Tuesday, February 23, 2010

torture, tino sehgal, AC, new jobs, korean saunas, i'm almost an aunt!

this article: a must read. you hear people bitching and moaning about trying terrorists in NYC and everybody saying "no" but nobody really understands that because we tortured these people, we can't use any of that evidence to convict them anywhere (even the military tribunals). so the prosecutors have to go out and find all new evidence, from all new places but other countries aren't going to help us convict these folks if they think we're being shady about the process. once you tell everyone they're being tried like any other american criminal, other countries start offering evidence because they trust the system we use on our own citizens will have a modicum of fairness. basically, trying them in american courts isn't the best decision, it's the only decision unless we want to throw the constitution out the window and be one of those countries (communist) that doesn't give a shit about individual rights. meanwhile, the DOJ is having to defend some crazy ass bush-era secrecy claims and they're losing in the courts on habeus hearings and requests for information on surveillance and torture. and then, THEN, you find out that bush doesn't even have any fucking paperwork AT ALL on like half the people at guantanamo. he and his people literally just decided they didn't want to deal and that someone would clean it up after they left. WTF. anyway, next time you hear people going on and on about trying the terrorists in US courts or how crazy it was that we read so and so his miranda rights (which, someone should send rush limbaugh the memo, is something the bush folks did with every terror suspect they've EVER arrested but NOW it's an issue because the black guy did it), i'd send them to the new yorker.
saw the tino sehgal exhibit at the guggenheim this weekend. awesome. you walk into the ground floor to see two people, intertwined in long kisses. they shift their bodies in slow motion, writhe on the floor, turn over each other while their lips are locked together. we were immediately approached by a small boy of 7 or 8 who asked, "can you tell me what progress means to you?" "sure!" i replied. i said it meant forward momentum, change, etc. he beckoned me to follow him and we started strolling up the spiral. a college-aged guy approached us and the boy said to him, "she thinks progress means change" and the guy took over from there and we discussed the civil rights movement, walking me up another level. we were intercepted by a bearded man who told me how he used to hide little notes all over his neighborhood and loved to think of people finding them. i said that reminded me of "to kill a mockingbird" and the gifts that boo radley would leave for scout and jem. almost at the top, a woman came and asked why we'd come to the museum that day and suggested that conversation was a lost art form. after all that, i couldn't disagree.
i'd written about how i've had all these special experiences at other restaurants and then some so-so experiences at locanda verde where i feel a bit like a farm animal being shooed into and out of a pen for counting. the chef/owner commented on that post and asked me to call him. the internet is insane. we've played a bit of phone tag but he's asked me to come in and bring friends which is really unbelievably nice and totally unnecessary. i'd contemplate murdering someone for the fava bean crostini that was on his summer menu which is to say, i like the food there a lot. i never said i wasn't going to come in again, just that i'd noticed i was going there a lot less (monthly instead of weekly) and wrote why. honestly, i'd be satisfied if his staff were asked to be a bit nicer to everyone that walked in the door whether they'd been there 20 times or twice (superstar host aside). and maybe get a damn mailing list so i wouldn't be the next to last person to know about the truffle diners/all you can eat pasta deals and then have to scramble for a resy. or even a twitter account would do! i've worked in restaurants my whole life. i get that a lot of FOH people are actors and can't be bothered to give a shit about anyone but themselves but his restaurant is a busy one so maybe he's got some leverage in the request department. also, he's intimidating. an artist that you don't want to bother, who you sense really IS in it just to because he loves to cook, not because he wants to deal with people like me, which makes it all the more mortifying that he read the post and called in the first place.
every one of my friends knows i'm trying to get out of this law stuff, that i'm over having to tell people i'm an attorney and look like i feel bad about it. i've been sent job openings for grantwriters, bank examiners and policy analysts. i think this means i need to narrow my focus to, i don't know, something. and then send a mass e-mail about it. i'm taking a journalism class with colin at NYU but it's no way to make a living. our professor, a successful/employed person was like, "i'm still depressed ALL THE TIME because so many of my pitches get rejected." great!
i got on a train with that crazy conductor again! i was listening to music so at first i didn't notice his scraggly jolly little voice with carribean accent. but then what i thought was the, "please watch your bags and be mindful of those around you" announcements went on a bit too long and on that icy morning he was talking about how we shouldn't throw salt down because it was more fun to skate instead and then that he was just kidding because ice on the sidewalk is dangerous and how we should all be very careful when we exited the subway and to stay warm and not break our necks out there, and on and on and on.

saw dee dee bridgewater in a billie holiday tribute program for the american songbook series at jazz at lincoln center last week. that woman is like that crazy old aunt whom you love, but are totally embarrassed by in public. she talked about sex and gyrated against the bass while her bass player blushed (hell, i was almost blushing at a certain point and i am NOT easily plussed), spoke in a faux little innocent girl voice and covered some really random songs. she sang "god bless the child" and "them there eyes" which are two of my favorites so i was satisfied. she chatted so much that she didn't have time for an encore (union house, lights out at exactly 10pm). anyway, she's nuts, but totally awesome. 
went to that korean bath house in palisades NJ again, KING spa. i really love the communal feeling of the place. whole families going in to spend the day in some hot tubs, steam rooms, sloughing some skin off each other, eating some kimchi chigae and then sweating their balls off together, as a family. i braved the 200 degree room this time. 3 minutes in there and all my clothes were drenched. panting was audible from all sides of the small furnace we were sitting in. burlap sacks required on entry, along with an hourglass timer because too long in there and YOU WILL DIE. seriously.
kate's water broke but she's not in labor which means she can't leave the hospital and is on an antibiotic IV drip. they'll induce labor on the 5th if she doesn't go into labor on her own first. so i guess i'll be flying home soon but she's so early that baby isabella will be spending a few weeks in the NICU and i'll have to back to chicago in april if i want to do some itty bitty baby holding. (i do!)
packing for vancouver tonight. vancouverites, so says the internet, aren't so worried about fashion as they are with comfort so i'm happily packing hunter boots, some sweaters and a trench. no heels for me! everyone wants those damn red mittens that i think are sold out everywhere so i'm going to have to charm some people into procuring them for me. i.e. selling my body for knitware. kidding! (not really.)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

ford, nyc dining

as if dating julia allision weren't an automatic disqualifier of harold ford as a person, much less an elected official, now he's backtracking the fact he probably didn't declare having made any income in nyc even though he works for merrill lynch NY and has been supposedly living here. it didn't take long after the bayh announcement for all my tweeps to start talking about ford's move to indiana. what a moron. bayh has been a pain the the ass. but at least he was still in the dem caucus. what i'm saddest about re: his departure is that will forte is a PERFECT evan bayh so it's always a bit sad to lose a politician who has an SNL doppelganger. unless it's sarah palin. i'd lose her just fine.

i'm thankful for jesse and cousin these days who are pretty much the only friends with whom i can discuss politics (and to whom i bow down because they're both so much smarter than me). who know enough to get my jokes and retweets, and to have a discussion wherein i don't have to give a poli sci 101 course when talking about why one wouldn't want to vote for harold ford, "well, his position on 'the issues' doesn't matter because there's this thing called carpetbagging and it's bad because..." not to mention the fact that most my friends, beyond being pro choice and pro gay marriage have never discussed any issues in my presence. so i am resolving now to conserve my energy. a cap and trade on political discourse! sometimes i'll read something like this and just think, DAMN, i want to discuss this with someone so i turn to the blogs where obviously TPM, and matt yglesias and andrew sullivan and ezra klein will all have posts about it so i have somewhere to work out my foreign policy angst. or my healthcare angst. or NCLB angst. or my immigration angst. etc., etc.

i was handed a YSL manifesto today. the strawberries are FUG. and i hate the seams on the tribute sandals. they look plastic. booooooo.

i think i'm over locanda verde. it wasn't a conscious choice. it's just that i've been there dozens of times, almost always bringing friends, i became friends with a host but nobody else at that place knew or gave a damn who i was. i don't go to restaurants to be treated like royalty, but a regular should be recognized with a smile, at the very least. i've started going to joseph leonard and everyone says hi and smiles and knows that i come in regularly. the owner knows, his fiancee knows, all the bartenders and even some kitchen staff know me at this point. i get hearty, "hey! good to see you again!"s and they are nice to me because i take the precious time i have and spend my precious money there are thankful. for all the times i've been to locanda i've NEVER had a manager come over to see how my meal was, never a visit from andrew carmellini with the sour face/withering stares who seems annoyed by every single patron who walks in who isn't a friend or industry person. the worst part is they have a record of exactly how many times i've visited so they know when they seat me that, yeah, i've been there more than a few times. the restaurant isn't that big and they're in tribeca so they have to be a neighborhood spot because they won't be a destination place forever. all this is something i'd noticed before at locanda but the more places i go to eat, the nicer people are to me at these other places and seem thrilled to have me back (and know that yes, i am a returning visitor) the more i'm put off at spending more money at a spot that doesn't appreciate ME, the avid eater to whom EVERYONE comes for restaurant advice. the girl who is SO NICE to staff, incredibly patient, always tips more than 20% and had been recommending it to everyone who'd listen. the last time i went in i brought 4 girlfriends, our waitress was an asshole to us until my host bought us dessert and she realized that one of us knew somebody. after that she was sweet as honey. yuck. so compare that to an evening at esca, or faustina, not to mention the spots that i'm a REAL regular at (that won't be named to avoid stalkers) and locanda verde just loses out in the worst way. the food there is good. but the food at a lot of places is good. i'll keep going to see my host and hope he'll someday move to a more hospitable restaurant.

curling and speedskating are my only options while i'm in vancouver. oh, and hockey but 1.) i can see hockey anytime and 2.) i don't enjoy it and 3.) tickets are HOLY HELL expensive for hockey. all the skiing ones are ruled out as i have no plans to head to whistler...although julie just sent me this so mum's the word on not enjoying hockey if i want some canadian man to bring me home (which, i don't really, because i saw photos of the condo where i'm staying and it's so gorgeous and right in the center of everything and really perfect).

i have paella, billie holiday, alec baldwin, a korean spa day AND a crawfish boil in my future. laissez les bon temps rouler!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Chatroulette, v-day

after a group viewing of LOST this week we started talking about chatroulette. julie wanted to try it so we brought the laptop out. things started okay. we "nexted" a few dick pictures. some fratty guys "nexted" us. the screen will just go black if they don't like you. justin and i were front and center so men and women who were alone and wanting to flash each other some skin, weren't interested in us. we found a french guy where i practiced the few phrases that i knew how to spell (speaking french is so much easier than writing it...that's what happens when  you don't actually take lessons and just pick it up here and there, i suppose). then we came across a kermit the frog puppet who put some lotion on his hands and proceeded to jerk off. we totally watched kermit masturbate for several minutes. it was hilarious. then we came across some guido, mid 20's. he types: "aren't you a little old?" and then "creeper" and nexted us. i got called OLD and CREEPER by some dude who was probably like 3 years younger than me. we died. and then decided that YES, we were, indeed, probably too old for this. that being said, we were big photoswappers so this is right up our alley. julie and i tried a few days later and met a cute boy in miami and a sexy older man who lived in perth and showed us pictures of his brothers, and walked us around his house and showed us his boat. and the stripper pole in his garage? *sigh*
i'm never squeezing a baby out of my chachee. kate is in and out of the hospital and i sit next to someone who is due in april. did you know your nipples turn purple? and your gums could start bleeding like crazy? and, THIS is the kicker, some people's feet swell and never get back down to their normal size. on top of the whole baby weight stuff. i can't imagine not fitting into the $4K worth of shoes i own. i LOVE my shoes.
i'd thought i'd recognized the guy at table down the booth from us at faustina. nate appleman!
went to the party for the CFDA finalists. 50 beautiful men just stood on pedestals while we all supposedly admired the handiwork of the clothes they were wearing. we, of course, started mini relationships with our favorites. "i want that one to get in a fight for me." "that one is a good kisser" "that one with the leather bomber, i want  to ride into the sunset with me on a harley." our favorite was this guy. GOD. so hot. my second favorite was one that reminded me of ryan gosling. at first i hesitated, wondered if there was something wrong with me staring down these gorgeous things, objectifying them like that. then i remembered that i'm a WOMAN in NEW YORK CITY. being objectified is basically a part-time job, forced upon me by the sleazy men of this city. i can't count how many times a day i'm cat-called or just stared at in a way that's creepy. and these guys? they get paid to stand there and be looked at. i'd get cat called all freaking day if i was getting paid $5 a shot for that shit.
double issue of the new yorker this week, which means i can finally catch up. and let's not even talk about the pile of mcsweeneys. because, seriously, i'm lucky if i read the exerpts in the e-mails all the way through. when i'm unemployed i'll go swimming in mcsweeneys

Princess bride at cabrito's movie night. Ate a personal best SIX tacos and my favorite was tongue?! Inconceivable!!
my valentine's day was spent loving myself, i guess. no, not THAT way. get your head out of the gutter. brunch at joseph leonard made me miss working in restaurants. there's something about the pace and energy in a well-run place. the owner handed a hostess $20 to run out and get more croissants. they were slammed sunday morning. were almost going through bloody mary mix faster than they could make it. from the west village i strolled to soho, sans ipod, and fell in love with the city all over again. you forget how much you lose by tuning out of the city's sounds and into your playlist. the artist talking about his inspiration to some passersby on west broadway. the bebop group on prince street across from j.crew. my favorite singapore importer has gorgeous cream frocks that i'll try to buy on sale. intermix, who no longer has the gorgeous suede brian atwood pumps now has sergio rossi peeptoe platform pumps but you'd be better off with the original YSL incarnation which would be 100% more comfortable and 60% more timeless. ginger citrus tea at balthazar. little pink hearts painted on the sidewalk on both sides of broadway between prince and spring, a small reminder that it was, indeed, valentine's day. decided to satisfy the craving for linguine with clams at esca, which boasts the most convivial bar in town. i've written about it before but things haven't changed an ounce. i was sat next to a longtime regular and friend of the chef. another regular, a 24 year old actress on the other side of him. they immediately started offering tastes of their food even though they didn't yet know my name. we were poured tastes of barolo as we chatted with the chef about where the best bbq in the city was (his answers were all places in kentucky and texas and states NOT new york). the florist came by and soon he was finishing off my pasta and trying my neighbors bay scallops. he returned with flowers (bunches of gorgeous calla lilies) for me and the actress. he does flowers at del posto too, so i had start raving about their lunch. the chef found out i was going to vancouver and gave me the name of someone to call to set me up at restaurants out there. she owns a fantastic cookbook store and knows EVERYONE in food worth knowing. and i have her number on speed dial. moscato d'asti was poured, an affogato ordered and hugs exchanged with friends new (me) and old, as we all departed.
i heart new york.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine's Day, Soho.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

the single life, it's a bloggy world, faustina

i haven't had a single night without plans for like 3 weeks. why was everyone born in the months of february?! next week is no better. nor is the week after that. someone texted to make plans with me and my response was, "well, my next open day is sunday the 21st and after that not until march." i sound like such an asshole. and then i leave for vancouver. i've reached out to some vancouver food bloggers and they've rocked my world with the sheer breadth of their responses. sooo sooo awesome. and LOST is back on so my brain is all kinds of crazy over it. colin and i are taking a writing class at NYU just to toss things up. many random things going on, generally. i'd thought this was going to be a sleepy winter. and we have mice in our apt. like, lots of them. the exterminator left 4 sticky pads and they all caught mice within 3 days or something insane. GAH.
my friend, the life stylist from the esquire loft party, got a gig with the today show. amazing. he pretty much just made up a job and sold it to people. and people are buying the crap out of it. rock on. i bow down to that kind of persistence and entrepreneurial vision.
just when i think i need to start dating more, all these randoms come out of the woodwork in a way that makes me want to go back into hiding in my gay coven. the random bartender i ran into saturday won't stop texting. he's the ex-boyfriend of an ex-roommate. not interested. i also never gave him my number and i'm not sure how he has it. i was grabbing a quick dinner before the st. vincent concert and just as i was asking for my check some dude behind me started chatting. i thought he was gay. as i was getting up to leave he asked where i was going. holding up my ticket i said, "concert!" his response, i'm not kidding, was, "i'm not really IN to music." what the F? WHO SAYS THAT? what the fuck kind of soulless person are you if you don't like music? he was a writer so all he does is "write and read" and i mentioned travel writing and DFW at which point he rolled his eyes (AT DFW) and said something about DFW being his arch nemesis. AS IF THEY WERE ON THE SAME PLAYING FIELD. some douchebag who teaches writing at a tiny community college in the city. UGH. "you should skip your concert and hang out here with me" is something he said 3 times. this shows 1.) delusions of grandeur 2.) disrespect for my interests/time/money and 3.) a total lack of perception/inability to read body language. i wasn't so much as suggesting that i was enjoying his company because, well, i wasn't. but he was so full of himself he thought i was just playing hard to get. he made me give him his number (don't even talk to me about giving out fake numbers because these days EVERYONE calls you the instant you give it out so that you'll have their number too. and if you suggest taking their number they'll say, "call me so i have yours!" the fake number shit SO doesn't fly anymore). very self-assuredly he said, "we're going to hang out within the week." i said, "i'm actually totally booked all week" "oh, i think you can cancel some plans to have a drink with me." "why would i that? i don't even know you. and you know what? i'm reliable. that's why people like me. i'm the kind of person that doesn't cancel. if you were friends with me, you'd appreciate that. have a good one" i said, and i left. that fucker still called me the next day. unbelievable. 
this video of st. vincent's mouth full of blood is awesome. in fact, i keep thinking about that concert. it was really really excellent. she was an adorable person. twee, but not in a way i found annoying. she mentioned the full moon and people clapped. "yes, let's applaud for the earth! i don't detest that." when bon iver came out, they played a song that they have on the twilight soundtrack. she described the movie as abstinence only education because, in the movie, if you have sex you'll die." after a while she said, "well, this is dreadfully pleasant" and i made a mental note to say that as often as is acceptable. she talked about having written a song with david byrne over skype. what a beautiful age we're living in, right? that artists can video chat with each other and make pretty music. amazeballs. and at the end of the concert she said, "this is our final song" and people booed. and, acknowledging the almost mandatory encore, she followed it up with, "that's a lie. but let's all be complicit in the lie." anyways, gorgeous concert in a stunning venue on a beautiful crisp night. bravo!
have been spotting lots of blogging creatures lately. i saw nick denton at bacaro, ricky van veen at joseph leonard and ben leventhal at the NBC food carts (click through that ben link and read that Q&A, because his answers in there crack me up. he might even be nice but the whole thing just reeked of overblown ego and he sounded SO high maintenance. my friend aviva read it and said, "i have a mini crush on lockhart", however). ricky, on the other hand, just looks nice. one word: dimples. he's one of the cutest grown men i've ever seen. and he's an adult and i'm sure hates being called cute because guys hate that word and they'd much rather be HOT. anyhow, i'd be disappointed if i found out from someone that he was a jerk. it all comes down to the basic desire to be able to trust your instincts. it's why i'm borderline obsessed with joseph gordon-levitt. he just seems so smart and thoughtful and perfect. although, my friends have had to work with a lot of celebrities at their jobs and someone will inevitably perk up with a, "oh, he's such an ass in real life" or "ugh, he's the hugest dick!" and they'll have several stories to back it up. so back to that times Q&A, i go to faustina with justy last night and none other than lockhart steele and sloane crosley (i have the hugest girl crush on her. she was actually on the list i'd e-mailed to doree when she wrote that thing on girl crushes) get sat right next to us. i talk to justin about whether i seem crazy if i tell them that 1.) i know who they are and 2.) admire their work. so i did just that. holy hell are those people NICE. i mean, SO nice. and funny. and lovely. and they ate the same food as us (plus some). i'm not sure i really conveyed my adoration/dependence i've developed with eater.com. how i obsess about new restaurants and know the chef's name anywhere i go. and get opening night resys to almost every big opening. it's my favorite hobby.
so: faustina. i LOVED jeffrey tascarella's piece at eater on bruni. i started following him on twitter so was up to date on all things faustina. took up a wednesday resy, tweeted at jeffrey that i was coming and brought justin with me. the server recommended 3-5 dishes per person. we ordered 9 total (before dessert). it was WAY too much. i should clarify that, considering the mix of dishes we had, it was too much. the ricotta with truffled honey was a little dollop with two skinny bread sticks. something i could have eaten in a single bite. we got the sauteed olives. again, quite nibbly. the poached duck egg w/fonduta came with 3 massive pieces of grilled ciabatta, so, huge. we got the oysters (3) with mojito gelee and the orata with pink peppercorns and seaweed. both totally reasonable portions. i thought about ordering another crudo, or another of the orata itself which was so buttery, cut with just bit of bite from the pepper. so far, so good. when we ordered the server recommended one more dish, suggested a pasta. he said the servings were very small and indicated such with a little circle made with his thumbs and index fingers. so we got the black truffle risotto, which, i should just stop ordering risottos because i don't like them that much. everywhere i go the consistency is different and i'm not sure what it's really supposed to taste like but i'm never that WOWed by it. but, black truffles, so it's a wash. the pasta with tomato and sea urchin was awesome. savory and kind of creamy without being too heavy. the sauce's consistency reminded me of conant's famous spaghetti that he serves at scarpetta. his sauces aren't too wet which means they really cling to the noodle. here's where i'll mention that the pasta sizes were a bit larger than had been described. this is a good thing because we're getting more for our money but a bad thing because we were basically stuffed and dead at our seats by this point. and we still had two more dishes coming out. it was to the point at which we considered telling them to box it up before they got to the table.
the pork belly with mustard seeds and roasted potatoes (forgive me if i'm messing up the descriptions a bit, i'm doing it from memory and am too lazy to google the menu). i usually get pork belly because it melts in your mouth and feels a bit like meat butter. and it feels BAD for you. this one was a tad dry and much less fatty than i'm used to. though less decadent, it felt healthier. then we also had the short ribs with spaetzle which was perfect. exactly the type of thing you want to eat on a day when you got a foot of snow and things are slushy and miserable outside. the meat was tender, the pasta bits, garlicky. the bad thing was that justin and i were force feeding ourselves at this point with somewhat agonized looks on our faces and we'd slowed down substantially. then we got into this WHOLE conversation about our families and love and our expectations of both. they let us linger and the cramping had let up some so we ordered dessert. a chocolate hazelnut mousse parfait thing that came with biscotti and this itty milkshake. OKAY. let's talk. that milkshake was AWESOME and there needed to be more of it. a lot more of it. we almost got into a fight over the last sip. i would have thrown the first punch had jeff tascarella himself not come up to us and said, "are you jasmine? did you tweet me?" why, yes. yes i did. THE INTERNET IS GREAT. we chatted for a bit, i told him how much i enjoyed his writing (which he should do more of, or at least put it somewhere people can read it) and that dinner had been fantastic. then he brought over two glasses of what he described as his favorite wine, the donnafugata ben rye passito di pantelleria. it was a perfectly sweet way to end what was more of an epic meal than justy and i had planned for. if i had a do-over i'd cut out one or two of the fonduta/pasta/hot dishes and get another crudo. then i'd hopefully have room for two desserts. i'll report back after my next visit, which will be soon.
oh, and re: those NBC food carts, it was kind of a fun way to spend an afternoon. I'd figured out all the answers and gave them to my co-workers and we all ended up winning but in different slots so when most people get to go to 1 cart, i maybe went to three of them? this is a wrap-up of the three carts i saw. i missed the porchetta sandwich but that's okay, i can go to locanda for that. the winner was boulud and his burger. medium rare, tomato relish, buttery brioche, YES. and he had on the cutest hat with earflaps and a shirt that read "eat my sausage" and looked like he was having a really good time. anyhow, daniel boulud flies right to the top of my list of people i want to adopt as my grandpa. right next to roger angell.
daily candy sent out a recommendation for this: "SarcMark, Download it for $1.99 to indicate when you're being sarcastic in e-mails or over IM. That's a small price to pay for keeping friends."...i mean, would you even want to be friends with people who were too dumb to get when you were being sarcastic? and people who are bad at sarcasm should probably just STOP being sarcastic instead of buying a character that you can add to things that signal sarcasm. it's ridiculous.
i would PAY to be josh capon's friend. how cool is he?
new girl crush: julie klausner! best answers to this quiz. i agree with almost all of them.
fancy fashion week party tonight. it's hard to look chic in huge rubber rain boots. but i highly endorse the hunter line of boots. they are amazing and totally worth the money. the puddles here are a foot deep everywhere and traipse through as if i'm walking on the beach. i am invincible!

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Judah Friedlander at Caroline's