On the train to Penn Station,
I feel a sense of ease and relaxation. Being from the small city/flat land, I've never commuted before. Having time to simply sit and be - where you choose to work, read, catch up on a podcast, enjoy a new album, knit; you have a dedicated amount of time to give yourself in transit. Mari and I had some of our deepest conversations on the train, each time an hour and twenty minutes to our destination.
Once we arrived, I don't think we went more than a block without stopping to take photos.
Somehow, I neglected to predict that our route would take us through the SKINCARE MECCA of Korea Town. For those of you unfamiliar with Korean skincare... the industry is outrageous. I can't say I'm near an expert, but the moisturizers, unreadable packaging, and best of all: the MASKS give me every excuse to stop what I'm doing in the evening and take care of myself.
Our main destination prior to our evening event was dinner at Eataly. Deep down, I was afraid I was walking into an awkward trap of not being able to find an adequate meal while thoroughly annoying everyone in the process. I was mistaken! The first person I asked to point us in the direction of gluten free/dairy free food was kind, on the same page, and pointed us in the right direction.
It should be noted, Eataly is a destination unto itself. With multiple restaurants, a fully stocked food market with butcher, seafood, fromagerie, bakery, epic wine selection (and so much more), a home goods - cook books - and gifts section, one could easily spend all afternoon, if not longer here.
We ate at Pizza/Pasta inside of Eataly and it was more than worth the micro-splurge.
It may have been my first $18 glass of wine but it pair so perfectly with the seafood pasta (with handmade gluten free penne), that I understood wine just a bit more through the experience.
Mari and I talked freely about our families, food, and future over the slow meal. I appreciated the appropriate proportions and the timed delivery of each of our items. It's not often that I give myself the opportunity to eat slow, nor experiment with portion sizes (as opposed to grossly over-eating mindlessly). This experience left an impression.
It came up how I tend to lead with my allergies when it comes to mealtime. Out of fear (and potentially the cornerstone of my identity), I'm quick to share what I can't have, thereby limiting my options and that of the server.
This too left an impression, because I didn't realize it was a prevalent behavior. For the rest of the trip and henceforth, I've been conscious to, instead of creating limits, exploring options that may not even require me to bring up my allergies.
An already present benefit of this is reduced stress surrounding my relationship with food, especially eating in social situations.
After I booked my trip to NYC, Lindsey posted a graphic to her superb Instagram: @lostincheeseland the dates of her upcoming book signings. One happened to be at the famed Rizzoli Bookstore the weekend I'd be in NYC! Mari, being an even more avid literary-lover than myself, agreed to accompany me (and happened to be a great paparazzi for the whole event!).
Lindsey was spectacular.
The event was moderated by Esquire Food & Wine Editor Jeff Gordinier and the main discussion topics of the night were on the first section of the book, the new and developing food scene in Paris. Lindsey talks about how young entrepreneurs, fresh chefs, and individuals with mixed backgrounds are remixing the Parisian food scene, which had devolved to some degree in the past couple decades.
I even had the opportunity to meet the book's photographer, Charissa Fay, who happened to be seated in the audience during the signing.
My book officially bears the signatures of BOTH its creators. Like a decadent treat, I've been reading bits of the book at a time, preparing for a review in early June.
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I had a few questions for Lindsey, one in particular that struck me when I read the introduction to the book, which she answered confidently:
What's been the response to an American writing a book about "The New Paris"? Have you received more positive than criticizing feedback?
Lindsey spoke to how her having lived in Paris for ten years (happy decaversary!), being an active member in the community, and her speaking fluent French allowed Parisians the opportunity to include her as one of their own. She points out that interviewing her subjects in their native language circumvented barriers that would have been present, had she been asking them to translate some of their deepest thoughts and ideas into another language. She says that to date, the feedback has been absolutely positive.
On our way back to Penn Station, I *saw a juice shop* and was in there faster than a melting popcicle on the sun.
Dr Smoods juice and cafe spot was a gorgeously minimal, moody, and meticulously designed space I would have loved to spend the day in. Long collaborative tables, an array of healthy juices and raw foods, and a full coffee and tea bar left me quite sad I couldn't enjoy more of their offerings. They just happened to be having a "free latte with any purchase" special, so I grabbed a turmeric ginger shot, an e3 live shot, and enjoyed a golden milk latte on the train home. Bliss.
Stay tuned for NYC Part 4 & 5, going live tomorrow!