Posts tagged americanicons

Turning Into a Stunt Woman For Apple Picking

Friends,

what are your favorite fall traditions? I’m currently experiencing my first American fall and have quickly learned that at least here in New England going apple picking is a MUST and has to be done.

Otherwise you’re not doing fall the right way.

Last weekend we decided to rent a car and headed out to the countryside. We went to Connor’s Farm (find more info about it here), which has been around since 1904. It’s basically a farm version of Disneyland, where kids (and adults alike) can indulge in playing all types of games, stroking baby animals, picking apples, shooting apples at targets (yes, that was a thing), eating lots of hot apple cider donuts and finding your way out of a corn maze (and getting lost lots of times on the way….and kind of getting scared that you’ll never get out AND thinking how all those parents let their kids go in on their own). It’s a pretty fun activity, I have to say.

Also, picking apples at the end of the season will have you pull off dangerous stunts (you didn’t know you were capable of) in order to get those last apples hanging (usually on top of the tree…of course). But hey, you have to work to get those apples.

Now we’re stuck with a mountain of delicious apples and I am researching all types of apple related recipes. If you have one you like, be sure to share it!

Have a great day!

 

Go Crimson! Attending a Harvard Basketball Game

Americans, you definitely know how to put on a show.

We went to see two basketball games over the last 7 days. One at TD Garden (Boston Celtics against the Milwaukee Buicks) and the other one was the Crimson Madness at the newly renovated Lavietes Pavilion. After seeing two baseball games in Fenway Park and a NBA and a College Basketball game it is pretty clear to me (Red Sox fans close your eyes or stop reading) that basketball is just SO SO MUCH more interesting and fun to watch. If you want to know more about our basketball adventures you may read on.

What is Crimson Madness you ask? I didn’t know either, so let’s get that out of the way first. Crimson Madness officially kicks off the 2017-18 Harvard Men’s Basketball season.

And, let me tell you, it was a very entertaining evening.

As images always do a better job at conveying a feeling or atmosphere I’ve included the official little recap that the HarvardAthletics account posted on Youtube a couple of days ago.

So here’s what’s happened as advertised before the game:

  • Special welcome from Coach Tommy Amaker
  • Pregame dunk contest
  • Three-point shootout
  • Intra-squad scrimmage
  • FREE giveaways
  • FREE team photos and rosters
  • Post-game autograph session

It was really impressive seeing how professional the set-up with all the analysts, team assistants, journalists, screens, cheerleaders, dance teams, athletes and trainers looked. I almost don’t wanna say it but seeing the whole thing made me realize that many European professional teams would have a hard time competing with that. Ok that might be a bit exaggerated but still, you get the gist. Harvard Basketball have their s*** together.

Overall, it was an interesting American experience, with the national anthem playing at the beginning, an inspirational address by coach Amaker, new and current players were introduced as if they were super rockstars entering the arena, free shirts were thrown into the audience, cheerleaders and dance teams presented their choreographies, food and snacks and you get the picture. After a short intra-squad game people would even go down to see the players and ask for their autographs.

If any of you are local readers, check out Harvard Athletics schedule here, it’s worth taking your friends and family out to a game as it was great fun!

When Science Meets Cooking

Hi friends,

if this post can do anything, I hope that it’ll make you curious to learn about new things or to at least consider your next cooking session a real science project. Because you know what? Cooking is science (not only of course but you’ll know better what I mean in a second)!

Harvard Science and Cooking Lecture – What it is

What made me think about food and cooking that way? It most definitely was attending the Harvard Science and Cooking Public Lecture. It’s a public and free lecture series organized by the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard and it pairs Harvard professors with celebrated food experts and renowned chefs to showcase the science behind different culinary techniques. Cool, right?

It’s already in its seventh year and you’re able to find some old and new footage of recorded lectures online over at the Harvard YouTube channel. If a rainy day comes around again and you are somewhat interested in food and/or science, this is be a fantastic way to spend your time. Let me know what you thought! So if you aren’t a local (full schedule of upcoming lectures and guest to be found here), check out some of the videos below and on YouTube.

The last lecture I attended was by the great local superstar and Harvard graduate Joanne Chang and it was all about the science of sugar. While I wasn’t able to find the video about the talk I attended I managed to find the video of the lecture she did back in 2015. It’s just really cool to learn about sugar in such a new and unexpected way. Have a watch!

Take a course on EDX or just watch them online

Another great way to stay in the know if you’re even more curious is to enroll for a free and self-paced course over at EDX, check here for more information.

Some other interesting talks so far were about the art of fermentation and the science of risotto. Here come the videos, have a great week everyone!

 

America’s Pumpkin Obsession

When do you really know that it’s fall here in America?

It’s not the calendar that tells you (like everywhere else in the world) we’ve entered a new season, it’s Starbucks actually. People went crazy when Starbucks put the Pumpkin Spice Latte back on the menu a couple weeks ago as they do every fall.

People went nuts on Instagram using the infamous #PSL tag, which obviously (!?) means Pumpkin Spice Latte.

Anyways, a trip to any supermarket will confirm the obsession people have here with all things pumpkin related. From invading coffee to Oreos to beer, the P.S.L. (you’re an insider now, you’re welcome) obsession has truly gotten out of control.

There are such things like pumpkin pasta Sauce, pumpkin vodka, pumpkin spice eggnog, pumpkin shower gels, pumpkin spice M&Ms, pumpkin spice Hummus, pumpkin body butter, pumpkin protein, pumpkin spice flavored pringles. I think you get the idea. They’re crazy about pumpkins. It’s also a huge family tradition for lots of people to go pumpkin patches and pick their own pumpkins.

One of the things I definitely understand the obsession with are pumpkin pies. If you fancy doing some baking, there goes a recipe you might want to try (->Bon Appetit recipe). Let me know how it went!

What are your favorite fall traditions?

 

 

America’s Food Truck Obsession

Hi friends,

A phenomena that I’ve come across here in the US over and over again, no matter where I go, is that food trucks are incredibly popular. Way more than in Europe. They literally are everywhere on university campuses such as Harvard or MIT, actually on any bigger place in downtown in the midst of all the office buildings and spread around the city. Heck, the city of Boston even has an official food truck map and a schedule sorted by neighborhood on their website (check it out here if you’re a local reader and wish to know when you’re favorite food truck will stop nearby you). There are food truck festivals basically every weekend. Yes. We take our food trucks seriously around here.

The popularity of Food Trucks in the US

After the recession the popularity of food truck has gotten a huge boost as many people that got laid off decided to take the risk of running their own business. These mobile restaurants are more affordable than a “real restaurant” and as they run on volume they can reach high sales pretty quickly. What type of food would you serve up in your own food truck if you ever were to open one? (I looooved the Cookie Monstah food truck, AH-MAZING cookies).

San Francisco: The Food Edit

Dear all,

as mentioned in yesterday’s post, we ate quite a lot of food in San Francisco. So if you ever find yourself in beautiful San Francisco you might want to check those places out. Have a great week!

Coffee

My two favorite coffee spots by far were Sightglass and Wrecking Ball.

Sightglass is packed with people working, studying or tourists. If you ever find yourself in SOMA, absolutely give it a try. It’s a cool industrial space with an inhouse roastery. We had a coffee and an iced vanilla coffee, which is one of their specialties. I’m usually a bit skeptical about any flavored coffee drinks. But seriously, this was so delicious. Flavorful without being cloyingly sweet, the vanilla cold brew combines traditional cold brew with vanilla bean paste, a touch of agave, and your choice of almond or whole milk. You can control the sweetness level by adding or skipping additional sugar and people, it was the best pick me up on a hot day. Oh, and their pastries are delicious, too. Aw, bring me back. 

Wrecking Ball, located on the cute Union Street in Cow Hollow, has the most beautiful wallpaper I’ve ever seen that’s for sure. They take their coffee making equally as seriously as their decorating and even though the pastry selection is not super big, the things they have on offer are absolutely delicious. The chocolate cookie and the scone (that I accidentally let fall on the floor, oops) were very delicate and tasted great.

Mexican Food

As I had written in yesterday’s post, we ate lots of Mexican food during this roadtrip and San Francisco was no exception. My absolute favorite was La Taqueria in the Mission district. A really no frills, down to earth place (where you obviously have to wait in line, because we’re in San Francisco remember?). Their vegetarian burrito is super flavorful. I don’t know what it is but let someone who has been eating lots of burritos lately tell you that they are freakin delicious at La Taqueria. I’d recommend a Mexican beer or agua fresca to go along with it and. There goes your satisfying and filling dinner. Other mentions go out to Tacolicious and Gracias Madre. Gracias Madre deserves a special mention as it is a vegan Mexican place. Yes. El Techo is a super popular roof top space in Mission District as well (waiting in line if you haven’t reserved is the normal), where we had a nice dinner with the lovely Alex and Marcus. However, even though the food was fine I’d rather recommend you go there for drinks and snacks but not for dinner as it is quite pricey for what you get.

Light Lunch

Like everywhere in California, healthy food seems to be on offer everywhere so finding a lighter lunch when we know that we’ll be going out in the evening is really an easy endeavor.

Some of our favorite spots for delicious (how many times have I used that word already?) and nutritious meals were:

Seed and Salt, Mixt and Blue Barn Gourmet. Seed and Salt being the vegan and suuuuuuuuper ultra mega healthy option (almost a little too much if you know what I mean). If you’re really serious about your nutrition and want to be able to choose between 10 different types of Kombucha and blackbean tempeh or eggplant bacon, this is your place. However, what I’ll say is that it is quite pricey.

Another great place to grab a quick bite to eat is Mixt. They’re spread all over the city, yet it’s not a boring ‘put-your-own-salad-together’ place  as they really offer creative and different ingredients and dressings. Definitely give it a try. Last but not least, Blue Barn has some nice sandwiches, burgers and rich salads on their menu. We went to their location on Chestnut Street in the Marina, which is definitely a nice spot to sit outside and watch people walking by.

Breakfast Diner style

Philipp will sometimes say that I pay too much attention to what places look like and that I get sucked into all the so called ‘hipster’ places. To proof him wrong we went to a really nice diner place called Louis. It’s basically egg heaven. Every type of omelette, scramble, pancake, waffle, you’ll find it there. Bonus. You can walk your breakfast off afterwards by discovering the ruins of the Sutro Baths just next door.

Best Dinner at Al’s Place

Thanks to my beautiful friend Deana’s recommendation we ended up making a reservation at Al’s Place. It was our first dinner in the city and I was really blown away. The plates are creative and delicate in taste and will leave you feeling very satisfied. Never have I had a smoked apple sauce with fries but…oh HOW delicious.

Sweets and Treats

So this is a tough one. After having had a delicious dinner at Al’s place on our first evening, we wandered off, walking around Mission district and ended up at Mission Park. Right across there’s the famous Bi-Rite creamery. It’s renown and famous for its ice cream. And because it’s that famous you have to….yes, you’ve guessed it, stand in line. I had a lot of convincing to do but we stood in line. However, I think the ice cream really wasn’t worth it (which was obviously not easy to admit after the whole standing in line thing if you know what I mean). I opted for a scoop of the peach Cobbler and the ricanela. The next day we went on a Mission food tour (thanks again to my great friends Lory, Laubine and Christine for giving us such a thoughtful gift) and well, we ended up going to the Bi-Rite creamery again (with no waiting time as we were on the tour, oops). They’re famous for their salted caramel flavour and I’ll say that one was good but still not mind-blowing.

Another very popular place is Tartine Bakery. You’ll recognize it from afar because of the long line in front of the building. My strategy this time was to go in at the end of the day but still, I wasn’t convinced entirely. It got me thinking that every regular bakery in Switzerland will offer the same if not better tasting chocolate croissant or treats. That was a bit of a bummer (#firstworldproblems). Lastly, one of the probably most instagrammed places we went to was Mr. Holmes. We got a peach apple cardamom danish pastry and an apple pie monkey bread. Ok but not more that I’d say.    

Drinks

I applaude you, if you’ve made it up to this point. We’re done soon, I promise.

One place we had to visit was Trick Dog Bar or else our dear friend Simon would not have talked to us anymore (I guess that’s a bit exaggerated but still he is serious about his drinks and wanted us to try them at Trick Dog Bar). They will serve up the most creative and what seems crazy combinations you’ve probably ever seen (or have you ever seen a Peanut Butter Cocktail before?). Definitely worth visiting if you’re into creative drinks.

Poetry Books I’m Loving

Friends,

I never used to be into poetry but I’ve been getting into it more and more lately. Time to share some of my favorites, you might like them, too.

#1 Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

I KNOW. I KNOW. You’re like, ‘Sandra really? This is old news’. And I know, you’re right. Rupi Kaur’s first book, Milk and Honey, already sold 1.4 million copies (what! amazing!). It’s been an immense success and to be honest I waited a long time before giving it a read. I was just thinking how there was that huge hype around that 24 year old girl that became famous thanks to Instagram. But. I have to says: The hype was/is absolutely justified (in my opinion). If you’re into contemporary poetry that you can actually understand and you do enjoy beautiful and delicate illustrations, this is the book for you. One of my favorite poems:

“for you to see beauty here
does not mean there is beauty in me
it means there is beauty rooted so deep within you
you can’t help but
see it everywhere”

#2 Ariel by Sylvia Plath

#4 Howl by Allen Ginsberg

#5 Averno by Louise Glück

Ups And Downs at Harvard Stadium (aka Getting Very Sweaty)

Hi friends,

how are you doing today? Is there an iconic workout or workout place where you live? I’m thinking something along the lines of the 72 steps before the entrance of the Philadelphia Museum of Art that Rocky runs up and down?

If I had to name such an iconic workout for Cambridge it would clearly be running up and down the steps at Harvard Stadium. Let me elaborate a little bit.

The country’s oldest stadium

People have been running the steps ever since Harvard Stadium was built, in 1903. The stadium consists of 31 levels of concrete seats across 37 sections.

The workout

Typically runners ascend along the larger seats and come down the smaller steps. You’ll repeat that 37 times and after having done 1147 steps you’ll be happy you’ve survived. OH YES.

Obviously, Harvard athletes train in the stadium, however, it is also open to the public. It’s really been a cool experience and I think I will definitely go back and try to run the steps as fast as I can (now that I know how it all works).

My main take away was that it’s not speed that matters, but the mere act of getting out and pushing your limits. And finishing something you started. Thanks to my great fitness squad! WE MADE IT! 

Have a fantastic last week of August!

My NYC Food Guide

Friends!

I went to New York last week and was BLOWN AWAY. Yet again. Like everytime actually. This city is just so powerful in every possible way.

Overwhelming, huge, intense, never boring, exciting, multifaceted, a little intimidating, and the list goes on. How would you describe your experience in New York if you’ve ever visited before? I’d love to know in the comments below.

All of the adjectives listed above actually also apply to a specific field I want to cover today: The food. I once read that you could have dinner every day of your life at a restaurant in NYC and never nearly have seen everything. There are just SO many restaurants and places to get food. Crazy.

In order to help you out a little here (and for my own memory keeping) I thought I’d collect my favorite food spots in NYC, especially the ones I got to try during my last visit around.

Breakfast of dreams

I am a breakfast person. That’s what I am.

It’s a good thing actually. Except when I want to eat everything on a menu. It’s definitely the meal I feel I can eat the most. So.

If you’re into breakfast as much as me and find yourself in the Midtown area, definitely check out Penelope. It’s a beautiful place with a neighboorhoody feel to it and the most MOST delicious French Toast and pancakes ever. The omelettes and eggs were great, too, I was told. I wasn’t too interested in them though, my main focus clearly being on the French Toast and pancakes. Normal. 

If you’re into the whole French bistro ambiance thing gone NYC style, you have to go for brunch at Balthazar.

Is it bad that I got to know about this place because of an actress (hey Mindy Kaling) that once posted a delicious photo of when she visited? The good thing is that it brought me there, right?

Anways, it’s a beautiful place in Soho where I’ve had the best Eggs Florentine of my life (ok, haven’t had that many so far but it was D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S). My mouth is watering right now. Did I even tell you that I am trying out to go vegan for this and next week as a little experiment. Already missing those eggs. Not a good sign I guess. Anyways, I’m regressing. If you still want to get your sweet fix but the place is full (reservations highly recommended), fear not, I have a solution for you. They have a little tucked-away bakery (LOVELY) next to the restaurant where you can get the best orangy brioche and pain of chocolat. HEAVENLY.

Coffee Stop

We were lucky enough to stay at the Ace Hotel in Midtown (beautiful hotel) but were even luckier to find out that there was a Stumptown Coffeebar inside the lobby. We obviously had coffee there EVERY DAY as it just was the perfect cup of coffee. I know I know by now you think, woman, relax, don’t get excited as much as that. But it was just so perfect. Please, do me a favor and go to one of the Stumptown places if you’re ever in New York. Ok? Thanks.

Light Lunch Fusion Style

We were walking lots everyday (we were visiting with my parents btw) and after having had good breakfast/brunches we’d rather keep lunches light or skip them after all only to have a little snack in the afternoon so that we could fully enjoy our dinners in the evenings.

A good place to have a light lunch however and that we all loved was Momofuku Nishi. It’s the one Momofuku restaurant that offers Asian cuisine with an Italian twist. Yup. Sounds interesting. Tastes delicious. Try it!

It’s Dinner Time

Oh Oh Oh. The dinners we had. Let me start with the first one.

It’s not a glamorous place, quite the contrary actually. But it’s such a good experience and such an iconic one, too. I’m talking about Katz’s Delicatessen. If you’ve ever been in New York but haven’t visited Katz’s, please do it next time you go and find yourself in the amazing LES. The atmosphere is just so much fun and the food is…well..nourishing! Not suited for vegans though might I add.

Jack’s Wife Freda: Beautiful little spot in West Village with small but delicious menu. GO!

Tacombi: I mean. Who doesn’t love Mexican food? No one, right? Tacombi is an oldie but goodie. I’ve almost always had at least one meal at Tacombi while being in New York. We went to the spot in Nolita and if you try to come a bit earlier than the big crowd (around 6.30 pm) you’ll easily get a table. Oh the food. Pure bliss.

Two other great places worth visiting are Egg Shop and The Butcher’s Daughter! Let me know if you have any other ‘must’ places in NYC, I’d love to hear!

My First Baseball Game: The Report

Hi friends,

long time no see, how are you? I have been enjoying having my friends around me for the last week. We’ve had a wonderful time and I am really thankful for having them in my life, they’re just the BEST. Fortunately, the weather has also been amazing (it’s going to change back to ‘meh’ tomorrow though) so we were able to do cool little roadtrips off to Providence and the Cape (more on that to follow).

In the meantime, one of the dare I say, most interesting experiences of the week was catching a Red Sox game at the iconic Fenway Park.

Thanks again to my former co-workers and team at Publicis who actually gave us those tickets as a gift. Thank you! 

As seeing a baseball game (especially one of the Red Sox) is such an iconic part of Bostonian life I thought that I had to cover it here and tell you a little bit more about it. I feel that we Europeans have NO clue about baseball. So, you ready? Let’s get started!

The Red Sox and Fenway Park

The Red Sox are a baseball team based in Boston that has been founded in 1901 and calls Fenway Park (with its about 38’000 seats) its home ballpark since 1912. The Red Sox’s arch enemy are the Yankees.

The experience and the food

I mean, you’re in America. You’ll have LOTS of food and drinks options everywhere around. We obviously went for Fenway Franks (hot dogs), fries and beer. BTW, they are pretty liberal it seems with the beer consumption in the stadium, which is a nice change to the rather strict alcohol policy in the city.

The preferred sweets (besides all the possible candy you could think of like M&Ms etc.) seemed to be cotton candy and soft ice cream. Fun times. We definitely didn’t starve.

The game

Is baseball possibly the most complicated sport ever? I feel like there are so many statistics and strange rules (that I obviously don’t know) that make it kind of hard to follow. More on that a bit further down below. So. Long story short: I will actually spare you the details on the whole rules and strategy as I personally found it rather boring.

If you really want to know more about it and about all the stats and stuff check this site out (if you’re really serious about itor the corresponding wikipedia entry for a more softer version.

What I can tell you is that (even I understood that) the Red Sox played terribly and lost 10-5 against the Tampa Bay Rays. Info over.

The music

O-M-G. The music. SO. MUCH. fun.

My favorite part besides the snacks and the overall fun atmosphere must have been the music.

I was super surprised to find out that the players are actually allowed to choose their music when they play. And dare I say, it seems that they are big Kanye and Drake fans.

Absolutely go and check the player music out here. It’s so fun (how many times am I going to say that). Still, that’s one thing I find they could take over for soccer games, how funny would that be?

Also, Sweet Caroline by Neil Diamond is an anthem for the Red Sox and of course they played it when we were there, so I had to record it. Loving the couple next to us that is super happy about it and singing along.

Why I kind of don’t like baseball

While I really liked the atmosphere, the food, the music and the people I didn’t leave Fenway park as a new fan. I find that the game itself is quite boring (baseball fans don’t hate me), slow and not creative. It’s the same kind of predictable moves on repeat except that you don’t know if they are going to hit the ball or miss it (which by the way they miss A LOT).

Still, I would warmly recommend it to anyone visiting the city as it is such a unique overall experience sitting in such an old and traditional place like Fenway Park.

Thanks again Publicis Team! And talk to you next week.

American Events: The Boston Marathon

Hi everyone, wassup?

I think I might have found out what seems to be the most important sports event in the Bostonian calendar (besides Super Bowl): The Boston Marathon. It’s a holiday actually as the race is held on Patriot’s Day. Ergo: People are happy to have a day off and use it to join the celebrations in the city. It’s a huge party in other words!

Reasons enough to share little bits and bobs about its history with you today as it will be happening next Monday.

How it all started and why the race is always on a Monday

John Graham, who was inspired by the marathon at the first modern Olympic Games in Athens in 1896, wanted to have a marathon in Boston, too. With the help of a friend, he planned out a route throughout the city and its surroundings and got started. The first marathon took place on April 19, 1897.

Fifteen runners started the race but only 10 made it to the finish line. Oops.

Originally, the Boston Marathon was held on Patriot’s Day, April 19, a regional holiday that commemorates the beginning of the Revolutionary War. In 1969, Patriots Day was officially moved to the third Monday in April and the race has been held on that Monday ever since.

The first woman running the marathon (as a man)…

Women were not allowed to enter the Boston race officially until 1972 (what, booh), but Roberta “Bobbi” Gibb couldn’t wait: In 1966, she became the first woman to run the entire Boston Marathon, but had to hide in the bushes near the start until the race began. In 1967, Kathrine Switzer, who had registered as “K. V. Switzer”, was the first woman to run with a race number. Switzer finished even though officials tried to physically remove her from the race after she was identified as a woman.

Only in 1971 were women allowed to enter in the marathon. One year after that, Nina Kuscsik became the first official female participant to win the Boston Marathon.

The bombings in 2013

On April 15, 2013, two bombs went off near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three spectators and wounding more than 260 other people. Four days later, the police captured 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, whose older brother and fellow suspect, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, died following a shootout with law enforcement earlier that same day. Tsarnaev was found guilty in 2015 of helping carry out the attack, as well as fatally shooting a policeman and was sentenced to death.