new york is my life

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Almost two weeks ago we closed our spring season at Ballet Arizona with a tough but very rewarding Balanchine program at Symphony Hall. As it was probably the hardest show of the year, I had to keep my focus as I started to feel the itch of summer vacation. With my job I am lucky to have about 2 and half months off and I feel like I am perpetually on a high school or college schedule. I usually commit to dancing on my off season but find time for scattered vacations here and there. I spent the last week and half in New York City, a place I have visited at least once every year since I was thirteen. Every trip offers something different as the city is so diverse and changing all the time. With my recent switch the vegan team, I discovered a whole new food scene in NY and found amazing spots all over the city. My first day in town I set out from the upper west side, where I was staying with my bro (well, my brother-in-law's brother, shout out to Grant-thanks again), and had no plan but to walk, shop, and eat. Within fifteen minutes I ran into someone I knew on the street (isn't that weird how that happens in such a crowded city) and scored some tickets to see NY City Ballet the next evening. After wandering to Lincoln Center, taking the train downtown, crossing town to shop on the east side, and exploring NYU I was a bit hungry. I saw Argo Tea Cafe and ducked inside to score some pomegranate ice tea (it was 80 degress so the ice was desperately needed)! I was thrilled to see many vegan options! They had fruit bowls and whole grain vegetable bowls and gave pretty detailed nutritional information for the entire menu. They even had vegan muffins (had to try one of course)...lemon poppy seed to be exact. I haven't had lemon poppy seed in years and this was amazing and moist!

My favorite shop of the day was recommended to me by my lovely friend Bree, called Tokio Seven. Racks and racks of vintage designer clothing, jewelry, handbags, and sunglasses. I spent at least an hour and a half combing each rack and trying on dress after dress (I was on a mission to find a birthday outfit for the next night). I finally decided on a striped button up (which I later decided made me look like Beetlejuice) and a pair of Penguin aviators-no dress :(

Dinner was at DOS CAMINOS. A mexican spot that was hopping. Margaritas, guacamole, veggies tacos! YUM

The next morning (June 8th-my birthday) I strolled around the corner from Grant's apartment to a famous cafe called Cafe Lalo. This cute french coffee shop has been featured in commercial and is best known for it's scene in You've Got Mail. Not much in terms of vegan fare, but it features coffee, teas, cakes, and pastries. I was content drinking black coffee and reading amidst vintage french posters. I considered getting an irish coffee but thought it was a bit early to start the birthday celebrations. They actually offered a dairy free cheese cake- but again too early for such a rich treat!

The rest of my birthday consisted of meeting Grant for lunch (Times Square is not so vegan friendly by the way), shopping (still no dress) and seeing a Broadway show, dinner, drinks, more drinks, even more drinks, bed. I haven't been to a show in a few years and I thought it was time. The obvious choice for me was How to Succeed in Business... featuring Harry Potter's Daniel Radcliffe (I'm a big fan so I was happy!)

The next day I was very late in getting up but needed to find a good spot to eat. I had found a vegan restaurant on the upper west side on my phone and decided to do a walk by. From the outside the place looked very nice and the menu sounded amazing, so I gave it a try. It was called Cafe Blossom- gourmet, vegan, organic cuisine. I was craving something very fresh and light, so I ordered a raw kale salad with candied pecans, jicama, carrots, red onion in a red wine vinaigrette. A lively couple next to me (when I say couple I mean gay man and his best girl friend) ordered tempeh kabobs and black eyed pea cakes that both looked amazing and judging by their excited groans and giggles they liked them a lot. I also ordered a large chocolate chip cookie and coffee for dessert (I have to make sure the vegan baking is up to par !) I was going to save half for later but who am I kidding.It was amazing and gone before you could say cookie monster.

I've got to say, New York knows where it's at and that was only three days in the city. The rest of my trip is coming soon. Stay tuned for a weekend in Long Island and my favorite restaurant of the trip Candle 79!!