Let it be released from the mind

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Cutey pies



Monday, January 28, 2008

All Day Movie Fest!

AMC is hosting a Best Picture showcase for the upcoming Oscars for $30! There's three theaters in the DC area (Alexandria, Gaithersburg, and potomac Mills) that are doing this:

Michael Clayton 11:00 a.m.
There Will Be Blood 1:20 p.m.
Atonement 4:20 p.m.
Juno 7:00 p.m.
No Country for Old Men 9:00 p.m.

Bow down to Baking Soda

I recently realized how awesome baking soda is. I was at BJ's (like Costco) and of course I needed baking soda, but not a giant 5lb. bag of it. It ended up not being very much more expensive than a few boxes at the regular grocery store, so i said what the hell. Perhaps it will be useful.

So I began cleaning with it that day. And wouldn't you know it non-abrasively cleaned the heck out of my stovetop. I would just dab my wet rag (of course using old torn clothing as rags and not wasteful paper towels) into a ramekin of baking soda and rub it into the surface. I was instantly able to scour out the grease and grime of the stovetop, and clean the burners better than I've done before with a lot of bad chemically-things. Comet and scouring pads have scratched the surface of my fairly new stovetop, but baking soda was stern but non-violent as it cleaned up the mess. It left no scratches.

Say goodbye to bad chemicals for cleaning. Say hello to baking soda!

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Friday, January 25, 2008

Catalog waste

Did you know?

Each year, 19 billion catalogs are mailed to American consumers.

What’s the impact?
Number of trees used – 53 million trees
Pounds of paper used – 3.6 million tons of paper
Energy used to produce this volume of paper – 38 trillion BTUs, enough to power 1.2 million homes per year
Contribution to global warming – 5.2 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions, equal to the annual emissions of two million cars
Waste water discharges from this volume of paper – 53 billion gallons of water, enough to fill 81,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools
Environmental impact estimates were made using the Environmental Defense paper calculator.

Check out www.catalogchoice.org as one option to stop all these unwanted catalogs!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

New York City, home of the death of Heath Ledger and Tom Brady's limping leg

Well, shortly after leaving New York City this weekend, the New York Football Giants made it into the Superbowl, Tom Brady visited Giselle Bundchen there, and Heath Ledger died in SoHo.

Our trip was excellent, and the best time I have ever had in the city. I think this is most likely related to the wonderful recommendations I received from so many great friends. All other times I had been to NY I stuck to the touristy and overrun Midtown side streets, which is a waste of time and money. Testing the goodwill of man, we sublet an apartment in Chelsea, which is just southwest of Midtown, and convenient to Greenwich Village, SoHo and Times Square. It was a totally different experience living in a studio for two days and not in a hotel, and I highly recommend it to anyone visiting a city. W 19th Street and 9th Avenue was as quiet as home, and filled with charm. After our "landlord" gave us the key and we handed over the cash, we dropped off our bags and headed to Chelsea Piers for a brew. While this is a hot spot during summer months, complete with driving range and batting cages and deck sunbathing, it was fairly dead on a Friday afternoon in January. I had a cask beer of their brown ale, and we talked to the bartender/brewmaster for a few minutes about their sales to local restaurants and the brews we were sampling.

Later that evening came the purpose of our trip--The Lion King. As the animals poured into the Minskoff theater, and three beautiful African singers belted out melodies and harmonies, tears welled up into my eyes. We had wonderful seats, thanks to Erin, that put us right in the middle of an animal migration come to life. There were a few new songs that I had heard on the soundtrack, but didn't exist in the movie, but for the most part it exactly followed the Disney movie line which slightly annoyed me. However, the costumes and imagery that was created on the simple stage made it absolutely beautiful. There was also a strange disco medley for the hyenas that ranked on my "things that make you go hmmmm" chart. Must have been the Elton John influence...

The bar that Erin recommended right down the street Kemia was regretfully closed for a private party so we ended up just hitting a place called John's Pizza. This is where I began to realize how special New York was. Amongst all of the stiletto heels and Louis Vitton purses there were streets and streets of fabulous restaurants hidden behind a dreary facade of concrete. John's Pizza near Times Square looked like a crappy but regular pizza joint. When we walked inside we were astounded at the 3-level high ceilings, complete with stained glass dome and tiered seating. The pizza wasn't phenomenal, but it was pretty damn good, and we even left with a free sausage and spinach calzone which we gratefully ate for breakfast on Sunday morning. The advantages of dining at midnight. After having drinks at happy hour earlier, and pizza to put us to sleep, I was much happier with the NY I was witnessing while under the influence of a few good drinks!

The next morning we went to Chelsea Market a few blocks from the apartment, where we bought fresh baked bread and perused the Italian market and produce markets. Yes, I realized I could live there. We then took the subway over to Canal and window-shopped up and down Broadway, Chinatown and Little italy a bit before ending up at Lupa. Based on a lot of serious discussion we decided to get a giant lunch rather than fight for a spot for dinner. We were lucky enough to pop right in and get a table.

Our feast was as follows:
Coppa Cotto (housemade) & Sardines with cracked wheat
Buckwheat Chittara with Winter kale and prosciutto
D--Saltimbocca, K--Lamb short ribs with a mustard seed coating
D--Cinnamon Gelato, K--Tartufo

My impressions of Lupa--surprisingly loud and very casual in nature. It did not seem pretentious or high-end one bit, yet you knew you would get extraordinarily fresh and simply prepared food. The bathroom was more than simple, with CVS hand-soap. This made me chuckle considering I was spending $125 on an obese person's lunch. The lamb short ribs were not my favorite, with the lamb being a bit stringy and much too fatty, and the taste being much sweeter than I had anticipated. It wasn't bad, just not exactly what I was expecting I guess. I nearly finished the whole thing, and D definitely trounced his saltimbocca complete with fried sage leaves and lemon butter sauce. All in all, we were barely able to make it back to the subway and nearly collapsed in food coma. We were just chipper enough to make out the sounds of swishes and the winning score over UNC however.

Later that night we met with my cousin-in-law who just happened to be randomly in NYC for the weekend as well. They had close-up shots of Rascal Flatts in Madison Square Garden and bright shiny Texas-style belt buckles. Although we only ate a few pieces of fish, we joined them at Matsuri for elegant martinis and sake. The bites of yellowtail with jalapeno puree and the sake black cod were excellent, and i felt refreshed to being looking for a bar again. We then cabbed over to Death & Co., henceforth known as my favorite bar. As I looked for the slightly hidden entrance, the guy on the corner remarks "oh yeah, it's a trendy bar on 6th street" and I happily reply that said trendy bar is perfect for my current interests. I had a fabulous cocktail called The Conference, which mixed equal parts rye, bourbon, calvados and cognac, and topped it with angostura and chocolate bitters. Nearly every drink contained bitters, which although I've heard of a million times and seen them on drink menus, have never actually used when concocting my own drink. Point taken--I must delve into this to promote my obvious curiosity. We were able to get a seat immediately, which was phenomenal considering I guess there are often waitlists, and ended up closing the place down at midnight, which I didn't quite understand.

On Sunday, at a hefty $30 price tag, we visited the Museum of Natural History. Their wing on biodiversity was outstanding and I enjoyed that the most. It sure is nice to live where museums are free though. Perk noted.

Regrets of trip:
1. not getting to try gnudi, 2007's food of the year according to Bon Appetit. Oh well, on to 2008's food of the year--asian noodle dishes.
2. that I did not curse at more than those 2 people for letting a door slam in my face because they were just plain rude

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Warm it up Kris

So apparently if you leave your hot seat on even though the car is off you can still drain your battery. I found this out yesterday, but eventually it started again later that day.

I leave the radio on, and the fan on when I turn off the car. But the hot seat is a whole different story...

Saturday, January 05, 2008

One stale cookie too late

So, although they were a bit slow on the draw with this, my in-laws informed me that by putting a piece of bread in the bag with baked cookies, you could make them stay soft! We had made a plethora of sugar cookies that for some reason, after cooling, were just plain hard. They weren't soft and doughey. They were like hockey pucks. The point of this story is not that I choose to only bake on special occasions, and even then I should perhaps refrain. What an excellent idea--it worked! I put the two end pieces of our loaf of honey flax bread into the bag, and woke up to a lovely soft sugar cookie. Ah well, we only baked them about 4 weeks ago, so they're a bit stale, but soft like James' bottom. (this is to see if he's reading my blog :) I've never actually felt James' bottom, but I do enjoy writing bottom like I was English. I also wish that I could incorporate wanker into my everyday speak as well as bullocks. God, I love English comedy.