I did not expect things to get incredibly busy in the past few months! Things have been going well. Hope all is well with you and your loved ones! Continuing education and work (along with being able to see family and loved ones post-vaccination) were the main things which I had been focused on recently. Now that I have time to sit down and update, I’m excited to share some pictures and going-ons with all of you! One of the things I’m going to experiment with is adding short video clips to include with my entries. For this entry, it’s going to be simple with the ferry to and from Governors Island along with a clip of me walking down the Highline. (Again, kevinnissimo is all about experimenting!) If I end up liking it, I’ll make more elaborate clips later on for future entries.
Before I get into my main entry regarding my trip to Governors Island and an evening of tapas and drinks with my friend at Hudson Yards, I’ll share some quick updates with the site.
I scanned the majority of my recipes and will add some more this week after I publish this post. I believe the most recent ones I put up were the Old Fashioned Beef Stew and Cinnamon French Toast. I have a couple of them set up already such as a few brownie recipes, rustic lasagna, and chicken Diane to name a few.
As I was scanning the recipes, I decided that I needed something more high powered since I also planned on digitizing my notes from college and scanning old developed pictures. I was in college in the early 2000s, so I have stack of notes in my house which are almost 18 years old. I purchased a Fujitsu ScanSnap ix1600 from B&H Photo and started scanning notes this past weekend. I tested it on my notes for one of the art classes I took as an undergrad, and it took me less than 10 minutes to scan an entire semester’s notes. I loved its ability to scan both sides of the paper (duplex scan).
So moving forward, I will use this for my recipe and picture approach! Now that I have a new scanner, it should make it easier to transfer these into my computer. :) I might still have to rewrite or retype some recipes (my uncle’s handwriting for his vegetarian lasagna was a bit difficult to read). But this certainly makes things a lot easier to work with.
Aside from reading scientific articles, I’ve tried to catch up with some leisurely reading. One evening I just dove into one of Mindy Kaling’s books, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? after I prepared dinner. I read both of her books (that one in 2013 and Why Not Me? in 2016). I enjoyed her work as a writer (along with her portrayal of Kelly Kapoor) in The Office, and when I read her first book, I had just begun diving into her new show, The Mindy Project.
I like how she switches between personal anecdotes from her life and her lists and random musings (e.g. “Best Friend Rights and Responsibilities”). I remembered when I first looked at the Table of Contents for Is Everyone Hanging out Without Me?, I thought that the pacing would be random. However, I was pleasantly surprised to see it flow when I transitioned to a new chapter. It was interesting to dive into the book and get a glimpse of Mindy’s thoughts. It’s like having a conversation with someone over lunch or dinner and you end up jumping through different topics over the course of the meal (whether you intended to or not).
It was a nice, casual read which I finished this past weekend. I’ll provide more of my thoughts over at Goodreads (which reminds me, I should probably put a place to link all of my stuff here on kevinnissimo).
I didn’t get to do as much leisure reading since early May, so I decided to devote 1-2 hours per day to dedicated reading time moving forward. It was refreshing to just sit down and dive into a book while tuning out any distractions.
Outdoor Trip to Governors Island
Around late May, family and friends wanted to coordinate to see each other in person again (since everyone was getting vaccinated). I was excited to hear from them to start making upcoming plans for the summer. The weekend before I caught up with my brother and two friends and we just ordered food, watched random video clips from Youtube, and caught up.
Two weeks ago, I met up with my close friend S to catch up. We had not seen each other since last March so we were very excited to see each other in person.
We had planned to meet with each other a few weeks beforehand (and were counting down the days). We were bouncing ideas off of each other such as a beach trip or shopping. Taking all of this into consideration, I asked her about a day trip to Governors Island. Since we figured that we needed a lot of time to spend catching up, a nice walk outdoors along with a picnic seemed like a perfect outing.
I purchased the tickets for the ferry the day before for the times we agreed (12:40 PM departure and 5:00 PM return) which would have provided us with a time cushion to get to South Ferry.
I arrived at the World Trade Center Oculus around 11:45 AM. At that time I was focused on taking the R train to Whitehall Street-South Ferry that I completely forgot that the 1 train was also available (and a shorter walk from my train). I got to the platform for the downtown R train and there were a lot of people waiting already. After a few minutes, I saw an alert on the MTA app that there was a brake issue being investigated, so the R and W trains were temporarily suspended. I then remembered that I could also take the 1 train, so I had to walk back down the Oculus to get to the 1 train. I was a bit nervous since I needed to be at the Maritime Building around 12:20-12:25 PM to get ready for check-in, and when I was heading down the stairs for the 1 train, it was around 12:10. A train arrived in 2 minutes so I got to the Whitehall Station in time.
My friend S and I finally got to see each other after a year and a half! We gave each other a big hug and joined the line for the ferry check-in. We started with how family is doing, plans for the summer, and a general check-in on how other things in our lives were moving now that things are reopening. The weather was sunny that day which made the ferry ride pleasant and relaxing. The breeze felt nice. I was caught up in conversations with S that I suddenly realized that my finger was in the shot of my video. 😅
We disembarked and the first thing we wanted to do was eat! That morning I just had a bowl of cereal and coffee and she had a doughnut, so we were both ready to dig into some lunch. Originally, we wanted to get food from the Kimchi Taco Truck but they weren’t there when we went. Alternatively, we went to Little Eva’s since it had the food and drinks which were close to what we were going to order at Kimchi Taco Truck. We walked around the island for a bit and then arrived at Little Eva’s where we ordered frozen margaritas, a cheeseburger, and a fish taco.
(Left to Right) our food from Little Eva’s and walking around Governors Island
We freshened up and start chatting while we ate our food. A main thing I discussed with her was my future thoughts and plans on the next step in life: plans on settling down, if I had set a timeline for when to have children, and whether I had any travel plans in the near future. It was a very interesting discussion where I bounced ideas off of her and explained my thought processes. I also told her about devoting more time to my hobbies and creative pursuits. S was very encouraging and shared some insight when I showed her my cooking pictures and musings. As I had discussed earlier in this entry, I’m setting aside time for leisure reading (which S advocated for other aspects of life too–we’re both proponents of self care). So, I should be able to focus on My Life in France and get my thoughts up on Goodreads soon.
The time flew by so quickly so after lunch we walked around to find a place to set up our little “picnic area”. We first stopped by Joe Coffee right next to Little Eva’s to get an iced Americano with milk along with two scoops of the chocolate chip ice cream. We found a nice shaded area to relax at. When we sat down, I gave S a little gift–a cheeseburger teddy bear. The toy had a lot of symbolism of our friendship with her love of cheeseburgers and my love of We Bare Bears.
We continued our chat and this time we caught up on how things were going with her and what her plans were. We enjoyed the coffee and ice cream while taking in the scenery. There were kids running around doing a scavenger hunt while their chaperones/parents were giving them instructions. Other people were biking while families were taking strolls together. It was a festive atmosphere which S and I loved being surrounded in.
After a bit of time we started planning what to do for dinner. We were still full from our lunch and coffee and dessert, so S was looking at places which had light food and some drinks. S mentioned that there were a few places around Hudson Yards which had interesting menus. She suggested Mercado Little Spain after going through a bunch of places. It checked off everything on our list: (1) having filling food and drinks which were not too heavy and (2) the menu items were dishes we were interested in trying.
Onward to Hudson Yards
Our return trip for the ferry was at 5 PM. Around 4:45, we started packing up and headed to the port to return to Manhattan.
We took the R train uptown to 42nd-Times Square to transfer to the 7 to head to Hudson Yards. Even after all of the walking on Governors Island, we still had a lot of energy to walk around! We headed into the shops and went down the escalator to Mercado Little Spain.
We got to the front and were able to be seated right away. S and I settled down, and we were reading the instructions on how to order. For this, we had to scan the QR code, register our table, and then order from the menu. It was straightforward once we both navigated through the menu on the app.
After freshening up, we looked through the menu and ordered our drinks. We started with frozen sangrias, Gambas al ajillo (the garlic shrimp), Calamares de La Plaza Mayor (calamari), and the Spanish bread. I added in the Pulpo a la Gallega (octopus served with mashed potatoes). The one thing we liked was that we could just continue ordering if we wanted some more food. After we tried all of our dishes, S suggested the Garbanzos con bacalao (the cod with chickpeas and a soft boiled egg).
The service was really quick and everyone was really friendly. We didn’t wait long before the servers gave us our dishes.
The food was good! Everything was to our taste (except the calamari which was a bit salty–it wasn’t bad, just a bit salty for us). S took a candid of me sipping on my drink while I took one of her cutting into the cod. On the lower right you can see our dishes (the calamares and octopus to the right, the bread at the bottom, and the shrimp in the middle).
Over dinner, the conversation moved towards reminiscing about past events and sharing funny anecdotes. There were a lot of laughs and we just enjoyed each other’s company. We dove into our upcoming plans for the rest of the weekend.
We finished up with dessert by ordering the Tarta de Queso (the cheesecake) and Flan al estilo “Mamá Marisa” (the flan).
Once we were done, we walked around to explore Hudson Yards. They were playing a film on a giant screen while people were sitting down and watching. I snapped a few pictures along the way. We sat down to chat some more regarding evening plans. Once it started getting late we headed back to the station. I got off Times Square to transfer to my train, so we gave each other a hug and planned to hang out again soon.
Hudson Yards Part 2
I hung out with another friend, E this past weekend and we met up at Hudson Yards. We also ate at Mercado Little Spain but this time it was during lunch. There was a 15 minute wait so we headed near the tables at the entrance to catch up. E has always been a great conversationalist so the 15 minutes went by when we updated each other on how things went for us during the past year. Once I got the text that our table was ready, we headed to the front. When we sat down, I told E that the table I sat with S during my catch up with her was the one right next to us.
We had a few of the dishes I tried with S but this time E and I also tried the Croquetas de Pollo (chicken fritters), Gazpacho, Mollete con sobrasada y queso mahón (Cristal bun with sobrasada spread, mahón cheese, and honey), and Tarta de Chocolate (chocolate cake).
The new choices were equally delicious and service was very friendly and top notch. Time also flew by really quickly. After sharing anecdotes, we planned to check out the Vessel (since he hadn’t been there yet). E told me that the Hudson Yards area hadn’t been as developed yet the last time he came here, so he was very surprised to see the shopping area, restaurants, and the Vessel set up.
(Left to Right) Croquetas, Gazpacho, and Tarta de chocolate with an Americano (forgot to take one of the mollete..it was really good!)
As we headed out, a photographer approached us (his IG is onlykenonlyken) and informed us that he takes pictures of strangers doing wacky, creative poses. It caught me off guard when he asked if he could photograph me doing silly poses.
Here is a pic that E took while I was being photographed:
It was fun overall. E was apologizing because he’s generally very friendly when people approach him and he told me, “Sorry Kev if I got you into this!” We both laughed and told him it was fine. I had fun since it was an unexpected surprise.
After the impromptu photoshoot, we walked around the shops and the Highline. We originally had planned to go to the Vessel but due to the upcoming thunderstorm, they informed us that everyone had to be evacuated out of the Vessel for safety purposes.
After meeting with E, we planned to hang out again this summer (and invite another mutual friend to join us). I gave him a hug before my stop and wished him a safe trip home. Before traveling home, I stopped by Lush at Union Square to pick up some things. Since I’m not usually in the City as often now, I try to take care of anything I needed whenever I head out there. I got the Face Masks (the coffee and rosy cheeks) along with a peach bath bomb (y’all already know my love of peaches 😉). My plan is to just have a relaxing bath day sometime around my birthday.
(Left to Right: Walking along the Highline, a screen outside of The Edge attraction inside the shops, and my Lush purchase)
It was so nice catching up with my friends the past few weeks. I liked that we were able to continue on from where we all left off. The beginning of summer definitely provided some positive vibes which was greatly appreciated. I’ll try to get more recipes up later this week (hope they have been interesting for all of you!). Please continue to stay safe and well!