We’re two months in to 2015, ⅙ of the way through this year, and so I thought I owed all of you lovely readers an update on my resolutions. I started this year with a list of 15 new things I intended to do, try, or learn in 2015. Here’s how I’m doing so far.
For the most part, the winter weather has had me in hibernation mode, which is less than conducive to accomplishing many of my goals. However, I have done remarkably well with one item:
7. Try at least one new bar/restaurant every month.
Despite the cold and the ice and the uncooperative subway, I have managed to try not just one, but at least two new spots each month, so far to great success. January brought Sweet Chick, whose fried chicken and waffles won over my little Southern heart (I’ve already waxed poetic about how at home the cozy Williamsburg joint made me feel).
In January, my roomie and I (along with her sister and cousin) also ventured to Rosemary, an Italian restaurant in the West Village that takes the term “farm to table” to heart; much of their produce and herbs makes a long and arduous journey from their rooftop farm directly to the kitchen and into patrons’ delighted mouths. My carbonara was melt-in-your-mouth good, conjuring up memories of the bygone summer when I lived in Florence, and of scrounged up dinners senior year of college with my then, and current, roomie, whose go-to dish made ready use of our fridge’s eccentric staples: eggs, cheese, bacon, and shallots. (Girls gotta eat, and in our case eat carbonara.) We also split some incredible rosemary focaccia, a side of roasted brussel sprouts, and some heavenly lemon beignets with nutella whipped cream. The only dissapointment? A much-touted house hot chocolate with marshmallow, which turned out to be rather unspectacular. Even my roomie’s “grown-up” version, infused with cognac, wasn’t worth the price. (To be fair, once you’ve had Angelina’s hot chocolate, you’re pretty much ruined for life.)
February brought two new faves with a decidedly Southern flavor. Scout and I finally made the trek to Arrogant Swine, and promptly wondered why it had taken us so long to make the walkable (in nicer weather) journey. While the barbecue was Carolina style, and therefore not our favorite, the sides more than made up for any of the meat’s deficiencies. As the owner explained to us, the Bushwick joint does not have an oven, so anything that needs to be baked gets baked in a waffle iron. Hence sweet potato waffles, mini cornbread waffles, and the piéce de resistance: the baked macaroni and cheese waffle. The great beer list, ample bourbon selection, and friendly staff made us quick converts, and definite return customers.
My neighborhood does not lack for great brunch options (Fritzl’s Lunch Box and Heavy Woods are my personal favorites), but this past weekend I braved the crowds of the L and headed to Williamsburg to meet one of my favorite fellow Southern transplants. Being a vegetarian, Anita is sometimes limited in her breakfast options, but she had heard of a spot that served not just great biscuits and gravy, but great biscuits and gravy that could be made meat-free. She was intrigued, as was I, and so we found ourselves at Egg. She got the veggie version, while I went all-meat-in, and neither one of us was disappointed. I’ll be perfectly honest: I am not normally a biscuits and gravy kind of gal, even though I know it infringes on my Southerner cred. To me, the gravy just adds an extra heavy layer to the already buttery biscuit, and I can feel my arteries clogging with every bite. But Egg may make a convert of me yet. The biscuits were perfect, sturdy but not tough, and the gravy offered an unexpected bit of spice that brought the whole meal to another level. While perusing the menu, I also discovered a country ham biscuit that featured, among other things, homemade fig jam and Grafton cheddar, therefore landing it at the top of Scout’s ideal food list. I immediately snapchatted her a photo, as besties do, and her reaction did not disappoint. We will be making a return visit ASAP.
Even though I’ve only technically checked one item off my list (and since that item is an ongoing one, it’s not so much a check as a running tally mark), I’m still happy, and pleasantly surprised, by my progress with my resolutions so far. And it’s had me thinking about one of my favorite frequently used french phrases: “Profite bien.” See the French are always telling you to profite from some thing or another — a trip, a sale, the day, the weather, your life as a whole. Aesthetes that they are, they firmly believe that if one is not sucking the marrow out of life, seizing moments of beauty and pleasure when they come, then one is not really living. Carpe diem, as it were. It’s a sentiment I appreciate, but one I find hard to adhere to in New York, especially during the winter months. This city is hard and expensive, and it can be difficult to muster up the energy and willpower to leave your den, get on the subway with another several hundred people, push your way through crowds, sacrifice a chunk of your hard-earned money, and then do the commute all over again. It’s exhausting just thinking about it, and doubly hard when the winter adds an extra bundling step to the whole process, while also eliminating many of your free activity options.
The vast majority of my goals for this year could really be filed under one larger aspiration: profiter de life in New York. And these past few months, in spite of the cold (and, admittedly, more than a handful of days when I wore pajamas until 4 pm and my only interactions were with the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit, the Bartlet White House staff, or the TGS crew), I feel like I’ve done ok with that. I went to a movie by myself on a Wednesday afternoon (sometimes, mid-week weekends aren’t so bad after all). I went to a production of one of my favorite plays in a coffeeshop (my inner site-specific theatre nerd was singing with joy, and nostalgia) and reunited with a friend I hadn’t seen since high school. I drank bourbon and beer and ate burritos with Scout and another lover of the finer things in life that start with B. I left my apartment and went to the coffee shop around the corner to write this post. And all those admittedly little things, when you add them up together, make me feel like I’ve accomplished something.
Maybe it’s the sunshine, which has slowly started to invade the forecast. Maybe it’s the new year, with it’s (arbitrary) sense of a clean slate and new beginnings. Or maybe it’s that, after 18 months in this city, it’s finally starting to feel like a home.