Thursday, June 26, 2008

In Search of Fried Heaven

It might not be obvious in my postings, but I am a food lover. I can’t go past a farmer’s market without a glance at what is in season. Even if there is no chance I will be able to cook anything. Some of my favorite parts of Vietnam? The markets. Of course, the food was even better. Pete and I actually swooned over a few meals, but that’s another post I’ve never written.

I read food blogs, I read cookbooks and cooking magazines. I read restaurant reviews more often than movie reviews (reminder: I work in the movie business). In the context of foodies, I am fairly mild so I don’t think of myself as hardcore, but a friend recently corrected me and declared I have a passion for food. I’ve accept that fact. I admit I am a foodie.

So, imagine my delight when I read Gourmet magazine today and I find a write-up about a Price’s Chicken Coop in Charlotte just past a lengthy article about great Thai food in Los Angeles, followed by restaurant write-ups in Culver City (an LA neighborhood close to my house). I thought I’d died and gone to…. well, you get the picture.

I flagged the article about the fried chicken thinking, one day we’ll have to eat there. Then it hit me. We are going to be in Charlotte this SATURDAY. Yes, Pete and I are headed to NC for a week of relaxing with my mom and extended family (no, that wasn’t a typo). I picked up the phone and called to see what time they open. We land at 9:30am on Saturday, and hell, I want some of the best fried chicken in the south. The phone rang and rang and rang, but no one answered it during the dinner rush. I finally found them on the internet and by god, they open at 10am! It couldn’t be more perfect. We will land, claim my bag (which I get to pay to check) and drive on over for fried heaven. We’ll most likely arrive just as the doors are opening. I am so excited, I am bursting.

You have to understand. Before I travel, I do research (generally not to NC). Lots of it. I like to know what sites we should take in, but more importantly, where I get local, authentic food. And in tourist areas, you can get burned. Frankly, nothing pisses me off more than being overcharged for subpar food. So, I research. This time, I am trusting Gourmet magazine. Let’s hope they aren’t overhyping the chicken.

**** I’m also fired up to eat at my favorite Asheville restaurant, Tupelo Honey, and try the BBQ at Twelve Bones, which I hear is phenomenal. I can’t wait to see the family, but my mouth is watering from all the food excitement. I guess I do live to eat.

If you have any secret food haunts, send them my way. I like high brow places, but I LOVE a great hole in the wall where the food is so unexpectedly good you think you could eat it every day for the rest of your life.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Dream Houses

Like most women, I dream of the perfect house one day (okay, I dream of ANY house). The one I've conceived and created with an architect with an interesting interior, gorgeous garden and beautiful furnishings. Everyone's idea of the perfect home is different. I don' think I would want to live in David Ling's home, but the video of it is stunning plus I love all of the creativity and Asian influences in it.

Click here to enjoy a little piece of art. Just watching it and hearing him gets my creativity flowing.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

About Time

Today, I am proud to be a Californian. I am happy my friends can marry whomever they want. And I can't wait to vote same-sex marriage into law in November! 'Bout time!!!

That Glow

Organic Pregnancy. Yes, it’s something I strive for, but the further along I get, the more relaxed I get. The second hand smoke we breathe from the neighbor? Hell, most moms smoked through their whole pregnancies before they figured out, hey! Smoking kills! Body lotions full of parabens? Well, I still avoid those, but occasionally I still smear on a pretty smelling one that’s not from the health food store or Dr. Hauschka.

Speaking of the good doctor, I received a face cream for Christmas by him. I started using it when my other moisturizer ran out. I’m pregnant. My skin is crazy (that’s another post). I have moles and skin tags and such all over the place. Glamorous, I know. When my face was red and splotchy, I assumed it was pregnancy.

I was lazy during the first trimester (read exhausted and ready to collapse at 8pm). I stopped washing my face every night and rolled into bed with whatever grease, dirt and make-up was on my face. It made sense I’d be red and splotchy. As winter progressed to spring, and my sensitive pregnant skin was getting sunburned, I decided enough was enough. I needed some chemical sun protection pronto. A few chemicals are better than skin cancer and chemo.

So, I returned to my old, sun block enhanced moisturizer. And guess what? Within a week I no longer had red, splotchy skin. Gone. It disappeared like that. I added back the face washing for an extra measure, and my lord, my face looks like normal again! In fact, you can even see the pregnancy glow now that the splotches are gone.

It’s nice I can look in the mirror and not want to cover my whole face in concealor. I mean, I can’t control my giant boobs or feeling sick (seems to have passed) or the skin tags and moles, but I can at least have nice, sun-protected skin. To hell with natural everything.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Fore!

The past weekend, Pete and I were lucky enough to score tickets to the US Open. Pre-Pete, I would have turned them down, but since he loves watching golf, and I’ve started to think it slightly interesting instead of boring, I accepted the tickets.

We had a great weekend. We left Saturday and headed to Laguna Beach for lunch on route to San Diego. Pete had never been, and I hadn’t been in years. We found a hotel with a roof top deck over looking the Pacific, which was gorgeous. Although we live right next to the beach and can even see the ocean from our apartment, the water in Laguna is bluer and cleaner and just plain nicer looking. We watched pelicans soar by while munching on empanadas and hummus (not together). It seemed like the perfect place to sip a mojito if I wasn’t pregnant (lots were being imbibed around us). After blissing out on the ocean and scenery, we headed back to the car for the last hour to San Diego.

Our generous hosts put us up at the Inn at Rancho Santa Fe. It was charming and cute with a king size bed that I wish were in our bedroom at home. Neither of us had ever been to Rancho Santa Fe so it was an experience. The road winds between large gates, lots of trees and flowers. If you didn’t look carefully, you probably wouldn’t even realize there were houses back there. There is a town about the size of a peanut that seemed to only have real estate brokers in it. The photos on the windows advertised houses from the low $700s to $35 million. The $700,000 house wasn’t in Rancho Santa Fe. Needless to say, we decided $35 million was a little high, but the $2.5 house was within reach. By the time we saw the one for $700,000, we thought we should just snap it up.

Sunday, we headed over to Torrey Pines to watch the US Open. What an experience! I’ve been to pro-sports events before, but never golf that lasts for 4 (now 5) days. My first thought was I should have brought a single girl with me because the place was swarming with men. The ratio had to be about 10 guys to every 2 women. And the women were almost all with husbands or boyfriends so the competition would be limited. Of course, after awhile of looking around, it became apparent I was trapped in the largest fraternity party around, and rethought the single girl scenario (at least in regards to most of my friends).

We planned on walking the course because we’d heard how gorgeous Torrey Pines is, but the crowds were massive. We stopped at the 8th hole to watch some people putt, and Pete noticed the line to the grandstand wasn’t too long. So we cued up and waited 45 minutes to get seated in the stands. It was really cool because we could see them tee off and then putt at the hole. And our timing couldn’t have been better. We were able to see the top 15 or 20 players on that hole – including Tiger Woods. And wow! That man travels with an entourage. We could see him coming long before we saw him. The press corps surrounding him is INSANE not to mention the rabid fans.

His shot went into the bunker (sand trap for novices), and in my na├»ve mind I thought it would take him a shot or two to get out. Nope, one chip and his ball landed about a foot from the hole. Note to self: Professional golfers are not like the rest of us – especially Tiger.

Since Tiger was the last one to play the hole, everyone vacated the grandstand, or tried. Every where we looked, there were seas of people moving after the man in the red shirt.

Again, we planned on walking more of the course, but after seeing the throngs of people, we decided to take it easy and watch people finish at the 18th hole. Apparently, we weren’t the only ones with this plan. People were 10 deep in the viewing area of the last green. We stood on tip toes, we veered left, crooked our heads right and still, we couldn’t see shit. After awhile of this, we accepted defeat and headed home with Tiger on the 14th.

AM radio provided us with a play by play as we zipped north from San Diego (no traffic – hooray!!). By the time we heard he’d tied it, we were north of San Clemente with LA clearly on the horizon. It would have been great to be in the stands to watch that moment, but since we knew the reality of the viewing, we enjoyed it just as much from the car knowing we’d seen one of the greatest golfers ever play earlier that day.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Glamour

Pregnancy is not glamorous. The celebrities make it look easy, fashionable and fantastic. In some ways, it is. The fashion part is much easier now that I fit into my vast maternity wardrobe compliments of my failed business. Plus, it’s true that the second trimester is like a jolt of energy. Unless you get the barfy flu – better known as the stomach flu.

Yes, last Thursday, I found myself praying to the porcelain god. That afternoon, my stomach hurt and I felt a little funny, but with pregnancy, that happens from time to time. I decided that getting home to bed would be the best cure, and my friend, who is a mom, agreed. She thought if I sipped some water and got some sleep I’d be fine. Oh how I wish she was right.

I sipped some water and finally retired to bed around 8:00. About an hour later, I ran to the bathroom, hand over my mouth. I thought, “Oh crazy pregnancy. I should feel better now that’s all out.” And I did for about a minute. Then it happened again. And again. And again. And again. Well, you get the point. I accepted defeat and made a camp in the bathroom.

Here’s the thing. I’ve had the barfy flu lots of times over the past few years (thank you, nieces). I can handle it. In some warped way, I think of it as a great ab workout and quick slim down. I mean, not eating for four days tends to take some weight off. But when you have someone riding shotgun in your belly, it takes on a whole, new terrifying identity.

First off, I was worried something would happen to the baby as she took the wild ride of being lifted up with everything else in my stomach. You know how when you throw-up your whole stomach heaves up? Well, it still does it with a baby in there. And then the baby slams down on your bladder. I don’t care how many kegels you do. The pressure is insane. So, not only was I puking my guts out, I lost control of my bladder. Humility at its best.

Luckily, Pete is a man of incredible strength and sweetness. I was sitting on the floor recovering from the first bout of retching, and I looked over at him.

“I pee-peed my pants.”

“That’s okay, Sweetie. It happens to everyone when they get old.”

“But I’m not old.”

“It’s still okay. Drink some water. You have to stay hydrated.”

I’m not sure if he was really trying to hydrate me or just make me so I’d pee my pants more, but I’m taking it as sweet not vengeful.

****************

On a positive note, I am probably closer to the textbook weight gain recommendation since last month I gained nine pounds. Oh, and I can feel the baby kicking so she seems to have made it through unscathed.