Friday, October 31, 2008

Anonymous Gallery

I generally skip over even the emails that I've signed up for, but today I actually read my Fecal Face email for the first time in a while. I guess this isn't really a super update, but I was clicking around with that email as a starting point and came across the Anonymous Gallery in New York City. I definitely miss the gallery scene, and would love to take another week like I did last year to go around and observe artists at work and gallery shows. Basically this is just me feeling sentimental about art, and wishing I had some coffee before the electrician gets here. Oh yes, and Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Tough ta-tas. I like food, and I like blogging about it.
We went to the Coronado Farmer's Market today, and while it was small, we found some great treasures. PS. If you haven't been to Coronado Island, GO. It is beautiful and has a spectacular view of downtown and the bay. It seems pretty "quaint" in a yuppie-ish way, but I'll take pretty scenery over ugly tenements any day. The farmer's market only had a few tents, but we picked up a pound of roma tomatoes and a basket of jalapenos for $3, and then caroused over to the organic cheese tent.
Clearly, Ashton and I have cheese issues, namely obsession. We seem to eat cheese in every meal and in between meals whenever possible. This was no ordinary cheese tent. I have never tried cheese curds before, but according to the dude there it is what is rendered early in the cheese making process and contains less fat but just as much flavor. It doesn't hold freshness as long, which isn't really a problem for us. We sampled a few kinds and went with Mike's Firehouse Cheddar, a garlic quark spread, and a block of goat cheese.
In our culinary enthusiasm following our purchases, we spontaneously decided to start growing basil in a window box at our apartment. Thus a spur of the moment trip resulted in a window box and small basil plant to start our little garden. It seems easy to grow and doesn't require much room, so perhaps we'll invest in some rosemary or thyme to expand our little venture. This being said, we got even more enthusiastic and created the following dish.

We sliced up two of the tomatoes and splashed some olive oil across the rows, then laying about one small or one half of a large basil leaf on each slice. Then Ashton diced a large jalapeno and put a piece in the center of each one, and I added a dab of the garlic quark and sprinkled black pepper on them all. Then we baked them for 15 minutes at 250 degrees, at which point they were bubbling and hot and looked a little something like this:

The basil had curled nicely, the cheese had melted superbly, and the jalapenos had released all their delicious juices onto the piping hot tomato slices. They were a little soggy, so we added some toast since we didn't have any crackers. The tomatoes were excellent, but they all had a bit of a bitter aftertaste, which I think had something to do with the cheese. Great for dipping, perhaps not for melting. Since you never can tell with jalapenos, I think this one was somewhat mild, but on the last few I sprinkled just a little garlic salt and crushed red pepper and it gave it just the spice it needed.

Basically Ashton and I are the shit, and everyone is jealous of our awesome gastrointestinal adventures. The end.


Ashton and I have come to the realization that in the month we have been in southern California, we have succumbed to the hippie lifestyle. Here is a a list of reasons why:

1) We vowed to buy the bulk of our produce at local farmer's markets.
2) We are building our own window box herb garden.
3) We voted with absentee ballots because California is pretty much strictly Democratic and voting in Virginia (a massive swing state) is more likely to make a difference. (Or at least as much of a difference as two votes make.)
4) We are pretty much only exploring local eateries and shops for all of our consumer needs.
5) Both of us are volunteering for some local things (me- San Diego Museum of Art, Ashton- a nonprofit/food bank)
6) On our refrigerator there's a list of all the free local outdoor things that we are scheduling our lives around.
7) Despite falling gas prices, we are still basically just riding our bikes or walking everywhere to be more environmentally conscious.
8) We are recycling everything we can and re-using as much as possible.

Not to mention once we get settled with jobs and can afford some furniture, we're setting up the "art room" a.k.a. my bedroom, sort of, to start making arts and crafts again. I love the hippie, tree-hugging lifestyle.

Monday, October 27, 2008

this week.

I have received a complaint that all of my latest entries have something to do with food. Well, with no job and limited friends, generally the highlights of the week are good meals! Okay, BESIDES food, we've gone to the beach several times (which is about 10 minutes away- HA!), explored the surrounding neighborhoods (they're cool- HA!), and explored Coronado, which seemed strikingly like New England, but with palm trees. Oh, and also I'm volunteering at the San Diego Museum of Art, so hopefully I'll meet some people and see some awesome things there as well.

Ok, back to the important stuff. BRUNCH OF THIS WEEK. Mel and Travis, accompanied with the darling Elliott, brought us to the end all be all glutton capital of all brunchdom- the $15 all you can eat El Torito brunch with unlimited mimosas, fresh waffles, a fully manned taco bar and omelette bar, along with all the regular Mexican treats. Let me just tell you, things got wild. Before we trekked over to brunch though, we checked out the Swap Meet outside the San Diego Sports Arena to work up our appetites looking at weird things and holding pygmy bunnies, which sent me into such a state of hysterics it was a little embarrassing. Still, I managed to hold myself together until the main event of brunch. Here's a small sample of my experience.

This plate lasted for about 30 seconds before total demolition was achieved. As you can see, I began strongly, focusing on mainly the Mexican portion offered, emphasizing rice, beans, a tamale, some mashed sweet corn, veggies, and a variety of marinated meats. MMMM.

Plate 2 is as follows:

I'd never actually tried a chille relleno before, and I was really pleasantly surprised. The outer coat of cornmeal was a little much, but it was just the right amount of spice and cheese. A definite exploration of taste. I got my first corn rolled carne asada taco from the taco mistress, coated with salsa picante and a tomatillo-avocado sauce. DELICIOUS. Carne asada is definitely meat to the Spanish gods. And the sausage! Holy cow! I skipped it the first go around because I wanted to focus on delights not readily available to me, but on the urging of our comrades I gave it a go and I WAS NOT SORRY. I don't know what it is about El Torito's sausage, but DAMN. IT WAS GOOD. Then the obligatory chicken enchilada, which wasn't the greatest, but certainly wasn't the worst.

At this point things were slowing down a bit, with champagne flowing like water and our bellies slowly expanding. I thought it best to choose wisely over what would be my last plate, and here's the story of Plate 3.

I'd forgone the waffles until now (as Travis had advised me to wait until they brought out the fresh hot ones), and with a variety of toppings available I chose simply, settling for a dash of honey butter with maple syrup. Great stuff. Melt in your mouth stuff. I'd replicated the carne asada taco from Plate 2, and was again not disappointed. The only qualm with it was that the girl seemed to rush cooking the corn tortillas, so they were a tad chewy, but certainly not indigestible. Just for kicks, I also revisited the sausage and veggies, the veggies being not a hot thus not as delicious. As seen by the second photo, I signaled my surrender fully and completely by this point. By then I was reaching my limits of obesity and waddled to the car to go home and die slowly.

In conclusion, the El Torito brunch experience was certainly an experience, with its ups and downs, but ultimately I don't know how often I could go to such a place, where mustachioed men waltz over with bottles of champagne, willing to bathe you in it as you lie in a gluttonous stupor with a trail of rice along your bulging belly. Maybe next week.

Friday, October 24, 2008

urban solace

Oh man. Reason #8493 to love San Diego. Everyone here seems to love brunch just as much as us! I'm glad we've come to a place that values the most majestic of all meals. Last week Ashton and I scouted the San Diego Sunday Brunchmaster site to find the perfect first brunch of our San Diego experience. Ultimately we decided that Urban Solace was going to be the benefactor of our business. Bluegrass Sunday brunch? Yes please. Within bike riding distance? Sure! Everything sounded good. And I assure you, everything TASTED good.

First off, Ashton had the portobello sandwich, complete with lemon chive aioli, crisp lettuce, tomato, and sweet potato fries. I'm not the biggest advocate of sweet potato fries (mixing the sweet and savory seems silly to me) but these were pretty good. Not the best (Ipanema anyone??) but pretty good. The actual mushroom itself was a giant steak of a shroom, juicy and dribbling with perfection. An excellent sandwich.
I, craving the lost tastes of the South, got the Cheddar n' Chive biscuits and gravy, which was definitely southern-inspired, but a more "Western" take on it. The biscuits themselves were heaven. Light, fluffy, delicious. The sausage was a tad sweet, but the gravy was a cheesy, gravy-licous experience. And while I find watermelon often bland and boring, THIS particular slice was cool, refreshing, and just the right amount of sweet. Perfect. I annihilated every last bite. Ashton fought bravely, but eventually had to call it quits on the mountain of sweet potato fries.

Don't let those last few morsels fool you. I had a clean plate by the end. Also, I might add, the mimosas were excellent, albeit a smidge expensive, and Ashton's bloody mary came with a lemon, lime, and huge stalk of celery. Nice touches, and it was an excellent shade of spicy. At $6 and $7 a pop, I didn't feel like we could indulge as we usually would, but the ones we had were lip smackin' good.
Ah, the bluegrass. What can I say? It seemed almost for a moment that we were in the Deep South. The cirleque iron railings, patio, and 3 man band complete with cowboy hats and a banjo, whilst enjoying biscuits n' gravy.... ahhh. It really was an absolutely stellar day.
In conclusion, Urban Solace was the perfect choice for our introduction to San Diego Sunday Brunch. The drinks were a tad pricey, but the food was excellent and the prices were reasonable. Service I'd give a B- to in terms of timeliness, but an A in terms of friendliness. Now I think this week it will be El Torito for us, with its $15 brunch and Mexican buffet with endless mimosas?!?!? YES!!!!!

Monday, October 20, 2008


not the greatest, but i mean, i haven't done this since i was a kid! yay carving!

be prepared.


Friday, October 17, 2008


the cranberries

are cool.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

farmie markie

Today was a good day. I thought it was going to suck, but became an A+ day instead of a C-.

Blah blah blah I was going to explain all the job hunting we did, and how it seemed like we had more prospects today, but who cares? We went to the beach! And watched doggies play! And then we went to the North Park Farmer's Market!

The Farmer's Market was awesome. I think we got there towards the end part of it, but there was still plenty to see (and eat). We got to sample a bunch of things, and ended up buying some pumpkin butter and some Kenyan vegan snacks, complete with Ginger Green Tea. It was totally the perfect end to the day. Well, the afternoon. Tonight 2 of our German/Long Island friends are coming and we are hitting the town with them.

Should be good.

Monday, October 13, 2008

rival schools cultivates friendships

It's becoming rarer for me to want to go to a show anymore. It used to be something that I did much more frequently, but jaded cynicism, age, and just a general lack of enthusiasm over the last few years has brought me to a point where it has to be A) a band I am a superfan of, B) a band I've never seen and always wanted to, or C) the biggest social event of the year where I know I will have fun, dammit, whether I like it or not!

Rival Schools fits solidly into choices A and B. I love love love this band, and since their ONE full length album came out when I was in high school, I've never been able to see them play. When Ashton told me that they were playing in San Diego down the street in 2 days... this cemented my love for both him (for seeing it the listing) and San Diego (for hosting this momentous event).

I also love Rival Schools for the part they had to play in the meeting of my female counterpart, the lady herself, the one and only Annie Duffy, whose fate and mine became intertwined one night in Newport News. It involved a dance, a water cooler, a hemp necklace, Kid Dynamite and Rival Schools. Nuff said.

The show was, in a word, indescribable. There couldn't have been more than 60 people in a total Nanci Raygun-esque venue, and the fact that California is completely non-smoking is another total plus. AND, to prove the stars were aligned in our favor, the drink special was PBR. Obviously the gods were smiling upon us this evening. Walter is someone who definitely holds a place on my list of "people that if I had a chance to meet and hang out with would definitely try to seduce". You know how sometimes you go to a show for a band you really like, and even if you've seen them before, you sit at a small table with friends in exciting anticipation, knocking back beers faster than you mean to because you are literally salivating with excitement, and then the lights suddenly dim, and everyone rushes forward and the first note of the first song rings out? That moment is always a resonating one, and this was no exception.

What made it even better was that both Ashton and I had been scoping the crowd, coming up with desperate ploys to engage people in conversation, hoping to result in new friends. As it turns out, we didn't even have to try, because as I was getting up to grab another beer, I felt a tap on my shoulder and lo and behold, a septum-pierced, tattooed, adorable cherub of a lady inquires about Ashton's Texas is the Reason hoodie. Needless to say, we bit hook line and sinker and didn't let this golden opportunity slip by. By the end of the night we had been invited to a secret show in LA and camping this coming weekend. STOKED. For as outgoing as Ashton and I are, we are clumsy weirdos when it comes to making new friends.

The point of this is that Rival Schools has once again played a part in what might prove to be the start of a great friendship. Walter... thanks.

Oh, and the show was life-changing. Their second encore was "World Invitational", which is my absolute favorite song on United by Fate. The set was mind-blowing in itself, but the addition of this was just the proverbial cherry on top. Definitely on the list of top 10 favorite show experiences of all time.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


where do i start? we had a totally wild journey from richmond, va to san diego, ca. it took about 5 days of driving, 6 days of traveling in general, give or take a few hours. we saw the southwest, visited the childhood home of george w. bush, saw THE THING, and went through the wing energy capital of the world (somewhere, texas). ashton has the details logged but now it just seems like a long time ago.

we set up camp in oceanside for a week, and managed to find our own place in north park, san diego where we are currently residing! we've lived the good life for the last week, going to the beach, finding a perfectly fine boxspring in an alley, setting up shop in our really cute apartment, applying for jobs, going to balboa park, going to the beach, finding a farmer's market in little italy, downtown, and just exploring and having a great time. it really is the life out here. and the MUSIC! i swear, there's an awesome show every week, at least. we are going to see RIVAL SCHOOLS in 2 days! i am a huge rival schools fan, and this is a total dream come true.

california really is the place to be. i am completely content here. there is no reason for me to leave, ever. now we just need jobs so we can make friends. and i want nico too. soon!