Sunday, November 22, 2009

Run to Brunch, Philly-style

Sunday November 22, 2009 in Philadelphia, PA started off a little chilly, but with a few extra layers it was the perfect temperature to start the Philadelphia half-marathon. As the race was underway, the sun came out and it was a beautiful running weather. I had decided to run this as a "fun run" so I took off slowly, making sure to take in the course. After seeing friends at mile 1, the course became a bit boring so I turned on some tunes and glided through the next few miles. The crowd on South Street was electrifying and I took off my headphones to soak it in. By mile 7, my body had forgotten the plan to "run for fun" and I was flying by the cheering Frat boys of Drexel U, the Philadelphia zoo and into a pretty park that had what felt like a mile-long hill. A few miles later, I happily crossed the finish line. Post-race treats were plentiful including chicken broth (none for me, thank you), oranges, bananas, juice, granola bars, and my favorite...a Philly Soft Pretzel. After showering and packing our bags at the lovely Sofitel Hotel (wins my vote for the best hotel bed!), my friends and I met up for brunch at the aptly named Marathon Grill.

After gulping down a few glasses of water, I was ready for something with more substance. I chose an egg white omelet with spinach, mushrooms, and Gruyere...delicious. The portion was generous and arrived with half of the plate full of greasy fried potatoes and 2 pieces of whole wheat toast.
For the table, we also ordered a dark chocolate chip cookie dough can one pass that up!?! Such a treat, but we were glad that we only ordered one. A satisfying meal after a satisfying run in a great city...what a day!

Run to Korean

On a recent misty Thursday evening with the temperature hovering around 50 degrees, I met a few friends in Central Park for a 4-mile loop run. With the winter approaching, it grew dark pretty early so it felt safer to have the company. There were more runners out then expected and the police presence was also greater than usual. We exited the park on the South end and then ran down 5th avenue to our destination Han Bat Korean restaurant on W. 35th Street.

No need for ordering appetizers at this generous restaurant (though the scallion or seafood pancake is the best that I have ever tried) because you get a spread on the house. The dishes have changed each time that I have eaten there but Kimchi is always included. This time, we also had string beans, cucumbers in spicy sauce, salad, scallion pancakes in spicy sauce and two others. Then to my favorite dish.... the Hot Stone Bi Bim Bab with veggies and tofu.

This dish is a sizzling combination of white rice that crisps up after a few minutes, loaded with vegetables and tofu. I mix mine up with spicy red sauce and salt, which adds flavor and replenishes the sodium that I lost on my way to dinner. Not only a tasty dinner, but healthy one too!!

Run to Brooklyn's History

Saturday November 7th was a gorgeous day. Sunny skies and crisp air made for a perfect day for a running adventure to Brooklyn. A Manhattan landmark, the United Nations, was the starting point.

Then down the East River running path, through the streets of lower Manhattan and across the Brooklyn Bridge.

Once in Brooklyn, we made our way to Flatbush Avenue and after a few miles, into Prospect Park, past the market and to the running loop. The grass was bright green and foliage beautiful as we ran down the west drive, across the central drive and north on the east drive.

Once out of the park and past the droves of strollers, we continued East and then a few blocks North to our destination, Tom's Restaurant.

Tom's is a neighborhood institution which has been around since 1936. I hear that the lines are typicalon the weekends as we experienced (see the picture) but they move pretty quickly and you are treated to delicious snacks...first sausage came by, then strawberries with fresh whipped cream, then cups of coffee, followed by chocolate chip cookies and lastly orange segments...all while waiting to be seated.

The menu was friend and I finally settled on two orders of eggs with grits and a pumpkin nut waffle to share. A hot cup of endlessly filled coffee warmed us up while we waited. The portions were substantial and the food was deliciously tasty and freshly cooked. We were given three types of butter- brown sugar, citrus and strawberry (my favorite) which I used not only on the waffle, but also on the crispy whole wheat toast. All of this food for extremely reasonable prices! The staff was also very friendly, despite the subtle and not so subtle hints to leave once we finished eating. So if you need or want to get in a long run, part of a run, or just a delicious Brooklyn brunch....this is the place!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Running Marine Corps style to eat

Sunday October 25, 2009 started off, and ended, as a beautiful day. Adjacent to Arlington Cemetery, I lined up at the starting line of the Marine Corps Marathon with the other 30, 000ish runners. The temperature seemed to be reaching the 60's as fighter pilots flew overhead and Montel Williams gave an opening speech....then we were off.
As I made my way through the 26.2 miles, sometimes smiling sometimes scowling, and constantly wondering, "Where are the freakin water stations?," I attempted to soak up the scenery. The historic route took me by beautiful foliage, across the Potomac river, through Georgetown and around its reservoir, and past museums and the many famous memorials. It was touching to see three Marines carrying flags as they stopped and honored the Pentagon Memorial before starting again to conquer the last two miles.

Crossing the finish line, I felt the accomplishment of all 26.2 miles. After receiving my medal from a Marine, I claimed my finishers coin and tackled the crowded train station. Then it was off to shower and change before heading to the Peacock Cafe in Georgetown for a post-marathon lunch.

To start off my refueling, I ordered a tomato bisque soup. It was creamy, tangy and had the perfect salty touch to replenish the electrolytes that I had lost. Next up, were the Gene Kelly (grilled Portobello mushroom, avocado, tomato, roasted red pepper & tomato pesto) and Paul Newman (roasted eggplant & peppers, warm Brie cheese, pesto, tomato & alfalfa sprouts) sandwiches.

The sandwiches arrived on perfectly toasted multigrain baguettes and despite their sparsity of fillings, the combinations of flavors lent to them being divine. The crunchy yet bland tortilla chips and watery coleslaw left much to be desired, but overall, it was still the perfect culinary end to a longggggg run.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Run to treats in Brooklyn!

Yesterday was Columbus Day and I thought that the perfect way to celebrate was to grab a friend and explore Brooklyn- running and eating style! The crisp Fall air was perfect for a short run so we headed to Prospect Park for a 3.35 mile loop. After tackling those Brooklyn hills, we headed nearby to Blue Marble Ice Cream.

Their ice cream is made from local organic ingedients and they had about 8-10 flavors to choose from. First, I sampled my friend's choice, ginger (delicious), and then the Culture frozen yogurt (too icy for my liking). I had wanted to try a flavor with balsamic vinegar topping but the employee could not locate it. Instead, I settled on Mocha Chip...scrumptuous!

It was creamy and chocolatey but not overly sweet. I will definitely run back to Blue Marble to taste some of their other flavors and exotic toppings.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Run to eat and drink for charity

Last Saturday, I was lucky enough to run to eat and drink, partly to support a charity. I started off early in the morning with 3 full loops of Central Park. At the 18 mile mark, I headed west to the West Side running path and ran north to join the Big Brothers Big Sisters fundraising race. At the turnaround, I headed south to finish off this charitable 4k. Following the run, I made my way a few feet to the finish-line picnic. There were lots of fun activities for kids but since we were only adults, we had food and beverages in mind. The line for food- subway sandwiches- was ridiculously long so I skipped over this and went next door to the Pier i Cafe. A few Corona Lights, a cheese sandwich, fruit salad, potato salad, and two pieces of cake held me over to the main event.

Then it was time for the main event....Sean Kingston performed! The crowd went wild as he played three of his hits for this event.

What an awesome way to spend a day...running to eat and drink (and listen) while helping a charity!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Run to Dominican

On a recent Saturday, I gathered three friends and went on a mission. The first part of the mission was to get in a 20 mile run for our marathon training. With new sneakers and an overcast misting sky (my favorite running weather!), we took off from midtown Manhattan up to and around Central Park and back over to the West Side. From there, we journeyed up the West Side Highway running path towards the George Washington Bridge. Knowing that the bridge was our turn-around, it was a wonderful sight to see it getting closer and closer. Just as we had almost arrived, the sun came out. Under the bridge, we stopped for a stretch by the Little Red Lighthouse and then made our way south towards our mission goal... Dominican Food!
Arriving outside of El Malecon Restaurant on Amsterdam and 97th St., we took a few minutes to stretch and cool down. Luckily, my smart running friend had brought along a few wet wipes and we made attempts to clean up a bit. Then it was time to enter!

After we entered and waited a minute or two, we seated ourselves. As it turned out, the service wasn't the draw to this establishment. I ordered Arroz con Pollo ($13) and a Cafe con Leche, my friends ordered sandwiches, and we requested a plate of maduros (sweet plantains) for the table. The Cafe con Leche rivals any coffee that
I've had in Manhattan. With a bit of added sugar and $1.50 price tag, this would be my regular coffee stop if I lived nearby. When my entree arrived, we all was enormous. There was enough food to feed all four of us and they had honored my request for white meat only. I began to attack this monster portion but as I ate and ate, it didn't seem to make a dent. With a bit of hot sauce, this dish was delicious. The chicken was moist and the rice was a nice consistency. My friends received their sandwiches (Cuban and Steak versions) and were raving too. The maduros however, weren't sweet and were the only dish that we agreed could improve.

Overall, this place was a hit. With huge portions, delicious coffee, reasonable prices, and 7 AM-12AM hours of operation... we should all run to El Malecon!

Click here for the running route.