Life in Philly
Brrrr, it’s been cold and snowy. Sorry, I just look at this and think “yuck.”
This month I visited Austin, TX for a library conference. It was unusually cold there as well (mid-30s), so it was only a slight respite from the cold in Philly. I’m glad I saw more of Austin the last time I was there, because this time I really didn’t have time to go out. My colleague and I stayed at an AirBNB in the Swedish Hill neighborhood, which worked out well. We ate at this awesome place called Quickie Pickie that was like a grocery store, liquor store, beer bar, coffee shop, and restaurant all in one.
More cold weather means more staying in! We did a couple epic weekends where we made a bunch of comfort food that lasted us through the week. Things we made this month include:
- Lentil and quinoa stew
- Chicken and dumplings
- Enchiladas suizas
- White bean soup
- Short rib & barley stew
- Beer & mushroom risotto
To continue Tom’s birthday celebration, we also went out to dinner at Zeppoli in Collingswood, NJ. Despite being in New Jersey, Zeppoli is regularly featured on lists of top restaurants in Philadelphia, so we had been curious about it for quite some time. Zeppoli specializes in Sicilian food, and both food and service were excellent.
This month we finally got some take-out pizza from one of two local places, Randazzo’s. We got a Sicilian Square Pie with broccoli, tomatoes, and garlic, and we loved it! It was not at all greasy, and it lasted us at least a week.
We also had an excellent dinner at The Farm & the Fisherman, thanks to Tom’s brother Dennis’s quest to try restaurants on Philly Mag’s Top 50 Restaurants list. We don’t have any photos from the evening, but it was certainly our best meal out this year so far. Everything was fresh and local, and the flavors were exquisite. I had their bloody beet steak for my first course, and venison for my main course. We shared a few second courses, including the most pillowy gnocchi I’ve ever eaten. It far exceeded our expectations, and we would highly recommend it.
I continued my re-read of Steven Erikson’s Malazan Book of the Fallen series. This month I read books 6 and 7, The Bonehunters and Reaper’s Gale, from the main series, and book 1, Night of Knives, from Ian Cameron Esslemont’s companion Malazan Empire series. The Bonehunters was really good, but it was hard to read after Midnight Tides because I was so engaged in the Letheras storyline – I really just wanted to jump ahead to Reaper’s Gale. Reaper’s Gale was even better than I remembered it, and I think it is now my 2nd favorite book in the series after Memories of Ice. I also read Night of Knives based on Adam Whiteheads’s suggested Malazan reading order. It does make sense to read it before The Bonehunters because of some character backstories, but you really don’t need it, and on its own it is a fairly worthless book. I started on Esslemont’s Return of the Crimson Guard, book 2 of his series, which should supposedly be read either before Reaper’s Gale (per Adam) or after (per Tor.com). Much like Night of Knives, I really didn’t like it the first time and I am not liking it any better the second time around. I didn’t finish it by the end of the month, and I think it will linger for awhile since I am not really in the mood for it.
In order to provide some variety to my reading, I also read a few young adult books from the library: Yaqui Delgado wants to kick your ass and Gabi, a girl in pieces. Both were very good and I highly recommend them. Yaqui Delgado tacked the topic of high school bullying and was overall sad and very realistic. Gabi was a delight, making me hungry at the same time it made me laugh and cry, also dealing with high school in a realistic light. I especially liked the various media employed within the book, including poetry and a zine. I liked the way both books used Spanish seamlessly intermingled with English, letting the context speak for itself rather than attempting to translate everything.
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