Saturday, December 22, 2007

Tending Bar and Other Things

You'll find me at the Silverleaf tonight serving up yummy cocktails and soon you may also find me here and here! Not on Gerald Stern or Richard Peabody exactly, but you clever ones will figure it out.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

The Covenant: A Mini Review

My aunt bought me Naomi Ragen's The Covenant for Hanukkah. I was a little skeptical at first because of the cover design. A woman with a huge Jewish Star on her neck---I was thinking it was going to be more in the category of Judaica rather than Jewish art (the latter being what I find moving and powerful and the Judaica being more commercial and cheesy). Thank goodness I committed to reading it. While there were some passages that seemed a little cliched, overall, I loved her poetic narrative---Ragen knows how to weave in images to convey just the right sentiment. Her idea of wishing life was like a beaded necklace---if you made a mistake, you could just restring---completely apt and gorgeous. Her prose was especially stunning when describing a suicide bombing at a bus stop. She made the moment stretch on and crammed so much into a few seconds.

I'm hooked! Luckily she has 6 more novels for me to read!

Brooke came over yesterday and we made an amazing salad---homemade dressing with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and pesto and she helped me sort out an idea for another story---I'm going to try and do some fiction over the Drisha break---seems I can only write fiction when I have long blocks of time on my hands---so I'm amazed at people like Ragen who can sustain a novel. I like to draft everything in one sitting---guess I will have to change that if I ever want to write a novel...

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Late Blooming Fashionista

In high school and college, I was the girl who owned fifteen pairs of overalls and make up constituted that glitter goo for my eyes. I remember when I showed up to go out for the evening in overalls and Jillian set me straight, lending me her tight cords and doing my hair.

And now, 10 years later, I'm the girl who Sandra calls a "product horse" when we roomed at AWP last year. I'm not sure what happened---perhaps it was going to grad school in New York or never feeling like one of the pretty girls of the cool click.

I don't even remember when I fell in love with Betsey Johnson as a designer. She's quirky and weird and somehow a little classic and so it was a great Hanukkah present to get a gift card on Friday and the OCD me, was at the boutique this weekend and got these numbers. (though the blue one is just a pic--mine is in green!) One will be for Erin's wedding (see, totally not frivilously dress shopping!)

Friday, December 07, 2007

A Library of Brandy

(though I went for the bourbon!)

The Brandy Library--oh, you'd thought I'd forgotten, is one of the most beautiful bars I've been to. However since I am a writer and it looks like a library (though who doesn't want to cozy up and have a rare bourbon every now and again?) I was quite impressed. The service is amazing. I was lost as soon as I got out of the subway and immediately someone from the bar got on Jonathan's cell phone to help me out. They were patient while I was crossing streets and telling them what I was standing in front of. They recognized me as the "lost girl" as soon as I opened the door, took my coat and brought me to my table without making me feel embarassed.

The shelves have moving ladders and the servers climb up to grab your rare brown liquor and pour at your table--almost like wine service. The menu is a zillion pages long and so you can get quite immersed in reading---it's a place that I would keep coming back to just to try new things. I asked my server to recommend a bourbon based on my favorites, Woodford Reserve and Basil Hayden's. She came up with Eagle Reserve! And paired with the eclairs, I was in heaven---bourbon and dessert, not an easy combo.

A bartender must do her research you know. I know, even here, it's quite academic. I mean, anyone can pour a rum and coke, but to know all the proper glassware (I'm still working on that one), and all the nuances of the various types of liquors and cocktails, that's a lifetime of learning my friends. And I take my work seriously :)

As we were leaving, we were presented with a long, small box and was told it was for our breakfast. In the cab, we found out we were holding on to a box of biscotti in a blue engraved box! It was thoughtful without being overdone.

It fit all of my bar qualifications, classy (I don't want to be around annoying drunks or even well dressed ones either), solid selections, somewhere I could sit down and have a conversation and listen to great jazz in the background. I hate to say it, but I think it's my new favorite bar in the city.