That place is Pushcart Coffee on 9th Avenue and 25th Street! It’s my new favorite spot to get some tea, meet with writing partners or clients, or get work done on my own. Nice people, nice vibe, there is tea I like (the green jasmine), they don’t use toxic tea bags, their snacks are great (my son loves the pumpkin bread, and I love the Brooklyn-made Rawpothecary Juices they carry), and their soup is wonderful (thanks for making me try it, Ashley!). They also have a bunch of fancy ways of making coffee that boggle my tea-drinking mind. There is a community work table, a few individual tables, a comfy corner spot in the back and counter seats and there is free wifi (you have to sign up for it, but it’s free). Go there. You know I know what I’m talking about.
I just saw this info in the back of the Chelsea Wine Vault (which is in Chelsea Market-it’s a great wine shop, btw) 2013 Holiday Gift Guide and I thought it was Stuff You Need To Know:
In NYC, no one drives to a party (no one I know, anyway), so it’s usually not an issue , but if you’re having a party with alcohol where people are driving, you should have really compelling non-alcoholic drinks. If you end up with too much red wine, you can make Tom Colicchio’s short ribs recipe. It’s really good and it uses a whole bottle of red wine! If you’ve got too much vodka left over, you can use it in pie crust, but that doesn’t use up much vodka.
I struggle with this every year, and in theory, I believe cash is usually the best gift there is for anyone, anytime, anywhere, but I feel really awkward when I give it to certain people. So, that being said, here are some gifts I’ve bought for myself and given out to teachers and other really helpful special people that you really can’t spend a fortune on (not that they don’t deserve it)…
- Aglove texting gloves – I use these ALL THE TIME! Seriously. They keep your hands warm, they’re comfortable, they work on an iPhone or touch screen, and they’re thin enough for me to keep them on AND get a MetroCard out of my wallet. If you know me, look at my hands in any kind of chilly weather. You have seen me wear these gloves. And, if you’re actually interested in the accuracy of using an iPhone in them, these are the best of the bunch. The link I gave is for Small to Medium gloves (I have these, they are stretchy). Here is a link to the Medium to Large ones. In general, I would get the Small to Medium for women and the Medium to Large ones for men. At under $10 a pair, they are a nice, useful, relatively inexpensive gift.
- Toshiba 16 GB USB Drive – There are a bazillion USB drives out there, people. This is the specific one I like best. It’s around $16. Here’s a link to an 8GB one for around half the price. I like these for a bunch of different reasons. One, I own two of the 16GB ones and they’ve never let me down. I like the way they feel in my hand. I like the little covers, but they’re not attached, so they are easy to lose, if you’re prone to such things. Also, there is downloadable security software, if you choose to use it (but NO onboard software, which I HATE in a USB drive). Tell me this, what teacher couldn’t use a USB drive, even if they already had a bunch? In fact, what computer-using person couldn’t use one of these. I am all about the useful.
- Especially for teachers… Quantum Thera Zinc spray! I mean, come on! They are exposed to gross kid germs all day long, in closed rooms. If they attack a cold or flu right at the outset with some zinc, there’s a chance they won’t get sick, or at least not AS sick. That’s what I’ve heard on good authority, anyway. Look, it’s under $10 a bottle, and here’s a link to a 3 pack, which brings down the price even more. Get some for yourself. I’ve blogged about this particular zinc spray before (follow the link for a picture), because it’s my favorite. It’s strong! It helps with sore throats, too. It’s a gift that says “I acknowledge your selflessness in remaining in proximity to my little snot machine. Thank you.” This could be an awkward gift though, so if you do feel awkward about it, just think “well, it’s not as weirdly awkward as cash.” Hope that helps.
- If your teacher/helpful person likes tea, this Trendglas Tea for Two set is the best tea mug I’ve found (unfortunately, it’s currently out of stock, but it’s worth waiting for – here’s a similar one for just under $20). Regarding the Trendglas mugs, I have bought three so far, and I truly love it and so does everyone else who ever comes to my house, plus, it can double as a gravy boat in an emergency! WHAT?!If you’re going to go this route, make sure this person loves tea. With a glass infuser, four things are important, IMHO –
- 1. some of the tea will come through the infuser – not much, but some, but you’re avoiding toxic tea bags (just google that to become scared out of your mind). You’re welcome!
- 2. it’s important to have a flat top, not a decorative ball top or rounded top because the top is important as the thing you rest the wet infuser in when you’re actually drinking the tea.
- 3. The infuser should reach to almost the bottom of the vessel it’s in, for a full brew.
- 4. In sets like these, the infuser is the most likely thing to break, so make sure there are replacements available. Here’s a good replacement for the Trendglas mug infuser, though it comes with the not-as-useful ball-top (see sub point 2, above).
- Lastly, when I really don’t know what to buy and I need something *nice* (you know what I’m saying), I buy a box of chocolates from Le Maison du Chocolate. They are expensive, so I tend to keep the boxes small, but they’re really good, high quality, beautiful chocolates. They have a little-known and little-advertised “frequent buyer” program, so if you tend to buy a lot of these types of gifts, you can get a tiny box of free chocolates for yourself after spending an ungodly amount on other people (story of my life).
If you decide to buy any of these, can you please buy them from the links in this post? After four years of blogging, I’m finally starting to try affiliate links (though some of the links above are not affiliate links – like the Trendglas one). I would be recommending these products nonetheless, since I own all of them, and LOVE them and honestly believe they’d be great gifts (even for yourself).
My friend R just asked me this question. I buy 90% lean grass-fed ground beef, and mix in a few shakes of ground pepper, and 1/2 tsp per pound of meat of Frontier organic adobo seasoning (ingredients are sea salt, organic garlic, organic onion, organic black pepper, organic oregano, organic bay, organic turmeric – note the wonderful lack of preservatives and anti-caking agents!). They sell this spice at Whole Foods, or you can order it from Amazon (link). I also use this spice in my chocolate pork rub.
After I mix in in very well, I form the patties (a little thinner in the middle, so they’ll cook through better) and then place them on a rack on a cookie sheet in my refrigerator (uncovered) for a few hours (up to a day) until I’m ready to cook them. Being in the refrigerator will “dry-age” them, reducing moisture and concentrating the flavor of the meat. Plus, it saves you time when you’re actually cooking.
People, I’ve found the greatest ladder on the planet. It’s the Select Step 5-8 foot ladder by Little Giant. (<–I’m trying out the Amazon affiliate program. The cost is the same no matter how you buy this product, but buying it through my link will give me 4% (I think) – after 4 years of writing this blog, I’m finally wondering what it would like to make a few dollars.)
It’s a little heavy (32 lbs with the amazing “Air deck workstation” that I am not using in the picture, but comes with the ladder I linked to, and adds additional hand railing and a nicely designed work surface), but it’s super stable, each leg telescopes individually for different heights (for use on stairs, window sills, etc.), and it’s compact (61″ high, 28″ wide at base, 14.5″ wide at top, and around 9″ deep at it’s thickest — when it’s all folded). Look at this demonstration video and be awed by this feat of household repair engineering:
There’s a new Melvin’s Juice Box in the Dream Hotel – 355 West 16th Street (between 8th and 9th Avenues, closer to 9th). I was riding my bike past it today and saw Melvin out front. I have enjoyed Melvin’s juice concoctions for years and am so happy his place is now (relatively) in my neighborhood. Melvin is a great guy – always friendly and positive, and he really knows his juice! All juices are 100% organic, and they also serve soups, salad, burgers, sandwiches, entrees, wine, beer, shakes, and shots (wheat grass and ginger). There is eat-in, take-out and delivery, and it’s open 7 a.m. “until late,” 7 days a week.
I’ll keep this brief, because it’s important, and I want you to read it.
1. Get as much vitamin D from the sun as you can NOW (from Oct – April, you can’t really get it, even if you lay out at our latitude – I’m assuming you are in NYC, like I am). I talk about the safest and best way to do this in my sunscreen article.
2. If you have low vitamin D levels, your doctor should be telling you to supplement. It will definitely help you avoid or lessen the impact of colds and flus. [NOTE: All nutrients, foods and your own body chemistry work together, and taking something in isolation without understanding the whole picture is not a great idea, so for realz - talk to your doctor. For example, to be absorbed, Vitamin D needs to be taken with fat. It works together with Magnesium, Phosphorus, Vitamin K and Calcium, and others, all in different amounts. Messing up the balance of your body is a bad idea.]
3. Get yourself some high quality, homemade chicken broth and keep it in the freezer just in case you need it. (Worse case, you make soup in the spring.) You don’t want to be traipsing around with a 104 degree fever looking for the stuff when you’re sick and then settling for some MSG-laden crap. In my humble opinion, there is NOTHING better for a cold or flu than rest and chicken broth.
4. Keep some natural remedies on hand. Photos of the stuff I use are below, and explanations are after that.
Aside from consistently taking SOMETHING to raise your vitamin D levels if they are low, I consider oregano oil and zinc spray the be my main first defenses if feel a cold/flu coming on. My oregano oil is Integral Yoga’s own brand, and I put a 1-3 drops under my tongue when I feel a sickness coming on. Warning: it is very strong and it burns, and it upsets my stomach a tiny bit. I’m not telling you it’s a cure for colds and flus (or anything else for that matter), I’m telling you I take it and I like it for certain uses. BUT USE WITH CAUTION, talk to a doctor about it, you can mix it with something else, and I would not give it to a child. I have a post on the zinc spray here. Oh, and when I take the Vitamin C, I break open the capsule and put it under my tongue. It is incredibly sour. Have water handy.
Again, remember, I’m not telling you that any of this stuff cures anything… I’m just saying it’s what I use. Talk to your doctor. A warning on the goldenseal – this is a tincture, and I put a few drops under my tongue if I feel nasal / sinus congestion coming on. It tastes HORRIBLE, and it upsets my stomach a little bit, but it has often helped me. I would not use this on a child, because it tastes so bad, but your doctor can direct you more knowledgeably than I can.
5. You should have some sort of electrolyte solution on hand just in case you get sick, and I don’t like Gatorade or a sports drink for that situation, because there’s too much sugar and other stuff in drinks like that. I like Smart Water, or clear, unflavored Pedialyte (which kind of tastes nasty), but I think your best bet to have around is probably Oral Rehydration Salts or something similar.
6. A humidifier is also a great idea (my buying guide), but only if you use it and keep it very clean. If you need to steam yourself in a pinch, Boil an inch or so of water in a pot, wait about 5 minutes or so, then put it on a burn proof oven mitt or something stable and nonflammable like that in a stable area FAR AWAY FROM THE STOVE OR FIRE and put your face about a foot or two above it with a towel over your head, so the steam doesn’t escape. Start far away and move closer in a comfortable range, to make sure you don’t burn yourself or your nasal passages. Then breathe in to get that warm, moist air in your sinuses and lungs. It might help loosen up mucous so you can get it out.
7. A few other things: sleep is super important, so is exercise and moving around. Large muscle movement (walking, running, cardio, etc.) moves lymph around your body and helps you stay healthy. Don’t eat sugar/sweet treats/junk when you feel like you are getting sick. I think it just makes everything worse and your body more susceptible. Wash your hands well with warm, soapy water before you eat, touch your face, scratch your nose, wipe your eyes, put on make up, touch your mouth, etc. It makes a difference. Have some wipes in your bag, so you can clean your hands if you’re not around a sink. I use the Cleanwell pocket pack of wipes.