Versus

Paris and New York are very different cities, but they often seem to be going head-to-head for the title of most beautiful/best/favorite city in the world. Vahram Muratyan, a Parisian graphic designer, took advantage of the well-known “rivalry” in these Paris vs. New York art prints. I like their quirkiness and how they celebrate what each city has to offer without making it about which one is better. The prints come in various sizes, with framed and stretched canvas versions also available. Below are some of my favorites.

From top to bottom: “La façade,” “Le tennis,” “Le temple,” “Les directions,” “Le surnom,” and “L’obsession” (my favorite!) 

Muratyan’s blog also features a number of Paris vs. New York prints that aren’t available for sale, such as “L’aéroport” (below) and “Le journal.”

Paris vs. New York art prints by Vahram Muratyan, via T Magazine

Start the Week: Rubik

Work was cancelled today due to transportation complications from Irene, which meant I got to spend some time outside enjoying the absolutely beautiful weather. It was such a nice day, and fall is almost in the air. We went out for a walk last night (after being cooped in for much of the day), and it was probably the windiest it had been all day. It was so refreshing and made me excited for the (relatively) cooler months ahead (winter, not so much).

I’ve been listening to this week’s Start the Week, from Finnish band Rubik, a lot on my way to work and hope you find it as enjoyable as I do.

Work has been busy and my non-work life rather uneventful, but I’ll be posting pictures later this week of some weekend trips I’ve taken in the past month. I can’t believe September is almost here! I know I say that whenever a new month rolls around, but wow.

Start the Week: Summer Camp

Once again, I’ve taken an unintended break from the blog. Sometimes the week just goes by so quickly that I don’t even realize how many days I’ve gone by without posting (and other times, yes, the week goes by quite slowly). This week’s Start the Week, “Better Off Without You,” is from London duo Summer Camp, whom I just came across a couple weeks ago.

With August more than halfway over (how did that happen?!), I thought it worth picking a season-appropriate song, so we could enjoy summer while it lasted. If only I had a surfboard to jump on and an ocean to jump into.

Edible Adjectives

Ma’ayan Plaut is a bit of a multi-hyphenate. In addition to being a blogger and a chef (and a personal friend!), she’s quite handy with a camera. She also seems to know just about everybody, meaning she’s definitely someone you’d want on your side were you to try to win a massive round of six degrees of separation. Ma’ayan found a way to merge some of these interests with the adjective sandwich, which was developed while she was in college and working behind the sandwich counter at the campus grocery store/cafe. The premise of the adjective sandwich is simple: Either ask or email with your adjective; likes/dislikes/things you can’t eat; vegetarian, vegan, or omnivorous; your tolerance for spicy things. Ma’ayan will then come up with a sandwich that she feels most fits your adjective. We’re not talking your average BLT or peanut butter and jelly here. Adjective sandwiches are filled with all kinds of ingredients, and they’re unique, too: As the website notes, two people can submit the same adjective and receive completely different sandwiches. I gave Ma’ayan my own adjective and will be sure to share it with you once she comes up with my sandwich over the next couple of weeks. But before then, I emailed Ma’ayan a few sandwich-related questions, which you can find with her answers below.

Is there any particular sandwich ingredient (bread, cheese, vegetables, etc.) that you’re willing to splurge on?
Oh, this is a really good question. I think I’m probably most likely to splurge on cheese, since it’s diverse and can really change the flavor profile of the whole sandwich (or you can theme a whole sandwich around it!). Cheese is one of the most versatile ingredients I know, and there are SO many options out there. I haven’t even started delving into complex cheeses in some of these sandwiches yet. I think in a close second would be quality imported ingredients, like European spreads or smoked Italian meats or amazing pickled things from a pickle shop, or good spices from the Mediterranean or Indian to make interesting rubs for meats…

What’s next for Adjective Sandwich? Opening a shop? Going global? Adjectives with adverbs (boldly inspiring, wonderfully surreptitious, etc.)?
Hard question. I’ve worked in food service enough that I know the difficulties and hardships of owning and running a shop. I am in the process of drafting a cookbook on sandwich theory (you know there are no books on sandwich theory other than Tom Colicchio’s ‘wichcraft cookbook? It kills me… but that book serves as a huge affirmation and inspiration to me. I highly recommend it.)

So, in a perfect world, I see it as:

– a website that gets requests from any/everywhere in the world (it’s gradually getting that right now; I had a request from someone I briefly met at a conference in SF, and I’ve gotten two requests via the submissions form on Tumblr of people I don’t know), and from my descriptions, it could legitimately inspire someone to make that sandwich on their own;

– a compilation cookbook/book on sandwich theory in the future; and

– a creative force behind a potential restaurant (my role would be more as a planner/consultant, I don’t necessarily want to run it…)

Also, while adjectives tend to be the main requests I get for sandwiches, I am not opposed to nouns or phrases or ideas. Adjective tends to be all-encompassing and easiest to explain to people (this is a pretty bizarre concept, if you think about it).

If the OED itself were to ask for a sandwich, what would you serve it?
Love this question! Ummmm… let’s try this:

Honey oat bread, toasted, with a spread of dijon mustard on one side and mashed avocado with salt and pepper on the other side. Pile on mustard side paper-thin slices of honey ham, crumbled cranberry Stilton, paper-thin slices of black pepper turkey, micro herbs tossed with a squeeze of lemon and olive oil, topped with the avocado-laced bread.

And that might change tomorrow. It all depends on what I associate with the word today and what I’m thinking about as an ingredient today. It’s complicated.

What’s the key to the perfect sandwich, in your mind?
Two things: balance and texture. Balance refers most to the combination and proportion of ingredients, and texture refers to how the ingredients relate to each other. It’s the reason a grilled cheese sandwich can be the most heavenly thing in the world: the cheese plus bread, in those two very contrasting state, coexisting.

I’m hungry just reading these answers. A big thanks to Ma’ayan for answering my questions. Find all the sandwiches Ma’ayan has created on The Adjective Sandwich, then be sure to submit your own adjective!

Sandwich photo by Ma’ayan Plaut.

Sweets Come Across the Pond

Earlier this week, I ventured uptown to The London Candy Company (which just happened to be observing its three-month anniversary since opening in April), having heard about it a few months ago from The New York Times. The space (which, I overheard, used to be a launderette), with its exposed brick walls and high ceiling, was decked out with just the right amount of British paraphernalia, including Union Jack pillows (which will eventually be available for purchase) and bunting. (Sadly, my bunting photo didn’t turn out very well, so you’ll just have to trust that it added just the right touch to the place.) In addition to all the British sweets — from candy to biscuits (the British kind, what we in the States would consider cookies/cakes) and all imported directly from the UK — you could want, the store also sells Portland, OR-based Stumptown Coffee, which I would’ve been sure to try had it not been late evening. The store even has a pair of sunglasses designed exclusively for The London Candy Company. From the friendly staff to the wide selection (Jaffa Cakes! Lion! Aero!), the store has a lot to offer, and I highly recommend it.

The London Candy Company is located at 1442 Lexington Avenue at 94th Street.

All photos taken by Taking of Toast.

Start the Week: The Avett Brothers

This week’s Start the Week song is from The Avett Brothers, whose website describes their song as having “a style that defies pigeonholing but might be described as a rootsy amalgam of folk, country, bluegrass, rock and pop.” To me, the Avetts’ song “Kick Drum Heart” is an instant mood brightener, perfect as a pick-me-up regardless of the time of day or year.

“Kick Drum Heart” – The Avett Brothers

Language Eats

Random House’s Living Language is putting its own spin on the food truck craze.

To celebrate its new Platinum courses, the Living Language food truck will feature French, German, Italian, and Latin American foods, with a handy pronunciation guide on the menu. The food is free, but the catch is that you have to use the guide to pronounce each menu item correctly. Or, as Living Language puts it, “‘say it right to get a bite!'” See this page for more information and the dates/times and locations of the food truck next week.

I’d never heard of Living Language before learning of the food truck, but I think I might take some time to explore more of their programs. I particularly like the concept of their In-Flight courses. The 60-minute courses are a sort of primer, aimed at both tourists and business travelers, meant for listening to while you’re on the plane.

Via New York Magazine (image/original post from Living Language)