The events of the past few days are, at once, both mundane and exciting, much as should the minutiae of my life prove.
It all started with a foray into the weekend; first, because my office had to power off all our equipment for the coming building electrical shutdown scheduled for this past Saturday, despite coming in early Friday, I was able to stay until about 7PM Friday night and get it all down and done. Nothing very exciting about powering down a half-dozen PC's, including our server, or our voicemail or any of the litany of miscellaneous equipment we have floating around our workspace.
Friday night we wound up hanging out and relaxing. Because we didn't have much in the way to do out of the house, and wanted some private/alone time, we wound up watching movies and going to bed relatively early (about 1AM) and woke up around 10AM Saturday. It was a nice, sunny morning without much in the way of heat or humidity, so we were eager to get out and downtown. We had tentative plans with friends for Saturday night, but because they were coming from Connecticut and a potential storm was heading in our direction (to the entire Northeast, actually) we weren't assuming plans were on. Meanwhile, we tooled around Soho and did some meandering, but nothing major; just being out and about and together was the main purpose of our sauntering around. We did, however, happen back to Spring Street Cafe yet again, and while we enjoyed our food -- we both had the same brunch item, a shitake/broccoli/jack omelette -- we weren't quite as impressed as our first trip to the restaurant. However, we were pleased and so we made our way into Soho proper.
We had intended to stop at a restaurant supply store to pick up a wok and/or a new stockpot with a pasta insert -- I know, this is the stuff of legend and pure excitement -- but we never quite made our way to either of the two stores I'd intended we visit. A word, incidentally, on "restaurant supply stores" versus, say, Sur La Table, Bed/Bath/Beyond and/or Crate and Barrel; if you do any serious cooking, you can't go wrong by hitting a restaurant supply store as they have stuff that's not designed for frills or cosmetic inclusion in a kitchen. Their stuff is the real deal and is meant -- duh -- for restaurants. In the past, I've gotten pots and other acoutrement from BBBeyond, and it's not bad, but it's not designed to be used on a real, regular basis (unless it's All-Clad, Calphalon or Le Crueset -- or Lodge). The problem with this particular caveat is that all of those aforementioned brands -- except for Calphalon -- is pricey (note the term "expensive" was not used). Calphalon, additionally, can be pricey as well.
The difference in those two terms -- pricey vs. expensive -- is a matter of getting value for what you're spending. If you're spending $250 for a great pot that will last ten years, the appropos term is pricey; if that pot won't last three years, it's expensive. Le Crueset is the best shit in the world. Lodge (cast iron pots, pans and accessories) are also great, but they need to be "cured," they weigh a ton, and they're only good for certain purposes, like pan-frying and stove-top to oven applications. Le Crueset, on the other hand, is great for everything under the sun (and above, or below, the stove top) but their stuff is priced on par with Bentleys and Rolls Royce -- although it performs far better than those marques. So as for your remaining options...you can do All-Clad, which is a copper-steel mesh, or Calphalon, which is slightly better (in its more basic form) than the stuff you find hanging in most high-end grocery stores.
In essence, if you're interested in getting something really great and don't want to spend $200 for a 12" non-stick pan that can be slid into a oven or a broiler at 450, restaurant supply stores are generally the best option -- that is, unless you're more interested in using the item(s) than telling people who make same.
Alas, after all this discussion, we never even made it to either store. Both are a bit removed from Soho proper, and we were beat by the time the late afternoon was upon us, so we nixed the trip to yet another store and headed home, leaving us wok-less and to survive the night -- and, perhaps, the entire week -- without a new stock pot/pasta insert combo.
Since it's neither soup weather nor do we spend any significant time eating pasta -- not for awhile now -- we aren't exactly losing sleep over our cookware status. But prior to Kaia heading home to get herself packed up and ready for the big move Eastward, we'll make it our business to have a kickin' mongo stir-fry (I'm thinking sesame oil, soy, some fish sauce, a few thin-sliced chicken breasts, some asparagus, some baby bok choy, perhaps some spinach, some pine nuts (or pistachios, which are both an excellent sub for pine nuts and have both better flavor and color) and some other veggies -- broccoli, sugar snap pea-pods, scallion and even some shallot and garlic.
Once we got home, it began to darken and by 4:30 we assumed our friends would -- and should -- not make the trip down from Connecticut. 30-mph winds and heavy rain began pounding the entire Northeast and we figured on settling in and enjoying a bunch of films, which we did: "What Happens in Vegas" started out hilarious and softened to a formulaic love story and was, overall, a worthwhile viewing if not something to wait for HBO/Showtime/Max/Starz. We also watched Jason Statham, a favorite of ours, in "The Bank Job," which was a bit restrained for our boy but was a lot of fun nonetheless. We also procured another film that we'd watched earlier called "The Promotion" which has a great cast including John C. Reilly and Sean William Scott, both of whom we enjoy in everything they've done. Among all of these films, this was the keeper of the bunch, especially because neither of us had ever heard about it and neither of us had high expectations for it. We agreed that this was a combination of "Rushmore" and "Office Space" -- it wasn't the most incredible film we'd ever seen but it was definitely worth watching.
Incidentally, since we'd been preoccupied watching films and staying dry (well, staying indoors, anyway) we didn't get our friends' message that they weren't going to make it to NYC. So we picked up the landline and rang them up and advised them that we had just made it back from the store with the lobster, the gnocchi and the fresh tortellini and we would need at least a half-hour to prep the lobster and get the drawn garlic butter ready, so we asked them to call us about thirty minutes before they expected to reach my place. Of course they both fell for it and nervously called us back to let us know that, regrettably, they weren't coming. After a few minutes of them both awkwardly squirming on the line guiltily as we sadly recounted all our preparations, we let them know that we were just goofing around and would have felt awful if they even had considered coming to our place in the now-storming rain. With a laugh we adjourned until this coming weekend so, unless we wind up getting snow, we expect to see 'em, lobster or not ;-)
In the meantime...before I opt out of this soul-baring and hit the shower, we spent yesterday with family visiting my grandmother for Grandparents Day. Granted, Grandparents Day is more Hallmark than anything else, but we enjoyed having the opportunity for all of us to assemble, and since the facility in which my grandmother resides always has a big barbecue festival, we spent the day with a few thousand people, just enjoying the company, the food, the rides, the games and -- of course -- an odd performance from Mickey Dolenz. Since Kaia had a quasi-crush on Mr. Dolenz when she (and he, too) were younger, I really wanted to get a picture of her with him, but she refused. Alas, the reason why the performance was odd was in between Mickey's hits, he sandwiched some 60's classic rock favorites: Purple Haze and a variety of other stuff that people in their 30's and 40's would enjoy. Somehow, however, although my grandmother's a lot of fun, I can't -- and never would -- expect her to air-guitar-jam to anything by Jimi, Jimmy, Eric or Eddie. I guess Mickey didn't opt to say "Fugue it" and do classical, and he was playing a bitchin' Takamine (and his main guy was using a tobacco sun-burst Telecaster) so I 'spose I can't, and shouldn't, complain. They could have gotten Bea Arthur to do beat or def-jam poetry, so all in all, it was a fun -- nee, a wonderful, afternoon. The weather, the food and -- most especially -- the company -- was great. Also, since my aunt and uncle had never met Kaia, it was a good opportunity to meet the woman about whom I've been talking about so happily for such a long time. As we laughed about the past, among all her other great qualities, the one we started and ended with was that she was/is sane.
After, we headed back to return the rentals and dropped off a few of our bounty and picked through the cheap used DVD bin and came away with "Amy's O" and "The Salton Sea," both of which I'd seen before but Kaia had not. I would say the former is so-so and the latter is excellent. The one thing they both have in common -- the former being a somewhat light-hearted but offbeat comedy and the latter being a depressing character study -- is that they are both genuine, from-the-heart films. If you have the opportunity, don't knock yourselves out finding either but definitely grab either/both if you ever the get the chance.
More about the apartment hunt and our exciting, dull lives soon.