There are a few things that make me feel like a real NYC local – like my weekly grocery shopping at the farmer’s market, taking a morning jog along the East river, the fact that the famous Joe’s Pizza is my local pizza joint, and using any NYC public space as an extension of my living room. There’s a beautiful park with a big grass lawn close to my apartment that I sometimes use for al fresco dining in the summer. My lack of personal outdoor space has been remedied many times by this park. It’s lovely to be there with my fellow New Yorkers and bask in the novelty of sitting on a blanket in the grass in Manhattan. So the other night when my friend and I decided to have dinner in the park I jumped at the chance to make us a picnic friendly dinner. I had just been to the market and it’s heirloom tomato peek season. They have gorgeous tomatoes in every shape, size, and color. This Roasted Garlic & Heirloom Tomato Focaccia is extra sweet from the juicy, ripe tomatoes and perfect to for your next meal – picnic or not!
In NYC we’re constantly dealing with crowds. How could we not with 1.6 million people living in Manhattan plus those that commute in every day? Sometimes you’re caught trying to walk up the stairs on the subway or walk through Union Square and you’re trapped with hundreds of bodies all around you and there’s no place to go. In such situations, I take deep breaths, imagine that I’m in a happier place, and thank god that I’m tall and breathing from a different plain of air than everyone else. Chad, however, dose not have this ability and has huge anxiety when caught in a crowd. He’s figured out drastic ways to avoid them like lining himself up in the subway so it lets out right at the foot of the stairs so he can bolt out before anyone else. He also refuses to go to places that are guaranteed to be a mob scene. Like Soho (specifically Broadway) on a beautiful Saturday, Times Square on any day, and any bar that you have to elbow your way through a crowd to get a drink. He also doesn’t go to NYC grocery stores, especially not during the post-work rush hour. Since I genuinely enjoy grocery shopping and I have the ability to transport myself to the French Alps while waiting on line at Trader Joe’s, grocery shopping predominately falls on me. However, sometimes Chad will do something nice and bring me home a few goodies from the market. It’s usually when I’m away for the weekend and he’s missing me, but he always seems to find something good. This week, I was on a girls trip visiting a friend in Virginia Beach and I came home to this beautiful bouquet of farmer’s market arugula. I know I’m kinda a freak but this arugula was so beautiful it might as well have been a giant bouquet of flowers. So I figured I’d reward him with one of his favorite summertime foods – Pasta Salad. You can thank Chad for the inspiration because boy is this Arugula Caprese Pasta Salad GOOOOD!