Sunday, July 22, 2012

I'm Just a Little (Gray) Rain Cloud

These were taken last weekend when it was cloudy, stormy, and also stiflingly humid. I dressed to match the sky, Devin and I moped about the grounds of St. John's for a while, spied on peacocks, and then finally gave up on being outside and retreated to the airconditioned confines of our apartment, covered in a film of sweat. Gotta love New York City in late July.
The entire day was extremely gray.

Conquering lapsed construction.

Pigeons squabbling over pellets.

Hello, peacock face.

Can we go home now?

I love to look at birds from afar, but the closer you get the more obvious it becomes that they're basically modern dinosaurs. Begone, velociraptor!

I don't want summer to end, but I am hungry for fall temperatures. It's a conundrum. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

In Which My Wildest Dreams Come True

I finally found a really great, cheap Vietnamese place over here! It smells like pho. There are giant bottles of sriracha and hoisin sauce on each table. The decor and even the lighting remind me of hole-in-the-wall Vietnamese restaurants I used to frequent in San José. Best of all, they have giant $5 banh mi, which are my favorite sandwiches of all time.

Devin works in SoHo on the cusp of the East Village, and I made the three-subway-transfer odyssey downtown to meet him for a movie. But beforehand, we ate. Oh, how we ate.

Devin's shrimp and pork spring rolls, and a hearty pile of pickled daikon radish and carrots. That pickled veg may be my absolute favorite part of Vietnamese cuisine. Sweet, salty, sour, yum.

My pre-banh mi face.

AND MY SANDWICH. Seriously you guys, it was gigantic. The bread was also crispy and chewy and fresh out of the oven, the roasted chicken was moist and flavorful, the mayo was tangy and smooth, the pickled veg (as I previously) stated was amazing, and the cilantro and cucumber were fresh and yummy. V-Nam Cafe, which is at 20 1st Ave, has three options for your sandwich: Mild (with sriracha), medium (sriracha and jalapeños) and hot (take all that and add on thai chiles). I got the medium, and it was absolutely perfect. Now if only this place was near our apartment and not a two hour round trip away. Then again, maybe it's for the best, because I'd end up eating there for breakfast, second breakfast, elevensies, luncheon, tea, dinner, and supper.

Monday, July 16, 2012

In the Cold, Cold Night

A night where a fire is a necessity seems ludicrous as I type this in New York where it's nearly 90 degrees at 10 o'clock at night. However, the nights got pleasantly chilly in Pinecrest, and while we could have stayed in the cabin, making s'mores was a better life choice. Watching fire is pretty much the only way I can truly meditate and lose myself in the absence of thought. You can't help but be pulled in by the flickering flames, their dancing pushing out the clamor in your head.
Full moon over the pines.

Toasting a marshmallow.

Embers= prime roasting state.

I don't think I'd eat s'mores anywhere but in the woods. I'm not typically a fan of marshmallows or Hershey's chocolate (a classic, unsubstitutable s'mores ingredient). Something about being outdoors makes them extra-delicious, and this time I managed to perfect my technique...I let the chocolate soften on the graham cracker by the fire while I roasted the marshmallow, and the textures were all melty and right-on.

I'm anticipating the return of cold nights.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Pinecrest Lake

A week or so ago I took a vacation from my vacation and went "off the grid" (and by that I mean stayed in a lovely cabin with electricity and running water, but high up in the Sierra Nevadas out of cell phone range) with Devin and his family. We stayed at Pinecrest Lake, where we hiked, swam, kayaked, sat around fires, and went stargazing. When I got home, all of my clothes smelled like smoke, and it was great. Here's our hike around the lake, which for me was equal parts beautiful and never-wracking.

Glistening water, pine trees, and a lone canoe. Peaceful, right?

Devin doing what Devin does best: laughing in the face of gravity.

My poshest hiking attire: comfortable pants and t-shirt, sunglasses, a wide-brimmed straw hat, sunglasses, and my most importnat accessory, SPF 80 sunscreen. Also, I guess, an obligatory duckface.

Devin's brother Derrick basking in the glory of California. At the edge of a cliff.

Also, there was a helipad.

The hike isn't physically strenuous (I didn't feel overtired or winded during the journey), but it's mentally stressful for me because the terrain is steep, rocky, and jagged, and I lack the mountain-goat-like balance and agility of Devin and Derrick. I spent a lot of the time looking at my feet rather than at the beautiful surroundings, which is why I prefer paths of pine needles or dirt rather than boulders. Still, I remain alive.

And I got to take my standard stand-backlit-in-a-pool-of-afternoon-sunlight-and-look-off-into-the-distance blog photo...

And there were wildflowers. Above, clusters of lupines. So things balanced out in the end.