It wasn’t all fun and games, of course—being stranded means feeling helpless and trapped even if you’re in a fantastic city full of friends, at a lovely hotel, with a per diem for food. My coworkers and I (7 of us were stuck there) spent a lot of time wandering the hotel, sitting on hold with American Airlines, and glued to our phones reading Twitter for all the latest news. I am so grateful to live in this information age, especially because cell service was really bad in Brooklyn so calling or texting Jason wasn’t a reliable way of getting updates. Thankfully our apartment suffered no damage (we had a lot of water damage after Hurricane Irene) and never lost power. And I’ll admit it: My coworkers and I were able to make the most of 3 full additional (free) days in Chicago! We had deep-dish pizza, we went to the top of the Sears Tower, and we were sure to get an Italian beef. There are worse ways to be stranded, plus now I have a ton of new underwear!
Please donate to the Red Cross if you can. Seaside Heights was hit hard; my whole family is particularly devastated to see the sights completely destroyed.
A long weekend away with my knitting besties? Just what the doctor ordered. We made our way to a cabin in West Virginia for three days of 80s movies (on VHS no less), bacon, birthdays, knitting, cross stitch, and nature.
I didn’t knit a single stitch, giving my thumb a nice long rest; instead I cross-stitched and embroidered. At night I slept in the top bunk over Caro and listened to the rain fall on the roof in a darkness that I cannot find here in Brooklyn without an eye mask. Mornings, I made lemon-ricotta pancakes. One day we went blackberry picking, which JulieFrick later made into a cobbler. Pam devoted 11 avocados to her amazing guacamole. Nova finished a shawl, while Specs finished a legwarmer and a cross stitch project (that’s for me!). Heather spoke to us in French and kept us stocked with wine. We celebrated Christy and Julie’s birthdays (and Diana and Ashley’s, in absentia). Caro made us her famous Mephistopheritas (Margaritas with habanero-infused tequila). We went out at midnight in the 50-degree night and craned our necks to watch the Perseid meteor shower. We laughed until it hurt.
I was completely out of the loop on Photoville—I must not follow the right photography sorts of people on Twitter—so I didn’t know what it was or that it was happening until I saw the photos of a few friends and contacts who went while I was away on a business trip. But their photos didn’t really tell me anything, either, just that one was checking it out, and that another had a photo up. Whatever it was, I wanted to see it. Tania and I went on its last day.
Turns out, it was a pop-up museum of photography, set up in old shipping containers scattered around an empty lot by Pier 3 (currently unfinished!) of Brooklyn Bridge Park. (This, apparently, is the new thing—repurpose an old shipping container into something else? See the DeKalb Market.) But I’m down with that, although they are stiflingly hot when they don’t open on both sides and the mercury has exceeded 90°F. No matter, there was a misting tent (ahhhhh) and a “hydration station” (a girl with a cooler of water bottles for sale) and the atmosphere, while being baked in the oppressive heat of the day, was genial.
Everyone had a camera slung over his or her shoulder. Were we checking out the make and model of our fellow photographers? I’m sure we were.
The work shown was quite varied, and all interesting. Some of the containers were outfitted further, to set the scene. All of them were food for thought. If I hadn’t been so hot, I probably would have read more of the descriptions. As it was, I just soaked it in. I loved that it was free and available to anyone—and I hope it comes back!
Today is my 7th blogiversary! This little corner of the internet actually began on Blogger—it was a bit more than a year later that I bought my own domain. I can’t even believe all the changes I’ve gone through—and the FOs I’ve made! I’ve gained more friends than I can count because I became a knit blogger, and I’m probably working at my current job because I slowly but surely devoted myself to this industry over the last seven years. I couldn’t be happier that I joined the blogging fray, and thank all my readers for participating over the years!
There’s been this movement in the food world of the past few years, these “underground” supper clubs, in which a chef cooks a dinner party for guests, who pay, and who don’t necessarily know each other. I suppose the idea is to have an intimate but elegant meal that is entirely unique. Some might call it a hipster thing to do; I think it’s pretty bougie. But I’m just bougie enough to have leapt at the opportunity to attend!
Scott calls his dinners “Stagionarsi” from the Italian for “season,” which has a double meaning here: both the seasoning of food and the commitment to creating meals inspired by the seasons. The chef emailed with us ahead of time to find out about food restrictions, allergies, and the like. It was so personal and friendly, and I know my friends (who do have allergies) were well accommodated.
Each of the food courses was paired with wine; the dessert course was wine-less but there was Basil Hayden’s whiskey for us to drink (oh wow tasty). I took notes on my phone, and you will see in many of these uncropped photos of my plates that my phone is still on! This was documentation more than glamorous photography, as you will see, but I’m going to include every course here nonetheless. Click to read more, and enjoy!
Revelry Chardonnay. Chickpea “panisse” seasoned with pear and nutmeg, served with a black garlic aioli. So delicate and delicious! Subtle flavors that weren’t overpowered by the wine. I don’t like Chardonnay but this was very tasty. This was a perfect starter to make you want more. (But I could don my Tom Colicchio hat and deride the curly parsley on the plate. Garnishes without purpose make Tom craaazy on Top Chef.)
Gentil “Hugel” Alsace Riesling. Braised greens salad (collards? kale? wasn’t specified) with barley and what smelled like sherry vinegar. If this was more fully explained I wasn’t listening! I liked this a lot, and the sweetness of the wine was a nice complement to the bitterness of the greens.
Cordero di Montezemolo Barolo. Butternut and cabocha squash soup with a garnish of sauteed hen of the woods and hedgehog mushrooms. Also garnished with a triangle of a truffle cheese (chef couldn’t remember the name and didn’t update us) and a line of truffle salt. This was so THICK, it was more like baby food than soup, but it was delicious through and through. The truffle element surprised me by being so perfect; I am definitely adding that the next time I make my roasted butternut squash soup!
Nikolaihof Wacahu Gruner Veltliner. Smoked salmon cakes with black radish, celeriac, and parsnip in the mix, served with a celeriac remoulade. These were good, nice and salty and crispy. Some claimed they were their favorite course, but I just wanted more of the soup!
Valpolicella Dry Red Wine (not sure the winery). Potato gnocchi, spinach and butternut squash gnudi, with sage butter and a healthy streak of cracked black pepper. The gnocchi/gnudi were fantastic! But browned butter with sage was surprising in its lack of originality; the dish just felt dated/old fashioned (are we still only pairing gnocchi with sage browned butter, really?). The wine was nice and peppery, and that complemented the pepper in the dish nicely.
I didn’t see the wine bottle, but this was a Shiraz/Grenache/Mouvedre blend. That same wine was used in the reduction on the plate that accompanied this pork belly cooked with a juniper berry rub of juniper berry salt, thyme, and garlic. The cut and preparation reminded me a bit of the Norwegian Christmas specialty, ribbe. Wish that skin had gotten more crispy, but the flavors were great.
No wine at dessert to go with the “deconstructed cannoli” that I forgot to photograph before diving in! The ricotta ice cream was studded with flecks of chocolate and was fabulous; the plate had a chocolate streak and a sprinkling of espresso salt. That made the dish, in my opinion! The cookie, a play on a cannoli shell, was hazelnut based.
All in all, it was a fabulous meal, and it was so much fun to be there with other food-passionate people, most of whom I’d never met before. It was a great hodgepodge of folks: Sarah-Ann of Eat Drink Repeat, a cheesemaker, a specialty food shop worker, the proprietor of SupermarketHQ.com (actually a design site, not a food one), someone from Seamless, a lawyer, software engineers, and me! Conversation was wide-ranging, as you might expect, but the food was always there to hold us together. And there were several knitting enthusiasts there, too, so I wasn’t completely out of place :)