Tuesday, October 31, 2006

happy halloween

Peace is possible in a pumpkin patch. Get on the alliteration train! Happy Halloween everybody. What's your costume? Mine's an awake person.

Friday, October 20, 2006

ugh - can't even depend on the tv

Yesterday's episode of Grey's was the worst I've ever seen. In every single aspect.

Disappointed. Well, that's life. Should I repeat this catch phrase a few hundred times and then introduce impossible plot points that aren't followed through with development or doses of -gasp- reality or depth of feeling? Or should I just go and make a bad tv show and waste everybody's time?

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Commuting Perks

There are few commuting perks. Commuting on NJ Transit is actually a jerk, a bitch, and not enough sleep all rolled up into one ugly wound of life. Anyway, recently I've been coming in early thanks to different getting-dropped-off-at-the-train-station arrangements. This thrilling detail was no way my idea. I basically have the capabilities of a drunk three year old until I've had some caffeine and am safely seated or enveloped by breakfast fumes and basically by then it's lunchtime.

So since this little lazy piggy doesn't always want to arrive at work an hour early, I've been a-wandering now and again, doing some croissant investigative analysis (CIA!) (not as extensive as the wandering eater's cia) at Patisserie Claude, La Bergamote and Petrossian Café, and yesterday I was going to the union square greenmarket when my sleepy eyes spied a flag at Max Brenner's: $1 special of chocolate waffle and coffee. !!!!! A chocolatey imaginary bell rang as I remembered reading about such arrangements at lovescool.

Surprisingly, I'd never eaten anything at Max Brenner's chocolate factory. I did go in to look around the day it opened but got intimidated by the interior somehow and ran away. I don't know why. Perhaps because the place is so large? Who knows. There's a coffee/pastry bar type area for takeaway with a smattering of tables, a spacious restaurant dining area, and then a store full of pretty and pretty penny chocolate packages. Not to mention the tubes and whirley machines and crates of chilis and such. The decor is definitely chocolate chic. Coming to a Pottery Barn near you!

Back to the best deal ever, especially because the 'coffee' can be either a latte or cappuccino. The surly lady who took my order slapped a waffle out of a tub onto one of those rolling toaster thingies and a nicer guy made me a pretty good cappuccino and a less nicer guy put the waffle on a piece of cardboard (cardboard chic! coming to an urban outfitters near you!), shook some powdered sugar on it, and went to a cauldron of chocolate and ladled some on the waffle. I ate with relish (and pickles... kiddingggg!) whilst reading depressing news about the world. The waffle itself was alright, probably rather forgettable by itself (like me!) but with the yummy accompaniments, it certainly hits a sweet spot.

I don't know how long this is lasting. Either 'til friday or the end of the month. But conclusion: Best $1 deal ever. If Max were closer to my work, I'd be fattening up on those babies every morning. Good thing it isn't, so that if a cannibalistic witch lures me to her gingerbread house, I won't be able to fit in to the oven. Man, Hansel and Gretel is kind of a horrifying story isn't it?

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Hallo Frankfurt, part 2: why aren't you waving back at me?

fairytale frankfurt

Sorry I've been sucking at life again. My last entry seems like many moons ago. But let me tell you, it's a tough job, sucking at life, and it's really tiring somehow, not doing anything and not wanting to do anything and explaining the lack-of-happenings with more lacks. Call me Lackadaisy! Plus you have to contend with the waning insecurities and the intense sublimation of all bad feelings to food. My favorite part is the snacking. No lack o' snacks! Wheee.

ANYWAYS, I'm going to continue trundling down the path of remembrances of vacation past. Because I already put up these pictures on flickr. And you know me, I'm all about efficiency, like the German rail system. Ho, ho, moving on.

So those dollhouse-like things up there make up the square in Frankfurt's Altstadt or Old Town. It's very pretty but looks rather Disney-esque without the scary singing mechanical children. The whole historic district was heavily bombed during WWII and the buildings were reconstructed afterwards, so perhaps the singing robot children slipped their minds.


Britain has tea time. Germany has kaffee und kuchen, or coffee and cake time. America has ... what? How come we don't have treats at four or five o' clock? Stupid Puritans. Strangely enough, we never had cake on this trip, no sachertorte, no black forest cake, but I did take a picture of an enticing window. What was wrong with us????? Cakelessness is a poor state of being indeed.


I certainly did not go coffeeless, however. Every few hours, we'd sit down somewhere and order something to drink. The milchkaffee is very popular, and I believe it's the same thing as a café au lait - so that's coffee and hot/steamed milk. The latte macchiato seems very popular as well - made with espresso instead of coffee - and that's like the Italian caffè latte but with fancy layering. And the thing in the picture is an espresso macchiato, which in this case looks like a mini latte macchiato, with the layering, but less milk. Confused much? Now my flexible mind is ready to learn how to play cricket with Gumby.

Finally, there's Quark. No, not those particle thingies. Quark is ... curd cheese. That doesn't sound too appetizing does it? But it's yogurty and lovely with some honey and berries and I could eat it alllllll dayyyyyy.
'Quark' is also not a shabby scrabble word. Now the more important issue is, if you were a quark, the fundamental particle kind, would you rather be Strange, and Charm?
The end.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Hallo Frankfurt!


Oh, it was too long ago, my little trip to the land of meat and beers. Now I am listless and without good cheers.

So a good friend o' mine, Caroline, was taking a bit of break from the grind that is our turbulent, undecided lives, by staying with her relatives who live in Frankfurt. My then-vacation-less ears perked up with her offer for free housing. I found a pretty reasonable airfare. So off I went.

I was a bit apprehensive about not knowing any German. I even borrowed my friend's rosetta stone cd-rom thingies, which isn't exactly German for tourists, so I never got to say, "The horse jumps over the old white car," to anybody. But eventually I became slightly less terrified of umlauts and most everybody there speaks decent to excellent English and made me feel like a lesser person because we in America don't ever learn anything.

I got in late Saturday morning. Carol's relatives live on the edge of Frankfurt, on the end of one of the metro lines. Things are smaller, quieter and there are bike-riders galore. My first meal, kindly prepared by Carol's aunt, consisted of the city's namesake sausage - frankfurter! Hohoho. Somehow it's a little funny. And there was mustard from a tube, pickled beets, and glorious mashed potatoes. Evidently, in Germany, the starch-tastic tuber is a health food and carb-tastic bread is naturally part of meals. I like that.

We went into Frankfurt proper later in the day to walk around. There were lots of people just hanging out in the cafés and bars, having coffees and drinks outside. Carol and I decided that if our town in NJ had like 10% of these establishments, it would be a 100% cooler and less depression-inducing. All it takes is some decent caffeine and a beer or two. Our needs are simple and peasantlike.

Frankfurt-am-Main - that's the full name of the city, it's on the Main river - is the financial center of Germany so there are some tall buildings and such. We went up to the top of one of them, the Commerzbank I think, to take in the view and heard Paris Hilton's "Stars Go Blind" in the elevator. Frankfurter ho, ho. Go figure.

Then we somehow hit up most of Frankfurt's culinary specialties in one evening. We stopped and had some apfelwein, which is hard apple cider that tastes mostly of sweet-tart and yummy apples. The table behind us had a big jug of it and were very loud and boisterously drunk. Some dude nearby asked Carol's cousin if she spoke Chinese and she got mad at him because she's totally German. She gets that a lot, she says, which is understandably maddening. Point one for America - we get less of that here.

And now, the feasting and the dancing! We were led to a restaurant with a big moose head on the wall whose irony-or-not I wasn't able to fathom. But we were joined by Cousin's friends and ate outside and good times were had.

grüne sosse

This is grüne sosse, which pretty much translates to Green Sauce. The green comes from the many different herbs used, and though it's mayo based, the sauce is actually very light and slightly tangy, which goes perfectly with hard-boiled eggs and potatoes.

We also had this pork and mushroom dish with spätzle that I don't remember the name of. But it was might tasty and surprisingly, was the only time I had spätzle during my stay. In fact, I'm feeling a little sad and spätzle-less right now. Or maybe it's just a fun word to say, covered in butter.

In the background here is basically pizza ... but not! It's called flammkuchen and though it isn't a specialty of Frankfurt or Germany-proper but Alsace, the dish abounded at many of the restaurants in Frankfurt and Berlin. It has very thin and crispy crust and the main difference from what we're used to is the crème fraîche instead of gobs of cheese. I think the traditional flammkuchen has the crème, onions and bacon, but ours was covered in a shower of arugula. Fun!
Then Carol's cousin ordered us some handkäse mit musik, another Frankfurt specialty. "Käse" is cheese and this one is a bit smelly though the taste wasn't pungent at all and it had a slightly rubbery texture. I wouldn't exactly embrace this cheese again... not that you should go around hugging cheeses. Handkäse is served with chopped onions and the "mit musik" or "with music" refers to the farts afterward! Hahahaha! Hohohoho!
Since it was cold, we moved inside and had some wine and talked about American TV - Lost, 24 and Grey's are big there, but dubbed and a season or two behind - and how your career is pretty much set when you're young and this and that. It was a lovely first day.
May the Musik be Mit you. Momomomomomo!