14 June 2008

Yeah so anyway...

We moved to Portland.

14 April 2008


Last weekend was My Better Half's introduction to Fargo, North Dakota, the land where i grew up. We went to celebrate the birthiversary of my sister, who if i remember correctly just turned twenty-three (she's been twenty-three for a few years in a row, now).

MBH and i flew into Minneapolis on Friday, rented a car, and did our usual vaudeville act of driving through a snow storm. Once we got to Fargo, we headed straight for the old downtown area, checked in at the hotel, and met my sister at Dempsey's, where she and her pals compete at bar trivia every Friday night. (With a total of five members, The Fizz finished second for the night and won some free beer.)

On Saturday we all had breakfast at the Fryn' Pan, one of the many places i used to hang out drinking coffee as a disaffected youth. Then my sister gave us a driving tour of Fargo, which didn't take long since it's not that big. My old elementary school has been torn down and rebuilt; my old junior-high is now Fargo South High School "Campus II", despite being a half mile from what i guess is now "Campus I"; the mall now has a pimped-out food court. Somebody's been building expensive condos in downtown, but it sounds like nobody's buying. The Fargo Theatre is still there, thank goodness.

After hanging out with my sister's cat Harvey Wallbanger, we had dinner at the restaurant in our hotel, the unfortunately-named "HoDo" (for Hotel Donaldson). Like the hotel, the restaurant is well-appointed and stuffed with work by local artists (some of which is great and some of which is not, though the balance is better than one might expect). The food was quite good; we had bison, beef, and pork that would satisfy any big-city carnivore, and wrapped it up with too much dessert, all of which was top-notch.

We spent a lazy Sunday morning hanging out with Harvey and his human, then hopped in the rental and headed back to Minneapolis to fly home (no snow storm this time, strangely). MBH said Fargo was "OK".

10 April 2008

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

My Better Half and i are trying to sell our beautiful Brooklyn manse, so once in a while we vacate the house while the real estate agent shows someone around. Last Sunday morning was one such time, so we headed out to enjoy us some Brooklyn.

Our first stop was Flatbush Farm, for brunch. The Farm has good coffee, which of course is an essential when discussing brunch; tea-drinkers can have breakfast, but a real brunch requires good coffee. I had a beef-and-hominy hash with poached eggs that was 100% delicious; i even enjoyed the Hollandaise sauce, which i usually find heavy and dull. MBH went with her Flatbush Farm go-to, Toad in a Hole, which is consistently yummy.

Next was a short stroll to Pintchik, Brooklyn's premiere hardware store, to pick up some miscellany for the house. On the way we ran into John Turturro walking down Flatbush with a little boy. He saw us notice him, and gave us a "please don't talk to me, thanks" look (different from the "please don't talk to me, i might die!" look we got from Sufjan Stevens last year).

From Pintchik we strolled over to the Brooklyn Museum to see the Takashi Murakami show. (Admission was ten bucks, which seems like a bargain in New York these days.) The Murakami show was a lot of fun, and not even obnoxiously crowded. MBH and i couldn't resist grabbing a couple Murakami plushies in the gift store.

The museum also was featuring a smaller exhibit of Japanese ukiyo-e prints, which we always enjoy. Those guys did some amazing woodcuts and a lot of the colors they used, especially the deep blues, always enthrall me.

After relaxing in front of the Brooklyn Museum's awesome fountain for a few minutes, we headed back home. On every leg of our little tour there were lots of spring flowers, especially all sorts of daffodils; eventually MBH started rolling her eyes at my enthusiasm for daffodil varieties that i hadn't noticed before. I didn't have the good sense to take my camera, so here's someone else's picture of some daffodils:

19 March 2008

Per Se and Pizza

Saturday was My Better Half's birthday. To celebrate, Fargo and Caroline came down from the Boston area, and we four went to lunch at Per Se.

Per Se is the New York outpost of restaurateur Thomas Keller, famous for the French Laundry in California. Like the French Laundry, Per Se is known for both stunningly good food and stunningly high prices. (How high? Well, this lunch definitely was the most expensive meal i've ever eaten, by a big margin, and might be the most expensive meal i ever end up eating -- until i get a crack at El Bulli, that is.)

So, how good was it? I, unfortunately, was suffering from a crazy headcold that was perfectly timed to suppress my sense of smell on Saturday, despite megadoses of Sudafed. And yet, even being able to smell only faintly, this lunch was some of the best food i've ever had.

Saturday evening we four retired to the Brooklyn manse along with Fargo's brother Jared and his fiancee Marni. We made pizza and salad, so as not to overburden our already well-exercised palates. A good time was had by all.

26 February 2008

The Orkin Man

The Orkin Man came to the house yesterday. He comes every three months. The Orkin Man wears a white hat and carries two pearl-handled revolvers. He runs up and down the whole house, and he shoots every cockroach! He never misses. When he's done, he climbs into his trusty white Orkin Man Van and drives away.

24 February 2008

Soupy Sunday

Actually, it's been a soupy week, though thankfully not with soupy weather.

Wednesday i made some zucchini soup, because My Better Half loves her some zucchini. This soup tastes fantastically green, though MBH points out that it tastes as much of peas as of zucchini. (MBH insists that she really does like peas, but often asserts that there are too many in a particular dish.) Not knowing a chile de arbol from a chili de hormel, i used a dried red guy from Keith and Beth's garden; MBH says it was too much for the soup. I thought it was just fine, but for her, i can dial it down next time (and dial up the zucchini).

On Saturday it was time to make chicken posolé! We had used this recipe before, and decided to add more hominy (three cans). The one thing i need to remember about this recipe is that it takes me a while to get all the chicken meat off the carcass and back into the soup; other than that, it's easy to make, delicious, crowd-pleasing, great the next day, and makes a boat-load of food. That's a five-star recipe, as far as i'm concerned. We had Keith and Beth and my brother Chuck over for dinner, and we still put several servings in the fridge.

What with company coming, i had to make cookies, of course. I saw this recipe for buckwheat cookies a few days ago and wanted to give it a go, since i'm trying to play around more with something other than white flour. The blog where i found the recipe warns that they have a "dull, gray color", which is a fair understatement -- they really look like something used the oven for a bathroom. But... there was only one left the next day.

27 January 2008

I Are A Baker

Today i baked cookies!

And they're pretty good, too, though i should get some pecans for 'em instead of the walnuts i used.

Next: candlesticks!

26 January 2008

Monk Fish Liver

Friday was Keith's birthday celebration, at the East Village sushi outfit Jewel Bako. The food was amazing, beating out even Kitsho, and the restaurant was a perfect combination of New York going-out elegance and East Village nonchalance -- i.e. classy without stuffy.

Keith and i both asked for the tasting menu (thankfully this restaurant doesn't force the entire table to follow along, like some). Everything was crazy-good, and the shining star was three quarter-sized slices of monkfish liver, which i had never eaten before. AM (of the fruit sushi) had recently mentioned the monkfish liver at Taro Sushi, but we hadn't made it there yet, so it was a treat to find it at Jewel Bako. The liver is pure silky smoothness, like a sushi pâté (which is how everyone seems to describe it), and without the strong organ overtones that make cow liver so awfully vile unappealing. More than three little slivers would have been too much, though i would still have eaten it.

16 January 2008

Fruit Sushi

Last Sunday My Better Half and i had a little family dinner here in Brooklyn, with Chuck, AM, and Todd. Since it's always such a crowd-pleaser we served up the kaddo and vegetable biryani combo. We couldn't find any sugar-pie pumpkins this time, so we made the kaddo with kabocha; it was darn tasty, but perhaps a bit too sweet. We'll have to experiment with the amount and kind of sugar.

AM brought a mystery dessert, and after dinner revealed...
fruit sushi!

Dried strawberries, dried cantaloupe, dried papaya-like thing, and my favorite (because i'm so partial to unagi): plantains! All done up with sushi rice, sweetened with coconut milk. It wasn't too sweet, which made it a perfect chaser for the sugary squash.

03 December 2007

29 October 2007

Lou Uh Vulle

Hey, where were My Better Half and i this last weekend? You get three guesses.




We were in Louisville! My father-in-law was attending a "green-industry" conference (lawn care, landscaping, arborculture, etc) and receiving a major award from Lawn & Landscape Magazine, so we (and a bunch of other folks) decided to make a family weekend of it. MBH's mom, sisters, uncles, aunts, and cousins drove or flew in, including the Kentucky arm of her family (based in Lexington).

On Friday, after flying in and attending the award ceremony, we went out to eat with a huge group at Vincenzo's, an Italian place that was fantastic. I think half the table (including myself) had veal in one form or another, and there was virtually no food left on any plates by the time they were cleared. Dessert was a little show of its own: strawberries foster, prepared tableside (of course), accompanied by constant patter from the ebullient serving captain, Garry.

The next day MBH and i got to hang out for the afternoon with our pals Temple and Lucie and their one-year-old Kemp ("Kempie"). T&L used to live in the Boston area, but decided that it was too crazy expensive, and moved to Louisville (Temple's original stomping ground) in time for Kempie's arrival. Lucie works from home (or a coffeeshop), doing publication design and whatnot. Temple's an architect, currently at Tucker Booker Donhoff + Partners; TBD primarily does shopping centers and stuff, but their main office (which we got to see) is a LEED-certified building that the firm designed.

We had a very good time in Louisville. My only gripe is that the people who live there say the city's name funny.

26 October 2007

Ball and Snowman

Our friend Brian is a printmaker/publisher over on the little island. Last night was the print release for a piece Brian did with artist Todd Hebert:

Todd, it turns out, grew up in North Dakota, as did i. Brian asked whether we had lived anywhere near each other -- not really.