Stone Barns

This past weekend, we took a brief trip up to Stone Barns in Pocantico Hills, NY (just outside Tarrytown and less than an hour from the city).

They are known for having an amazing restaurant, Blue Hill at Stone Barns, as well as Blue Hill in NYC. See here for an article from 2008 calling it “the most important restaurant in America.” I haven’t yet had the chance to try it for myself, though, since the “cheaper” menu option is still $148 per person (I am sure it is wonderful, special, and would make for a lovely meal for a special occasion, but that is quite pricey).

Anyway! It was fun to walk around the farm and see some fall colors! Temperatures seem to have finally dropped — and fast! — but it’s been a relatively mild fall otherwise, so I haven’t noticed as many reds and oranges on the trees. Maybe I’m just not looking, though. 🙂

If you are in the city (or near it), I do recommend a trip. Nearby Tarrytown was appropriately decked out for Halloween (and we didn’t even see its neighbor, Sleepy Hollow/North Tarrytown). It all felt very autumnal.

All photos by Taking of Toast, edited with VSCO Cam

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Oh. Hello. No use explaining my absence, in part because there was no real reason for it. But for now, I’m here.

I haven’t been carrying my camera around as much as I used to or want to, but I’ve been taking pictures on my phone and having fun with the new(ly updated) VSCO Cam app.

Some views, from the past month or so:

New York (City), you’re pretty okay in the late springtime.

All photos by Taking of Toast, edited with VSCO Cam

Back to Business

Business seems to always come in fits and starts. It’s that time of year at work where I feel (and am!) really busy. It’s been building slowly, and then we hit a certain point at which it just became “Busy, busy, busy!” But other than this past weekend, when I had lots to do — all of it voluntary and enjoyable — I realized that I’m not that busy in my free time. A co-worker asked me the other day what I’ve been up to outside of work, and I paused for a moment before saying, “You know what? Not much!” As I said, though, work’s busy, so that sort of spills out and just makes me feel exhausted and tired and lazy, not too keen to do much.

Speaking of this past weekend: A friend and I were at a birthday dinner (hers, not mine) in the West Village last Saturday night here, and I suggested we take a walk to get banoffee pie for dessert. We’d been seated at the restaurant between reservations and were running out of time, so I thought it best to get dessert elsewhere. I’ve also been wanting to try another slice of banoffee pie since I first tried it in London a couple years ago. Going to a restaurant just for dessert! I felt very adult (plus, I had coffee after dinner, at night, so that made me feel luxurious. For some reason, I associate “coffee with dessert” with luxury? I don’t know.)

On our walk, we came across this building, above. Shoko’s recent post (which I highly recommend) about “looking up” and appreciating what’s around you was running through my mind that evening, so I stopped to take a picture. Everyone talks about it, but wow, does the Village have some great buildings.

Photo by Taking of Toast, edited with the VSCO Cam app

Recently

I thought I’d share some recent photos from my non-adventures over the last few weeks. I try to bring my camera with me when I know I’ll be doing something special, but I think my phone does a pretty good job (occasionally, with some editing here and there) when I’m just walking around.

As I may have mentioned in an earlier post, we went to Bobo for brunch on New Year’s Day. I’ve never sat down there, but I do like the look of bar area on the first floor of the restaurant. Still hoping to one day have a meal on the terrace. A few days later, on one of my days off from work, I decided to attempt soufflé! For my very first try, it wasn’t too bad. I gather a successful soufflé has a small amount of luck involved. At least I didn’t open the oven door to check on it?

I think the photo on the left was taken on a surprisingly warm day following a cold snap. I decided to walk home across Central Park, and it turned out to be at just the right time for taking advantage of the late afternoon light. We went to Chelsea Market in mid-January, and I was happy surprised to see all the string lights still up.

I think we’ve already had more snow this year than we did all of last year. Snow in the city tends to stay white for about half a day, before it gets muddy. Later that day, I had to cut up some limes for a party, and I had to stop halfway through to observe to myself, “I always forget how pretty citrus fruits are!”

I may have discovered my new favorite chocolate chip cookie, from a coffee shop in midtown of all places. It’s conveniently located a few steps down from a relatively new dumpling restaurant (which has a tiny library, pictured below), so you can get justify the cookie with a real meal. ( … Not that I would judge anyone for just having the cookie, or just having half the cookie. I’m a BIG chocolate chip cookie fan, and I can’t ever finish this one in one sitting.)

As I suggested above, nothing too exciting these past few weeks, but that’s okay! January’s meant to be relaxing, isn’t it?

All photos by Taking of Toast, edited with VSCO CAM

Conservatory Garden, Again

As I mentioned in my last post, I took a detour on my way home from the Cloisters in September to visit the Conservatory Garden in Central Park (I’d been meaning to go back since I went last March!). While there were definitely more flowers in bloom this time around, I still wish I’d gone earlier in the summer. This year, I have to be better about making it in time for the cherry blossoms.

More flowers coming soon! I’m almost done with my “Oh, here’s what I did at the end of 2012!” posts. Almost.

All photos by Taking of Toast

The Cloisters

When I bought a ticket to the Efterklang concert at the Met back in September, I learned that the ticket covered free admission to either the Met or the Cloisters on the day of the concert. I hadn’t been to the Cloisters since middle school, at the latest, so I decided to make the trek to the upper tip of Manhattan that morning to explore the grounds and surrounding area.

When you spend most of your time commuting between home and work and run your errands in the more familiar areas, it can be a real treat to spend some time in an area you don’t know so well. There is a distinct (not to mention welcome) lack of tall buildings and crowdedness up in the area around the Cloisters. I walked through part of Fort Tryon Park to get to the museum, making sure to take lots of pictures along the way.

On my way home, I stopped off at the Conservatory Garden in Central Park, to which I’d been meaning to go back since the early spring. I’ll save those photos for an upcoming post.

All photos by Taking of Toast

Chelsea Market

I’ve been meaning to publish this post for some time now, and I figured I should do so before it’s 2013 (gulp!). Happy New Year, a little early, to all! May the year ahead be fulfilling in all the right ways.

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A few months ago, when it was still summer, I decided to check out Chelsea Market, the giant food concourse/hall/court/what-have-you on 9th Avenue between 15th and 16th Streets. I’d never been, but I’d been wanting to explore it since first discovering it during my first trip to the High Line this time last year. Despite the fact that I wasn’t as prepared as I could (or should) have been for the Market (I didn’t have much cash on me*, and my shoes were not made for walking), I really enjoyed walking around. There were all kinds of food shops, from Italian and Thai specialty stores to the Tuck Shop (where I got myself a Lamington) and an outpost of Amy’s Bread. You can find a full list of all the shops here. I wish I’d brought along some recipe ideas, as there seemed to be a few places ideal for picking up hard-to-find ingredients.

One of my favorite new discoveries of the day was the Filling Station (pictured below), which sells all kinds of olive oils and salts in a variety of flavors. I sort of overdid it and bought three bottles of olive oil and vinaigrette, but they were too tasty to resist. I’ve used some of the blood orange olive oil when roasting vegetables, and I thought it worked out pretty well, even if it may have been risky (and weird?). I’m sure the butternut squash oil would be a great addition to fall-/winter-appropriate recipes! They also have a lot of different types of salt, including bacon and green tea flavors, if that’s your thing.

*If I recall, some vendors do take credit cards, but many places are cash only.

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On my way home, I walked by the Hotel Chelsea and couldn’t help but stop to take a few photos. I’d seen it in photo shoots before, so I was glad to see it in person. It did not disappoint!

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Photos by Taking of Toast