Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Chic Eats - Antojeria La Popular

Last night, my friend Sean and I hit up a newish tapas joint in SoHo by the name of Antojeria La Popular. The concept is high-end Mexican Street Food. There were several things I liked about the restaurant immediately. It's downstairs location made it cozy and dark (which is why I have no photos - it was like, really dark). This place was relatively tiny - maybe 12 tables in the place. It was lively, and mostly a packed house by 9 PM. This place has star appeal.

We ordered some Sangria, which was topped by what is that . . . beer? I didn't know how to feel about that, but I had a Urban Daddy Perk for bottomless Sangria, so I felt I had to get my money's worth i.e. booze my face off within the two hour time limit indicated in the fine print. The deal also included the choice of seven menu items. For $48, this really was a good deal. We could select one ceviche (typically $6.95), one botana (side item, $4.95), two Mar Tapas ("from the sea" - seafood, $6.95), two Tierra Tapas ("from the land" - meat, $5.95) and a dessert to share.

For the majority of our order we just followed the black check marks on the menu which pointed out their most often ordered items. We placed our order and literally within 3 minutes a plate of food arrived. Holy shit they were fast. And it was weird that we received the tapas before ceviche. As you're supposed to at a restaurant, we began eating the food in front of us.

Our waitress came over with a dazed look on her face and said, "Uh. Did someone deliver this to the table?" to which I wish I would have been quick enough to respond, "No, I went and grabbed it from the kitchen". She explained that it wasn't actually our meal, but left it at the table, so we continued to eat. Score! We got about $20 worth of free tapas. There was a carnitas tostada topped with lettuce and crema, a pulled chicken with mole sauce, sesame seeds, queso fresco, lettuce and crema (we ended up ordering one of these ourselves) and a Jalisco Shrimp "taco" with a jicama shell (this was super clever), pasilla mayo, corn, a big avocado slice and chile powder (we also ordered one of these). I wish those poor, and probably now, very hungry, bastards would have ordered other stuff so we could have tried some more different items. But then again, stupid beggars can't be stupid choosers.

Our REAL meal included the following items -

Distrito Federal - with sirloin, shrimp and talapia in a triblin sauce with serrano chiles and red onion, accompanied by tiny blue corn tortillas. I liked this dish. It had a nice level of acid and the sirloin was super tender. This dish was however, super messy. It was impossible to eat the taco without spewing the juice all over the table, and considering this place doesn't give you plates, you're pretty SOL.

Puebla - Beets roasted in a subtle mole sauce with sesame seeds and crema. This was probably my favorite dish of the night. The beets were warm and hearty and they really soaked up the flavor of the rich mole sauce. I could have eaten these all night.

Jalisco - The same dish we got in our surprise meal. The mayo was a little too thick for my liking and it lacked seasoning, however the jicama tortilla was a nice change of pace, and I'm always a sucker for big hunks of fresh avocado.

Veracruz - with chorizo shrimp, chihuahua cheese, avocado and salsa verde on a flour tortilla. This was a little play on surf and turf. I really liked the cheese on this one. It was melted perfectly and went well with the smooth avocado. They shrimp was also well seasoned.

Michoacan - This was another dish that we had already experienced in the pre-meal. The chicken was a bit dry, and both times the food came out not particularly warm. I'm not sure if that was intentional. This was a very beautiful dish however, and the toasted sesame seeds were a lovely touch.

Oaxaca - WTF CRICKETS atop avocado crema? I had to try it. This one was interesting but super skimpy. To be fair, I guess having a huge mouth full of bugs sounds pretty unappetizing. These little critters were crunchy - perhaps fried? They had a nice hit of salt and were complemented well by the avocado. I probably wouldn't order it again, but I'm glad that I gave it a try.

Flan - The caramel sauce on this dish was baller, but the flavor and texture of the flan itself was a bit off. It was too grainy and eggy. Kind of a bummer. And like, you're a Mexican place? How do you eff up flan?

Overall, it was an interesting meal. Our waitress was nice enough, and did a great job keeping our glasses full. Me happy. I'm glad that they accidentally sent us an extra order of tapas because I think we would have been pretty hungry at the end of the meal otherwise. Also, these plates were terrible for sharing. How do you share a taco when the restaurant doesn't offer knives and plates? There was a lot of unintentional saliva swapping in this meal. If you're down with that, then give the place a try. The tapas are unique (cricket effing tacos and quesadillas y'all), and the vibe of the restaurant is cool as sh*t. The service was fine, and I felt like I got my money's worth on this trip (especially in the booze department.) They run a $40 pre-fixe that includes the same choice of seven dishes and drinks are a la carte. You could still do a nice tasting menu for a cheap price.

Would I make a special trip back? Hard to tell. The food is fresh and creative, which I totally appreciate, but it just didn't blow my mind. If I was in the area and wanted to grab a cocktail and a small (like really small) bite, I may pop back in. They do a lunch special for $14 that includes one tapa, one botana and a ceviche. That's a fair deal, and apparently their happy hour is fantastic. I think this place is still pretty young so I imagine they will work out their kinks in time.

Brooklyn Folk Festival Was A Hoot!

“My only obligation when I perform like this is to play songs that I love.” This was a quote from the beautiful and immensely talented accordion player, Eva Selena who performed Balkan folk songs at The Bell House on Saturday afternoon. These are great words to live by, and I believe most of the artists who performed at this weekend’s 5th Annual Brooklyn Folk Festival would share the same philosophy.

 Organized by Red Hook’s own Jalopy Theatre, the folk festival inhabited The Bell House in Brooklyn from Friday through Sunday. It was a celebration of folk and bluegrass culture featuring artists from both near and far. I reckon it was a solid hoedown, and good ol’ folks were GETTIN’ DOWN.

I attended Saturday afternoon’s sold out performances, and was thrilled with the caliber and variety of talent presented, as well as the overall fluidity of the event. I’m originally from Kentucky so I felt right at home amidst the easygoing crowd and familiar string instruments. Host Eli Smith did a fantastic job introducing the acts and keeping the day on track. His friendly rapport with the audience and extensive knowledge of each act showed his true passion for the festival. Well done my friend! The festivities kicked off at 1:30 PM with sea shanties and English folk songs from Heather Wood (joined by Ken Schatz and Frank Woerner).

Stephanie Coleman and Cleek Schrev (AWESOME NAME ALERT!), two fiddle players from Illinois and Tennessee took the stage next. These musicians had great stage chemistry together. Their energy was focused, and their playing was intricate. They followed each other like pros and you could sense a strong connection between them as they switched quickly between slow interludes and rollicking melodies. They were communicating without saying a word – something truly fascinating to watch.

 My personal favorites of the day were Melody Walker and Jacob Groopman, two badass musicians from Richmond, CA. Their showmanship was on point and they engaged their audience immediately. Walker rocked the guitar and Groopman was a god on the Mandolin. Both vocals were competent and their music was hella fun. They were clearly having a great time on stage and that is something I always seek in a live performance. Their interactions with each other and the crowd were effortless – third walls never existed.
They had the audience sing along on multiple tracks including an upbeat ballad called “Family Band”. 

They later offered a free CD to the first person who could interpret the meaning of a popular folk song called, “Greasy Coat.”  “I don’t drink, and I don’t smoke, and I don’t wear no greasy coat. That means not wearing a condom, right?” That was my friend’s best guess. No one in the crowd actually seemed to know the meaning. I did some research and apparently it is a reference to a 19th Century Vaudevillian poem called Soap Ditty No. 1, about a man with bad hygiene, who hence harbored a “greasy coat”. So I guess that means the writer of this song always practiced safe sex, and there was a gross dude back in the day who never learned how to bathe. There. You learned something today.

Keeping the energy up next was The Great Smoky Mountain Bluegrass Band from East Tennessee. They referred to their Music as Busthead Style Bluegrass. This quartet was stacked with talent and they even had an old timey microphone on stage to boot. Love it!

Most of their songs were original. “There aren’t a whole lot of happy love songs in bluegrass and we’re not quite sure why that is,” Richard Hood (Banjo/Vocals) explained. And they followed it up with a sweet love song called “That’s How I Can Count on You.” Mandolin player Kris Truelsen took the lead on vocals here, and his voice was a clear tenor with a crisp and pleasant timbre. In other words, this boy could sing.

They covered Earl Scruggs’ Dear Old Dixie which took down the house. Hood was what we down in Kentucky call “A Real Hoot”. He was hilarious and ragged on New Jersey throughout the entire set. “The only bad thing about New York is that it butts up against New Jersey,” he said. “Tomorrow I’m teaching a lesson. On how to drive from Tennessee to New York by avoiding all of the tolls in New Jersey. $13 to drive over the Verrazano Bridge? WHAT THE HELL IS THAT?” I didn’t know I was getting a comedy set too. These guys rocked.

And those were just a few artists out of the more than 30 acts that performed over the weekend. Special workshops were taught in the smaller stage in the front of the venue. Things like old time banjo lessons, recording demonstrations, film screenings and more, were also included in the ticket price. Not too shabby.

Overall, the Brooklyn Folk Festival was a wonderful way to spend a Saturday afternoon. This event was family friendly and open to all ages despite the bar being open, and there was BBQ catered on site. For a relatively new festival (it’s only been around for five years) I was more than pleased with the accommodations. I would recommend having more seats next year as this seemed to be the one thing that was lacking. One older man brought his own chair and fell asleep for several hours under a sign that read “Brooklyn Folk Festival”. I do not think that image appropriately summed up the day, as this was far from a snooze fest. Next year, be sure to take a gander if you’re fixin’ to get cultured, ya hear?

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Bands to Watch - Born Ruffians

The Bowery Ballroom played host Tuesday night to the Born Ruffians’ album release show. It was also host to a sold-out house of drunken 18-year-olds, but to be fair, these kids seemed to know their stuff. The four-piece band from Toronto is known for their upbeat rock characterized with sprawling, layered vocals. April 16th marked the much anticipated release of their fourth album, Birthmarks.

In a recent interview, the band attributed much of the material on Birthmarks to their time spent in a farmhouse in rural Ontario. Their mecca was homage to the time they spent working on their sophomore album Red, Yellow and Blue when they were living in the same house, focusing entirely on their art and each other. 

Knowing this, I wasn’t surprised to sense a new air of maturity that was unfamiliar from the last time I saw Born Ruffians live (The Bell House, 2010). Don’t let their boyish looks deceive you. I noticed a marked growth in their performances as well as the music itself which has become more refined (though some jaded fans might say slightly overproduced) since Say It. The new songs on Birthmarks succeed, especially ballads like With Her Shadow that offers seasoned lyrics that you swear had come from someone much older and grizzled than the adorable curly-headed Luke LaLonde (you've got to love those French Canadian names).

Born Ruffians took the stage in front of a lighted backdrop designed to look like the Birthmarks’ cover art. The set was simple and offered no distraction to the fervent energy that the band musters while performing live. They started by quickly thanking the audience before launching right into Badonkadonkey, an older track off of their 2009 album Red, Yellow, Blue. This was a crowd pleaser, and within moments the audience erupted in tipsy revelry. Folks were ready to dance, spill beer on their neighbors and sing the lyrics loud and proud. Seriously, these intoxicated kids knew their stuff, like every freakin’ word! Color me impressed.

Four songs in, bass player/vocalist Mitch DeRosier announced, “Hey New York, our new album came out today, so we should play something new for you.” Yes you should, Mitch. They followed it up with some new tracks including the synch-tastic Too Soaked to Break, which calls out the album’s title in the second verse, “We’ve got matching birthmarks”. Front man Luke LaLonde’s soft, reverbed voice melted gently over Andy Lloyd’s trilling keyboard melody. This song is sexy as hell, and is just another example of how the band has found a deeper and more cultivated sound, further developed from the more rustic rock we’ve come to expect from them. 

They made it a point to play a variety of old and new material including Merry Little Fancy Things, a favorite for long time fans who have been listening since the release of their self-titled EP. “It took us a long time for us to get here. We’ve been writing for like three years, so thank you,” said DeRosier, before they finally closed out the show with their new single, Needle, a song that my friend is certain will be on several indie movie soundtracks by the end of this year. I agreed that it will be featured during a credits sequence on an episode of Girls next season, at the very least.

 I will note though that DeRosier is the only band member that did any crowd work, including accidentally throwing a tambourine across stage and hitting a girl right in the moneymaker. He asked “How’s your face?” and apologized as best as a shy Canadians could, before telling her to hit them up in the merch booth for some free stuff. I considered it a fair trade off.  LaLonde didn’t open his mouth once to address the audience during the show. Dude, your vocals are great but let’s be real, we’re here to see you! A little hello would have sufficed. Oh well, maybe next time, and the performance was lovely, so I’ll give the cutie a pass.

They returned with an energetic encore featuring older crowd craves, Little Garcon, and I Need A Life, before scooting off stage and probably on to celebrate over brewskies at their record release party. The Born Ruffians will be touring the U.S. through May with fellow Toronto based band, Moon King. Several tour dates remain to be rescheduled after their 5/11/13 show in Seattle, WA. For additional details be sure to check out http://bornruffians.com/.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Chicago Roundup - Improv, Food and Friends

My recent journey to Chicago may have been my perfect trip. Or at least, one of the best I've had in a while. Most of the time when I'm going out of town for a festival, I feel like it's an effin' marathon. I'm running from this show to another, constantly coordinating where I'm meeting folks and when. Ugh it's enough to stress you out on what's supposed to be a quasi-vacation. I have to say this trip to Chicago was completely different, and that was 100% necessary.

As I've mentioned a couple of times in this blog, March proved pretty challenging. Between losing a mother, having folks in town visiting and getting really sick, it was an exhausting month. Sure I learned a lot, but it took its toll on me. So much so, that when the trip to Chicago was approaching I was almost dreading it. How was I going to recover from food poisoning while on the road? How was I going to catch up on sleep when I have to show face at these after parties? I was worrying for no reason, it turns out.

I am so thankful for my college buddy De and his amazing girlfriend Piper. They were fantastic hosts and they bought me deep dish pizza which means that there is a special cubby carved out in my heart for them forever. These are some of the best folks on the planet. How can you not love a couple that gets drunk and paints a mural of themselves holding a heart while riding a unicorn with a glitter paint tail under a rainbow on their bathroom wall? Yes. That exists. And I loved looking at it every time I took a sh*t, which was apparently quite a lot, because I remember this mural in vivid detail. They have two cats named Arbus and Dolly Parton. Like seriously, how could I go wrong here? Love you guys. Muah!

They took me to a hella awesome pizza place in Logan Square called the Boiler Room, and yes that is spicy Gardenia mix on my pizza. There was deal called the PBJ - tall boy PBR, shot of Jameson (Chicago is effin' obsessed with Jameson) and a slice of specialty pizza for $7.50. Holy crap! Can I move here please? They made me take a shot of some kind of wormwood liquor called MaLort that make me cringe like a mofo. Piper was real bitch and took a photo. Apparently there's a whole blog of these kinds of pics.

On the last day, we went to brunch at a lovely place near their apartment called West Town Bakery. They have breakfast sandwiches where the toast is substituted for two glazed donuts. FML. I resisted and went for a big flaky croissant with eggs, white cheddar and fried green tomatoes. Piper got salted caramel waffles and they were beyond insane, and yes that is black sea salt. Drooooooolllllllll.

In addition to seeing these guys, I got to throw down with my girl Emily Walker, who I also know from my HappyGAS days at WKU. We did a two prov set that brought down the effin' house at Chemically Imbalanced Comedy. I got to play a wedding planner named Febreze and he will be a part of me forever. I can't wait until Em comes back to town so we can book some shows. PS - Girl, WE NEED TO APPLY FOR DCM NEXT YEAR!

And my sweet Caroline Sweet (both sweets were included intentionally). It was so fantastic to get to hang out with my California girl (she's undeniable). We got to spend a lot of quality time together. Between day drinking outside of Millenium park at The Gage (check out our lunch below - holy crap - Brussels Sprouts with Brie and Bacon, marinated wild mushrooms, Caesar salad, and Pork Confit Poutine. Ugh, so damn good and awesome going down with some malty porters) and then eating our face's off at the incredible Reza's in Andersonville pre-show, I think it's safe to say we got our fill of food and friendship. She's doing so well in LA, and dammit. I'm just so durn proud of her. And I got to hang out with her mom Nancy, which is always a blast. Loved it.

And this was the vegetarian combo at Reza's - HOW IS THIS FOR ONE PERSON?(Stuffed Pepper, Dolmeh, Eggplant/Mint/Carmelized Onion Dip, Eggplant Steak, Chopped Salad)

 And my Nana and Pap came all the way up from Indianapolis to visit me too! I got to catch up with my Aunt Cheryl, Uncle Rich and even see my cousin Jessie (apparently people don't call her that anymore) who I haven't seen in a legit d*ck year.

The Mannequin Room had a great set at Upstairs Gallery, and I got to play a velociraptor which is something I not only welcome, but also, encourage. Brian, Lou and Caro tore the house down with their Southern movie spectator characters who suggested that the costumes in Lincoln were perhaps not authentic, "I mean, how do they know he always wore a top hat? They didn't have many pictures then. Maybe he just wore a top hat that one specific day!" And anytime Chrissie gets to play a fortune teller (which is coincidentally pretty often. One time she was a crystal ball reader named Sister Hazel and when I asked her for my future she said "It's hard to say what it is I see in you" and then our heads exploded) she murders everyone in a two mile radius. I love my team - you guys are the best and it's an effin' honor every time I get to take the stage with you fabulous folks. AND WE GOT WRITTEN UP IN TIME OUT CHICAGO. HOW COOL IS THAT?! (Also thank you so much for coming Molly, Jordan, Ryan, Brandon, Nicole, Grant, Jessie and Nick - so awesome to have your familiar faces in the audience!)

On my last day, I took a two person scenes class with Scott Adsit. "Your scene partner's idea is ALWAYS better than yours." Such perfect words to remember, especially for someone like me who becomes a wild ferret anytime I'm on stage. This afternoon was an absolute treat, and I was so pleased with his direction. It's helpful to take it back to basics. My scene partner and I found ourselves in a Brokeback Mountain scenario that ended with me accidentally shooting him in the chest after he agreed to trust me enough to shoot a beer can off of his head. Can we say magic? To hear the words, "I really liked this scene. It was so active and fun to watch." come out of Adsit's mouth was like an effin gift from God. "Great job today, Megan. Really awesome stuff." AAAAAGGGHHHHH. It was so cool. I would love to work with him again in the future.

Other highlights of the weekend - seeing a show at Second City and mutually agreeing with our team that it was full of dad jokes and really not what we thought it would be, catching up with the always hilarious Josh Chapman and clawing his face on accident at the afterparty, finally getting to meet Stefan Gearheart, a HappyGAS legend, catching up with Cincy friend Matt Derda at the CIC bar, running into childhood friend Ryan Wright at both of my shows, and taking these photos at the bean.

Chicago, until next time. You're a real effin' peach, you know that?

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Cheap Eats Chicago Edition - Hot Doug's

If I hadn't stayed with locals, chances are, I never would have had the pleasure of experiencing this place. This favorite is a hidden gem, located far off the beaten path in the outskirts of the Logan Square neighborhood. But when I asked "What's the one place I need to go to while I'm here?" both my friend +Emily Walker and +De Blenniss said, "YOU HAVE TO GO TO HOT DOUG'S!"

Hot Doug's, The Sausage Store and Encased Meet Emporium, is run by Doug Sohn, a super cool dude that makes it a point to have a warm conversation with every customer that walks through his door. No, seriously. Despite the fact that the line for his restaurant wrapped clear around the block, he still wanted to dish when I told him I was from Astoria. Turns out he is originally a New Yorker too, and he loves talking to folks about their lives in the big city. As we continued to chat, I could feel myself getting ancy, afraid that the people behind would yell something like, "HURRY IT UP WHYDONCHA?!" but then I remembered I was in Chicago, and not in the city where dreams go to die. And apparently, this is just common place so people know when they come to Doug's, not only are they getting a stellar meal, but they are also engaging in an interesting conversation. You gotta effin love that.

So yeah, right off the bat, I'm feeling super welcome in this joint. And the place is as casual and homey as you can get. Chicago memorabilia and celebrity pics adorn the walls. The color scheme is like a preschool wonderland, not the least bit intimidating, and all-American as hell. As you approach the order counter, the menu is on the righthand wall. Colorful hot dog signs give descriptions of the dogs and specialty sausages Doug has in house that day. They all have kitchy names and descriptions like "The Anna Kendrick" Fire Dog: Mighty Hot! ($3.00) or the "Paul Kelly" Soaked in Beer - Sort of like Paul ($3.50). A mounted jackelope holds a "Game of the Week" sign so you know the special dog that Doug is slinging on any given day. You have the option of getting your dogs steamed, grilled or deep fried, and not a single one of the dogs or sausages breaks the bank. THIS PLACE IS FUN AND I LOVE IT ALREADY.

After chatting with Doug for a while, we finally put in our order. I was feeling indecisive, but I knew that I was hungry so I went for one of their big specialty sausages, The Smoked Chipotle Chicken Sausage ($7.50) with Chipotle dijonnaise and Habanero-Pepperjack Cheese chunks. Nom Nom.

 De went with The Bacon Cheeseburger Beef Sausage ($8.00) topped with Coca-Cola BBQ sauce, carmelized onions, bacon and maple-smoked cheddar cheese and a classic Chicago Dog with all the fixins' ($2.00). There are all kinds of extras you can add for free too - onions, sauerkraut, sport peppers, pickles, etc. Something tells me this guys wouldn't even yell at you if you asked for ketchup. Hot damn, I was excited! We decided to share a large order of Cheese Fries ($3.00) and we both got large fountain drinks, because well we pretty much had too. After a delightful exchange, Doug says, "Let's do $20 and we're square." HE HOOKED US UP! I love him, and I hardly know him. Chicago, you guys are seriously so lucky. DON'T EFF THIS UP.

I handed him a $20 (it's cash only) and we retreated to our window side bar stools so we could watch the world pass us by while we chowed down. The food came out about four minutes later, and a server dropped it off for us. The first bite was heavenly. The casing of the chicken sausage popped and the hot juices were just perfect. I loved the dijonnaise sauce. This was so zesty and spicy, and it worked really well with the meat. I think I would have preferred if the cheese had been shredded rather than chunked, because sometimes it was just too much cheese in one bite, but seriously, am I complaining about cheese? Tell me to shut the eff up. The cheese fries (more cheese) were salty and ooey gooey without being overpowering.

De agreed that his cheeseburger sausage was off the chain, and he kept saying he really wanted to bring his girlfriend +Piper Robbins here, because even though she's a vegetarian, he's sure she'll love The Joe Strummer Meatless - and Delicious! ($3.00). Piper, girl, seriously get over there. The experience of meeting Doug alone is well worth the trip and there's no way that's a bad dog.

MY ONE REGRET: Not going back on Friday or Saturday to try the Duck Fat Fries. I'll have to save that journey for next time.

So, take that Wiener's Circle! You don't have to be huge dicks to get blocks that lineup clear around the block. In fact you can be a super nice dude with a business so hot that you can close your doors at 4 PM and call it a day. Man, this guy has it down! Doug, your warm demeanor and genuine attitude warmed my heart and your product is hella quality. I will certainly be back, and you can count on that!

THE DAMAGE: $20 (with the Dougy Discount) + $2 in the tip jar.

That. is. baller.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

An Epilogue to Food Poisoning

I consider myself to have a stomach of steel. I always eat cookie batter rife with uncooked eggs, I don't make a stink if my meat looks a little pink, and I just cut the moldy corners off of cheese. And nearly 100% of the time, I am totally fine. Growing up, when we had steak at the house, we wanted it put upon a plate still "mooing".  I sling raw chicken around the kitchen like that discus throwing babe from the 2012 London Summer Olympics. No joke, I just never thought it was an issue for me.

Until 2012, I had gotten food poisoning once in my entire life, and it was from eating one of those Veggie Patties from Subway, so in other words, I pretty much deserved the hell that I reaped on myself. Then last year I went to dinner at a lovely place in Astoria called William Hallet and sh*t got cray. It was violent y'all, and to make matters even more shitty (as though food poisoning can get any more shitty, and I mean that both literally and figuratively), my friend Santhi was in town and we were supposed to go to brunch to catch up the next day! Unfortunately, I had to cancel because my body had become a bacteria fueled battleground of vom and sadness.

Well this past Friday, my dear friend Santhi was back in town again, and we got together at A2 on the LES with our friend Bruce. Now, I'd be lying if I said we didn't hit it pretty hard. It was a reunion of high school friends, and a good night out was in order. That said, we kept ourselves together and made it our mission to find some late night snacks. I wouldn't usually opt for the pizza covered in meat, but whatever, I was super hungry. I nom nomed that thing like there was no tomorrow, and then it was time to head home.

(Yes those are stickers on our faces. Yes, we knew they were there.)

I got home without a hitch, which is rare at that hour. Things were looking good! I played Matt & Kim extremely loud to the distaste of my sleepy boyfriend (and apparently later went renegade and posted like every single one of their music videos on FB, but seriously, they have amazing music videos, check this one out). I drank some water, washed my face and went to bed.

And then Saturday at 9:30 AM, all hell broke loose. WTF. How was this happening? Did I legit get food poisoning AGAIN? When Santhi was in town, AGAIN?! What was this dark magic? And though another friend jokingly posed the question, "OMG! Is Santhi poisoning you?" I have ruled that scenario out as a feasible option. It's pretty obvious that I should not have eaten pork laden pizza at 4 AM. God knows how long that stuff had been sitting out. PS - Is there any kind of health code regulation for pizza joints that just let the pizza sit out at room temperature before throwing it into the oven? It just seems like a playground for foodbourne illness now that I really think about it. I guess it takes getting violently ill sometimes to utilize critical thinking skills. Never again, my friends.

Anyway, yesterday sucked balls. Lars, despite having to listen to husband/wife synth pop for several hours the night before, was very good to me and made sure I had what I needed all day. I drank an entire two liter, erm, tried to drink an entire two liter of seltzer. That did not turn out well. I will spare you the details. Lars put on "How It's Made" a show on the Discovery Channel that shows products being created in factories, usually of the industrial variety. I almost feel like this was a cruel joke because the first thing that popped up on the screen was, "How It's Made: MAYONNAISE!" WTF. This also did not end well. I will spare you the details here as well.

After several hours of watching Bob's Burgers, I finally fell back asleep and when I woke up I felt a bit better physically, but mentally, I was totally effed. And this is the realization that I've come to after this weekend - I beat myself up for things that I have no control over. I do this really often. For someone who thrives on going to camp out music festivals, I may be one of the most neurotic people you'll ever meet in your life. I've seriously been sitting in my apartment completely depressed at the fact that I was unable to accomplish anything yesterday. I was super ill! What the hell did I think I was going to accomplish other than shitting my pants in public, or throwing up in front of a bunch of tourists on the subway? But then I think, hey, if that had happened, maybe I'd have a great story! Ugh. What's wrong with me? Dude, my brain, it's so whack.

So today, I spent some time getting hydrated, making lentil soup, catching up with my friend Melissa (she convinced me to leave the house which was muchos therapeutic) and doing some restorative yoga in my living room. During the yoga video, (I found a great daytime restorative flow on doyogawithme.com) the instructor repeatedly used the words "surrender" and "let go". Those words were exactly what I needed to hear today. I spend so much time killing myself over things that are not my fault, and it's totally unfair and unrealistic to think that I can be everywhere at once. It's time for me to let go, and accept life as it comes at me rather than try to be on constant damage control. I need to take time for me. I need to take time to be me.

And I guess that is what this long blog post about puke and self-discovery is really all about. I'm coming on the close of probably one of the worst months I've ever known. I do find it rather funny that the universe decided to end this one with a bang by making me hella ill for the last two days of this God forsaken time period, but all that aside, I do believe that I learned something. What doesn't kill you, certainly makes you stronger. Forgiveness is key, especially when it comes to forgiving yourself. Getting to see Santhi once in a blue moon is totally worth getting food poisoning. Oh, and never eat pizza covered in every pork product known to man at 4 AM. That sh*t might kill you.