Travel Junkie Diary of USA

Lara Ariss

Wednesday, December 3, 2014
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Lara Ariss, founder of Keys to my Kitchen shares her wonderful diary in NYC! “My kitchen is a playground that I venture into to cook, eat, and unwind. It’s the perfect setting for recreation and creativity.I created Keys to my Kitchen to share what comes out of my kitchen – fun stories, simple ideas, and of course recipes that are lovely, straightforward, and fine-tuned a hundred times!

The blog offers recipes that are improvised that have materialized with the meals, imagined and simmered in my head before they were tested and realized, and ones that have come to me from friends, family, and cookbooks. Cooking should be accessible and frank.

A meal doesn’t have to be fancy and elaborate to look and taste amazing.

The simplest recipes executed in the right way make for food that is quite simply divine. I like honest recipes that don’t deceive or disappoint. Whether improvised, imagined, or shared, the recipes found here are meant to make your adventures in the kitchen more fun.

Destination New York City

NYC is an intricate, endless, exciting city, and that’s putting it mildly. Anything and everything can be done and found in this amazingly huge and beautiful city. My aim was to explore the ins and outs of the city plate by plate; after all, it is the food capital of the world.

Stayed at Friend’s house

Month October/November

In My Suitcase

  • Comfortable shoes, suitable for walking for long hours
  • Comfortable rain boots
  • A light jacket for the sunny days
  • A heavy jacket for the colder days
  • An Umbrella
  • A few light sweaters, depending on how long you’re staying there for
  • A few heavy sweaters, depending on how long you’re staying there for
  • Scarfs
  • Body lotion & lip balm, the change in weather can affect the skin
  • A few dresses for your nights out, preferably winter dresses because it is colder at night than during the day, don’t forget stockings and suitable shoes (make sure they are comfortable shoes)

Diary I would generally wake up about 9 am and I would head out at around 11 am. Everyday I would try to do something new or explore a new part of the City. Sometimes I would leave the city to see another part of the New York. Since my passion is cooking & baking, I went to a lot of food related places like farms (outside the city), farmer’s markets or restaurants.

On one sunny afternoon, after spending the morning at Central Park, I walked over to Columbus Circle to meet a friend. He was a bit late so I decided to walk into Williams-Sonoma to look at the homeware and kitchenware items – I was in love.

Inside the store I stumbled upon a flyer for the book signing (which was only a few days away) of Plenty More by Yotam Ottolenghi – definitely one of my favourite all time chefs.

I learned about Yotam Ottlenghi while I was living London, a few years ago, it was definitely love at first bite into his and Sami Tamimi’s Caramel & Macadamia Cheesecake. It wasn’t just the cheesecake that intrigued me to learn more about Ottolenghi, well it started with the cheesecake but more definitely the story behind his and his professional partner’s work, Sami Tamimi.

New York is full of such surprises, another day I was strolling along the meatpacking district and I stumbled upon a flyer for a concert for Citizen Cope’s 10th Anniversary Tour. Citizen Cope is one of my favorite musicians. One week later, I was at the concert venue, Terminal Five, with a friend enjoying his tunes live.

Dined in One of the best restaurants I went to was Sarabeth’s, on the Lower East Side – there is more than one branch in the City. It is one of those places where you want to try everything on the menu. I went with a couple of friends for bunch on a Saturday around noonish, there was a wait, but luckily we had reserved a table so we didn’t wait too long.

I ordered the Eggs Bendict, a dish that has become a renowned New Yorker breakfast/brunch. It was absolute decadence. A perfectly baked English muffin with a layer of sliced ham topped with a perfectly poached egg covered with a fine consistency of Hollandaise sauce.

Shopped Shopping in NYC can be overwhelming because there are so many options. My favorite area to shop in was Soho, a neighborhood in lower Manhattan. It has a variety of shops ranging from trendy upscale boutiques to national and international chain outlets.

Tips NYC is an intricate, endless, exciting city, and that’s putting it mildly. Anything and everything can be done and found in this amazingly huge and beautiful city. My aim was to explore the ins and outs of the city plate by plate; after all, it is the food capital of the world.

As exaggerated as this may sound, during the first few days I spent in the city, I felt like a child on Christmas Day, so overwhelmed and mesmerized as I carried a juxtaposition of feelings and emotions, mainly joy with a tinge of shock. I was in awe. I honestly didn’t know where to start. I had lists upon lists from friends and family of places to visit and restaurants and cafes to try. The more I explored the more overwhelmed I felt. And so I decided to drop these lists and just go with it, but there are definitely a few places that are must see places, such as:

  • The MoMo
  • The MET
  • Wall Street
  • The World Trade Center
  • Fifth Avenue
  • Soho
  • China Town
  • Little Italy
  • Korea Town
  • Little Brazil
  • The Statue of Liberty
  • The Empire State Building
  • Central Park
  • Columbus Circle

How to get there I booked my flight for September 30th with Lufthansa. The layover was only a few hours in Frankfurt. When I arrived to check in counter at the airport in Beirut, I was informed that the flight was postponed due to a pilot strike in Germany. The next day I called the airline to book another flight, and they have organized for passengers to book flights with the Turkish Airlines via Istanbul. I took the earliest flight which was October 1st. The flight was about 1-½ hours to Isbanbul. The layover was 1 hour at the airport and then a direct 10-hour flight to NYC. The way back was via Lufthansa, it was about a 6 hour flight to Frankfurt, a 3 hour layover and then 3 ½ flight to Beirut. I like flights with minimum layovers at airports, I feel there is only so much you can do at airports.

In general, both flights were comfortable, I try to sleep as much as I can on airplanes and when I am awake I will read a book.

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China Town
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Eggs Benedict
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Heaven
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Cupcake ATM
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Nature

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Travel Junkie Diary

A bohemian traveler

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  • Someone told me that I’m still glowing from my recent @travelwithtjd arctic trip. 
It put a huge smile on my face... because It’s true... I still feel it, that happiness and high... but I was also told that I wear my heart on my sleeve so, my ‘glow’ is inevitable. 
We fall in love with the person we become when we travel to places that sets your soul on fire... And you would do anything to hold on to it. 
Heading back to Lebanon for my last dose of winter & snowboarding with family & friends before heading back to the salty waters and flip flops. 
Have a beautiful week everyone and thank you for following along 💫
  • I’m not sure why I love this first picture a lot. It’s one of those things you can’t explain. 
I’ve always looked at rear view mirrors as walking away from something (Not necessarily bad) towards something greater that might or might not work and it’s somewhat comforting. 
I’m someone who loves their own space and comfortable on my own, most of the time at least. 
I’ve had times where things didn’t always go my way instantly but I knew it eventually will fall into place, and, it always does. 
I might have fallen flat on my face sometimes, and have underestimated my own capabilities in some moments... but, I’m more confident of my choices than I was when I first started my journey and what made me even braver, was my willingness to live up to these moments because in the end, it was all worth it. 
#TravelwithTJD @travelwithtjd @hertz.uae
  • We all crave isolation from time to time to get disconnected from whatever it is that keeps us awake at night. 
To just go, and say nothing and think nothing. 
We hope in the end that whatever you love always loves you back. The sami believes that when you are in nature, you are never afraid of being alone. 
Returning from a ‘letting go’ place such as the wilderness in Finland affects me emotionally and sets me off balance a little, because my happiness was always about following my heart, and so, I try to find my way back from a place of reality that is even far better than my dreams. #TravelwithTJD @travelwithtjd
  • What an incredible emotional 10 days this has been! I’ve met the funniest, warmest and the most caring, thoughtful people on this @travelwithtjd and it’s so difficult say goodbye. We have created our own reality - pushed boundaries - fell in love with life - and set ourselves free from all judgments on ourselves. I’ll post more on stories and photos as soon as I land back home 💫
Thank you @hertz.uae for having such great service during our trip!
  • On this @travelwithtjd trip, I’m surrounded with people that makes me forget where my phone is, makes me laugh till my stomach hurts, help each other when you can’t feel your hands from the cold and makes my heart so full and filled with love, and we all know how much I love love ☺️. I’m back in Finland, creating our own realities with some of the most incredible people I have ever met. #travelwithtjd
  • From Tromso, to Dubai for a couple of days and now back to Finland for our next @travelwithtjd - I had few friends over at home yesterday for lunch @theitalianwayuae to say goodbye, leaving for almost 13 days but never thought leaving my little puppy was going to be this difficult!
  • On our last @travelwithtjd to Norway, we left @radissonblutromso to set sail in the Arctic in search of the Northern Lights and to experience sailing and sleeping out in the wilderness. 
4 nights and we were faced with an incredible storm, high winds, lots of rain and clouds but it didn’t stop some of us from dancing, fishing and sailing. That’s the real Arctic weather!
It was a mind blowing adventure and testing each one’s capabilities of being comfortable in uncomfortable situations. 
That’s what an adventure is really all about. Especially in the beautiful arctic. ❤️
  • I honestly didn’t know how to caption this story because there is a thousand words I want to say and a thousand reasons not to. 
This image speaks to me and I’ve imagined it and orchestrated in my head a thousand times and @dennisstever helped me capture it perfectly. 
It’s a liberating feeling to be able to stand at the edge with a cape with extreme wind and rain in your face and feel like a superhero. 
We are our own heroes. Not because we are about to change the world....But to change inside of us who struggle to make one small difference in their lives for themselves every day. 
I’m the type of girl who will have tears of joy or sadness running down my face and still insist that everything is fine. My glory isn’t just in the achievements, but in the sacrifices I have made to save myself. This is what this story image represents to me. 
#TravelwithTJD @travelwithtjd
My beautiful cape is from @costureroreal
  • We are spoon fed with quotes on social media on the fake realm of positivity and sometime too much of it. 
The truth is, why should we avoid difficult situations? Why should we not get heartbroken? 
To be surrounded by ONLY positive people and those who ONLY inspire you is unrealistic and a recipe for not growing or truly finding out who you are. 
Because you will come across people in your life that can suck out the energy out of you and you will only learn to block them and manage your reaction when you have had a share of experiences. 
It takes real courage to stop pretending you have it all together and accept the challenges and grow. 
If we can allow ourselves to face it; we will experience life to its fullest. 
Being human means facing suffering. There is no light without dark, no joy without sadness. 
If we don’t experience all feelings, we have no basis for comparison. So accept the good and the bad without any judgement, know it’s human to feel both. 
Take your time to feel everything, but once you are done, get up, grow, break your own boundaries and not what others expects of you, and motivate yourself by learning to face and appreciating the challenges that comes your way. Too much positivity could also be lethal and not real. It’s how you learn to deal with it. 
At least that’s what I have learned, and I have felt my personal growth during those years. ❤️
  • I’ll always search for those breathless moments where I will no longer be sure if I am dreaming or awake. 
We drove in total 8 hours that day from Tromso to Senja along the coastline. I kept asking @dennisstever to pull over every 2 minutes so I can shoot but luckily he didn’t, otherwise we would have never reached here at sunset. 
Scandinavia is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been to and that’s why I keep coming back and leave with a full heart... until it’s time to come back again. 
Follow our @travelwithtjd Journey and be part of our polar journeys. ❤️
  • One of the most liberating feeling in the world is being able to come back here over and over again and feeling so comfortable and happy. I took this yesterday while flying over tromso and although it was just taken with a phone camera, I think it still looks magical. I woke up at 4am today, excited to start the day, getting ready for the team of @travelwithtjd to start arriving and we set sail tomorrow in the Arctic wilderness. #travelwithtjd
  • The heaviness of the moon this month... so I say this: It’s ok if you lose yourself, I’ll be right here to help you find your way back 💫