Sunday, July 16, 2006

    Things That Go Bump

    “The dream of a cat is filled with mice.” -Arab Proverb

    Obviously I jinxed myself last week by saying I would write about Boston next, barring unforeseen difficulties. I have a laughable tendency of making grand statements and sweeping gestures that seem to invoke the wrath of Murphy's Law.

    The sweetest little girl cat featured here is my baby Schuyler (Pronounced Skyler. It's Dutch.), and she has terrible allergies that have caused her to have to wear this ridiculous get up, which is a soft e-collar (a more pliable version of the cone-shaped hard plastic ones you sometimes see on dogs). She also is on a strict, bland smelling hypoallergenic diet that does not include any treats. Thankfully, Sky is not one to meow about her misfortunes. After all, she's a Jellicle cat! And, when she's not passed out on the couch, she's is very pleased to scare away the pigeons lurking around our new East Village windows, or corner roaches, or do running pirouettes after flies.

    Being a Jellicle cat, Schuyler has earned a number of names in the four years since I adopted her from a miserable caged existence at a Hell's Kitchen pet shop. Her name in full is, Schuyler Buddy Munchie Pookiebear La Rue Coleman, aka Schnookems, and sometimes Poindexter. Her mobster name is Baby Cakes, aka Cakes, Coleman. Her Native American name is Schuyler One Paw. And this morning at about 3 a.m., she earned her newest moniker: Mouser.

    Yes indeed, Little Miss Kitty began making some horrific noises just after Jon and I drifted off last night. My dad informed me today that cats can make 200 different noises, and this particular one was a note of primal instinct mixed with a little mommy, please get out of bed and come see what I've mauled for you, and don't worry I'm in just as much shock and have as little a clue of what do next as you.

    The whole incident was simply disturbing. In part because it's the second mouse in two weeks (the first surprised me when I went to open a Billy's Bakery box full of their delicious blueberry and banana chocolate chip muffins. That mouse had good taste! And seemingly more than one life, as it escaped. I wonder if mice prefer a sharp cheddar, or a creamy St. Andre?). But more so because after Jon and I came to and jumped into action by putting Sky in the bathroom and putting a clear, plastic bowl over the mouse, I had time to examine it before we disposed of it. It was just a wee baby, and its soft-looking fur was a precious light grey and pink. It had obviously been seriously hurt by Sky, because it couldn't get up or turn from its side, but its little back legs and tail were still moving, still trying to escape and live. To be so very close to a living thing struggling and fighting for its life on my living room floor after having been attacked by my cat was painfully hard and kept me tossing for hours afterwards.

    Supposedly, when a cat moves into an apartment, the word gets out in the mouse community and those smart little rodents take their after hours shriekfests elsewhere. Hopefully, for our peace of mind and the very existence of the mice, they've already learned their lesson: don't mess with the sunflower bedecked kitty!

    Photo: Mouser Coleman in her former (bug and rodent free) Chelsea abode.

    Next Week's Slice: TBD!

    Sunday, July 09, 2006

    Tucking It In

    It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity. -Albert Einstein

    I'm in the middle of a stupid computer crisis and my time to blog has sadly been whittled away by the technical support of Time Warner and AOL.

    In lieu of the afore-planned Beantown bonanza, here's a few of the East Village restuarants I've been to in the week since I moved downtown. (For some reason, as I did just now, I always misspell the word restaurant by mixing up the a and the u.)

    Prune and Tuck Shop
    I was on my way to a quiet counter brunch at Prune today (I'm trying to start Play it As it Lays by Joan Didion), but as I turned the corner, a light bulb went off in my head that the last time I tried to have brunch at Prune in July, it was closed for vacation. And it is, through the 12th. Instead I had a breakfast pastry full of beans, ham, and cheese at Tuck Shop, the new Aussie hole in the hall. Next time, I want to try a piece of lamington cake, which is sponge cake layered with raspberry jam, coated in chocolate, and topped with coconut. Mmm-mmm-mmm.

    I don't like broccoli, but I make myself eat it sometimes anyway. The other night, I made a deal with myself that if I ordered the broccoli at Mama's, I could also get corn and mashed potatoes on my veggie plate. The corn was sweet and had a hint of cilantro. The taters were creamy and had a few cloves of roasted garlic hiding in them. And the broccoli -- I don't know if it was the healthy dose of pepper it wore, or the fact that the garlic from the taters overwhelmed its normal flavor, but that green shrub was damn good. Thanks, Mama!

    Atlas Cafe
    Jon and I really like the fresh, hand-cranked yogurt with mix-ins, and many of the other 100+ menu items (salads, sandwiches, crepes, soup, etc.). It's très cheap and quick, and there's decent outside seating.

    Next week: Barring other unforeseen difficulties, technical and otherwise, a sip of Beantown

    Saturday, July 01, 2006

    Firecracker, Firecracker, Boom Boom Boom

    "Black birds slow and
    softly breaks a glass of wine / Broken bluesy whisper sing to me tonight/Well, everybody wants to go on forever / I just wanna burn up hard and bright / I just wanna be your firecracker / And maybe be your baby tonight." -Ryan Adams, "Firecracker"

    "The beet is the most intense of vegetables. The radish, admittedly, is more feverish, but the fire of the radish is a cold fire, the fire of discontent not of passion. Tomatoes are lustly enough, yet there runs through tomatoes an undercurrent of frivolity. Beets are deadly serious...."
    -Tom Robbins, Jitterbug Perfume

    Something Old: Me. I rolled past my mid-20s like a tumbleweed last week. To celebrate, and for something completely different, Jon and I took the 3-hour Circle Line cruise all the way aaarrround the isle of Manhattan. I did the cruise with my good pa Al six summers ago, and wanted to do it again because I understand so much more about the City now and could better comprehend and apply what the guide told us.

    When you're stuck in the ho-hum of work, sleep, work, it's easy to forget how much variety, from toe to crest, Manhattan has, from the Financial District, on up to SoHo and the Lower East Side, to Times Square, to the Upper West, to Harlem, to Washington Heights. The latter is named after Fort Washington, as in George Wasington, which, in 1776, was the site of a Revolutionary War battle. Pa Al and I trolled around the lovely Fort Washington Park one afternoon a few years ago. The tippy top of the island, including Fort Tyron Park, and The Cloisters, looks ridiculously lush from the boat. As I subcribe to the hi-lo-/shabby-chic aesthetic, I toasted the isle by drinking an Amstel Light out of a can with a straw.

    Something New: Odd. Very, very odd. Makes me miss bag phones and parachute pants.

    Something Red: Courtesy of, the perfect Fourth of July tomato sandwich recipe:
    1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice; 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
    1/3 cup mayonnaise; 1/4 teaspoon each, salt and pepper
    1 (1 lb) loaf French bread; 3 large tomatoes, thickly sliced
    In a small bowl, combine lemon zest and juice, mayonnaise, salt, and pepper. Stir well.
    Cut eight slices (about 1/2-inch thick) from center of bread loaf. Toast lightly under the broiler if desired. Spread mayonnaise mixture on each slice of bread. Arrange tomato slices on 4 bread slices; top with remaining bread slices, mayonnaise side down. Cut each tomato sandwich in half to serve. A delicious lunch sandwich, served with chips and pickle slices, or with soup. Serves 4.

    Something White:
    Also new, my appreciation of the New Jersey version of a Sloppy Joe, courtesy of Millburn Delicatessen (Anne Hathaway hails from Millburn. Wonder if she's ever tried a Sloppy?). Imagine this: a layer of white rye bread; a layer of freshly sliced roast beef or turkey; a layer of coleslaw; a second layer of rye; a layer of more coleslaw; a layer of Swiss cheese; another slice of rye. Super sloppy, super fine. 20 napkins up for this hella sandwich.


    Something Blue: As I was sitting down to write this post, Shayne called to say she was waiting in line at Shake Shack wearing a blue shirt. Amongst peels of laughter, I cued up the SS Webcam to see her and Tracy for myself.

    Webcam report -- 12:22 p.m., July 1, 2006. 83 degrees Fahrenheit. Camera 1, at Southeast corner of Madison Square Park, above Shack, top of the last "K." Line short, rapidly moving. Blue-shirted girl on cell phone moving up, moving up, moving out of camera view. 2 Shack Burgers, 1 fry, 1 lemonade, 1 Black and White shake. Satisfaction level indicated as "high."

    Next week: A sip of Beantown