Working retail (and retail compounded with food– two industries known widely for their super fun hours of operation), neither Mike nor I ever counted on a weekend. Two days off in a row, even in the middle of the week, was the unicorn of scheduling. Once our roles shifted, and we routinely found ourselves free on the same days that much of the rest of the world is off work, it felt like we were getting away with something. Nearly every weekend, it *still* feels like we’re getting away with something– something wonderful and not to be wasted. While we spend a good number of hours lazing about, we try to shove out the door on a regular basis, and we’ve had some pretty excellent adventures this way– scrambling over rocks on the coastline of Rhode Island, sledding down hills in Vermont, eating our way down Arthur Avenue in the Bronx, or exploring decommissioned artillery batteries on the beaches of Queens (where we also stumbled on some pretty angry bees, so I don’t really want to talk about this last one).
Last weekend, we were treated to a sunny day wedged between some cold, wet ones, so we took full advantage. Winnie zen’d out on Mike’s lap at Eucharist while I served as a lay Eucharistic minister (something I am absolutely LOVING– looking forward to during the week with such joy and anticipation) with nary a request to roam the aisles (a first!), so we jumped on the opportunity to pack a sleepy babe in the car after church and head out to the Queens County Farm Museum, a working farm within the city, where Mike and I were married.
Full disclosure: I saw this picture on the farm’s Instagram feed before we headed out to church that morning, and was determined to have those eggs (I was/am also completely obsessed with re-creating the eggy, vanilla-bombed White Cow Dairy custards I ate constantly when pregnant with Winnie, and I felt like these eggs were calling out to me). Winnie fell asleep on our way up to the farm, which we’d expected, and Mike and I were perfectly fine with sitting in the car and reading while she finished her snooze. Egg sales opened at noon at the snowy, nearly deserted farm, but when we pulled up at a few minutes before one p.m., I had a feeling we should get moving on those eggs, so I sent Mike in. He laughed at me, looking at the complete lack of any human presence on the farm’s grounds, and offered to fight the crowds for the eggs. He returned with the last half dozen eggs, so, you know, good thing I’m an insane person about eggs is all.
After we’d visited every animal (cows, sheep, alpacas, and the chickens twice), talked about the resting fields, explored the greenhouse, and ducked into the gift shop for cocoa and dried apricots, we left to do some more Queens exploring. We ended up at Ben’s Best Deli for a late lunch of matzo ball soup (so much dill!), pastrami and tongue sandwiches, half sours, and cole slaw. Winnie was particularly excited about the tongue and pickles, because that kid just is who she is.
We popped into Carmel Grocery to stock up on dried sour apricots (which Winnie and I destroyed in a matter of days), za’atar, citric acid (for cheese), chickpeas, and to try out some Cornelian Cherry jam (there’s a Cornelian cherry tree just inside the entrance we take to Prospect Park) and Russian honey harvested on the taiga.
By that time, we’d put enough distance between us and the pastrami to consider ice cream. Clearly, this trip into Queens was pretty heavily motivated by well-cropped Instagrams (see:eggs) and this ice cream stop was no different– I’d been drooling over a friend’s shots of old-fashioned sundaes and mounds of freshly whipped cream at Eddie’s Sweet Shop, so we meandered through the ridiculously charming tudors of Forest Hills (seriously Forest Hills, you are out of control with your charm), stepped back a few decades into a spot where I could imagine my Poppie as a teenaged soda jerk, and ordered one of everything.
Not really, but the hot fudge sundae, vanilla malted, and sweet little Winnie-sized dish of ice cream nearly put this family over the edge of a sugar-butterfat cliff (the very best cliff there is).
You would have thought that once Mike went back to work on Monday, the weekend was over, but you would be wrong, my friend! Tuesday brought, if not the century’s greatest blizzard, a healthy heaping of six inches of powdery snow and a day off of work for all of us.
We headed to the park, sled in hand.
The day before, as the snow started to fall, I somehow had the presence of mind to sear a giant beef shank, start a broth, soak some chickpeas, and toss everything together with a heap of leeks and kale (and a ton of za’atar, obviously), which we’re still eating on a week later.
Pretty good week-ending, if I do say so myself.