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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  • This month, I asked the universe to help me in the practice of ‘letting go gracefully’ and I turned towards my Ashtanga practice. It has been more consistent than I can ever remember and I thank my teacher for navigating me. 
My mat has always been my private mirror ...Showing me my strength and weaknesses and my ability to push through when I’m stuck. It has me flirting with patience and, hope that one day, I might acquire it. It has been helping me shift my perspective and release the ‘need to control everything’ side of me... but still keep the organized side of me. 
Letting go is part of my healing process, whether it’s a posture that I need to fall into or catching my breath... because healing, is my responsibility... and no one else’s. 
These series of photos reminds of me a moment of achievement. The moment I’ve always wanted to sail in the Arctic dream a year ago, turned into a reality.
  • I love how so many of you played the exercise on my instastory. Wether it’s real or not, it’s nice to get to know a little more about you. 
I found love, success, happiness. Then found power, money, experience 🤣 
Did you also manage to find more words?
  • The bravest thing I’ve ever done was be a mother and learning to deal with fears I never knew existed... most of all, when I see her, I see the evidence of how strong I can be, and I remind myself: You’ve got this. 💫
  • The midnight sun is slowly making its way into the arctic. One of the world’s greatest phenomenon. Where the sun never completely sets and is visible day and night. Have you ever seen it?
I struggle to find the words to describe this feeling, because no words are strong enough. This was taken a little past midnight while sailing in the arctic on our @travelwithtjd - We are launching more TJD trips like those for you to join and experience it together. Follow @travelwithtjd to find out more on how you can join ❤️
  • I get asked constantly for advice on the best resorts in the Maldives that is children friendly. For me, it’s not only about the facilities but also the trust that’s built with the staff and the program they have for kids each day. Chloe loved it here, made new friends and cried when we left. That’s why I find it easy to always return to Joali. 
What’s your favorite island in Maldives?
  • Italy: A series of few images I took years back when I visited Florence. I remember the highlights of my trip: The gorgeous @fsflorence - Cinque Terre - A moment where I felt I lost all my inspiration - The magical sunset at Piazzale Michelangelo. 
What are your favorite things to do in Florence?
  • Throwback to almost 3 years ago. A friend asked for my recommendation for Bali and it brought up some memories. So found this picture. It’s one of my favorite places in Uluwatu and one of my favorite summer! Happy Sunday 🐰
  • The island’s Manta Tree house, designed by one and only Porky Hefer. It’s 5 meters in the air and a wingspan of almost 15m. The 50m tail of the manta is a suspended walkway leading up to body which seats up to 10 people! One of the many art pieces in @joalimaldives - I’ve never seen anything quite like it!!!
  • I’ve been trying to (really focusing more this time) to wake up and sleep with affirmations. It used to help me a lot in the past then somewhere along the way, I stopped for a while.
I’d love to read what’s yours!! Everyday, I try to read and write new ones so here goes mine for today and I hope it resonates with you 💕:
“If I want it, I can attract it” Abraham Hicks
  • I am always surrounded by love (and water) because all I see is love 💕 
Happy Easter everyone!
  • A huge shift in my energy today as I start working on our next @travelwithtjd - Scandic countries holds an exhilarating amount of joy and peace in my heart, which I’ve learned not to search anymore for reasons to explain it, because some things cannot always be expressed in words. 
We have recently launched Sweden’s Arctic experience on @travelwithtjd other than Finland, Iceland and Norway. The link is in bio if you like to join our polar journeys and have an adventure of a lifetime. Only 2 spaces left for Sweden. Hope to see you on our TJD trips! 
Photo by @dennisstever 
#TravelwithTJD
  • Sunrise view from my room facing the Athenian Riviera from @fsathens from Arion side of the building which is more laidback.
I have to admit though, it’s good to be back home and back to a routine. I tend to pick up emotions from the people and environment around me, and from time to time, it’s good to be grounded. Thank you Four Seasons for a wonderful experience and congratulations on the opening! ❤️