Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Prime Meats: Part II

Prime Meats fits generously into the Lovely Day school of being. It is one of those nooks and crannies that keeps New York (Brooklyn, specifically) small. It's graced with tin ceilings, knotty tabletops, and a rare quietness based not on occupation but on design. The food is hardy (a strong German/Austrian influence) and the drinks precise (our cocktails contained things like elderflower and essence of violet), creating a strong brew of both comfort and, well, class.

I was very well behaved last Friday by going directly home after work to do laundry, dishes, and catch up on my reading. I was just heading to bed when I got a call from Alison and Kim, requesting my presence at Prime Meats. Prime Meats! Yay. Although I wrote about the establishment months ago, I actually had yet to sit in its large wooden booths with my partners in crime in hopes of spying a Frank. So what if I was supposed to be a good girl and sit home for a nice quiet evening alone for a change!? This was worth the diversion.

I hauled myself out of pajamas, threw on some jeans and my slightly embarrassing 'Work of Art' t-shirt, and called a car at midnight. I arrived in Carroll Gardens just after 12:15am to find Kim and Al deep in laughter and spatzle. We sipped our fancy-pants cocktails, ordered a big ol' pretzel and managed to solve all of the problems in both our own lives and the world at large before turning back into pumpkins. As the night tilted toward morning we finally retired to our own neighborhoods content and giggly.

I love those girls. I love that bar.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Well, THIS isn't good news...

Lovely Day was in a fire! (The resty, not the blog.) I just called and got the saddest voicemail message EVER. Ugh. Read this.

So they are supposed to open up again in July I guess, but I wanted to go there tonight for cold noodles with Sabrina. Bummer. (And maybe a little ironic?)

Friday, June 19, 2009

Lovely Day

Yes, I have decided to rename the ol' blog. It's the same blog-- same everything-- but new title. It's just time for some change, that's all.

I chose the long and droning title 'So Much to Fall in Love With' late one night after watching some old black and white movie in bed in a fit of panic. You all know the story... I had hit rough waters and found myself grasping for comfort in any way possible. I needed to fall back in love with my own life and fast. And for some unknown reason, a blog suddenly sounded like a brilliant and perfect way to do so.

I didn't intend on showing anyone the blog, save for a few close friends and my sisters. I was extremely embarrassed that I was being so very 'internety' in blogging but slowly began to unfurl and share my little thoughts and happenings with more people. I knew that the title was too long and not catchy enough from that very first post but decided to focus on writing and loving and think about the title later.

Well, almost ten months and 118 posts later I still don't like that title. I LOVE what the blog has done for my life-- I fully credit this outlet for suturing my heart. It did what it was supposed to do. It brought me back into my life in a very real and tangible way. I transferred the love I thought I had lost to other things: art, movies, books, theater, and above all else-- New York City. I found out how easy it is to be actively in love. (Are you with me?) New York became my rebound. And it worked.

Anyway.... I love writing and I love hearing your comments and I don't intend on stopping anytime soon. But I still hate the old title. So, for the past month or so, I've been consulting a Blog Renaming Committee that I formed myself. Some of the committee members were very enthusiastic and others (fine, MOST) could have cared less what I call this thing. We all talked about many options (my favorite being Que Sera Sarah, hahahaa) but in the end of course I chose my own title that no one else really loved. Go figure.

Lovely Day. Will thinks its too 'old lady-ish'; Lo thinks it sounds like I am 'trying to be British'. Meghan very tactfully told me to 'keep thinking' and Alex just changed the subject most of the time. Alison just wanted me to keep working on the 'Character Page' (COMING SOON!) and Annie wanted me to include the word 'gold' in the title somehow because its my favorite color. Katie pretty much loved every title I mentioned, and that's why she's the best roommate ever.

But I like it. I like Lovely Day. I completely stole it from a great little restaurant in Nolita, but I think it fits this blog just fine. And to be honest, if this blog were to be a restaurant, I would hope that it might look a bit like the interior of its namesake: floral stenciling, diner-style red leather booths, Formica-topped tables, an old wooden soda fountain–era bar, and an antique cash register. A little sloppy; unashamedly nostalgic; oddly chic.

I have perfectly held memories of ordering cold noodles at Lovely Day in a red vinyl covered booth over 4 years ago as a student studying art in the big city. I remember how it felt 'so New York' to me at the time (which is phrase that real New Yorkers would never use but I didn't know that then) with its chalkboard wine list, crammed tables, dark interior, and slightly rude wait staff.

I can remember sitting there, slurping those noodles, and thinking that my life would be perfect if I could just live in a city that offered little places with names like 'Lovely Day' on little streets with names like 'Elizabeth.' None of it seemed big to me... it was all small and secret and wonderful. New York was a million little nooks and crannies and I wanted to fit into each one.

In all ironies, I now work just down the street from Lovely Day on Elizabeth and walk by often. I live here and work here and have discovered many little places like Lovely Day-- places that I've laughed and conversed and fought and cried and kissed and laughed some more. I was naive then and I'm naive now and you know what... that's okay.

So the new name is Lovely Day. Let me know what you think. :)

(Oh, and its still the same web address! Don't get confused! Its still somuchtofallinlovewith.blogspot.com. I couldn't change that.)

Happens Every Day: Mad Sq Park Reading

So I don't really like to put up photos of myself on this here bloggy, but I am making an exception today to illustrate a few points.

1. Isabel Gillies was amazing. She arrived in a rain coat and wellies, toting a little boy Nascar umbrella and warm, appreciative smile. She was wearing comfortable jeans, an over sized cardigan, and hardly a stitch of makeup. She had tears in her eyes from the touching, funny story read by Deborah Copaken Kogan prior to her turn and then proceeded to read each word of her own text purposefully and directly from her heart. We all fell instantly in love.

2. Remember my 'tilt and lean' theory illustrated by Michelle Obama a few weeks ago? Well, it is again demonstrated here-- by me. As quoted by yours truly, 'It's a stance specifically reserved for occasions when you find yourself around really short people who are more important than you are. (Otherwise you of course would stand tall and proud!) ' This could not be a better example of said posture: she is clearly more important that I am and I obviously felt the need to honor her accomplishment by altering my posture proportionately.

3. As relayed yesterday, thunderstorms were crashing all day in New York-- and even though the skies showed nothing but a 'light and bubbling mist' (as E.B. so eloquently stated in her opening remarks) by the time the readers stepped up to the podium, the crowd was lacking to say the least. Including myself, the park staff, and the readers' husbands and friends, the crowd reached about 15 listeners. This meant more face time with the authors and their fans (me.) Which brings me to my next point...

4. Because I am of the I-can't-stand-seeing-people-squirm school of thought, I jumped right in line as the ONLY active and participating member of the meet-and-greet portion of the evening (my three friends stood at the other end of the tent, pushing me towards the table, but staying far away as to not actually have to participate the interaction). The conversation started off with both authors offering ME compliments (SEE, its good to be the only fan in attendance) and ended with more juice than I could handle about Isabel's divorce, ex-husband, and future book writing plans. Her new husband was in tote-- a lovely Matthew Broderick lookalike-- who is indeed the main subject of her next book. We are obviously BFF's now, as shown from the photo above. (For you, Annie. It was only slightly embarrassing to ask for that photo, but we wouldn't have done it otherwise. That's love right there.)

5. My dear friend (and best plus-one you could ask for) Alison Hughes planned, hosted, and catered the event, of which we were all grateful and extremely impressed. She made a smashing lemon pound cake with lime icing (you KNOW that citrus is my favorite flavor) that will one day be sold at her little Brooklyn bakery. We are currently looking for both names and investors-- if anyone is interested, I'll pass along your info to the girl herself. I will be serving as both publicist and artistic director. (Vintage floral wallpaper, brown paper with twine, and shocking contemporary photography, don't you think?)

Happy weekend, all :)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Isabel Gillies: Mad Sq Park READS

Alison would like me to alert my wide audience that despite this TERRIBLE rainstorm, Isabel Gillies will still be reading tonight at Madison Square Park at 6pm. The staff is busy assembling those lovely white tents, Alison made her famous iced lemon pound cake, and I will be looking about as attractive as a drowned cat.

Can't wait to see you all there with Q&A time questions prepared.

Monday, June 15, 2009


Have you ever been served an ice cold glass of white sangria made with cherries grown from the cherry tree above your table, at almost ear-level? And then had the chef come outside to ask your help in picking a few more for the next batch? 'Just the really red ones, please!'

I have. With Josh on Sunday at Ortine on Washington ave-- just a hop, skip, and a jump from my own front steps. He had the eggs florentine. I had the goat cheese and organic sausage. We both sipped cherry sangria and talked about the economy, about Brooklyn, about non-profit art orgs and about life after Olaf.

We sat under the cherry tree and traded sunglasses and listened to the impromtu acoustic guitar solo from some neighbor in some unknown window near Ortine's little garden out back. Brunch lasted three hours and no one rushed us out of our little blue wicker chairs. They let us sit, enjoy the day, and sip the sour wine for as long as we pleased.

Now, why would anyone ever go into the city for some overpriced, overbooked, overhyped LES brunch hot spot? Just give me those cherries and give me local Brooklyn.
Happy Summer, all!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Tate's Chocolate Chip Cookies

In New York exists an inevitable annual adventure. It's called the apartment hunt. Its annual because even if you are SURE you are going to stay in your lovely little brownstone, you can't help but just look around a bit to 'see whats out there' each time your lease is up for renewal. 'I'll just look at a few places, just see if I can get something better, something cheaper, something more me.'

Sure, it's fun for about the first three days when you can invision a possible future and fresh start in a new apartment. You get excited about the new paint you can put on your new walls and the fresh flowers you vow to replace each week on your new kitchen table in your new kitchen that will always remain sparkling clean becuase its a new apartment and with it a new you.

You start imagining your new neighbors, your new coffee cart guys, your new morning commute. You picture your lovely walk home each night and how it would feel to turn your key in that door before you and feel a rush of excitement knowing that your life is about the change for the better.

And it's kind of fun trampsing all over Brooklyn saying things like 'this neighborhood isn't so bad!' or 'I can totally see myself here!' or 'I saw a fist fight on my way here but that probably rarely happens on this block.' You can envision yourself a yoga-going, Gorilla Coffee sipping Park Sloper; an effortlessly cool Fort Greene bold-pattern-wearing activist; a skinny-jean wearing Williamsburg pseudo-gallery rat; a brave Clinton Hill flea market entrepreneur...

And then it starts to go quickly downhill. Because then you have to examine your options. You have to decide what it is you actually want out of life. A better neighborhood? A lower rent at the expense of the neighborhood? A better aparment at expense of the lower rent? What are you willing to give, what are you willing to take? You have to look at your finances, at your friendships, at your entire year ahead.

Suddenly Criagslist becomes the coldest, most terrible place your eyes could roam (seriously, can we get a better designer on that team!?). Everyone seems to be scamming you. A no-fee broker stands you up. A coworker gives you so much advice your head spins off its axis, Wylie Coyote style. You find yourself in tears over not just the apartment but every aspect of your suddenly meaningless, directionless, silly little life.

But THEN--just as you begin to strongly consider moving into the ol' subway tunnels and taking up residence as a famed mole person as your best option-- you wake up in the morning with puffy eye lids and that terrible feeling of post-cry exhaustion and open your email to the BEST POSSIBLE THING you could ever have recieved after the hell that you have endured in the recent past. Gwenyth Paltrow herself sent you the real recipe for Tate's Chocolate Chip Cookies(!!!!)

Suddenly the birds are singing, the sun is shining, and all is well in the world! Apartment, schmapartment. Who needs 'em?! I bet Gwenyth never has to look for apartments on Craigslist. Hmrph. Ah well! Just comfort me with cookies. 'Nourish the inner aspect,' as dear Gwennie would say. Here ya go... :)

Tate's Chocolate Chip Cookies

YIELD: about 40 cookies
2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) lightly salted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
1 teaspoon water
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, beaten
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (Nestlé really can’t be beat)

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.Whisk the flour, baking soda and salt together in a bowl. In another large bowl, mix the butter with a wooden spoon to lighten it a bit and then mix in the sugars. Add the water, vanilla and eggs to the butter mixture. Stir in the flour mixture until just combined and then fold in the chocolate chips. Using two soup spoons, drop the cookies 2" apart onto two nonstick or greased cookie sheets. Bake for eight minutes, rotating the sheets after four minutes. Remove the cookies to a wire rack to cool, and repeat the process with the rest of the batter.

Sunday, June 7, 2009


We had the big anniversary party this weekend, New York and I. To celebrate, I spent a night out in the big city with friends and wine and laughter and dancing. I felt incredibly loved and happy and thankful for the people in my life here who came and danced alongside me. It was a fantastic night. However, I can tell you more about that another time, because what I really want to talk about is what happened before the party. A big bowl of lemon spaghetti happened, and I wanna tell you about it.

Allison has been talking about Supper for almost a year now, as she used to live in the LES before moving to the UWS. It's sisters to Frank and Lil' Frankies in the village and has that same thrown together perfection, exposed brick and all. We were able to snab an outside table and before I knew it, I met a plate of spaghetti that would soon deny my ability to ever love another pasta in the same way again.

It was simple, really-- an obvious combination of fresh lemon, olive oil, parm, and a little pasta water for thickening. I plan to make it for myself at some point this week (Giada has a great version of course) but Supper's portion reached a Platonic idealism I fear I cannot replicate.

Maybe they fly in lemons nightly from Sorrento; maybe the olive oil was laced in white truffle; or maybe the Parmesan was made by Hera herself. But the plate actually hovered above the table in a divine light with angels singing in the background and I choose to attribute its goodness to New York and our mutual love. It was New York's little anniversary gift to his girl, Sarah.

Thank you, New York. For two lovely, lovely years. Here's to many more. :)

Monday, June 1, 2009

Tavern on Dean

There is nothing particularly amazing about this English/American pub on the corner of Dean and Underhill in Prospect Heights. It's actually a bit shabby and has a strange floor plan with too much seating in the front and not enough standing room by the bar. The food is standard at best, and the crowd is a random mix of locals and, um, bikers I think?

However... it's within walking distance from my apartment and after a long day of working outside, nothing could have beat a round (or five) of Stella's with olives, a plate of buffalo wings and bleu cheese, and spending time with three of my favorite people-- laughing so hard that tears were streaming down our sunburned faces. It was one of my favorite New York nights to date, and I'm sure the three of them would agree.

Sometimes 'standard' is all you really need.