Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Hotel Cafe Tour

Simply put, the concert was awesome. We headed over to Chapel Hill last night to catch the Hotel Cafe tour at the famous Cat's Cradle venue. $17 a ticket. The venue itself is pretty small and intimate, which I liked.

Samantha Crain, Thao Nguyen, Erin McCarley, Meiko, and Ingrid Michaelson all rocked it out. They each did two songs before the "break" and then they each did three songs before singing a round called "The Chain" that Ingrid Michaelson wrote.

Meiko, who I went for, was really cool to watch. You know how some performers sound worse live? She didn't. She's also cute as hell. I mean, really. I have a total crush on her.

I really liked Thao Nguyen, who I had never heard of before. She's kind of crazy on stage, but the energy is infectious. One of the highlights of the night happened when she started one of her songs by beatboxing. It was awesome!

Ingrid Michaelson was the unofficial headliner. She's the most well known, and always came on last. She's hilarious in concert and kept us laughing and singing along to her songs. She also rapped the "Fresh Prince of Bel Air" theme song while the band played the music to her "The Way I Am" song. I was amazed at how well it sounded. It was the other highlight of the night.

At the end, I managed to get Meiko to sign my cd. I wish I had brought the camera. She was really down to earth and didn't have many people clamoring to get her autograph, which surprised me. Meeting her was probably the most exciting thing to happen to me all month!

Saturday, October 25, 2008


We did not go to the barbecue festival. It rained this morning, which discouraged us from driving 1.5 hours there and 1.5 hours back. Instead, we got Nick a cheap bow tie, a potato masher, and a probe thermometer, stopped at a local artisanal bakery (where we scored a chocolate brownie cookie, an apple danish, and a loaf of black pepper-parmesan bread), and did some grocery shopping. I got a carton of Mayfield's black walnut ice cream. A classmate from Atlanta told me it was the ice cream brand of the south.

Yesterday, we had dinner at the Honduran place with the homemade tortillas. I had a pupusa con queso and two tacos al pastor. Nick had a torta cubano and one taco lengua. Along with all that we got complimentary salsa, chips, and some pickled cabbage. I got to try my limited Spanish again and we made it out successfully. They were really nice there and seemed anxious for us to like our food. I think I'd go back for the pupusas and posole I saw on the menu, but not for tacos. I'm aiming to try a local taco stand for better tacos.

Lastly, we tried making Indian food and it was a FAIL. Better luck tomorrow with slow-cooker chicken hard shell tacos...

We also attended the theater department's production of Sweeney Todd. They did a great job, which meant I was disturbed all night and couldn't go to sleep. I will never look at a barber's razor the same way again. Or meat pies, for that matter. Nick sometimes had no idea what was going on because they were singing most of the words. It is a musical, after all, hehe.

p.s. I'm procrastinating on my epidemiology midterm. I need to decide what to take next semester. GIS lab is kicking my butt. I would welcome words of encouragement. Maybe some "Get productive, you lazy ass" comments would help as well. =)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Thursday confession

I have a confession to make. I held hands with a guy other than Nick today. Don't worry...he already knows about it. Who is the lucky guy? My fellow classmate Tomer. How did this happen? It's a short story...

In the GIS lab I was working on one of the labs due next week when Tomer took the computer next to mine and remarked that he was going to be working on the same one.

I joked, "That's great! Now we can hold hands while we work through it together."
He was trying to log on so his reaction was, "uh...hold hands..."
I said, "hey, you could be a little happier about the prospect. haha"
So then he said, "You want to hold hands? We could do that." He held out his hand and we clasped hands for about 5 seconds. Then we laughed.

See, this is what grad school has reduced my daily amusement to: feeble jokes and slightly uncomfortable situations.

In other news, upcoming plans include the barbecue festival in Lexington, NC and the Hotel Cafe tour in Chapel Hill. Oh yeah, and Halloween is less than 2 weeks away!

I started to think about making a list of restaurants to try here in Durham, because I was tired of thinking about population densities and map elements. Near the top of the list is a Honduran place called Costa Azul that makes its own tortillas, and a place next to a gas station that has tamales. I learned from Hometown Chinese food in Davis that being connected to a gas station is not necessarily a bad thing.

I'm also adding Rue Cler to the list. A three course prix-fixe Parisian menu for $30? Sounds like a deal to me. The other restaurants on the list for "special occasions" include Magnolia Grill, Lantern, Nana's (a 5-course tasting menu for $50), and Vin Rouge. Note to self: budget is much smaller than when you lived in Davis and had a paying job.

I'm also angling to return to the Rockwood Filling Station because I browsed the menu some more and need to go back for two things: the Ham and Egg Pizza (featuring a sunny-side egg on top) and their custom ice cream sandwiches (your choice of homemade ice cream between two pieces of brioche). It sounds so amazing.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Football and Pizza

This weekend Nick got to go to his first Duke football game at Wallace Wade stadium. We decided to go because it was homecoming and we knew the stadium would be packed. As we were waiting to park, I bought Nick a scalped ticket for $15. We started laughing when we realized we bought a $10 group ticket that was bought in the name of a local Baptist church. It's kind of ironic, don't you think?

The game against Miami University started off well. Traditionally, Duke football has been bad. Downright sucks, in fact. With our third win this season we have won more games in like the last 5 seasons combined. It's crazy. We answered Miami's touchdowns with some of our own, and even had a 10-point lead at one point. Then...it unraveled. We couldn't convert, we dropped passes, we committed errors. Before long Duke was losing badly so we left. It was quite depressing to lose a homecoming game. At least at UCD it always seemed like we played the worst teams in the league so that we'd be sure to win the homecoming game. By the way, I'm putting up some pics from the day on facebook.

Nick, Emily, and I consoled ourselves by dropping by Rockwood Filling Station for some neapolitan pizza. The wait on a busy Saturday night was long, but after 45 minutes we scored some seats at the bar. I could see the wood oven going on through a window the the kitchen. Emily and I ordered salads to start and each of us got a pizza. Let's just say the salads aren't as great as the pizzas. Emily had a custom pizza with pesto and goat cheese. I had the white pizza which had artichokes, caramelized onions, ricotta, and goat cheese. Nick got the chicken liver pizza that had mozzarella, pancetta, and battered chicken livers on top.

Here are some photos:
Iceberg wedge salad with crispy pancetta and bleu cheese dressing

Custom pesto goat cheese

The White Pizza

Scott's Chicken Liver Pizza

It was all delicious. I'll be returning for their other pizzas and their homemade ice cream. The bartender, Terence, who served us was awesome. He gave Emily some free prosecco that another table decided they didn't want. I also introduced myself to the guy that runs the front of the house, John. I read on some other blogs that he opened the place with Scott Howell, who is the chef and owner of nearby fancier restaurant Nana's restaurant. John even remembered all of our names as he said goodbye on our way out. Bonus points!

The pizza reheated the next day was still great, if you were wondering. I ate it while slaving over my ecotoxicology midterm. I just finished that today and I'm beat. Now Nick and I are off to secure our Halloween costumes at the local thrift store. It's gonna be an exciting week!

Nick and i got our costumes and it's going to be awesome! We need a few more pieces, though.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Odds and ends

Procrastinating a bit by posting again...this might be a bad trend. I sent my mom off with an airplane bento so that she wouldn't have to spend $5 on a bad sandwich or box of processed snacks. In it I put: a mini bagel with cream cheese, cheddar slices with crackers, a lychee jelly, three strawberry gummies, mini oatmeal cookies, and cucumber and carrot sticks. Not pictured are a container full of puffs, goldfish crackers, and pretzels and a Daisy Cakes madeleine.

We found some interesting purple bell peppers at the farmer's market a while ago. Has anyone seen these before?

I just need to get through this week and then we're going to the North Carolina state fair! I'm looking forward to expensive carnival rides and a plethora of fried foods. Deep fried avocado, anyone?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Day 1

Here's to the new blog of our adventures in Durham, NC! I'll try to update with snippets of what we're up to, what we're eating, and what we're seeing while we're here on the east coast. Since I am a grad student and we all know Nick isn't a blogger...updates might be scarce. I'll try!

Mom's visiting this weekend and she's cooking up a storm. She made us xoi ga, steamed fresh tilapia, homemade (!) shrimp and pork wontons, and among other things, this:

Xoi vo (sticky rice with mung beans)

Nick was so excited that he's making his own che tonight. I'll keep you updated.

After a quick trip to the Durham farmer's market (I'm still pining away for Davis), we stopped by the Daisy Cakes airstream trailer to pick up some cupcakes. Our stash included fresh madeleines and four cupcakes clockwise from the top: a black and white, a s'more, vanilla dream, and a red velvet. Total: $12.50.

We also saw the Dead Sea Scrolls in Raleigh at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences, just steps from the state capitol. Let's just say there were a lot of biblical references and exhibits trying not to be religious leading up to 6 fragments of really old leather. The most interesting part was learning about how the curators of the 1950's really messed things up by sticking fragments together with scotch tape...the wonder invention of the era.

There are only a few hours left with Mom and I'm trying to make the most of it. I think there are plans for thit kho later and an airplane bento for tomorrow!

Mom and I with the Duke Chapel tower in the background