"I suppose there are people who can pass up free guacamole, but they're either allergic to avocado or too joyless to live."— Frank Bruni

Friday, December 23, 2011

updated Christmas palette

(pic cred: here)

For this Friday fashion post, let's play with colors! Last Christmas, I tried to sport an updated Christmas palette that wasn't so 'cherry' and 'grass,' in reference to the 2 colors above. I can't remember what I wore, so I'm not sure if I succeeded. This year, I toyed around with shimmery rust and black, but my pieces just didn't fit right. After playing around with a handful of pieces, I came across a winning combination. So for this weekend's Christmas holiday, I will be wearing a 'citron' tank with a 'merlot' skirt, topped off with a black long-sleeve lace top - updated, with a Victorian touch (or so I like to think, even though I'm not so sure what that means). If I was celebrating Hanukkah, I'd love to pair 'Tiffany' blue with something. That dusty 'French' blue is nice, too.

I hope your Christmas is filled with lots of colors of happiness and cheer! (I'm thinking 'sunset' and 'lemon' - such happy colors!)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

back again with a potpourri list

Due to a bad case of Lifemademelazyanduninspired-itis (inflammation of my lazy gland) last week, there was a dearth of posting. In the meantime, however, I learned a few new things and thanks to some lazy time and figuring out how to access Midnight Train from work, I'm feeling a sparkling of blogging energy. So now I share with you the things I've learned recently in the form of a much needed and overdue List (though some or all of you probably are already aware of some or all of these things).

=== THINGS I'VE LEARNED RECENTLY ===
  • Applesauce is a great replacement for oil or eggs when baking!
  • Cetaphil is the best, mildest yet effective lotion. I like to think it cured my scary goosebump rash on my face. (I'd like to use a more natural alternative, however. Anyone know of one that is comparable to Cetaphil?)

Moisturizing Lotion
(photo cred: Cetaphil)

  • Copying and pasting in Excel can be a tedious and hand-cramping task when you have many long columns of data to which to apply an input, format or formula. I recently accidentally found a shortcut that can eliminate all that clicking-and-dragging-down. Please see the figures below:

Let's say you want to apply the year 1999 to all the cells in column A. Instead of clicking on the little black box at the lower right corner of cell 2A and dragging all the way down column 2, you can simply double-click on that little black box and '1999' will be applied to all the cells down column 2. Excel miraculously knows to only apply the entered data (or formula) in the subsequent cells that are in rows with other data (and not in leftover blank rows, like in rows 12 and 13 and so on, as seen below).


  • Concatenating in SAS is such a helpful function when you need to create a new variable created from smooshing 2 existing variables together, particularly when de-duping your data. The CATX function is something I learned a while ago, but never put to real use until recently. (Nothing beats relearning something in SAS and having it actually work!) The figure below shows the CATX function in the context of some code. Let's say some SAS-savvy pet hoarder wants to keep track of his/her cats and dogs in a nice spreadsheet and wants to consolidate some variables - pet name and age - into one variable. In the data step below, a new dataset named 'pets_ages' is being created out of the existing dataset 'hoarder.' Two variables - CatName and CatAge - are being combined by the CATX function. The result would be something like 'Bud, 2' for a cat named Bud that is 2 years old. The same is repeated for dog names and ages.
 


  • I didn't know until this holiday season that Christmas tree lights come in LED varieties, including those that look just like traditional 'soft/warm white' lights. What a great and long overdue innovation! ...makes us feel less guilty about energy usage when leaving our tree lit in the evening.


  • I can't remember where we got our Christmas trees growing up, but G and I recently got our cute tabletop tree from the Wheaton Volunteer Rescue Squad's tree lot. I suppose it depends on where you are, but now I know one way to support local groups in their holiday season fundraising efforts is through purchasing a tree from a sponsored lot. On a side note, I remember tree-shopping in the East Village involved checking bodegas, that one Rite Aid, and maybe a random lot. Good times!
  • I'm sure much to a friend's dismay, we only recently discovered and experienced the wonderful food options in Wheaton, despite her urging us to visit Wheaton more regularly a long time ago (except for Ren's... I was on top of that like a cat on a yarn ball).
Wheaton Lot 13
(photo cred: Just Up The Pike)

We enjoyed getting ensaymadas and pan de coco at the Filipino market, Italian sausage and meatball subs at Marchone's and chicken 'n' yuca fries from El Pollo Rico (just as good as the Arlington location), all within 20 minutes and .25 miles.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

our tree is complete


(...special thanks to everyone who contributed to our tree's growing ornament collection)

crack pie, continued...

I baked a crack pie! (Actually, it was 2 pies, as indicated by the recipe. Please excuse the missing half.)

Saturday, December 17, 2011

steelers christmas

Check out this tree topper, Yinzers.

photo cred (and where to click to have a closer look): Amazon

Thursday, December 08, 2011

smaller, smaller...then bigger, bigger

(photo cred: PCWorld)

(photo cred: beatsbydre)

What's with the trend away from portability?  Remember when pagers (aka beepers) shrank?

           (both pager photo creds: Wikipedia; yes, that's a pager)                                             

Then cell phones followed suit...

        (photo cred: Wikipedia)                                                                             (photo cred: PCWorld)

...but now, big headphones are in and itty earphones are out and compact phone designs have made way for smart phones that can be seen as pocket-sized computers, secretaries, brains, libraries, banks etc etc (only they're so huge now, they don't even fit into pockets...pants pockets, at least). I've always been concerned about consolidating too many devices into one and still believe in functioning as I did ten years ago with a phone that's a phone, a paper calendar book, and an iPod, but look forward to the day when we can drive cars that have televisions built into them. Oh wait...those exist already.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

piling it on

The raw milk bashing continues! As you can recall, this item of popular debate has been highlighted previously on Midnight Train. In case you needed yet another argument why it's unwise to consume raw milk, Food Safety News busted common raw milk myths that mislead people with false nutrition claims and understated safety concerns.

(figure cred: here, and not data and graph source above)

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Landrum's Tantrum

(photo cred: Eater)

(The title of this post isn't really true, but I like how it rhymes.) In recent months, Michael Landrum of Ray's Hell fame, opened a new mysterious restaurant, closed another establishment (one of his most beloved), and turned it into a cheesesteak place.

Now let's rewind a couple months back when I expressed doubt about Michael Landrum's restauranteering style. Lo and behold, Eater reported (second-hand news from ARLnow) that Steak and Cheese has closed and has been restored as Ray's Hell Burger Too.  While 'order has been restored' on one side of Wilson Blvd, I wonder how Ray's to the Third is doing across the street (anyone try it yet?), and am still wondering if people are growing weary of this indecisive nonsense, particularly his employees.

...just sayin' and shruggin'...


Monday, December 05, 2011

for those in need...


Read more here: Fresh Off The Boat

coin slot

I didn't know they made football pants in a low rise variety. What's up with your ass crack, Vernon Davis?

(photo cred: here)

(photo cred: here)

(photo cred: here)

I've seen much more of that crack than shown in these photos while watching the game on tv. It's only a matter of time before he's tackled by the legs and pantsed on the field. It's okay, Vern - just keep making plays. Go Niners! (and go Steelers! ...oy I'm so conflicted...but I'm not...but I am...but...)

Friday, December 02, 2011

ritzy receptacles

(photo cred: the cans' owner, Chad Silver)

The Times reports that the owners of these garbage cans had trouble keeping their cans from getting stolen, that is, until one of them put these stickers on them.  This is completely trivial, but how would one explain this phenomenon? I would think the stickers make the cans especially attractive for kleptos, but in this case, the branding seems to have a reverse effect.  Aesthetically, the gold-on-green Prada can looks great.

(...yes, slow fashion day on Midnight Train...)

Friday, November 25, 2011

thank you come again

Cast of Vices Corner Store Leather Bag
(photo cred: TENOVERSIX)

I've had this picture saved in a draft post for months but never posted it. These are clever leather totes inscribed to look like plastic shopping bags that were available here, but I don't see them on the site anymore.

(...still worth posting because they're just so clever)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

thanksgiving chemistry

Last Thursday, I sat in on an American Chemical Society webinar on the chemistry of Thanksgiving cooking. It featured Harold McGee, a contributing columnist for the Times. It was one of the more interesting ACS webinars I've signed up for, and I thought I'd share with you some of the tips Dr. McGee mentioned:

  • When cooking poultry, you're dealing with different types of muscle between the breast and leg meat, so you want a temperature differential between the two to achieve optimal results. For legs, you want an internal temperature of about 160-165, and for breast meat you want it not much higher than 150 degrees for it to be still moist (though food safety people would say 165 would be safest). Dismembering the bird and cooking the parts at different temperatures at different times would be the way to go to get the best results, but if you are intent on serving the bird in its entirety, then McGee recommends placing ice packs on the breast when defrosting the bird. This helps achieve an initial temperature differential. Clever! (do this several hours before cooking.)
  • McGee mentioned that brining keeps the meat tender, but it tends to also make it overly salty. It's a matter of personal preference, though brining is especially good if you plan on deep frying the bird.
  • As for defrosting the bird, he recommends defrosting it naked (i.e. no plastic wrap, foil, etc) in the fridge.
  • To stuff or not to stuff? Epidemiologists would suggest not stuffing the bird for food safety reasons, and it turns out McGee's answer agrees, though he just says for optimal cooking of the meat, just don't stuff the bird.
  • He recommends not getting a bird more than 12 pounds. 
  • Why let the bird rest before carving? This is a no-brainer, but he provides an answer that elaborates on moisture loss and retainment on the micro level: when you cook meat, proteins are denatured. Moisture is squeezed out as the temperature rises, but can be reabsorbed when the temperature drops, so let the bird cool down a little, allowing some of the juices to be reabsorbed into the meat.
  • Don't baste the turkey when it's done cooking. Basting the bird while it's resting just makes the skin less crispy.
  • McGee recommends not using digital, 'instaread' thermometers, but rather, use those that have detachable, thin probes. The thinner the probe, the better.
  • As for gravy, McGee discussed a little on the thickeners. Corn starch vs flour? Well corn starch is a pure starch that gives you a cloudy gravy, as opposed to the opaque gravy flour gives you (no mention on if the two taste different). If you're feeling techy, you can try using xanthan gum, which doesn't change the flavor of the juices and thickens more effectively, meaning you can use less of it to achieve the same viscosity. McGee mentions that he tends not to thicken meat juices because think gravies tend to just sit on top of the meat, whereas unadulterated juices seep into the meat.

...and in case you want to watch/listen to the entire webinar yourself, have at it:


:=:=:=:=:=:=:=:   H A P P Y    T H A N K S G I V I N G!!  :=:=:=:=:=:=:=:

Monday, November 21, 2011

news IQ

I'm proud to announce that I only missed one question on the Pew Research Center's news IQ quiz (the question about how many troops have been killed in Afghanistan). Take the quiz here and read about the results in this report. For my loyal readers, these questions may be no-brainers, which they should be, but as you'll see in the report, there's a large percentage of the public that can't answer the questions correctly. Since I express myself best using arrows and incomplete sentences, here are my thoughts regarding these findings:

bad economic situation -> people are pissed and tired -> people either have no work, working many low-paying jobs, working long hours to keep what job they have, or just have lots going on -> people have no time, interest, patience for what's going on outside of their personal lives, not a priority -> people become less informed -> people vote according to their anger, misinformation, frustration -> bad, corrupt people with their own agendas who exploited the frustration of their constituents are elected into office -> our country and world turn into poo

Saturday, November 19, 2011

two birds with ...

If anyone noticed, I've been behind on my posts this week. I have no real reason, but with increasing my running mileage to 20 miles a week, an increased workload at well, work, and general vitamin-D-deficiency-brought-on-by-the-shorter-days blahs, I can only offer excuses.

So to make up for missed Toothsome Tuesday and List Wednesday posts, here's a list of food-related items.
  • The Pepin/Richard lunch has been cancelled. I was sad to have received a phone call from Citronelle informing me that the event was cancelled. Naturally, I went online to find out why. It turns out Jacques Pepin had to get a hip replacement. Good enough reason, but I'm sad nonetheless.
  • BVBC met up! I'm way behind on writing up a post-brunch review but it was great to see everyone, and I'll work on getting the post up soon.
  • I'd like to say that I'm behind on my Toothsome Tuesday posts because I'm too busy reading my new issue of Lucky Peach, but that's not even true (though I wish it were). Anyway, Issue 2 has arrived (!) and I'm excited to find time to read it. I've even sealed in the next year's worth of issues and splurged on a subscription (that was discounted 40%) that starts with Issue 3. Goodbye, newsstand price!
  • Komi's sister restaurant, the Thai joint named Little Serow, has opened at last and I'm curious to try it, but am reluctant to go there before experiencing the heralded cuisine of Komi first. Not sure why I'm treating it as if I was watching a book-based movie before reading the book, or watching a sequel before watching its predecessor, but I feel like Komi should come first. Although from a cost perspective, it may be good to start with the lower price point of Little Serow and work my way up...like the Jeffersons.
  • I'd like to go to the new Dominique Ansel bakery in NY. They have kouign-amanns. 

Friday, November 18, 2011

meep

(photo cred: Mulberry)

...what might be the most absurdly adorable $425 sweater. 

longbridge park

Our community recently unveiled a new park! Longbridge Park is an excellent use of taxpayer dollars and is a model for redevelopment and eco-friendly design. This use of land is remarkable; the park lies in an area that formerly resembled a movie murder scene (see comment here).

(photo cred: Arlington Cty Newsroom)

This is a picture of the half-mile-long esplanade, with soccer fields (there are 3 total) to the left.  You can read more about the park on the county's sites or on a community news site. There will also be an indoor recreation center (that includes an Olympic-sized pool) that will be built nearby in the second construction phase. My only gripe would be that the park could have gone with one less field and instead added a tennis court or two (or three). Otherwise, thanks fellow tax payers! Thanks Arlington County! And thanks Marymount University (for funding the construction of one of the fields)!

Update: I have another gripe - there aren't enough trash cans on the esplanade. Other than that, thanks Arlington County voters for giving me a safe, well-let place to run at night!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

"Almost everyone needs health care at some point, and if uninsured people are unable to pay steep medical bills they will get charity care that shifts the costs to others, whose insurance premiums go up to cover the cost of the free riders. There is no denying the health care market is interconnected and that individuals’ decisions to purchase insurance — or not — affects the whole system...The Supreme Court ought to show judicial restraint, adhere to precedent and uphold the constitutionality of health care reform."

NYTimes Editorial, Nov 14 2011

Sunday, November 13, 2011

classy

List Wednesday 4 days late - sorry! Since this is already late, let's just cut to the chase: I'm not one to be super stuck to gender roles nor am I the most feminine woman, but should a female evolve into a woman with a certain degree of femininity, I believe there are things that one can adopt that would make one just a little more lovely, or at least can help one avoid committing things that make people like me say "that's not cute."

== 7 WAYS TO BE A LITTLE LOVELIER OR TO KEEP ME FROM SAYING 'THAT'S NOT CUTE (N.I.A.P.O.) ==

  1. Use a handkerchief (this is actually something I wish everyone would do - it could save some resources/trees in tissue production).
  2. Cover your mouth when you yawn (this also can actually be a rule for everyone).
  3. Wear a slip! (especially with skirts or dresses made of stretchy or thin fabrics)
  4. Wear the correct bra for the garment you are wearing. No one wants to see bra straps, even when they're cute.
  5. Don't burp out loud (at least not outside of the home - hmmm...also can be applied to men).
  6. Don't wear flip flops to work (this also can apply to men who dine in restaurants - no one wants to see your feet when they eat).
  7. Just don't be a bitch (or for men, a douche).
...perhaps this List should be renamed to 7 WAYS MEN AND/OR WOMEN CAN BE EASIER ON THE SENSES.  So I guess femininity is not the issue at hand, but rather refinement and civility. 

Friday, November 11, 2011

the great terrible towel


video

Unbeknownst that such a fabulous commercial would be made of such clips, we shot the above video on our trip to Beijing in May of this year (that's G, in case you couldn't tell).

taylor tomasi hill

I learned about Taylor Tomasi Hill, the former accessories director at Marie Claire, a while back from reading various fashion blogs that I now peruse frequently. I couldn't wear a lot of what she wears, but her ability to combine fabrics, colors, textures and components of variable femininity is so fascinating. All of these interesting components coupled with an effortlessness that she also somehow achieves makes her an intriguing sight. 

Anyway, so I was really surprised to learn this morning that she's left Marie Claire and is now the artistic director at Moda Operandi, the online trunk show site that I joined just to look at how ridiculously expensive runway looks can be. I usually just delete the emails I get from Moda Operandi and don't foresee ever purchasing anything off the site, but maybe now I'll pay more visits to it knowing that it is influenced by TTH's interesting fashion sense.


(photo creds: RedCarpet-FashionAwards.com and here)

love

Yikes! Sorry I haven't posted a List for this week yet, but since it's Friday, let's talk fashion, but not in the sartorial sense of the word. Let's talk about the fashion in which you live your life. What's with the deepness, you ask? Well I'm crying, and crying makes you deep if you really mean the tears. I just read this article and the way in which the Morales' lived/live their lives is 1) worth mentioning 2) something to aspire to 3) just truly inspiring and 4) a wake up call to the rest of us who are such babies. Enjoy the article!

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

point. point. no point.

Two wins for Democrats. Ohio voted against a bill that limited unions' rights. Yes, they slammed a Republican-led effort that poo-pooed public workers' right to bargain. Point!
Also good news - Mississippi voters get credit for having common sense. They smashed an anti-abortion measure that was just nonsense. Point!

It seems, however, that voters seemed to reject all laws that seem to go "too far" to some, including the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act's mandate for individual health coverage. Ohio voters approved a measure that exempted Ohioans from the mandate. No point.

r.i.p.

'Nutting but love' for you Heavy D. 

 Rapper Heavy D performs at the BET Hip Hop Awards 2011 on October 1 in Atlanta.
(photo cred: Getty images from CNN)

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

love me some crack pie

Last night's episode of Conan gave me a dose of bittersweet food pleasure - Christina Tosi, Milk Bar's pastry chef, was on it to promote her new cookbook. She and Conan made cereal milk (which sounds a little silly considering you get cereal milk every time you eat cereal, not having to actually 'make it'), and cereal milk-based alcoholic milkshakes. I let out a BIG SIGH - now the rest of the country is in on the deliciousness that is Milk Bar. The rest of the country is in on CRACK PIE! Little did I know that the recipe for crack pie has been public knowledge for quite some time now.  So I stand corrected, with a whisk and spatula, ready to try my hand at baking my own crack pie, because at $87.22 (pie+shipping), shipping a pie home for Christmas is out of the question.

(photo cred: Kirk McKoy/LATimes)

Monday, November 07, 2011

nextpedition

What kind of traveler are you?


American Express has a new travel program that, based on the type of traveler you are, generates a destination and itinerary that's unknown to you until a few days before your trip starts - it's called Nextpedition and I read about it through Foodspotting. It all starts with you taking a traveler profile quiz to determine what kind of traveler you are. This is what I got:

Blisstorian

...and here's the drescription: "Blisstorian. You wander far. So far, east becomes west. Searching the ancient temples to nourish both mind and body. Your restless spirit meanders like the Great Wall of China across the seas and continents. Drawing strength from the mystical incantations of the multi-limbed deities who watch over you on your journeys. If only they could carry your bags."

My runner-up, which I thought would have been my actual type was

which is described as this: "Tasteblazer. You sit atop the food chain like it’s your throne. You’re a wandering foodie royalty. Taking full advantage of your position to nosh on the finest fare in all the land. Any land. For, you constantly crave the new. And, won’t be sated ‘til you’ve sucked the marrow out of the very bones of life itself."

...so let me know if you are the same type of traveler! Maybe we can plan our Nextpeditions together!
(Who am I kidding?...I have no vacation time or money for this!)

(I received no compensation from AmEx for this post. I really just want to know what kind of traveler you are.)

Friday, November 04, 2011

simple street style



(photo creds: Streetpeeper and Streetpeeper)

...just some excellent shots I found this week on Streetpeeper, taken on obviously warmer days. I love how simple the first girl's outfit is, but also love the unique combination of her skirt's fabric and pleats. The skirt is complimented perfectly with the cut and length of her top.

The second shot has a perfect backdrop and the brightness and sheeny-ness of her dress makes her stand out from the background in a way that teeters on her being out of place, yet it works so well. Her stance is so relaxed and those shoes - I am loving them (although I think I would have worn brown shoes with that dress as opposed to black ones). Again, the greatness of this shot and outfit lies in the simplicity and timelessness of it all.

the shits. literally.


As a follow up to yesterday's post about raw milk advocates, I'd like to share this email I received today. It's a ProMED email reporting thousands in Utah have been sickened by Salmonella acquired from eating unpasteurized queso fresco. What. now. 

Thursday, November 03, 2011

mylo xyloto

It's widely known, as one can gather from reading some of the Amazon reviews for their latest album, that being a Coldplay fan is fodder for bullies.  I'm not so sure why - some people are annoyed at their self-deprecation, but I find it kind of endearing. I actually think it's pretty cliche to bag on Coldplay. Whatever. As a fan since 2000, I remember hearing 'Yellow' and thinking that the song was catchy, didn't sound like any other band I had heard before, and felt it fit really well into my fascination for all things British spawned from my brother moving to Sheffield for a year.

Then I remember the first time I saw the Yellow video...I was in a Roman Diesel store killing time while my dad went to look for a phone? some change? I forget. I just remember him telling me to just stay there until he came back, as we were stranded after riding a public bus, getting fined for not following some boarding protocol and having to give the cop all the money we had, then forced to de-board in a neighborhood with which we weren't familiar (we were looking for a particular church). Anyway, the Diesel store had televisions on which the video played.

The point of this story? There isn't one really, but I remember thinking Coldplay had a sound all their own, and having listened to Mylo Xyloto (which dropped last week), thought their unique sound came through.


There were some songs that sounded like the group experimented with some new sounds and instruments (somewhat like the new instrument sounds in Viva La Vida), but there were others that possessed some melodies that were characteristically, classically Coldplay. There's one acoustic song on Mylo Xyloto that sounds like early Coldplay, while the first full-length song sounds a lot like Phoenix (I actually thought they collaborated with Phoenix on the album, which, if they did, would be pretty awesome). The collaboration with Rihanna, 'Princess of China,' (the only song title I can recall) was not my favorite. I don't feel Rihanna added anything to the song but instead just made it an additional selling point...and I guess play the female part in a song with 'princess' in the title.  The 'oooohhh' part of the chorus reminds me of the song in this commercial:


Sure I think Chris Martin's vocals can sound whiney at times and yes, there may be some sort of formula they follow in every album, but I did enjoy this latest release, and will continue to unabashedly be a fan (though I remember feeling they sold out when I had to settle for bad seats in a too-huge show at Hollywood Bowl once).

(...and that my friends may be the worst album review you've ever read - you'll notice I didn't use any song titles except one! Similar to how I talk about wine, however, I realize I may not know what I'm talking about when it comes to music, but I know what I like.)

raw milk

Shoot - I forgot to write about this a couple days ago. I received this email from work:


These people are morons! Whatever - let them and their poor kids (who I'm guessing don't have a say of whether or not they want raw or pasteurized milk, which is more like a decision between getting sick and not) experience the excruciating GI symptoms associated with disease-causing pathogens including but not limited to E. coli, Salmonella, Campy, Listeria and Yersinia (yum!). I wouldn't be surprised if these are the same idiots who still think childhood vaccinations cause autism.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

sorry

Wednesday has arrived and due to everyday life, I am sorry to report that I am uninspired to provide you a List worthy of following last week's excellent List...but I'll try, so here's my 

==TOP 6 CURRENT ANNOYANCES==
  1. People who hail cabs from the wrong side of the street or wrong corner of an intersection.
  2. Congress holding completely irrelevant votes, wasting time and not approving the jobs bill.
  3. Bicyclists
  4. US Public Health Service recruitment staff
  5. Early sunset
  6. Bank of America not selling paper savings bonds months before the scheduled switch to online sales of bonds (January 1, 2012)

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

中國菜

Sorry - no time to do a Toothsome Tuesday post, but let's go to China Bistro, just because there are few places in the DMV area that serve decent dumplings and I'm always open to trying new places.


A quick note of poopoo - Eater is having its first Chinese Food Week, which I think is dumb, and you will too if you read this. Please tell me what is there to explore in Chinatown? If they were as keen as they should be, they should mention that by Chinatown they mean Rockville, because everyone knows that's where the real stuff is (with the exception of a few yum cha houses in Silver Spring and Sichuan Pavilion on K St). And maybe it's just me, but I think it's pretty lame to get non-Chinese restaurants in the District to create dishes inspired by Chinese take-out because 1) Chinese take-out in the DC area is the worse and 2) it emphasizes the lack of actual decent Chinese food in the District.

Friday, October 28, 2011

newsworthy

Important things that I should write about but don't want to (so feel free to enlighten and elaborate in the comments section if you so desire):

  • Occupy Wall Street protests, particularly what has come of it in Oakland (but I will say this: Although I do support the initial motives for the movement, I am cognizant of the reasons for police intervention (note: not inappropriately aggressive measures). Honestly, seeing the footage, and as acknowledged in the Times today, it looks like a lot of dirty white people, so it is very likely that camp areas have become health hazards and public nuisances, in terms of smells and nastiness.
  • Last night's CBS Evening News '1 in 7 Billion' story on the typical person, who, as I predicted, was Han Chinese
  • Last night's crazy World Series Game 6
  • Post-election protests in Tunisia

capes

Not much to say this Friday, fashion-wise, except that I love the arrival of capes, particularly this rich-hued one from Zara.

(photo cred: Zara)

They're so much more interesting and fun and loose than coats. You can pretend you have no arms and just low-slung hands. I say the 'arrival' of capes because 1) they're carried by mass retailers like Zara and 2) they've had a history of being perceived as a garment worn by weirdos.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

can't...turn...the...channel...

Folks, we're treated to another guest post by G today! Enjoy this week's List.
: : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : :

It's an honor to bring you yet another guest post for LIST WEDNESDAY, coming to you a day late.  My apologies.  

We've all been stuck inside on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon and randomly flipping through the channels hoping to find something entertaining to watch.  Assuming it's not football season, it's sometimes a pleasant surprise to land on a channel that is showing a movie you love that you haven't seen in a while.  Thanks TNT, AMC, TBS and FX.  With that being said, here are 7 movies that I just can't stop watching whenever I unexpecedly find them on TV (in no particular order, or INPO):

==TOP 7 MOVIES I CAN'T STOP WATCHING WHEN THEY'RE ON TV==

1) A FEW GOOD MEN - Star Power Galore:  Cruise, Nicholson, Demi Moore, Keifer, Kevin Bacon, Cuba Gooding Jr., and Rob Reiner directing.  Everyone remembers "You want the truth? You can't handle the TRUTH!" but how about "Oh I'm sorry, you were sick the day they taught law at law school".  Reminds me of my days in law school.



2) MY COUSIN VINNY - A TBS Classic with so many funny moments and lines.  "The two yutes", "Uh, What's a yute?" -  "I wore this ridiculous thing for you" (when Vinny was forced to wear a ridiculous red tuxedo because the dry cleaner was closed) - Vinny, going from "What's a grit" to "I love grits too, do you like yours creamy or al dente?"  Just a coincidence that this is a courtroom "drama" like "A Few Good Men."


3) SILENCE OF THE LAMBS - "Place the lotion in the f-ing basket!"  Sir Anthony Hopkins is so creepy and so convincing and even though I've seen this movie at least 15 times, I can still feel the suspense build and am constantly entrigued by the interactions between Hannibal Lecter and Clarice Starling.  When Clarice walks down the hall to Lecter's cell only to see him standing there smiling and waiting for her is genius filmmaking.    

4) OLD SCHOOL - Another TBS Classic and my favorite moment among many includes a short cameo from Terry O'Quinn (Locke from LOST).  Luke Wilson is talking with his boss (Locke) and Locke's daughter walks in.  Earlier, Luke had hooked up with Locke's daughter and Locke says something along the lines of "It's amazing how fast they grow up, and to think in a few months she'll be graduating high school." Luke choking on his coffee always makes me chuckle.  

5) NATIONAL LAMPOONS EUROPEAN VACATION - Whenever I hear Big Ben referenced, I will always think about Chevy Chase driving around in circles going nuts saying "Look kids, Big Ben, Parliament.  I just can't get left."



6) JURASSIC PARK - The T-Rex breaking free from his pen and looking into the SUV where the kids were is classic Speilberg.  Of course, as with so many Speilberg films, John Williams does the score and the music playing when everyone first sees the dinosaurs is sweeping and unforgettable.


7) THE WEDDING PLANNER - Not sure why I can't turn away from this not-particulary-good movie.  As the author of this blog can attest, I must have a thing for Matthew McConaughey romantic comedies because I also enjoy "HOW TO LOSE A GUY IN 10 DAYS".

Hope you enjoyed this "List Wednesday" list on Thursday.  

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

tasty bits

There are a few tasty bits to nibble on this Toothsome Tuesday. Let's begin with the joyful announcement that the McRib is back! Along with its 'quirky sense of humor,' it's weird spongy, boneless texture and pickles (!) make it the best transient LTO chain food item ever (except maybe the never ending pasta bowl at Olive Garden). I've had the link to this McRib locator map saved in my draft email box for 2 years now, so it's time to dust it off: Find your next McRib now!

(photo cred: David Paul Morris/Getty Images)

Next up: I missed Food Day yesterday and all of its events. Maybe next year.

Thirdly: Speaking of McRibs, I'd love to shove one in this man's mouth - Michael Pollan is going to be speaking at the Strathmore tomorrow night for over $30 a ticket. Who would pay that and why? If you just flipped through his annoying Food Rules book, you should realize that it's all common sense...but maybe I'm overestimating the actual proportion of people who were raised with high dietary standards in the home. It's sad that Pollan can just pen up a list of things you should have been taught as a child and make money off it, or maybe he's just smart and banking on his yipsterhipsterfoodiegroupies, knowing that this audience would pay for it. They would, after all, pay $100 to ride a horse at a diner pop-up 90's party (anyone else watch 2 Broke Girls?).

...but back to the idea of Food Rules - I'll give the man some credit for enlightening those who were unfortunately not taught by their parents how to eat nutritiously. I guess I am just lucky. I suppose one thing that bothers me about Pollan, and this is probably what bothers me about Alice Waters, is his preachiness. Pollan preaches against eating processed foods. Sure, unprocessed foods are preferable and more nutritious, but the reality is that they're not going away. They're convenient, often practical and affordable. So instead of telling people not to eat them, why can't he instead use his public and influential voice to support, say, the sodium reduction effort the FDA and USDA are mulling over? (yes, that was a shameless plug) Rather than badmouthing processed foods, why not support making them better?

So anyway, buying the book is bad but paying for a ticket to listen to Pollan preach for what an excellent meal would cost is worse, because if you're contemplating going to the Strathmore, you probably already know what he's going to say and agree with it anyway.

Fourthly: We finally went to Fast Gourmet last weekend and success! Even though I regretted what I ordered (check my Foodspotting roll for pics - I'm too embarrased to write what I ordered. Eddie Huang would poopoo my choice. My justification is that I had lots of meat the night before and was seeking something without meat, and buckled at the pressure of ordering in a hurry), I thoroughly enjoyed the huge fried yuca rods and the dipping sauces (we mixed the spicy green sauce from G's falafel with the pink mayo-based yuca sauce). I also really enjoyed the empanada (it had egg! and no raisins!), even though it was hella pricey for a small empanada. We plan to return to eat some of the more enticing, meaty items on the menu, but also leaving room for some stall food from the DC Marketplace across the street, since we'll probably go back on a weekend.

republicans + taxes

BUSINESS DAY
Published: October 25, 2011
Republicans talk of tax reform only when they can't get their way with straightforward tax cuts, an economist writes.

best wishes...

...are in order (and a bit overdue):
  • to Tunisia: congratulations on your election (the first of the Arab Spring) and best wishes on your road to democracy.
  • to Libya: best wishes on your new freedom from 42 years of regime rule. Although I agree with those who favored trying Colonel Gaddafi and having him pay for the horrific acts he committed, enjoy this moment of liberation. Good luck on your efforts to stabilizing and rebuilding your government and country.

Friday, October 21, 2011

idioms

no sleep till brooklyn idiom bangle
(photo cred: Kate Spade)

Mah boo surprised me with this lovely bauble today. I've been {fashion blogger speak alert} crushing on it for years (or maybe just over a year now) and he remembered an emailed link I sent him 6-7 months ago (before the engagement - after that, I told him he shouldn't buy me anything for the next decade or so...but he still did). In case you can't see the inscription, it reads "TURN THE TABLES."  So as I set up DJ Hero, I'll also be daydreaming about my next trip to my favorite borough, all while wearing my new favorite accessory..."'cuz I'll be rockin this party eight days a week."

WTF morons

For the second time in what, a week?, Senate Republicans shot down the president's jobs bill, which apparently was already chopped up and slimmed down. Not sure what they're looking for, but it doesn't seem to be to help their country or the voters who gave them a job. I can only hope that the GOP is shooting themselves in the foot right now and that voters remember this and kick their asses at the polls.

UPDATE: Per MoveOn, the bill didn't even get this far...it was filibustered, so an up/down vote didn't even happen.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

clue: it weighs a ton

This week's List is superfun - it's a list of 

==WHAT'S IN MY BAG==

(This looks like a really bad eBay photo, but it's not. I'm not selling my bag.)

This is my red Foley + Corinna mid city tote bought from a sample sale in the LES.  I love its rich color and that you can wear it multiple ways, but it's pretty heavy even when empty. So what do I do? I stuff it with lots of stuff, of course.

... so here's ==THE STUFF THAT'S IN MY BAG==


  • Kindle
  • Government ID
  • Sunglasses (from Target) in a Brooks Brothers case (from an old pair of glasses)
  • Orbit gum
  • Extra maxi pads (Always Infinity, if you must know)
  • Black foldable reusable shopping bag (thanks, Ma - it's the best for unexpected shopping)
  • White hankerchief (because every lovely lady should use one - thanks again, Ma)
  • Ipod in a Totoro case (from HK) dirtied by a leaking pen (case courtesy of Ma too)
  • Eos mint lip balm
  • Green leather dual mirror from Crabtree & Evelyn (from Ma also)
  • Black Muji mesh zip case of various cosmetic and toiletry items
  • Coin purse from the National Native American Museum, which holds my Harris Teeter VIP shoppers card, my SmarTrip card and a few extra bucks (this serves as my giveaway wallet should I ever be held up...walking through DC at night makes you think of these things)
  • Keys on keyring with a library of tiny club cards, library cards, etc..., keychains and rape whistle
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Forever-reliable DayMinder (model SK-48 - I dedicated a whole post on it here)
  • Ro wallet from Century 21 years ago (original price $100, but I got it for $14.97!)

...and here's a more detailed look at what's in my Muji case (bonus list!):


  • Shiseido blush
  • Crabtree & Evelyn lip conditioner (Remedy line)
  • Stila lip glaze in starfruit
  • Mini hair clawclip
  • GUM toothpicks
  • Pill box in the shape of a bear's head
  • Other items in the case include bandaids, floss, hair clips, hair ties, Bliss breath freshening mint lip balm

Hope you enjoyed that look into the intimate world that is my bag...plus, you got a bonus list! Score!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

momofuku

Eater has unveiled the cover of the next issue of David Chang's quarterly food journal, Lucky Peach. If you haven't read the first issue yet, too bad (you're free to borrow my copy, which is currently on loan). It was all about ramen, and included a story about a trip Chang took to Japan (on somewhat of a ramen pilgrimage), one about Ivan Orkin and how he successfully opened a ramen shop in Tokyo, a piece by Anthony Bourdain, and recipes using instant ramen. Needless to say, I'm quite excited about this upcoming issue, due to drop around November 15, and am fortunate our pantry Harris Teeter (or as we call it, Harry Teets) carries it.

(photo cred: Eater)

meatballs

...while we're on the subject of Michel Richard (see post below), just read on Eater that he's going to open up a meatball shop in Penn Quarter. It'd be interesting to see his interpretation of meatballs and how this does as a business. It would also be my first taste of Michel Richard anything if I don't get in to the Jacques Pepin lunch. I still haven't been to The Meatball Shop despite it being in the middle of my old stomping territory of below 14th St, but still want to and have heard good things. (I find it interesting that one of the co-owners worked at two Woo Lae Oak locations.) This also calls to mind the guy on America's Next Great Restaurant whose "Saucy Balls" concept lost, though maybe it should have won, given Soul Daddy's demise.

masters

Chef Jacques Pepin was inducted into the French Legion of Honor, his home country's highest civilian honor, in 2004.
(photo cred: International Culinary Center/NPR)

I waited for Toothsome Tuesday to come around to post about this...I'm so excited, but won't get my hopes up. As reported by Eater, Jacques Pepin and Michel Richard will be cooking together on November 18 at Citronelle!!! ...and I've been put on the waiting list. Let's hope someone cancels. The menu will consist of dishes from Jacques Pepin's new cookbook, the reason for this occasion of dynamomasterFrenchchefs proportions.

...now where's that picture I have of me and him when we met at the National Book Fair in 2007? Would it be creepy if I brought it with me on the 18th and had him sign it?

Monday, October 17, 2011

garmin

...just trying out the web-based Garmin tools that can keep track of and analyze my runs. This is what I did yesterday. It was a bit slow (I had a case of heavy-legs) but was the best kind of run - exploratory. I found my way to a new walkway that was just constructed that overlooks the river, railroad tracks, and new soccer fields in what was previously dead land that we called "murder scene."

more sunday please

(photo cred: my awesome Sony Ericsson phone circa 2007)

This here was our Sunday afternoon football spread: cracked pepper water crackers, a wedge of bel paese cheese, some birthday jerky all the way from Jackson Market via MaBa, and some pony beers. We later ordered some pastitsio (or as they call it, pastasio) and gyro fixins from Mom's Pizza Kitchen to supplement. After a serene and spiritual morning, there's nothing like an afternoon of football and food on a bright fall day. It doesn't hurt that there was a trifecta of football happiness either (Steelers win, Niners win, Redskins lose).

...birthday jerky? Yes, birthday jerky. Because today is a day to commemorate the birth of someone the world could certainly use more of (I think I've written that in every one of his birthday cards) - Happy Birthday, G :)

Friday, October 14, 2011

mi$$oni

(photo cred: Moda Operandi)

The Italian-made skirt shown above is made mostly of lambskin and costs $10,029, requires a $5,015 deposit, and won't arrive at your door until Feb-April 2012. Holy Missoni, I'm even more proud of my Missoni for Target purchases! Granted, my purchases were not made in Italy, are not exclusive, were not made with the same standard of quality, and are not made of lambskin, but I still get to enjoy the aesthetic characteristics of the Missoni brand nonetheless.

...meanwhile, there are others who are making lots of money off their Missoni for Target purchases, not surprisingly.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

closed

Ray's Hell Burger Too is now closed, as reported by Eater. I wonder if Mike Landrum's mysteriousness about his restaurants (e.g. Rays to the Third) will start to get old and people won't care anymore...