Brooklyn

So Ready for a Chill Weekend

rockaway surfers

Happy Friday! As usual, I’m thrilled it’s the weekend—because that means I’ll be at the beach. (Rockaway, this time.) Even though it’s a schlep to get to any of them from Washington Heights, it’s so worth it. Nothing comparesВ to a day at the beach in the summertime.

Until next week, some of my favorite travel links from around the web:

More amazing aerial summer photos.

Awesome: NYC music references, mapped.

Rainbow-hued balconies in Sweden.

Extreme Slip’N Slide! At Lake Powell, Utah.

10 words and phrases travel writers should avoid. I totally agree, but admit that I’m guilty of using most of them, at some point!

How to make your home feel like a beach house. After coming back from my beach house week, I’ve wanted to overhaul my apartment and make it feel more like a seaside place.

I want this tree tent.

Dogfish Head just opened an inn!

…this isn’t travel-related, but it’s good to keep in mind: Your happiness makes your friends and familyВ happier.

Have a good one!

Amazing Aerial Beach Photos

On any given day, there’s nowhere I’d rather be than on a beach.

That’s why Gray Malin‘s A La Plage photo series makes me so happy.В Malin shot each photo while cruising over beaches in doorless helicopters.

The result: Incredible aerial photos of happy people in gorgeous, sunny settings. LikeВ Australia’s Manly Beach

Manly Beach, by Gray Malin

to Brazil

Brazil's Blue Beach, by Gray Malin

…to St. Tropez

St. Tropez Tahiti Club, by Gray Malin

…and even Coney Island!

Coney Island, by Gray Malin

Just stunning.

I’ll be keeping up with Malin’s photos—and his cool blog—long after summer ends.

(Images by Gray Malin; found via weather.com)

A Happy Saturday (and Sunday)

happy saturday

I’ve been spoiled. My two favorite people have made the trip from Maryland to NYC two weekends in a row. And this weekend, I had the added bonus of having our friend, Doug, in town, as well. So to celebrate our converging in NYC, we spent the entire weekend doing what we do best: Eating.

Saturday was the kind of day I’ve been craving for so long: Warm, sunny, gorgeous and perfect for whiling away hours outside. (As in, it FINALLY felt like summer–which I’ve been counting down to before winter even began.) We headed across the river toВ Smorgasburg.

Not surprisingly, tons of people had the same idea. The lot was crowded, but we didn’t have to wait very long for food. Between the four of us, we amassed quite a spread: a gigantic carnitas sandwich from Cemita’s, a chicken schnitzel on a pretzel roll from Schnitz NYC, loroco and pork papusas from Solber PapusasВ (my personal favorites) and a pizza from Pizza MotoВ (which had, to my delight, a runny egg on top). Everything was reeeeeeeeally delicious.

schnitzel, cemita, papusas

pizza

After eating…

mal with schnitzel

…we just hung out enjoying the sun and view of the Manhattan skyline.

mal and peter

We’d planned to hit Brooklyn Brewery next, but a crazy line outside discouraged us from even bothering with it. Instead, we made our way to Berry Park‘s roof deck–and that ended up being way nicer. (Brooklyn Brewery, you need an outside space!) The place was packed, but we amazingly managed to score seats.

heather

Yay! We got seats!

mal and me

mal and peter

A couple hours (and beers and girly huckleberry lemonades, on my part) later, we moseyed back across the river for shopping and Korean BBQ.

On Sunday, we all headed out to Long Island to celebrate Peter’s father’s bday. His mom–always the amazing cook–put together an awesome spread of cheeses, meats, bread and veggies, plus hardboiled eggs from last week’s Easter celebration. (How gorgeous are these? Mariana explained that she just places herb leaves flat against the eggs, carefully wraps them in stockings and then boils them with onion skin.)

easter eggs

I was sad when we all headed off in our own directions, but glad to squeeze in a 5 mile run to work off the weekend’s calories. (And I’m already looking forward to heading down to Maryland next weekend–after my trip to Chicago this weekend!)

(Second photo via Smorgasburg)

Amazing Chinese in Dyker Heights: New Spring Garden

My family usually celebrates Chinese New Year in Manhattan, but last year, we had an especially hard time getting a reservation. All of our favorite places were booked, so we ended up at the monstrous Jing Fong, which, while decent for dim sum, was overwhelmed during the height of holiday dinner service. We waited forever for each course and, quality- and service-wise, the meal didn’t measure up to dinners of new years past. To ensure we wouldn’t have a repeat experience, my family moved our Year of the Rabbit dinner across the river to Dyker Heights in southwestern Brooklyn.В My grandparents recommended New Spring Garden (912 65 Street, Brooklyn), a restaurant I hadn’t been to or heard of, and made an early reservation.

New Spring Garden Restaurant

It couldn’t have been a better choice. The service was first-rate. The courses came out at a good pace and the food was very fresh. We started with jellyfish with preserved vegetables (which had a nice seaweed salad with the veggies), followed by crispy jumbo shrimp and two types of pork: salt baked pork chops and Peking pork chops. Then the food started coming at a faster succession. We had scallops with black bean sauce, braised tofu and veggies, Chinese broccoli, and traditional lamb stew with bean curd. Lo mein (noodles symbolize longevity) and a whole chicken (also considered a lucky dish during New Year’s dinner) rounded out the meal.

jellyfishcrispy shrimpbraised tofu and vegetableslo mein

I don’t know much about Dyker Heights, but it borders Sunset Park and I assume some of the Chinese population has moved outwards from there. I’m finding that this area has some of the best authentic Chinese food in NYC. New Spring Garden is within a few blocks of East Harbor, a Chinese restaurant that Anthony Bourdain featured on No Reservations and has, in my opinion, stellar dim sum. If the neighborhood weren’t so hard to get to (we rented a Zipcar), I’d be there every weekend.

New Spring Garden Restaurant