Mid-Summer

A very special thing happened since my last post – I became the Four Square Mayor of Chop’t!

This NYC and Washington D.C.-based salad place is a block away from my office and the array of fresh, seasonal veggies (plus local meats and homemade dressings) makes it irresistible. It’s a bit pricey at $8-10 per salad, so I can’t go everyday. However, I’ve been cutting back on Starbucks and other treats so I can work it into my budget. Going to Chop’t and getting a yummy salad really brightens my day, so I think it’s worth it. And I mean…if I’m going to spend drop $$ on something, I suppose it could be much worse than salad! And FYI, Chop’t isn’t paying me to say any of this (I doubt they know I exist) – I just wanted to share the love!

🙂

The salad that earned me my “mayorship”: The Middle Eastern Cobb featuring romaine lettuce, cucumbers, pistachios (I usually ask 1/2 portion of the nuts), feta cheese, allepo pepper chicken, and lemon tahini dressing. With whole wheat pita and a Boylan’s diet root beer on the side. Best.Lunch.Ever.

The remainder of my Friday was pretty low-key. I left the office around 8:30pm, carbo-loaded for my long run with a beer (hehe), and went to bed on the early side. As per my 1/2 marathon training plan, the goal for Saturday was to run 13 miles with ~2 at race pace. I don’t know what’s going on, but lately my legs have been feeling like L-E-A-D (maybe it’s the heat?) and my first couple of miles were really slow. It was discouraging to look down at my Garmin and see that I was running over a minute slower than I wanted to be. Le sigh. After about 5 miles on the bridle path, my Garmin watch started running low on batteries, and so I switched to the treadmill at my gym. I felt a bit better for the remaining 6 miles of my run and was able to run a mile at race pace ~6:55, but still…it wasn’t the best of runs. I really started doubting myself, thinking that my plan (and race goal) was overly ambitious. It’s an awful cycle – when I feel crappy, I lose mental focus and start thinking negatively. And when I’m thinking negatively on a run, it really affects me physically. Ah well. I finished up 11 miles in about 1:37:30 (8:51 pace) which objectively looks fine. But it just didn’t feel good. I may need to tinker with my training plan a little more – I’d rather have a less ambitious mileage/time goal for the day and exceed it (and finish feel good!), then set myself up for failure. In the meantime, on to the next one!

After my long run, I trekked out to Brooklyn to look at some apartments (I’m moving next month, eek!). After a few hours of checking out some places (apartment hunting is hard work, yo) I was in need of some refreshment. Ever since Leslie became a Brooklyn-ite, her tweets about the local ice cream offerings have been making really jealous. The only remedy was to get some of my own! The man-friend and I hit up Ample Hills Creamery and the homemade vanilla sugar cone with peanut butter cookie ice cream did not disappoint.

Yum.

I ran 3 easy miles on Sunday before heading to Ilili for a Restaurant week brunch. Their prix-fixe menu was impressive and I was really happy with my order:

Chakchouka Eggs in Cocotte: spicy tomato sauce, three poached eggs, hash brown dumplings, arugula salad, grilled beets with honey butter, fresh-squeezed OJ, and hot, fluffy pita bread. 

This was delicious! And it kept me full for pretty much the entire day. But not too full for more ice cream! Sunday, July 17th was National Ice Cream day and it would be unacceptable for me not to celebrate!

A scoop of tiramisu for me (and chocolate-pb for the man-friend) from Sundaes and Cones in the East Village.

Reason #678657 why I love summer – ice cream!!!

What’s your go-to foodie indulgence? And how do you make room for it in your budget? Since I’m getting ready to move (deposits, u-haul rentals, and Ikea purchases – oh my!), I feel like I’m noticing every single dollar I spend.

  • Ali

    1. OMG CONGRATULATIONS on the mayorship. You’re my most fancy friend. Well done.
    2. I’m fine with you moving to Brooklyn so long as you still make it to CP for morning runs. Wake up at 4 am, do whatever you have to do. Frankly I don’t care. Just don’t miss out or I’ll cry.
    3. Sorry that your leady legs are giving you a hard time. The good news is that it’s SO early in training and you have tons of time to turn the lead into…wings? So you can…fly through the course? I don’t really know. But you’re going to be great. Obviously.

  • Anonymous

    haha, thank you for the vote of confidence 🙂 and don’t worry – i’m not a
    definite on BK yet, i’m also looking at some places that are less than a
    mile from CP! morning runs with you ladies are definitely being taken into
    consideration for this move!

  • Chopt is amazing. Thank god I don’t live near one or I’d go broke. My fave foodie indulgence is a good dessert – always.

    My real NYC indulgence is mani/pedis. With a nail salon every 5 blocks, I’m so bad at resisting.

  • Congratulations on your mayorship. I know you worked very hard to get there, Megan.

    I’m thinking of getting rid of my cable so I can fit 16 Handles into my budget a little easier. Kidding. But not really… And +1 to Ali’s comment – I would miss you so much if you couldn’t make it to CP for our runs!! See you Wednesday 🙂

  • I’ve gotten back into salads here in TX, where everything is always so fresh and cheap (rarely bought them in NYC because of the $$$). My go-to is La Madeleine, best Caesar and baked potato soup ever. They even make a “petite” sized salad, so I can get salad, a cup of soup and unlimited bread for $8! LM is a chain, but I’ve only ever seen it in TX and DC. And no, I don’t work for them either. 😀

    Where you headed, move-wise?? I, too, noticed every last dollar I spent on the move down here (it would have cost me just as much to get a new bed as it would to ship mine…I got all new everything). Taking deep breaths and reminding myself that the higher salary and lower rent will eventually even things out!

  • Oh, duh, you did say Brooklyn. What ‘hoods are you looking at?

  • Kristan

    So jealous of your Ample Hills visit. We’ve been trying not to visit so much (hard when it is right around the corner) but Will and I have a date to go on Wednesday so I can finally try Salted Crack! Hope your apartment search is going well.

  • Dad

    Congrats on the mayor thingy. Don’t know what it is or means really, but must be good if it involves veggies and you enjoy it.

    Sorry to hear your Garmin battery did the “dying cockaroach” 🙁

    As for getting the lead out… Sometimes if you’re feeling sluggish prior to a long run a few sprints or vigorous calisthenics can help shake the lead out and loosen things up, but not always. More importantly pay close holistic attention to what your body is telling you.

    Whatever it takes, maintain your CP morning runs w/the ladies!

    Reflecting on your times/distances of just a few years ago, you’ll notice that what you feel are “off days” now were once considered pretty darn good. There are always peaks and valleys to endure. Don’t be so hard on yourself. You’re an amazing runner and an amazing person that has accomplished soooo much. Love ya!

  • Anonymous

    Thanks Dad 🙂 The Garmin will be back in action soon – I just need to charge
    it.

    And I’ve heard that changing gears (i.e. strides) can help get the lead out
    of tired legs. Maybe I’ll add a few 100m strides post-run tomorrow.

  • Corey @ runner’s cookie

    The salad looks delicious – I especially love salads when I don’t need to make them 🙂
    Obviously the icecream looks even more delicious…I celebrated national ice cream day every day this weekend!
    As far as the running goes, I think those kinds of runs are always a little mentally defeating. It can be hard to mentally bounce back from having that heavy legs feeling. Maybe your plan/goal time needs some tweaking, but it also could just be an off week for your body. Give it some time and I bet you will fall into more of a rhythm with your training. I know you have it in you to run a very speedy half!

  • Celia Kujala

    Everyone has off days so I wouldn’t write off your plan yet especially
    with this summer heat turning especially brutal. I tried to do my long
    run at 3pm yesterday. Big Mistake.

    I definitely have been eating a fair share of ice cream and frozen
    yogurt this summer. Definitely a summer indulgence and good recovery
    food for after running, or so I like to pretend 🙂

  • i love that there is ice cream twice in this post.  and that you made it ample hills!  i am determined to try every flavor before the summer ends.

    i am dying for you to move to bk!!  think of all the foodie outings and prospect park picnics and cooking adventures and ice cream cones and…i’ll stop before i get annoying. my fingers are really tightly crossed that it works out though.

  • Katie

    LOVE Chop’t.  So worth it.

    So funny, but one of my coworkers (who is half-Lebanese) was JUST recommending Ilili! Have to get there… it’s on my list.

    Lately I’ve been splurging on iced coffee… so much $$$ has been going to Starbucks lately, holy moly.  (Ice cream is also a must most days, but that’s more of a necessity than an indulgence.)

    Also love that your dad comments!

  • Anonymous

    Ilili was so good! And they’re offering a restaurant week menu till next
    Monday 🙂

  • Anonymous

    Well you still got in some great mileage regardless. And, I definitely think everyone’s legs have been feeling like lead lately due to this humidity!
    This salad place sounds phenomenal. I have been trying to bring my lunch to work lately to save money. However, there’s this little deli across the street that makes awesome wraps with copious (yes, copious) amount of avocado in them – I usually treat myself to one on Fridays.
    And fro-yo’s (I can’t do ice cream, sadly)
    Good luck on the apt hunt! You’re right – moving is so expensive. Get ready for a $300 Target trip. (cringe)

  • duuude, i got that same flavor at ample hills. TO DIE FOR! chakchouka sounds just like shakshuka. what an imposter! though it looks and sounds yum!

    uhh, yeah. ice cream and gelato are my indulgences. duhhh. oh, i also have gotten into kombucha once again and now green juices. expensive shit. surprisingly, though, i rarely buy coffee of any kind outside, so at least i’m saving somehow.

  • Firstly, congratulations on your mayorship! No mean feat! 🙂
    I really like Ilili. I’m glad you enjoyed it. I went there for restaurant week a few years ago also and really should go back. I love Lebanese food and unfortunately there aren’t too many good Lebanese restaurants in Manhattan. Brooklyn, however, is another story and you can explore this cuisine further if you so choose once you move. Good luck with the move! I hope your apartment search goes smoothly.

  • Love all of the food pictured here, looks so yummy 🙂
    My legs have also felt like lead lately, and I was wondering if it was the heat too…it’s so frustrating when you’re legs won’t pick up like you want them to. Perseverance is key, right? 😉

  • Cupcakes are my go-to foodie indulgence…I’m really not sure what happened to the $1 bakery cupcake…oh NY…

    I make room for it in my budget by making coffee at home instead of going to Starbucks everyday and I usually bring my lunch as well (thanks to my cheap friend Trader Joe’s).

    That ice cream picture is making me drool right now!!! sooo good for a hot day

  • Jessica

    I just made reservations to ilili this weekend for brunch by your post alone. that picture looks yummolicious. brunch is definitely my food indulgence. I justify by telling myself that it’s both breakfast and lunch! and I usually eat it late enough in the morning/early afternoon (or linger over my food with good friends) that I only need to either snack through dinner or eat a light dinner

  • Anonymous

    if you have four square, remember to check-in and you’ll get free dessert!