Retail Therapy

If you have time to kill this weekend, as I do not, here are my recommendations for you. I love giving advice, as preachy as possible (!) but it is only because what I love, I love a LOT and feel the need to seriously share it with others. So listen, because all of these things will rock your socks off.

The Recipe: Bonnie Stern’s Recipe for Caramelized Onion And Gorgonzola Pizza which is probably the most seriously comforting comfort food in existance. The first time that I ate it, a cold rainy Friday night (which is the best time for comfort food anyways so maybe the context made it taste so miraculous) I thought I had died and gone to heaven. Not joking. It’s simple and relatively quick, however seeing as how it’s shaping up to be a pretty warm evening, you might want to save it for a rainy day. Either way, it’s definitely worth a try. Here’s the recipe:

Caramelized Onion and Gorgonzola Pizza
(Makes 6 to 8 servings)
2 Tbsp. olive oil
3 onions, chopped
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
8 oz. frozen puffed pastry
4 oz. Brie, rind removed, diced*
4 oz. milk Gorgonzola or Cambozola, rind removed, diced*
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh tarragon, or 1/4 tsp. dried

1. Heat oil in a large deep skillet on medium high heat. Add onions and cook for about 10 minutes or until wilted and starting to brown. Add sugar, vinegar, salt and pepper.
2. Reduce heat and cook gently, uncovered, for 15 to 25 minutes, or until richly caramelized. Cool. You should have about 3/4 cup.
3. Roll pastry into a 10-in. square. Place pastry on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Prick with a fork in about 12 places.
4. Spread onions over pastry. Dot with cheese. Sprinkle with tarragon. Refrigerate if not baking immediately.
5. Bake in preheated oven 18 to 20 minutes or until cheese has melted and pastry is crisp. Cool for 5 minutes. Cut into wedges or squares.
6. Serve pizza in wedges with a salad for a first course or cut into small squares for an appetizer.

*You can use those cheeses, but from personal experience, all soft cheeses work nicely. We typically use Boursin, which is basically garlic cream cheese, and also some goat cheese. Either way, delicious. 

The Music: 

For People Feeling Romantic: ‘Come On Get Higher’ – Matt Nathanson (cliché, but catchy)

For People Who Want To Feel Loved: ‘So Far Around the Bend’ – The National

For People Feeling Sad Over Love: ‘Train Song’ – Feist and Benjamin Gibbard

For People Who Want To Party: ‘Boom Boom Pow’ – The Black Eyed Peas

The Book:

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen & Seth Grahame-Smith was my most recent read, and my verdict: HILARIOUS. At first, I thought it was sort of a joke, but as I read on I realized it isn’t scary, it isn’t overly funny, it isn’t overly anything. It really is just the original story, original writing, original lines and genius, teamed up with a theme that somehow just works in the time period, works well with the characters and even in some instances (sorry Jane!) makes the plot better. It begins to make more sense of some of the already present themes and just does an amazing job of working the zombies right into the story. I’d never been able to get into the original classic (despite having seen the movie 50+ times) yet I read this like it was candy. Definitely check it out. Also worth a read:

‘Direct Red’ – Gabriel Weston

‘The Tipping Point’ – Malcolm Gladwell

The Activity:

Get outside for Pete’s sake! I’m not even going to recommend a movie, since you should be outside sitting in the sun, listening to guitar or walking your dog or having a barbeque and ESPECIALLY not sitting here reading this or missing the weather. Get out!

Love, 

s.

Joyeux Anniversaire

It’s my sister’s birthday today: she is 13. I know, it’s nuts. Just thought I’d share our family traditions, since I think that birthday traditions are fun and adorable. 

So first, we always have cake for breakfast. Always, and I don’t think it’s ever been vanilla cake, always chocolate. I personally am not a cake fan, so my mom always makes me brownie cake instead. Mmmm. 

Also, my mom goes insane on decorations. She actually loves it. She will go out, and get the most ridiculous (read: tacky) decorations imaginable. Last year, it was a life size plastic Mariachi band and a seriously fierce salsaing 2D plastic couple. This year, think Grease-style: cutouts of those old cars, a diner, etc. For B’s  this year it’s Hawaiian theme to the max: picture a hula dancer. But they are male. And wearing a mask. Which is tribal. And terrifying. 

Presents in the morning, is pretty common. 

And out for dinner at night. Lovely. I enjoy birthdays greatly at my house. 

Noticed: Tons of people born in April. Early April especially, like the first week. I think that puts conception at about..July? In the mood for loving in July? I guess so..Maybe it’s just a geographic/demographic type of thing. Maybe I’ll look into this a little more, but I know at least ten (?) people who are  born the same week as me. And that’s quite a few!

Anyways, today we ate at a really nice (and really tiny) Italian restaurant called La Forchetta in Little Italy, downtown Toronto. It’s really small! But apparently has won multiple awards. The food was amazing, to be sure, and the service was excellent. I guess that’s what you get for not having too many customers to serve, you can make it fantastic. Then again, it was also a rainy Monday night (ABSOLUTELY MISERABLE, IN FACT) so not so busy. But the food was delicious. I had a pasta with roasted chicken, roasted garlic, chickpeas, caramelized onions, artichoke hearts. It sounds not so nice, but tasted delicious. Plus a organic greens salad with blueberry vinaigrette & goat cheese, and capuccino tartufo. Delicious. Really. 

I will post more about it later, but the Hills are on and I feel like watching something trashy. Be back soon!

 

s.

En Vogue

Vogue Cover May 2009

Picked up my new Vogue yesterday after reading an article trashing the mag for making their May 09 issue one all about models. The cover features nine famous faces in the industry at the moment, shot by Steven Meisel, the photographer who discovered/promoted them all, and who is featured in an interview and self portrait inside the magazine. The article I read said that Vogue should stop trying so hard to promote models, make them popular, or famous, and that the models should stay in the background. 

To them I say: no way!

Personally, I am open for pretty much anything, since I believe people’s lives are extremely interesting, no matter who they are. I feel like the idea of doing an expose of sorts on the models of the moment is a great idea! Since the public knows very little about models, and too much about celebrities. Models do quiet work, and we only catch glimpses of them on runways or backstage, and I can’t say I’ve ever seen a long interview of a model – discounting Gisele, Kate, Naomi, or the other huge ones. I am interested in reading about their lives and loves, since one Vogue feature is the “Meet the Boyfriends” article. But then again, I’m a total sucker for relationship goss. 

I haven’t read much of it yet, but I’m going to go do that now!

Also noticed: striking similarities between this issue & April Harper’s Bazaar. 

 

  1. Vogue features models (including Gisele); HB has Gisele on the cover. 
  2. Vogue has a feature of Natalia Vodianova (“The Great Pretender”) role-playing nine fashion legends; HB has Gisele personifying supermodels throughout the ages
  3. Vogue pays tribute to Steven Meisel, a great photographer known for discovering models; HB heralds Richard Avedon, another great photographer.

 

I wonder: do most people read both magazines? Or do the editors know that the public probably only reads one of the two? Or is it all a giant coincidence? Either way, it struck me that they were remarkably similar. Strange, very strange.

 

Night night, 

s.

Frustration Station

What I wish I could announce over the PA system:

“Good evening bookstore customers. The time is now 9:45 and the store will be  closing in 15 minutes time, at 10 o’clock. If you have left any stacks of books on or beside chairs, coffee cups on shelves, or piles of magazines on the window sill, now would be a great time to put them back neatly, exactly where you found them, so that we don’t have to clean up after your piggyness. For your shopping convenience, we will re-open tomorrow morning, at 9:30 AM. Thank you for shopping at our store, and have a wonderful night”.

..Because honestly, sometimes it gets to be too much. Yes, I am there to shelve books, and mildly clean up after you. But I think it’s rude to leave piles of books sitting on tables or hundreds of magazines scattered. I mean, who does that?? I would actually never even do that, even before I worked at the bookstore. It’s RUDE. Don’t do it. You have no idea how annoying it is. Oh and while I’m at it: don’t just leave books/magazines from one shelf on another shelf. That’s how books get lost if somebody doesn’t notice, and that’s what you get mad at when you can’t find that one book. It’s your fault! Just leave them all on a kiosk or somewhere visible, if you must. If you must. Yeah, it’s my job, but only to a certain extent.

It’s a rant, folks. I’ll still perform my job, but every so often, screaming is necessary.

S.