Life Lately

pastries tatte

Lately my life has been fuller than usual.

Yes, it’s filled with work, (I’m still on a learning curve with my new job, schoolwork has gotten progressively harder, and of course I still manage this blog), but it’s also filled with more people, more pastries, more yoga, more events, more love.

Life lately has been busy.

At the end of last year, I decided to make 2013 my Year of Gratitude. We’re only four months in, but I’m finding more and more things to be thankful for each day. So now I want to share some of these things from the last few weeks. Think of this as a cross between my Good Eats Series and a peak into my daily life…

In my daily life, I’m usually in a pair of high heels, but my persistent foot and shin injuries have forced me to finally see a sports injury specialist, who (no surprise) suggested that I stay away from my beloved sky highs, or at least alternate with flats. She also suggested that I get re-fitted for running shoes… For long-time readers of my blog, you might remember when I proclaimed my love for Mizunos. I have religiously stayed with that brand, replacing my sneakers with the same model every few hundred miles or so. But a couple of weekends ago, I did go to Marathon Sports to get refitted and (surprise) I ended up getting a pair from New Balance:

I’m not sure if I love my new running shoes more because I am running pain-free, or because they are neon pink.

I have also surprised myself by morphing into a dog person. I was never big on pets (in fact, I hate cats) but over the last few years I find myself wanting a dog. A quick scan of my Instagram feed reveals not one, not two, but three dog photos in the past two months. The beautiful creature above is Snowflake, a pure white German sherpherd who belongs to my friend Amber. (I did not mean to cut off her and her husband’s heads in the photo.) Snowflake is super giant and can easily pass for a direwolf. On that note, lately I have been obsessed with Game of Thrones.

My obsession with steaks, particularly a good ribeye, has been well documented on this blog.  A couple of weeks ago, I had this fantastic, well-marbled, perfectly-cooked bone-in ribeye at STK Midtown in New York. I ordered it with a pat of truffle butter on top, and we shared some really good sides, too (my favorite was the plate of wild mushrooms, not pictured). It was definitely one of the best steaks I’ve ever had!*

*I hope I don’t lose my restaurant credibility with you guys, after I recently said that I’ve had “the best restaurant dessert this year” and “one of the best plate of pasta ever” and now this “best steak I ever had” – but I just lucked out and have been having some really good meals lately.

My good luck ran out when I tried making mini chocolate croissants. This was a big kitchen fail, with every single piece being inedible from the blackened and burnt bottoms. (Trust me, I tried scraping it off or just eating the top part and the chocolate filling, but… no.) Times like these, I just had to remind myself that cooking and baking mistakes happen to everyone, and I just need to learn from it.

That same day, I just couldn’t give up and attempted something else: cheese turnovers. I’ve made mini turn-overs before so at least I can claim some success. In this batch, the cheese did end up oozing out of the pastry pockets (the picture above is the cleaned up version; I cleaned up the crisped up cheese by eating it immediately) but the turnovers were pretty tasty. Then I watched It’s Complicated for the fifth time, and I ended up craving chocolate croissants even more (anyone else thinks that Meryl Streep in that movie had the ideal bakery and kitchen?) Later that weekend I convinced my friends to go to Tatte Bakery with me but instead of getting a pain au chocolate, I got a chocolate tarte instead. No complaints, but one day, maybe this weekend, I will definitely plan on eating a real, non-burnt chocolate croissant.

I have been and will be travelling a lot for work, and during my last visit to New York, I stayed at one of my favorite hotels: The City Club Hotel. I admit that I am picky about hotels; I always read a ton of reviews and take note of the smallest details. I tend to go for boutique hotels, especially ones with good bathroom amenities like the C.O. Bigelow set above. I know that business travel is never as fun as traveling for pleasure, but the nice little touches from a good hotel can offer a lot of comfort in those short periods of time.

Speaking of comfort, I find solace in doing a little reading before bed. I have always been a voracious reader, and having a Kindle makes it easier to have all the books I want at my fingertips. The last book I read and thoroughly enjoyed was My Life from Scratch, a memoir by Gesine Bullock-Prado, professional pastry chef and author (and Sandra Bullock’s sister!) It’s the story of how she left her Hollywood career and started over by opening a bakery. It’s a treat to read the poignant stories of her family and friends interwoven with tempting recipes. I’ve always believed that the best things to eat are the foods that we share with and remind us of our loved ones, so it was really heart-warming to read this book.

And most importantly – by now, all of you must have heard of the horrific terror at the Boston Marathon.  On Monday afternoon, two explosions ripped through Boylston Street, right near the finish line of the iconic marathon, injuring hundreds and killing three people, including a sweet eight year old boy who was there to hug his father after he finished the marathon.

The picture above is from my friend Melissa. As a runner, I know what “all in” means in a race. But that phrase above has taken on a whole different meaning after what happened. Not only has the entire city come together, but there have been outpourings of support and encouragement from all over the world (check out these stories of kindness after the bombing, the Chicago Tribune showing solidarity via our sports team, the Yankees playing “Sweet Caroline” and putting aside Red Sox rivalry, and many more inspiring stories). We are all in for Boston.  I am still shaken from the tragic events, but I know that fellow Bostonians and I have never loved our city more.

So there you have it. Lately my life has been fuller than usual, lately my life has been busier than normal. And a moment like this  makes me want to step back and take a little break. So I’m leaving you guys for a few weeks and going on a blog hiatus. I still have a lot to share, and in fact I have some posts lined up already (new recipes, new restaurants); I’m just going to be silent for a short while.

After Monday’s tragic events, I hope we all take the time to hug our loved ones a little tighter, be a little kinder to the people around us. Take the time to enjoy your own version of Life Lately, including pastries and chocolate croissants. Take care, everyone!


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