Sunday, October 30, 2011

Run (sort of) Far, Run (sort of) Fast: The Story of a 5K in BK

A chilly Sunday morning, and in a few hours, a road race. None of this was new to me, but for my companions, this would be their first 5K run. Having broken in their running shoes with a few neighborhood jogs, they were ready to test their mettle along the Bay Ridge waterfront for the 13th Annual Race Against Violence put on by the Women Against Violence, a non-profit organization that educates, lobbies, and raises awareness on domestic violence issues. We would be joined by my friend (and fellow runner) Helly. But first, we had our journey to far Brooklyn.  

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Dum Dum Girls: Live at Maxwell’s!

Really, it doesn’t take much to get me to check out a show at Maxwell’s. I’ll even go to see two bands I’ve never listened to, just so long as I have the night (and next morning) off. Hell, even if I don’t--but can get to the corner of Washington and 11th in Hoboken by show time—I’ll be there. Just give me a heads-up is all I’m saying … an hour at least.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Dance and Life Lessons in a Night at BAM

Inspiration … why, and from where, does it come? Although I do like to think it can be found in encounters with the arts—whether visual, literary, or in performance—I feel that often it can come from contact with certain people—either from their advice, or demonstrative example. And when I experience both such opportunities in a single night, I feel that could be blog-worthy.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A New Season of New Possibilities (and Pies)

It's been a long time since I posted here. What have I missed?

Visiting friends ...
A great concert ...
Good meals on rooftops and elsewhere ...

Regardless, summer is behind us and autumn has finally arrived in earnest. Although I would say summer is my favorite, I welcomed the new season by participating in a celebration of its bountiful harvest.

Mine = lower right; Mandy's = upper right
 Mandy and I sprinted to Brooklyn Sunday afternoon carrying two apple pies fresh from the oven. Our destination: Enid's 9th Annual Apple Pie Contest. The only rules: they must have crust, and must have apples. Though we followed those rules to the letter (and just barely got our pies on the table before the entry deadline), we did not come home winners. Not that our pies were bad, but out of the 25+ entries, ours fell short of the lard (just one of them many "useful prizes" awarded.)

Mandy baked a pie with a complex filling--Bourbon-soaked raisins accompanying a sugary/spicy medley of skin-on apples chunks--wrapped in a gorgeous crust decorated with star cutouts and handmade apple-shaped center piece. For my filling, I peeled Rhode Island Greening apples, mixed them with brown sugar, cinnamon, and cloves (and a little lemon juice), and baked them in a thick, buttery crust adorned with an array of cutout NJ shapes. Whether they tasted any good, we weren't even sure. But they certainly looked damn good, though perhaps they could have been cooked a little longer to produce blue-ribbon golden crusts and softer fillings.

pickled egg on a stick? of course!
  Unveiled at Enid's, our pies received a few compliments from on-lookers, but we had to wait for the judges' assessment. In the meantime, we sampled treats from the bar (spike apple cider!) and the kitchen, including corn dogs, sloppy joes, apple fritters, and even pickled eggs on a stick.  Since the barroom was crowded with pies and hungry patrons eyeing them longingly, we took seats outside. The evening was appropriately chilly; a breeze rustled the leaves in McCarren Park, while strollers and cycling hipsters rolled by. After visual inspections and sample tasting, the judges reached a decision: they're were no perfect pies, but they had definite winners for each category. Mandy and I anticipated hearing our number called out. I can only assume she would have bounced with joy if #34 had won, while I would have proudly held my #29 aloft for all to see and behold. Though indeed beautiful, Mandy's did not win "Prettiest Pie." And although unique, mine did not win "visually creative." Feeling snubbed (though still proud of our baking prowess), we retreated to the bar with our umpteenth mug of cider and two hearty helpings of assorted pies. Crust and fillings mashed together, and no one could tell what pie was what, whose was whose--winner or loser.  Drunk and full of pie, we collected our pans (with their delicious dregs), our critiques, and even a corn dog for Tim before heading back to New Jersey.

The air is crisp, the apples ripe, and a new season's potential is palpable and welcome. Our pies can be better, and so can we: so long as we try, fail, learn, and fail better the next time.