Monday, March 31, 2008
The Dead Sea is known for its mineral-rich curative powers. Cleaopatra once made this oasis her own personal spa, so you know it must be good. Today even the plebians can benefit from this beautiful and healthful place, as AHAVA combines modern research with ancient skin soothing remedies.
The facial moisturizer is rapidly absorbed by the skin without a greasy feel. It is long lasting and smells light and fresh. I use it as a night time cream as well as in the mornings (it works well under makeup.) Having rather dry skin in the winter makes me fully appreciate this product, which incidentally, is hypoallergenic and dermatologically tested.
I usually get my AHAVA fix from a friend who picks it up on her way back from Israel. You can also find it online and in some specialty shops!
Images lifted from www.ahavaus.com
Sunday, March 30, 2008
One might ask, how did we end up here?
We knew someone who knew someone who had a cousin who owned the place. And we "embelished" the truth in saying that we were trendy writers and publishers (well, grad students write...) Overwhelmed by distressed wood and exposed brick, we were seated at large heavy plank wood tables and served course after course of delicious Mexican food.
The fresh salad greens with queso fresco and mustard vinaigrette whetted our appetites along with the ceviche made with fresh fish, tomato, avocado, jalapeno and lime, tostados with lump crabmeat, mango and chipotle mayo, and spicy quesidillas filled with mushroom, roasted corn and queso oaxaca. Pitchers of margaritas were constantly replenished. For the main course we were served perfectly cooked whole shrimp with honey lime glaze and chipotle corn slaw, adobo char-grilled steak tacos with cilantro, charred onions and salsa de chile de arbol, rotisserie chicken tacos, and sides of sauteed string beans, black beans, rice and pico de gallo. Despite the many meatarian options at the table, I was tempted to gorge myself on the fabulous chiles rellenos, smoky roasted poblano peppers stuffed with an incredibly delicious concoction of organic quinoa, manchego cheese, calabaza and tomato caldo.
By the end of the meal we were filled to the brim with both food and booze, and it just kept on coming. The heavenly pastel de chocolate "cafe de olla" was an earthen bowl filled with warm chocolate cake, espresso, cinnamon and creme fraiche ice cream, the capirotado de caieta was a bread pudding of figs, raisins smothered in a delicious brandy sauce. The creme cocida was a Mexican version of panna cotta made with crema fresca and served with poached pineapple.
The decadence, the atmosphere and the incredibly good homemade food, made for one unforgettable meal. Fortunately, not everyone has to know a relative of the owner or make up stories about their trendiness to try the food. The taqueria upstairs serves tacos, salads, soups and other plates. They also serve brunch on Saturdays and Sundays (this menu includes the desserts.)
So really, one doesn't *have* to be rich and famous to try some of the best Mexican food in NYC. Then again, it probably wouldn't hurt.
Only in America.
Image lifted from www.esquinanyc.com
106 Kenmare St
New York, NY 10012
Saturday, March 29, 2008
Peter Callesen works somewhere between two and three dimensions. Taking a SINGLE flat sheet of paper, he is able to cut and fold miraculous images of beauty and whimsy, pulling from tales of Hans Christian Anderson and the drama of nature. See where impossibility, illusion and reflection all meet:
Images lifted from www.petercallesen.com
Monday, March 24, 2008
Thursday, March 20, 2008
I am a HUGE fan of Slate.com.
As it turned out, my blogsite had been relegated to a small sidebar off an article regarding Malcolm Gladwell's appearance on This American Life. I was classified as one of the, "radio listeners who took [Malcolm Gladwell's] talk as nonfiction" and, "confirm[ed] the origins of Gladwell's too-glib-by-half writing: contempt for the reader."
Upon a second read of my own entry, I find that what I lack here is a point of view. I basically presented the story as it was told on This American Life. Take it as fact or fiction; the only goal was to entertain. And isn't that really the point?
Just because I spend the boring commuting hours listening to podcasts and the boring work hours blogging about it, does that now make me a contemptible reader? Well, I do read Slate.com...
Ah, to be so self-involved.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
All images lifted from garfieldminusgarfield.tumblr.com
Monday, March 10, 2008
The coffee, I have to admit, was amazing. It was fresh, flavorful and without any bitterness that comes of burned roasts or staleness of sitting in a pot for too long. After the second cup, my companion began to talk less about the flavor of the coffee and more about the sheer volume we were consuming. By the third cup, he began to say he had already maxed out on caffeine. By the fourth cup, he stopped protesting altogether and just mock-sipped his drink. In the end, even I did not make it all the way through the tasting. The sun was beginning to set and I had the distinct feeling I would be up all night on the self-induced caffeine buzz. The shop owner assured me that this has happened before.
24 hours later and I still feel like I am coming down off my caffeine high. Was it worth it?
I may not have the stamina to be a true coffee aficionado, but I'll be back for more. Read about Clover Coffee on Slate.
Image from www.chow.com
389 Centre Street
Boston, MA 02130
Monday, March 3, 2008
It all started out rather ominously: My boyfriend announced that hands-down the best meal he'd EVER had was at a friend's house; cooked by his friend's girlfriend. I consider myself a decent cook and to be thrown a wrench of this kind so deep into our relationship, well, I couldn't take it for anything less than a CHALLENGE.
I prepared weeks in advance. Details down to the wine selection and the dessert presentation were reworked over and over. The weekend before the fateful dinner party my boyfriend caught the flu. Instead of canceling the event, we continued as planned. He spent the weekend in bed. I did all the shopping, prepping, cooking, cleaning and serving. The meal went off without a hitch and was fabulous (if I must say so myself.) Would I ever do it again? Not in a million years! And I told him so.
About a year later I finally agreed to host dinner again for our foodie friends. This time my goal was to prepare everything in advance. The baklava was stacked and baked on Saturday, the falafal and quinoa cakes were prepared on Sunday morning. The tanjine was made in the new slow-cooker 8 hours before dinner.
Following another successful meal, my boyfriend remarked that dinner parties are even more fun than holiday parties, only with less work.
Sometimes I'm not really sure which planet boys come from, but it can't be earth. I think next time we host a dinner I should arrange to be out of town unexpectedly.
- cheese and crackers
- olives and zaatar spice
- gin and orange cocktail
- spinach falafal with beet and yogurt sauce on lavash
- salad greens with lemony vinaigrette
and grilled haloumi cheese with lemon and fresh mint
- Sauvignon Blanc
- Moroccan spiced chicken tagine with preserved lemon and olives
- Potato tagine with preserved lemon and olives
- Sauvignon Blanc
- toasted almond quinoa cakes
topped with harissa and sundried tomato
- almond walnut baklava with lemon sherbert
- Moroccan mint tea
Saturday, March 1, 2008
On the way home from a Bela Fleck concert, the VW van broke down in the middle of an intersection. Or rather, the VW van stopped working because it ran out of gas. Yes, despite all the mechanical problems this road beast has had (squeaky gear shift, spontaneously honking horn, lack of interior heat -- it's winter in Boston, by the way) it was the lack of gas that did it in. The driver tried to restart the engine a few times and we jokingly said that we could get out and push. Eventually, the driver turned around and said,
"You guys need to get out and push."
While trying to push the VW van into a conveniently located parking lot, one of the employees from Dali's (now my favorite bar ever!) came running out to give us a hand. He was wearing the typical Dali's garb: black pants and a bright red button down shirt with ruffles up the front. I never really questioned this outfit when sitting INSIDE the dimly lit bar, but out on the street, pushing an old VW van...well, it was quite a sight. After multiple attempts we managed to "park" the van right next to a small compact car, losing only one headlamp in the process (from the VW not the compact.)
All in all it was a fun and entertaining evening! After all, who could complain after a night of fabulous bluegrass banjo music, an eventful ride home and the help of a red ruffled samaritan? And the best part of it all: Dali's is only a block away from my apartment!
Image from wikipedia.com