Staycation In A Glass At Haru!

Anyone else struggling with this weather just a teensy tiny bit?  Winter in NYC just seems to drag post holidays, and I can personally attest to needing a bit of a pep talk in order to leave the apartment, cause that cold that seeps into your bones is just no fun.

When I heard about Haru’s new staycation in a glass cocktails, my interest was piqued.  I gave myself a bit of cheerleading “come on Jess, just a few more layers, 19 degrees is really not all that awful, think of the Canadians!  they do this every day!”, bundled up, and headed to their Times Square location to test them out.

Cue the sunshine!

Haru’s limited-time cocktails, channeling warm weather and beaches all around, surely do a wonderful job of warming you up from the inside out.

The Cucumber Gimlet is Haru’s twist on the traditional cocktail, and really speaks to New Year’s purity and lightness with a combination of muddled fresh cucumber, lime and cilantro shaken with homemade simple syrup and the 34-times-distilled Purity vodka.

unnamedI’m a gal who enjoys her drinks on the sweeter side, so the Passion Fruit & Lychee Saketini, made with Don Q Pasión rum with nigori sake, lychee purée, homemade simple syrup and pineapple juice, was pure summer in a glass.

unnamed-1Both cocktails are perfectly paired with Haru’s seasonal menu offerings including Chicken Dumplings, Crispy Halibut with Fresh Winter Mix and the Black Forest Roll. The Chicken Dumplings appetizer are pan-fried and accompanied by Haru’s signature dumpling sauce. The Crispy Halibut with Fresh Winter Mix is a Japanese take on fish and chips—minus the chips for a more New Year’s resolution-friendly entrée. Instead, you’ll find a winter salad of snow peas, carrots and jicama lightly tossed with lemon dressing. On the sushi side, the elegant Black Forest Roll includes smoked salmon, black tobiko (caviar), cucumber, freshwater eel and torched cream cheese.

unnamed-4unnamed-3And for you vegetarians, I’d absolutely recommend the green peppers with lime and sea salt as an accompaniment to your bevvys.

All seasonal items are available through the month of March, which is pretty perfect considering it isn’t until April in these parts that we can finally think of shedding our down and wool coats for trenches.  Until then, you’ll find me at Haru’s bar, saketini in hand.

p.s. for those of you not in the NYC area, (or you New Yorkers who can’t seem to pep yourself up to leave the house, no judgement!), we were able to score Haru’s top secret recipe for the saketini I love so much!  Bottoms up, my friends!

Passion Fruit & Lychee Saketini


1.5 oz.   Don Q Pasión Rum

.5  ea.    Nigori Sake

1   oz.     Lychee Puree

½  oz.     Simple syrup

½  oz.     Pineapple Juice                         


*Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass.

*Add ice and shake vigorously for 8-10 seconds.              

*Strain into a chilled martini glass.

*Garnish with Lychee fruit.




UsedYorkCity Inspiration #16 + Giveaway

unnamed-7^^Coffeeshop art + exposed brick in Hell’s Kitchen^^

1. Love this collection of informal venues in NYC to listen to classical music. (via NY Magazine) p.s. we have free tickets to give away to Carnegie Hall performances this Sunday (MISATANGO: An Argentinean Tango Mass) and Monday (THE MUSIC OF KARL JENKINS).  Shoot us an email info@usedyorkcity.com if you’d like a pair!

2. Beautiful vintage photos from NYC commuters during their subway travels in 1966. (via Business Insider)

3. Anyone else think the 2013 version of Annie was the cutest thing EVER? Here’s more Broadway musicals that have been brought to the screen. (via Tracy’s New York Life)

4. Love, love, LOVE this list of free and cheap yoga in NYC. (via Cheap In The City)

5. Doing research for my NYC-themed book club, and came across this list of books that tell you everything you need to know about New York.  Guess we better get to reading, eh? (via Flavorwire)

What’s been inspiring you this week?  Share below!






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}