Showing posts with label Eating Out. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Eating Out. Show all posts

Thursday, January 8, 2015

taco tuesday - orale mexican kitchen in jersey city

taco tuesday.  it's like it's too silly of a name to actually do it... except... when you REALLY like tacos, and you REALLY like the tacos at a restaurant just blocks from home, and you REALLY like a good deal.....  YOU DO IT.

hung and i stayed in jersey city for christmas in 2013.  christmas eve happened to be taco tuesday at orale, so it was the obvious choice for a little date before christmas after ice skating at newport skates.  the tacos are half off, guys.  i think it makes them even tastier knowing that they are half off.

we had such a great time that we decided to make it a tradition:
"taco tuesday on the tuesday before christmas"

some people open one present on christmas eve, some people go to church, some people always go to grandma's house.  our tradition is that we eat tacos.  weird? maybe. fun? definitely!  the rule is that if christmas falls on a tuesday, we're making tacos for christmas dinner.

...but tacos at orale in downtown jersey city just hit the spot though.  this year hung ordered the peking duck tacos, and i ordered my normal vegetarian ones (even though i'm not a vegetarian, they are my favorite!!)  i got there late, but hung had already made friends with the bartender, and had a few drinks down, when i got there.  he already ordered the esquites (like a hot corn and cheese salsa) and the baked cauliflower (who knew that grapefruit and cauliflower could pair well together!?)

beyond the stoop at orale mexican kitchen, jersey city

Thursday, December 4, 2014

porta jersey city

i've been waiting for this place to open for so long! those people know what they're doing when they start creating buzz about the place months ahead of time and block it off from the street, making it even MORE mysterious and enticing.  carefully following porta's instagram feed , i saw a little comment stating the opening for last night...  my instant reaction was "NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!"  i had been waiting for it for so long, and they just "had" to open on a day that i had tickets for another event. (the tickets were only $5 a piece, do i really need to go to it? i'm going to miss the opening night of porta !!) 

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luckily for us, we were able to get back to jersey city by about 9pm after the apartment therapy maker talk (more on that soon!), when the place had NO wait! (ok ok, we can handle a pizza and a beer, right? we technically didn't eat dinner yet) impulse splurge of the week is officially commencing. 

read more about our impulse night out below....

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

masquerade soiree with e.tittlemouse and co.

the idea of a masquerade party seemed so distant to me.  my only two visions of it were scenes from breakfast at tiffany's and from gossip girl (who DOESN'T remember that episode where lil J gets smooched by nate for looking like serena?!).  i was so excited to go to this party with e.tittlemouse, because it was going to be my first one!

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it's rare for us to show up to an event like this empty-handed, so we (ahem, hung) decided to make meatballs! nowadays we can't make hardly anything without making a vegetarian version (if the dish isn't vegetarian already).  he's been using this recipe from smitten kitchen (modified with beef and baked on 450F for 20 minutes) for the real meatballs, and this recipe from serious eats for the vegetarian ones.  the recipe for the vegetarian ones is supposed to be for veggie burgers, but this is practically the same thing, right? since the veggie ones don't really have to be cooked (well, sort of, the egg I suppose has to be cooked through), he just tossed them in the oven with the real meatballs, just on a different pan. the cook time and temperature isn't SO important for the veggie ones. 

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i couldn't let hung get ALL of the attention though.  after a failed attempt at creating a "super simple nutella stuffed baked wontons" i decided to go with a tried and true recipe for chocolate banana bread  (i'm ACTUALLY starting to use the recipes on my pinterest !!).  but for this event, we needed bite-sized everything, so i turned them into chocolate banana mini muffins!  i suppose all 3 dishes were a hit, considering everything was gone exept for one last mini muffin that got splashed in vodka (oops! party foul).

see more party photos after the jump!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

september date night - morgan fish market, jersey city

a belated post for sure, but not without merit.  this place was so good, we plan to go back again soon (after we recover from another gluttonous weekend, WHY do we love food so much!?!?).

just a short walk from the journal square train, in nearly any direction, you will find food that originates from all the far corners of the world.  go a few blocks north and you're in little india.  go a few blocks west and you've got filipino food.  go a few blocks west and you've got morgan fish market, an egyptian fish restaurant! 

morgan fish market was our destination for september date night .  i wasn't quite sure what to expect when i walked in early, waiting for hung to arrive off of the train.  the atmosphere doesn't exactly say "date night" but i was up for an adventure. from the moment i stepped in i knew that THEY knew that i was new there, but that's ok.  i just sat down at a table while i "waited for my husband" (still weird to say)

once he arrived, went to the counter to order.  not knowing exactly what to do (and clearly showing it on our faces too), a man sitting at a table with what looked like his family asked us if we needed help. "yes! we would like to order, but we don't know what."  he recommended the striped sea bass and the branzino.  they will cook it any way you like, so we said we wanted one fried and one grilled.  the order comes with hummus, pita bread, rice, and salad.  we really could have ordered just 1 order for the both of us and split it and would have been satisfied, but after tasting the food we were glad we ordered two.

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morgan fish market jersey city

i've got 3 words for that fried striped sea bass:  BEST. FISH. EVER.  maybe it's the seasonings, maybe it's the fact that they cook and serve the WHOLE fish, maybe it's the fact that it's in a place that doesn't quite look like it should be serving food that good, or maybe it was because it was date night.  really though, i think it was really just because it tasted that good.

we don't eat mediterranean food often enough.  this dinner at morgan fish market was our first time eating egyptian food.  although the hummus, tahini, and salad seemed like your standard (always good) middle-eastern fare, the fish stole the show.  i'm not sure what other type of food is served in egypt, but i can say this small taste inside the world of egyptian food was enough to make us come back for more.

high five for another successful date night , our first as husband and wife!
(and high five for discovering more hidden gems in jersey city!)


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

farmicia philadelphia

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after getting to philadelphia around, midnight, sleeping around 2am, waking up at 7am to move my car (stupid weekend parking rules!), and walking all the way from south philly back to old city, to say we were ready for brunch is an understatement!

luckily for us, old city in philadelphia has some great options.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

wedding brunch

our wedding brunch was different than your typical wedding brunch.  normally it's full of tired, stayed-at-the-reception-too-late, drank-too-much crowd eating their last meal before parting their separate ways.

ours? it was practically the opposite! our ceremony was at city hall (during normal city hall hours, of course), which meant we were out the doors by 10:30am... and brunch was immediately after! well, after cheyenne took some family photos of course ;)  brunch was held at our favorite weekend breakfast place in jersey city , sam a.m.    we were greeted with the smell of bacon and coffee and the sound of james brown.  our table was ready, with freshly-squeezed orange juice and chilled champagne we took over the night before.  the bar was lined with fresh summer salad, pastries, and a giant plate of smoked salmon.


see more after the jump...

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

pre-wedding pre-gaming

it's sort of hard for even us to believe this, but prior to the night before our wedding , some of my family had never met hung's family .  we figured that instead of having a super awkward situation where they had to introduce themselves when they walked into city hall, we organized a casual outing at zeppelin hall  beer garden in jersey city the night before.  it was the perfect setting for everyone (including kids til 9:30pm!) to eat what they wanted, when they wanted, grab beers when they wanted, stay as late or leave as early as they wanted… and it really is a great place for our group of 15.

the night before THAT though, we snagged a night with just my mom's side of the family , and hung whipped up a quick ratatouille with seasoned rice and steak.  it was nice to spend some time with them before the craziness started.

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after everyone started arriving thursday afternoon, we started to feel the "rush".  flowers were being delivered to the house, people filled our living room.

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but the night at zeppelin hall was so fun.  we think our families are so different from each other, until we put them together with food and beer, and the conversations and laughter didn't stop until we left.  maybe they aren't so different after all!  see more after the jump.

Monday, July 28, 2014

not a sit-down concert

....but in my FAVORITE music venue to date! have you ever been to bowery ballroom ?  being in the back at bowery ballroom feels the same as "getting there early" to a show at terminal 5 terminal 5 is big enough to get those crazy fans who get there insanely early just to snag the front row, so when you go thinking you're there "reasonably early", you're already 20 heads back. 

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with that said, if we never went to the naked and famous concert at terminal 5, we never would have discovered the colourist ! their songs are catchier than i'd like to admit, and after seeing them open for the naked and famous, we couldn't get enough of them.  when hung told me they were playing at bowery ballroom, i couldn't say no.

opening for the colourist was first a local nyc band called mainland .  these guys... they're going to make it big soon, i can feel it.  their stage presence feel like they've been at it for years, and the lead singer has such a strong energy you can't help but dance.

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chatting with the lead singer after the show? sure!

when the colourist came on though, the crowd went nuts.  it's so fun going to these kinds of concerts.  you tell you're friends you're going to see "the colourist" and they have no idea who you're talking about, but when you go to the concert, everyone knows all the lyrics, and just. goes. nuts.  i mean, you would too if you saw the GIRL drummer at the front of the stage playing her heart out AND singing lead much of the time. 

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(can you tell our obsession with the drummer?)

The Colourist - Bowery Ballroom, Manhattan NYC from jenn @ beyond the stoop on Vimeo .

this concert was one of those "fuck it i'm already out late, lets get tacos too" nights.  who cares that it was a week night and i had work the next day. (ok i DID care the next morning when no amount of coffee could cure my sleepiness). but when you're just a few blocks from the corner deli , you gotta take advantage of it!

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(when i spotted elote on the menu, it totally trumped tacos that night)

sometimes you gotta live it up and be adventurous.  that's what new york city is for, right?


Thursday, July 10, 2014

well hello summer!

somewhere between moving to a new position at work and jersey city having the BEST weather this summer, a whole month has flown by since my last post! it's not that we haven't been doing anything fun, it's actually quite the opposite.  our home is now dinner-party-friendly, visitor-friendly, and project-free (for now).  the weather is great for evening walks, sundays at the beach, and bike rides in the city.  hung and i spent the majority of last summer traveling, so we're trying to fully take advantage of being at home this summer.

a few weeks ago my dad and stepmom visited from florida.  they were the first family to see the new house , and what a blast it was! while hung and I are used to being on the go and walking til our legs fall off, it's pretty typical that visitors who don't live in a city get pretty zonked by the end of the first day.  it was sort of nice to be able to come home around dinner time, eat food at home, relax for the evening (instead of staying out until the wee hours of the morning) and sleeping in.  we still got to enjoy the best hours of the day and do everything on the list.  

we took a trip on the circle line for the very first time for all of us! surprisingly, this super-touristy-but-must-do adventure turned out to be pretty awesome.  i don't think i'll be doing it again, but i'm glad we did it! who knew that the northern-most end of manhattan was so forest-like? and that there are so many islands around it? i mean, really, most of the time you even forget that manhattan itself is an island!

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for lunch we headed over to brooklyn to eat outside at surf bar's back patio/garden.  you might as well call it a beach without the water, because the floor is sand, even in the inside part! what a perfect setting for one of the most beautiful days of summer.

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on the way home we walked to milk sugar love , my first time eating it! first of many, i mean.  we've been there a few times since, and are never disappointed (how CAN you be with THOSE flavors!?) i'm so in love with that place, and the idea that now i can get it any day of the week, not just on the days they are at the farmer's markets :) :) :)  they are located right on hamilton park in jersey city , what a perfect spot to grab a cone and stroll through the park!

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the next day we headed to pier 13 in hoboken, where we enjoyed gorgeous views of manhattan, the hoboken waterfront, and ate brick-oven pizza from a food truck (practically hung's dream).

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the rest of the time was spent cooking at home and re-watching the entire first season of orange is the new black (now i've got THEM hooked on it too!) because i needed a good refresher before i started in on the second season (who's finished with it!? omg the last episode was good!)

of course when family visits they can never stay long enough, but at least we get to see them again in august.


p.s. can you tell we got a new camera lens!? we're loving the low aperture if you haven't noticed already :P

Monday, June 9, 2014

supper club date night

june is an action-packed month for us, with no more weekend time to ourselves.  a few months ago i planned a DAY date exploring williamsburg and we loved it.  although I wanted to plan another adventure date, this month just wasn't going to give us the chance.  last tuesday i saw sam a.m. cafe's supper club menu posted for thursday (see it on their instagram , twitter , or facebook ), and the lightbulb turned on in my head... supper club it is!

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last week's menu included lamb ragu. two of hung's favorite foods in 1 dish: slow-roasted lamb and pasta, so i knew it would be a win.  what i didn't know was how good the REST of the meal was going to be! lamb ragu was just the fourth course of FIVE.  i thought that because there would be 5 courses, the portions would be itsy bitsy.  hung ate a sammich before we left the house, and i had a few bites too.  i could have been rolled out of the place that night i ate so much.  normally i feel zero guilt asking for a box to take food home, but for some reason (i.e. the food was so good) i couldn't leave anything left on the plate.  i even consulted hung to take up the last bites when he knew i looked miserable but still eating.  first world problems? absolutely. 

Monday, May 5, 2014

5 minute monday

groggy-eyed and barely moving, i'm exhausted from our weekend with friends.  we didn't really do anything that was physically tiring, it's just the staying up late, the eating out, the laughing, the city walking, the being on my feet that wore me out. but a weekend with out-of-town, rarely-get-to-see-them friends is totally worth it!

a few things of note from the weekend:

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1. walking through the streets of new york is meditation for me.  whether it was the bustling neighborhoods of hell's kitchen and chinatown or the more serene, calming sunday afternoon walk through soho and west village... i love it all.   i need to spend more time doing this.  i've (almost) come to accept that my life is one that will just always be on the go, and if strolling through an inspiring neighborhood makes me smile more than sitting at home watching reruns of friends or reading a book, i'm ok with it.

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2. cards against humanity. best ice breaker ever.  but only for those who can find humor in the inappropriate... our small but diverse group that played the game was italian-white, korean, vietnamese, mutt-white, chinese, black, taiwanese, straight, gay, single, engaged, girls, guys, conservative, liberal, priviledged and not... but we could laugh about just about anything that made its way to the table.  we went for the chocolate soufflé, we stayed for the game :P

3. maybe i actually DO like karaoke.  wanna know one of the busiest times for bars in new york city?  when it's raining.  unprepared for rain on saturday afternoon, we dipped into what google maps told us was the closest bar, and we suddenly found ourselves in an empty japanese karaoke bar upstairs above your average canal street trinket shops.  not sure what we got ourselves into, we just went with it and ordered a drink.  two hours and rounds of karaoking to pink, beyonce, spice girls, mariah carey, and the 'cups' song later, we decided maybe it was time to head back outside.  i suppose i don't have to give the stink face anymore when friends say "hey, wanna go karaoking in k-town?" i should give it a shot ;)

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4. vegetarian tacos at orale might be my new favorite.  with grilled peppers and seitan, i was totally in love (and normally i'm an al pastor kind of girl, loving the grilled pork with pineapple!) make sure to go on taco tuesdays.  you get all that above for just $8!

5. catching  up with friends is so nice.  maybe we only get to see them once a year, or for some once every couple of years, but when we do see them it feels like no time has passed.  hung and i both admit we are BAD about keeping in touch with far-away friends. however, we're lucky enough to have some of those far-away friends that feel like we have maybe lost touch with, but when we see them we can have fun and have deep conversations and pick up the face-to-face friendship right where it left off. 

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we're thankful for those who came this weekend, and look forward to our big celebrations next year :)


p.s. check out that VIEW!!

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Friday, March 21, 2014


life has been a whirlwind lately (as you probably know, if not, see here and here ).  Wednesday was just nice though.  i took the day off of work to surprise hung at his office, ate lunch with him and his coworkers, brought banana cake from momofuku millkbar , and arranged for him to leave after lunch....

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(1) everyday after work we've been eating dinner and going straight to the new house to paint. and paint. and paint. and we're still not done painting.  but at least we still get a great dinner before heading over there! hung made rice cakes with pork and spinach on monday. seriously it was like eating the best pork dumplings, but not in dumpling form.  hopefully get the chance to make it again and share the recipe with you guys! seriously it's so easy and so delicious. if you see rice cakes on the menu at a Chinese restaurant, GET THEM!

(2) wednesday morning i slipped out of the house before hung woke up to grab him a bagel sammich from wonder bagels , and on my quick walk home i noticed the most beautiful sky during sunrise.

(3) i had an hour to spare after picking up the cake but before i needed to be at hung's office.  naturally, i went to crate and barrel and had NO problem wasting an hour.  these stools, they are $150 each. and they are the ultimate inspiration for an upcoming DIY.

(4) that's the banana cake . when they said "a 6-inch cake serves 8-12 people" i thought they were crazy.  but then i saw the HEIGHT on that thing.  a sliver is more than enough!

one more tidbit of (good?) news, apparently we inherited the title of "condo association president" when we bought our unit.  hung gladly took that position.... now we just have to wait and see if that was a good decision or not ;)

happy friday!

Friday, March 14, 2014

happy friday, life is good

sipping on a glass of wine
at a restaurant on the water
overlooking the manhattan skyline
the buildings of lower manhattan to the east
reflecting the sun as it sets in the west
dining with my one and only on a random thursday evening
with blood orange and sea bass crudo and mussels to share
and homemade bread with truffled honey butter and olive oil
located just walking distance from home....

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last night was a perfect setting to reflect.
we're lucky to live in such a wonderful place.
and i'm lucky enough to spend it with someone so special...

cheers, friends.
it's friday!


p.s.  the restaurant is battello , jersey city 's newest restaurant, a modern italian place on a pier overlooking lower manhattan, nestled amongst the newport yacht club  slips in the newport neighborhood, designed by anthony carrino of local brunelleschi construction and hgtv's cousins undercover .

Thursday, February 27, 2014

february date: a brooklyn adventure

my first attempt at topping all other monthly dates   failed.  kung fu is an off-Broadway show in manhattan about the life of bruce lee.  perfect, right?  i like shows, hung likes bruce lee.  it was going to be perfect, and tickets were going to be just $70 TOTAL for the two of us.  i ordered them, it was going to be the best surprise ever.  but only 20 minutes after i ordered tickets online, i received an email saying my order has been canceled.  there was a glitch in the system and i would be refunded all of my money.  i tried a second time, and the only tickets available were in march, and they were $75 EACH.  more than double the original price! although if it was a special occasion i may have just bit the bullet, but i was just so angry at the fact that my order was canceled for ticket prices to just go up that i decided it just wasn't meant to be.

luckily though, hung claims that my plan B turned out to be the best date yet (jenn does the happy dance!)  we have had such great experiences at olive oil and vinegar tasting rooms, so i set my sights on finding one in the city.  luckily for us, there's one right in williamsburg! it's called o live , and it's pretty close to a lot of other fun places, so i decided to turn our date into an adventure!

before trekking to brooklyn, though, we stopped at a vintage furniture store in manhattan called furnish green .  i have had my eyes set on a credenza there, and i NEEDED to at least look at it in person.  let me tell you guys, this store has SO many cool things! and in such great condition!  sure, your average vintage store might have a handful of mid-century modern furniture in beat up condition for a price you might find on craigslist, but this place is carefully curated, and only keeps items in good condition.  the pieces might be a little bit more expensive, but i'm no expert at refinishing furniture (let alone stuff that may or may not have a veneer on it), and i'm not about to PAINT mid-century modern stuff either.  hung ultimately made the "adult" decision, and said we needed to pass on the credenza, we don't "need" it now anyways... maybe one day though ;)

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next stop, o live!  i planned out our day such that we had to walk to the farthest place first, then work our way back to the train.  although we didn't purchase anything at furnish green , we were on a small "high" of furniture shopping (guys, it's SO fun!). so when we passed all those hipster vintage shops in williamsburg on our way to o live, we couldn't help by pop into some of them.  needless to say, we WILL be going back soon!  we tasted practically every balsamic vinegar at o live before settling on the cranberry pear white balsamic and the vermont maple dark balsamic.  we ran out of 2 balsamic vinegars at home recently, and before this purchase we only had, say, 3 or 4 kinds of balsamic vinegar at the house.  clearly we "needed" more options!

just a few blocks away was a vietnamese bar and restaurant called bia .  i was drawn to this place because my during FIRST time in new york city (looking for apartments, ironically), my friends took me to a place in manhattan (that's now closed) called bia garden.  just like it sounds, it was a TINY beer garden tucked away in the tiny "open space" behind a building somewhere in manhattan (I had no idea where I was at the time, NYC was so overwhelming!)  bia had a great vibe, although when we first walked in, we were the only ones there, so i was a little concerned my day date plan was going to be disasterous.  we sat at the bar, we each ordered a guinness, and soon people started strolling in.  i decided on my favorite vermicelli noodles with grilled pork and spring rolls, while hung ordered a grilled pork banh mi sammich, both better than expected! my noodle dish had about half lettuce, half noodles, so it was more like a salad than most places (which serve a huge bowl of noodles with a sprinkle of veggies).  we ventured to the rooftop, which was closed for the winter, but looked like it would be so fun in the summertime! i'll have to remember this place come april or may :)

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(don't make too much fun of our mini photoshoot.  guys, it was 55 degrees and sunny in FEBRUARY!! it put us in a good mood :P)

next on the list was momofuku milkbar ! the only time i had tried to go to a milkbar location was after dinner in manhattan, when milkbar is just PACKED.  although the intention was to get dessert, hung may have ordered the best thing on the menu : the volcano.  i'm not sure if it's on the menu all the time (it's not posted online), but this thing was a very chewy bun stuffed with pork, potatoes, carmelized onions, and fontina cheese. not exactly "dessert", but hey, that's how he rolls ;)  we also ordered the corn cookie and the 5 boro cookie, both worthy of ordering again (and again and again).

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last stop on the date was barcade! yes, we have barcade in jersey city too, but because we were so close and the brooklyn one is the original one, i felt the need to at least stop in for a beer.  it is practically the same thing as the one in jersey city (except ours is bigger with more arcade games!)  they have similar craft beers on tap, behind the bar is a big chalkboard wall with the menu and lots of neon beer signs, and no barstools match.  seriously barcade is the best bar to go to with a dive-bar feel with better-than-dive-bar beer (and, of course, all of your favorite childhood arcade games).

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around 3pm we looked up the location of the restaurant for dinner with friends, and found out that it was in williamsburg too! with a few hours to waste before dinner, we explored a grocery store (one of our favorite things to do! don't judge!), picked up grocery store sushi (i'm such a sucker for it), and made our way over to the restaurant.  with still an hour or so before dinner, we popped into surf bar .  this place smelled of nothing but fried calamari, it was crowded, and there was a beach on the floor.  yes, you read that right, sand on the floor, throughout the entire place! when i was lured in with the "hot spiked apple cider" sign out front, i was not expecting sand on the floor.  and, if we weren't heading to a pre-fixe, 3-course dinner soon after, my hands would have been ALL OVER that calamari.

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the rest of the evening was spent celebrating a birthday with out-of-towners, so date day ended at surf bar.  days like this are why i love new york city!!!! i wouldn't have changed a thing!

(except maybe grab more cookies from milkbar... damn they were good)