September 2011


I’ve gotten a little behind on the blogging lately, huh? At least, that’s what my dad told me on the phone yesterday. Between work and travel and not very photogenic meals and spending time with friends and not wanting to hop on the computer at night, blogging has taken a backseat. And by backseat, I really mean the third row in a very crowded SUV. So last night, I grabbed my camera on the way out the door; dad, dinner’s for you!

Do you ever have those weeks where you are so hungry all the time and just can’t stop eating? I’m on day #4 of having that feeling. After work, I could have gone to the grocery store and picked up ingredients for dinner, but the boy suggested going out instead. Normally, I’d almost always rather stay in and cook myself, but anything I could have made would have paled in comparison to what I ate instead.

We are STILL discovering restaurants only a half mile from the apartment (I’m telling you, I really like eating at home!), but we’ve been to Tra di Noi once before. I can’t speak to the whole menu, but the meal we had last time was so good we decide to go and order the exact same dishes.

For me, fusilli with artichokes, mushrooms, black truffles and ricotta salata. I don’t order many pasta dishes because I always feel like I can recreate them easily enough, but this version is so earthy, and rich without a drop of cream or anything heavy.

For him, the Capri pizza — thin crust with slightly sweet tomato sauce, burrata and basil. This pizza could not look more boring yet taste more delicious.

I’m glad that for once I let myself skip the kitchen and remembered the camera. I say, three cheers to more posting!

Lately, I’ve become sort of enamored with books about food. The boy makes fun of me a bit, saying that never before has he seen someone’s mood change so drastically at the mention of something especially good to eat. I fight back, but really, he is right. I think (hope) I’ve become less rigid about meals, but I truly enjoy when food becomes a moment in and of itself. This morning for example, I didn’t eat any old bowl of cereal, but had two big, hearty rounds of shredded wheat, crispy at first bite and then quickly turned soft thanks to the cold milk, studded with even colder bananas – sliced just thickly enough to make the texture and taste pronounced (and then a third to finish the milk dregs, officially stuffing myself). So fine, maybe he’s right.

I’ve also always loved reading, and lately I’ve realized how much I love reading about food. Here are a few of the books that have recently graced my nightstand:

I really enjoyed Blood, Bones & Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton. It seems as though many chefs get their passion for food from childhood experiences, and Gabrielle is no exception. Her journey is rough at times, but overwhelmingly the presence of good food — inspired by travels around the world, the massive parties of her youth, and her very Italian mother-in-law — is an important element of her life. I’d love to sit at her restaurant, Prune, for a day and soak it all in.

The Gastronomy of Marriage by Michelle Maisto is the book I just finished, and I think it might be my favorite so far. Michelle tells the story of getting engaged and moving in with her fiance, combining their Italian and Chinese upbringings in the kitchen. The book is peppered with family, menus and most often, dinner plans. In the beginning of the book, they dedicate a Sunday to rice cakes, based on a craving. They get on the subway and go to Chinatown, stopping at six different shops to stock up on frozen dumplings, the rice cakes, a special treat of tofu with sugar syrup, vegetables, an array of seafood, pork ribs, and egg custards. By the time they get home, both are tired so they take naps, and when they wake up it’s time for dinner, and they make a delicious meal with some of the treats they bought that day. Sure, this scenario is not everyone’s idea of a good time, and even I think I’d be a bit exhausted by the whole thing, but for anyone who has gone to a specialty grocery store and browsed away hours, this story made me smile.

I’m only a few pages into Tender at the Bone by Ruth Reichl, but so far I like it!

Finally, I recently read Cleaving, the latest memoir from Julia & Julia author Julie Powell. Honestly? I really didn’t like this book. I’m normally the critic with nothing critical to say (even recognized “bad” movies get the okay from me), but she seems very selfish and I couldn’t relate to her at all. I read an interview where she said fans would surely condemn her, but maybe some would empathize with her experiences. I guess that person just isn’t me. Also, for someone who doesn’t eat meat very often and rarely cooks it, the premis of her book – a butchering apprenticeship – was a bit graphic for me.

So, there you have it! Any other musts for my food lit list?

One of my favorite things about going home is the food. My mom’s fridge, freezer and pantry are always filled with foods I ate, and loved, while growing up. Since I don’t have a huge closet for food, or a family of five to feed, my own supplies are much more minimal. Basically, I have on hand the food I need for the week’s meals, plus some pasta, fruit, and flour. It’s nearly impossible for me to finish even the smallest container of milk before it goes bad, so cereal has become a crunchy topper for greek yogurt instead. But at home, my mom buys milk by the gallon and cereal varieties by the half dozen. Even my dad, who rarely (if ever) eats breakfast, has both milk and multiple boxes of super delicious granola at his place. So, when I went home the other week, it was cereal and milk every morning.

Trader Joe’s Raisin Bran + banana

I always think cereal won’t keep me full unless I eat too many bowls, but I’m quickly proving myself wrong. I’ve hit the pause button on my weekend yogurt messes for the moment and added cereal to the list of food staples in my apartment. At least, until I finish the half gallon of milk currently sitting in my fridge…or it spoils, whichever comes first.

Barbara’s Shredded Wheat + banana

How could I have possibly forgotten just how darn good cereal tastes?! Add a mug of hot coffee and something to read (I just finished – and loved – Happens Every Day by Isabel Gillies), and you have the makings of a really great Sunday morning.

I’ve been working on a “project” for the past two months, and finally got to see and experience the end result this past week. I coordinated the nail teams for a few very special people – Max Azria, Jason Wu, and Rebecca Taylor. Yup, I’m talking about New York Fashion Week! It was a whirlwind three days, in which I discovered a few things:

  1. You CAN wear flats to NYFW, especially if you’re going to be backstage on your feet for three hours before the show. But if you’re going to wear heels (like I did), stick with wedges.
  2. Taxi drivers are nuts. And rude. As if I really want a 15-minute lecture about bringing a coffee cup into your cab…a cup that was thrown out before entering, as per the driver’s “request” aka “demand.”
  3. Taxi drivers are also genius when it comes to getting from point A to point B in the least amount of time possible. I was able to catch both shows on Friday, and get all the photos I needed, despite the tiny time window!
  4. Matching red lips and nails is the bomb.
  5. Cheese plates are underrated. Not only are they filling, my littlest sister and I spent nearly an hour chatting over one. It’s the perfect thing to order when you want to talk and linger.
  6. NYC is so lively, but truly too much for me. I felt guilty when I wasn’t go, go, going.
  7. You CAN fit 9 days worth of gear in a carry on suitcase. Even when you buy 5 new books at the Borders’ closing sale and new clothes over Labor Day weekend. Your suitcase might looks extremely distended and bloated, but it’s possible!
  8. Ordering room service is always fun, especially when every meal comes with it’s own basket of bread AND you have nowhere else to eat but in bed.
  9. The fashion industry is intense. And pretty cool.

BCBG Max Azria

Jason Wu

Rebecca Taylor

As far as my list of work perks go, this might just be the coolest one yet!

When did I start liking to shop for my home more than for myself?! Does that make me an adult? Or just boring?

Recently, I walked into the huge Beverly Hills Anthropologie on my lunch break. Not only was the store fairly empty and quiet (apparently two new things that I also require of shopping…even walking past Abercrombie now gives me a headache), there was a great clearance section. I saw a pretty little white lace dress that made its way from the rack to my hands, but when I thought about trying it on, I felt a little pained and wandered over to housewares instead. There’s something about dishtowels, candles, bowls, measuring cups, picture frames and mugs (oh! mugs!) that gets me every time.

My latest obsession is knobs. Not only are they relatively expensive, knobs can actually change the entire look and feel of a piece of furniture. Rather than buy a new desk, old handles got swapped with retro yellow knobs…which will eventually tie into the room’s photo frames (a project that’s slightly more extensive than swapping hardware).

See?

Old and new handles battle it out…look how nicely the yellow and tarnished gold colors complement the wood. At least, I think so!

And my Anthropologie visit resulted in an upgraded bathroom cabinet.

Old knobs…metal, scratched, foggy.

The new knobs are “bubbly,” which makes me think of the bathroom for some reason. Even better, they perfectly match a few other accents in the room, from the piping on the shower curtain to the etched water glass on the sink where the toothpaste is kept.

What are your easy DIY home improvement tricks? I’ll take all the ideas I can get!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.