Monday, December 31, 2007

Top Ten Things to Look Forward To in 2008

superhero movies: The Dark Knight & Iron Man
the end of the writers' strike
new books to read, old books to revisit
visiting our friends Mark & Andrea in New Orleans
a quick Florida trip in January
a nephew! (and at least three other babies to welcome)
our annual trek to the Canadian Icewine Festival
a food and wine tour of Italy
every minute I get to spend with G
an election

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Top Meals 2007

Mom's birthday lunch at Zingerman's Roadhouse/Ann Arbor-simple chicken salad and BLT taken to new heights
Lunch at Simply Red Bistro/Finger Lakes, NY-a perfect lunch on a wine touring day
Dinner at Dinosaur Barbecue/Syracuse, NY-Lived up to the hype!
Lunch at Bar Americain/New York City-Fancy schmancy American food courtesy of Bobby Flay
Breakfast at Wishbone/Chicago-We couldn't wait to wake up and head over for crunchy French toast and red eggs
Prime rib Christmas dinners/North East, PA & Grand Blanc, MI-Delectable dinners made for me & G
Traverse City weekend-every meal we had was heavenly (Hanna Bistro, Amical, Patisserie Amie)
Christmas dinner at Eve/Ann Arbor-We'll be going back for happy hour nachos and red wine
New Year's Eve at Zingerman's Roadhouse/Ann Arbor-A tour of American food: goat cheese fondue, oyster stew, black-eyed peas and ham, lobster thermidor, delmonico steak, and a trio of creme brulees. One word: OMIGOD

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Top Movies 2007

These are not necessarily films that were released in 2007. These are films that I saw for the very first time this year. They range from crowd pleasing to chilling to magical.

Murder, My Sweet
The Departed
Children of Men
The Bourne Ultimatum
The Lives of Others
The Lookout
Michael Clayton

Friday, December 28, 2007

Top TV Moments 2007

The continued genius of 30 Rock

Pam and Jim finally becoming a couple on The Office

Jaime Pressly winning a well-deserved Emmy for her portrayal of Joy Turner on My Name is Earl

The Amazing Race (12) contestants' attempt to milk camels

Martin Short as host or presenter or guest star on anything

Starbuck's death and eventual return on Battlestar Galactica

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Top Music 2007

I thought I'd list my favorite musical moments of 2007:

Jennifer Hudson's solo/star moment in Dreamgirls

kd lang in concert at Hill Auditorium

Duncan Sheik in concert at The Ark

Kim Richey, also at The ark, closing her set with a beautiful rendition of It's a Wonderful World

New CDs from Kelly Willis, Gretchen Peters, and Trisha Yearwood

The entire cast album of Hairspray

Raul Malo's Christmas CD, It's a Marshmallow World

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Top Reads 2007

I read over fifty books this year. These are the stories that I found to be compelling or entertaining or hysterical. Sometimes all three.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows/JK Rowling
Into the Wild/Jon Krakauer
Little Children/Tom Perrotta
Peter Diamond series/Peter Lovesey
Notes on a Scandal/Zoe Heller
Eat, Pray, Love/Elizabeth Gilbert
The Golden Compass/Philip Pullman

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Seasons' greetings and joyous wishes to all.

Thursday, December 20, 2007


Have I shared that I'm going to Italy in 2008? I just dropped off the final payment for the trip so I guess it's really happening. My brain hasn't quite realized it yet.

A chef at school is taking a group of fifteen students to Tuscany next semester and I was lucky enough to sign up and join in the crazy fun. We'll be flying into Rome and then traveling to Tuscany for a week where we'll take some cooking classes and attend wine tastings. During our down time we'll be able to sightsee, of course and take an excursion to Florence. I think we'll visit the Vatican on our last day in Italy.

I've not been to Italy (my one overseas experience was a glorious trip to France in 2005), so I am ecstatic. My mom-in-law gave me some Italy travel guides for Christmas so I'll be poring over those during my break from school.

If you've been to Italy and have some pointers or recommendations (for food!), please feel free to share.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


I have had a smile on my face all day after watching Hairspray on DVD. What a fun movie moment. Newcomer Nikki Blonsky is the heart of the film and she's fantastic. From the opening notes of "Good Morning, Baltimore," the movie charmed me until the final credits.

I'm always awed by people in show biz who have resumes that are, ahem, less than stellar. How do these people keep working in Hollywood? Adam Shankman, director of Hairspray, has credits including The Wedding Planner, Cheaper by the Dozen 2, and The Pacifier. If I'd read that bio first, I probably wouldn't have bothered watching Hairspray anytime soon.

Not only did Shankman do a great job at the helm of Hairspray, he choreographed the film as well. That talent is mindboggling, especially for someone who has been wading in schlock for years now.

I loved seeing the older actors dancing and singing (Christopher Walken, Michelle Pfeiffer, and yes, Travolta in drag), but the younger cast was equally impressive. Everyone looked like they had a blast making the film.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Christmas Cookies

Here's what I made this year:

coconut macaroons
raspberry lemon thumbprints
mint chocolate chip cookies
heath toffee bars
almond macaroons
white chocolate cranberry cookies
peanut butter bars
cranberry bars
oatmeal raisin
kahlua espresso brownies

Monday, December 17, 2007

I'm Back

First of all, that cold really knocked me out. It lasted forever. Grrrr. I tried going to class on a Tuesday morning, I showered and everything, but just as I was reaching for my coat, I had a minutes-long hacking spell and then a nosebleed. I waved a white flag and stayed home one more day. Plus, (and this is my last gripe, I promise), G was out-of-town for work all week long. Being sick and alone is not fun. I was quickly turning into a Grinch.

Now I am breathing normally again and sneeze-free. Hallelujah! Another reason to shout out: dining room service is over. We took our final on Friday and then met at our usual hangout for drinks. Boy, did we hate that class. We got through it though. I even prepared and served Bananas Foster tableside and did not set anything or anyone aflame. I really didn't mind waiting on tables. I got into a groove and our class is a great group of people. We are a Team. My favorite role was hostess though. That seems to be more me. I enjoyed greeted people and taking them to their seats, passing all of the beautiful desserts on display. I was able to share some witty repartee and get some laughs. When the guests were seated, they really didn't want to chat or pay attention to the servers at all. Yawn.

Next up: a month long break.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Sick Day

Actually, it should be sick days, plural. The cocktail party was a big success. We were a little concerned at first because a winter storm decided to arrive as the same time as our guests. Some people couldn't make it, but we still had a sizable turnout. G and I were thrilled.

The spirits of the evening helped me to ignore my cold symptoms. But once the party was over and I kicked off my to die for bright red pumps, I slumped on the couch and succumbed to my cold. My senses are completely dulled (I was told that wonderful aromas came from my kitchen on Saturday, but I wouldn't have known that). I even lost my voice today. (Merry Christmas, G!)

I'm taking advantage of the down time though. I'm watching classic cartoons (Flintstones, Top Cat...great sick day TV), finishing my Christmas shopping online, and I read Into the Wild, definitely one of my favorites of '07. I'm hoping that I can sneak in a matinee of the film one day this week after class.

Food is not thrilling me right now. I can't taste a thing. I just made some orzo for lunch, adding lots of pepper and garlic in the hope that I can enjoy a meal for the first time in three days.

Next up: Law & Order reruns, my next read (The Making of a Chef), more meds, and a nap.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Today's Challenge

G and I are having our annual holiday cocktail party tonight. The challenge? I was lucky enough to get a killer cold this week. I'm sitting here with a cup of hot tea wondering how the appetizers are going to get made. Ugh.

I'm happy it's December though. Time to usher in the holidays. But I predict I'll have a date with my bed and big box of kleenex tomorrow.