Brod Kitchen Brings Nordic Noshing To The UES


Nordic countries have a pretty notorious reputation for their tolerance, equality, phenomenal education and healthcare systems, and overall happiness.  I’ll let you in on a little secret…their food is top-notch, too.  And the best part is you don’t even have to jump on a plane to experience it!

Located on the Upper East Side, Brod Kitchen is a Nordic inspired restaurant that merges together seasonal, super healthy ingredients with tastebud titillating flavors. None of that twigs-and-leaves business that we may think of when we visualize Nordic cuisine, but substantial, filling dishes that won’t leave you hungry in an hour.

Seriously, have a peek at my sandwich.  The on-location baked focaccia, warm right from the oven, topped with the freshest burrata you’ll find this side of Italy, juicy figs, and a drizzle of balsamic vinaigrette to tie it all together. Perfection, people!

L1010851Brod’s signature dish is the Smørrebrød- the open faced rye sandwich piled high with everything from speck, roasted beets, egg salad, smoked Norwegian salmon and avocados.  But the extra special part is this: while there’s certainly no lack of meat dishes to choose from, Brod also has tons of options for vegetarians.  A Smørrebrød of cherry tomatoes, balsamic and creme fraiche tickle your fancy?  How about pear and camembert?

L1010865 L1010856 L1010848 L1010852I thought so.

And don’t forget to grab a dessert on your way out.  If sticking with the Smørrebrød option, I recommend trying creme fraiche, honey, hazelnut and rosemary or Nocciolata, fig, hazelnut and mint.  As you can see, though, there’s tons of bakery items to choose from to satisfy your sweet tooth…their cheesecake was a personal favorite of mine.

L1010857 L1010869Another little plus about this place: set up with a market-style vibe, you can easily pop in and grab a few sides and mains for a healthy meal at home.  And with their freshly made bread, you’ll be all set for breakfast, too!  I’m already planning a Nordic themed dinner party, with a little okay a lot of help from Brod.

We may still be a bit behind in reforming our school and healthcare systems to those of the Nordic standards, but with Brod’s opening I’ve discovered an insight into the culture’s super high happiness levels: their food.




Learning A New Language: Month 1

As promised, I’m posting my first update on my 2015 resolution: learning a new language!  I know you’re probably thinking, “but Jess, it’s hardly even 2 weeks into the year, what progress do you really have?!”  Valid, valid.  HOWEVER.  I’ve been pretty religious with my resolution these first 2 weeks, and have already noticed a tiny bit of improvement!  So I wanted to share with you guys what’s working so far.

As you know, I’m using Gretchen Rubin’s “Habits Manifesto” to hold myself accountable.  Here’s how:


1. First things first.

Simple.  Gotta start somewhere, right?  My somewhere was converting the chalkboard we keep in the kitchen to my “phrase of the day” board.  I fill out the days of the week, and then have the hubs write one useful, short Bosnian phrase per day for me to memorize.  Since the phrases stay up all week, it gives me an opportunity to see them every time I’m in the kitchen, and we all know that repeat exposure is one of the keys to forming a habit.

2. What you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while.

Every day, I put on one of my 30 minute audio CD lessons.  For me, this is so, so important because, while it’s easier for me to READ another language, it is much more difficult for me to SPEAK one.  The audio tracks allow me to repeat after the native speaker every day, getting use to how the dialect sounds rolling off my own tongue.  Another perk: I don’t need to commit myself to sit down for these 30 minute lessons.  Since it’s purely spoken practice, I can spend 30 minutes cleaning, prepping dinner, or even lounging in a bubble bath, while yelling out my Bosnian sentiments.

3. Everything counts.

Finally, I downloaded the app Viber to my phone, and now text daily with the hub’s cousins in Bosnia.  While this only takes a few minutes, the practice of reading and writing phrases that are spoken daily by natives provides much needed exposure to my language acquisition.

I’ll check in with you guys next month!  And I’d love to know…how are your resolutions coming so far?  Share your successes/struggles below!




New Yorker Moments

unnamed-3{view from my mat}

Guys.  I’m gonna take a moment to brag here and tell you how I’ve spent four consecutive days at yoga.  FOUR.  Call it January ambition, or more likely me just wanting to get my money’s worth from the unlimited yoga for two months deal (the latter is true), but I’m feeling pretttyyyyyy well on my way to rockstar health status and enlightenment.  Ok, that’s a lie too, I really feel like I should be on my way to a Chinatown massage parlor to work out all these kinks and sore muscles, because FOUR days of yoga, people!

What’s been keeping you busy and inspired this week?  Share below!

unnamed-1{making snow art}

unnamed-4{views from the subway platform}

unnamed{coffee from my new go-to coffeeshop}

unnamed-2{post-yoga couch snuggles with this guy}






Ralph’s Coffee: A Hidden Coffeeshop Gem In Central Midtown

I was checking out post holiday sales on flannel at Ralph Lauren Polo this week when I stumbled upon the most unexpected little coffee shop tucked away on their second floor, Ralph’s Coffee.  Cute, right?!

ralphs-coffee-fifth-avenue-nyc-2014-habituallychic-003 ralphs-coffee-fifth-avenue-nyc-2014-habituallychic-004

Coffee shops (other than Starbucks and super duper expensive hotel cafes) are hard to come by in the central midtown area, so this was a real treat to find.  I grabbed an oatmeal raisin cookie ($3) and a cup of joe ($3), and secured a spot by the window, watching snow flurries and 5th avenue hustle and bustle.  Besides being spacious, Ralph’s also offers free wi-fi and plenty of plugs to charge up your devices.

The inspiration for the cafe, from the inventor of preppy himself, goes as such: “The smell of freshly brewed coffee evokes so many memories for me, mostly of times spent with friends and family, the people I love.  I wanted to develop these coffee blends in that spirit and create a place where people could come together and take a break from their busy days.”  Touche, Mr. Lauren.

Besides, I think we can all agree that coffee trumps flannel any day…at least for the wallet;-)

Have you found any foodie gems in your neighborhood lately?  Share below!




UsedYorkCity Inspiration #15


^^Squint real hard and you can see the first 2015 snow flurries in NYC!^^

1. Ever want to know where the oldest place to get a drink in your NYC neighborhood is?  (Of course you do!)  The results are all here, so bottoms up! (via I Quant NY)

2. Kind of obsessed with this NYC list of things that should be punched in the ear in 2015.  Anyone else with me regarding social media posting about 2 mile runs?! (via Thrillist)

3. This article talks about some off-the-beaten-path cupcake shops in the city I’m pretty excited to try out! (via Ahoy NY Food Tours)

4. A very simple and effective way to keep a curated closet of things you love and wear. (via A Beautiful Mess)

5. Peek inside the first permanent cat cafe in NYC…! (via Today)

What’s been inspiring you this week?