Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Guys, I wanted to catch up tonight with a detailed post and regale you all with stories of my recent travels.

-- By the way, a shout out to Beth, over at A Sense of Scale, one of my favorite blogs, for being the first to correctly identify the locale in my pics as Cuba, the island of beauty and mystery. Beth is a great writer, both literary and funny, which is no mean feat. --

But a dear friend called me today to say that he just learned that his father died. He has no family here, he is from France, and his father died over there. Nothing worse than being alone during these times, so he's come over for dinner tonight, thereby suspending my best blogging intentions.

Also, my BFF from college just called to let me know that the ovarian cancer discovered in her mom -- which the family had thought was taken care of with a hysterectomy -- has spread to her lymph nodes. Chemo. Surgery. Prayers.

So forgive me if all I can do is post this quick update: Since coming back from Cuba I've been to the gym or walked every day. I still don't know why I gained (in theory) 8 lbs in Cuba when we barely ate and walked for hours daily. But I'm not going to worry about it.

I am worried that today was not a good eating day. I was starving. Power of suggestion, or power of being without food for almost a week and suddenly having it everywhere? I dunno, but it's got to stop.

Last night we had a great treat: free tickets to the Jazz Standard, a club here in NYC, to hear Somi, an American-born African singer. She was gorgeous and talented. I'm not sure her album can compare to the power of hearing her live in an intimate setting, but I highly recommend her latest offering: If the Rains Come First. Be sure to check out the single Ingele. Very powerful.

The Jazz Standard is a great club in NYC. Small and cosy, with BBQ from the Bobby Flay restaurant upstairs (Blue Smoke). But not huge, heaping portions. It's small bites, manageable amounts, and you don't have to have all the hugely caloric sides added if you don't want (like mac-n-cheese and cornbread). I like it.

But we didn't eat there. Instead we went around the corner to a 24-hour French bistro, where my friend -- the one who this morning learned that his father had died in Paris -- proceeded to have a dinner of all his childhood favorites, including a tarte tatin for dessert. That's like a small apple pie with creme fraiche. He related stories to us about the tarte his sister used to make for him. Looking back on it now, it's almost as if he knew on some level that his father was going to go.

Strange, isn't it?

I managed to do OK at the restaurant. I craved protein, so I had steak frites. I'd like to say I ate only the steak and not the frites, but I'd be lying. Still, it wasn't a huge portion, and I avoided the bread basket. The fries were my carb for the night.

No dessert, save two bites of the tarte tatin.

Today was not a good day, however. Lots of digestive cookies, two small half sandwiches, and several slices of chocolate rum cake (cake that ironically I brought back from El Caribe myself for the office but ended up noshing on).

But it's ok. I'll work it out. Got in a good long walk today.

More later.


  1. I think it takes a while to get back into kilter having been away or off your routine - you'll get there.

    I realised it was Cuba too! We went there in c2002 and I hated it and wept to come home! We went to Havana, Vinyales (not sure that's how it's spelt) and Moka. It was the dirt and the constantly being hassled that I hated - and the food. What there was was inedible and - apart from one place we found in Havana that only sold chicken wrapped in banana leaves which was actually nice - the only decent meal we had was on the black market. I was v snobby about not going to the touristy-beachy bit but in retrospect I wish we had done a bit of that just to sleep in clean sheets and eat something that wasn't like roadkill.

    Peridot x

  2. Wow. Lots going on for you. I'm so glad that you're taking th etime to comfort those in need. Hang in there, and I know you'll jump back on the wagon soon. :)