Tuesday, December 18, 2007

On Leaving

I've spent many days in the second half of this year feeling slighted, undervalued, and unattractive. I spent the day sick, mostly, falling asleep on my desk and waking up with globs of drools on important papers, thankful to be going home soon.

I've spent the last three hours enjoying my own company, holding a necklace in my hand and imagining it on my sister, putting on leather gloves. I spent a moment talking to an old classmate named Ben who recognized me beneath my hat and scarf.

I spend my last night in New York alone enjoying a small piece of chicken liver pate some cheeses I had leftover from a get-together at Jenny's. I spent $1.50 on a loaf of sesame seeded bread from the corner store and heat it over our electric stove.

Now, I'm packing and listening carefully to Charlie Brown Christmas. Home can't come soon enough.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

A Good Wednesday

I met up with my new and beautiful friend Jeanne tonight for a mid-week reading and cocktail. I quickly excused the pretenses put on by Happy Endings at 302 Broome St. (their super swank interior is disguised by a Chinese pharmacy store front) when Joshua Henkin got to the mic and sang the Time Warp in Hebrew. Kate Christensen read a letter she wrote to the Queen of England when she was nine and the ethereal and swoony tunes from Clare and the Reasons made me jealous of all the daisy field moments I've missed out on. We got two easy to drink cocktails at bar in the Village where a short and frumpy man in boxy Prada glasses made an off-handed remark about his brother who was in a band..."you might know them...The Scissor Sisters?". Noticing the $1,400 bar tab while signing my $20 one was enough to make my hippie sub-unconsciousnesses speak up...Jeanne's must have too because we got to our feet and bolted toward the door faster than you can say Christian Louboutin. Of course, our anti-materialism self-righteousness slipped through the gutter the second we saw an incredible window lit up to show super high suede boots in all colors and mini designer coin purses painted with baby deer and robots.

New York has got me in a crisis. It makes me incredibly sad and self-conscious when I notice that not having enough pairs of $690 shoes makes me sad and self-conscious. In May I was wearing jean cut-offs and the same $12 men's plaid button-up every day and feeling like I had more style than I knew what to do with. I've been investing a lot of my thought time into what's coming next...I think about drinking fresh goat's milk at 5 am in the Pyrenees or sleeping on trains and being forced into fluency again in Venezuela. Walking through the East Village my thoughts were in the mountains in France, a mango farm in India, a small, sustainable restaurant in Portland, in Montana...every work day, before noon even rolls around, I re-bandage my blistered heels and wonder what the hell I'm doing in East Midtown. I'm idealistic! I want to save the world through sustainable agriculture! Why the hell am I in New York instead of the millions of other places I can be in? I'm constantly worried that my life is going to roll by before I find a place that I'm absolutely happy in.

But seriously, having that thought is almost more of a luxury than being able to buy $690 Chanel pumps. I'm not even 22 years old. I can do whatever the hell I want. I can have cocktails in the East Village tonight and still save the world, right? My internal bitching subsided pretty quickly this time, because the thing is, I just saw a great live show with a fun new friend...and my cucumber martini was damn good.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Seventeen Magazine, I'm Your Woman

I've been meaning to take a second out of my ridiculously busy day to catch my New York adventure up to speed...however, I've deliberately refrained knowing that whatever I would have written would have sounded like something straight out of a sappy teen magazine from 1997. Though I'm fully supportive of honest journalism, I am likewise supportive of pride and it's preservation. Thusly, my post must be brief and superficial until I can quit the whining and get over this nagging urge to buy a one way ticket to the Bay Area.

In short...it's been a rough week.

One day I'll make this work.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

A Poem

this poem is supposed to be in very long lines...but the formatting didn't take to it well.

I: 2

This valley also lends itself
to the sort of performance
the girls would put on in the tall cedar theatre
just behind their closet doors. Or
in winter time the plays lit up against
the kitchen wall, some parts lost against
the window dull from frost and bittered branches.
Solemn they hanged their heads shrouded
in veils and tasseled dish cloth, being
the crying women in desert processionals
flailing their skinny arms and elbows toward
the ceiling and windows and slinking
their covered hip bones in secret rhythmic circles.

Look how she crumples her fingers
to make deers with antlers she says move slowly
in their grasses and take careful steps
through parts with snow. We watch the other
covered in a sheet hunched like a hungry mule
across a desert with small knees and paper
hooves. We close our eyes to commission
the sounds of the other scene performed
behind a door closed upstairs, a chorus of falling
glass, shards against the hard wood
are the rains the smaller one prayed for
on the fourth and driest night when the sand filled
her lungs and her sister made the sound
of the mule’s dry throat from under the table.
with their knees on the tile, they stretch
their shoulders to feel their mirage happen
in their sweaty palms and move their cheeks
closer to the scented water. The painted paper
shudders as her thirsty beast bends to drink from
the water on the floor.Know that they do this in silence.
That their silence mutters the divisive orchestra
they have disowned. That sometimes
they are those sulky wandering queens in a kingdom of rock.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Dead Pigeons on 51st and Other Violent Moments


Dear Jack Morgan,

I am sorry to disappoint. I know I said I would write many nights ago and I did not. My inaction is explainable for thousands of resaons.

And then:

Dear Everybody,

After work the other day, the beautiful Kim Miller and I went to a poetry reading at the world famous KGB Bar. The thing was weird start to finish. The room felt deader than the Romanovs when we got there only two or three minutes early. After long moments of fidgeting and smiling uncomfortably, a puckered face, 55+ crowd hobbled in, changing the ambiance from post-Blitzkrieg Guernica to St. Petersburg-members only-bridge club. The reading was hosted by "Behind the Book", a non-profit that does pretty much exactly what 826 Valencia does but not nearly as well. The night included narrative poems translated from French about a man who desired deeply to be the world's most premium serial killer but was left in a state of misery when he found himself unable to slice the face off a woman he believed to be a prostitue AND a woman reading poems "inspired by" poems written by women in state prisons...which really means "stolen from"... generally about bludgeoning, bashing, shooting in the face, or heating up one end of a coat hanger and carving off a nose, lip, or eyebrow. The most violent moment was delivered by the president of "Behind the Book" herself whose dislike of the poets she had invited became apparent when she exclaimed to her partner that they were all "cunt bitches" whom she "fucking hate[ed]". We couldn't take it anymore. Needing to escape as soon as humanly possible, we lunged at the door, only to find that we had been locked inside. Forever. The whole crowd turned their heads and watched in silence as the bartender tromped slowly toward us with a ring of 100 keys, only one of which would lead us to freedom. We ran with our eyes closed all the way down the stairs, out the door, and well past the end of the block.

The next morning I watched a woman place her high heel into the carcass of a pigeon splayed into the concrete in front of the CitiBank building.

Come Sunday, all I needed was to spend some time far away from Manhattan, and from blood, and from thewholegoddamncityandeverythinginit.

So we got in a car and drove to a farm.

(To Follow)

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Corporate Hangover

I've spent the morning devising clever configurations of masking tape and cotton balls in the insoles of my shoes so that they are minorly less abrasive... I would hate to bloody another new pair of heels.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

A Poem

above a windowed department store.

a canopy of gulls in swoop nets,
patterned turgid, blackly lined with corrugated
feet and legs

skate the frozen over
river. the ankles of the smallest children
fold like paper, frost in bittered leather.

shards of vanished wingtip, hoping
to linger hurled in the R’s of Furniture
signs, meeting valleys of dander and salt.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


I prefer open faced sandwiches eaten with fork and knife to two-bread slice sandwiches.

I don't like to fold my pizza.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Damn, Sam

Getting myself to keep this thing up requires a whole lot more effort than I thought it would...maybe more than I can even afford to give. But today is a day off, and days off are tricky. Especially when they're on Mondays. Today I'm going to get my computer fixed...and probably have a slice of pizza. The rest, though, is so unknown. When there is this little to do on a Monday, it's harder for me to make excuses.

Kyra left yesterday, which means the last five days have been a long and drawn-out non-stop good-bye party. Which is why last night I broke a personal record and slept for 16 hours.

The week went somethin' like:

Tuesday: Split a fancy cucumber martini with Kyra at Simone's in the East Village. Talked about recent bad decisions and then accidentally found ourselves exchanging wedding plans. Oh, Kyra. Stopped by to say hello to a friend of Kyra's at 10 Degrees on St. Mark's at 1st. This place was so poshy I wanted to throw up in my Forever 21 $15.00 hand bag. Met up with Scott, Julio, Jeff and Brett at the Belgian Beer House because it looked dive-y. But, dive-y in the East Village means you pay $11 for a beer instead of $18 for a cocktail.

Wednesday: Was supposed to meet up with Will Ma and K. Davis, and Al to wish Mr. William a bon voyage back to La-La-Las Vegas. Instead, got stuck on the F train for almost two hours because someone went and had a heart attack. Come on! Ended up at Ms. Jenny Wendell's three-story mansion in TriBeCa watching Sex in the City in a king size postra-pedic bed (she was just house-sitting).

Thursday: Facials and eye-brow waxing with the Davis for like $2 a pop cuz I got some promotional thing. They facials were mediocre, but were certainly too much of a bargain to complain about. Feeling fresh and clean, we headed over to Otto, Mario Battalli's place on 8th St and 5th to celebrate Jenny's 23rd. Any time spent with Jenny Wendell and her entourages is a good time. The bar was jam-packed and blaring techno-dancey music that made it feel like a party. Their blood-orange "bellini" was tart, smooth and the perfect coral color. However, there was nothing bellini like about it, so I was a little unsure of their name choice. I ended up getting yelled at by the bartender for bringing a salted-caramel tart into the restaurant. I cried a lot in front of everyone. I complained to management, crying. I kept crying all the way to 7th and St. Christopher where I found Lu, Zu and their puppy Guru (?) on the corner. I finally stopped crying after buying myself two Papaya Dogs and an large side of fries. I think it cost me a little under $4.00. Drinking a light, Belgian beer at some place I don't know the name of, I fell asleep mid-sip and decided it was time to got home.

Friday: Free concert by the sea-side! Met up with Kyra, Francis and K's cousin Lindsey (who is quite a doll) for The National. I brought along some frangipane, croissants, and extra ganached brownies in a little white paper bag to snack on but they were quickly soaked by the thunderstorm that blessed us and got soggy. Got home just in time to find Kim and her buds from Santa Cruz feasting on greasy Chinese and Sierra Nevada. Yummm. The night ended perfectly with some quality YouTube viewing:


Saturday: Left early for work to get hair cuts with K-Dawg to be prepped for a long night out in Brooklyn. Started at Commonwealth on 5th Ave and 11th...Commonwealth has decently priced cocktails, a rad female bartender named Charlene who has a crazy crazy blond mane, and easily the best juke-box in town. Went to the Tavern (which is actually called "_____'s Tavern" but they haven't paid for new neon lights just yet) also on 5th...the home of $1.50 mugs of Bud Light! Fratty Brooklyn local boys and stupidly cheep Budweiser make the Tavern my favorite place for when I'm feeling trashy, which, embarrassingly, is decently often. Finally stumbled into Excelsior which turned out to be the 40 year old gay male hangout. They had X-Rated Vodka! My mom and I tried X-Rated at Nick's Martini Lounge in Beverly Hills this past June and I've been searching for it ever since. It is the very best bottle of booze ever made. I got home at 5:00 and made a delicious drunk meal of broccoli, peas, and brown rice sauteed in teriyaki sauce.

Sunday: Woke up feeling much less hungover than expected and made brunch with Gael. Eggs with chicken pesto sausages, extra-ripe tomatoes, grilled onions, goat cheese and fresh basil from our back-yard. Little Kyra was a tired puppy, but she sipped her mango juice with a smile and savored her last morning in New York. It was sad.

Gael, Me and our Sunday Feast

The Last Supper of New York Summer

I'm gonna have a hard time being a food writer if my diet continues the way it's been going. This weeke I've eaten: pastries, the open-face sandwich I make everyday for myself at work with kalmata olive bread, olive tapenade, white onion, ham, and two slices of gruyere in the toaster, and pizza. I love pizza. My favorite pizza joints tend to be the places that have 8 year olds working the counter at 3:30 am; though I probably shouldn't be giving those people my patronage.

Monday (today):

Not having a toaster means you have to soak your bread in butter and then fry it on the stove. I haven't struck the perfect balance between heat and butter quite yet so for breakfast this morning I ate butter with a side of soggy toast. It was a bad start. An hour and a half later, I had lunch. Lunch was a brownie and an oatmeal chocolate-chip cookie. For dinner, perhaps, I'll have a heart attack.


Monday, August 13, 2007

Shoot the Freak, I say

The weeks are slipping. I got a new job as a paralegal at a top 10 law firm. This will be a big change from being a pastry chef for a number of reasons. It will not be nearly as sweaty, I am much less likely to come home from work covered in chocolate and pastry cream, I will get paid more money, have weekends off, and get health care. Does this mean I'm growing up?

Scott, Julio, Jeff and Brett drove in from Los Angeles on Saturday...perfect timing as I was starting to get more than a little bit homesick. We went to Coney Island, rode the Wonder Wheel, and ate original Nathan's hot dog! My hot dog was covered with sauteed onions and made me feel sick to my stomach, so I got a pistachio ice cream cone for $3.00 at Denny's (not the diner) to help make it feel better. It tasted a little like kool-whip...which means to say...delicious.

Today we're going to Chinatown. I'm not going to buy any living sea creatures this time. But maybe I'll buy a knock-off Fendi hand bag.


Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Jobs, Please

Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Adventures with Shellfish and Bluegrass Tuesdays

Today marks my seventh day as a Brooklyn resident, which by my standards means I'm all in the family now. I had my first real day of training at the bakery yesterday but won't be going back in for round two until Friday. Though I'm sure that any working New Yorker would commit arson for three straight weekdays with absolutely nothing to do, my dwindling bank account presents a spicy setback. Today my plan was to find the perfect cafe, order one very large iced coffee, and write for as long as I possibly could. My laptop never made it open because I was distracted on Union and 7th by a pretty little storefront displaying cream and meringue topped cupcakes and bouquets of wild flowers in bright blue glass bottles. I noticed a "Now Hiring" sign, smelled some of the more unfamiliar looking cheeses, asked for a job, and got one. I'll be starting as counter-person at Blue Apron Foods on Friday at 3pm, exactly when I get off work at the Bakery. I need a glass of wine.

What a week! I now have two food service jobs, neither of which, even when combined, will provide me with the income apparently needed to live even the tail end of the New York high life. Being twenty-one is tough work.

More interestingly, I had enough time this week to get some serious cooking done. On Monday, still suited up after a three hour interview at a hoity-toity top-ten law firm (I'm not expecting a Yes from this job) I met my friend Zu in Chinatown for some speed seafood shopping. With only a half hour time slot, we didn't bother making absolute sure our scallops were chemical free, and trusted the fish monger when he said they were from Maine. When buying scallops you really have to be careful about phosphates (particularly sodium tripolyphosphate) which help the scallop retain water and appear much larger and tastier then it actually is. Our scallops had a much nastier problem...even after gently searing them in butter and dousing them with a healthy helping of lemon juice, they tasted like lemony-buttery-ajax. Yuck.

Zu, Kyra and I agreed the soft-shell crabs were much more successful. It was my very first time preparing soft-shells and was sad that no one was there to witness my triumphant conquests over their wriggling little exoskeletons. I'll admit, I was surprisingly more timid than I expected myself to be when cutting their faces off. I had a particularly hard time with putting the now face-less, still moving crabs in the same bowl as their more put-together comrades. When their decapitated bodies finally stopped spasming, I soaked them in milk, dredged them, and fried them in a generous pot of clarified butter. Though they could have used some cayenne pepper in the flour mixture, I would say they were great! I served them with a rock shrimp risotto with leeks and white corn and Kyra and Zu supplied two bottles of sweet and fruity Riesling and Prosecco. Mmm.


Me and my Bestie frying crabs in butter.

My stomach was still sore from the three sticks of butter split three ways that went into our Monday night meal when I woke up late for my first day at the bakery. After sprinting nine blocks and arriving drenched in sweat and last night's make-up, the rest of the day was smooth sailing. I rolled out sucree for lemon meringue or salted caramel tarts, made chocolate ganache, chocolate mousse, ice cream, lemon curd, quiche, and put a whole lot of crusts in flat-bottomed pans. My coworkers were fun and just sarcastic enough and absolutely everything tasted good. It's no hippy co-op, but Patisserie Colson might not be so bad.

The best part of working at a bakery is bringing home leftovers. I stopped at Barbes on 6th and 9th after work and met up with Polly and Kim for some live blue-grass and beers. The Five-Deadly Venoms played some of my favorite Carter Family classics and kept our toes-tapping. We met some of Polly and Kim's college pals there and moved the party back to our place shortly after. New York is a lot easier when you're surrounded by incredible, giving people who have boat loads of interesting and creative friends! Our night came to a close with Port, fresh-made cappuccino gelato (from my bakery!), and a riotous session of looking at pictures of adorable puppies in mini-casts, complements of http://www.cuteoverload.com. Perfect.

Also, don't fear. I made a promise to myself to start writing more often and avoid these long, summary-style entries. They bore me.


Sunday, July 29, 2007

New Housemates

My new house-mates are absolutely incredible human beings.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Brooklyn, Day 3

And so commences the third day of the first week on a new coast. As can be easily noted by my blogging inactivity, the Valley was no place to do any sort of thinking that exceeded figuring out how to pay for gas (extremely difficult when stuck driving the '96 family Suburban) and wondering, privately, how my parents managed to raise four such exquisite children while stricken with twenty-three years of Hand, Foot, and SFV Disesase, a frequently occurring degenerative illness commonly attributed to living in 113 degree weather sans air conditioning in neighborhoods with quickly rising numbers of TGIFriday's and Macaroni Grills. I'd also credit the tap water which anyone visiting the area usually has something to say about and certainly must be a contributing factor to illness, but truth be told I think the stuff is delicious (though not at all refreshing) and well worth the risk. Perhaps it's the particularly high levels of Chlorate that keeps me pouring glass after un-iced glass.

I've read a mountain of enthusiastic reviews of New York tap water which is said by many to be some of the most Alpine Spring like stuff around. Sir Jeffrey Steingarten himself has lauded it extensively. About three minutes ago, I smacked my wrist against my ceramic mug of cold and low-calcium NY tap water and spilt it all over this laptop, my wood table, and my thigh. I didn't mind because I was over-heating. Anyway, I agree with the masses, this water is good; though without the brassy residue my tongue feels half-way naked.

This morning I poured some New York tap water into a Fuji bottle (I love the transportative backdropped picture of a waterfall and hibiscus) hesitantly chose an outfit, and walked with Brown Cow yogurt in hand from Prospect Ave. and 8th to 7th and 9th St. Brown Cow yogurt is from the Bay Area and is my absolute favorite and I was thrilled to find it easily in Brooklyn (though Fareway Grocery was missing Cream Top Vanilla Bean and I had to settle for Strawberry). I was walking to my first day at Patisserie Colson, the Euro-trend bakery where I will begin employment as a pastry chef on Tuesday. Having worked at a collectively-owned, sustainable, vegan-wheat free-organic-pseudo-bohemian hippie dream bakery in Berkeley for a year, I came in expecting a whole lot of something that wasn't there. The kitchen in my new apartment is easily as large. My estimate is that 4.75 Patisserie Colsons can fit into 1 Nabolom. After a quick tour of the place, however, I found a few pleasantries including a large vat of still-warm, salted caramel to be poured over a chocolate mousse and topped with a button-sized dollop of whipped cream and a snowy-colored coconut sorbet that I was desperate to try . The chocolate chip cookie I had for breakfast had that perfect Parisian outer layer crisp to bite and almost brulee like with jumbo, bittersweet chocolate chunks, always preferable to any cookie flaunting mini-chips. * I'll save more Colson details for next week when I'll be able to make a more comprehensive judgment call.

For now, check out the fancy website!

Rewind to last night:
My first day in New York was spent hobbling through and around Rockefeller Center in too-tight, brand-new Cole Haan heels in search of an impossible Kinko's, sobbing to Mom on the Subway after a miserable experience at what I thought was going to be my new work place, and sitting legs akimbo in my "bedroom" playing the "let's see who's wider, my wingspan or the wall" game. My wingspan always won.

This unfortunate day 1 led set quickly and a much more pleasant day 2 came in its wake. I woke up late and stayed in the house until 5pm when I put on my favorite, rugged cowboy boots and a new dress and met a familiar group of faces at MOMA. My dear friend Will Ma treated me to a one dollar hot dog the size of my pinky finger that I smothered with ketcup and ate with my eyes closed and toes curled...if only I had seven of them. What girth was missing from the hot dog was made up for by Richard Serra's towering steel sculpture maze which caused me a sinking, shrinking feeling much like seeing the Grand Canyon for the first time.**

After a brief but cut-throat debate over Duchamp's shovel and bicycle wheel, we found Vnyl, a trendy, late-night joint on 9th in Hell's Kitchen. From the light fixtures with flamboyant personality to the dressing room inspired individual toilets all featuring decor and music to match stars like Cher, Dolly Parton, and Nelly, this place was a perfect welcome to New York. I picked off Kyra's butternut squash wantons with miso dipping sauce and guzzled down a fruity, hot pink Watermelon Bellini. Surrounded by four of my favorite Berkeley faces, I felt, for a moment, at home in New York.


* I wrote this sentence prior to pausing and reminding myself that I've never actually been to Paris, nor France. I have, however, always been a fan of eating and baking flatter chocolate chip cookies with crispy, over- white sugared outsides and softer insides which one friend partaking in my fresh baked cookie consumption once enthusiastically noted was exactly like the French variety he was so fond of.

** Note to myself: Reveiw "that vs. which" rules. Ugh.

In the crime-ridden streets of the Big Apple, an industrial rolling pin and well-maintained muscle mass may save your life.

Friday, June 8, 2007

The San Fernando Valley, All Hail

Northridge, California

Best known for the disasterous '94 earthquake (the epicenter of which, upon further investigation, was found to be more likely located in sunny, neighboring Reseda) and the '94 Northridge Little League baseball team (who just barely lost out on the title of World Champions to a power-house Venezualan team), Northridge, California is home to 85,000 Valley folk, countless strip malls, a whole lotta porn, and not much else.

This is my limbo. Here, I tetter on the tipping point between collegiate life and whatever is next. Here, I mostly lounge around pool side in my bikini, avoiding Jehovah's Witness and responsibility. Here, I bake a lot of cakes.
Last night, my Meyer lemon sponge cake with cardamom-lemon pudding was quite successful. I ate it rather quickly.
Cakes are mostly a distraction.
My next distraction will be Veganism.

My four years at University of California, Berkeley are over; I have no idea what to do. I have -20.97$ in my bank account. I attribute my dependance on academia and its unfaltering structure to America's institutionalization of extended childhood (God love us) and my own narcissistic desire to be the smartest girl in the world! So far, I have been incredily unsuccessful due to lack of direction, indecision, and laziness.
This blog is a distraction.
Here's to it! And here's to unknowing.