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  • Last Books Read

    Born to Run by Christopher McDougall - (K) Humorous and thorough history and science behind ultrarunners and long-distance running
    *****
    Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela - (K) An autobiography covering his childhood, years as a freedom fighter and incarceration. Inspiring and informative
    *****
    The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón - (K&T) A mystery set in Barcelona involving an old book, a failed writer and murder
    *****
    Lush Life by Richard Price - A Lower East Side tale of cops, drugs and drinking
    ***
    The Chinese by Jesper Becker - (K&T) Modern history of my peeps, from the cultural revolution to the many failed economic and social attempts to move the country forward
    ***
    Setting the Table by Danny Meyer - A "how-to" on hospitality and business acumen by the restaurateur behind such NY institutions as the Shake Shack and Union Square Grill
    ***
    The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama - Obama lays out what is wrong with the current government and how, vaguely, to change it.
    **

Week in Review

Stealing the title of my favorite section of the Sunday Times (that’s not really true, I prefer Travel), here’s my week in review – because I haven’t written much this week.

BTW – The buy furniture in the LES rule was not unknown before the dresser incident, but maybe it was less solid than before 🙂

It all starts on Sunday, following our visit to Boqueria. Upon exiting the restaurant I noticed Kelly’s eyes light up as we passed H&M, Bed, Bath & Beyond (? – Who enjoys going to B,B&B>?) & TJ-Maxx – all places where you can find *something* for very little ( including my wife who later showed up with 3 purchases for a total of like $4.37) and proposed that we split and she go shopping and I head home. I ended up at ‘o’ to watch the Seahawks game. Or at least I think it is called ‘o’. The name isn’t very clear. but whatever, they have like 20 HD TVs in a space the size of a small starbucks and carry out-of-market games. It’s not that I’m a huge Seahawks fan, but it’s sort of nice to have a reminder of home, even if you are the only one watching the silent game progress in a bar full of Giants, Jets and NE fans. I was very proud of myself to only drink two beers during the entire game and even go jogging afterwards.

The rest of the week is a bit of a blur. Two colleagues were in town for an end-of-year push for new business and I spent the week going form meeting to meeting and then out afterwards to catch-up. The first night we went to morimoto for dinner. Because I would not be attending the holiday xmas party back in Seattle, this was my little celebration. Unfortunately, the food at morimoto, a place I’ve eaten before in Philly, was totally mediocre. Perhaps the Iron Chef is too busy making television appearances or watching over the Philly operations to see that this giant restaurant located just opposite of Del Posto, is one of the bigger disappointments of the NY dining scene. And the place is not cheap. I highly recommend avoiding it. But it was good to catch-up with Tricia, whom I’ve worked next to for the last 7.5 years and already miss despite only being gone a few weeks.

The next night, K & I met up with another co-worker and a previous employee who has since returned to MTV. We met at Spitzer’s Corner, which is a gastropub located just steps from our front door that we’d been meaning to try. They have like 50 beers on tap and a small, but decent menu. I personally like the big, wooden, community tables that fill the interior, which makes it feel like a modern beer garden. We ended up ordering the burger, pork belly sandwich and the roast chicken. I love pork belly, but it doesn’t belong on a sandwich. The other two mains were good, but nothing to write home about. After a few drinks, we headed to the EU, which is another gastropub a little further away which looks to have better food, but a less pleasing atmosphere. During all this we got caught up on the latest Seattle going-ons as well as the current Viacom freelancer strike, which has 16k freelancers protesting outside of the TRL studios.

Ya know, when I thought about my new life in NY, I had this vision of waking up in the morning, grabbing an espresso and relaxing into the day with a quick read of the home-delivered NYT. Afterwards, proceeding to work for 3-4 hours before taking some time off for a quick lunch in the neighborhood, discovering a new place every day. Following a few more hours of work from home, I would go to the gym for an hour and then return home for a final work push. The day would end with Kelly returning home, the making of an apertif (my current favorite – the compari & soda) and a leisurely walk to a small dark & romantic, yet fun restaurant sometimes with friends, sometimes without. Maybe sometimes making dinner at home.

It seems nice, right? This nice mixture of work and life. No commuting. Sort of being your own boss.

it also turned out to be just that, a dream.

Where before I would do numerous online presentations a week, now I do them in person. Almost everyday there is a meeting in the city, just a few blocks from our downtown office on 42nd and 6th. Since we’ve been here, I’ve worked exactly one day from home and that was only because I was waiting for the Time Warner Cable people to install our phone and internet. I find myself getting up every morning and commuting to work, just like everyone else. Our office isn’t bad though, but I’ll talk more about that later.

Wednesday night we tried to go Spark’s for dinner, but they were running an hour and a half behind on reservations, (wtf?! – how do you get an hour and a half behind?) so we went to Rosa Mexicana, which was closed due to a private party. Tired and hungry and feeling rejected, we ended up at a Japanese place whose name I can’t remember, but whose sushi was pretty good – some of the best since we’ve arrived here.

On Thursday night, K & I decided to walk down into soho and dine at L’Ecole, the restaurant of the French Culinary Institute, which is where I’ll be taking some amateur cooking technique classes in Jan. It’s a pretty good deal, L’Ecole. The only offer a 4 or 5 course prix fixe menu for $39.95 that ranks a 24 in the Zagat guide. Although the main course was a bit uninspired, it was solidly executed. The other 4 courses were very good, I thought, and included house-cured salmon, red steel trout, a delicious cod in buerre blanc, rum bundt cake, etc. You can see the whole menu at fci.com. It’s not some place I would recommend someone visiting NY for a few days (like the Germans next to us), but they do provide for a very nice meal at an unbeatable price.

On Friday morning, we took the slow train to DC. I had meetings and K had some family in town. I’ve bored you enough so far so I’ll spare you the details. DC is great for the sites, and I enjoyed going to the Lincoln Memorial, Arlington Cemetery, Smithsonian Air & Space (man, this seemed much bigger when I was a kid!) and mostly, the holocaust museum/memorial (which I highly recommend). And even though I wanted to really like DC, I would say that I have no intention to come back unless to see friends. The town as a whole is just sterile. Outside of the monuments, it was just like a dense suburbia which hey, I’m sure lots of people love. I’m just not one of them. I’m happy to be back on the train to NY.

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