Saturday, May 11, 2013


I don't exactly know why or how I remembered this blog, except to lay the blame/credit at the feet of Salman Rushdie. Well, and my own procrastination. I'm currently at the middle to tail end (I can almost see the light at the end of the tunnel) of Midnight's Children, a book I started when I first went to England, nearly a decade ago. Since then, I have taken it with me all around Europe, on optismitic train journeys and cramped RyanAir flights, and never made it past the first 100 pages or so. It's somewhat shameful that I have only now broken past this wall because Rushdie went on The Daily Show to talk about Midnight's Children the movie. One of the few, completely arbitrary rules I have for myself (and everyone should have at least one) is that I refuse to see a movie before I've read the book it's based on (exception #1: unless I was unaware of the existence of the book). So my hipster shame finally won over my innate and incurable tendency to procrastinate, and at this moment, I am on page 238 of my literary albatross.

In triumphing over inertia and inspired by all the food mentioned in the book (faloodas and mango pickles and "curries and meatballs of intransigence," "fish salans of stubbornness and the birianis of determination"), I ruminated to my roommate that I should write a blog about food and books. It took a shameful number of hours later to remember that I already had one. My poor, neglected blog.

Unlike all the previous resurrections, I make no promises about how often or in what manner I will update this, but I am tentatively hopeful of both reading more and cooking (at all) again. I have visions of eating homemade lemon rice while hurtling toward the end of Midnight's Children. Wish me luck, and thank you, Mr. Rushdie.

Monday, January 25, 2010

I only blog when I'm in Europe, apparently

On my way to Leiden and the land of tulips and good beer. Will update with adventures soon.

Be cool, my babies.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

How I Spent My Spring Break: Culinary Tour of the San Francisco Bay Area

I had a pretty ambitious food itinerary before the start of the trip, but alas, found that my stomach couldn't really do four meals a day. Here is the food I did manage to fit in, so to speak.

Sunday, March 8th
Late lunch with April at Vik's in Berkeley. I had the bhatura cholle with idli sambar. April had the dahi batata puri, little puffed up dumplings served cold. Dessert was gulab jamun, mango kurfi, and some nutty thing. The idli and gulab jamun were only okay (Karthik's mom's idli is much better), but I loved the fluffiness of my bhatura cholle. Menu here.

Dinner was a Berkeley classic, one of Intermezzo's giant salads (still only $6.25!). Giant bowl of greens, hard boiled egg, avocado, garbanzo beans, red kidney beans, sprouts, and carrots, with a giant hunk of homemade wheat bread. Still delicious and filling.

Monday, March 9th
I was going to the California Academy of Sciences, so I just grabbed some coffee and a chocolate croissant at Tully's before making my way to Golden Gate Park.

After 3 hours at the Academy and getting lost for another half hour in Golden Gate Park, I finally made it to the Mission for a very late lunch at El Toro, where I had a burrito especial with carne asada, FREE chips, and many different kinds of salsa. And because it was happy hour time, a Negra Modelo for $2! Unfortunately, this was my only taqueria visit this trip (I wanted to go Cancun and about a half dozen other ones, including Papalote on 24th with the great mole sauce).

Burrito and beer in the sun.

After napping briefly at Dolores Park, I met Angelin and Kevan at Tartine for an afternoon pastry snack. I had a frangipane tart (they were out of the banana cream tarts, alas) with a coconut macaroon. The tart was not as good as I remembered it, but the macaroon was 3 bites of deliciousness. Unfortunately, I forgot that Tartine doesn't bake their bread on Mondays, so I couldn't get a loaf of my favorite, the olive oil with herbs de provence.

For dinner, I met up with Adam at Delfina Pizzeria where we had the roasted spicy cauliflower (OMG SO GOOD), the Margherita pizza, the Broccoli Raab pizza, and a bottle of wine. I'm glad to report that Delfina's quality is still fantastic and the wait just as long, but they've added more tables outside.

Tuesday, March 10th
I went to the Ferry Building Farmers' Market in the morning where I bought a lot of fresh and dried fruit (I was on a "P" kick, so I got pluots, persimmons, and pears). For lunch, I had a freshly grilled burger from the Prather Ranch Co. stand and then a yummy rissoto tartlet from Frog Hollow Harms.

In front of the Ferry Building.

Dinner was at Suppenkueche with Shinyung and Jeff and Ashton. For appetizers, we got the potato pancakes and the German salad (mit lots of delicious beets). I had the Jaegerschnitzel with spaetzle (which isn't as cheesy as Elliott's) with Koelsch and Koestritzer. For dessert, Ashton and I wandered back to the Mission to Bi-Rite Creamery (where Obama has visited apparently). We split a cup of ginger and butter pecan. Mmmmm.

Wednesday, March 11th
Lunch wasn't anywhere special, just Cafe Roma in Elmwood, but even their basic sandwich of grilled eggplant and red bell peppers on focaccia was probably better than most food in Boston.

Dinner, for which I'd been saving myself, was at the Chez Panisse Cafe with April. It was actually my first time eating upstairs; Elliott and I spent two anniversary dinners at the downstairs restaurant. April and I split a bottle of Beaujolais Blanc Chardonnay, which was recommended by the bartender. She got the steelhead salmon, and I got the prix fixe, which was a great deal for only $26. I had a green salad, an absolutely delicious pasta dish of bucatini con sarde (with anchovies, sardines, and bread crumbs), and a dessert of tangerine sherbet with candied kumquats and an almond tuile. Cafe menu here, though it changes weekly.

Blurry picture of our wine.

Thursday, March 12th
My last day (sniff) in the East Bay started with brunch with Angeline at the Rockridge Cafe, which serves great diner food. My scrambled eggs had bell peppers and potatoes cooked right in, and the fresh baked currant scone was quite good.

I then walked down to the Berkeley Bowl, where I nearly started crying in the midst of all the wonderful fruit and vegetables on display.

Mangoes and pineapples, oh my!

Don't the mandarin kumquats (larger cousins of the normal kumquat) look delicious? Though the cherimoyas are a bit bruised.

For more quintessential Berkeley food, I had some frozen yogurt at Yogurt Park (chocolate and strawberry with chocolate sprinkles) and then a brat at Top Dog.

For my very last meal in the Bay Area, I chose Gregoire's, which my dinner companions, Jesse, Angelin, and Kevan had never been to. We all shared some potato puffs before the entrees, which were fantastic, every single one of them. I loved my choice of pork shoulder (which also made me feel better about not ordering the pork at Chez Panisse) with honey and Fuji apples.

Angelin's buttermilk fried chicken, in Gregoire's classic corrugated cardboard take-out container.

I wish I could have fit in more restaurants (like Cheeseboard and the Slanted Door and Millennium and Zuni, etc.) and maybe a trip to Napa (and a return visit to Ad Hoc), but I think that I did a pretty good job of eating my way through the Bay Area.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Can Christmas Be Postponed?

I've really let Christmas get away from me this year. Part of it is the shortened time period between Thanksgiving and Christmas and the fact that I'm still not done with finals even though it's only a week until the 25th. But still, I can't remember being this ill-prepared for the season. I don't have the time or the money to shop for the perfect presents for my parents or friends. And I can't even get it together to give the presents that I've *already* made to people. EPIC FAIL. So, of course, I'm shopping for myself (like you do). Here's the modern edition of What I Want for a (Consumerist) Christmas:

1. Who doesn't need a beautiful teapot? Not I.

2. I love this watch.

3. And after four years of political theory at Berkeley, all I got is this necklace.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

How Zeitgeisty are you?

I'm ambivalent about "year in review" features, as they serve primarily to remind me 1) how little I've gotten done this year and 2) how much I've already forgotten. On the love side of the love-hate coin, however, is their attraction to me as annual pop culture pop quizzes (and I do love me some of those). So let's start with New York magazine (that hipster* bible) and their culture awards:

First, their movie wrap-up: I'm afraid that I score a bit fat zero here, as the number of movies I've seen in theaters this year can be counted on one hand. But I plan to go on an Oscar binge this Christmas when I'm at home. Bring on the Nazi movies!

Ah, television, a medium I'm (unfortunately) more familiar with: I'm up to date on my Mad Men, 30 Rock, Dr. Horrible, The Office (Jim + Pam 4EVER), and Ugly Betty (though its sophomore slump is extending into its junior year). I'm surprised that Pushing Daisies isn't on the list, but it's probably for the best; I'd just start crying about its cancellation all over again. As for the rest, I plead the Netflix defense. Plus, I totally devoured all of Skins via the interwebs.

As for architecture, I object to this list on the basis of its omission of Renzo Piano's work for the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco.

Penultimately, I've been living in a hole on Mars with regards to music this year, although Gossip Girl has actually been responsible for introducing me to Santogold and The Fratellis, so I'm not completely musically illiterate. I also have Vampire Weekend, but I'm not crazy about them. Elliott scores huge points in this category, as he actually saw both Radiohead at the All Points West festival (with Lady Liberty in the background) AND The Walkmen this year.

And finally, on the subject of books, purportedly the subject of this blog: I have read none of the ones on New York magazine's list or on the New York Times's 100 Notable Books list, but I definitely plan to. Especially the new translation of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Unaccustomed Earth, and Fanon. Oh, and I should probably finish Margaret Atwood's The Edible Woman before it disintegrates in my purse.

And how "2008" are you?

* I promise to retire this word in 2009. It's way past its sell-by date, no?

Friday, December 05, 2008

What I Want for Christmas*

1. Every single necklace on this page. I can picture this in yellow with a lovely sundress.

2. All the lovely yarn here.

3. A t-shirt proclaiming my crafty bent.

4. One of these.

* The ultra-materialistic version.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

I need a new craft like I need a hole in my head

And yet I want to make a draft stopper for my bedroom door (like this). Now I can't stop browsing IKEA fabrics online. Wouldn't this, this, this, this, this and this make a lovely quilt? I particularly like this pattern , which reminds of looking at spores under a microscope.

Of course, I also have a sweater on the needles and several more Christmas gifts to knit, plus that whole law school finals thing, so I should probably stop here now.