Friday, July 23, 2010

Lunch Explorations

I have always had trouble bringing my lunch to work. A bento box is adorable and we almost always have enough things on hand to make a bento lunch. But it requires a considerable time investment. And I simply do not have the wherewithal to devote a half hour plus to making bento lunches. And yes if I make one for myself you know Jeff will want one too.

Once I went on Weight Watchers and during that two week period I made turkey sandwiches on whole wheat almost every day. Those are certainly quicker to make than bentos. And they are pretty tasty. But there is a reason I only lasted two weeks. I could not keep up with eating the same thing every day. And even more: I could not stand not going out for lunch. It was simply not the same to take a mid-afternoon walk and try to buy no snacks.

So yes, I failed at Weight Watchers. And I'm 20 lbs heavier than I was when Jeff and I were married. But by golly if there is one thing that makes my work day easier to get through it's lunch.

I really like the salads at Fresh & Co. and the sandwiches at Pret a Manger, but they are chains and I live in New York after all. We New Yorkers scoff at chains, even our own chains.

So what I've decided is to pretend like I'm a temporary resident of the NYC area because you know if I were only living here a month I'd be eschewing all chains like the plague.

When I'm able to escape the office for a full hour I make a beeline for an eatery that is new to me and which gets good reviews on Yelp. I should probably expand my searches to chowhound and the like but for now Yelp is sending me to plenty of interesting spots.

It helps that for some reason (lack of math skills or ability to plan ahead?) I have quite a surplus in my my flexible spending transit account so I do not feel the pinch of hopping on a subway for a quick ride. This is especially useful in the summer since I don't always realize my limitations. On my first foray I decided to walk over a mile and back again on a 90+ degree day. (Not a good idea.)

A friend jokingly (I think!) suggested I make this the Craige Moore Eat and Workout Tour because I said that to do this I would need to work out more. Or, you know, at all. Despite my failure on that first day I have tried to incorporate a walk when I'm able. But I'm still going to have to up the working out. I'm back with Jillian, but still only on level one. And I have yet to get out of bed more than twice a week even for those short workouts.

I am I inherently lazy and I love food (not a great combo). I read online recently (the internet told me so it must be true) that people have better success losing weight if they have fewer food choices. I knew a guy once who was so uninterested in food that he admitted he'd often open a can of beans for dinner and eat it only because he knew he needed to eat something. It's no wonder he's no longer my friend. If I am presented with limited food choices I am likely to cry. So that won't work for me. My only option is a treadmill desk.

But anyway, I've just landed in Portland, Oregon. So more on this later.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Make my city

Today is the first day of a great new initiative called Make My City, a weeklong event during which residents of Jersey City are encouraged to spend their dollars right here in our town instead of going into Manhattan or to the big box stores. To encourage people to take advantage of JC, many businesses are offering deals and discounts.

We're leaving for Portland, Oregon, later this week, so I wanted to be sure to take advantage of Make My City today, not only because it's a great idea and I do really love my town, but also because it was started by my friend Cara Birnbaum.

Jeff and I got brunch at the Hamilton Ale House and I thought we'd be able to take advantage of their deal (a free app with purchase of 2 entrees), but unfortunately their deal is only good on dinner. Also unfortunate: the server had no idea what we were talking about when we mentioned the event.

We decided to order an app anyway and I'm glad we did because everything we got was delicious, especially the app (pierogies with truffle sour cream and caramelized onions).

Next stop: Smith & Chang to look for a gift for Jeff's mom. They are offering a 10% off deal. Inspiration did not strike in the way of a gift for Jeff's mom, but I still love that store and am glad the event got me to stop in again.

Jeff then took off to do some work on his movie and I continued on to Deen in the Powerhouse District. I got a scarf for 10% off. Yay for the deal, plus getting me to check out a store I've been meaning to seek out for a long time.

Right next door is a cafe I had never even heard of called Warehouse. I got a delicious iced tea for a somewhat steap $3 and listened to the DJ spinning some good tunes. I discovered they screen movies there. Possible local screening option for Jeff's movie...

I walked past the Grace Van Vorst church and noticed a sign for a book sale going on right then. What the hell, I thought. I bet it will suck, but it wouldn't hurt to look. Turns out their parish hall is set up to be easily converted into the sale. They have these large built-in cabinets with doors along the outside of the room. They have a great selection, actually. I got 9 books for $4.50.

As I was walking I saw a sign for a new ice cream and sandwich shop called Tommy Two Scoops, so I went there next. They have gelato -- hooray! The garden out back is probably a little more pleasant on a slightly cooler day, but still a nice respite. And iced tea is only a dollar. A dollar!

I checked out a women's clothing store called Tia (not my style) and then went to get a much-needed pedicure. Not a lot of places are open after 5pm on a Sunday, but Nail Tek is open til 7:30 every day and they were really nice and did a great job.

All in all, I'm really glad I braved the heat to walk around my town, discovering new things. I also saw a bunch more graffiti like two interesting pieces that appeared near my apartment a few weeks ago.

I hope the event does well because like the hostess said to me this morning at Hamilton Ale House, "people seem to be really proud to live in Jersey City." Yes. Yes, we are.