24 June 2008

Moderation 101

MY FAMILY RARELY DINES OUT—in part, because my father can cook. Of course, birthdays, homecomings, and even Sundays after church warrant a lunch or dinner at one of the many excellent restaurants in Houston. True to form, when I returned from Paris, my parents and I stopped for Vietnamese halfway home from the airport. Having had more pho in the four months I lived in Paris's Chinatown than I'd had in my entire life, I was adverse to my father's suggestion of Vietnamese rice-noodle soup at Pho (insert number). But it was delicious, half the price of pho on Avenue de Choisy, and, in retrospect, a nice transition.

For me, ordering at a restaurant can be a bit of an ordeal. Maybe it's because I'm on a budget, or I'm easily seduced by adjectives like "pole-caught" (tuna). Or my sister, my favorite dining companion, has a tendency to order for us in the style of Owen Wilson's Francis L. Whitman in Wes Anderson's The Darjeeling Limited. Which is fine, because she and I like the same things. Or I'm torn among panini that each contain one irresistible ingredient. Prosciutto di parma, aged ricotta, mozzarella, artichoke hearts.

When I'm faced with this, I remind myself, "Everything in moderation," "This is not your last meal." And it's usually at this point when I realize again that every day we make decisions based on others' words and our associations with these words, our knowledge and memory of what something tastes like. Why the hell does pole-caught tuna sound good to me? It just does.

When I'm in the East Village, I like to go to Tarallucci e Vino (163 First Ave. at 10th St.) for coffee or lunch. For dinner, Moustache.

For breakfast, Tarallucci has a decent "French" Croissant. It is buttery, pleasantly crusty and flaky on the outside, airy on the inside. I don't know much about coffee, but I know that their latté is good, hot or cold. Sit closer to First Ave. and you might be lucky enough to catch some Wi-Fi waves.

For lunch, I recommend the salad of mesclun, fennel, tuna, cherry tomatoes, lemon, and extra virgin olive oil dressing. The cherry tomatoes are sweet and tart from the lemon and go nicely with the bitter mesclun. Drizzled with olive oil, the fennel is so thinly sliced it is translucent white. The tuna is the least impressive part. I'm guessing because it's not pole-caught. For something heavier, I recommend the "Stella" panino—filet of tuna, artichoke hearts, and mayonnaise. Just make sure you specify that you want the sandwich, not a Stella Artois.

From Moustache (269 E. 10th St. nr. First Ave.), an order of the baba ganoush and a leg of lamb sandwich is perfect for a night in, as long as you have cash handy. They may warn you that the lamb sandwich is served cold. Tell them you know, you like it that way.

23 June 2008

Noémie rock climbing in Austin.

And Stuff

Noémie Hamon of the seaside resort of Brittany, Saint-Cast-le-Guildo, recently relocated to Seattle, where she will continue to share her language and food—some of the best quinoa and crêpes I have ever tasted. Herewith, a few of the Castin's favorite things…
photograph by SARAH STAYER | October 2007

Favorite art cinema
Pets cat
Where do you live? In between two worlds
Favorite neighborhood restaurant? Le Ker Flor
Mac or PC? mac

Jeans any kind that’s comfortable
Underwear yes ;) same as above
Sneakers don’t know what that is
T-Shirt lots and lots, but all look the same in the end: (too) simple
Day bag little leather “sacoche” bought in Chile
Evening bag ahah, same as above!
Favorite discovery? Comptoir des cotonniers
Necessary extravagance? Not so much

Beauty products
Lipstick no
Mascara yes, yes, Loréal, parce que je le vaux bien :D
Shampoo tons
Hair product sometimes
Perfume lots and lots, gotta cover that French smell ;)
Toothpaste any kind, as long as it feels fresh
Soap savon d’Alep
Nail polish color natural
Where do you get your hair cut? Aveda Institute
Brows waxed? No, way too lazy

Wedding season

Click for photos of the kitchen shower.

Sunday I went to a wedding shower in Hastings-on-Hudson, in Westchester County. The shower was kitchen-themed, replete with invitations shaped like an electric mixer and large wrapped boxes containing a silver 3 tier plate stand, melamine mixing bowls and a cow creamer. Men were cast out of the house, leaving a gaggle of women, young and old, to discuss women things. In between wine tasting and cake, we played a game of "Livial Pursuit." Livia and her fiancé John's wedding is July 26 in Bermuda.

Wedding season continues with a lingerie shower for my friend Emily, in Houston, Texas. I imagine it will be similar to the kitchen shower, just with more lace and silk and less melamine and silver.

19 June 2008


You know you want to read my CV.

17 June 2008

Laura Anderson, at Restaurant Nora, in Washington, D.C.

And Stuff

Columbia student/New York Times Syndicate International Assistant/temporary omnivore Laura Anderson is back from a year in Paris this fall. Herewith, a few of the Botticellian beauty's favorite things…
Photograph by ANN CHOU | December 2006

Favorite art Prints of Dutch still lifes. Full disclosure: they were already here when I arrived, along with other less aesthetically-pleasing photographs, paintings, and mini-sculptures (including a 13-inch Venus de Milo).
Sheets Light blue.
Coffee-maker None. My host family has a tea-maker called Tea Genie that looks very cool but produces really watery tea.
Pets None.
Where do you live? In the spare room of the de la Feronniere family’s apartment, on Avenue Georges Mandel, in the 16th Arrondissement of Paris.
Favorite neighborhood restaurant? I’ll get back to you when I find one.
Favorite cocktail? Gin gimlet, straight up.
Mac or PC? Mac.

Clothes Jeans Gap. They fit me.
Underwear Patagonia, preferably with stripes or flowers.
Sneakers New Balance running shoes, the kind made without leather.
T-Shirt I told myself I wouldn’t bring t-shirts to France, but I kind of wish I had my “Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa” t-shirt.
Day bag A ragged fair-trade-handmade-in-Guatemala purse embroidered with green flowers.
Evening bag None. I make do.
Favorite discovery? My thick red Polartec robe that I live in during winter months.
Necessary extravagance? Vegan EarthShoes? They’re kind of expensive.

Beauty products
Lipstick Carmex.
Mascara The Body Shop Define and Lengthen in black. (The Body Shop conned me into buying a membership card awhile back, so now I try to buy all my makeup there. Plus, you know, they don’t test on animals.)
Shampoo Some all-natural jojoba stuff from Whole Foods.
Moisturizer Usually, Neutrogena SPF 30. Currently, RoC SPF 15.
Hair product L’Oréal Elsève Crème de Lumière Nutri-Gloss pour cheveux longs, éteints. It comes in a pink bottle, and it’s kind of amazing!
Perfume None.
Toothpaste Anything blanchissant.
Soap ?
Nail polish color None.
Where do you get your hair cut? My last haircut was at the Toni & Guy Salon on the Upper East Side, where haircuts and products are free. But I’m growing out my hair now.
Brows waxed? No. I’ve been blessed (cursed?) with invisible eyebrows.

More My Stuff.

My stuff, your stuff, and stuff

N SEPTEMBER, I asked my friends to be a part of my rip-off of Vanity Fair's My Stuff. Emily Allen was the first to reply.
September 2007

And Stuff
Texas A&M-educated, talented, and funny, ABC 40 reporter-turned-teacher Emily Allen, who has been a friend of mine since first grade, will marry fellow Aggie Austin Bird on July 5, in Houston, Texas. Herewith, a few of her favorite things…

Favorite art personal photos
Sheets pink cotton, of course (though I had “jersey cotton” once in college, and it was quite soft)
Coffee-maker I don’t drink coffee.
Pets I take care of a bunch of plants on my patio. That’s the most I can handle right now.
Where do you live? Kingwood, TX
Favorite neighborhood restaurant? Italiano’s. Small community feel, original Italian recipes, friendly staff
Favorite cocktail? Shirley Temples with extra cherries (no, I’m not kidding)
Mac or PC? PC, I freeze up when I try to use a Mac for a prolonged amount of time.

Jeans I have yet to find a brand that’s great right away. I like them after I wear them for a couple of years...during that last six months before they rip.
Underwear boy shorts all the way
Sneakers I don’t know...whatever is in my closet.
T-Shirt I really like my solid cotton tees. I have one in every color.
Day bag Depends on the season
Evening bag I’m not motivated enough to change bags for an evening out.
Favorite discovery? Everything is loaded with germs. One test has even found other people’s FECAL MATTER in sample make-up at department stores. Lesson learned: Carry sanitizer with you everywhere you go.
Necessary extravagance? good bras from VS

Beauty products
Lipstick Cover Girl WetSlicks Crystals #430 (I understand that pre-teens probably buy this shade, but it provides the nicest shimmery color out of everything I’ve tried.)
Mascara whatever comes in the free gift
Shampoo Herbal Essences Smoothing Shampoo (mandarin balm & pearls)
Moisturizer Clinique Advanced Stop Signs Eye Cream (before the wrinkles get out of control)
Hair product Matrix Sleek Look Smoothing Serum
Perfume rotate between 8, Givenchy Very Irresistible, and Angel
Toothpaste Something minty and not too pasty
Soap bath soap: Irish Spring, hand soap: Bath & Body Works Vanilla Bean Noel
Nail polish color Right now, a deep burgandy/brown for the fall
Where do you get your hair cut? I haven’t found a place yet.
Brows waxed? I haven’t found a place yet, but I highly recommend it at least once a month for shaping.

Put some green in yer ice cream

Click to enlarge.

I DON'T LOVE ICE CREAM. Rarely do I crave ice cream. But when I do, very distinct flavors come to mind. When I was a kid, I loved smurf ice cream. I can't describe the taste. I don't think it was blueberry—just blue. But I remember it being delicious, icy, and tongue-staining, which, at that age, was fun.

After moving to Houston, my father took me to Baskin Robbins, where, out of 31 flavors, I chose margarita ice. In college, I discovered yogurt flavored ice cream at La King's Confectionary in Galveston. In New York, the corn ice cream at Sundaes and Cones, or just Cones. And, last but not least, Hasaki's black sesame ice cream—a nice complement to a sip of the hot green tea the black-Converse-wearing waiter brings you after your meal.

A recent taste of Princeton's Halo Pub (9 Hulfish Street) homemade pistachio ice cream got me thinking about, well, pistachio ice cream. Last night, in charge of dessert, I considered mixing raw pistachio nutmeats with a pint of vanilla Häagen-Dazs, à la Marble Slab, but instead decided to improvise a purée. It was a hit.

Pistachio purée
1 cup raw pistachio nutmeats
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons white sugar
2 tablespoons sour cream
2 tablespoons milk

Blend in a food processor until creamy. Spoon a dollop on vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt.

12 June 2008

Vibram FiveFingers

No, Vibram FiveFingers is not a new adult plaything. It's a collection of odd and wonderful footwear. It's like an aqua sock, but better.

I first learned about these five-toed creatures on a night out with one of my more environmentally minded friends. I caught a glimpse of them as she climbed into my car. After we parked, somewhere between my car and the coffee shop wine bar, my friend and I paused to admire her new footwear, a gift from a fellow recycling cyclist tree-hugger. My friend wiggled her toes on the gravel. I asked if it hurts. No. In fact, you can do much more than walk in these.

In a pair of FiveFingers, you can do all the things you always wanted to do barefoot—running, yoga, trekking, kayaking, sailing—without the hookworms and visits to the ER. This is made possible by its patented Vibram sole made from a performance rubber compound.

FiveFingers comes in Classic, Sprint (like a Mary Jane), KSO, and Flow (like a Puma Amoko?). I like the all black Classics. Which pair do you like?

04 June 2008

The three-letter word

I'm off for a three-week vacation, to find a job.

02 June 2008

Hyper-connected girl

My friend calls me hyper-connected girl. Maybe if I still had a MySpace page and a sweet website, I would agree. Although, I have left my tracks.

Tonight, for example, I joined InterNations. My invitation had been sitting in my in-box for a few days. I imagined it was something like LinkedIn, and because every once in a while I like to type my information into required fields, I joined.

InterNations is the first international online Social Network exclusively for people living and working abroad. As a network of trust, InterNations is a place where its members can interact with other internationally-minded individuals sharing the same situation abroad, similar interests, and needs. Members of InterNations can get and keep in touch with private or work-related friends and acquaintances on a global and local level and exchange trustworthy and relevant information on specific topics with each other.

Network of trust? Sounds like a bunch of. I can just see myself, living in Paris again, getting together at La Coupole with a group of expats I've met through InterNations.

It's obvious InterNations wants to be classe, as the French might say. But if that's what it wants to be, then it's going to need a bit of a makeover.

So what do I like about InterNations? That you get to list the languages you speak. And in which countries you've lived, and when. My Dutch flag and French flag look pretty awesome on top of each other. But if that's all there is, I'm outtie, as the Americans might say.
For those of you not on Facebook, I've posted my last Europe photos (click on the mouse). You will find them in the Paris set and the new set titled Holland, which documents my time in Roosendaal and Etten-Leur.

01 June 2008

The movie I last saw

Although I could go on (maybe later) about Jean-Luc Godard's Le Mépris, I leave you with a quote you may not catch as you watch the first ten minutes of the film, which is without English subtitles—too bad. There are several memorable moments in Le Mépris, but at the end of the day it is this quote that still leaves an impression.

Godard wrongly attributes the quote to André Bazin, when, in fact, it is French film critic and playwright Michel Mourlet. You can find it in his article, Sur Un Art Ignoré, in the paragraph titled Prééminence de l'acteur.

…le cinéma est un regard qui se substitue au nôtre pour nous donner un monde accordé à nos désirs.

Which roughly translates to "...cinema is a glance which replaces ours to give us a world granted to our desires."