(1) Last night, I made Ratatouille a la Remy, just like in the Disney/Pixar film, thanks to smitten kitchen. I am immensely proud of myself and my mandolin for our hard work. Also, isn’t this one of the prettiest dinners you’ve ever seen? It’s really tasty, too. Now I want to try cooking other French-ish things like coq au vin or boeuf bourguinon. I love cooking. Cooking is my favorite.
(2) It’s funny how people always make Christmastime to be all winter-y, dreaming of White Christmases and decorating with snowmen and paper snowflakes, when really February is the dead of winter. And no one wants to go out on their Valentine’s date in 5 degree weather. It’s amusing how quickly everyone’s seasonal love for scarves, hot chocolate, and other warm coziness fades by this time of the year. I’m struggling to remember how deathly hot it was when we moved in at the end of June, when I took two frigidly cold showers a day and pressed chilled Diet Coke cans to my forehead to prevent overheating. (Photo taken from Sean’s office, at Madison & 42nd, overlooking Grand Central Station.)
(3) Central Park in the snow is the most beautiful, happy thing. When we got about a foot of snow on Feb. 9, there were hundreds and hundreds of New Yorkers out enjoying the snowfall. It looked like one of the old-timey Victorian postcards by Currier & Ives, depicting an era when people would go ice skating on frozen ponds instead of man-made ones and used wooden toboggans instead of the colorful plastic ones of today’s age. You know, like this? This was Central Park two Saturday’s ago.
It was such a delight to see children zooming around every which way on sleds and inner tubes and their own backs, dogs frolicking, and grown-ups giggling delightedly like children.
(4) I started volunteering one evening a week with the cat rescue organization from which we adopted our dear Ali. Myself and two other volunteers tend to the half dozen or so cats currently living at the UES Petco. We clean up after them, feed them, provide any medications, and love on them (of course!). Petco is a sad in-between place, like a cat orphanage, before cats are adopted or just temporarily fostered. Some of the kitties, like adventurous, not-quite-photogenic Diesel (above, who just went to a forever home this past weekend!) are sweet as can be. Some are problem children, who dump their food face-down into their litter boxes or hiss at all the other cats. The cats cycle out pretty quickly, fortunately, but it means there’s always someone new in transition there and you don’t know how they’re going to act. In case you couldn’t guess, I now want to adopt ALL OF THE KITTIES. Even the problematic ones.
(5) For Valentine’s Day (OK, technically the day after Valentine’s), Sean and I checked out the NYC location of Beecher’s Handmade Cheese, which opened in the fall. We went to the original — and only other — location of Beecher’s at Pike’s Place in Seattle on our honeymoon. It was eerie how similar the two locations looked, right down to the milk jug “stools” and the glass walls that allow you to watch employees make cheese on-site. We went to the downstairs “cellar,” which was surprisingly ritzy. They have nice happy hour deals where you can get the “world’s best mac ‘n cheese” for half-price and $6 glasses of wine. It was super-crowded and unorganized downstairs, and while the decor was nice and the macaroni was delicious, as expected, I think next time we’ll just eat in the casual upstairs deli. Same thing, lower price. 🙂
Then we came home and made fancy s’mores on our gaslit stovetop with a s’mores kit I got from the Brooklyn-based etsy shop whimsy&spice. These were a little more “grown-up,” with substantial graham shortbread cookies, maple-infused homemade marshmallows, and extra-fancy Madecasse chocolates.
But yeah, we did celebrate Valentine’s with mac & cheese and s’mores, so we are probably 10 years old, secretly.
P.S. My Valentine’s gift from Sean, which completely broke our rule of “not getting anything seriously nice,” is two tickets to see She & Him on the Central Park Summerstage this July, furthering my Zooey D. obsession. So sweet! I’m already envisioning myself in a flowy sundress and sandals in the NOT COLD.
Check these two cool kids out here. This will be my third time seeing M. Ward live, and you should definitely check out his work with indie supergroup Monsters of Folk. And give a listen to M.’s solo stuff, too.