What I’ve been reading…

Yes, I’m still alive!  It’s been a whirlwind few months and I just haven’t had time to post.  I do apologize.  Here’s what I’ve been reading:

1.Hue 1968 by Mark Bowden:  I started this long one and simply couldn’t put it down.  It was tough because the content is riveting and heartbreaking at the same time, but I couldn’t wait to see what happened next.  The history books that I was forced to read in school never mentioned this war so I didn’t have much to go on in terms of context.

Ernie Cheatham was my favorite hero in this book but there were many.  I visited the Vietnam Memorial in DC shortly after finishing this book, as well as viewing the excellent Ken Burns documentary.  The memorial is very well done, and was a stark reminder for me of the sacrifices made by so many.

2.Guests of the Ayatollah also by Mark Bowden:  As soon as I finished Hue, I picked this one up from the library.  This was also a period in history that wasn’t mentioned in school, so I knew very little about it going in.  Mark Bowden is a terrific writer and his writing brings you in immediately.

3.Killing England by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard:  Very well done overview of the War for Independence.  If you’re a history buff, this may not be as detailed as you might like, but for this history ignoramus, it provided a good overview.

Happy reading!

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What I’ve been reading…

I still prefer a moondoor…

So now we have an ice dragon.  I have to say it – this was totally predictable and thus quite the deviation for D2.  Query – does it breathe fire or ice?

I don’t have much to say about this episode.  Quite frankly, I was bored.  I actually wanted it to end at 10 pm.  The Arya/Sansa dynamic can’t even be classified as a dynamic, it’s that boring.  It’s clear that Petyr is trying to play them off of each other but aren’t they too smart for that?  Perhaps they are, and this viewer is missing something.  Was Arya posing as Brienne so she can go to King’s Landing in disguise and kill Cersei?  As you can tell, I’m not only bored but also confused.

The battle scenes beyond the wall were disappointing.  I couldn’t even tell who was fighting, or who was killed.  The dragon stuff was cool, as usual, but the special effects didn’t make up for the poor dialogue and storytelling here.

I’m hoping this was a one off and the show will be back to form this week.

I still prefer a moondoor…

NYC eating…

I was lucky enough to be back in NYC recently for a day of eating.  FE and I hadn’t been to Lupa for a while, mostly because we were spending our time at newer places, i.e. ABC Kitchen, Upland.  There’s only so much eating one can do in a day!

Lupa did not disappoint.  We’ve been eating there for about 8 years, and the food and service are consistently great.  We shared the veal saltimbocca, which was delectable as usual.  The irony of this is that I don’t really like veal, nor do I like prosciutto.  Go figure.

I had the cacio e pepe pasta, and FE had the bucatini l’amatriciana.  Both were stellar.  Lupa is a great place for a leisurely weekday lunch, right by the open front on a nice day. We rolled out for a long walk afterwards.

It was back to our favorite restaurant of all time (really), Union Square Cafe.  We were lucky enough to snag a dinner reservation in the dining room on a weekend night.  We started with the complimentary whole wheat sourdough bread with homemade butter and olives, as well as the polenta.  I was skeptical about ordering the polenta because it seems like such an ordinary item to order in a restaurant.  However, this polenta may have been the best thing I ate on this particular day.  It was creamy, and it was obvious that the pesto and roasted tomatoes on top were made with a lot of care.  I could have eaten an entire meal of this.

FE had the burger, which tasted great.  Even the pickles were tasty.  I had the chitarra pasta, which was made with heirloom tomatoes, ricotta, and calabrian chiles.  The flavor of this dish was indescribable, but I’ll give it a try – crunchy, delicate, and subtle, all at the same time.  I can’t see myself ordering anything else next time we return.

Even though I was full, I had to order the black forest tart for dessert.  It didn’t disappoint.  I’ll admit that their chocolate pecan tart is still my favorite, but this was a good summer substitute.  I ordered it sans caramel and with mint chocolate chip ice cream, instead of the fior de latte.

I’m already planning our return.

 

NYC eating…

Cincinnati eating…

Just realized that my last post was my 100th post – yay!  This will be quick, I wanted to mention a restaurant I tried recently in Cincinnati called “Smoq”.  Generally, I’m not a big fan of red meat.  However, I was on a work trip and the people I was with wanted to meet at this place.

I had the beef brisket sandwich with homemade bbq chips.  It was delicious!  I probably won’t eat bbq again for a long time, but it was a nice treat.  Highly recommend.

Cincinnati eating…

My thoughts on #thespoilsofwar and #ripolenna

Wow, sorry readers.  I just realized I was so jammed up last week that I didn’t get to post on the passing of one of my favorite characters, The Queen of Thorns.  May she rest in peace.  “The Queen’s Justice” was a great episode, but this week’s was even better.  We finally got to see some real dragon ass-kicking.

I’ll admit I was disappointed by the Jaime death fake out, which seemed a bit cheap considering the usual high quality of this show.  As FW pointed out, D2 would have made it crystal clear if the hottest knight in Westeros was really dead (“hottest knight” being my phrase, not his).  FW also has a theory, which I think is plausible, that Jaime has to stick around so that we believe he killed Cersei, when in fact the killer is Arya, disguised as Jaime.  Did you get all that?

I enjoyed the Jon Snow/Theon reunion if only because all the worlds are coming full circle now and colliding.  I presume they’ll band together to defeat Euron and save Yara, but since that is an easily-predicted theory, I’m probably wrong.

I feel like the show is really building us up for a spectacular Cersei fall/death.  I may have more thoughts on this episode once I rewatch it this week.

 

 

My thoughts on #thespoilsofwar and #ripolenna

My (delayed) thoughts on Stormborn

I’ll be honest, I don’t have a lot to say about this week’s episode.  My regular readers know that I find Arya terribly boring, and the same applies to Samwell.  Since they took up a lot of space on this episode, I’ll keep this brief.

It’s obvious that Sam is going to cure Jorah, and Jorah will probably save Daenerys out of nowhere at some point.  I’ll admit I’m over Jorah and his lack of a storyline.  He served a purpose for the first few seasons but his character feels extraneous to me.  Especially since there are so many other delicious characters to spend time with (see Lady Olenna, Lady Mormont, et al.).

How long have we waited for Daenerys to be in the same room with Ellaria, Yara, AND Olenna, with a side of Tyrion and Varys?  You can see how D2 is bringing all of the various factions into one place for the wars to come.  The irony is that no one besides boring Jon Snow is focused on the real threat.  I’m still trying to figure out who the leaker is.

I guess I have to talk about the ambush scene at the end.  The special effects were awesome, to be sure.  However, Euron and his crazy eyes are just too much.  FW believes he’ll get killed by the end of this season, and I hope he’s right.  I like Yara’s character but I’m not sure what will happen to her.  I expect that Ellaria is the “gift” Euron promised to Cersei.

Oh, Theon.  I have no words.

My (delayed) thoughts on Stormborn

NYC eating

We made our second visit to the revamped Union Square Cafe in NYC recently.  I’ve now confirmed that it is my favorite restaurant of all time.  The best way to describe it is simple, comfortable elegance.  Even though it’s an expensive, fine dining establishment, I always feel welcome and everyone who works there is dedicated to ensuring that the patrons have a great time.

We were lucky enough to snag a table on the second floor this time.  We started out sharing the beef carpaccio appetizer.  It was served with crostini, and it was delicious.  Sourdough bread was complimentary (also delicious).

FE had the frascatelli, which had guanciale, peas, and black pepper cream.  He enjoyed it.  I had the ricotta gnocchi.  Gnocchi can be tough to get at a restaurant, but here it’s always on point.  This time was no exception.  The gnocchi were light and fluffy, and the sauce was the perfect amount.  Ironically, it was topped with pecorino cheese, which I usually hate, but on this it works.

The finale was of course, dessert.  I can’t go to this restaurant and not get dessert.  This was my last dessert before I embarked on my #nodessert challenge (I’m now on day 15 of 30).  FE had the chocolate espresso cake, and I had the chocolate pecan tart.  Both desserts were phenomenal!  The tart had the edge for me, because of the simplicity of the chocolate mousse paired with the crunch of the crust and pecans.

I can’t wait to return, but not until I finish day 30!

NYC eating