It’s been six months since we moved to New York City and lately I’ve been thinking a lot about community, about building a local social network, you know, the real kind, where you actually meet and forge bonds with people in real life. I feel pretty fortunate that I haven’t had to do so from scratch because a couple of my closest friends from school just happen to be here already or have recently moved to the area but once in a while I think to myself that it’s kind of strange that I still don’t know the names of any of my neighbors or that I can’t really call myself a regular at any of my neighborhood restaurants.
Did you know that freshly baked bread just pulled from the oven makes a sort of snappy, crackly sound, as its internals continue to cook before it begins the process of cooling down? I didn’t. It’s rather easy to miss, and I first noticed it when I took a class on sourdough bread baking and our teacher pointed it out. It’s a beautiful sound, marking the culmination of not only the hours it took to get from kneading the dough, letting it rise while it ferments, and shaping it into boules or batards or baguettes, but also the highest contribution of something entirely wild, and to me, somewhat mysterious – wild yeast.
Despite what my KitchenAid mixer and various accoutrement might signal to you, I don’t consider myself much of a baker. Don’t get me wrong, I love whipping up sponge cakes on a whim and I stock bags of confectioner’s sugar in my pantry along with six different kinds of flour (AP, cake, pistachio, almond, corn and Wondra) just in case I need to bake in the middle of the night. No small feat for our tiny NYC apartment and our even tinier NYC kitchen. No, don’t be misled by these accessories for they do not make me a baker. For every baking success I’ve had, once in a while I’ll encounter a recipe that knocks me back a few notches and leaves me swearing that I’ll never measure a cup of flour ever again. Of late, those recipes are from a man called Hidemi Sugino.
The hubs and I spent a day wandering about Brooklyn exploring flea markets and the Fort Greene Park. I’d been wanting to check out the Brooklyn Flea for a while now, not so much to forage through overpriced furnishings and art, but for good food. Also, a really good friend from the West Coast is visiting next weekend and I’ve brought it upon myself to use those few days to sell her on moving to NYC! Hence, I’ve got about a week to put together a greatest hits itinerary and since we’re both very much obsessed with food, finding the greatest of what NYC has to offer when it comes to noshing is top on my list.
My first ever interlude with classical music dates back to the late 80′s. Some Eastern European philharmonic was visiting Kuala Lumpur and my aunt was generous enough to give my parents and me three tickets to attend. We wouldn’t have been able to afford those tickets back then. It was a school night and I wasn’t much of a night owl, so all I remember of that concert was falling back and forth between semi-consciousness and full-out sleeping. Nonetheless, the bits that I did catch I enjoyed. That was also around the time that my father purchased a Yamaha piano for me as a birthday present. Again, not something we could easily afford back then so my father had to take out a loan to buy it but I remember him carrying me down the stairs to the living room, telling me to keep my eyes closed for a big surprise. I remember being shocked and excited by the huge gesture.
In celebration of Ro’s (my roommate from undergrad) birthday, a group of us went out for a tasty dinner at La Silhouette (great food, service so-so) and afterwards walked over to Dizzy’s Coca Cola for some late night Jazz at the Lincoln Center. The venue is gorgeous – intimate without the feeling of being packed in, with a wonderful panoramic view of Central Park. The jazz music was also really quite wonderful – not terribly modern, just the way I like it.