Fabulous Girl's Boudoir

Thursday, December 27, 2007

A little bit of this, a little bit of that

It was mean to be a restful, low key holiday season, but an upscale dinner sneaked its way in (le sigh). The Drake can be scene-y, but a) who's open for a decent dinner on Boxing Day, and b) the food was quite good. I started with a champagne cocktail featuring strawberry puree that was just what a good strawberry should be, fresh and not too sweet - kudos to the waiter for the perfect recommendation.

The ... let's call it /diversity/ ... of the Drake's menu left me slightly puzzled. They have a raw bar that includes sushi and sashimi, appetizers, small plates and entrees. Unless you focus, it can make for a bit of a jumpy meal, but we didn't care. We began with a charcuterie plate of local meats and cheeses, fruits and breads. And the tuna sashimi. The J. Lohr Cabernet Sauvignon arrived, and we moved on to steak frites and 4 cheese mac 'n cheese.

And skipped dessert to go dancing.


Icons we mourn: Benazir Bhutto

I appreciate that she wasn't everyone's favourite world leader, but she is still an icon. And there is little that justifies assassination, accompanied by yet another suicide bombing.
Born in 1953 in the province of Sindh and educated at Harvard and Oxford, Ms Bhutto gained credibility from her father's high profile, even though she was a reluctant convert to politics.

She was twice prime minister of Pakistan, from 1988 to 1990, and from 1993 to 1996.

On both occasions she was dismissed from office by the president for alleged corruption.

The dismissals typified her volatile political career, which was characterised by numerous peaks and troughs. At the height of her popularity - shortly after her first election - she was one of the most high-profile women leaders in the world.

Young and glamorous, she successfully portrayed herself as a refreshing contrast to the overwhelmingly male-dominated political establishment.

But after her second fall from power, her name came to be seen by some as synonymous with corruption and bad governance.

One wonders what people in India, Pakistan and North Korea think when they hear Americans worrying about Clinton and Bush dynasties.

BBC obit


Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Another OP story

The Fabulous Mother is in recovery from hip replacement surgery, and the visitors have been endless. She and the FFather take care of their friends in need, and what goes around comes back around, as JT would say.

During one such visit from a couple who are former neighbours, the passing of Oscar Peterson came up, and the woman said, "Well you know, he played the piano at our Senior Prom in 1950."

I nearly dropped the glass I was holding.

Apparently he was just starting out at the time. She said everyone stopped dancing and just watched and listened. Amazing.


Tuesday, December 25, 2007

And to all a good night


Monday, December 24, 2007

Icons we mourn: Oscar Peterson

Oscar Peterson left us today, I hope with the same twinkle in his eye and tune in his head as always.

I was extremely fortunate to see him at Jazz Alley in Seattle in the sumnmer of 2006, and the Renaissance Man inisited we go back stage afterwards. It was an honour to be in the same room with one of the greats.

This post is for the Fabulous Father, one of Oscar's greatest fans.


Saturday, December 22, 2007

Give me your answer, do

One of the few nice things about crossing the border is the opportunity for duty-free shopping. I tend to behave myself, but this time there was a need (Blush supplies dangerously low), and my CAA card gets me an additional 20% off. So I picked up a bottle of Daisy, on the recommendation of this FG.

It's not my signature fragrance*, but it could give my every day scent a run for its money, although it's a little heavier than I'd prefer for an every day.

*Fragrance name deliberately withheld. Hey, I don't lie about my age, give me at least one secret.


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

2007 in sentences: meme

The Blue Fairy shared this, and I in turn, will share mine.

January: Endless Shoes (and Handbags!) (possibly not a sentence, but appropriate)

February: "Once upon a time, you made couture gowns for Barbie with toilet paper."

March: Are you living in a diverse household?

April: A little something seasonal, for the little one in your life.

May: From St. Louis, I flew south west via Denver (note to self, layovers should not exceede 80 minutes) and up into the highlands of New Mexico.

June: Oh it was a busy, busy weekend, my darlings.

July: There was a tribute concert to Diana on Sunday night.

August: But my new office will have one!

September: Three inch heels aren't much use in Montana.

October: While the FG runs around a lot for work, this time it was for fun.

November: While reading Tabula Rasa's post about fava beans, I was sure I'd blogged a similar experience I'd had several years ago while preparing one of Martha's springtime pasta recipes, but searched for fava to no avail.

December: I know, you're wondering what happened the rest of the weekend, but I couldn't get it down before Shuesday and you get so cranky when I delay Shuesday ...


Perhaps a New Year's resolution to consider opening sentences more carefully is in order.


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Shuesday: Sabrina

Perfectly named, for the modern Sabrina - it would certainly take me a year in Paris to learn to walk in a 4 & 1/10 inch heel. Love the straps, love the buckle, love the ruffle.


Monday, December 17, 2007


not for the New Year, but of the outerwear drama previously referenced.

The white coat arrived, but, alas, all was not well. Although it was deeply discounted in price, it was a size too big, and marred by an odd green dot on the collar. While my friends assured me that my good drycleaner could undoubtedly deal with the dot, the size was still an issue. And when I called my friends at The Republic, they were out of my size nation-wide.

So I settled for a two new winter coat winter, which is certainly sufficient.


Sunday, December 16, 2007

Baby, it's cold outside

I'm just saying, it was cold. Not to mention sleeting.



Friday, December 14, 2007

Oh the Places You'll Go: Washington DC

I was off to DC for my last work trip of the year, a two day training on an incredibly useful but only semi-frequently used tool in the work toolbox. I'd been run through my paces on it, but the combination of lack of intense training, only occasional use, and the fact that it doesn't exactly suit my mental patterns left me at a loss. I arrived a day ahead, because the conference started early thursday am, and took advantage of the opportunity to have drinks with Josh Lyman and dinner with Desperately Seeking NY.

The trip in from the airport was lovely - a fresh snowfall coated the monuments and parts like royal icing, and things seemed just a little quieter and more majestic. Gentleman that he is, Josh took me to The Ritz for manhattans and dirty martinis. Although he asked for his on the rocks, it arrived straight up, and his balance was impeccable.

After drinks, I went back to meet DSNY in my hotel bar, which was serving a drink once popularized in SATC - unclear what it was doing in a DC hotel several years later, but it tasted good. DSNY and I met up with a friend of his from grad school at Meskerem, where ironically, I'd also been for dinner with a friend from the JET program many years before. The food and honey wine were just as good as I'd remembered. After dinner, we moved to a dive bar for beer and an unexpectedly heated conversation about affirmative action (the short story is that the friend subscribes to the Chief Justice's opinion on the matter). I really need to stop doing that.

The following day was a whirlwind of capital gains tax, flip unitrusts and life expectancy charts. Mercifully, I had dinner with Josh to look forward to. After barely coming to a decision on location, and fighting the lighting of the National Christmas Tree lack of taxis, followed by traffic woes, I made it. Josh had a prime location at the bar at Ten Penh, and got me an Emperor's Geisha (raspberry vodka, cassis, passion fruit puree and sour) post haste. We moved on to dinner - bbq glazed pork ribs, red thai curry shrimp, szechuan glazed eggplant (can't possibly recall what Josh had to eat) and Saigon cinnamon sugar dusted doughnuts with bittersweet chocolate pudding for dessert.

Hopped back into a cab and headed for home. Another day of complicated estate planning calculations, and it was back to NY.

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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Camarooned in the City: Part III

Sunday was another recovery day, not only from the previous night's festivities, but in preparation for for The Dinner Party to come. Marooned mustered up the courage to leave the building and go for a long walk around noon, and then we dressed and departed the house.

The Blue Fairy and the Vintner hold an annual holiday party, in Portland, in Iceland, and this year, in New York City. The invitations are hand written, in (and I'm hazarding here, because I know she'll correct me with kindness) the style of Emily Post, circa 1922, and I always reply in kind (except this year, when I did so via email, but only because the response would never have arrived in a timely manner, I swear!). The dress code is black tie optional, the wines are fantastic, there is home made gingerbeer and egg nog, and the company is always a delightful combination of longstanding friends (the Artist) and newcomers who feel like familiars (some more than others =P) by the end of the evening (click here for details). The Fairy wore an exquisite new vintage dress in a colour I believe we decided was blush, I wore a green and white cocktail dress I adore, and think is festive without being holiday sweater-esque, and my favourite red coat. We even encountered a fellow attendee in our subway car - she'd begun her journey in Brooklyn and we joined her in the East Village - which is rare, and contributed to the growing evidence that I do live here. It's been a year, I know.

We stood in the hallway drinking and cruising the cheese platter, completely in the way of our hosts and arriving guests, told and re-told stories, examined a papier-mache heart, and laughed until we ached - my cheeks had that post-photo session feeling.

The Menu
Baguette and Challah rolls
Cheese plate with Mobay, Goat Gouda and Goat Brie
Green salad
Garbanzo Pomegranate Salad
Key Lime Green Beans with Thyme
Baby red potatoes with garlic and gorgonzola
Spinach, artichoke heart casserole
Butternut squash, eggplant, mushroom and chestnut lasagna
Shrimp Curry and rice
Apple tart

We stayed late, but not too late, as Marooned was heading to Montreal in the morning.

Except that his plane was unable to leave Montreal in the first place, due to the weather. He rescheduled himself for the following day, direct to Vancouver, and returned to the East Village. We ordered Indian food from my favourite, Brick Lane, and played cards. And the next day, he was gone.

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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Shuesday: To every cloud

There is a purple lining.

I was going to post a grey shoe today, because I've been wanting one, and because that would be appropriate for the skies above us, but then I saw these. Mmmmmm.

(Also available in grey.)


Friday, December 07, 2007

I laughed, I cried ...

Shouts & Murmurs

Emoticons During Wartime

by Tom McNichol December 10, 2007

:-) No new attacks reported today.

:-( New attack reported today.

=|:-)= This e-mail is being monitored by Uncle Sam for your protection.

:-x I’d rather not say in an e-mail that’s being monitored for my protection.

:-w Our current leader speaks with forked tongue.

*:o) Our current leader is a bozo.

/:-=( Our current leader in some ways resembles Adolf Hitler, at least in his disregard for civil liberties during wartime.

:-o Uh-oh, what was that?

:-@ I hear screaming.

B) Now donning protective goggles.

.-) Good Sammy Davis, Jr., movie on tonight.

<|-) Yes, the current conflict resembles Vietnam.

+<:-) Pope to make appeal for peace.

(:3 No, I am the Walrus.

:(=) Interesting Jimmy Carter piece in today’s Times.

[:-) I’m listening to my iPod.

3:-o Bovine encephalitis attack!

:-)8 Latest George Will column still doesn’t get it.

@:-[-- New Osama bin Laden message released.

8-/ Local chemical attack causing blindness.

:-# Kiss your ass goodbye.

The New Yorker


Thursday, December 06, 2007

Camarooned in the City: Part II

Friday, we dragged ourselves out of the apartment and headed to Mud for much needed coffee before The Long Walk began. We walked through Tompkins Square Park south through the East Village and the Lower East Side. Chinatown, Little Italy, Canal Street, and then to Ted Baker in Soho for Marooned's first suit. Some were too big and some were too small, but we finally found one that was just right (with a quick trip to the tailor's to move the buttons on the jacket and hem the pants), and three shirts.

We went back to Little Italy for dinner. Our intention was to wander up and down the street, reviewing menus before making a decision, but half way down the block, the maître d' from Amici II called us from across the street. Now, I've been welcomed into various Indian restaurants along Curry Row in the past, but this man started singing O Sole Mio to us from across the street. When you meet a living caricature, you have to accept his invitation. And the food wasn't bad. We headed home early, watched TV and played cards (as has been our wont for lo these sixteen years), and went to bed at a reasonable time.

The next day, the weather was beautiful again, so we hopped the R train to 59th and 5th Avenue to see the sights of Central Park. We walked up past various sights previously detailed here, and then happened upon Strawberry Fields, where there was a gathering for John Lennon taking place at the Imagine memorial. We walked down Central Park West to Columbus Circle, and from there down Broadway to Times Square (sadly not stopping at The Bubble Lounge), and Camarooned proved himself remarkably adept at playing the /making your way through the crowds of tourists/ game. Caught the train down to the LES to retrieve the suit from the tailor, walked back up to Astor Wine & Spirits (where Camarooned kindly picked me up a bottle of Belle Vallee, which I am under strict instructions not to drink until next year), and then home to prep for East Coast Guy's birthday party.

Which was a blast. Dinner at Kin Khao, drinks (bad ass chicks from the Moulin Rouge) at the Cub Room, and a night cap at Raoul's. The food was fantastic, the company worthy of the host, and the drinks, well, they just kept coming. After walking our favourite guest to her long train back to Harlem, we headed home. The good news is that Veselka is open all night long, and the pierogies are just as good at 4 am as they are at noon.

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Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Camarooned in New York City: Part I

Camarooned came to The City for the weekend, en route to Montreal to check out the MBA program. Given that his flight came in to JFK, he decided to brave the public transport instead of the traffic and taxi fares, and made it to the East Village without a hitch. We headed to Pure Food & Wine for a raw food feast. It was my third time at Pure in as many years and, while I like the food, I really couldn't do it on a regular basis (more on regularity later). It is a good place to take the vegetarian, the vegan, and those with allergies, not only because there are so many more choices, but because they are both understanding and accommodation when it comes to those with allergies and other special needs. But ...

We were seated promptly, amidst one of the thinnest and hipster-est crowds I've ever seen), and started off with a ginger saketini and an organic mojito (skipping the Master Cleanse saketini!). The ginger was delish, but the mojito lacked, well, rum. And this is one of the two main issues with raw food. You can't really authentically re-create some things with alternate ingredients. Sometimes it's horrible (mock chicken and pork come to mind), but most of the time it's just slightly less satisfactory. Original cocktails are more fun, to me, than faux replications of things we can get elsewhere.

We ordered a bottle of Oregon Pinot Noir, and the main event commenced. After some debate over matching appetizers and entrees, I ordered rosemary infused butternut squash soup with spiced pecans, medjool dates and miso coulis (breath!), and creamy cauliflower samosas with banana tamarind sauce, mango chutney, garam masala & mint. The soup was tasty, but the texture wasn't quite what I wanted (it was a little close to baby food), and the samosas were also delish, but tiny. Camarooned had the crimini mushroom hazelnut crostini, tarragon bernaise, choucroute and pomegranate reduction to start, and the white corn tamales with raw cacao mole, marinated mushrooms, salsa verde, and avocado (this entree was the source of the previously noted debate). It was fantastic.

That said, we decided to head elsewhere for the next course. For better or worse, we ended up at an East Village institution, Telephone Bar, where we ordered vegetarian shepherd’s pie and cocktails. Which brings me to the other issue with raw food - it's just not that filling. If you're a member of the caloric restriction club, it's a feast, but the average human requires more sustenance.

Or more alcohol, as the case may be. In celebration of NYC bars staying open far later than those in British California, we headed for the old standard, the Thirsty Scholar. It was far past happy hour, but we had a good time, and when the barkeep chided Camarooned for his appletini selection, C added a shot of Jagermeister for good measure. I stuck to my usual dirty martini until we finally dragged ourselves home. Where we slept and slept and slept.

Until the next day ...

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Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Shuesday: Glinda at 70

I'm not sure what to do about these, never mind what to wear with them. All I can see is Glinda in her dowager years. The heel's not an issue, as she floats everywhere, but she needs the additional support that, say, these, didn't provide when she was in her 20's.


Monday, December 03, 2007

Further holes in the space-time continuum

I know, you're wondering what happened the rest of the weekend, but I couldn't get it down before Shuesday and you get so cranky when I delay Shuesday ...