what a weekend - relaxing, fun, filled to the brim with delicious food. just the type of weekend you need before a wet, snowy monday like today. this winter has been relentless, no? i never really mind snow, truly, but it looks like it's going to be a long february before spring comes roaring in. it's why you leave the city, even just for the night, even to a colder location - because you just need a break. new scenery, new faces. so saturday found brian, tina, and myself back upstate in saratoga for chowderfest - all the small restaurants and bars downtown open their doors and sell chowder for just a dollar. our favorite chowder is creamy, filled with lobster, topped with pulled pork, and served with a cornbread crouton. it is heaven. but with all the travel in the past few weeks, i decided to go up on saturday, while brian went up friday. therefore, friday night found me giddy to spend some time alone - i love brian, no doubt, but sometimes it's nice to do things by yourself. especially the things your spouse may not like to do, which in my case is eat copious amounts of sushi. i left work on friday, wandered around the east village listening to some jazz, falling deeply in love with my city, and my life here. i stopped for a glass of champagne before making my way to dinner, where i sat at the counter, talking with the sushi chef, and ate some of his delicious concoctions. i overheard great conversations at the bar, witnessed one of the stranger interactions between two random people i've ever seen, discussed with chef daniel how small steps in life can lead to destinations you never knew were dreams, and spent some time just being. i love new york city. i love the people, the sights, the food, the sounds, sometimes even the smells. and i love that is quite to amenable to dates, particularly for one. when i told tina about my night on the way to saratoga the next she astutely observed that i basically took myself on a date. and i laughingly admitted that yes, yes that was quite true. the rest of the weekend was filled with chowder, cold beer, stopping at our favorite breakfast places, a great mexican dinner, and lots and lots of friends. it felt very full, both my belly and my life. our time is usually best spent sharing moments with our loved ones - but every now and then, take yourself on that date. it can be just as enjoyable, too.