Saturday, October 31, 2009

More Rain, Soup and Costumes

After my walk I returned home, futzed for a bit, then went over to Ak's and A2's for a good amount of tv-watching (I no longer have television, if you can believe it) and 17 Again. Once the moving pictures part of my evening was complete, I headed over to J. and J.'s for a little soup and conversation. The soup, I think, was lentil with pumpkin (but maybe I'm making up the pumpkin part?). Driving to their place was treacherous, as the rain had gone from steady to torrential in the hours after my walk, and Kelly Drive was verging on flooded.
S. took a few photographs with the camera.

Limoncello was consumed.
S. is going to be a storm trooper for Halloween, while N. is going to be Batman. S. thought was in high spirits and quite enjoyed running around with the cape. As he should have.
It was worth braving the rain and, upon my return, the 45 minute search for a parking space (stupid Eastern State Penitentiary scare-fest, why must you make my neighborhood's parking situation any more perplexing than it already is?) for the company of J. and J. and N. and S. Maybe I should paint my room today.

Walking in the Dry Leads to Walking in the Wet

Last Saturday, though I had gone to sleep only four hours before, I woke up by 8:30 and did my weekend work by 10. I took the thirty second glimpse of sun on the deck as a sign that the neverending rain had passed and that I could take a walk without needing an umbrella, so I went for it. This parking area by the nearby police station is always such a strange mess, and I wonder what it's like in that tunnel.

This tree caught my fancy. Mainly because it is so clearly awesome in its colors and texture.

It's a camouflage tree, blending in with itself.
I started heading in the direction of Kelly Drive when it began to lightly rain, but I was okay with that. But the light rain became a steady rain so that I had to turn back, my shirt was already soaked and I was not enjoying it. Sigh. It's rainy today as well, and I really had hoped that yesterday's lack of precipitation was a sign of better things to come. Yes, it's going to be warm, but what is the use of that if your shoes squeak with water? I should do all sorts of productive things (fold my laundry, get my car checked, write, take a walk, stop being such a crazy person, go grocery shopping, eat pho, etc) but here I am, blogging and ho-humming my way through the morning. Ak lent me her first season of How I Met Your Mother and I am supremely tempted to throw my hands up in the air, climb back into bed and spend the next nine million hours in awe of Neal Patrick Harris. I'm shaking my head at my own inherent lame-ness.

Friday, October 30, 2009

BYOA Party

Last Friday Ak and A2 threw a party. It was a BYOA party ('A' standing for A....which would make a lot more sense if I used actual names...let's just say that Ak and A2 have the same name and we were to bring more like-named people to their party...let's just say? I just said it), I brought two As, AS and AT. I win that part of the party I think, if there had been a competition, which there wasn't. They had a nice spreadof snackies and hot cider and mulled wine minus the spices.
Pineapples soaked in grenadine and rum.
L. in an A.-sandwich. Heh.
I spent some quality time on their deck, which was great except for the rain that ruined my perfectly coiffed hair. Ha, that's funny because you will never know if it had been coiffed or not! That's not reallly that funny.
We asked Ak's former housemate to take a photograph and he took a number of them...none of which were very good. Either we're blurry or look like shit or one of us looks good and the other two don't...but it's funny to look at.

I especially like L.'s face in this photograph and Ak's suspicious look at my beverage.

AS was rocking some party-appropriate shoes.

A2 and I ventured up a level in the whole roof situation. I was extremely bummed that my camera died before photographic evidence could be had, which is typical of me and the camera. It was cool to be so high up and look over at the Eastern State Penitentiary with all its Halloween madness and people in cattle like formations waiting for buses and the like.
Later I tried the ginger snap brie pairing that was offered. I didn't dig it, but look how great I look in this picture! Cc in her truest form: stuffing cheese into her mouth with dirt on her hands.
It was a great party, all sorts of academic non-work people were there, though I didn't actually talk to them all that much. Whatever. A good, if silly late, night.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Everybody Loves Em

It's like this guy drew this just for me. He has been doing this sort of thing for years (drawing things I think are just for me, though he doesn't know me).

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Little Rainy Fall Mixy Mix

It has been raining for days now, it is impeding on my generally positive personality (I'm not sure that I have a generally positive attitude, hm, yesterday one of my bosses referred to me as 'the funny one' and I may have died a little on the inside, but why?). Anywho. Here is a rainy fall mixy mix I have put together to celebrate my generally sinking into the rain mood.

Hidden Cameras - Origin: Orphan
Cat Power - The Greatest
Taverner Consort - Verbum Caro: In Hac anni circulo
Taj Majal - Lovin' in my Baby's Eyes
Sufjan Stevens - Seven Swans
Stereolab - Super Falling Star
Flight of the Conchords - Hurt Feelings
Decemberists - The Legionnaire's Lament
Cut Copy-Strangers in the Wind
Counting Crows- Perfect Blue Buildings
Blind Pilot- Go On, Say It
Alexis HK-Nous Sommes Revenus
Alicia Keys- Fallin
Joanna Newsom- Cassiopeia
La Roux- In For the Kill
Marigold-These are Your Complaints
Mates of State- My Only Offer
Say Hi- The Stars Just Blink For Us
Pixies- Where is my Mind

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Dinner with L. c/o Modo Mio

I've been wanting to try Modo Mio's Turista Menu for a long, long time without ever getting it together enough to make a reservation, gather eatmates and have money all at the same time. But! Finally, L. and I during our planning for a meal last week, found that we both wanted to brunch and go to Modo Mio, which was very exciting to me...and her too, I think. So, finally, last Thursday L. and I met up and cabbed it on over to the restaurant. The Turista Menu gives you an antipasti, pasta, entree and desssert for $33. I spent countless hours (yes, hours) perusing the menu in the days leading up to the meal, and I still had no idea what I was going to do...but in the end I went with the gnoccho starter (crispy fried potato dumpling stuffed with foie gras and chicken liver, with a orange-fennel mostarda and gorgonzola cheese) while L. went with the panelle (crispy chick pea crepe, rosemary grilled shrimp and sambuca cream). If it were a battle, I think L. would have won this round. The shrimp were so great and the sauce, oh my, the sauce. You know how sometimes you order shrimp from a place and while technically they are shrimp, there's something about them that strikes you as terribly wrong? Or is this just me? It is most frequently experienced at Chinese, Mexican and cheap Thai resaurants. Anyways, the point is that these shrimp were the real deal. My gnoccho wasn't shabby. I picked up on the liver more than the foie gras, but that is to be expected I think, and the gorgonzola wasn't overwhelming but when you got a good bite it picked up the whole dish...the sweetness of the orange was a nice relief from all the savory. My only complaint would be that the lighting is so low I couldn't take a good photograph...but this is true for each dish.
A close up of L.'s antipasti.
For the pasta dish I ordered the spaghetti (rock shrimp, olive oil, garlic, ginger and breadcrumbs). It was so good. The thing about the servings of each course were that there was enough on your plate that you really got to be familiar with the different tastes, but they weren't so large that you were overdoing it...or not overdoing it that much. By the bye, Modo Mio is BYO, so we brought a white and a red. The white, we found, was a little too fruity for our tastes, but we made a dent in it before giving it up for the Chianti (which was serviceable but nothing to write home about...just to write on my blog is all). L.'s pasta dish, the buccatini, was really great too (hollow spaghetti, pancetta, spicy plum tomato and pecorino).
For our main dishes I ordered the bisteca siciliana (breaded and grilled ribeye, aged provolone, fried egg, sopressata and anchovy caper butter) and L. ordered the miale (Milanese style pork loin, peach mostarda, radicchio, almond and shaved grana). We shared the rucola contorni (arugula with raisins, pinenuts, pecorino and lemon). My dish (of which I could not get an even half-way decent picture, was a lot of really strong flavors combined in a suprisingly complementary way. I won't lie, I did find it and the rucola a little too salty but, at least with the steak, I mean, what did I expect with capers, anchovies and provolone in the mix?
L.'s pork was lovely in its crispy outside and absolutely succulent inside.
For dessert I had the chocolate ganache and caramel, which was totally and utterly awesome. L. had something tasty, but I forget what it was exactly, since we were both so enthralled with my dessert.
The men sitting next to us were curious about my picture taking, which led to my talking about my blog, which led to them pulling out their blackberries and iphones to look it up, which was pretty funny. We made friends and ended up having a glass of port with them outside (they left first while we finished our meal, but were still outside when we finally departed the main dining area). They were kind enough to offer me a cigar, which I gratefully accepted. And then this picture was taken.
And then this one.
And finally this one.
Even though I did have a salt overload in the third course, there is no doubt that this place is a magical eating experience. I mean, $33 for all of this high quality food? What?! Oh man. If I could I'd go back all the time. I will certainly go back, but probably not all the time. They are about to switch their menu, which means that I'll have a whole new slew of decisions to make. Yikes.

Philly Phanatic Vampire Surfs the Trains

Monday, October 26, 2009


Last weekend A2 texted me and let me know that Catan playing was about to go down at his and Ak's abode. I jumped on that bandwagon real quick and hurried myself right on over. It was a four person game, three of us knowing how to play, one newbie. The board that formed had clear challenges, but we figured we'd play a few rounds to let the newbie get a hang of it and then restart the board. But somehow we never restarted the board, which made for quite the challenging game. If I recall correctly, I was constantly in need of wheat, wood and ore. It was still good to play. I always forget how many rules there are to tell an iniate about, but it seems like she got the hang of it in the end. I did not win. A2's friend J. nearly did but, if I recall correctly, A2 clinched it in the end (I was blue).
On Sunday A2 texted and asked if I was interested in a rematch. To which I replied 'always,' because it's true: I love games, especially Catan. This is a picture of the jungle outside of their house.
This time there were only three of us, which made for a slightly faster game and a little more maneuverability of the board.
We played two games, neither of which I won, which made me weep and weep. Not really. Well, a little on the inside. No, not really.
Then J. left to catch a bus and A2 and I watched the new Star Trek movie, which I had been meaning to see but never quite did. Go me. It was a lovely late afternoon and evening.

Sunday, October 25, 2009


Months back I went through a serious Of Montreal phase. Their song Wraith Pinned to the Mist and Other Games, in which there is a line that I really liked, was particularly appealing to me (I realized later that this was, in part, because Outback Steakhouse had appropriated the song...with changed lyrics...for an ad campaign a while back, so it seemed familiar). Meanwhile, I was thinking about pick up lines and boys (if you can imagine) and began to like the idea of writing a series of vignettes from the perspectives of women, and maybe men, who are all approached by the same man. Here is the first, and only, vignette I have written, just to mix things up (and make me feel like I still write sometimes).

Let's Pretend We Don't Exist, Let's Pretend We're In Antarctica

I didn't know any better. I didn't know it was a line in a song. He said it to me and I pictured us under a mountain of blankets, an unseen tundra's worth of pure frigid air being pushed around our small pocket of burning cozy warmth. A bump. A tiny bump on the horizon, which wouldn't count in the greater scheme of things … that would barely, if at all, exist. A warm spot in a cold map, a tiny little red blip one millionth of a millionth of the size of a speck of dust. I thought he was asking me to nest. To make it about us at the cost of all others, or something. I didn't really want to exist as I was, and winter was coming…and so I kissed him.

Turns out he did this frequently, quoting song lyrics to see if those around him were able to pick them out and identify them. My kissing him was not the right answer to the test to which he was subjecting me. But it wasn't wrong either. It's like those fill in the blanks that are subjective; the teacher knows what they expect the answer to be and most all the students either write that assumed response or guess wildly but, on occasion, a child will come at the question from such a wholly new direction that admiringly, or begrudgingly, the teacher must give them full credit … and rewrite the question for the next year's class. In our version of this situation, of course, I didn't realize it was a test, nor did I realize the possibility of next year's class.

It was a nice kiss. Though initiated by me, he quickly took the lead. This made me more certain that I understood the purpose of his phrase, the meaning of his glance, the slight curl of his lips, the tightening of his cheekbones' skin and overall lift of his brow: he was asking me to spend forever with him, staying warm.

Brunch c/o Farmicia

Last Saturday L. and I met up and cabbed it to Farmicia for brunch. We were on the early side for brunch (11) and got a prime window seat, which made the lighting situation to my liking (one of the food blogger panel questions was what would be the one thing you would tell Philadelphia restauranteurs and chefs...if I had been on that panel I think my one thing would be: for the love of all that is holy, quit with the low makes your food look like crap on my blog...ha, no really). Their Bloody Marys are half off during brunch, so there wasn't any reason for me not to start the meal with their Bloody Mary. It was to my liking.
For my meal, I went with eggs Benedict. They give you the choice of other Canadian bacon or smoked salmon, but with no difference in cost. I asked if I could have one of each, and the waitress told me that I could not, which I thought was a little weird...I mean, if the price is the same then why the hell not? I went with the bacon.
The dish was quite good. The Hollandaise sauce was plentiful and nicely balanced in terms of consistency (not too thick/pasty, but not too runny either), taste (not too lemony, but with a nice hint of it) and color (not neon)...and the eggs were perfectly poached. The English muffins on which the spinach, bacon and eggs sat stayed relatively crispy even while soaking up all that extra Hollandaise goodness. The bacon was thicker than some Canadian bacon that I have tried (which I liked) and very salty, almost too much so for my palate, but on the whole this meal pleased me greatly, as did the company. L. had herself the egg sandwich, which seemed quite lovely as well. I left very full and definitely interested in trying more of the restaurant's offerings on another day.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Last Friday I went over to C.'s to finish drying the laundry I had started the day before (note to self: if you do laundry more often, you won't have so much of it, which means you won't have to wait hours for all of it to dry). She and I decided that a pizza with mushrooms and pepperoni seemed like a great idea, so we ordered one from Luigi's and drank some wine while watching Say Yes to the Dress and baseball. Brutus the puppy was in full effect.

After I left C.'s I stopped by the Belgian cafe and met up with the roommate S. for a beer. I went with one of the myriad pumpkin beers circulating.
And we took this picture...the first two were not very good.

Final Work Food Round Up

So our first busy season is officially behind us (there are two), and this will be the last slew of work food pictures for a spell. It's weird, I have (and L. has said this too) kind of forgotten how to feed myself. Grocery stores? What? It was very late in the game that we realized that Primo Hoagies delivers...the fact that we did not know this sooner is an atrocity, but we took advantage of it once it became known. I branched out and tried the big 'T,' turkey, ham and the best American cheese I've ever had with pickles, tomatoes and a bit more mayo than Primo's usually uses (but I'm not complaining). It was to my liking. The dragon liked it as well.

I made a little joke about the dragon's sandwich perch and it turned its back on me. Saucy devil.
Another day, another General Tso's Tofu. I asked for it extra crispy, but I'm not sure that it was any more crispy than it ever is.
And what's this? More hoagies? What? This time I went with the Audiablo, roast beef, turkey, hot pepper cheese and a blend of spices. I'm not all that into their 'diablo' sandwiches and the roast beef wasn't as great as I thought it might's funny I love beef, but I've never entirely gotten behind roast beef sandwiches and the like, so the fact that I ordered this at all was strange.
The dragon in a hoagie cave.