Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Tweets With Deets

Since I don't seem to be able to blog regularly, but am able to tweet somewhat regularly, here is a smattering of my tweets, with added context to them.

So this was on the bus on my way to work. I had a book in my bag, but the bus was crowded and I didn't get a seat. I was most jealous of these people who were able to read while standing. Old and astute readers of this blog might remember that I did buy a kindle earlier and I had to admit I loved it. But I read a few books that I loved on the kindle and I felt sad I didn't own them. If we are being honest, I can admit that I won't reread 95% of the books I own (the exception being Wodehouse, of course), but I do dream of passing on my books to my children. Passing on a kindle or an amazon account, doesn't sound very nice.  

These tweets were also on the same day, right after the previous one and are pretty self explanatory. While I love kayaking, I can count the number of times I've kayaked on my fingers. Mostly that is because I am lazy, but some part of this is also because of my pathetic swimming skills. S and I went on a guided sea kayak tour at the San Juan islands and our kayak almost capsized, because someone got us too close to a rock, because they were looking at eagles. That put a fear of kayaking in me and while I have good intentions of bettering my swimming skills, I have done squat to achieve that goal. 

S and I typically don't exchange gifts for Valentine's Day. He sends me flowers if he is not in town though, which is sweet. But he surprised me this year with an awesome and thoughtful gift. I have gotten into using fountain pens over the last year and the Vanishing Point pen has been on my list for a while now. This pen is very cool because it can retract like a ballpoint pen. It also writes like a dream. S was coming down with a cold that day, so we decided to stay in and get take out. We watched "The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou", followed by "The Grand Budapest Hotel". The Grand Budapest is one of my favorite movies and I am glad that S got to watch it with me. 

I love our neighborhood. It is very walkable and offers something for everyone. On one of our walks, we discovered that a former teriyaki place had new owners. We walked in without knowing anything about the restaurant and were pleasantly surprised. It was a Korean place, called BlueStone. I have only had Korean food once before (in Middleton, WI) and the waiter there was very frustrated about me being vegetarian. But BlueStone had amazing options  for vegetarians. I ordered the Bibimbap, with tofu, which was rice and sauteed vegetables and their amazing homemade gochujang sauce. It was served in a hot stone bowl, which toasted the rice and improved the taste. The owners (a charming couple) are very nice too and explained everything so well. We were there again yesterday and the wife sent us home with extra sauce because we complimented it. 

And that is all for today's edition of tweets with deets. 

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Celebrity Meetings

I have always had the worst luck with celebrities - I never casually run into them at a book store, they never sit next to me on the plane. Even S witnessed a movie shoot (at his office building) and got to glimpse at George Clooney. But I recently (does a couple months ago count as recent - it should at least count as somewhat recent right?) met a celebrity and wanted to write about that experience. After I am done with that I might write about another celebrity I met and who was really kind to me. (PS. I just realize that both these celebrities might not make you to go "Wow". But they made me go "Ooh wow" because I love comedy so much)

Without further ado - the first celebrity we met was Bob Odenkirk. He has a new book out called "A Load of Hooey" which is a bunch of sketches. It is hilarious! So he was in Seattle for a book signing. But it was not the usual book signing, it was more like a show. He did some standup, read a little from his book with hilarious voices and then there were some sketches performed. And it was all in a tiny venue so it was like having front row seats to an awesome comedy show. We laughed hard at everything and then it was time for the actual signing. I was hyperventilating the entire time I was waiting in line because Bob Odenkirk is so clever and I am not. I was sure I was going to say something cheesy and stupid and he just roll his eyes at me. S didn't do anything to calm me down and found my anxiety amusing. When we were close to the head of the line, a volunteer asked me to spell my my name and he wrote that on a post-it note that he stuck on my book, to make it easier for Bob (yes we are on a first name basis now) to write and sign. When it was our turn we said our hellos and  I gushed about how much we had enjoyed the show. Then he asks me for my name and I said that I had a rather weird name and he should use the post-it note to help him. To which he replied "I can spell, I am not an idiot" and then proceeded to spell my name wrong! I was annoyed (but not overly so because, you know, it's one of the funniest men on TV) and with all the mock outrage  I could muster I loudly exclaimed "OMG, I can't believe you spelled my name wrong after that speech" He was a little taken aback and then fixed it and then signed it with an additional inscription.

So you guys, my name is interesting and even Bob Odenkirk thinks so! This is specially more funny because the person who introduced him got his last name wrong and he made a quip about that at the beginning of his show. To make up for all this, he spent relatively more time with us and made sure we got a great picture.

When we were heading out S says to me "Well at least you are fair. I thought you only yelled at me when I make a mistake, but apparently you don't care who it is and will yell at anyone if they screw up." I decided I was going to take that as a compliment. :)

Now it's time to recount the tale of another celebrity meeting I had a few years ago when I was in Madras for vacation. I am sure all my readers from Madras know who S.Ve Shekar is (who am I kidding, it's not like I have any readers other than Srini or S when I tell him I updated my blog). And anyone who knows me knows how obsessed I am about his plays. The day I landed in Madras, there was a play scheduled and I decided to do despite the fact that I was tired and jet lagged. It was one of my favorites (Halwa) and I knew all the dialogues by heart and it was amazing to watch a live performance from up close. After it was done, S.Ve.Shekar was interacting with his fans and since I was most certainly his fan I wait in line to meet him. But like I said earlier, I was tired and jetlagged and I had forgotten to bring my phone or a camera with me and I was feeling really upset that I couldn't get a pic with him. Soon it's my turn and I went on and on about how I had bought all his DVDs from and how much I loved his work. My parents chimed in to say that I had just flown in from the US and didn't want to stay home and miss this performance. I think that touched a chord in him. So he asked someone to take a picture of me with him on his phone and he took down my number (I gave my sister's number) and promised to message it to me. I thought that was very nice of him and as soon as I got home I asked her if she got any messages with a picture and she hadn't. I figured he was a busy celebrity and probably forgot and bemoaned the fact that I forgot to take my phone with me. A couple days later I was watching TV in the living room when my sister bursts out of her room with an excited grin on her face and says "S.Ve. Shekar wants to talk to you!" He actually called me to ask if I had gotten the picture! I was flabbergasted and blathered something indicating I hadn't. And then he said his phone sometimes acted up with pictures and asked for my email address. He said he would transfer the pic onto his computer and would email me. And he did! I was so touched by this kind gesture. I know of celebrities who charge people for photos and autographs and I didn't think they ever thought about their fans. To take all that trouble for someone who was just visiting shows a lot of character. Also I made S totally jealous (he wasn't in India with me)

*I kinda look terrible in this picture because of the a fore mentioned jet lag. But I am still publishing this picture because it means a lot to me

So this concludes another post from me! And a twofer post at that too :)

Friday, January 02, 2015

Foods I miss from Madison,WI

I spent a happy five years in Madison, though the last several months were spent trying to leave it. Since I am a foodie and my memory is also not as infallible as I thought it to be,  here's my attempt to write about my favorite foods in Madison. 
  • Lazy Jane's Cafe! Gosh, how I miss having a standard go to  brunch place. While Madison has more than it's fair share of brunch places, Lazy Jane's stole my heart with their blueberry scones and their Seitan Hash - a delicious, non eggy, vegan, filling dish. Every other weekend in Seattle, I try a myriad of brunch places, but I am yet to find a replacement for Lazy Jane's. 
  • Continuing with the food, I really miss the avocado TLT wrap from Willy St Coop. I love the coop, but Central Coop in Seattle has got my coop needs filled very well. While Central Coop has a very vegan friendly deli, it's not as good as Willy St's. And they lack the avocado TLT wrap - which was my lunch at least once a week. Hope is not completely lost though - I've found a cafe with a vegan BLT on the menu with the option to add avocado. Maybe this will come through for me
  • Bloom's cupcakes - specially the salted caramel one or anything else really. This is the only place where S will eat a vegan gluten free cupcake from, because he knows it will be good. These are easily the best cupcakes I've ever eaten and I have tried Magnolia in NYC and Georgetown Cupcakes in DC.
  • Ha Long Bay - Despite Seattle's abundance of Asian restaurants, Ha Long Bay will be sorely missed. They had a tome like menu, with ample vegetarian options. I am yet to find a place here that has Vietnamese and Thai food at the same place
  • Bandung - Don't be fooled by the fact that this is so low on my list. When I was given a choice to pick my last dinner at Madison, I chose Bandung without any hesitation. All day I was thinking about the sambal goreng tempe I was going to eat there. Unfortunately they were out of tempe and I still feel cheated. This is one food type that is totally missing in Seattle - the only Indonesian restaurant is far far away and does not have any tempe dishes on their menu. If you are in Madison, I urge you to try this restaurant. 
  • Minerva Indian Restaurant - It seems crazy to include an Indian restaurant when Seattle is teeming with Indian restaurants and when I am never fond of Indian restaurants (that's because we cook awesome Indian food at home). But this restaurant is owned by Thamizh people and they have a very unique menu which includes kothu parotta! I am a little sad that this restaurant opened just 6 months before I left. I am yet to find kothu parotta on the menu at any Indian restaurant here. (I might be a teeny bit obsessed with kothu parotta). I organized dinners there a few times with friends from work to introduce people to South Indian food and I am happy to say those monthly dinners are continuing even after I left. 
  • Honorable mentions
    • Sa Bai Thong Thai - they are my standing Friday night delivery place with top notch Thai curries. My work farewell lunch was here. Again, Seattle has about a zillion Thai restaurants and we have a vegan Thai place a few blocks away from home. But I still miss this place.
    • Lao Laan Xang - Another excellent Thai place that I've eaten a lot at. Excellent meat substitutes and awesome curry.
    • Vientienne Palace - A hole in the wall Thai establishment with a unique item on the menu called "Spicy Plate" - which was divine. Sadly we stopped going there the last few years we lived in Madison for no particular reason. 
    • Buraka - An African restaurant which was really good. But we have Queen Sheba here which is a great substitute.
This concludes my list - maybe for now. I think I will come back to this post and add places I've missed.

Update1: I missed a Orient Express - a Chinese place in Middleton. This place was awesome because they had a variety of fake meat options available and I was able to order crowd favorites like vegan Kung Pao chicken etc. I introduced this to a few vegetarians friends and I hope they still enjoy this restaurant