Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Hallowe'en!

It is about this time of year that Americans go absolutely mental. I say 'about this time' because although today is Hallowe'en, they've been working up to it for weeks now.

I was first alerted to the onslaught of holiday fever when we were invited to a pumpkin patch, run by the managers of Rabbit Hutch Towers, a couple of weeks ago. I was a bit confused by its location, in a little park in Tribeca.
'Wow,' I said, 'I can't believe anyone grows pumpkins in Tribeca!'
'No, you jackalope!', TLOML gently corrected me. 'They don't grow them there. They truck them in from Illinois and put them out on display in the park in Tribeca, for people to go and pick them.'

This is no pick-your-own-fruit scenario. By 'pick' they mean 'pick up from a cutesy display'.  Here's a pumpkin patch in sunny Marin County.
There's a massive 15 foot long wall of pumpkins - all shapes and sizes, some ready carved too - in Chelsea Market. I meant to take a photo, but since I always tut loudly at tourists taking photos of groceries in there, I felt I couldn't. Not even in the name of art my blog. Here's one I nicked from someone's blog:
Not content with having an enormous pumpkin patch thing, Chelsea Market is also leading the way in spooky displays. Apparently this one has caused a bit of a stir, for being too ghoulish.
They love a ghoulish display, do our American brethren. This effort has dominated the lobby of Rabbit Hutch Towers for a couple of weeks.

And people who live in houses have made the most of having their own front door by, um, covering it in fake cobwebs and putting pumpkins and skulls outside.
No, I don't know why either. But when I ask - especially when I take my special, cynical tone - TLOML accuses me of being unfestive, or unAmerican, or some such. (He will change his tune when I unveil the gingerbread house I am currently fantasizing about constructing).

So, tonight's the night all this pumpkin spookiness really peaks - and I am home alone. I was thinking of baking some cookies for trick-or-treaters - glad of the excuse to create some full fat treats and then foist them on others. But apparently kids these days aren't allowed to take anything other than a heavily wrapped, additive-full candy bar. I think it's in case that scarey English lady in Apartment P has poisoned the homemade cookies.

Instead, I am going to ignore the whole shebang and watch an old episode of Sex and the City. Bah humbug indeed!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Weather Up

I was going to do all sorts of fun and useful things today. I was going to go for a nice long run. I was going to take photos for my blog. And I was going to buy butter and fruit.

Then I looked out of the window.

TLOML and I had been warned to get our cold weather gear early. We hit T.J.Maxx a couple of weeks ago and bought ludicrous padded coats.
TLOML's duvet of a coat
I hope, I pray, I don't really need this coat
At the time I laughed - and cheaped out - because I couldn't imagine needing to wear this coat more than occasionally, and surely not till December. How naive. I bet T.J.Maxx today is full of fools who just moved here from California, in their flipflops and t-shirts (which were wearable in NYC just a week ago), panic buying down coats.

Incidentally, Weather Up is also the name of a great unmarked-door bar in Tribeca, which is perfect for afternoon drinking (not least because it's so hip that night-time drinking there is probably a little obnoxious). But on a snowy, sleety October day, we are not prepared to weather up, even for Weather Up.

We may have the kit, but we're still not leaving the rabbit hutch. We're hunkering down with that massive fish stew.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Sating the beast

The beast of TLOML's appetite, that is. He does like to eat well. This photo is a case in point.
This is what happens when he is tasked with getting 'a pound of fish and a couple of handfuls of shellfish': a pound and a half of fish, some crab, two lobster tails, a dozen shrimps, scallops, and clams, and two octopus (octupii?). To be fair, he burned about 3000 calories swimming just before he hit the fishmongers. Not only does he like to eat a fair amount, he also insists good quality. So this was all topnotch seafood. (And we now have an excellent hearty fishy stew to see us through the winter.)

Soon after we moved into the rabbit hutch, TLOML had paced out the surrounding area and identified a shortlist of good pizza slice joints. Since then he has done solid research and reviewed all of them, some multiple times.

So when we hanker for pizza on our way home, our hunt is targeted. We're like a smart missile, thanks to all TLOML's groundwork. Before midnight, it's Gotham, if we miss Gotham we head for Brick Oven, and only after 1am will we eat a Stella's slice. Ray's is shunned at all times. My guy is no fool.

It was this same approach, deployed over years of living in LA, that meant he could name the best burger within a two mile radius wherever you were in the city. His opinion on the best steak (Mastros) and sushi (Nobu Malibu) were similarly well founded.

Like I said, he enjoys quality food. So doing extensive research is really not a chore for him. And he is truly scientific about it. When someone says casually 'oh that was the best burger I've ever had', he pounces, notebook and pen at the ready, with questions like 'but what's your criteria?' and 'what kind of bun was it?'.

Six months into our New York era, and in addition to the pizza research, he has at least narrowed down the burger options, to land on Smith and Mills as offering the best gourmet burger downtown. But notice those caveats - there may be non-gourmet burgers, and in midtown or uptown, we are yet to discover. Oh, the pressure!

As for steak, well, the jury's still out. Strip House, Peter Luger and Del Frisco have been sampled. None met the standard. Tonight we will hit Quality Meats, working our way down TLOML's steakhouse shortlist. We're dining there with, and on the advice of, our favourite New Yorker. And since she introduced us to Smith and Mills' fancy burger, we could be onto a winner.
Mastro's.... Will Quality Meats meet the standard?

I certainly hope so, as there are a heck of a lot of steakhouses and burger joints out there. And we haven't even got close to answering the sushi question. *Sigh* So many restaurants and so little time (3 months and counting).

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Why college football is more fun than the NFL

During the reunion weekend, TLOML and I went to a football game. Stanford have had an unusually strong start to the season, due in part to their star quarterback who will apparently be 'Number One Draft Pick'. The draft is when the NFL teams select from all the college football players who want to go pro, with the worst NFL team getting to choose first. It's kind of a redistribution of talent.

The fact that Stanford football would produce the number one draft pick, Luck, is getting the alumni all confused and excited. Apparently when TLOML and his moron-bowl drinking buddies were at the Farm, they were a bit rubbish at football. Not anymore.

Campus was all a-buzz about the game.

It even made the front page. Admittedly, of the Stanford Daily.
The Bookstore, with a Stanford athletics merchandise section bigger than most Footlockers.

The queue at the Bookstore, two hours before the game.
The stadium, which holds over fifty thousand spectators, was sold out. It was packed with rabid red-t-shirted students, plus a bunch of alumni, their offspring, and me in my brand new Stanford letter sweater.

Stanford beat the Washington Huskies 65-21, in an avalanche of rushing yards (read that somewhere... must get TLOML to explain it to me) and exciting running and throwing. I loved it.

Almost as much as the football, I liked the entertainment. I gather the Stanford game show  is a little unusual.

Let's start with the mascot. Washington have their husky, Berkley has its bear, Texas have their longhorns, Clemson have their tiger, and Miami have their hurricanes. The theme is usually fearsome forces of nature. And Stanford? Well, Stanford's official position is that there is no mascot. They are the Stanford Cardinal (never Cardinals) and cardinal is... well, a colour. They do however have an unofficial mascot, which is a tree.

And the band. Marching bands are another feature of US university life that I find a bit puzzling. They are part of the cheer effort, and do a jaunty, spirit-lifting half time show.

The Stanford band - or, to give them their full introduction and title, the one, the only, the truly incomparable Leland Stanford Junior, University Marching Band - are a little different. They bring a sense of irony and a spirit of chaos to the whole shebang. The show we watched had a few members of the band in Star Wars costumes, for reasons that remained obscure. They specialise in doing songs and forming letters designed to offend their opposition. Apparently they were banned from playing at Notre Dame, a college with plenty of students with Irish Catholic roots, for doing Riverdance and a gag about the potato famine.

As well as their mascot tree, the team are cheered on by the Stanford Dollies. Like all serious (since they are now serious) athletics departments, Stanford has a cheerleading team. They're the tanned girls in the skimpy outfits forming human pyramids. And those 5 rather less athletic girls twirling around and doing the can can in the corner? They are the Dollies. They come with the band.

I'll leave you with one more video treat. This is the last 4 seconds of the '82 Cal vs Stanford game where the band, thinking Stanford had won, flooded the field. Meanwhile, Cal dodged through the band to score the winning touchdown. Check out the trumpet player being thumped to the ground. Ouch! Apparently the band leadership is passed on with 4 seconds to play at the Cal vs Stanford game every year, in honour of this occasion.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Giving something back to the alma mater

TLOML and I spent this weekend at a Stanford Alumni weekend, in sunny Palo Alto, CA. For him it was a chance to reunite with his law school classmates. For me it was a proper eye opener.

I've never really got involved in Oxford's Old Member programme. I did go to a couple of Trinity College's drinks receptions for Old Members, back when I was just a few years out of college and would pretty much attend anything involving free booze. Even if the booze was warm Blossom Hill straight from the box. And last time we were in College doing Wedmin we stopped into the Old Members office to use their photocopier, and they gave us a couple of free postcards of Trinity. Oh, and a nice shy student called me once during a 'Telethon', and let me ramble on about my college days before I rang off without donating. That's about as far as Trinity's courting of me for funds has gone, and I like it that way.

I have certainly never made it to a 'Gaudy', which is the nearest equivalent to the Alumni weekend. Based on my limited experience of Trinity's alumni relations, I'd guess it involves the Domestic Bursar opening a packet of twiglets and some Freixenet while a very old Old Member gives a talk on Medieval brass rubbings. Then the College president will do a big shout out for Trinity retaining its prized mid-table position in the Norrington Table and pass a mortar board around, exhorting his audience to 'dig deep' - and a shower of coppers and Werther Originals will rain down into said mortar board.

I'm just guessing, but that's how I think it goes. Maybe when the income from the vast college estates starts to dip, and their incredible wine cellars run dry, they will get a little more aggressive in their fundraising. When they do, they could do worse than adopt the American model.

The American university system is oiled not only by massive tuition fees, but also by the generosity of very wealthy individuals. Such as the former students who will give a lot of money in order to have an auditorium or a courtyard named after them. The courting of such benefactors is an elaborate dance of spending: Stanford splash out on a fancy Alumni weekend in the hope the Alumni will reciprocate and splash out on an auditorium or two.

The Stanford Alumni weekend was pretty impressive. A number of important and learned speakers gave interesting lectures on a wide range of topics. They had golf carts to shuttle old or lazy alumni around campus.

The interweb was provided free, as were soft beverages and Stanford branded bags.

There was a big jolly picnic, with quality food, including a taqueria van and lashings of icecream. Much networking was done. Comments like 'Wow, he lost his hair pretty fast' and 'She must have gained forty pounds' peppered the air.

And, most importantly, pledges for donations were made. Apparently the Law School class of '01 contributed $110k to Stanford funds over the course of the weekend. Rather more impressive than that mortar board full of coppers.

And after all the networking was done, TLOML and his old law school buddies attacked a few of their favourite drinking holes. A drink known as the Moron Bowl was consumed. And another 7 followed. Then late night drive around Palo Alto in search of a Denny's ensued. It was as if they were still dissolute 20-something students, which I suppose is what a reunion weekend is all about.
Moron Bowl

The next day we took our 30-something hangovers for a walk around campus. Stanford is just gorgeous, and the facilities are incredible. Year round sun and palm trees help too. TLOML and I talked about sending our future offspring there. Then again, with tuition fees running at $40k, we're thinking... maybe an Oxford education will do just fine. They'll save a fortune on alumni weekends too.

Friday, October 21, 2011

About those parks... I was wrong

Another retraction... I'm like the Private Eye of blogs. Well, no-one is suing me, but my conscience is pricking me. This time it's those mean comments I made about scrappy little New York parks.

A recent visit from my favourite little sister re-opened my eyes to the magic of Central Park. We walked from the Natural History Museum on the west side, across to the Met on the east, via the Ramble, the boating lake, and its little cousin the model boat pond. Plus we consumed the best icecream my favourite little sister has ever had - those Van Leeuwen dudes know just what to do with a roasted banana.

We also took in the High Line, of course, and enjoyed cups of tea in both Bryant Park and Madison Square Park. Both of which are charming little city parks (if a little over-run).
The lovely Bryant Park.

But most excitingly for the park lover in me - and thanks entirely to my favourite little sister - I have discovered the joys of the lesser known Riverside Park South. It's a relatively new park, below the Trump Place buildings on the West Side Highway, up in the 60s and 70s.

Until recently my riverside runs only took me as far as 55th Street, at which point crippling pain sent me hobbling back home like a lopsided pixie. Then my favourite little sister, who happens to be a brilliant physiotherapist, told me that my gastrosoleus complex was so tight it was not allowing the old tibialis posterior to function correctly. No wonder it hurt.

God bless the NHS! After a couple of weeks of targeted stretching and strengthening exercises, I have added another couple of miles, or twenty blocks, to my run.

Now I get to enjoy the lovely winding paths, interesting public art, windswept marshes, ghost piers and all round envigorating experience of the Riverside Park South. It has a low profile, quite the opposite of the jam-packed High Line, and I suspect it's a park for locals. The rest of New York is missing out.

And I was wrong: New York City has many excellent parks. Sorry NYC...

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

'Put this big boy in your mouth and then tell me how you feel'

Said the bishop to the actress. Or, said TLOML whispered in my... no wait, this blog post has gone all wrong. It's a foodie one, not a filthy one.

Last night we ate tapas at  El Quinto Pino. We were debating ordering the chorizo, bread and grape dish and wondering if it was too much food. The waiter had just served us a fried squid and aioli  sandwich which was roughly the size of TLOML's head. So he recommend that we wait till we had consumed said sandwich before we went ordering any hearty meat dishes.

His turn of phrase was just a little, um, suggestive. Or maybe we've been living in Chelsea (aka Boytown) for too long - the home of 'Big Booty Buns Bakery' and real estate ads that say 'I didn't remember his name, but oh, his apartment!' Maybe it's turned me a bit saucy-minded.

Anyway, back to El Quinto Pino. We had been dying to try it for a while but couldn't find it. I had returned home one day to find TLOML raving about this 'tiny little bustling neighbourhood joint' he had passed one evening. The problem was he couldn't remember where it was. He'd passed it on the way somewhere - was it back from Whole Foods? Or that night he walked down to Union Square? He knew it was walking distance from us, and that it was tiny and tucked away, and that's all we had to go on.

So we got organised. I printed off a Google Map of the 20 blocks east of Rabbit Hutch Towers. For the next few weeks we walked a different route every time we went anywhere, looking for this amazing place he'd seen, and ticking off the blocks as we did so. Then we forgot about it.

Until, that is, a couple of weeks ago, we were mooching around the London Terrace Street Fair, on the block next to Rabbit Hutch Towers. I was peckish after walking around, because TLOML won't buy random baked goods from strangers*. As if in mirage, this dinky little restaurant appeared... El Quinto Pino!

It had been under our noses all that time, and because we never walked along 24th Street, we never saw it. It was closed that day, so we crossed 9th Avenue and went into this little Basque place we've been meaning to try for a while too: Txikito. Which is, it turns out, the sister restaurant to El Quinto Pino. Txikito do a fantastic salad with little deep fried crispy fish on top of rocket, and a poached egg hiding underneath. They serve their wine in short tumblers, Spanish style. We like it.

The guys that run El Quinto Pino and Txikito used to work at Tia Pol, which was our favourite tapas bar... till now.
This is not the restaurant's bar. This is the restaurant.

El Quinto Pino is clearly our tapas destiny. It's a tiny place with perching room for no more than twenty people. The uni panini is what they're famous for (I thought it was too mustardy, since I like to taste the sea urchin in my sea urchin sandwich). But oh my days! The croquetas, so mushy and crispy! The deep fried pork crackling, so moreish! The seared lamb, that big squid sandwich, and the octopus terrine, so savoury and delicious! Maximum umami points. Plus it's just a cool, charming little place. Scruffy in a good way - the cocktail list is chalked up on a pipe behind the bar - and with a friendly, chilled atmosphere, which somehow Tia Pol lacks. Sure, the staff are suggestive (see this post's headline), but also very pleasant.

So we have three outstanding Spanish restaurants within a 2 minute walk of Rabbit Hutch Tower. Guess those Boytown boys clearly like to eat a little Spanish. Lucky for us.

*though he will buy a Sabrett's hot dog that's been sitting on a street corner cart for 2 days.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Beautiful, green, historic, charming, learned New Jersey

I take it all back!

Yesterday TLOML and I went to Princeton for the day. His cousin was playing soccer- go Tigers! - and her parents were in town. So we went to hang out, admire the silky skills of the Tigers, take fright at the brutality of the Columbia girls (who play a little rough), and wander around the campus.
Princeton Tigers 4 - Columbia Rough-housers 1.
Princeton University is part of the Ivy League, and is older than most of America  in that it was established before the Revolution. The campus is absolutely gorgeous. There are some really lovely old buildings - and some probably built in the last fifty years, but doing a great job of looking older. There are also lots of trees, and little patches of green crossed by gravel paths, between the buildings. It feels miles away from anywhere.

Yet the other side of the famous gates is a smart little town. It's pretty idyllic.

Afterwards we had dinner with TLOML's aunt. She is quite beautiful, highly educated and very well dressed. Like the polar opposite of Snooki. TLOML's aunt always has good stories about TLOML as a child, and throws in a few good Korean sayings for good measure. Like the 'frog in the well'.

The frog in the well thinks the water in his well is an ocean. Perhaps in my Manhattan-centric attitude to this part of the world, I have been a bit of a frog in the well. I'm sorry, New Jersey, I take it all back. (Still hate Penn station though).

Thursday, October 13, 2011

New Jersey... still a bit crap

Sorry, Jersey girls and boys. My prejudices about New Jersey are still not being challenged. Even the journey from New York is a bummer.

On Monday I got on a train at Penn Station. Hemmed in on all sides by Madison Square Garden, the world's largest post office, Brother Jimmy's BBQ and other Midtown horrors, Penn is a cesspit of poor signage and latent violence. Everyone there is either totally lost, about to start shouting at strangers, or both. Unless they are panhandlers (or as the Brits call them, beggars), in which case they are in exactly the right place and are fairly content.

One of the reasons people get lost in Penn is that it is actually three separate stations, for three separate train services (Long Island Railroad, Amtrak, and New Jersey Transit), all of which are pretending the others don't exist. The first time I went there, to get an NJ Transit train, I scrutinised the Amtrak ticket machines and departures board for ages, looking for my train. I was completely baffled. Till I realised that just a few steps away was an almost replica station set up - the ticket machines, the departures boards, the Hudson News, the Zaros bakery - for NJ Transit. Most confusing.

From horrible Penn I took the train to even more horrible Middlesex County, NJ. There, the Big Corp office lurks in a flat, featureless landscape where one depressing suburb merges into the next.

Courtesy of Big Corp I got to do a nice compare and contrast. On Wednesday I got on a train at Grand Central. It is beautiful and grand and has good shops. It also has a jazz pianist knocking out jazz and blues standards on a Bontempi in the dining concourse. Most civilised. The terminal houses an oyster bar, a cocktail bar, and some good delis. It is also flattering lit, with lovely soft yellow bulbs. And the signs are clear and logical. A lovely station.

I could have stayed all day but instead I got on a train to Valhalla, a town on the border of upstate New York and Connecticut. Here, there are lots of pretty, old clapboard houses, with slightly overgrown gardens and rope swings on weeping willows. To get to Big Corp we drove around a little valley, with a huge reservoir surrounded by a dense forest where the leaves are just starting to turn gold.

The Big Corp learning centre here appears to have been modelled on a seventies ski lodge, all big chunks of stone and untreated wood. Big Corp people stride about talking importantly on their phones, or networking freely in one of the common areas. There is a lounge with a fake fire in it, which is billed as 'The Fireside Lounge: Thoughtful Food for Thoughtful Minds.' In the cafeteria they had a self-serve vat of icecream, and you could help yourself to toppings.

Yup, New Jersey loses every time. (Unless it's trashy TV you're after, in which case, bring on the guidos.)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Wordsmithery, trashy magazine style

In Star magazine, and others of that ilk, people never go to parties or bars. They 'hit them up' instead. And no-one ever kisses, but plenty of people 'pucker up' and 'plant smackers'. There are many 'hoofers', but no dancers.

Beyonce and Jay-Z did not go shopping last week. They 'scooped up designer duds'. And, accompanying young Louis to a party, Sandra Bullock did not dress as a pirate. She 'donned swashbuckling swag'.
All the trash that's barely fit to print

I know, I know, spending even a nanosecond reading those rags is a complete waste of time. So analyzing and pausing to comment on what they say is idiocy.

And yet... and yet, those turns of phrase make me smile. I'm considering adopting them. I think I could be even more successful at Big Corp and in my writing career if only I had a more exciting style of speech.

Or should that be 'a snazzier mode of chewing the fat'?

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Whose fantasy is this anyway?

Another weekend, another drubbing in TLOML's Fantasy Football League.

To be clear, this is American football. Not 'soccer', as Americans call actual football. I know very little about football. I know even less about American football. When I watch it, I literally don't understand what's happening. I can't even see where the ball is. When the attacking team do one of those dummy plays, and trick the defense into going in the wrong direction, I am always fooled too. I'm always following what I think is the ball till it goes off the screen, and then I realise, the action is at the other end of the screen.

Despite my ignorance, I do quite enjoy watching it. The men mostly have great big bottoms and powerful thighs, and they wear very tight leggings, and there's something transfixing about watching all of that in motion.

Those last 8 sentences sum up all I know about the NFL. Making up a team and 'playing' every week against TLOML and his buddies, is not my fantasy. Still, I do love him and I do want to play his silly game.

So last year I picked my team solely based on names. There are some excellent names in the NFL. D'Brickashaw Ferguson is one of them. Antwaan Randle El is another. Atari Bigby is another. Named after the pinnacle of technology in 1981, I suppose. Plaxico Burress has a certain ring (apparently it means 'Peace' which I suppose is better than being named for an arcade game. Then again, how peaceful was Plaxico feeling when he shot his own leg in a strip club last year?). Then there's Tyjuan (pronounced Taiwan and I am not kidding) Hagler.  And Captain Munnerlyn, whose first name is Captain, which is not his rank. Let's not forget LaRod Stephens-Howling. I could go on.

If you're not born with a silly name, you can always make one up. Like Chad Johnson who rebranded himself Chad Ocho-Cinco, after his shirt number, 85. Next to Webster Slaughter I guess he felt a bit lacklustre, maybe.

D'Brickashaw, getting stuck in
Trust me, there are dozens of guys with names like this playing pro-football over here. It would actually be harder to staff a team with fairly run-of-the-mill names.

Last year I made my selections based on compelling and unusual names. This year I let the computer and interweb make the picks for me. And yet...I have a chap with the law-firm-style name, BenJarvus Green-Ellis. I feel he could be my ace in the hole...

I will keep you posted.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Chelsea's Youthful Art Scene

We saw this kid a couple of weeks ago, on one of those walks to Whole Foods that morphs into a mooch along a street market and a late Basque lunch in Txikito.

He was doing a roaring trade.

The art scene's pretty competitive here, and I guess the really ambitious artists start young.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Emperor's New Noodles

Last night we hungered for ramen, TLOML and I. We'd been hankering after ramen for a couple of days (and we blame our night out with our favourite New Yorker for that). But by Monday, we not only hankered, we hungered (and for this, we blame too many excellent Fedora cocktails with our in-town-for-the-weekend party girl).

We yearned for steaming noodles! We needed that ramen! So we set off for the long, appetite boosting walk to the East Village. We were bound for Ippudo.

The Ippudo near Union Square is the NY outpost of a hip Japanese ramen chain. I've eaten at the Tokyo one (at the risk of sounding like a dick) and it was good. The New York one is not bad either.

They don't take reservations and why would they? It's just ramen. As in, a cheap, quick, slurpy meal for workers or the hungover. This aint Del Posto, people. This is spontaneous, 'I fancy some noodles right now' eating. So you show up, put your name down, and wait for a spot to come up. On a busy Friday night you might expect to wait a few minutes. But on a cold and drizzly Monday...?

'Sure', said the hostess, 'We'll put your name on the list. There's about an hour and forty-five minute wait right now.'

Stunned, we reeled out of there. Past a clump of waiting chumps who were perfectly happy to wait almost two hours. For ramen.

New York is crazy. But we are not. We removed our names from the bloated waiting list and took a five minute walk to Ramen Setagaya. Not remotely hip, but jolly good and best of all, no wait time. We were on our way home by the time those fools outside Ippudo were just getting seated, I'll bet.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Bird Soup

It was naive of me to expect there to be leftovers. Even though I bought a chicken - a Red Cockerel at that - the nice man at Dickson's told me would adequately serve 4 with leftovers. TLOML's capacity to consume chicken is unparalleled.

Once I'd rubbed and roasted it in paprika, and served it with some top notch roasties (finally found a goose fat source! hurrah for Chelsea Market!), there was no standing between TLOML and that empty plate. Less than half an hour after we sat down to eat, there was one solitary wing left.

But old habits die hard and making roast chicken soup the day after I make roast chicken is just, well, it's how I roll. So I made a really good thick dark stock with the chicken carcass, neck, and a few parsnip tops. Meanwhile TLOML took that final wing down.
All that remained of the chicken. This is a tiny ramekin, to be clear.

So what do you do when you have a great stock, but no actual chicken? Unless you count... wait a minute... is that the cold turkey we bought a week ago, the one that's on the turn? And... hang on, in that tub at the back of the fridge, I spy the Whole Foods chicken salad we weren't too excited about....
Three kinds of bird

I rinsed the mayo and cucumber off the chicken salad, and shredded the turkey. That and the scraps of paprika roast chicken, as a token gesture, made for three kinds of poultry. The fennel I found from last week's bouillabaisse went in too. So much more interesting than the usual monotone roast chicken soup.

We call it Bird Soup and it is delicious.