Staycation!

Ooooooh boy, welcome to Monday. Happy Memorial Day! I’m so glad I have today off to recover from the weekend!

It all started on Saturday evening. Clare left town, so Erik and I took over the balcony with a bottle of wine:

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We took turns posing with the ivy:

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I brought out the unsweetened dark chocolate, because dark chocolate and red wine must be paired:

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For you, Heather:

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I spent some time admiring the behind-the-scenes view of Brooklyn brownstones:

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And then it was on to course two: cheese, crackers, and cards!

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I sliced the rest of our Dubliner, and we devoured it with Carr’s rosemary crackers (the best) and IKEA cardamom crisps (don’t laugh — you must try them!):

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Proof of the deliciousness:

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When sky started spitting, we packed up our intense card game of Speed and headed inside for dessert. IKEA cookies (I actually don’t normally do my grocery shopping at IKEA. Mom brought the cookies for me when she visited last week!) and Sopranos:

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We had biiiiiiiiig plans for Sunday, so we got to bed at a reasonable hour and set our alarms for 8:00 …

The day began with a filling egg, arugula, and tomato tahini scramble, accompanied by cardamom crisps with guava jam:

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Post-breakfast, we suited up for a …

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… BIKE RIDE!!!!

In addition to all manner of IKEA goodies, my old bicycle (circa 1997?) also happened to arrive last week with mom and John. With the bicycle in mind, I had concocted an elaborate beach (obviously) scheme for our 87 degree Sunday. I sent Erik to the bike shop around the corner for a rental, and we were off!

Of course, I did not calculate mileage or anything ahead of time, but I did have a map of NYC bike routes, and they seemed to complement my plan perfectly. We started off riding along Prospect Park, merged onto Ocean Parkway, and took the Pkwy all the way to our first brief stop: Coney Island.

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Upon arrival at Coney Island, I realized that I had taken the same route on foot exactly one year earlier for the Brooklyn Half. Awww, memories.

Anyway, we arrived at Coney Island at 10:02 a.m., and apparently bikes are only allowed from 5:00 to 10:00. So, five police whistles later, we were back on our way to the ultimate destination: Riis Park!

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I knew about Riis Park from my impromptu trip there with Gina and Kate last year, and I’ve been thinking about the trash-can-free shoreline ever since! The beauty of Riis Park is that it is not as readily accessible by public transportation as, say, Coney Island.

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As soon as we arrived around 11am, we peeled off the sweaty bike clothes and jumped in!

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OK, perhaps it was more like a tiptoe:

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The water was FREEZING!!!!! Literally, it was an ice bath. It took me 20 minutes to get feeling back in my toes. After baking out in the sun for a little while longer, though, we were eventually able to work our way all the way in and play in the huge waves. It reminded me so much of summers on the beach in RI when I was little. Amazing!

Erik had a specific time to get the bike back to the shop, so we left the beach at 1:30 with a plan to find lunch (we had picked up 3 pears and 3 oranges pre-beach and inhaled them all) along the way.

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We ended up stopping in Sheepshead Bay, a neighborhood in Brooklyn that I’ve never visited due to my dependence on the MTA. The bikes really do open up a whole new world! As we rode through Sheepshead Bay, I kept repeating, Where are we? Florida? How did we get to Ft. Lauderdale? The sidewalks had little blue ocean waves tiled into them, and there was a yacht club, for heaven’s sake!

Anyway, I had noticed Halikarnas on our way to the beach and had been fantasizing about eating in that upstairs window since:

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At first, the host refused us the upstairs due to lack of A/C, but we insisted … and won!

I was ravenous (and Erik was more so), so we were thrilled when this glorious basket of sesame bread arrived with a zesty dipping sauce:

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Black and white sesame seeds, so exciting!

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We posed with our bread and dip and the yacht club:

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Our waiter was worried about the lighting, but I told him the scenery was the only important part anyway.

We also got an order of babaganouj to accompany the bread:

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Mmmm, best ever, I promise!

Next, we split the Halikarnas salad that came with char-grilled shrimp, roasted peppers and tomatoes, and arugula:

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This is how I felt when that salad arrived:

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I was really in heaven! Bike, beach, char on my veggies, arugula … I almost cried! Instead, I posed with the hanging flowers:

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For our final course, we split the grilled Turkish meatballs.

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Another winner!

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I took two of the meatballs and half the veggies and doused it all with yogurt sauce:

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Sadly, the teeny piece of hot pepper I took was tooooooooo much and completely exploded the fire in my mouth. After I extracted the bits of pepper out of my mix and recovered somewhat, I could only eat about 2/3 of my plate because I was stuffed. 😦 We didn’t even have room for dessert!

Anyway, we got back on the bikes around 3:30 and, by this time, sitting was starting to become decidedly uncomfortable! My lips were burny, my skin was burny, I couldn’t sit, I was covered in sand, I was hot and sweaty, I was way too full, and we still had over an hour left to bike! We finally made it home just before 5, and in perfect time for Erik to get the bike returned.

I took a shower and napped and started thinking about mojitos. I wanted to go here for the outdoor movie and frozen mojitos, but it was wayyyyyy too packed when we arrived. Instead, we wandered around until we landed at Bogota, one of my favorites!

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We immediately ordered a pitcher of mojito:

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We started out not hungry at all, but about 1.5 mojitos in, I started eyeing the complementary plantain chips that we had not yet received. The busboy brought some right over!

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Erik ordered the chicken quesadilla with black beans, sweet plantains, cheddar cheese, pico, and a big side of guacamole. He insisted on sharing, and I gladly took half:

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This was the best quesadilla EVER! It’s that salty-sweet combo, can’t beat it.

Meanwhile, the mojitos were getting to me. I think I might be allergic to mojitos. Sometimes, they make me break out in big red splotches all over my chest and back and face. This reaction was taking place last night.

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I started chugging water and eventually abandoned the mojitos altogether after my second one. Quite sad because mojitos are my favorite drink! Erik had to pick up the slack:

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The people next to us had gotten the dessert sampler that looked amaaaaazing, but Erik ordered a second quesadilla accidentally, and we no longer had room for the whole spread of tres leches cake, coconut flan, dulce de leche wafers, and churros 😦

We settled for just the churros:

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They came with a dark chocolate sauce and a dulce de leche sauce. Heaven!

On the walk home, Erik got the hiccups and had to meditate them away. The camera made him self-conscious, so he turned around:

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The end!

Oh, and I just checked the mileage for our bike trip … 40 miles!!!???!!! No wonder I can’t sit down today!

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5 thoughts on “Staycation!

  1. vanillavivante says:

    what a fun staycation!!! I went swimming at Jones Beach on Sunday—definitely freezing but so much fun 🙂

    I just got a bike, too—let me know if you ever want to bike to the beach again 🙂

    Like

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