little sarah Big World

Tag: trying new things

So Fresh and So Clean

~OR~

Good Morning, Sunshine!

I pulled up this little beauty in the library garden this morning. Already we are seeing the “fruits of our labor,” and it thrills me to no end. Garden work is satisfying, says I.

I did not eat the little guy, however, as I am fasting. Yep. That’s a thing, and I am doing it.

I did a week of clean eating–absolutely no meat or dairy (I’d been cheating, especially when it was invisible, like in a cookie), no gluten, and no refined sugar (although exceptions were made for beer and french fries at the Mad Men series finale…). Then I did 3 days of raw food, which I was actually pretty good at. My only cheat was a honey delight at work–honey, seeds, and dried fruit. So I feel like if that’s the worst cheat, then I’m in good shape.

And today I commenced with the juicing.

So breakfast was beets, carrots, apple and a bit of fig. Then I went and worked in the garden. Then I came home SO HUNGRY and made lunch:

Beets, beet greens, apple, orange, and carrot. Not too bad, but I was still incredibly hungry after. With the raw food, I was only super ravenous the first day, and then I seemed to get used to it. So hopefully this will be the same.

However, it’s all leading up to a 10-day Master Cleanse (judge me, go ahead), which means I’d probably better get used to feeling hungry. I know this is hard for people to understand, but I am actually excited to be doing this. Even the first day of raw food, when I was hungry and cranky and light-headed, I just kept thinking about how I was about to go on an amazing journey, and that I didn’t know what would come next. I’ve been fascinated with fasting for years now, and leading up to this I’ve been researching like crazy, so it’s really very fulfilling to me to be finally doing it.

Call me crazy.

 

 

Goodbyes and Hellos

Leaving Santiago:

Arriving Valparaíso:

Every time we change towns I have a weird sort of traveler’s growing pains, always prefering where we were to where we are now. Then I get over it. Example: I totally didn’t love Valparaíso, and now I totally do. So I’ll just have to keep that in mind for the next change.

This is how we learn, Friends.

Pub Crawling

~OR~

Pub Sneaking-Away

~OR~

Why I’m the Biggest Aguafiestas of All Time

Last night I did a thing that I would not typically do–I went to a pub crawl in a foreign country with a sizeable group of Americans.

Normally I avoid Americans in foreign countries. Normally I don’t go to pub crawls. But…when in Rome…

Mostly I went because I had an itchy feeling, wanting to be out of the house. And I wanted to meet Josh, a friend of Brett’s from Peace Corps, with whom I’ll be travelling.

He was nice, and also Mike (who will apperently be travelling with us, as well) was nice. And Mike’s friends Tim and Dan were nice. I think they’ll be travelling with us? I didn’t verify that. I started to get anxious, the more menfolk that jumped aboard this backpacking adventure. It just seems like a lot of dudes. Too many dudes. And me.

Actually, I came away from last night with the impression that the Peace Corps is basically a do-gooder frat.

So…yeah. That’s not really my style. Nor is binge drinking with a side of peer pressure. I prefer to binge drink on my own terms, thank you.

I mean, I understand that the deal worked out between the pub crawl people and the bars is that the bars give us free shots, knowing that we will then buy several drinks. But maybe the pub crawl people shouldn’t have encouraged us to drink so much in the park before hitting the bars, eh? Or maybe I still reserve the right NOT to have a drink in my hand at all times and NOT to have the pub crawl organizer order a bunch of drinks, tell people to drink them, and then demand money. And it’s not my fault that it was a Sunday night and there were only six of us and therefore nobody was going to make much money.

Yeah…I got cranky. And drunk.

So I did what I do when I’ve had one too many and am just generally over the situation–I walked home. Without saying goodbye.

I walked miles and miles through Buenos Aires at night and then struggled with the door at Jose’s (damned foreign keys!) before collapsing into bed (but not without trying to read a bit first. Why do I think that I must read every single night before bed, no matter how late it is or how drunk I am?).

Then, this morning, I woke up with a raging hangover, counted last night’s drinks (EIGHT–something I should have been counting at the time), and tried to have a day.

I hate letting hangovers steal the better part of the next day.

I hate doing things that I don’t feel like doing, only to prove myself right and have to live with the regret.

I’m not sure how I feel about do-gooder frat boys. It certainly doesn’t bode well for the next few weeks…stay tuned…

How to Sundee (Part 1)

~OR~

Sunday is for Brunches

(and Family)

Oh, it is rare that I take a day to just relax, Friends. A day without non-stop obligations and to-do lists and accomplishments. But today was one of those rare days, where I don’t have “back-to-back plans” (as Kevin said). Mostly because I am not feeling well, but STILL. I’ll take my lessons where I can get them.

So today I rose early, and prepared scones

Then I went to a family brunch at Sister Natalie’s house, because Dad’s back in town, and because the weather’s nice, and also just because.

The weather truly has been amazing this week–in the 80s and sunny, with a pleasant breeze. Sunshine for days.

So of course there was trampoline jumping with the kiddos. Because there is no resisting kiddos and a trampoline, and because Kevin and I are the youngest and most-childish of the “grown-ups.” And also just because.

Later we napped, did laundry, went for a walk. We stopped by a going-away party (of sorts) to deliver some cookies, but I was feverish enough that all I wanted was to dive head-first into the ice-filled beer bucket. So we went home. Easy does it.

Sad that it takes a fever to remind me to slow down, but I think I’m getting it. Well done, Sunday.

Brewtah

 

~OR~

This is How We Brew It

(in Utah)

You might think of Utah as a conservative Mormon-filled wasteland. And you’re right! Sort of. But just as an oasis appears in the desert, so do Utah liberals, radicals, and groovy-types (both Mormon and and non) find ways to express themselves, challenge the dominant culture, and create local, worthwhile enterprises.

Which is why we have so many frickin’ microbreweries in a state where you can’t even buy high-point beer at the grocery store. Viva la revolucion!

And speaking of oases…it’s not ALL ladies’ nights and slumber parties for this littlesarah. Because sometimes my Adam friend comes up with the idea of touring as many Utah breweries as we can in one night, having a sampler of all their beers at each one. He even researches brewing history! YES. And he has a car. So we hit the road one late Friday afternoon.

And drink a lot of beer. Like this:

Brewery #1 – Roosters Brewing Company & Restaurant (Layton location)

I’ve already raved about Roosters being  my favorite restaurant of all time. But we didn’t want to drive all the way to Ogden, so we went to their second, business park-y location in Layton.

Same great beers, same great food. Different location. NBD.

Our favorites were the Diamondback Ale and the seasonal Irish Stout. But they were all good. Except for the amazingly-named Polygamy Pale Ale (“You can’t have just one!” etc.), which I didn’t like. But Adam finished my shot of that, so it couldn’t have been all that bad.

Also, I’ve decided to try my hand at veganism, FOR REALS, so this night was not only about drinking local brews in abundance, but also about gorging on meaty treats that I will miss forever. (But it’s all for the best).

*       *       *

Brewery #2 – Bohemian Brewery (Midvale)

This one was probably my favorite. The atmosphere was like that of a Swiss Chalet (or at least what I imagine a Swiss Chalet to be like, having never been to one…), and the beer was the epitome of European deliciousness.

Each beer was distinct, crisp, complex and refreshing, but my favorite was the Czech Pilsner. I could probably drink 3 or 4 of those before temporarily getting sick of it. The Bavarian Weiss was also good, and super light. We deemed it a summer beer, which was just part of the fun we had deciding which exact atmosphere would be perfect for which beer. Oh, us!

*       *       *

Brewery #3 – Hoppers Grill & Brewing Co. (also Midvale)

Fun fact; if you sit at the bar, there will be sports. If you sit at three bars in a row, you will get super sick of looking at sports games.

Hoppers was hands-down our least favorite. Was it because they’ve perfected the chain-like atmosphere, despite being a small business? Was it because their slogan is “Your Local Chill!” (which doesn’t even make SENSE)? No, it was because their beers, despite being many and varied, all tasted a little flat, both in terms of carbonation and flavor. But I’ll give them points for presentation.

The only beer worth mentioning was the Uno Mas, a Mexican-style pale lager that was pretty much the most delicious Corona I’ve ever had. But probably not worth the drive to Midvale and the harsh overhead lighting.

*       *       *

The Aftermath

I got mud on my “bad-ass boots.”

We tried to meet up with my Dad at The State Room (not a brewery), but there was a $12 cover charge for a raggae/dub band, so we bailed.

We hit up the “tasting room” at Epic, only to realize that there was one chair in a sad little backroom with a grill in the corner and 30 minutes ’til close. Pity, since they have some of the dankest beers around. We agreed that it’d be best to do Epic as a stand-alone, lunch-time affair.

Then we met up with Stephanie Red and Whitney at Desert Edge Brewery, where I failed to take any pictures. Sorry. Anyways, we didn’t do samplers there, and I was sick enough of beer at that point to be unable to finish even my one glass of Anniversary Amber Ale. AND I wanted to complete my Last Supper of Meat with a delicious brew-pub burger and fries BUT they do not have fries at Desert Edge. Burgers, but no fries.

Is that even legal?

And the burgers weren’t that great.

So MAYBE we’ll go there for round two of the Brew Crew, or maybe we’ll try out one of the other three brewpubs in Salt Lake City alone.

Stay tuned!

 

 

 

 

One Time I Ate 16 Courses

~OR~

A Complete Amateur Reviews the Mist Project

Sometimes I can get really into something just because a friend of mine is into it. So where I was never all that into action flicks, I now get totally excited to see them with my Lindsey friend, because SHE’S totally excited to see them. Also…they’re just ridiculous. Have you seen Total Recall? Or The Fifth Element? ‘Nuff said.

Lindsey’s also really into good food. Like, fancy, sit-down dinners. Whereas I can be satisfied by most brew-pub fare. But as seen through the eyes of my friend, a gourmet dining experience becomes an adventure! And somehow I’m magically able to eat, like, twice as much as normal, who knows why?

To celebrate my 26th, she took me to the Mist Project–Salt Lake’s very own guerilla dining experiment, or what their website calls “a multi-course, multi-sensory experience.” We had two bottles of wine! Which made the night go a little something like this:

Course #1: Bread

There were two types–fennel seed/golden raisin/semolina and olive/walnut. I’m allergic to walnuts and Lindsey’s allergic to olives. But the first bread was tasty, and warm. Plus there was butter for dipping. Can’t argue with that.

Course #2: Spoons

These are prepared by students and vary from night to night. Ours was a take on a caprese salad (mozz/tom/basil–that watermelon-looking thing you see is a honey-roasted tomato…I think) and an asian-y thing involving tofu and peanuts and eggplant. The first one was too vinegary, but the second was good. I dunno. I’ve never had an amuse bouche before, so that was cool.

Course #3: Duck-Themed Shot Glasses

The left one is a duck confit with feta, sweet potato and barly risotto. Amazing. The right is a duck tea/palate cleanser. In the middle is a wafer-like savory cracker filled with fois gras. SO GOOD. So creamy, and salty, and…my mouth is watering. The point is, these things used to be ducks, and now they are an edible science experiment situation.

Course #4: Sticks

That round orb is a barley gelato which is just as interesting as it sounds and about a billion times more delicious. So good. I’d buy a carton of it, honestly. In the middle was a wee shot of popcorn with candied bacon, sage, dehydrated beehive cheddar, and powdered bacon fat. Unfortunate, really, because now I have to spend the rest of my life eating just regular popcorn. The pork-belly-looking thing was pork-belly, and was as tasty as one would expect.

Course #5: Beets

That whole yellow bottom part of the plate is a beet-flavored jello (a shout-out to our Utahn heritage). Those bubbles were the first (and best) of many foamy garnishes; they’re chlorophyll-honey bubbles. Also there were a bunch of different ways to eat beats, none of which was better than how I like them–roasted, over a bed of arugula, with goat cheese.

Course #6: Tuna

I don’t know, guys, sometimes I just want all of my flavors and textures to fit together nicely on a plate and not be some sort of equation that I can’t work out.

Course #7: Scallop

I like scallops, sure. Even if you fuck around with them and throw in some mushroom foam and “apple fluid gel,” my mouth will still recognize and appreciate their silky, meaty texture.

Course #8: Guest Chef Course!

This was actually our favorite, but we were so stoked about eating it that we didn’t take a picture. Oops. It was a super slow-roasted squid in it’s own ink. Smoky, squidy, inky. Amazing.

Course #9:

I only like my lamb that one middle-eastern way where it’s ground up and mixed with spices and then formed into long sausages around a skinny sword. And this was not that. Fun Fact: that egg-looking thing is actually a “reverse sphere of curried yogurt” on top of sherried tomato gel. Oh! Also! This course had fried sweet breads (glands), and they were not bad! Though I guess most anything tastes good fried. Except ear; ear is weird and wrong no matter how it’s cooked.

Course #10: Short Rib

This is a blurry photo of a too-salty short rib parfait. But I ate most of it anyway, because it was topped with potato mousse and a RYE AND CHORIZO CRUMBLE. I mean, come on.

Course #11: Campfire

SO GOOD. Our waiter assured us that it would be “downhill from here,” and thank goodness for that, because it meant I could go to town. What you see here is soy and coffee cured beef sizzling on top of a 500-degree granite stone rubbed with beef fat. YES, that is a true statement. A true statement accompanied by a literal can of baked beans. S’good. There were other shenanigans, like edible coals made of meringue and also some  veggies, but I focused mainly on the best beef I’ve ever had in my life. And I don’t even LIKE beef.

Course #12: Intermezzo

Another palate cleanser! But why would I want to cleanse an edible campfire homage from my tongue? Oh, because you’re serving a spiced apple cider flavored granita with merengue and cream that tastes just like apple pie but is impossibly light and refreshing? Okay then.

Course #13: Sunrise From My Plane Window

Sometimes I think chefs can go too far out there (remember all that foam?), but this is an example of where it works. A hand-blown sugar sphere covering a lychee wrapped in passion fruit mousse on a popping candy base? That is a fancy way to dress up pop rocks, Friends, and I am all for it. Even the cotton candy clouds were good, and I normally hate cotton candy. Plus the blue background was a cocoa butter spray that you could write messages in. We talked about leaving our numbers for our cute, hickie-sporting waiter, but decided against it.

Course #14: Palate Cleanser

I think maybe we weren’t supposed to chew up our dry ice Mist tablets? But we did. These cookies were prettier than they were yummy. Also I don’t understand how a cookie will cleanse your palate SLASH why did we need cleansing after two fairly light dessert-type courses? Anyways.

Course #15: Edible Forest

Did I mention that this was supposed to take place at Paradise Palm and have a forest-y plant theme? But instead it was at the former Metropolitan, and besides the campfire, this is how to do it right, edible-botanical-style. The base is crumbled chocolate cake “soil” and pistachio sponges (meant to look like moss) dusted with powdered sugar “snow,” and then we have delicate, intricate chocolate trees filled with glace cherries and cherry marscapone ice cream. Then our hot waiter poured warm chocolate sauce over the whole thing. It was beautiful and delicious and sensual and just rich enough to finish off our meal in style without overdoing it. Except…

Course #16: Mignardise

…except then they brought us this cluster-fuck of random and unnecessary treats. Some of them are made by local bakeries! But what does that matter, because you just followed up a perfectly wonderful last course with a slapdash smattering of not-so-greats on top of your leftover edible soil. Mignardise are supposed to be small, sweet bites served after a meal with coffee. But there was nothing small about the giant log that even our waiter warned us not to eat, because it wasn’t very good.

Anyways, that’s really my only picky-pants objection to an otherwise amazing, lengthy, and thorough meal. It was super fun! And now I’m a vegan, so it’s probably good that I got that out of my system. I’d give it 4 out of 5 stars.

If I were a professional critic. Which I’m not.

 

Having it All

~OR~

The Best of Both Worlds

Fridays are usually pretty low key for this gal. I like to spend the evening at home, eating a salty delicious dinner (in this case, salad, but nachos are also acceptable), baking, and drinking wine.

Then I usually move the furniture back so that I can dance around by myself like a woman possessed. POSSESSED BY THE NEED TO SHAKE IT.

And that’s fun. But sometimes I think that maybe I’d like to be dancing with others, socially, and also drinking with others, socially, and also just, you know, socializing. I mean, salads are cool. And baking is therapeutic. But sometimes I am like Ariel, and I want more. I want to go where the people are, and I wanna see…I wanna see them dancing.

BUT WHY CHOOSE, FRIENDS? Why not eat a salad, drink some wine, bake some thangs, dance around by myself, and THEN go to a divorce celebration party for my brother’s girlfriend, drop off some hideous (and therefore un-documented) vegan cookie failures AND some amazing deviled egg SUCCESSES:

…then meet up with ladies at a hotel where there is chocolate vodka which tastes just like these dolls (in a good way), and then go out dancing at a club/bar/meat market called The Hotel to dance, smoke hookah, and otherwise run amok?

Why not, Friends?

Have your cupcake dolls and drink them, too.

*       *       *

Gluten-free (and paleo-approved) cupcakes/muffins courtesy of Joy the Baker! (Frosting is not Paleo, though. Nor am I)

Ugly failure cookies ALSO from Joy the Baker! I think I effed them up by substituting applesauce for butter and flax for eggs, which I do ALL THE TIME, but apparently that magic trick has it’s limits. Feel free to tell me if yours turn out anything at all like the picture, though, as mine did not. At all.

Salad courtesy of ME! Like this: mixed greens, radish sprouts, tuna, cranberries, sunflower seeds, nutritional yeast and Annie’s Light Goddess dressing.

My Gift to You

~OR~

Return to Cheer

My gift to you on this most Valentine’s of days…is love. Platonic love.

Cuz listen, guys: dates are fun (except for when they’re disastrous), significant others make grocery shopping and laundry so much less mundane, sex is awesome, weddings are pretty cool…

…and let’s face it, nothing beats having someone to snuggle up with, to talk to at the end of a long day, to share your frustrations and triumphs, and your late night nachos. Someone to watch bad movies with. Someone who you’re not afraid to let see you cry. Somebody you can fight openly with and know that they will still be there for you.

But.

(BUT!)

That person does not have to be your lover. Radical notions, Friends! My gift to you is the advice that you should NOT put all of your love eggs into a relationship basket, no, but give some to your friends.

Because relationships often end, and you will need your brothers from other mothers and sisters from other misters. You will need your Friendships; they are the best ships of all, prepared to sail on through turbulent times.

So let’s be friends. Let’s all be friends, Friends. Enjoy your dates tonight, if that’s what you’ve got going on, but don’t neglect to give yourself the gift of friendship. Also: flowers. For you!

Fifteen Minutes

~OR~

Now I Know Why I’ve Never Been to Sundance

I’ve been busy, Friends, trading in my traditional 3-day weekend of baking, reading, running and writing for a new adventure: Sundance. The Sundance Film Festival in Park City, UT, to be specific.

I should clarify, though: no, I am not seeing movies, and celebrity gawking has been minimal (though I did see three different members of Modern Family, separately! That was cool). What I am doing is busking, Friends. I am making money and having my photo taken about a bajillion times per hour. So are my friends:

They even got inteviewed! Check it out here. I didn’t get interviewed, though. At least not in any way that’s shown up on the internet, as far as I can tell. What I did was play viola in the freezing cold, fingers numb, with my friend Eric and Corbin, in shifts. When Eric and I weren’t playing his compositions or Bach or “Mad World,” our friend Corbin was laying down a mean Rachmaninoff. Like this:

The thing is, even though I’ve lived in Utah my whole life, I’ve never been to Sundance. I’ve only seen one Sundance movie AT the festival itself, and that was at the Tower Theater on 9th and 9th. Not Park City. I’ve never experienced the celebrities-meet-quaint-mountain-town madness, and I’ve always wanted to, to be a part of it all. This was one reason for coming home from Spain–to be able to play with Eric at Sundance and claim my fifteen minutes of fame. Haven’t you wondered what that would be like, Friends?

Well, wonder no more–it’s not that great. Park City is not even close to the quaint mountain mining town it once was and currently pretends to be. It is a land where the women wear fur boots and vests with black leggings, and the men wear tech gear, and all the locals are trying to see and be seen by celebrities, thinking they have some special insider status, and all the celebrities are trying to see and be seen by other celebrities and could give a shit about the locals. Also there are a lot of restaurants and art galleries and Sundance volunteers running around in puffy orange vests.

And then there’s us–a scraggly bunch of kids from “The big city” (Salt Lake, Friends), just trying to stay warm and make a few bucks. At the end of longer songs I can’t feel if my fingers are touching the strings or not. To stay warm we walk around, pop into galleries to “admire the art” (read: “sample the free punch and snacks”), and watch greatest hits of the 2002 Winter Olympics on a cow couch (a cowch) at Java Cow, where I ate a Rico burrito that somebody left on the table, having only taken one bite. It was delicious.

Sundance…not so much. Definitely not worth giving up a happy life in Madrid. Ah, well…this is how we learn.

Cross that off my to-do list, and on to the next adventure!

Sistah SIStah!

~OR~

Diff’rent Strokes for Diff’rent Folks

(and by “Folks” I mean “Fathers”)

Still no internet, Friends. I’m working on it. I even figured out how to use imgur and how to do a double space, html-style. It’s awesome. Awesome in a “Yes, I learned some basic skills of the Twenty-First Centrury, and now I’m patting myself on the back about it” sort of way.

ALSO right now I am filling my weekends up busking at Sundance Film Festival in Park City. With Eric Rich. You know, the piano bike guy. So there will be more on that to come.

*       *       *

In the meantime, I highly suggest that you internet-meander over to my LINKS page to check out what my friends and favorites are posting. Lately I am all about Joy the Baker and The Dainty Squid. I read them while waiting for my own photos to upload, for full blogging submersion.

They are very much a pair of homey little sights, writing about baking, decorating, collecting, cultivating a cozy little corner of the world for one’s self. And I guess I’m into that? In theory, at least. However, my Sister Natalie is into that shit in practice, in real life. She is a full-blown adult, having completed the grown-up triumvirate of home-owner/mother/wife. And now she has her very own blog! I am so proud! Sister-to-sister pride YES.

Anyways, check it out, is what I’m saying. The Nat Kitchen. That’s my sister. Yes, we are related, no we don’t look alike. She is nesting hard-core, and while I like to think that I’m into that (reading up on these blogs and all), after about five minutes at her house all of the babies and animals start throwing up and won’t hold still and I remember that this is not the life for me.

Oh, also: pictured above is my nephew, Sebastian. That’s her son. He’s pretty awesome. You might remember him from this. Yes, I am linking to other peoples’ hard work, no I am not really posting anything new.

*       *       *

Strange, though, that I should be so interested in these domestically-blissed websites, while I am obviously still in the depths of what my father calls my “Odyssey Phase.”

I mean, somebody’s got to have the adventures, right?

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