Monday, April 30, 2018

Big Birthday in the City - Day 2

We started off our day with breakfast at Kaffe 1668.
I had a latte and a fried egg grilled cheese. It was a cozy spot for morning fuel.
A couple of blocks away, we entered the One World Observatory at One World Trade Center - the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, with a 360 view of the city.
My favorite part of the view was the island just north of lower Manhattan (with the boats zooming by). My family used to live on Governor's Island in the 1980's when my dad was stationed there with the Coast Guard. Although we were far away, I could pick out a few landmarks from my childhood that still remain.
Since you can't really tell how tall the building was from the inside, here's a shot of me that Brian took of the outside for a little scale. So impressive!!
After the Observatory, we headed over to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. To say it was moving and emotional would not do it justice. It is a beautiful tribute to such a horrific series of events. The voice recordings and memorabilia from the day were particularly haunting. When you visit, leave yourself at least two hours to take in the exhibits.
After lunch at Chelsea Market, we headed for a walk on the High Line. It was a beautiful day and there were a ton of people out enjoying the sunshine. I managed to sneak in this shot when no one was blocking the view.
We had started Chef's Table (Season 3) right before we left, so I couldn't resist taking everyone on a field trip to Episode 1's star, Milk Bar. I had the birthday cake, Brian had the Crack Pie, and Brian's parents both had a milkshake. All was super delicious! 
After quick naps and changing our clothes at the hotel, we headed to dinner at Orso (I know, we just ate dessert!). Brian and I split this awesome salad.
And I had these amazing artichokes, lightly pan fried in butter with romano cheese, lemon, and hot pepper.
And then (I know, can you believe this was all smooshed into one day?), we headed to the Music Box Theater to see the Tony Award winning musical, Dear Evan Hansen. This was Brian's official birthday present as he and his parents had never seen a musical on Broadway before. The show was a hit and everyone enjoyed it.
To end our epic day, and to preserve my family tradition of cheesecake after a show, we headed to Junior's for these amazing slices of heaven. You just can't beat fresh New York-style cheesecake in New York. I had the fresh strawberry and it was perfect.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Big Birthday in the City - Day 1

This guy - my husband/partner-in-crime-and-travel/best friend is turning 40 next month - so we headed to New York City with his parents to celebrate the milestone with a ton of fun. After arriving and checking into our hotel, we had some classic NY-style pizza and headed to the live taping of the Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Guests on the show were Lucy Liu, Henry Winkler, and Run the Jewels.
After the show, we headed to BlackTail Bar (by Battery Park) for dinner and drinks. Brian had been during a trip last June and wanted the rest of us to experience this cool, Cuban spot. They started us off with a round of mini daiquiris (of course) and we ordered some scrumptious food.
We had this amazing cheese tray...
...these plantain chips and yucca fries (with the yummiest salsa fresca and and garlic aioli)...and (not pictured: calamari, grilled shrimp, and beef empanadas).
Oh, and this amazing yellow fin tuna crudo with mango, avocado, and macadamia nuts. We did not leave hungry! We had a whole day of things planned for the next day, so I will leave you here for now. Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, April 16, 2018

Eindhoven - Part III

Our last full day started with four more choose-your-own-adventure options. I picked the bike tour of the city (Dad, can you believe it?). Our hotel had enough bikes in the basement for everyone staying in the hotel to have a bike - literally hundreds. We checked out our bikes, figured out the back pedal braking and got on our way.
Many of the buildings, houses, and factories were built by Dr. Frits Philips - who founded Philips Electronics in Eindhoven in 1891 (as a lightbulb factory, initially). For the 75th anniversary of the company, Philips wanted to build a cutting-edge science museum as a gift to the community, and commissioned the building of the Evoluon, which has since been transformed into a conference center. 
As you might be able to tell from the last photo, it was very grey and cold during our adventure. My favorite part of the morning was a stop at Piet Hein Eek's design studio. He uses a lot of reclaimed wood and features work of other local designers and artists in his space. 
I loved the clean lines next to the rawness of the scrap wood. The perfect balance of casual elegance that I can never seem to pull off in my own house.
These giant flowers are made of felt, wire, and plastic. This was probably my favorite photo that I took all week.
Back at TAC, we got to work and broke only for lunch in the funky dining room. Our meal was prepared by Minyoung's Food Lab. Minyoung is a designer and a cook and creates fusion food using ingredients from the Netherlands, while preserving her Korean heritage.
The vegan dish was perfection - the rice was out of this world.
Before the final dinner, I took a stroll around town to find the river, which is really more of a canal. I love weeping willow trees.
We went to Wall Street for our celebratory dinner. They had a bunch of interesting things in the space, like a vending machine where you paid to have a dish fall and break, and this live jukebox where you could call a number and pay a guy five euros to come and sing a song. (I was just posing, no song singing for me that night.)
We had a lively meal, full of conversation and good food. It was a nice way to end a productive week before we set off on our separate journeys home. Until we meet again, friends!

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Eindhoven - Part II

I can be a bit of a creature of habit at times - mostly because I don't want to mess with perfection. My breakfast choice, selected by me from the buffet, was set for the week. A hard boiled egg, dried apples and apricots, a slice of tasty cheese, a little chocolate pain au chocolat, coffee, and the most amazing apple juice got me started each day at the hotel.
After a super productive day of festival planning, we had a choose your own adventure night with one of four dinner + activity combos. I picked dinner and embroidery. We walked into the restaurant, Usine, to this amazing floral arrangement.
I had the beetroot risotto with goat cheese croquettes, rocket salad, chioggia beet, and balsamic syrup. It was tasty! I had the vanilla crème brûlée for dessert, and although it wasn't overly photogenic, it was delicious.
After dinner, my group headed to the loft of the apartment building behind the restaurant where Desiree Hammen, an embroidery artist, lives. Desiree had a beautiful table set up for us -- full of thread, objects, embroidery hoops, and snacks. We each made our own free-hand embroidered piece, using a "found" object from a table. We then cut our fabric down to the shape of a leaf and sewed it to a large collage of leaves to be given to the festival director. (It wasn't finished until almost midnight, so I missed taking a photo of the final product. I was the first one done and skipped off to a bar to meet up with some other friends.)
After a long day, I usually opt for sleep, but I met up with some friends at a beer bar called Van Moll. I respect any bar that serves all the beers in the "correct" glasses and the house-brewed beer was unique. We had a nice time chatting and laughing at our own jokes until we headed back to the hotel. 

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Eindhoven - Part I

This past week, I was lucky enough to travel to the Netherlands to work on the planning for MozFest 2018. There were 42 of us from 14 countries, both Mozilla staff and volunteers. I arrived in Amsterdam and took the train up to Eindhoven for the retreat. I walked by these beauties in the train station.
Walking to and from dinners and our hotel, took us past St. Catherine's Church repeatedly. It was beautiful during the day...
...and at night. Bicycles were everywhere, explaining the parking lot for them next to the church.
After three flights and a train, I dropped my bags off at The Student Hotel and headed to de Karseboom for the welcome dinner. After a nearly 24-hour journey (Sunday to Monday) and a 7-hour time zone shift, I wanted something healthy and fresh to eat. This avocado salad with green asparagus, tempeh "bacon", eggs, parmesan cheese, and miso dressing was amazing!
I had heard that the cherry blossoms were in bloom so I was very excited to spot this courtyard full of trees on our way to the retreat space, I had to jump up on a planter for this shot.
We spent the week at the Temporary Art Centre, which is home to many artists, exhibits and community spaces. It was the perfect place to be inspired and think creatively about the festival we are planning for London in the fall.
We ate lunch in a room that had a giant treehouse-like structure, with picnic tables suspended in what seemed like midair. We had assorted sandwiches (mine was brie, honey, walnuts, and rocket salad) and these incredibly fluffy donuts.
We had a delicious, family-style dinner at Calypso. It wasn't open to the public that night, so we had it all to ourselves. They served so many courses that it was nearly impossible to get photos of things. There was a ton of fish, shellfish, cheese, veggies, soups, salads, sauces, and chocolate cake for dessert. It was a nice chance to relax and meet new folks over dinner, before everyone succumbed to their various jet-lagged bodies.