May 2016: The Month in Tom and Holly

Life in Philly

We don’t go to a lot of street festivals in Philly, due to our aversion to crowds, but we do love our neighborhood’s annual Plazapalooza. This year, we stopped by for a beer as well as some carnitas tacos from our favorite taco truck, Tacos Don Memo.

Plazapalooza 2016

Later in the month, we took a couple days off and visited this year’s Spruce Street Harbor Park. The themed park gets better each year, in my opinion. Since we went on a weekday when it wasn’t too busy, we were able to snag a hammock and relax a bit, play a round of skeeball and a game of Ms. PacMan at the arcade, before getting a beer and enjoying the beach chairs.

SSHP 2016
SSHP 2016

Farmers’ Markets

In addition to tons of asparagus, this month saw the return of strawberries:

Strawberries. Photo by Tom Ipri.

Dining In

We definitely took advantage of asparagus this month, buying around 5 bunches per week at the farmers’ markets. We did our usual asparagus things (asparagus + eggs, asparagus + pasta, asparagus as a side dish), but we also tried some new recipes this year.

Some of the new asparagus recipes that were keepers included a Spring Egg Puff, Asparagus Orzotte Verde, Sichuan Spring Vegetables, and an improvised dish with asparagus, peas, and clams, over farro.

spring clams with farro

I bought some fresh lemongrass stalks from the Fitler Square farmers’ market, which turned into some fun treats. I improvised a recipe in which I marinated fish (one week it was mahi mahi, another week it was tilefish) in chopped lemongrass, chili peppers, garlic, ginger, makrut lime leaves, lime juice, olive oil, and fish sauce. We also made a bacon & egg ramen recipe which uses lemongrass in the base.

Bacon & egg ramen

Other fun things we made this month included:

Garlic scallops

Dining Out

We took ourselves out to Buckminster’s for brunch again, and it was delicious. We each had the fried eggs with mole, beans, and sour cream.

Brunch at Buckminster’s

We also did a Friday night Date Night at SouthGate, which was delightful. We each had bibimbap, and we shared an appetizer of octopus with English peas, string bean kimchi, sweet potato puree, and squid ink crackers.

Date night at SouthGate

One on of our days off, we finally made it to Hungry Pigeon for breakfast. I had the breakfast sandwich, and Tom had biscuits and gravy. The atmosphere was open and comfortable. We like it there!

Hungry Pigeon

DIY

After last month’s failure, I made a second try at carrot kvass, this time with a different recipe. While it didn’t utterly fail, I can’t say I really like the results, unfortunately. I mean, I’ll drink it, I guess. But I’ve found that the leftover pickle juice from my pickled carrots was actually much more tasty than my intentional attempt at kvass.

My favorite thing I made this month had nothing to do with fermentation. One of my co-workers is from Saint Vincent island in the Caribbean, and she told me about Mauby drink and gave me some mauby bark to try. Since I am into bitters, this bitter drink sounded interesting and refreshing. I made a batch, and I like it – sort of like bitter iced tea, and I love the way it froths.

Mauby bark & Mauby drink

Toward the end of the month I pickled some asparagus and strawberries so that we can enjoy them when they’re no longer in season. I’m not sure how they turned out, but we’ll find out.

Books

Finally, Steven Erikson’s Fall of Light arrived! I had been waiting for this for awhile, the second book in the Kharkanas Trilogy. It was very intense and dense. Especially following Leckie’s Imperial Radch series (which some people think is complicated, but it’s nothing compared to this), this was quite a change of pace. It never quite occurred to me how Shakespearean Erikson can be. I definitely liked it overall but it needs many more re-reads to digest. In addition to some really interesting reveals about the origin of various elemental forces that make up this world, as well as just trying to keep up with the complicated plotlines, there’s a lot going on at a larger thematic level about the nature of “civilization,” religion, war, etc.

I also checked out Daniel José Older’s Shadowshaper via interlibrary loan, and quite enjoyed it. It’s been labeled as YA urban fantasy, but to me this was straight up magical realism. I liked how the main character was able to both honor her culture and respect her elders when appropriate, but also buck its machismo and stand up to her elders when they are wrong. She’s a kickass character and I’m glad any teens reading this can have her as a role model. The book had been on my list for awhile, but I was motivated to request it since lately I’ve been following the author on Twitter and like what he has to say about culture, politics, etc.

Stitch Fix

I wanted more spring clothes, so I ordered another Stitch Fix for May. This time, I got 2 skirts, a top, a lightweight cardigan, and a pair of black flats. I kept everything and have been especially enjoying the new skirts.

Holly2 2016_05_28
41Hawthorn Abbie Reversible Skirt, MIA Amari Scallop Trim Flats
Holly4 2016_05_28
Mo:Vint Chania Cardigan, Gilli Shelley Printed Aline Skirt, MIA Amari Scallop Trim Flats
Holly6 2016_05_28
Laila Jayde Bowie Solid Dolman Sleeve Top, Amari Scallop Trim Flats

Last Month’s Update

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