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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Favorite Meal of the Week

Whole wheat potato gnocchi, fresh oregano, butter, garlic, parmesan, sweet potato, olive oil, arugula, red wine vinegar, s & p.

These were the ingredients featured in what turned out to be our favorite meal this week. And no shopping required! Everything was already in the cabinet, with the exception of the oregano. After deciding it would be Gnocchi Night, I perused a few ideas online, got basic guidance from Giada and Real Simple, and went to work.

I baked (usually I boil - yay for it being cool enough to use the oven) the sweet potato for an hour and set it aside. I then made a real butter sauce (rare for me but a sure way to John's heart) by letting a stick brown slightly and foam before adding a bunch of oregano and a handful of shaved parmesan and setting it aside. Next I put a bit of olive oil in a pan and added my chopped garlic. When it turned slightly golden, I added several oregano stems and let them sauté until they were crisp. When the gnocchi were boiling, I mashed the flesh of the sweet potato and added the garlic and olive oil sauce, mashing it all together with the crispy oregano and salt and pepper. Next, the gnocchi was tossed with its butter sauce and the arugula was given a simple oil and vinegar dressing and some s&p. (My favorite way to have arugula - preferably with Balsamic - because I love the flavor so much and enjoy letting it stand alone.) Voila!

This meal was somewhat heavy, but it worked really well during a busy day's brief dinner window. John was particularly happy, which in turn made me particularly happy. I'll definitely be making it again.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Loganberry Books!

I'm in love.

I mentioned spotting this bookshop last week, but I didn't realize it was anything special. I thought it was a regular old used bookstore: delightfully grimy with yellowed yet more affordable paperbacks.

A glance at the website just doesn't do it justice. That cat is disconcerting, first of all, and the old-world charm you find when you step inside is not immediately pictured.

What I found was a thoughtful used, rare, and very old collection. I spent well over an hour reading personal inscriptions on the insides of books that were given as gifts in the mid-nineteenth century. A miniature children's picture Bible from 1840 was among my favorites. A turn of the century "Book of Wisdom" was delightful, given as a gift in 1904. A super-miniature book containing a collection from The Brothers Grimm caught my eye; it was bound in navy leather with gold accents - apparently an addition to a lucky father's collection in the late 1800s. And needless to say, the vintage Nancy Drew collection was nothing short of thrilling.

Strong Bindery is conveniently located inside the shop, which is surprisingly huge. There is a gallery featuring rotations of local artists, a huge Literary Arts room, and "The Sanctuary," featuring the rarest of the rare and their special collections.

I've already decided that many Saturday afternoons will be spent getting lost in Loganberry Books. 
You should really try it.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Things to Try

Hello friends! I hope you're having a lovely weekend. Mine is filled with flag football (every three plays has to include a "Gender Play" -- exciting or demeaning?!) and lazy mornings. It's wonderful. And now I'm off to not-tackle anyone near me with a football.

The famous Michael Symon restaurants: Lola, Lolita, and b spot.

This independent record store, Music Saves.

Some of the books on these lists that have been sitting in my inbox for months.

Ohio's only Belgian beer bar.

Monday, September 13, 2010

The West Side Market

I made it to The West Side Market today, Cleveland's "oldest and most trusted market," operating since 1840. It lived up to its reputation, to say the least!

There were two long, open corridors full of fresh fruits and veggies, and the sellers were offering good prices and a willingness to barter ("Deal on anything for pretty girls!"). The indoor section featured dairy stands, specialty meat stands, and everything in between. I can't imagine not finding anything and everything I could possibly want. In fact, it reminded me very much of Lexington Market in Baltimore, but it was cleaner, bigger, and much, much friendlier. I'm a fan. Here are some pictures. Enjoy!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Tally-Tally-bo-bally, Banana-Fanna-fo-Fally

Wishing Tally the happiest birthday of all!

Top Five Reasons to Love Tally:
5. Much like Yogi, she is smarter than the average bear.
4. She has been maintaining a game of Pirate Princess with me for three and a half solid years now.
3. She once wore my underwear on her head.
2. She likes all the same foods I do. (i.e. blue cheese and olives)
1. She claimed Robin Hood as a legitimate female title at the mere age of 3.

I love Tally. The end.

Larchmere and Mini Pies

I love this weekend, too. Friday was my first day off in a while, and I decided to explore Larchmere, a spot I happened to drive through last week during a trip to Shaker Square. The area had a must-try restaurant called menu6  (apparently they have ginger salt sweet potato fries!), artsy shops and antique stores, an interesting used bookstore, and a consignment shop I already know I'm going to frequent, Re-New Beginnings, which had a nice selection and fun vintage pieces. 

After watching John conduct a little Tchaikovsky, I made us a special Friday night I-had-a-free-day-to-plan-this dinner: Mini Shepherd's Pies with Parmesan Herbed Biscuits. I highly recommend these shepherd'spieswithatwist: subtract Mashed Potatoes, Cheddar, Peas - add Winter Squash, Parmesan, Baby Spinach. The result is a lightened up and slightly more exciting version of an old, comforting staple. Plus, is there anyone in the world who doesn't think baby pies are adorable?! ...I didn't think so.

Today Leah, a special Converse friend, came to town - we had dinner - she and John got to meet each other - it was very nice - I'll take old friends whenever and wherever I can get them!

Next on the list to try!   

               The West Side Market


Friday, September 10, 2010

Celebratory Days

I brought home Cinnamon Schoolbook Cookies from Trader Joe's; John left a message.

We also remembered that every day together is worth celebrating;
why keep waiting for the right gig or the right job?

Have a very happy weekend.


Thursday, September 9, 2010

Vintage Thrifting

I found the good places in Baltimore just as I was leaving.
So here's a little list to explore.
And maybe a fun weekend project?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Friendly Neighborhood Yoga

My Baltimore yoga life consisted of at-home Rodney Yee dvds and the community ($6!) classes at Charm City Yoga, mostly (very) Hot Vinyasa, made even hotter by the crowded class's incessant popularity. I dabbled in the community Hatha and Rock and Roll, but I found Hot Vinyasa to be most addictive. Although I, to put it lightly, got my ass kicked every single time, I found the energy, the heat, and the yogis around me doing headstands and handstands at the drop of a hat exhilarating.

I've been hoping to find something similar in Cleveland, but I decided to try a studio right around the corner from home located on Murray Hill RD. in a peaceful little collection of galleries. What I discovered was a much smaller operation than Charm City's; it's called The Yoga Room, and named appropriately, the studio is one big, open room with hardwood floors and lots of natural light.

The smaller size allows for personal adjustments, and I love my teacher! I decided a long time ago that prenatal yoga would be crucial for me, and this lady is very pregnant and still teaching a challenging class. She is also a great Savasana leader, with a very kind spirit and grounded spirituality. She even rubbed essential oils on our shoulders, necks, and faces one day, at which point she earned my unwavering devotion.

The pace is slower for sure, but it's working well for me right now. I think it fits the current state of my life, because while most of my energy goes to job interviews and music/PhD questions, their Vinyasa Flow seems to be just what I need.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Cleveland Weekend

Labor Day weekend proved to be the first time that John and I were not bogged down in unpacking obligations. Sure, we may have put off the bathroom's desperately needed finishing touches, but it was totally worth it!

Last weekend our exploring limited itself to Dewey's Pizza, a nearby restaurant that did not disappoint (Thanks, David!). I highly recommend The Billy Goat, which boasts lots of fresh veggies and goat cheese. 

My one and only friend in Cleveland is a guy who escorted me to Cairo in 2004 (best trip of my life). He happened to have a milestone birthday this weekend, and John and I went to celebrate, make new Cleveland friends, eat subs in the middle of the night, and sign up for flag football. We are super excited about football, and I promise not to shout "Yay Feminism!" every time I mess up. (Season 2, 30 Rock, Ludachristmas.)

As much as I dreaded the onset of fall, a few things this week have gotten me more excited: I get to revisit my Powderpuff Roots with the help of Shawn and his lawyer friends; our team is named Bob Loblaw; I can finally turn on the oven to make things like Maple-Roasted Chicken and Sweet Potatoes; I no longer have to gasp for breath while falling asleep in our non-air-conditioned apartment; and, I'll admit it, I got a really fun sweater that I can't wait to wear with the boots that will surely be pulled out any day now. Boots are never ever lacking in personality.

Also, my boyfriend greeted me after work with candles everywhere and homemade vegetable soup. Life is so good.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Cedar Lee

I've managed to find Cleveland's equivalent to The Charles. It's not far from my house, and I was excited to locate a nearby venue for hard-to-find films. I think we can all agree that the charm of The Charles is hard to beat. The Cedar Lee offers a nice film selection, but beyond its sign, there's little in the way of independent quirk. The theaters and screens are very small, and they missed the memo about the big open lobby with tiny fairy lights. On the plus side, they're credit card friendly, and having cash to go to The Charles was always a challenge. (Or have they finally joined us in the 21st?)

But there's good news to go with the bad: I was surprised to be charged only $5 for an evening show! God bless Bargain Mondays. You better believe next time I'll forgo dinner in anticipation of a free medium drink with my medium popcorn.

Some of the best and worst films I've ever seen have been at The Charles (Coco & Igor was, unfortunately, the most horrible of all.), and I think I'll be spending my fair share of time at The Cedar Lee. It will surely grow on me. After all, my expectations might be unfair - every theater probably can't have abundant sangria flowing into its entryway via an attached Tapas Teatro. So until I can make it back home, The Kids are All Right at Cedar Lee with one-dollar-off-candy will be just fine.

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