Wednesday, October 31, 2007

hallows & goodbyes

No, this isn't a picture of Isaac wearing a Halloween mask. It's just Isaac. And he's leaving town. Again. Last time it was Kentucky and he was back by summer. Time before it was Kentucky and he was back in two weeks. This time it's to Chicago and there's a betting pool among some of us friends as to when he'll be back. Some say January, some say March. I bought in for June 3—the beginning of beautiful summer here in Burlington, Vermont. We'll see. Bye Isaac, for now.

See more photos from dinner last night »


Monday, October 29, 2007

vietnam restaurant

If you ever go to Vietnam Restaurant on Route 15 in Essex, Vermont, you'll find yourself in one of those rare moments when understatement is your best dinner companion. Where simplistic elements and uncomplicated combinations guide the cuisine to new plateaus of flavor. You can jump out of your skin of expectation and truly enjoy a pure and delicious meal. For under $10 a plate. The staff is friendly. Not overbearing. Genuine.

The only thing, I might add, that is not understated is the fabulous printed plastic dinnerware in saturated florals of blues, pinks and yellows. In any other setting, I might call it kitschy or gaudy. But at Vietnam, it's endearing and special.

We went there on Saturday night on a double date with Mark and Kathleen. For starters, I ordered my favorite dish, the Shrimp Imperial Roll with hoisin dipping sauce. After that, it was all by numbers (I think my main course was #39).


Saturday, October 27, 2007

stream of colin-ness

“Can you write about rainy day weekends and how they make you wanna hang out and be with the cats and think about what movie you wanna see and what popcorn you wanna eat. It could have a light coating of Parmesan cheese or even taco seasoning. I don't know.

“Sometimes I get the urge to order chicken wings in the morning for breakfast. It's only 8:35 though. I just made coffee. Coffee and chicken wings would not taste good together. Fresh pineapple would be good though.

“When I opened up my eyes this morning. I thought it was snowing. But then I realized my eyes were still hazy. But, it reminded me that winter is soon on its way and we'll soon wake up to snow-falling skies. Which will be NICE!

“My back hurts. I could probably use some Advil. It's from lifting boxes yesterday at our Trailer Trash party at work. It was fun, because we gave people the option to partake in the most extreme challenge--or should I say challenges. They ate pickled eggs. Cat food sandwiches. Chugged milk. Swallowed spoonfuls of cinnamon. Chicken winged outerwear dressed bike marathon challenge. That was fun to watch. All of this to get their free Burton outfit for this coming season.

“Yeah, I think going to see a movie is a good idea today.”


Thursday, October 25, 2007

what—chocolate makes you younger? Plus, 6 other foods to beat aging

We're all about healthy aging these days at work. That's because the featured special report in our new issue is The Search for the Anti-Aging Diet. Something fun I worked on today is a new recipe collection: 7 Foods to Keep You Young—and healthy recipes to go with them. The so-called fountain-of-youth foods are:
  1. Olive Oil
  2. Yogurt
  3. Fish
  4. Chocolate
  5. Nuts
  6. Wine
  7. Blueberries

It's probably no surprise these foods have certain health benefits, but who knew they may also protect against age-related diseases? Turns out what you eat has a huge impact on how long you live (duh!). Check out this quiz to find out if your diet is making you younger or older.

Monday, October 22, 2007

secrets, sister, blah blah

It's Hanushka's birthday today. I called her to make sure she was having a good day. I gave her all the gossip I was good for (not much) and she repaid me with the best gossip of my life. Enough to elicit a gasp so loud it woke Colin up from his nap on the couch. Now I can't tell you what it is though, can I?

Before the call, I was working on Eat Peas and watching some old sitcoms: Designing Women, Perfect Strangers, and Whose the Boss. Colin came home during Whose the Boss and he got hooked right in too.

"Remember the good old days when there were just sitcoms and no reality shows?" I said.

"Yeah," Colin agreed. "Like Full House, Growing Pains, the Cosby Show, Webster..."

I told Hannah about the sitcoms. She was like, "No way! I was just watching Whose the Boss too! Was it the one when Sam gets caught for cheating on her French test?"

And I was like, "Yeah! Ohmygod, that's so weird." Turns out ironically that she was switching back and forth between Whose the Boss and some reality show I've never heard of called I Love New York. Oh, the webs we weave...

Meanwhile, the new Eat Peas post is up, and it's a good one too, I might add!

Here's a picture from yesterday. That's about as much of the beautiful day I got to enjoy since I was working on those freakin' menus for work all afternoon. Oh, and then we did go to Isaac's birthday party last night at Red Square (he and Hanushka have the same birthday) which was pretty uneventful. Except that some drunk guy tripped over some cables and pulled down the speakers and projector that were broadcasting the Red Socks game on the side patio. Which was fine by me and quite funny actually (all the security guards went running).

Good night, sweet dreams, and DLTBBB!


Sunday, October 21, 2007

letter from maman

I got this email from my mum today (she never e-mails) and I enjoyed reading it so much, I decided to post it. She's from England, by-the-way...

* * * * *

Papa and I watched 'The Queen' last night. Papa cried. I thought it was very well produced, and they seem to have pinpointed the characters to form. What I found poignant was the relationship of Charles to his parents. As a child, he had very little, if any, cuddle-time. Nanny was the one constant, while his parents went about their business of state and commonwealth. As an adult, he still feels the distance, coldness and ridicule for his so many inaptitudes.

The other scene that left a mark was Her Majesty, stuck in the river, having a little moment of sorrow, and, turning, there he was, the most majestic stag on the entire 4,000+ acre estate. She shooed him away with her scarf. She turned briefly, and he was gone. On hearing of his ultimate demise, she drove over to the next door estate, which housed the weekend business man who had shot the stag. The gamekeeper showed her the stag, hanging unceremoniously from a hook in the game room, head laid aside to later adorn the great hall of some cold castle. She gently touched his head, noticing that he had been wounded, not a clean kill, as with Henry's Anne. The stag had to be tracked for miles before he was finally put out of his misery. Here was majesty, tracked down and felled.

What strong abodings... Our house is full of ladybugs. Papa has painted the front door a delicious umbric red, and has been chopping and stacking wood. I have been gradually putting the garden to bed: tying up the raspberries, mulching them heavily with peat moss and leaves. I made the most delicious soupe a l'oignon last night, with a slice of toasted Ezekiel bread atop laden with cheddar cheese and popped under the broiler til bubbly and golden brown...simply delicious. Papa went crazy over it!

I tried to take the DogAge Test the other day, which is quite involved, and was almost at the end, where I would get the results for Sadie Wall when it suddenly disappeared, and was gone forever. It took so long to get that far, that I just didn't have the energy to go back and do it all again. They can get stuffed! Sadie is great. She spends her outside time pretty much creeping up on the squirrels as they feed at the bird feeders, then tearing madly after them as they scramble for safety in the retaining wall, or up the pine tree, screaming bloody murder at her for her impossible rudeness!

Latin goes well, and is progressing nicely. I am quilting a lot these days. Wait till you see what I'm up to now... It's a beautiful Sabbathday, so I must needs get me back into the garden... the lavender is in full bloom again! Crazy! Who would think it that it's late October, and 74 degrees F. Love to Colin...I'm really excited about our trip to England. Al of us! What a hoot!

Love, Maman xxx


Saturday, October 20, 2007

week in summary

Isaac told me last night he thinks I've been slacking on my blog. Thanks, Isaac. Actually, it's true. It's because I've been sick for over a week and the idea of sitting at my computer typing when I could actually be laying on the couch resting and watching T.V. just didn't seem like an optimal choice. So, when I haven't been working, I've been sitting on my couch and watching T.V. for over a week now.

While I was M.I.A. in computer world, some interesting events took place:
  • I found out that Chittenden county's recycling program now takes plastics #1-7. Sweet! Now I don't have to feel so guilty when I buy Brown Cow's single serving yogurt.
  • While Colin was traveling for work in Colorado, I made an apple cake for my friend Elisa's birthday. And Emi made a beer can chicken on her grill. What a show!
  • At work, the November/December issue of EatingWell is hot off the presses and we've been scrambling madly to get all that good Thanksgiving and holiday content up on the web. What?! The holidays already?! I've been spending almost every other waking second working with our nutrition editor to come up with diet menus for one of our media partners and realizing in that process that my own diet is far from nutritious.
  • And last night, we had our second annual Round Tha Hood house party in the pouring rain with five South End houses participating. For themes, there was a fireside party, college party, jazz lounge, shotsville and British pub. It was a slightly different crowd than last week with Sister Hannah and yoga Mindy missing. But I think we pulled it off without burning the house down.


Monday, October 15, 2007


In order to minimize my impact here on Earth, I’ve thought about what it would mean to lead a transparent life. What it would mean to untangle the complexity of this world, and truly understand and find meaning in the basic elements that contribute to my existence here.

It would mean taking nothing for granted. It would mean having a hand in the decisions I make. A literal hand. It would mean mixing my dough rather than pulling it from the package. It would mean raising the chicken if I’m to have eggs. Growing the wheat to make the flour. It would mean walking to work. 12 miles down Route 7. And 12 miles back. On shoes that I made from tree bark or, if I have the stomach, from the leather of a felled doe. That I felled myself. It would mean fetching water from the lake (a 15-minute walk there and 15 minutes back). And then to boil it to purify it. On fire that I built by rubbing some dry wood with a piece of stone… And that’s just to start.

To iron out the complexities of life would mean intangible things as well: being honest and true, pursuing knowledge while being sensitive to the needs of others, yearning for community, taking time to understand.

To reach transparency is a huge task. We can only get there one step at a time. I might not have room or time to raise my own chickens, but I can choose to buy eggs from my local farmer and I can make an effort to visit his farm and understand his practice. It is there in our search for understanding that we build community and sensitivity. We nourish one another. And we learn that our efforts have the power to build exponentially upon each other.


Blog Action Day

Sunday, October 14, 2007

5 things I like for breakfast

1. Red eye roast coffee with half n half
2. Plain whole-milk jersey yogurt with honey
3. Uncle Sam cereal with mixed berries
4. Strawberries & peaches
5. Emma's homemade French toast with banana caramel sauce

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

new mural outside the roxy

One more reason I love the Roxy, besides its great movie selection, is the new trend in outdoor murals (a.k.a graffitti) on its facade. Okay, the Simpsons display was kind of cheeseball and I'm not a big fan of aerosol paint. But this new mural we happened upon on Sunday (in process) is pretty cool. It adds interest to a normally bland concrete wall. It engages passersby. And it sends a message of respectful irreverence to the community. Plus it's a neat way to promote the theatre's business while supporting local artists. Cool.

In other news... Suki got spayed today. It was traumatic to say the least. I cried when we put her in the carrier and I almost started crying again when I dropped her off at the vet. But now that she's home and safe, and she's licked off enough of the vet smell so that Au Lait is willing to be in the same room with her, it's kind of funny. With the pain meds she's on—or perhaps because of a sore abdomen—she's taken to falling asleep upright. And crooked-like at that.


Sunday, October 07, 2007

what's for dinner?

We were thrilled to walk by Smokejacks restaurant yesterday morning and see some bustle going on in there. Our favorite summer spot has been closed since the beginning of the season because of a kitchen fire. We (being Em, Kev, Col and me) called immediately to make a reservation.

"Yes, we're opening for dinner," the kind lady on the other end announced. "We can fit you in at 8. Can't wait to see you!"

"Sweet!" we gloated. We just scored a perfect dinner reservation on parents' weekend and during peak leaf peeping season. Luck was on our side.

But see them we didn't as we walked up to the corner of Church and Main at 8-on-the-dot only to find the dining room completely empty and the lights turned off. All dressed up and no place to go.

"Look there's a note taped to the door!" Emi said and walked up to read it. "'We'll be open for dinner on Sunday. See you then!'"

Huh? What happened to our reservation? Guess they didn't open. We were a little confused (but we hadn't left a number with the reservation either, so no wonder they didn't call!) We weren't eating at Smokejacks for dinner and we probably weren't eating anywhere else either. All of the restaurants were completely booked and we were hungry.

We could've gone home sulking. But we didn't. Instead, we tried to turn a (very!) unfortunate circumstance into a memorable night. "Let's get out of town!"

So we hopped in the car and headed to The Bearded Frog in Shelburne. We got there around 9, hunkered down at the bar and right there had ourselves a fabulous meal that included bison cigar rolls with dipping sauce, mussels with chorizo, lime kaffir caesar salad, stuffed artichokes, crusted salmon on corn pudding, and a fresh peach bavarian dessert with honey sauce and a yummy basil berry sorbet that came atop a candy tarantula. So cool! So yummy. And so fun.


Saturday, October 06, 2007

peeping leaves

"So, what do leaf peepers do when they come up here?" Colin asked me this morning.

"They drive really slowly and take pictures. And they usually have white hair," I replied.

"So, do they go to Stowe and look at leaves and then to Warren and look at leaves and then Saint Albans and look at the leaves?"

"Yup, they definitely go to Stowe and the Valley. But they probably don't go to Saint Albans," I said.

"But they also come to Church Street and have lunch and buy knick-knacks," he observed as we headed towards the farmers' market. "Are they leaf peepers or tourists?"

I thought about it for a minute. "Leaf peepers are tourists. They are a specific kind of tourists, because they come here especially to look at the leaves, but they also like to do touristy things like drink apple cider and buy maple syrup." Then I thought, I feel badly for them this year. It's been so dry, the leaves are just turning brown and yellow. It's not the best year for leaf peeping. Kind of drab actually.

But then we turned the corner to City Hall Park and saw the most beautiful tree in mid-change--half green, half brilliant crimson-orange--as though its branches had just got up in flames. I just had to take a picture. And then paint one. Does that make me a leaf peeper?


Tuesday, October 02, 2007

time spent...

I've been spending too much time lately doing things other than writing. Like, perfecting my apple crumble recipe, for instance (tonight the almond crumb topping was divine). Or watching a whole season of Sex & the City in one sitting (it's that time of year, the nostalgia's setting in). Oh, and working. Which doesn't involve much writing at all these days, despite my job title.

It comes in waves. But lately, all I feel is regret for the hundreds of creative things I COULD and SHOULD be doing. The things that were always so important. Like writing. And drawing again. And sewing. And reading. And singing. And, and, and...

Am I lazy? Or just focused? To be fair to myself, the crumble IS getting good. And look, now I'm WRITING about my crumble.

Speaking of Sex & the City and food. I found a great quote for Eat Peas. It's from the Real Me episode in season 4. Carrie says:
When I first moved to NY and I was totally broke, sometimes I would buy Vogue instead of dinner. I just felt it fed me more."


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