Lens on November 2018

It was a busy month at work for me, but I still managed to enjoy lots of food, fun and even a trip out of the city (in addition to a family-filled Thanksgiving!)


A smattering of different cuisines this month, yum!

Up Thai (Upper East Side) – delicious food in a nicely decorated setting with excellent service – and right near a subway to boot – A+!

Heart-warming soup at B&H Dairy

B&H Dairy (East Village) – consistently good Kosher dairy food. Get the matzo ball soup and challah slices.

Buns Burgers (Rhinebeck, NY) – a dinner stop during a weekend trip upstate. Since I’m vegetarian and my husband doesn’t eat gluten, we shared a cheeseburger (burger on the side) and some fries and a chocolate shake. Everything was DELICIOUS!!!

Our feast at La Masa

La Masa (Morris Park, Bronx) – Their website claims to have the best Colombian empanadas in the city and they may be right. With an extensive menu of dishes and a large selection of empanadas, there is something for everyone (and can meet most dietary needs). I had the garlic shrimp lunch special which was pretty good, and topped it off with an apple pie empanada… definitely would like to go back for more!

Vegetarian sampler at Awash

Awash (Upper West Side) – Tasty, flavorful Ethiopian food. They also have gluten free injera which was hard to find in Harlem – if you know a place, let me know. I had the vegetarian sampler, as I usually do, and literally ate all of it.

Empanadas Monumental (Harlem) – While this Dominican chain has a few locations in the city, I stopped by the location near 125th on Amsterdam. I haven’t gone there in a few years but when I saw they had yaroa I went right in. They were able to make one without meat, so I had pretty much a trash meal of plantain, french fries, cheese, and sauces. SOOOO GOOD. Of course the best ones can only be found in Santiago, as they say, but I’m ok with compromises.

The Roof (Central Park South) – Met up with a group on a weekday night and was pleasantly surprised that we got a table in a quiet corner. While the menu is a bit pricey, it’s not more than you’d expect from a rooftop joint in the city. I’d go back – maybe for a date or quiet catch up with a friend (again, on a weeknight only).



Not much new in parks land for me this month… so I returned to an old favorite.

An art installation in Marcus Garvey Park

Marcus Garvey Park (Harlem)- I love this park for its summer theater festival, but there is so much more to offer. I cut through it on the way home from some weekend shopping and peeped the fall leaves.



Annual events and checking out new spaces in Harlem!

Watching the NYC Marathon – a beloved perennial New York celebration. It’s inspiring, exciting, and has a festival feel. We ran into some neighbors at 1st Avenue in time to catch the elite runners coming through. In time, once the throngs were cruising on by, I had fun cheering on anyone that had written their name on their shirt. The Marathon is always a fun event to watch and feel like maybe you too can get off your feet and run!

Apples ready for the picking at Fishkill Farms.

A trip upstate – My husband and I borrowed a car and drove up north in an escape from the city. We picked apples and bought treats at Fishkill Farms, then made our way to Rhinebeck where we checked out a comic book shop and had dinner at Buns Burger (worth the drive!)

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Our minimalist tree!

Setting up the Christmas Tree – although it seems real trees have been found to be better for the environment (while there is much debate), hubs and I opted for the easy route and bought an artificial tree and plastic ornaments that we can use year after year. We love looking at it and the cozy feel the apartment has when it’s all lit up.

Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis’s saxophone at the National Jazz Museum

National Jazz Museum (Harlem) – a small gallery with some artifacts and information about Jazz. We were in and out in less than an hour – if you’re in the neighborhood and need something quick to do then feel free to pop in. I was told by the staff that they have jam sessions too, so that might be fun to go to as well.

Studio Museum (Harlem)- while the museum is undergoing renovations, they have a temporary gallery on 129th Street. We went on a Sunday and were not charged admission. The exhibit was of massive postcards of Harlem which were a great testament to the character of the neighborhood. Note – this temporary location is great if you’re getting food at the aforementioned Empanadas Monumental.



My original goal was to read more than 30 books this year, and as of the end of November I had read over 50. If I keep up at this rate I should hit 60 by end of December which would be amazing. This number includes some audiobooks, but I still did spend quite a bit of time listening to them ;).

The Next Person You Meet in Heaven, Mitch Albom – a sequel to his famed “The Five People You Meet in Heaven” was a bit too fantastical for me with its depictions of heaven, but a sweet read nonetheless.

Megan Abbott’s Give Me Your Hand

Give Me Your Hand, Megan Abbott – Most of the books I’ve read by Abbott have been about teenage girls (sometimes cheerleaders or gymnasts) and I couldn’t relate. However this thriller about lab scientists took it another level. It was dark, gory and surprising with a nice twist at the end. One of my favorites by her!

Forever…, Judy Blume – a classic book we read for book club. At the time it was groundbreaking, now it was kind of bland.

Jenny Han’s To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before

To All The Boys I Loved Before, Jenny Han – I read this after having watched the Netflix movie. I thought the movie did a pretty good job of sticking to the book (although it added in a few more juicy parts). Sadly, while the book was good, if I had to choose, I’d choose the movie. It was such a feel good, sweet flick.

Zero Waste Home, Bea Johnson – a good starter book for lowering your waste in the home. Some good ideas if you are looking to reduce your impact.



I’ve just started getting into Podcasts – I know it’s 2018 and I’m just starting to listen to them.

I’ve been enjoying The Minimalists podcast, Tim Ferriss’ interviews and the Bowery Boys podcast about NYC history.  I would love some recommendations – please leave a comment with your favorites!


As we enter into December, wishing you all and your loved ones a happy holiday season!

3 thoughts on “Lens on November 2018

  1. Love reading these Sarah!!! Enjoy keeping up with you….especially enjoy your reviews of the many NYC restaurants you visit….and that tip you gave me for the Ecuadorian Restaurant near the Theatre District was so helpful….LOVED it there!!

    Happy Holidays Sarah….I am in my 11th month of Retirement…so great….but I do visit the CCE to visit my friends there…just a handful of students still left that I worked with. Next Fall, that will drop to ZERO…but great memories of students like you!!!!



    1. Thanks so much Tom. I’m glad you’re enjoying your retirement and that you liked the restaurant!!! Wishing you happy holidays to you and your loved ones! Hope to see you next time you’re in the city, or if I get up to Binghamton!

  2. Busy month! if you’re ever in Astoria my friends once took me to a wonderful Australian restaurant called the Thirsty Koala and I tried Kangaroo. Podcasts get me through my workday. I have some for finance, health, horses, true crime, etc. The Optimal Living Daily series all are wonderful. If you like news I enjoy the Newsworthy, less than 10 minutes

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