Sunday, 4 February 2007

Chocolate custard

On thursday morning Jane and I went skating at the Lasker Rink in Central Park. Not only are we both quite bad at skating but we had to help a cute little boy who adopted us. Luckily there is no photographic record of the three of us attempting to skate along hand in hand. If there were, I'd have to explain that it's not our fault he fell over! He insisted on skating with his feet too far apart!

That night we went to a party at Powerhouse Books' new home in DUMBO. Among other things, they were celebrating a new publication, Fletcher Street: photos by Martha Camarillo of a group of black men and boys in Philadelphia who haven't had it easy but have found an unusual way to keep their spirits up - they keep horses in abandoned buildings and ride them around town. (I'd love to link to the images but i can't find them online so i have done that sick thing of linking to Amazon. Sorry.) Then we went to an overpriced pseudo-Spanish bar around the corner and waited half an hour for a plate of cheese.

Here are Cecelia from Oscar Wilde bookshop and her girlfriend Ileana being tutored by Jane in the art of Argentine tango at a massive free dance in the Brooklyn Museum last night (Saturday). Every first Saturday of the month the museum has free entry and free activities. There was a live band and what looked like a thousand people tango'ing. The four of us prepared for the workout by dining at Cafe Steinhof - an Austrian place in Park Slope and an old favourite of Kim's. We thought of you, Kimmy!

I have been told by A Reader (Louise C as it happens) to write more about food. Well i had pork liver pâté with a berry compote and then shared a veggie thingy with Jane. It was potatoey. Oh and then i made us all late for the tango class by having chocolate custard. So we missed the start. That's why Jane had to give remedial classes to C&I. They picked it up with ease. And then a queue of other people started asking her for lessons.

Also on the food front, on Friday night we sought out Florent, a restaurant recommended by Daneet, the Mslexia editor who used to live here. Great French-inspired food imposed on an unreconstructed diner in the meat-packing district. I had something chickeny with green beans and mash. Is that enough information? And we shared a chocolate pudding that was all melty in the middle.

Today we took the Staten Island Ferry so Jane could see the Statue of Liberty and some tall buildings from the boat. We didn't know which tall building was which. I had a chocolate donut. You know how there is a diabetes epidemic in America? I think i can see why.

The leaflet from the information desk at the port said there was a Tibetan museum on Staten Island, so we had to go there, as we like to choose the most inaccessible, under-visited, untypical tourist destination at every port.

It turned out to be a half-hour bus ride followed by a long trek up Lighthouse Avenue which does indeed have a lighthouse on the top although it seems quite a way inland. The museum was founded by a woman called Jacques Marchais, so you can imagine our gaydar started twitching. Especially as she was on her third marriage by the time she founded the museum in her house.

I wanted to ask the guide if Jacques was bisexual but only managed to ask if she was b... b... b... bohemian. A Vietnam veteran (he had badges on his jacket saying so) with spiritual leanings asked whether she was b... b... b... buddhist. The answer to both was yes. She was an actress. She got her name because her father wanted a boy. She collected Tibetan Buddhist art and books and the museum is a sort of shrine that was purpose built and has been blessed in person by the Dalai Lama. There's a sand mandala there that has been allowed to stand instead of being blown away, so we can see it and learn from it.

OK, i could go off on a spiritual trip at this point, but the L Word starts in 3 minutes. We were meant to be going to Brooklyn to watch it at a bar called Cattyshack with Paige but alas i have done too much for the time of the month and am not goin' nowhere tonight. Littlebit is sitting on Jane's lap in the kitchen and everyone's waiting for someone who knows how to use the remote control. Which would be me.

—H x


Write Or Die said...

Fabulous. And yes, I agree, more food, please. Have you seen the book EVERYTHING I ATE (I bought my copy at Barnes and Noble in NYC) - can you take more pictures of your food? I love the pancakes - and David's pretty cute, too.

Helen Sandler said...

Look, i got a comment! And i have just changed the settings so everyone can comment without registering - sorry, i should have done that before.

Anyway, in response to this comment:
1. Please let's not start using language like 'Barnes and Noble' at this early stage in the discussion. If the group agrees it, we could perhaps use 'non-independent bookstore'.
2. I haven't seen that book but i did draw everything i ate on my last trip in a one-page cartoon and it was called 'Everything I Ate In New York' so it sounds like i may need to sue somebody who stole my idea.
3. I wish i had photographed everything i ate. I thought about it but i didn't do it and now it's too late.
4. David's taken. And so are you, big boy.

Frances said...

Hello Helen! Thanks for your email - I've tried to reply, but my emails to keep bouncing back! Have I got the address wrong, or is your inbox full up with messages from all your many admirers? - lots of love, Frances xxx

Helen Sandler said...

Hello Fan! No, my email stopped working last night. I'm off the grid! Or i would be if i didn't have a blog. Thanks for trying! H x