Thursday, October 30, 2008

coltrane/hartman, iphone sync, chi-town

i've been listening to john coltrane and johnny hartman pretty obsessively lately. they feel a bit like home. it's the same with billie holiday. no matter what is going on in my life, a little billie makes everything so much sweeter.

so i was super excited for this lincoln center american songbook series with kurt elling! huzzah!

i voted a couple weeks ago by absentee ballot. so anti-climactic. although, last time the lever was stuck and i had to get some big man in to yank it for me and it was all a bit stressful and embarrassing. so yay for avoiding a situation in which i feel small and weak and helpless. it's like when i can't get my bag up into the overhead bin on a plane. boo!

i did get a request in for a ticket to the rally. so did cadiz so hopefully it won't be too insane and hopefully enough states get called early enough that i can get to bed before 1. cadiz and H are doing me the most gracious favor of letting me stay at their pad for the night, a mere stone's throw from grant park so i'll get some sleep before my 6am flight back to nyc on wednesday.

also, checked the weather and it won't be insanely cold on election day. praise the lord.

am syncing my iphone for the first time since i upgraded to 2.0. yeah, apparently downloading apps from the app store isn't the way to go. because then backing up takes, oh, HOURS. lesson of the day: only get apps from itunes in the future. srsly.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

bebe, nbc guys, chang/carmellini

tidbits first:

went to on broadway and saw bebe neuwirth perform fosse which means i can pretty much die happy. sultry cheyenne also performed. as did cute-as-a-button curtis holbrook though not with west side story (he's playing action in the new broadway production) but instead in the lame-ass dance number steam heat from the pajama game. beebs did the little war jig from pippin. holla.

those guys i met in NH campaigning for obama will also be in chicago on election day so we may have a reunion of sorts. i think one of them may be trying to sleep with me but he's also the one who i know can get me into SNL rehearsals (he brought me in for conan on a day the snl people weren't rehearsing) so i have to play nice. crossing my fingers for good access at the rally at least. also, it was fucking freezing here today. i can only imagine what that means for chicago weather next week. am signed up with the lawyers for obama so i'll probably be outside all day poll watching or something. brrrrr....

went to the "chefs/foodies talking about celebrity" panel discussion at the astor center. speaking: mitchell davis from the james beard foundation, andrew carmellini, gwen hyman (his wife), gail simmons (food and wine/top chef) and david chang. moderated by darra goldstein of gastronomica.

let's first start out with the fact darra sucks as a moderator. word to the wise for anyone planning a panel discussion, do not pick as a moderator someone who LOVES to hear themself talk. moderators are meant to disappear into the ether. we're supposed to forget they're there. we are NOT supposed to listen to them asking questions that aren't questions but grand statements. we are NOT supposed to hear them interject and interrupt constantly with useless banter.

that being said, it was still a fairly enjoyable discussion. darra opened with the terrible, AWFUL proposition that people are now going to cooking school to be famous. i've never heard something so stupid in my life. since palin's last interview. carmellini and chang both agree they got into the business because they liked actually cooking. eureka! that they're not trying to be famous, that fame is annoying, that they're there to cook. the end. what was discussed less was the fact that unless you have a bunch of people following you around and being all culty, you won't get anywhere in this business. backers won't hand money to a chef unless that chef has acquired a following from somewhere.

davis pointed to the origination of this culty stuff as being the time when chefs started putting their names on doors. "before that, it was all about coming from l'ecole." since then, chefs have started stepping out, making names for themselves.

again with a lame question from darra: is it harder for you to cook now that people know more about food and food preparation? she listed as an example, two books devoted entirely on knife skills. chang, wisely, "just because you have a book about knife skills doesn't mean you have them." an answer that sounded brilliant after the stupidity of the question. and again, the chefs reminded us that they cook the food they cook because it's what they want to do, not because it's what people want.

but it's true that eating, and the profile among chefs and restaurants has changed dramatically over the last decade or so. gwen discussed the reactions of shame she'd get when she told people she was dating a cook. that the only cooking shows on television were julia child re-runs. the best line of the evening, because it was both funny and true, came from carmellini: "now, people are taking pictures of their food. you bring over a scallop and they will twitter: 'there's too much salt in my scallop.' seriously."

another smart line from davis: "knowing where the best taco truck is gives you a certain social capital." that is T.R.U.E. i am positively more popular and cooler amongst my friends because i stay so attuned to the food scene in new york. it helps that i also hang out with people who make enough money to actually go out to eat on a regular basis. i imagine we belong to a fairly small subset in terms of being able to afford caring about shit like what chef is moving where. and luckly my attorney's salary leaves me more than enough to eat out with often.

on the shift from white tableclothes to a place like ko that has zero service and hard stools: chang discussed what seemed like a defining moment in his career when working at a restaurant that was trying to get 3 stars, he was told that, in order of importance, food came third after service and wine. he said he remembered being really aggitated that food had dropped so low as a priority at a restaurant. and i don't disagree with his resentment though i'm still of the opinion that superior service elevates good food to a level that is just beyond.

rocco dispirito came up several times as someone who epitomizes the "fameball chef". gail recounted a story that a friend had told her about a conversation that friend had had with rocco. how is that for a huge load of hearsay! but i'll recount it here anyhow. rocco was asking what he could do to re-gain the respect of the food community. the person told him he needed to get back in the kitchen and, you know, cook. rocco's supposed response? "but why would i do that? right now, i make 15 times more money, work 15 times less and have a nicer life with more time to do what i want" the moral of this story is that chefs work long hours, don't get paid nearly enough and the work is damn hard. and that rocco is a pussy. also, i could get better plastic surgery in tiajuana than whatever the hell he had done to his face. off topic but i'm just sayin.

the one complaint that carmellini and chang seemed to have is that the plethora of kids coming out of cooking schools these days seem not to understand that there is a hazing process that one needs to get through. a precedent that needs to be followed if you want to make it into this world. i think the cooking shows, the accesibility make people think that if they like to cook and have money for cooking school that that's enough. wrong answer. memo to new have to work your way up, preferably starting washing dishes or slicing potatoes, just like every other damn chef that came before you. also, don't bother asking for a day off. and don't expect to work less than 90 hours a week either. and if you think you'll get this job for more than 25K a year, you must be kidding.

there was some discussion of cost/benefit analysis and how a chef needs to also be a businessman. which reminds me i need to sift through my el bulli book to find out how the fuck that place stays alive when they have a 2 to 1 ratio of staff members to patrons. does the guy have donors? it blows my mind. the cost of the meal cannot cover running costs.

chang talked about how much he despised ko's open kitchen which surprised me, mostly because i think it's a huge draw, especially since, as the discussion was based on, chefs are celebrities these days and people are worshipping at their temples. if i'm not getting comfort and i'm not getting service, having that interraction and getting to watch substantial. not that the food isn't good enough for the visit alone (it is) but is it worth the price and an aching ass if i had to sit and look at a blank wall instead? so i actually raised my had to ask about it, but i think i said something like, "how could ko exist without an open kitchen?" and i admittedly used the wrong words. i maybe should have phrased it more like, "do you think it would be as successful without an open kitchen?" so dave gave the extremely unsatisfying answer of, "we had no choice, it had to be an open kitchen. there was no option." which didn't at all address the question i'd meant to ask.

and he claims he remembers me having come in but i doubt that's true. i never introduced himself, nor exchanged words with him that i remember. we mostly had common conversation with pete who was being lovely and chatty once people left the joint. but then he made a comment about how he's working on the service which made me think he connected me at sight to this blog (since i've absolutely complained about how much i could tell the chefs HATED having to place a dish on the counter in front of me). that would be weird since there are about 5 people in the world who i don't know personally but who would know i wrote here if they saw me. it's a mystery.

at the end of the day if chefs are to be called celebrities, it's because people admire what they do and enjoy the product they produce. my mom fucking loves rahel ray because rachel ray gives her recipes that make her feel like a capable cook. that's justified. and so chang may hate the admirers like myself but i wouldn't be his fan if i thought his food sucked. he should accept the adoration and be thankful for it. there may be people who like him because it's trendy and may not care for his food but those people are few and far between. i adore those who i admire. those who i'm envious of. those who are brilliant at things that i love. and besides politics, there isn't anything in this world i love more than food. i worked jean george's wedding and was on cloud nine for chrissakes. chang is in good company as far as "chefs that im a fan of."

in other news, got yet another rejection letter from el bulli. getting a reservation there is akin to winning the lottery and i am not a lucky person. you could give me 50 scratch off tickets and i wouldn't win $2. suppose i'll try again next year...

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The end!



Pumpkin carving party!


early last sunday morning i stepped onto the A train at 168th, its first stop due to construction. the train should have been empty and clean. it wasn't. but when the doors opened a woman came in to sweep up some garbage. she picked up a book with a post-it on the cover. "hah!" she exclaims. she walks towards me and another girl at the end of the train. "look at this, it's a note. it says 'pick me up and i'm yours.' strange! it's probably a bible or something." the latter part of that statement seemed a bit non-sequitur-ish but i still understood what she meant as she said in an a "oh, you know those religious zealots always being crazy and shoving the bible in your face" kind of way. she flipped open the top cover and i saw loads of writing in red marker inside. she left the train with the book and re-entered the car a few seconds later. sans book.

and right away, seeing that the book was gone, i intensely regretted not having taken it from her. i thought about composing a blog post about my missed chance at finding something that might have been exceptional. and realizing the train still wasn't moving, i stepped to the door and looked out to see if saw signs of the book. i did! it was on the stairs on the subway platform! i made a mad dash to the stairs, grabbed it and fled back onto the train. just in time, in fact, as the bells dinged and the doors shut less than 5 seconds later. what i found was NOT a bible. it was an anthology of "dramatic opinions and essays" by bernard shaw, vol. 1. since i'm such a theatre buff, it all started to feel very fate-ish.

i peek inside to find this book is quite old indeed. copywrighted in 1907, by 1912 it was part of the private library of one louise edgar. she even signed and dated it up top. and at some point, put her own seal there to mark her territory. the note on the inside cover was a bit banal. it reads: "to whoever found this book (as i do presume you did if you're reading this), it is now yours. i encourage you to read it but this isn't necessary. whatever you do do with it though, i have of you one request. when you're done with it (and preferably that isn't right after you've read this [note]), leave it somewhere for someone else to find. thank you for picking it up and for not judging this book by its cover." and signed it "anonymous." quite dramatic, indeed.

the index shows there are essays on lots of shakespeare, a good old favorite of this old former-english major. i will likely scan those. there's a short bit about nietzsche in english, and a bit on bernhardt. after that i will drop it off somewhere else. not a train though (seeing as it nearly got tossed the first time 'round). maybe a table at starbucks? the dressing room of a williamsburg boutique? suggestions?

Friday, October 24, 2008


Thursday, October 23, 2008

Happy birthday Dignity!

coming out, dinner at august, drag show, chanel, obama voting anecdotes

so we have this friend that we talk about all the time, mostly to discuss how he's gay and won't come out. well, this week he actually came out. which means we no have nothing left to talk about anymore.

went to the opening day of chanel's mobile art exhibit. a very hard ticket to get but (patting myself on the back) i had some early access promo code that i got ages ago. i win. it's a futuristic white snail shell looking thing. you enter two at a time, checking coats and purses and are fitted with mini mp3 players and headphones (that, for whatever reason, they put on you). they press play and you hear a voice. a deep, froggy voice. it's a woman, but sounds pretty asexual in the way that a troll or swamp creature in a sci-fi movie might sound. "come with me," she croaks. "stand up and turn left, walk under the archway..." as she guides you through the space. along the way you look into cardboard boxes to see video being projected into the bottom of the box which makes it look like two little people are inside. and they're naked. and whacking each other on the head with purses. my absolute favorite part was a tiny dark room where the woman told you to take a seat along the back wall, nothing is across from you but an empty wall but down on the ground was water and dirt, the way you'd find puddles along the curb after a downpour. the water was so still that you could see in its reflection, an illuminated row of four-story apartments. little people walking through their living rooms, people turning lamps on and off, closing curtains. just sitting in the dark watching life. i could have sat in that room for hours. but the frog wouldn't let me. photos of human faces sculpted out of leather were grotesque but i couldn't take my eyes off them. a giant purse rounds out the ending. inside, a chanel compact with a television monitor in place of a mirror, showing people shooting the crap out of some very expensive bags. you see a photo montage of purses being made. froggy lady keeps calling it skin, which it is, but you don't want to think of a purse as skin. it's gross. she tells you to write a wish on a tag and hang it on a tree. i do. i'm given a shrinkwrapped 12x14inch chanel catalog that i still haven't opened. the end.

brian's birthday tonight. going to a drag show. it will either be fun or terrible. we were instructed to bring "tranny gifts" which, for me, is going to be a wet n' wild makeup set. if they even still make wet n' wild anymore. i actually have no clue.

had dinner with emily at august. chef: terrence gallivan who strangely has zero google presence. that means this blog will infinitely increase his technorati rating or something. this place is, by far, the coziest, cutest little restaurant i've been to all year. i'm shocked at myself for not having been earlier. ashamed, actually, is a better word. the new love of my life for the next 5 minutes was the guy who was hosting that night. a bearded dark-haired fellow who i just wanted to nosh on for a while. really fucking pretty, this guy.

we started with the pimenton mussels which were underwhelming. the meat was so small and there was almost zero sauce to speak of which left them unnecessarily dry. things looked up as we hit the tarte flambee, a favorite there. tons of soft barely caramelized onions piled on a smoky bread that had been cooked in a wood-burning oven, drizzled with creme fraiche. rock the fuck on. we had the skate saltimboca and a side of creamed brussels sprouts. (sidenote, firefox spellcheck doesn't like this paragraph at all.) and we finished with beef over mashed potatoes with some other stuff that i can't remember because we actually didn't touch it because we'd ordered too much and were too full by the time it showed up on our table. our initial server was a girl, and she was great. we were there fairly late so i'm sure she got cut, and whoever was closing plussed over our table (how's that for waitress speak! i may be an attorney, but i never forget where i came from. holla.) so this guy is really eager to get us out. he still had 4 tables sitting. he cleared the fish that we'd told someone we wanted to finish. he brought dessert menus, we said we didn't want dessert and in a snap he'd whisked away the menus and we had the check. we had tried to tell him that we wanted dessert wine but that's literally how fast he'd whipped up the cards and fled away. i wanted to yell, "hey, buddy. we get the hint. you want us GONE."

also slightly annoying but to no fault of the restaurant, some french table that kept taking pictures of their food. i know it was dark in there but why use flash? it's distracting and now all your pictures are over-exposed you ignorant fool! why don't you adjust manually, with your fancy camera? maybe because even though you spent some $500 euros on it you never learned how to use it?

in all, i still adore this place and if i lived anywhere near the west village, it would be my new home away from home. i'm going back. immediately.

and this story is amazing. i fucking love it. i voted by absentee ballot. highly anti-climactic. i'll be in chicago on election day. hopefully doing some voter protection somewhere. and yes, i should be in PA where it counts...but i really wanted to try to get to the rally that night in the park. it's selfish. i'll do some extra phone banking to repent...

Chanel mobile art exhibit

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Leaves! This one turned out better.

I had a high heel shoe cookie cutter

morons, my republican grandma, pies!

hey, diane fanning in fayetteville NC. you're an asshole. does it feel good being ignorant?

hey, robin hayes. it's called the internet. it means that when you lie about this shit, you won't get away with it. how about you? ignorance working well for you too?

ditto michele bachmann

re: drudge flaunting a nickelodeon poll...can't we all agree that the only polls that should matter are those that survey only people who aren't legally able to vote?

spoke to my grandma yesterday. told her i was sending her an article about all the bad things that would happen to medicare/medicaid under mccain's health plan. they hate when i spew my "liberal propaganda" at them so i was expecting her to tell me not to bother. but since she actually depends on medicaid, she seemed interested. then something happened that i did not expect. "you know, i'm not a real big fan of that palin woman. i think he made a bad choice." i wanted to reach through the phone lines and pat that little old lady on the head and say, "good girl!" but instead i said, "yeah, i think she's probably a nice woman, but when she gave those interviews, she couldn't answer any of the questions." "oh, yes. we saw that couric interview," she responded. "they don't even trust her to have a press conference. she's just not ready for this." "oh yes dear. i agree..."

in the end, it sounded like they weren't going to vote for mccain but i don't think they can stomach voting for barack either. they live in IL so have been looking at obama's name in the paper for much longer than anyone else in this country has who doesn't live in the land of lincoln.

baking pies tonight. never happened on sunday. we started drinking champagne and then, well we all pretty much passed out at ted's.

going to this thing tomorrow. tres exciting.

our fall upstate field trip was fun. pumpking picking. a lame corn maze. apple picking. and then a stop at a haunted winery. it was one of those lame haunted houses though that just have vignettes and nobody jumping out at your or anything. they kept making inside jokes during the "skits" and it was all very amateurish. but the winery was actually a good one and i left with half a case of good stuff. in all, a satisfying day with fantastic weather....

Sunday, October 19, 2008

autumn field trip!

with the gays and some gals this weekend and we've rented some cars and are headed a bit upstate.

hay rides, apple and pumpkin picking, corn maze, a haunted winery, some grape stomping for good measure.

will hopefully be fun and drama free.

will post pictures if i think of it.

and there will be apple-related cooking that follows. will post anything that looks good enough to make people hungry. though, i'd best not post a pie pic unless i think that i can compete with omar. or at least represent enough for him not to mock me.

i want to be a member of "the society nyc"...any readers a member and want to be a referral for me? pretty please!!

this is funny. click and hover over objects for animation. my favorite is the baby names list.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

linkage: raisins, choice, obama's writers = comedy gold

andrew sullivan posted this.

which reminded me of these guys whom i fucking loved.

this is moving as hell...

what i wouldn't have paid to be at the al smith dinner. ben smith's recap below...

At the Al Smith dinner at the Waldorf in Manhattan, where the candidates are expected to roast one another, both do.

Obama was a bit harder on his rival, and perhaps also on himself.

"There is no other crowd in America I'd rather be palling around with," he says. "Can somebody tell me what happened to the Greek columns that I requested?


"Contrary to the rumors you may have heard, i was not actually born in a manger, i was actually born on Krypton and sent here by my father Jor-El to save the Earth."

And:  "I punched a paparazzi in the face on my way out of Spagos. I even spilled my soy chai latte all over my Shih Tzu-- it was really embarrassing."

Mocking McCain, he started with his age, addressing the grandson of the former New York governor for whom the dinner was named.

"I obviously  never knew your grandfather, but from everything Senator McCain has told me, the two of them had a great time together before Prohibition," he said.

He also mocked the houses: "This crisis has been eight times harder on John McCain."

And the GOP: "Whoever would have thought that a cross-dressing mayor from New  York City would have had a tough time winning the Republican nomination? Tough primary you had there, John."

Obama also included a shot at Fox before a gracious passage on McCain and serious words on the financial crisis.

"Fox News accused me of fathering two African-American children in wedlock," he said, turning again to McCain. "Is fox news included in the meida? Because i'm always hearing about the love..."

McCain, who spoke first, also had the crowd in stitches at times.

He mentioned that Biden had claimed that Joe the Plumber isn't rich enough for a McCain tax cut.

"What they don't know is that Joe The Plumber recently signed a lucrative contract to handle all the work on all seven of [McCain's] houses."

"I can't shake the feeling that some people here are voting for me," McCain said. "Nice to see you, Hillary."

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


i'm a huge fan of banksy. not because i condone defacing property, but because his work is just damn beautiful. he's opened up a "pet shop" but with a menu board selling hot dogs and chicken nuggets, seems more like a twilight zone deli. it was a weird, whimsical, morbid, magical place. the animatronics (is that a word? i think i may have just made that up) were tremendous. how he got some of this stuff to move, i've not a clue. but i seriously loved this. i wanted to hang with the bunny all day. i wanted to sleep with the freaks.

this rabit would nod, and turn her head and raise and eybrow at you in a "come hither" fashion. i definitely felt like was being seduced. i even, unconsciously, winked at it. i seriously felt she was a living creature. she is filing her nails.

a tweety bird who'd lost all his feathers.

fish sticks swimming in a bowl. don't ask me how these things worked. they were mystifying. i'm guessing some bendy machine inside and enough floaty outisde material to make them look like they were slithering along.

hot dogs, sausages, balogna in heating tanks like lizards or turtles. bottles of mustard instead of water was hooked to the wall. this hot dog was drinking out of the dish of water, but lifted it's head to look at me as i took his picture. there's a guy behind him too, with a line of mustard.

from the outside, this looked like a sleeping leopard. from the insde, a coat.

this monkey was watching monkey porn. and rewinding and re-playing the same 15 second clip. strewn about, beer cans and fast food wrappers. a pizza box.

and chicken nuggets with little chicken legs, drinking out of a bowl of bbq sauce. it's hard to see, but there was a slimy little newborn nugget slithering around the shell she'd just broken open in the back right side of the photo. gross.

Monday, October 13, 2008

linkage, betty, t's revamped

betty white on craig ferguson. she calls palin a crazy bitch. also, that she'd do obama. ew.

plain white t's "hey there delilah" with a twist. as i know a couple guys in that band, part of me wants to drop dave an email to ask if he's seen this. but if he hasn't, i'm sure this video is violating some sort of copyright issues and he'd then have it pulled.

on mccains predictability

i saw [title of show] last week. it closed on sunday and the whole cast was in tears by the end of their 5 minute standing ovation. it's a musical written about people writing a musical. every bit of the musical seemed like it was written verbatim from conversations they had. at one point. it was a true story of four people putting together a show. the people who wrote it, starred in it. and we got to watch it progress from a jokey "i'm bored" concept to a broadway opening (due to the popularity of their youtube videos...what a happy bloggy story).

got a bit of a shout-out from grub street. and i SWEAR every bit of that is true. especially english's asian fetish. oh! and to back myself up, his fiance has the last name wang. i mean, seriously. AND in bobby's defense as we all know he's married, most the women he was talking to had come up to him. and he did not look like he was trying to take any of them home. we actually commented amongst ourselves that he was behaving himself.

josh stein blogs about me blogging that his hair looked dirty. oh so meta. also, i'm cute!  yay!

it's true. my grandma said so.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

new york wine and food festival: bourdain and adria, tons of chef sightings at the macy's party

this was a weekend of running around. then drinking my head off. then sleeping for an entire day thinking i might die, nay, hoping i'd die. also, this post is epic. i'll forgive you if you don't make it to the end.

friday started up in washington heights at the pub near my house. i'd never been there but heard it was a hotspot for cops and firemen. there were plenty of older folks and lots of hipsters. white skinny stylish people. in my neighborhood. fuck. i am soooo going to be priced out of this nabe within a year.

this weekend was the new york city wine and food festival. giada de laurentiis was doing a book signing at chelsea market at 11. brian called to see if i could do brunch at noon in hell's kitchen. "oh, sure. i can totally do that." i was planning on getting to the market at 10:30, got there closer to 10:45 and the line was over 100 people long. how's that for underestimating the popularity of food network chefs? in my on defense, i don't have cable and rarely watch the channel. i get in line and i'm told that there's a decent chance that she won't even get to me and that i should "think twice" before buying a book and getting in line. had this book been for me, i'd have left. but it was for kate's mom who, earlier this year, waited for 4 hours (giada was 2 hours late) in the chicago cold for giada's hancock and left empty handed. fortunately for me, she got there on time and the line moved so fast i was able to get her to sign a book "to gail, sorry for the wait!" and had enough time to take the subway up to brunch instead of the cab i thought i'd get, if i didn't miss brunch altogether.

from brunch i headed straight for the times center where i had a coveted ticket to the eric asimov moderated discussion with anthony bourdain and ferran adria, the father of molecular gastronomy. i was sitting right behind joshua david stein, gawker writer, better known for this (but holy shit, a googling and a check at his blog says he's married now, damn). he was hairy and looked like he hadn't washed his hair in a week. at the talk itself, asimov looked a bit out of his element, like he'd much MUCH prefer sitting in an office by himself, not having to speak in front of a few hundred people. the discussion was not at all about bourdain (which is fine, he gets many a format to share himself in between blogging, his books and his television shows). bourdain talked to describe what a meal at el bulli is like (adria invented foams, geles, other crazy substances/flavors that are meant for ingestion). in a word, transportational. or orgasmic. we did, however, get to watch a short clip (set to the beatles "a day in the life" of people eating his food and their faces looked like sex faces sometimes. then confused faces others. sour faces even. the whole experience wasn't something either of them really wanted to put words to. like a good symphony, too much shit is going on at the same time to do it justice with letters.

bourdain said that a meal there is "really really good and really really fun." adria talked about how he and bourdain met. bourdain wrote this book where he called adria "the foam guy." at the time, adria said he thought bourdain was a bastard, that he was criticizing something he knew nothing about. later, while making no reservations (his show), a mutual friend of theirs approached adria about having bourdain come in to tape/eat. adria's response: "you must be stupid. why would i sit down with this man who has insulted me?" but after sleeping on it, and knowing that creative people change and evolve, he opened himself up to hosting bourdain. i wasn't sure who he felt needed to do the changing and evolving, sounded like it could have been both of them, actually.

adria has no plans for a vegas restaurant, "it is bette when robuchon is in the kitchen than when he isn't. i prefer to stay in my restaurant, be pragmatic." i'm not sure if they're friends, but that sounded like a fairly direct dig on robuchon and his mini-empire of michelin starred restaurants. adria repeatedly talked about food being a language. that through food, he communicates with others. he often talked about the magic of the meals there, especially of the desserts created by his brother alberto. though, for as much as he talked about magic, he spent plenty of time poo-pooing the way people revere him. "i will cook a fish, coated with sodium chloride and people will ooh and aaahh. i'm cooking a fish in salt. it's a technique that's been around for centuries. people thing that just because i've done something, that it's scientific...i'll use nitrogen to freeze liquids, people are so impressed. it's the same thing as boiling water. no more technical, no more natural."

at it's heart, el bulli, both bourdain and adria agreed, probably could not exist outside of cataluna. to start, the culture is one that reveres food. it's a religion. bourdain discussed eating around barcelona with ferran's brother. "this guy thought that it was the absolute best city to eat in, and he lived there. we ate a lot of food out of cans, and it was amazing." he commented about how americans would see food coming out of a can and run the other way, but that good eating takes an "open mind and an open heart and a sense of humor."

adria personally oversees all staff meals (family dinners in restaurant speak). and those meals consist of very traditional dishes. he was not afraid to pat himself on the back about what a good cook of traditional food he was. "it's possible to be good at molecular gastronomy and to also make bad pizzas." he said, quite proudly, that his staff is the best-fed in the world. a contention i'm positive would hold up in court if challenged.

a good book topic suggested by adria: the exchange between traditional cooking and molecular gastronomy. the way some things start out being radical (gazpacho) and move to commonplace and the way other things (bechemel) which has been around for ages, makes it's way into a modern kitchen. how microwaves started out in homes and now they're an indespensible part of restaurant cooking (and, adria notes, the best way to melt chocolate. and i'm not disagreeing with him, it's certainly the easiest, but i still think the most foolproof is a double chance of burning it in there, but i digress).

audience questions were short and sweet (thank god....but it was food we were talking about. not some contentious political issue which is really when the crazies come out to play). where does adria go to eat when he's in new york?" katz's deli.

then, unbenownst to me, both the guys were doing some book signing downstairs! discussion was to end at 3:15. i scheduled a massage at 4 thinking that i could leave straght away. curses! so i run downstairs, get adrias new book (which is a hefty 20 pound thing) and one of bourdain's that i haven't read, and got in line. there were only about 15 people in front of me and i was able to get bourdain's book signed for kate's husband (two christmas gifts down, 20 more to go!) and the el bulli book signed for myself. adria was adorable. when i got to him he made sure to look up and say, "hello jaaz-meen!" sweet! i grabbed a free bottle of water and a free box of godiva truffles that they were giving away and had enough time to get to my massage, easy.

that night was the macy's culinary council party. in attendance: sam ronson and LiLo (sam had dj'ed at a party down the street earlier, but they retreated to the roof and i didn't see them once), giada and her husband (a tall irish-looking fellow with whom i discussed the annoying lack of flash on the iphone for pictures), bobby flay, anne burrell, todd english, and johnny iuzzini (see my post from earlier today for a blurry photo of his tatooed self).

every time i see todd english, he tries to stare me down. it would be creepy if he weren't good looking. regardless, it has nothing to do with my boobs and everything to do with my half-asian side...dude TOTALLY has an asian fetish. bobby flay was talking up a different lady every 5 minutes and at one point had some crazy blond chasing him around (said blond later grabbed me and tried to make me slow dance with her...WTF?). though generally, he looked a bit lost and wandered around quite a bit by himself looking for people to talk to. i felt less bad for him when he started rocking out on the dance floor. he definitely dances likea white guy. lots of arm movement. but not utterly uncoordinated. giada is just so tiny and pretty in person, i wanted to put her in my pocket to bring home. anne danced her butt off and looked like she was having a blast. i'm not going to blame her for my solitary utterly horrendous dinner at centro vinoteca (the restaurant where she used to work) since it was mostly a staff issue, but i can't much read her. i go back and forth between thinking she'd be so fun to hang out with and thinking she's a total bitch (i sat at the table next to her at morandi's opening and she was a bit commanding). but last night she was this awesome, laughing, joyful woman. rock on.

johnny...oh johnny. when i saw him i let out an audible sqeal. and i pointed. i am SO NOT COOL. "that's johnny iuzzini!" my friend was like, "who?" rolling my eyes at her cluelessness (which is really my own dorkish new york food world encyclopedic brain), we moved a bit closer. and before i knew it my friend had grabbed him and was saying something to him. i had no idea what. she then introduces him to me. being a bit shocked, also having no idea what she'd said (knowing i told her about 3 minutes prior that i wanted him to bend me over and/or do dirty things to me, also that she was drunk, i was mortified at the prospects of her conversation with him). i smiled, shook his hand. he looked like he was expecting something more. maybe for me to throw myself all over him. it didn't happen. he left go to dancing. turns out she told him i'd been to his restaurant and liked his food...harmless. johnny is a cute dancer. lots of shoulder work. also some arm flailing, but because they were hot and tatooed and i wanted them wrapped around me, he gets a pass. (i'll note that i have a friend who used to work at jean georges and swears that johnny is NOT someone i want to take home, that he gets around too much and that my friend would fear for my health if i ever slept with the guy. duly noted!).

food at the party was difficult. chili dogs. corn dogs. they were miniature in size but still way to big to put in your mouth whole. and also, chilidogs? that's asking for disaster when you're wearing a somewhat expensive dress. and impossible if you have a glass of champagne in one hand and a clutch under your arm. needless to say, i ate very little. but drank mucho champagne which might explain my death-state the next day.

music (by dj cassidy) was good. he kept hinting at kanye but never delivered. later i asked him where he thought we should go afterwards. he's like, "i don't go out. i just work." LAME. post-party we headed to a bar around the corner where i ran into a friend who's a fashion editor at a major magazine. she's infinitely more cool and in-the-know than i am so i'm assuming that even though we did it by accident, that we ended up in the right place. however, my feet were starting to revolt (debuted some patent leather mary-janes) and i was feeling nauseous so at 4 i headed home.

today i stopped by the banksy exhibit. post on that tomorrow.

Johnny Iuzzini...details to follow

Friday, October 10, 2008

new roommates

so cassandra, the lovely quiet girl who'd been living with me for over a year finally got a big enough promotion to afford to move. she was the one in the livingroom, which i have to walk through to get to my room. it sounds like a crazy situation but "railroad" apartments in nyc abound and i was charging almost nothing for the room. rachel, the actress who'd just moved into the big room also gave her 1 month's notice at the same time. her good friend had an unexpected room open in a place in brooklyn. poo!

so i was left to find two roommates at the same time which actually worked out swell. i posted cassie's room first and found a girl in FL to take it on pictures alone. some polish girl responded to that ad, came and looked at the bigger room and took it. in all, the quickest most painless roomie hunt on the record.

so they moved in the night before i left for turkey. the house was spotless.

on my return: the bathroom was filthy. polish girl was coming out of the bathroom and there was wet hair stuck all over the shower wall. there was junk all over the kitchen table (dishes and things that there is plenty of cabinet space for) and there were bags of food on the floor (potatoes, rice, onions, etc.). someone started knocking on the door, then they started ringing the doorbell which is when i heard it from my room (the one furthest from the front door). i get up to get it and they're both still sitting in their rooms.

lack of common sense is one of the things that i have a very low tolerance for. there were several things i felt like yelling through the apt:

1.) we are in new york, you cannot keep food on the floor!
2.) i've been gone over a week! why haven't you put your dishes away!
3.) don't leave hair on the bathroom wall! (turns out that FL had left it there by accident but the polish girl showered and decided not to clean it up. who does that?)
4.) if someone is at the door, answer it!

but at the end of the day, i'm hardly ever home. i've made them both agree to chip in for a cleaning person. and i sent out a polite little note to full of "administrative things" about living in our apartment. "hey, i know that you guys may not be expecting anyone but if you hear someone pounding on the door, or ringing the doorbell, please answer it. sometimes it's the neighbor with a package. sometimes it's coned coming to read the meter. basically, they're probably knocking for a reason. thanks."

oy. what i do for cheap-ass living in new york city.

also, my grocery store is now overrun, FILLED, with white people. WHITE PEOPLE! this does not bode well. as much as i wanted to kiss the people who put a starbucks in my 'hood, they are the same people attracting all these hipster folk. and the same folks who are going to make my neighborhood too expensive for me to live in within 3 years.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008


this year's revenge of the bookeaters, i have to say totally beats the sufjan stevens year. it just slaughtered it. even though i love sufjan more than life itself.

826nyc teaches younguns how to be creative. and they have done amazing work and produce a lot of stuff. it's just a supremely good way to make kids interested in the arts. rock on.

so ira glass starts the show. and he's so hot. also, hilarious. "thanks for being out here on a debate night. you know, 826 tries to attract those who care about the betterment of the community and our future. so we ask you here tonight as kind of a social experiment, see who doesn't care quite enough about those things to show up for this." he mentions he's friends with bill ayers (he's from chicago) so that meant we all "consorted with someone who consorts with a known terrorist." he performed a dramatic reading of a story written at 826nyc: worldwide food fight. and it is pretty much what it sounds like. a tourist throws a taco in mexico, that hits someone in india, etc. towards the end, there is a bush press conference. ira interjects (i should note, all quotes are from memory), "obvioiusly, whatever bush recommends doesn't get done. and this is a children's story. even children know that the guy can't accomplish anything."

john oliver was the host. and he was fantastic. i'm definitely going to his next stand-up show whenever that might be. "i'll be speaking in an english accent tonight. that means whatever i say will have a bit more authority than what you're used to hearing." he goes on to say that we could have had that had we not gone and thrown out the bloody tea. "i love america. though, it's a bit like falling in love with a woman who is insanely drunk and who starts vomiting all over herself." "i was there for the very first republican presidential primary debate. it was just about as exciting as it sounds. when they all asked who didn't believe in evolution, three of them raised their hands. and none of them lowered their hands and said, 'just joking!' " re: putting stickers on biology books warning them that it may just be a theory he suggested putting stickers on the bible. also, newtons theory of gravity, "it would read, 'this may not at all be true, maybe we can all fly!' and then we'd be like r. kelly." at one point someone let out a whistle at him. "that was a lovely gesture, but done all alone, it just sounds sarcastic."

he discussed how proud he was, as a brit, of the metals that they'd won at the olympics. he clarified to say that he considered all the U.S. metals to also belong to england because he doesn't recognize U.S. independence. "so michael phelps is the second best swimmer in england! the first is the duchess who has a dorsal fin." "you know, the olympics shows the best part about oppression. i mean, imagine cirque du soleil if we could force everyone into submission and make them do acrobatics for 20 hours a day for their entire lives." on the iraq war: "i call this the wasp theory. if you think a wasp is going to sting you, the best thing, obviously, is to follow the wasp back to it's hive and to bang the hive like crazy." he made a joke about galileo dying, followed it with a "too soon?" and ended with some story about some dude on the street who came up to him as he was walking to work and accused him doing crack off a penguin's nose. not sure if it's a true story, but it made for a few jokes worth, albeit silly ones. he finished with a discussion of ridiculous things this culture has created. inflatable grills. oreo pizzas. "you should put that oreo pizza on the flag poles. wave it around. sing to it at baseball games as derek jeter sheds a single tear. you know why? because that oreo pizza symbolizes something. it says, to those countries who wish to harm us, 'there is nothing you can do to us that we're not already doing to ourselves!' "

sarah vowell (who was on the daily show last night and rocked) and dave eggers spoke about 826. everything dave said, sarah translated into "palinese".

kyp malone from t.v. on the radio also did a reading of a story another kid wrote. about a woman named potato who married a monkey and was a banana critic.

musical performances were interspersed throughout. paul simon, who is quite tiny, played the boxer and mrs. robinson. a new song and another song that i can't remember. it was gentle and calming.

then vowell and a cast that included parker posey read from a chapter about new york from jonathan franzen's state by state.

in all, an evening totally worth missing that debate for. anyway, there were youtube clips of the pertinent moments posted minutes after the thing was over. rock on.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

some links, icky people

homer votes for obama! or tries to!

very moving video: on racism.

i'm going to this bookeaters event tonight. so excited! jonathan franzen reading a new play! ira glass! parker posey! john oliver!! paul simon!!

a friend at work, has a friend who had these conversations with two people on i think she handles these losers in stride.

Quartnal:  Palin won big time tonight
me:  It depends on your politics she is charismatic, but I don't agree with her positions I like biden

Quartnal:  I'm disappointed in the candidates they have running
especially in these times
 me:  should've been hilary
 Quartnal:  politicians are full of u know what
 me:  yup
always has been that way, and always will
 Quartnal:  so watcha doing?
 me:  checking my email
 Quartnal:  we never talk
what ever happened?
 me:  you were supposed to text me your number
but you never did
in any event, I'm seeing someone now
 Quartnal:  I see
 Quartnal:  bye then
 me:  bye
 Quartnal:  thanks for blowing me off
 me:  you really didn't make much of an effort
 Quartnal:  yeah right
u never gave me the chance
 me:  oh well - we may never have even hit it off in person
 Quartnal:  oh trust me we would have
no doubt in my mind we would have
it's just u were always negative
 me:  well, you wouldn't want to be with a negative gal like me anyway then
good luck to you. I hope you find what you are looking for
 Quartnal:  yeah right
 me:  ok
 Quartnal:  with an attitude like that you're relationship won't last long with the guy you're dating
 Sent at 11:36 PM on Thursday
 me:  I was just kidding. I'm actually a positive person - and you seem to be the one being negative right now. I'm sorry it didn't work out - chock it up to bad timing. but there are plenty of other fish
 Quartnal:  Carrie don't kid yourself ok
u never gave me a chance
u act like you're too good for me or something
and you're all rich and stuck up....snotty
spoiled brat
 me:  I'm not going to argue with you. think whatever you will. good night
 Quartnal:  yeah run away
just like u run away from everything else
can't deal with things

PiNo:  hi
 me:  hi
 PiNo:  how ru
 me:  I'm well. and you?
 PiNo:  cant complain  busy lately?
 me:  yes - been traveling almost all of sept
 Sent at 11:36 PM on Thursday
 PiNo:  are we ever gonna meet
 Sent at 11:38 PM on Thursday
 me:  I'm sorry - I've actually met someone.
 PiNo:  k bye
 me:  bye
 PiNo:  fuckin cunt
 me:  wow. ok.
 PiNo:  bye cunt
 me:  now I'm really sorry you and I never met. you seem really great.

Monday, October 06, 2008

highline tour, nyer fest, dentist visits

had my teeth cleaned today. is there something wrong with me if i really enjoy dentist visits? i mean, is there any better feeling than having your teeth all clean and slippery? my last dentist said, "you have 4 cavities. and you have two creases in the sides of your teeth that are decaying and they need to be filled. immediately!" the bill for all that was some $1700. i balked. also, i didn't have dental and there was just no way i was paying that when i had no pain to speak of. i've recently acquired dental insurance and my new dentist (who is a lot older/experienced than my first one. also, he's the busiest one at the office which means his clients stick with him) looked at me today. declared i had no cavities. that the creases he'd fix when i got my braces off in a couple months but they were nothing to worry about and that there was one little discolored spot on a tooth that wasn't decaying but could decay so he'd fill it. so at this point, i'm not sure who to believe. he did, however, show me through my x-rays and all the teeth my former dentist told me had cavities looked just like the rest of my non-cavitied teeth. also, my former dentist told me over a year ago about the 4 cavities and i still have zero pain or sensitivity. i'm thinking i'll stick with the recommendation of my new, insurance-covered dentist, thank you.

i went to the nyer festival town hall panel discussion. i tried to take notes. they were mostly illegible. mostly do to the fact that cornel west talks a mile a minute and he's just all over the place and using lots of big words and basically, it made me feel stupid and slow. dude's brain is about 4 steps ahead of mine at all times. i guess that's why he teaches at princeton and i don't. but for those who care, i'll just type out my scattered notes in order to avoid having to do any substantive writeup that i don't really have time for this week. my absolute favorite part was listening to thomas frank. not only did he make sense, and everything he said was so smart but he was hilarious. he had me laughing harder than i laughed at the halfway-decent comedy show i went to recently. guy is awesome. so highlights:

  • "easy credit worked as a substitute for proper wages" so true!
  • david remnick reading an exerpt from this article. that means we had to listen to remnick say the words "clitoris" and "throbbing." and it was just as uncomfortable as you might imagine it to be.
  • "republicans like deficits because deficits de-fund the left." also so true!
  • there was a token republican, pretty but kind of shallow...remind us of anyone? coughpalincough. her contribution added up to talking about palin's fashion and wiglettes.
  • "de-regulation is the dogma of free marketeering"
  • frank went off on this show that used to feature a "CEO wealth meter" and about how people had their favorite CEOs and how a business could have been made off trading cards featuring said CEO's. "now, all that adulating has evaporated like ice in the saharah"
  • "brother dave, you're a truth teller!" cornel west, to david remnick.
  • "MLK has been deoderized since he got his own holiday!" on why obama shouldn't be afraid to drop more mlk references.
  • at one point tom answered a question with, "no. but lets talk about taxes!" in a cutesy little palin imitation. also worth noting, he lived near obama in hyde park. and grew arugula! elitists!!!
  • "education has ceased to be a way out of poverty. we're producing more college grads than there are jobs available" true! i'd throw lawyers in with that lot too.
  • at one point, cornel west said, "it's not greed. it's structure" and frank answered, "true dat!" heh.
i had a tour of the highline. was really fucking cool. we were led through in small groups, had plenty of time to wander and take pictures. it was just surreal to be up on this grassy abandoned train track and to look around and be surrounded by high rises. such a strange feeling. feeling like you're close to nature but so far away from it at the same time. but it's a quiet, peaceful space and i'm looking forward to when the project is completed and open to the public. for those in new york who may have some extra change to throw around, please donate. there's a stretch of the highline from 30th to 34th that isn't part of the city's property and they need to raise enough money to buy it back. it's the tail end of the highline. the tracks run to a halt in a berry bush. an apple tree hangs overhead. all above ground. it's a sacred, stunning place. throw them some cash.

i also had the pleasure of seeing august osage county this weekend. it was every bit as good as i'd heard, though quite a bit darker. it was funny, and the 3 hours 20 minute running time virtually flew by.

sunday was capped off with dinner and homemade apple by with em, her brother john, em's fiance and his sister in from finland. oh, and port! super good port. port that made me sleepy in my car ride home but which i enjoyed nonetheless.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

On the high line!

Friday, October 03, 2008

vice presidents, plain vices

so, the vp debate. thought biden did very well. walked a fairly fine line. stayed clear of attacking her directly which is what he had to do lest he come off as a big mean bully. she was snarky, uninformed, fairly smooth and composed. certainly folksy. too much so for me. some of that is cute, the rest of it is just weird for me. the winking i thought was horrendous. winking is what i did for better tips while i was waitressing. it's something i did while face to face with someone. "i'll give you a few minutes with that menu, get your wine, and you let me know if you have an questions (insert wink here)." it's not something you do while on a nationally televised debate. it's lame. she had some pretty harsh digs at biden, which i would have thought fair game had she actually been answer questions and telling the truth. hearing biden talk about all the things he's done in his career and having her try to match that while talking about being a business owner (wha?) and a mayor seemed laughable.

whatever. she didn't fail. it wasn't that entertaining of a debate for me. but golly gee, thank goodness that biden didn't mess up!

my name is jasmine and i have a problem. i'm addicted to starbucks and it's making me broke. today marks my first full week without starbucks. i've been using my handpresso and making lattes for myself in the mornings. and it feels good. the handpresso is fairly easy to use but requires some elbow grease. you pump the handle until you have a certain amount of pressure (there's a little gauge to watch) but the pumping, about halfway through, gets increasingly hard. so once i've made my latte, i've had a mini workout and am a little winded. perfect excuse for sitting down and enjoying my labors. also, i've saved about $20 this week for it. the handpresso was $120 so in another 5 weeks it'll have paid for itself already.

oy. on to the weekend for which every minute is booked out for something. i love/hate weekends like this.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

wheeldon, upcoming

saw chris wheeldon, wonderkind choreographer, formerly of the new york city ballet. he's got his own company now which is performing to mixed reviews, mostly because expectations are that be be BRILLIANT at EVERYTHING! ALL the TIME! in other words, he's being held to a standard that just not realistic. but i'd heard good things about this newest program. the first piece, polyphonia i loved. it starred the legend wendy whalen. wheeldon's new piece, commedia, was entertaining enough. i wasn't absolutely moved by it but it was certainly sweet. but best of all, costumes were done by isabel toledo! i fell in love with isabel and her husband ruben after reading a profile of them in the new yorker a couple years back. i'm just so obessed with them. and with isabel's dresses, no matter that i'll never be able to afford one. but they were at the performance last night and seeing them in person made me squeal. loudly. and then i had to run away because i was afraid someone had heard me. needless to say, i did NOT have the composure to go introduce myself. i'm regretting it already.

this weekend has lots of fun stuff. some new yorker festival events. some open house new york events. finally, FINALLY seeing august osage county this weekend.

and i'm nervous for the debates. i'm nervous she'll somehow pull it out. i'm nervous biden will gaffe. i'm nervous he won't call her out on her gibberish. i'm nervous he will and people will decry his bully-dom. and she can't name a single paper she reads. if you actually read newspapers, you KNOW which ones you read. i know which ones i read, which order i read them and with what regularity. yet, somehow, she reas "all of them" and still didn't know what the bush doctrine was. this woman is not for real. when is christopher guest going to come out and tell us this is just another of his mockumentaries?

this made me laugh:  Gooch speculates on how she would answer if asked how she spells her name:

Oh, you know... pretty much the way you would.  It's a very common name, you know, not --  I mean a lot of people have heard one like it.  I spell it the same way I always, the way my mother taught me, just like you and everybody else.  There's this, you know, crazy perception that we, Alaska, you know we spell just like everyone does.  It's not this strange foreign country unlike Washington.  But, you know, like, I, you know, I get it--this gotcha journalism we all have to deal with these days.  Plus, you know I can see that Russian guy in the morning from where I live. Nkay?