Monday, July 23, 2012

Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-RX100: the Unboxing

Jon got me a fancy new camera for my birthday.

(Thanks, B!)

He says that this is what the Internet calls
an "unboxing."

This is an envelope with the instructions
that sits at the top.

I've been meaning to read those instructions. . . .

(And at the bottom of the frame are my shorts and legs. . . .)

There she is!
She's all set up and ready to go.
I want my first picture to be of something awesome though.
Like awesome clouds or a sunset or something.
Unfortunately, the whole weekend was crap--
between copyediting/Americanizing work and having a hacking cough.

I need to go somewhere cool
to take cool cloud and or sunset photos.
20 megapixel cloud photos!!!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Sippeh! Frosty Summery Drinks

Strawberry lemonade from Bouchon

Wednesday's high was 98°F at 12:05 p.m. when conditions were sunny.
I was freezing in my office,
so I went to Bouchon for lunch
for a cup of carrot soup (their soup de jour).

I have a weak spot for lemonade, iced tea, and summery drinks.
So despite my hacking cough,
I also got a strawberry lemonade.

Usually strawberry lemonades
are lemonades with some strawberries for pink coloring.
Maybe I've always just had bad strawberry lemonades.
The Bouchon one was phenomenal:
it tasted like strawberries.
LOTS of strawberries.
So MANY that you could even water it down
and it'd probably still taste amazing.
And then a hint of lemonade at the very end.

There's usually little to recommend going to Bouchon for lunch
especially because the prices are so steep compared to their competitors.
But the strawberry lemonade . . .
now that's what I'm looking forward to
for the rest of summer.

Cool lime refresher from Starbucks

This drink was free this past Friday, July 13th.
And I had a small sample
(with the cutest little straw)
of the berry one
on my way to work the day before.

Both drinks were refreshing,
but there was a weird green tea candy/gum flavor 
as the aftertaste--
the green coffee extract.
It's not too gross,
but it doesn't really draw me back
to actually pay for one of these.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Ideas in Food Dinner at Aldea on July 15th: or Things That Make You Go Mmm

On Sunday, Jon and Dom and I went to Aldea
for a joint dinner with the chef of Aldea 
and Aki and Alex from IDEAS IN FOOD.

We sat downstairs, which was a lot better
than the times we sat upstairs for these collaborative dinners.
(Mainly, upstairs gets really hot.)
We also got all the passed hors d'oeuvre,
multiple times,
which was awesome.

My favorite hors d'oeuvre was the uni piece.
The bread was soooooooooo soft.
And I love chives.
I don't know why,
but I'd eat mostly anything with chives on it.

I'm not a fan of the texture of oysters,
so I gave my extras to the guys.

There was also a pina colada-type macaron appetizer,
but I forgot to take a photo of it.

The gazpacho was similar to 
the IDEAS IN FOOD/studiokitchen collaboration dinner in May 2011.
This time my tongue didn't freeze to my spoon!
It tasted incredibly fresh.
The oysters at the bottom were a nice touch
even though I don't really enjoy them.
To me they added a kind of mushroom-y, but summery, element
that only an oyster could.
This was Jon's favorite dish.

The scallop was delicious and the potatoes were too.
This was Dom's favorite dish.
The wine that came with this course was crisp and tasty.

I forgot to take photos of the other courses,
but they were really good.
A little more tame than the dinner we went to at Aki/Alex's house
--I LOVED his take on a Manhattan clam chowder--
but still delicious and inventive and perfectly portioned.

The wine pairings were a little aggressive though.
The pours were huge.
The people next to us were complaining about
how full they were.
(It's because you drank like two bottles of wine, dumbasses.)

And we've had dinner at the studiokitchen dinner
with these guys before
so let me just confirm that after having a five hour dinner with them
the first time,
I knew that they were dumbasses.

One of the dumbasses' wine glasses somehow broke in his hand.
I have no idea how it happened,
but I'm glad he didn't splatter on me!

The dessert was wonderful as always.
I LOVED the ice cream in this dish.
Toasted marshmallow ice cream.
Mmm. I can just imagine the taste of it now.

Dom was mystified that it was like a brownie,
but not made of chocolate.

Both Jon and Dom felt that dessert had to be classified as a favorite
on its own because it was just so different from the other dishes.

is written on the white board.

Don't you love the smiling dude?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Cat in a Sombrero!

When Lisa adopted Zara last year for her birthday,
Zara was just a little kitten.
So soft and furry and curious and friendly.

Now she's just a cat in a sombrero.
Ay, chihuahua!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Duck, Snow Peas, and Fireworks

Jon made duck for dinner tonight
with snow peas.
It was delicious and so much cheaper
than going out to eat duck
especially considering the large portions
we each got.
Jon made his duck a little bit more rare
than mine above.
But I thought my duck was so juicy and delicious
even though it was a bit more cooked.

After dinner we enjoyed the obstructed fireworks
from our window
that marked the finale of the NY Philharmonic in Central Park.

Big fireworks are the only ones worth watching anyway.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Friday the 13th: Watching the New York Philharmonic at Central Park's Great Lawn

View from the very south of the Great Lawn
Jon and I walked up 
from 53rd Street to 84th Street
to get sushi
before heading to the concert.

It was as hot as a balls.

Jon and his cell phone
We ate our sushi
while listening to the NY Philharmonic.
We sat while it drizzled.
The humidity broke slightly.
Around 9 p.m. there was an intermission.
Masses left.

At about 84th Street
when we entered the Great Lawn we're about
parallel to the bandstand.
I wanted to get a good seat for the fireworks,
lots of open sky,
so we walked down to the edge of the Great Lawn,
at about 75th Street.

I have no idea who goes
to a classical concert to look at the musicians,
but we heard well enough from the back.

My motive for going
And luckily, that was THE BEST spot
to see the fireworks.

Fireworks are hard to take photos of
with a cell phone
The fireworks started at ten and lasted for thirteen minutes.
They were huge and pretty.
One had a star inside a circle.

There's another concert on Monday.
Hopefully, it won't be rained out!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Sunset Club

July 11, 2012

I've just decided that I'm starting a club:
The Sunset Club.

If you have any photos of sunsets you'd like to share,
please respond with a link to where you've posted it.
Or you can e-mail me the image at
csolazzo at gmail dot com,
and I'll post it here.

That's all there is to this club!
It's so easy.

Club motto: 
Sharing sunsets,
one day at a time.

*Club name and motto are subject to change
if someone comes up with something more clever.
*Sunrises are welcome too

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

tUnE-YaRds, Micachu & The Shapes, and Delicate Steve at Terminal 5

On June 1st, 
Jon and I went to Terminal 5 to see:

Did that sound like gibberish?
They were obscure bands to me until about two months ago.

First, a concert at Terminal 5 wasn't all that horrible.
After reading the Yelp reviews,
I was a little terrified,
but it's a better musical space than
Radio City, I think,
just because it's smaller,
so the sound doesn't just disappear
into the velvety cushions and carpeted floors.
It's only a couple of blocks north of our apartment too.

There's a long hallway,
and then there's the floor with the stage and a large bar at the back.
Then on each side of the bar are steps to get to the second and third balconies.
We hung out on the third balcony,
but the ceiling speakers were right there
and the sound was so loud that the vibrations made me feel pretty sick.
So we went down to the first floor and hung out toward the back,
so we wouldn't be trampled on by warpainted hipsters trying to dance.

So, you might be wondering if Steve is really all that delicate.
I'm not really sure.
I was too busy trying to figure out the venue and jostle for a good spot.
But this is Steve's famous song--and the video is cool to boot:

It makes me think about who I'd want to be in this video.
I've narrowed it down to:
hula-hoop girl
belly dancer with sword
chain saw dude

It's like how this subway ad
makes me wonder who I am in this generic sampling.
I think Jon and I are like these folks:

We can be any of these people
at different times.

So Micachu & the Shapes
did not play the one song that I really like:

How fun was that?
It makes me want to dance freaking crazy
and then totally freeze when there's a rest in the music.

Nope, they played a bunch of stuff that wasn't as fun as this song.

And finally tUne-YaRds.
At first when Jon played her stuff,
I thought the chick sounded like a dude,
but then I realized she just has a cool voice.
And she sounds like she's from somewhere exotic,
but she's from New England.

She's from NEW ENGLAND!
How'd she get that voice?

Here are some songs that you might have heard:

I want to go to THAT school.

The sharp notes in this song are just too appealing to hate.
Falsetto then that flat tone in her voice.

Again with the kids.
The gray dress is really cute.
Actually, all these kids are dressed really nice.
Is this a GAP ad?

 And then there was “Powa” 
before which some guy in the audience shouted 
“I have sex to this song,”
generating laughter from the entire audience 
and Merrill thanking him for the kind gesture.

This video actually leads to other really cool NPR recordings of musicians,
but it also demonstrates how Merill creates the backing track to her songs.
You also get to see her horn section and bassist up close.
I used to think saxes couldn't be as essential to music as trumpets,
but now I'm no longer sure.

This was one of the best concerts I've been to,
and it made me look forward to the rest of this summer.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Orange and Blue Sherbet Sky

How do you say "sherbet"?
I say it like "sherbert."
In fact I had no idea that the way
I said it was technically incorrect until now.


Monday, July 9, 2012

Yoga! Porch Sitting!

I am so pumped!

And so sore!

I just did my first hour long yoga class in three years.

I hung out on the porch with the statue for about twenty minutes.
It was gorgeous out finally.

I found the short cut through the parking lot so it's even faster.
Yoga! Other stuff! Outdoor porch sitting!

Sucks that guests are charged $25/day though.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Eleven Madison Park: Third Wedding Anniversary Dinner

Our reservation at Eleven Madison Park was a few days after our wedding anniversary and at 9:30 p.m. We drove down and parked in the lot nearby, though as we walked over, we saw a bunch of street parking. Lot parking was cheaper than taking a cab round trip though, so it wasn't a huge deal. Plus after viewing the Louie episode about the NYC parking signs and having gotten an $80 ticket in that area before, it just made sense to park it in a lot even if we're slightly unsure about the parking rules on that block.

Anyway, we arrived, and instead of being ignored like we're some lost street urchins like some restaurants have done, we're greeted immediately and very warmly by a host. While we waited for our table, I went to check out the bathroom. (We've been there twice previously--once in college for restaurant week with an old chef when it was nothing spectacular, and once for brunch with our families to celebrate our engagement and start talking strategy--but I've never had to use the bathroom, and I wanted to see how it compared to the other top ten restaurants in the world.) The bathroom is big and has multiple stalls and a few sinks. I've been looking out for another bathroom like Le Bernadin that carries feminine supplies in case you forgot yours or need to stock up on some. At least that's how that bathroom was in 2009. I've tried to grow the mythology of the feminine supplies so far as that it's Ripert branded and has his face on the wrapping. It'd be awesome if a chef did that. Just saying. . . . As far as how it stacks up against Noma and Can Roca and Per Se (I don't remember visiting the Arzak or Alinea bathrooms), it's a little old fashion, but nice. It fits in the art deco building and has the nice almond soap that Jon and I love.

We sat a a lovely table facing the center of the room. Jon overheard that the reason they had so many Riedel decanters all over the place was because the Riedel people really enjoyed dining here. Makes sense. And the chairs were comfortable.

Since we were eating so late, and it was such a hot day, my appetite was a bit suppressed. And when the waitress said that the chef's tasting could take about three to four hours, I was totally not prepared to stay awake past midnight. But then Jon put on his sad face, and we decided to just go for it after we confirmed with our server that it wouldn't be too late to start the chef's tasting menu. And I'm really glad we did because it was overall my favorite dinner in awhile in New York. It was reminiscent of our honeymoon dinners at Per Se and Jean Georges, but it didn't seem to try as hard to please as those restaurants. It felt relaxed, which was a really nice change of pace for NYC dining. Their effortless cool made me really appreciate the meal even more.

So, first, before I forget, Jon got two drinks with the meal: a cocktail and a beer that he can tell you more about if you ask him. The sommelier guy was very jovial. I overheard him speak to an old man who had been dining by himself (from Houston) about how tonight was his last night and that he was moving to Puerto Rico.

So what'd we eat? Jon took these notes and then somehow erased them, so this is just based on memory, but I think it's a good idea of what we ate with my notes after the semicolon:

Appetizers--they're like one or two bites (for real; not like some chefs that lie and you're full before the courses even start):
1: Black and white cookie with truffle and cheese; think of a Ritz cheese bite.
2: Tomato tea with lemon-thyme parmesan lavash; the tomato tea was the most amazing thing I've consumed in the past few months--I'd like a whole pot of this to drink daily, thanks.
3: Scallop on a scallop-chip with daikon and sesame; this will make you go "ohh, so fresh!"
4: Mackerel and horseradish mustard; this will make you go "mmm, so fresh!"
5: Greek yogurt pop (made on an antigridddle) with cumin; this was refreshing and delicious.
6: Chickpea panisse, trout roe, watermelon snow, basil leaves, yuzu, some lactic flavor; watermelon snow!

Main Course 1: Clambake: summer succotash, clam, scallops, zucchini-corn bread grilled in a corn husk, corn soup; this looked like it would a Japanese-inspired dish because it was set up with tea cups and a teapot, but it wasn't. The teapot was surrounded with seaweed, and the server did something so that we got some impressive seaweed-scented steam happening on our table. This was reminiscent of Alinea where each dish was inspired by something from the chef's memories. But it was more to celebrate a NY summer, with fresh seafood from Long Island. Everything about this course was delicious and thoughtful. This is a dish could totally stand on its own with its bread, soup, and main components.

Bread: Butter brioche with a choice of goat butter and cow butter and a little bowl of Long Island sea salt; think the best Grands biscuit you've ever had. The goat butter was so good, and anyone who's ever had it will tell you that it's amazing. It's like a very light and creamy goat cheese. The cow butter was good, but the brioche was so buttery already, that the goat cheese paired incredibly well to provide contrast to the buttery flaky bread.

Main Course 2: Melon with smoked couscous, yogurt, tomato confit; smoked couscous was a bit of a revelation. I want to try it, but I need to figure out how to smoke things without burning down my apartment.

Main Course 3: Rye/caraway gnocchi with whey and spring leaves; it wasn't my favorite, but it was very similar to ALL the rye dishes in Denmark, and I, with my American palate, preferred it to the stuff they were serving in the motherland of rye-tasting grains.

Main Course 4: Foie gras with black sesame and pickled strawberries, duck prosciutto, and pickled lettuce; hello, perfect bite! The components alone were great, but a little bit of each piece made for a delicious explosion of goodness in my mouth. (The whole perfect bite philosophy reminded me of how to best enjoy the old menu at wd~50.) What really impressed me was that the (cold) foie was rolled up like a baloney slice. It was really cool and unexpected presentation.

Main Course 5: Lobster tail, black seafood sauce, charred leek, charred bits, and lemon rind; this is the most traditional dish, but was executed wonderfully.

Main Course 6: Lamb with artichokes and green tomatoes and freekeh; the lamb medallion was the perfect size. At this point I was getting full and swearing that if another protein appeared, I'd probably need to throw in the towel and ask to get it wrapped, but it was as big as the circumference of my thumb and pointer finger: the perfect size. And the green tomatoes added a beautiful freshness that made me hungrier as I ate the dish. The lamb was perfectly cooked too--not overdone at all. And not gamey. It was a great dish to end dinner with.

1: Egg cream: orange oil, cocoa cream, real seltzer; I don't love egg creams, but this was tasty and I love how it was made table side. It was interesting that the cocoa cream wasn't chocolate-y brown.
2: Goat cheese: one fresh, one aged two weeks; a server showed us the little wheels in a box--the older one looking slightly smaller and dehydrated--and told us about it. The servings were also perfect--where you had a taste to contemplate the goatiness. The fresh cheese was very goaty while the aged goat cheese felt like it had some time to mature, which it obviously did. My point is that this looked exactly how you thought it'd be and better. But what was nice about the thin slices too was that it was easy to consume and tasty--you didn't feel like you need anything to cut the goat flavor.
3: Cheesecake, chamomile, and raspberry jelly; this was good, and the chamomile was a nice soothing note for the dish.
4: Chocolate mousse and soil and lavender bits; tasty, but a bit too much soil, I think. Maybe replace with fruit instead? Chocolate seems heavy for heatwave weather.


Peanut butter cookies; think Ritz cracker peanut butter cookies.
Traditional black and white cookies; the perfect snack for the following day.

Gosh, cell phones need to be made to take better pictures in the dark. As our take-home gift, we got a jar of granola that we need to mix with some yogurt or something.

The couple that sat next to us got some chocolate bonbons to take home for celebrating their anniversary there, but Jon never said that we were visiting for our anniversary, so we just got the standard granola. If you like free stuff, tell the restaurant you're celebrating something. (On our honeymoon we got bonbons and extra desserts at most places, but that just made us superstuffed though the sentiment was really nice.)

Most of the people were celebrating birthdays, so there were desserts with candles coming out. The servers didn't sing happy birthday, but they did smile, which I thought was classy.

The couple that sat next to us after that anniversary couple had left were superweird tourists. They didn't know what a beet or hamachi or foie gras was. The woman had ordered hot chocolate or something ridiculous. (It was 90 degrees that night--90--and the restaurant wasn't cold at all since I didn't once need to put on my cardigan. It was comfortable.) The man didn't eat anything, and the waiter and manager let them leave their dinner with just paying for the wine--which the man had offered to do. I think the woman ate her food though. When they asked the manager to get them a cab, they were officially the dumbest people who ever went to a restaurant EVER in my book.

Bottom line though is that Jon and I had a great time and a great meal, and hopefully we'll be back during another season to try all that's fresh around NY then. Eleven Madison Park (EMP--as the cool kids call it) was definitely a solid NYC restaurant without being incredibly boring or stodgy or pretentious.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

July 4th Macy*s Fireworks from the Random House Building

At around one,
Jon and I took a walk around the block
and to the river
to scout what it'll potentially be like that evening.
It was hot and humid and completely unpleasant.
Jon asked two NYPD what they're instructed
to shut down later
and what time the area would start to be difficult to get to.
They were useless.
The one guy said that there should be tons of information online.
I did the research,
there's nothing truly informative about
going to the river to experience the fireworks.

Here's our experience:
At around 8:20, an hour before the fireworks began,
we walked outside and around the corner to Eleventh Avenue
and saw that there was a huge line to get to Twelfth Avenue that
barely seemed to be moving.
And it was still sweaty balls hot.

Aditya volunteered the view from his office
in the Random House building,
which had air conditioning and comfortable conference room chairs
and beverages and snacks.
So after a unanimous vote,
we strode upstream like salmon,
northeast and up twenty-four stories.

The office:
It smelled still so new!
It was air conditioned!
We had chairs!

Most importantly:
we had a great view!
My camera phone obviously can't take photos in the dark,
but our view was pretty awesome.

we weren't blinded and choked by the smoke
or deafened by the sound
or dehydrated and gross from the heat and crowds
had we stayed on Eleventh Avenue.
I had my Pandora "Wannabe" by the Spice Girls station on,
and we listened to some N*Sync, Backstreet Boys, Spice Girls, etc.
while watching the fireworks on the river.

And not just the Macy*s fireworks,
but the fireworks on the palisades across New Jersey too.

And then we came back to our apartment 
to eat some Pie Face!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy Independence Day: Celebrating the Freedom to Eat Dessert

From Three Tarts in the Plaza Food Hall (next to the Todd English part of it):
Pignoli nut mini tart; lemon and meringe mini tart; hibiscus and meringe mini tart;
and a strawberry-basil marshmallow

From the Coolhaus truck in the WTC area:
Chocolate chip cookies and dirty mint ice cream

From our freakin' amazing anniversary dinner at Eleven Madison Park:
traditional mini black-and-white cookies

Brought over by Pam, from the Little Cupcake Bakeshop:
strawberry, blue velvet, chocolate blackout, and tiramisu

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Photo Booth at the Very End of My Birthday Party

With the Photo Booth app on my Mac Mini,
I figured out a little too late that we could've been taking
photo-booth-type photos during my birthday party.

Like it was people-had-their-shoes-on late,
and I wasn't about to ask them to take them off
just to goof around.

And what if it didn't even work?

In the first photo, I stupidly hit the countdown
for the photo booth with the mouse at the front of the screen
and ran to the back by Jon.

The next shot, 
I took the mouse to the back of the table
with me.

These are some good memories.
The punch bowl.
The cake.
The dress.

The kiss.

The end.

I wasn't sure how I'd feel turning twenty-nine,
but it was fun!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Ice Ice Baby (or When All the Ice in the Freezer Melts in the Ice Container)

Ice ice baby
Ice ice baby
All right stop
Collaborate and listen
Ice is back with my brand new invention
Something grabs a hold of me tightly
Then I flow that a harpoon daily and nightly
Will it ever stop?
Yo, I don't know
Turn off the lights and I'll glow
To the extreme I rock a mic like a vandal
Light up a stage and wax a chump like a candle

Bum rush the speaker that booms
I'm killin' your brain like a poisonous mushroom
Deadly, when I play a dope melody
Anything less that the best is a felony
Love it or leave it
You better gain way
You better hit bull's eye 
The kid don't play
If there was a problem 
Yo, I'll solve it
Check out the hook while my DJ revolves it

Ice ice baby Vanilla 
Ice ice baby Vanilla
Ice ice baby Vanilla
Ice ice baby Vanilla

Yo man, let's get out of here
Word to your mother

Ice ice baby
Too cold
Ice ice baby 
Too cold too cold 
Ice ice baby 
Too cold
Ice ice baby 
Too cold too cold
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