Monday, November 25, 2013

New York minute

on my way back from Kenya i stopped over to Manhattan for a very short day and a half to visit Leslie. on my agenda was 1) hopefully have a meal and catch up with the ever so busy Dr. Wong and 2) eat at Per Se. lucky for me Leslie somehow magically finagled some vacation time during my stay so i got some actual qt in with her. 

walking around Central Park. in a park full of leafless trees, one bright red tree stands alone. i'm curious about how this happened.

pretty! also, Leslie's favorite chill spot. 

prior to my trip to NYC i'd been to all of ultra acclaimed Chef Thomas Keller's restaurants except for Per Se. it's been a sort of goal of mine to dine at all of his restaurants so i finally made that happen last week. unfortunately i couldn't get a reservation in the dining room for the full tasting menu, but we at dinner at the Salon where there is a selection pulled from the tasting menu and is offered a la carte. we did a three course meal each and shared it all, allowing us to try a good number of the dishes. 

a ton of bread for the two of us. a little excessive i think, but i'm not complaining. all very good and i imagine they were made at the Bouchon Bakery

foie gras with hazelnuts and apple.
 served with quite possibly the best brioche i've ever had. ah how i miss thee, Foie! rich and buttery!

chestnut agnolotti with white truffle
rich, soft pillows made of fragile pasta and filled with fluffy whipped chestnut. holy yummmm

seared scallop with sunchoke
perfect scallop. this was probably my favorite dish of the night.

pork jowl with bacon and apples
mMmm. it's hard to go wrong with pork jowl. tender and super flavorful.

rib cap. i forgot what the other components were, but delicious! perfectly cooked and tender

green apple macaron
this was okay. i'm typically unimpressed by fancy pants desserts so it's just about what i expected.

the oh so famous coffee semifreddo and donuts
light and soft, my kind of donut...paired with a light frothy semifreddo.

Leslie wanted to check out this "play type thing where you can follow the characters to different rooms and see different scenes. oh and it's based off of Macbeth. and you have to wear a mask. oh and it's silent too. " that's all i knew about Sleep No More before we entered an unmarked warehouse in Chelsea. it sounded confusing but i'm usually game for anything so i figured 'why not.' but if you only knew what i saw or what the full experience is, you'd understand why it's appropriately called Sleep No More. they aren't joking. it's quite nightmarish BUT is also crazy awesome and each individual person's experience is completely different. 

the gist of it is that the audience wears a masks. when you exit the elevator you're free to roam the warehouse which has been transformed into many rooms and levels of very intricate and detailed scenes varying from bedrooms, the woods, a cemetery, insane asylum, bar, etc. you can touch, move and read things. somewhere while you're discovering the scenery you run into a character and you can choose to follow the character or roam around. it's best to follow a character for a little while and then eventually move on to another character to get as wide range an experience as possible. if you're 'lucky' you get a one on one interaction with one of the characters. i was one of the 'lucky' ones and all i'll say is that it was a creepy as f*ck, absolutely haunting experience, though still awesome and sort of mesmerizing. i'm not sure if "lucky" is the word but i guess so since it's rare to get that interaction. i actually got it twice and was creeped out of my mind when the dead looking nurse grabbed my hand towards the end of the show. don't expect to watch a play from start to finish. that's not the point. gory and intriguing. mind altering and insane. awesome and mysterious. 

if you can handle the sight of blood and nudity, you should give this a shot if your'e in NYC. don't look up the details too much or you'll spoil your experience. just go. and have no expectations. just let it happen and you're sure to come out of it feeling like you've been in another world for a couple of hours of your life. you'll also be happy to return to normalcy afterward. worth the experience for sure!

aaaaaand before i left to the airport back to SF a pigeon pooped on me for the first time in my life. so gross, but supposedly good luck. i don't really think i need luck in my life (it's pretty great already) so i'd appreciate the lack of crap on me next time, mmmkay Pigeons?

thanks for an awesome time in NYC, Les!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

kenya part II: safari in Maasai Mara

i've done a fair amount of things in my life thus far but i'd say going on safari is at the top of that list. above finding my career early, skydiving, buying a house, shark cage diving, and (dare i say it was better than this...) dining at all of Thomas Keller's restaurants, safari has surpassed those experiences. it was a ridiculously incredible experience that i can't even put into words. there's something about nature that really gets me. i think it's the lack of control or enforcement. whatever happens happens. if a lion is hungry, it goes on a hunt. if it doesn't catch anything for an extended time, it dies. nobody is feeding it or making sure it gets it's daily dose of nutrients. to hear a lion's roar in the wild is exponentially more genuine and ferocious than hearing it when a trainer signals it at the circus and then tosses him a morsel of meat. aside from seeing the animals, there's also something about the chase while on safari. you never know what you're going to see or miss. you could drive by ten cheetahs without ever having known it because they were hiding in brush, so when you finally spot one your heart beats quickly and there is no greater satisfaction. here is a sample of just a glimpse into what i saw while on safari in Maasai Mara, Kenya.
the wildebeests were supposed to already have migrated but this year they stuck around for a bit longer. we were lucky enough to catch them while they were still here to see some of the migration.

like, is there anything cuter? (answer: yes, lion cubs are far cuter)

Cape Buffalo

Hyena family! first we just saw the two hyenas and then this little guy popped up out of nowhere. SO cute and unexpected.

the mysterious Leopard. this was so damn cool to see!

zebra and child. notice the adult is quiiiiiiite excited to see us. haha!

Masai Giraffe. the pattern is different from the giraffes i'll bet you're used to seeing at the zoo.

amazing sunsets in Africa. seriously, the flat plains make for some awesome unobstructed shots of the sky

aaaaand the money shot! this is pretty much exactly the shot i wanted to get while in Kenya. it'd be even better with a silhouette of a large animal but this'll do. plus, thos little specks you see over yonder are likely wildebeests anyhow.

sunrise hot air balloon ride! 

gross pic of me but i had to have one shot.

the dark lines you see forming on the bottom portion of this image are a line of wildebeests

wildebeest tread. they pave patterns while walking in lines behind one another


lion cubs!!! wish i were closer but they were adorable.

don't they look regal? or maybe that's the Lion King thing conjuring up ideas in my brain.

mom, lookin out.


jackal pup! soooo effing cute! i want.

so romantic, guys! i mean, get a room! i'm gonna go ahead and say that i witnessed Simba and Nala when he finally made a move. 

all sorts of awesomeness.

why so smug? but seriously, male lions look like they just own the place.

another hyena

cheetah! i was SO happy i got to see a cheetah. didn't think it was going to end up happening.

beautiful beings.

 i'm going to pretend this is mid-roar but he's just yawning

doesn't this look like a 70's painting?

oh, hello!

i <3 kenya="" p="">