Monday Memos // 81

Listening:

"Blue Castaway" by The Shelltones. 

This song makes me feel like I'm in the scene of a movie, and/or makes me want to make a movie. More than 50 years later it holds up. I'm on a melancholy tiki party kind of music kick.

"Enchantment" by The Melody Mates. See above.

"You're So Vain" by Carly Simon. 

I was at the gym — the Planet Fitness in Harlem is a world of sights and surprises — and this older man on the elliptical next to me was belting out all the songs he was listening to. I heard this line "I'll bet you think this song is about you" and whether or not it really was Carly Simon, it's been stuck in my head ever since. A few days later even, an older woman was busking in the subway with it.

Reading:

I woke up at 6 a.m. on Wednesday because my body was excited for this series of stories to be released on Bon Appétit: America's Favorite Neighborhood Restaurants. 

I first learned about it in February, and was instantly ready to participate and ready to read about all these special places around the country. I wrote draft after draft of my own love story to one of my favorite places on the planet. It was revised and tucked away, then revised again and ready in waiting. And here it is: The Weird, Wonderful Restaurant Where I Always Wanted to Work.

Being lumped among this description makes me feel like my dreams are coming true: We asked 80 of the most interesting people we know—chefs, novelists, activists, comedians, NBA players, and more—to let us in on their most-trusted haunts, from a Tibetan dumpling stand in a grocery store in Columbus to a landlocked fish market in Tulsa. These are the spots we return to again and again, the places that make no claim to be the “newest” or the “trendiest,” and that’s precisely why we love them.

I recommend reading them all. I'm slowly and lovingly making my way through these gems. 

Craving:

Delicious moments experienced in the last week:

- a feast at Lolo's Seafood Shack, which is described as Caribbean Street Eats alongside Classic New England favorites. We had conch fritters, jerk chicken, sweet plantains, crab cakes, and more. 

- Levain cookies for breakfast. A wedge of a chocolate chip walnut and double chocolate chip to start the day is an excellent way to live. 

- A lunch provided by Fuku — a "casual chicken concept by Momofuku." It's hard to pass up free spicy chicken sandwiches with habanero mayo, slaw, and pickles. 

- homemade cherry cobbler. It was sitting just feet from my desk and made by a coworker with strong opinions about the definition of a cobbler. 

- a friend reunion dinner at Jajaja, a "contemporary Mexican spot with a colorful, all-vegan menu." This was incredibly good. Plus, they had plantain chips that were exactly like home! I ate things like crushed Mayan pumpkin seed dip, turmeric queso fundito, mezcal mushroom tacos... and we got free churros with coconut dulce de leche because our wait was so long.

Jajaja was a fun spot: images above via Gothamist and Guest of a Guest.

Wearing:

On Wednesday, because I was so pumped for the day, I wore my gold star corduroy jumpsuit. On Friday, I wandered around a sunny Soho with sparkly red socks and unfashionable sandals. On Saturday, I parted my hair differently (it felt like a whole new head of hair) and wore a very comfortable terrycloth dress (it was like a cozy towel).

I'm having a red, striped moment. (items via & Other Stories)

Watching:

I'm almost done with Killing Eve and loving it. My favorite show right now is I'm Dying Up Here (waiting each week for a new episode is one of those rare acts of media patience.) I saw Ocean's 8 and couldn't wait for it to be over so I could go home and be in bed. I saw the trailer for Bad Times at the El Royale and I am very intrigued. — Seven strangers, each with a secret to bury, meet at Lake Tahoe's El Royale, a rundown hotel with a dark past. Over the course of one fateful night, everyone will have a last shot at redemption - before everything goes to hell.

Also, these Bon App videos "Pastry Chef Attempts To Make _______" are so good. The latest, an attempt at making Skittles, watch it.

Treasuring:

Visitors: I got to show off my workspace to visiting old and new friends. We toured various floors of the World Trade Center. I felt so official when the security desk called me about my guests in the lobby. I outfitted my office into a cozy guest room and finally got to host some family. I loved wandering around the city with my sister-in-law, pointing out landmarks, eating great food, and enjoying the peaceful living room together. It's nice to mix familiarity with the newness of my experience here. 

 Last week, I pulled this animal spirit for the week ahead. On Saturday, at Bon Appétit's  Healthyish Homecoming  festival, a speaker said, "Don't be a chick, you're an eagle." At the risk of sounding cheesy, I really do feel like I'm soaring. 

Last week, I pulled this animal spirit for the week ahead. On Saturday, at Bon Appétit's Healthyish Homecoming festival, a speaker said, "Don't be a chick, you're an eagle." At the risk of sounding cheesy, I really do feel like I'm soaring.