Saturday, January 9, 2010

The Bulls @ The Garden

"Getting tough with the toughest sport on dirt"

Real steers, y'all. With names like Skeeter, Austin and Reese, these riders obviously have names (and some, the looks) more befitting a Harlequin romance novel than the streets of Manhattan. The steers themselves were a trip. Would you ride Bad Blood, Wrecking Havoc or Black Tornado?

The PBR Invitational at the Garden was an awesome line up of some of bull riding's best. I was thrilled to see Brazilian rider, Robson Palermo and J.B. Mauney from North Carolina in attendance.

The Naked Cowboy front and center

Accoutrements aside (the music, the steers, the Stetsons, the spurs), there's something very familiar to me about all this. Perhaps its the memory of a life past, driving along a dirt road in the heat of the Oklahoma sun, dust clouds swirling around. Years ago.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Sifton on Casa Lever

Tom Sach's Hello Kitty bronze statue @ Casa Lever via Mille Fiori

I identify quite a bit with Sifton's writing. It's to the point, painting a picture of the expansive Manhattan dining savannah where hungry and bejeweled gazelles, antelopes and hyenas go to graze. It lacks the witticism that we are accustomed to ala Bruni, but give the man a chance.

What I did find a little shocking was in his review of Casa Lever (which garnered 2 stars), he completely missed (or chose to ignore) Tom Sachs' "Bronze Collection" exhibit of Hello Kitty and Miffy which is located right there at the plaza of Casa Lever.


Friday, January 1, 2010

Baked Day 14: 8 Points and Counting

Baker's Blade for Baguettes at JB Prince

"We forgot to tell you, yesterday you got 2 extra points," Carlos said.

Jesus nodded in enthusiasm. Chitter chatter...

"Jesus say, you get 2 more points today, your rolls is good. But I say no."

Carlos has spoken. Jesus was the guest judge yesterday. And he approved.

It was New Year's Day. The complex was quiet, all the other retailers were closed, save our kitchen. It was great. We were running on a skeleton crew with 3 times the work but I was loving every minute of it. There were no distractions today, no tourists with their cameras clicking away.

The conversations were mostly in Spanish. So conversations go something like this:

Yo something or other...blah blah blah blah..."Muchacha!" (HEEHEEHEEHEEHEE!)

Yup, that's what they called me. "Little girl." Not girl, not woman, but little girl. Must be the new bangs I"ve been rockin'.

I don't know what they were saying, but I hope it's all nice stuff.

Mr. Furbie was back. He had disappeared for a good while. This time, he floured my table, had my back, taught me newer techniques. He had attention to detail when it was important, but didn't sweat the small stuff like I did. All my boules had to be perfect. He just shrugged. But when I overworked my dough and I was literally tearing it (and didn't know), he instructed me to do 3 quick rolls and fold to correct.

I'm there to learn and I'm thankful that (almost) everyone was a willing mentor, even the more experienced interns. How can one not thrive in this kind of environment?

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Sifton on La Grenouille

Christopher Smith for The New York Times

I have been a tad behind in my reading, having been so inundated with holiday shennanigans. However, now that I"m caught up, I must comment about Sifton's review of La Grenouille!

My last visit was on La G's 40th birthday. I haven't been back for one reason: I can't recall the food. How is it that I have no recollection of the meal save the split pea amuse bouche (which, incidentally, is still being served 7 years on)?

Sifton aptly describes my conundrum:

"The crowd is amazing. There are city patricians, upscale travelers, romantics celebrating anniversaries, cads with escort-service friends, priests drinking Burgundy and spooning soup past their dog collars. There is jewelry everywhere, evidence of plastic surgery."

I was too busy watching everyone.

I ended up at La Grenouille as a result of meeting a uber cute Danish guy at a Meatpacking District club. He suggested dinner with him and his friend, and oh, wouldn't I bring a friend along as well? And the locale? La Grenouille.

I suppose it's time to make a second visit and this time, pay attention to the food. :)

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Art in the East Village

"It was very bohème," Pascal said, referring to the East Village 20 years ago. He stood, legs crossed one in front of the other, his salt and pepper curls tousled atop his head. Not that there was anything less bohème  than all of us gathered at The Phatory, a contemporary art gallery in the heart of the East Village. We were artists, musicians, filmmakers and stragglers alike, drinking organic wine out of Dixie cups.

Pascal Benichou, an artist in the truest sense of the word, is a choreographer, photographer, dancer and more recently, industrial furniture designer. There was something very inviting about Pascal. His easy going demeanor, soft spoken yet totally French sensibilities were a delight. As was his love of bread. On his last trip to Portland, he had amazing bread at Pearl Bakery. Pascal's installation, "Of Spirit and Matter" where he explored the human body in relationship to the earth, is hauntingly beautiful. Ethereal, almost. While it was not the current installation in the main gallery area, it was definitely my favorite one.

A digital photograph by Pascal Benichou

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Let Them Eat Cake!

"Let me feed you cake!" Victoria's quiet charm was not lost upon me the evening I met her at Macao Trading Company. An invitation followed in the mail, and I was granted access to her coveted Chinatown Cake Club's first salon.

True to form, it had the makings of a cake thriller. The entire event was shrouded in secrecy. The location was not divulged until the day of, and obtaining that required even more steps. Ah, but it could have been no other way! Only true cake aficionados would go the distance.

Artist Cake Series #1: Tribute to Nobuyoshi Araki

When I entered, I thought I had died and gone to cake heaven. Victoria's abode was charming and tastefully decorated. We were served on traditional Chinese tin plates and tea saucers (very shabbic chic!) There was a selection of at least 10 different cakes, each complex, each unique in taste. One that I was particularly fond of was the pandan Charlotte Russe. The pandan creme was not too overpowering and was just the right texture and not too sweet.

It was absolutely lovely. Victoria is a talented baker who succesfully merges flavors to create delectable cakes that are sophisticated and fun.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Fashion vs. Food

Sequins dress with lace overlay by Vivienne Tam

I attended a cocktail soiree at Vivienne Tam that was co-hosted by the publication I periodically write for, Asiance Magazine. The usual suspects were there, dressed to the nines in killer cocktail dresses. We were plied with copious amounts of Vueve and gently reminded of their special event pricing. One night only! I can't believe I fell for it.

I successfully resisted the urge to browse the racks of Vivienne's Holiday Collection until I saw a flash of purple walk by. I did a double-take, flagged down the sales associate. She was a petite Asian girl wearing a purple sequins dressed with a lace overlay. I ended up buying the matching peep toe heels as well.

As a good friend of mine would say, "You just bought a dress for a party you have yet to be invited to, to mingle with people you have yet to meet." Ah yes, but that is so "glass half empty!" I'd like to think that I made a solid investment.

The buyer's remorse set in a day later. I had just squandered what I had set aside for a master class in sugar work. Time to sell another loft...