May 2018: The Month in Tom and Holly

Life in Philly

Overall, we had some nice spring days this month, though toward the end of the month it got rainy and humid.

We went up to Fox Chase a few times, to say goodbye to Tom’s childhood home, as well as to grill with Dennis. We got some excellent sausages at Rieker’s, and also brought up some veggies and scallops from the farmers’ market.

We saw the new Star Wars movie, Solo, which we both thoroughly enjoyed, as well as a BYO screening of Dr. Strangelove at the Roxy, which was fantastic. I don’t know why I never saw Dr. Strangelove before, as it seems like something my parents should have known about and shared. I can’t understand why anyone wouldn’t like Solo- if you just want action, it’s totally entertaining, and if you’re a hardcore fan who follows the Star Wars canon, it has so many fun moments, like seeing Han meet Chewie, and seeing them get the Millennium Falcon. Not to mention that L337 was a hoot with her droid liberation.

We went to the Philadelphia Museum of Art to see a couple exhibits, including one on American Modernism 1910-1950, as well as an exhibit on 1960s design.

spring day at Temple University
Tom’s childhood home sold – photo by Tom Ipri
Walking around the neighborhood: Marian Anderson recreation center

Farmers’ Markets

We continued to buy as much asparagus as we can handle, while we can. We tried Doc Pickle’s olives for the first time, which was fun. We also saw our first strawberries toward the end of the month. I think I may have given up on getting fresh cut flowers at the market and bringing them to work – they are nice at first, but just too messy!

Wine

Plonk

This was my first month getting a 4 bottle club shipment instead of two. So far, so good. I really enjoyed the three that we’ve tried, though I confess by the end of the month we still hadn’t tried the riesling, as we hadn’t had the right food opportunity. I tried ordering extra wines from their bottle shop for the first time, but they didn’t arrive by the end of the month (free, but slow-ass shipping), so I’ll have to report on that next time.

Tasting Room

Per my pattern for the last few months, I got my club shipment + 6 extra bottles from the bottle shop. As with last month, I am concerned about the declining selection I’ve seen since I started this at the beginning of the year. This was the first month where there was really nothing to get excited about. I replaced a few bottles in my club shipment, but ironically, it turns out the ones I didn’t think I’d like were the ones I liked the most – a riesling and a New Zealand sauvignon blanc. From my bottle shop shipment, the only thing to get excited about was an Oregon Pinot Gris “Concern Worldwide”, which benefits charity. It’s not as if I’m going to cancel any time soon, but I do hope the selection improves.

State Store

This month’s theme was Washington State, which excited me initially in theory, but turned out to be kind of sucky. There was an oaky chardonnay (blech) and an OK red blend (blend of what? who knows). This was another one of those months that made me want to cancel the subscription (why spend $65 including tax + shipping on 2 bottles of wine I don’t want???), but since I started this last July, I want to see it through for one more month, so that I will have an entire year to judge, before I quit. So, we’ll see how next month goes, and I’ll cancel regardless, and then I’ll write up the entire year.

Dining In

It was a good month for home cooking, thanks in part to all my Rancho Gordo beans.

This month’s Rancho Gordo inspired meals included:

  • Tom improvised a hoppin’ john, with Eye of the Goat beans, based on a version he had had at Snap Kitchen. In addition to the beans, it included roasted sweet potatoes (spiced with smoked paprika), brown rice, hummus, beans, spinach, and pine nuts. Delicious! The Eye of the Goat beans are so pert and perfect.
  • Raquel beans with broccoli rabe, from New Vegetarian Cooking – this recipe was delicious and highlighted the Raquel beans so well.
  • Black beans & asparagus over wild rice – I used Ayocote Negro beans for this, and I roasted the asparagus instead of serving it raw. The preparation was so tasty, and over wild rice, it was even better.
  • I used San Franciscano beans to make flautas for lunch several times – these beans may have stolen my heart away from pintos, they are so rich and delicious.
  • Bryant Terry’s hominy and spinach in tomato-garlic broth – this recipe appears in Rancho Gordo’s Guide to Posole, but originally comes from Afro Vegan. The broth was so rich and delicious and was such a wonderful pairing with the hominy.
  • Paste e fagioli from Preserving Italy – this time I used Rancho Gordo cranberry beans and Semolina conchiglie from Los Angeles. This recipe is so consistently fabulous, you can’t go wrong. I think I liked it better with more delicate white beans, though.
  • Posole Verde from Rancho Gordo’s Guide to Posole – I think this stands up to any posole I’ve gotten from a restaurant, and had just the right amount of heat. It was crying out for pulled chicken, though. This would be perfect for tossing in some leftover rotisserie chicken.
  • I made rio zape beans in a simple charro beans recipe. Rio Zape was one of the first Rancho Gordo beans I bought, and in my first preparation, I didn’t really get why they were so special, but this second time, I could see how they were similar to but so much richer than pinto beans. It really helps to try these beans side-by-side.

I have to say, I have really been enjoying both kinds of Rancho Gordo oregano as well – the dried leaves unfurl the way good tea leaves do.

Raquel beans with broccoli rabe
hominy with spinach in tomato-garlic broth
pasta e fagiole

Other highlights from eating in this month include:

Jade noodles. Photo by Tom Ipri
Persian tamarind salmon. Photo by Tom Ipri

Dining Out

This was also a good month for dining out, especially due to some time off from work.

On my own, I went to Danlu with a colleague and really enjoyed it – I got duck with noodles. On my way home from work one day, I finally tried my first Philadelphia water ice! It was a strawberry daiquiri from Siddiq’s Water Ice – the bar has been set very high. I had a few lunches by myself on my days off – Marathon Grill (al fresco), where I had a nice veggie sandwich, Tria Taproom, where I had a tasty falafel wrap, and delivery from Rooster Soup Company, where I had a delicious mushroom cheesesteak. I also had jury duty one day and finally got to try a corn dog from Fox & Son.

Danlu
Siddiq’s water ice

We had a nice evening at Cafe Lutecia‘s Tuesday night BYOB, since we hadn’t done that in awhile. We also had a pleasant dinner with Dennis at Moonstruck. We went to our usual neighborhood places several times for both brunch and dinner – Southgate, Los Camaradas, and Jet Wine Bar. We also tried Chick’s for the first time – it was way too loud, but the beer was good, and we loved the Spicy Boy pizza.

Cafe Lutecia
Moonstruck
Chick’s

Toward the end of the month, we had a mini-staycation of sorts, including:

  • lunch at Little Nonna’s – this was decadent and ever so pleasant, sitting out on the back patio. We especially loved their roast pork sandwich – it might be the most tender and delicious I’ve ever had.
  • brunch at Blue Corn – Tom got the huevos divorciados, and I got the huevos rancheros – both were a breath of fresh air, and the cafe de olla was delightful as well.
  • lunch at Second District Brewing – I will never get tired of the Czerw’s pierogis they have there, and we had the most amazing special hot dog – it was topped with green papaya salad, spicy peanut sauce, and crushed peanuts. A delightful, lingering lunch, and 1/4 the price of what we spent at Little Nonna’s.
  • lunch at Sabrina’s – this was our first time at the Fairmount location, which was a pleasant surprise – much more casual and diner-y than South Philly or University City. We stopped there on our way to the art museum, which was convenient. The food there is just Too Much, but it had been awhile, so it was good to go there again.
  • dinner at Amis – this is always a special treat, and we loved how quiet it was on a Wednesday evening.
  • breakfast & lunch at Suraya – this is our new favorite place! I wish it was closer. We meant to do this as part of a Fishtown crawl, but ended up just spending the entire time (about 3 hours) there. We started with a course of coffee (Stumptown!) and pastries (kouign amann and jalousie). While we waited for the lunch menu to be available, we had another course of za’atar + labne flatbread, with extra toum and chile sauce. Next up, we ordered the shish taouk sandwich, mushroom hummus, and crudite, with 961 Lebanese Pale Ale. Everything was delicious, and the presentation was gorgeous. We finished up with some 961 red ale. On our way out, I bought some orange blossom water, since they carry the best brand, and I’d rather buy it from them than online. Love love love! Too bad we didn’t take any pictures!
  • wine & snacks at Harper’s Garden – this turned out to be about what I expected – all style and no substance. It is a beautiful space, and the drinks and food were quite good, but the service blows and the scene is douchey. I still wish it had been a Tria, but I suppose even if it was a Tria, they wouldn’t have been able to avoid the scene. Best for us if Tria stays south of Chestnut, though we are still resentful of them closing Tria Fitler Square to supposedly open this wine garden that never happened and have it taken over by this lame restaurant group.
Little Nonna’s
Roast pork sandwich at Little Nonna’s. Photo by Tom Ipri.
Huevos divorciados at Blue Corn. Photo by Tom Ipri
Cafe de olla at Blue Corn. Photo by Tom Ipri
Papaya dog at Second District Brewing
Pierogis at Second District Brewing. Photo by Tom Ipri

DIY

Making

  • I made 2 more kinds of pickled asparagus – one was from the cold pack spicy green beans recipe I really like, and the other was a cold pack version of the same hot pack version I made last month from Saving the Season. There’s still technically one more cold pack pickled asparagus recipe I wanted to try, but I might wait until next year.
  • I started the process of making homemade bacon, using a recipe from Preserving Italy. I didn’t want an entire pork belly, so when I saw some pork belly for sale that was already sliced, I bought 2 slices. I made a curing salt mixture per the recipe and let it age in the fridge for a week. Next month it will be rinsed in wine and will continue to cure for another 3-5 weeks.
  • We saw the first strawberries of the season, so I tried a simple strawberry jam recipe from Preserving Italy. It was a good reminder that I am out of practice with canning. So much of it is about timing – my jam was ready but my jars weren’t in place, and in the 30 seconds it took to take my jars out of the oven and put down a towel and set up the funnel, my jam burned and got overcooked. The jam was boiling too hard when I poured it into the jars, such that the headspace came out all wrong by the time the jam settled. Oh well, there are at least 2 more strawberry jam recipes I want to try, so better luck next time. I hear the strawberry crop this year was pretty small, so I might only have one more chance this year.
  • It’s still a bit too early for tomatoes, but I saw some lovely heirloom tomatoes at Whole Foods that were supposedly local, so I bought them to make some caprese. The first one was mealy and not at all delicious, so I turned the second one into fermented tomato salsa (recipe from Ferment Your Vegetables). It’s good to have tomato salsa around again!
  • I had bought some tomatillos at Whole Foods to make posole, and I saved half of them to make a batch of my favorite salsa verde, which I had also run out of. Unfortunately, I experienced my first jar explosion in the canner; the boil was too rapid and it flipped the jar over. All that was salvaged from that batch was a small 4 oz jar. Lessons learned!
  • I canned a new batch of wine soaked carrots from Preserving Italy. I had bought some nice looking rainbow carrots from the hydroponic vendor at the Fitler Square farmers’ market, but unfortunately several of the carrots were quite woody (I’d never seen such a thing!). I’m sort of hoping the the hot pack process might have softened those carrots, but we’ll see.

Using

  • The only new preserve I opened this month was a peach almond marsala conserve I made last summer from Preserving Italy. As with all of my peach preserves, this was also delicious! The marsala adds a delightful touch, and the sliced almonds make for a fun texture. This one was a keeper.

Books

  • In my Malazan re-read, following Wertzone’s Better Malazan Reading Order, I finished Night of Knives (NoK), read The Bonehunters (TBH),  Return of the Crimson Guard (RoTCG), Stonewielder (SW), and started Reaper’s Gale (RG). I like this reading order so far, which integrates Steven Erikson’s and Ian Cameron Esslemont’s separate Malazan Book of the Fallen and Malazan Empire series. In the past, I had read both series separately, but I am enjoying reading them in this side-by-side manner. I think NoK works well before TBH, I appreciated RoTCG infinitely more in this placement than I had previously, and SW flows perfectly after RoTCG. Apparently there is some controversy about whether RoTCG should come before or after RG. I admit that right after TBH, I wanted nothing more than to go straight to RG, so it was frustrating to wait, but I got over it, and actually it was quite satisfying to go back to RG after the 2 Esselmont books. There is one plot point in RoTCG that would seem to take place after, not before RG, so I wonder if that is a continuity error on the part of the authors or if in fact RG should be read before RoTCG. Maybe next time I’ll try it the other way to see how it feels. NoK and RoTCG are still poorly written, and have terrible copy editing, with punctuation and spacing errors abounding, so my overall opinion of those books did not change. However, I now realize and appreciate how crucial the events of RoTCG are to the overall timeline, so despite its flaws, I think it is a must-read for any fan of the main series.
  • I read two Star Wars books this month: Leia, Princess of Alderan, and Lords of the Sith. The Leia book was by Claudia Gray, so of course it was good. I liked it a lot, though it wasn’t at the level of  Lost Stars or Bloodline. It still had lots of juicy reveals for the canon and good character development for Leia – part earnest, part “do you know who I am” entitlement, part learning some humility. And we got to meet a young Admiral Holdo. Lords of the Sith was fine. It had some interesting character development for Darth Vader, and it was kind of cool to read about Cham Sandula, but I thought it was bizarre that Cham never references his daughter Hera whatsoever. Jerk.
  • I finished The Night Masquerade, the final book of the Binti series. It got off to a slow start, but what an ending! I really enjoyed it, as I have the rest of the Binti novellas.
  • I read Defy the Stars, my first Claudia Gray book that wasn’t a Star Wars novel. It was so good! I seem to be enjoying sci-fi books with POVs from an AI; Abel might be the most sympathetic AI I’ve read yet, except for Breq in Ancillary Justice. I really want to read the sequel, but the Free Library doesn’t have it on Overdrive yet.
  • I read La Belle Sauvage, the first book of Philip Pullman’s new Book of Dust series. As with The Golden Compass, I was immediately drawn into this world. It was very well written, and I look forward to the next entry in this series.
  • I started Down Among the Sticks and Bones, which is the second book of Seanan McGuire’s Wayward Children series.

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May 2017: The Month in Tom and Holly

Life in Philly

Spring has not been behaving. It’s been mostly cold, then hot, then cold, and it’s been raining on and off. Where are the nice days in the 70s?!

View from the Walnut St bridge on a nice day

Overall, though, despite the weather, we’ve had a nice month in Philly. We took a South Street West walking tour via Jane’s Walk, led by our friend Marcus. We learned a few new things and enjoyed the company of our neighbors. We also went to our local neighborhood street festival, Plazapalooza. We even made it to our local beer garden twice this month!

Gray’s Ferry Triangles on the South Street walking tour
PHS South Street beer garden
Demolition begins at The Royal

Farmers’ Markets

It’s been a great month at the farmers’ markets, with asparagus and strawberries just about every weekend. We had to go 2 weekends without the Rittenhouse farmers’ market, which was a great excuse to go to Headhouse and get all the extra goodies there.

Headhouse farmers’ market bounty

Dining In

We’ve been able to keep up with a lot of home cooking this month. Here were some of our favorite new recipes:

No-fry Italian fried chicken
Apple cider chicken marsala
Beef asparagus stir fry
Shaved asparagus pizza
Roasted salmon from The Indian Family Kitchen
Spanish-inspired scallops

We’ve continued to try recipes from my friend’s food blog, A Good Carrot, though no longer in official recipe testing capacity. These were all delicious:

Cumin roasted carrots, Selva’s summer pilaf, salmon with za’atar salsa verde

Dining Out

We’ve been out a few times this month, mostly local favorites in the neighborhood, not much in the way of new places.

At the beginning of the month, we had a fun time at a Basque wine class at Jet Wine Bar.

We got out for a few brunches, which we hadn’t done in awhile – once at SouthGate, and once at Rex 1516.

Brunch at SouthGate

We went out for drinks and snacks after work a few times, both at Friday Saturday Sunday and at Tria Fitler Square.

Friday Saturday Sunday

We had an enjoyable date night one night at Sawatdee.

Curry pad thai at Sawatdee

At Plazapalooza, we finally tried Phoebe’s BBQ food cart, and at Headhouse Farmers’ Market we finally got to try Mom Mom’s Polish Food Cart.

Phoebe’s BBQ
Pierogis from Mom Mom’s Polish Food Cart

Finally, on Memorial Day, since we had the day off, we tried Butcher Bar for the first time, thinking we were in the mood for some meat in lieu of BBQing ourselves. Afterwards we treated ourselves to a drink at Village Whiskey.

Memorial Day lunch at Butcher Bar and Village Whiskey

DIY

We made a few things this month, starting with a new batch of homemade mustard. I tried a recipe for asparagus preserved in oil from Preserving Italy; it came out pretty well (though still not photogenic) compared to other preserved asparagus recipes I’ve tried, so I might try making another batch before asparagus season is over.

homemade mustard

I haven’t really been keeping up with the Food in Jars Mastery Challenge, but a few months late I did finally make a shrub for the first time, with strawberries and black pepper. It came out very nice, but I’m not sure how much I’ll use it.

Strawberry shrub -> gin cocktail

Tom got back into bread-making, this time with homemade biscuits. We enjoyed them with some fresh strawberries & cream.

Tom’s biscuits

Toward the end of the month I was itching to start fermenting again, so I got some early tomatoes from the farmers’ market to make some salsa, and I also started a batch of fermented escabeche (Mexican-style pickled carrots, onion & jalepeño).

Books

I started the month by finishing Midnight Taxi Tango, the second book in Daniel Jose Older’s Bone Street Rumba series. It was fine, but I didn’t enjoy it as much as the first book. I don’t remember what inspired me to do so, but I decided to re-read John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War, which I had first read in 2009. It was as good as I remembered it, and I continued with the second book in that series, The Ghost Brigades, which I had never read before and also enjoyed. Then, finally (!), Robin Hobb’s Assassin’s Fate came out, which is the last book of the Fitz and the Fool series and which I had been waiting for for a long time. It was a very satisfying end to a series that I was very invested in, and neatly wrapped up many storylines. However, I would have to say that it was a bit too obvious; it has less emotional impact because nothing was particularly unexpected, and I basically predicted the ending 2 years ago on a Robin Hobb forum. Anyway, that didn’t prevent me from re-reading it right away. Once I got through that, I picked back up with Old Man’s War and re-read The Last Colony and Zoe’s Tale (both tell the same story but from different POVs). Tom had told me about a cheap book on Kindle, DIY Fermentation, from which I got some interesting ideas for future projects.

Stitch Fix

I got a Stitch Fix for the first time in awhile. It was a good feeling, I definitely missed it (too bad I can’t afford to do it more often). I kept a beautiful skirt and a red top, and sent back a red purse, a white top, and a blue cardigan. We didn’t get a chance to take pictures, but I’ll try to take some next month. In the meantime here are some screenshots:

 

 

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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

May 2015: The Month in Tom and Holly

Life in Philly

The big news for this month is that Tom has a new job! Since the weather’s been mostly pleasant, we’ve been going out more, which is a nice change of pace. For Mother’s Day, we went up to Fox Chase to help Tom’s mom plant this year’s vegetable garden.

Mother’s Day gardening

May is the month for Plazapalooza, the only local festival we like going to because it’s small and mellow and not too crowded. We enjoyed a couple pulled pork grilled cheese sandwiches from Vernalicious, as well as some beers, and listened to some music before heading back home.

Plazapalooza 2015
pulled pork grilled cheese from Vernalicious

Farmers Markets

May is one of our favorite months for farmers’ markets, mostly because it’s the month of asparagus! It also marks the return of Headhouse Market, which is one of the better markets in town. We had occasion to go to Headhouse a few times this month when our regular farmers’ markets were canceled, so that was a treat.

Headhouse Farmers’ Market take

Dining In

We did a log of great cooking this month, much of it inspired by all that asparagus. It also helps that I bought a whole bunch of rosé.

One of the highlights was ricotta gnocchi with asparagus and prosciutto:

We had a lot of fun asparagus-related breakfasts, too, including duck eggs over asparagus and bacon on toast:

Dining Out

Tom was out of town at the beginning of May, so I took myself to Rival Bros and tried some of their new cold brewed coffee served on a nitro tap:

nitro cold brewed coffee and toast at Rival Bros

I also had some lovely shakshuka hummus from Dizengoff:

shakshuka hummus from Dizengoff

We also hit up brunch at Jet Wine Bar for some chilaquiles:

chilaquiles at Jet Wine Bar

We got lucky on Tom’s last day of work: SpotBurgers was on campus, and serving lobster rolls!

lobster roll at SpotBurgers

After work on Tom’s last day, we had a date night at Audrey Claire. Despite the fact that we live nearby, it was our first time eating there. It certainly won’t be the last! Everything was delicious, and it was way cheaper than we expected.

Audrey Claire photo by Tom Ipri

Books

I finished reading Stonewielder, book 3 of Ian Cameron Esselmont’s Malazan Empire series. It’s the first Esselmont book I actually liked; there are big improvements in his writing over Night of Knives and Return of the Crimson Guard. It still doesn’t come close to Erikson, but it’s a good addition to the Malazan world. I’m actually looking forward to the next book, which has taken weeks to ship, so I won’t start it until June.

I also read If I Ever Get Out of Here by Eric Gansworth, which is a young adult book about a Tuscarora boy attending an off-reservation junior high school. Wow. If you liked Sherman Alexie’s Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, you should read this book. If you hated True Diary, you should read this book (I think it’s better than True Diary). Anyway, comparisons aside, If I Ever Get Out of Here was a great story, and I especially enjoyed all the music references.

Another book I read this month was This One Summer, a graphic novel by Mariko Tamaki. The art was great, but the story didn’t do it for me.

Finally, I read Nocturnes, a short story collection by Kazuo Isghiguro. It was a quick, easy read, and quite enjoyable. Each of the 5 stories is somehow tied to music, which was the main reason why I picked this out from the used bookstore.

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