Thursday, November 28, 2013

look at you fancy girls...

Immediately following SkiGirl's departure, another friend from Minnesota came to visit. Food Blogger really, really wanted to hit up Union Square Cafe having read my previous post. Like, second sentence out of her mouth! Who am I to deny her? So, her first night in town, after some incredibly strong drinks, we started eating - eating which would continue the entire weekend.

So, I love this place, and I really should have been back sooner, but no. I have not. I'm really bad at being a regular anywhere.

As always, we were treated with a crisp and soft bread selection to munch on/calm our angry ravenous semi-drunk tummies. Salt, and olives on the side, and then this wonderful other thing. It was green, oily, had pistachios and delicious.

Making short work of the mystery pistachio oil, we moved on to the starter. Food Blogger and I both have a serious weakness for pork belly. It is hands down one of the best foods ever, and a serious argument against ever being a vegetarian. Ours came with watermelon radishes, and pork rind. The pork belly and the radishes (a first for me, and surprisingly tasty) were fine by me, but I do NOT like pork rinds. Conceptually, being deep fried means they should be amazing, but no. This is not the case. Pig skin cannot be saved with frying. It's gross. It tastes like oily styrofoam. But I tried it. Maybe I would like expensive pork rind. I don't.

I got ricotta gnocchi as my mains, which I thought was going to be ricotta over gnocchi and red sauce. Boy was I wrong. The gnocchi was ricotta. Talk about rich. Don't get me wrong, this girl loves cheese and I am more than okay with eating nothing but cheese at a meal, I just wasn't expecting it. Imagine expecting gnocchi and getting the density of potato, but instead, it's cheese. Mind blown, right? So, so, so good.

Food Blogger got pasta, which I cannot remember what it was but, also yum. It was simple - noodles, olive oil, red pepper, garlic, and something green, per the photo. No clue. Sorry, but soooo good. This is one of those things I HAVE to remember that I can make at home.

After all our food, we turned down dessert and waddled back to Brooklyn.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Italia by Nihon

This past week I had two friends in New York. Both visiting from Minnesota. Ski Girl was here on a conference, which so happened to coincide with her birthday, so we went out for dinner and drinks. As she doesn't know much about New York I was directed to choose the restaurant. We went to Basta Pasta - a Japanese run joint, serving Italian food.  I was recommended this place by a girl on a bus to Atlantic City in the summer, and now seemed as good as of time to try it as ever. However, one must stop and ponder the cuisine. Initially, I was fully prepared to have to buy consolation slices of pizza. Japanese Italian just seems conflicting and wrong. But, I got to thinking and was like hey - Japan loves noodles. In fact, Asia gave Mr. Marco Polo noodles, meaning the Italians essentially bogarted Asian food.

So, we walked in and found ourselves immediately standing in an open kitchen. I kid you not. Apparently, the idea is that they want you to see whats being made - Iron Chef style. A little weirded out, we got to our seats, and were served the usual bread, crisp bread sticks and this other strange thing. No folks, that is not a bad Instagram filter choice. #nofilter. bah. hashtags. Those little bread slices were covered in blue. Blue that smelt like nothing. Ski Girl put her brave face on, and immediately rejected it. Fish paste, right? No. It was blue cheese butter. She does not like blue cheese, but I do, so more for me. Nom nom nom.

We also ordered a starter, which I let Ski Girl choose. She opted for the pumpkin gnocchi. It was now my turn to be brave. I hate pumpkin. Pumpkin anything. That shit is gross. I hate when fall rolls around and people freak the eff out about pumpkin and start putting it in, or on, everything. Even clothes. You ever see someone generally rocking a pumpkin colored sweater? NO! Because that shit is ugly and only the seasonal pumpkin insanity that befalls the general population makes it socially acceptable. Then there are pumpkin pastries - why? It tastes like dirt. Then pumpkin coffees...ahh yes barista, I'll take the overpriced and over-sweetened venti cuppa mud water. YUM. So it came. I braced myself. was okay. I wouldn't order it again, but I imagine people succumbing to pumpkin fever would like it. It was very pretty though.

Ski Girl and I opted for the same main course, and I am SO, SO, SO, SO happy that we got it. The Spaghetti con Prosciutto e Parmigiano, which yes, is spaghetti with parmesan and fancy ham. But this dish is the show stopper. They wheel it out to you to serve it. And it comes in...A BIG HALF WHEEL OF PARMESAN. The heat from the pasta melts the cheese, they plop it on a plate, cover it with the prosciutto, and it is delightful. Reading the menu, we thought we were getting little mini wheels. We were pleasantly mistaken. And desperately tried to contain our semi-hysterical giggles during the spectacle.

When debating whether or not to get dessert, the waitress heard us rationalize with "it's your birthday, get dessert." We ordered tiramisu and cheesecake, which were not traditional.  The tiramisu was really strong flavored and delicious, and un-traditionally, very custardy.  The cheesecake was much more cake like, which meant I didn't like it, but the flavor was good.  When they brought out the desserts, there was a candle in one, and two other waitstaff came. They sang happy birthday! The best part was the very tall, wiry Japanese man with a deep baritone. Fantastic and everyone was staring. We were reduced to giggles. Again.

In all, it was a great brief meet up and and we learned the Japan really does have a handle on cooking Italian.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

so much mascara, not enough eyes

There are three things that I am hands down obsessed with. One is nail polish. I love it. I will unabashedly ask strangers what they are wearing or where they got their nails done. The other thing is eyebrows. I am obsessed with mine and what they look like. I know it's unreasonable to want them to match, but they have to be as close as possible. I'm constantly working on them. I'm working on them now. GROOOOWWWWWW. They make or break a face. The final thing is a me thing. Eyelashes. For as long as I can remember, I have been striving to find the perfect mascara. The one that gives volume, lengthens, separates, and neither clumps, nor flakes. I realize this is a tough order, as I pretty much want fake eyelashes in a tube.

The problem with trying a new mascara is you get a lot. You commit to either wasting money or having blah lashes for at least two and half months. I cannot do that. No. In years prior, Sephora has done sets of mascara in mini versions. This year, I bought one! The Lash Stash box comes with ten mascaras and a set of false lashes. Two of the tubes are full sized.  The set goes for $45, which is a damn good deal in my book.

I started my experiment with a mascara I had never heard of - Too Faced Better Than Sex. I knew that Too Faced made mascara, but hadn't ever really heard much about it. They're far more famous for their primers and pallets.

The brush is weird. A sort of hourglass shape. I had never used a wand this shape. The first few times I used it, I stabbed myself in the eye. Seriously. I had to take out my contacts and clean the mascara off them. The formula seemed nice, but not worth blindness. So. Weekend. Time to practice and get better at using this shit, or it was going in the bin. And hey! I figured out the whack wand shape.

The ends are wider so you can get to the corners of your eyes and still the middle lashes. So starting at the base, wiggle, wiggle, and rolling out while going to the end of my lashes, I actually applied it correctly, evenly, and without eye-stabbing. Two or three coats. I typically go for three because I don't know when to stop. I also will say, I use a primer thats supposed to help grow eyelashes, which I think it does...

I took photos on different days with different makeup.  First, we have "naked" face, which is so not even naked. It's lies. On my face.

Aaaand, normal day with my normal shit ton of eyeliner, that I started doing when I fell in love with Mary Quant minis and the 60s in the UK in high school (I don't know. At least I wasn't doing drugs, but instead staying at home, in my bathroom learning how to apply liquid eyeliner.). That blob on my face is because I dropped the mascara when I was putting it on, but was too lazy to get up and fix it pre photo - I had good light! I also generally did a better job applying this day. I don't know. Makes no sense.

Ultimately, I have to say I really like this mascara - far more than I thought I was going to. The formula is thick, and the wand is a strange one, but once you actually figure it out, it's a pretty great means of application.  I will say that my one complaint is that some days it doesn't stay put till the end of the day (8:00 am - 6:00 pm) but that's mostly okay. It gets a little grey under your eyes, but it's pretty easy to clean up. One fault is not the end of the world.

So far, this is a winner, but I have nine others to try...

Sunday, November 3, 2013

go to a show!

Last Friday, I went to an MIA concert with Sweetness. The show was at Terminal 5. I had never been to Terminal 5 before. Pretty much every person I talked to about it does not like it. Sadly, there are only a few mid-sized venues in New York, so this is what you get.


I have to say, I wasn't in love with the venue, but it's definitely not the worst place in the world. I accept that in the city there is limited space, and when you get the space, you do what you can with what you end up with.

So, Terminal 5 is skinny and long. Bar in back, two balconies either side. Depending on how hard you want to fight, you can get closer to the stage, which would be a good choice for me as I'm a shorty, but alas no. Didn't have it in me, so we were further in the back. To be fair, I am well aware that I'm short - this means I tend to only go to shows for artists I know a lot of the songs for. I solve my not being able to see the stage by dancing the show away, and that is alright by me.

I will complain about concert goers as a whole though. I don't really get the whole filming the show thing. You aren't really participating in the moment, and that's what you paid for. What I REALLY don't get is people who film using iPads. Come on...what. the...Not to mention, it makes it hard for other people to see. By all means, snap a few photos. Document it a little. Don't bootleg the damn event.

MIA put on a really good show (from what I could see). She played a good mix of old and new, and updated some of the older stuff so it mixed with the rest of the show, which I personally really liked.


The set design was really cool - lots of lights and a really intricate background. And that's that. Nighter!