Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Pot Luck Precipitation

Just settling in to our new home...and Sandy strikes. After preparing all day Saturday (And by "preparing",  I mean shopping at the Park Slope Farmer's Market and hauling a small mountain of groceries home from the Red Hook Fairway. Candles and flashlights were only an after thought. The ideas of sand bags and generators seemed foreign and unnerving to both of us.), there was nothing to do on Sunday but to ride it out. 

Wide swaths of undefined time usually means cooking at our house and that is what we did, all day. We conserved most of of our focus and energy for dinner: roasted, whole black sea bass basted with soy, ginger, sesame oil and cilantro with a side of sautéed tatsoi. For lunch, we settled for a mishmash of leftovers (roasted chicken and butternut squash stew for the kid and pasta schiutta with beef ribs from the night before) and some first-time sides made with scraps of fennel and red pepper sitting around from the night before. 

This is a close-up of the my take on Julia Child's "Legumes a la Greque" with peppers...

...and with fennel...

Both are riffs on the same process, essentially braising the vegetables slowly over low heat with olive oil, lemon juice, celery, aromatics, herbs and spices. Julia suggests serving it cold. We ate it at room temperature and it was divine, perfect palate cleansers after the rich mains. The recipe will definitely get added to the repertoire because it is simple, satisfying and a great way to use odds and ends before they go bad. 

A couple of naps, some TV and an early turn-in defined the rest of the stormy night. Lights flickered once or twice, but by God's grace we never lost power or cable. With the worst behind us, I'm grateful for our private holiday. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

On Being Gypsies

So, since the closing of our house in Brooklyn we have shacked up temporarily in the following places (in chronological order): 

  • a friend's apartment on 42nd St. 
  • Piacenza, Italy 
  • back to the friend's apartment on 42nd St. 
  • Maui, Hawaii 
  • another stay at 42nd St. (Until we just couldn't take the traffic, noise and degenerates any longer.)
  • my mom's on Staten Island 
Now, craving privacy and space, we have resorted to hotel hopping. Our first night was at The Dream Hotel. The white room sprinkled with sharp cornered tabletops was not conducive to a relaxing night with a crayon toting, wobbly two year old. We checked out the next morning. We've spend the last few days at The Omni Hotel in midtown. Better because it is softer and warmer but there is not much space beyond the king size bed. Tomorrow, we check in to The Box in Brooklyn. Stay tuned. 

They say that problems are always hardest when things are about to get better. Our patience is definitely wearing thin and the adventure that we thought the summer would be is, day by day, decaying in to a kind of cold inertia. Hopefully, we will be able to close on our new home and put down our roots next week.

On the bright side, Jada is oblivious to it all. For her, home is wherever we are together. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Jada's First Trip to the Staten Island Zoo

Jada's most persistent refrain, "Mommy, I ride a horse?" is only seconded by, "Mommy, I go see animals?" She asks almost every day. 

Ty suggested that we take the kids to the local zoo and make a day out of it. We all had a blast! Being a Park Slope/ city snob, my expectations were really low for this small zoo but it was just as good as the Prospect Park Zoo or the Central Park Zoo and, in some respects, even better. The children were allowed greater interaction with a bigger variety of animals. The petting zoo at the end of the visit was a very special experience because the children are allowed to roam in a corral with goats and llamas and sheep. Jada also loved the pony rides and has been asking to go back to the zoo every day since. We will definitely make another trip soon!

Monday, October 1, 2012


So the Barclay's Arena is open at long last. If there was always a soft purr of activity on Flatbush Ave before, now it is a roar! In terms of pure volume (people, cars, commerce), the physical space around the arena is almost unrecognizable.

The effects on us have been instant. Va Beh' is packed from 5pm through 1am, at least that was the case this weekend. We have all been working non-stop, and as a native Brooklynite, it feels good to be a part of the new energy and growth of our neighborhood in my own small way.

The newspapers reported that at Jay-Z's opening show on Friday, he talked about how Brooklyn's rags to riches story parallels his own and that immediately struck a chord with me. Many of us share the same essential and particular story. It is emotional and empowering to see an image reflecting our experience back to us. In this way, the Barclay's Arena is more than a building. It is a testament to possibility and an homage to us all.