the tri-state (NY/NJ/PA) border.

The 500-acre property and its collection of cabins look gorgeous in the summertime photos on its site — I can see why it’s popular for weddings — but it was a different story in winter. The place was deserted. Well, there were cars parked around, but nobody was in the office, and when we called, the manager said she would send housekeeping to our cabin within the hour. (To be fair, we arrived pretty early.)

None of these are complaints, just things that surprised us as part of our first-time cabin-staying experience. Instead of a standard check-in or checkout, the housekeeper left the key in the cabin with the door unlocked, and we left it the same way upon leaving the next day. Super casual.

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We stayed in Garden Suite #7 (the middle one above), which was gorgeously decorated in bright whites, including a gleaming white Smeg fridge in the kitchen. We were suitably impressed — everything looked very clean and new. There were also two other beds in a separate room, though I’m not sure how six people would share the space given there were only two chairs at the kitchen table, haha.

welcoming 2017 with a weekend getaway to the middle of nowhere #cabinlife

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Delightful Finds in Rockland

August 25, 2016 § 2 Comments

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Before heading into the town of Rockland, we stopped by Owls Head State Park, located just across the bay from Rockland Harbor. We parked in the gravelly lot and scrambled down this sketchy path to get to the beach, which was spacious and empty.2-beach

‘Twas no white-sand beach, but it was a beautiful and serene sight nevertheless. The water was so clear!3-beach5-water

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Eat All the Lobster (and Donuts)

August 5, 2016 § 2 Comments

This is the story of how I ate so many lobster rolls that I ended up getting sick of lobster.

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After our delightful bike ride around Peaks Island, we took the ferry back to Portland and walked from the pier to Eventide Oyster Co., a cute, buzzing seafood restaurant.

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We started with some raw oysters (for J) and clams (for me) before digging into their renowned brown butter lobster roll, which was definitely unconventional. Instead of being served on regular bread, the bun was basically a mantou — fluffy, chewy and white. It was also very messy because the lobster chunks were piled on top instead of sitting inside the bun. The lobster roll was tasty, but I didn’t really get much of the brown butter flavor. (Looking at pictures from other people, it seems that perhaps we didn’t get the brown butter dressing at all???)

I was more impressed by the pickled mackerel we ordered from the daily specials. It was beautifully plated and perfectly succulent, topped with crispy rice crackers:

4-mackerel

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Journey to Portland + Peaks Island

July 15, 2016 § 2 Comments

hed

For my birthday this year, J and I went to Portland, Maine, a random destination I picked because of its relative proximity to the city and northerly location (he’s particularly sensitive to heat, so we didn’t venture south).

So off we went on a Wednesday evening; traffic out of the city wasn’t too bad, and after we were clear of city limits, we pretty much flew along. For dinner we stopped at a random Mexican restaurant near Stamford called Ole Mole and picked up some burritos for the road — they turned out to be very tasty. Good start to the trip.

It was kind of unusual for us to be without a game plan for the night — our hotel reservation in Portland was for Thursday to Sunday — but we figured we’d just stop at a random hotel along the way when J got tired of driving.

Surprisingly, he had enough energy to get us practically to Boston, though by 10 p.m. when I started looking at hotels outside Boston, I slowly realized that every single hotel was full for the night. On a Wednesday! Literally every Hilton, Marriott, IHG and even Holiday Inn Express along the highway was maxed out for the night, unless we wanted to actually stay in downtown Boston (which we didn’t).

Things didn’t get better once we passed Boston — there were barely any hotels between us and Portland, which was still two and a half hours away. It seemed like we’d have to end up spending the night in a barn à la Joseph and Mary.

I started to panic. At this point we were almost at Portsmouth, just an hour and a half away from Portland. There was a random B&B in Portsmouth with a vacancy, but I started calling every hotel in Portland just in case we could actually make it there. J seemed to be in good spirits despite my profound lack of success in finding lodging. “It’ll be great if we could just start our day in town without having to do any more driving,” he reasoned.

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Karting & Barbecue in Tulsa

June 15, 2016 § 3 Comments

One of the hardest parts of traveling for J is finding good coffee — he still hasn’t found a good latte place in Vegas despite many visits. I don’t drink coffee so I can’t explain why he’s so picky, but it’s always a priority for him. Of the three he tried, J liked Topeca Coffee the most (the other two were Fair Fellow and DoubleShot).

Frankly, I was astonished at how ~hipster~ these coffeeshops were — in a good way — with skinny bearded fellows making lattes and specialty bike shirts for sale. To the outsider, Tulsa isn’t exactly a hotbed of youth or innovation, but there’s a lot more young people doing interesting things than I expected.

The counter at Topeca

The counter at Topeca

For all your hipster needs

For all your hipster needs

Warehouse aesthetics at Fair Fellow

Warehouse aesthetics at Fair Fellow

After J’s requisite morning coffee, we had breakfast at Chimera, which serves a variety of delectable breakfast tacos, including vegetarian-friendly ones. They made for a satisfying and healthy breakfast.

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