Monday, February 20, 2012

Jumping on the Downton Bandwagon

Hi friends,

I have been hearing about Downton Abbey for a while now. I know it really caught on in the US but I just haven’t had the time to check it out until this weekend. Baby Daddy said “I found this British romance old time show that you might like, right up your alley.” I was pretty excited when I found out it was Downton Abbey and even more excited when he wanted to watch it with me.  So in 2 days, we watched 2 seasons and the Christmas special episode. Yes, we do have a 20 month old and no we did not neglect him. He had an impromptu sleepover with my in-laws last night and since we are young, hip and happening, we went grocery shopping, had the car washed and spent a few hours watching Downton. See? Told you we were living the life.

Much like Lost and Mad Men, I fell fast and hard for Downton. Everything, the clothes, the romance, the drama, the tension, the angst. I love it! It has been an emotional roller coaster for me too. I’ve gone from hating characters, to feeling sorry for them, to liking them to disliking them again. And again, much like Lost and Mad Men, I know I am going to go into withdrawal until new episodes come out. I can already tell that I will find myself goggling the characters just to get a fix. If only I could be obsessed with physical fitness as much as TV…

I love the contrariness of the social conventions of the early 1900s in the British aristocracy. Marriage as a business dictates who can marry whom, while keeping within social station. The marriage of lord and Lady Grantham baffles me. He married her for her money and later fell in love with her but she is American. I did not think an Earl could or would marry even an American because there was no way she could have the pedigree but I guess her dowry was large enough for him to overcome that and save his beloved Downton.   I could go on and on about the show so I better stop.

In this day if all the crap on TV, I am happy and refreshed to see something entertaining and original. The language is beautiful, the dialogue is smart and the acting is outstanding. I cannot wait for the new episodes. Until then, I will be surfing for my fix.

Dressing for dinner? Maybe if I the staff.

Great cast.

I would wear this. Well maybe not that hairstyle.


Monday, February 13, 2012

Food fixes everything

Hi friends,

I have not written in a while. I’ve been blocked. Work has been crazy and life is busy but most of all I just could not string two words together. Being blocked made me realise something about myself. When I’m stressed out, my “creative” side shuts down. I was not inspired to write or cook. Two of my favourite things to do. It’s sad because I wish that I could write and cook my stress away.  It is almost as if a part of me shuts down completely.

I just came back from a work trip and Baby Daddy had to leave on an impromptu trip this morning. We had three days together and the weekend just flew by. The Boy had his first swim lesson, we had a family function to attend and all the other errands that comes along with the weekends these days. I did have a nice surprise. Baby Daddy is going to be away for Valentine’s Day and since I was gone for last week and he will be gone for a few days this week, he surprised me with a dinner date. And then is happened…the old familiar feelings started to come back, the magic slowly started up again…

I started to feel inspired again. All it took was an amazing diner and laughing with my husband to help me feel like myself again. I’m even contemplating cooking something not boring this weekend. I must tell you about the food. Please forgive me for not having pictures. I hate taking pictures of my food in restaurants and really I was too busy diving in to remember to take photos.

We went to Scarpetta. The food was scrumptious. Baby Daddy started with the creamed polenta with truffled mushrooms (I just giggled typing that fancy term). It was soooooooo yummy. Smooth and silky and flavourful.  I had the Crispy Fritto Misto, basically friend goodness. I believe that anything deep friend is good but this was a whole other level of good. Shrimp, squid and veggies that were crisp and full of flavour without being greasy. A pleasant surprise was the prices of fried lemon. They were mellow. Not sour but still tart. Lemony without being too lemony. I don’t know how else to describe it. I think my favourite part was the fried basil and rosemary. They crumbled in my mouth and the flavours were muted without disappearing completely.

The entrees lived up to the hype from the waiter. Baby Daddy had the spaghetti. It sounded simple but was delicious! It was as If the handmade pasta taook a bath in the yummy tomato basil sauce and refused to dry itself off. Each strand of spaghetti was perfectly coated and the sauce was not acidic, like some tomato sauces can be but it was not too sweet either. I snuck a few bites. I had the agnolotti which was stuffed with a short rib and bone marrow concoction and coated in brown butter. The chef finished it with tasted breadcrumbs (I think). I loved the crispiness of the breadcrumbs but it was the filling that melted in my mouth. I’m drooling thinking about it.

And dessert…dinner is never complete without dessert. I quite often will look at a desert menu before I decide on my meal, just to make sure I save room. In a role reversal, I did not have anything chocolate but The Husband did. It was good but not my favourite part of the meal.  It was like a cross between a browning and a lava cake that didn’t quite turn out right. Mine was great. I am happy with my choice. It was a coconut panna cotta with a guava “soup” and a coconut wafer. I do not usually like coconut deserts because most have pieces of dried coconut, which I do not like. Growing up on “the islands,” I know what real coconut and guava taste like. The panna cotta was light and refreshing with a lot of coconut flavour. The guava soup was also very good. I expected it to be grainy but it was smooth and subtle. Overall, a great dessert for a diehard chocolate lover like me.

If I had to find fault, I wold say our waiter was not fully on his game but the service was still better than at most chains that we unfortunately go to, being out in the suburbs and all

I hope I did not ramble too long but I really did have a great time. It is good to feel like myself again. I need to let go of stress more and focus on what really makes me happy. Laughing with my husband and snuggling with my baby. Ah…weekend family naps, I live for thee.

P.S. The restaurant did not pay me or comp my meal, I’m gushing out of my own somewhat free will.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Happy New Year! My “non-resolution” resolution is to find a way to use my ereader in the tub.

Hi friends,

Happy New Year! I made it through the holidays. The Boy scored big (as usual) for Christmas and I got a new smartphone…the mother of all smartphones…a new iPhone 4S. I love it, as I knew I would. The learning curve is the steepest I ever experienced with a smartphone. I am amazed how fast I learned to use it. I consider myself fairly tech savvy and my new phone is making me even more addicted to technology. Oh well, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.

January means CES time. Fortunately and unfortunately, I do not need to attend for my job. Fortunately, because I don’t have to attend meeting after meeting and navigate the Vegas hotel casino mazes. Unfortunately, because I do not get to see all the cool new tech toys. Baby Daddy is attending so he will fill me in. we’re going to miss him but we will talk to him with FaceTime. The Boy loves FaceTime. He thinks he can go through the phone. He tries to hug people through the phone. Soooo cute!

January also brings New Year’s resolutions to mind. I do not make New Year’s resolutions. I don’t like planning to improve myself but I try to do it all the time (Wow, that sounds so pretentious. I'm far from perfect is all). Sometimes I fail, sometimes I succeed but I learned to relish the small victories.  Like this morning. Baby Daddy and I had a date last night and The Boy had a sleepover at my in-laws. I slept in until 10:30 and started my day with a long soak in the tub. Big wins! Now if only I could find a waterproof cover for my ereader so I don’t have to put it in a Ziploc bag to be able to read in the tub. Ah ha! That’s my “non-resolution” resolution. I resolve to find a way to use my ereader in the tub while keeping it dry.

The lengths I will go to read in the tub...

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