It only took us over a year, but Alex and I finally had dinner at Tia Pol, a closet-sized gem of a tapas restaurant on 10th Avenue on Saturday night. We live so close, it’s embarrassing that we hadn’t eaten there yet, but the thing with the proximity is that every time we’ve popped our heads in, taken note of the mob of people crushed against the entryway and the “at least an hour and a half” wait, we’ve rationalized that we’ll go another time — later. Well, six months had passed since our last “later,” when on Saturday, so we decided arriving at the criminally early hour of 6 p.m. would outsmart the crowds. The laugh was still on us but the 45 minutes were well worth the wait, the tight space not claustrophobic but cozy on a freezing night as we snugged into a row of coats while drinking our first then second (mon dieu!) glass of their delicious sangria. At the bar, we couldn’t resist trying one of almost everything — marcona almonds, potatoes with aioli and hot paprika, ham-wrapped artichoke hearts with manchego cheese, deep-fried spicy chickpeas and thick, fork-tender white asparagus stalks again with that blessed aioli.
February, 2007 Archive
Ah, right… So where were we? There were tarts best forgotten, fat, squishy pretzels, horribly-named “meatovers” and I’m sorry, but the rest of the week escapes me. However, I can assure you it was nothing interesting until Sunday when my friend Crystal decided that rather than going out for dinner, drinks or any other birthday party standards, this year she would keep the shenanigans as well as inevitable embarrassments within her apartment walls, purchasing a karaoke set, imploring us to bring excesses of sake and starting the party in the middle of the afternoon. Let’s just thank the heavens above that I averted the camera’s glare, didn’t not imbibe myself enough to get to crooning “Midnight Train to Georgia,” (though I may actually regret this — rest assured, nobody else does) or eat so many white chocolate ganache-filled green tea cookies that I began to reconsider my previous anti stance on this empty form of cocoa mass. Except that last part, which happened repeatedly.
To celebrate my sister-in-law’s swearing in to the New York bar on Monday, we went to Blue Smoke for lunch. I ordered a pulled pork sandwiched stacked about as high as my chin, and in a frightening act of who-is-this-girl and what-did-you-do-with-Deb, finished all but one or two bites of it. Later, we (mercifully) spent some quality time at the gym, and at the exact moment that Alex said “Mmm… leftover applewood-smoked chicken for dinner!” I realized not only was I still full, I had the dreaded Meat Hangover.
I wish I had something more eloquent to say about the miniature soft pretzels I made for the two Super Bowl parties we attended on Sunday, but every time I look at them, intelligent words escape me: they’re sooo cute! Are they not the fattest, more adorable little things you have ever seen?! They were so plump, all their holes closed up and while I tried to twist them into the traditional pretzel shape, as if all they really wanted to be when they baked up was a dinner roll. With turkey and mustard, I believe they requested.
When I first saw a recipe for a Lemon Confit Shortbread Tart in Wednesday’s New York Times, I was still too deep in my cooking-failure funk to consider trying my hand with it, although I did say out loud and to nobody in particular, “Well, doesn’t that look nice?” But when making weekend plans with my parents and my mother told me that she’d seen some lemon tart in the paper and really wanted to make it, I knew it was destiny, and secretly rejoiced that it would be someone else coughing up for nine lemons.