Sunday, July 14, 2013

Brimfield Flea Market

I checked out the Brimfield Flea Market just like I did last year (in July and September). We had a fabulous time. What did I get this year, you ask?

A cute hair comb, postcards of beloved Michigan places like Frankenmuth, Mackinaw City, and the Father Marquette Museum, some cute jewelry (including a Girl Scout pin from the 1920s).

This ring says on it that it is from 1957, and I plan on cleaning it up a bit.

I also bought this cool plate to hang on the wall:

Oh, and this cute portrait of a little girl on the bottom here, which plays great on the wall next to the above pictured Lilly Martin Spencer's "The Jolly Washerwoman:

We enjoyed sitting on some furniture:

And my friend Julie bought this awesome arrow:

Most of all the exciting score for me was a vintage Westinghouse roaster with stand. I plan on using it as an awesome shelving unit and conversation piece in my dining room. It seemed like a steal at $50.

Can't wait to go again next year! I love all the unique and interesting pieces, the historical perspective, and also how reusing old stuff is great for the environment. What a blast! 

Friday, July 12, 2013

The Speakeasy Albany

Both Steve Barnes and Danielle Sanzone had good writeups of the new Speakeasy in the basement of the City Beer Hall. Since I've been hoping that an equivalent to my beloved Clover Club would open in Albany eventually, I've been excited to try it. Tonight we did, and...I would have to say that is surpassed my already high expectations. About a month after opening, it's already a local treasure. The Speakeasy has some of the rituals of a speakeasy -- you can see the full list of "rules" at Sanzone's post -- including the need to ring the doorbell, an dark old-fashioned decor, and reservations recommended for the very comfy booths. But this doesn't mean that there's anything pretentious or forbidding about the friendly, knowledgeable service. And the cocktails are simply outstanding. I had a variation on the Rittenhouse Manhattan made with cognac and a classic Sazerac, both of which were beautifully done. Perhaps the star of the night was the gin fizz Ms. Garlic ordered, and she had an excellent, spicy mezcal-based cocktail as well. Our friend Julie had another very fine gin-based cocktail as well as an exceptionally good off-menu rye cocktail with an earthy liqueur. All of the drinks were thoughtfully balanced and beautifully presented, and our choices were arbitrary given that pretty much everything on the menu looked good. Food options are minimalist, but the charcuterie plate we split was excellent, and the prices were very reasonable for cocktails of this quality. It's a gem; we'll be back soon with another report.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Summer Weekends

It's officially summer, and on the weekends I can't seem to get up off my chaise lounge. For this, I made up a great cocktail (pictured above - you can also tell I mean business by my Ryan Gosling Hey Girl notebook ). The consists of a lot of lemon juice, some honey, and a good amount of water, stirred and then topped with some gin and Lillet. I love Lillet, especially the back of the label, which when you read it out loud sounds like pure class (something about being meant to be enjoyed at the moment when evening becomes night). This drink also needs a ton of ice so it will stay cold long enough for you to sip it and get a lot of reading done.

Recently, I read a very interesting book called Inside Christie's by John Herbert about the auction house. What I really enjoyed about it was reading about all these stories which would start out with the person from the auction house starting up a relationship with someone, some long winding plot ensues with colorful characters, millions of dollars, lots of stress on the side of the employees and outside dealers, customs officials - all ending with the picture hanging on the wall of somewhere like the Met where people like me enjoyed it without having any clue how it got there. There's a whole social history to artworks as they exist in the world that can be equally as interesting as the art history aspect of the thing actually being made. Also, I liked the way that it all seemed like hard work, but that the employees seemed to feel satisfied by achieving  success through working together. I bought this book in an antique shop in Hudson in such a random way, but I'm really glad I picked it up.

I am currently reading out on my patio Ten Girls to Watch by Charity Shumway. Sometimes you end up reading exactly what you needed to at that exact moment, without knowing it beforehand. What I love about this book is that it simultaneously sends the message of "It is ok for your life to be a little difficult/not as glamorous as you might have imagined" and "You can accomplish everything you might have ever hoped for if you stick with it". It manages to be realistic and inspirational at the same time, as well as laugh out loud hilarious. It also has some great stuff about New York City apartments sucking, and some funny stuff about how the standards by which young women are judged as successful have changed in the last six decades. Its like a cheerier, better, and funnier version of the movie "How to Make an American Quilt".  

We've also discovered some cool out of the way places. Last weekend, we checked out The Ugly Rooster Cafe in Mechanicville. The food was really good, and the menu had some things you don't see everywhere like fried green tomatoes and french toast with marscarpone, orange zest and chocolate shavings. Scott had a crab benedict thing, and I had a grilled cheese with tomatoes, cheddar, and spinach on rye. Also, the guy next to us did their 5 pound pancake challenge, and unfortunately was not successful (it was entertaining though). According to their website, the Collossal Pancake Challenge consists of: "2 twelve inch pancakes with your choice of fruit filling along with butter, whip cream, and syrup. If you can finish the entire meal in 20 minutes you get the meal for free, an official Ugly Rooster T-shirt, your picture on the wall of fame, and more. $15 to take the challenge!"

We also recently checked out Lakeside Farms and Cider Mill in Ballston Lake. We had a great lunch in a cute spot, and bought all kinds of local products and vegetables. They sell Oscar's Smokehouse meats, which are great, and their own tasty doughnuts. It is the kind of place that is a little out of the way, but totally worth it for something a little different.

Overall, it has been a pretty low key start of summer, although we are hoping to make it to the Finger Lakes for some wine tasting, and we did celebrate our two year wedding anniversary (with this delicious cake from J&S Watkins! Aw!).