Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The Last Day of January

The February doldrums have come early for me this year. Usually I can put them off until at least Valentine's day, but this year -- whether it's the cold-without-snow, the overly stern resolutions for self-improvement, the steady countdown to joblessness -- I find myself in a funk several weeks ahead of schedule. I am not productive, I am forgetful, I am pessimistic.

It is times like this that I wish Thanksgiving was in February instead of November. We have quite enough to be thankful for in November without having to be reminded to be thankful! We have harvest vegetables, the promise of snow, the glory of colorful trees, the anticipation of holiday excess. What we really need is an occasion in February to remember all that we have to be happy about and grateful for at this time of year despite the frozen ground and the novelty of root vegetables wearing off. Such as:

- being able to wear huge puffy wooly clothing
- promise of fancy desserts on Feburary 14th
- it sure isn't humid out
- the days are, in fact, getting longer
- cute fat squirrels
- friends coming to visit soon
- giant Ric Burns New York documentary at home ready to watch
- February 2nd is GROUNDHOG DAY
- February 11th is lunch at Le Petit Cafe

Maybe what we need is a day in February where we cook preposterously expensive out-of-season foods, turn up the heat, plug in the blender, and make frozen rum drinks 'til dawn while we sit around in halter tops toasting winter's long, cozy, chilly nights. What shall we call this holiday? Suggestions welcome.

Monday, January 29, 2007

They do live in this state and all, but...

The Sterns are sure spending a lot of time in New Haven these days! Sad that they are just rehashing the old favorites, though. But wait. Are there actually any new favorites? Maybe that is what is really sad: New Haven's cheap-and-good food rep rests on places that have been open practically since Yale has been open. There are a lot of wonderful expense-account places here, but won't someone please open a cheap-and-great neighborhood place that's known for something more than sweet death by saturated fat?

I am beginning to feel this way, a little bit

Even though I have done none of the entertaining and constant cooking for guests that Ann Patchett has, I am feeling her sentiments right now, big time. Payday cannot come soon enough! Someone else cook for me, please!

"The turkey is gone. The dog and I split the last of it yesterday for lunch. The turkey soup (excellent) is gone. I'm hungry now, the dog is hungry, and yet I cannot bring myself to cook. I had fourteen people over for dinner the night before Thanksgiving and ten people on Thanksgiving day. I had houseguests through Sunday and fed them every meal. Oh, the tender planning! The careful choices I made about sweet potatoes. I brined my turkey. I polished the silverware. I hosted a four day Thanksgiving extravaganza and now it is over and the food is gone and I cannot bring myself to even think of spreading peanut butter on bread. I guess I will be eating it off my fingers, out of the jar. All of this is to say that even those of us who are committed to cooking and entertaining hit a wall sometimes and now I wonder what we're supposed to eat."

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

New Haven: It All Happens Here!

Including friendly interactions like this one, just across the street from Andy's office! Don't you all want to move here? Folks are so neighborly.

Did You Know?

...that there is a real English word for bug poop?

And that that word is frass?

The Harry Ransom Center's newsletter, Ransom Edition, is always good for a fast fact about pests.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Quick Reviews

Thumbs up: Supper. The expanding Frank's empire can do no wrong. Especially when the appetizer of burrata mozzarella turns out to be AN ENTIRE BURRATA MOZZARELLA on tomatoes and basil with oil and salt and pepper and bread. We pierced it with a fork and the cream inside burst forth. Our plate runneth over. We followed this with a nutmeg-and-chocolate-sauced venison loin with dandelion greens and a plate of fresh pappardelle and mushrooms sauteed in oil and cream. Thus we decided against dessert at Chikalicious. Who needs it?

Thumbs down: Blue Ribbon Bakery. We waited half an hour longer than the host told us we would. The downstairs is lovely and cozy, but we didn't sit down there. The portions were miniscule. They brought me the wrong dish, and then didn't bring me the right one until the rest of our table was finished eating. No need to return.

Thumbs up: New refrigerator! It's silent! It's drip-free! It has working crisper drawers! Thank you, Rocco!

Thumbs down: US Postal Service. In what universe does it take more than a week for a jar of pickled okra to travel from New Haven to Boston? I should have driven it to Sol myself.

Thumbs up: Steak. I can't remember the last one I had. Wait, maybe it was in 1998, when, on the hottest day of the year, Garett and I drank a bottle of Scotch and decided to make a dinner of minute steak and rice. Bad idea. No wonder I haven't had a steak since. I had a New York Strip at Union League the other night and it was sublime. I almost wish I hadn't liked it so much. Now Peter Luger is calling my name with passionate intensity.

Thumbs down: Dimpled arms. Time to lay off the steaks and carbs, right when it's become winter and I NEED THEM.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Three Lovelier Words Were Never Strung Together

Me: What should we have for lunch?
Tom: How about fried unagi dumplings?


Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Coliseum Update

We got published in two New Haven news outlets: the New Haven Independent and the New Haven Advocate! And none too soon, because on New Year's Eve, we blew it up. Photos by Sarah.

Word on the street is that the real Coliseum will meet its doom on January 20th. We'll be there with cameras and licorice whips in hand.