Archive | April, 2012

Eating my way around NYC

29 Apr

I’ve spent the last 6 days in NYC for work. I adore NYC, and have had a wonderful time wandering the streets, people watching, and having early morning runs in Central Park. I have also been having a lovely time sampling all the amazing vegan food places.

The first place on the list was Candle Cafe, mostly because it wasn’t far from my hotel so it was logical to eat there on my first night. Candle Cafe is located on the Upper East Side. I had eaten there on previous visits to NYC and had enjoyed it, so was looking forward to returning. Unfortunately, my 2 visits on this occasion were underwhelming. The food was ok, but nothing amazing, and I felt that I could have made something pretty similar myself. Indeed, the Market Plate I had on my first visit was pretty similar to what I make myself most evenings.

The second time I ate there I had their seitan burger. Again, it was nice, but nothing amazing, and after two underwhelming eating experiences, and luke-warm service from the staff I figured that I really couldn’t be bothered returning to Candle Cafe again.

The next place I ate was Angelica Kitchen. Angelica Kitchen was one of the first vegan restaurants I ever ate at in NYC, and still remains a firm favourite. They have a wonderful menu, but also change the specials every day, so you are always sure to find something exciting to eat. I ate there three times during this trip. The first time I enjoyed a Sweet Potato and Sweetcorn soup with Angelica Cornbread, and their legendary walnut lentil pate. 

I enjoyed this so much I had the walnut lentil pate the second time I dined there. The soup was different, and I didn’t fancy it, so I ordered the Angelica cornbread with their Miso Tahini Spread (amazing).

The third time I ate there, the special on the menu was Randle Patrick McTempeh (gluten free)

Tangy grilled tempeh baked in an apricot marinade, & topped with
caramelized onions accented with thyme; served with a red quinoa-quinoa-amaranth blend. Accompanied by broccoli & roasted carrots; garnished with
wild dandelion greens.  Oh my, it was delicious. If you are ever in NYC I do heartily recommend Angelica Kitchen.

In addition to delicious meals, I have also been filling up on vegan junk-food, and probably adding lbs to my current weight (serious diet time when I get back to the UK). Some of the highlights include a trip to Babycakes NYC for delicious, gluten-free baked goods. I enjoyed a piece of their chocolat

e crumb cake, and also one of their chocolate glazed doughnuts.

I also went to stogo for some vegan ice-cream. The amazing thing about stogo is not only the huge range of delicious dairy-free ice-cream. They also stock Babycakes NYC baked goods, which means that you can use 2 Babycakes NYC cookies to make an ice-cream sandwich. Oh yes, the image is chocolate chip cookies wrapped around some pistachio ice-cream! Heaven, and impossible to eat in a lady-like manner!

So, my recommendations should you be visiting NYC: definitely hit Angelica Kitchen, Babycakes and Stogo. Give Candle Cafe a miss, there are better places to eat in Manhattan, and you won’t be missing anything by not eating there.

Teesdale Way: Stapleton to Gainsford

22 Apr

Lovely 11.5 mile walk along the Tees from Stapleton to Gainsford today. We were very lucky with the weather and only had one bad downpour, with the weather staying fair for the rest of the day.


We walked into Piercebridge and spent some time exploring the Roman fort there, which had been built to protect and manage the crossings over a wooden bridge over the Tees.

A lovely walk, and a nice post-walk drink in the pub too. 🙂

Summer Running

21 Apr

I’ve been ramping up the miles with the running recently, and have really been enjoying it.

I’ve decided to spend the summer solidifying my 10k distance, so have booked in several 10k races for the summer:

My current schedule fits around my hiking, and the rest of my busy life, and looks something like this:

  • Monday: Fast 20 minute run
  • Tuesday: 40 minutes on the cross trainer in the gym
  • Wednesday: 45 minutes run
  • Thursday: 40 minutes on the cross trainer in the gym
  • Friday: 45-50 minute run
  • Saturday: Long run (currently at 60 mins, will slowly increase this over the summer)
  • Sunday: Hiking with Darlington Dales and Hills

Obviously life happens too, so with the two gym days it is easy to move things around if needs be, to ensure that I get the most out of each week’s training. I’m also being careful to listen to my body and to take a rest day every 7 – 10 days to enable my body to repair itself. I learnt the hard way how frustrating it can be when you ignore your body and get injured, as you can’t train at all then, and that sucks!

I’m tracking my training on daily mile. Friend me on there if you like! 🙂

Cauldron Snout

15 Apr


Today’s walk with Darlington Dales and Hills was an easy 6.5 miles to Cauldron Snout. We had a really good turn out, including 6 people walking with us for the first time. The weather, however, was pretty unpleasant. We had a bit of sun, but a lot of strong, cold northerly wind, and at times snow! In April?! I know!

The pace was fairly leisurely, but that suited me as my achilles was a bit sore after yesterday’s run.


15th April 2012

15 Apr

I’ve been a bit quiet of late, but it is simply that I seem to have been so, so busy!

I spent the Easter weekend up at my parents house in Northumberland. I adore it up there. When I win the lottery I plan to move up there to live, and own lots of dogs, but until then I have to make do with occasional trips to visit the parents instead. 

The weather over the weekend was pretty unpredictable. One minute the sun would be shining, and then the  next the heavens would open and we would get drenched, and all the time there was a strong, cold wind from the north west. Even so, most of the beaches we visited for walking had hardy families on them trying to make the most of their Easter break in full British style by spending the day on the beach well wrapped up and trying to keep the sand out of their sandwiches. I don’t think anyone was brave enough to actually take a paddle in the sea, but we did see a couple of surfers head down to the waterline in a rather optimistic attempt at a ride.

The best walk we did was on the Friday when we walked on Ross Sands, which is quite difficult to find. The beach takes you from Budle Bay right the way along towards Lindisfarne, so the views of Holy Island are absolutely brilliant. When we reached the end of the beach we could smell this really strong, unpleasant smell. Rhiw was pretty interested and we thought that perhaps a dead seal had been washed up on the sand nearby, but as we rounded a corner we realised that there was a massive seal colony on the sands at the end of the beach, and what we could smell was actually the seals! There must have been about 50 of them all up on the sands barking and howling at each other. We didn’t get too close because we didn’t want to disturb them, but that was pretty cool. I visited the Farne Islands last year and even then I don’t think I ever saw so many seals together in one place. We turned to walk back to the car and noticed on the sand the marks of a seal making it’s way up the beach, and then the slithery marks of the seal heading back down to the water. It had used it’s claws on the way up the beach, and it was really interesting to see the impression it had made in the sand during the progress of its journey.

As well as exploring the beaches near my parent’s house, we also had a good wander through the fields. The village my parents live in is surrounded by farms, and as an animal lover it is always great to see so many lovely animals in the fields. Next door keep chickens, who are always wandering all over the village (they really are free range!) Dad gives them the stale crusts off the bread occasionally so when you go outside they will come running up to you. They really are very lovely and very funny. The cockerel fusses around them and shows off his shiny tail feathers. Rhiw doesn’t really like them and chases them whenever they come onto the drive. The neighbour had left a dozen of their eggs for my parents on Saturday when we got back from our walk. Mum made egg sandwiches for her and dad’s lunch and I have never seen such golden yolks. I guess that’s what you get from truly free range chickens, and not the sad sort that lay eggs for supermarkets.

There are also horses in the village, including a couple of brown Shetland ponies. Each day on the way out for our walks we would stop and give them a couple of carrots. Mum and Dad aren’t sure what their names are but we call them Cadbury and Buttons. There are also some larger horses next door called Joe, Leo and Solli.

Easter is the time of year when all the lambs are in the fields around my parent’s house too. Last year I visited towards the end of lambing, when things were a bit more quiet, and the farmer invited us over to the farm to visit the lambing sheds. That was really interesting, and I hoped that they might invite us over again, but Easter was much earlier this year so I think they were still really busy with lambing, and we didn’t see them the whole weekend to see whether it would be ok to visit. Even so, the fields around the house were absolutely full of gorgeous little lambs, bouncing around and exploring.

We drove over to Embleton to go to the pub one afternoon (which turned out to be closed unfortunately) and came across a lamb that had escaped onto the road. He had a bloody nose where he had bashed himself against the fence trying to get back to his mum, so we stopped the car and Dad threw him back over so that he didn’t get hit by a car! Sheep really are proper little Houdinis!

So, Easter was quite lovely with lots of nice walks, coffee in Alnwick, and lots of gorgeous baby animals to coo over. Mum and Dad know better than to buy me a chocolate egg for Easter (if I have one I will eat one and that is never a good thing) so instead they got me a box of Lush goodies (several bath ballistics and a tub of Turkish Delight shower smoothie) which I was thrilled about. It’s dreadful that at 32 your parents still buy you an Easter present, but hey, if they get me lovely Lush products I am not going to complain!!

Since I got home from Canada (and Northumberland) I have been doing a load of running. I am really into my running at the moment, and have been clocking up the miles quite happily several times a week. I tried for a Great North Run ballot place, but didn’t succeed. Even so, I’m training as if I got a place, and then if a friend gets injured or drops out, perhaps they will let me take their place. 

I noticed that I was getting a sore left knee, or right ankle, and it occurred to me that my running shoes are now a couple of years old. I over pronate on my left foot and wear support shoes. I must have done far, far more than the recommended 500 miles in my running shoes and I supposed the support wasn’t working quite as well as it should be. So I decided it was time to replace my shoes. I got exactly the same type as I had used previously as I had been very pleased with them (and they were vegan too), but in black this time. They arrived on Friday, so yesterday I took them out for a 6 mile run to try them out.

Immediately I noticed the difference in terms of support. It is really obvious that my old trainers haven’t been supporting my feet well for a while, so I am very lucky that I haven’t injured myself. They felt a lot better and had a lot more cushioning in them, which made the whole run a lot more comfortable. I did a PB over the 6 miles (64 minutes), which I was thrilled about. I had a bit of a sore left Achilles yesterday afternoon where my new trainers had been pressing on them, but I think that is a wearing in problem and in a few weeks that will all have settled down as they soften and get worn in. Overall I was pretty pleased.

Back in Blighty

3 Apr

I’m back in the UK.
The journey home was pretty quick. Too quick really. I can sleep pretty much anywhere but with the flight only being 7 hours there wasn’t really enough time to get any decent sleep in. As a result I felt pretty grim once I got back in to the UK.

So, 12 hours sleep and I’m feeling a whole lot more human, and look mostly human except a blood vessel burst in my right eye on the way home so I have a lovely zombie red eye going on (seriously attractive!)

I went for a run on the treadmill at the gym today (5.3 miles, 54 minutes).
My running is going really well at the moment. I tried to get a ballot place for this year’s Great North Run, but unfortunately I wasn’t successful. Several of the walking group have a place so I’m training for it regardless and plan to be first reserve for any of the group that get injured and can’t take part. And if I don’t get a reserve place, training to get my mileage up to 12 miles won’t do me any harm whatsoever. 🙂