Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Monday, September 29, 2008

When did a muffin become a cupcake sans icing?
In 6th grade home-ec, Mrs. Lenci taught us the strict rules
of muffin-mixing: use a fork (and only a fork)
and stir exactly 46 times. (Or was it 43?!)
OMG, I can't remember! Anyway, a muffin is considered
a quick bread, while a cupcake is to be taken
much more seriously. A cupcake is cake.
And a cake is a serious thing. For example, a cake
by nature contains at least twice as much butter and sugar
as a muffin. It's dessert. It comes after the meal,
after the muffin, if you will. A muffin is an accompaniment.
I mean, I'm all for eating cake at and with every meal, but
let's be sensible. Coffee shops and delis these days are virtually 
overflowing with both uniced cupcakes (muffins) and those
with a week's-load of fat calories heaped on top. Adding the
word "carrot" to the muffin name seemingly adds to its
health value. Come on! It's just carrot cake that someone
forgot to frost! I propose a return to the Mrs. Lenci-type-
43 (or is it 46?) stroke muffin. Less sugar,
less fat. And please, please, use a fork.


At last the rain subsided, and we were greeted
with sun and a fresh breeze today as we left the hotel
on our way to Central Park. Quickly, though, the cool breezes
heated up, and we found ourselves scurrying from one
shady path to another. We sat a bit at Strawberry Fields,
with a view of the The Dakota, site of the John Lennon
shooting. The circular mosaic, with a simple Imagine
at the center, was circumscribed with pink-edged yellow
rose petals. Despite a steady stream of visitors,  a reverent silence 
ruled the balmy Monday afternoon. All ages, many languages.
Music is a powerful unifying force.


Sunday, September 28, 2008

In heavy rain we visited the World Trade Center site.
Despite all the tourists, it was stunningly quiet. Reminded
me of visiting Dachau when I was twenty.

Stumbled into a great shop called Evolution in Soho --
a single-aisle treasure trove of all things skeletal
and entomological. One of my favorite items was
a life-sized paper skeleton kit! The massive (moving van sized)
spiders set in resin made my entire body crawl....
P. bought me this stunning pendant:



It's a butterfly wing.

***

"In America, you can have a parrot
on a stick and get rich."
     --Lampkin Franklin, cabbie

Saturday, September 27, 2008

After a respite stretched across our hotel room bed
(G-rated!) we cabbed down to Greenwich Village 
and walked and walked. Much more my scene than the 
Upper East Side, I must say! (Even if the one-bedroom
apartment sells for a cool million.) Families with strollers,
funky hippie chicks, denim & boots and caffeine.
We supped at Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill -- nouveau Mexican.
Bustling, crowded, humid, with impeccable service
and equally impeccable cuisine. My chopped salad
contained kidney beans, garbanzos, tomatoes, kalamata
olives, generous chunks of Jack cheese and neat tiny squares
of multi-colored crispy tortillas. Traditional with a twist!
Very satisfying. As usual, my friendly husband chatted it up
with our fellow diners, and we met a delightful young couple
from Puerto Rico, as well as some locals. Other than the fact
that we were visibly elder in this crowd, dinner was fantastic.
(When did we become not twenty-something? Or at least
thirty-something? Okay. I'm going to stop right here.)

Jack the Dripper



We spent a crowded morning at MOMA, which seemed
to be everyone else's bright idea also on how to spend
a rainy Saturday morning. The highlight for me was
the Jackson Pollack gallery -- which completely surprised me.
I believe that Pollack is one of those artists whose work 
you have to see in person to completely take in. 
Once faced head-on with those massive canvases 
and the frenzy of colors and paint, I felt like I got him. 
And it was nearly heartbreaking -- an alcoholic, Pollack 
died in an alcohol-related crash in 1956 when he was merely 44. 
Eschewing traditional painting tools & techniques, 
he used house paint, hardened brushes, sticks, syringes, 
indeed he used his entire body to paint. I can only imagine
what he carried in his head day-in and day-out that would
compel him to such epic expression.

***

Last night we saw South Pacific at the Lincoln Center:
talk about wonderful! These were the songs that my sisters
and I sang and played on the piano throughout our childhood.
A fantastic production! (I'm sure you'll be hearing more about
this from Citizen K.)


Friday, September 26, 2008

Live, from New York it's.....



Premium T.! 
A tropical storm is washing over us, and it's warm,
so the city feels like a sauna. Seems that the current fad
among women of any age here is whimsical knee-high rubber
boots, and it looks like they've been itching for a good
downpour so they could pull on their cutesy rubbers
and traipse about the city. I like to think of them as saunas
for the feet. No thanks. Glad I finally outgrew those, at about
age nine, thank-you.

In other news, we stopped for lunch at a French bistro
on Madison Avenue ("La Goulue"), where we sat outside
(dry) under an awning. Town Cars kept pulling up 
depositing pinched & plucked & coifed & buffed
older women who, by the looks of them, still believed they
were, oh, maybe twenty-five. After a while a small film crew
went inside. (I was enjoying my Salade Nicoise, which, with
eight distinct flavors, I could come up with myriad umami 
taste combinations: 8x7x6x5x4x3x2x1 equals A Big Number.)
When I went in to use la toilette, I saw what all the
hubbub was about: there was Bridgette Bardot, rather a shadow
of her former glory, very blond (ya think it's real?!), basking 
in the camera's glow while tucking into a lovely repas Francais. 
Oh, and she wasn't sporting rubber boots.

This is one damn big thrumming honking city.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Laid-over for 5 hours at JFK where there is no AC
and the stench of vomit hovers. Free wif-fi, though.
Can't complaint about that. I'm sitting in the
International Food Hall which is aglow in neon
and overuse. We are all transients.

This airport could use a park. 
Some cool breezes.
A mountain or two. 
And an ocean.

Next time I pass through here I'm going to bring
my own sod and a bench and trees. And a breeze.
Can't forget the breeze. 

Friday, September 19, 2008

I will possibly be off the grid for a few days
as we retreat to Friendship, Maine, to spend a few
days with P.'s dad. A quiet fishing village, slow-paced:
photo-ops! Then it's on to NYC for five frantically-packed
days: food, museums, shopping, food, food, food.

(I LOVE peeling hard boiled eggs.)

Au Revoir


Thursday, September 18, 2008

Be sure to check out the baby stilettos on Peter's blog!

Two are better than one.

Any minute now this could end.
Yesterday there was a single breath of coolness
to the air, and then a slight breeze, after days and days
of stillness. These last moments of summer
are hoarded gold, slipping from my fingers --

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Dwindling Summer

On the driveway this morning
as I went out to get the paper --

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Here's something yummy to make while fresh peaches
are still in the markets:

Put one very large fresh peach in the blender.
(Of course, peel and slice it.)
Add some milk -- about a cup. Add some brown sugar
and a swoop of vanilla. Some ice cubes. Blend.

OH. SO. GOOD.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Feral

Last night at dusk I heard eagles, obscured
in the cedars above me, their keening
less than grand, almost gentle, unexpected
from a bird so exalted, so predatory.

And again this morning from my bed,
the windows flung open, the air a cool nectar.

Saturday, September 13, 2008


One tart. 
Apple tart.
Two apples, 
not Two Tartes.
(And not too tart.)

***

Used my new 6" tart pan.
Flour, butter, sugar, an egg yolk,
apples (two), cinnamon, walnuts.
A side of Greek yogurt sweetened with
brown sugar and a dash of vanilla.
Can you say "perfection?"

The Price of Fun


Fuzzy-headed all day yesterday, after that glorious evening
at The Corson Building. Worth every cent.

The single morning glory plant I have growing
continues to send forth bloom after bloom.
The leaves seem to be fading as more and more
buds unfurl, trumpeting what, lingering summer?

Friday, September 12, 2008

The Corson Building






Ahhh.....we had dinner last night in Paradise.
Er, well, in Georgetown. With planes roaring overhead,
nestled between two sets of railroad tracks, a view of a
soccer field out the kitchen windows and within spitting
distance of the ever-gritty Airport Way:
at The Corson Building, an offbeat, two-story
tile-roofed "house" built by an Italian stonemason
in 1906, which now houses Seattle's newest haven
for foodies. (It sits nearly under the Michigan Street
offramp, also.)

When I heard, almost a year ago, that Matt Dillon,
of Sitka & Spruce, and partner Wylie Bush were launching
this endeavor less than a block away from the former
love-of-my-life, Two Tartes (I mean, non-human love....),
I was skeptical. Especially when it would mean gutting the
existing structure and pushing out the back for a new kitchen.
(And I think this is a leased property, but I'm not sure.)
Would people shed dusty jeans and Carhartt jackets
for an evening of $ prix fixe dining? In Georgetown?!!
Well, the answer I got last night was a resounding Yes! --as we
sat down with 3o-or-so other guests at three large communal
tables. We had already enjoyed white wine/huckleberry-
infused aperitif and a watermelon & tuna amuse bouche
in the oasis-like garden, where caged doves and chickens
cooed and pecked beneath a laden Italian prune tree.
Inside, Paul and I scooted down a lengthy bench elbow-to-elbow
as dishes of pickled, spiced cherries and currants were passed.
Too tart! --but strikingly beautiful, they certainly woke up our palates.
What followed were seven additional courses served family style,
save for two plated entrees:
--tahini flatbread with yogurt
--roasted eggplant, peppers and onions with Interlaken-grape raisins
--two salads: dilled green beans & diced beets with crispy fried garbanzos
tossed with an assortment of nuts and seeds and coriander
--breaded squid and artichoke hearts (YUM!!)
--mackerel and heirloom tomatoes on sauteed raddichio
(I refuse to say "on a bed of....")
--black cod sauteed with chanterelles and fresh corn
--whole, butter-infused roasted chicken and quartered plums
--herbed toasts and flageolets
--honey-roasted nectarine slices with crisp pastry squares
and creme Anglaise.....

PLUS wine pairings. Are you full yet?
The wine (that I'm able to remember):
Pinot Blanc
Pinot Noir
Meursault
Muscat

Oh my.
I kept asking myself Where am I?
The only drawback is the din. It's a cavernous space
with lots of brick and concrete, and although Matt Dillon
apologized at the beginning of the meal for their unfortunate
ability to find suitably-aesthetic sound-absorption, I observed
a lot of blank wall-space clamoring (literally) for tapestries.
For the price one pays for dinner here, one should be able
to carry on a conversation comfortably.

And The Corson Building is not for the timid:
there is no menu.
You sit.
You eat.
You are happy.
Trust me.





Thursday, September 11, 2008

Again



I want to live in this blue, this Heavenly Blue.
To exist inside its other light: not golden,
not bathed in holy rays. An hour or so
before dawn, perhaps, still in the tumble of a dream.

****

I thought the headline said:

"Man found not guilty in massacre of 80 poets"

when it really said:

"Man found not guilty in massacre of 80 pets."

In any case, poets: watch out.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Been thinkin' about some new restaurant concepts
the past few days -- 
Reality Dining: for the Active Pursuit of Food!

Here are a few notions:

1)  Forage
This exciting new venue is situated
in a several-acre greenhouse/warehouse, where, upon paying
an entrance fee, you can then indeed "forage" for your meal.
Discover chanterelles in the Hidden Mushroom Glade, pluck 
thimbleberries  in the Organic Berry Patch,  gather apples 
in the Vintage Orchard.
What could be better? Or fresher?

2) Lasso
Perfect for carnivores, this ranch-themed
eatery allows you to rope your own heifer! 
Wrassle that porcine to the mud!  
Pluck your own fowl! 
All free-range (that includes you), 
all-sodium-free, all the time.

3) Cannabis + Carnivore
Taking part in the "Live Food" Movement,
you'll begin your culinary adventure with hors d'oeuvres
in the Cannabis Lounge, where you'll be encouraged
to breath deeply. Then move on to Carnivore,
where we believe deeply in consuming only live food,
where no plants or animals were killed to feed you dinner!
Allow yourself to graze the grassy knoll, munching
on greens, before you snag yourself a mouthful of
passing antelope, elk, deer or moose. Little bites only!
No weapons allowed save for your very own canines!

Just a thought.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Huff and Puff

Paul and I actively trudged up the trail to Rattlesnake Ledge
this afternoon: two miles up, two miles down, two hours total.
Busy trail of many languages! (Chinese, Hindi, possibly Arabic,
an Eastern European language and English.) Because the ascent
is all on the eastern slope there is little afternoon sun in the
shady forest, and massive boulders as well as low-slung branches
are festooned in moss, draped in ferns. Lush!
Upon reaching the top we discovered, rather than a ledge,
more a huge stone knob, upon which entire families lolled,
taking in the sweeping view north and east. A brisk breeze
quickly took care of residual sweat, and I filmed a 30-second
panorama:
video

Dinner

These were the scents in my kitchen last night:

cardamom
bay leaves
cinnamon
turmeric
onion
garlic
cilantro

And then there were also golden raisins, pistachios,
tomatoes, saffron, jalapenos, red lentils, yellow split peas,
basmati rice, mangoes, dried red peppers, yellow mustard seeds.

Colors:

red
yellow
green

Did I mention that I love to cook? And eat?!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

The Great Art Party....

.....you should've been there. Floating Bridge Press,
which began in Peter Pereira's basement in 1994
when a group of us goofy poets decided we wanted
to do more than just poeticize, last night staged
the 2nd Great Art Party. Or, I should say, the inimitable
Jeff Crandall staged it, as the major force behind his
endowment drive in an attempt to free FBP from the
never-ending grant-application process. (I might add
that FBP has been in the black for the duration of its
existence.)

But here the best part: it's not an auction.
And it's fun.
You pay your $100 (or $300 for access to high-end
art) and you get to take home a piece of art. Period.
No drunken out-of-control bidding where at the end
of the evening you find yourself the owner of a very
expensive gadget. Instead, when your number is called,
you get to choose your piece. And the selection is fantastic!
There is a no-host bar, complimentary munchies,
and great entertainment: the evening opened with a
selection of arias sung by soprano Lucia Neare, accompanied
by pianist Matt Goodrich. The emcee is hilarious and keeps
the action rolling at a fierce clip.

This year we didn't stay for the entire event, as we just
purchased guest tickets ($25): we don't need any more art.
(Paul donated three pieces from his collection.)
Next year, faithful readers, I'm going to hit all of you up
for tickets. Well, that is, if you live within 100 miles
of the South Lake Union Armory Building in Seattle.
See you then! (If not sooner.)

Friday, September 5, 2008


What's the difference between Sarah Palin and Barack Obama?


One is a well turned-out, good-looking, and let's be honest, pretty sexy piece of eye-candy.

The other kills her own food.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Dismissed from jury duty after two mornings
sitting in a hot stuffy room with about a hundred
other reliable voters. No need for jurors this week.
Yay.

Glorious September, afternoon temps hovering
around seventy degrees. The best time of the year to be alive.
And finally, finally, having been out of school since 1980,
there was no pit in the bottom of my stomach
as the school year swung into action.
(One of the benefits of being grown up. At last.)

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Favorite time of the day: when I'm making dinner.
Nothing special, just your mid-week whatever.
No stress. A nice glass of white Rhone wine
and the Wednesday crossword as the red sauce simmers.
Croutons crisping in the oven. Fennel and parmesan
shaved, tossed with romaine. The last of the cherry tomatoes.
Some fresh basil. Some Italian parsley.
This is also my favorite kind of meal: to come home
and peruse the supplies and just work with what is there,
no last-minute run to the store. Making-do.
Of course, one must keep a relatively well-stocked larder
for this system to be successful, but it's even fun
when shopping day looms, and the shelves are approaching
vacancy. And dessert? Blueberries, butter, sugar, flour....

(For extra zip in that red sauce pinch-in some cinnamon
and some cayenne. Just! A! Pinch!)

Monday, September 1, 2008

P. made me go to the gym this morning even though
we consumed lots of inebriating beverages last night
at our friend Kylie's house. I was the Grumpy Sit-Up Queen.
And the Grumpy Weight-Lifting Queen. Waaaah.

This is funny: last night at dinner, P. went out to the car
to get his sweatshirt. When he headed back to the house,
he accidentally went in the wrong house. (Next door.)
He said, "there was a white dog, and Kylie has a white dog.
There was a teenager sitting on the couch, which seemed
a little odd. I didn't remember a teenager at Kylie's.
I walked all the way through the house to the backyard,
and there were strange people sitting outside having dinner!"
Ha ha.
That wacky Paul.

I have jury duty this week! All the way out in f***ing Kent!
At 8am! And I receive $10 per day! The same as last time
I served on a jury, twenty years ago! Hee haw!
And I've been provided with a bus pass!
If I leave my house at 4:32am I just might get to Kent
by the crack of eight!
No thanks! I'll blow my Big Pay on gas and drive myself!

The idle pursuits of Labor Day --