Sometimes you visit a place, and you have that "I was meant to live here" feeling. It's happened to me a few times. And when it happens, I know that I really could make it in one of those place, that my life could happen there. It didn't happen in Hawaii, or Honduras, or Mexico, or Tahiti, or Miami. I love those places, a lot. I love the sun and beach and the easy, carefree lifestyle. But I never saw myself living there, it always felt like a glorious get away. And that's good, it's nice to dream of tropical destinations, it gives you something to look forward to, to plan for.
But, then there are the places where I can picture myself getting a job, and going to work every day, and making a life there. Amsterdam was one of those places. Hot damn I love that city. If the opportunity arose for me and Evan to live there, I would. In a heartbeat. And then there's THE city. New York City. A lot of people say "I love to visit, but could never live there." And then there are the people who move to NYC, pay a ton of rent to live in tiny little apartments, and just make it happen. And love it. I think I could do that.
Evan and I went for a short visit, to see his sister and meet her new (amazing) baby. We went to almost every neighborhood in Manhattan. We walked across the Brooklyn Bridge. We ate about 6 meals a day. Seriously. Thankfully leggings seemed to be pretty popular there, because that's all I could fit in by the time we left. We spent a ton of time in Central Park. We met up with an old friend. We mastered the subway (that is, until we took the wrong train to the airport and missed our flight home, which happened to be the last flight of the day). We tried to find where Ted lives in How I Met Your Mother. And...we fell absolutely head over heels in love with New York City.
There's something about the energy the city has. And the people. I don't care what you've heard, but the people are NICE. So much more helpful and friendly than in the PNW. Seriously. (Look up Seattle Freeze… it's true). Don't get me wrong, I love Seattle. But, Seattle is conservative (not politically, but you know what i mean…emotionally). In Seattle, people are buttoned up and keep to themselves. I feel like everything is laid back and casual here, but not carefree. In NYC, everyone works hard and plays hard in the city, going out on weeknights…work nights! In Seattle, everyone conserves their energy for the weekend, to get out of the city and go to the mountains. To hike, bike, snowboard, and camp. I love the great outdoors, but I spent the first 18 years of my life out in the country, and it's made me crave the constant hum of a big city.
Speaking of cravings, the food in NYC was incredible. My favorite meals were from Russ and Daughters, Prune, Momofuku Ssam Bar, and of course, Shake Shack. But, after eating pizza, bagels, and mile-high meat filled deli sandwiches, when I got home I wanted nothing but salads and fruit. I've heard that NYC has a pretty good green market scene, but I will say, we have killer farmer's markets here in Seattle, including an incredible Sunday market in my neighborhood. That's where these pea shoots came from. And, since that whole wanting-nothing-but-salads thing only lasted a few days, I made garlicky pea shoot pesto and slathered it inside a gooey grilled cheese sandwich.
Pea Shoot Pesto
Adapted from Coconut & Lime
1 bunch pea shoots/vines, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1/3-1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup toasted pinenuts
juice and zest from one small lemon
salt & pepper
Combine ingredients in a food processor and blend to desired consistency (start with about 1/3 cup of oil, and more as necessary). Salt & pepper to taste.
On slices of your favorite grilled cheese sandwich bread (I used a baguette here, because I had it), spread on a thick layer of the pesto, top with grated mozzarella cheese, sliced cherry tomatoes, and a sprinkle of good flaky sea salt. Top with un-pesto'd bread slice. You can oil, butter, or mayo the outside of the bread if you want, or oil your pan. Grill until melty and gooey and awesome.