Thursday, September 30, 2010

Spicing Up September

September's been a slow month on the blog. Chalk it up to moving to a new apartment, taking care of Millie, and being stuck in a book that I'm just not that into. To make up for it, I'm squeaking in one last post before the end of the month.

Just a few blocks from my new place is a great Mexican restaurant called Charritos. They make some really yummy dishes with mole sauce. That's mo-lay, in case you didn't realize that I'm too lazy to insert the Spanish accent mark over the "e". Apparently I'm also too lazy to look up what that accent mark is called.

Almost everyone who goes there orders the homemade guacamole. Surprisingly spicy, it's made in with a big mortar and pestle right at your table.

The table decorations are really cute too. Loud tablecloths, festive glasses, and embroidered cloth napkins.

On an unrelated note, I've added a few of my current and new favorites to the list of blogs on the left.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Fantasy Gowns

I can't pretend to have closely followed Fashion Week while it was going on last week. I craned my neck while walking past Lincoln Center and saw the tent, but that's about it. I did happen to see these Oscar de la Renta dresses online, though, and thought they were too pretty not to share.

They remind me of something that my Holiday Barbie would have worn. And I mean that as a compliment.

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Cookbook Collector

I wasn't sure what to expect when I opened The Cookbook Collector by Allegra Goodman. The jacket description sounded like it could veer into schmaltzy territory, and I'm always suspect when an author is touted as a "modern day Jane Austen". Happily, I ended up really, really liking this book (and it's not really Austen like; not sure where that comparison came from).
It's the story of two sisters that takes place in a world where rare book collecting, environmentalism, and the 1990s dot com craze all converge. It's a dialogue-rich, character-driven book. It almost surprises me that I like the book as a whole because I found it hard to like some of the characters. I think they were just all so well written that I found myself compelled to find out what happens to them, regardless of whether or not I liked them.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Made in Malaysia

I've probably had a lot of clothing that's said that in the label over the years, but here's the latest- a new fall bag I bought from an Etsy shop based in Malaysia.

I love the size, shape, and softness of the cotton, as well as the fact that it can be worn as a tote or across the body. I think this is finally a bag that will work for me for both work and non-work outings.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Don't Linger

I recently finished the YA book Linger by Maggie Stiefvater. I enjoyed her first book when I read it last winter, but thought this one was pretty blah. The story and characters all seemed kind of tired, like it probably should have ended with the first book but was a sequel just for the sake of trying to mimic the series craze that Twilight started.

It's so disappointing when your guilty pleasure reads aren't any good.

Monday, September 13, 2010

A New Way to Eat Beets

The place where I work gives everyone $150 for a dinner out on their five year anniversary with the company. It makes it a little easier to swallow the bitter pill that is the fact that I've been at my job longer than I got to be at college. So unjust. Anyway, I went our for my dinner last week, back to Dish, a restaurant I've been to and enjoyed before.

One of the specials they had, which I obviously tried, was beet cavatelli. Cavatelli is already one of my favorite pasta shapes, and this was made from my favorite vegetable. The pasta was dark red from the beets and tasted pretty good. The dish on the whole was a little bit salty, probably because it had speck in it, which I learned is a type of Italian ham similar to prosciutto. I hadn't even realized that that was one of the ingredients before I ordered. The excitement ringing in my ears when I heard about the beets must have distracted me from everything else.

We also tried some interested appetizers, like sweet potato spring rolls:

Bacon-wrapped shrimp with grits:

And deep fried spinach, which was really light, delicately crisp, and just a little bit salty.

To top it off I got a delicious, though somewhat unphotogenic, white and dark chocolate bread pudding.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Gatsby Inspired

There was very little chance that I wouldn't read a book with a title like The Summer We Read Gatsby. It immediately caught my eye at Barnes and Noble and I was even happier to discover that it was written be the author of Lulu Meets God and Doubts Him, another book that I really enjoyed. Both are chick-lit novels, but more smartly written than most. This one takes place over the course of one summer month in the Hamptons and is full of references to Fitzgerald and to artists like Jackson Pollack. It was a pleasant end-of-summer book.

And speaking of Gatsby, A Cup of Jo recently featured some pictures of a Jazz Age Brunch that was held on Governor's Island.

It's a 20's-themed weekend where people dressed up in flapper gear. How fun and Fitzgerald-esque does that look?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Dombey and Son

Reading Dickens is a little bit like having a relative come and stay for the summer. It happens once a year and is homey and pleasant, but it can stretch on for weeks at a time, so you have to go about your other business in the meantime.

I spent the past nine weeks "visiting" with the 900+ pages of Dombey and Son, reading a little and then putting it aside to read other books. I decided to tackle it when I saw it in O Magazine, as a surprising pick on Oprah's summer reading list.

Although it's one of the lesser-known Dickens novels, I think it might be one of my favorites. Dombey of the title is so obsessed with the idea of building his business empire as "Dombey and Son" that he ignores his daughter Florence in favor of his son, even after that son dies. The rest of the story centers on Florence and follows the trials of the Dombey family after Mr. Dombey remarries a woman who hates him. There's a huge and entertaining cast of supporting characters, including ones with great names like Mr. Toots and Polly Toodle. There are quite a few moments in the story when Dickens veers off into social commentary about England at that time, but there are an equal number of truly hilarious moments where it seems like Dickens is giving the reader a big wink over the heads of his characters as they do funny and ridiculous things. I was surprised that such a long, Victorian novel was so enjoyable and seemed so fresh, even to a modern reader.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Mad Men the Musical

Last night I saw Promises Promises on Broadway. Commercials on TV have been promoting it as "Mad Men the Musical" and I have to say that it was pretty close. It's set in the same early 60's corporate Manhattan world as Mad Men, with the added bonus of being extremely funny.

Going into the show, I had a feeling that I was going to like it. I ended up loving it. Kristen Chenoweth was great, as expected, and Sean Hayes was completely hilarious. I was laughing throughout the whole show (and I mean serious laughing, not just vague chuckling). I'm not the kind of person who sees everything (or even many things) on Broadway, but I would highly recommend this one to anyone who was thinking about seeing a show.


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