Sunday, March 11, 2012

Great Food and Some Elton

I volunteered at Cook Orlando this weekend, which is a fund raising event to benefit The Human Rights Campaign (HRC). They are primarily a lobbying organization that pushes the Federal Government to enforce equal rights, specifically for the LGBT community, I don't agree with everything they push for, in many cases I think they go too extreme when a more moderate take could get more progress faster, but at least they're doing something. So I decided to get involved, I'd rather be doing something than nothing as well.

Cook Orlando is a food festival, local restaurants set up tents and offer mini versions of their best dishes, there are drinks and music. Guests pay $45 for entry and unlimited food and then the culmination is an iron chef like cook off between the two most popular restaurants.

I worked the registration table and was given a 30 min break to eat and enjoy the festivities. I had so much fun. I met some great people, the food was amazing and it felt good to get out and help the community.

To make a good weekend great I also had tickets to go see Elton John play Saturday night. Now I'm not a huge fan of his but he's such an iconic figure I figured it was a no brainer. He was so adorable. After practically every song he would jump up and thank the crowd, pointing at us saying 'no you're wonderful'. During one song he and his band just jammed for nearly 30 minutes and he played the piano for every single number. The crowd was kind of lame so his encore was short, but he came back out and shook hands and signed autographs for a ton of fans along the stage. Overall it was a very worthwhile experience!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

NYC At Last

I tried to go to NYC last weekend but the flights were too full. I've been wanting to get out of town, I've been jonesing for an NYC fix and I needed some catch up time with my buddy there so rather than hope Delta would cooperate I took matters in to my own hands and *gasp!* purchased a ticket.

I went out Friday night and flew home Monday early in the morning so I was at work by noon. Sounds a like a quick trip but three nights and two full days was just what I needed. After an hour of catching up on life with my buddy it was like always, like no time had passed since we last hung out. He had all sorts of things planned for us ranging from uber touristy to totally local. I have an art project in mind that requires lots of great shots of architecture and angles so that guided our travels ab it as well.

Saturday we walked over the Brooklyn Bridge, visited the newly opened 9/11 memorial, went to the Chelsea Market and had pizza at a new place he's been wanting to try. This is my favorite pic from the trip, taken from this elevated park they've built on an old railway platform.

Sunday we slept in a bit and braved the overcast, chilly day to wander Central Park, hitting some spots I hadn't been to yet, like Strawberry Field, then we went by Lincoln Center and did a little shopping for houseware goods (sounds boring but Bed Bath & Beyond NYC style is interesting!). For dinner Sunday we went to a Ramen place he'd been wanting to try but since they always have a killer long wait he just hadn't made it there yet. After an hour wait we only occupied our chairs for about 30 minutes, the soup was so good we slurped it down in record time. My wassabi veggie broth was so flavorful with these sweet bean curds on top - oh my. Then, as if that weren't enough of a treat for my belly we went to Milk, a place that specializes in wacky flavors of soft serve. I had Fried Apple Pie ice cream with Cornflake sprinkles. I kid you not, it tasted not only like apple pie but like FRIED apple pie. Yummy but bizarre.

It was the perfect blend of playing tourist, relaxing and catching up with a good friend. Paired with last weekend's beach trip I'm feeling quite content and loved :)

All of my photos are posted on Flickr here.