Well, That Was Unexpected

Real life is stranger than fiction...depending on which authors you read, of course.

Friday, January 30, 2009

NYC take 1--oscars and whatnot

I have apparently snapped up the most desirable place in O'Hare's B terminal. I have seen at least 3 people disappointed that the corner spot by the window is taken. Neither myself nor any of them is actually scheduled for the flight to minneapolis at this gate number. vini vidi vici!

My trip to New York was splendid after the terrible start on the flight. Let's start with food. My culinary happiness started with Mario Batali and continued unabated. I had some lovely Halal street food: a chicken gyro, assuredly not correct terminology, but delicious nonetheless. surprising in its inclusion of both hot sauce and tzatziki sauce.I finally went to Rice to Riches, the place in the movie Hitch, and I got 5 different kinds of rice pudding to try, which were so rich that I have brought half of them home after 2 days of trying to get through them. They are truly delectable though--the cinnamon with raisin, such a classic, was still my favorite. I also had rum raisin, french toast, pecan pie, and chocolate hazelnut. I am also keeping the awesome spoons and bowls. ahem, anyway, i went with two coworkers to chinatown to have dinner one night and we had Beijing Duck! mmmmmmmmm. it was delicious and crispy skinned and everything. the only thing was the pancakes were bizarrely huge--full 10 inch tortilla size. well, the people who owned the place were clearly cantonese, i suppose they cannot be blamed for this. afterward a very skeptical julie followed her coworker to a "phenomenal chinese ice cream shop" to which I said "chinese ice cream is usually disgusting". luckily this wasnt chinese style ice cream but rather western ice cream with chinese flavor. I had black sesame ice cream with ginger ice cream. extremely delicious! yet another top chef moment. With Misha I got a true new york slice from Delizia Una which I ate while on a late night conference call with work--I had been hoping for a slice or a hot dog, so this was a lovely triumph. Anyway, to round out the whole experience I met Stef, a long unseen but still dearly loved friend from college, at a latin wine bar where i had 3 glasses of delicious argentine and portuguese wines. I had a white wine paired with my arugula salad--a whole bowl of arugula with mango and roasted grapefruit. i thought a whole bowl of arugula might be overwhelming, but negative--it was fantastic. and i got the latin version of mozzarella sticks made with white cheese, and then i also asked for a side of creamy pepper dressing, which was almost a dead ringer for huaincaina sauce, a yellow pepper peruvian sauce that is one of my all time favorites. My face was slightly numb by the end of the night, but in a good way.

Another treat was that after my dinner with coworkers, we went to times square and walked around. still a sensory marvel. we then went and saw benjamin button which was quite good--I was moved at the end, but felt that one scene in particular was untrue to the characters and it marred it slightly. I actually also thought that the way Cate Blanchett spoke was unnatural and distracting...what stole the movie was the guy who got struck by lightning. and of course the ridiculously iconic scenes of brad pitt posing on motorcycles and in various worldly locations. My two male coworkers were like "damn, that brad pitt is a good-looking dude." so I didnt have to say it. The next day I had some unanticipated free time and Misha came and met me and we saw Slumdog Millionaire, which was absolutely fantastic. Looooved it!! The scenes of the chaos of Mumbai and the slum are exactly right. The heartbreaking hardness of it, but the joy that can still exist in those circumstances--excellent.

time to board.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

30 year old exercising over ground zero

Two days post the awesomely saucy 30th birthday extravaganza I find myself in NYC. Just got back from a business dinner. Our business partner picked a Mario Batali restaurant for dinner and it was *fantastic*! I had some red wine and a campari cocktail and, ergo, am now in the fitness center on one of those lovely, new, expensive pieces of exercise equipment that exist in swanky hotel gyms and which make me actually feel like working out is a bona fide treat.

the hotel is called the millenium hilton and is literally across the street from ground zero. and that is the view both from this gym machine and from my room. the expanse is larger than I imagined. all i can think is "bones". incidentally, that is also the thought I often have when staring at the ocean.

the 30th birthday sauceaganza was a pretty incredible fete, marred only by the lack of time to talk with everyone and the absence of a few well-loved friends. Usually i have a smaller, more intimate dinner, or multiple intimate dinners with groups of friends to mark my birthdays. this was big and i commented that it felt a bit bridal (the enormous banner my mom made and had people sign added to this feeling). In the back of my mind, when planning this big shebang, I kept thinking of a Japanese movie I love called "After Life." In the movie, when people die they have to choose one memory to live in forever. Then a crew in heaven reconstructs the memory and the person disappears to live in that memory for eternity. I kept wondering if this would be as close to that memory as I have had. But, like I said, there were enough notable absences to make it fall short. will have to try again either at 40 or at wedding time, whichever comes first. my hope is that once you have made the memory, when you live in it, you get to change it--i would be able, for example, to play games with EVERYONE in attendance. one group at a time. and maybe instead of the game room at the old folks mobile home park it would be in Paris. :)

the journey over here was pretty hilarious. LaGuardia-bound flights clown me every time. Never on time. This one was actually canceled! Luckily, O'Hare has hourly flights to NYC and I was booked on the next one. One of my coworkers coming on this trip was actually on my same flight and we were supposed to be meeting the rest of our group for dinner at 7. we landed at 530 and traffic was so bad that we actually had to drive directly to the restaurant and check our luggage at the coat check at mario batali's restaurant! you can bet we were party faves. but who cares because we had awesome meats and cheeses, wine, and OLIVE OIL gelato. totally a top chef moment for the julie.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

new haven, new year, new president

I am sitting in my hotel room in new haven getting swept away in the revelry and excitement of the Obama Neighborhood Ball. I am simultaneously eating the most enormous greek salad in the history of the world. I had part of it for lunch, part for dinner, and will have more for lunch tomorrow. I have pictures to put up. eek. it's gotten too late. oh what a pitiful start to the new year blog! 20 days late! i have pictures. oh goodness, who knows when those will get up?!