I’d apologize for the lax blogging, but it seems to have become my new bad habit. And it’s really a shame given all the shenanigans (as they are) that have come to pass.
Firstly: Congrats to my buddies Monica and Jason on their newest addition! Little Eleanor and her head FULL of hair joined the rest of us on this side of the womb late August. She is a beauty and, thankfully for Elle, looks just like her mom. Mazel tov!
In other news, in keeping with the first half of this blog’s title, I have acquired a new piece of skin art. My latest tattoo came courtesy of Andrea over at Have Fun Be Lucky, conveniently located here in the Hampden section of Baltimore. Andrea does AMAZING work – and can hang in there like an endurance athlete. The piece she did on me took roughly 8 hours, and she did it all in one go. All I had to do was sit there and when I stood back up, I had this to look forward to:
It’s a Jizo Boddhisattva, a figure in Japanese Buddhism who traditionally looks after children (particularly unborn children), travelers, and expectant mothers. I saw a figure at the Museum of Asian Art in Dallas and have been transfixed ever since. Andrea came up with the design after I provided a few ideas and photos. I’d say she knocked it out of the park, wouldn’t you? We celebrated with drinks a few days later, including this delightful little champagne-based cocktail called a Golighty designed by the good folks at Golden West.
I can happily report that things remain busy as ever back in the kitchen. I had a slight reprieve late last month while attending the wedding of my friends Alex and Kathy in New Jersey. I know Jersey hardly inspires images of fine food, but I’ve gotta tell you – that was the best spread I’ve ever enjoyed at a wedding reception. The cocktail hour alone (which included oysters on the half shell, a carving station, and mini peirogie) was worth the trip. Dinner included Chateau Briand and dessert ended with strawberries dipped in the chocolate fountain, mini cannoli, and a purse full of candy. (The latter had much to do with the oft-visited open bar, which served champagne and gin ALL NIGHT.)
Back home, in an effort to thank my friend Sally for several job leads, I prepared a full menu for several of my closest confidants. It was an interesting experience, given that Sally lacks a few pantry staples, like vegetable oil and flour. I’m still not sure how she and her boyfriend feed themselves.
Anywho, dinner turned out smashingly. The night’s menu included…
Mrs. Wiley’s Famous Corn Pudding
Just click on each item to find the recipe, except for the risotto, which was a packet mix, and the corn pudding, which is a family thang. (Totally worth it.) I will say that the only real disappointments of the night were the donuts, in part because I don’t own a donut mold and ended up making cupcakes, but also because the resulting baked goods still weren’t up to par, in my opinion.
This week, I’m in London and Newcastle for work, trying to find places to eat that won’t exhaust my limited per diem (which was set for the wrong city – good job, travel department!) Due to some overly conservative planning on my part, I now have a 6hr layover in Heathrow before my next flight. British Airways won’t let passengers switch flights with less than 24hrs notice, and Tube workers are currently on strike, which is making travel into the city a bit of a hassle. For the moment, I’ve holed up in a pub that has, so far, played “The Macarena” over the loud speaker. Followed by “You Can’t Touch This.” No joke.
I’ve heard more jokes than compliments about British cuisine, so if anyone has any suggestions about places where I just have to eat, feel free to let me know! I’ll report on my findings accordingly.