Wednesday, September 29, 2004

circus devils

i've been working with this company ham in the fridge on a couple of recent projects at work. i think they are my 3rd favorite thing from minnesota, the first being jonathan h. and the second being the metrodome, though i've never been there. maybe next season! anyway, they are, like, talented and stuff and created this new game called the political circus. go play it a couple of times, willya?

Monday, September 27, 2004

crud no, i wanna play ball

is it too late to add this to the wedding registery?
and while you're at it, pick up one of these for anne.

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Friday, September 24, 2004

Park Slope Gastronome #3 - A Field Trip

ok, so i was only going to write about restaurants in my neighborhood, but decided that might be a bit too limiting. last night, i took my girl heidi to chikalicious as a belated birthday present. chikalicious is a newish restaurant in the east village that only serves desserts. they offer a 3 course prix fixe, which consists of an amuse, dessert entree and petit fours. the space is a stark box of white and metal - heidi likened it to a muji store.

we both began with a small bulb of lemon ice cream set upon a mound of lemongrass jelly. the jelly was so incredibly delicate, i was amazed at how it was able to keep its solid shape. it melted in your mouth, releasing a crisp, clean and tangy burst. the lemon ice cream was smooth and tart - why don't more people make it? you see lemon ice and sorbets all the time, but lemon ice cream is so rare! for my main course, i chose the warm chocolate tart with pink peppercorn ice cream and red wine sauce. i splurged for the wine pairing and was presented with a glass of mas amiel maury cuvee special 10 yr. i have no idea what that means, but the mas amiel was a delicious accompaniment. not overly sweet and very smooth. the warm chocolate tart was essentially one of those chocolate volcano, molten lava cakes. the crust was made out of a butterly tuile batter and its crunch contrasted nicely with the smoothness of the warm chocolate batter. i enjoyed the red wine sauce, but probably would have preferred it to have been reduced down a bit more. the ice cream was a mound of blushing vanilla. heidi opted for a seared plum half that was served with a ginger vanilla anglaise and something else i couldn't remember. i had eyed that dish too, but i've developed an allergy to stone fruits in the last five years which means i can't eat plums, peaches and cherries. it's a total bummer because i love all three! i think it's ok when the fruit is cooked or pastuerized, like in cherry garcia ice cream. that doesn't affect me.

our petit fours course had a coconut marshmallow, black peppercorn biscotti with hazelnut and a green tea chocolate truffle. i tried the marshamallow first, and upon first touch was swept to the clouds. no, really, i was! the texture was so amazing. it was like squeezing a mogu pillow, only daintier. the biscotti was interesting and it wouldn't surprise me to learn that a half hazelnut gets placed in each one by hand, rather than being mixed in with the dough. the truffle disappeared into my mouth with a puff of cocoa powder. it was the perfect size, slightly bigger than a marble. it was a delicious capper to a delicious meal of sweets.

Food: A
Service: A

Coda: we went across the street to rai rai ken for noodles afterwards. how i love that place!

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Thursday, September 23, 2004

high water marks

Wow, Jim just found out he's one of the 25 finalists in the Powells Books essay contest celebrating 10 years of being on the interwebs. The winner receives $1,000 in books, while 10 runners-up receive a $100 gift certificate. But more exciting than the monetary prize is knowing your work was chosen out of thousands of submissions. Jim is able to convey a really personal experience without playing the emotional card. The subtlety of this nominated work is one of its strongest points, I think, and kind of the aim of the contest, don't you think? I'll forgive Jim for the title, Just What I Needed (tee, hee), because sometimes, a cliche is needed to give you a sense of everydayness. You're right Jim, it does just fit.

Go read it and Vote Flood!

turn and face the strain

bibimbop fun time. make an icon of your face. here's what i came up with. did i capture my sullen weariness accurately?

bread and jam for frances

it may come as no surprise to you that i enjoy reading about food nearly as much as like eating it. i was glued to the recent food-themed issue of the new yorker, enjoying essays on mache, ketchup and pasta, as well as narratives on golden queen corn and your dad's one special recipe. i like leafing through cookbooks to savor the different colors and textures in the photos. yes, something is wrong with me.

one of my favorite books as a child was russell hoban's bread and jam for frances. i can't remember what sort of animal frances is - maybe a badger or a prairie dog - but all she wants to ever eat is bread and jam. mon dieu! the rest of her family loves to eat a wide variety of food. when her mother serves her eggs and she sullenly stares at it and sings a song about hating it. i think. the details are very hazy. i'm sure about the ending though! frances learns to love all different kinds of food! i loved this book so much, i even ordered the 7" from the scholastic book club to play on my michael jackson record player.

mmmbop

it's pronounced "bee-beem-bop."

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

danke schoen, darling

i'm not going to be able to get any work done today. my coworker christy sent me pictures of Danke, the world's smallest dog, who was featured on Channel 4 this morning. that led to me finding the site's Feedroom, which is filled with video clips of a monkey riding a sheepdog, another world's tiniest dog candidate and a pug-fest. oy.

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Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Park Slope Gastronome #2

Well I suppose I should have posted this review first since we ate here on Saturday, but I needed to get my disappointment over Cocotte out first. As previously mentioned on the Bibimbop, Amy was in town. She had just turned 21, so we decided to take her out to dinner. We went to Star of India, on 5th Avenue. Dan and I had discussed eating there before but we never made the plunge. The last Indian place we blindly tried was Joy on Flatbush. Someone stuck a delivery menu on the screen door at 375 Cumberland and delivery choices were pretty slim pickings over there. It was decent enough to order from a couple times, but it was soon determined we always got the same bloated burning sensation after our meal. So back to Star of India, Dan was hesitant to try because he never sees anyone in there. While that could be a bad sign, there's hardly ever anyone in Thai Sky further down 5th Avenue and their food is pretty good. We've also had Thai Sky at least a dozen times since moving to Park Slope but we've yet to actually eat *in.* So here we are at Star of India and as we sit down, we're presented with a basket of papadum and the usual condiment triptych of onion relish, cilantro relish and a sweet tamarind sauce. We ordered the Tandoor Feast for two, to be split 3 ways. It included: naan, a double order of chicken tikka masala, two gigantic vegetable samosa, 4 banana fritters, a bowl of coconut soup, a bowl of muligatawny and two deserts. It was more than enough food, but for some reason, we reinforced the meal with an order of paratha, extra rice and two large bottles of Taj Mahal beer. The two least successful dishes were also the sweetest (not counting the desserts). While the fiery red lentil soup was tangy with a lovely textured consistency, the coconut soup that dan ordered was more like a handful of shredded coconut stewed in coconut juice mixed with a bit of milk. The banana fritters, while crisp and not too greasy, were too doughy for me. The dough to banana combination was about 4-1. The paratha and naan on the other hand, was some of the best I'd ever had. Both, but especially the naan was served piping hot and was chewy and crisp at the same time. The chicken tikka masala was tasty, but the sauce was lacking depth. I will compliment the quality of the chicken - nice chunks of white meat, rather than sinewy mystery parts. For dessert, we chose a dish of pistachio ice cream and a serving of rice pudding. The pudding was fair and the ice cream infected with freezer burn so I didn't have more than 2 bites of either.
Food: B+
Service: B+

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eat fresh

really annoying things that have happened to me on the subway recently:
1. someone ate tunafish for breakfast in the car i was in
2. someone sitting next to me clipped their fingernails with nary a care in the world
3. someone this morning was leaning so far in against the open frame by the doors that her back was pretty much touching my face.
4. the man sitting by me reeked of pee. he was not homeless.

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Monday, September 20, 2004

Park Slope Gastronome #1

It was gorgeous weather on Sunday and what better way to start off the day than with a delicious brunch. Dan, his little sister Amy who was visiting for the weekend and I, decided to try Cocotte, a Frenchy place across the street that shares the same owners as Dan's beloved LouLou in Fort Greene. We decided it was a tad too breezy to eat outside, so we waited for a table inside. There was no one taking names, which should have tipped me off immediately. I have big problems with places that won't let you leave your name and number in your party and doesn't provide space for waiting. So basically, a bunch of people were huddled by the front door and you had to keep a mental track of where your place in line was.

The inside decor is a near carbon copy of LouLou, down to the vintage silverware and turbinado sugar cubes in a ceramic bowl. The food is pretty much the same as well. Our drink orders were taken soon after we sat down. Strong but not very hot coffee cost $3 a cup. I wasn't very happy about this. A bland, but overall fair Bloody Mary cost $6. It came with a long stalk of celery, top intact, so that was a nice, classic touch. The celery garnish in a Bloody Mary is just too underused these days. So we get our drinks and wait for our waiter to come by to take our food order. We wait and wait and wait some more. Nowhere to be seen. We see tables who were seated after us get their food orders in. Of course I get incensed. We finally see our server; he walks past our table no less than 4 times but not once does he pause to say he'll be right with us. When he finally shows up at tableside, he doesn't apologize for making us wait and that puts me over the top. Listen, I know servers are not paid an hourly wage and rely on tips, but it's not just about taking food orders and bringing the food to your table. I want someone to want their 15-20% tip and not just simply expect it. Amy, the one with wait experience at our table agreed. A simple gesture to acknowledge our presence would have done wonders. Oh well.

I got a ham, mushroom and cheese omelette, Dan got the french toast and Amy got the l'ocean omelette - an egg white omelette with smoked salmon and cream cheese. My food was good but nothing spectacular. A bit of dressed greens would have been a nice addition to the egg dishes. Amy's eggs were quite underdone and looked like a plate of grits.

Of course our waiter never showed up to give us the check. Once again we waited and waited and finally just figured out the bill in our heads and left. Don't think we'll be going back there any time soon.

Food: B
Service: D-
(It would have been an F if another waiter hadn't brought out food and actually came back to check in and see if everything was ok)

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Friday, September 17, 2004

what's the frequency, kenneth?

two emails in a row from two completely different people about the infamous words uttered by dan rather's assailant back in 1986. bizzaro. so i let the r.e.m. presale come and go without buying tickets. $75 just seems too rich for my blood at the moment. plus i'd rather spend the $75 on the tasting menu from Jack's Luxury Oyster Bar. shelly and jonathan went the other week and said it was simply marvelous. even if they were creeped out by the waiter who kept refolding napkins when you left the table. i think it's a little over the top too, but i'll take that any day if the alternative is to wait at your table to get your water glass filled up. here's to napkin folders and let's not forget the table crumber either! another small, but welcome indulgence.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

what balgavy won't eat #43

bibimbop chingu balgavy asks, "what is bibimbop?"

well balgavy, thanks for asking. first of all, the most widely used spelling seems to be bibimbap, so a google search for "bap" rather than "bop" will yield you more results. it is this blog's preference to spell it with an "o" however. that's more true to the correct pronounciation. i hope that doesn't confuse you. anyway, bibimbop is a food. in fact, it may be listmaker's favorite korean food. it consists of a bowl of rice and over the rice you arrange a variety of vegetables (such as bean sprouts, spinach, mountain roots, carrots, zuchinni) as well as some seasoned cook ground beef. over it all you add a fried egg or a raw egg. you then pour on hot bean paste and mix it all up. i surmise this dish evolved from being poor and putting together scraps of leftovers with rice. nowawadays they make fancy versions with seared tuna, exotic mushrooms and what not. the best version of bibimbop is the stone bowl variety. basically, everything is the same, expect the dish is served in a stone bowl that's been heated up in an oven for a while. this causes the undercooked yolk of the egg to fully cook through and best of all, causes the rice at the bottom of the bowl to harden into a crispy shell. it is delicious, tasty and nutritious.



will balgavy eat it?

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Monday, September 13, 2004

drinking your expensive drinks

what a fantastically schizo bundle of joy superchunk's "precision auto" is! this summer i heard it two times and each time, it gave me tingles up and down my arm. dj donovan spun it at our wedding and it sent summer dan, along with everyone else into an arms flailing, legs kicking tizzy. then the other night at commonwealth, someone played it on the juke and hearing it again got me all happy. the nostalgic wave was probably exacerbated by the delicious ginger kamikazee i was drinking. post your favorite superchunk moment/memory as a comment. mine is probably their show from the simple machines goodbye kick the bucket party at the black cat in DC about 6 years ago. good times.

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ahhh, much better

goodbye ugly, clunky interface of live journal. hello pretty simplicity of blogger. youthlarge has been retired. welcome to bibimbop.