A post that’s all over the place

It has been a few weeks since my last post but I haven’t been dawdling too awful much.  Maybe I’ll get back to more frequent updates so my posts are less massive and more on one subject. 😛

Our Asian Supermarket remodeled over the last month and I was like a kid in a candy store.  They have a butcher and a fresh fish counter now!!!  *happy dance*  I now have a resource for almost everything I could dream of, including Silkie chicken (okay so maybe I want them more for pets than food), quail eggs, and pork blood for black sausage!

I didn’t go too far off my restocking list, but I did come home with some pork belly for dinner this week — think I’ll pair it with some sticky red cabbage, sauteed kale, and mashed sweet potatoes, and Logan brought home a bag of fresh squid.  He spent Sunday learning to clean squid.  It was a mess but he loved it, especially eating it after I cooked them up as Korean-style Ojingeo bokkeum.

On Thursday, Logan and I went to NYC and finally saw The Nightmare Before Christmas: Live to Film.  The show was amazing and I enjoyed every minute of it.

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Catherine O’Hara and Danny Elfman singing Jack and Sally’s Song

We had an adventure getting there.  We almost missed both of our MTA-North trains…you know, the kind where you dash onto the train and the conductor (as he’s laughing at you) gets on behind you to close the doors and already has everything in motion before you reach any seats.  We live an hour and a half from the furthest line north, so we take the last train on the line.  We would have had to wait another hour for the next train to the city or possibly had to have stayed the night in the city if we’d missed our train home.  Sometimes we cut things a bit too close for comfort.

To add to the fun times, our arrival train lost its brakes approaching Grand Central Terminal.  The conductors’ radios weren’t working like they should so they announced that fact to the entire train to tell one another.  We were sitting across from a screaming kid.  The conductor in our car was cool as a cucumber, though, so we didn’t see a reason to worry about it.  In the end, there was no reason to.

Since we made our train, we got to enjoy dinner at La Vara in Brooklyn.  Logan was especially excited.  He’d never had Spanish cuisine and they’re Michelin starred!  We ate at a Michelin mentioned restaurant in Scotland and the food was so phenomenal that now he wants to work his way up the star chain.  I’ve noticed there’s a bit of a bias towards Japanese and fancy French styles of cooking in the guide, so wanted to try something a bit more off beat and closer to Barclay’s Center since that’s where our show was…La Vara fit the bill.

Everything was served tapas style and was very tasty.  I agreed to eat everything, even things I don’t normally like (olives and cilantro) since the waitress took note of allergies before taking our order and recommended ordering about 5-6 items (minus dessert) for two people.  The chef did a great job — I even liked the olives and chimichurri.  Normally I think cilantro in anything tastes like soap but not this time.

I agreed that I’d remember what we ordered if Logan would take the pictures.  So we ended up with the a free little fried olive in a mint yogurt sauce as the “Amuse”.  Then we started off with the Croqueta Del Día which were serrano ham. Soooooo good!  Next was Sobrasada con Miel which was a Menorcan spreadable sausage and honey foam on charred bread (sadly, my personal favorite — that combo was to die for), followed by the Pulpo — grilled octopus with a spicy ink sauce and a garlicy sauce over white beans.  Next we had Conejo en Escabeche, stuffed rabbit loin in a tangy onion vinaigrette with prunes and onions, which was Logan’s favorite even though he’d sworn never to eat rabbit.  Our last savory plate was Cochinillo which was a crispy suckling pig with a rose-quince sauce and, of course, chimichurri.  Desserts were Egipcio and Budin — the first was an orange blossom, walnut and date tart (reminded me more of a shortbread, though) with lemon curd and cream, the second was a super awesome bread pudding with a cinnamon cream and blueberries.  Can you tell which I liked more?  😛

All in all, I’d recommend stopping by if you’re in the area.  It was a cute and cozy restaurant and a not a bad walk from the nearest underground.  It also wasn’t busy when we were there — but we went early so we could go to our show — which is a huge plus for me.  It was filling up fast by the time we left.  It also wasn’t nearly as expensive as I thought it would be — our bill ended up being just a bit over $100, for eight plates of food.  Logan is a heavy-hitter when it comes to meals and we did -not- order cheap plates.  Here at home we can rack up $80 bills at our Chinese restaurant if Logan is in the right mood, so considering this was NYC, I was really pleasantly surprised.

Crafting wise, I’ve been working on the endless RPG scarf (I’m on Chapter 6 of it, so just two more left, I think?) and I finished my end of Mom’s birthday gift!  Her birthday is two days after Christmas, so it adds to my crafting mayhem for this time of year.

Is it time to finally reveal what it is I’ve been making for her?  Sure!

When we were in Northern Ireland, we visited the ancestral castle of her maternal family.  It’s in ruins now, but we still hopped a fence and explored around as much as we could.  It was spooky and lovely and one of the most fun things we did in my opinion.  Mom’s too, if I had to guess.  At least, I hope.  😛  I’ve had this gift in the planning works for a while now.

The whole castle is enveloped in ivy now, completely swallowed by it except for one little corner.  Even the inside of the rooms are draped with it since the roof has long collapsed.

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I pinched four leaves of that ivy while I was there and smuggled them back with me.

Once home, I’ve been slowly coating them with a PMC3 slip — a silver clay.  I finally got them all up to the proper thickness last week and started torch firing them since I don’t have a kiln.

I’m glad I was smart and brought back four.  The first time, my butane torch (using the same one I use for plumbing, not food) was too hot and I melted the damn thing right at the end.  Three left and they fired fine.

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After being fired and the charred leaf remnants removed — ivy is oily so didn’t burn completely

Three left and then I had to drill a hole in them so I could turn them into jewelry.  Of course, one didn’t get along with the drill and cracked.  Two survived.

Two is good.  One for Mom, one for me, if they survive.  I scuffed off the clay residue to expose the silver with a stainless steel brush then burnished them just a bit to give more of a mirror shine on some surfaces so the leaf veins and textures would be a bit more obvious.

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I dropped them off a few days ago at my local jeweler to add a jump ring — they need a large one due to size and weight — and I knew he’d do a better job and for cheaper than I could get the materials.  I was right, of course.  He’s charging me $15 for the work when I can barely get the solder I need for it, much less the boric, the jump rings, the pickle mix, etc… for that price.  I’ll save myself the panic and headaches and let him do it.  If one of the leaves survives for gifting, I’ll be happy.  I also went ahead and ordered a chain from him while I was there.

I hope she likes it!  At least it will be something completely unique.

To finish off the post, I can’t leave without mentioning today would have been my sister’s 30th birthday.

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…and yes, I chose this picture of Pissant for a reason (no, I have no idea why I called her Pissant for most of my life, but I can remember doing so even when I was really little).  It absolutely encompasses her personality.  She was absolutely full of mischief and “fuck you” attitude.  Life has a funny way of building character.

I’m doing my best not to be a complete wet blanket over my missing partner in crime, so I’m going to go finish sewing some pillow cases — 30 for her 30th to donate.  I just have 4 more to finish!  I still haven’t decided if I’m giving them to our local Ronald McDonald House or the local charity for children in crisis — they’ve went viral this year with their Christmas wishes, so they may be a bit swamped right now.  I have a soft spot for both.  We stayed at RMHs a lot growing up and I know (and worked with years ago) quite a few kids that went through the foster system.  Maybe I’ll split the difference and give to both?  Time will tell.

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