New(-ish) Seattleite. Obsessed with food, music, books, trivia nights, recipes, KEXP, and bad television.
Wednesday, December 28, 2005
Say it with me! But not too loudly.
I have a great word for you: Oaxaca! Say it with me! One more time! Okay, that's enough. Hey, be quiet and listen to me! I have something important to say!
So I just had 2 of the best Seattle dining experiences I've had, ever.
Last night my parents and I went to La Carta de Oaxaca in Ballard. Oh WOW. We had guacamole that was the second best I've ever had (I actually like the guacamole I make better, but that's because I put lots of stuff in it, which I like). It was totally silky and smooth and almost all avocado with some cilantro, and not very salty or spicy at all, but still very very good--sort of the platonic ideal of guacamole, or something. They have like 25 different tequilas for their margaritas (I had the, um, "house," which I think was a cheapish Sauza, and it tasted fine to me). I had the entomatadas--this really thin (but not chewy!) piece of beef, served with their homemade tortillas covered in red sauce and some queso. And it's cheap! Go, and bring me with you! (The only thing is that you'll maybe have to wait a long time for a table.)
Tonight we went to Brasa for their happy hour. On Monday through Friday, from 5-7 pm, everything on their bar menu is half price when you buy a drink. I can't express how good a deal this is. The food is absolutely delicious. I had the spinach salad (with BACON), the curried mussels, and we shared a side of frites. FRITES AND BACON! Oh, heaven. (They had something called "Spanish doughnuts" on the dessert menu but we were all too full. Next time! Because, seriously, bacon AND frites AND doughnuts...)
I cooked pretty much all day yesterday. Let me just say that this was the most ambitious and fantastic meal that I have ever planned. (My parents helped with the preparation but I found all of the recipes and planned everything.) I am so proud!
The bacon on the turkey was the most delicious bacon I have ever eaten--it was crispy from an hour in the oven and sweet from the maple basting glaze for the turkey. And since I made a 12-lb. turkey for 3 people, there are a LOT of leftovers.
(If you want to see some blurry and out-of-focus [are those the same thing?] pictures of the food and my tree, here you go. [Finally, something in my Flickr account besides Kate-is-drunk-on-Halloween pictures!])
Third place, again. We did have 33 points this time, though. (The winning team had 37!) I feel like we should be very proud that we got 20 out of 20 on the last half.
AND I think I had 2 UAFs this week! I knew that the Earl of Sandwich invented the meal to eat during a marathon card game, and I knew that Stevie Wonder was the original artist to perform "Superstition." But there were also many many other answers that I didn't know, including an entire South Park category.
After trivia, I was somehow convinced to stay for karaoke, where I performed not one, not two, but THREE songs. And then we went to Beth's for late-night bacon. (Is there anything better than late-night bacon?)
Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah everyone! (As well as happy any other holiday you might celebrate.)
1. When you're at the self-checkout at the supermarket, and you accidentally pick the Spanish option. And then the machine starts speaking to you in Spanish, and you had 3 years of high school Spanish and 1 semester of college Spanish, but apparently you never learned self-checkout Spanish vocabulary. Plus you have your iPod on, so you can't hear very well. So then you have to ask someone working there how to turn off the Spanish. All while a line is forming behind you. (Moral: Stop listening to the iPod all the freaking time and pay attention to what you're doing.)
2. When you're eating dinner with your boyfriend's cousin and husband, and the cousin stops eating his mashed potatoes and pulls something out of his mouth and you realize it's one of your hairs. In the mashed potatoes that you made to go along with the roast pork loin with beer sauce. (Moral: Hairnet. And a phenomenal dessert with no hair ingredients.)
On Saturday night we went to see the Wrens at the KEXP Yule Benefit. There were a bunch of bands playing, but old lady that I am, I don't like standing for hours, so we got there late enough to see only the last 2 songs from Harvey Danger and the entire Okkervil River and Wrens sets. Okkervil River was good, but I thought the 3 songs I knew from listening to KEXP were the best of the bunch (here are two: "For Real" and "Black").
The Wrens were great. The Meadowlands is one of my top [insert small number] albums of all time. Most of the stuff they played on Saturday was from Meadowlands, with the exception of a cover of "Jingle Bells" to the tune of "Blister in the Sun" and a new song in which one of the Wrens (I think Kevin Whelan) called another Wren (I think Greg Whelan--they're brothers!) on his cell phone (on stage!) and Greg held his phone up to his guitar and Kevin sang into his phone and somehow Greg's guitar picked up Kevin's voice and sort of played it, half as vocals, half as guitar notes. [Edited to add: Josh got a picture of the cell phone thing. And DAMN it, I wish I had seen these posters for sale.]
The best thing about the Wrens is that both Whelan brothers work at Pfizer, and apparently back in the day one of them (Greg?) used to work with people from my company!
(Also, I've discovered that Nate is in looooooooove with DJ Michelle Myers [she MCed the concert]. But that's cool because John is my [not-so-] secret boyfriend.)
Colin and I went to Salumi, epitome of meaty food deliciousness, for lunch today. I had the porchetta sandwich with provolone. It was SO good, although I suspect it might not be the...healthiest sandwich. It's pretty drippy--but dripping with nonfat liquid vitamins! And by "nonfat liquid vitamins," I mean "pork fat." But man, was that some tasty pork fat. (It's also a value-conscious sandwich. Almost 8 hours have elapsed since lunch, and I'm still not hungry. And for me, that's huge.)
So, FG, this is what awaits you if you renounce your vegetarianism! (Maybe you could start with a half sandwich.)
I feel like this link fits into the meat theme of this post: bacon brittle! (If anyone's still looking for a Christmas/Hanukkah gift for me...)
Well, we tied for third. (When I told Nate how we did, he said, "Doesn't that mean you came in fourth?" but I am choosing to ignore that. Third!)
The categories were actually pretty cool--there was a picture round with famous mugshots (we only missed Suge Knight's--we thought it was Stanley Williams, for timeliness and all), an Aesop's fables category, and a category about farm animals. My favorite category was one in which he played the B-side of a single and we had to identify the A-side. (This was hard--we only got 1 right--but it was still fun to think about. Did you know that "Jeremy" was the A-side to "Yellow Ledbetter?" [Of course, it would have helped if I could actually identify "Yellow Ledbetter." I confused it with "Elderly Woman..." Oops.])
I DID have a UAF this week, but it was no Lithuania. I knew that Paris Hilton was voted the Worst Dog Owner of 2005. So there you go: my team keeps me around for my legible handwriting (I fill in the answer sheet every week) and obscure-ish knowledge of reality television personalities. I guess it's better than nothing...
It's time for another read/cook post. But first, let me say that I had a pretty awesome weekend. First was karaoke on Friday. Then on Saturday, it was our Lolita book club where I got to break out my fancy literary epiphany and we had a surprisingly heated (but not in a bad way) debate about the book. THEN (after the book club ended around midnight) we went to Mr. Trivia and roommate's holiday party, where we admired the branches of government-themed Christmas tree (I liked the Supreme Court ornament the best) and drank gin and tonics out of Waterford crystal glasses. (By the way, giving me an expensive, breakable item is a bad idea, even in the soberest of situations.)
Sunday started with a delicious brunch, although there was an embarrassing moment when I got a little too excited about the squeezable jam packets on our table. (But they were really cool! Squeezable! So much nicer than those little rectangular tubs!)
So when I saw the cover of this book, I dismissed it as (probably bad) chick-lit. But then the NY Times picked it as one of the 10 Best Books of 2005. I am nothing if not a sheep-like follower of NYT recommendations, so I requested the book from the library. And you know what? It was great. I mean, it's not Nabokov or anything, but it's a quick read with great characters, an interesting plot, and incredibly believable dialogue.
I'm not sure if it was insomnia-induced reading, or reading-induced insomnia, but I read the entire book last Monday night (from about 11:30 PM to 5:00 AM Tuesday morning). In a lot of (rather uncomfortable) ways, the main character reminded me of me in high school--she's really self-conscious, insecure, and internal (like, she overanalyzes everything). Thank goodness I've changed so much, right? Right? Ahem.
As a disclaimer: it's not typical chick-lit, but I think the book might be more appealing to the girls out there.
So this sounds really weird and disgusting. Lemon zest and milk? But it was fantastic. I am now convinced that Jamie knows his way around a chicken (see my lemon-butt chicken post). To go with the chicken, I made this baked brown rice pilaf. Soooo good. I'm normally pretty inept at making rice, but this recipe is foolproof. And the rice bakes at the same temperature as the chicken! Fate!
What a depressing Trivia Night. Not because of our performance--we got THIRTY SIX right. That's our best score ever. But another team got 38. Yup, only TWO wrong.
There were some good categories--Owen Wilson, Luke Wilson, or both; grammar; holiday music; communist Europe. And we even got 4 out of 5 in the Monday Night Football category!
Okay, so I am going to preface this by saying that my UAF was, once again, zero this week, so I'm clearly not the smartest person in the world, but there was a team that didn't know the subject of the sentence "Tom drinks delicious beer." Don't they teach grammar in schools anymore?
But yeah, zero. My team's wicked smart, though. Did you know that the Baltic Sea borders Lithuania? If you gave me 20 tries, I doubt I could pick out Lithuania on a map.
This site has such good deals on magazine subscriptions, I keep imagining scenarios of how they're going to screw me over. Are they selling my name and address? Stealing my credit card number? Whatever they do, I think it's worth it for their prices. Yesterday, I ordered Bon Appetit for $0.38 an issue, Self for $0.40 an issue, Rolling Stone for $0.11 an issue (even if they have nothing good in an entire issue: ELEVEN CENTS), and Runner's World for $0.25 an issue. I am REALLY tempted by the New Yorker, but I really doubt I'd read it every week, and then there'd just be big piles of magazines all over the apartment.
Have you guys heard that Black Eyed Peas song "My Humps"? It is a mind-bogglingly terrible song. (And I am not being all indie rock on you right now: I am speaking as the person who went to an *NSYNC concert unironically when I was in COLLEGE. [In my defense, the ticket was free...]) Anyway, you should read this article about the awfulness of the song. (I really like Hua Hsu, so I always read his stuff on Slate, but this is especially good.)
I've always loved to read. The old story is that my parents used to yell at me to stop reading and look out the window on our vacation car trips (Yellowstone and Yosemite National Parks, New Mexico, Arizona, etc). I just wasn't interested in the scenery.
But I've always read more in terms of quantity than quality. I read very quickly, but getting through a lot of pages comes at the expense of retention--ask me what a book was about a few months (or weeks) after I've finished it, and I'm normally at a loss. Reading quickly helps in school--I've never not finished a book (I'm going to use "book" to imply something fictional here) for a class (high school or college). Granted, this wasn't too hard, because we didn't have THAT much to read in high school, and in college I usually took only one reading-intensive class per semester, and the rest of my course slots were filled with organic chemistry and differential equations. (Seriously, those 2 semesters of differential equations were probably the biggest waste of time in terms of when-will-I-use-this-in-real-life-terms. With orgo, I can read big chemical names on processed food packages and stuff, but differential equations?)
Plus, in college I normally took courses with "fun" reading instead of classes involving a lot of literary criticism--my very first semester at school I took a class called "Literary Animals" (we read literature written from animals' perspectives), and if I remember correctly, my final project involved reading a book about this horse and then taking an oral exam where the professor asked me questions and I had to respond from the point of view of the horse. (At this point, my parents are thinking, "we paid $30,000 a year for THIS?")
What I'm trying to say is that while I love to read, I'm not one of those people who can give you a cogent, insightful criticism of a book. So imagine my surprise when I was reading Lolita (I've read it twice before, but I'm rereading it for our December book club) and I came across a number of references Nabokov makes to another famous literary work. (I'm being deliberately vague here, because we haven't had our book club meeting yet, and some of the members might read this.) I was so happy! My first literary epiphany!
And then the next morning, I googled my discovery (don't click if you're in the book club and haven't finished the book!), and I found pages and pages of text written about this. Was I upset? Hell no! I don't care if this is something every high school kid learns in class. I discovered it by myself! I'm validated by published literary criticism!
Differential equations were nowhere near this exciting.
Kate's Book List (an [hopefully] ongoing exercise).
I've been wanting to do this for a while: keep a list of all of the books I read. I actually probably start a list once a year or so, but then I always forget to update it. I'm hoping that this forum will help me remember (I'll link to this post in the "Etc." section on the left). Also, if you've read something I have, I'd love to talk about it!
But feel free to ignore this. It's the ultimate in self-indulgence: blogging something just for myself, not something for myself thinly veiled as something for other people!
2013 Faithful Place, by Tana French Lean In, by Sheryl Sandberg The Wife, by Meg Wolitzer Beautiful Ruins, by Jess Walter Dark Places, by Gillian Flynn Where'd You Go, Bernadette, by Maria Semple The Cranes Dance, by Meg Howrey The Yonahlosee Riding Camp for Girls, by Anton DiSclafani The Middlesteins, by Jami Attenberg Sharp Objects, by Gillian Flynn The Art Forger, by B.A. Shapiro The Casual Vacancy, by J.K. Rowling A Dual Inheritance, by Joanna Hershon The Interestings, by Meg Wolitzer Life After Life, by Kate Atkinson The Mothers, by Jennifer Gilmore The Spoiler, by Annalena McAfee The Dinner, by Herman Koch Poor Man's Feast, by Elissa Altman TransAtlantic, by Colum McCann All That Is, by James Salter The Woman Upstairs, by Claire Messud The Signature of All Things, by Elizabeth Gilbert The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt 2014 Perfect Reader, by Maggie Pouncey After Visiting Friends, by Michael Hainey Far from the Tree, by Andrew Solomon Perfect Family, by Pam Lewis Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief, by Lawrence Wright The Husband's Secret, by Liane Moriarty Lies You Wanted to Hear, by James Whitfield Thomson Rules of Civility, by Amor Towles Sycamore Row, by John Grisham Overwhelmed, by Brigid Shulte The Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress, by Ariel Lawhon Elsewhere, California, by Dana Johnson The Blazing World, by Siri Hustvedt Astonish Me, by Maggie Shipstead The Vacationers, by Emma Straub Clever Girl, by Tessa Hadley The Children Act, by Ian McEwan Sweet Tooth, by Ian McEwan The Innocent, by Ian McEwan Defending Jacob, by William Landay Beyond Black, by Hilary Mantel Life Drawing, by Robin Black 2015 The Starboard Sea, by Amber Dermont The Boys in the Boat, by Daniel Brown Us, by David Nicholls Wolf Hall, by Hilary Mantel The Secret Place, by Tana French The Confidence Code, by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P., by Adelle Waldman I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You, by Courtney Maum Light Years, by James Salter The Song of Achilles, by Madeline Miller Seating Arrangements, by Maggie Shipstead Dead Wake, by Erik Larson The Prince of Tides, by Pat Conroy I Didn't Come Here to Make Friends, by Courtney Robinson All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr The Paying Guests, by Sarah Waters Expecting Better, by Emily Oster Delancey, by Molly Wizenberg The Cuckoo's Calling, by Robert Galbraith Midnight in Europe, by Alan Furst Bring Up the Bodies, by Hilary Mantel The Other Boleyn Girl, by Philippa Gregory Unbecoming, by Rebecca Scherm Someone, by Alice McDermott The Astral, by Kate Christensen Big Little Lies, by Liane Moriarty Missoula, by Jon Krakauer Blue Plate Special, by Kate Christensen You, by Caroline Kepnes After Birth, by Elisa Albert Migratory Animals, by Mary Helen Specht The Half Brother, by Holly LeCraw The Accident, by Chris Pavone We Are Not Ourselves, by Matthew Thomas The Expats, by Chris Pavone A God in Ruins, by Kate Atkinson The Days of Abandonment, by Elena Ferrante Restless, by William Boyd Everything I Never Told You, by Celeste Ng The Narrow Road to the Deep North, by Richard Flanagan The Children's Crusade, by Ann Packer The Whites, by Richard Price The Girls from Corona del Mar, by Rufi Thorpe The Book of You, by Claire Kendal Until You're Mine, by Samantha Hayes Smilla's Sense of Snow, by Peter Hoeg Hausfrau, by Jill Alexander Essbaum The Northern Clemency, by Philip Hensher Fall of Giants, by Ken Follett Remember Me Like This, by Bret Anthony Johnston One of Us, by Asne Seierstad A Big Storm Knocked It Over, by Laurie Colwin Flat Water Tuesday, by Ron Irwin Among the Ten Thousand Things, by Julia Pierpont Villa America, by Liza Klaussmann Goodbye Without Leaving, by Laurie Colwin Circling the Sun, by Paula McLain A Little Life, by Hanya Yanagihara Bradstreet Gate, by Robin Kirman 2016 The Wisdom of Perversity, by Rafael Yglesias Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget, by Sarah Hepola Bull Mountain, by Brian Panowich Fates and Furies, by Lauren Groff Americanah, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie The Argonauts, by Maggie Nelson The Taming of the Queen, by Philippa Gregory Find A Way, by Diana Nyad Wideacre, by Philippa Gregory We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, by Karen Joy Fowler The Improbability of Love, by Hannah Rothschild Leaving the Atocha Station, by Ben Lerner 10:04, by Ben Lerner The Rocks, by Peter Nichols Necessary Errors, by Caleb Crain Dept. of Speculation, by Jenny Offill Broken Harbor, by Tana French The Expatriates, by Janice YK Lee City on Fire, by Garth Risk Hallberg The Engagements, by J. Courtney Sullivan Night Film, by Marisha Pessl My Name is Lucy Barton, by Elizabeth Strout Arcadia, by Lauren Groff Before the Wind, by Jim Lynch Half of a Yellow Sun, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Sweetbitter, by Stephanie Danler Ladivine, by Marie NDiaye Everyone Brave is Forgiven, by Chris Cleave Eligible, by Curtis Sittenfeld And After the Fire, by Lauren Belfer The Trespasser, by Tana French 2017 Commonwealth, by Ann Patchett Another Brooklyn, by Jacqueline Woodson The Hopefuls, by Jennifer Close The Last Painting of Sara de Vos, by Dominic Smith The Course of Love, by Alain de Botton Hillbilly Elegy, by JD Vance Bring up the Bodies, by Hilary Mantel Small Great Things, by Jodi Picoult Imagine Me Gone, by Adam Haslett Shrill, by Lindy West