Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Day 62

It was 8 a.m. at the Englewood Volvo dealership about two weeks ago. Who were those other people there in that corner?

Oh, it's those folks. (Jon's so angsty.)

We invited them to IHOP down the block, but they weren't into getting pancakes. What snobs.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Day 61

The last two days have been extremely warm--mid to upper 60s. I'm not complaining. If NYC could be like this all the time, that would be awesome.

Last night I met up with Dani and Hetal to go to TJ Maxx and then some pretty cute Swedish place by Columbus Circle. Like really cute. Before we met up, I sat in the park by the Chipotle on 56th and 8th for a bit marveling at how I could do this with just a short-sleeved shirt, cardigan, jeans, open-toed/basket-weave shoes, and a scarf. No coat. No socks. No chill. Amazing!

Part of me thinks this good weather luck is due to overwhelming pile of freelance work due this month. Jon literally told me that I had to finish my work before we could play our new Zelda game. How unfair. I feel like the trapped teenager in all these books I'm working on. Or the cranky baby that doesn't exist in the other books I work on. (No one wants to read about cranky babies. But they exist.) Freaking deadlines. I wanna save a princess!

Pep told me yesterday that he's moving to Boston. I really hate Boston. It's near the bottom of my list of cities that exist in order of how much I like them. There's nothing that I can recommend about it. It's a dismal place to drive to and around and back from. (Never mind the 7 hour bus rides of traffic that I've heard of. Maybe have been in for the visit to Boston with honors history class?) The best restaurant there isn't any better than the cute restaurant down the block here. It's where culture and cuisine go to die or assimilate to the most mundane tastes. What do people do there? Spend hours walking around their 1000+ square feet homes? Spend hours commuting to the two tall buildings that are there? (I lie. I have no clue if there are ANY tall buildings.) Or maybe prove me wrong. 

In the meantime, Baby Vampire is doing a great job tending to my Nat plant. There's a flower! Flllowerrrr!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Kanoyama Omakase

Persimmon in sesame seed/chestnut butter--sweet and juicy

After seeing Nathan Myhrvold speak at Astor Center, we threw the White Truffle Festival at Buon Italia under the bus to go to Kanoyama mainly because it was closer. It was a good idea. 

Natto paste with uni;
the natto had aspic in it to help hold the shape.
I've never willingly had natto before because it looked gross.
Also, I'm not a huge fan of uni unless it's Santa Barbara uni.
But the dish was good!
Maybe it's not natto paste?

We were sat immediately at a table, but when Jon asked the waiter about the omakase, the waiter immediately recommended it and that we do it that evening since the chef wasn't busy. Like, the bar that the omakase was supposed to occur at was empty. (We thought it was the drink bar area for guests waiting for tables since that was where some of those people were being stored.) We felt a little bad about how the waiter basically screwed himself out of a tip, but hopefully the tips are pooled, so maybe he got a share for referring us. 

Last year I would've given this dish to Jon.
I really don't like uni.
But I took a bite, and it was good!
It was sweet!
There was almost too much of it for me though.
But I ate it all up.
I also found two small uni spines in my teeth.
Be careful eating these.
The uni was from Maine, surprisingly.

I have no idea how much it cost, but it was a really good omakase. As you'll see in a few moments, there was a lot of sashimi. I feel like most omakase have more sushi pieces than sashimi. Then I feel that I have to roll off the bar stool at the end of the meal because of being so full of rice.

The wasabi came in a cute vessel shaped like a shell.
It was also good fresh wasabi, though is there a bad fresh wasabi?

The chef was nice enough. He was relatively young, and he was attentive, but not like those older sushi chefs that for one reason or another try to engage you in conversation. He answered our few questions, and he probably would be your buddy if that's the kind of experience you look for in an omakase. He spoke with friends who had come in, and at the end he had a small glass of sake with the waiter who was helping him with our meal.

Baby blue fin tuna. The veal of the sea.
So delicious!
Itadakimasu, baby blue fin tuna!
(I'm working on a children's book about baby zoo animals.
Maybe I'll put together one about eating baby animals.
That can be the repetitive line.)

We got in at around 9 p.m. and left around 11:30 p.m. It was perfect timing for eating late, and it really didn't seem that long at all. And I didn't feel gross afterward. Score!

Mackerel. I think.
This definitely got more flavorful as I chewed.
I remember thinking that, normally, I'd never eat something that still had
what looked like its skin on it.
Then I was like, well, good thing I don't suck anymore.

The sashimi was so good. So, so, so good. The more you chewed, the sweeter the fish got in your mouth. What magic is that?! The appetizers were so good too. For whatever reason the teapot soup dish with mushrooms (dobin mushi) didn't take. It was the best. I wish I could eat that everyday for lunch.

Grilled tuna. It might be more baby tuna.
He grilled it on one of those smokeless charcoal grills.
It tasted so good.
We had just been told at Nathan's lecture that what gives grilled food
its flavor is the fat that gets released and thrown back on it.
(I butchered what he said. Buy the book. Read the chapter.)
Mmm . . .

The chef basically hand fed us the sushi pieces he made, so we didn't take any photos of those. There was one uni piece from Hokkaido that tasted like the reason I'm not a huge fan of uni. Huge difference from the Maine uni appetizer above or any Santa Barbara uni. Like the juices were making me gag. Oh, uni.

Needlefish! These guys look funny. See link to website below.
Their chins are what make the needle part!
What an underbite!

The restaurant's website is pretty informative about the fish we ate. What's also kind of interesting was that the fish wasn't kept in a kind of refrigerated case. They were in Japanese-style fish boxes behind the bar. The bar where the sushi in the refrigerated cases was was more for prep and making rolls for those at the tables.

Clam piece. I think. It was actually one of the first pieces,
and it got fancier from there. But since it's kind of
difficult to reorder stuff on blogger, it's here.
"Eat with Japanese salt and wasabi.
Don't dip your wasabi into the soy sauce," he told us.
(That's the clientele they usually get it seems.)

The restaurant's bathroom on the main level is tiny--like airplane tiny, but it was clean, which is all it really needs to be.

::ray of light; angel's saying, "Ooh!" sound effects::

This dessert was one of the best in my life. It had apples that were like whipped up. Like apple-flavored whipped cream. With some cinnamon on top. Ingenious and satisfying. The acidity of the apples removed all the oily fish taste in my mouth. It was so refreshing. After this dish, they also gave us a small scoop of ice cream. We both got green tea. It was good, but another bowl of the apple dessert would've been better!

Overall it was a great experience, and I'd recommend going. And I look forward to going back during another season to see what yummy fish are on the menu then. It's different from Yasuda and Yohei and the other great sushi places, but it's definitely not lesser.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Day 60

Some people come home to loved ones. I usually come home to an empty apartment, but tonight I saw between two buildings the Moon. Hello, Moon! He's shy. Slinking behind the building on the right at this very moment. He's fast. Nearly half gone behind the building as I write up this post while standing in the same spot. Good-bye, Moon. Nice of you to be there when you were.

In other news, when converting today's date from binary to text, guess what you get.

111111 = ?

Fun with numbers!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Day 59

Jonjon Bap!

No idea what a bap is, but this dinner looks taaaasty!

Lots of ups and downs. Nearly took off Jon's nipple right then just standing and text here. Eep!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Day 58

My dad's pulled pork with my cornbread from a box. (He asked me to make it. They were his boxes.) So delicious! I have waited two days to eat this meal.

Umaimono Fair at Mitsuwa

Spicy tuna (my favorite!)
The Umaimono Fair at Mitsuwa was delicious this year. Happily the Omusubi Gonbei people were at this fair.

We bought a small bag of their rice too, which was a new product, I think, and a bit pricey. But their rice is so good! There's something about it that is better than other rice. My dad would say it's the radiation, since it's coming directly from Japan.

Salmon and roe (mother and child); Shrimp
They have tons of flavors of rice balls. They really should just set up a shop in Mitsuwa permanently or somewhere near my mouth.

They had croquettes too. And the shrimp ball ones were okay, but they didn't have enough shrimp. It was mostly potato. Apparently the crab ball is full of crab meat, but we missed that one due to lack of stomach space. Croquettes don't taste good unless eaten immediately. The beef one was really greasy and fatty. We didn't finish eating that guy.

Shio Ramen from Nakamura-ya

From the Mitsuwa website: 

“Shio Ramen” of “Nakamura-ya” will make their first appearance for this event. Shigetoshi Nakamura hails from Kanagawa prefecture in Japan. At the age of 22, Nakamura opened Nakamura-ya and became famous for his shio ramen and signature “Ten Kuu Otoshi”, a water straining performance. Fast-forward to 2011 and after countless awards, newspaper and magazine articles, interviews and television programming, Nakamura has come to showcase his potential to the people of the U.S. Enjoy Nakamura-ya's delicate shio ramen with a tender and grilled cha-shu. The soup is paired perfectly with a very thin, chewy noodle presented by Sun Noodle California.

Really delicious green tea from the rice ball place.
Again, I have no idea what makes it taste so good. It just does.
Everything about the ramen was delicious, but I didn't love the broth. It was kind of fishy for me. The bits of garlic at the end of the dish were a delightful and tasty surprise. The egg was beautiful. The meat was generous (like a huge slab). The noodles were some of the best I've ever had. I just didn't love the broth. Jon loved the broth and funneled some of it in our tea bottle to take home for a snack at a later date. 

Caramel and some other flavors
For dessert we ate these. They were okay. One had a really good flavor that wasn't caramel. They were just really chewy. I have a fear of choking on food, so really chewy things don't really appeal to me.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Day 57

It is so dark. It is only 5:21. This is going to be a long, long winter.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Smurfs on Publishers Weekly Site + Me!

They didn't have our whole gang of Smurfs and Gargamel, but I made it into the group shot they used for Publishers Weekly! Awesome! (The CMYK group won first place--a pizza party and a movie.)

Kajitsu October Dinner

Special supplement to the October menu:
white truffles over grilled tofu
(better than the Babbo truffle egg)

We had an excellent October dinner at Kajitsu after the museum on Sunday, which was almost a close call because Jon had missed their call, about having a table available, when we were inside of the museum. A cab ride from the UWS to LES wasn't fast or cheap, but it was definitely worthwhile.

October thirtieth might have been the chef's birthday. He's an amazing guy to make such thoughtfully delicious food. I hope we get to celebrate many more birthdays with him.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Day 56

More ABBA at Tehuitzingo. Can't get away from this band. There are fun lights that make me feel like I'm at a dance club. I am starving. STARVING.

Day at the American Natural History Museum

The Google Offer for the American Natural History Museum was pretty awesome: $5 for a $25 value, which included admission to the museum plus one special exhibit/IMAX film/Space Show. The only bad part about it was that it was going to expire on Halloween, so Jon and I went on Sunday.

To gear up, we went to Landmarc for an onion soup lunch and had roasted potatoes, a bloody Mary, and a ginger ale. Their onion soup hit the spot--I don't think I ever really need to make my own, though it would certainly be cheaper to do so.

Hmm . . . anyway, stuffed, we walked up Broadway and Columbus to the museum and entered at the planetarium side. (It was around 3:30 p.m., and there was barely a line.) This was the first time either Jon or I had been to the museum since grammar school, so it was exciting for us to be going together.

We saw the Hayden Planetarium Space Show, which was awesome, though Whoopi Goldberg's voice kind of ruined it. Also the seats needed to recline more. I think it reclines as much as an economy airplane seat. The top portion of the globe structure is where you view the Space Show; below the equator of the globe, there's a room with a free show about the CMB/formation of our universe and you stand around looking down into the center of the room to view it.

Unfortunately, the whole museum was a bit run-down looking. There was Earth dust on the three meter meteorite--someone should really clean these things.

I saw a kid doing this in the oyster's shell, and it looked cool. The museum is superdark, so it's hard taking a decent pic with a camera phone or anything without a flash. Still this is one way to keep things from gathering dust: allow us to touch it!

The elephants in the halls of Asian mammals and African mammals were too dark to take a picture of, and forget about trying to take a photo of the whale. The whale was big, but I feel like a lot of the animals they have are smaller in scale to real ones. Like instead of average-size animals, they choose to represent the below average-size animals.

This guy though, he was pretty big. Like SmartCar big.

Dinosaur face.

Dinosaur face. Or rather the face you get when you're told you can't make the same face as a T-Rex.

Rarrrrrrrr! Dinosaurs!!!!!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Day 55

We picked up six boxes of stuff today. Our concierge guy (the one that I don't particularly like) said that we had a lot of boxes. (He is SO the type that would say that and make you feel bad about not picking them up sooner. Jon thinks I'm giving him shit and that he was nice today. Maybe.)

In our boxes were:

1 blanket (it may even be a FREE! blanket because someone didn't register that I already received the blanket I had paid for)

1 huge thing of huge paper towels
5 pine hand soaps
1 spicy pear hand soap

1 Gore-Tex waterproof sneakers

1 1Q84 (properly shipped so the jacket isn't all crunched up like our original preordered copy that I had to pick up from our old apartment in Edgewater, NJ)

1 Lego alien attack set (for Jon's cousin's birthday party this Saturday)

1 set of 3 boxes of super-duper earpugs
1 set of 2 big bottles of shampoo

Duck. Quack!

Octsnober, Snotober, Thundersnow

We have no heat in our apartment. At first we thought it was because we hadn't turned it on yet, but then it became apparent that our heater is broken or dead or turned on a mode that doesn't emit heat.

On the Saturday during the freak snowstorm when most folks celebrated Halloween, we made a half-assed attempt of going to Totto Ramen, but even with the snow there were tons of patrons waiting outside. Where do all these people come from? What makes them want to wait in the snow to eat this ramen?

We went to ChaPa's for pho and banh mi (their "traditional" has ground meat in it--not sure what that's about since I thought it was supposed to be weird Asian cold cuts). I had written about going there before, but this time the servers were just pretty awful, and I don't know if I'd really want to go back. Also the place has a B rating by the Health Department and when we were there, someone at another table had found a hair in their food. It's like they're not even trying to get a better rating.

When we got back, we bought some waterproof sneakers for Jon so that his feet don't freeze this winter. Then we docked ourselves in front of our TV for hours watching the past week's shows. We were stationary for so long that my legs started hurting from NOT standing up.

When it got dark we finally watched the last two movies of Harry Potter. Best decision ever!

Spicy/Spooky Photo Edits

Have you yet played with the photo editing options on Google+? They're kind of fun. Like an app on a smartphone, but it doesn't eat all your memory or take a bit to load up. Anyway, I was playing Cityville when I noticed this funny message, and with the Halloween effects, while they're still available, I thought it might spice things up a bit. You like the spice.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Day 54

I raced home after work to enjoy the sun for a few minutes before it got cold and dark and awful.

I don't have any windows in my office, so it's hard to tell what's happening outside. (Like that time that guy was going to jump from 30 Rock.) Windows are distracting though. When I had them, they made me feel like a fish in a bowl or imagine that others in offices across the street were each themselves fish in a tank. I wasn't very productive.

I was also falling asleep at my desk. I think I have daily experiences of slight hypothermia due to being stationery most of the day. My office is really cold. I wear so many layers of shirts and cardigans and shawls and scarves that I might be mistaken for a bag lady and chased out of the building without my ID.

When I stepped outside the building today, I was warm and awake and felt alive again. Like a freed fish cleared of that white goop. Free!

Morning Commute Haiku

A limo driver
loves his ABBA, and he blasts
it out his window.

A Tale of Two Dinners

A fancy store's window on Fifth Avenue
On Thursday, Lakshmi and Pam came over for dinner. It was the rainiest day of the week, and that they still wanted to come despite the rain, cheered me up. I made the last of our rice (our usual sushi rice supplemented with some sweet rice to make at least two cups of rice for four people), ground lamb with apples (the Macoun apples provided a nice contrast to the slightly gamey lamb and the cracked black pepper ties it all together; the head chef was a bit miffed by the white pieces of sliced garlic that were added as basically an afterthought, since they didn't brown, but whatever), and spinach (with oyster sauce; the spinach turned out kind of watery, but at least it wasn't burnt like every other spinach I've made in the last few months), and apple crumbles for dessert. (I'm not sure why Lakshmi calls it a streusel in her blog, but it's all good. Lakshmi peeled and cut the apples for this dish and the lamb because I was doing a crappy job of it.) Lakshmi brought her mom's homemade coconut chutney and spiny melon chutney. Both chutneys were delicious and went well with the meal. We caught up and watched the Halloween episode of Community together.

The back/unfinished part of our apartment
After the utter failure of not placing in the Halloween contest at work, I thought of another masochistic thing I could do: try to get Laduree macarons for dessert that evening. I walked up there from work, and forty-five minutes later, I realized how dumb it was because the line was really long (though inside the store, which I suppose is great), but after waiting a few minutes, I realized how dumb it was to wait with the tourists. Cause after a few minutes, I realized that they had to be all tourists since they all looked so confused.

(Laduree, you need to get your shit together. You need to have flavors posted like an ice-cream shop and prepackaged assortments of macarons and all. You need someone taking orders from people who know what they want and not just want to gawk at the variety of flavors. I have money. I want macarons. I want efficient service.)

I took the M66 across town and walked to D'Agostino to get my mozzarella ball. (If I'm serving salad, I feel like there should be mozzarella as an option too.) Hetal came soon after I got in and watch in horror as I cut up the apples for another apple crumble. (We have a chef's knife to cut up things. I like seeing my fingertips when I cut things so I know where they are. Apparently, this is a bad way to cut things. But I've yet to cut myself, so I don't see any reason for alarm.) Then Dani came with Crumbs cupcakes--one with a vampire guy on top of it. And Nat came shortly after too. I forget what happened, but I think Hetal was cold, so I went to grab a sweater that I didn't want anymore and told her that she could keep it, and I suggested they all look at my "give-away" clothes bins. I had three bins, and they each took a nice bundle of clothing. One bin is entirely empty now. I'm excited that I had desirable stuff! I feel like when I try giving stuff to my sister or mom they look at me like I'm nuts or try to convince me to keep it. I just haven't got any room though I have relatively lots of room. Jon came home at some point and started cooking the meal while I finished prepping. Aditya came and showed us photos of his engagement party and beautiful fiancee.

Our menu included: olive bread, pumpkin ravioli with brown butter and sage, rye bread with carmelized onions (we made that on Wednesday for an onion soup that we ultimately never made) topped with some Swiss cheese (so like onion soup without the broth), and lettuce with mozzarella and the "good" balsamic vinegar. One should never fill up on lettuce or eat lettuce while the other food is warm anyway, is my motto. For dessert we had apple crumble (this time with MiniWheats in the crumble as well) with amaretto-almond crunch ice cream and split the vampire-baby Halloween cupcake. I had the lemon cupcake for breakfast the next day. So nice and lemony!
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