Friday, December 31, 2010
Watching a documentary about a 40-year-old orangutan named Nénette move about her Parisian cage somehow spurs such thoughts: time itself is a prison, and while some days we swing from our ropes and toss blankets or straw over our heads, others find us with head in hands, mournful or melancholic, unable to muster much interest in our 4.30 teatime snack of yogurt and tea.
C'est la vie, Nénette might say. Not being French, we'll put it another way: yogurt and tea beat the alternative. And sometimes we're lucky, getting goat neck massaman and pancetta-wrapped monkfish, lemon poppy seed ice cream and Venezuelan sandwiches instead.
Here's to a happy new year --- may it be filled with treats and peace!
Thursday, December 30, 2010
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Founded in 1841, and in its current building since the 1880s, the Church of the Most Holy Trinity casts a long shadow across its Brooklyn neighborhood. The French Gothic church looms over the low rises of Williamsburg, its grandeur and ornateness contrasting with the mundane aluminum-sided architecture of its half-working class, half-hipster surroundings. Thanks to Father Timothy Dore and the inquisitive folks at Urban Oyster, we recently got to tour the building (including the parapets!) and learn about its history.
Built to serve the area's once-vast and upwardly mobile German population, then adopted by the Italians who made their way through the area in the twentieth century (one former parishioner on the tour spoke only Italian), and now the spiritual home of Latin American and Polish immigrants, Most Holy Trinity, for all that it seems anomalous on its block, tells the story of New York. Oh, and it's supposedly haunted.
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
About to head off for the holidays, we had siblings on the brain. Perhaps it's no surprise, then, that we wound up feasting beforehand at Tiffin Wallah, sister restaurant to one of our favorite Indian restaurants, Chennai Garden. Part of the fun of being a sibling is figuring out what's the same and what's different.
Like those served by its predecessor, the kosher vegetarian specialties here include a mean melange of textures known as chana chaat. If food could party, then this appetizer would be a rave: meaty chickpeas grooving to the tartness of the raita, both augmented by what the menu literally referred to as "crispies." The pakoras weren't bad either, especially if you're into fried food --- the chickpea-based batter crumbles off in crunchy little bits.
The rava masala dosa came stuffed with peas, potatoes, and spices, pre-pressed, alas. (Half the fun of eating dosas is cracking the casing to get at the good stuff inside.) While we slightly prefer the Gujarathi thali at Chennai, because it's always fresh and bold, the one at Tiffin Wallah satisfied. In fact, it featured enough tastes of moong dal and buttery undhiyu, along with poori, to fill us for a week, although we somehow found room for Christmas cookies and candy canes as soon as we stepped off the plane.