Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Franzen is Kakutani'd

I often check out of the NYT book reviews and head to the crossword instead, to fill out three letter words. I have also never read any of Jonathan Franzen's work. Nor do I feel inclined, even in the waiting room of hell, to pick up his new memoir, which the infamous Michiko calls, "an odious self-portrait of the artist as a young jackass". Ouch! But, there are plenty of other things to read, no?

Monday, August 28, 2006

grub burg

lime thing tart

You poor sillies. You had to read a bunch of rot in my previous entry, yeah? But whatever, aren't you used to it by now?? 'Rot', by the way, was an answer in today's nyt crossword puzzle. I know, I know. I'm such a help. It's a good word.

So did you know 'grub' backwards is 'burg'? So mathematically speaking, that means 'burger' backwards is 'regrub'!!! Brilliant! Where's my Genius Award? burger=eatmorefood!

So you know how I haven't updated regularly in, like, forever? That means, you get a whirlwind tour of notable past grub. Why? Why is there a world? Flummox flummox.

In no particular order:

1. Lime tart thing (above) from newishly opened Tisserie on the northwest corner of Union Square, a nice addition to the Square of Togetherness. This tart was tart and sweet. Tart+Sweet=Trweet. As I was eating the tart, it finally dawned on me that 'tisserie' is short for 'patisserie'. Beams of light ensued. I mean, did the Enlightenment Age have lots of pastries? Sure, society might need that contract, Jean-Jacques, but did you take a close look at your desserts? Sweets=peace!

2. Strawberry tart at Fauchon: one of the prettiest, et oui, tastiest things ever. Strawberries standing at attention in a lightly sweet glaze on some custard in this perfectly crumbly tart shell with a sprinkling of syrupized pistachio pieces. My contribution to the world was eating it. Don't go too late in the day for the fruit tarts here. They run away into people's mouths pretty quickly.

3. From the cuisine of France to that of North Africa to Nomad, in the east village. Sietsema's linked review talks modestly about the couscous, but I thought it was excellent — fluffy, light, and duh, couscous-y, nothing like that instant stuff you make from the box. The entrĂ©e comes with everything under the sun, wonderful merguez sausages, really tender lamb and chicken, and lovely veggies and is enough to feed you for roughly half a week. I liked it more than the couscous I've had at Cafe Mogador (another wonderful place). Nomad has a cosy ambience (with a lovely bathroom, might I add), if a bit dark, with friendly service. I want to go again soon (hint, hint.. to who? I dunno).

4. And now for something different, let's zoom back to the good ol' South for breakfast. Before I moved out of Williamsburg, I went twice to Egg, which shares a space with a hot dog restaurant, Sparky's. Breakfast by morning, hot dogs by after noon. Logical, no? I had to go twice, because the first time was so damn good. It was dog-day hot outside, even though it wasn't August, and the AC made faint attempts, humming alongside the rumbling tunes of Johnny Cash. That first time, I got this hunky breakfastwich - golden buttermilk biscuit with melted Grafton cheddar, this delicious rich, salty ham, with a bit of fig jam - served with perfect Anson Mills grits and a personal french press coffee. You can see the lovely butter tracks on the plate, if you squint a bit. Can breakfast get any better? No. Am I going to order bags of Anson Mills grits? Yes. (You have to order a minimum of four bags... anyone in?) Do I curse people who don't work during the day and can eat here a lot? Resounding yes.
Why, in my four years, in North Carolina, I never had good grits, I will blame on college cafeteria grit preemption. I was like, what is this crap?? (Shaking head) Oh, the lost opportunities of beautiful grit-dom.
Okay, second installment to come. In the whirlwind tour of GRUB BURG!!!!! We have a lot of ground to cover.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Where I ramble some more and you excuse me because of the late hour

I'm going to take that red exit up to the lantern-stars and orbit around a disco ball mysteriously, imperiously, a trajectory majestic and true.

No, I will crane my neck and look far up at the floatey lights and small various bugs will burn and die and fall into my mouth. And I will choke from that crispy protean protein.

Okay. "Free-writing" time is over. Put away your crayons and let's take a nap, kiddies. I seem to remember an anecdote of my friend's sweet sixteen, which I wasn't at, because I was wasting away the extravagance of youth on Saturdays. I've never been to a sweet sixteen (don't PITY me!!) but apparently there's that candle-lighting thing and I got a dedication that went something like, blahblahblah janet, who will be so successful if she doesn't fall asleep first.

Haha. Who's the joke on nowwwwwwww...... errrr...

I am tired and sleepy and plumpisizing. For some reason, this makes me think of pincushions. I guess I am sort of on pincushions. If my dreams were to be reflecting my current state, I'd suppose it would take shape as a chase. And I am lost. in the wood/I know I could/always be good and late great jazz singers would be running behind me scatting and I'd be scooting. And former dead bugs would pass me by, waving to me with their little feet and laughing.

It's the night folks. And I'm sleepy. And I don't know what to do. And I'm losing attention, to give and perhaps to take, of myself and those around me (translation: I'm being a supreme and indecisive BORE. My manners are rather intact. I am not being a BOAR.) Why is it two steps forward and twenty steps back? Doesn't that mean there is something wrong with my shoes?

I greedily? want to be on a path but in flight at the same time. Orbit. Launched. Balanced. Not crashing to earth, my wings all burnt, the Icarus of Weariness comes Tumbling Down and Jill came Tumbling After.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

the personal and the political

So Anthony Bourdain is home safe. Perhaps this is only news of note to certain kinds of food-lovers and tv-watchers out there. Because who cares about people you don't know? What is larger news than Bourdain's actual return (as wonderful as that is) is his reach as a public figure.

Here is this man dubbed celebrity chef who has turned into public world traveller, a human medium bringing not only the world of food but the world itself to us at home, so that we may get a taste of the possibilities. When he tells a personal story of being stuck in Beirut while shooting a No Reservations episode and finally getting safely back States-side, people sit up and pay attention in a way that they wouldn't to their evening news and newspapers. He brings it home, especially in this great article for Salon, Watching Beirut Die, giving us a taste of the tragedy of shut down possibilities. It's an example of some of Bourdain's best writing, which comes with the depth of perspective. He is waiting to be evacuated but knows that there are people with far scarier concerns, far less comfortable conditions. He knows that, as Americans, "In the end we are among the lucky ones. The privileged, the fortunate, the relatively untouched." They get to leave. To go home.

Out of sight, out of mind: I mean, it's nothing new (hello, chaos in all the world, genocide, wars, poverty, natural disasters, disease, death and doom, but really, how should I cut my hair? and where is my life going? and can you believe what happened on Project Runway today?). There's the news, and there's your life. How do the twain meet?

By the by, Mazen Kerbaj's blog, Kerblog, has his amazing drawings about daily life and Beirut. Check it out.