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June 2005

Posts from May 2005

No Turning Back


Come see me at the next WYSIWYG Talent Show -- despite all those years singing a cappella, going to band camp and getting my diva on at karoke bars, I won't be singing, but because I won't be singing, I'm actually quite nervous and would love to see some friendly faces in the house.  I'll be joined by fellow bloggers PJ Gallagher (, Gothamist Food cohort Martha Burzynski (, Andrew J. Lederer (, and soce the elemental wizard ( we share our stories about our run-ins with "The Man." 

Buy tickets in advance if you can, as they tend to sell out -- call the P.S. 122 box office at 212-477-5288 or buy them online.  If you can't come, just show up afterwards to buy me drinks and tell me I was good.

Austin Report

Made it back safely from Austin and the conference -- three days full of schmoozing and eating, although I didn't get to see much of the city, unfortunately.  Strangely enough, I also didn't really take any pictures, even of the food.  Not really sure why.  I arrived late on Wednesday night and had delicious pork mole enchiladas, spicy tuna ceviche, and a margarita or two at Manuel's with my co-worker, Mark, then rose bright and early to set up at the conference.  I truly enjoy going to these things, as it gives me a chance to see the folks I usually only get to interact with via phone and email.

Thursday night I met up with my friend Sarah, and it was so good to catch up with her over nibbles at Z'Tejas (including a very good seared tuna).  Considering the last time we saw each other was December, there was certainly plenty to discuss.  As she went back to studying, I met up with some folks for First Thursday -- the first Thursday of each month people congregate on South Congress Street, where the stores stay open late and there's music, crafts, and plenty of Shiner Bock, the local beer.  We ended up at El Sol y La Luna, where I made room for a barbacoa taco, although when my companions got ice cream at Amy's, I had to bow out (I know, me give up food?!  I was full!).

The next morning, I was up early once again, but this time for breakfast with Andy from Bronx Defenders at Las Manitas.   Andy, like me, had done his food research, even going so far as to buy a book on Mexican food in Austin.  No wonder we get along so well.  We had the Mexican coffee, with a dash of cinnamon, a perfect companion to the mild spiciness of the tomatillo sauce in my chilaquiles.  My new mission is to find a place in New York like this -- cheap, fresh, amazing Mexican food, particularly breakfast.  If you know of any, especially in Manhattan, let me know -- I get the feeling there's probably something like it in Queens, but that's not too practical for weekdays, at least.   After a day at the conference, I went with my Pro Bono Net team (Mark and Liz) to watch some dancing at La Zona Rosa (the official conference social event of the night), but then we peeled off to head to Threadgill's for some Texas home cooking.  Although I could have gotten a meal composed purely of fried things (chicken fried steak, fried green tomatoes, fried okra), I stuck to the fried catfish and kept the remainder of the meal unfried. 

Saturday, I had breakfast at Las Manitas again (it was soooo good, I just had to.  Plus it was close to the hotel.  I couldn't resist.), then packed and headed off to the airport.  I grabbed a Salt Lick BBQ brisket sandwich for the plane (I noticed it at the airport when I landed.  Even if it didn't travel all that well, it sure beats airplane food), and made it safely back home.   After all the eating, I have to say that the $15 charge to use the gym for the duration of my stay at the hotel was money very well spent.  Thanks to the Chowhounds and Allison for the food ideas!

The Stars at Night Are Big and Bright

Deep in the heart of Texas!  I'm off to Austin for the Equal Justice Conference (a pro bono/legal services shindig), so posting may be light for the rest of the week.  Looking forward to some good Tex-Mex (I've already gotten some recommendations from the Texas Chowhounds and a Texas-raised co-worker) and some good margaritas for Cinco de Mayo.  I'm also going to catch up with my friend Sarah, who's down there for b-school, and is taking time from her end of the semester crunch to meet me for dinner.  Talk to you later, y'all!

A Dodgeball Story

Sometimes I really feel like I know everybody.  Well, maybe not everybody, but I certainly know a hell of a lot of people.  When I met my friend Katie last fall, someone told her that if she talks to me for ten minutes, we'll find out that we know at least one person in common.  And of course, that's exactly what happened

But this weekend's small world story is thanks to the magic of Dodgeball.  Unlike the recent article in New York Magazine, this had nothing to do with dating, but I think Dennis will get a kick out of it nonetheless.

So on Saturday night, I went to a birthday party, and I checked into Dodgeball, letting my group of friends know where I am.  In that group is one Andrew Hearst.  About 20 minutes later, he showed up and said, "I'd like you to meet my friend, Matthew Price."  Matthew is the brother of Ali, a very close childhood friend with whom I have recently reconnected, but I had not seen Matthew since I moved to New York from D.C. -- about 1981 (24 years, which is terrifying enough on its face).  Turns out Andrew and Matthew go back a number of years, having worked together at Lingua Franca, and Andrew had been explaining Dodgeball to Matthew when my message came in.  He explained, "here's a message from my friend Laren."  Matthew recognized the (rather unusual) name, so they figured out the small world coincidence.  Turns out Matthew's a bit of a foodie as well, so we're all going to go out together and hit one of the new barbecue joints.

On top of that, last night I was at a pizza party for the Kismet house, when I ran into a woman who looked very familiar.  Turns out that she and I had taken a nonprofit management class together at Wagner School of Public Service (and when we did, we realized we knew someone in common -- a woman from my childhood in D.C.).  She'll be in the house this summer.

Makes me realize that despite its size, New York really does manage to feel like a small community, and I absolutely love that.

Explanations: Why I Am the Way I Am

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In case anyone out there was wondering why, despite the fact that I live alone, there's enough food in my cabinets and freezer to feed me for a month, take a look at my family's cabinets.  I'm convinced that if my dad and stepmother were trapped for three months in their house, between the cabinets and the freezer, they'd be just fine.  Here's my (one measly) cupboard, for comparison.  Clearly, I've picked up the same habit.