Author Archive

Out Of The Smoke And Into The Fire

May 9, 2010

Those of you bloggers out there might be familiar with the slump that procedes that initial blogging fervor, where you go from “postpostpost!facebook-we-have-new-posts!-post” to “meh, I could expend extra time and effort and brain cells writing a post, or I could catch up on Real Housewives of New York City.” Well, I haz it. Still. But, after:

  • 8 weeks of stress-fractured-foot-induced lassitude.
  • 4 sojourns south (New Orleans) and east (Italy) and still east(Boston) and more east(ditto) again.
  • 5 million reminders that a) we have a blog, and b)we ARE posting again. and again.

I’m back.
With a post about Times Square, because its recent near-immolation made me see it in a kinder light. I’m lying, actually. Times Square is a horrid, soulless, chain-filled wasteland, but it is in this post, because this post is about my walk from work at 4 Times Square to our apartment in Cobble Hill.
One-way walks, when you can fit them in, are so satisfying—your backdrop never repeats, and every step is taking you thatmuchcloser. This one hits all the major squares in lower Manhattan: Times, Herald, Madison, Union, and Washington, plus Tribeca and the Brooklyn Bridge. In total, it’s a bit over 5 miles, so get your good shoes on player, and get ’em tied up tight. Va be’? Andiamo! (more…)

Ulysses S. Grant Battles St. John The Divine, Or, I Go Uptown

March 9, 2010

Yesterday I did two things I rarely do: I went uptown, and I went to a museum. To generalize, à la Carrie Bradshaw, there are certain New Yorkers who keep abreast of cultural goings-on, who go to gallery openings for reasons other than free wine and breathlessly follow the progression of and revolving doors at the Whitney Biennial. And then there are the rest of us, who only go to any of the above when visitors are in town.

“So I’m thinking we start at the Met, then the City Museum of New York, then St. John the Divine, and then Grant’s Tomb…” he trailed off at my falling face. It was such a gorgeous day, after all, almost shirtsleeves weather, finally spring.
“Maybe not the Met,” I said, as we stood on its wide cream steps. “It’s so huge; it deserves its own day.”
So we didn’t; we took off through the hills and greens of upper Central Park, stopping to sit on the Copywriter’s bench and watch the tail end of a hockey game.

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(more…)

Cafe Arzu Stuffs Me Knifeless With Manty And Lagman

February 10, 2010


Queens Boulevard stretched long and wide, its twelve lanes hemmed by convenience stores, Chinese restaurants, and combo law office/taxi driving schools. “Stop!” I cried. The tiny woman and her non-wheelie suitcase scrambled to the median after giving us a relieved finger. We kept going. And going. “So that’s Lefrak City,” my driver said, after a while. Later, “So that’s the circus mural from Annie Hall.” I kept waiting for “so that’s Cafe Arzu.”

Cafe Arzu
is a Bukharan/Uzbek/Uighur restaurant, and it was for the last ethnicity’s food that we were making this epic trek. My father has been the legal counsel for seven of the Guantanamo Uighurs since 2004, and every time he comes to New York, I tell him “there’s this Uighur restaurant we have to go to,” and every time it is too far from midtown. Last night the restaurant in question (Cafe Kashkar in Brighton Beach) was still too far, but Cafe Arzu, in Forest Hills, was not. (more…)

Dining Out

February 7, 2010

What’s cooking in other kitchens…


[Photo by Sarah McColl]

  • In Brooklyn, Sarah dispatches her foodie blues with porkchops and pickles, à la française. [Pink of Perfection]
  • In Columbus, OH, Becke mourns the loss of The Dog Joint, and its “Windy City Dog.” [Columbus Foodie]
  • In Clinton, MI, Paul and Mandy prove mix-masters with a brunch —a “subaverage” brunch!— that is partially homegrown (fried eggs, sourdough bread, quince jelly), partially foreign (butter, salt, pepper, coffee), and 100% covetable. [Dragonwood]
  • In Arizona, Anne conquers her baking pan issues with milk chocolate mini bundt cakes. Verdict: sub in bittersweet chocolate and a ganache topping and it just might be a winner. [Anne Strawberry]
  • And in Nashville, Rebecca pays tribute to the Big Easy via a “2-day-old baguette, a freshly opened bottle of Maker’s Mark and five delicious snowbound days.” [Ezra Poundcake]

Crazeee Foodiful: The Language Of Healthy Eating Blogs

February 5, 2010

[Crossposted from my other blog, The Topofiles]

The very first blog I read was a food blog, written by the irrepressible, uber-whimsical Clothilde Dusoulier, a Parisian software programmer whose blog chronicling the goings-on in her Montmartre kitchen was so good she was able to quit her day job and write anecdotal cookbooks and a bubbly guide to the shops, open air markets, and restaurants of her city. Over a year passed, however, before I read my first healthy-eating blog–which is an entirely different sort of beast. I had purchased a can of regular old fashioned oatmeal, instead of my usual instant, and couldn’t manage to microwave them without getting either an explosion or gruel at beep’s end. So, like any gen-Yer with a question, I went to google, and one of its first answers was from a blog called “For the Love of Oats.” I clicked, found what I was looking for and kept reading, fascinated. Besides endless bowls of oatmeal, the blogger posted every other thing she ate, and most of them weren’t the sort of things requiring recipes or stories. Plain salads, string cheese, peanut butter and jelly…the sort of thing you or I might put together half-heartedly in the bleary hours of the morning and eat, with even less enthusiasm, in front of our computer screens six hours later. (more…)

(Red) Hook Me In With Cobblestones And Key Lime Pies

January 31, 2010


The spring of my sophomore year, Zoe, Dan, and I went to a party in Red Hook. A combination of social awkwardness and a fully, if eclectically, stocked bar lead me to remember very little other than the cab ride there, and the reason I remember that is it took forever. Red Hook, from then on, was relegated to Brooklyn’s dustiest corners, somewhere between Bay Ridge and Bergen Beach. It was only when I moved to Cobble Hill that I discovered it wasn’t–that in fact, it was right next door. A lucky discovery, as Red Hook is, in my mind, as perfect a neighborhood as you’ll find in Brooklyn, a charming mishmash of civil-war era brick factories adorned with neatly painted signs, sturdy, spare brownstones and cheerful clapboard row houses, deliberately whimsical cafes, and sweeping vistas leading down to the harbor. [UPDATED TO ADD: Apparently, Red Hook, not too long ago, was our nation’s crack capital. But so long as you don’t go too far down Columbia, you should be fine.]

Today, you’re going to go there, and you’re going with a mission: obtain one of Steve’s Authentic Key Lime Pies (you will see why later on). So, let’s hit the road, yes? (more…)

Brooklyn Botanic Garden: Pratties, Plaid, And A Whole Lot Of Trees

January 28, 2010

Ah the Brooklyn Botanic Garden–so classy, so serene, so…unoriginal (for a post subject, I mean). But I can’t help it, really. I only have two sets of walking photos on my phone camera and one is decidedly uncomplete. Plus, the BBG is so gorgeous, even in winter, especially when the snow/sleet/hail trifecta that usually accompanies winter has been all but absent from this one.

I had a meeting at Glass Shop in Crown heights, and as it was a Sunday and about 40 degrees out, I decided I’d walk around Prospect Park first. And I did, but it took less time than I’d planned, and so, with an hour to kill, I remembered that the BBG was adjacent to Prospect Park, and headed down Washington to find its limestone gates. They were open–that’s one of the nicest things about the BBG in the winter: no weddings (which can be a bit rough on the flaneur, Chuck Bass or no). (more…)

Brooklyn, In Steps

January 24, 2010

In her introduction, Emily wrote that I have a talent for putting random healthy things on a plate and making it look really good. The first part, at least, is true, but anyone can do it, really, and it’s not a skill I’m particularly proud of (also, not photogenic). Instead, I’ll be doing walks, along with a playlist or two.
Some of my earliest memories involve walks, usually on the Wellesley College Campus, where I would shove my brothers into mud puddles (“muddygush,” we called them), and cheat at poohsticks, and wheedle my mother into pushing me in the sky blue swing that was forever a bit too big for me, so’d have to hold very tight to the scratchy rope, tight enough to give me rosy burns that I brandished, triumphant, at my brothers.
Mostly, though, we were driven, and when I finally passed my license test, I drove. I hated it, hated throttling through the highways, hated backing up, hated parking, hated being pulled over and having to flirt with odious policemen to avoid being ticketed. My senior year, though, two things happened: my classmates voted me “worst driver,” and I got into NYU, which meant, for all intensive purposes, that I’d never have to drive again.
Because New York is a walking city, a walker’s city. You can walk anywhere, in any direction, and your only impediments will be rivers and the harbor. (more…)