- It's a turkey! I think. Drawn for Serious Eats.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! ...A day later. (I did start writing it on Thanksgiving, if that means anything. I write really, really slowly.) My Thanksgiving started with a tiny onslaught of text messages wishing me a Happy Thanksgiving. Which was lovely, except I was still sleeping. I mean, up until my phone went "BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP" (it only takes half a beep to pull me out of dream-mode). Still, I appreciated the thought and the unintentional wake-up calls. :)
My alarm officially went off at 11 a.m. (hey, I went to bed at 4 a.m.) so that my mom and I could release our turkey out of its saline bath—otherwise I would've slept even more. It was our first time brining a turkey; we sort of followed the spatchcock method, meaning that it sort of worked. We probably overcooked the turkey, but it was still a bit more moist than usual. (Gravy and cranberry sauce helped, too.) I made pan roasted brussels sprouts and mashed potatoes for sides, and pumpkin pie brûlée for dessert.
For the first time during Thanksgiving, it only took one plate to knock me out. "Soooo guys, I'm gonna take a nap now." I hobbled a few feet to the couch and nursed a sloshy belly as I listened to my mom and brother continue dinner. HOW DID I BECOME SO WEAKSAUCE?
It's easy to say what I'm thankful for. I'm thankful/surprised that my digestive system still works. That I still have all my limbs. That I continue to evade diabetes and obesity. That my family is cool. That I have a job. That you guys read my blog. And that I have some of the most awesome friends in the world. Shall I talk about one of them? OKAY!!!
Mac n Cheese = Awesome
Three weeks ago on November 6, Alex came up from Philadelphia to grace me with his loving presence. I can still replay the first day I met him in Paris over three years ago—mostly because I blogged about it and took a fugload of photos, but also because Alex is a special brand of human who will leave a deep impression on you, like that scar you got from that vicious dog attack, or that sparkly rainbow mark on your ankle left behind from when that unicorn licked you. He's one of those people I can always feel comfortable around, and poke at my every whim without fear of him thinking, "Hey, uh, get off me." That's what I value in my friends: poke-ability. And submissiveness.
The first night he was here, we helped Lee Anne make a modified version of Ina Garten's mac and cheese recipe. Hell yeah, it was good. It's cheese with some macaroni in it—that is success.
And you know you have a true friend when he reads you a bedtime story. Where the Wild Things Are and its meager 338 words somehow never made their way into my childhood. Thanks to my friend John for lending me his copy.
Brunch and Taxidermy
The next day, Alex and I joined some of the Serious Eats crew at The Brooklyn Star in Williamsburg for brunch. Alex couldn't eat most of it since he's vegetarian, but they did have the second-best biscuits I've eaten in New York City (the first being from Locanda Verde) and many of the meat dishes also came with Alex-friendly eggs. You can read the full review at Serious Eats. My favorite dish was the deep fried pork chop for its resemblance to a juicier and crispier version of another favorite dish of mine, Japanese pork katsu (Brooklyn Star does deep frying very well). If only there had been Japanese curry to go with it. Although I don't usually eat brunch in New York City (it tends to strike me as overpriced / boring / not worth waiting for), I'd be happy to go back to Brooklyn Star. Their non-brunch food is also great.
We followed brunch with a visit to the American Museum of Natural History, home to lots and lots of dead stuffed animals. Mostly pretty.
Sometimes just adorable.
Other times manatee-shaped.
Sometimes lacking animals, but featuring lovely typography that you don't see in the newer exhibits.
That was my first visit to the museum in at least five years. It's a fun place; I don't know why I don't go more often. Like other people in New York City, sometimes I need people from out of town to remind me how much cool stuff I have access too.
We spent most of the next day in my apartment. Heeere's why.
Why was my coffee table covered in eggs, scallions, cabbage, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, and other Asian foodstuffs?
...Later to be replaced by huge bowls of ground pork and vegetables?
FOR MY DUMPLING MAKING PARTY NOVEMBER 2009 EDITION!!! Actually, dumpling making + pizookie-eating party. I overestimated the number of pork lovers and underestimated the number of vegetarians, resulting in a pork dumpling surplus that is still feeding me three weeks later, and a bunch of hungry vegetarians. But I think it all turned out okay; by the end of the night, people's bellies were either filled up with pizookie or booze.
I'm pretty sure there's still a case of Budweiser in my fridge. Neither me nor my roommates want to drink it. Thanks, friends, for bringing SO MUCH BEER.
The dumplings made with the thin wonton wrappers resembled tiny yellow wrinkled brains. ...FULL OF PORK! The ones made with regular dumpling wrapper looked normal. And both tasted awesome with lots of ginger and scallion-enhanced soy sauce-vinegar-sesame oil dipping sauce on the side.
Some people don't think pizookies are all that. I say you're crazy if you don't like the taste of a steaming hot, semi-baked chocolate chip cookie topped with a giant scoop of vanilla ice cream. It's like everything that's good in the world—crispy, chewy, gooey, sweet, creamy, hot, and cool—hitting you at once. Aside from kittens. Eat this while petting a fuzzy kitten on your lap—that would be the best. Unless you're allergic to cats.
Because its an inarguably awesome show, I made everyone watch an episode of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, whether or not they actually wanted to watch it (Alex was particularly against it: "But I already don't like people in Philadelphia"). I thought the milk steak episode would make a good introduction. If you don't know what the hell I'm talking about, you can watch it on Hulu. Then you will understand why Charlie Kelley is one of my most favorite people in this solar system.
I also introduced some of my friends to Look Around You. IT IS SO GOOD.
We also made funny faces. I'm the one going D: and Alex is going 8D and Colin is going :B and Tristan's face is partially cut off. Just in the photo, not in real life.
Many thanks to the 14 friends who schlepped to Bed-Stuy (or already lived with me) to make my dumpling party a success: Veronica, John, Claire, Alex, Dahlia, Ken, Tristan, Adelyn, Greg, Chichi, Dan, Colin, Lee Anne, and Chris! (Special thanks to Greg, Alex, and Chichi for meeting with me in Chinatown that morning and helping me lug all those vegetables and sauces and big bag-o-ground pork.) Y'all make me feel so special.
The Brooklyn Star
33 Havemeyer Street, Brooklyn NY 11211 (map)
American Museum of Natural History
79 Street And Central Park West, New York NY 10024 (map)