Playing With Your Food

Saycheese_1 This is what happens when you're a regular at a place that serves condiments along with their cheese plate and they want to make you laugh:

Plus, there haven't been nearly enough pictures up here this week.  This piece of art is composed of two of the amarone cherries, a dab of the apricots with chili flakes and mustard seed, and my favorite, the truffled honey.

So I've been taking it easy this weekend.  I stayed in Friday night to watch Donnie Darko and John B. ended up keeping me company, which was much nicer than watching it alone -- I wasn't really in the mood for solitude after my very anti-social week.  Saturday I had brunch with some lovely ladies who blog, and then a few of us wandered down to Chinatown in the bitter cold to continue chatting and shopf for a few things.  Later that night, I had dinner with my mom and stepfather, then met up with my friend Lauren for coffee.  And since I had to walk by Otto on my way home, I had to check in the window to see who was there, and of course I saw Nic, David and Luke (from the wine club society).  I stopped in, but kept the drinking to a minimum and was still in bed at a reasonable hour.

Today, laundry, easing back into exercise, and some job-hunt-related stuff.  Next week is back to full-speed, but I still have to be careful not to overdo it.  We'll see how it goes!

It's 4:30 pm -- Time to Get off the Couch

I'm actually wrapping up this weekend before the weekend's over, for a change.  After a somewhat draining week at work, I stayed in Friday night, stopping briefly at Von Singh's for dinner on the way home, then flopping on the couch watching The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring and knitting presents for my brother and my mom.  Exciting, huh?   Actually, it was perfect.

LatkesSaturday I made up for it, frantically cleaning up my apartment in time for brunch with the lovely ladies who blog.  Now, I generally have a latke party every year, but this year I didn't plan one, so I took brunch as an opportunity to make latkes, and to use the platter my friend Deb thoughtfully gave me last year (thanks to Nichelle for the photo).  I was so much fun just catching up, eating, and gossiping, and we certainly missed the ladies who weren't in attendance this time around.

Next, on to a haircut, then off to dinner with my brother and stepmom at Angon on the Sixth, where I've wanted to go for a while, given all the raves on Chowhound.  Unfortunately, I was so full from brunch I could barely eat, and the service was dreadful for some reason.  I'd like to go back and give it another chance.  After dinner, my brother came along with me to my friend Sara's holiday party out in Fort Greene.  We walked a route from the subway that was new to me, and I have to say that I really liked the neighborhood out there.  The party was lovely, and we bonded with some very friendly folks over the varied and plentiful cheese selection.  I impressed one party-goer, not to mention myself, by pulling out the name of a cheese that was there -- an ubriaco.  I had tried one in the past, and enjoyed it so much that I remembered it, and was able to identify it immediately.  We talked food and cheese for a while, then headed back to Manhattan so I could get to my next stop, which was Jake's Chanukah party.  Since it was a bit late, I ran into a few people I knew on their way out as I was on my way in, but stayed chatting with my friend Ethan for a while.  Finally, we headed out, and I stopped in for a nightcap at Otto, knowing full well that someone I knew would be there.  And, of course, Nic and Luke were at the bar. 

Today is a pajama day -- I had leftover latkes for brunch, and have been lazing around, reading the paper, chatting on the phone, and am going to head uptown in a bit with my friend Roopa for dinner at our friend David's.  He's been threatening to have us over to his new place for a while, and I'm glad we finally managed to pull it together, so we can catch up and taste these chicken tacos he's been telling us about all this time.

This week is my last full week of work before a much needed two week vacation.  I can't wait.  But, have to make it through the week first.  Wish me luck.  Okay -- I'm off hit the shower and get out of my pajamas.  At 4:30 in the afternoon -- nice job, lazy girl.

ABC's of my Weekend: Art, Burgers, and Crudo

I love how I've gotten into this ridiculous habit of "catching up" on my weekend activities sometime mid-week.  I'll throw in some of this week too, just as an extra added bonus. 

After recovering from my cold among other things, I was ready for a fairly mellow weekend, so I started off with a visit to the new MoMa with Bill, Sarah, Katie, Romy, Carrie, and John.  It's free on Fridays -- $20 is a tad pricy for a museum, even a newly-renovated one here in NYC -- and although it was a little crowded, it's a great way to unwind on a Friday night.  We only got to see a fraction of the art, but the new building itself was worth the trip.  But since I'm rarely in midtown, I was originally at a bit of a loss as to where to go for dinner afterwards, until it hit me -- the Burger Joint in the Parker Meridien hotel.  Made for a perfect high culture/low culture evening, and great for the budget.

127_2714_r1The next day was my good friend Erika's bridal shower.  As she well knows, I am not much of a fan of bridal showers, for about a million reasons, so the fact that I went is a testament to how much her friendship means to me.  But you can't spend any quality time with a friend during a bridal shower, so we made plans to go out to dinner later that evening.  She was so proud that she could take me to Bar Tonno -- she had gone there before I did, and she knew it would impress her favorite foodie.  And she was right.  I'll be reviewing it later tonight for Gothamist Food (I also wrote up the Burger Joint); not only was the crudo (sort of like Italian sushi) fresh and light, which balanced out the huge brunch we had eaten earlier, but we sat right by the sous chef, who had a great Australian accent, a nifty hairdo, and was flirting with me, to boot!

Sunday I went with Mom, Rob and David to the 10th foodie -- this time, a regional Italian tasting.  As usual, a great time was had by all.

Last night I got to see a free advance screening of the Life Aquatic -- it was fantastic -- funny, heartwarming, quirky.  Go see it when it opens this weekend.  Tonight's my designated night in -- I was finally able to replace the DVD player that died in the night of the grand tofu-roach-DVD disaster, so I may watch a movie, but first, must eat the turkey pot pie that my dad thoughtfully made after Thanksgiving (it's been hiding out in my freezer), and I've got a review to write, along with some additional posts.  Turns out it's been a shitty work week for some of my columnists (myself included), so I've got to do some extra stuff this week, which also explains my sporadic posting here.  Sorry gang.  And I won't even go into how behind I am on posting pictures . . . Ack!

Why You MUST Vote in November

I just got back from seeing Fahrenheit 9/11, which opened in NYC this week and will open in other theatres (including The Movies on Exchange Street in Portland, Maine, owned by our good family friends, the Halperts) this weekend. I'll let you form your own opinion, but let's just say that I was so disturbed that I felt the need to add the huge voter registration button to my site (it's also under Buttons o' Mine on the left). Go see it for yourself -- let me know what you think. And don't forget to VOTE, and tell everyone you know to vote, too!

Into Character

It's plug time again, but this time it's for a reality show. No, really. Well, kind of. AMC, the American Movie Classics channel, has put together its own breed of reality show called Into Character. In each episode, a movie lover gets to live out his or her favorite movie scene by going through a two-week intense preparation, and then the scene is re-shot, staying true to the original. My friend Riaz is the Executive Producer and Director, and I had the pleasure of attending the premiere party for the first episode last night, in which a fan got to reenact a scene from Rocky. He trained intensely for two weeks, got a crash course on South Philly from some locals, and even got to meet three potential Adriennes. The show was very well-done and entertaining -- a must for any movie fan. It airs Wednesdays at 10pm on AMC. Congrats, Riaz -- and we look forward to seeing you again now that you have a little more free time.


Weekend Highlights

All in all, a fairly mellow weekend, but there were definitely some high points. Met up with a few friends on Friday night at Fuel, the hip lounge, which used to be Phebe's, the dive with cheap pitchers. I remembered back to my first day of law school orientation when I was the hero for bringing a group of law students to a place so close to school with such cheap beer. After Fuel, we went to Great Jones Cafe, which would be my neighborhood bar were it only a few blocks closer to my apartment. Try the vodka lemonades if you haven't already. Saturday I had brunch with a longtime friend uptown, which gave us a much-needed opportunity to catch up on life, the universe, and everything. Then -- despite the fact that it was gorgeous out, I had already planned to go to the Met for a Tufts Alumni event -- a treasure hunt in the museum. Not only was it fun, but my team won, in record time. Got a pedicure (the purple polish leapt out at me -- I couldn't help it), then settled in for a mellow evening. I rented a flick and made my very first batch of enchiladas -- so easy and a perfect dish for lunchtime leftovers. After my enchilada, I was craving something sweet, so headed to Otto for some gelato before my movie. While I was there, the scary drunk guy next to me declared me to be "the girl for him." Thankfully, he was visiting from Florida. As they were leaving, his companion, who seemed much less drunk, offered me half a bottle of wine that they hadn't finished. Perhaps he figured it was adequate compensation for dealing with his drunk friend. Either way, I called up a neighbor and fellow wine society member, and we happily finished a great bottle of wine. She then joined me for the movie I had rented, and she and her boyfriend (who works at Otto) polished off the remaining enchiladas (no leftovers for me this time -- guess I'll make anonother batch!). Started off Sunday with yoga at Laughing Lotus, followed by brunch at City Bakery, and continued to enjoy the sunshine with a bike ride in Central Park, all with my friend Sarah, who was excellent company. Finished off the evening with drinks outside at B-Bar with my Sunday night crew.

So, despite the fact that I'm considering leaving to get a clean slate and a fresh start, life here in NYC is not too shabby either. . .

You Want Fries With That?

It's time again for a blatant plug, in this case, for a film. I had the privilege of seeing Super Size Me yesterday. This documentary chronicles one month in the life of the writer and filmmaker, during which he eats only at McDonald's. Hilarity and disastrous health effects ensue. It is incredibly well-done -- funny, insightful, educational, radical, illustrative, and thoughtful -- and it left me with a feeling of utter gratitude. Gratitude, you ask? Yes, gratitude. I am so thankful that my family has raised me to love, eat, and enjoy healthy food. I don't really drink soda because I never had it in my house growing up. My stepmother has a masters degree in nutrition, so our meals were always incredibly healthy and well-balanced, full of vegetables, and always served with a big salad. Watching the film made me realize that our family was not your "typical" American family. We could afford to eat well, and nutrition was a priority for us. Similarly, every time I beat myself up for not going to the gym, I should realize that I am getting more exercise than the average American simply by living in Manhattan, where I walk all the time. The film has created a small dent in the McDonald's corporate machine, although they deny that any changes were related to the film. According to the film, McD's is no longer offering their supersize options, and has introduced a line of "active" happy meals for adults. I'll have to take his word for it -- my trips to McD's are generally limited to road trips and acts of desperation, like PMS-induced french fry cravings (which are most often taken care of elsewhere). So run right out and see the film -- you'll be eating veggies for days afterwards.


Fellow dorks, unite!

Guardian Unlimited Film | News | Jackson confirms return to Hobbiton

Dorks around the world celebrated in the streets yesterday upon hearing the announcement. Plans are already underway for über-marathons following the prequel's release -- watching the prequel first, followed immediately by all three movies in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King. All said and done, approximately 12 hours of hobbit-filled pleasure.