Happy Weekend, Happy Chinese New Year!

This week marks Chinese Lunar New Year, officially kicking off the year of the dragon! This year there are two parades in Manhattan’s Chinatown, one happened this past Monday, January 23rd DRAGONYEAR, and the second is coming up this Sunday the 29th. On Monday we started the celebration by getting down to Mott street early enough to stake our claim to a prime dim sum and dragon-dance-watching spot, eating pork buns, chicken feet, and delightful garlicky greens while the clatter of drums and the din of cymbals made sure that any evil omens and bad spirits lurking around got the hell out of there. The dragons dance up and down the streets, coming into open businesses to collect money to ensure luck and well-being. This one was wearing a shower cap because it was drizzling and, I guess, like me, dragons are sensitive to humidity ruining their hair. I think he looks pretty great.This paper represents what we ordered over three hours for lunch. Somewhere in those hieroglyphics are the aforementioned pork buns and chicken feet, shrimp dumplings, pork dumplings, vegetable dumplings, scallion dumplings, doughnut noodles (!), spicy squid, Chinese broccoli, garlicky bok choi, bean curd wraps, chili oil, Chinese winter sausage, fried shrimp with bacon, fish balls, sweet custards, sticky rice in lotus leaves, multiple coke classics, and eleven pots of tea- all ordered in Aunt Sheila’s perfectly wonderful Upper-East-by-way-of-Bensonhurst accented cantonese. She’ll tell you “I don’t speak cantonese, I only speak Dim Sum”. Repeat after me: Josh-eeuw-Baow (BBQ pork bun). That’s all you need to know.
And, of course, it was only $15 per person for the feast.Join in the festivities for yourselves this coming Sunday, January 29th, here’s the info:

13th Annual Chinatown Lunar New Year Parade & Festival
11:30 a.m. – 4 pm, Sunday, January 29, 2012
Place: Canal Street South

The parade usually winds throughout Chinatown along Mott, Canal, and Bayard streets, and along East Broadway. Gung hay fat choy!

Fingerless Gloves=Awesome

When it gets really cold in my apartment but I still need to type up a storm, I LOVE puting on these fingerless gloves- an amazing hand-made Christmas present from Rachel, who knit them herself. I feel sort of like a runaway, a little like Desperately Seeking Susan, and wearing them inside also gives me a kind of Dr. Zhivago vibe. Add a cup of tea and we’re getting warmer.

Here are a few great options from Etsy if you want to pick up what I’m putting down:

Red Gloves from LitKnits
Grey Gloves from Laima Shop
Green Gloves from GinaMinda

Carnivorous Plants? Grow House Grow!

Ever since getting a private tour (with wine!) of Golden Gate Park’s Conservatory of Flowers exhibit on wicked plants, I’ve had a healthy respect for carnivorous greenery. Did you know that a Venus Flytrap can snap shut in less than a second ? Or that a pitcher plant can kill and eat a monkey (A MONKEY. it’s a plant!)? I apparently share this sense of wonder-at-the-awesomeness with Brooklyn based artist Kate Deedy of Grow House Grow.  Her glorious hand-illustrated wallpapers celebrate women and science, history, literature, and the supernatural- all with an impeccable sense of spatial relation. The designs are the exact right blend of playful and macabre (while also being totally beautiful). Since I can’t wallpaper my (rental) apartment- le sigh-, I decided to get a roll of this carnivorous-plant-paper to line my desk… so I can gaze with wonder at the power of a man eating plant all day.Check out all of the other gorgeous papers here.

Rainy Day Baking

Such a grey and rainy mournful Brooklyn day, what’s a girl to do? Why, obviously, make a bunch of coffee, put on some Gershwin, and do a little light nesting and bake some deep, dark, subtley spicy Mexican Chocolate Cookies (and then eat them for breakfast). Here’s the simple recipe (cut out from Cooking Light in 2009 and found this morning stuck in the back of my recipe book, never made). I only had the tail-end of a bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips (and gawd knows I’m not going out in the rain until it’s utterly necessary/time to go play music over at John and Janelle’s), but due to sweetheart’s sweet tooth there was half a fancy pantsy bar of Theo Dark Chocolate with Spicy Chile on hand, which, quite frankly, was utterly perfect. I dusted with powdered sugar and cocoa, but- if you didn’t have any bougie chile chocolate on hand, adding a little bit the ground red pepper to the sugar/cocoa would be awesome. Anyway, rainy day vanquished, nest nested!

Put a Bird on it.

Oh! How I love thee, effortlessly floaty fine feathered seaglass silk chiffon dressing gown with little oiseaus all over it! Need. Want. Must Have. The entire Beautiful Bottoms line is gorgeous (and available at Journelle, natch).
Put a bird on it.

Picnic!

Much traveling, so little time at home… sweetheart and I capitalize on this rare day in August where breezes kiss the skin. Impromptu picnic in Fort Greene Park. What a lovely afternoon…The amazing Opinel knife belongs to me (courtesy of Cassie’s divine Gravel & Gold), but alas, the Steinbeck belongs to Sweetheart. I’m shamelessly burning through George R.R. Martin’s Storm of Swords like wildfire. I’ve bought each book from Greenlight and they (mercifully) don’t make me feel like I should be reading something better.

Summer Joy: Cucumber Sandwiches

Today I had one of the summer’s most marvelous delicate treats: the cucumber sandwich. When I was little Mama and I grew cucumbers and tomatoes in half barrels down the length of our driveway. I loved the curlicue tendrils that got so grabby and brushing off the little white thorns that grew from the bumps when they were ready to pick. Mama would have a tomato sandwich and me– always the cucumber. Nothing has changed.

I go white bread, crust on, no toast, Duke’s mayonnaise on both sides (sometimes I have to bring this special from Virginia, other times they randomly/awesomely have it at Fairway), salt, pepper, and chips. This is probably the only sandwich in the world (outside of PB&J) that doesn’t agree with a pickle. After all, a pickle is just a cucumber that sold its soul to the Devil. And the Devil was Dill.

1974 please.

The best thing in the whole world is when you look around and it may or may not be 1974. The second best thing in the world is when it is also summertime when that happens. It’s here. It’s fabulous. It’s time for adventures.

ps. (1974- put on your earmuffs) what is the best photo processor for Android? I used to tape a piece of napkin over the lens of my nokia, but now we’re grownups.

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