Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Archiving

As if documenting the minutiae of my daily life in cyberspace wasn't enough, I've now taken it upon myself to add labels to all my blog posts. But yikes, there are almost 2000 of them, and they're very rarely logically captioned, which makes the whole ordeal quite cumbersome.

Under which label, for example, do you reckon a post titled 'Pphhllfftrr' belongs?

It turned out to be a blossoming tree on 1st Ave I had named such, to mimic the sound I imagine it makes as the petals burst out of their, erm, bulb? Anyhow, while I guess there's no reason to label any ol' tree, I hope you see my point.

I've been labeling now from the front and the back, which means I only have some 1500 posts in the middle left to categorize. As I'm working my way through them, I'm beginning to wonder why I began doing it though, but I guess the idea was that it will be nice to be able to click at a friend's or family member's name, say, and see images of him and her and read stories of whatever we've done together and when. Just to remind myself of nice little experiences, thoughts, or whatever that's accumulated, really.

The Kakapo, Stephen Fry, and a little BBC-approved shagging!

Both Johan and Johan are absolutely mad about Stephen Fry - best friend Johan sending me a youtube clip with him on a regular basis, boyfriend Johan collecting all sorts of things Stephen Fry - books, audiobooks, the lot. So when I looked up the bird Kakapo on youtube, and saw a hit that included "Stephen Fry" and "shagged by a rare bird", I figured it be right up their ally - perhaps yours too?

In any case, when not attempting to mate with the human species, this bird, the Kakapo is so adorable. Very teddy bear-ish, I think, with its big innocent eyes and furry plumage. And it can't fly, it appears, which I think is a most lovely thing.

Flying things make me so uneasy!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Analysis

Not too long ago, on Guillaume's birthday, Esther had made a delicious chocolate chip coconut cake. Or at least, that was the intention. When I arrived to take a bite of it and exclaimed a loud 'Yum!', Esther dryly replied: "You know what, don't even bother. I know it's not good".

She was right. It wasn't exactly yummy. Rather than the intended pound cake consistency, it was more, mmm, bread-like. Which was strange, she said, because she had used the exact same recipe as the one she had used when she had invited me over for tea and a genuinely yummy cake just the week before.

"But did you use a French recipe?" I asked in an attempt to console her. "Because, sometimes I think American ingredients are just different from what we have back home. My baking powder is super weird".

"Yes, that's it!" she exclaimed. "Last time I used baking powder that I brought back from Paris!". But then she had run out, and she too had to get the weird American kind.

Yesterday, I experienced a similar situation that brought me to conclude, once and for all that when following recipes from a given country, you're very likely to get the best result if you use ingredients from that same geographical place.

While I'm not really one to need an excuse for baking, I felt that the granny situation called for comfort food, or rather comfort sweets. So I made one of my dad's absolute faves, hindbærsnitter, little nibble-sized raspberry tarts - a Danish bakery classic - the whole batch turning out remarkably better in comaprison to the ones I made in New York recently, using the same Danish recipe but American produced ingredients.

I'm really not making this up. It's not so much the taste that is different, but rather the texture that changes, and quite radically I might add.

Writing this post, I realize I'm only steps away from becoming one of those people who edits recipes, making minor changes on grounds of season, outside temperature and the freshness of eggs. One that has strong opinions on the strongpoints of various butters and flour types. So interesting!

Monday, March 29, 2010

All of a sudden, Copenhagen

Hello dear readers (and random visitors), and hello from Copenhagen!

My adorable and beloved granny fell sick last week, and her doctors deemed it might be sensible of me to travel back home right away to see her. Her appendix burst, the poor thing, and we all wonder how on earth there couldn't be any more obvious tell tale signs before it happened, but we suspect it might be because my granny has never been one to complain much, least of all when it comes to pain.



"Yes, I feel that" had been her subtle response when the doctor at the hospital had put pressure on her stomach to figure out what was wrong. I'm guessing anyone else would have let their pain known, and loudly so, I might add. But that's my no-fuss granny right there.

"Probably very characteristic of people who endured the war", was Johan's observation, and I think he might be right.

Except, of course, I think my granny to be a particularly tough one-of-a-kind cookie, which is why we also expect she'll get better soon despite her 91-years of age. I'll be sure to report!

Anyhow, if any lovely Copenhagen friends are reading this - I'll be in touch soon:O)

Friday, March 26, 2010

Just one more food post.

Look, look I got a cast iron grill pan! It was heavy as hell and I cursed myself for having got it as I carried it home from Crate and Barrel, thinking to myself how I will ever transport a thing like this to London (London is a lot on my mind these days;O)

I know for a fact you can't bring it on the plane as hand luggage, which would otherwise have been by the far the most clever thing to do seeing that, while it is tremendously heavy, it doesn't really take up much space. My mom got some kind of fancy sauce pan while she was in Copenhagen last, but they took it from her in the airport security check, out of fear, I suppose, that she was going to whack the captain with it.

Anyhow, both my dad and Johan made me feel good about the purchase again - Johan by taking it into use right away to make hamburger patties, dad by reminding me how much such a thing would have cost me in Europe.

Which is true. It was actually even cheaper than IKEA's. 34 bucks including tax.

Why I am talking so much about prices today? Such a bad trait. Sorry.

Instead I give you Julia Child on Letterman.

Flour, water and mussels. And three buck chuck.

Oh, this was beyond stupid. I went grocery shopping yesterday at Whole Foods, buying, amongst other things, mussels and flour. But as I walked home, the mussels leaked onto the bag of flour, rendering it completely brittle and porous.

Yikes, I'm telling you there was flour ALL OVER the kitchen when I got home. There still is, in fact, because as you know, once flour meets water, it forms that substance known as dough, which is tediously troublesome to clean away.

But the mussels turned out good though! As we were having dinner, Johan and I agreed that this is one of the things we're gonna miss most about NY: That you can eat really well for cheap. Mussels from Whole Foods was 6 bucks, a can of organic garbanzo beans (for hummus) was a dollar, and white wine from Trader Joe's was 3 little greens.

Unbeatable. In the western world at least.

P.S.ssst! Soon I'm going to make a post about all my little secret shopping places for food where you can get good quality for a steal. Stay tuned world!

People in London are funny!

It's what I've been hearing all along, and I feel this pic from the olden town can be taken as proof.

Stolen from Getty via Gawker.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Morning Creativity: Johan's Opera House Cheese Smorgas


The Jarlsberg was triangular:)

fArts

I went to Team Gallery yesterday and saw a Ryan McGinley exhibition of a bunch of a very 90s Calvin Klein-esque heroin chics. Nudity is always a treat to look at I guess, but besides that I couldn't help wondering if this McGinley is really all that he's cracked up to be. Hmm.

I liked this very Diane Arbus-y character, though.

Next we were off to see Rosson Crow - whom I'd never heard about before - at Deitch, but agreed that the most fascinating part there was the new, expanded gallery space. I liked the narratives though. The ones behind the paintings.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Hurrah for health care!

The other day, while discussing blogs with Johan, I vented that I'm starting to tire of images of a widely documented theme in cyberspace: The coffee cup with the characteristic 'latte art', paired with something sweet, a cup cake say - all overly illuminated or shot in Polaroid. It's pretty, sure, but it all looks the same, and in the long run it isn't really that inspiring or thought provoking.

For the same reason I guess, it sometimes strikes me that I ought to perhaps get better at acknowledging some of the big, important stuff that goes on in present day America, or the world, for that matter, rather than simply blog about yesterday's dinner and baked goods. So that, one day, when I look back at what occupied my little mind back in the year 2010, it's not just, well, cured olive cookies. But other stuff too. Health care for example.

So here's to health care! What a swell thing! Coming from Scandinavia, this is, of course, something I've taken for granted, and it wasn't really until I moved to New York and had to get private insurance, that I realized what a mess it is not to have it integrated into a greater social system. Unlike many of my friends, I've always had insurance, but even when you know your expenses are going to be reimbursed, you kind of think twice before going. Remember when I broke my baby toe? I think the bill ran to a couple of thousand dollars - and all I essentially had done, was have someone yank it into place. A baby toe, for god sakes. Mercy the one that has a serious ailment.

By the way, the image is from The White House's photostream on Flickr. Can you believe how much they're social-webbing it?!

Really?

The coffee shop Abraco, on 7th and 1st Ave - originally Marie and Mads' fave, and now also mine and Johan's - serve these most delicious cured olive cookies that are a perfect combination of salty and caramelized sweet.

So I decided to try making them myself, and they turned out really delish.

I used this recipe, and even though I only made half a batch, it was enough to make some 30 decent sized cookies.

I didn't bake them as long as suggested though. After 30 minutes mine were golden crisp!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Savoir-faire. without too much ado.

I've developed somewhat of a distaste for cafes and restaurants that feel too conceptualized. In terms of menu, I can only applaud that every item on it is polished to perfection, but when it comes to decor, service, and that impalpable thing called ambiance, I sometimes feel a little like a dupe for buying into the charade or certain establishments.

New York restaurateur par excellence Keith McNally's new place Pulino on the corner of Bowery and Houston is one good example of a place I suspect I wont like much. When I peeked through the window the other night I couldn't help but think to myself that even though it was pretty, the long wooden tables rugged, the tableware perfect, and the lighting just so, the atmosphere was, well, only skin deep.

It's not that I don't like pretty things and surroundings. It's more a question of some places lacking a bit of soul. That it actually does matter if the patina on the walls is painted on or has developed over the years - even if I can't tell the difference between the two.

Which is why a visit to this little "hole in the wall", Uminoie, was such a treat.

The decor was random at best, a humdrum stereo sitting atop an IKEA shelf, CD towers reminiscent of those you had in your 90s teenage room, a chest freezer standing in the middle of everything, an official tourist poster from Japan hanging on the wall next to personal family photos.

Granted, from my description I can see why you'd be tempted to brush the place aside as yet another one of those eateries where random yet carefully selected bric-a-brac lines the shelves above your seat and the tableware doesn't match in an attempt to create some kind of boho couldn't-care-less feel. But really, you'll have to take my word for it, this place really felt real.

It's on 3rd street, just off 1st Avenue, right next to a fortune teller. It's not really cheap, but nowhere close to expensive - two rounds of beer/sake and a handful of dishes came to some 50 dollars. But boy was it worth it sitting there at the counter, peeking down at the tiny female chef behind it, who was cooking up little dishes on her ceramic-surfaced electric range (did they acquire everything in the 90s?!), so calmly and with such expertise, no macho chef gestures in sight.

It was so unpretentious, yet so sophisticated, refined and appealing. I really think you should go!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Maude

While we're on the subject of TV-series, I'd like for the world to know that I've been re-watching the masterpiece of Danish public service TV, namely the 24 episode series Matador.

Only three episodes are missing now, which makes me feel queasy and disheartened, just like my favorite character Maude Varnæs, the lady you see below taking her breakfast in bed. "I'm going upstairs to lie down" is her much quoted catchphrase, uttered whenever something doesn't go quite her way.

She's played by Danish actress Malene Schwartz, and she does it with such flair for comedy-drama, I can't help myself from twitching in glee every time she pops up on the screen.

And on some days, I even replace Johan's name with that of her husband, and then I'll lie in bed and solemnly call for "Hans Christian!" and ask him nervously - spiced up with old-fashioned grammar and expressions of course - to bring me something. Water, say. Or a roll of toilet paper for my ever running nose.

We actually started watching it as soon as we had watched every single episode of Mad Men from beginning to end - you know, to stick with the whole period piece nostalgia.
But really, it's been far from a rebound kind of experience, which makes me wish it was available in English too for all you lovely English speaking ones.

Nine Oh


I came across this image on the website of a Danish tabloid (I wish I had a legitimate explanation for how I got there, but I don't!), and found it somewhat of a hoot!

I was kind of surprised to read a caption that said the final season of the show ran in 2000, which was my final year in high school. And I seriously don't have any recollection of watching that series that far into my teens. Bizarre. I wonder if I quit it before it came to an end.

In any case, I'm sure I can consult Johan who has a disconcertingly good recollection of everything that ever happened on Beverly Hills 90210. He even remembers the names of random minor role guest stars.

Which is odd, because just the other day he asked me who Lindsay Lohan is.
Really.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Soda


Coca-Cola has received somewhat of a renaissance in this household after we've come across more and more delis that carry the glass bottled version.

I still don't drink much of it though - I was brought up on candy, cake and ice cream for treats, but we rarely drank soda. But all the same, I kind of like having it in the fridge. It's so aesthetic somehow.

Exciting!


I guess they'll be in full bloom any minute, really:)

bearable colds

If it weren't for the nasal congestion, the aching joints and the waking up with solidified saliva in the corner of your otherwise dried out mouth, having a cold really isn't that bad. Ever since I can remember, I've been spoiled rotten when symptoms of the common cold have taken siege of my body. In particular, my paternal granny was a treat to stay home from school with - I suspect, in part, because she too enjoyed the company. So there I would be, lying on the couch, regularly receiving plate fulls of grated apple, toast, hot tea and liquorice, and whatever else my heart desired. Mean while she would patter about in the living room, folding laundry, talking to the dog, and occasionally sit down for a game of Gin Rummy or an episode of The Bold and the Beautiful - her absolute fave!

These past few days I've been pampered beyond sense by Johan, who has cooked me up soups (creamy potato-parsnip with pancetta, deep fried eggplant and parmesan - yum!), and pastas (Jamie Oliver's with spinach, mascarpone, parmesan and lemon), not to mention fetched me fresh juices from Liquiteria, painkillers, nasal sprays and a year's supply of tissue (you have no idea how fast I go through a box 100!).

Just so you know, I'm by no means oblivious to my fortune. I consider myself among the luckiest lucky:O)

I'm dating Matthew Modine. A young one.

Twice within the span of ten days, Johan has been mistaken for actor Matthew Modine.

Last Friday night, we bumped into an old acquaintance of mine, who upon seeing Johan in the dark exclaimed: "Fuck, I thought you were with Matthew Modine!"

Then last night, as we strolled down 7th Street, we passed a guy sitting outside his curiosa shop who suddenly called us to a halt and said: "Wait, you're that actor?"
"Matthew Modine?", I asked.
"Exactly!", he answered.

I do see what they mean:)

Friday, March 19, 2010

joke's on me

People, it's like 22 C/72 F degrees outside, the sun is shinning, the boys are skateboarding, and people are lounging in the park dressed in nothing but sunglasses.

And in all this splendor, who do you think managed to catch a cold?
Me, of course.

And being a moderate hypochondriac, I am, on top of everything, a bit alarmed by the state of my immune system. This is after all my third common cold in the last one and a half months.

I guess summer or spring colds aren't that uncommon (hence they're called the common cold, hehe). All of a sudden you dress much too light for the weather, or, as we say in Danish, you allow yourself to be duped by the sun. But the thing is, these past days, as the weather has gotten better, I've been the weirdo around the hood wearing scarfs and double layers. Just to play it safe.

But be that as it may, and since it's close to impossible to stay inside and rest on a day like this, even though you know you ought to (I'm determined to nip this cold in the bud, you see!), I did go up on the roof with Johan today to have some lunch.

It's so super duper lovely and calm up there, and if it weren't for the fact that I'd suspect the roof would collapse if Al started building something up there, I think I would insist we all chipped in to have a beautiful terrace erected for all of us to share.

And since this is a dream that won't come true anyhow, I think a part of it should be roofed like a veranda, as it gets really, really hot up there.

revolting

I mean, isn't it? But then again animated pizza just is revolting.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

stardom

Remember when I told you that Johan (as in my best-buddy-in-the-whole-wide-world Johan) was soon going to be known as one of the London Eight?

Well, now the time has come, because at this very moment Johan finds himself in L.A. participating in an exhibition curated by Sir Peter Cook currently at show at the Southern California Institute of Architecture, also known as SCI-ARC. Or maybe it's opening tomorrow? Yes, I think it might be so.

It's all very impressive and exciting I think! As you already may have guessed, there are only eight architects in the exhibition, and Johan has been invited as the protege of his former professors at the Bartlett School of Architecture, the duo known as Smout Allen.

You can read more about it here - and if you scroll down you can hyperlink yourself to the press coverage.

I wanted to find a picture of Johan to go with the post, but so many of my pics seem to have gone from my computer - the horror! Anyhow, I thought the one below was quite expressive of his, mmm, grace?. It's taken last summer when I visited him in London and he took me to see the Barbican.

Sometimes I wonder what's in store for Johan career-wise. It's going to be something grand, I suspect:O)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

ikämsiruak ika?

I don't really think of myself as a particularly competitive person. Granted, I like to do well in terms of carrying out certain 'things', but not necessarily in relation to or better than someone else. I think it comes with being bad at sports, incomparably so, I might add, and once you've experienced that particular lack of expertise - or capital may in fact be the right word to use in this context - you kind of leave competing over to those who actually have something at stake.

For the same reason, I've felt somewhat puzzled lately by my strong desire to compete with Johan. As I've mentioned before it's not really a tasteless competition, where I'm in his face taunting him for whatever it is he may have lost - or vice versa. Rather, it's usually these win-win competitions we tend to make up, where each competing party gains a feather in their hat for....well, that's where it gets tricky.

Note the caption for this post, if you will, because this is a perfectly good example of a night time game which we'll play just before drifting off to sleep.

The category: Film directors
Premise: One party pronounces the name of a director spelled backwards. The other party guesses who it is.

It's may not seem that funny at first glance, but believe you me it's hilarious listening to someone spelling their way through a multi-syllable name backwards. And the pausing and hesitation just makes it even more difficult to guess, which is just as hilarious - albeit now to the 'opposing' party.

Go ahead kids, try it at home, and you'll realize too that gaming doesn't have to have that nasty competitive element, where one party gets all the glory and the other feels lost.

And on that somewhat uplifting yet anticlimactic note, I will end this post, but I'll return soon with some more thoughts on gaming. One that has to do with eggs, self-centeredness and going to Stanford.

Oooo, what a teaser!

hardware

Aren't these storage boxes perfectly lovable and rustic? I got them at Housing Works' thrift shop in Soho/Nolita for 2 dollars each - such a steal!

The lady I bought them from was so sweet. When I commented on how cheap they were, her unnecessary sales pitch was: "I know, but really I want somebody to have them...With that handle and everything...they're like, hardware".

And so I schlepped them home and felt very happy with my purchase, except they're so long or deep (or whatever the right term is) that I can't really find a place to store them. Nor do I know what to store in them.

Ah well, sooner or later I guess it will all come together.

cleaned (by a fairy!) HAHA...


I went for walk a walk with one of Lil' Monsters' dogs this morning, and by the time I made it back, the house was spic and span, vacuumed and dusted off, but best of all, even the shelves in the kitchen had been cleaned!

This is something I loathe doing....perhaps because I'm too short or perhaps because it's simply tedious having to remove it all in order to put it back.

Anyhow, a true mix of a A mother-in-law's dream and a house-fairy (both clumsily translated Danish idioms) - I think that's what Johan is!

Turncoat

I just learned a most wonderful new word this morning: Turncoat!

A turncoat is a person who shifts allegiance from one loyalty or ideal to another, betraying or deserting an original cause by switching to the opposing side or party. In political and social history, this is distinct from being a traitor, as the switch mostly takes place under the following circumstances:

*In groups, often driven by one or more leaders.
*When the former cause driving and benefitting the person becomes inviable or too fraught with danger.


Read more on Wikipedia.

Oh, and the reversible coat above is by Helmut Lang. Albeit a couple of seasons old.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

gogi giu

That's Korean for Korean barbecue, and yum, that cuisine is a feast, to the palate as well as the eye!