I left my heart at MoMa (and found it again in vegan sushi)


“Did you see this upstairs?” asked a women as I took a photo of the huge painting of flowers over newsprint that hangs in the Museum of Modern Art’s lobby.

“Oh no, I’m just getting started,” I replied. The short woman with a kind smile went on to tell me that the painting is from the special exhibit on the top floor and that I should go see it.

“There’s a lot of work up there from women artists,” she said. Is my feminism strong enough for total strangers to pick up on now?

The pamphlet confirmed that I should start on the top floor so I made way up. The exhibit was about atemporality – the idea that because we live in the information age, where works from all of time are available online, art influence is no longer a straightforward matter of chronology. People are influenced by a new and unparalleled access to predecessors across time and space – and that concept just makes me really happy.


Next I descended to a floor on paintings and sculptures from the 1880s-1940s and then down one more to a floor with work from the 1940s-1980s. I witnessed the cataracted waterlilies of Matisse, the exaggerated angles and curves of Picasso, and the brush-y swoops of Van Gogh transform into the controlled chaos of Pollock’s drips, the icon-ry  of Warhol, and the impressively crafted large-scale pop art.


Some point in here it started snowing outside and it was all kinds of incredible. I watched from the window as big, fluffy flakes softly cascaded in the courtyard against the pale-grey sky. It was one of those moments you can feel yourself remembering as it cements itself into the “never forget this” part of the brain.


I went down another level to explore architecture, design, drawings and photography. I saw a satirical film piece about how to become invisible by being a pixel; I gave a minute to a soy sauce bottle in the exhibit to honor the recently deceased designer who made its form ubiquitous; I learned how the symbol we commonly accept as the technology power switch came to be; I took in band posters from the 70s; and I took a seat because my feet were killing me after four floors.


I rallied for the Toulouse-Latrec exhibit on the second floor and immediately wanted to watch Moulin Rouge (for probably the one-thousandth time).

This place is full of so much beauty and I’d say it’s my favorite museum thus far. It was so refreshing to see work from the last century. I especially loved how the placards and audio tour made an effort to include time period context and hint at how the goings on of the world may have influenced different bodies of work. It made the art much more relatable.

I left all smiles and rounded the corner to a nearby vegan restaurant called Beyond Sushi. I ate the best sushi of my life and got back on the subway to call it a day.


#NYVegPilgrimage Day 1: New York Indian Food

Indian vegetarian food

I’m technically in New York for a conference but I’ve decided that I’m also here on a food pilgrimage. I love trying new restaurants but, since my only vegetarian friend is more of a variations-of-bread-and-cheese kind of girl, I rarely get to explore adventurous meatless fare. While I’m always a good sport about having one to three options to choose off the menu when I go out with friends, I’m excited to check out places with more diversity.

I settled in to my hostel and set out to make my plans for the evening. My go-to move is to hang out in a common area near dinner time, start chatting with whoever comes by, and usually I get pulled into some kind of dinner/drinks arrangement. But this place is SO quiet. It’s cute, clean, centrally located, and more like a hotel than a hostel (except for the shared bathroom part). But being more isolated (i.e: there aren’t 12 people stuffed in a room of bunk beds) makes it much less social.

I checked out the communal area, perused the odds and ends books lining the cases (a bright orange Korean guidebook to New York was my personal favorite) and read over the bulletin board (I’m not sure how up-to-date it is after seeing one of the fliers claimed an event was happening in 2010). Only one person passed by and he was on his way back to his room with takeout.

I followed suit and went to my room to Yelp where I could pick up food. I decided on an Indian place a short walk away, bundled up in my makeshift winter-wear, and headed out.

As soon as I walked in the restaurant I decided to stay and dine solo instead of eating back at my place. I don’t know if it was because it didn’t look much like a to-go kind of restaurant or because there were tiny tables close together that would mask my aloneness or because I decided to seize the opportunity to people watch, but I prefer to think it was the last (least chicken) one.

I don’t know what is about eating at a restaurant alone that is so universally intimidating. But I like to do the things that scare me so I sat down and ordered a glass of wine.

I think the food must have had a level of authenticity because there were quite a few Indian pairs sitting around me – always a good sign. They ate expertly with their hands off of silver platters shaped like cafeteria trays. I took a wild guess with my order since I didn’t recognize anything on the menu. I think the restaurant’s origins may be from a different part of India than what I’m used to (though let’s be real, the only things I would have recognized on the menu are samosas and nan, so who knows).

Whatever I got (Something that started with a “P”? Damn, my ignorance is showing), it was delicious. My silver tray was filled with two large, round pieces of a slightly-fried flatbread. There were also two types of curry, neither of which looked like what would come to mind if I thought of curry.

It was a tasty start to my journey.

Being Vegetarian in Spain Means Tiptoeing Around Ham (18/100)

Jamon iberico in spainHam is an unavoidable component of Spanish life. If you’re lucky enough to end up in someone’s kitchen, there’s sure to be a leg propped on a special wooden stand and covered with a cloth; leaving the hoof and hairy ankle exposed. The American in me questions how sanitary this could be, but Spaniards won’t hesitate to cut off a slice straight from the block. A Spanish teen once told me that adept ham-cutting skills are a point of pride and assured me his mother slices the best, thinnest pieces of jamón.

I was in El Tigre getting tapas with a gaggle of Americans and used my then-limited Spanish to ask for something “vegeteriano por favor. No carne por favor.” The waiter thought he had just the thing for me and brought out a big plate of cheese croquets. One bite confirmed my suspicions that Spaniards don’t 100% understand my lifestyle. Apparently the little flecks of ham in the cheese don’t count as meat, right?

Ode to Objects I’ll Miss

I feel like I have been saying goodbye to everyone for ages.

There was saying goodbye to all of my customers and coworkers, a goodbye dinner with some friends, a whole lot of coffee/smoothies/sitting with friends that I won’t see for months, bonding time  with my mom masked as shopping expeditions,  probably too many late breakfasts at Denny’s with my partner in crime, a phone call with my grandma, a big family dinner last night with my biological family as well as my unofficial cousins, and tomorrow is the big airport goodbye.

Aside from the people that I will miss there are some things that I will miss terribly as well. (more…)