Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Monday, February 11, 2013
After my grandfather died, his wife started going to a nightclub in a hotel bar in Dallas called Swan Court. She said she went so she could dance as she did in her youth. She also started to date again, with which she had limited experience even before marrying Grandpa.
Grandma grew up in Texas, a preacher's daughter with fair skin and a sailor's mouth. She loved any opportunity to shock, so she had great fun announcing her new romance with a black man. "Guess who's coming to dinner," she'd rib my aunts. "I said to them, 'guess who's coming to dinner,'" she recounted to me.
In the spirit of the holiday this week, and to celebrate loves that triumphed over taboo, we're hosting a Valentine's dinner party on Saturday in the theme of Forbidden Love. Chef Lori Hill and her Haute Food team will prepare 5 courses, each an homage to a familiar forbidden love and an appropriate wine pairing. You will receive a menu at the time of the meal.
Unfortunately, we cannot accomodate vegetarian substitutions at this time. We're asking for the cost of ingredients and libations which totals $40 per guest. Please let me know no later than Wednesday whether you will attend, and alert us to any food allergies.
Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Monday, July 16, 2012
View Denver in a larger map
Greetings from Denver! I am writing this postcard from a bed on Clayton and 35th Street in the "inner city" (more on this later).
As you may or may not know, I am in Denver because a friend chose to get married in Breckenridge. I met Ann at age 12 in Plano, Texas. She was friends with my friend Stacey W. (who impersonated Axl Rose in a 5th grade talent show, in case you were wondering how cool my friends were back then) and wanted to sit next to Stacey in science class. Of course, I also wanted to sit next to Stacey. The leap from that moment and to the part in my life when Ann and I were inseparable is pretty hazy, but let it suffice that I quickly attached myself to Ann for the next several years. She was my first "real" best friend, in that she helped me discover who I am and encouraged me to take risks to learn more about myself. This, of course, led to my first run-in with the law and my first boyfriend and my first a lot of other life-shaping experiences.
Ann didn't like school and didn't like most people at our school, so she decided to leave school. A bright and impatient woman, she graduated with a GED and just like that was gone. I didn't hear from her again for many years. I looked for her but her full name is somewhat common so even when social media came on the scene, I couldn't find her. She found me, though, via MySpace about 4 years ago while I lived in Brooklyn. She had moved to Denver and was now a nurse, as she had always planned.
Fast forward to a few months ago and I get a text message from her asking for my address. Yep, she's engaged! and yes, I'm invited. Being a crazy neurotic event planner, I booked my flight and looked up everyone I knew in Denver to give me suggestions. Turns out, besides Ann, I know 2 people who live in Denver, and both of them, coincidentally, were going to be out of town for wedding-related activities. Laurie (a friend from freshman year) is on her honeymoon in Cuba this weekend and Chris (a friend from my last two years in high school) is in New York for a bachelor party. They delivered on the goods, though, and you can see all of their suggestions in the above map.
For accommodations, we used AirBnB for the first time to great success. On Friday night, after way too many beers at Vine Street pub (which is called Harry's on the window outside and Jerry's on the menu at your table), and after walking around the Highlinds while drunk on altitude, we stayed in Lincoln Park at a designer's house.
She made sure we had no trouble getting in even though we didn't arrive until after midnight. I didn't sleep too well due to aforementioned altitude sickness, but the room was cozy, clean, and cute. The next morning, she was in the kitchen making something to eat and seemed very friendly but not so friendly that I felt like she was annoying. We left soon after that for brunch at Root Down but forgot one of our phone chargers. As soon as we discovered that (much later in the day) and let her know, she said she'd leave it in her mailbox to retrieve when we got back to Denver. Great customer service.
It took about 2 hours through miserable traffic to get to Silverthorne where our next BnB was located. I found this one on AirBnB as well, but it was an actual business. Mountain Vista is run by a couple named Barry and Carrie! and features a hot tub and breakfast burritos. We stayed in the "Paris" room at the end of the hallway next to the "Liberty" room.
Back in Silverthorne, Matt and I explored the neighborhood and found a weird fancy playground. The slides were very loopy and there was lots of evidence of new playground technology. We walked down a trail past several outlet malls along a creek. Eventually, we stopped at a bar/restaurant called Mint run by a guy named James who looks like a cross between Dana Carvey and Jim Jarmusch. He was very informative about the fried mushrooms and the sauce in which swam the bacon-wrapped scallops and the price of life in St. Barts where he recently spent a 3 week vacation. James was a lot of fun and he served me a delicious Breckenridge Brewery beer called Avalanche that I'll have to look for when I get back home.
This morning, I woke at 8 to use the hot tub at Mountain Vista (more on this in my review) and then we had breakfast at Mountain Lyon Cafe (possibly the best chicken fried steak I've had in my life). We decided to make a visit to the Levi's outlet before heading back to Denver. Pro tip: do not try on jeans after eating a huge breakfast. Spoiler alert: the drive back to Denver SUCKED.
We went straight to the Museum of Contemporary Art which took all of 10 minutes to view and then went to the next AirBnB stop which had many pictures of the yard and only two of the bedroom from where I type.
We had dinner at Okinawa then ice cream at Liks then a romantic stroll through the Botanic Garden. Now we have to get some sleep before waking at 3:30 a.m. to take a 6:30 a.m. flight back to LAX. Yeehaw!
Monday, May 28, 2012
Sunday, May 6, 2012
Due to a twist of fate, I am not publishing food reviews on Blackbook magazine for now. You may however continue to read about what I eat right here on www. Fattractive .com or brief blurbs on my Tumblr. Here's what I think about Jun Won located at: 3100 W 8th St Ste 101 Los Angeles, CA 90005 (213) 383-8855 We were at a fancy pizza parlor in Hollywood when my buddy leaned over and conspiratorially suggested I plan an epic, “No Reservations”-style dinner at a Korean restaurant, preferably one that is hard to find. Since moving to Koreatown about a year and a half ago, I’ve had the privilege of proximity to an incredible variety of Korean eateries and so seem like someone who might the hook up for the down low. Some are ridiculous, like the pirate-themed Crazy Hook that serves beer in towering tubes and really bland Mexican food, while others are historically cool, like perennial favorite among those-in-the-know The Prince. Unfortunately, most of my first experiences with Korean food in Los Angeles occurred exclusively at smoky barbeque joints with blaring Western pop music hardly drowning out the squeals of large parties at neighboring tables. Now, I have nothing against a good barbeque. Be it from North Carolina, Texas, or Tennessee, I am the first at the grill with my paper plate. Nor is it the case that I think Korean barbeque sucks. Many delicious soy-sauce-marinated meats have found themselves in my happy belly. Instead, I take offense to the assumption that this culinary amusement park represents Korean cuisine in all its home-style glory when in actuality traditional Korean meals are much more subtle and complex. All of which banter brings me to declaring Jun Won on 8th Street and the corner of Berendo the perfect go to spot for an authentic dinner adventure. Jun Won does not have a proper website, which adds to its existing mysterious allure. The sign on the side of the building facing 8th Street simply reads “Korean Restaurant” underneath blue Korean symbols while the door on 8th Street remains locked during business hours. Patrons must enter through the rear side of the building, and only after descending a set of stairs and rounding a corner. So, Jun Won definitely fills the hard to find factor. But, obviously, the real reason to find it is to eat. As with most successful Korean restaurants, Jun Won has a specialty. Beyond the requisite banchan (complimentary small dishes), Jun Won excels at fish. Steamed fish, fried fish, fish in a “casserole” soup—one could easily feel trapped in a Bubba Gump spinoff. The most popular menu item is black cod, phonetically pronounced “joh reem” and prepared extra spicy, but any day’s special will taste exactly the way my Korean grandmother intended. As might be expected for a dining room with such a homey vibe, it’s a family affair. Bespectacled Jeff Jun manages the joint that his mother Jung Ye Jun owns and does a mighty fine job of making his non-Korean guests feel comfortable. He guides menu selection and, at least on my first group visit, imparts fun cultural information such as drinking unfiltered soju from brass bowls while pouring generously into each. Tables at Jun Won can fit only six comfortably, but a memorable night is guaranteed. Read more about Jun Won at the Los Angeles Times and Yelp.