Albury and her husband are the founders of the popular coolstuff.nyc newsletter.Photo: Margalit Cutler
In 2020, Garrett and Anna B. Albury had an idea: They wanted to share a running list of favorite spots with their friends. “We always trace it back to a ride on the M train,” Anna says. They launched Coolstuff.nyc that February. Soon after — perhaps you heard about this! — everyone had to head inside for a while. The newsletter pivoted to something more community minded, and it kept growing from its initial list of 40 people. “Now it’s back in full force,” Anna says. (You can read last week’s right here.) By day, the couple works in design — “Jobs we love that are sort of disconnected from media or the newsletter” — which comes in handy when putting together the newsletter themselves. “Garrett’s the tech brain,” Anna says, “and I’m the color — like, ‘This is how it should look.’”
Saturday, September 9
On summer Saturday mornings, my husband, Garrett, and I stock up on fresh produce for the week at the Grand Army Greenmarket in Prospect Park. I’m a big plan-for-the-week person, but I am in no way a meal-prepper. Before heading to the market, we stopped by Un Posto Italiano in Park Slope. The staff at Un Posto had been on a monthlong summer break, so we were excited to stop in. My first drink back at this laptop-free paradise was a caffè shakerato. It’s fun to sip on a shakerato in the morning because you get to drink out of a cocktail glass in the daylight.
At the market we picked up some veg we could use in meals for the rest of the week. The last of the summer tomatoes and corn were highlights, and we also bought breakfast radishes, basil, chives, lettuce, bell peppers, and milk bread from Lost Bread Co. And flowers. Always flowers.
We headed home to slice up one of the tomatoes we grabbed. They were the kind that’s mostly yellow except for the wispy streaks of red running through the flesh. I heavily seasoned the slices to prime them for a sandwich. I toasted the whole-wheat milk bread on one side — it’s key to have crunch on the inside while the outside stays soft — and then smeared some homemade special sauce with chives before adding the tomatoes, closing the sandwich, and eating it as quickly as possible.
In the afternoon, I ran to Union Market to pick up a mini chocolate birthday cake for my friend Rebecca. I also grabbed some Lu Petit Écolier dark-chocolate cookies, which are great. I packed up these treats with some tea sandwiches and headed to the city to meet at her apartment for a birthday tea for two. We enjoyed the snacks with Earl Grey tea green apple LaCroixs garnished with strawberries. We then put on our bravest faces and sat in traffic on the way to an NYFW event.
After I worked up an appetite fighting thousands of other young women to simply enter the Alice + Olivia presentation (as a guest, I might add!), I needed something more substantial than the tea snacks in my stomach.
I met Garrett at one of our favorite pizza spots in Park Slope, PDA. We had some sparkling natural wine, blistered shishito peppers, and the best “simple salad.” It’s just a big bowl of correctly seasoned arugula and Parmesan.
We always get the wings — confited, then tossed in Chinese five- spice powder and served with Alabama white sauce — and we decided to go simple with the pizza. The margherita was crisp, covered in fresh basil … and packed to enjoy later because our eyes were bigger than our stomachs.
Sunday, September 10
I woke up starving, and Garrett asked me if I wanted eggs with toast. That sounded fine, but I had an improved variation in mind: toad in a hole. It was another great way to use up the milk bread while it was still fresh.
If I’m having coffee at home, G makes me a latte. I like to have it with Golde collagen creamer whisked in with the oat milk; it makes me feel like I’m doing something good for my health or at the very least, my hair. With the caffeine still fresh, I fired up my computer to work on a few outstanding to-dos from a recent interior-styling commission.
I spent the rest of the morning getting ready to have our friends Francisco and Andrew over for Sunday lunch. It’s our new thing. We recently had a looong white-wine-filled daytime meal at LaLou in Prospect Heights and were inspired to re-create it at home, with this being our first go at it.
Yesterday’s market finds continued to serve us as we prepared a Castelfranco salad, with the pink-speckled bitter green serving as a base for our copy of PDA’s simple salad. I added in breakfast radishes and chives before tossing it with lemon, olive oil, and Parm. The lunch’s main course was a gluten-free fresh-tomato pasta using a variety of our heirloom market tomatoes and basil (and a touch of butter.) To mimic our experience at LaLou, we sipped on a crisp white I’d brought back from Grapefruit Wines in Hudson.
Every good Sunday lunch should also have a lunch dessert and coffee (to pick you up after the wine). Andrew made gluten-free lemon pound cake with a lemon glaze. Dessert served as a great excuse to extend the afternoon into a round of dominoes.
I typically don’t have dinner after an all-day meal like this, so after watching the U.S. Open men’s final on the couch, I went to meet a friend at Anaïs in Boerum Hill. A perk of starting the Coolstuff.nyc newsletter is that we find ourselves heading to new restaurants and wine bars in the name of research. Anaïs is one I’d been meaning to try since it opened a few months ago, and showing an out-of-town friend a cool wine bar in a brownstone-filled Brooklyn neighborhood seemed like a good excuse.
I went classic me and grabbed a glass of the chilled red to drink while snacking on a cheese plate and sourdough bread with butter. Lately, I’ve been wanting a meal that consists of nothing more than a plate of cheese and really, really good bread, so I was happy neither of us wanted anything more substantial.
Monday, September 11
Today was a work-from-home day — the kind where I got straight to work while still in my pajamas. Garrett made me my classic iced oat-collagen latte and before I knew it: lunchtime.
For one reason or another, we stopped cooking meat at home about a year ago. We typically gravitate toward finding vegetarian protein, even though we eat meat when we go out. The one exception to this is sliced Boar’s Head EveRoast chicken from the deli counter at Key Food. I used that and the ever-giving farmers’ market veggies to make a riff on a Cobb salad.
Any salad I make always uses romaine lettuce because I love the crunch. I sliced up breakfast radishes and chives, threw in the tiniest baby cherry tomatoes (whole), added an eight-minute jammy egg, and sautéed some corn off the cob to add a warm element to the salad. Say what you will, but my favorite dressing will always be Hidden Valley Ranch, and that’s what topped this Cobb. It was so good that I texted my husband from across the house during meetings about how delicious our lunch was.
I started practicing tae kwon do about a year ago, and I think I was subconsciously saving my appetite for an after-workout meal. However, right as it was time to walk to my studio for class, the sky completely dropped. The heavy late-summer thunderstorm was so intense that I even canceled the Uber I’d ordered while crossing the street to get into the car (I lost $6.98 in fees.)
My post-TKD meal was still on my mind, and so I consoled myself with the comfort-food meal I’d planned to make anyway: Annie’s macaroni and cheese topped with charred broccoli and showered in black pepper. I typically add Broccolini, but my usually reliable Union Market only had regular broccoli in stock, which is still delicious when charred in olive oil and red pepper flakes.
I recently got a grill press, and I love that it’s basically just a handheld weight that I can place on top of the broccoli and step away to get the perfect char.
As I finished my meal, I looked out to the double rainbow crossing the clear pink sky and wondered if I could have made class after all.
Tuesday, September 12
Nine to five, I work as a rug designer at a small to-the-trade luxury rug firm in the city. Two days a week I design out of our midtown showroom, and whenever I’m in the office I have a little ritual. I bring my favorite Fellow coffee cup (which doesn’t spill in my bag during the train ride in from Brooklyn) and enjoy my latte with a small morning snack, typically a jar of sliced strawberries. This holds me over until lunch.
A few color-palette and rug-design conversations later, I made the trek over ten blocks to meet my husband for lunch at S& P. There is one thing I get consistently, even during breakfast, but especially lunch: the chicken salad club. It’s my ideal type of chicken salad (no raisins, grapes, or nuts in sight!), and it’s topped with thick slices of iceberg lettuce, pickles, and potato chips. I order mine without the middle slice of bread, because it takes away from everything else that’s going on. The sandwich is so consistently delicious; the only thing that changes is the type of bread the sandwich comes on. Today was whole wheat, untoasted.
Back to our respective offices we went until 5 o’clock came around. Then I made my way to the 34th Street ferry dock to head over to Achilles Heel in Greenpoint. It’s my favorite restaurant in the city. The music is perfect. I always try something new. And it was one of the first restaurants that my husband and I discovered together. It’s the place we celebrated our engagement minutes after it happened, and it always feels like an occasion to return to our favorite place. So I kicked things off with my martini: gin, served up with a lemon twist and a side of olives.
I was also excited to try the food of its new chef, Sunny Lee. Since taking over, Sunny has transformed the ever-changing menu into one with a Korean focus. I dove in with a summer salad consisting of pickled green beans, raw Broccolini, radicchio, sungolds, and cantaloupe beautifully placed in a bowl atop a jang dressing and showered in sesame seeds. I love the hotteok — a savory griddled pancake filled with corn and Gruyère — served alongside spicy mustard and pickled peppers. To go with everything, we had the banchan of the day, our favorite part of Korean cuisine, and a side of rice.
Wednesday September 13
This morning began, as they all do, with my usual iced oat-collagen latte. If you’ve made it this far, I’m not ashamed to admit that this latte worked its way into my wedding vows.
The rest of the afternoon’s projects, emails, etc., made the day fly by until we were off to meet our friends Shea and Connor at Chelsea Market for the annual Anne Saxelby Legacy Fund Benefit.
The event brings together some of the best of the New York restaurant scene that employs a diverse group of young people who are interested in apprenticing at sustainable farms across the country. I tried maybe a third of all the food, but some of the things I really loved were:
• A perfect radish with salted butter by Chez Pannise
• Comte quiche topped with ham and truffle from Frenchette
• A slice of laminated baguette from Alf Bakery
• Spicy chile-oil-topped jook from Leland Eating and Drinking House
• Beautiful marble-glazed sugar cookies from the Rounds
There were also many … beverages along the way, but we don’t need to get into that.
The closer of the night was a large bottle of Smart Water with the sippy attachment from Gourmet Deli on 15th and Eighth, the perfect thing to drink on the way home, riding a 2 train with a broken AC.