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Posts from April 2004

Goin' Down to the Big Easy

The wait is over. It's finally time.

Truth be told, I've been waiting for this moment since last year's trip. Wasn't sure I'd make it this year, but thanks to a very hospitable college friend and a travel partner with a flexible schedule, I am once again able to make the pilgrimage to Jazz Fest in New Orleans.

As you might have guessed, two of my very favorite things are food and music. New Orleans generally, and Jazz Fest specifically, bring those two worlds together in an incredibly decadent atmosphere. If you poke around the Jazz Fest website, you can see the wide variety of musical artists and vast menu of culinary delights awaiting me. I have always said that if I lived in New Orleans year-round, I'd end up as a fat, lazy, alcoholic slut. It just kind of brings that out in you. Arguably, that might be okay for a week or so, but not so good as a lifestyle choice.

By the time you read this, I'll be on a plane, but never fear, I'll have a full report when I return. I already know of a soft-shell crab po-boy with my name on it.


Hot Dogs for All Tastes

I started off my weekend at the Yankees/Red Sox game. A good college friend, a die-hard Sox fan, was in town, and I have to admit that I am somewhat of a closeted Sox fan myself. Truth be told, I don't care much one way or the other, but when the Sox play the Yankees, I root (quietly) for the Red Sox, in honor of my uncle, who was a hard-care fan. He passed away when I was in college, but when I got into Tufts, the first thing he did was buy me a Red Sox hat.

As usual, when I arrived at the game, I was ravenous. I had my first hot dog of the evening before we even walked through the gates of the park -- a Hebrew National jumbo dog, boiled, with ketchup. It was good, but once I was done, I needed something sweet. When we arrived at our seats, I began the search for the Cracker Jack guy. I thought I saw him in the distance, but as he got closer, I saw that he was actually selling Crunch-n-Munch. After wandering around and scoping out the refreshment stands, I couldn't find Cracker Jack anywhere, so I settled for the Crunch-n-Munch. Not quite the same, but it did the trick (Cracker Jack is more of a caramel corn, while Crunch-n-Munch is more butter toffee based. Both have peanuts). I was then ready for hot dog number two, a grilled Nathan frank, with ketchup. My conclusion? Grilled dogs are much tastier than the boiled. Hands down. The other thing I noticed at the game is that, while there was never a line for the ladies' room there was always a looooooong line for the mens' room. Ahh, sweet revenge.

And, oh yeah, the Red Sox won.

Saturday was gorgeous, and as we wandered through Washington Square Park, we realized that we had stumbled upon the Dashchund Festival, an event held twice a year by the Dashchund Friendship Club. Wiener dogs everywhere, including one dressed as, you guessed it, a hot dog.


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Definitely my favorite hot dog of the weekend.


Take It (All?) Off!

The days are getting longer, the flowers are blooming, the temperatures are (generally) rising. What does this mean? For many of us, this means time to bust out the flip-flops, tank tops, and breezy skirts, and to put away the sweaters, boots, and hats. It also means that it's time to take it all off. Time to . . . WAX. Sometimes it's easy to let things go during the winter, but as the weather gets warmer, we need to be prepared for that last-minute trip to the beach, etc. Plus, it's less comfortable to walk around feeling like a gorilla in the sweltering heat.

Apparently even men are jumping on the waxing bandwagon. According to Salon, heterosexual men are heading to salons to wax their nether regions. This is a scary thought to me on so many levels. Waxing is not fun. It is painful -- you are paying someone to rip your pubic hair off with hot wax. I can hardly imagine what it would be like on testicles. Ouch-o-rama. It's also awkward. What am I supposed to do with my underwear? Should I have worn a thong for this? How high do I want it? Uh . . . hmm. Gotta think about that one. You want me to put my leg where?! Guys don't deal well with salon awkwardness. I remember sending my ex to my haircutter, and he was so nervous about how to deal with changing into the gown that I'm surprised he kept going back.

And don't get me started about that Brazilian nonsense. Since my parents are reading this, however, I'm going to save that discussion for offline. My dad was a little distressed by the thong/steak and boobies post, so I won't push it. See you at the salon!


Hang Up the Phone*

Gothamist has a great post today about how long to wait (or not to wait) before calling someone. My personal take on the matter is that you should call when you feel like calling. Generally speaking, if you both like each other, the callee will be happy to hear from the caller. If you don't both like each other, or one person likes the other more, then a too soon or too late call may have an impact on someone's opinion. Similar to the guidelines about who pays on dates, however, each person has his or her own rules about what "too soon" or "too late" actually means. That said, I am often advised by my esteemed council of advisors to chill out and wait in terms of calling people. This is because I am not good at masking my interest, or as a friend pointed out, I "hide [my] lack of indifference rather badly. . . which is endearing, so don't worry." Damn straight. In my opinion, the right person for me will not be "scared off" by my enthusiasm, and will, in fact, find it endearing. And on a related note -- don't tell me you're going to call me if you're not. I was telling a friend recently that, if a guy asks for my phone number, I assume that there's a 50/50 chance that he'll actually call. Call me jaded, but it's true. Some advice, gentlemen -- don't ask for a number if you don't plan on using it. Agreed?

What are your rules about calling someone?

* and speaking of scary 80's trivia. . . I used to LOVE this song by Annie Golden, which is featured in Sixteen Candles.


Southern Gentlemen and Pork Fat -- My Trip to Atlanta

Considering that I spent the better part of four beautiful, mild, sunny days inside a Hilton, I actually had a good trip to Atlanta.

I was there for the Equal Justice Conference, and moderated a panel presentation on disaster legal assistance. I hadn't met any of my co-panelists before we got there -- we coordinated the whole thing by phone and email -- so I had arranged to meet them in the lobby an hour before our panel. The two women were at our assigned meeting point, and all I knew was that I was looking for a guy named Mark. I started asking around the lobby -- I approached each man sitting alone and asked if he was Mark. One gentleman, in his late forties, when I asked if he was Mark, literally looked me up and down, lingering a tad too long on my cleavage, and said, in a deep southern drawl, "no, but I wish I was." I spun on my heel and walked away, thinking of all the clever things I should/could have said. Ick. I wanted to take a shower. Blech. Southern gentlemen, my ass, although I'm sure he thought he was giving me some sort of compliment.

If that was the low point, the high points were the people, a few good meals, and a forty-five minute stretch of lounging in the sun by the pool. First and foremost, I'd like to thank the Atlanta-based Chowhounds for responding to my post -- I had two great meals thanks to their suggestions. First was Watershed, a calm, soothing, airy spot in Decatur that features new Southern cooking and is co-owned by Emily Saliers, one of the Indigo Girls (the name is a tribute to their song). We had fried catfish and some of the best onion rings I have ever had -- light and crispy on the outside and sweet and chewy on the inside. I got the duck as an entree, served simply with figs, sauteed bok choy, and roasted parsnips (which I have currently declared to be my favorite vegetable). One of my co-workers got the special that evening, which was a Greek-style roasted fish. It was delicious. They also served warm cookies and milk for dessert.


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The next night was Harold's Barbecue. As we walked up to the place, there was a cop hanging out in front. I snapped a picture of him there, but was too self conscious to take a picture of him later, despite the fact that he was standing right next to a porcelain pig. It was so perfect -- you'll just have to imagine it in your mind. It was definitely a down-home, old-school barbecue joint. Our hands-down favorite of the dishes we ordered was the pork ribs -- juicy, tender, and succulent, with a tangy, vinegar-based sauce. Each plate was served with Brunswick stew, fantastic (non-mayo-heavy) coleslaw, and came with chips and a platter of cornbread. As I was inspecting the cornbread, I noticed chunks of something in it -- at first I thought it was apples, as they were sort of square and had the translucent quality of a cooked apple, but when I picked a chunk out and tasted it on its own, I realized that it was . . . pork fat. Nice. A special thanks to Tiela and Teresa for joining me in my adventure.

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Finally, I got to spend time with the extended Pro Bono Net family -- folks we work with all over the country -- and meet some great new people in the public interest legal community, mostly from California. It was a pleasure hanging out with Becky, the "legions of Stephens," Amy, Michelle, Tamarra, Marni, Megan, McGregor, and everyone else. We even made the most of being trapped in the Hilton by visiting all the hotel bars, including getting a round of drinks at Trader Vic's, the cheezy Polynesian-style joint. How can you resist drinks served in a conch shell?!

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Hot-lanta

So I'm heading to Atlanta at the crack of dawn tomorrow for the Equal Justice Conference. Everyone who's anyone in the pro bono and legal services world will be there. I'll bet you're extremely jealous. Never fear, I have written a few mini-posts to keep you occupied while I'm gone -- they'll go up while I'm away (ah, the miracle of modern technology). As always, food suggestions in Atlanta are welcome -- I've already put a post up Chowhound's South message board to get some ideas. Enjoy the rest of your week!