It has been too long. But that is not to say that there hasn't been anything to write about, anything to share. Upheaval, uncertainty, good meals and goodbyes have all been in the picture. I think yesterday was a good reason to write today and think about tomorrow. The picture is of the Manhattan Bridge from the Brooklyn side. A beautiful grey evening of giants looming in the chilly mist of Sunday. Beautiful, silent and shot on my iPhone.
We got to Red Hook later than we expected. The day was blazing hot. Natasha was hobbling, I didn't have enough sunblock, and the lines were so so long. But we had such a hankering for huaraches, tamarind juice, and tacos and we had driven all the way there in the heat that we just decided to stay. We decided to divide and conquer, each taking one line. Drinks are much faster than food. After nearly forty minutes in line (Who waits forty minutes for food? Okay, me. Frequently. But not in 97 degree heat!) and we finally ordered. Minutes later my arms were filled with amazing looking food. Huaraches made with oversized handmade tortillas filled with zucchini, mushrooms, onions, beans, queso fresco, and mouth-blistering hot sauce. Washed down with hibiscus tea and tamarindo, it was easily worth the wait.
Since updating my Adobe CS2 to CS3.3 last week, it seems as though almost all of my creative time and energy has been spent reading tech blogs, downloading patches and updates, resolving conflicts, getting advice from geeky friends and asking myself, why so many bugs?
After all, we do pay a hefty price for these licensed products, but still, it is not remotely close to the price I have paid in terms of billable hours and emotional stress. Good lord, is this the plague we have brought upon ourselves? Are the four horsemen now called; Update, Restart, Patch and Crash? Is Adobe a cleverly conceived acronym for the Antichrist? Are the locust coming trough the Airport Extreme?
Thankfully my soul was saved during rebooting pilgrimages to our terrace to enjoy the analog world of our garden. While observing the tangible fruits of my labor, the result of simple mulching and watering, I was met with more bugs. Dragonflies to be precise. (Not to be confused with the damselfly, which holds their wings behind them when at rest, while the dragonfly keeps them perpendicular to their body.)
Although ancient and sinister in appearance (compared to the modern and inviting branding of the Adobe Suite), these cold blooded creatures are a welcome sight since they spend their days devouring mosquitoes, midges and various other insects that hurt our plants and give Natasha giant throbbing welts all over her body. And unlike Adobe Suite, they are friendly, helpful and don't waste my time or money.
"How good is she?", to borrow Darren's often used phrase when referring to his lovely Lizz, creator of this blueberry-a-licious muffin. Brought to our door at 8:45 yesterday morning, this gorgeous piece of baking was just further proof that we live in the best building in Brooklyn. While most New York apartment dwellers can barely trade glances or "good mornings", we exchange baked goods, vegetables, recipes and dinner invitations. Hell, we have even gone on vacations with our neighbors, our friends.
Lizz is one of the best bakers I have ever known as was evident by this light and delicate muffin packed with sweet juicy blueberries picked in Pennsylvania this weekend. Could I ever leave this building, this cornucopia of gastronomic interchange? I'd rather see a church burn.
As Natasha ran off this morning to contribute to a struggling American economy and the need to put food on our personal table, I was left here at my computer to contemplate our weekend. Or as voiced in a more simple directive from Natasha, "Isn't it about time you did a post for the blog?"
I sit here now, well into my second cup of tea, attempting to pen an ever-so-brief and compelling documentation of our weekend together, I begin to wonder why we write these posts at all. Where do we find the value in throwing out photos and snippets of our lives and experiences into the flotsam and jetsom of a self-important and indulgent sea of blogs? Are we modern day Samuel Pepys or pathetic individuals tossing out keywords and topics into the void in hopes of finding ourselves on the top five listing of someone's Google search, or at the receiving end of a reader's comment?
By creating content, do we create meaning for others, or even ourselves? By showing our person do we create friendships or only networks that offer our art and opinion as just another way of creating commerce? When does sharing become a labor, and not a love?
Anyway, here is something I did love this weekend, a treat well-deserving of my labors in the form of pictures from "Stink Fest 08" that took place yesterday on Smith Street in Carroll Gardens. Plenty of New York City-style street fair crap, but also some rather good eats offered up by The JakeWalk on the second day of summer. Fish tacos, fried cheese curds, fresh coleslaw and pickles and even Raclette served up by a guy Jen thinks is hotter than the strange iron that heats up the cheese into a bubbling goo.
It started on Friday evening with dinner. It ended on Sunday evening with rosé. My friends were only supposed to come over for the evening.
But our "night out" included David Lebovitz's chocolate mousse and rhubarb cocktails on the roof terrace, complete with hats and sunglasses. After falling asleep while watching The Incredibles, we woke up and I decided to make brownies and we went off with them "cooling" in hand in the 100 degree weather for a picnic in the park. After that there were more cocktails, The Incredibles (again) and us falling asleep, again.
Sunday morning found us walking in the sustained 100 degree heat over to Red Hook, a fantastic brunch at on the roof at Alma, with white sangria and the best margarita I've ever had (pineapple and vanilla bean – I know it sounds sweet and sickly but it wasn't) and then we ambled down Van Brunt, hopping into Saipua, the splendid Erie Basin and the renowned Lenell's.
We then found ourselves in a cab over to Atlantic Avenue, won over by the beauties at Darr, their sister – or should I say brother – men's store across the street, Hollander and Lexer. We then found ourselves at Butter, dizzily trying on shoes we couldn't afford and sunglasses we lusted after. Shored up by Vietnamese sandwiches and Vietnamese coffees from Nicky's, we walked back through Downtown to DUMBO. I realized that not only had my friends not left my house since Friday, but we hadn't left the borough. Brooklyn bloody rocks! While I'm at it, I'll list some of the places to go in Red Hook and Atlantic Avenue after the jump.
As I waited in the doctor's surgery today, marveling at how strange it was that I couldn't understand what anyone was saying due to my lack of foreign tongue, I opened The Botany of Desire at exactly the right time. I had just come from the Green Market, where I went a little crazy buying vegetable plants. You have to understand that teetering on the edge of what is a fairly prolific vegetable growing season for someone with only plant pots in the sky of Brooklyn, this is very exciting.
I realize this is strange from the looks my friends give me when I enthuse, over and over again, about growing tomatoes. And this love and strange pull towards growing plants, as Pollan tells me, is not my fault. If they weren't so goddamn tasty, I wouldn't want to grow them again, now would I?
So in the "ground" are all heirloom tomatoes; eight Purple Cherokees, a Ceylon (I'm Sri Lankan, I had to), a Purple Calabash and a Jaune Flamme. We also got a Wonderberry husk tomato, Kamo eggplant, Red Rib chicory, red mustard greens and Wallonne endive.
But probably the most exciting thing we bought was a Feherozon paprika plant, which grows as a pepper which you dry and crush into powder. Most exciting thing. Ever!
Pictured is also some red sorrel, lemongrass and random herbs floating around. We got all of our vegetable plants from the outstanding people at Silver Heights Farm who have by far and the away the best list of rare and heirlooom vegetables. They have five different kinds of brussel sprouts, for God's sake...