Posts Tagged ‘greenpoint’

Trying to fit in with the Spanish-Americans

July 25, 2008

I got off the train near my apt (near if you consider 5 blocks near) and headed homeward. Or homebound, whichever. With each step I took, the sky got darker and I got thirstier. I realized I didn’t have any dinner, but I wasn’t hungry. Only thirsty, for a nice cold cider beer from the Pencil Factory. 

Lindsay and I go to the Pencil Factory, which yes, used to be pencil factory in the good old days, when we are feeling like getting out of the apt but not getting onto the hot, sweaty, stinky subways (i love you MTA! planning on a 13% fare increase by 2011, darn you MTA). And the PF has the best setup for buying a cider and enjoying it. Situated on the corner of Franklin and another road I forget the name of, the outdoor seating is positioned in a way where you feel part of the group (of other barees) and also an individual, as you stare out through the 20 foot metal chain-link fence down the street, across one of the most-polluted waterways in the country, and over to the beautiful, envied Manhattan.

Enough about that though, because I wasn’t about to go to the Pencil Factory by myself, as I hobbled home from work + meeting in 2 inch heels (low for me these days). I wanted something bubbly and refreshing and I wanted it now. … Hmm, I thought as I passed by all the good grocery joints near me. Hmm.. I kept thinking, until it was too late. I was at my resident- and tree-lined block. But wait, there’s that strangely populated Spanish place 2 doors down from my crossstreet. I never go there because there’s always a crew of In-Crowd people standing around, speaking foreign languages I don’t understand (but should, because I took like 5,000 years of spanish in high school). 

I stepped inside and, wow! they have Seltzer Water (I’m planning on making spritzers at this point with the Pineapple Orange juice I have waiting in my fridge). And they have — wait for it — milk! And bread! Someone’s buying a loaf of bread here! Ok, Ok, so I’m not that prejudiced at all. I instantly liked the place actually, and grabbed my seltzer near the front, and turned around to join the checkout line, but there was no end. It was just a mob of people chittering away with their respective companions. I waited a minute or two, not understanding much of anything. Did they think I looked out of place? Wait, I always look out of place, I’m 6’0, skinny, and blond-ish. 

Where’s the end of the line, I asked everyone at once. Are you in line, I asked the guy in the black Polo. Is he in line, I asked the same guy about the strange old man with no teeth and bright yellow shirt that said “Jamaica NO PROBLEM”

Then after one or two quick shrugs of the eye, a nice mom-looking lady ahead of me said “There is no line.” in such a straightforward, there you go kind of way. 

Sorry! I’m a first timer, I shouted to my new comrade as she slowly made her way out of the store.

When it was finally my “turn” to buy my seltzer water, I was ready to get out of there, but the Crazy Old Yeller with the Jamaica shirt and dark leather-like skin hopped in front of me, waving 3 dollars at the guy behind the counter. Who knows!

Finally, the guy rang me up, and said “Uno y sesente y seis” or something like that.

Oh, okay, he wants to get tricky! I know my Spanish and I’ll prove it!

Um, $1.60? I squeaked. 

Noooh, nooooh, Chicitica, $One and $Sixty Nine, he responded. 

We finished the conversation in Mostly Spanish, and he was nice enough to even teach me how to say the right things at the right times. Everything sounded so familiar, like Buenos Noches, but felt so much cooler and edgier outside the classroom.

I think I’ll be needing more selzer water soon so I can attend my Mostly Spanish class again 🙂 Buenos Noches Amigos!!!

 

Update: Just learned last night that the building that they made pencils in a long time ago is actually located across the street from the bar, The Pencil Factory. 🙂

Greenpoint Goodies

June 5, 2008

On Tuesday after work, I decided, after weeks of planning and thinking about it, I would get a mani/pedi.  In any other place in the states it seems, a manicure usually costs anywhere from $12-20 and a pedicure is definitely usually $30+.  At least that’s what I remember from the distant past when I lived in Normalsville and Pretty Boringston.  

I walked up Manhattan Ave, the main street near my apt., knowing that there was a manicure place up there somewhere. I was going to get on the G train 2 stops down to this place called Sun Nail Salon or something, but I didn’t feel like dealing with the crazy G train, esp. with gooey nails.

There was only one other girl getting her nails done by an Asian lady, but it was just 5 o’ clock. A 2nd larger woman emerged from the back, wearing faded stretch pants with what she probably thought was a hip print.  OR actually, she probalby didn’t care.  

You pick your colors, she barked before even really looking at me.

Geez, I thought.  I guess you DO pay for the price.  A manicure + pedicure was only $17!! That’s about half of the price of a normal pedicure where I come from.  Score!

As I sat in the massage chair, which was kind of stabbing my back with objects of all shapes and sizes from under the faux leather, I tried to joke around with the manicurist. 

Probably the worst feet you’ve seen, sorry.  

Instead of telling me she’s seen worse, like she should have, she just raised one of her painted on eyebrows. The space where her eyebrows should have been was painfully bare and her new, redish tinted paint brows formed scary upside-down checkmarks above her eyes.

Well, you’ve probably seen worse, I laughed, making myself feel better since she wasn’t going to.

The nails came out looking okay. A nice color — the hands a little too spunky for work, but I do work at a pretty spunky place, so I think it’s okay. Hot watermelon pink on the hands and grapey red on the toes. Perfect! 

And after my nails, I got some “please make it very hot” green curry at this Thai place a couple blocks up. The cook, who was working in an open kitchen, seemed happy to meet the challange.  A little too happy, in fact. 

I quickly withdrew my request, making sure he knew my tongue did not want to be burned alive. He only smiled and then added, “I take care of you.”

The curry was actually amazing! I love love love hot food, so it’s hard to describe how hot it actually was compared to what other people like.  Let’s just say I couldn’t feel my mouth after a while and had a hard time watching my Will & Grace DVD because my eyes were welled up with tears.  But oh, was it good.

Lunas Clifs and Ozwalies

June 4, 2008

*

As a working girl, I have been recently introduced to the confusing variety of snack bars, or whatever the official name is. And it’s confusing because, since we’re eating them, that means we’re probably trying to be healthy, which means, WHICH BAR TO DO YOU BUY?!

There are the infamously girly Luna Bars, the powerful hunkly man Clif bars, and those Ashevillesque hippie bars, Ozwalies (I know I’m saying that wrong). I personally have been a long-time (2-month) fan of the Luna bars. I quickly became accustomed to the somewhat chalky vitamin taste that spans across the brands of most all health bars, and am now able to appreciate the differences between the flavors.

Nuts Over Chocolate is so yummy. There’s one with cranberries and nuts, one called Blueberry Frost, which has spooky ghost-colored frosting all on one side. There are probably at least 20 different flavors, each bar costing anywhere from $1-2.

So, in an effort to provide some clarity to myself and others, I will post some nutritional information for the bars, which should help me decide which one’s the best, if any. I wouldn’t be surprised if they all have a whole ton of sugar to hide the Extreme Nutrients.

I found this comprehensive chart that includes several different “energy bars,” but does not include that Aussie bar, Ozwalie. Oh well. Here it is:

Prolithic Sports

Energy Bars Comparison Chart

Energy Bars Vegan Price
per Bar
Weight
(g)
Calories **Carbs
(g / %)
*Sugars
(g / %)
Fiber
(g)
**Protein
(g / %)
**Fat
(g / %)
NA
(mg)
K
(mg)
Bear Valley $1.13 106.4 420 59
56%
28
27%
9 17
16%
13
29%
90
Builders Bar $1.66 68 270 30
44%
19
28%
4 20
30%
8
26%
260 250
Clif Bar Y $1.13 68 250 51
82%
10-16
21%
3-8 5-12
8-19%
2
7%
80 293
Clif Nectar Y $1.69 45 170 29
68%
18
42%
3-6 3
7%
6
29%
0 270
Elev8 Me $2.01 66 220 32
58%
28
50%
4 18
33%
4
16%
30
Larabar Y $1.25 48 190 24
51%
17
36%
4 5
11%
9
42%
0 240
Luna Bar Y $1.17 48 180 24
53%
13
25%
1 10
22%
5
25%
125 105
Nutiva Original $1.57 40 210 11
21%
5
10%
5 9
17%
14
62%
5
Organic Veg. Bar Y* $2.25 68 300 34
45%
19
25%
5 14
19%
12
43%
115
ProBar Y $2.50 80 350 50
57%
14
16%
6.5 8
9%
8
40%
19
Raw Revolution Y $1.36 64 273 31
45%
19
28%
3 7
10%
14
46%
1% DV

**percentages represent calories derived from each macro-nutrient catagory (i.e. carbs, protein, fat)
*sugar percentage is percent of total calories.
Note: values listed may vary depending on flavor, vegan rating may depend on flavor.Data compiled by Prolithic Sports from product labels and manufacturer’s websites. We attempt to keep this page current and accurate but errors happen.

http://www.prolithic.com/hpages/efoods/barcomp.html

*Picture I took on my walk home from work* 6/2/08

Sex, City, and Sunset

June 2, 2008

We went to go see Sex and the City last night. It was exactly what I wanted to do after spending all my weekend energy at Club Home on Friday.

We took a limo to the theatre.

The movie was soooo good. I was almost in tears at certain moments!

There were definitely intense scenes. Everyone I talked to there was feeling similarly, according to my questioning. I mean, after watching the four girls in NYC go though so much over the past 8 years (reruns included!) we all have gotten pretty attached.

Today I ran in Central Park with Ingrid. We compared our experience at the park to Charlotte’s in the movie.

I think Charlotte was right here when she was running in the movie.

Yes, she was TOTALLY at the reservoir in that scene, just like us!~

Tonight I walked around Greenpoint after taking a three-hour nap. It was very pretty and refreshing, although I get lonely easily, even when there’s no reason to be! Just seeing all the groups of people huddled close at bars, enjoying the lazy Sunday evening made me miss some friends from back home and here.

And I got invited to a very exciting party on Macks list. It’s the Summer Jam afterparty at Club Home. Basically all of the hottest hip hop and r&b stars will most likely be there; T-Pain and Rihanna are definitely going to be there. I have a bad headache, otherwise I totally would have been putting on my cute leapord-color (not print) dress and heels. I mean, when else in life do you get invited to a celebrity afterparty? And I’m passing it up, sealing my fate as a stay-at-home loser forever! (just kidding, but I still feel guilty for some reason.)

Bet it would have provided some very good ideas and stories for writing….

I Am an Ex Non-Fan of Fruit and other food thoughts

May 18, 2008

I can remember the days when I told people, “I just don’t really like fruit.”  I ate it sometimes, but, overall, it felt like a chore.  I was eating it to fill that box on the pyramid of food groups, and it just had to be done.  

Now, I absolutely love fruit.  I mean, that seems normal to love fruit, but the total appreciation of the genre is new to me.  As a college graduate who is wholly responsible for her finances now, I make sure to pay attention to how much produce costs.  One of my favorite pastimes when I have time afterwork or on the weekends is strolling around my neighborhood, Greenpoint, Brooklyn.  I can walk for hours, pacing up and down the shady blocks that surround our 3-bedroom apartment.  [If I walk for long enough (not even that long, like 20 minutes) I will arrive in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, named one of the coolest places on Earth by every hipster cool-person who lives there.] And I actually enjoy comparing the prices for food and shopping around, coming home with a bag of food purchased from three or four different places.

On each block there are usually three or four “bodegas,” which are smallish grocery stores, usually family-owned, that sell a variety of things.  Depending on what kind of bodega it is (a beer bodega, a fruit and veggies bodega, a mostly canned-food bodega, etc etc) you can find relatively good deals on fruit.  I bought a bag of cherries about the size of my head for two dollars yesterday at one of the many Polish bodegas (Greenpoint has the 2nd-largest Polish community in the States, after Chicago I think).  

I usually go for apples, bananas and strawberries.  I just bought the cherries yesterday, and I sometimes get oranges.  I had a dream about a grapefruit the other day, so I need to try one of those soon.  

Fruit is just so yummy! And I’ve realized something that I didn’t know before, which I credit as the reason I didn’t enjoy fruit.  

If you eat candy all the time, then you can’t appreciate fruit.

How we live our lives is all relative.  If a person doesn’t ever go to the gym or get exercise, then one trip to the gym will seem like going to hell and back, toasted buns and all.  But if that person regularly introduces workouts to their body, then working out won’t seem bad, compared to the other days of.. working out!  

It’s the same with fruit and veggies.  If a person eats Mickey D’s all the time and rounds it off with a Snickers and some Sour Patch Kids, of course an apple will seem dull in comparison (and even a little gross!)

But once that person becomes used to a healthy, more natural diet of a largely unprocessed diet, a burger and fries will taste like garbage.  It’s all about what you’re used to!

I admit, I’m not perfect *(or am I? just kidding!!)  I have a week about every month where I eat badly (pigging out on the bags of M&M Darks the vending machine guy at work sneaks me when he fills the machines every Wednesday. shhh! don’t tell!) and where going to the gym seems like some huuuge ordeal (When really, most of the time, it is an enjoyable stress reliever and time to enjoy music on my headphones).

I think, while I eat fruit every day now and don’t overcook my stirfryvegetables so they’re still a little crunchy and full of nutrition, there are definitely areas for improvement.  I looooove granola and/or cereal with fruit and yogurt.  And I thought that was the most healthy thing ever!  Until I realized how much sugar yogurt usually has!  One individual portion can have as much as a can of Coke.  And the “low-sugar” varieties often have Spenda (gross!)

So, in an effort to eat healtier yet again, I bought my first tub of plain Brown Cow yogurt.  Instead of 30g of sugar in a small individual cup, it has only 15g for an entire measured cup.  I thought it might taste weird, but I had some on my cereal and banana combo this morning and it was good, healthy and refreshingly different.

I have a bunch of broccoli I need to eat and bought some potatoes so I want to make mashed taters 2nite with broccoli (and cheese?? … NO!  no cheese.)

Well, maybe a little.  I’ve been good lately 🙂