Saturday, December 20, 2008

holiday paws

Due to the insanity that was the last day of work before the holidays combined with the sudden inclement weather-induced cancellation of my New York exit plan, I completely forgot about posting yesterday. Which is to say that this is the perfect time to announce a holiday break from this whole blogging thing. I have not yet resolved whether I will keep this up in the New Year. But perhaps a brief pause will re-energise my spirits. Happy Holidays everyone.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Dory's latkes

In a fit of brilliance, a friend of a Dory's hosted a night of Hanukkah, Christmas and winter music (performed by a 12-person band), accompanied by frantic food making. Dory was one of the chefs, cooking up sweet potato latkes for our seasonal enjoyment. And after having a little trouble at first getting them to stick together, they ended up turning out perfectly.

CONSUMED: Bowery Poetry Club; 308 Bowery, East Village (Manhattan)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A Muppets Christmas Carol

There's nothing like popping the Muppets Christmas Carol into the VCR (two childhood memories at once), hands cupping a mug of spiked mulled cider, the air alight with flavours of butter cookies, and being surrounded by good friends to put you in the spirit of the season. I think my friend Emily put it best (in metered verse, no less): "And slowly but surely, Christmas love, it arrived!"

CONSUMED: Emily and Lindsy's apartment; Greenpoint (Brooklyn)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

fish tacos

Someone once told me that you can't get good fish tacos on the East Coast. And for some reason I believed them, took it to heart, and even continued to further that nonsense myself. But it's a lie. You can get perfectly good fish tacos from the truck that sits on Bedford. I know. Because I tried them.

CONSUMED: Endless Summer taco truck; Bedford and N6th, Williamsburg (Brooklyn)

Monday, December 15, 2008

puppet musical

Late nights on subway platforms can either be extremely tedious, or wildly entertaining. By the looks on these people's faces, puppets singing Christina Aguilera apparently fall into the latter. I myself was caught, found myself pausing as I ran up the stairs to try my luck with the NRQW.

CONSUMED: L train platform; Union Square station, Manhattan

Friday, December 12, 2008

facade of Lee's Palace

I decided to walk down Bloor because I hadn't been in the city for nearly a year, and something always seems to change between visits. This time around, the Dominion had become a Metro, a brand new coffee shop had sprung up on the corner of Bathurst, and the Blockbuster had transformed into a brand new shiny Sobeys.

But I was happy to see that Lee's Palace was still the same, with its busy facade that always seemed to be on the edge of something lewd if I looked hard enough. Lee's Palace with its incredibly divey second floor where I would dance many a weekend during my university years. Lee's Palace where I almost got in a fight outside with a random (or rather a friend of a friend I had just met that night almost got in a fight and I wasn't sure if I was going to have to get in a fight alongside him). Lee's Palace where I got drunk on my birthday and my friend had to throw my arm over her shoulder and carry me home. So many memories; so glad it's still around to remind me.

CONSUMED: Lee's Palace; 529 Bloor St, The Annex (Toronto)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Tanveer's tandoori chicken

Last weekend, my friends Kelly and Tanveer hosted dinner that marked the beginning of my surprisingly busy holiday party schedule (this weekend alone, I'm invited to 5). But it was an excellent start to the party season as Tanveer and Kelly provided us with three exquisite Bangladeshi dishes. The favoured dish by far was the tandoori chicken, which bizarrely tasted very close to the charred roadside jerk chicken of my family's homeland.

CONSUMED: 151 Kent; Williamsburg (Brooklyn)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Yiddish Princess (at Pete's Candy Store)

The Yiddish Princess, a newly-born quartet based here in Brooklyn, performs Yiddish ballads in the style of an 80s power rock band, complete with heavily reverbed vocals, soaring synths and screaming guitar solos. It's as campy as it sounds. But it works; I found myself buying into their schtick by the third song. And I swear, it's the singability of their music that will win your vote. Because though I may not understand what I'm singing, it feels so right to belt "Yah lai lai!" at the top of my lungs.

CONSUMED: Pete's Candy Store; 709 Lorimer St, Williamsburg (Brooklyn)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

cover of Diner Journal

I've been trying to write a mini blog essay about how New York has changed my outlook on food. If Toronto was where I received my fundamentals in politics, and Montreal where I learned about the importance of community, then I can safely say that New York is by far and large the city in which I have received my food education. But the essay-in-progress is awkward and wordy and doesn't say anything new.

I was inspired to write the essay, however, because I kept stumbling upon this incredible cover (Click on the image to enlarge. Go ahead! You won't be sorry!) from Diner Journal, a small food magazine published by a local restaurant. Turning the patchwork of neighbourhoods into crop fields is many a New York foodie's wet dream. As one of the most inspiring images I've seen this year, it speaks volumes about the politics of food that many in the city are aspiring to change.

CONSUMED: at my friend Emily's house, then on the F train, then finally at Brooklyn Kitchen

Monday, December 8, 2008

Taliah and her bicycle paintings

For all the kids that love bikes not only as a means of transport but also as an item of aesthetic beauty, Taliah Lempert is a goddess worthy of worship. She paints bikes, mostly with oils, providing an even simpler take on a (relatively) simple vehicle. I have admired her work for years, but had relegated her to the category of "one of those things you'll see on the internet," never to meet in person. Well I met her. In person. And I was so shocked (and kinda tipsy) that I think I made her blush by my incredulous and emphatic "YOU'RE Taliah Lempert?!" Suffice to say that, having already consumed a few beers, I felt like I was meeting a celebrity. And I think, in a certain respect, I was.

CONSUMED: Housing Works Bookstore Cafe; 126 Crosby Street, SoHo (Manhattan)

Friday, December 5, 2008

Biolegend chocolate

One of my suppliers at work decided for this holiday season to send out boxes of chocolates to their customers. Except this was no ordinary box of chocolates. They had custom chocolate plaques made with their company logo. Talk about over-the-top branding (especially for a science reagent company).

CONSUMED: my work; Manhattan

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Declaration of Independence

I was in DC with my parents for (American) Thanksgiving this year. And though I had been to the city several times before, I had never made it to a monument save that presidential phallus that sits between the National Mall and the Reflecting Pool. It was my mom's idea to take one of the tour buses that ran around to all the memorials at night.

One of the first stops was the monument dedicated to Thomas Jefferson, the president credited with the creation of the Declaration of Independence. I was standing there peering up at the text beside my mom and said without thinking, "It's funny, how this statement is still being discussed today."

"How so?" she asked. I realised it was too late to take those last words back. I knew that not long ago, my parents' church had a petition speaking against gay marriage. I didn't know whether they had signed it, but I did know my parents were firm believers in the faith.

"Well right now it's the discussion of gay marriage here in the States, you know, with Proposition 8," I admitted. I cringed inside.

A moment of silence. Then, co-opting a poignant quote from Animal Farm, she said, "I guess here, some men are considered more equal than others."

CONSUMED: Thomas Jefferson Memorial; Washington, DC

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Christmas tree street stalls

You know it's Christmas time in New York when the street vendors start selling trees. I actually don't mind that these tree stalls take up the majority of the sidewalk; it helps get me in the spirit of the season, especially when I refuse to go anywhere near retail shopping areas of the city. What I don't understand is who are the people that buy the large trees? No one I know (except for those lucky kids in the loft apartments) has the space for such enormous conifers. And surely not in Manhattan.

CONSUMED: Amsterdam Ave, between 80th and 81st; Upper West Side (Manhattan)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

ye olde fixie

I think I knew that the Wright Brothers were bike makers. But maybe that knowledge was overshadowed by their other work. (We so often forget the history behind certain breakthroughs; they used bikes to test out methods of stability and control for their flyer.)

CONSUMED: Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum; National Mall, Washington DC

Monday, December 1, 2008

knit fork

My roommate Dory knit a fork. Yes, a fork. Out of yarn. It's pretty darn cute, and for the longest time, it sat in our cutlery drawer along with all its steel brethren. Until we had our brunch party, when Dory decided to put it out with the other forks on the table for people to use. That's when our cat found it, and all of a sudden this inanimate piece of knitting was transformed into our cat's favourite toy. She didn't even need us to play with her. She would throw it up in the air herself and catch it all on her own. She would toss it across the room and then chase after it. Never before have I seen something so lifeless receive so much love.

CONSUMED: my apartment; Brooklyn