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Sunnyside Pizza {Queens}

Sunnyside Pizza Queens

Whenever I am in NYC, I have to visit Queens. It’s my favorite borough, plus, I have amazing friends who live there. When I was leaving from a quick visit this May, I decided to get a slice of New York pizza on my way to the airport (pizza in Hawaii is pretty disappointing). I chose this place because it was close to the subway.

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I was just early enough to miss the lunch rush. Sunnyside Pizza is small, with just a couple stools for those who want to enjoy their pizza immediately. I was one such person, and the pizza guys talked to me while I ate. That’s what I love about Queens: it’s a real neighborhood, where the pizza guys will talk to you (with heavy New York accents, and in a gruff but friendly way) and ask you where you’re going with a suitcase.

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I know it infuriates some diners, but I ask the staff what to eat when there are too many good options. They recommended a chicken parmesan slice, so I got it. It was amazingly delicious, and I ate the entire, huge slice. If I had been able to save half for later, I would have definitely done that instead, but I knew I would’ve just made a mess. This actually wasn’t quite the classic NYC pizza I was looking for, but I still really enjoyed it.

Sunnyside Pizza

40-01A Queens Blvd. Sunnyside, NY 11104

(718) 433-4040

Strala Yoga Teacher Training

Since Tara Stiles’ great new book, Strala Yoga, is now out, I thought it was finally time to share some information with you about Strala Yoga. She also just announced that she is pregnant (congrats, Tara!!) which makes me feel doubly blessed that I was able to take her 2-day Immersion Teacher Training this year (she’ll have to take a break from such events for maternity leave next year).

STRALA: MOVE LIKE WATER, FUELED BY YOUR BREATH. THE RESULT IS FLOW STATE. YOU TAP INTO YOUR CREATIVITY AND INTUITION. YOU FEEL ELEVATED, ENERGIZED. YOU FIND YOUR OWN BEST BODY, BEST FITNESS, AND BEST HEALTH. YOU GET HAPPY. YOU RADIATE LIGHT.

strala nyc yoga teacher training

I took the 2-day teacher training this May in New York City (at the Strala Yoga headquarters/main studio). I took a redeye flight out of Honolulu Friday night, then landed in New York City Saturday morning and went straight to the training, which was 9 am-6 pm for two days. I was able to stay right nearby at one of my best friends’ apartments, and we met up for lunch both days.

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Here are all the other cool people who participated (can you spot me?). As far as trainings go, this was one of the best group of people I’ve had the pleasure to learn with. FullSizeRender (3)

Here we are playing around with natural movement, led by Mike. So who is this Tara I’ve already mentioned multiple times? Tara Stiles is a former dancer and model, who created Strala drawing on her background in classical ballet and choreography, as well as her long-time personal practice in yoga. She began her yoga study in the 1990s with her ballet teacher, Rory Foster of American Ballet Theater. The science and movement of Strala is also guided by her husband Mike Taylor, who studied mind-body medicine at Harvard, and complementary medicine at Oxford.  He has practiced Eastern movement and healing, including tai chi and qi gong, for 30 years.

strala yoga teacher training intensive NYC

Here I am during the training, laying down (on the left) while everyone decides who is most in need of a savasana massage (I guess I must have been pretty relaxed because almost no one picked me).

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And here is our whole group at the end of the training. It was two 8-hour days, but I could have spent much more time playing around, moving, breathing, learning, and picking Tara and Mike’s brains. Tara and Mike are both super friendly, responsive, approachable, calm, grounded, clear, efficient, graceful… all the things I aspire to be!

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Strala is a way of being, moving and healing, that helps people connect with how they feel, move how it feels good, and handle challenges with ease. This is yoga that moves far beyond poses, helping you blow past your goals and get into your dreams. It’s a freedom flow that expands your limits and cracks you wide open. You reveal your radiantly inspiring self. If this appeals to you, you can read even more about this awesome practice here.

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I am so incredibly grateful to have found this practice and Tara Stiles as a badass role model! I have been guiding Strala classes at my home studio here in Honolulu, at Yogaloha Hawaii, since July. If you’re interested, come check out Strala Strong with me on Thursdays, 7-8:15 pm. Strala Strong is a moving vinyasa flow that builds strength, balance, and flexibility evenly in the body. Calm ease is carried through simple and challenging movements alike. All Strala classes move slowly and continuously, guided with deep breath and easygoing movement from your middle. You’ll get strong, let stress go, and accomplish tremendous challenges with ease. You’ll also feel free, creative and intuitive, and get healthy and happy from the inside out!

Egg Shop {New York}

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In May, I visited New York City for a yoga teacher training (more on that to come). After the training ended, I had a day to hang out with one of my best friends, who I was crashing with.

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We started the leisurely day walking from her apartment to Egg Shop, in the Lower East Side, stopping at Mud for coffee on the way.

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Mikayla and I both LOVE eggs, so we were destined to love Egg Shop. I mean, what food isn’t improved with an egg? Mik decided to be all healthy by ordering the appropriately named “Spandex.”

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This beautiful bowl consisted of poached egg, miso quinoa, avocado, pickled carrot, farm greens and gluten-free tamari (tastes like soy sauce). IT WAS SO GOOD. I want to stock all the ingredients for this in my fridge and just make it all the time.

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I had the”Pepper Boy:” soft scramble, gruyere, bell pepper, maple cured bacon , caramelized onion aioli, all in a bell pepper. This can also come served as a panini, but Mikayla had ordered healthily, so I went for my healthier option too. This was very delicious, but I kind of wish I’d had the panini in retrospect. Mostly because the aioli was lost in this pepper-vessel version, although it did add to the overall rich creaminess, of the eggs.

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And because my friend and I are actually fatties at heart, we ordered this delectable biscuit with honey butter to share. Yes, it looks like fried chicken, and tasted like heaven. This is what you’re salty-sweet food fantasies are made of.

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Egg Shop

151 ELIZABETH ST. NEW YORK, NY 10012

(646) 666-0810

Cheesy Eddie’s {Rochester}

In May, I went to Rochester, New York, for the first time. Rochester is not a destination city; my sister graduated U of R, which was the impetus for a visit. Pleasantly, the city turned out to be more inviting than I expected, and of course, as I always do, I made it my mission to seek out the best food. Luckily, my sister having lived there for the past few years was helpful. Her best advice was a visit to a place which (strangely, I thought) is named Cheesy Eddie’s; and odd name, as it’s a bakery.

cheesy eddie's cookie frosting sandwich

When you hear why it has cheese in the name though, it starts to make sense: Cheesy Eddie’s specializes in cheesecake and carrot cake (which, DUH, is topped with cream cheese frosting). Who doesn’t love a bakery that has an entire category of creations called “Over-the-top Cheesecakes”? Of course, we bought a peanut butter cheesecake, which was satisfying and well-done, but forget that.

 

The Gold Medal goes to a little masterpiece called Jack’s Delight: two chocolate chip cookies, held together by cream cheese frosting. The cookies were perfect: soft with slightly crisp edges. The frosting hit just the right balance of sweet and savory, and the texture was soft but just thick and strong enough to hold the amazing dessert-sandwich together. Of course, it was rich, so I ate half one evening and the second half as my breakfast-dessert (what, you don’t ever eat dessert after eating [leftover pizza for] breakfast!?) the next day. Said “next day” was Lana’s graduation, which turned out to be a record-setting low temperature and windy; and later it hailed. In May. No, really. At least I had the crumbling second-half of my Jack’s Delight to bring a little brightness and comfort to a dreary day. Oh yeah, and celebrating Lana’s accomplishments! JK, Lana, love you! But seriously, I was devastated when we didn’t have time to go back to Cheesy Eddie’s and stockpile Jack’s Delight to bring home to Hawaii. 

 

My boyfriend literally calls me “Cookie Monster,” because I love cookies so much, but seriously, I ask you: Why don’t more people get on the frosting-cookie-sandwich bandwagon? Does anyone else agree? 

Inspiration: @ElectricLoveNYC

Electric Love NYC Instagram

Electric Love NYC is a company that makes unique dream catchers. Not being a big fan of feathers, I’m not necessarily interested in ever purchasing one of their pieces, even though they are lovely. However, their Instagram account is full of these beautiful creations, as well as short, positive messages and affirmations, often paired with geometric crystal arrangements, and surreal, stunning, moon art (which they appropriately label “Dreamtime Inspiration“). For a daily dose of mellow, positive, dreamy art, check out their page!

 

PS- I don’t get anything for this post, and Electric Love NYC doesn’t even know I exist; I just really like their account and hope to share with you, what inspires me. 

Electric Love NYC

Spooky Snacks for a Healthy Halloween

halloween candy & foods

It’s Halloween tomorrow, and for me this year, that just means pumpkin-everything, candy and Halloween movies.

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Three years ago, Halloween was cancelled in Queens, New York, (where we lived at the time) because Hurricane Sandy had just hit. We lived in Astoria, which luckily, wasn’t hit bad at all. This was the worst of it: a few trees blown over. But, everyone stayed home for the holiday.

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Kiyo and I entertained ourselves that year by creating spooky snacks, like this cucumber with balsamic dressing (a witch’s severed arm?).

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And this jar of blood – beet juice!

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Of course, we’d also stocked up on some unhealthy Halloween candy. What is your favorite Halloween candy? I love Peeps (especially the Halloween ghosts, since they have much less artificial coloring then the others) and chocolate.

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Leave your Halloween candy of choice in the comments! Any other ideas for Spooky Snacks for a Healthy Halloween?

The WIAW That Never Was: New York

WIAW

I will admit it: I am being totally lazy with this post. Today features a whole bunch of photos of food that I never got around to including in my WIAW’s when I lived in New York. Some of these photos were taken with the intention of being featured in a WIAW post, but others are just one-off food photos that I felt were good enough to share, but don’t fit with any particular post. So, with no further comment, enjoy. If you have a question about a photo, leave it in the comments!

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WIAW NYC

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Socrates Sculpture Park, Long Island City

Socrates Sculpture Garden Astoria

One my absolute favorite places in our old ‘hood is Socrates Sculpture Park. It is technically in Long Island City, but basically is also in Astoria (I guess it toes the line).

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The small park is right on the water, making it ideal for an easy stroll.

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It features large-scale sculpture installations.

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Brunch & Botanical Garden, Brooklyn

Sorry if you’re seeing this twice – the scheduler on my WordPress has been acting up so some posts have been sent out / put up early by mistake. So here’s today’s post!

Brooklyn brunch and botanical garden

Wow, it’s been awhile since the last Sunday Brunch post. Brunch is my favorite meal, but sadly, I now work weekends so no more Sunday brunch for me 🙁 Kiyo and I have tried to go a few times here in Honolulu, between my work and teaching, but by the time we get there (around 1 or 2) all the most popular items are sold out. Plus, I have to rush back to work or teaching afterwards. No fun. Hopefully soon I will have one weekend day off per week (fingers crossed)!

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Last year around this time – or was it Autumn? They are so similar and both are the best times in New York, when it’s sunny and cool but not too cold – my friend Geneve was visiting NYC so we met up for a day in Brooklyn. I drove from Queens – the only acceptable way to get there. The subway route between the two boroughs is a nightmare!

We somehow ended up at a Polish “diner” called Teresa’s, but it was more like a café than a diner. We got a nice table outside and shared a few items: halubky, which I love (my grandmother makes the Russian version all the time). It is meat and sometimes rice, vegetables and even bacon, stuffed inside a cabbage leaf, baked in tomato soup. Delicious. We also had sauerkraut, dumplings (pierogi) and some sort of sausage… there was a good amount of meat, which is typical of a Polish meal.

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On the side, beets, of course…

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And a cucumber salad (salad, according to many Eastern Europeans and all Russians, involves mayo). Maybe not really a brunch-style meal, but tasty nonetheless. I thought it was simple but solid Polish fare.

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Afterwards, we drove to the Brooklyn Botanical Garden. Since we were already playing tourists, we took some photos with this statue in the parking lot.

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Here is Geneve, at the pretty entrance to the park.

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Club A Steakhouse, New York

Club A Steakhouse NYC Salad

One year, when Kiyo and I were still living in New York City, we went on a belated Valentine’s Day date to Club A Steakhouse (we never have gone out on actual Valentine’s Day). It was a large restaurant (we were seated upstairs) that felt very closed off from the frenzy of the city, which was nice for a date. We started with the usual breadbasket and split a salad with blue cheese, onion, radish and tomatoes.

Club A Steakhouse Dinner

Kiyo and I both had meat, and we split mac & cheese and French fries (just trying to keep it light, you know). It’s been awhile so I can’t remember details but I know we both enjoyed our first two courses.

Club A Dessert

The dessert was my least favorite part of the dinner, by far. To be fair, both tiramisu and zeppole fall very low on my list of favorite desserts. But, these zeppole were served cold, which was very unappealing. Whatever the cream was on top was ok, but the donuts being cold really made me not want to eat them at all. The tiramisu was ok, but not noteworthy. Overall it was a very nice date experience, but I’d recommend skipping dessert or finding it someplace else nearby… Magnolia Bakery, anyone?

Club A Steakhouse

Open: Monday – Tuesday 5:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m., Wednesday – Saturday 5:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.

Location: 240 E 58th St, New York, NY 10022 Phone: (212) 688-4190

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