It’s a Pig & Quill baby shower!! I can’t remember when I first came across the sassy sunshine that is Emily’s blog, but it’s one of my oldest reads — Emily’s irreverent vivacity and passion for good eats make the Internet that much brighter, and on the days when she turns reflective, it’s the kind of writing that hits home, lingers, and inspires. Also, she knows how to enjoy her SPAM. I don’t know what else I could ask for from a blog. The best news is that Em is having a mini-Em in just a few weeks, and when the amazing Gina and Sherrie put together a virtual party to celebrate, I couldn’t wait to join in.
So I’m pretty sure I never really knew what horchata was for the longest time. It was just a drink that sounded vaguely delicious and that I suspected I was missing out on until I got distracted five seconds later. And then I came across these these dreamy cinnamon horchata popsicles last summer, I finally sat down and read Jonathan’s beguiling words about it — and it suddenly became one of those things that sounded so crazy delicious and ambrosial that I wondered what I was doing with my life that I hadn’t had it yet. If you’re vague on it like I was, it turns out horchata is a sweet, creamy drink made from (among other variations, depending on where it’s from) rice, almonds, and cinnamon, served chilled and over ice. The soaked rice and almonds produce a richly milky, opaque sip of heaven that’s still completely dairy-free, and with a touch of heat from the cinnamon, it’s kind of the only thing I want to drink all summer long.
I have a chocolate chip snacking problem. It’s those cheap, sweet ones that get me, the bags that always end up on sale at the grocery store, where I buy like four bags (because, sale) and then I end up getting home from work each day and standing at the refrigerator with the door open for a good 10 minutes, just munching. Sometimes I try to save myself (and them) by mixing them in with the good stuff, the 60%-and-up cacao content types that are a tad too pricey for me to go stealing them from their baked good destinations, and then all that happens is that I stand at the fridge for even longer fishing out the little cheap ones from all the rest.
This is my life.
Spring is coming! It’s true, we did just spend the majority of last week’s commutes skating through pools of slush, and there are still attractively sooty mounds of snow piled in the purgatory between the cars and the sidewalk. But they’re melting so fast. We’ve been waking up to a cacophony of long-lost birds outside our window, I’ve (tentatively) traded in my Michelin-man puffer for a wool coat for the first time in 2015. I’ve graduated from leggings to tights under my work pants. It’s supposed to be a high of sixty today?! I almost didn’t type it because I feel like I might jinx it. Spring is tiptoeing our way, and — even though I know it’ll probably desert us at least a few more times this year — I’m so excited.
Bed linens courtesy of Evencki.
The semester I spent in Hong Kong, I lived in this tiny, sun-drenched studio just big enough for my bed — it had a bathroom, and a kitchen with two burners that couldn’t heat up at the same time, and a little stretch of hardwood floor, and a bed that took up the rest. It was so compact that pulling back the curtains soaked the entire apartment in light. You could sit in bed and touch every wall if you tried. I totally loved it. It was a me-sized, luxuriously slothful haven, where I ate in bed and studied in bed and pretty much never left my bed if I was home. When Bowl #2 visited, we had Thanksgiving dinner in bed — bowls of Indomie, frozen dumplings, and KFC takeout propped up on nothing but law books and prayers that I wouldn’t spill soy sauce on my sheets. Student living at its finest.
You guys, I had my wedding dress fitting this Monday! It might have been the most excited I’ve ever been for a Monday morning. Now I’m wishing workweeks always started with a trying-on-a-very-beautiful-tailored-for-you-thing appointment. It would be zero percent financially sound and one hundred percent awesome.
Unrelatedly, if it’s one thing I’ve learned through this whole wedding process, it’s that I’m pretty sure I’m the world’s worst client. How is it possible to think you know exactly what you want (maybe) but also totally not be able to express it — at least, for me, without hemming and hawing and getting indecisive, or else getting too shy to speak my mind, or speaking my mind then thinking I’ve changed my mind, or emailing two hours later with said changed mind, or emailing again changing my mind after that?
I’m the worst. Any ideas for forgiveness-inducing thank you gifts are appreciated.
But it was still amazing.
Also, yesterday I had a dentist’s appointment. So that was the same amount of excited that I always am for Tuesday.
Hi friends! How was your Valentine’s Day? I feel like these last few days have been quintessentially wintry in our parts — we had a serene and snowy Valentine’s Day in New York, followed by a couple of those sharp, frigidly brilliant days where everything seems pale, still, and muted by the cold. I went out on Sunday for a few forgotten errands (I always feel this compulsion to stock up on everything I think we’ll need whenever it looks like a stretch of unpleasant weather is headed our way — and then I always fail and forget something) and I thought it was surprisingly peaceful, being one of the few bundled-up folks on the quiet, frosted sidewalks, under a bright blue sky and distant but vibrant sunshine.
Rimmed plates and mug: the wonderful Speck & Stone; cupcake dish and pinch dishes: The Fortynine Studio; small plates: Akiko Graham via The-Commons; oblong dish: Crate & Barrel; striped tea towel: Fog Linen.
Lately I’ve been trying to take the time to appreciate more. Chalk it up to SAD (so real) or a couple hectic weeks at work, but poor Bowl #2 has had to coax this grumpus out of a fair number of funks lately. Which is so silly, because there’s so many things I could be thankful for. Things as little as an open seat in a crowded subway on the way to work, or an unexpected (and unwarranted) snow day. Spending a quiet weekday night with B2 surfing YouTube for wedding songs, and finding the perfect track for our processional. Impromptu Saturday night hangs with good friends. Sleeping in ridiculously late the next morning, and having it be the kind where you wake up refreshed and not like your head’s stuffed full of cotton balls. Little big things.
So that’s where my mind’s at as we’re heading into Valentine’s Day this year. I know the holiday inspires about every feeling under the sun, but for me it seems like a little opportunity, in an otherwise dreary stretch of post-holiday weeks, to appreciate the person in my life who helps me get through the funks and refocus on the happy. B2 and I don’t have any grand plans for this Saturday (that I know of?) but at the very least, I’m hoping to make a good breakfast, hang out, avoid being the gloomy Gus I’ve been lately, and just appreciate. (And enjoy the long weekend! Yay, long weekend!)
There’s something so fun about seeing where someone grew up. Like the first time I visited B2 in Hawaii — I mean, it’s pretty crazy to see what it’s like to grow up in a place like Hawaii to begin with, but I got overly sentimental seeing his old elementary school classrooms, the Banyan tree he used to climb during recess, the route he ran through Manoa for cross-country, his high school late-night hangout spots (you know, just places like this beach, no big deal.) As well as you know a person, it just feels like there’s a little something extra that falls into place when you know where they came from, too.
That first trip, B2 took me to a little Japanese-Italian fusion restaurant in Honolulu called Pietro’s, because it was a place he frequented in high school. So it’s entirely possible that my glowing impression of it was just a product of my rose-colored “oh my gosh this is the fabric of his existence” sentimentality, but I don’t think so — fusion can be a tricky thing to pull off, and that place knew how to play it. My favorite dish of theirs was a spicy spaghetti with ground beef, chilies and delicate Japanese eggplant — good, simple, un-fussy pasta with just a little Japanese touch.
I’m a sucker for food with meaning. I associate food with all sorts of things — a means of gathering together, a mode for celebration, a medium of remembrance, a conduit for family traditions, all those grand words. I love it all. This means I probably end up ascribing too much significance to my food sometimes — wait no we have to get peanut M&Ms before we board because we always have peanut M&Ms on the plane! — but somehow, I just love how much food can mean to us, and how much power it carries beyond just sustenance.
This Taiwanese popcorn chicken is a case in point — I was so, so excited to recreate it for Food52 a few weeks ago, because it comes from such a special place and time. Bowl #2 and I first discovered its glory on a short weekend trip to Taipei a few years ago (a mini trip inside a big, big one I’ve mentioned a few times before) and after we first tried it, I dragged B2 all over Taipei to try every other Taiwanese fried chicken joint I could Google in the rest of our short days there. (Resulting in us getting lost on more than one occasion. And ending up in a deserted garage trying to describe our difficulties to a baffled Taiwanese man on a moped.)