I think the most important aspect of living green on a small budget is prioritizing. For example, my preference is definitely to buy organic and/or local produce, but that’s definitely not feasible for everything from a cost perspective! I refer to this list when buying produce — these items should always be organic. Fortunately, a lot of local produce (but not necessarily organic) is just as cheap or cheaper than produce from the grocery store. It’s also really important to me that I support local farmers, so I build relationships with them, and they in turn try to provide people with the best prices. I do a lot of price comparison and always break down the price per ounce/gram of staple goods to find the cheapest product. (Unless I’m buying flour, because I am hopelessly devoted to King Arthur.) Speaking of which, I’m all about buying those dry goods in bulk. The problem, of course, is finding storage space in my not-so-large apartment. Bodegas are also a great source of products for good prices. My roommate and I were pretty sunburnt a few weeks back and we scored two huge aloe leaves at a bodega for a fraction of the price of aloe gel. (And it’s completely pure! Love that.)
As a Williamsburg resident, I’m pretty partial to my neighborhood, and to Brooklyn as a whole. My neighborhood is always getting knocked as a hipster enclave, but where I live is absolutely brimming with cultural diversity (in addition to a thriving arts scene). In one direction, I can walk over to a homemade pasta store. In the other, I can eat at an authentic Mexican taqueria. Not to mention that I recently found the best Chinese takeout I have ever consumed. There’s also the Brooklyn Flea and Smorgasburg on the weekends. Honestly, I never went into Manhattan my first few weekends living here. I was too infatuated with Brooklyn. In Manhattan, I really like exploring Chelsea and West Village because they feel less oppressive than the rest of the city. There are many small shops and restaurants that beckon every time I walk by. But, really, it’s not fair to pick favorite neighborhoods yet. I still feel like I just arrived here! All of NYC is a dream for someone who craves culture as much as I do.
Like I mentioned above, Smorgasburg is a great place to go on the weekend. It’s solely a food market, and the vendors are all clearly passionate about what they create; you can taste it. Another delicious market is Chelsea Market. There are so many bakeries in there that I’ve really only scratched the surface. As for restaurants, my absolute favorites are all in Brooklyn. Rye makes a meatloaf sandwich that actually made a meatloaf convert of me; Traif just porkifies everything; Roberta’s does pizza that feels classy, but still not fussy. It’s kind of an art form. My favorite Manhattan restaurant is probably Cafe Habana because their grilled corn (plus Cuban sandwiches) cause me to salivate every time I think of them. Seriously, I’m drooling all over my keyboard right now. However, my all-time favorite food item in this city are pork buns from Mei Li Wah. I try to go there with $3 or less in cash so I’ll only buy two pork buns instead of the two dozen that I really want.
Well thank you! My favorite recipes tend to be the more simple ones, with a few exceptions for hearty winter meals, like this divine chili and cornbread combo. I’m very proud of my ABC Sandwich because that combination of flavors is very nearly impossible to beat. I’m also really proud of my buttermilk-related recipes, with fried chicken and chicken pot pie with biscuits at the top of the heap, so to speak. I think chocolate pudding is one of the most fun and simple chocolate desserts one can make, and it’s SO much better than the boxed variety. Everyone should know how to roast a chicken. This recipe is my favorite. Also, roasting a chicken means leftovers with which to make chicken noodle soup!
I’ve loved every place I’ve lived, so I would recommend all of them! DC is great for all of the free museums and the fascinating history of the American government; London, of course, is also brimming in history and appeals to anyone even remotely interested in royalty; Munich is my absolute favorite city for all of its charm. Munich residents refer to it as “a large village,” and the city certainly feels that way. The heart of the city is quite small, but it has an amazing market and biergarten in the very center. I often spent all day there just eating and people watching. Plus, it’s really safe! Definitely good for a newbie travel. All of my travel experiences have been valuable in their own ways, even the ones where I had brushes with danger, but my favorite has to be the road/train trip I took around France, touring beautiful old churches and eating at some of the most famous restaurants in the world. It was an incredible adventure
What’s in your bucket list? Which ones have you completed?
This question makes me realize how I really lack any kind of bucket list. Like most people, I want to travel as often as possible, but I tend to pick locations based on whether I know people there. Being connected to the local culture is an amazing advantage! I would also love to learn carpentry and reupholstery, so that in the event that I ever have an apartment larger than a walk-in closet, I can create my own furniture. I suppose the only real bucket-list-worth item I can note is that I want to write a book. Maybe a memoir, maybe a cookbook, maybe both. I’m glad you’ve inspired me to get out there and make a better list!