I was in New York last week, which is where the story of my Very Cute Night Of Excessive Drinking takes place. In Brooklyn, to be exact. The evening got off to a life-changing start with me celeb-spotting Penn Badgley AKA Dan Humphrey walking down Bedford Avenue while listening to Get Ur Freak On on headphones. I mean, I was listening to Get Ur Freak On. Dan Humphrey either was or wasn't, but most likely wasn't.
It was an obvious excellent omen. I kind of wanted to tell Penn Badgley that I named my old iPhone after his old Gossip Girl character Dan Humphrey but then didn't because a) that's something I would never do and b) Penn was doing a really solid, earnest job of trying to blend into the Williamsburg population with his ochre tank top and short on the sides, long on top curly mop and I didn't want to ruin it for him. You could tell he really got off on coming off like your average run-of-the-mill Williamsburg guy.
I walked from Williamsburg to Greenpoint and decided that if I lived in New York City I'd live in Greenpoint. It is clean and there are a lot of trees and I feel like most of the buildings and houses are, if painted, a soft pale yellow.
I met Jen May at a beautiful Balinese restaurant called Selamat Pagi, which you may remember from the part of our most recent instalment of the Strawberry Fields Whatever Diet where Jen May eats at Selamat Pagi and employs the wonderful phrasing "shmoe boyfs." I was obsessed with being at Selamat Pagi from the very first second I sat down. We sat outside at a little table surrounded by a lot of greenery. It had a dreamy woodland feel to it that I got the impression Marc Bolan would have enjoyed. We saw a baby Boston terrier and a weird pug that was either pregnant or bloated and a couple of weird Gremlin-y terriers that accosted the Boston but the puppy held its own. We ate the beautiful fluoro salad seen above and I only got a tiny bit of the turmeric-y sauce on my shirt. Conveniently for me, I keep a Tide-to-go pen on my person at all times. I know who I am.
We also shared a side of coconut kale which was really delicious but less physically beautiful than the other food. And for my main I had the fish curry seen above which is my new answer to the question "What would you eat if you could only eat one thing for the entire rest of your life?" There were chunks of sweet potato in it. You probably wouldn't have guessed that about it but it's true.
One thing I found really endearing about the drinks menu at Selamat Pagi was that a good 40% of it was devoted to bottled cider. I recently had a cool life hack-y revelation about cider which is that drinking cider is basically the same as drinking really, really, really cheap champagne. If champagne were ever $6, it would taste like cider, but it never is, so cider is all you've got. Take that information and run with it, myutes.
I drank two bottles of this German cider with dinner. The label was clearly designed by someone under the age of thirty-five with a strong background in graphic design, which happens less in Toronto than it does in Brooklyn and therefore is somewhat cool to me, and I loved that they gave it to me not only with a glass of ice but also with a straw. The other night I was drinking cider at my birthday party and stole the straw out of Anabela's Diet Coke to replicate the experience but then when they cleared that glass away I was too shy to ask for another. I decided over the course of writing this sentence that I'm always going to ask for a straw with my cider from now on, and if anyone thinks I'm tacky and calls me on it I'll be like, "Oh hey guess what judgemeister, as it turns out I'm a sommelier," since before I know it I will be.
After saying bye to Jen May it started raining like crazy so I bought a $3 umbrella at a corner store from a guy who liked my Coke shirt because usually Coca-Cola things are red but this time it was black. That was the reason he gave me. I walked to a place called Pinkerton wine bar that I'd walked past earlier and went back to because it looked chill and had a Hungarian white on its wine list and I'd never had a wine from Hungary before. The L magazine describes Pinkerton wine bar as "look[ing] like something out of a Wes Anderson movie. If the Kinks started playing, I would fully expect Owen Wilson to walk into the bar in slow motion," which is basically the best thing that could ever happen to anyone anywhere, so stop being too cool for everything, everyone. The wine was called a Furmint and it tasted like the fruity candy that is called Rockets in Canada and Smarties in America only with a stoner big sister edge to it. Lexy came and met me and we did what any two humans in their right mind would do: split a bottle of Cava. Sometimes I feel like I could just consistently be drinking sparkling wine for the entire rest of my life, like, literally never stopping, and nothing bad would ever happen to me. I'd be PDF. That's my new thing I just invented. Perfect Drunk Forever.
The night is only getting started! We finished our Cava and then walked over to a really gorgeous cocktail bar called Hotel Delmano. Lexy was worried that I might think it was douchey but I did not. I worry that people who live in New York might have a skewed perception of things. I feel like it's a big part of the culture there for people to not think good things are good, or to worry that things that are good might not actually be good. A sentence I said several times over the course of my visit was "We're staying at North Six and Bedford, but we're not from here, so we don't think it's lame."
In conclusion, I loved Hotel Delmano. No: I loved Hotel Delmano! WIth the italics, with the exclamation point. The server told us that they were having a special on $14 TIkis. When I told that to my boyfriend, he was like "$14 is not a special," which is certainly a point worth contemplating. But the point of the TIkis was that the mixologist bartender just mixed you up whatever he damned hell felt like, and then presented it to you in a Tiki glass, a service that a bar could realistically charge $16-$20 for. I made Lexy order the Tiki special because I was really gung-ho about drinking a Daisy Glaze.
The Tiki tasted good but we thought it was weird and annoying how they didn't tell us any information about what was in it. I realize that the bartender was busy and the server was busy and they had better things to do than tell us very slowly and methodically that the drink contained so-and-so rum and so-and-so infused bitters and a dash of blah-di-blah syrup with some this-and-that liqueur and, like, some herb, but they could have at least been like "Here's your Tiki with pineapple, rum and basil," instead of just being like "Nothing/Silence," and leaving us alone with the mystery of what was in Lexy's TIki drink to carry around with us for the entire rest of our lives. It tasted sort of "tea-y."
I had a Daisy Glaze. Here is my Daisy Glaze. Fuck it. I'm just going to put it out there and say it- when you know, you know. It was the best cocktail I ever had. It was like kissing a guy who isn't going to fuck you over.
I ordered the Daisy Glaze because Daisy Glaze is my favorite Big Star song, one of my favorite anybody songs and the words Daisy Glaze are so perfect together I can't stand it AND also the ingredients in the cocktail sounded good to me anyway. I probs would have ordered a Daisy Glaze even if it sounded only meh but it was: rye, absinthe, chamomile IPA syrup, amaro montenegro, shaken and served over crushed ice. That combination of cocktail ingredients would have appealed to me even if the cocktail was named Working At The Gap or Being A Giant Phony or something else I really obviously hate. I drank two of them because I couldn't bear to only drink one and then have it be over forever. The Daisy Glaze was on the specials menu and I'll never have it again as long as I live. For her second drink Lexy had a cocktail called the Fogerty which was: bourbon, islay scotch, sage syrup, angostura bitters, stirred and served on the rocks. If a magical witch from a fairy tale came and turned us both into cocktails, I'd be a Daisy Glaze and Lexy would be a Fogerty. They were truly our exact selves.
After our cocktails were tragically over we walked to the Radegast biergarten. We ordered a bottle of this crazy French cider which came in a plain brown bottle printed with a very bare-bones label, just a bunch of orange text in a serif font on white plain paper that these crazy French cider-makers had obviously just printed out of a twenty-year-old printer at their scratchy old cider plantation or whatever. I mean to say, it was legit. The cider tasted like black olives and the concept of fermentation. Mark met up with us and I read Lexy's Tarot cards. Lexy and I told each other we loved each other and we said goodbye. I can't remember anything else.
LIZ'S THING OF THE WEEK: Some Summertime Foods
In lieu of a proper "Thing of the Week" entry, here is a list of extraordinary foods I've eaten lately:
i. The grilled peanut butter/honey/bacon sandwich at Nick's party two Sundays ago. I first learned of the existence of grilled peanut butter/honey/bacon sandwiches when Nick asked me, "Hey Liz, if I made a grilled peanut butter/honey/bacon sandwich, would you have some?" And I was like, "I DON'T KNOW, NICK-- IS THE POPE CATHOLIC???!!!" (Not really - please don't think I talk like that.) The sandwich was melty and dreamy-creamy and salty-bacon-y and crispy and gooey and everything you could've ever wanted after standing around a green backyard and drinking wines and beers all day. At Nick's party we also had some gorgeous Momofuku layer cake that one of Nick's friends made from scratch, many kinds of cheese, grilled oysters, grilled corn, lavender lemonade, white-wine sangria, and other things I'm forgetting. Here's a nice picture of the cake and some cheese:
ii. Hot cornbread with lavender/violet butter. We had this at some restaurant next to Largo that's so unremarkable, it's not even worth trying to Google my way into figuring out what the name was. But the hot cornbread + lavender/violet butter was heaven. Weirdly (but maybe not weirdly?), the lavender/violet butter was listed as its own separate item on the menu, with no indication as to how to use it. So when the waiter came by to take our order I asked him, "What happens with the lavender/violet butter? Like what are we supposed to do with it I mean?" (There: that's a way more accurate representation of what I talk like.) And he laughed at me and said "Cornbread!", and I ordered some cornbread and it was so steamy-hot - piping, even. The butter melted all dreamily and I don't really even remember the taste all that vividly, but as an overall sensory experience: A+++++
iii. The Pash. "The Pash" is a drink at the Roger Room, where we went between the unremarkable lavender cornbread restaurant and Largo (where, by the way, we saw Kristen Schaal who was boring, Maria Bamford who was mostly amazing, and Busdriver who is better than everyone). The Pash = passionfruit juice and champagne and aperol, which is some kind of rhubarb liqueur or something. It was very frothy and cold and tasted vaguely like mauna lai, that cloudy-pink Ocean Spray juice we used to always drink on Cape Cod when I was little. Anyway here's a food-related Busdriver video I'm into, called "Barbs Over Breakfast Scones":
iv. The homemade raspberry pop tart I ate on Wednesday. It was from Romancing the Bean in Burbank, which I never not misread as "Romancing the Bear" and then get sad/annoyed that the cafe's not really called "Romancing the Bear," since that's a pretty cool/insane name for a coffee place. Romancing the Bear has good iced coffee and you can get it with ice cubes made of more coffee, but I advise against that. I like when real/non-coffee ice cubes melt into your iced coffee and water it down and it's not delicious, but it's just the natural order of things. I don't want some "second iced-coffee surprise" happening at the bottom of the cup when the real iced coffee's gone. Let iced coffee be.
v. Beer and strawberries. Last Friday afternoon I met with some cool ladies and we gave each other notes on things we're writing, and instead of going back to work after that I went to Farmers Market and bought myself a pint of Sam Adams Summer Ale, a pint of strawberries, and a copy of the July issue of Vanity Fair. Then I sat at a table near the bar and drank my beer and ate my strawberries and read the Vanity Fair article that's an excerpt from the memoir by the woman who ran the secret poker game at the Viper Room in the mid-2000s. My favorite part of that article was it confirmed that Ben Affleck is a cool, wonderful, no-bullshit human being. Love that guy. I retroactively drank my Sam Adams in tribute to him, then later on I got a banana ice cream.
vi. A ice cream cone filled with brownie and ice cream. On Saturday my friends had a summer solstice party in a park on a big hill (Barnsdall Art Park, it's called), with many puppies and a strawberry pinata. I brought strawberries and mangos and a bottle of pinot grigio, and ate lots of strawberries and mango, and then a nice person came over and gave me a wafer ice cream cone with some way-underbaked brownie packed into the bottom. I scooped some vanilla ice cream on top of the brownie and ate it all and felt very lucky to know such sweethearted geniuses. Here's the pinata:
vii. First Scoops of the season. Last night I met Sarah at Hermosillo and got a glass of rose and a plate of avocado toast, and then we went to a reading at Pop-Hop and then I left the reading and went to Scoops and got a cone that was Banana Butterscotch Brownie + Maple Cap'n Crunch. BTW this paragraph is partly me fact-checking an Instagram I posted last night, which identified the cone as Maple Cap'n Crunch + Cinnamon Roasted Sesame. I have no idea why I thought that. I regret the error.
viii. A banana at Chateau Marmont and a pina colada on Sunset Strip. On Sunday afternoon I went to Chateau Marmont to interview this guy I really want to tell you about but I don't think I'm allowed. He was so cool, and when his beautiful record comes out you're gonna be like whaaaaat OH MY GOD, I swear. His suite was really beautiful too and had flowers everywhere and a piano and smelled like roses burning. After the interview I went down to the valet and ate a banana while waiting for my car, and then I got my car and went over to this really pretty restaurant called Eveleigh and had a pina colada and read an article about Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young in Rolling Stone. I pretended I was one of the people reading Rolling Stone in "California" by Joni Mitchell, and I drank my pina colada in like ten seconds because it was so pineappley and icy and perfect. The cherries on top were really fat and heavy. Plump, to be exact. I love a plump cherry. I like L.A. summer.