new york city.

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we spent the final leg of our fantastic europe-christmas-birthday-new-years trip in one of my favorite places, new york city.

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we arrived the day before the BOMB CYCLONE SNOWSTORM hit, lol. this worked out perfectly for us because we were intentionally trying to be there during this time and we were stoked to experience a true new york city snow day. for most other people trying to get OUT of nyc at this time... not so perfect. 

thanks, universe, for lining up our timing like that.  besides those 8 degree temps the days after the snow, we were having an absolute ball!

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now i knew for suuure that autumn in new york is charming as hell..... but fresh snow?! stop.

heart eyes for days.

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before i get into our stay in new york, I HAVE TO ADDRESS one of the greatest sort of accidental things that's ever happened to us in our lives......................

BRITISH AIRWAYS CLUB WOOOOORLD BUSINESS CLASS PODS.

(^ that's pete playing video games! and you can play two-player with your seat mate!)

we purchased business class tickets for the flight legs from dusseldorf > london and london > nyc, assuming it was going to be like coach with a few more inches of leg room. we used double the miles for these tickets just to treat ourselves a little bit for the long flight to the u.s., and also to avoid a 24-48 hour layover that was the only coach ticket option.....

little did we know that "business class" on a transatlantic british airways flight means

POD LIFE.

i looked at my ticket at the terminal at heathrow and noticed "club world" on it. i remembered on the flight to london that "club world" was the swanky section up front with the lay-down chairs in little private pods....... my eyeballs were now bursting out of my head. pete had gone to the bathroom so i was just sitting there alone dodging my head around all shifty & crazy-like in total surprise.  "WHO, ME?? US??? WE?? IN CLUB WORRRRLD?!?? could it beeeee??" 

needless to say we have never flown in pod seating before this and WE HAD THE TIME OF OUR DAMN LIVES.

i obviously took pictures of everything because we were pooping our pants with joy the entire 7+ hours. also the plane was broken for 2 hours at the gate before take-off.  pete and i were stoked to be stuck here for extra long!

luckily there was a couple in the next pod over who had never flown like this before either - so we were all snap-happy dweebs together.

first you find your seat and it has a big pillow and a package with a fresh sheet, thin blanket and big comforter inside. you squeal with glee. you sit down and push all of the buttons and slide the divider between you and your seat mate up and down and laugh hysterically in utter triumph. then the wonderful attendant comes over and gives you a glass of champagne (in a real glass) and a cute leather satchel with an eye mask, socks, lotion, toothpaste & toothbrush, essential oils, lip balm, and a pen! you furiously remove your shoes and put on the new socks and prop your feet up! you take 6-10 selfies with your seat mate. shortly after the champagne preamble, the attendant brings a cocktail and a bowl of warm nuts. you browse through all the movie & television offerings and lay your bed back alllllllllllll the way - because you can! you continue to be amazed and completely excited out of your mind for the remainder of the flight.

just look at this boy! sooo pleased. everything came in real glassware, real plates & bowls and cutlery. the simplest things were just thrilling to us. 

we had appetizers of butternut squash soup & rolls and a tomato mozzarella basil situation. also, always three drinks happening at a time - water, wine, and gin & tonic. we were livin it UP up in da sky. 

we both had the steak & gnocchi for dinner and some delish chocolate mousse cake thing for dessert. i've already watched the big sick and legally blonde by this point. truly living my best life.

^ oh shit it's "tea time"! you can take the people out of london but can't take london out da people. tea time was sandwiches, eclairs, and rolls with jam & butter. and more alcohol! i'm probably watching thelma & louise now. suchhhhh a good movie.

all that to say.....i cannot wait to fly in pod life again. best flight ever. ever, i say!

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the first morning after we arrived in the city was when the snow just started to fall. everything was looking christmassy still and oh so cute. 

bubby's for breakfast! the vibes on this particular morning at bubby's were sooo excellent. we got there right as it opened so it was not crowded yet, and they were playing the best jazzy new yorky breakfast jams. just me and my boo and my fluffy blueberry pancakes & coffee as the snow falls outside. i was so happy.

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we rode the subway up to central park because we figured it was a must-see during a snow day.

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gorgeous!

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we ducked in to a couple restaurants to defrost here & there and to watch the snow come down. it was coooooold and super windy. i forget what this place was called, but it was a meat shoppe of sorts. they had cool meat-stuff wallpaper in the bathroom. 

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mcsorley's was our favorite part of our time in nyc. pete had been there before with his friends so he knew we had to go back. i loved it so much. it's one of the oldest bars in new york city and it used to be a boys club. i think women weren't allowed in until the 1970s or so.

you either order "dark" or "light" beer and they give you two of each...not sure why, that's just how it works. they have a limited menu, but we opted for the classic mcsorley's cheese plate, which is literally a sleeve of saltine crackers, a pile of sharp white cheddar cheese & raw onions, and hot mustard. the whole experience just makes you feel like you've gone back in time. i loved ittttttt.

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everyone was so nice - we made friends with all the tables around us and we stayed for hours!

be good or be gone.

loved mcsorley's on this snowy day! 

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pete hadn't been to the top of the rock yet, so we did that first thing in the morning the day after the snow storm. by then, the snow was all stacked in tall dirty piles on the side of the road, the sky was blue, and the temperature dropped to the coldest i've ever experienced before. 

my phone completely died several times when i'd pull it out of my pocket to take a photo. just instantly froze. so cold. kudos to all you new yorkers who survive these seasons, because that was crazy. when we got back to seattle where it was 45 degrees, we were like dang... so warm!

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^ we think this was the best ramen we've ever had. we stumbled upon this place, zundo-ya, and wanted it so badly because we were starting to feel sick and we were literally frozen. it really hit the spot. so so delicious. 

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we spent the next couple days walking all around the city, mostly trying to keep our blood moving and staying on the sunny side of the street, haha. the sun was truly a life saver in 8 degree weather. 

my nose and my knee caps were frozen! i am not surprised so many people are running around in those ridiculously long sleeping bag jackets. they're actually necessary!

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we walked the brooklyn bridge and had pizza in brooklyn at juliana's. i've heard many a high recommendation for this place, and while it was pretty good food, good service, and good ambiance, the pizza was not as top notch as i was anticipating. something about the cheeeeese. 

tacombi in the west village. good drinks & good tacos. 

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it was pretty hard to be outside for too long, and we weren't in love with our airbnb, so we went to a lot of restaurants & bars, which was fine by me!! i was happy we were close to lafayette, a restaurant i loved when i came with my friend whitney. it is such a cozy nice place and they have perfect old fashioneds. we had a couple old fashioned and a plate of warm olives to sooth our cold souls. 

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took pete to the butcher's daughter, because i am a creature of habit and also because it was the most reasonable and closest breakfast place to where we were staying. still cute as ever in there. my waffle with strawberry butter was lovely!

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last food stop on our journey - katz's deli! always a fun new york city experience and crazy good food. that potato salad - i am very into it. 

^ headed home. such an awesome european adventure and so many very special memories!

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^ two weary travellers 16 days later. my boots got super messed up from the salted streets and the snow (which comes out scrubbing with vinegar & water, by the way!).

did i mention two small carry-ons are all we brought for our entire trip? pretty proud of us.

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^ this photo of pete makes me all warm & fuzzy inside. number one travel buddy for life. 

 

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cologne, germany.

after our time in amsterdam, we took the train over to cologne for a couple of days. 

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we chose cologne because we wanted to take a train somewhere and cologne happened to be pretty close to amsterdam while also a near major airport in dusseldorf. we would come to have the beeeest flights of our life on our business class journey from dusseldorf > london > nyc. 

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cologne is a pretty small and quaint german city. we were there just after the new year, but christmastime was still in full charming force.

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we thought two days was just enough time to get the lay of the land in cologne and check it out.

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the cathedral here was insane! you walk outside of the train station and THERE it is. it took over 600 years to build! very coooool.

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^ our airbnb where i watched 'seinfeld' and 'the holiday' in german. lol. just wasn't the saaaame.

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^ the rhine river.

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it's pretty hard to pronounce cologne the way germans do which is spelled "köln" and said like "Koooouln." anyhoo we were just waltzing around saying "koooln." "kuuuln." "koouln." over and over and it still never seemed right haha.

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we walked through a sculpture park and also stumbled on the cologne zoo. kind of a random thing to do but we enjoyed it.

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the zoo is smack dab in the center of a regular neighborhood, which is funny. 

hi giraffe! hi german neighbor!

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^ the german-est of german eats. taters, brats, cabbage, and kölsch beer, which reigns from cologne.

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^ this photo was shared on design sponge's instagram and a couple different artists saw it online and sent me their versions that they drew or painted! i was shocked. sooo cooool and flattering. the internet is wild.

drinking kölsch in cologne is a fun experience. i think they only do it like this in köln because it's the birthplace of kölsch!

you get a small 0.2 liter glass of kölsch and the waiter marks a tally on your coaster that is essentially your beer tab. once your glass is empty, they come by with a big round carrier of beer and replace your drink until you cover your glass with a coaster to signify that you're done drinking. and they just keep 'em coming!

we became friends with this funny guy james who was traveling from england and chatted it up for hours. our tally was getting pretty up there but it was a lot of fun. the pub was also called 'peter's' and we brought some of these kölsch glasses home.

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glad we got a little taste of germany on our trip. i lived in germany with my family when i was a child and this was my first time back in this area. i'm dying to go back to austria sometime and spend time in hallstat.. gorgeouuuus. i wish we'd had time during this trip to take the hogwarts express all the way to austria... but next time!

 

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lamb, pesto, burrata & mint pizza.

URGENT:

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i've been yim yum yammering about this pizza for weeks now. IT IS SO WILDLY DELICIOUS.

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the flavors are totally insane and perfectly spring!!!!

we made this thang 3 times within a week and then spiraled off and continued a binge of various pizzas for dayyyyys. sometimes that just happens somehow....you realize you've eaten pizza every day for like 7 days straight and you're like...how did i get here? cool. but yikes. 

(so in other words, this week has been salad central.)

but i'm not kidding this pizza recipe is REAL GOOD and i'm REAL PROUD of it.

we've been making our homemade pizzas with a pizza stone which i really believe is a game-changer for the crust. BUT it's been terrifying and high stress times when it comes to shimmying the pizza dough off the parchment paper and onto the fiery hot stone in the oven. so we got real serious about it and bought a pizza peel and now we're selling pizzas out of our back door. 

(nahhh... but WE SHOULD BE...)

so first ya got a very simple and easy dough (bread flour makes it much betta than all-purpose in my opinion), a mint-pesto hybrid, peppery crumbly lamb, fresh creamy burrata cheese, zippy red onion slivers, topped with fresh goat cheese, tons of fresh mint leaves, and some red chili flakes. 

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shoutout costco who sells the most amazing pesto! last summer, we took this VERY good chewy baguette, sliced in half with olive oil drizzled, threw it on the grill til golden and slathered it in costco pesto and holy moses that was one of the best things i've ever eaten.

you can also make it from scratch, if you like.

but the point is that you add extra fresh mint to the pesto and pulse it together! for that extra layer of mint flavorrrrr. actually i hope you're not freaked out by the mint on this 'zaw? its good. so veryyyy goooooood. i told ya we were having a moment with fresh mint lately next to these fab fresh rolls. 

please make this pizza and go nuts over it like we did!

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Lamb, Pesto, Burrata & Mint Pizza

Makes One 12-inch pizza

Active Time: 30 minutes, Total Minimum Time: 2 hours

Ingredients:

Pizza Dough: (Adapted from the Half Baked Harvest Cookbook!)

  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 1/2 tsp. instant yeast
  • 1 TB. honey
  • 1 cup bread flour
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 TB. extra virgin olive oil

Mint Pesto:

  • 1/2 cup prepared pesto (store bought or homemade) 
  • 1 TB extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 oz. fresh mint (1 package // about 1/3 cup)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 TB fresh lemon juice

Lamb:

  • 1/3 lb. ground lamb
  • 1 TB. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. salt (or to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper

Toppings:

  • 2-3 fresh burrata balls
  • 1/3 cup red onion slices
  • 1/2 oz. fresh mint (1 package // 1/3 cup)
  • goat cheese crumbles
  • red chili flakes

Instructions-

For the dough, add warm water, honey, and yeast to a medium bowl and whisk. Let sit for about 10 minutes until it gets a bit foamy. Add the bread flour and salt, mix and use your hands to knead the dough together for a few minutes. Add a sprinkle of flour if it's too sticky.

Use the olive oil to grease another large bowl and transfer the dough to this bowl, turning the dough to coat in oil. Cover with a warm damp towel and let rise for 1 to 2 hours, or until about doubled in size. You can make the dough in advance and freeze it in plastic wrap if you need to.

If using a pizza stone, preheat it in the oven as hot as you can while you prepare the pizza, about 500 degrees F. 

After the dough is risen, punch it down and turn out onto a lightly floured surface on top of a piece of parchment sprinkled with a bit of corn meal. If you're using a baking sheet and not a pizza stone, you can turn out the dough onto a lightly greased & floured baking sheet. Roll out as thin as you can, about 1/4 inch thick. 

Heat oven to 450 degrees F whether you're using a pizza stone or a baking sheet. If you're using a pizza stone, the oven should be be BLAZING HOT from preheating the stone, so be careful. We even bought a pizza peel for this step. 

For the mint pesto, add all ingredients to a small food processor and pulse until incorporated.

For the lamb, heat the ground lamb in olive oil and minced garlic in a pan over medium heat. Add salt and lots of black pepper to taste, and a dash of red chili flakes. Let it get dark on each side before tossing the meat. I preferred it crumbly and peppery and almost blackened, but cook as you desire. 

Spread the pesto over the dough, about an inch from the edge. Add the crumbled lamb.

If baking on a baking sheet - add the remaining toppings now and bake the pizza in the oven at 450 for about 12-15 minutes until lightly browned on top.

If baking on a pizza stone - CAREFULLY shimmy the pizza dough with pesto & lamb crumbles off the parchment paper and onto the hot pizza stone sprinkled in a bit of corn meal. Bake for 5 minutes to solidify the crust before adding the wet burrata. Open the oven door and pull the rack out just enough so you can break the burrata balls on top and sprinkle on the red onion slices. Bake for 5 more minutes. Carefully remove pizza from oven onto a large cutting board using an oven-safe tool. 

Sprinkle crumbles of goat cheese on top, along with torn fresh mint, and a few dashes of red chili flakes. Slice and serve immediately! Enjoy within 2 days. 

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