Sunday, September 30, 2007

more living less blogging

I know, I know! Two weeks and no post! This is truly terrible. But the last few weeks have been this busy: the produce drawer in my fridge molded over, I've missed the last three episodes of Top Chef (and this with a DVR), and until this morning, there was hardly room to move among the basket of clean laundry yet to put away, the displaced dirty laundry strewn all over the floor, birthday gifts still in disarray, and all the other crap that manages to accumulate when everything is already a mess.

In fact, this whole summer has been a busy one, and there were a lot of great days, meals, events that I would have loved to share here, but got lost in the shuffle. But the last couple weeks were a particularly harrowing one-two-three punch: all on pretty much the same day, summer ended, Yom Kippur came and went in all its misery glory, and good lord, I turned thirty.

So, in a cleansing ritual befitting the start of the Jewish New Year (so, it was three weeks ago. Do I look like the atomic clock?) -- one of three New Year's celebrations I participate in each year -- I present you with

Everything I Should Have Blogged About This Summer, But Didn't
  • Sonoma. I spent a dreamy weekend in a cottage in the woods of Sonoma this August. Two of my closest college friends and I trekked up for the long-awaited wedding of our friend Jana. This wedding was supposed to happen three years ago, and now that Jana has been in full remission for a couple years, and has gotten law school and the bar out of the way, it finally did. The whole trip was a dream that ended too quickly -- after marking our arrival into town at a late-night taco truck, we found the perfect little cottage that a scheduling glitch had bumped us into, complete with infinity pool. So we romanced the next day up with home-cooked breakfast, then cheese, fruit, chocolate, and of course wine, all poolside, accompanied by every variation on the In Touch/Us Weekly/OK family of pap we could find (in addition to The New Yorker, thank you very much). The wedding itself was perfect, too: paper lanterns in the trees, tables in the dirt, flowers in jelly jars, jugs of aguas frescas and bottles of local wine, hosted by a sister, officiated by an old friend, and the bride and groom looking happier than we've ever seen them.

  • Summer Dinner Parties, or Tannaz hones her Persian rice skills. First Rachel and Ashley invited some friends over to grill fish and eat it outside. I went with the traditional Iranian accompaniment to fish, sabzi polo: delicate Persian rice made even more fragrant by layering it with fresh dill, parsley, fenugreek, and chives. Then when the bake sale girls had a late summer reunion, the main course was a sultry dish of chicken roasted with fresh peaches and rosewater, so I made a sweeter riff on zereshk polo, which is usually made with tart barberries: Persian rice topped with a mix of slivered almonds, dried cranberries, and onions, sauteed together with saffron. Both were huge hits, and my tahdig skills continue to improve! (One of these days we need to get into the nitty gritty of the art that is Persian rice.)

  • Beach Days. One took us south to Laguna Beach: walk to Crescent Bay, lie under the sun with magazines and gossip, dip into the water for a chilly swim, finish the day with cocktails and dessert overlooking the ocean. The other took us north towards Zuma, with a stop at the Malibu Fish Company: fresh seafood and some of the best fries ever, followed by the discovery of a secluded semi-private beach that our rowdy crew managed to happily stomp all over.

  • Rosh Hashana. In the homes of most Ashkenazi (white) Jews, you eat apples and honey, have a round challah with your dinner, and you're good to go. But the Sephardic (brown) tradition -- well, the Iranian leg of it anyway -- has a full-on seder, as complex as the Passover one. Before dinner, we have a soul-food-esque feast that includes beets, tongue, black-eyed peas (especially good with leftover honey), dates, and pomegranate, each with symbolic significance for the year to come, and each with its own prayer. Our family has many irreverent takes on these ancient rites (like the annual demonstration of the sound of a cow without a tongue mooing), but that's a story for another post.

  • The birthday. For the first time since I was born, my birthday fell on Yom Kippur this year. So, hot on the heels of 26 hours of fasting, I met friends for a great night of drinks and silliness in the pretty much perfect setting of the Hotel Figueroa's poolside bar. The next day held a barbecue hosted generously by my parents, where we learned that Violet is a natural at the art of guacamole, and that margaritas make even the best day better (well, I already knew that last one). I was bowled over by the generosity of friends and family. They obviously know for whom they are shopping: cookbooks, a Mozza gift card, funky pearl tea from China with gorgeous earthy tea cups from the MOMA store, more fancy tea -- this time with dried fruits and sunflower seeds built in, a hunk of swoony Humboldt Fog cheese the size of my fist (well, let's not take away from it -- it's really size of a normal person's fist), cookbooks, jewelry, an ice cream maker, and more. As if this wasn't enough, 2 friends took me to a birthday dinner of a seemingly endless string of tapas on the cozy patio between La Loggia and Next Door Tapas in Studio City -- banana caramel napoleon, anyone? -- and 2 other friends took me out to Little Tokyo for a delicious izakaya dinner at Izayoi. Simmered tripe, anyone? (Seriously, you should try it -- it's surprisingly delicious.)
So, as you can see, the blow of leaving my fun-sounding twenties and entering my depressing-sounding thirties (and oh boy, was it a nasty blow!) was cushioned by good times and massively great friends and family. Looking back on this action-packed summer actually makes me feel okay about already being in the thick of autumn (not to mention the autumn of my life. ok now i'm just being dramatic). Hopefully now that I've gotten that bottleneck of items out of the way, posting here will resume as usual. Thank you for your patience, and happy autumn.


  1. Oh, I've missed you!! I'm so glad to hear your birthday was wonderful and delightful and all sorts of yummy goodness. I LOVE Persian rice. Especially with the almonds and dried cranberries. It's SO DANG GOOD!! I just ate, and now I'm hungry again.

    Happy Birthday!

  2. thanks for keeping us posted :)