little sarah Big World

Tag: excitement

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There is a certain quality of afternoon light this time of year. A warm, mellow, golden autumnal glow.

There is a way the light filters down through the trees, like all the energy and activity of a whole year stored in branches and roots and bark, suddenly burst forth in sunshine yellow brightness.

There is an excitement to this season of slow death. A vibrancy of newness and transformation.

*       *       *

Or hadn’t you noticed? Had you been too anxious, caught between a heavy past and an ambiguous future, limbs shaking and guts stripped bare? Had you been so nervously casting your wide net, trying to catch that glimmering, shimmering thing off in the distance, that you failed to see the gentle ripples you’d been making had turned to violent waves, arms thrashing, and you about to go under?

Me too, Friends. Me too.

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Summer Ends

Last Sunday I went to a birthday picnic, in woodsy canyon area. A very summery event, indeed, complete with grilling, cocktails in mason jars, chips, dips, and coolers of ice. I wore a light summer dress, it was a good time.

Aaand…I’m ready for summer to be over. Come fall, come crisp air and flaming leaves and soft layers and new expectations.

Read the rest of this entry »

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.

 

 

The Origins of littlesarahBigWorld

~OR~

¡Hola de España!‏

So here I am. In Buenos Aires. On my own. And I kind of dig it. It’s been a while since I’ve had an adventure of this magnetude–travelling alone in a country that I know almost nothing about, with only the vaguest of plans and intentions. It reminds me of the first time I did this, in Spain. Allow me to set the scene:

Summer 2008. I am 23 years old. I have been out of the country only once before, to visit whitney for 10 days in Paris. I arrive in Madrid, catch a taxi fromt he airport to the bus station, buy a ticket headed north, and am on my way to Oviedo. All within the space of about an hour. I feel good about this trip, because of course I speak Spanish, and of course I will make friends with whom I can travel for 3 weeks, after the 5 week intensive Spanish language course ends. Right?

WRONG. My Spanish was not EVEN what I thought it was. And I wound up travelling alone, making hostel reservations for only one city ahead. Kissing strange boys. Busking. And I kept in touch with mass emails to my family and friends, and then I came home and made a zine about it. So, if you put those two things together, it’s kind of like littlesarahBigWorld. The beta version. Now, for your viewing and reading pleasure, I present you with those original emails and pages scanned from the first ever READ ME zine (of which there are…two. Whatevs). Enjoy!

*       *       *

Hi family and friends! Wow, already it´s a bit dificult to write in English. I am in Spain!!!!! I arrived in Madrid yesterday morning at nine (one am in Utah time). There was almost no wait to get my bags and change my money and whatnot (the exchange rate! ¡Ay! 50 US dollars is, like, 30 Euros). By ten I had already caught a taxi to the bus station, purchased a ticket, and I was on the bus to Oviedo. I wanted so badly to stay awake on the bus, because the scenery was gorgeous, but I literally could not force my eyes open. I arrived in Oviedo at 3:30 and had 4 hours to kill. Oh, Moms (or Dad): I will contact Mountain America, but if you guys could also call and tell them that I´m in Spàin and that I´m not a theif and to un-freeze me account, because right now I have NO MONEY!

Mi familia is a single woman named Beatriz. She lives alone, but she has a boyfriend that comes over to eat dinner and chat with us. His name is Eusepio. They both talk very fast (faster than the other moms, like Katrina´s), and I´ve already dug myself into a rut by pretending to understand what they´re saying and now I guess I´ll just have to go with that. I understand about half. Sorry, I feel like there´s so much to say, and I´m having a hard time expressing myself in an orderly fashion. Today was the first day of classes, and from now on we will have classes from 9:30 to 2, with a short break from 11 to 11:30. Today we took a test and they divided us into four levels. I am in the fourth level!!! Estoy en el nivel mas avansada. The Cutrubi are in the third level, but I don´t know why, because I think they speak as well as I do. Their friend, Daschel (who is now my friend, as well) is in level four, along with about 8 others, including a boy who already did this exact program two years ago and is so cocky that´s it´s difficult to even be in the same room as him. Tomorrow is the first REAL day of classes, and I´m a little nervous but mostly excited.

What else…? Well, so far the only totally crazy thing about life in Oviedo is that my house (and other´s, like Krystal´s) only has ONE GARBAGE, and it´s in the kitchen. So, you know, what if I have lady problems? Or what about my used q-tips and floss? Am I supposed to just tote those things into the kitchen? I guess so.

I really like Beatriz. She´s never been married and has no children. She´s 54, but seems much younger and is very metropolitan. Oviedo is absolutely gorgeous, and very clean for a city (not as clean as Salt Lake, but much cleaner than New York–sorry Judy). The weather pattern here (so far) is sunny and clear in the morning, and then cloudy skies and moderate rain from 3 to 8. Then it´s clear and a bit chilly at night. But it´s fairly warm during the days, even when it´s raining.

I get really tired in the afternoons, because that´s when it´s night in Utah. Today I had my first Spanish hot chocolate, and it was very thick (like a syrup), but not as sweet as you´d think.

It´s strange to be here–strange because it´s NOT strange, because it feels only a bit different, like starting a new job. My firs wow-I´m-in-Spain moment was today when Krystal, Katrina, Daschel and I went to a restaurant and ordered in Spanish lke it was nothing. Oh, and I keep getting lost, because–although the streets all have names–there are few street signs. So people will tell you to turn right on Calle Uria, but then you don´t know which is Calle Uria.

Mom and Beth, I need your cell number. For some reason, my cell phone won´t turn on (somebody spilled water on it…Cody…). Once you give me your number, I can tell you how to call me here. And don´t forget to yell at MOuntain America. Oh, and does anybody have e-mail for Natalie or Eric? I don´t.

Okay, I´m going to go now. It´s about 11:30, and I need to be at the school at 9:30. I miss you all so much (especially Sebastian and Rosie and, of course, Chi). Sorry for the mass e-mail, but if you send me (short) personal responses and questions, I will send you a (short) personal e-mail. Thank you to everyone who helped to get me here! My Spanish is already so much better, and I can´t even imagine how it will be in 8 weeks. I love you all dearly! ¡Adios!

 -Love, Sarah

*       *       *

Stay tuned for more dispatches from the littlesarah of FOUR YEARS AGO. What?! Time’s a cookie, Friends.

Hey, Dad

-OR-

An Idea Borrowed from Whitney

Hey, Dad. Hi. How’s it going? I’m writing directly to you because I know you’re probably the number 1 reader of my blog, though I often have to push that thought away in order to write honestly about, you know, sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll.

But I’m glad that you read, even when you over-analyze what I’ve written. I know you read so faithfully because you care, because you’re interested in my life and concerned for my well-being. So I just wanted to take a moment to say “hey,” and to let you know that I’m doing fine. You don’t have to worry, because I’m turning out just fine. Hello from littlesarahBigWorld. (These guys wanted to say “hi,” as well):

-OR I COULD SAY-

Hello from your mountain-climing, long distance-running, doowop-singing, yoga-loving, broadway musical-obsessed daughter. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree I guess, but that’s part of what makes me me, and the me that I am right now is loving life. No need to worry.

-OR-

Hello from the top of Machu F***ing Picchu!!! I made it! Your daughter climbs mountains! She travels alone in South America! She gets sick and tired and has rough days and crummy experiences, but she keeps going, head held high, chin up, and on to the next adventure.

And she loves you. So you did alright. Things turned out well.

Oh, and one more thing:

Love from your Daughter,

Sarah

Guess What?

~OR~

Busy, Busy, Busy!!!

Guess what, Friends?

I love chia! Who knew, right?

I could drink it probably forever; it is just that texturally pleasing.

Guess what else, Friends?!

I am working harder than ever! Blogging for my Garden City committee and for GNZAP and doing outreach at 7am with Bonnie (pictured above, sunny as always), Rachel (not pictured), and Dees (pictured NOW):

Guess what’s more, Friends?!?!

I’m going to South America on Friday. For 3 1/2 weeks.

Yup. Busy, busy, busy.

My Newest Thing

…is keeping secrets.

Not for secrecy’s, sake, but for some semblance of self-preservation, a recognition of self worth, that myself and my thoughts, plans and ideas, are to some degree sacred. Not meant to be shared so openly with just whomever.

So where I used to consult everyone I knew about Big Decisions to be made, now I just ask one or two close friends, or I just figure it out myself. Where I used to broadcast my Life Plans and Big Ideas, now I keep them to myself, because I am my own best friend, and I love sharing secrets with just me.

In other news: Kevin moved home from Spain. Last Wednesday. I made him salmon with an orange zest/brown sugar/soy sauce rub, wild rice with shiitake mushrooms, and collard greens cooked with mustard and topped with toasted sesame seeds.

So that’s two secrets right there–Kevin’s back and I can cook.

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.

 

What You Missed at the LEO Party:

A Sarah Custen Guilt Trip

Let me just start off by saying that I don’t even understand why people pass up the chance to gather, eat, drink, and be merry. I do not accept excuses of upcoming tests, family obligations, or illness. I demand that good times be had by all, whenever the opportunity presents itself.

I am a highly-biased reporter, is what I’m trying to say.

So for those of you who simply could not make it to the wonderful and magical and cooperative LEO Holiday Party, here’s what went down.

There was food. Delicious food. I personally enjoyed two different types of ham, some sort of marinated tofu magic, corn-n-veggie salad, and roasted cauliflower. Also rice. But that was so much more! So many epicurean delights! I ask you: why would anyone pass that up?

There were desserts, plural. Myriad, really. Maybe you feel like this doesn’t apply to you, because you are lactose intolerant, or celiac, but did you count on…

…dairy-free, gluten-free strawberry-coconut cupcakes?!?!? Because those were there. I know, because I brought them. And did we enjoy these treats in isolation? Did we stuff our faces and then run home to our DVRs? No we did not!

We socialized! Oh, man, we socialized so hard…it was CRAZY.

Also Whitney Houston played. RIP, Whitney.

Also there was booze, and afterwards, there was more booze, at the Red Door. That’s what we call an after-party.

Then after that I left to go out dancing. Lately I have a need to dance bordering on clinical.

ALMOST AS GREAT AS MY NEED TO SEE ALL MY COWORKERS’ LOVELY, SHINING FACES AT THE LEO PARTY. And you wouldn’t want to deprive a girl of camaraderie, would you? THAT’S WHAT I THOUGHT.

See you next year!