Saturday, January 30, 2010

Best Just So You Know

Listen, if you ever want to draw my portrait based on a picture that has appeared on this blog, you're totally welcome to.

This drawing is by Kelsey Barrera, who I once drove to the Orem Gap with Marsha. I think it's super fresh.

Oh, and my profile pic? If you forgot, that's a portrait Mitch painted of me from an old, old blog photo. Mitch has a recipe blog now, check it out! She created a vegetarian version of the Momofuku Brussels sprouts here.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Best I Shall Tell You This About Boston Right Now

I met up with Carol in Boston this week. Remember how recently I posted something with Hillary in it for the first time in ages? Right now Carol makes her return! Anyway, Boston was great, I ate an insanely good burger there (best fancy burger in ages! Click that link if you want your eyeballs to pop out), I wandered through the city a lot and got nearly lost plenty but always found my way home.

Anyway, here's what I want to talk about right now:

I believe Massachusetts to be the only state in the Union with Wagamama restaurants...Wagamama is a superchain of asian noodlebars you'll find all over England and Europe. The first time I ate at one in 2000 it was one of the most exciting experiences of my life (up to that point). I had never been to a cool and designy restaurant before. Last time I ate at a Wagamama was in 2003 when I went to London for Thanksgiving with Matt. Since then I've been eating at lots of cool and designy restaurants and, well, absence (and a certain other noodle bar) had made the heart grow snobbier. Ask me a week ago what I thought of Wagamama and I probably would have rolled my eyes...but hunger, curiosity, and convenience all came together Wednesday night and I found myself at a nice, empty Wagamama in the Prudential Center mall.

See, I'm in the Wagamama.

Carol, finger-flicking away at her iPhone. What's she flicking at here?

Oh, just creating art, that's all.

If you don't get it then you've definitely never been to a Wagamama and should probably poke around their website a bit, and if you have been to a Wagamama and you still don't get it, well, maybe this will help you figure the little joke out?

And may I supplement the joking around with this news: I liked my dinner plenty. I feel ashamed of my snobbery! My apple + orange juice was great,

My gyoza serviceable,

Our sweet potato fries good (but the spicy mayo was magnificent)

And my vegetable yaki soba? Wonderful! (but maybe mostly because of all the chili oil I stirred in? Hard to say where exactly all the flavors came from)

Will I post more about Boston? Perhaps someday. I still need to tell you one more thing about Brazil and unleash a little more Utah on you.

Best Re: Death of Mysterious Authors

I thought when people died the truth was supposed to come out about them? But it seems like JD Salinger is going to stay reclusive, even if death. I mean, his death was announced by his son via spokesperson...can't we at least see his son at a press conference? Mysteriousness runs in the family? Where's the tell-all book, Son of Salinger?

In college I tried to reread Catcher in the Rye, I couldn't stand three pages of it (and I think I liked it fine in high school). It is absolutely 100% without a doubt juvenile literature. And I say that without malice—somethings are just for 14 year olds, that's okay.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Best Update on my Agrarian Woes

As you know I've had a bit of a problem lately protecting my turkeys and cider from the local wildlife, but things are looking up these days! I hear the ringleader wants to negotiate a surrender in exchange for a runt we got our hands on...ha, yes Fox, if you want to negotiate, then we'll "negotiate."

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Best How Do I Party Right?: Andy's Birthday

Can you believe it? Monday night and it's Andy's birthday again? Where did the last 365 days go?

The party began with a review of some vocabulary words, Andy let me keep my honorary title of "Human Dictionary" (which he gave it to me) even though I didn't know two of the words he had.

Anna was in charge of the ice cream cake this year. She chose a fine Baskin Robbins Chocolate Brownie Ice Cream cake. I had the incredible honor of cutting the cake. Finally. A real job at the party.

Partiers assembled: Christian and Min

There's Art over there. Deal or No Deal was a nail biter, by the way.

Jeff enjoying his first Andy Birthday...who knows if this would have been possible if Collin still lived out here (Andy's pretty particular about his super-exclusive guestlist and not making his mom do too much work...and may I add here that this year's Chinese feast was the finest yet?)

John, captivating Art. Family Feud was kind of snoozers.

And here's a video of the singing of Happy Birthday. This should have you feeling like you were right there, in the action. You'll love it, unless you're awful.

Additional Reading:

Wait, I didn't make a post for Andy's Birthday in 2008? That's terrible.

This year's was the best one though. Very cheerful and convivial.

Best How Do I Party Right?: Chaunte's Birthday

Saturday night. Birthday party for Chaunte at the Richardson in Brooklyn. Wooo!

Sure seems like it's been a long time since we've seen Hillary, hasn't it? Well, here she is: Hillary. With her visiting best friend Lizzie. Lizzie cooked chili that night. It was delicious.

The Richardson bathroom wallpaper and light. I don't know if the Richardson was a bar or a, it was definitely a bar. The bar was too crowded for it to have been a restaurant.

Here's our birthday girl. Don't worry, that's a wooden mustache. A handcarved wooden mustache.

Preparing the Ceremonial Box of Fire!

And the Ceremonial Countdown to Extinguishing:

My M8 has me in the habit of never ever using flash but that night, armed with my little Canon S90, I was like: Hey...dark bar...maybe I'll use the flash? Turns out it can be useful!

A Three Amigos Triptych, but I'm disapproving of a fourth amigo by the last pic.

My moment with the birthday girl! I misread the memo to read "we will be making crazy eyes" when in fact it said "we will NOT be making crazy eyes." My bad.

How about new blog resolution: More Steve. Would you believe this was my second party with Steve of the weekend? Yup. Friday night: Steve, Chris, Jeff and I went to the Whitney, then La Casa, and then a party of some of Steve's friends on Central Park West. Now you know the story of Friday night.

That's my boy. Casey.

Oh, that's also my boy. Chateau. With Madi. I'm lucky to have so many "my boy"s right now.

And now my moment with Di. A thinking moment. Thinking about...birthday cake?

The Richardson is located right off of Our Lady of the Snows Square. I consider that a little interesting.

Usually bar parties just are not my thing, but I had rollicking fun at this one. I think I was Utah-missing all my amigos. Party was so good there was only one way to end the night: Momofuku. They were out of the new tamales, though.

We end here with a picture of Lizzie and Hillary because I am so down with chiasmus.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Best Ongoing Research: the Next Level

Do you know what I did? Pretty much on accident? I had this meat and I marinated this meat and I cooked this meat and I said: "Wait...I think I just made bulgogi?" AND THEN I used my rice cooker for the first time and put my meat in the bowl with a fried egg (you can see there were some problems) and pickles and ginger scallion sauce and kimchi (store bought...but soon I'll be making my own) and I said: "Wait...I think I just pretty much made bibimbap?"

I did an even better job at dinner that night. Please trust me.

And then today, trying some Sapporo beef ramen, totally tricked it out. Bulgogi that I made, you're the best!

Best Let's Start this Week With an EXCELLENT Lost Youtube

Holy Smokes, I haven't watched Lost carefully for a long, long time but I'm excited for this last season...I'm just down with them having an end planned for this thing, I like to see stories getting told with beginnings, middles and ends. BUT what I'm looking forward to even more would be a second version of this little awesome video, one that includes the final season.

(Okay, what we have here is the story of Lost, so far, reenacted by a fellow's extended this for real? I don't care! I laughed! You know Lost a lot better than me so you'll laugh tons!)

Friday, January 22, 2010

Best Let the Record Show

These are the books I read in 2009. Many were addressed in posts of their own, but I wanted the final record to be had:
  • Wise Guy by Nicolas Pileggi, 2/14 (I found this in a stack of paperbacks headed to the trash, I read the entire thing shaking my head, thinking it was too much like a movie before finding out it was what Goodfellas was based on.)
  • Press On by Joseph Wirthlin, 2/20
  • Disquiet Please, 2/21 (this is the second collection of humor writing from the New Yorker. My sister Emily gave it to me, it was the second collection of humor writing from the New Yorker Emily has given me. I read it cover to cover in order instead of jumping around to what looked interesting...I didn't finish any books in January of 2009 because I was reading these three simultaneously)
  • Dubliners by James Joyce, 3/1 (read in preparation for Ulysses, didn't feel like reading A Portrait, though)
  • Vicente Fox Autobiography, 3/11
  • White Tiger, 3/14 (Maria: I should return this to you before the one year anniversary of borrowing, yes?)
  • The Autobiography of Parley P Pratt, 3/25 (Epic. 2009 was a great year for great big books and this one was brilliant)
  • Slaughterhouse 5, 5/28 (Wait? No books read in April? Or May [pracitcally]? How could that be?)
  • Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace, 6/11 (OH, that's why. Best Book I Read in 2009 that I Hadn't Read Before and just the other day I was making a mental argument to myself for this perhaps being the best book I've read...but I'm not making that an official conclusion though, I was just structuring the argument)
  • Born Standing Up by Steve Martin, 6/12 (Huh, a lot more memoirs and autobiographies in 2009 than I realized. This one is good, it is focused and it is under control. An example to all would be memoirists)
  • Cat Out of the Bag by What's-His-Face Brown, 7/4
  • How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale (not Dan, right?) Carnegie, 8/1 (How? Don't insult people at their own dinner parties, for starters.)
  • The Art of War by Famous Old Chinese Guy, 8/3 (yawners. for nerds.)
  • Ulysses by James Joyce, 9/2 (So excellent in some ways, but my second reading of this possible greatest book ever written was a little bit of a let down in some ways.)
  • Teddy Roosevelt's Letters to His Children, 9/5 (Wait! Maybe this was the best book of 2009 that I had never read before? It's definitely the book from 2009 that I most need to buy myself, or for you, for your birthday. Shhhh, it's a surprise!)
  • Pirates! in an Adventure With Napoleon by Gideon DeFoe, 9/9 (So good to have a laugh or two)
  • Inherent Vice by Thomas Pynchon, 10/10 (Not what I had hoped for...maybe maybe maybe I'll have to give it another shot in 2010 as it wasn't very, probably not.)
  • Book of Mormon, 10/16 (Every day, fool. That's what you've go to do.)
  • Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh, 11/1 (Boom! Another great book I had never read before. 2009, you were great!)
  • The Momofuku Cookbook by Peter Meehan, 11/11 (Cover to cover on the Subway, an awkward setting for a largish hardcover book, but a great great read.)
  • Twilight by Sister Meyer, 11/16 (What? I haven't told you the story about how this happened yet?)
And what about 11/16 through the rest of the year (and into January)? I was reading another superlong postmodern masterpiece (note: Ulysses is not a postmodern masterpiece, it's a masterpiece of modernism). Maybe I'll post about it soon, maybe I'll post about it at the beginning of 2011. Anything's possible. And I finished another great book on the airplane back to New York. I've got a good playlist of books lined up for myself, Twenty Ten, you're going to be great on the fingers and eyes.

Best If You Were Looking for It...

...or asked for it, the recipe for the Brussels Sprouts pictured in the post below can be found in the middle of this post from two (can't believe it) years ago

Oh wait, that post only talks about the dressing. For the sprouts clean and halve 2 lbs of Brussels sprouts, toss them in olive oil, then roast cut-face down at 425 for 25 minutes or so...until they're softening and starting to blacken. Then toss in the dressing.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Best of What I Ate in Utah

I wanted to begin telling the true tale of my Utah vacation by showing you all the beautiful food I ate, but now that I've made the post, I don't know, lots of it looks kind of gross. Oh well, they all seemed like good ideas at the time. I regret nothing! Nothing! (except not getting a picture of Grandma's vegetable soup--that's what I ate for all the meals not accounted for here)

To get to Salt Lake I had a flight on Continental with a layover in Houston. Continental impressed me on the way down with all the food they gave me in this age of You Don't Get Any Food on the Plane.

The whole can? They gave me the whole can? What are you, the airline of millionaires?

I was pretty fond of Continental as we approached Houston, but thanks to all the time they spent doing this before we left Newark (saving my life, I suppose) we showed up super late to Houston. Super late.

I wasn't even close to being close to making my connection to Salt Lake...oh, the next flight to Utah leaves in ten, eleven hours? Sheesh. Thank goodness for free internet. Thank goodness for exciting airport dining choices.

Checkin out the menu, wait...what?

Swampthing? Oh no!

I couldn't eat a hero, I went with the lunch buffet. Look at all that broccoli!

Eventually it was finally 11 hours later and I flew off to Utah. First stop, Betos. But it wasn't Betos, it was an Albertos or Ranchitos. I don't understand what happened to all the Betos, but I understand that nothing has changed in the gross gross delicious kitchens.

I attack it so delicately.

Cindy! Mustaches aren't food!


Now let's get serious!

Red Iguana with Andrew (who made the right decision recently, see?)

A cup of pozole. I learned. It shouldn't be eaten by the cup, this is a soup that must be honored as a meal, you cannot commit only a portion of your meal to it.

Enchiladas of Yellow Mole.

Filetes in Almond mole.

On the way to Logan,

a couple of modest Concretes.

Men welcome men into their homes with a cold Stewarts. That's how it's done.


Roasting some tomatillos

Slicing some chickens

Serious lunchtime Mexican sandwich creation.

Followed by chocolate chips served as a complex boardgame.

Over at Andrew's parents' house, a pound of Brussels sprouts

What will become of these beautiful little cabbages?

Yup. I did it. Momofuku appetizer.

After dinner: I get the dessert prize


In n Out in far West valley. The gentleman ahead of us ordered a four by four, he ate it like he has one everyday.

And that night, here's the remains of a near downfall by spice cockiness.


Cancun Cafe with Grandma!

Mole tamales, why not?


Lunch: I finally try to Big Carl! It looked better on the internet.

Dinner: (after some serious rocking at Don's house) A little Del Taco.

Nom nom nom. Oh man, I love Del Taco so much.


I sample the Rooster Dumpling and Noodle Bar. I have the BBQ Pork ramen and roasted potatoes.

I suspected influences and aspirations...behold, item one on the Rooster's Current Favorites. Just as thought.

Thursday night, the spookiest Arby's.

I am sorry that I cannot recommend the Arby's Patty Melt. Perhaps I should have known.


Finally, Rubio's. Their new fancy tacos are pretty nice, the shrimp I give a huge thumbs up.


Chi-fil-A at the Fashion Place Mall. Ehh. I don't know how much love a chicken sandwich can deserve.

But dinner? The Sizzler! In Sugar House! One of my Top 3 Utah Restaurants. But this needs a little something.

Thanks, salad bar, for my fancy blue cheese steak!


I try a Smashburger, this chain is coming up, it was pretty good...egg bun, though, wasn't totally feeling that. And Oh, if those fries had only been crispy!

Monday night, however, asian ribs at Kristen and Cory's, very nice. Very, very nice. And you should see the houses in Highland! They have houses for basements!


Chili's with Grandma.

This is what they've replaced the Awesome Blossom with, Onion Straw and Jalepenos. Ehh.

And Dinner? Met Cindy and some of her friends at a place called Tomatillo's. The name and the exterior had me worried that it was white-people Mexican but, oh man, on the inside it was very Mexican Mexican.

Sopes...the carnitas on the right? So Serious. I rate the carnitas at Tomatillo's as my Independent Utah Dining Discovery of 2009!

And this chorizo and egg torta? For $3.20?! What is this place? (a place where you leave with a heavy take out box, for starters)


Goodbye, Utah. Thank you for everything, Utah. Thank you for the Banbury Cross Donut advice, Kat.

To there air in a Delta deal, I would like to return to New York directly, thank you.

They sold me this salad, though. Animals.