Tuesday, February 28, 2006

The Tantric Sidecar

(I think that's what it was called. I forgot to write down the name.)

The Pegu Club on Houston is just my kind of place. If you are going to spend $12 for a mixed drink, you owe it to yourself to make sure it's a good one. The room is swanky, the staff friendly, and gosh... they know their stuff. I met my friend Silvana there for a drink recently, and had one of their signature concoctions. I haven't tried to recreate this at home, so I'm not even going to guess at proportions. This Sidecar had: cognac, calvados, cointreau, lemon juice, pineapple juice, and green chartreuse. I'm not even sure what that last thing is.

Be sure to drop by Pegu at your earliest convenience (it's on the second floor at West Broadway). The drink menu seems to change with the seasons, so there are lots of new reasons to come back.

Monday, February 27, 2006

SO yummy.

Over the weekend, the hubby surprised me with cupcakes from Lulu's, a bakery down the block. They did his brother's wedding cake this past spring, and it was de-lish.

I much prefer the buttercream frosting, probably because it's 80% butter. The chocolate ganache was new, and not nearly as tasty. Unfortunately, you have to ration the cupcake consumption, because (a) they are gigantic and (b) probably contain three days' worth of calories. We'll have to toast S&L's anniversary in May with another set.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Point for Madison Avenue

I saw this ad last year, and every time I walked by it cracked me up. Love it, love it, love it.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Whaddah gotta do to get a drink around here?

Not even ask, evidently. I was looking over our taxes (fun fun fun!) when the hubby came up and offered me a Canal Street Daisy. It's lemon juice, orange juice, scotch, and club soda. The juice was fresh squeezed, the scotch cheap, and the club soda became seltzer (what is the difference, anyway?). It was very tasty, especially with a bit of simple syrup.

I read about a new cocktail club today: the Blue Owl. I have to be in the neighborhood next weekend, so I hope to make a stop very soon. Thanks for the tip, Andrea!

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Washin' up is hard to do

A couple of nights ago I decided that it was time to bite the bullet and do the pile of handwashing that had been sitting around for (what seemed like) weeks. Once everything was drying and blocking, it would also make a lovely picture.

On the left we've got the Misty Garden scarf from Scarf Style. I made this during my spring break trip to New Orleans last March. A few weeks ago I dropped by my LYS, and was sporting my fluffy creation. Surprise surprise: Pam Allen was doing a book signing for Shrug Style. I was embarassed, she was gracious. It kinda felt like the awkward moment when your mom from out of town stares like a mad-woman when Katie Couric is seated at the next table during dinner. Actually, the Katie incident was much more embarassing. Anyway, on the way back from Portland, I had this scarf in a bag under the seat in front of me. The kid in that row had a difficult flight, and during one of his (many) vomiting episodes, the scarf acquired a bit of an odor. It needed a bath.

Next, the socks (from bottom to top):
1. Opal Handpainted, from the 2004 NYS Sheep & Wool fest. Ann Norling's basic pattern.
2. Koigu KPPPM in P524, from Patternworks in NH, and Purl in Soho (when I realized that I needed to do some contrasting color to have enough to finish). Ann Budd's basic socks, an anniversary present for my hubby.
3. Regia Cotton, in Surf, from Lee's Yarns. Ann Budd, my favorite. Note: I shouldn't do garter stitch socks. They get way too baggy way too quickly.
4. Meilenweit Cotton, color 2214, from Purls of Yarn in Pleasantville. Ann Budd again. I learned my lesson: no more garter stitch.

I have another pair of socks really really close to being done. I hope that I'll get to them before the long weekend is up.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

The Haul from Portland

We took a quick mini-break in January to relax before the semester went into full swing and to use up an airline credit that would expire shortly. We hit nearly as many yarn shops as wineries. Portland has a fabulous selection of shops, and I'm quite jealous of the variety.

My main goal was to find yarn to match the new red coat I'd purchased in the post-Christmas markdowns. I planned on using this yarn (called di.ve Tesco) to make a cabled scarf, but I didn't like the striping action that was going on. I didn't realize there would be striping action because Mabel's was really dark. Don't dreary Portlanders plan for clouds and rain? Anyway, I decided to go with a vertically knit scarf, and I was much happier with the results.

This picture doesn't really show the fact that this scarf ended up being about 10' long. Whoops. That's what you get for casting on 300 stitches or so. I may reknit it at some point, but it's also kind of fun. The mittens were made from Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Superchunky from the Yarn Garden. The Yarn Garden had such a selection! If only there were space for a store that vast in New York...

Finally, Elmo is modeling the other scarf I got to match the coat. This is from Knit/Purl, which was right around the corner from our hotel. It's Lorna's Laces Shepherd Worsted in Tuscany. The scarf is a lot easier to wear, but I just don't love the pooling that I get with LL. I made another scarf last year for a friend with a different colorway, and the same thing happened.

All in all, Portland was a great city to visit. The hotels were fabulous and relatively cheap; stay at the Hotel Lucia or the Jupiter Hotel if you are ever in town. The food was tasty, but surprisingly right around NYC prices. It's great for a mini-break.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Kiri Elation

December and January were good months for finishing projects. One project of which I'm particularly proud is Polly's Kiri Shawl. It was my second lace project, and I started it right before summer vacation in August. It had many periods of rest, and I learned to frog on this project. (It's really scary.)

The first lacy thing I tried was the Knitty Branching Out scarf. I'm scared of using lacy weight yarn, though. I couldn't bring myself to use the Kidsilk Haze for something as large as Kiri, and the Cascade 220 came through for me. I used just over two skeins, and discovered that my original dye lots didn't match when I went to Downtown Yarns to get the third. Whoops.

In any case, I like it and it's wonderful to wear when sitting in the drafty computer room. More lace in the future, I think... and next time in KSH.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Variations on a Taro Theme

Over the summer my good friend Katie announced that her family would be increasing by one in January, and I was so excited that I immediately announced that I was making a blanket. A good, sturdy, heirloom blanket. Katie had requested Mum and Baby Aubergine hats (I made a little pumpkin cap for a colleague at work that K really liked), and after I recalled that those Brits called eggplants aubergines, I set to work. Those guys were easy, and got a surprising number of oohs and aahs at the shower. Kinda embarassing.

I'd admired the Taro Blankie that Kay made a while back, and thought that Katie would love something along those lines for her REAL gift. Katie is big on color, and I've become a big convert to bold color for babies. I used to love the pastely blankets and sweaters in baby pattern books, but I'm over it in a big way. Why hold back? So I stocked up on Rowan Denim, Tahki Cotton Classic, Kay calmed my fears about the shrinking issue, and I started to mitre away. My baby blanket was square, so I feel that all little one's blankets should be square. I decided on 16 different squares, with four quadrants of similar patterns. Then I started to run out of Denim, and ordered some Den-m-nit from Elann. Then I was bored with the primary/secondary colors I picked out for the zazz, and headed off to buy some variations on that too. Kay donated some colors as well, and pretty soon I was cranking along.

What I didn't expect was the length of time it took to sew all of those @#%#$%$ little squares together. The main problem was that they weren't that small. (I cast on 74 stitches for each square.) When I was in the middle of the sewing up, I met Katie for lunch and mentioned that the fun (knitting) part was over and all I had left to do was lose my eyesight while sewing the darn thing together. She said, "The sewing up is the part of making that I like!" I was seriously tempted to drop the whole mess in her lap and flee Brooklyn, laughing all the way. However, it didn't feel right to drop such a mess into the lap of a woman about to go into labor, so I sucked it up and started sewing.

I'm very happy with the finished product, as is Katie, the hubby, and the little one. Once the squares were all together, I debated about putting on a border, but thought that another square thrown in the mix might make the kid dizzy. Laziness won, I washed the blankie a few times, and wrapped it up.

I learned to not knit blankets in squares until I learn to love sewing them together. There's nothing wrong with squares per se, but I think it's time to test the log cabin waters so there are only ends to weave in when the knitting is through. Of course, there's another friend with a baby on the way (well, two, actually) so I've got my chance.

I think that I'm going to be knitting baby blankets for then next 15 years or so.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Snow White

NYC really shines when it snows. That is, until the trucks start driving again, and the lovely blanket of white turns to nasty, dirty slush. I was at a meeting today and a guest from Cleveland said that she had always thought that her city was the Slush Capital of the World, but learned that New York holds that title too. Only the best, I say.

St. Patrick's spires looked great on Monday morning,

but this guy looks like he could use a nice cozy fire.

Central Park was closed to cars yesterday morning, so it was even better than usual. This time last year, the Gates were just coming down. I spent a lot of time in the park during that two-week period and loved every minute. But this year's snowfall was lovely in its own pristine way.

Knitting and cocktails to arrive soon. Really!

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Wrap up in your woolies!

We've officially got a blizzard going on here in the greater New York City area. It's about time, since we've really only had one snowfall this winter (that I can recall). During that first weekend of December snow, my hubby was trying to fly back to NYC in time for his office holiday party, I was trying to make appearances at that and a friend's baby shower (both starting at 4pm), and New York was freaking out because of white stuff floating around. At times like that, I encourage people to move to Virginia if they can't take snow. Even taking global warming into account, this is New York, people. Suck it up. However, I heard that there was 22.8" of snow in Central Park at 10am. That's nothing to sneeze at, even for this Adirondacker.

Since it's finally winter, here's one of my favorite scenes from New York during this season. During November and December, when my mood is never very cheery, seeing the camels out for a morning stroll around Rockefeller Center makes my day.