Today is our Sunday, and everyone but me is napping, sleepy after a lunch of cheese toast and cucumber salad. While the house is quiet, I should probably be doing tax paperwork and résumé reading and other sacred rituals of small business ownership, but:
– I’ve never felt confident about picking favorites: my favorite movie, favorite song, favorite food, favorite whatever. I don’t have many favorite anything. But I do feel confident about saying this: Michael Chabon is my favorite novelist. His first novel The Mysteries of Pittsburgh has been my favorite book for two decades, since I first read it at sixteen years old. He also wrote The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, which won a Pulitzer Prize, and plenty more since that. I finally got around to starting Wonder Boys, his second novel, and I like it so much that it’s taken me almost a month to get through only the first two hundred pages, because I want to read and reread every sentence over and over and over, just sort of roll myself around in it. For example, this: “‘Is he kidding?’ said Miss Sloviak, all of whose makeup seemed in the course of the ride from the airport to have been reapplied, very roughly, an inch to the left of her eyes and lips, so that her face had a blurred, double-exposed appearance.” I MEAN.
– Also, This American Life is killing it. Amateur Hour!
– Also, Invisibilia. They’ve only made a handful of episodes, so you can catch up quickly, and you should. The Secret History of Thoughts is fascinating, and Fearless, too. (I particularly like the idea that fear = thinking + time, and that if you take away either one, and you can’t have fear.) Good stuff.
– Speaking of fear, ha ha HA, I’m helping to lead a class called “Varying Your Voice: A Workshop on Writing in the First, Second, and Third Person” at the IACP conference in Washington, DC, on Monday, March 30th. I’ll be co-teaching with Jess Thomson and Kathy Gunst, both longtime pros and forces of nature, and while our workshop does unfortunately require a separate day pass, it’ll be worth it.
– My friend Natalie brought over some Persian cucumbers one night last month, and I had forgotten of how good, and how versatile, they are. They’re not exactly winter food, but we’ve been eating them every day, in salads (usually with a mustard vinaigrette and feta) or on their own, as a snack. Our family of three took down six of them at lunch today.
– It’s handy that we’ve been eating so many cucumbers, because when we’re not eating cucumbers, we’re eating cheeseburgers. Brandon spent the better part of last year testing and perfecting a wood-fired burger for Essex (using grass-fed beef from Skagit River Ranch, with not one but two secret sauces), and he put it on the menu last October, as a Sundays-only special. But now, as of a couple of weeks ago, it’s available five nights a week, Wednesday to Sunday. June pronounces it “booger,” and she eats a full half of the thing. She’s an animal.
– I’ve mentioned before that every Tuesday is Taco-&-Tiki Night at Essex, but I haven’t told you what’s for dessert: our own choco taco. (There’s housemade ice cream in there.) It isn’t entirely in my interest to tell you about it, because any that we don’t sell on Tuesday are mine to eat for the rest of the week, but I’m trying to get better about sharing.
– Our friend Edouardo Jordan, the supremely talented chef de cuisine at Bar Sajor and a supremely nice guy, just launched a Kickstarter campaign to open his own neighborhood restaurant. Go, go, Edouardo!
– I mentioned recently on Instagram that I, Ms. Didn’t-Learn-to-Sew-Until-Age-36.5, had sewn a hexagonal patchwork pillow from a (wonderfully clear) tutorial I found online, and a couple of you asked for the link. Here you go.
Be right back.
Whoa. I got sucked into a black hole for a bit there, a (very pleasant, very festive) black hole of weddings and out-of-town visitors. Somehow it’s now September 26, and I’m glad to be alone tonight, in a quiet house, with a so-so brownie that I’ll probably eat anyway, rain falling outside and all the lamps lit. Hello! Or, OH–LO!, as June puts it. In the weeks since I was last here, Megan and Sam got married, and Gemma and Christophe came to help us celebrate, and after that, my in-laws arrived, and now we’ve got a cousin from New York and her boyfriend in the guest-room-slash-dungeon downstairs. And because there is no one who doesn’t like tacos, for the past three…Read more
A couple of weekends ago, we packed up the better part of the restaurant kitchen, crammed it in the back of a pick-up, and drove two and a half hours east to cook an all-day anniversary party for a pair of longtime Delancey regulars. We rented a big house along the Wenatchee River, about ten minutes from the property where the party was held, and we brought as many people as we could fit inside, including a set of 8-month-old twins and one almost-two-year-old June. If you’ve ever been to Leavenworth in the summertime, you will remember how hot it gets. It hit 100 that weekend, and no one had air conditioning. The flies were out and biting. But the…Read more
I MADE IT! By which I mean, I managed to not go into labor before, in the middle of, or in the days immediately following the opening of Essex. VICTORY. I imagine that I will very soon start cursing the fact that I am still pregnant, but for now, I feel like I should be given a medal, or a cocktail. Since neither is a viable option, I made myself a pan of flapjacks and ate a quarter of it in one sitting. I haven’t written a lot about Essex here, not because it has felt like any less of a big deal than Delancey, but because the first half of this year, which was when the project began to move forward,…Read more
Hi, all. I’ve received a number of concerned e-mails and comments in the past few days, wondering if the quiet around here meant that the baby has arrived, so let me say first: NO BABY YET. I am, however, in my 36th week of pregnancy. And as of about ten days ago, I finished writing the manuscript for my next book – or this draft of it, anyway. There’s still plenty of revising and hand-wringing to do, but at least I now have something to improve upon. And Essex, the bar we’re putting in next door to Delancey, is opening in less than a week. (!) Lots of Big Life Stuff. Huge Life Stuff. Giant Life Stuff. Oddly enough, or…Read more
Last night I went to the grocery store for milk and yogurt and the usuals, and the cashier smiled and commented on how much my belly has grown since she last rang me up. For the past couple of months, each time I’ve gone grocery shopping, no matter who my cashier is, he or she has asked about my progress and said a few nice words. I don’t know any of these people. No idea what their names are. A few of them might have been to Delancey, since it’s in the same neighborhood, but I don’t think that’s it. I think they know me by the round appendage on the front of my body. I hadn’t expected to like being…Read more