4th of July in Upstate New York

Upstate NY

I’m heading to one of my favorite places on earth tomorrow: Hamilton, New York. For those of you who didn’t know, I attended Colgate University for undergrad and therefore have a lot of school + Town of Hamilton pride. This is my third trip up since graduation two years ago and it’s to see two good friends get married (they’ve been dating since freshman year. Cute, right?!), which is bound to be a great time.

We’re flying into Buffalo tomorrow, renting a car, and making a quick stop at Niagara Falls before driving to Hamilton for the next two nights. Every time I go back to Colgate, there are five things I make it a point not to miss…which I realize are likely very similar to most people’s checklist as well (especially if you went to school in a small town!). They are:

1. THE PIZZA PLACE
Because what college down doesn’t have its legendary pizza place? Don’t lie, you were all about it, late night or not. And still crave that taste even years after graduation. Oh and not to brag, but Slices was nationally recognized. Just saying.

2. YOUR FAVORITE LOCAL BAR
Self explanatory.

3. YOUR GO-TO RESTAURANT
Ours is the Mexican restaurant in town, where we consistently consumed one too many margaritas and celebrated anything we could think of. While it certainly wasn’t the same as my beloved Tex Mex, it’s the place where I could satisfy my cravings for a little taste of home.

4. THE ONE “NICE” PLACE
Lucky for me, it’s where the wedding reception is taking place this weekend. We love the Colgate Inn for its classy ambiance, more upscale menu, and connection to the university– and no one can get enough of the Tollhouse Cookie Pie. Anyone else’s school have a signature dessert?

5. THE BOOKSTORE
Fingers crossed that summer hours don’t get in the way of this, but I’m fully planning on buying more college-themed paraphernalia including a pennant for my desk at work, hopefully a sketch to frame for my apartment, and let’s be honest– probably a t-shirt or hat that I really don’t need.

So what about you? Do you end up at your alma mater often for some reason or another, and do you have a mental checklist that you comb through at every visit? Hopefully this triggers some fun memories :) Oh and in case you’re interested: What I’ve learned since college!

Photo by Monica Dutia (these are windmills located about a 10 minute drive from campus!)

Fourth of July-Friendly Recipes

4th of July Recipes

Anyone BBQing or potlucking for the Fourth this weekend? This is the first time in about four years that I won’t be doing such a thing (I’m heading to upstate NY for a wedding!) but in the past, always found myself perusing Pinterest and food blogs for recipes in the days leading up to the holiday. While recipe posts haven’t been as prevalent on here lately –don’t worry, that will change!– there are a few things I’ve shared before that are event and large group-friendly. All are pretty easy and require minimal prep time, plus the only two requiring an oven are the brownies and the crostini (though you can just buy store bought roasted red peppers to expedite/avoid melting).

Brown Sugar Dip // Roasted Red Pepper Crostini  // Chocolate Coconut Bark // Polenta Chili Bake // Pineapple Rum Mint Spritzer // Chocolate Chunk Brownies

What’re your favorite recipes to cook for potlucks or holidays? Are you whipping up any patriotic concoctions for the Fourth? Also, does anyone have any good savory dip recipes? Those are always a hit and there seem to be many family recipes circulating around, but is an area where my knowledge is seriously lacking!

Weekend in NYC

Smorgasburg, Brooklyn

As you may already know, I took an early train up to NYC Friday morning and spent a three day weekend doing a lot of walking, eating, and socializing. It was great to see friends who I hadn’t seen in about a year and visit parts of the city I’d never been to before (FiDi + Brooklyn). As always, the trip felt way too short yet also per usual, I was ready to get back to DC with slightly lower prices, fewer crowds, and less… dirt. I do love visiting New York, but always leave know I’m living in the right place. Comforting, right?