Saturday, February 26, 2011

Valentine's Day!

I know I've been a slacking blogger... so I'm gonna need you to prepare yourself for the lengthy post that is about to follow... and don't judge me based on how much is written about tasty food. Thanks.

Valentine's Day... I have never been much of a celebrator, unless you count the ritualistic buying of the heart-shaped Reese's and scoffing at the ridiculous facebook posts... but this year Andrew, Leticia and I thought it would be best to go all out! We were going to go to this pizzeria in Brooklyn that was making heart-shaped personal pizzas for the night... sounded like our kind of party. UNTIL I looked up the place and saw that they were doing this price-fixed menu and you had to pay $30! Excuse me? Just to press the dough into a different shape?! When I saw that price I flashed back to events of my childhood that went something like this...

(picture me at age 6 with the mushroom-like haircut and a denim jumper... no I was not home-schooled)

Me: "Mom, can I have that dress? Please it's so pretty??"
Mom: "Sara, don't be silly, we can MAKE that! Let's go to the fabric store and you can pick out your color... on the sale table"
Me: "Oh.. okay..."

(later at the grocery store)
Me: "Mom, can I get these lunchables? PLEASE?!" (No, not those nasty pizza ones or the ones with the hot dogs-- what IS that?!-- we're talking about the classic crackers, meat, and cheese)
Mom: "Sara, don't be silly, I can MAKE that! I'll cut up your cheese and meat and we have crackers-- it'll be the same... now grab that bologna."

(at Christmastime)
Me: "Ooo mom, can we buy this gingerbread house kit?"
Mom: "Sara, seriously, we can MAKE that... and we'll make it into a manger with Jesus and all the animals!"
(Which turned into one of the most awesome displays of all time... if only I had a picture of that to put on here!)

Anyway.. you get the point. I had been trained from a young age to recognize the flaws in products that were expensive and knew I could make a better and much more economical version. So I dwelled on the wise words of Sue Beth Henderson and exclaimed to my dismayed friends "Guys, it's fine-- we can MAKE that pizza! WHATEVER! This will be the best Valentine's Day ever!" So the decision was made and we began preparations for the festivities. Leticia and I had gone earlier in the day to have the alleged best pancakes in the city at Clinton Street Bakery... I was sold...

That's a ramekin of maple butter... at first I was wary of the combination of syrup and butter in one... but it is in fact genius. Go ahead-- book those NYC tickets and you too can indulge in this goodness.

SO we did that and we were wandering about the city and were laughing at all the people carrying around ridiculously large stuffed animals and balloons. In Texas, if you decide it's appropriate to buy a 4 foot panda to show your loved one how much you care, you can keep it on the downlow by shoving that mess in your trunk and no one has to know how terrible of a gift giver you are. But here in the Big City, you have to carry around your purchases all day long and show no less than 100,000 people your "perfect gifts" as you carry them on the subway and bus. By the way, it is never appropriate for a 4 food panda to have a seat on L train while I am standing. Just sayin'.

ANYWAY, so as we got home, we thought it would only be appropriate to go by our local 99 cent store and purchase a large "I Love You" balloon for our dear Andrew so he would have the privilege of carrying that on the bus and subway when he went home that night... we're good friends. While we were there, we naturally picked up a banner with some scary cupids along with some festive plates and napkins. We were prepared.

I must say... the party was a huge success. Per usual, there were other people invited to our shindig, but the trek to Glendale proved to be too much for them to handle, so it ended up being just me, Leticia, and Andrew... but it was perfect! Andrew came over like a true gentleman bearing flowers, wine, and a Japanese cheesecake.. which I can only describe as the beautiful love child of classic cheesecake and pound cake. It's deliciously dangerous.

He loved the balloon. And he loved it on the bus. And the subway. And the walk home.

I set to work on the heart-shaped pizza. I also made a batch of chocolate covered pretzels, because I had gotten a little out of control shouting "we can make it!" all day long, and had to follow through after spouting that off when Leticia was looking for some chocolate-covered pretzels to buy in the city. My plan was to melt white chocolate, dye it pink, and drizzle it over. However, I apparently don't understand the precise science of melting chocolate, so I ended up with some sort of pinky-red paste... so I once again thought to myself "What would Sue Beth do??" and I began to form tiny hearts out of the paste and placed them in the center of the pretzels.

While some of them ended up looking more like actual human hearts than the cute valentine ones, but they looked pretty cute I must say! So we prepared our table and began our feast. Now, going out into the city for dinner is fun and all... but really, this night was so much fun and I can't remember a more lovely Valentine's Day than this one :) I'd like to thank my dear mother for always being willing to think outside the box and get creative... things always turned out to be more fun and interesting that way. Love you, Sue Beth!

Monday, February 7, 2011

"Wintry Mix"

Friends... I know I have already discussed weather FAR too much... but I feel like I can't effectively convey how much I feel like I live in a different world these days. Every day I wake up in the heated apartment and think to myself "Oh it's not that cold outside... maybe I can not wear tights under my pants today and have the awkward my-tights-are-too-high-but-if-I-roll-them-down-I-look-awkward situation"... and then I go outside and hate myself. And trek back upstairs to put on the appropriate amount of layers. Snow is pretty, yes. It's been interesting to experience this "winter" business. But this "wintry mix" situation?? All that means is horizontal rain turning into icy puddles that flood your boots you previously believed to be waterproof. Not okay. This week we've had a bit of a warm front, moving into the 40's, but tomorrow I look on the weather forecast and I see the dreaded words... "wintry mix"... and visions of beaches and flipflops begin dancing in my head. Also it's important to note that a "snow day" here doesn't mean that there's no work. No no... it means there may be a little lenience as to if I arrive at 9:10 rather than 9:00, but no snow angels and hot chocolate when 3 inches fall in ole Central Texas. I'm dealing slowly with the bitterness I feel in my heart toward all my friends in Dallas who experienced a week without work. :)

ANYWAY-- I say all of this about the weather to say that the winter blues are a real thing and they have been weighing us down here in ole Glendale! So last weekend Leticia and I said NO MORE and went out for a night on the TOWN! Leticia knows a chef and one of the bartenders at this super swanky steakhouse in the city so we pulled out the dusty dresses from the back of the closet and got all fancy for a night o'fun. This particular weekend, our subway decided to do maintenance on ONLY our stop. There are literally over 30 stops on the M line, and they decided that only Fresh Pond Road would be closed. Awesome. Thank you. So we waited for the bus... in the snow. For 25 minutes. We were not amused....

I know she appears to be happy in this picture, but it was taken between complaints about straight hair becoming curly and cursing at the bus. (Ok except not really cursing... come on, we're ladies.)

But ohhhh the wait was WORTH it when we started our dining experience. We went to say hello to Leticia's bartender friend where Leticia smoothly ordered her mojito with confidence and I proceed to have this conversation...

Bartender: "What are you drinking tonight?"
Me: "Um, well I only like really sweet things. I have the pallet of a child."
Bartender: "Anything in particular?"
Me: "I don't know... I like juice?"
Bartender: (Look of judgement) "I think I can make something you like."

And she did! She called it a barefoot martini... although it might have just been juice. Which is fine with me since she gave them to us for FREE. Love the connections!

Dinner was super tasty and we ordered two desserts... and then they gave us a third one just for being awesome! (Slash again because Leticia knows fancy people) I need to explain to you that those little bottles next to the donut holes are full of filling that you inject into the donut holes yourself. It is both a dessert AND a craft. You know how I love multitasking...

The dinner was per-fect. And an excellent cure for our wintry mix depression that had been looming about. SO thankful I have a roomie who knows how to have a good time :) After dinner we went to see Country Strong. Definitely a struggling script and rough ending... but MAN all I wanted to do was listen to country music after! So I immediately downloaded the album and listened to it all week at work. No shame!

In other news... this is a sign posted right next to where I work that I just noticed...
Noted. I'm still gonna carry my mace.

Also, we saw this man in front of us while waiting to get on the bus...
You might think, oh weird, he's wearing shorts and it's cold. That's silly. But you'd only be partly correct, because what he has under that coat can only be described as a woman's floral nighty. With tennis shoes. Public transportation... the gift that keeps on giving.

So in summary, this weather is crazy and so is this city. That's all there is to it!