Happy New Year!

So the big question today is ‘How were your holidays?’ And another, ‘What does 2007 have in store for you?’ Lucky ‘007, right? So whatcha got up your sleeve? The promise to be less stressed out? More yoga? Less chocolate? Spending more time at home cooking from scratch? How is all that working out for you so far? Last year, my New Year’s guru chanted ‘No more missed opportunities’. Did you follow that one? I did. This year, what does he have to say? ‘Changes’. That’s it. 2007 is all about changes. But big ones. Don’t you smell it? There’s something a brewin’ in the air. And it ain’t cabbage.
It’s supposed to be particularly interesting for Sagittarians (yay, my sign) considering that Jupiter is in line with Sag this year. So I’m expecting dream jobs and lotsa moolah, ok Jupiter baby?
So far, the culinary beginning to the New Year has been a mixed one. I do believe that one of the biggest problems with delving into the food writing/tasting industry is that you eventually become jaded. Food often just becomes food. Until of course you are smacked in the goozle with something extraordinary, which is pretty rare. Or else you are spit on by something that is so beyond not making it. That’s a sad one. Especially when the space is genius, but the food just isn’t up to snuff. Case in point: Death & Co. I recently read in a newsletter I received about this spot. The review was interesting, and since a friend and I were looking for a place for a quiet drink, it seemed appropriate. An East Village speakeasy, there is no indication on the door of what it is; just ‘Death & Co.’ on the slab at the foot of the door. Ooooh spooky. This could get interesting. Nope. The interior is great; dark, moody, woodsy, and the perfect spot for an ’employees only’ or ‘industry after-hours’ hangout. But, first of all, since they recently opened… in October 2006… they don’t accept credit cards. Make sure you carry cash, since you won’t be informed until after you’ve finished your meal/drink and are ready to pay. You’ll just be forced to go back outside to find a rogue convenience store ATM. The review also spoke of their interesting cocktail list. Not so, in my opinion (and my friend’s). The glasses were bland, the cocktails were watery/acidic, and we just weren’t all that impressed. The food? Ok, we ordered ‘beef stew won tons with a red wine reduction’. We received flat dumpling puddles with, yes, a distinct beef stew flavor, but not necessarily the most comforting of foods. Next was a long plate of ‘skewered filet mignon rounds wrapped in bacon and topped with baby potatoes and toasted bread crumbs’. Sounds de-lish, right? The flavor was fine, the presentation was lovely, and the skewer factor made them easy to eat. Had it not been for the bread crumbs falling on the table and onto your lap each time you tried to eat one, they wouldn’t have been half-bad. Eating while horizontal is the only solution to this one.  And that’s just a no-no for the digestion. The music was nice, but completely inappropriate for the venue. Needless to say, they are apparently still getting some kinks worked out. Add some pizzazz to the cocktails, erase the mediocre food factor and swanky up the music, and you would have the ultimate East Village hideout. This could easily become one of the coolest tiny spots in New York.
Unimpressed, we headed to Angel Share, which is indeed a gem. Up the stairs, through a crowded sushi dining area, and in through an unmarked door. Ooooooh. Nice. A no-standing cozy spot with ‘groovy’ cocktails, sophisticated Japanese crackers, stylish wait/bar staff, sexy small plates (try the cutlets and dim sum), and a divine view of New York. Arrive early, NOT with 20 of your closest pals, or even 5 (space is limited), and enjoy an escape from the screaming craziness in the streets below.
So I suppose I had a taste of the good and the bad so far this year. But even with the bad, I can see major improvements.
My major agenda for this year (aside of course from cutting back on fats, trying out some sort of sport, remembering to breathe, becoming healthier, realizing my dreams, making lots of money, and finding my dream home) is working with projects and people that I truly believe in. There is much to do in the culinary biz, but legit opportunities are hard to come by. Lots of blah blah abounds and getting to the honest to goodness source often means weeding through a pile of unappetizing muck. Life is more than being famous and the life of the party. It’s about getting to the nitty gritty, doing some spring cleaning (especially on those ridiculously gorgeous 70-degree global warming days of winter in NYC), and discovering your ultimate palate. Take care of yourself, eat delicious (and, yes, healthy) food, find out what you really want in life, and then just go for it. But please remember: everything in moderation, open your mind, be kind to others, be kind to yourself, and enjoy life.
Bon appétit!

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