jeanhee
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March 28, 2005

Syzygy and Candle 79

Luke and I were married seven months ago today but since we have plans to see Judy’s play reading, Slashes of Light, this evening we celebrated our monthiversary last night, at Candle 79.

What a beautiful restaurant. I liked the dark warmth of the wood and the deep booth that we were seated in. I do kind of wish we could have been by the window, but at least we had lots of space.

The dinner started with a delicious amouse-bouche of sundried tomato and nut spread on a paper-thin slice of raw zucchini. a nut oil, probably walnut, was drizzled over the top. i was surprised i liked it so much, i usually find sun-dried tomatoes too flavorful — and often too salty — for my comfort.

We had a raspberry lemonade that was out of this world — and very thick, like a smoothie.

our starters were an avocado half stuffed with a tomato salsa atop a bed of fresh, delicate mache, all dressed with a vinaigrette, and a chopped salad of lettuces, artichoke hearts, grape tomatoes, spring peas and fava beans dressed in a meyer lemon-tarragon vinaigrette. i was thrilled to see a meyer lemon dish on the menu as i read today that the season for this fruit has just started this week. there was another dish on the menu with a preserved meyer lemon, but i don’t think that counts! and there were several other dishes with lemon in them, but none labelled specifically meyer lemon. the starters were just perfect, with a nice balance of acid and oil, sour and sweet. hmmm, i was in foodie heaven.

our entrees were excellent. the grilled seitan i had was on top of mashed potatoes and creamed spinach, with a delicious porcini mushroom gravy. yum! gravy makes anything taste good, i think. and unlike bacon, the other thing that makes anything taste good, i can eat it guiltlessly. luke’s entree of baked tofu was perfectly seasoned, and the sauteed escarole was delicious. he also had a beet farrotto that i had never tried before that i liked well enough, but wasn’t sure was the right accompaniment to the tofu.

i had a grain-coffee cappuccino and luke had a chamomile-cinnamon tea with dessert. we weighed the chocolate desserts against the fruit desserts and decided that fruit won, since it’s a treat when the fruit is ripe and flavorful even when it’s cold out. Our berry shortcake was incredible. i could eat a whole other portion of it myself. Strawberries, blackberries and blueberries on a whole-wheat shortbread with “ice cream” made of cashew cream.

we were amused by the conversation at a booth nearby. a young boy, perhaps 10, wanted to play hangman with the restaurant owner, who was hostessing. she learned that the word they were competing over had no vowels except for “y,” which was located at numbers 2, 4 and 6 of a 6-letter word. the hostess was stumped and asked for assistance from one of her waiters, who was also stumped. i told luke what the word was, although i had no idea what it means, and he called the hostess over and advised her to ask for a z or g. the table turned to us and asked if we knew the word, and i said yes, “syzygy,” and they broke out in applause. Then i was asked the inevitable, “what does it mean?” and anticlimactically i said i didn’t know. bummer.

Now, however, i know. Merriam-Webster says it’s when three celestial bodies, like the earth, sun and moon, are lined up in a row, as they would be in an eclipse. Syzygy. use it in a sentence today!

jeanhee @ 12:38 am

March 20, 2005

Where did the weekend go?

I had so many plans for the weekend — I was going to do my taxes! plan our next vacation! do the laundry! see our friend liz’s new apartment with a view of the East River! Get started on the mosaic tile tabletop for the kitchen! Make headway on a reupholstering job for our beautiful, but red-wine vulnerable, white silk couch!

OK, i managed to do some laundry, sort of. the bag of clean but wet delicates is sitting in the bathroom as i type, waiting for me to hang. taxes i’ve avoided all weekend. but we did see liz’s beautiful and large new apartment, and had dinner in park slope with our friends Dan and Melanie, seeing their new apartment and checking in on Melanie, who is due with their first child in May. the vacation planning is in-process. But the mosaic is untouched, and the upholstery is where it’s been for the last two months: in pieces folded up in a pile next to the couch.

we did take a nice walk in the sunshine Saturday morning. And this morning, we slept in a bit, then went to the gym and played three games of co-ed beach volleyball. i had so much fun — i felt so healthy jumping around in the sand. and luke and i enjoyed playing together. of course, it helps when we win, which we did, all three of our games!

ugh. now, back to the laundry and taxes.

jeanhee @ 9:10 pm

March 17, 2005

St Patrick’s Day

This morning, i had irish soda bread. But i sliced it, toasted it, then slathered peanut butter and jelly on it. I expect this will offend the Irish. oh well. to me it was a good but crumbly cake-like bread that would make a good vehicle for my morning protein in the form of peanut butter.

the other thing i did today was learn that irish step dancing — which is what most people think of as irish dancing, came about because the clergy wanted to restrict lascivious movement while dancing!

jeanhee @ 11:22 pm

March 9, 2005

A cultural difference?

In a city as crowded as New York, it’s inevitable that people will bump into, aggravate and annoy each other on the street. When this happens, I personally think an apology and a sincere look of contrition is called for. But sometimes, what I get is an apology and a smile. I hate that!

But today, it occurred to me that the delivery guy who nearly ran me over with his bike because he didn’t look before making a u-turn on the sidewalk might be responding in a culturally appropriate way. Perhaps somewhere in the world — I couldn’t even try to guess where this guy was originally from — the correct way to apologize is to say sorry and smile?

So maybe I shouldn’t immediately assume I’m being patronized by a sexist jerk when he smiles at me like it’s so cute that I yelled because I thought I was going to be run down like Wile E. Coyote?

Thoughts, anyone?

jeanhee @ 8:35 pm

March 6, 2005

visiting the provinces

tonight luke and i met up with my oldest (not chronologically) friend liz (from junior high) and took a long train out to woodside queens for some thai food with liz’s friend henry, who lives in the neighborhood and was thrilled to have visitors.

henry greeted us on the sidewalk with an enthusiastic, “Welcome to the provinces.” as we made our way to a smallish restaurant on 61st street between 39th and roosevelt. unfortunately, i can’t remember the name! khom something.

the food was very good, and presented beautifully. the menu was a little confusing but had such an unusual variety of dishes, like frog legs, and pig’s feet, things you don’t see often on manhattan thai menus. the appetizers, as at all good eateries, were the best part of the meal. the thai crepe, with shrimp and coconut, was just perfectly balanced between crispy and soft. and liz’s entree, fried rice with shrimp and pineapple, was unusual and had a delicious perfume — i’d definitely order it again. my crispy catfish salad was okay — the catfish was fried to such a crisp that it literally was erased, and only the crispy batter seemed to remain. the pad thai was very good and luke’s mock duck curry had quite a kick to it.

but hands down, the best part of the meal was the conversation. we talked politics, and especially romantic relationships that crossed the political aisle. Arnold Schwartzenegger and Maria Shriver, James Carville and Mary Matalin. apparently, of the four of us, three of us have long histories of dating republicans, obviously unsuccessfully since we are either not dating right now, or are married to a diehard democrat. (i literally married the first democrat i’ve ever dated!) but i hadn’t ever been with other people who understood the weird attraction and ultimately, the repulsion, of dating across the aisle. at some point, you have an epiphany when you realize that despite all the things that might attract you to the person, you don’t like him as a human being. We all nodded our heads in agreement about that “a-ha!” moment.

it was so good to be able to share and realize that someone knew exactly what i went through. i felt like i was in a 12-step program for recovering republican-daters. luke, who’s never dated a republican, could only say, You guys are masochists. and it is true. what else could explain it?

so, the lesson i learned from my trip to the provinces is, even manhattanites can find something in common with the provincials from the outer boroughs, even if only by finding another group of people to call “other.”

jeanhee @ 1:01 am