Dec 29, 2010

Year in review, à la iPhone

This post was a serious pain in the ass to put together, but I had so much fun going through my old pictures and trying to figure out where half of them were even taken. These are by no means the best pictures (I chose three per month) but for the most part, they represent either an interesting or new experience from that month. Some months, I felt I had captured almost nothing good on my phone, whereas for others, choosing only three was painfully difficult.

I'll try to keep this recap short, but there's a lot here (links to posts where applicable).

(Just got my new iPhone at the end of this month before I started a brand new shiny job, my first one out of college.)
• View from one wall of the office (7 WTC).
• iMac selfie on the first day of work.
• A seriously gorgeous office. Seriously. This doesn't even begin to capture it.

• Snowy train ride to Philly to see college friends.
• The (HUGE) cat I shared a bed with when I crashed at a friend's in NY to avoid commuting in a blizzard.
• New apartment in Manhattan!! I slept on an air mattress for a few days and computed on the floor.

• Stayed at the office until 2am. At least there was a pretty view.
• Began documenting my affair with good coffee. (As I went through my pictures I realized I probably need to do an entire 2010 coffee roundup post on its own!)
• Discovered Mark and its $2 sliders, $3 fries, and $4 beer, hello!

• Gorged on cupcakes almost every day after lunch. This pretty one was made by the talented Joyce.
• Did a solo trek of the Brooklyn Bridge with my new Minolta film camera.
• Went back to Penn for Spring Fling. Good times.

• Took the Pentax 67 with me over the High Line.
• Dined by myself at a sit-down restaurant for the first time.
• Went back to Penn for my official graduation (and they forgot my name in the program!).

• So freaking thrilled to have an abundance of peonies from the Greenmarket.
• First experience with molecular gastronomy at wd-50.
• A fun start (in more ways than one :)) to summer at Terroir Tribeca with the summer of riesling.

• Probably the grossest thing I ate all year - squid guts.
• Amazing joyrides in Mai's new car with the top down kicked off my summer of funemployment.
• Finding myself sitting at the Central Park fountain on a summer date.

Quick weekend trip to Boston.
• The window at RBC that lets in glorious light.
Dizzying view from the top of the Empire State Building.

• I met Cindy! (And Seth and Emma :))
• George Mendes in the kitchen at Aldea.
• I met Cleo!

• Stumbled upon this fantastic community garden back home in East Brunswick.
• Took the ferry to Staten Island for an out-of-this-world home cooked dinner at Rich's.
• Shot my first wedding alone! Standing on a chair here because I swear I'm too short to shoot weddings.

• First time at Hiro. It was surprisingly fun.
• Home sweet home for Thanksgiving weekend.
• Post-Thanksgiving means it's ok to put up Christmas lights!

• THE ultimate birthday meal.
• Cheesy (not literally made with cheese) Christmas cupcakes from Magnolia Bakery.
• Snowpocalypse. See below post.

Whew, that was exhausting! I can't even imagine how long it would have taken if I had gone through my entire digital photo archives of 2010.

Happy New Year and see you guys in 2011!!! I will probably be eating and drinking merrily when the clock strikes 12. It is only appropriate. :)

Dec 28, 2010

Shelter from the storm

I know people may be sick of blizzard talk by now, but here is my little story from Sunday. My friend Bryan and I had good intentions of taking photos all around, but our plans might have been a bit ambitious. The wind was especially killer, the light died quickly, and we got hungry. We struggled with the storm, took a few pictures (see his photo of me here) but when I felt my limbs were about to fall off, we sought warmth and food. The financial district is already a ghost town on the weekends, but it was obviously even quieter that day.

We eventually found ourselves at Ulysses Folk House (always a good go-to down in these parts) thawing with beer, nachos, fries, and steak sandwiches. The place soon filled up a bit more with other shelter seekers. Not such a bad way to deal with the storm, after all!

Cozy and quaint, ain't it? Lemme tell you, it doesn't look this way during weeknight happy hours!

Dec 27, 2010

A look from above

I love the whole above the table shot, but it's hard to do with my usual 50mm and somehow I don't think standing on my chair at a place like Per Se is gonna go over particularly well. With a point and shoot, I can just reach as high as I can, attempt to aim and hope for the best.

Here's a weekend of lunch/brunch eats. I like it when you can see snippets of my dining companions, and I feel like the above the table shot tells more of a complete story than my usual standalone dish photos.

Nothing quite beats brunch fare.

Dec 26, 2010

Christmas eve in the city

My parents came to the city on Friday and we trekked around Central Park after some Bouchon Bakery noms. The park looks so different in the wintertime. Dad joked (I hope!) that I wasn't allowed to use these photos without some model release or whatever but they were too cute not to share!

I also totally creeped on this little girl near the Rockefeller tree, heh heh.

It's back to the grind tomorrow. Lucky you guys who have the week off!

Dec 24, 2010

Happy Christmas!

May Santa bring you everything you wanted and more. :)

Rockefeller Christmas cheer.

Dec 22, 2010

Weekday morning at Jack's

I have blogged about this little place in the South Street Seaport more times than I can count now, and probably have taken almost the same photos (digital and film alike), but I guess I'm just drawn to the fresh flowers, the exposed brick, the great muffins, and the austere wooden furniture. Sounds about right, no? Oh and of course the good coffee and that it's just about close enough to go out of my way for in the morning.

I present to you Jack's on Portra 400NC. It's not too hard to guess which picture I liked best. I could eat those delicious film tones + a little grain right up.

It appears most of the blogosphere has taken off for the holidays. Wah! I'll probably slow down a bit myself, but no serious blogging break for me. :)

Dec 21, 2010

Friend of a farmer

Ah, the dilemma with weekend brunch is always that anywhere worth going also has a crazy line. So when we only had to wait maybe 25-30 minutes at Friend of a Farmer this past weekend, we considered ourselves lucky. I really loved the interior of this place - it felt like we were dining in someone's home. Unfortunately it was crowded and cramped, and I was with three others who I didn't want to make suffer as I took pictures, so these were all taken really hastily and I'm not happy with them. I actually hesitated to post these, but I did want to still share. It's just that this place invites such great photography, and I don't think I did it justice!

I'm a sucker for Eggs Florentine so I went with it, but it was a tad on the bland side, and I sorely regretted not getting the blueberry pancakes I was eyeing. Ah well! I was at least happy with my super pulpy orange juice.

Friend of a Farmer | 77 Irving Place

Dec 20, 2010

Locanda Verde meets film again

I was so pleased with the way Locanda Verde looked on film from my last visit, I couldn't resist shooting it again. I think I liked this round even better - the Portra 400NC is just fantastic for indoor shots + natural light. Plus I am terribly drawn to the rustic feeling of this place and love the bare wood tables. I think I'm starting to only want lunches so I can use film!

I had to get the sheep's milk ricotta with sea salt and herbs again, and as soon as my eyes got to the pumpkin agnolotti I stopped scanning the menu (a no-brainer). But the sausage grinder photographed the best here I think.

I love their festive bakery section and still need to return to try the blueberry muffins.

Hope your Mondays weren't too painful!

Dec 19, 2010

Warmth vs. coolness

I thought I'd continue this little film vs. digital series with a shot from my latest roll of Kodak Portra 400NC. So far I think I'm liking the 400NC better than the 400VC but I can't decide if I like it better than the Fuji 400H... ahh too many suffixes. It's probably a moot point since the NC and VC are being discontinued.

Indoors, the differences are much more obvious (at least here it is). I love the "filmy" tones/feel of indoor shots and the much more noticeable grain. I think the film version is more inviting and moody while the digital version is a bit sterile and blah. (Even teddy can't make this digital picture interesting!) I've been told and have seen that Canon's colors are much cooler in general than Nikon's, so that could play a big factor here. Also, the EOS 3's autofocusing knocks the socks off the 5D's - notice I failed to focus the digital shot properly using autofocus.

Both shot at ISO 400, 50mm, f1.8, 1/2000.

Obviously I <3333 film.

Dec 17, 2010

Are you sure this isn't a Canon ad?

I know this has been done by almost everyone already and super cliché, but I've always wanted to do a self-indulgent "What's In My Bag" type post. I tend to stuff way more than I should in my poor bags. It doesn't help that I don't use a real camera bag for my daily carrying needs so my cameras just get tossed around inappropriately. Let's have a looksee...

• My bag of choice is this lightweight Bottega Veneta hobo. When my camera already weighs a ton, I don't need the bag itself to add too much to that! Plus this leather is just godly (like butter, I tell you) and I seriously find myself stroking it sometimes, heh.

• These days I'm either lugging around the Canon EOS 3 (an incredible film SLR) or the 5Dmkii. The EOS 3 is actually a tad bigger than the already behemoth 5Dmkii. It's currently loaded with some Kodak Portra 400NC (can't wait to finish the roll, as it's my first time using the 400NC!). In my bag, I've got another roll of the Portra and some B/W Tri-X waiting impatiently to be shot.

• The Canon S95 is a little guy that packs some serious punch. I like it especially for party snapshots that need flash and macros of food, but it's really just a great backup for all needs.

• Boring essentials: keys, iPhone (aka another backup camera), earbuds, extra battery for the 5dmkii (god forbid I ever run out of batteries!), lens cap.

• Seriously essential essentials: L'Occitane shea butter hand cream, Smith's Rosebud Salve lip balm, cosmetic case carrying mostly eyedrops and usually my contact lenses in case I need to do a Superman switch out of nerdy office girl, bandaids for blisters or my general clumsiness, a pair of thin and light flats (still need to find some roll-up flats for extra compactness) in case I can't handle the heels I'm probably wearing anymore.

• Others: mirror, Make Up For Ever lipstick (currently toting around either "Satin Nude" or "Satin Rosewood"), wallet (birthday gift from a dear friend :)).

Whew, sorry if this became a TLDR post. I'll have to make sure the next few posts are picture-heavy.

Anyway, happy Friday!

Dec 15, 2010

The last of the birthday hoorahs

All right, this should be my FINAL birthday-related post. Something about having a Wednesday birthday allowed me to stretch the festivities out from the Saturday before it to the Saturday night after it. It was seriously more like a "birthweek" but I'm not complaining! This time, I headed into the middle of nowhere for a dinner at Ninety Acres which is located on a sort of farm/estate in northern NJ. Thank heavens I was not doing the driving because the road to the restaurant is deathly dark, winding, and narrow. I am sure this place is beautiful in the day time but I unfortunately could not see much. It would also be stunning under a blanket of fresh snow, but the road would be even more treacherous.

The restaurant itself is surprisingly cozy and inviting given the reputation of the place as a fine dining locale (ahem... not to hate on my home state, but it is just NJ after all :P). Even making reservations over a month in advance, we only secured an early dinner time. I also noted that every female in this place looked like they belonged in The Real Housewives of New Jersey. The woman with the giant Birkin and Hermes belt could stand to tone it down a bit. Sheesh. The portions here are huge. It was more like comforting food with familiar tastes - nothing super inventive or interesting, but just very nice. I did get a little annoyed with the servers who were not very subtly trying to turn the table over.

Thank you to Mr. B for this lovely dinner. :)

Below is an adorable cake from Black Hound that I received from Alicia. Thanks, dear! It was very well-enjoyed.

I took these in a horrible dark room but with my Speedlite 580ex ii. I really ought to use that thing more - don't you think it could almost pass for natural light here? Or am I just crazy.

Dec 14, 2010

All thai-ed up

14 people. 10? 11? bottles of wine. 11 x 2 dishes of food.

That's pretty much how the Mouthfuls meetup last night at Sripraphai went down. With somewhat great effort, we left almost no crumbs on the plates and no drops in the bottles. Definitely an eclectic group of people and always tons of fun.

Can you believe I still had Thai for lunch today?

Dec 13, 2010

A walk to remember

Please excuse the corny title - I thought I'd dig into my archives a bit today to hunt for pictures that never made it to the interwebs. Almost exactly a year ago, I took a break from some horrid final exam studying so I could capture Locust Walk in all its festive lights glory. (I was joining my talented friend Natalie Franke for this brief photo walk in fact!) I'm pretty sure these lights made everyone cheerier during exam period and the bitter cold. We just about caught the early sunset, clicked away, and headed back to the books. Oh, college life, you seem so long ago.

Not a shabby walk at all. I don't think I realized how beautiful Penn was when I was actually there. I suppose that is almost always the case.

Dec 12, 2010

Hey, that looks familiar...

This is actually my third time blogging about meals at Degustation and looking at my last post on it, I realized just how similar this post is to it... whoops! This is what I ate on my actual birthday. It was unplanned and got off to a super late start (after a failed attempt to dine at SHO Shaun Hergatt because the kitchen had just closed when we got there), but it was a nice way to end the day. We went with the shorter five-course option, but they were really nice and gave us side-by-side pairings so we'd have more variety.

I must say I love the salads at this place. And I could still do without the fried sweetbreads.

Ugh, that caramelized brioche never gets old. How many birthday wishes are we allowed to make anyway? :P (One final birthday meal post coming up soon!)

Dec 9, 2010

An east village backyard

JJ lives in a cute little studio in the East Village - totally different from the charmless high rise apartment building I inhabit. He even has a backyard that he shares with a neighbor who is something like a wardrobe director for TV. I love the way she styled the backyard. It's not quite all captured here (on Kodak Portra 400VC I might add), but you get a sense of its vintagey aesthetic.

I also love the exposed/rough-edged panels of the door. I would say it's definitely a bit of a luxury to have a backyard in NY of your own. I'm already envisioning lazy summer evenings spent there in lawn chairs with ice cold beers and strings of adorable paper lanterns... oh sigh.

Charm vs. convenience

I thought it'd be fun to start a possible series on comparing the same scene captured in film vs. digital. I spotted this berry tree in Central Park last weekend and practically made a beeline for it. I loved the way the red popped against a sort of cooler winter palette. Below, I have Fuji Pro 400H on a Canon EOS 3 with 50mm f1.8 lens against my 5Dmkii with 50mm f1.4. Both are just about straight out of the camera.

I'm actually not sure which I prefer in this case. I think I usually like indoor film shots more because of that nice obvious film tone. Outdoors, it's a little less apparent. The digital definitely looks warmer but I like the slightly subtler contrast in the film. Haha does anyone else even care? :P

Thank you all so much for the birthday wishes! I can't tell you how much I appreciate your comments.

Dec 7, 2010

Twenty three candles

Thank you to my readers who wished me a belated birthday in my last post - I should have mentioned that it's actually on the 8th, so you aren't late at all!

So now, on the eve of my birthday, it feels terribly appropriate to reflect on the past year a bit, especially as this last year contained the grand transition from student life to the glorious "real world." Many people make lists for what they hope to do in the next year. Lists do feel oddly appropriate on birthdays, don't they? I thought I'd make one for the past year instead. The below list is a bit random and covers both the ups and downs.

22 memorable things:

1) Created this blog which I am now pathetically attached to. :)
2) Graduated college, went through a stressful apartment search, and finally moved to NYC.
3) Realized I will NEVER have enough money for this city. (And that's okay, because nothing makes me happier than walking around taking photos of it and that is mostly free.)
4) Discovered the beauty of polaroids and film photography.
5) Met some amazing photographers. (I'm lookin' at you, Cindy and Seth!)
6) Worked in two very different industries and office environments.
7) Expanded my coffee palate by more than I thought possible.
8) Regrettably said goodbye to many good friends who are no longer a hop skip away. (Miss you guys tons.)
9) Had my wallet stolen under my watch.
10) Took a class on how to pull an espresso shot and steam milk properly.
11) Saw NYC from the top of the Empire State Building.
12) Consumed more tasting menus (and calories) than I can count.
13) Had more quarter-life crises than I can count.
14) Found my photo in a Yahoo Shine article.
15) Quadrupled my camera collection.
16) Had my heart broken.
17) Discovered my parents are actually pretty cool people.
18) Recognized by a flickr contact at a cafe.
19) Met JJ and have been having a blast.
20) Dreaded turning 23 and not being where I want to be in life. (Sounds ridiculous, I know.)
21) Ate macarons for the first time.
22) Lived, as much as I could.

I will make this year a good one. It does has some pretty big shoes to fill, though. :)

Dec 5, 2010

A little bit of magic behind blue doors

Yes, my birthday lunch at Per Se this past weekend was a beautiful treat. I could not have asked for anything more. Even though I felt like I waited for this meal forever, I really wasn't sure what to expect. The dining room is small, hushed, and elegant. There is a lovely view of Columbus Circle and Central Park. Everything just feels very personal, notably the menu which was printed with a "Happy Birthday Alice" note and the exceptional service. I decided to be a bit daring and seize this opportunity to shoot my meal in film (since the light was so great in that dining room), and I'm so glad I did. Because I was limited to the few rolls I brought with me, I pretty much had to get each shot just right, and because I couldn't preview my shots, I paid more attention to the meal and experience. (Ok, I will admit that I brought the 5Dmkii as a backup. :P) I thought the Fuji Pro 400H performed excellently for this and I want to shoot more film more than ever now. There really is an inimitable quality that I cannot achieve with my digital images.

I ordered the Tasting of Vegetables (my choices are on the right) but got to sample all of the regular Chef's Tasting Menu dishes anyway (on the left). I'm not going to go into laborious detail over each course (mostly because this post took me over six hours to complete from waiting for film developing to scanning negatives to fixing all the dust/scratches to finally putting together the collage - all worth it, I hope), but I may post a picture of the menus a bit later this week. This post is a bit overwhelming as it is anyway!

Cheese, desserts, coffee and mignardises below.

So...when can I go back?? :D

Dec 3, 2010

Bits of my room, film edition

A few more stragglers from my last film round - probably the last ones until I get some more developed. These were from the Portra 400VC roll. My windows face east so I am lucky to have streaming light like this.

Happy Friday! :)

Per Se tomorrow. I have been looking forward to this for a very long time. You can obviously expect a (long) post on this to come.

Dec 1, 2010

Coffee roundup, film

These scans never made their way onto my blog during my last film round, so I thought I'd compile some cafe shots. These were all taken with Fuji Pro 400H film on my Minolta X370s. I think this film produces really natural colors and subtle film tones - quite different from the Portra VCs! My scanner must be horribly dirty or something. These are the results after I got rid of most of the dust and scratches. I still have issues with manual focus. I think I get too impatient and try to compose the shot as quickly as I can and then sacrifice getting the focus just right.

Kaffe 1668, Stumptown, Think Coffee, and Jack's Stir Brew Coffee - seriously cannot go wrong with any of these. :)