Call me Joey Tribbiani, but I love a good sandwich. Sandwiches are perfect any time of day–eat one with a cup of coffee for breakfast, a bag of chips for lunch, and a bowl of tomato soup for dinner. One of my all-time favorite sammies is a classic caprese–lots of garlicky pesto, melty mozzarella, and thin slices of tomato. I’m also ALWAYS down for a quality veggie burger, as long as it doesn’t have mushrooms in it. These are some of my favorite foodie finds on Pinterest…check the rest out here!
It hit me the other day when I was checking out at Trader Joe’s that I eat like a five-year-old. I always have mini pizza bites and Morningstar buffalo wings in my freezer, and regularly eat a bowl of plain rice, polenta, or cereal for dinner. I drink apple juice out of boxes marketed for schoolchildren, and my favorite lunch is grilled cheese and tomato soup.
It’s weird because sometimes I feel like I come off as someone who’s all about organic food, loves to try new vegetables, and shops at farmer’s markets. All of these things are mostly true–but I also realized I’ve gotten to the point where I’m realistic about how and what I eat. Like when I make a salad at work–a year ago I would have loaded it up with a little bit of everything, and then ended up picking around certain things. I like the idea of tomatoes, but I’m not one to pop cherry tomatoes for a snack. And I’m probably only going to want one slice of cucumber. AND I’ll probably avoid that hard-boiled egg.
This mentality of having an internal discussion about what I’m actually going to eat has translated to grocery shopping. You know those cardboard cartons of soup? I’m not gonna finish that before it expires. I’ll probably heat up one bowl, and then forget about it in the back of the fridge. Bagged lettuce? No way am I going to eat all that before it starts turning brown and squelchy. (Wow, for a food writer, these descriptions are on freaking point.)
I deeply believe that life is all about balance. Sure, I’ll have Kraft mac & cheese for dinner every once in a while, but I also eat a banana for breakfast everyday. I ate a donut yesterday, but I also spent 45 minutes in a cycling class. So even though, @TraderJoesCashier, the only things in my shopping basket the other day were cookie butter, Gouda cheese, avocados, yogurt, and fruit leather, I PROMISE you I bought a salad for lunch every day this week.
It’s FALL! And you know what that means…we can start eating soup again!! Soup is probably my favorite food, and it literally pains me that it’s too hot in the summer to eat a cup of chowder or get down with some tomato bisque. How good do all these bowls look?
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Pizza is literally the perfect food. Like, if I could only eat one thing for the rest of my life, it would be a perfect margherita pizza–like the one I had this past weekend at Barboncino, a trendy spot in my new neighborhood. It makes sense, since cheese and bread are two of my favorite foods…throw a little spicy tomato sauce and basil into the mix and I’m incredibly content.
all photos sourced from pinterest.
One of my favorite cities in Europe is Barcelona–city-wide afternoon siestas, late-night dancing and cheap sangria? Three of my favorite things in a beautiful city on the beach. When I was deciding where to study abroad, Barca was the only other place I seriously considered besides Amsterdam–and though you probably know I couldn’t be happier with my choice, I definitely wish I had more than 48 hours in this zesty Spanish city.
Among other things, Spain is famous for tapas and paella. On the first afternoon, I was exhausted from dealing with a delayed flight, so my friend and I stumbled to a bustling restaurant that seemed pretty reasonable. We ordered a variety of small plates, like papas bravas and pan con tomate, and some tasty sangria. This meal would be less than memorable if I hadn’t been so damn hungry.
Spain was one of the places I went in Europe that had a Dunkin Donuts–happy selfies commenced along with an iced latte and sugar-loaded donut. There was one in the train station by Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia, which we only admired from the outside. One of my only regrets from my adventures abroad is not shelling out the 20 euros for admission into the cathedral.
The weather was incredible when I was there, and we spent a lot of time wandering around the historic district. We went to La Boqueria, a large, incredibly crowded food market, famous for quality Iberico and fresh fruit. We strolled along La Rambla and settled on a place to get paella–definitely got ripped off trying to find authentic food in such a touristy area, but we were dying to sit down and have something cold to drink (more sangria). The supermarket we went to later to get snacks was selling paella for 2 euros a serving. Go figure.
After a much needed siesta, I forced my travel buddy to rally so we could hit the clubs. The nightlife in Barcelona is right on the beach, and is unlike anything I’ve experienced. The club scene in New York is a game all it’s own, but in Barca, it was come one, come all. Everyone’s there for dancing and good times–and tequila shots.
The next morning, we took a hungover stroll to Park Guell, another Gaudi site that was a little gentler on our wallets–and in walking distance of our Air Bnb. It was super hot that day, and an uphill walk to the park, so we stopped for some slushy drinks.
So, when should I go back?
This past weekend, I went home to Massachusetts for a short visit. Even though NYC and Boston are relatively close, the total round-trip travel time is around ten hours, exhausting for a two-night trip. There are always so many things I want to squeeze in during these short visits, whether it’s trying to eat at all my favorite restaurants, see all my friends, go to the mall and Target (best parts of the suburbs), and (my favorite) bake or cook something with my mom.
I love to cook, and don’t get to do it very often anymore. The kitchen in my current apartment is depressingly small, and the thought of turning on the oven in this hot weather isn’t super appealing. So this past weekend, I made crab cakes for dinner with my mom (gotta love New England seafood) and baked a zucchini bread. Even though none of these feats were as impressive as the desserts that populate my Pinterest boards, they were both pretty damn good.
I could literally talk about Amsterdam forever…and since it’s part of the eat-a-city series, I’m going to! When I originally thought of this series, my idea was more “city in a grocery bag.” But since a lot of the places I’ve travelled to were very short visits, I decided to do more of a food diary…though A’dam is kind of an exception considering I lived, grocery shopped and cooked there.
This blog post is a love letter of sorts to Albert Heijn, the most perfect grocery store in all the world. One of the best parts of living in Amsterdam was the incredibly cheap groceries–they were cheap by American suburban standards, and prices were drastically lower compared to Gristedes/Morton Williams/Fine Fare/every subpar supermarket in NYC. I’m talking loaves of bread for 65 cents, Dutch cheese for a dollar, and insanely delicious salads for $4…granted, the groceries were priced in euros, but the conversion rate was very close to 1:1 when I was there.
One of my favorite products at AH was the guacamole kits they had in their produce section–it cost just under $3 for two avocados, a lime, a tomato, a chili pepper, garlic, and shallots, a.k.a. everything you need to make your own guac. For perspective, I paid $2.29 for a single avocado at the Tribeca Whole Foods yesterday.
Two very typical Dutch treats that I came to love were stroopwafels and hagelslag. Stroopwafels are wafer-thin waffle cookies sandwiched with a sticky, caramel-like syrup. You could buy a package of 12 for around $1 at the store, but lots of street vendors sell homemade ones the size of your face, hot off the griddle. Hagelslag are like quality chocolate sprinkles–sprinkled on buttered bread is a standard breakfast item in this beautiful country.
One of my favorite things to eat in Amsterdam was a veggie burger from a little restaurant called Burgerlijk. Wandering around in a hungry daze, I stumbled upon this gem when my friends were visiting over their spring break. I can be particular about veggie burgers…and I’m not sure what this one was made of, but it was incredible. Like, I think about it way too much. The whole thing is super customizable–lots of different cheeses, toppings, and sauces, and their fries are also incredible. I took my meat-eating parents here when they came to visit, and they were impressed with the regular beef burgers.
I also went to another incredible restaurant when my folks were in town (read: free dinner) called De Vergulden Eenhorn. It’s on the outskirts of the city in a restored farmhouse–honestly as “me” as it gets–and they have just a handful of items on their menu, all of which are exceptional. I always think it’s better for a restaurant to have four entrees that they do really well, rather than ten that are just ok. We went twice because it was so damn good, and I had cauliflower soup, barley risotto, and sea bass. The restaurant makes their own bread, aioli, and hummus, which were also delicious.
What are your favorite Amsterdam eats?