Thursday, June 29, 2006

I'm a bit tied up at the moment.

A while back, I ordered these shoes from Zappos. I needed a pair of low-heeled dress sandals for summer, you see. I liked the look of the Kimmels so much, I optimisitically ordered two pairs, one in black, one in brown. The two set me back about $150. When they arrived, unfortunately, they fit funny and looked silly. I sent them back, and resigned myself to a summer in platforms or flip-flops. But today I popped into one of my my favorite discount havens to find a skirt and found not a skirt, but the perfect summer dress sandals. Behold! I <3 these shoes. Tied up at the moment. Guess how much they cost me. Go on. No. Give up? $6.99! Hot damn. Now I must find 12 pairs of backups to keep for when these wear out.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Just as I speak up in defense of the Internets.

I just saw The Lake House. It wasn't bad. I liked it enough, given I figured out the whole damn plot 20 minutes in. And I really, really hate when that happens, so the fact that I am admitting to liking it says a lot about this film. I didn't regret not seeing Tokyo Drift or anything. The problem is, I just went to the film's IMDb page. I really should never, ever do that. At least, I shouldn't read the message boards. Because it's full of people who have seen the movie and still have no goddamn clue what's going on, and that irritates me shitless. Maybe it's because I always see movies by myself (and as such, without distractions), maybe because I have watched thousands of movies, or maybe it's because I hexpecially like the twisty-plot ones, but I very, very rarely am totally clueless as to what's going on in a film, and I certainly never get the plot all fucked to hell. Sometimes, I swear I talk to people about a film and hear their ideas about what happened and end up explaining shit and wonder if we were even watching the same thing. It's nuts. Uuuuh, that's it, really. You should see it. I mean, it'll make your head hurt with the idea of having a relationship with someone living in the future (and God help you, definitely don't view the message board about that), and there were a few times in the film where you could see the film was originally set in 2002/2004 instead of 2004/2006, thanks to Sandy's unmistakable mouthing of "...2002" when the audio says "...2004," but it's a pretty good flick udderwise. Keanu Reeves, one-time love of my life, or at least loins, is finally starting to look...older. I must say, though, I do love that both of the leads here are in their 40s. That's hawt. (Aside: Does anyone actually want to see that new Superman movie? Am I the only one who already considers it a waste of valuable screen space? AND WHY DO I HAVE TO WAIT UNTIL NOVEMBER FOR CASINO ROYALE? DAMNIT!)

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Pecks and Bosh.

Some people may find this blasphemous, but Becks just doesn't do it for me. See? Beckham (Then again...) I think he's funny looking. And his wife is like Skeletor with a spray tan and some Gucci shades. Actually, I have no idea if those are Gucci or not, I couldn't be assed to source them. My point? Though I don't dislike him/them, I'm not their greatest fan. But. I could have three-way-kissed the hell out of both of them today, about an hour into England/Ecuador, when Beckham scored the only goal of that goddamn game. GOAL, BITCHES! I wouldn't have done it after he barfed on the pitch, though. Yuck.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Save the Internets!

It only takes a second to let your congressmen know how you feel. The Internet is already a moneymaker for anybody with the right skill set. It's gorgeously egalitartian in that sense. Let's not let Big Corporations ruin the greatest thing since Solid Gold dancers with their greed. Via Screed.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Birds do it, bees do it, even educated fleas do it.

Procurement of sustenance. Eating. Food. More immediately vital to life than the universal drive to procreate. Never fuck? Your genes die. Never eat? You die. See? Elementary, my dear Watson. Lately, I've been obsessed with food, and not in the I-must-not-eat-this/I-must-only-eat-that sort of way. I've become fascinated with the culture, the ritual, the politics of food, and the fascination is threatening to become a full-blown obsession. Granted, the progression to obsession has been gradual, lumbering, and decades in the making. My childhood food issues, that led me, by my 13th birthday, to outweigh the average runningback; the almost sexual awakening I experienced when I went off to college and found myself surrounded by a cross-class, cross-cultural cadre of peers who led me to every flavor in our shitty city, and whose kind mamas sent care packages every semester; the weight I gained persuant to that; the vegetarian years, relearning how to nourish myself by denying myself what I most desired; living alone and being fully in charge of and responsible for what went into my mouth for the first time; New York. Bouley, where I stumbled by happenstance onto that wondrous intersection of art and nurturing, haute cuisine. I wasn't aware, then, that a single dinner could fork my path. But looking back, I realize it has. Course after course of transcendent mouthfuls that set my synapses firing. Amuse bouche. My lord, what understatement! Since that meal, I've had others, so delectable I've had mildly embarrasing...episodes at various restaurants. I'm a hedonist, a sensualist. I like the finest things. Getting them generally ends, in my little world, with a flush, and some vaguely inappropriate moaning and expressions. Trust me. Great food has an obvious effect on me. (A few weeks back, I sat alone at a favorite bar, eating their delightful grilled asparagus dish. After I polished the plate off, I looked up to find a man sitting at the opposite end of the bar, ginning dopily at me, clearly having enjoyed my meal more than I did. Yipes.) I used to happen upon great food. Now, I seek it out. I seek it out on the town, and I try to create it at home, as often as is feasible. That means I stick my nose in fresh herbs, inhaling deeply, at the market. I sniff and squeeze and fondle fruits and veg. I try to get a new cut of meat to learn to prepare at every trip. Margarine will never cross these lips again. I cry when inattention sends my broc or asparagus from the vibrant verdancy of a perfectly prepared morsel to the limp green-grey of overcooked waste. It might as well have been frozen. Worse, canned. I now have about $600 worth of high-end cookware, in the form of three lovely Calphalon pro pans and two darling Wusthof knives, that I have been patiently acquiring at various sales, steeply discounted, of course, over the last few years. My point is, it's getting serious. Serious enough that I'm pumping time, energy, and cash into mastery--or eventual mastery, at least. I've got a New Yorker from last September, because I loved the article on Vegas short order cooks. I've been churning out recipes from Gourmet, Bon Appetit and Saveur at a brisk clip. I was barking obscenities in my mailroom when I learned Chow had decided to go stricly virtual, and thus my subscription, of which I'v never gotten a single issue, is gone with the tarragon-scented wind. I've been like a woman possessed for the last week, trying to find just the right apron that will represent the inner me. (Apparently, she's kind of cute, snooty in name only, and otherwise, a little garish and cheap, as this discounted Anthropologie apron reveals.) I'm perpetually saddened by the dearth of black men or women working at the master level; worse, at the dearth of us even blogging about how we relate to it, or expanding our culinary pursuits. I'm arguing with anyone who will listen about the politics of meat production and the hypocrisy therein, reading up on the lives of chefs, foodies and critics for kicks, and actively seeking out a boy toy or two who knows his way around a kitchen. (Or at the very least a bloody menu, though really, I think people who like to critique food but can't prepare it shouldn't be trusted. It's like a virgin giving sex advice. Maybe you read the textbook, but you're missing the fieldwork that would provide you any context, honey. I'll get my expertise elsewhere, thanks.) All of this is to say, I'm in love with food. Not enough to want to enter a restaurant kitchen; I don't aspire to that. But enough to want to make it sing, and enough to want to keep writing about it--how we grow it, kill it, package it, sell it. About the rituals we build around it, the meaning we impart to it. About my struggle with it, which, god knows, will never, ever end. In the coming weeks, I think I'll be packing in most of my old blogs and starting one more. This one will remain. I need someplace for my ridiculous brain dumps, after all. But it's getting old, and maybe it's time for a more focused pursuit.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Anti-word* of the day: Foilage.

Listen. There is no such thing as foilage. Unless you are accustomed to speaking only Middle English or are a surfer super-hero discussing your ability to thwart surfer anti-heroes ("I kicked that shark right in da nose, bruh, it was totally munch-foilage), you should not be using this anti-word. If you are talking about lovely leafy goodness, the word you are looking for is foliage. FO-lee-ij. Or FO-lee-ahj, for the hoity-toitiest, inclined to pronouncing everything in Fransh. Although, actually, in French, foillage would be right, I think. Ha. Figures. This rant brought to you by Ronni Lundy's book, In Praise of Tomatoes, Lark Press, 2004. I mean, shit, don't you people have copyeditors? I know, I know, there will always be slip-ups, but damn it, it is irritating. Of course, I fully expect you to ignore any and all typos in this here bloggy. Heh. *"Anti-word" courtesy of X, and no relation to the MS Word translation program, Antiword.

Every now and then, I like to take my head out of my ass and update.

So, job two fell through, for the time being. That whole event planning gig wasn't really what I wanted to do in the first place, and I didn't think I could handle the strain of two full time jobs, one of which I would be flying blind throughout. I'll reapply for the next round. In the meantime, I'm going to cooking school, snitches. (I'm working on refining my vulgar vocabulary. Soon, I'll be able to end a declarative statement without any insulting address, at all! Yay!) Last Saturday I got to spend the day with the ever-delightful Ayana-no-blog, friend of Shasta, and finally met Mari-no-blog, also FOS. Ate and drank our way around Manhattan, from midtown down to the LES. I'm not. Even. Playing. We started with a classy brunch of meat and booze at ESPN Zone (well, Mari and I had meat. 'Yana was already done with her eating by the time I showed up.) Then we picked up Ayana's friend L, (who it turns out I went to grad school with and am fairly sure I have met before and now clearly wish I had gotten to know her better, she's fabulous, and how-the-fuck-small is the black media community, anyway?) and sort of lurched down to SoHo or somesuch to meet up with Stolie and her crew, who had been partying all over the city since 9 a.m. in celebration of the opening of the World Cup. Once we found them in the Cupping Room Cafe, a bar/restaurant too crowded to accomodate us, we took ourselves next door to the Broome Street Bar and had a pint. Then we all met up again and watched Stolie's group haul ass over to Les Enfants Terribles, another massively crowded bar, for the end of the final game. Finding that bar too crowded to stand inside--literally--we ended up at nearby Happy Shabu Shabu. For shabu-shabu. I mean, it's really all they do. Highlight: Watching 'Yana's look of horror upon realizing the shrimp she ordered for her swishy edification still had their little legs and heads. Low, um, light: realizing at the end of the meal that the place served beer. We could have made even more magic.) Then we wandered over to Rivington, but made a stop at Laboratorio del Gelato, where I had the most amazing black sesame gelato ever. Sesame is so underappreciated. It's a semi-nutty fattiliciousness. Add sugar, milkfat and egg. Hot damn! Or cold damn. Meh. Also, I have this inexplicable love for grey foods. I think they are just amazing. Like, the antithesis of what fresh food should look like, and yet, in this case, so good. Then on to Rivington, and Verlaine, where I began to fall asleep. It was only 7:30. I was on my way home by 8:30, and took a meandering walk from the LES, through SoHo, and then up into the West Village (I know I walked from one to the other, don't ask me how.) I was in bed by 10. In other news, today I made a real breakfast. Not the yogurt-and-berry kind, but with, like, eggs and toast and everything. By everything, I mean pesto and purple heirloom tomatoes, sprinkle of parmegiano reggiano. Astonishing. I rarely make pesto, but when I do, I often tire of it long before I use it all. This whole pesto-toast situation might actually have me making it regularly just for brekkies. I'm out of coffee. Later, expect a postacular on new ways for me to blow my cash, kitchen-style. Happy June.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Death by Sexy 2.0: Sexy unto Death.

1. So, job two just asked me, with no event-planning experience, if I'd like to put together a 1,000 person throwdown in three months. And then, like, immediately plan another one in a month after that. Um. Actually? Yeah, bitches! Unpaid full-time event planning is The Hotness! Can I invite Diddy? Kidding. But it is a great job opportunity. I'm going to say yes. Here's hoping I don't balls it up to all holy hell. This kinda sexy could actually kill me. Yeeps. 2. Broadway Panhandler? Hot sriracha. I told you I was going to get knives. I copped a tip from a chef I know who directed me down yonder. I had every intention of rolling up in there ready to talk some smack, and test every gimongous chef's knife in there, from Global to Wusthof to Shun. I had even told myself I was ready to lay ot $200 for this Shun Pro I got to feel up the other day. Then I saw the Wusthof Grand Prix series 8" cook's knife was marked down from $130 to $45 on a closeout clearance. And the Grand Prix II parer was only $25, down from...I don't remember. And the honing steel was $42, down from $60. (Did you know you're supposed to sharpen your knives every day? I didn't know. I am ashamed. And I called myself a knife lover! Anyway, now my babies can be well cared-for, and will no longer be subject to the humiliation of being sharpened on the bottoms of porcelain bowls.) I'm siddity, but I ain't stupid. Wusthofs are good knives. Are they Shun Kershaw? No. Did they save me enough that I didn't feel bad about scoring these santa kicks along the way? Yep. Also acquired: Some Oxo tongs and can opener, a skimmer, Pyrex measuring cup, a new 9" cake round to replace the one I ruined a few months back, an adorable polkadot silicon gripping square, and a Zagat's 2006 Gourmet Marketplace guide. Total damage, including sneakers which will never be worn so much as near a kitchen, let alone in one: $278, or, roughly what I would have paid for the Shun Pro, alone. Thanks, Broadway Panhandler! Not bad for a days kitchen stocking. Oh hell, sleepynow. Back to edit later :)

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


The last week has been...interesting. I might have mentioned that already. Depending on the events of the next few hours, I could soon be running around the city chatting up top crock-jockeys, trying to wangle recipes and quotable soundbites from them. The prospect is inordinately exciting to a foodie and word-whore. It's also absolutely nerve-wracking to a culinary dilettante who happens to be an ersatz foodie and word-whore. A common gruel-slurper in gastronome's clothing, if you will. (That would be me.) I love food. Anyone who's talked to me for more than five minutes can tell you that. And I love to prepare it, to feed my loved ones, whenever I can (usually to greedily appreciative results). I can make lots of passable, tasty, everyman chow, and frankly, I've got a few tricks up my sleeve that mean I can go a little haute when I have to. I may very well know more about the politics and methods of foie gras production, scotch producing regions, slow food, and tomato varieties than the average American bear. That means sweet fuck-all when you're trying to get a recipe out of, say, Tom Colicchio, and you can't tell your ear from your aresehole--or your confit from your cassoulet. I'm a quick study. I've already got a few cooking bibles at home, and there are certainly some on the way. By this time tomorrow, I'll be able to produce a lemongrass foam that would make your mama weep with joy. Okay, maybe by the end of the week. My point is, there's a loop, and I'm kicking dirt at the edge of it, rather than being in it. God help me. Yesterday, I decided to expand my horizons a bit. The technique will come in time, of course, but in order to have that, you really need to have the best materials. Thus far, I've limited my procurement missions to Fairway, Citarella, and Zabars. All great places, but this is a big, food-worshipping town. There are others. And given my maybe-new-post, along with test kitchen, is way down on the East Side, in the everloving teens, for godssake, I need to find those others down there. Enter Chelsea Market. One big foodie emporium of sexay. Let's see, what's down there, eh? Three--or is it four?--bakeries, a boucherie, two produce markets, a wine shop, a flower shop, several restaurants (including Buddakan and Morimoto), some gourmet shops for domestic and imported delights, and a Food Network studio. At least, that's what I toured on the ground floor, an hour before closing. And there's a restaurant/kitchen supply shop just around the corner. Like a little gourmet Mecca. Hm, hyperbole, but still. I went, you see, late, as I am in all things. I also went short-funded, with only $49 in my pocket, to see what I could make off with. My haul, I have to say, was not bad at all. Except for the purchase of an extra bottle of wine, which put me over budget, driving my total cost up to $60, and had me reaching for the plastic, I think I did very, very well. (If you are alarmed by what $60 buys me, you should be aware that I probably spend $200-300 per month on groceries. And that doesn't include takeout grub. I believe in spending money on good food, good friends, and good times. Roasted asparagus, Bombay or Junipero martinis, braised short ribs? Good times. Canned veggies, Gordon's Gin and cube steak? Not usually good times.) Onward. Eh, urm, uh, that's it, really. I got a bunch of produce from the Manhattan Fruit exchange, with which to make tomato and pesto sauces, guacamole, and a home-made vat of limoncello. Two desserts--darling little purse-shaped cookies from Eleni's and some Leonidas chocolates and ginger beer from Chelsea Market basket, some yummy lamb sausages from Italian import shop Buonitalia, and two bottles of hooch. I don't know that I'd go regularly. The savings aren't that steep, though the produce selection, at least, goes well beyond what can be found at my local; still, it does have its charms. After payday, I'm certainly going back to load up on freshly-butchered, premium meats from Frank's, flowers from the Wholesale Flower shop, and knives from the kitchen supply warehouse. Big, light, shiny, hair-splitting knives. *demented grin* Sigh. Tomorrow's topic (or, more likely, the day after)--Knives: The acquisition, care and feeding of your premium sharps.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Every now and then, I like to get stupid.

Don't we all? Unfortunately, my predilection for the inane is crossed with un ungodly love for the Internets. I signed up for Match again. They were running a free-72 hours special and I thought, "Eh. I'll test the waters." That was about 10 hours ago. Since then, I've had a few predictable responses. One was from a fellow who, in his "last read" section, wrote :"NOT A READER !!!" and in his turn-offs section wrote : Braniacs, agressiveness. Sooooo, you like opinionless, submissive illiterates, then? Clearly, his disinclination to read extends to Match profiles, since I think I must mention the fact that I prefer braniacs and readers about 43.836 times in my self-description. Too bad. He had arms like he worked 'em hard for a living. Two others were people who had tried to pick me up last time I was on Match, over a year ago. I wonder if the company's stupid matching system just still matches us up, of I've been lingering in that little "connections" queue that Match has now, where everyone you've ever emailed, favorited or winked at goes to languish, since the last time I ignored their queries. Interesting. The last was very cute but kind of...intimidating. (It's my fault, really. I was poking around, looking at profiles, forgetting that now, everyone you've looked at can see you've been looking. Which means, even if you were trying to figure out how in hell someone could go so very wrong on their pics, header and self description--photo of over-gelled fortysomething in polyblend Penney's suit, named LYKS2LIK, header "R U D 1?" for example, and I'm exaggerating, here, I sincerely hope this profile doesn't exist--they now think you're interested. Ah, so, I had been peeping at this guy's profile. It was fine enough, but we wouldn't be each other's type. I thought. This morning, I woke up to a short, friendly email.) See, I like big guys, I do. And I dig tattoos, too. Like, a lot. I don't mind saying so. It gives me an excuse to expose and prod people I hardly know, for the sake of interest in their ink. But. There are parameters. If a guy is a tat artist, he pretty much gets a pass on the parameters, because it's his job. He pretty much has to be his own lifestyle billboard. But if not? Only certain tats interest me, and some repulse me outright. I'll take full sleeve flame-and-demon tats over a face or neck tat, any day. Extra demerits if the tat is in illegible script(anywhere), features women being penetrated by anything (anywhere), or is of Jesus on the cross. These things, to me, scream "CRIMINAL ELEMENT! DONE TIME!" Or at least should have. You don't go marking up the area around your face without thinking you ain't got shit to lose. Not. Sexay. Buddyboy has a neck tat of the Lord and Savior. But he's cute, and has a clearly beloved little pooch in half his pictures. How bad can he be? Don't answer that. He could be feeding his vics to the little mutt for all I know. I won't know unless I write back, though! (In case you were wondering, I also pick completely inappropriate times to abandon my paranoias and live on the edge. Ish.) Sigh. Clearly, the best plan when considering tanking on 2.5 jobs, is to suddenly develop an active interest in mate-seeking, because that, you know, that's really easy in this town. Pft. Anyway. Just finished reading Kitchen Confidential. I take it all back. Anthony Bourdain is my new underhero, just behind the inventor of the underwire bra. He's a great writer, and executive chef of Les Halles, where I enjoyed a heartily satisfying, perfectly prepared steak au poivre-laden, boozy, gabby French bistro dinner with Stolie and her friend Bro a while back. Actually, he reminds me of my favorite cousin, who, I believe, to this day, needs to haul his gypsy ass into a culinary program and do something with his talents. Maybe I'll send him a copy of the book. He can stop trying to play gangsta in his mom's upper-middle class five bedroom and start playing it in a hot, testosterone-jacked, sharps-heavy pro kitchen. And then he can teach me everything I need to know, and I won't have to go to culinary school. I'm selfless to the end. Happy whateverthehell.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Bad Mommy.

I know, I've been neglecting this little blog, miserably. I keep starting posts, but never finish them. Maybe it's something in the air. Maybe there's just too much going on. For instance, instead of writing about having a little fun last weekend, I actually had a lot of fun, with Stolie and her pals Bro, M, E, KP, and LWAPB. (Don't ask. It's the longest acronym ever. I could stick with his plain, real name, but the full gist is too amusing to ignore). Little fun = time to write. Lot of fun = need to sleep. And then I had that whole interview and offer situation. That was big. And has pretty much been consuming the last few days, because I'm not talking about leaving my current job, you know. This new job? Internship. No pay. As in, will not keep Bouley on table or DKNY on back. I'm siddity. We can't have that. Which means I've been spending the last few days trying to figure out how I will essentially hold down two full-time jobs and a part-time job (I need to go to culinary school, but I'm not trying to pay for another degree. Enter the Kitchen Assistant job. Clean the students' messes, get to spy on classes, learn without additional debt. Woot.) Sigh. Of course, if anyone out there is just bursting with money to burn and would like to be my patron, funding my six month internship and a basic stint at FCI, well, do speak up. I figure that would only cost about...Let's see. $6,000 for the classes, about $1400/mo for a shitty studio sublet, $200/wk for living expenses (this includes shoes, don't worry)...and rounding out for incidentals, like, say, bail money...$20,000. Not that much money, when you think about it. Oh no, wait. Student loans. Forgot about those. That would be another $3000 over 6 months. So, $23,000. Eh? Who's in? *crickets* Fine. Anyway, eventually, everything will sort itself out and I'll return to regular blogging. Or I'll die of exhaustion, but either way, lovelies, it has nothing to do with you. I'm off to mike a nice linguine aglio e olio. I'm starved. And I've totally neglected to restock my cupboards this week. Time for scavenger food. Happy Friday.