Monday, August 27, 2012

Transitions / Obsessions

You may be wondering why I haven't written in over a month, why I haven't been Tweeting as incessantly as normal or why you haven't seen what I've been eating for dinner on Facebook. The reason is I've been going through a series of transitions that still aren't completed, but should be soon. New job, new schedule, less free time (in a good way, but an adjustment), almost a new home and hopefully once I am in a new rhythm after all the new changes have settled in, a new outlook on life. 

The new job is surprisingly not related to food (nor was the old one) but I think I made a good decision and think I will find a lot of satisfaction while I am at work and it most days it won't feel much like work at all - in the best way. The new home will hopefully be warm, welcoming and see delicious dinners, jump-starting breakfasts and gracefully prepared take-to-work lunches - this is all to be seen at this point. Change is hard, and I'd be lying to you if I said the past few weeks have been a breeze. But is it the challenges that teach us about ourselves, that strengthen us for the future and that make us who we are. 

My point with this post is to check in, to show you I'm still here and that I've been thinking of you, my readers (however few there may be), and that I still love food and food writing just as much as ever. I've just had a lot on my plate (pun intended). One of the things I've always thought of doing here on the blog is a periodical favorites list. There are a number of blogs that do these, but I am 100% a gusher so having a bit of an outlet for the things I'm obsessed on a regular basis would be helpful for me and would hopefully introduce you to things you had yet to hear about but may also love. The list below is not all food related and it wouldn't be if I start doing this once in a while- which is another thing I like since I do try to keep The CL as food-centric as possible, but I love so, so, many things. 

So how about we test the waters and I'll do a list of just five things I can't get enough of right now and you let me know what you think. Okay? Good, here we go: 

Current Obsessions

1. The TRI Studios "Move Me Brightly" concert. 
The 70th Birthday Tribute Concert to Jerry Garcia took place a few days after his would-have-been 70th birthday at Bobby Weir's awesome studio/venue in San Rafael, California. There is this awesome mix of musicians and fantastic energy to the whole performance. Luckily I found out about the live stream in the nick of time and happened to be home to sit around and watch it. The quality was great and the concert went on for about 5 hours - true to genuine Dead show form. I love love love it! The favorites of this favorite: the two songs Cass McCombs performs (he's on the verge of becoming a next Current Obsession). You can watch most of the show through this Yahoo link. Check out Mr. McCombs on "Dupree's Diamond Blues" at around 16:50 and then a truly awesome version of "Terrapin Station" at 53:20. "Terrapin" had some added weight that night because of the wonderful rendition but also because "move me brightly" is a line from the song. Enjoy! 

2. Food Memoirs
You might thing this sounds a little flat for me to say. Maybe you're thinking Of course The CL loves food memoirs! But my love of them has definitely reached obsession (just ask Matt at Kitchen Arts and Letters). Since the year began I have read Judith Jones' The Tenth Muse, Thomas McNamee's Alice Waters and Chez Panisse (biography, not memoir really), Susan Herrman Loomis' On Rue Tatin, Gail Simmons' Talking with My Mouthful, Elizabeth Bard's Lunch in Paris, Amanda Hesser's Cooking for Mr. Latte, bits and pieces from Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant, and I am currently finishing up Amy Finley's How to Eat a Small Country. I am literally devouring them! If you have recommendations for any food memoirs please share!! 

3. Ricotta
In the summertime I usually get on a severe zucchini kick. But with all the shifting schedules I haven't had much time for the Greenmarket (very sad). I really love eating zucchini with ricotta so maybe by some transitive property of taste I have replaced my normal zucchini obsession with its counterpart of ricotta. Lasagna, pasta, on bread, in secret spoonfuls. Ricotta. Give me more.

4. The thought that I will be the catalyst for revitalizing the USPS
My obsession with the mail is as far as can be from being new. But my serious belief that I could create some real changes in the way people think about it is somewhat new. Mail is so wonderful, so easy, and still pretty inexpensive for the weight it carries. How good do you feel when you find a little stack of mail, all for you, in your mail box? How much greater do you feel when its not just bills and magazine renewal notices but a handwritten note or letter from a beloved friend, relative or lover? You feel special even before you rip the paper. So I'm having serious thoughts about what might happen if I were to amplify my mailing and enable others to do the same by sending them love notes with stamps and stationary included. This could be my revolution. (Along with this is the consistent obsession with food-themed stationary of every sort.) When you finish reading this post please go send some mail.

This pastry shop is in my new work neighborhood and thank god for it! Genuine French style pastries, macarons, and viennoiseries (including chouquettes and a to-die-for ham and cheese croissant) in the heart of SoHo. All the treats taste ridiculously Parisian-- a splendid comfort. They do one pastry called the Paris-NY which makes me think of Adam of Paris Patisseries because it plays with the idea of a Paris-Brest and adds peanut butter! And on top of this there is an adorable garden in the back that is a little oasis amid the tourist filled blocks of Spring street. I highly recommend trying it. They also have some brunch and lunch items and were recently lauded for their little egg sandwich (made to order). Oh, and this is the only place in New York I have seen offering up elegant Avocado Toasts to-order as a breakfast/lunch item featuring mashed avocados on toast which are topped with thin virgin avo' slices. Oh and they have freshly baked madeleines -- baked to order (sensing a theme here?)!! And above all this - Chef Dominique Ansel is a handsome Frenchman. Do not miss this place!


Okay. So how was that? 

Too many exclamation points? 

Did I get you revved up about these things? 

Do you now want to shout back at me using punctuation to tell me your favorite things?! 

Please do! Leave some comments - let me know if you like the obsessions list, what you're obsessed with or anything else you want to say! 


Alejandra said...

Congratulations on all the new changes. I love starting fresh--I'm sure there are many wonderful things on the way. I need to check out that French cafe!

Mary aka The Culinary Librarian said...

Thanks, Alejandra! Plan a visit and let me know I'll come meet you there from work :)

John Rosch said...

Glad to see you have had time to write. I'm sure it helped to ground you during this transitional phase. I certainly share the obsessions of #1 and #5. Although I have only been to the Ansel Bakery the one time it was a memorable experience especially when the owner noticed my leftover bag was leaking and repacked my leftovers for me so it was safe. The leftovers weren't even from her store!

Mary aka The Culinary Librarian said...

Papa, I nearly forgot about that! They are so considerate. And they were very careful in boxing your pastries to take home for your anniversary dessert, too! A great place.

kcb1216 said...

You're such an interesting person :) come to Albany and teach me how to make macarons, please? I ALWAYs have almond meal on hand AND theres a kitchen aid mixer not getting enough love in my apt :( and I bet Ann misses you

Mary aka The Culinary Librarian said...

Thanks, Karli! We can at least EAT if not make macarons together sometime soon! X