Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Ignite Philly at Johnny Brenda's

A few weeks back BC asked AS and me if we'd like to go to an Ignite Philly event at Johnny Brenda's. I certainly didn't know what that meant, but figured it would be a new and exciting thing to do, so I agreed without hesitation. As did AS. It turned out to be quite a good night, if a little demoralizing. Basically the set-up is that about 10 people do short power point presentations about projects they're doing in Philadelphia that will have a positive impact on the whole of the city, or at least a community within it. The cast of speakers was diverse and varied and all were doing such interesting and productive things, I couldn't help but look at my own life and how insular it really is. But no matter, with that strain of self-loathing aside, it was entertaining and a little inspiring.
These were the three MCs of the evening.
This woman told a story about young love.
This guy does something crazy with architecture and technology that I never understood.
This guy was hilarious.
These two sisters took initiative to clean up their block through gardening.
This guy was talking about a parade in Kensington and how everyone should be making floats.
I forget.
There were a number of other speakers, including a guy who has started an urban composting company, a woman who spearheaded a 'cow share' program, another woman who believes everyone needs to go home and not work so hard, and a few others I can't recall at this point. After all the presentations were complete, we made our way to Barcade. I had one beer and the chorizo quesadilla, which wasn't amazing but wasn't awful either.
A good night.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Darts c/o Finnegan's Wake

On Valentine's Day we had darts to play. This time LW and I took the bus down Spring Garden to Finnegan's Wake. The bar that hosts the match feeds both teams. Finnegan's Wake gave us pepperoni, cheese cubes, crackers and then a taco buffet that I didn't photograph.
In the end I don't think we won, but I threw a couple of go od darts in the mix. Others threw many more good darts.

I think this is LW reacting to something T. just threw. Or maybe she's making an exasperated face at something AJ did or said. It's unclear.
Another good night.

Late Night Drinks and Mid-Morning Donuts and Chicken

The Saturday after I got back from the Bahamas I made my way over to C. and R.'s for a pizza, laundry socialization visit. As we often do, we enjoyed pizza and wine while shooting the shit. At some point my roommate texted me to see what I was up to and I invited him to join us. Once the wine ran out, C., the roommate and I all headed to McCrossen's. There we drank more and I insisted on a few not so stellar photographs. My hair is now long enough to kind of put into a pony tail. I was very excited about this.

The next morning I was hurting a little, but I also had an appointment with destiny...and L. and BC and Federal Donuts, which was on the resolution list. We tried to get there early enough that it wouldn't be completely crowded, but late enough that they'd be frying up some chicken. This place has been getting nothing but rave reviews from pretty much everyone, including the New York Times so it wasn't really a surprise that the place was packed. This is a place that unless it's a week day afternoon, you simply cannot sit and eat there. Very much a new version of takeout. So we passed the time talking about this and that while waiting for our moment to discuss what kind of chicken flavoring we wanted (they have a rotating set of flavors; we went with Z'atar and Coconut Curry). After not a short amount of time, but not so long a time that we were impatient or angry, we had our chicken and donuts in hand. We went back to BC's to enjoy our bounty and she pulled out a bottle of bubbly. L. was more into the donuts than the chicken but felt their hot sugared ones were better than any of the 'fancies.' I think I'll need to go back in a donut mood to be able to comment on them myself.
What I can comment on is how freaking delicious the chicken was. Nice and crispy. Flavors in the batter actually came through. I think I liked the Z'atar better than the coconut curry, but I ended up taking a piece of the coconut curry home with me, and it held up quite well as a lunch the next day.
It's always great when a place totally lives up to its hype, and Federal Donuts did.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Liebing It

From time to time, and far more often than is necessary, I check my blog's stats to see how people get to my site. Did they google a Chicago restaurant I frequented back in my Chicagoan days? Were they referred by another blog? Did they stumble across it while looking for porn about meat donuts? All these things can happen. Yesterday when I took a look, I saw a few referring hits from the Crabby Fox, and it seems that I have been 'liebed.' The rules, as Crabby understood them were: "as a recipient of the Liebster award, [one] must pass on this recognition to five blogs who meet the criteria, and then reveal 5 random facts about [your]self, and then do a little jig and bake a pie. No! I made those last two things up." The main criteria is that the blogs have readerships of less than 200 folks. Well, Crabby, I thank you for the recognition and accept this challenge (though I, too, will not be baking a pie or doing a jig per se).

So, blogs I enjoy with small readerships. That's a little tricky. I feel like the majority of the blogs I follow already have a relatively massive number of followers. But after taking a closer look at my Google Reader feed, I came up with the following four, which is one less than five, but I think it'll be okay.

1. Whenever I want to feel bad about how my own writing aspirations have tanked, I take a look at Jac's blog of rejections. She is just one of the folks I went to grad school with that I now envy for her productivity and persistence.
2. Joe is deep into music, not to mention the fact that he is very close friends with a dancing rabbit.
3. I'm often one of those people that posts too much on Facebook. Sometimes these posts are articles I read, or music I think is cool that perhaps people don't know about. And often enough I hear this music as a result of Stop, Play, Rewind.
4. While she hasn't updated in forever, A Belly Grumbles in Brooklyn is always a nice read when she posts her latest eating adventure.

And now on to random facts:

1. I love the sound of crickets or frogs chirping away on hot summer nights.
2. I do not love bananas, in any iteration. This is a key reason I do not like smoothies, bananas are in ALL of them.
3. My great-great grandfather was technically the last Confederate general to surrender in the civil war...or so the story goes.
4. I imagine one day living somewhere nice and warm, with at least two dogs running around.
5. I can't cross my eyes, but I can make my scalp move.

And there you have five random facts and four new blogs to consider. I think we all win here. Thanks Crabby!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Last Dinner in the Bahamas

My last dinner in the Bahamas was at the hotel/inn. I ended up sitting with the British couple in the other sea facing second floor room, which was nice. They liked snorkeling and he was a long-time professional photographer in a small town in England. The overall clientele was made up of a lot of British people, most over the age of 60. But that's a demographic that is totally in my wheelhouse. The meal itself wasn't amazing, but it wasn't awful either. The starter was an underwhelming crab cake. It didn't have much crispness to its outside, and the inside was mushy, not crabby. I would have preferred a grouper cake.
We had the option of either a linguini with shrimp or steak. I went with the seafood/pasta option, which wasn't really anything special either. The pasta was so slick with butter or oil. The shrimp were decent but not delectable. I don't know, it just wasn't all that special.
The last course was tirimisu, which was frozen. I didn't really bother eating it.
While the meal didn't blow me away, sitting on the front porch and talking to older strangers in Nassau, Bahamas was certainly a new experience for me to have.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Lodging c/o A Stone's Throw Away, Lunch c/o Traveller's Rest

We spent the majority of our flight to Nassau talking about the Vampire Diaries. Or, more accurately, I attempted to distract L. from the flight by talking at her about the Vampire Diaries. In any case, we landed safely. L. was flying out that very day, which was sad making for us both I think. I had one more night to play with. After our arrival at the airport we took a moment or two to reflect on our trip and then I called A Stone's Throw Away in order to have someone from the establishment pick me up and bring me to where I'd be lying my head for the last evening of my Bahamian trip. I had chosen the place because it was far less expensive than some of the bigger chains, but seemed to be less sketchy than some of the other even cheaper places. And that's not to say that this was an incredibly cheap hotel. I think I got my room for $230 a night or so, which is still far better than the $300-$500 for some of the bigger chains and resorts. And it was really quite a little gem in my opinion. I had one of two rooms on the second floor that opened up onto one of the place's two levels of wraparound porches, with a great sea view. And then there were these day beds and other nice furniture to take advantage of. You see that day bed kind of thing right there? I lay on that for a couple of hours, yes I did.
The view.
The first floo's shared porch space, also where you could get breakfast, lunch or dinner.
The little lagoon-like pool.
The stairs leading up to the hotel. The hotel is literally an easy five minute drive to the airport and a five to ten minute walk to the water. And on a high embankment/hill/cliff, which really makes you feel like you're above it all, even though the major ring around the island road is just a block or two away.
After checking in I decided that I would follow through on my plan to have lunch at Traveller's Rest. So I walked down the stairs, then down a small hill and then along the water for about five minutes.

This was my view while I ate.
I was disheartened to learn that they only did conch salad on weekends, but I understood that it's not a dish that keeps all that well, so I made due with trying their conch stew...which was great. Peppery and spicy, rich and salty. A good thing.
For my main lunch I chose to go with the whole fried snapper, which came with peas and rice and the choice of two sides. I went with macncheese and coleslaw.
Early on I accidentally swallowed a small fish bone. The waitress thought that my expression of consternation was because I was afraid of the fish. I managed to croak that I just was having a little fish bone problem, she suggested eating a plug of bread. And that helped get that bone away from my throat. Good trick to know: bread. The fish itself was great. Spiced nicely, flaky white meat.
Afterwards I walked back to the hotel, changed into my suit and then went back to the water for a short spell.

Then I returned and made myself a Ricardo rum and pineapple juice drink. The hotel had an 'honor bar' where you made your own drinks and then would write them down on a clipboard and then be charged at the end of your stay. I wasn't planning on wiling out on my last night, but I both liked and disliked this feature. I liked it because it was homey and allowed me to ponder a drink choice without making a bartender wait on me. I disliked it because they didn't actually give you a sense of how they priced the different alcohols and mixers. It turned out not to be that bad, but I did wonder.
There was an older British couple in the other room facing the sea, and we made friends a bit. When the husband saw that I was trying to take a photograph of myself with the sea in the background, he offered to take the photo for me, which turned out better than my attempts. Though I look a little shiny. That is actually because I had just put lotion on my face after a shower and it hadn't sunk in yet.
Then I lay on day bed, read a book, drank my strong rum drink and generally basked in the setting sun's rays.

Last Morning in Gregory Town

And then suddenly it was our last morning. We had a noon puddle jumper flight from Eleuthera back to Nassau, so it's not really a surprise that I woke up at 7. My initial plan had been to go down to the cove and swim with the fishes a bit more...but unfortunately I started thinking about lathering myself up in sunscreen, the shower I would need once I was done with the salt and the sand, the plastic bags I would need to keep my damp suit, towel and shoes in if I didn't want my entire luggage to smell like mold. Etc. Basically I psyched myself out. So instead I walked around the landscaped front of the place and then strolled on down to the water for a brief put my toe in kind of final hello and goodbye. The sunlight was beautiful. Honey golden shit going on.

And then we were off to the airport, where we arrived with plenty of time, which we spent having a beer and (in my case) worrying that we would miss our plane if we weren't incredibly diligent about sitting and listening.