Category Archives: Pie Hole (Food)

Try, Try Again

Despite the fiasco that was The Oyster Incident of 2008, I ventured forth and took another cooking class (#247) with two of my favorite colleagues, CJ (Left) and Bubbles (R). This class was “Pot Pies & Meat Pies” and it was deliciously fun. We made little pot pies full of all kinds of goody goodness (salmon, clams, ground beef, etc.) and then we ate some of our creations (including an empanada-like fried dish) and made some home-made potato chips! Yum.

Why I Love My Gig(s) / Clients / Job..Whatever

One of the BEST gifts I’ve gotten recently is a Harry & David’s gift box! The box was too much for me to consume on my own and it came at the PERFECT time. I brought the box into the office of my New England client, and shared it during a recent all day staff meeting. AND, we polished the goodies off with a champagne toast (don’t tell anybody!) from a bottle I had been riding around with for weeks (yeah, let’s not analyze why I’m rollin’ around with champagne in my car…lol).

Seriously yall, if you ever need to send the perfect gift, check them out. And if you ever need to send ME the perfect gift, look no further.

Oh, and as I mentioned before, this is why I love my OTHER client too…


*Photo of fridge at NY Client HQ

I am in NY frequently for this client, and last month we had a few days of strategy sessions, and friday night the office-based team hosted us for a happy hour. With.Homemade.IceCream.And.Cookies.And.Beer. There are only 3 other things in the world that I think about aside from tasty beverages and food….so I was darn near in heaven. And no, I will not tell you what the other three things are…but you can guess in the comments!

Oh, and as a Thank You to the NY office for the Happy Hour…We (the virtual team) sent a Harry & David’s gift box. Coincidence or Genius? You decide.

And tell us in the comments how you feel about your work, profession, job or 9-5! Are you doin’ it for love or for money?

The Oyster Incident of 2008


*click on photo to see “notes”

If this wasn’t so funny, I’d probably be more embarassed. Because I like to cook, and I like to take cooking classes, I have a repuation as a good cook. Which, of course, I am. However, every now and then, something goes horribly awry.

A couple of weeks ago I cooked dinner for SpinChick, a colleague, friend and in the top 10 Most Hilarious People I Know, as evidenced by the fake tattoo incident at the gym, back in December. On the night in question, I whipped up my Tomato Mozzarella Grilled Chicken, Garlic Green Beans, and I attempted to add a little Southern “flair” with some deep fried oysters. Unfortunately, the oil got a little out of hand, some oysters ended up a bit “crispy” and the words “should you use water on a grease fire?” were uttered, with a little bit of a scream at the end of the question. We kept our “cool” and used flour to smother the flames (not pictured). We prided ourselves on our courage in the face of grave danger (read overwhelming smoke fumes) and rewarded ourselves with a couple of “beverages” to calm our nerves.

Fortunately no people were harmed in this exhibit of riduclarity, I cannot however, say the same for certain edible bivalve mollusks. I’m certain that the Raspberry Vodka Tonics had nothing to do with it. Spinchick DID say “the two oysters that survived were very tasty! I can see where you were going with it!”

Who says people aren’t generous and kind anymore?


Things To Do In New York

Happy belated Valentine’s day yall! I was up to the usual ridicularity. I had hibachi with KJ, Charles and Papaya, drank some beer and fell asleep with visions of sugar plums dancing in my head (or maybe I was drunk!..just kidding). In a fit of unmitigated domesticity I baked mini-cupcakes for friends and colleagues! I actually mailed out a valentine’s package to my nephew! (A cookbook for kids, a card and some candy). There must be a full solar eclipse coming.

Despite work being insane. I headed back to NY last weekend. I met up with LN at Arena Studios for a Molly Crabapple gallery show. We lasted about 10 minutes. The draw was art and “free champagne”, we couldn’t think of a better way to kick off a friday night! But the studio was hella-packed, hella-hot and hard to move around. Plus, it just wasn’t either of our “cup of tea”, the people watching was FANTASTIC though. There was a burlesque model in the back and people could sketch if they so desired. I opted out of that and headed back to the champagne! We ditched the show and headed to get some italian food after walking 40-eleven hundred blocks. The food was okay, but the drinks were the winners (Clementinis!). We killed time jibber-jabbering about race issues, socio-economic issues, travel and women’s reproductive rights…it was fabulously nerdtastic, then we rushed uptown to catch Paul Mooney’s late set at Caroline’s. This was my third time seeing him and I will never get tired of his humor and insights.

Saturday I caught up with SJ in lower east village (?) for lunch, but we ditched that since we’d both eaten already and hit the Italian Wine Merchants saturday Wine Seminar. SJ is into Italian wines and this class focused on Tuscans and Super-Tuscans for you vinoheads. It was one of the best wine classes I’ve attended (and cheap!). A Beautiful venue, proscuitto, an array of cheeses, breads and 7 wines. And they were cracking lobster tails when I realized I should switch to water. We chatted up the whole place and I got invited to dinner by a random family of four, while SJ got hit on by a cutie-pie who was about 4 inches shorter than she is! We headed next door after the class for…more wine of course!

I had to decline the dinner invite to head to Thomas Pink to pick up a gift for KC’s birthday party later that night, then showered and changed and met Josh and Dennis at Vlada for drinks, then we walked over to Ariba Ariba! for food I’ve had outside of Mexico. Actually, this was the best restaurant/non home-cooked meal I’ve had in weeks. And this was the worst (also in NYC). We cruised in Dennis’ pearl white Mercedes CLK to KC’s uber-bachelor pad in Chelsea and I realized I’m These kids have moolah! All in all a good night of dancing (techno, really? really?) and spoon bread (no that is not a euphamism). Fortunately there was no pork fried rice at 5am this time. But I can’t make any promises about next time!

Let me know what your favorite NYC spots are! Or where is your favorite restaurant/eatery in the

It’s Getting Hot in Here…NYC edition

I’m just back from New York. The plan was to go see the Kara Walker exhibit at the Whitney, catch up with a friend or two and enjoy restaurant week, maybe watch a little hotel t.v. and get some work done.

Who was I kidding?

Friday started off great with a special delivery (yes, that’s cryptic, I know. lol). Unfortunately, the weather turned all The Day After Tomorrow on us. Snowflakes as big as tissues on an already snowpacked tundra-looking land was just one more reason KJ and I were ready to get outta dodge. Through snow, sleet and rain (really) we made it into Brooklyn by 8:30pm and into Manhattan by 9:30, just enough time to check-in, stash the car and hit Caroline’s Comedy Club to see Sheryl Underwood’s late set. There was no question that it was going to be hella-funny, and she didn’t disappoint, we laughed our way through 3 martinis each and had to explain some of the more “urban” jokes to the unsuspecting folks of the non-brown variety. After the set, at the bar (waiting for KJ) Sheryl walked up with several people in tow and uttered the most beautiful phrase in the human language: “Hey cutie, come hang out and let me buy you a drink.”

How could I say “No” to that? Yeah, of course I didn’t. Thus began a night that I can barely put into words here (to protect the innocent AND the guilty). KJ and I hung out with Sheryl and her friends, at the bar and acted up until the wee hours of the morning. Sheryl is razor sharp smart, kind and talented.  It was one of those nights, that was magic, where you don’t want to be anywhere other than where you are in that moment in time. It was not the last we’d see of the crew though.

Saturday, we hit the Whitney where KJ hustled a student discount and the exhibit was worth the journey. It wasn’t easy to get through either physically (so many people) and emotionally (antebellum south images of race/sex/brutality, etc.) kind of like my reactions to Frida Khalo’s work…Good art makes you feel, and not always good. My favorites where “Creme in your Coffee and Chocolate in your Milk” sketches from the 90’s and one of the video pieces from 2004. The exhibit moves out to UCLA’s Hammer Museum for the rest of the spring, so catch it if you can. Amazing. Here’s a brief, but good, everyman’s synopsis of the exhibit “My Enemy, My Complement, My Oppressor, My Love.”

We scooped up a couple bottles of wine to meet KC and the crew at his pad in Chelsea to whoop it up before heading back uptown to see The Color Purple on Broadway. Thanks to S for the hookup on a 1/2 price tickets link! The show was phenomenal. Chaka Khan was funny and fierce. I’ve seen her live before and she didn’t disappoint, she was so obviously born for the stage.

After the show we met up with Sheryl and the crew. again. until the wee hours. again. And she wouldn’t let us pick up the tab. again. KC and his crew met back up with us, toasts were made, friends were hugged and my favorite quote of the night was: “That’s why they put me in jail last Thursday!” As uttered by an arrogant “D” list rap personality who shall remain unnamed (hey, I ain’t crazy!).

We metro’d downtown for more club hopping KC and Kirk, but not before I got into a rather delightful conversation with a housing-challenged gentleman who regaled me with tales of his walk from Richmond (Virginia) to Atlanta (Georgia). Before we hopped off the train, we promised each other we’d meet up in Palermo, Italy one day.

The rest of the night gets sketch, Rated R/x, NSFW, TMI, WTF? and OMG! So, I’ll just let you fill in whatever story you’d like, I am generous enough to fill in the details like: Pork fried rice at 5am?

Sunday, we sent Sheryl a gift bag over to her hotel before heading to brunch at Junior’s over in Brooklyn off Flatbush. We decided to stay in Brooklyn and watched the game. I was down for the Pats the whole way, and I couldn’t be mad that they lost because the Giant’s defense really won that game. I lost a dollar to Charles who flip-flopped at half-time. Argghh! It was in the 40’s in NY and I guess that is like The Day After Tomorrow to them, Ella had the heat on in her apartment and when I woke up from my nap, I was convinced that I was in hell (and after the weekend, who could be surprised?). But then I realized I had on my hoodie and was too close to the radiator.

Whew. That was close.

I have to be back in NY on Wednesday. Who else is scared?


Not Drunktastic


Sorry I’ve been off the grid the last few days. Work is getting busier by the week including new trips on the horizon (a return trip to Miami and a trip up to Toronto and Montreal). After the hustle of the last few weeks I was ready for a mini-road trip and headed down to Maryland where I met up with The Entreprenuer (TE) and The Attorney (TA). TE is a photography aficionado and TA is a “culture vulture” so we hit the Corcoran Musuem for the Annie Leibovitz exhibit: A Photographer’s Life.

The exhibit was really amazing. I loved her portraits of Jamie Foxx, Oprah, Colin Powell and a couple of shots of Serejevo and Rawanda the most. Wandering the museum with TE and TA was also a pleasure because we all felt comfortable going our own way so that we could linger where we wanted and get drawn into whatever compelled us. I loved how most of the photographs were black & white, but every now and then there’d be something in glorious color. Likewise most of the photographs were pretty large, but there were groupings of small prints that forced you to get intimate with the exhibit (wait, that didn’t come out right).  There was also an Ansel Adams exhibit in-house and that was interesting though I’m not a big fan of landscape photography.

We ended up acting a fool and having a good time which led us to drinks and bad, bad (but oooh so good) food at Gladys Knight’s Chicken and Waffles in DC and a late night, raucous showing of Tyler Perry’s new movie: Why Did I Get Married? Now if you’ve ever been to an African American film, at an African American theatre, with a packed African American audience, I don’t need to tell you what went down. Let’s just say that everybody had a good time and thought that the characters on the screen could hear their individual comments.

Sunday, TA insisted on watching Inside Washington so I mustered up the energy to hit the workout room and put in some time on the treadmill to combat the previous evening’s fried goodness and preempt the afternoon’s revelry.  TE picked us up and we headed out to Linganore Winery where we met up with The Politician (TP) for the Jazz and Wine festival. And by festival I mean hundreds of people, in camp chairs with coolers full of crackers, cheese, grapes and summer sausage. It was great to see a diverse crowd (ethnicity, age, families, LGBT, groups of friends, etc) and to relax in the sunshine on a near perfect day listening to the David Bach Consort and wondering when exactly we became our parents? Wait, we’re not our parent’s yet but these two are.

Despite the wonderful nectar available (I highly recommend the Skipjack, TE’s favorite and the Sangria, TA’s favorite) no one was “Drunktastic” at least not in our group. But there were a few others who may have been. To include the 3 women next to us who drank at least 5 bottles of wine, the old white dude who kept hitting on all the older black women, the barefoot hippie teenagers twirling and kicking up dust, and the saxonphone player who kept coming out into the crowd to check out women. I joked at one point that there was only two ways that the day could be better, and one of them actually came to fruition. And thats all I’m gonna say about that!

Currently I

Currently I would like to: find the perfect motorcycle at the perfect price.

Currently I am listening to: Robin Thicke and Mary J. Blige.

Currently I am reading: High Society by Ben Elton.

Currently I am craving: Mexican Food. Scratch that…GOOD Mexican Food.

Currently I’d rather be: Snuggled up in bed with someone special, drinking coffee and reading the paper.

Currently I am worried about: Getting the rental unit finished for the new tenants before I have to leave for New Hampshire.

Currently I am glad: That I stuck with it and can now proclaim that I am a juggler! 3 Balls Baby! Wait, that didn’t come out right…

Currently I am trying to figure out: The perfect balance between what I want to do and what I HAVE to do, and maintaining a sustainable pace of life so I can be healthy, happy and productive. Anyone figured this out yet?

Currently I am reflecting on: What a great weekend I had at someone else’s million dollar brownstone in DC, with an amazing kitchen that I got to test out with my famous Rasta Pasta recipe and grilled asparagus and eggplant and chicken-apple sausage…with the most comfortable bed in the world and icy-cold A/C…that I don’t have to pay the mortgage on.

What are you doing currently?

Metaphors, Similes, Analogies & Comparisons


Photo: Somewhere In the Indian Ocean. One of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen in my life, we had 3 nights in a row like this and Venus (the planet, not the tennis player) was very bright in the sky. The weather was warm and breezy…perfect.

Life As A House

Upon returning to the US 6 weeks ago, I attended my brother’s wedding reception then promptly slept for two weeks. I ate as many vegetables as possible and declined to turn my cell phone on. Since then I’ve slowly climbed out of my shell, and looked around only to delight in the fact that it is summer. And still early summer at that. Cookouts have been had, toes have been dipped, 18 holes of golf here and there, 9 holes there, tennis and hiking (okay, ONE hike).

I also really, really needed a break from everything. I am not good a slowing down, and when I do I usually stop altogether and I had to really allow myself to just sit for a good while and regroup. I have been going full out since last September, and though everything I’m doing seems (and generally is) fun, rewarding and productive, it is also exhausting sustaining that pace. So I’ve also spent a fair bit of time reading: Backpack, Woman: An Intimate Geography, Chocolate, Eleven Minutes, Fever Pitch, The Curios Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, and so on. I love when I get on reading kicks, one of my favorite ways to fall asleep. I’ve also put in a fair bit of movie viewing time since so much came out while we were gone, films: Blood Diamond, The Departed, Fantastic Four: Silver Surfer, Failure to Launch, etc.

In between that I’m trying to fix up one of the rentals that was just vacated and it struck me how similar the process of fixing up a house and tending to your life can be. I had to do an assessment, figure out what the priorities were, purchase the materials and get to work, slowly but surely, realizing it won’t all get done in a day. And so it is with me. I’m working on my physical health in much the same manner. Going to the gym, eating niblets of things that grow from the earth, avoiding things that end in -ookies, -ake, and -ied. I’ve lost a whopping 4lbs in 4 weeks, I’m convinced its my MIND. My summer goals are:

Workout: Health = #1 Priority

Work: Have Fun Everyday while delivering GREAT service

Learn to Juggle: I’m t-h-i-s close…

Buy a motorcycle. I got my license last summer, and again this depends on how long I’ll be in the USA.

Travel Plans: Depending on how one of the proposals I have in turns out, I may be in the country for a while. If it doesn’t pan out, I’ll probably head back to Latin America in October. If it does, it would be totally fun to work with this group for a stretch, then I’ll probably head to Latin America then Thailand in late Spring 2008. God willin’ and the creek don’t rise, as we say in the south.

Working 9 to 5

Well, not really, but I’m LOVING it. small and medium clients are rolling, proposals out to two others, and some possible international opportunities on the table. I keep thinking..”oh, after I do X I’ll settle down and get a real job…” but I have realized a) I HAVE a real job, and I love it and b) I don’t have to settle down if I don’t want to. Indeed my worst fear is that I’ll fall madly in love and desire to abandon my vagabond ways. I’ll be out in California for most of July. Part work, Part Play. I’m hoping for some quality time with my colleagues, some Napa Valley nectar, some exercise and to hang out with some Semester @ Sea folks. I’ve already hit DC, New York, Chicago and Indiannapolis since I’ve been back (for work), so I guess I’m back in the saddle.

Friday Night Lights

I learned a couple of years ago that I don’t do Friday night dates well, especially first dates or “big” dates. I mean if you have a good friday that means you’ve hit the gym, gone to work, run errands (dry cleaner’s, liquor store-what?), maybe pampered yourself a bit (mani/pedi?) and then to go on a date at 7 or 8 pm? Not me, I am too used to being in the bed by 10:30pm. By the time you add up dinner and a movie its damn near midnight! And goodness forbid if there’s some potential for hanky panky…I’m TIRED. No wonder I’m single, call me on Saturday.

I also had a Friday night recently where I dropped in on not one, not two, but THREE different events, and they couldn’t have been more different. A neighborhood block party, a margarita dinner and a bachelorette party with a Pole Dancing instructor. Yeah, you read that right. I thought it was cute but being more of a “beer and darts” kind of girl, I watched for a little while then escaped to return to the block party. whew. that was close.

Like Water for Chocolate

One of the things I missed about life on a ship is access to a kitchen. Since I’ve been back I’ve been on a culinary run. My family loves my Rasta Pasta and I’ve even got them digging whole wheat pasta! My nephew and I have been living it up and have added a Monkey Cake (complete w/ a banana) and homemade donuts for Father’s Day to his growing list of culinary masterpieces. My favorites so far have been the fish tacos and the lamb gyros, both of which were new attempts for me.

My Mom made a Crab Crusted Steak one night, and my dad pulled all the stops out on a Crab Boil so, the fact that I’ve lost 4lbs is starting to sound like a pretty amazing feat no?

Tell me how you are doing and what your summer goals are in the comments or leave a link to your blog. Cause I’m nosey like that.

#4: Cooking Class: Vietnam

This was hands down my favorite cooking class. Possibly the best one I’ve ever taken, and as you know, I’ve taken one or two 😉

First, the class was all of $36 including our crazy taxi ride way out to the facility. If you are EVER in Vietnam and you like to cook (or eat) head out to the Vietnam Cookery Center.

Second, I arranged it myself and ended up w/ 7 of my SAS students who wanted to go…so we did. And they LOVED it. That’s Isaiah aka “Zeke” pictured, Shaan got into it and here’s a couple pics of the remaining 5 students I took.

Third, the chef and his assistants were hella-funny, great humor, phenomenal facility, great menu and all the little touches that most places don’t do. The let us take pictures w/ the head chef, gave us each a “diploma” and each of us had our own individual work station and we followed along and made our own meals to our tastes as the chef led.

The cooking class in China was a favorite in terms of being in a top notch international facility w/ real chefs in training. India was great because of the outdoor facility and evening of relaxation and Capetown’s class was great for the info on spices and the spices that I shipped back home. In fact, I just made a Chicken Braai for my family w/ some of those spices…and it was goooooood!