Friday, December 28, 2007

train talking



Driving around DC, we caught this Kiss & Ride sign on one corner. I thought it was like a whoa, bizarre sign! moment. But it is merely a pedestrian (ho ho) occurrence.

Another chapter of transportation observations. Chapter one: the sweet sounds of adultery. Chapter two: the giggle-inducing bad repartee.

I'm sitting on the 1 subway and the squat lady in a hunter green coat next to me was placidly knitting a hunter green scarf. Perhaps hunter green is her favorite color. And the train fills up, as it does during the evening rush. And then, commotion near the doors! Somebody has trodden on somebody's foot! The horror, the horror!

Or more like, Lady A trips and steps on or into a duo of other ladies. (I don't know why I'm using the term "lady". It sounds vaguely Victorian. Lady Amelia Fotherington stepped swiftly into the carriage much to the confoundment and dismay of Sir Edmund Beef Wellington. Ho ho.) Duo lady #1 was like, Oh hey! or Ow! or some other admittedly angry or pained exclamation. Lady A FREAKS.OUT. In high strung tones, she wails about how it's not her fault. The duo mutter to themselves, really nothing to pay any attention to, if you are a normal human being. Lady A FREAKS.OUT.AGAIN. She's all like, "I don't understand why you have to say negative things about me! You don't know me! You can't judge me by my face! I'm getting married in five days! I'm just trying to make it! You don't know what I'm going through. JESUS CHRIST!"

Duo person #1: You can talk to him at church, praise him.

People giggle. Green lady knits, imperturbable, this one!

Lady Freak Out: (again!) I'm just trying to make it! I can't believe this!

They all get out at the next stop. This has taken place in the course of one stop. I always wonder about taking the 1 line one stop. At most it's like seven or eight blocks. Anyhow, maybe Lady Freak Out was having the worst day of her life. She is just trying to get through the day. Maybe she's afraid she won't be married because she freaks out every time someone says something. Maybe she was just thinking of that tune, "if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere?" and really taking that to heart.

People should just stop freaking out and be courteous. Like Lady Amelia Fotherington who, finally coming to her senses that Sir Edmund Wellington was a boor and a brute, to boot, bid him an efficient farewell.

Or they could be like the guy I saw on the 2, breaking out the mini liquor bottle and mixing its contents with those of his cheerfully holiday-festooned Starbucks cup. Coffee cocktails. How classy! AND economical.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

womp womp



What is with this weather? All gloom and doom and no cheerful fluffy flakey things. They are all at the mall. The sky mall. Hahahahahaha. I totally didn't mean to make an airline shopping catalog reference... for snowflakes. Laughs at her own inadvertent joke: check! Can a joke even be inadvertent? I'm not liking how the word "inadvertant" is looking right now. I am going to avert my eyes.

I didn't have any holiday spirit this year. Presents went unbought, tree sits somewhere in some sad suburban lot, cookies and other baked goods plans fwoop! down the fwoop! tube. Perhaps that's where all my good intentioned plans go. Fwoop! And then to the sky mall.

General malaise. Grr. Arr. I don't think I had nearly enough vacation. That's the verdict.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Wha? del Mundo

Wikipedia says that in El Salvador, there's a National Pupusa Day, on the second Sunday of November. PUPUSAs. They are so cute and round and delicious. Corny cheesey babies.

Okay. I've only had them twice. But they were enough to convince me that pupusa days should be far more common 'round these parts. I had what Robyn might call "epic fail" on Saturday, because I performed amazingly poorly when it came to our jaunt to Bahia in Williamsburg. This is probably due to my staying out super late the night before and being an idiot imbiber. ANYHOW, you can read more about the foods at a passion for food.

The reason I'm really here is to share a little treat we heard at the restaurant and I just had to track down -> Treat. It's all like deceptively normal in the beginning but then... the breakdown! It's from this album and what else can brighten your gloomy Monday?

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

home on the skillet



On the train home, a blonde twenty-something was rolling through her words, slushingly loud for, you know, enclosed public space. Her companion, a salt and pepper-haired, British-ish man, was kissy kissy. Ain't nothing more romantic than discussing logistics with your mistress. She'll take the bus home! No big deal! Blondie also kept bringing up age, much to the discomfort of older man. She's going to turn twenty-seven, officially... her late twenties. OMG. He has wife and daughters. She has boyfriend with very Irish family and has names picked out for future offspring. Why, why, why so much information in ten minutes? How about a silent affair? Silence is sexy. Oh, Blondie, I don't think he's going to take you to London. Oh, I wanted to gouge my eyes out. Thank god they got off at the first stop. Affairs don't belong on the Northeast Corridor — they inspire thoughts of Murder on the Orient Express.

Next.

The cold is bracing, refreshing in some ways — some parts of me like winter — but otherwise it's scooping out chunks of my insides like I'm a tub of ice cream. This is very tiring. Being either a cat or a bear in my previous lifetime, I want to a) hibernate or failing that, b) take lots of naps. a) Going to work and b) dealing with most people were not on this reincarnation/former lives agenda. I'm yearning for hearths and homes and warm cups of sweet drinks and lazing and reading and baking and nice people, but this list is too idealistic and long for my current situation of both asian parent interference/suburban doldrumness/this-is-not-my-kitchenness or batty sublet manhattan crazy this-is-not-my-homeness. I know this arises from my own construction. I should have made something else, but you do what you can. Like I'm missing glue and glitter and all I can make is this origami triangle. Where is my ice-cream center? Is it far away from here?

Photo by: nancymesaaz

Monday, December 03, 2007

chocolate show



Uh, hello Chocolate Show. You are like a month old. You can gurgle and coo. And focus with your cacao bean eyes. Except you are over. Ok, metaphor gone wild. Wooo, show your words! Hahahaha.

Ah, brain, who needs one? So I guess this was a "trade show," so it's for vendors to get the word out about their products and pique some media and public interest blahblahblah? Or it's an opportunity for the mere mortals to pay $20-something to devour "free" samples in Augustus Gloop-like fashion, except you can't really do that because there is a huge crowd of people and also there aren't troughs of samples for chocolate piggies to snuffle around (or drown) in. I have to admit, it's all sort of a weird concept to me, but after making the rounds and sampling enough chocs to actually make me dizzy, I thought it was definitely fun times.

Su Good Sweets highlights some valid gripes about the show, which include charging for sweet, sweet, palate-cleansing bottles of water, needless booths for credit cards and hotels, and paying more for certain booths' samples. She also points out two booths that offered French truffles made with hydrogenated vegetable oil. I believe I bought one of those boxes of truffles for my officemates. Whoops! No wonder they were smoothilicious. But it's actually quite funny because as we were invited to try these samples, the lady with a very Frenchie accent was so threateningly severe: "DON'T CHEW EET. Let eet melt on your tongue! Eet iz an old French family recipe!" Was it all just bollocks? Was that a real accent? No wonder a box only cost like $7.

More than not, I intentionally passed on the NY-centric tables, like Chocolate Bar and stuff I saw all the time, like Lindt, Sweetriot cocoa nibs and Chocolove bars, though I couldn't resist me some Jacques Torres ménage à trois truffles. Sounds saucy doesn't it? They're truffles with three mystery flavors and the ones we tried were super yummy and I had NO idea what the flavors were. Me and my champion palate win gold medals from the supermarket quarter toy machines.
Some of my favorite parts of the day were trying chocolates — I think, at the Michel Cluizel booth — from different places and getting that duh! realization that they actually do taste different even with the same percentage of cocoa content. I hadn't really forayed into the whole origin-focused chocolate consuming thing — because of the plastic ball enclosed champion-ness of my palate — but now I'm more willing to give it a whirl.
The Japanese Mary's Chocolate had strikingly beautiful sweets and works in progress — the dude in the picture above is from that booth — but they were charging for everything and also there was a huge crowd. All in all, the different aesthetics and packaging choices of the companies were very interesting to note because they did have an effect on whether I was prompted to try or pass on them.

Bloomsberry, for example, went for the humorous packaging, which I thought was pretty cute, but it didn't get my tastebuds crying out for cocoa.
My other actual purchases were some chocolate lip balm from Sweet Beauty Spa, out of Seattle. The lip balms are made from all natural ingredients with good stuff like beeswax and babassu seed, aloe vera and avocado oils, etc., plus various strengths of organic/fair trade chocolate. It actually stays on pretty well if you can resist just eating it which is the point where you should just eat some regular non-oil-infused chocolate, but I've found the smell of putting some on is effective when I need a little psychological uplift or if I'm hungry.
I also got some bars of chocolate from Romanicos Chocolate, out of Florida. They had huge lines forming to try their 38 calorie truffles, which actually tasted pretty yummy to me. Their shtick is no preservatives and top notch fresh ingredients so no worries about partially hydrogenated oils there. I'm a little confused about how they don't use any (cocoa?) butter or sugar at all, so it's all cocoa solids... and how all that works. But I got two bars — Mission Fig and Sea Salt Soy Bean. I like the mission fig a lot — it's a nice balance between the really sweet fig and bittersweet dark chocolate. The sea salt soy bean is a little too overpowered by the extreme nuttiness of the soy bean for me, but of course I'm going to finish it, hello. In both cases though, the star doesn't seem to be the chocolate. Maybe it's all about the combination, or maybe there are "hundreds" of results in my gmail when you search "chocolate," maybe I have four different kinds of chocolate bars in my desk drawers. "Whatevers."
I did fail in my attempt to find a nice salted caramel chocolate. I tried Charles chocolates' version but the flavors were way too muted for my liking, though I did enjoy their raspberry truffle which tasted like actual fresh raspberries. I've become a little obsessed with that salty-sweet caramel flavor combination and my favorite in chocolate terms so far has been Fran's and I should have picked up some of Recchiuti's when I was in SF.
Why is this so long? I should have just posted ZOMGOGGOWQWE_E!!! I love chocolate wheeee!
There was an interesting piece about chocolate and the company Dagoba, specifically, in the New Yorker by Bill Buford but that's not available so look at the pictures! And here's a chocolate blog! And here's robyn's flickr set of the chocolate show!
This is no fun when you can't taste the things.