There and back again…

central park

more of the park

Last month I finally visited New York, the city, after a year and a half of not being there.  I had missed it a lot and yearned so much to go to my favorite places in the village and downtown.  I embraced being back: the sky, the tall buildings, the trees, the trains, the pedestrians crowding the sidewalks and squares, the skaters at Union Square, the familiarity of moving constantly and meeting and seeing all kinds of people, and best of all, eating great food and taking classes from my favorite yoga teachers.  I stayed with my sister for a week and each day there I took notes and made a title for what each day represented.  Without further ado, here’s a look into my first day, titled “Memory Lane; Like eating a madeleine.”

After getting out the door my first day, in the afternoon around 2ish with my leather jacket on, ready for crisp fall air, I walked about seven minutes to Abraco in the East Village.  Just as I remembered it, tiny, warm, welcoming, and very European–in other words, perfect for me.  By the time I got there, they were out of their popular olive oil cake, but they did however have something screaming AUTUMN: a pear ginger maple cake!  That paired with their cappuccino made with organic whole milk was solid.

pear ginger maple cake

The Breslin, at The Ace Hotel, is a British gastropub by acclaimed British chef April Bloomfield.  She’s been getting a lot of attention recently–appearing on KCRW’s Good Food and on an episode of last season’s “Gossip Girl” (my favorite show).  In short, I HAD to check out her food.  Determinedly, I opened the black door and entered a darkened but light world that was wonderful to observe.

The Breslin dining room, look at those cows!

the kitchen, middle in the back, the perfect view, loved seeing them busy cooking and enjoying it.

I loved the super comfortable leather seats, the dark deep colors, and the quintessentsially posh elegance mixed with notes of modernist chic like the chandelier above the communal table.

chandelier above communal table, just in front of kitchen.

The homeyness was impeccable.

The waitress, very attentive, was extremely helpful and friendly, I asked my usual questions, and after not too long, ordered what she said is the most popular and best thing on the menu.

Now, the lamb burger, yes I understand why this is so popular; it’s the best lamb burger I’ve ever had.  Thankfully, finally, a bun that is not brioche like all the other trendy hamburger buns are in LA., but instead, it was a dense, chewy, artisanal-tasting sourdough.  After one bite I wanted more.  The meat: medium-raw of course.  Pink, tender, decadent and perfectly complimented with the strong feta cheese on top.

of course I ate it open-faced.

And the fries; my goodness, the fries.  Thick, just right, to be happily dipped into the friendly and unique side of cumin mayo–delightful.

cumin mayo with perfect thick fries…yum.

After an hour, I walked back towards where I began, and went through Madison Square Park, down 5th, and arrived at the Green Market Union Square.  My mission was to pick up some granola to have with the abundance of Wallaby organic yogurt that  my sister had in her fridge (it was on sale she said, so she couldn’t resist getting a ton–a trait she shares in common with my mom–buy more if it’s on sale, quick!).

One would think that the great Green Market would have excellent granola, but no, it did not.  My sister and I were completely disappointed; there was no crunch, there were a lot of peanuts, there was nothing in it that jumped out–it was rather blazé.  What did stand out however, were the pumpkins!

In the evening, I went to Rima’s class at Jivamukti Yoga School, Union Square.  She’s been a favorite teacher of mine for years; naturally, I was really excited to  take her class again.

The handsome guy next to me offered some of his Jivamukti muscle/joint cream before class; it smelled of peppermint and was perfect.

Rima as always, made us laugh and imparted her personal life mixed with spirituality and wisdom.  Her rhetoric comes from her organic essence; she speaks so well–it always flows and makes so much sense.  I always loved her storytelling and magic in the beginning of class.

We chanted together something about time; we looked at the Jivamukti chant books to follow along.  We then made the sound of the universe together, “OM”–always a deep brilliant sound.

At the end of class, after changing into dry clothes, I went up to Rima and waited for her to finish talking to a student so that I could say hi.

I introduced myself nervously and she said, “Yes, of course I remember you!”  I always think people forget who I am (it’s a habit).  She asked how I’ve been, what I’ve been up to, and I said I’m teaching yoga, to which she wasn’t surprised.  At the end of catching up she hugged me tightly and said she hoped to see me again soon.

It felt good to be back seeing familiar places and the same friendly faces.  Before leaving Jivamukti, I bought a much-needed yoga mat bag, one that was colorful and unique–kind of symbolizing my experience of being back.


About ravishingshaukwaves

Leila Shauk is a recent graduate from Sarah Lawrence. She studied Poetry, Philosophy, Art History, Literature, Music, and Fiction Writing. She has a penchant for good writing and good food. Apart from good eats and literature, she loves practicing yoga, playing bass, and exploring other forms of creativity like abstract painting, and cooking.
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2 Responses to There and back again…

  1. Ayesha Karim says:

    Wow Leila “The Breslin” sounds really good definitely want to go there for a meal!!

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