Friday, June 19, 2009

Friday Five: Life is a Verb

At RevGalBlogPals, Jan writes:

Jennifer recommended this book, which I got because I always value Jennifer's reading suggestions. The author of Life is a Verb, Patti Digh worked her book around these topics concerning life as a verb:

Say yes.
Be generous.
Speak up.
Love more.
Trust yourself.
Slow down.

As I read and pondered about living more intentionally, I also have wondered what this Friday Five should be. This book has been the jumping off point for this Friday.

1. What awakens you to the present moment?

Lying in the hammock looking up at the trees, working in the garden, petting the cat, focusing on my breathing, and so much more

2. What are 5 things you see out your window right now?

Hanging baskets of flowers, my car, strawberries and blueberries, roses, the composter

3. Which verbs describe your experience of God?

Embrace, create, laugh, love, play

4. From the book on p. 197: Who were you when you were 13? Where did that kid go?

The 13-year-old loved playing basketball and swimming, enjoyed school but was a bit of a troublemaker, was intrigued by spirituality of all kinds, wanted to live in harmony with God, and had just decided to go into ministry because of the involvement of MLK and his clergy colleagues in civil rights issues. The kid’s still here, though is often forgotten because of all the institutional issues that she never dreamed she would need to deal with. Part of my summer goal is to give up some of the adult that’s gotten in the way and get more of that kid back .

5. From the book on p. 88: If your work were the answer to a question, what would the question be?

How do we make the world a bit more just and kind (because God is reflected in everything/everyone around us)?

Bonus idea for you here or on your own--from the book on p. 149:

"Go outside. Walk slowly forward. Open your hand and let something fall into it from the sky. It might be an idea, it might be an object. Name it. Set it aside. Walk forward. Open your hand and let something fall into it from the sky. Name it. Set it aside. Repeat. . . ."

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


Friday evening we ate at Buddakan, 16th St and 9th Ave, to celebrate Dan’s 25th birthday.  Dan had asked us to pick some place to eat that he and his friends would remember afterwards.  We’d gone through Zagat’s and come up with a few places but none of them seemed right.  Then Kathy emailed Jon and he suggested Buddakan, an Asian fusion restaurant, saying it was hard to get a reservation for eight that quickly but that he knew the chef and so would see what he could do.  He texted us the night before to say we were set with 7 pm reservat
ions that evening.

            We got to 16th and 9th but didn’t see the restaurant. The corner looked like a black box with no windows on it.  Then we noticed the imposing, ornate black doors

 and stepped through into what looked like an elaborate hotel lobby where we “checked in”.  We turned around to find a very noisy, crowded bar with lots of tables, at one of which Jon and his fiancée Ilona were already waiting.  Dan and his friends arrived a few minutes later and we were led down a main set of stairs into an imposing, ornate room

 with the middle of the room set up much like a table d’hote, with people being added to the table as they arrived. Nicely for us, we were led past the very busy main room into the quieter “Golden Library”, where the walls are lined with what look like glowing (law) books and seated at a private table. 

We were told to ignore the menu, that the executive chef, Lon Symensma, would choose what we’d be served. (Symensma had previously worked with Jean-Georges Vongerichten and I’d loved eating at both Vong’s and Jean-Georges’ so I figured that boded well for the food—and I was right!.) 

After Dan and his friends ordered fruity cocktails and Jon and Ilona got some saki, the meal began.  First served was yellowtail with a garlic soy sauce (and perhaps some wasabi since Kathy and Ilona found it spicy while Becca, Brandon, and I didn’t).  After that came two kinds of vegetarian dishes—edamame dumplings and then a dumpling that was made to look like little orange carrots.  This was followed by the best shrimp toast I’ve ever had.    But then my favorite part of the meal came out—crispy soft shell crabs with nice fluffly light rolls (though the name doesn’t seem to do them justice) to put them on.  They were delicious.  Becca and Ajuna, both of whom were reluctant to eat them because of the shells, even enjoyed them.  Next was boned Peking duck served with a plum sauce, scallions, cucumbers, and paper thin pancakes to eat it on.  Everyone seemed to love them.   By this time we were beginning to feel full, but the waiter insisted that the chef had a few more things in mind and put down sea bass wrapped in steamed cabbage with ginger and scallion oil—yummy!  Then “soup” was served—a duck and noodle soup.  Then the “entrée” came out—a pork, sausage, and eggplant dish with side dishes of califlower mixed with pork in a chili-garlic sauce and amazing vegetable rice with coconut curry foam.  We were stuffed and couldn’t eat all of it. 

Len Symensma then came out to meet us.    While he chatted with Jon, Becca and Brandon had what struck me as a funny conversation.  Brandon is starting class at the French Culinary Institute soon.  After meeting Symensma, he said that his goal wasn’t to be a chef at a restaurant like Buddakan, but to be a cook for a private family.  Becca announced in response that that was a great idea-- she thought she’d like to have a private cook when she was through college.  Smensma asked whose birthday it was, went over to say happy birthday to Dan, and then left.

And then dessert began with a crying chocolate tart birthday plate brought out for Dan. 

It was beautifully done.  This was followed by seven other desserts, some of which I can’t even remember because after the eleven other courses I was so full.  The ones that stand out were what looked like an elaborate banana s’more (called a chocolate mille-feuille) with banana between pieces of crunchy dark chocolate and served with spiced chocolate ice cream; a coconut crème brulee served with a lemongrass ice cream; a chocolate peanut butter bomb (which seemed to be Ilona’s favorite),  a “slinky” that tasted like toffee or caramel, though I didn’t eat much of it, various fruit sorbets, and tea donuts served with vanilla bean ice cream.

The whole evening was truly memorable, putting Buddakan up above Xavier’s as my favorite dining experience.  Even Becca, who had complained bitterly about having to give up a Friday evening to go, was blown away by the experience and stopped complaining about how late we got back into Dobbs Ferry.