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Posts from July 2005

Not Bad for a Self-Portrait, Huh?


Taken on the rooftop of Daisy May's BBQ, where Adam Perry Lang showed me and Jen his garden.  Not only was he gracious enough to take the time to show us around, but he gave us each a beautiful aromatic bouquet of herbs and lavender to take home and throw in the tub.

A reader commented the other day that he gets tired merely reading about my social life.  Trust me, I'm pretty exhausted by the end of the week, and I sometimes feel like I never leave myself enough time to get everything done that I set out to do.  But that said, I love every minute of it.  Other things I did this week (outside of the new job -- which is going quite well, thank you) that haven't yet made the blog: lunch at Pampano Tacqueria with Christie, dinner with Jenn B. at Diablo Royale, dinner with Ali at Bar Jamon, a very sweaty yoga class, two other trips to the gym for cardio, a little quiet time at home (really, Dad, I swear!).  And tonight, back to the beach.  I'm already getting tired, but at least I know there's a nap on the beach (and hopefully the new hammock that John claims to have put on the deck) in my very near future.


To start off: Gothamist makes Forbes' Best of the Web!  Hooray!

And now, for the ridiculously fun weekend recap.  Friday night, after a trip to the spa for a little microdermabrasion (I know it's froofy, but my skin felt soooo soft the next day), I met up with a fairly significant posse from the beach house.  Chip had friends who were having a rooftop party in Hell's Kitchen, so after a quick taco at Tulcingo Del Valle, we headed on up and enjoyed the view.  In line with my small world issues, within five minutes of chatting to the one non-beach-house person I spoke to that night, I discovered that we knew three people in common (I'm telling you -- I know everybody).

dogs?Saturday was brunch at Home with some of the fabulous ladies from the beach house (we can't get enough of each other), then off on a wild adventure in the Rockaways with Alizinha.  Through the magic of the interweb, she and I were invited to a party by the Gurgling Cod and his wife, the Cinetrix.  They were coming down from Beantown just for the occasion -- a birthday party and a pig roast (that's two pig roasts this month, if anyone's counting).  My friend Rick of Rick's Picks was there as well (bearing his Windy City Wassabeans -- yum). After a very, very long ride on the A train, we made it out to Rockaway Beach and had a grand old time: wading in the ocean, playing darts, drinking pina coladas, eating well, and meeting new people.  Thanks to Jen (the birthday girl) and Rob, our very generous hosts.  In organizing our ride back home, I somehow managed to convince one of the partygoers to come with me to Williamsburg, where I was to meet up with the Lovely Miss Katie for yet another rooftop soiree.  After a ridiculously long car ride and finding the right address on the wrong street, Tom and I wound up at the Levee instead.  We were joined by Manhattan Transfer (thanks, Dodgeball!), and lazily decided to stay put rather than track Miss Katie's party.

Blue Crab Fest at Bar MinnowBut the next day, it was rise and shine and back out to Brooklyn, this time for the blue crab festival at Bar Minnow, where the Lovely Miss Katie, Nikki, Scott, Mike, Rob and I gorged ourselves and made quite a mess.  Instead of subjecting people on the subway to our crustacean-spattered selves, we opted to air out at the Gate and the Patio Lounge, enjoying some of Park Slope's finer outdoor establishments, perfect for an afternoon beer, a pitcher of sangria, and plenty of good company and hysterical laughter.  Pictures from the Rockaway Beach party and other random pics are here.

As if all that wasn't enough, we ended up on Scott's roof making grilled chicken tacos with grilled pineapple salsa, and finished up the evening watching Adam Perry Lang make his Iron Chef debut.  When I finally made it home, I slept like a baby. 

After this weekend's food festivities, I took advantage of the one-week pass to Equinox that I was given at my new job and went to a spin class after work, which kicked my ass all over the place.  Did I really do that several days a week at 6:30 am at one point in my life in the not-so-distant past?  Sheesh.

A Tie Etched in Ink

Back in 1999, after I had left my first law firm I worked part time at Dean & Deluca in Soho.  During this time I was also actively seeking a public interest legal job, but was in deperate need of some time for introspection. The people at Dean & Deluca thought I was crazy to take a job serving prepared foods and making crepes when I could be off in an air conditioned office somewhere making much more money.  Perhaps I was, but at the time it was exactly what I needed. I was surrounded all day by food designed to dazzle the senses, I learned how to make crepes (which took a great deal of practice, so my co-workers and I just ate the mistakes), and I thoroughly enjoyed it every time a former law firm colleague or law school classmate came in, saw me in my chef's jacket and dopey hat and did a complete double-take. One of my dad's friends, realizing that one should always take advantage of personal connections, used to call me to set aside one of their delicious rotisserie chickens for him, since otherwise they'd be gone by the time he stopped by.

Working there also inspired me in a few other ways.  It was the first time I considered doing creative writing. This was long before I started this blog, and I thought that somehow I should capture some of the utter ridiculousness that I encountered at Dean & Deluca in writing. Maybe they'd publish it in the New Yorker Talk of the Town or something.  It was also during this time that I got my tattoo. It was something that I had wanted since college, but knowing that I'd be stuck with it forever, I made myself wait before I actually got it. Not wanting to make a hasty decision, I ultimately waited over 5 years fom the moment it occurred to me until the moment I began researching tattoo parlors.

After a long and detailed search process that involved my going to a half dozen tattoo parlors in the East Village and asking them a litany of annoying questions, I settled on a very sterile looking spot called Inkline.  As the date of my appointment approached, I must have mentioned to my co-workers that I was quite nervous about the prospect of having ink jammed repeatedly into my body  with sharp needles. Vinnie, a then 18 year old kid who worked the prepared foods line with me, offered to come and hold my hand. And so I took him up on it. I hadn't seen Vinnie since 1999 on  my last day at Dean & Deluca shortly after the tattoo had healed, at least not until the other day, when I bumped into him on the street. I recognized him immediately.  We exchanged greetings, I showed him my tattoo, and told him again how grateful I was that he had come with me to help endure the pain.  Although he was never a close friend, I will always be reminded of Vinnie when I think of my tattoo, and it made me think about all the people I've encountered over the years and how each has touched me in some way, large or small.

And thus concludes the long-winded story portion of my post this evening.  Stay tuned for the weekend recap -- spa treatments, rooftop parties, swine, crustaceans, and afternoon cocktails.

My Universe is Imploding

Sometimes I really do feel like my world is much smaller than I realize.  Over the past few days, I've had so many small world moments.  I discovered that a former work colleague (who now works at a law firm where I had an interview a while back) is married to one of my new co-workers.  I got an email the other day from a woman who knew me and my family when I was growing up.  She had somehow stumbled upon my blog ("the only one I've ever read!").  One of my friends I met through my work at Pro Bono Net who went off to law school is now an intern for one of my beach house friends at the public interest legal project he runs (the Street Vendor Project of the Urban Justice Center).  Finally, while getting dreadfully lost and sweating my ass off trying to find my friends at the Philharmonic last night, somehow managed to bump smack into another lost soul trying to find the same group, even though we were both completely on the wrong part of the Great Lawn.  Crazy stuff. 

So tonight, Chef Adam Perry Lang of Daisy May's BBQ was kind enough to invite me and Jen from Gothamist to an intimate soiree with a pretty impressive guest list including Florence Fabricant, Jean Georges, Jeffrey Steingarten, Zac Posen, and Star Jones, not to mention peach-inspired barbecue and cocktails made with Stoli Persik (there's a peach theme going on).  Can't wait!

Beach. Fun. Food.

139_3970Blah. Blah. Blah.  For those of you who aren't in the beach house, this might be getting tedious, but for the rest of you, here are the pictures!  Thanks to all for a great time, Greta for a kick-ass dinner (I seem to be photographically obsessed with the beauty of the antipasti plates), and Yael, Jimmy and Laurie for letting us crash the karaoke party in Saltaire and for the generous handful of drink tokens.  We won't thank you for the headaches we had Saturday morning.


As I was riding the subway to work on Friday morning in a pre-caffeine haze, a woman came up to me.  "Are you Laren?" she asked.  "Yes."  "I thought so.  I read your blog all the time."  Whoa.  I tell ya, that put me in a great mood for the rest of the day.  So Nancy, if you're out there, a big shout-out (between  the pre-caffeinated state and general subway clatter, I'm still only about 95% sure she said "Nancy," so major apologies if I'm wrong).

In other fame news, Gothamist Food was in the New York Times yesterday in a column called Blogs 101.  Thanks to Alizinha for pointing that out!

* A nod to David Bowie.

The Secret is Out

So I'm checking my work email last night, and I get an email from a colleague.  Part of it is pro bono related (which makes sense), but in the second half, she mentions that she heard I was a food writer and asked if I'd be willing to do a column for our internal newsletter -- maybe a review of the cafeteria or a nearby restaurant.  I'm trying to figure out who told her, because I didn't advertise that fact when I was interviewing -- in fact, I think I only told one person.  I guess I know who the leak was, then.  I may just take her up on it -- could be fun!

If you're around this weekend, go to the New Orleans concert at Summerstage this Saturday and shake your booty to the Rebirth Brass and, and don't forget the Blue Crab Festival at Bar Minnow -- let me know how it is, because I want to go next weekend.