webcowgirl: (Default)
At www.dosa-chutny.co.uk for lunch. Masala tea on a cold day!
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webcowgirl: (Travel)
Well, we did our best to make good use of our day - a full day with my brother in law and New York City beckoning. Er, well, except that since I stayed up writing until 1 AM last night I didn't really get an early start today - I was exhausted from two nights of poor sleep and today I raced to catch up, putting in a good ten hours of snooze time. But, well, you know, I'm on vacation, and to me, part of "vacation" is "feeling rested," not running yourself so ragged you're more exhausted when you come home than when you left.

So - we got a bit of a late start today. First stop was the "Donut Shop and Luncheonette" (324 7th Ave), a little dive a few blocks up the street from our normal stop. The food was hot, stunningly affordable (all three of us had breakfast for under $20? And I had waffles? How did that happen?), and served quickly and with sass. (I thought it was good, also, especially the home fries.)

Next stop: Museum of Natural History. It seems it took us about an hour to get there (thanks to needing to run another errand and the distance from Brooklyn), and when we got there it took almost thirty minutes to get in as the lines were rather long. And THEN the exhibits we were interested in seeing were "sold out" for the day - all of the free pre-reserved tickets were gone until four hours later.

Truth be told, with so many people in there, I was pretty well through in about twenty minutes, but we soldiered on, going to the earth gallery (cool igneous rocks), the big sea life room with the model blue whale, PUSHING PUSHING PUSHING THROUGH PEOPLE AND BEING BUMPED CONSTANTLY, then finally making it to Dinosaurs Wot Ate Meat room, where we saw a fabulous allosaurus that had been remounted during the period we were living here so that it actually stood in a position like what they currently think they stood in - so the tails were more or less parallel to the ground. (There is a picture of me standing in front of it in an earlier post.) This skeleton is even COOLER because it's an honest to God fossil, not a cast - that is, what you're looking at is a big pile of ROCKS, and it's held together with a steel armature, because obviously it's very HEAVY and rocks don't like to pile up in lines far above the ground in a manner similar to a spinal column. Next to it was an allosaurus that had been mounted in 1908 or so, and it was comic because it looked like a toy dinosaur in its hysterically inappropriate he-man stance.

From there we went to the Dinosaurs Wot Had Chewy Teeth gallery, where we saw AWESOME DINOSAUR MUMMIES that showed what dinosaur skin looked like, and, in some cases, dinosaur tendons and occipital (and ear) bones (this was actually just one really good skeleton). The really cool mummy was preserved utterly as found, which looked like he'd died, fallen over, and had a bit munched out of him before he'd been covered in sand. I loved all of the various duck bill dinosaurs and their relatives ...

Except the PEOPLE PEOPLE PEOPLE everywhere AARGH though the bumping wasn't so bad as I'd given [livejournal.com profile] shadowdaddy my bag and he was taking most of the brunt of the shoving and pushing and things actually mellowed out when we left this area and went to the Loser Mammals of the Early Daze room, which was apparently Lacking In Cool as these were mammals and THANK GOD the people cleared out. But I'd seen and correctly identified a Styracosaurus earlier and I was happy about that. J went to see the mastodons and I saw sun out the window in Central Park and I HAD TO GET OUT OUT OUT! So off we went, and we took our time walking through the park to a subway station rather further up the street than the nearest one (and walked by the John Lennon memorial), and it was nice and it was great to be in the fresh air and away from the piles of people and only around the some people.

Um - then we had no real goal as it was getting near sun setting time, so what we did was kill some time before dinner with some pizza (Bleeker Street Pizza, the Nonna Maria slices were deelish), some ice cream (Scoops, I think it was called, they had corn flavor but I got zabaglione and vanilla instead), pints (The Peculier, but I got a lychee martini instead), and shopping (key stops: McNulty's, not really the tea selection I was hoping for, and Vosges Haut Chocolat, which was only disappointing insofar as I was obliged to stop picking things out and call myself done without actually emptying the store). We noodled and doodled and finally made our way back to El Maguey Y La Tuna - only to discover they are closed on Mondays. Bah. So we went somewhere else for Mexican, but it was forgettable, and then we decided to just head home and play rock band and pack. This has mostly all happened, except for the packing, and it's near 1 AM, so I'm going to hop in the shower and call it a night (once I'm out).
webcowgirl: (Travel)
Today we pretty much took it easy, aside from the fact that we didn't actually nap. We met up with [livejournal.com profile] thedivas on the edge of Prospect Park, then walked in with Shadow and played fetch for a while. It was nice to see him, but I didn't feel all heartbroken about how he "wasn't mine" anymore - it really was a case of knowing what was good for him and also realizing that he'd mostly have forgotten about me after even six months went by. And, well, it was the first time I'd seen him in two and a half years, and it was clear to me that he didn't really miss me. Missing is a people thing. He's a dog, and dogs live in the here and now. Shadow is happy and that's what matters. I knew he would be with her. It's good.

Afterwards we did two things: go to Target and go to [livejournal.com profile] thedivas. Target was rather horrifying; the quality seems to have really dropped to a Primark-like quality, but no doubt I was feeling this in part because of the way the store looked like it had been hit by a bomb - though in fact it was - hordes of pre-Christmas shoppers. I came out of it with some chocolate bars and a $10 copy of Hairspray; J got some new jeans. The whole experience was exhausting and I just couldn't really stand being around so many people. Calgon, take me away!

Once Chez [livejournal.com profile] thedivas we ordered pizzas and entertained ourselves with American eggnog with whiskey in it (yum!) while we waited for dinner to show up. The pizza was godlike - I must write down the name of that pizza place! (LATER: Brooklyn Pizza Factory, best we've had so far) - which was good as it's also what we had for lunch (we grabbed slices on the way back from the park). Then we watched Zohan, which is one of those classically bad American comedies you find yourself laughing your head off at while simultaneously being embarrassed that you're finding it so funny.

We indulged in a taxi back to the apartment ($8, why not, it was a hell of a lot warmer than walking). Right now we're thinking about what to do tomorrow. I'd like to visit the Grace Rare Teas shop, but also the Tenement Museum. In the evening we're going to see [livejournal.com profile] ellen_kushner's Klezmer Nutcracker, which I think will be just lovely. And who knows, maybe at some point I'll write up the shows I've seen this week - I'm feeling a bit worn out and not much up for writing at present.

Wow, I just checked my brother's flight online, and it's delayed by four hours. That is really going to hurt ...
webcowgirl: (Default)
I die of full now. The bottle of wine looks like the enemy.
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webcowgirl: (Food!)
Last night, as the evening ended, after the birthday cake came out, Josela pulled out not one but two boxes of Vosges Haut Chocolat.

Two boxes, I tell you, including the Zion Collection, which is not about the Matrix (oh well) but rather the flavors of Jamaica.

These were not just for dessert ... no, they were for me. We all had one but then he left the boxes behind. The other one is the Gaudi collection, simply the cutest little chocolates ever.

Yum yum yum.

Um ... now I want one. Anyway, back to the grind ...
webcowgirl: (Food!)
I did a special order from Hotel Chocolat this month - the "exuberantly fruity" collection. I normally limit myself to two chocolates a day (when they're available), but I just now polished off three in about ten minutes: a "Baltic truffle" ("an intense base layer of red currant ganache topped with creamy, white chocolate ganache, finished with a sprinkling of fruity sugar" for that extra crunch), a "peach and raspberry truffle" ("a milk chocolate shell filled with light cream ganache blende with 100% natural peach and raspberry juice"), and a "blackcurrant bombe" ("creamy black currant ganache wih a white chcolate shell, rolled in black currant powder for an incredibly tangy result" - to DIE for!)

OH Jesus I'm going to have another. Now.
webcowgirl: (Default)
The "tea pot" is actually full of teriyaki sauce for the Tonkatsu pork plate. I have Nabeyaki udon in the front, with the egg and the seaweed.
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webcowgirl: (Food!)
OH the duck curry from Pu's Brasserie!

LO it is heaven!

note that it is steaming hot and very UNheavenlike in the office but I am dressed all in linen today and am managing to cope

also [livejournal.com profile] barakta can take you to Pu's, the world's most unfortunately named restaurant, for a leaving London lunch if you'd like
webcowgirl: (HotTomato)
Rigatoni alla Norma
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Alla Norma is tomatoes and aubergine/eggplant and cheese. The recommended cheese is ricotta, but it's a crumbly ricotta ("ricotta salata," salted ricotta) and one of the places I went to had a smoked cheese on top, so I did that for this version but also put wet ricotta on the bottom, underneath the tomato/garlic/onion/basil mixture. (After eating this three times in a week, I was really impressed by what a wide variety of recipes went by the same name.) The kicker seems to be soaking the sliced eggplant in salted water - I couldn't believe the way this changed the flavor! I also "dressed" the cooked tomato mixture with some really nice olive oil as recommended by my cookbook. So even though I'd never made this before and don't even like eggplant (normally), this dish was very tasty and a huge success. Not bad for a lazy night at home!
webcowgirl: (Default)
Cidra la Asturiana - Restaurante La Latina
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webcowgirl: (Theater)
Just back from lunch with my boss' boss at Snazz Szechan, near Euston. This is the place with the A#1 best Chinese food in London, in my book. We had "special chilli chicken in Geleshan local sauce" and "braised pork slices in a fiery sauce," neither of which hit the four chiles mark per their menu - mere twos and threes. It does a bit give me the fear as to what exactly the "drifting-fragrant chicken with chillies" consists of - I can only imagine they keep it hermetically sealed and handle it with rubber gloves and tongs.

So - the South African Christmas Carol that I saw at the Young Vic last night was really good. The description is "set in modern South Africa, with Scrooge a woman who runs a mine." Well. The show opened with the "miners" in the "mine shafts" (the catwalks over the stage), clanging and stomping and singing as they finished off their shift, moving into a big central area for a mining pantomime, then heading "up the elevator" to the surface where they sang some more and danced and horsed around, jumping and slapping their boots and ... well, the songs, they actually had that kind of "Working on the Railroad" sound to them, like actual mining songs, and while I'm sure miners don't normally do any kind of synchronized dancing on payday, I loved the energy these guys had. I kept thinking, Billy Elliot, eat your heart out! This show was ten times more tuneful and had much better choreography.

That said, what I really liked about this show was its emotional impact. By setting it in a country where abuse of labor is much more free and poverty much more dire than, say, the US or the UK at present, Scrooge's selfishness and indifference to others was thrown into much higher relief. At home, someone who says they'd rather not give money to pay a child's school expenses because "people shouldn't have kids if they can't afford them" wouldn't actually be condemning said child to not go to school; someone who refused to give to a charity kitchen and said that it would be better that the poor should die "and decrease the surplus population" would be seen as being tacky but not leading to other people's deaths through his or her inaction. (In some cases, I think, this sort of person would just be the typical anti-tax, John Galt, "poor people are lazy" kind of person that thinks he's actually quite moral and ultimately creating a better society through his "virture of selfishness.")

But it was clear that in South Africa, without someone to pay the bills for medicine, sick people die in their beds, the poor (especially children) eat garbage until they starve, and prostitution - even if it leads to your own early death - may be the only way to get any of that damned, desperate money you need so very much just to get through to the next day. Did you throw women out of work so that you could sell the land their factory sits upon? Then you may have ruined all of their lives and that of their children and every single person who depended on them to get them a meal and shelter. Even if what you did was just the "free market" acting to "maximize revenue potential," it was still immoral, and to say there was no reason for you not to do it because "it's enough for a man to understand his own business" doesn't excuse it. Invisible hand, my ass.

Sadly, it's been the Victorian setting of all of the "Christmas Carol"s I've seen in the past that kept Scrooge as just a curmudgeon in my eyes rather than a person whose claim that "It's enough for a man to understand his own business, and not to interfere with other people's" covers a genuine black hole in his heart. When you look at everyone who's not as rich as you, who's not as well-dressed, well-spoken or well-educated as you, and say, "That person, their fate has nothing to do with me, and it's not my business to try to effect any difference in their life even if it might be in my power to do so," you are spreading a selfish evil through the world and failing to recognize the web that connects all of us.

At any rate, the story telling power and musical prowess of last night's Christmas Carol was truly amazing. I was exhilirated and moved, and I stood and clapped my heart out at the end, which I almost never do because I've seen lots of theater and it usually doesn't touch me like this did. Get up and go see it, watch the "Christmas Present" scene of people dancing at at street party in the township, and tell me your view on this story has not been permanently changed.
webcowgirl: (Default)
Lunch bento and kimchee okonomiyaki
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webcowgirl: (London)
I'm working late and taking short lunches this week, trying to make up for leaving early on Friday. This meant that by the time 6 rolled around ... I was brain dead. No Pilates to me, just a quick drink with [livejournal.com profile] shadowdaddy at Sfizio's (tried their strawberry daiquiri, yum!) then home, standing all the way, on the train from Waterloo.

It's Guy Fawkes night and, as we headed over Waterloo Bridge, fireworks were going off behind the National Theater, blue and purple and gold pinwheels behind the dark blue walls of the theater. We could still see them flashing as we got out in the little corridor between buildings that is the stop for Waterloo East. At home, we settled down on the couch and continued watching them through the windows: through the leaves of the tree across the street, behind the apartments across the river, and some kind of booming whiteout hidden by an office right next to the bridge that made it look like central London was getting blitzed again. We had bowls of beef stew made out of the leftovers from last night and peeped up and went ooh and then got back to the busy business of eating (and getting things together for our trip this weekend). Later I added some barley to the stew, and it's even better now than it was.

So now it's past 10 and I'm done for the night; I actually packed so we'll be pretty well ready to go after what's going to be a busy week (Glengarry Glen Ross tonight, dance at the Barbican Wednesday, and Aida on Thursday) without too much fuss. It's amazing to read about how I was feeling this time last year; tonight feels like it's nothing but pure relaxation.
webcowgirl: (Default)
Man, this article about food in Trinidad is making my mouth water!
webcowgirl: (Default)
... and diced pickled radish and peanuts. Definitely Not Safe For Cats.
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webcowgirl: (Default)
"Aubergine lasagne - very Sicilian!"
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and at £4.50 eat in really quite a deal!
webcowgirl: (Default)
Framboise melba, yum!
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webcowgirl: (Tiger monkey)
We've got plum wine, too.

LATER: Well, hell, I had to post that three hours after I took it. Why aren't my pictures posting when I hit "send?" The mysteries of MMS ...
picture.jpgDespite being really, really tired, I went to see [livejournal.com profile] booklectic's play reading in Streatham with [livejournal.com profile] shadowdaddy after our yummy dinner at Ichiban. I had a schooner of cider to keep me company in the garden (I got to visit with [livejournal.com profile] ergotia, major bonus) while we waited for things to start - and this, I think, was a critical error. I was intrigued by the play, enjoying the jokes ... and completely exhausted, like I was wanting to DOZE OFF in the front row.

I attempted to convey to [livejournal.com profile] shadowdaddy that I was exhausted when we got to intermission, and he told me he was okay with me falling asleep in the back row, then went to the bathroom. I wasn't, so I went home, and was fortunate enough to catch a train a mere 10 minutes after I got to the train station.

For whatever reason I was feeling quite weepy when I got to the station, beating myself up over people taking their shit out on me and over the people who've rejected my overtures of friendship since I've been here. Mostly I've dealt with it with a big, "Not much I can do, really," but thanks to the magic of I Spent Too Long Coughing Instead of Sleeping Last Night, it was all proving very painful. I wrote imaginary letters in my head, I demoted people, I cancelled vacations I couldn't handle the stress of taking, then I finally called [livejournal.com profile] wechsler and talked to him, as Mostly Sane seemed better than where my head was.

I started reading the book [livejournal.com profile] bathtubgingirl gave me (she with [livejournal.com profile] rosamicula being the star additions to my circle of friends since I've moved here, completely consoling me for any perceived "loss," and work people amounting to nothing as usual) on the way back. Queueing for Beginners was funny and diverting. And I walked in the door and in short order my kitty came out to keep me company. So life isn't all misery, I'm really just tired and very ready for this cold to end.

I want to write about my long training session on collaboration yesterday but I want to be in bed soon (it's clear that this is good, right?), so I think I'll just read for a while instead and see if Boo will join me on the couch.

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