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Sunday, February 20, 2011

I Vote Ivo

Greg was on the hunt for a new BYOB restaurant this weekend - he had to find someplace special to impress Susan's brother, Nick, who was visiting from New Orleans.  He ended up finding Ivo & Lulu, a French-Caribbean restaurant that would have been great by virtue of their no corkage fee-BYOB policy alone, but it turns out the food was amazing, too.

The restaurant is teeny tiny - just one long table that seats maybe 20 people max, so make sure you get a rezzy.  The menu is made up of mostly traditionally French dishes that have been prepared with funkier Caribbean spices.  It was the perfect fusion.  We decided to start by ordering a bunch of apps and sharing around the table:
  • Crevettes: shrimp in a rum, cilantro, and chili butter sauce.  There was plenty of garlic in the sauce and I was glad the waiter kept bringing bread so we could do some dipping.
  • Terrine de Venison: Venison pate with truffle oil, rum, brie, and puff pastry.  This was gone in less time than it would take to pronounce the name of the dish.
  • Gratin Dauphinois: scalloped potatoes, bechemel, and gruyere.  
  • Avocat Grille: Grilled avocado filled with a veggie mousse and topped with shitake mushroom vinaigrette.  This was probably my favorite appetizer because it was so surprising.  I have no idea how I would go about making it, which is sad because it was that good.
There was neither a single complaint nor a crumb on any plate after the entrees, which all come with your choice of cous cous, jasmine rice, or haricots verts:

  • Susan and I really wanted two of the dishes so we went halfsies:
    • Mergez: This spicy lamb sausage is as common as hot dogs in France but is somehow very difficult to find in the US.  This dish with its nice sweet sauce took me right back to bar-b-ques with my French family.
    • Confit: roast duck leg with jerk seasoning and mango marinade.  The duck was cooked perfectly with a nice crust of skin and the perfect balance of sweetness and pepper.
  • I also had a bite of Greg's boar and sage sausage with blueberry sauce.  There is something about the pairing of sausage with a sweet berry sauce.  Yum yum.
We had only gone through four bottles of wine and still had one left so we decided to order dessert so we could keep drinking.  I couldn't find a single thing to complain about when it came to the appetizers and entrees, but the desserts were just ok - if I were you I would forgo them and get one extra app.  We ordered the mango mousse (which had a consistency more like flan), the chocolate mousse, and a coconut flan (which was more like a bread pudding) that was on the house.  I don't mean to sound overconfident, but I'm thinking I had a little something to do with our free dessert.  When I ordered the mergez, the waiter asked if I studied French because I pronounced the name of the dish with a very good accent.  That lead to a long conversation all en francais.  It was fun to break out the French and if it had anything to do with our free dessert, I think it's something I may have to try more often.
Avocado Grille and Turine
Boar and Sage Sausage
Ivo & Lulu is sort of in the middle of nowhere.  It's on the outskirts of SoHo so it's not right in the center of a billion other things, but I highly encourage a visit to this less visited piece of the neighborhood.  It was still close enough to busier areas so it wasn't too hard to find a bar.  We were on our way to Don Hill's or Sway, but the crazy wind and frigid air was making the three block walk too much to handle so we only made it about two blocks to The Emerald.  I had only been to The Emerald once, before my bday party at The Anchor (which is next door) two years ago.  Then, I was there at about 10 PM and it was just your average Irish pub.  Apparently, if you go later (we were there at 12:30), you'll walk into a packed bar full of good looking people who are all enjoying the great music that's pumping.

Great night.  I know Greg set out to impress Nick with his restaurant and bar choices.  I can't speak for him, but I know I was dazzled.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Book Review: One Day

After One Day went gangbusters across the pond, word started spreading in the good ol’ U-S-of A.  After reading reviews all over the place, I decided to pick it up before they turned it into a movie (which they are, starring Anne Hathaway).  I’m glad I didn’t wait to join the hoards of people already reading this book because I loved it.  Author David Nicholls deserves major credit for the unique concept.  The novel opens on July 15, 1988, when you meet Emma and Dexter at the start of their friendship.  The subsequent chapters check in on these best friends on the same day (and for that day only) each year for around 18 years.  Sometimes they’re together; sometimes they’re not.  Sometimes they’re happy; sometimes they’re not.

I thought this was a brilliant approach.  You get only a glimpse, and each time, you are checking in on a program already in progress.  Unbelievably, these snapshots are illuminating and still allow you to glean so much about the characters’ lives.  I wonder what people would learn about me if they followed me today and today only?

On top of all that, it’s a beautiful love story.  It may not be the conventional literary love story, but it’s messy and therefore one of the most realistic ones I have ever read. 

8 out of 10 stars.

A New Type of Spaghetti

Last night I made spaghetti squash for the first time and I have to admit, the hardest part of the recipe was cutting the squash in half (I think I broke a sweat trying to get my knife through!).  I found a recipe that basically used spaghetti squash to replace actual spaghetti, which kept this new vegetable in familiar territory.

All I did was place a spaghetti squash half, cut side down, in a dish with 1/2 cup water and microwaved it for about 12 minutes.  While that was going, I sauteed sweet Italian sausage, crushed red pepper, and greens in a saucepan, which finished cooking right when the microwave started beeping.  I shredded the spaghetti squash in a bowl and then mixed fresh grated parmesan and topped it with the sausage and greens.  In less than 15 minutes I had a full meal, a blessing since I didn't get home til 8:30.

I thought it would be just ok, but it was delicious!  I (an admitted pasta addict) didn't even miss the actual spaghetti.  I'm no Mom, but I feel like this would be the perfect way to sneak more veggies into your kid's diet.  For this big kid, it was the perfect way to lighten up one of my normal meals and try something new.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Top of the Ninth

Last Saturday we celebrated Matt's birthday at Ninth Ward.  I was impressed for two reasons:

  1. I really like the bar - great crowd
  2. Jen, who's been going to sleep around 9:30 due to the fact that she's popping out a baby in just over 5 weeks, managed to stay up super late
This New Orleans themed bar in the East Village is dark and intimate with plenty of corners to get cozy.  In fact, in the back there are several u-shaped booths with curtains that you may close for extra privacy.  This would be the perfect place to snack on the creole food I saw on the menu but sadly didn't get to try.  I also hear there's a patio out back that's open during the summer.  Maybe, just maybe, it will be warm enough to open up the patio on Mardi Gras because I'm thinking this would be the perfect place to spend the holiday.

Unanswered Questions: Gossip Girl Recap - 2/14/11 Episode

This season has turned decidedly dull, so let's just go straight to this week's unanswered questions:

  • Is Blair wearing pants, leggings, or tights with that gold blazer?  I can't really tell, but I'm hoping they're pants because "tights are not pants"!
  • Serena can't imagine it would be difficult for Ben to get a job?  She may not be the brightest girl, but she did get into college so she should know spending three years in prison usually precludes you from securing the good jobs.  
  • However, I will give Serena credit for the tutoring idea.  Moms don't usually run a credit check; they just want their kids to get into an Ivy.  Why didn't you think of that, Ben?  
  • We're supposed to believe Gossip Girl has a tracker but hasn't managed to report Lily and Thorpe's previous relationship until now?
  • I'm pretty sure college girls don't buy each other super expensive dresses, not even the really rich ones like Raina.  However, if they do, where can I find a really rich friend?  
  • Is it just me, or does Rufus seem to be carrying a tray of food in every episode like he's Lily's man-servant? 
So that's about it.  Turns out Russell Thorpe doesn't have Chuck's best interest at heart, but I'm pretty sure we saw that one coming.  Here's hoping next week will be a little more exciting!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Mel's in Morningside

I don't get up to the Morningside Heights/Upper Upper West area too often (UES to UWS is not an easy journey), but I still had not seen Podz' new apartment.  We decided to meet at Mel's Burger Bar on Sunday for some lunch before she showed me her new digs.  Between all the good things Sarah had heard about this place and the fact that we were starving, we ordered most of the menu.

  • We started with fried pickles.  I liked the horseradish dipping sauce and that the pickles were still crispy, but the batter was not the best I've had.
  • We both got burgers (obvi).  Sarah got a bacon cheeseburger and I got a cheeseburger topped with avocado, mushrooms, and house sauce.  The burger was messy, but that's code for good. 
  • The burgers don't come with fries, so we got one order to split.  Why stop at normal fries when you can get disco fries?  Disco means they're topped with gravy and cheese.  Just like Studio 54, this disco was messy and delicious.
  • Shakes are a normal burger accompaniment but what's this?  Spiked milkshakes?!  We had to try these and one would not suffice.  We were instantly drawn to the Shot of Joe (mocha chip ice cream, Kahlua, and Bailey's) and asked our waiter for help choosing the second one.  He said the Ja Love (vanilla ice cream, pineapple juice, and Malibu rum) was his favorite on the menu.  That one hadn't even made our short list, but we figured he'd probably tried them all and went with his reco.  He was right.  It was delicious, and the Shot of Joe was nothing to turn your nose up at, either.
After a great lunch, it was clear to me that the Morningside Heights area is turning into a pretty happening 'hood.  There are great burgers all over the city so I wouldn't trek to 111th street unless you already happen to be there.  However, if you live anywhere in the Upper West vicinity, I would give it a check-out.  We decided to work off our feast by playing some Wii back at Podz' apartment where Podz killed me in sword play and jetskiing, but I dominated archery and wakeboarding, leaving us tied (and still super full).

Sammy's Shenanigans

I've heard of Sammy's Roumanian, but I finally got to experience it last week.  Wowzas.  Growing up in Savannah, GA, I didn't get to go to many bar mitzvahs, but I made up for it last Thursday.  I'm not exaggerating.  It's a bar mitzvah for grown ups.  Let me set the scene:

  • Walk in the front door of this LES "steakhouse" and you're suddenly in what looks to be a church basement somewhere in the 1960s.  I'm pretty sure there's asbestos lurking beneath the ceiling tiles.  Pictures and business cards cover every inch of the wall and rafters so you feel like you've walked into a friends house.  That friend is likely the smelly kid in class because the whole place is skeevy, but I now think that's part of it's charm.
  • For those un-initiated, aka: non-Jews (or in the case of moi, a Jew who grew up around all non-Jews), there is a Yiddish dictionary on the table.  I found it quite helpful.
  • There is a dj in the corner on a keyboard who provides the majority of the vocals himself.
  • We had a nice long table with several bottles of vodka in blocks of ice that helped us get the party going.  It gave us the push we needed to get up and dance the hora.  That's right, the hora.  One engaged girl was even lifted in the chair by the men in the group.  
  • After dancing, we sat down for a meal of full-on Jew food:
    • Pickles and pickled tomatoes
    • Latkes
    • Roast Chicken
    • Steak
    • Home-fried silver dollar potatoes
    • And the dish of the evening: chopped liver.  It was mixed tableside (with a nice bottle of animal fat) so I'm thinking it's the poor man's caesar salad.  Most of the people in our group shied away from this one, but I had no fear.  I have to admit, it looked gross but didn't taste too bad.  However, between this dish and the garlic-filled steak, your breath will not be in the best shape, so bring lots of gum and maintain a safe distance from potential suitors.
It was a ridiculous evening.  I highly recommend pulling a group together and having a Sammy's bar mitzvah party.  It's all the good times you remember from when you were a TON of alcohol.
DJ and Decorations
Mixing Chopped Liver

Valentine Shmalentine

I'm not one of those girls who hates Valentine's Day, nor am I the kind of girl who swoons at the idea of the holiday.  I am ambivalent.  I may not really care about Valentine's Day, but that doesn't mean I won't use it as an excuse for a good meal.

I arrived at Whole Foods to see shoppers in full panic mode.  The line at the flower department was a mile long.  Don't these men know there is a bodega on every corner of Manhattan, each with a flower section?  Even worse, I thought the world was ending when I swung by the meat counter.  I suppose cooking for your sweetie was in vogue this year because the store was full of men trying to buy the ingredients for a romantic meal.  Unfortunately, there was not enough filet mignon to go around and a riot was a-brewing.  "Please don't tell me you want filet mignon, too," the butcher frowned when it was my turn to order.  "No, don't worry," I said.  "I'll have the sirloin."

Steak seemed like a good centerpiece for a romantic meal (a romantic meal I was cooking for myself, mind you) and what goes better with steak than potatoes?  An ordinary potato wouldn't do, so I made smashed potatoes with gruyere, cremini mushrooms, and spinach.  I also made a salad of arugula topped with zucchini ribbons, shaved parmesan, avocado, pine nuts, and a lemon vinaigrette.  You can't see it in the picture, but I actually made a basket weave pattern with the zucchini to give the salad a fancy edge.

So maybe no one asked me to "be mine" this year, but it turns out I was my own Valentine.  And judging by my satisfied tummy, I was a damn good one.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Boozy Bread

I may not have a Valentine, but that doesn't mean the rest of my office doesn't.  Girls all over my office were receiving flowers and chocolate all day long, which means I was reaping the benefits of their leftovers.  Of all the chocolate covered strawberries, truffles, and cookies I tasted today, the best treat came from the unlikeliest of places.

Godiva, Jaques Torres, and all the other usual suspects were there, but my favorite sweet treat came from Flex Mussels.  Many people think Flex Mussels has some of the best moules frites in the city, and many people would be right.  But you'd be a fool if you stopped at mussels and didn't get dessert.  They all look amazing, but today I got to try the boozy doughnuts when some lucky girl's boyfriend sent them to her.  These super soft treats are made with Maker's Mark and caramel and dusted with sugar crystals.  They were so unbelievably good.  I'm not upset I don't have a Valentine.  I am, however, upset I don't have more of these doughnuts.

Learning My ABCs

Last week I got to cross one of the biggies off my list by dining at ABC Kitchen.  After reading all the reviews of one of 2010's hottest openings, I had been dying to try.  It is connected to ABC Carpet and Home, which means it is outfitted by one of the city's to-die-for home stores.  Instead of seeing all the blown glass chandeliers and bohemian goods that are all over Carpet and Home, we walked into ABC Kitchen to find that the atmosphere was totally farmhouse chic - white and wood, all natural.  Even the wait staff was farmhouse chic (I'm using the term again because I think I just coined it, hoping it'll catch on) in plaid shirts and converse shoes.  Not at all stuffy, I immediately relaxed when I walked inside.

We started by splitting the roasted kabocha squash toast with fresh ricotta and apple cider vinegar.  This was definitely my favorite dish of the evening.  The squash was almost like a sweet jam.  I heard there is another even better toast (topped with crab, no less) on the menu.  It's hard for me to imagine topping the squash, so I'm guessing I'll have to go back and compare.  Next, we shared one of the whole wheat pizzas. It was topped with ricotta, dates, endive, and sundried tomatoes.  Another great dish.  The crust was crispy with just enough doughy give and although it may sound like a weird mix of toppings, they worked.

For the main course, my three fellow diners all ordered fish that looked great and by all accounts tasted clean and light.  There were too many things I wanted to try from the menu, so I went the two apps route.  I ordered the bucatini with broccoli rabe, goat cheese, crispy bacon, and bread crumbs.  The flavors were good and I liked the unexpected crunch from the bread crumbs, but it needed some liquid (sauce?  broth?  oil?) to tie it together and keep it from drying out and sticking together.  Though the pasta may have fallen a bit flat, the beets with balsamic over yogurt definitely redeemed it.  Once all the ingredients were mixed together, I had a bowl of sweet, creamy mess that kept my spoon coming back for more.

The dessert list is pretty extensive and it all looked good so we decided to ask the waitress for her suggestion.  Before we even finished asking, she interrupted us and told us to get the sundae.  I'm not usually an ice cream sunday gal (not big on whipped cream and nuts) but I just went with it.  This ain't your mama's sundae.  Salted caramel ice cream was topped with a warm, traditional fudge, chopped peanuts, a teeny bit of whipped cream, brittle, and caramel popcorn.  It was unbelievable.  I'm going to start keeping caramel popcorn in my apartment just so I can throw it on ice cream.  I may not have been super excited about this dish at first, but after trying it, you had to pry my spoon away.

The food was great and I think it tasted even better when I realized that every bit of food was sourced locally.  In fact, this whole restaurant is a locavore's heaven.  The tables are made from reclaimed wood and the menus are printed on recycled paper and presented to diners on pieces of cardboard that are actually bits of the boxes that delivered ABC Carpet and Home inventory.  The bread plates and saucers are mismatched because they're all vintage china, and all other dishes are made by a local potter.  Another local artist made all the artwork in the restaurant.

Not only was my meal great, I loved the casual feel and local concept.  I even noticed a great area that could be used for parties.  Not that I have a fancy party to throw; I'm just saying I noticed it.  It may not be the cheapest place on the planet, but the best items on the menu are share-able appetizers that are reasonably priced so don't hesitate to head there with your girlfriends.

Now I know my ABCs; next time won't you dine with me!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Gleecap: Diva-meter - 2/8/11 Episode

How excited was I that we got two brand new Glee episodes within three days?!  Not only did we get a bonus episode, last night's was a great, Divalicious one.

  • Welcome back to the inner monologue: +1
  • I like that we get to hear Blaine's beautiful voice whenever the Warblers sing, but we haven't heard Kurt's pipes in a long time: -1.  Don't silence that diva.
  • I think it's nice and cute that Rachel has friends now and is having an adorable lil sleepover with Kurt and Mercedes, but in real life they wouldn't be braiding each others' hair, they would be sneaking vodka from their parents liquor cabinet and replacing it with water.  -1
  • -1 for Quinn and Finn sort of getting back together.  Sam is much cuter and Finn shouldn't encourage cheating when it's been so damaging to his last two relationships.
  • Other Asian's dance moves were pretty ridic this episode: +1
  • Santana went to Jarod: +1.  Another +1  because she's from Lima Heights Adjacent.  And yet another +1 because she has plans to solve all her problems by marrying an NFL player like one of the Real Housewives of Atlanta.
  • Lauren Zizes was into Puck because she thought he was mixed race: +1 because I think everyone has been wondering about his ethnicity since episode 1 and then realized they didn't care because he's such a hottie.
  • +5 for overall amazingly relevant song choice.  I won't dissect them individually because they were all awesome.  I'm not a big Valentine's Day fan, but this episode kinda made me love the holiday.
Total: 8--> This episode is the diva equivalent of Jennifer Hudson.  Sure, some people forget about her sometimes, but every time she opens her mouth, you're astounded by how awesome she is.  Plus, with her astonishing weight loss, she's totally back on top, just like this episode of Glee put it back on the top of my must-watch list.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Unanswered Questions: Gossip Girl Recap - 2/7/11 Episode

This was maybe not the most exciting episode we've ever seen, so let's just get right to it:

  • Does anyone else think Dan's hair makes him look like a character from The Outsiders?
  • Why would Rufus be ok with his son living with a convicted felon?  Even if Ben is innocent, it's probably not the best idea to stick your son in a tiny loft with a guy who has done hard time.
  • Dan tells Damien that if he finds out he's lying, he'll make sure he never steps foot in this town again.  Isn't that Blair territory?  Dan lives in Brooklyn and has little pull in Manhattan.
  • Can Blair be promoted?  She's in college and would never have time for a full time job.  Apparently it's possible because James Franco does it, but James Franco is a celebrity, not just some rich kid.  Also, James Franco is almost 33 years old and still going to college...I'm guessing that's not what Blair has in mind.
  • Why did it take this long for anyone to talk to Damien's father?  If there was such an easy way to take Damien down, why did no one talk to him during any one of the other times he was tormenting the GG crew?
Til next week...

Monday, February 7, 2011

Pancake Promises

Clinton Street Baking Company was voted Best Pancakes in 2008 by New York Magazine (not to mention Best Breakfast/Brunch by Time Out in 2007) so it promised to serve some solid pancakes, especially during pancake month.  I've heard about pancake month since I moved to NYC but haven't managed to make it to the LES, principally since I've heard the line to get in is absurd.

The line is out the door on any given weekend and especially so during annual pancake month.  I managed to get around this hurdle by taking a day off work today for a little me time.  I did not plan my day off around pancake month, but I would be lying if I said it didn't factor into the decision.  I looked up the pancake schedule and today's special selection looked particularly enticing so I headed downtown to try pancakes topped with crispy [tempura] bananas and cinnamon-chili-chocolate sauce.

I was surprised that the restaurant was packed at 1:30 on a random Monday especially the ambiance is nothing special.  In my head I thought it would be one of those cutesy places, but in reality it looked just like any other boring diner.  Thankfully, the food was anything but ordinary.  Even though I knew what I was getting, I glanced at the menu for future reference and it looks like I'll have to make a return trip.  Today, however, I had to stick with the famous pancake month brunch.  I managed to get a tiny spot by a window so I could read, people watch, and stuff my face with the delicious pancakes.

Since I'm more of a savory girl, I was happy the pancakes weren't overly sweet.  They weren't covered with the cinnamon-chili-chocolate sauce (there was just enough) so I was able to get a feel for just how fluffy the pancakes were (perfect consistency - firm from the griddle on the outside, light on the inside).  Nothing (including the bananas) got soggy - and I hate a soggy pancake.

I expected a little more fanfare around pancake month.  It's not like I expected to see a marching band run through the restaurant when I placed my order, but I thought there would be a little more to-do.  Marching band or not, I still got to try pancake month that I've been hearing about for the last three years.  If you're a pancake fan, I would highly recommend Clinton Street Baking Company even if you have to take a day off work to try it.

Gleecap: Diva-meter - 2/6/11 Episode

I've been dying a slow death during the Glee hiatus, but thankfully our Gleeks have returned and I have been resuscitated.  Let's see how our lil divas have been doing.

  • Coach Bieste is eating a whole rotisserie chicken for lunch in the teacher's lounge with Will: +3.
  • While protesting having to join the Glee Club, one of the football players says he won't sing showtunes because it is the music of his oppressors.  -1 because I've never heard of Barbara Streisand or Liza Minelli referred to as tyrannical persecutors.
  • Brittany is worried about being shot out of a canon: "I don't wanna die least not til One Tree Hill gets cancelled."  +1 for reminding us that this show still exists.
  • And another +1 for Brittany's other zinger "how many Ms are there in the letter R?"
  • The handwritten note from the canon along with Sue's canon fibromialgia story earns a +1.  
  • Why do all the hockey players have mullets? -1 because this seems unlikely, especially because no one has ever mentioned a sport at McKinley other than football which they seem to play year-round.
  • "Well Blaine loves football; I love scarves" +1 to Kurt for realizing that in every gay relationship one has to be the butch and the other has to be the bitch.
  • Lauren Zizes was the state Grecco Roman wrestling champ.  +1 because I totally believe this is true.  
  • +1 for Sue's Black Eyed Peas reference ("all boom boom no pow") was a nice reminder that this is the crazy Superbowl episode when the Peas were the actual Superbowl halftime show.
  • Katie Couric's cameo gets a -1.  Sorry but it just wasn't as good as I thought it would be.  And why would Katie Couric be in Lima, Ohio?
  • I hate to give this a +1, but I am impressed they didn't take the easy way out and make Karofsky suddenly part of their happy family.  In real life, one halftime performance wouldn't cure that closet case of his raging self-loathing, homophobic projections.
  • Song recap:
    • "Need You Now": +1 because Quinn & Puck/Quinn & Finn/Rachel & Finn all seem to know the relationships are not right, but they can't stop themselves from getting in their own way.  Plus, I love anything that features my fellow Georgians, Lady Antebellum.
    • "She's Not There": +2 in large part due to the fact that the original song is by the Zombies but also because it was the perfect follow-up to Finn's convo with Quinn about her allegiance to Glee Club vs. Cheerios.  However, -1 for Mr. Shuster having to blatantly point out that it was by the Zombies so the viewers would get that it matched the episode's theme. Not that I knew it was by the Zombies, but I didn't appreciate that the writers assumed I wouldn't know.  I'm hurt, writers.
    • "Bills Bills Bills": No points added or subtracted.  Though completely irrelevant, the song was perfectly performed and made me miss old school Destiny's Child.
    • "Thriller"/"Heads Will Roll": +1 because somehow Thriller really does seem to bring people together.  Just watch 13 Going on 30 if you don't believe me.
  • -1 for Emma's absence.  She should have been the one to come up with the idea of the football players and Glee kids coming together.
Total: 9 --> This episode is the diva equivalent of Christina Aguilera.  Not just any Christina Aguilera.  I'm specifically thinking of the Christina who sung the National Anthem at this year's Superbowl (XLV) that preceded this episode of Glee.  True, she flubbed a line (which is pretty shocking since even illegal immigrants know that song), but it's hard to deny that she's just crazy talented.  Similarly, our Glee buddies may have had a little slip up here or there (Katie Couric's appearence, Quinn kissing Finn...), but this episode reminded us that they are pretty awesome all the same.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Sweet Sarabeth's

I was all ready to take this weekend by storm...until I went to my annual eye exam yesterday morning.  I thought I would hear the same "Your prescription got worse; you have really bad eyesight" that I hear every other year.  Unfortunate, but I'm used to my near blindness.  Instead, I was told that I have some eye condition I can not pronounce that will require some sort of action.  She probably told me what the next steps would be, but I wasn't really listening as I was fixated on the fact that my doctor confiscated my contacts.  No contacts for at least a week?!  I can think of nary a worse fate.  I feel less sexy librarian and more four-eyed dorkus having to wear my glasses 24/7.  Not only do I feel less than cute in my glasses, I found them highly inconvenient since it was a disgusting day and not easy to see through rain-splattered specs.

I was in a sour mood (still am, clearly) and I find the best way to lift my spirits is with brunch, which I conveniently already had on the calendar with Mallory.  In all her time in NYC, Mallory had never been to Sarabeth's and we both agreed it is a rite of passage.  We both started with the four flowers mimosa, which is made with orange, pineapple, banana, and pomegranate juices.  Mallory had already studied the menu, so she knew she would be ordering the country breakfast (scrambled eggs, cheese grits, bacon, roasted red pepper sauce, and her choice of pastry - she went with pumpkin muffin).  Considering I had been to Sarabeth's several times, I figured I didn't need to review the menu beforehand - after all, I always order the Goldie Lox (scrambled eggs with lox and cream cheese).  But once I sat down, I realized it was a good day to mix it up - perhaps the glasses made me a little frisky.

I decided it was time to order something completely different and I'm thrilled I did because I have a new favorite breakfast dish.  I'm more of a savory breakfast/brunch eater but I always like the idea of the sweet items on the menu, like pancakes and waffles.  This dish combines the best of both.  The crisp potato waffle had a smooth texture and deep niches to hold the sour cream and chunky apple preserves I slathered on.  Sarabeth's is famous for their preserves so I always like to make sure they come with whatever I order.  The dish also came with two large links of chicken apple sausage that were full of flavor.  I feel like this dish could replace the latke meal at Chanukah.  It packed in all the same flavors but in a different form.

As always, Sarabeth's pleased the palate and made me forget my optical worries and the dreary weather. It is indeed a rite of passage for New Yorkers so make sure it's on you low-key breakfast list.

Friday, February 4, 2011

It's Here!

The official Blogger for Android app has finally arrived, which means - you guessed it - I'm posting this from my phone.  You prob won't notice the difference, dear reader, but for me, it's big news.  I will likely still post predominantly from my trusty laptop, but it's nice to have the option to blog on the go.  Ain't technology grand?!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Unanswered Questions: Gossip Girl Recap - 1/31/11 Episode

So I'm sure the first unanswered question on your minds is Where is last week's recap?  The answer is that I thought it was a little too lame to write about.  Sorry, writers, but I expected a little more from you for the first episode back after a break.  Enough about last week.  It seems our Gossip Girl buddies were back to their old tricks this week, which means I'm back to ask some more pressing questions.

  • At first I thought the W assistant's name was in Beverly minus the B.  Thankfully, I realized I was wrong.  Phew.  It's not Everly; it's Epperly.  But what kind of a name is Epperly?
  • Perhaps the Thorpes want to exploit the Captain's connections, but did they forget he's been in prison the last few years for making some pretty atrocious financial decisions?  The Captain argues with Nate saying "I'm good at what I do!" though I'm guessing the New York state penal system would disagree.
  • While Blair is telling Dan why she needs the internship, she says her Mom is just a famous designer which means she can't call in favors to a fashion isn't that exactly what it means to be a famous designer?
  • Lily is concerned when she finds out Eric could not have been staying at Eliot's place after she's informed they broke up.  But why is Lily ok with her high school son sleeping at his boyfriend's apartment?
  • Hot pink hot pants in February with no tights...really?  Don't get me wrong, they were kinda cute, but we all know Blair is not big on shorts/pants and it's still the dead of winter here in NYC.  That outfit doesn't work when there's snow on the ground.  Sorry.
  • Does Serena own any formal dresses that don't have side cut-outs?  It's like if she doesn't hit her skin showing quota, she dies.
  • Blair's working the door at the party?  I'm impressed because that's actually the kind of task an intern would handle and that level of reality somehow shocks me on this show.  I also relish seeing this because I know that as a gal who works in print advertising, I am one of the people she would be checking in.  Ha!
  • A drinking game based around every time Lily pays someone off...why didn't I think of that?!?!


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