Charlottesville, Day 5: Happy New Year, Vietnamese Dinner Explosion, and Back to Jersey (January 21): New Year's Eve in 2008 was nothing like the laid back celebration I had a few days ago. It was memorable for the wrong reasons: awkward social situation, surrounded by alcohol I didn't drink, surrounded by people I didn't know, stayed up late cleaning up alcohol-related debris left behind by people I didn't know, etc. But it was a worthy experience to get under my belt and I had some really good friends within arm's reach to make sure I didn't go insane.
Robert Arbor: Personal French Chef in a Tiny East Village Kitchen (February 2): What do you do when an awesome French chef offers to cook in your tiny East Village apartment? You let him. And then you feast on home cooked pork chops and bok choy and wonder how this surreal experience came to be.
Brighton Beach and Beyond, Part 2: Carrot Cake, Durian, and Pupusas (March 3) Damn, that carrot cake from M&I was awesome. Many cool things were eaten during that day in Brighton Beach while accompanied by some of the funnest people I know, but in the end I mostly remember the Best Carrot Cake Ever. ...Along with the slight intoxication I felt from drinking all that vodka.
On the Way to The Cloisters, A Bucket of Curtido (April 1) When my longtime Internet friend Rebecca came to visit New York City, I dragged us to the northernmost tip of Manhattan, which I would never do on my own accord. And in the north, I found A BUCKET OF CURTIDO. Oh yes. Along with the Cloisters, but it's really all about the curtido and the pupusas.
Four Stitches and a Birthday Cake: A Day Full of Surprises (May 5) The day of Tristan's surprise birthday party was a fucking disaster, only made bearable by him not being disfigured or killed when he got run over a bus in Times Square while riding his bike. I didn't realize how bad it was until he limped up the stairs to John's apartment and retold the story of being dragged by the bus. Aside from the "getting run over by a bus" thing, he was insanely lucky. The only person more freaked out than any of us was probably his mom.
New Haven Food Tour: Part 2 (Sally's Apizza) (May 29): We waited. And waited. And seethed. And waited. Getting into the famed Sally's Pizzeria was just as unpleasant as everyone said it would be. But it was worth it. Kind of.
Virginia, Day 3: Part 1, Camping and the Louisa County Agricultural Fair (August 15) My first visit to a good ol' Virginian county fair! Which meant seeing pigs and eating funnel cake! Also, first time camping on someone's lawn, although that probably doesn't count as camping seeing as I could just go inside the house to use the bathroom.
Homey Japanese at Soy, and Subway Joyride with Giant Manatee (October 13): Following my birthday involving Rickrolling and a giant manatee, Alex helped me take Giant Manatee out for a gloriously strange joy ride on the J train. I hope we confused some people on the train that night.
Kåre Week, Day 2 (Part 1): Freakin' Sweet Lunch at Momofuku Ssam Bar, and Riding the Staten Island Ferry (October 26): I exposed Kåre and Olivia to the magic that is Momofuku Ssam Bar, my favorite splurge restaurant in the city, mostly for their spicy rice cakes. And fried lamb belly. And fried Brussels sprouts. And pork buns. A great bonus was getting to stare at David Chang and Anthony Bourdain during our whole meal. Also took my first ride on the Staten Island Ferry. Considering that the ride was free, it was pretty awesome. The whole week with Kåre was my version of having a vacation without leaving the city.
Philly, Day 2: Breakfast Pizza, a Most Awesome Brunch Sandwich from Morning Glory Diner (November 24) My whole weekend with Alex in Philadelphia was awesome, but I picked this entry so I could repost the mound of french toast with cream and caramel and magic. Alas, there is more magical french toast to be had in Philly. I'll be back soon.