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August 21, 2012

24 Aug

As I sit on an 8-hour flight back from Germany on Air France—the worst airline in the world that offers no in-flight entertainment except for “Mirror Mirror” playing up on the tiny communal screen and with three crying infants in my vicinity who really need to get aborted—I decided to finally pick Poverexia back up after 10 days of gluttony.

I was in Germany all week for work but extended my stay on either weekend (on my own dime… very anti-poverexia) and decided to visit the 3 most boring countries in Europe since those are the ones bordering Germany and were the ones I’d never been to that were easiest to take weekend trips to: Belgium, Luxembourg and Switzerland.

As it had been a while since my last EuroTrip, I had forgotten how beautiful and pleasant Europe was – although I do have to admit my heart still lies with those big, dirty, dangerous cities (i.e., all of Latin America).  While there was virtually nothing interesting to see, nor anything fun to do at night in any of the 3 countries I visited, I did eat extremely well.

First stop was Brussels.  Of course as random as life is, it happened to be that my host mom from Argentina (from when I studied there in college) was also traveling to Brussels during the same days, and so we met up for some delicious mussels from Brussels and my favorite beer, Leffe.

Mussels from Brussels

Mussels from Brussels

While these mussels were amazingly authentic, I’m not sure if they actually beat the all-you-can-eat mussels + free beer that you get at Petite Abeille across the street from my apartment, with their multiple sauces including one with huge chunks of salty bacon.  Never have I sounded so American until now — but I speak the truth.  NYC does it better.

Otherwise, all I did in Brussels was your typical — walk into every single chocolate shop I saw to taste their free samples, eat some Belgian fries (Dutch fries were better), and enjoy a Belgian waffle.

Belgian Waffle

Belgian Waffle

The food there was pretty solid, their beer more so, and apparently Belgian cock is pretty fresh too.

Belgian cock is pretty fresh

Belgian cock is pretty fresh

Great to know!  A shame I didn’t try any.

Moving on to a quick train ride over to Luxembourg, where there is literally nothing to do except look at beautiful scenery, and it really was gorgeous:

Luxembourg

Luxembourg

However, I must say that I had one of the most enjoyable dinners I’ve ever had in my life in Luxembourg.  I walked into the city center to the plaza, found myself a good-looking restaurant — and then it was just me, gorgeous weather, people watching, a cold glass of beer, and then this:

Onion Soup

Onion Soup

Pork neck, broad beans and potatoes

Pork neck, broad beans and potatoes

Chocospoon

Chocospoon

Oh, and great news here too — they’ve got white cock and wine:

Cock in white wine

Cock in white wine

Pretty pricey if you ask me.

Next stop was Baden-Baden and Frankfurt, where I had a really satisfying series of firsts (no, not a threesome with midgets).

  1. Ostrich
  2. Pig knuckle
  3. Frog legs
  4. Venison

Unfortunately since I was with work folk and I didn’t want them to think I was actually Asian, I hesitated to bust out my camera as feverishly as I usually do (my worst Asian quality).  I did manage to get this one though:

Pig Knuckle

Pig Knuckle

T also got a serious picture of me making an Asian peace sign next to this pig knuckle, having no idea that I am actually an ironic racist.

Later that night were the frog legs, and they were amazing — a perfect combination of fish and chicken.  Fishen.

Frog Legs

Frog Legs

After this incredible dinner of firsts and two bottles of wine among three people, we were all pretty buzzed and ready to explore Frankfurt nightlife.  We started off with some Apfelwein, then hit up several bars.  T kept buying us shots of Jager, and next thing I know I’m ranting about how much I hate cops, then I find myself in some booming techno club chugging Red Bull and vodka, then I’m being woken up in a cab by T, then hurling out all that Jager into my hotel toilet.

The next day I had to check out of my hotel room at noon, and I was fucked.  After throwing up a few more rounds of Jager followed by bile, I painfully called the front desk and begged them to let me do late check out for free (success), then slowly made my way out of my room at 1:00pm.  I thought I was going to be ok until I started going down the elevator, and I knew it was bad news.  The elevator doors opened and I see T in the lobby, who asks, “Hey how are you doing.”  I started to shake my head and mumble, “Not goo–” when I had to immediately open the elevator doors back up, click “7” a million times before I got back up to the 7th floor and busted into the room I had just checked out of to puke one last time.  By the time I came back downstairs, T was already gone to the airport.  I hated myself for changing hotels for the sake of saving $50, but I did it, hurled one last time in my new hotel, then curled up in my bed for the rest of the day.

My final day was saved for Bern, Switzerland.  The minute my train got in, I immediately went in search for food, so of course I landed in this:

Fondue

Fondue

Rosti

Rosti

It wasn’t very good to be honest, but I probably just went to the wrong restaurant.  I should have gotten the hint when they asked if I wanted the Japanese menu.  Either way, after I finished that entire pot of fondue by myself, I was most certainly cropdusting all over Bern for the rest of the afternoon and on my train ride back to Germany.

Not quite the EuroTrip that Michelle Trachtenberg had, but it was a pretty nice vacay nonetheless.

June 24, 2012

24 Jun

It’s been three weeks since I’ve been back in NYC, and nearly three months since my last post.  Somehow I found myself unable to blog while out in SF, probably because I was high on bottomless mimosas half the time and catching up on illegally downloaded episodes of “Game of Thrones” the other half.  All I can say is, it’s taken the entire past three weeks to fully recover from the send-off my friends gave me my last weekend there.  Here’s what happened:

Knowing my love for meat (as all my friends do), K&D had planned a surprise farewell dinner for me on my last Friday in SF at House of Prime Rib, a magical place where every girl’s dream comes true…

My dream come true

My dream come true

Jk.  Not that dream.  I mean getting stuffed with an immense amount of meat, which is what happens at House of Prime Rib — basically they give you a huge cut of meat, so big that if you finish it, they give you a second cut for free.  Sounds like my ideal Saturday night in the Marina.  Enough rape talk.

Here is what welcomed me immediately upon my arrival:

Martinis... with the shaker!

Martinis… with the shaker!

A really solid dirty martini, and they even give you the shaker.  Before I even finished it, here’s what came next:

Man with Meat

Man with Meat

And then the King Henry VIII Cut with creamed spinach, mashed potatoes and Yorkshire pudding:

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Obviously I cleaned my plate, so here was my second cut — thinner/smaller, but still good (that’s a first):

Second Cut

Second Cut

It was incred.  Not to mention Ryan Scott from Top Chef was sitting to the right of us, and Desmond Bryant who went to college with me and now plays for the Oakland Raiders was sitting to the left of us.  Surrounded by D-list celebs.  K&D really hold the record for the best gifts I’ve ever received in my life, between this double-steak dinner and the meat basket she got me 2 years ago as my maid of honor gift.  They really get me.

Before I knew it, I had been so absorbed in the all-you-can-eat that I had completely forgotten about all the drinks that had been piling up around me:

Drinks

Drinks

After downing those in 5 minutes in an effort to catch up with everyone else at the table, we headed out to some place on Polk, I have no idea where considering the martinis, wine and Irish coffee had finally started to catch up with me, but all I know is this place had the most amazing lemon drop martinis.  Apparently on this blackout night I was drinking the gayest drinks on the face of the planet, given the lemon drops and the fact I was apparently taking shots of Washington apple all night long.  Probably because we were out with K&D’s new friend K, who was this huge 6’6″ black dude who looks like he either a) plays for the NBA or b) is going to kill you, but then the minute he opens his mouth you realize he is the happiest, champagne-loving, Castro-living gay guy you’ll ever meet in your life.  We instantly bonded over our hatred for SF cab drivers.  After a few rounds of the fruitiest drinks, I literally had the most disgusting mixture of vices in my stomach — the thickest slab of meat, dirty martinis, wine, Irish coffee, lemon drops, and Washington apple shots.  Minutes later, I blacked out in a bar chair.

That was just the beginning of my send-off.

The next night was supposed to be a “low key night” at G&E’s place with a nice homemade dinner and some loaded questions.  Of course with this group, a “few glasses of wine” turns into a few bottles of wine turns into 16 bottles of wine between 7 people.  Not sure how this keeps happening.  Before we knew it, every loaded question was being answered either with something having to do with merkins, hot links or unicorns.

Then the next day was Memorial Day Sunday, and K&D were taking me wine tasting in Sonoma/Healdsburg.  This was my first time wine tasting in my entire life (surprising), and apparently I went out a little too zealously.  Having eaten this and only this…

Cheese and crackers

Cheese and crackers

… for lunch, K&D and I set out to about a dozen wineries on our first day, from Twomey to Dry Creek to Francis Ford Coppola and more.  I was going heavy on the heavy reds, and like any respectable lady, I wasn’t spitting any of it.  Next thing I knew, after a full day of tastings, I found myself back at our hotel with my head in the toilet hurling out a toilet bowl full of all the red wine I had consumed that day, then immediately passed out.

When I awoke two hours later for dinner, I was feeling pretty ok.  In fact, I was feeling great.  I was shocked as to how not-hungover I was.  I was recounting the day with K&D, commenting on how that last winery, Coppola, really pushed me over the edge with that friendly bartender who just kept pouring and pouring and pouring, when K’s like- that wasn’t the last winery; we went to two other wineries after that.  Say whah?  Fuck.  I must have been more blackout than I thought.  Concerned that my usual blackout behaviors had come out, including spitting, slapping and flashing, K&D reassured me that I was actually incredibly composed and was sipping (not spitting) wine at the other wineries like a normal human.  This was fascinating news to me, and I had this eureka moment that on wine, I am a very refined blackout vs. I am not so much on scotch.  I made a mental note that day to drink wine at weddings moving forward rather than scotch, and I should be totally fine.

Three minutes later I found out we were going for Mexican for dinner that night, and the word “tequila” made me throw up a little in my mouth and swallow it back down.  I was fine, and I felt a million times better after I saw all the amazing-looking food at the restaurant:

Mateo's

Mateo’s

I managed to eat a healthy portion of the food, and it surprisingly calmed my stomach a lot.  Ten minutes later we were at Spoonbar next door, and I realized I was terribly wrong and found myself rushing to the bathroom to puke up all those tacos and ceviche after one sip of this:

Drink 1

Drink 1

At least it only came out one end this time.  I instantly felt better after that and got back to finishing my first drink, then proceeded to go down their incredible cocktail list:

Drink 2

Drink 2

Drink 3

Drink 3

Monday was a little calmer with us hitting up only about half the number of wineries before heading back to SF, where I ended the weekend with a literal bang.  It was an amazing way to end my time in SF.  Despite the lack of good, cheap delivery options in SF, I loved everything else about the city… but most especially Sunday Fundays with K&D.

SF: Thank you for the wonderful memories.  I miss you terribly.

April 15, 2012

15 Apr

Well I’m not going to lie — it’s been really hard to blog while I’ve been out here in SF.  There’s plenty to blog about, but my social life is just SO HOPPIN’ out here that I barely have time to write about it — that is the irony.  No really though, I have never been so active in my life.  I knew SF was going to do this to me……  I don’t feel quite like my lazy ass self out here — I am actually doing stuff after work that doesn’t always involve happy hour (but that does usually involve drinking), I am meeting new people on a weekly basis (unheard of), I am going to events left and right (what), and the worst part of it all — I am waking up at 9am on the weekends on my own free will.

(………………………………………….. no words)

What has my world come to.  In contrast, in NYC a few years ago, I once got so lazy and was sleeping through so much of my free time that I went to see my doctor to see if I had a mild form of narcolepsy or perhaps a thyroid disorder that was making me so fatigued all the time.  The results came back perfectly fine, there was absolutely nothing wrong with me, and I couldn’t have been healthier — which led the doctor to conclude that I was simply a really lazy human being.

Anyway, that was a really long-winded way of explaining why my blog has come to a halt.  It is BACK with Easter, when I went to LA with K&D and had a ridiculous time last weekend.

Of course as soon as we make our way into LA, the first thing we go desperately in search of is some really good Mexican food.  As amazing as SF food is, they come nowhere close when it comes to Mexican.  Between K and I, we’ve lived in LA, NYC, Texas and Mexico City — so we’re pretty confident we know good Mexican when we’ve had it.  Anyone who thinks Mexican in the Mission beats any of that is just plain wrong.  K/D and I went to La Golondrina, where we had homemade guac, some of the best margaritas on the rocks I’ve ever had, and really good mole:

La Golondrina Mole

La Golondrina Mole

With a really full stomach and some serious diarrhea brewing in all of us (totally worth it), we clenched our ass cheeks and continued on our way to the OC, where D’s friends were throwing a BBQ, otherwise known as a rager.  While the BBQ hot dogs and burgers were really good, what I got super excited about was seeing bottles and bottles of two liquors that I recently became very fond of — Jack Honey and Red Stag by Jim Beam.  While some of us played beer pong, others chugged Jack Honey on the rocks and concocted new shots like Red Sprite (clearly meant to sound like Red Stripe, but is actually Red Stag with a tiny splash of Sprite).  While one girl tried to fool herself into thinking she could actually beat the N brothers at beer pong, others like myself yelled sexist comments in my drunken stupor like- you girls need to just stop being feminist and accept the fact that you’re all awful at beer pong, and at driving, and pretty much everything in life.

I’m half jk.  I don’t really think that, obviously not, because I did beat a guy on this night at some 1:1 three-cup flip cup, although he may or may not have been ambiguously gay, so maybe that doesn’t count.  Nevertheless, I did come to my senses after 2008 that my beer pong skills have deteriorated exponentially, which I partially blame on my early-onset Parkinson’s that causes my wrist to violently shake when I’m about to release the ping pong ball.

None of us are really sure how late we stayed out drinking on Easter eve, but all I know is that at one point I did have a brief panic attack over what a mess I would be the next day at Easter supper with D’s entire extended family.  Luckily, in the middle of the night, I sleep walked into the bathroom, projectile vomited all of the hot dogs, burgers and cole slaw that I had eaten that day (cleanly into the toilet, of course — I never miss), which was all tinted pink from all the Red Stag I had consumed.  Flushed once.  Nope, here I go again.  Projectile vomited a second time, flushed, vomited a third time, flushed, and then a fourth time.  It was the most food I had ever thrown up in my life.  As my poverexia has gotten better over time, my alcoholimia/drunkolimia just keeps getting worse and worse.  It seems I unintentionally suffer from a variety of eating disorders, none of which are actually related to my wanting to lose weight.

The good news is, the next morning I woke up feeling like a million bucks.  I ate the leftover burgers from the BBQ for breakfast before we headed to D’s mom’s house in Anaheim for Easter brunch and supper.  When we get there, it was like Thanksgiving.  It was the most food I had ever seen on a single table in years.

Easter

Easter

The best part was — every single dish was a meat dish.  That’s how I like my meals.  You think something is a vegetable dish — like green beans — but then D’s mom scoops to the bottom of the serving bowl and is like, “See, these green beans have lamb!”  Here are some collard greens — with chunks of beef!  This is pot roast!  This is pork with pineapple!  Shepherd’s pie!  Meat pie!  WHAT.  MEAT PIE?!?!??!?!  This was the best thing to have ever happened to me.  It was like a scene out of My Big Fat Greek Wedding: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HnjWZT3yWWc

I got a bajillion times more protein in me this weekend than I had the previous weekend.  So happy.  Here was my dish — I went back for seconds.

My Easter Meal

My Easter Meal

You would think we were full — but we had to make room for dessert obviously.

Easter Dessert

Easter Dessert

It was the best Easter ever.  To conclude the amazing weekend, you would have thought we didn’t need to eat for a week after that meal, but the next day we went to D’s fav place, Zankou Chicken, for lunch before we headed back up to SF.  The minute I get there, I get this weird feeling like I’ve seen this place before — also from the way D talked about it like it was literally the best Palestinian chicken place in the country.  Best Palestinian chicken place………..

Curb?????  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Co_BhTxgWys

Indeed.  Apparently Zankou is what they based that episode on.  I was completely star struck by this place.

Palestinian Chicken Place

Palestinian Chicken Place

Shawarma

Shawarma

Best Chicken

Best Chicken

So good.  What a gluttonous weekend.  At least I threw half of it up.

March 7, 2012

8 Mar

I went to Mardi Gras in NOLA this year for the first time, and it was a complete shitshow – definitely better than the last time I visited D in NOLA, when I got held up at gunpoint by two 17-year-old white boys wearing red bandanas while blackout D just left me behind and stumbled away from the muggers, slurring at them to “go fuck themselves” when they demanded our purses.  In the 7 days that I was in NOLA, I didn’t get mugged or held up at gunpoint, so this was already two steps in the right direction.

Given this was my first Mardi Gras, D had laid down the ground rules for me upon my arrival.  Or rather, just one big #1 Mardi Gras rule:  DON’T GET ARRESTED.  Because if you do, we won’t be able to bail you out until the following Wednesday, and then you’ll miss your flight.

That didn’t sound too bad, but then when D listed out what all would get you arrested in NOLA, I got a bit nervous:

  1. Don’t pee in public – I did have a history of peeing in public places, both indoor and outdoor
  2. Don’t antagonize cops – would be difficult considering I think all cops should die and go to hell
  3. Don’t walk around naked – confused since I thought that was the whole point of Mardi Gras

Apparently, though, there were a whole slew of things that would NOT get you in any sort of trouble in NOLA:

  1. Drinking in public out of an open container
  2. Being very obviously blackout in public, in restaurants, and in bars
  3. Littering openly everywhere you go

With these rules in mind, I set out to embark on my adventure.

The first night I got in, KY took me to his “favorite restaurant in NOLA.”  Ironically, it was a Japanese restaurant, although he did claim he didn’t just take me there just because I was Japanese.  Apparently it really was his favorite spot in NOLA, and the minute I walked into this weird hole-in-the-wall restaurant/bar, I knew why.

First, the owner is this young Japanese chick who plays one of those weird Japanese instruments and sings traditional Japanese folk songs in a really loud, high-pitched, really Asian voice.  Second and more interestingly, they’re playing this creepy samurai era disturbing porn in black-and-white up on their brick wall.  The story went something like this, and KY had it all memorized:

This young Japanese girl was widowed and living with her mother-in-law, and it was so hot during the summer time that they always slept next to each other naked; then the daughter started banging her dead husband’s best friend (nothing wrong with that); then the mother-in-law found out about the affair and got really angry and jealous because she wanted to bang him too, so she killed a samurai and crafted this demon samurai scarecrow and planted it in the middle of the fields and told her daughter-in-law that if she had sex in the fields, the demon samurai would come get her.

This story sounded eerily familiar……………

Anyway, it was some quality porn.  Probably the same porn my grandparents used to watch.

The second night (Wed) was Day 1 parade, where I learned that you could catch hundreds and hundreds of beads off the floats without flashing a single tit.  Wed was low key in that there were actually children out at the nighttime parades, and that was apparently allowed (hate).

Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday were 6 straight days of waking up at 8am to drink, drinking all morning, eating Popeye’s for lunch, drinking all afternoon, eating Popeye’s for dinner, then drinking all night until blackout.  Repeat X 5.

Popeye's

Popeye's

I’m jk.  We only ate Popeye’s 4 times during my trip.  Here’s what other incred meals I consumed:

Diarrhea-inducing yet most incred pulled pork on jalapeno cornbread with fried egg

Diarrhea-inducing yet most incred pulled pork on jalapeno cornbread with fried egg

Huge $1 Oysters

Huge $1 Oysters

Blackout Port of Call Burger

Blackout Port of Call Burger

Jambalaya, or something

Jambalaya, or something

My poorest performance was on Friday, when D and I went to Pat O’s and chugged two hurricanes before noon way too quickly, ran into Bradie James of the Dallas Cowboys, blacked out as I walked into Port of Call, then tried to rally for nighttime parades, blacked out again at Miss Mae’s, threw up my pink hurricanes in their bathroom, got put into a cab by D, then threw up some more pink hurricane in D’s bathroom.  Then threw up yellow bile the next morning.

Sunday was Mad Dog Sunday, when we drank Mad Dogs all day on A’s porch that’s right along the parade route and I flabongoed a Mardi Gras Bud Light.

Mardi Gras Bud Light!

Mardi Gras Bud Light!

That night we went to the Boot, where the bouncer took one look at D’s ID and goes, “1983…?  What are you, 30?”  D took one look at him, punched his balls, and yelled “28 YOU ASSHOLE,” and we left the Boot to go to Bruno’s, where they were friendlier towards the ’83 crowd.

I can’t really remember the rest of the week as the 6 straight days of raging have really started to blur together in my memory.  All I remember is, it was the best time of my life, my friend D can drink any guy under the table and that is why she is my friend and why I am the most proud of her, at one of the parades I got an entire bag of beads thrown directly into my face which left a red splotch on my forehead for the next 24 hours, OH! and I caught a coconut at my first ZULU parade ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I caught a coconut!!!!!!!!

I caught a coconut!!!!!!!!

February 15, 2012

15 Feb

So I’m living out in SF for the next 3 months for work, which is amazing because the weather here is like summer and I get to hang out with K&D every day.  I moved to SF about 2 weeks ago, and it’s been quite the eventful few weeks – I guess I moved here at a good time because my social life has been booming, and I have had stuff going on practically every day since I got here, unlike my sedentary NYC lifestyle of just drinking and watching TV every day.

Week 1:

  • Sat 1/28: The night I arrived was D’s 30 on 30 golden bday, so almost straight from the airport I head to pregame with D and friends, followed by Japanese BBQ dinner, followed by karaoke in Japantown, where half the party blacked out and couldn’t remember the rest of the night.

Japanese BBQ

Raw meat mmmm.....

  • Sun: D’s bday brunch at Paul K, followed by a relaxing afternoon in the Mission drinking screw cap red wine out of a brown bag and eating Bi-Rite ice cream in front of a liquor store.
  • Mon: Homemade pizza by K while watching a great episode of The Bachelor.
  • Tues: D got us free tickets to go see the Warriors play the Sacramento Kings, which was fun.
  • Wed: Catching up on TV
  • Thurs: Catching up on TV
  • Fri: D invited us to his Wells Fargo work happy hour at Nectar, where we had several flights of red wine with the most delicious bacon wrapped dates, truffle popcorn and flatbread I had ever had, all on the company.
  • Sat: Two back-to-back reunions with the first being a Harvard 06 SF reunion that I crashed and surprised people like ex-college roommate N and others who were like wtf are you doing here.  This interesting reunion was followed by an interesting high school reunion with people I didn’t give a shit about, but I went with K anyway because our wealthy private school was throwing all our tuition money towards an incred happy hour of free-flowing wine, bacon wrapped shrimp, flatbread, cheese platter, hummus platter and chocolate truffles at the Press Club.

Week 2:

  • Sun 2/5: Obvs Super Bowl Sunday, which was great fun hanging out with K/D’s friends and having incred BBQ including sausage, steak, tri tip, beer dip galore, and of course, a keg.  More important than the fact that the Giants won was the fact that I secured my SF juice buddy T at this event, whose riveting talks of his big d fascinated me and inspired me to learn more.
  • Mon: Catching up on TV
  • Tues: Catching up on TV
  • Wed: Juicing T
  • Thurs: Gatsby party with K for her bday, where we were the only two non-blackout people at this event; seriously, this was supposed to be a networking event, but it reminded me of some sorority party on crack where girls were literally falling all over the floor and humping and accidentally making out with each other in the corner – quite the event.
  • Fri: Happy hour again with D’s work friends, same place same food, where I hit on D’s coworker Q for a good hour before I realized he had a vegan, “only eats gluten-free foods” gf – she sounds awful and he should probably break up with her.  He even had my fav Faulkner character’s name – obvs it was meant to be.  Caddy smells like trees.  I got frustrated and juiced T that night instead.
  • Sat: Bday dinner for K at Tortilla Heights, where I had the biggest burrito I have ever seen – that thing should be on Man v. Food.

Huge Burrito

  • Sun: K’s bday brunch at Park Chalet for all you can eat and all you can drink mimosas, where we spent a lovely afternoon enjoying Sunday Funday and filling up glass after glass of mimosas.

Brunch Buffet

In my very eventful 2 weeks, here are the over-generalizations I’ve decided are 100% truth re: living in SF vs. living in NYC.

Pros:

  1. It’s summer here when it’s miserable in NYC – last weekend I literally tanned outside by my apt complex pool in my bikini for 4 hours and wasn’t cold for a second.
  2. You can’t beat walking along the bay every morning to work and on the way back – unlike the Hudson River, there aren’t rotting Jersey carcasses in it and it’s a really beautiful walk.
  3. Everyone in my office gets in at like 9:30am and literally everyone peaces out by 4:30/5:00pm, so you are pretty much guaranteed to make happy hours on any given day.
  4. Everywhere I go I see Marina guys (aka Fiddlesticks/UES d-bag type, which I love), and somehow it is a lot easier to get laid here.
  5. I get to hang out with K&D every day!

Cons:

  1. Cabs are expensive here because they are everywhere in the US except within Manhattan – I took a cab out somewhere that was 15 mins away and paid $17.  I nearly cried.
  2. The delivery situation here is really not ideal.  Seamless has a limited presence, and GrubHub sucks.  My loyalty lies with Seamless, so sometimes I actually have to walk somewhere to go get food vs. having an ethnic guy bring it to me, which I am getting really frustrated with.  Also, the other day, I ordered some Chinese dinner special beef and broccoli, and I swear there was zero MSG in it and they gave me brown rice without me asking for it – I threw it out in disgust.
  3. People majorly judge you if you don’t go cycling or recycling, both of which I actively don’t do.

We’ll see if the weather/guy situation outweighs the cab/delivery conundrum, but so far it’s looking ok.

February 7, 2012

7 Feb

ISTANBUL — Your World Is 360

And the first and final lesson we learned in Istanbul during our lovely trip:  Everyone is an “entrepreneur”

One thing we noticed in Istanbul is that no one seems to have a legit job.  In the one week we were there, not once did we see someone in a suit, not once did we see someone in scrubs, and not once did we see a woman looking like she was going to work.  Given the overabundance of lamb and snake fish in this country, we came to the conclusion that Turkish people were all either shepherds or fishermen, or they owned kabob stands.

This theory was confirmed the only night we actually met locals at a “club.”

Even before we got to Istanbul, this restaurant called 360 was all the talk.  Literally everyone we talked to who had been to Istanbul before was like, YOU MUST GO TO 360, IT IS AMAAAZING.  When we arrived to Istanbul, at least 5 other people told us the same thing – our hotel concierge, our tour guide at Topkapi Palace, our waiter at the meatball shop, the Starbucks lady, and a random dude and his 70-year-old father.  With 360 being literally the hottest spot in town, we agreed it was a must-do on our agenda.

When we get there, I get a serious flashback to NYC circa 2007 when I frequented the meat packing district every weekend.  First of all, let me mention that it took us forever to find this place because it turns out 360 is, naturally, located in the penthouse of an apartment building in the middle of the busiest street of Istanbul.

360 Entrance

We were greeted on the top floor by 3 non-black bouncers and a full-on metal detector, and then the minute we stepped into the restaurant/lounge/ club/apartment, I felt like I was in a coked out 230 Fifth meets Gansevoort (meat packing Gansevoort, not Kim Kardashian Gansevoort).  Because it was NYE, there were decorations out the wazoo, like disco balls, real angel wings, red glittery hearts and silver stars everywhere.  Actually, now that I think about it, it was more like 230 Fifth meets Gansevoort meets 7th grade Bar Mitzvahs at the Grand Kempinski.

Bar Mitzvah

We sit down, and we’re presented with a menu of “Waters of the World.”  It felt like Bob Sinclair “World, Hold On.”  Seriously, this was ridiculous.  I mean someone just please fucking get me some tap water.

Waters of the World

Then we were presented with literally a book of specialty cocktails in superhero comic book style.  My emotions were so mixed at this point I had no idea how to feel about this place.  I order the yeni raki cocktail with beet and then the duck as my entree because I didn’t want lamb — it was good, but not anywhere near as delicious as the duck breast that roommate L cooks up at home.  At this point I was really confused as to why 360 was all that.

Beet Yeni Raki

360 Duck

Before we even finish dinner, the waiters start hustling us out because they need to convert the restaurant into a pumpin’ night club, and so out of spite, W orders another drink to keep us at the table while the club is quickly filling up with people all around us and our table is just standing there solo with three American girls sitting around it in the middle of the dance floor.  Finally we decide to get up, multiple waiters literally swoop in to take away our table, and we’re left standing with our drinks with a dance floor full of sober people without drinks because everyone is strict Muslim in this country.

We’re awkwardly standing around, and these two Turkish guys approach us – one who speaks impressively good English and wearing a suit, and the other not such a good English speaker and with the worst garlic breath I had ever encountered.  We left W to speak with garlic breath over there, while M and I chatted with the English speaker.  I was mainly interested to hear about his profession since this was the first person we had seen in this entire country wearing a suit.  He must be a banker or a lawyer.

Wrong.  He was a carpet dealer.  He sells magic carpets.  Figures.  And garlic breath supposedly was an “entrepreneur.”  Of course.  Because no one fucking works in this country!!!  The worst slash most amazing part of this exchange is that when we ask his name, he responds “My name is Justine, but you can call me Justin.”  Great, we finally thought we were finally being hit on by some locals, and turns out one is an unemployed Quasimodo and the other is a gender ambiguous Aladdin.

Unfortunately, they totally saw us as their Disney princesses.  When Justine over here learns we’re from NYC, the first question he jumps at us with is “ARE YOU FROM BLEECKER STREET?!?!”  I had never met someone with such enthusiasm for Bleecker Street.  Good street, I guess.  And of course he is also super excited that M works at Christie’s Auction House, and starts trying to talk carpet business.  While we made fun, Justine really was M’s perfect match – world traveler, loves carpets as much as she does, wears suits, has a full head of hair, and takes a keen interest in her both personally and professionally.  I’m still wishing for their magic carpet ride hummus-abundant wedding that will hopefully happen in the near future.

All in all, Istanbul was an incredible holiday trip.  With these key lessons learned, if I ever go back to Istanbul again, I know I will be better prepared.

February 6, 2012

6 Feb

ISTANBUL — The 360 Experience (continued)

Lesson #2:  Turkish bath houses are not spas.

On New Year’s Eve, M had the brilliant idea of spending a lovely, relaxing spa day at famous Turkish bath house Cagaloglu to pamper ourselves before NYE night out.  We were really excited for spa day, and we all purchased the full service package including exfoliation and massage.

So, we walk into the Turkish bath house in our tiny towels, and we walk into this:

Turkish Bath House

It was literally the gayest thing I had ever seen.

In the female zone the masseuses were all old Turkish women with triple D-cup saggy tits, and so were all the female customers.  It was super awk.  One look at this uncomfortably erotic situation and M immediately went back upstairs to change into her swimsuit.  W didn’t bring a swimsuit, but she very aggressively insisted she keep her bra and underwear on, despite the masseuse’s attempt to rape her undergarments off.  I, on the other hand, with my overly unnatural sense of comfort and joy with nudity, decided to embrace this opportunity to get a full tit scrub like I’d never gotten before (or rather, like I’d never gotten since the first year I moved to NYC and got seriously tat slapped by some dude who very wrongfully thought he was pleasing my boobs).

The exfoliation treatment was an interesting one.  It wasn’t so much a treatment as the old Turkish lady taking a rough cloth and seriously rubbing my entire body down.  Even though it was supposed to be a full body exfoliation, she sure did seem to be concentrating hard on my chest area and neglecting other areas that needed some dead skin cell sloughing …

… like the BOTTOMS OF MY FEET you sick fucks.

After she rubbed off the entire top layer of my entire body, she moved on to the “massage,” which was not so much a massage as a rubbing of my body with lukewarm soap water.  Apparently massage oil doesn’t exist in this country.  So that was awk too, and once again my flat chest got significantly more attention than the rest of my body did.  The soap water dried out my skin so badly that I had to completely lube up post-spa to bring the moisture back into my body.

I’m not sure this experience was the “spa day” we were looking for, but we sure were sparkling clean and raw.