Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Weekend Update

It took me about an hour and a half to drive home from the Greenmarket on Saturday night. We ended up getting about 9 inches of snow, with parts of Brooklyn getting as much as 14. After closing up the syrup stand, we went to have dinner at The Spain Restaurant, which is one of my favorites. When people ask me what it's like, I say, "It's 100 year old drunk waiters in polyester bolero jackets." It's also the place, when asked if they could bring something for the vegetarians, said: "I'll bring some potatoes." So, after dinner, we made it back to our parked trucks and slogged ourselves through the oncoming blizzard. Taxis were sliding all over Third Avenue. On the Queensboro Bridge, the visibility was so bad that you couldn't see any light from the city, from Queens, from the cars in front of you. I'm glad I made it home without incident. I was glad that I had a large heavy vehicle, and not some tiny plastic car. Perhaps the most New York-ish of images, was, of course, some delivery guy on a bike, at 10pm in a blizzard. How we do love our delivery.

I'm writing a set of discussion questions for Yield, which will be in stores in Sept 2010. I'm not sure what do to about this. What do people want to talk about, or think about, after they have read my novel? In some ways, I think that the author is the worst person to write these questions. Perhaps I am the best person to answer the questions once they have been written? Or, maybe the readers are the best people to answer these questions? I'm not sure what to think about this.

Kip and I are headed to South Carolina and Tennessee for a few days after Christmas. We hope to see Laura and Amy while we are all in the same place--perhaps convening at a Waffle House, which Amy has learned to love.

I'm taking a short break from the blog--and will see you in the beginning of the new year.

Love to everyone.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Ugly in Art

This was posted in the mail area of an apartment building in Greenpoint.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Dinner at Per Se

Back in October, some friends and I went to eat at Per Se, Thomas Keller's outpost in the Time Warner Center. It was, hands down, the best food I have ever eaten--as a whole experience. (That is to say that I have had some pretty transcendent pork tacos from a shopping cart in Jackson Heights, but that's another story.) What was most remarkable about the meal was how easy it was. Truly unhurried, relaxing, incredibly polished service. Flawless food with impeccable details and additions. An amazing view of Columbus Circle and Central Park.

I emailed the restaurant to ask for a copy of the menu, since there was clearly no way I was going to remember everything we ate. And drank. But, um, I do remember a 1985 Sauternes....plus the half bottle of champagne we started with, and two more bottles. (I don't remember what the wines were....except that they were perfect.) Per Se offers two tasting menus: one meat, one veggie. There was also two amuses, plus an assortment of bread things that came around in a basket as we wished. But for the main idea, here's what the meat-eaters had:

--"Oysters and Pearls": "Sabayon" of Pearl Tapioca with Island Creek Oysters and Sterling White Sturgeon Caviar.

--Hudson Valley Moulad Duck Foie Gras Poele: Hobbs Shore’s Pancetta "Melba," White Wine Poached Honey Crisp Apples and Braised Tuscan Kale with Tellicherry Pepper "Mignonnette"

--Sauteed Fillet of Florida Pompano: Razor Clams, Compressed English Cucumbers, Piquillo Peppers, Petite Onions and Cilantro Shoots with Pimenton "Vierge"

--Scottish Langoustines "a la plancha": French Breakfast Radishes, Haricots Verts, Globe Artichokes and Sweet Carrots with Parsley "Pudding"

--Four Story Hill Farm's "Supreme de Pigeon": "Confit de Cuisse," Buckwheat Crêpe, Brussels Sprouts and Chestnut Purée with "Jus de Pigeon"

--Rib-Eye of Marcho Farms Veal "Roti a la Broche": Yukon Gold Potato and Chanterelle Mushroom Gratin with Hakurei Turnips, Creamed Turnip Greens and "Sauce Périgourdine"

--Consider Bardwell Farm's "Dorset": "Sablé aux Quatre Épices," Butternut Squash Confit, Belgian Endive and Toasted Pumpkin Seeds with Blis Maple Syrup Vinaigrette

--Pear Sorbet: "Silver Dollar" Pancakes, Bosc Pear Compote, Anise "Bavarois" and Almond Crisp

--"Tea & Biscuits": "Millionaire’s Shortbread," Sweet Tea Panna Cotta and Chocolate "Crémeux" with Darjeeling Ice Cream

--"Peanut Butter & Jelly": Peanut Butter Mousse, Concord Grape Jam, Peanut "Génoise"
and Grape Sorbet with Dried Milk Tuile


Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Advertisting Blanks

One of my favorite things about the MTA are the sections of tile in advertising transition. The many layers of posters and graffiti become modern art pieces themselves. I love how these are created randomly, and yet always come out looking so beautiful.

Do you have some of these at your station? Send them to me and I will add them here.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

An Open Letter to New York State Senators Aubertine, Addabbo, Diaz, Huntley, Kruger, Monserrate, Onorato, and Sachowski

Dear State Senators,

The votes that each of you cast yesterday should fill you with shame. When you returned to your homes in the evening, to your spouses and children and beside tables, did you feel a sense of accomplishment? Did you think that you had honored your commitment to democracy and government? Or did you wake choking in the middle of the night, grasping desperately for a glass of water, your body caught in the twisted sheets, knowing that the choice you made was the resentful, hateful, bigoted choice of a coward?

I am afraid that you slept soundly. I am afraid that you think that this is just how some things go in Albany, that votes don't mean what they really mean. I am afraid that you cannot see what you have done. I am afraid that because of your ignorance you do not understand that your votes are not simply votes to deny the rights of thousands of loving, hopeful, trusting, giving, caring and tax-paying people--many of whom voted for you--the right to happiness, and equal protection. Your votes are expressions of pure, unequivocal hate. You have said: It's okay to hate gay people.

Do you understand that heterosexual marriages are actually made less sacred by the choices that you have made? Do you understand that if the love between two women who wish to marry is a threatening advance on the stability of your marriage, then your marriage has no stability at all?

Though you may not see it, this is not simply a vote against gay people who want to share a life together. This is a vote against every gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or questioning child that gets bullied, beaten, assaulted and abused--on the playground, in classrooms, and in the very communities that you represent. Your vote is a vote against their future.

Of all the reasons to have the institution of marriage open to every one of this country's citizens, perhaps the most important is this: So that our gay and lesbian children feel valid. So they can grow up to be productive, loving, active members of the American idea in action. Your vote has said to them, loud and clear, that your neighborhood and your government thinks that you are worthless. That worthlessness, which is the worthlessness that you have incited, encouraged and have now perpetuated, will cause some of those children to attempt suicide. Some of those who try to kill themselves will succeed. They will shoot themselves with guns, or hang themselves in closets, or slice open their fragile young wrists.

I hope that when this happens--and sadly, terribly, regretfully, it will happen--that you are visited by their ghosts in the night. I hope that the dark room you are sleeping in turns suddenly cold. I hope your body feels icy, frozen with the knowledge of what you've done. I hope that you wake shaking, and screaming in fear.


Lee Houck

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Important Ages

1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 9, 10, 12, 13, 15, 16, 18, 21, 25, 29, 30, 31, 37, 40, 48, 49, 50, 55, 59, 60, 62, 65, 70, 75, 79, 80, 81, 82, 85, 89, 90, 91, 92, 93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 100.