Twenty Five Updates

As I just recently celebrated my twenty fifth birthday (a quarter century old already; it astounds me that in as much time, I’ll be fifty), I thought it only fitting to list out a quick 25 things relating to what I’ve been up to as of late.

1. I was in Bermuda for Joe’s sister’s wedding in mid-July; we got there via cruise ship, which left out of New Jersey. Bermuda was gorgeous, and I’d return in a heartbeat. I’m realizing that I might have a thing for Caribbean-British colonial inspired design. Something about the colors, and the clean lines.

2. No, we did not fall prey to the Bermuda Triangle.

3. This wedding was the first Indian wedding I’ve ever been to. Though the activities and length of the festivities were toned down a bit since we were on a cruise ship, it was still fun to see everyone dressed up in their finery. One afternoon, the entire wedding party learned how to dance the Dandiya Raas, and though it initially started out as a huge clusterfuck and everyone beating each other with sticks, folks soon got the hang of it. The white folk could only do it for about twenty minutes; Joe’s mom told me at some affairs, people can dance non-stop for hours and hours and hours.

4. The cruise ship food left a lot to be desired, I’m afraid. I don’t know if the quality of cruise ship food is much poorer, or my palate has just changed (ugh, I sound like such a fucking snob), but it was just not delicious. Everything was underseasoned. The food just felt and tasted really anemic. And the technique often wasn’t there, either. Look, I realize they’re mass producing food for thousands and thousands of people, but basic French techniques–like making sure a consomme is actually as clear as a consomme should be–were totally disregarded. I want duck consomme, not duck STOCK!

One night, our server brought us some of the Indian food that the crew ate for dinner, and it was rockin. I would’ve rather had that all 5 nights: food made with heart, and with soul.

5. When we returned to New Jersey, Joe and I went into the city and spent a few nights there. We hit up the Met, and lucky for me (not so lucky for Joe), they just opened the New American Wing, which included these amazing period rooms and TONS of interior furnishings (love!). As always, a pleasure to see the great works of Degas, Monet, Van Gogh. And I’m always humbled by the age of pieces in the Asian/Ancient Egypt/Ancient Greek displays. We’re so insigifnicant, in the grand scheme of things.

6. Made it to dinner at Momofuku Ssam AND Babbo. I was a lucky girl. I’m still dreaming about the spicy rice cakes and the steamed pork buns at Ssam–both unlike anything I’ve ever had. Most memorable items from Babbo? Definitely the warm lamb’s tongue vinaigrette with morels and a 3-minute egg. The lamb’s tongue was so tender and delicate–and tasted intensely of, well, lamb. The rest of the ingredients played up the gaminess of the meat, while the vinaigrette gave the dish a perfect shot of acidity. Heaven. We also indulged in the spicy two minute calamari, a famous Batali dish–and with good reason, because it was fantastic. The other great item (beyond the pastas, which were textbook, of course) was a Sicilian Nero d’Avola, whose name escapes me and I can’t find on the Babbo website. Moderately price, perfectly paired with all the food. It made me want to start drinking Neros more often.

7. We stayed at the Sofitel, which I must say is very conveniently located and has AMAZING bedding. Get a good price on Hotwire ($170/night!) and you’re set, my friend.

8. It rained in NY, a lot. Though I found out that a day and a half after we left, it was hailing in the city, so I guess we lucked out in that regard.

9. It was almost a relief to have limited Internet access for the week I was on vacation. I checked my email a few times on the ship and at the hotel, and had the odd Twitter update here and there; otherwise, I was happy to not have to read through countless RSS feeds. I’ve been taking a step back and re-vamping my Google Reader. It’s been a little OOC the last few months, trying to keep up with all the posts. I took off a few blogs, and added a few (like Design*Sponge–loves it!). I’m happier.

10. I started a new job last week. I like it. My new co-workers bought me cake for my birthday. It was strawberry shortcake.

11. My new job gives me holiday hours, which means in addition to two weeks paid vacation, I get Christmas Eve through early January off from work, paid. This makes me more happy than you could imagine.

12. I made French onion soup last night, and it was really good. Even better than when I made it last summer, because this time, I had two quarts of very dark, very rich, very homemade beef stock. I also threw in some sherry for good measure. With the lunch leftovers, Joe took a crack at making it au gratin style, and even though he mistook the Gruyere for some cheddar, I have to say he did a pretty good job at it.

13. I really like the number 13.

14. It is

15. very

16. difficult

17. to think of

18. twenty five vignettes.

19. I think I must’ve eaten about a pound of cheese this weekend. Yesterday, Joe had a previously scheduled golf game, so I treated myself to a mani/pedi at a day spa that’s just around the corner from my house. I rarely indulge in mani/pedis–I grew up just trimming my finger and toenails, and I’m not one to really care too much about what they look like, as long as they’re clean. But this was really nice. Lots of massage, a scrub, hydrating mask and a paraffin dip later, and my extremities felt very well pampered. To celebrate (ha!), I walked to Whole Foods, picked up some Prosecco, 3-year old Gouda, some non-AOC Roquefort, an Acme walnut levain and a pain au levain, and came home and ate. And ate. And ate. Then, we had the onion soup for dinner (with gruyere), and more onion soup today for lunch (with cheddar). Oh, and let’s not forget the breakfast sandwiches I made, with scrambled eggs, cheese, heirloom tomatoes, and basil. This blog isn’t called VMAC + Cheese for nothing.

20. At about 7:30 tonight, I felt so gross that I went to the gym for an hour.

21. Speaking of cheese, I read a great post on Bay Area Bites about Reggiano rinds. Now, saving them is something I’ve done many a time, but this post gave several great examples of what to do with the rinds, with pretty pictures that I thought I’d link to it here. The basic point: DO NOT throw away your Reggiano rinds. Freeze them, and then use them later, in sauces, soups, and more. You pay good money for that cheese–get the most out of it!

22. This very well sums up every conversation I’ve had recently (often with total strangers) about my relationship–minus the assault [via PostSecret]:

23. What does it matter to people anyway? Folks seem so shocked that I could have dated someone for so long and not have sealed the deal. I think it’s so odd that people seem genuinely worried for me that I don’t have a ring, or a date set. After being with another person for so long, I have to say, marriage doesn’t really matter at all–except for the good tax breaks. News flash, people: I’ve BEEN married, for oh, about 4 years now.

24. Was not the best year of my life. I’m happy to see it go.

25. On to the next big thing, as ever. Toothpaste roulette next time.

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