Sun Wah SaturdayThis is a celebration post. Not because anything terribly momentous has happened recently but because I woke up this morning after a great weekend and this whole day has been one little sparkler after the last, lighting up an exceptionally busy day. It's even not just today, it's been the last few days...and weeks. So here's a list of things that have the grins going.
"Now & then it’s good to pause in our pursuit of happiness & just be happy."- Guillaume Apollinaire
1) Music from a part-time city lover. Portland is invading Chicago with aural goodness this week. Tonight the Portland Cello Project is in town, playing a free show at the ever-so-gorgeous Pritzker Pavillion. I've been long convinced that the cello is my spirit instrument. To have it paired with unlikely cover songs and that essentially odd duck persona that develops in the Pacific Northwest... it's more than I could really have thought to hope on.
That's how I'm starting this week but I'll be ending it among an entirely different Portland posse...those Trappers are back. I managed to weasel my way into a basement rehearsal when I was in Portland back in April, listening to a few of the new tracks in the process. Because of that, I can say with superb confidence that if you can catch Blitzen Trapper's Lincoln Hall show on Saturday night or be in the vicinity of the stage for their Lollapalooza show (2pm Budweiser stage), you will not only save yourself a smack of regret but you may be compelled to bake me some zucchini muffins. Or...something.
Forget the muffins, I'll just be glad to see you.
Though if you do have an abundance of zucchini, a warm muffin happens to pair beautifully with Stumptown coffee.
2) Flower power karma corral. I ordered flowers for a friend recovering from surgery this morning. Not 30 minutes later, I got a picture of a beautiful bouquet that another friend had been sent by her crushman. Having picked some up for myself at yesterday's farmer's market, I can attest to the fact that they raise a person's quality life by an exponent of at least 6.5 smiles per day- whether they are a gift for someone else or just you (in this case, me).
3) Swimming on two wheels. I spent the whole weekend on my bike. Not only was it 30 miles of personal tour guidesmanship but it was a hell of a workout. A workout that delivered me to not one, not two, but three separate feasts this weekend and then brought me home lighter than I left. Peking duck at Sun Wah (you need to do this as soon as possible), Brioche French Toast at LM and Green Curry from Silver Spoon (but at Gina's)... and I STILL got on the scale to good news this morning. This bike is a miracle machine. Not only that, but when you ride through shady spots, the breeze feels like swimming through cool currents. Riding that bike is properly lovely and the best part is that it is physically impossible for me to multi-task while doing it.
4) On the town with my girl Friday. Molly McGuff and I, despite our physical proximity, rarely have schedules that totally match up on the weekend. Friday night we discovered that we were both available for dinner and thus we feasted. And in the process of feasting, we had some wine. And that wine told us we should venture into the world and so we did. To Rainbo, to Bar Deville, to nostalgic shots of tequila and a photo booth. That wine is pretty persuasive but tequila is still tequila. Worth it.
5) Delivering the good goods. It's not quite a secret that I've got a little thing for kitchen bits. I manage to keep my hand out of the prodigal "big purchase" cookie jar but man does my cup runneth over with brightly colored spoons and mixed medium bowls. Being that it is wedding season, I have found my favorite gift to give and, of course, felt like I needed one for myself. So I ordered a pair of these lovely French carafe sets from Brooklyn Kitchen (a truly lovely little site) along with a couple other odds and ends (like a large ice cube tray for slow melting in my bourbon, a pie server and some grapefruit bitters). My box arrived but I was one carafe short- an easy mistake because who orders two (ahem...then two more...good gifts are hard to come by)? I shot an email over to the BK folks and was sent the missing set that day with a nice note and fantastically soft t-shirt. Happy happy.
6) Pages and Pages. It's been a great summer for reading. In addition to reading the books everyone seemed to be talking about (The Help, Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), I've polished off The Known World, Eat Memory, several cookbooks and my current (and potentially most beloved), Anthony Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential. Where have I been? I love this book- thanks to Amanda for the reco. If you like food, feeling like you've got the inside scoop and some shameless sex, drugs and rock and roll as translated by a no-nonsense chef, this is your salacious summer read.
At the heels of these final chapters, I've already selected the next: Everything is Going to Be Great by Rachel Shukert. I'd heard some good things but her perspective on the Eat Pray Love phenomenon is what made this a must.