I have fallen behind in my blog posting, because the past couple of weeks I’ve been busy running a marathon, a half marathon, eating macarons, and getting people to vote for me to rejoin Team Refuel in 2013! I’m thrilled to announce that I’m a top-10 finalist to win a $500 grant from Got Chocolate Milk, but I need your votes! It only takes 5 seconds, and you can vote daily through 4/5! Furthermore, Got Chocolate Milk will donate $1 to the Challenged Athletes Foundation per vote, so it’s a win-win!
Voting link: http://bit.ly/13L5zWu
Thanks for your support! Regardless of the result, I am grateful to have represented Team Refuel in the 2012 season (I joined in October 2012) and am a proud alumna. I love chocolate milk and I use it as my recovery beverage after each race.
So in mid-March, I ran the Rock ‘n’ Roll USA Marathon, thanks to Team Refuel. I’ll have a whole blog post about that later this week, but I’m happy to say that I surprised myself by running a 4:31:04 on a hilly course through Washington, DC! I was originally aiming for a 4:45:00 or under, but I underestimated my fitness early in the season. I typically peak in late summer/early fall, so it bodes well for the upcoming months that I’m racing…
Macaron Day NYC
On 3/20/13, it was one of my favorite days of the year–Macaron Day in NYC! That’s right, in New York City, there’s an entire day dedicated to bakeries handing out free macarons from opening until close (or whenever they run out). Most bakeries run out by 3pm, since usually quantities are limited to 500 and it’s become so popular. The macaron, not to be confused with the coconutty macaroon, “is a classic French cookie. The soft, crunchy, delicate shell is made from almond flour, sugar and egg whites, sandwiching a smooth layer of creamy ganache. ” (from the Macaron Day website)
I actually had the day off from work on 3/20, so I basically ate my way around the city. I started my macaron adventure in the West Village, where I met up with my friend Stephanie for our first macaron stop. Around 11am we went to Mille-Feuille bakery, where I had my first treat of the day: a salted caramel macaron lollipop!
They also had awesome wall art:
Stephanie and I also hit up Bisous Ciao and Bosie Tea Parlor together. At Bisous Ciao, they gave us a special peanut butter and jelly flavor, and I purchased a Thai Iced Tea flavored macaron and loved it! Stephanie’s favorite was the jasmine flavor at Bosie Tea Parlor.
I also stopped by the Columbus Circle area to eat lunch. So, I have a rule where if I ran a marathon that week, I get to eat whatever I want for that entire week! It’s a way of rewarding myself after racing hard. It’s a good rule, and helps prevent burn-out from all that marathon training. An even better rule is that if I run 100 miles, I get to eat whatever I want for TWO weeks. One day, I had two lunches just because I felt like it. This includes, but is not limited to, lots of dessert and lobster rolls.
I had one lunch at Francois Payard bakery–scrambled egg and bacon on pretzel bread. It was divine.
When I walked by the Time Warner Center, I spotted these:
A random bunny convention/ad in Columbus Circle?? Only in New York…
Tons of people snapped photos.
Next, I went to the Plaza Food Hall and had a lobster roll from Luke’s Lobster, and scooped up some macarons (pistachio and cassis flavors) from Francois Payard at the Plaza and Todd English at the Plaza Food Hall. After eating the lobster roll, I had some Lady M mille-crepe cake. This stuff goes for $7.50 a slice, but it’s the best cake in NYC. (I kept telling myself I earned it, I ran a marathon!)
To finish up my day of chasing macarons, my last stop was Mad Mac at Bernadaud. The owner/chef of Mad Mac, Florian Bellanger, is a judge on Cupcake Wars! He is always there to greet his customers on Macaron Day, plus he had a great deal of 12 macarons for $15, a special just for the occasion. It’s the cheapest price for macarons I’ve seen, and they’re delicious! I bought a box, and felt good about my purchase because a portion of proceeds from macaron sales on 3/20 went to City Harvest! The sample of the day from Mad Mac was pumpkin–with real seeds. It was pretty good.
In all, I set a new PR of about 11 macaron places in 4 hours. My ultrarunning skills were put to good use! I didn’t eat all the macarons at once…some I saved for later. Some other places I visited not mentioned here were: Epicerie Boulud, Macaron Cafe and Bouchon Bakery. Here were the “winners” in my book:
Best Macaron Day sample: salted caramel (Mille-Feuille Bakery)
Most unique flavor: Thai iced tea (Bisous Ciao)
My favorite flavor: cassis (Payard Bakery)
Best decor/set-up: Bisous Ciao (it looks like a jewel box!)
As if that wasn’t enough, once I was done running around for Macarons, I went to the Japan Week celebration in Grand Central Terminal. I love hanging out in Grand Central, and they had a nice set-up with food for sale, information booths, and door prizes.
I sampled some tea and miso soup, saw a 3-D movie about the Shinkansen, and won a small door prize (third prize) in a random draw game. I won a cell phone picture stand that props up my iPhone! It had a picture of the high-speed Mag-Lev trains on it. It was useful, and better than the default prize, which was a pack of tissues! The guy a few places behind me won the grand prize–a $600 train ticket to use in Japan!! Oh well, at least somebody won!
Samsung Galaxy S4 Launch at Radio City
This was one of the cooler promotional events I got to go to–through gdgt, I managed to score tickets to the Samsung Galaxy S4 launch at Radio City Music Hall on 3/14. Since I knew the venue was world-class, I knew it was going to be an awesome event. I went with some friends, including Paul, Teresa, Art and Christie. We lined up about an hour early and the line was already super long. Luckily, we got in without any problems, despite the line being totally disorganized. Before we sat down, we were able to get drinks at an open bar (wine, beer, or soft drinks). The name of the event was Samsung Unpacked, and we weren’t sure what to expect.
They had a ton of introductions by a host (forgot his name), then one of the CEO’s, J.K. Shin (Chief of Mobile Technology). My friends likened him to the Korean Steve Jobs, lol.
It was cool gaining entry into this hot-ticket event, even though we weren’t industry insiders. Everyone around us was working on laptops, clearly blogging/writing about the event. We just sat back and enjoyed it lol. The skits were a bit cheesy, but they showed off the features quite well, and the bi-level sets were elaborate:
There was a full orchestra, a ton of actors, costumes, and the whole thing must have cost millions to put together. Not to mention a viewing party was being held outside in Times Square. Some cool features I picked up on: there is a voice translation software that will translate written words and spoken text to many different languages, there’s a dual camera feature, and a “touchless” screen that detects movement, like the wave of a palm. The display is also pretty sick (some high ppi/pixels per inch), I didn’t take notes though.
Finally, the presentation ended with the first row of the stage flipping up some tables for audience members to play around with, and smiling Samsung staff ready to assist. They had the same demo stages downstairs too.
On the way out, we each grabbed a boxed dinner (pretty tasty–chicken with race and a delicious decorated sugar cookie (it had a “4” on it). As the parting gift, we also got 64GB micro-SD memory cards, pretty cool. Definitely a good event to be at!
A Half Marathon and Amy’s birthday
On 3/23 I ran the 13.1 New York race. I treated it as a training run, having just run the Rock ‘n’ Roll USA Marathon recently and barely having had time to recover. Still, I wanted to run it with a good effort, since I traveled from Brooklyn to Queens to run it! It was a crisp, windy day and there were a good amount of runners.
The course was winding and wet/muddy in some places. It was mostly flat but for a few inclines. I want to give a shout-out to my friend Franchel for running this as his first half marathon! I was very proud of him for finishing–it wasn’t an easy one! Thanks to Shane for coming out to cheer and take pictures.
I ran about a 2:01, a good effort on not-so-fresh legs. I’m using this as a tune-up for my next half-marathon, the More Women’s Half Marathon the second week of April. After the race, I had delicious food from one of my favorite restaurants, Biang! in Flushing. I had the spicy cumin lamb noodles in soup, and the quail egg with sausage on mantou (bread).
I love eating spicy cumin lamb noodles after racing–it’s a comfort food of mine. The appetizer/mantou was also delicious–perfect as a brunch-type food. It’s also a unique dish that I haven’t seen anywhere else!
To cap off my busy day, I went to my sister’s birthday party! Since my sister is a beloved food blogger, I knew the food was going to be awesome. It was a full apartment, and I’m happy I got to celebrate with her and all her favorite people (and animals–two dogs and two cats were present). Happy birthday Amy! Now please pass me a slice of that Momofuku Milk Bar banana cake 🙂