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This weekend, New York opened its slushy, crusty coat of winter to give us a glimpse of the blue sky and heart-warming hope of spring.  It was a spectacular February weather weekend.  It was also National Margarita Day. Coincidence?  I think not.

Spring and Margaritas have a lot on common.  In their best form, they both have a pleasant hue.  Both can make you forget your troubles.  Both can inspire love and adventure.  Both can change your perspective.

I can’t say which had more influence this weekend – spring-like weather or Margaritas.  But the good citizens of New York City were out in force and in the mood to celebrate.  I think of their numbers and zeal as an unofficial parade in honor of National Margarita Day.

There was a man on the sidewalk, tucked into the shadowy crevice of a building.  Usually this kind of beginning would have a bad ending – but not on National Margarita Day!  He was air-swinging a “golf club.” He had a cigarette perched between his lips.  He inhaled on the back swing and exhaled on the forward swing so his hands cut through his giant puff of smoke.  He smoked with no hands and golfed with no club and looked thrilled.

The grifters, dressed as your children’s favorite characters, had an extra spring in their step.  Elmo and Cookie Monster gave exuberant high-fives as they stuffed tips in their fanny packs.  Their costumes could harbor margarita sippy cups.  I picture a hat with two cup holders and straws under those furry heads.  Or maybe it was just the sunshine?

Coats were off and skin was out.  Ladies on the way to the gym let their calves loose and left their coats at home.  Grateful faces sat on benches, cheeks turned to the sun, soaking up Vitamin D.

And love was in the air.  I sat, sipping a margarita and eavesdropping on the people next to me.  Eavesdropping is a New York City hobby.  In more polite moments (or when we can’t get close enough to listen) we call it “people watching.” But I was flat-out listening to a couple on their first date. as he explained that he isn’t rich and isn’t successful but he’s glad about that because he really likes to scramble.  His ex-wife is a vindictive person and he’s in a good place about their break-up. He views it as a blessing because had they stayed together, he would have killed her.  Oh, and he cries in therapy weekly.

I tend to think that first dates need better game.  It’s wise to keep murderous thoughts to yourself if you’re hoping for date #2.  But thank the margaritas – either overconsumption or the magic in the air … she was leaning in.  I wish them well! And, I’ve taken a mental snapshot of his face if he ever comes up in an online dating match.

I went a little crazy too.

At Quality Italian, I turned down Aprile Super Oakville (2010) from Gargiulo Vineyards in favor of a margarita. Super Oakville is Gargiulo Vineyards version of a Super Tuscan or Brunello and Brunello is my favorite wine treat.  But margaritas are well, margaritas.  And I’m nothing if not dedicated to my research.

We had Chicken Parmigiana for Two (which is really enough for six).  It’s a giant, round chicken parm disguised as a pizza.  The chickens I’m used to eating doesn’t come flat and round so I’m sure a lot of manipulation (I don’t want to know) goes into this entrée.

We shared Dry-Aged Porterhouse Agnolotti and a bunch of sides.  If you go, bring your appetite.  Quality Italian is a steakhouse and the dinner menu is protein-heavy and priced to match.

And if you go, bring a lot of friends.  Even the best restaurant is helped by good company and on this night, the company was really good.

The weather here in New York has turned cold again so we tuck our skin under coats and scarves and bend our heads against the wind.   But the sun is out and hints of spring linger … and margarita magic is still (always) in the air.  I hope you can all feel it and I hope you had a wonderful National Margarita Day!

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Not being Santa Claus frees me up to do lots of stuff.

I’m not responsible for delivering gifts to the 1.9 billion children of the world.  Be thankful for that.  Logistics isn’t in my wheelhouse.

The Santa Operations Center at NORAD reports that Santa had an on-time departure.  He’s following his usual route, starting in the South Pacific, hitting New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Asia, Africa, Europe, followed by North America and South America.  At the time of writing this post, Santa is about to deliver to Kenya. NORAD says they aren’t responsible for planning Santa’s route – they just track him!  Which is good for NORAD because that frees their staff up for other things too.

Here are 5 things I’ve done with the free time I have (from not being Santa):

1. Travel to Seattle.  I made my way to Seattle to spend the holiday with margagogo’s Marketing Director and North West Correspondent, as well as margagogo’s two biggest non-margarita drinking fans and margagogo’s future Investigative Reporter and Managing Editor. (Tracking how people move around so gifts can be delivered properly must be time-consuming and a giant pain in Santa’s tuchas.)

2. Win all Tickle Fights.  Since the future margagogo employees are only 8 and 5, I can still take em. Size and a team approach makes my future standing in tickle fights uncertain. My nieces are getting bigger and getting organized.

3. Manage Amazing Feats of Athletic Prowess.  Ice skating and rock wall climbing topped off with cartwheels are what it takes to keep up with the margagogo team. I made it to the top of the rock wall (in the children’s section), never left the ice till skating ended and after years of considering my body a no cartwheel zone, managed impressive cartwheel form. Christmas is an endurance event for everyone. I’m a little tired now so I can’t imagine how Santa feels when he parks his sleigh back at the North Pole on the 26th.  He is an endurance champion. But as crafty as he is about getting down chimneys, I’m certain he can’t pull off cartwheels.

4. Eat and Eat More.  Evidence indicates that Santa makes this a priority and everyone celebrating is doing the same.  So I won’t dwell on food. I’ll just say that I’m stuffed full and can’t imagine eating again at least until dinner.  Thank goodness I only have to wait a few hours.

5. Drink Margaritas.  Santa needs to be sober but since I’m not driving a sleigh tonight, sobriety isn’t a priority for me.  My future Managing Editor and I invented the song “The 10 Margaritas of Christmas” and I’m ashamed to say that actual events don’t live up to the lyrics.  But, I did manage to taste test at three different venues:

La Catrina.  Seattle, WA. Nothing says “Christmas” like a mural with a skeleton.  And nothing says “Christmas” to me like a pint-sized margarita that’s actually good. What a gift!  So if you’re in Seattle, check out La Catrina. It’s in Georgetown – a hip and gritty neighborhood. (For you East-Coasters, it reminds me of Hoboken of ten years ago.)

The Whale Wins.  Seattle, WA. I made a mistake by not asking them where the name came from but going here was a genius idea (credit to my Marketing Director).  They’re serious about their drinks and take great pride in the mixing.  And the bartender was happy to share his margarita secret – Dry Curaçao instead of Triple Sec or Cointreau to give the drink zip without syrup sweetness.  It worked.  I had two.  If you go to the Whale Wins, make a reservation or go at lunch.  I hear they get quite a crowd.

The Big Picture. Possibly the best place in Seattle, WA.  It’s a theatre and a bar.  A bar and a theatre.  If you give them your seat number they will deliver drinks to you as often as you direct.  They too serve a margarita in a pint glass (scary sign) and they too pull it off!  And they’re serious about their mixing.  They also serve popcorn in champagne buckets and give out Hershey’s Kisses with the tickets.  I love this place.

The Big Picture

Merry Christmas!  I hope not being Santa gives all of you time to focus on the important stuff too.

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I think work is the problem.

I’m credentialed to say this because I passed a pass/fail class called “The Philosophy of Work.” The course was required toward my undergraduate Honors Degree in Liberal Studies. For those of you thinking that an Honors Degree in Liberal Studies is useless, don’t worry, I have a BA English Literature too.

In class, we talked about what it means to have a job versus a career versus a vocation.  We talked about the value of work in our culture. Hard work is respected and applauded.  We are bootstrap pulling people.  We even have a national holiday, where we don’t work, to celebrate all the other days when we do.

We talked about work and happiness. Is work a necessary evil or the path to fulfillment?  Is it toil or enlightenment?  Maybe both?

Does the type of work matter? Is the person who digs a ditch, using muscles and will to make things happen more or less fulfilled than the person who uses a computer to diagram the ditch and makes things happen while dressed in business casual attire?

Looking back on my school days, I didn’t have a clue about what real work meant and the philosophical discussions didn’t do a thing to prepare me.  I thought I had it rough if I had a class on Friday.  I thought housekeeping chores were a burden.  I might have cut my arm off with a weed-whacker, if we’d had one, to avoid lawn maintenance.

I’ve been in the 9 – whenever working world for a while now. There are days when I look forward to getting to the office and know I make a difference.  When I work with someone on my staff and see the light of understanding flip on in their iris, my chest swells. There are also work days when no amount of compensation seems worth it.  And there are more workdays than I like to think about that end 13 hours after they begin.

Work helps me appreciate my leisure time.  And, my leisure time makes it possible for me to do my work.

My friends; my funny, smart, interested and interesting friends are a big part of my leisure time.

And we are funny.

The funny grows with group size.  Margaritas probably don’t hurt either.  And we were funny on fire the night we celebrated the birthday of a good friend (and short list candidate for margagogo’s open slot for a Brooklyn Correspondent).

Sometimes when we are together, I laugh so hard my cheeks cramp and tears run down my face.  When I get going, each peal of laughter rolls over the one before it, squeezing out the normal rhythm of my giggle until I sound like an asthmatic, wheezy bulldog.  I wish I could come up with a more attractive description than cramped cheeks, tears and wheezing. But in these moments, when I’m surrounded by friends and laughter, I know I’m exactly where I belong.

My friend’s birthday celebration at Bamonte’s in Williamsburg (32 Withers St) was the scene of one of these perfect moments.

Bamontes

Bamonte’s is old school Italian.  The lights are a little too bright, fixtures ornate, walls red and the staff supports every old school stereotype. My friends chose Bamonte’s for the celebration because their family has a relationship with the restaurant since way ‘back in the day’.  You’ll feel the history when you walk in the door.  It was the perfect setting to explain hashtags to friends who don’t and won’t ever tweet and it made total sense when “hashtag” became “hound dog”.  Thanks to this night, I will forever be “hound-doging” #hounddogisthenewhashtag  #funnyonfire

You should go to Bamonte’s and get a double order of the Eggplant Rollatini – it is insane.  Everyone had a great meal and unless you’re really, really hungry, you’ll have left overs to take home. I had spaghetti and meatballs (amazing) and my laughter turned to real tears the next day when I realized I wasn’t getting the lunch I was drooling for because my to-go never made it to my refrigerator and instead spent the night in my purse. #bummer #cryingagain

Food Styling by the Birthday Boy.

Food Styling by the Birthday Boy.

Grab a group of friends and head to Bamonte’s.  You should, under no circumstances, order a margarita.  But if you stick with wine and anything else on menu, I know you’ll have a great meal and I hope you have half the fun that we had. #funnyonfire #happybirthday #Ineedahounddogsymbol

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The history of Guacamole is both short and long.

The Aztecs invented it.

History lesson over.

And since the Aztecs were happily living and eating guacamole in Mexico long before the Spanish swooped in on them in the 1500’s, Guacamole’s been around a long, long time.

Anyone who’s ever seen Guacamole turn brown and crusty at a party has reason to be afraid of it.  And let’s face it; the Avocado in its full fruit form is standoffish, even scary. Bumpy, green and black on the outside, it’s the bad apple of the fruit basket.  Unripe, they’re hard and horrible.  Overripe, they are the stuff of science fiction with the pale green flesh blighted with brown spots and stringy and the skin easily dented.

If an Avocado was a 5th grader, it would be the reason the teacher fears turning his/her back to the class.

And because of their look, Avocados are slighted.  Have you ever seen an avocado image on a slot machine? Cherries, apples, lemons, sure.  Avocados?  Never.

Nobody is the avocado of your eye.  You’ll never say, “She’s an avocado!” as a compliment.

English: A seedless avocado, or cuke, growing ...

Location: San Pablo Huitzo, Oaxaca, Mexico. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I grew up in New York State so Avocados didn’t grow on trees, you know.  I knew about apples and pears. I understood strawberries and blueberries and berries of all persuasions.  I don’t remember when I first encountered the avocado but I know I was suspicious. Too wary to try it and I admit without any avocado knowledge, I was a hater.

Until a frostbite cold, stark and beautiful experience in Uyuni, Bolivia, brought me to the light.

Uyuni is possibly the ickiest city in Bolivia but also home to the largest salt flat in the world (Salar du Uyuni).  A salt lake covered much of Bolivia in Prehistoric times. Today, what remains is about 10,000 square kilometers of desolate, stunning salt desert.

Pre-warned about the ickiness of Uyuni, we booked a night bus from La Paz and planned a single day to see the flats, getting out-of-town that same night to head toward Tupiza (the town near where Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid are rumored to have met their maker).

I boarded the bus, my backpack deflated since I was wearing every possible layer.  Without heat on the bus  I was grateful when the combined body heat of the passengers warmed the air. The windows fogged but it didn’t matter since it was too dark to take in any view.

The trip lasted hours and hours and I was awake, sleep hard to latch on to, feeling the bus rumble on the road and feeling tortured by the sounds of snoring all around me.  Sleep eventually won out as the sun crept up on the horizon.  I drifted, only to jump up moments later when a drop of water fell on my forehead. Then another hit my nose and yet another dropped on my glasses and ran down the lens.

The windows were all closed and now streaked with water on the inside. The scent on the bus was Ode De Stale Locker Room and the ceiling was covered with droplets, waiting to pull away from the metal surface and fall on my face.

The breath we blew out during the night, transformed and collected on the ceiling was raining down on us.

I was trapped in a terrarium.

We weren’t even there yet and it was already icky. I was cold and worn through and really grossed out. And when we finally arrived, the driver parked and kept the bus doors locked with us inside. It wasn’t quite light and the streets were too dangerous to allow us to wander.

But it was all worth it.

Salar du Uyuni is isolated, unforgiving and beautiful. Just ask these guys:

It is also white crystals that run all the way up to the horizon.

We drove on it, walked on it and then ate it for lunch. Our guide, pulled white bread flour-dusted rolls from his pack, and with a jackknife, cut tomato and avocado into open rolls. Then he reached down, took a pinch of salt from the ground next to his boot, sprinkled it into the sandwich and handed it to me.

I ate two.

And I still remember that lunch as one of the best meals I’ve ever had.

The most spectacular moment of the day was sunset. The white of the salt bed held and reflected the colors of the sky and sometimes even seemed to be directing the show – as the bed turned pink, the sky followed.

I left Uyuni nourished, body and soul, by the experience and by the avocado.

I will never repeat the trip to Salar du Uyuni but I get to go back to the avocado over and over again.  I rarely slice it into a sandwich since my preferred avocado delivery system is Guacamole.

Aztecs believed Guacamole to be an aphrodisiac. I will leave you to test that theory on your own.  It clearly lights a pleasure center in my brain – I think if it as Guacrackole or Crackamole or I just think about it all the time.  Science today tells us the avocado is just plain good fat, good stuff, good for you.

Since Guacamole is avocado mixed with anything, recipes vary. I like the simple set up that lets the ingredients stand out.

My guacamole/guacrackole/crackamole recipe is:

  • 2 Avocados, mashed but chunky
  • 1 medium onion, white, chopped, about a cup
  • 1 medium tomato, juice and seeds removed, chopped
  • Cilantro to taste
  • Jalapeno to taste
  • Sea Salt to taste
  • Liberal dash of love

– Mix but don’t mush!

– Eat fast so you don’t have to share!

And of course, have a margarita!

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If you don’t write a post for five months, do you still have a blog?

The answer seems to be “Yes!” since wonderful, margarita-loving people around the globe clicked and read despite the lack of new content to beckon them and yesterday, the hit count on margagogo.com topped 3,000.  That my words live on in the face of my neglect is a gift, a miracle and a mystery and it has me pondering other life wonders.

And I mean the BIG stuff.  None of this stuff like, “Why do you park in a driveway and drive on a parkway?” or “Do bleached blondes pretend to have more fun?” For my first post since my last post, I’m delving deep into the mysteries of life.  Yes, I’m going there – wherever “there” is.

Wonder 1:  “The Blog is Back in Town” – Who knows this musical reference and why in the world did I choose it for this blog post title?  I don’t own an album by this band and have never downloaded a single.  But the song stuck in my head and now possibly stuck in yours too.

Wonder 2:  Why do songs get stuck in your head?  I don’t mean just the catchy Song-of-Summer.  Blurred Lines never registered for me.  (No offense to Robin Thicke who is surely capable of writing a catchy tune that will get stuck in heads everywhere.)  But random tunes burrow in and make a home.  My current musical backdrop for rainy days is Rise and Shine song:  “Noah, he built, he built and ark-y, ark-y, ark-y – So rise and shine and give God your glor-y, glor-y…” You get the idea.  The thing is, I probably haven’t heard that song since I went to Tuesday afternoon religious education when I was 8-years old.

Wonder 3:  Bacon.  Why is bacon universally loved?  (And I mean the cured meat, not Kevin Bacon though he has his own dedicated following.)  I’ve met a rare few who say they don’t eat bacon but I’ve never met anyone who says they don’t like bacon.  Bacon is the gateway meat for vegetarians who fall off the plant wagon.  People hate chocolate (huh?) and ice cream (what?) but put a little bacon in either and those same people salivate. It’s a mystery to me.

Wonder 4:  Golf. I don’t understand it. Why do people play this sport and how can networks justify putting in on television? Playing is an exercise in frustration and watching requires extraordinary mental toughness because it’s so boring.  I’m not the only one who thinks so – just ask the streaker who decided to brighten up the President’s Cup with a naked dash.

Wonder 5:  How does the Congressional Gym stay open when the government is closed?  If National Parks, the FDA, and the National Zoo closed, shouldn’t the gym shutter too?  Do congressional members need access to free treadmills so they can blow off steam while they’re blowing off the business of the country?  If they want to understand with their constituents, they should buy overpriced memberships to chain gyms that they’ll stop using after 60 days though they’ll continue monthly payments indefinitely.  They should also have similar health care to the rest of us.  I’d be fired for far lesser offenses than maneuvering the shut down of my company.

Wonder 6:  Avocado. How can an ugly, Seuss-ian orb hold so much creamy goodness? A fish oil substitute? Yes! The magic and soul of guacamole? Clearly.  More to come on the avocado. It deserves a dedicated post.  And the lovely avocado leads me to my next wonder …

Wonder 7:  Should pomegranate seeds be part of any guacamole recipe?  Ok, this is a clear continuation of Wonder 6 but this is the only Wonder I’m able to solve.  Pomegranate might be great for a lot of things. In fact, I hear it actually improves the power of sunscreen.  But as a component of guacamole?  No. The answer is no.  Uh-uh.  No way.  Not right.  Not Guacamole. I know this because I tested it at La Cenita, 409 W 14h St, NYC.

La Cenita is a new addition to the Meatpacking District and they put pomegranate seeds and pistachio nuts in their guac. The pistachio nuts I like. I’m evolving to believe that pistachio or pine nuts should be included in almost everything. But I can’t work with pomegranate seeds. They add an unwelcome sweet surprise to guacamole, a near-perfect treat in its traditional form. I suggest you get the seeds on the side.

 

La Cenita has a street theme to it. They don’t have stools at the bar and they serve their chips in paper bags with the edges rolled down.  But the standing bar-flies pay around $15 per drink so the street theme “Park Avenue” and less “Calle en Mexico”.

 

The traditional margarita on their menu is made with grapefruit juice and the flavor is overpowering.  So if you like tequila more than grapefruit, I suggest you request your marg sans this citrus.

So far, La Cenita has pulled in 2.5 stars on Yelp and the universal theme is the food is ok and really expensive but you should go once and go to be seen. But when you do go, watch your wallet.

And so margagogo.com is back in town. I’ve got much to discuss, like romance novels, the avocado, things I’m grateful for (besides romance novels and avocados) and great places for hanging out and having a drink.

So please stay tuned and thank you for hanging with me through my long blog sabbatical.  Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the blog is back in town!

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Yes, Easter was more than a week ago. But this post is about hunting for what you want (and waiting) so the time lag is fitting.

I’ve never been good at hunting for anything.

I remember being very young and lining up in a park for an Easter Egg Hunt.  By “hunt” I mean bright-colored plastic eggs set in plain sight on the lawn.  I plotted a complex strategy for a toddler (run straight forward and grab eggs) and visualized my empty basket filled with Easter bounty.  I came up empty.

In the minutes it took the throng of kids to grab every egg in sight, I managed to collect just one, single, broken, empty egg.  Where did I go wrong?

  • I might not have sprinted off the start line.
  • I probably should have better assessed the competition and repositioned to be in a cluster with weaker kids.
  • And, it’s fair to say that between my glasses (since age 2) and my eye-patch (a constant childhood accessory), that I couldn’t tell a clump of  grass from an Easter Egg.
Glasses, eye-patch, perfect

Glasses, eye-patch, perfect. But who did my hair?

One-eyed - Is it any wonder I couldn't find an Easter Egg?

One-eyed – Is it any wonder I couldn’t find an Easter Egg?

Sometimes, even with the best of plans, reality stacks against you.

This past Easter weekend, reality topped strategy when we embarked on a hunt for a great margarita in the great state of Vermont.

We started off at SoLo Farm & Table in Londonderry, VT.  Recently nominated by Bon Appetite as one of 2012 best restaurants, it was a strategically sound choice.  Great restaurants have great bars, right?

The food at SoLo is worth the trip.  I loved the Oxtail croquettes.  They were a menu special and quite special they were.  I love croquettes so much that I could probably devote a blog to them, so I’m biased.  If you go and they have these on the menu, get two orders.

We also had Duck Confit Hash (this was a little weird and skip-able) and Pekin Duck Breast and Roasted Suckling Pig (amazing). If I go again, I’ll remember the portions are giant and order for sharing and more tasting.  This meal was so good I was sad when I was full.

I was also a little sad because I didn’t find the margarita I was looking for at SoLo.  It was off-balance with too much citrus  and not much tequila.  I think the flower was sad for me too.

The margarita hunt continued in Manchester, VT at the chic and spendy Equinox Hotel.

We spa-ed and lunched and I ordered a margarita at the fancy-schmancy Marsh Tavern.  I was sure the Equinox employed top-notch mixologists and my hunt would be over in moments. And then my “margarita, rocks” came “up” in a martini glass.

Marsh Tavern Marg

Marsh Tavern Marg

It looks like a gift from heaven with the sunlight glinting off the glass. But it just tasted weird. Like maybe lavender infused the home-made mix.  The independent panel of judges reports that the Bloody Mary was just “meh”.  So the drink ordering tip at Marsh Tavern is go for wine.

We sat at the table, pooling our mental powers to come up with a sound strategy for finding a good margarita – we Googled it.

After ruling out the option to buy a franchise to a chain called “Margaritas” we settled on a local called Gringo Jacks.  A Yelp review suggested the best way to enjoy Gringos was after a long hike … we spent several hours shopping (and that’s almost the same thing) so off to Gringo Jacks we went.

Cactus Glass - 'Nuff Said

Cactus Glass – ‘Nuff Said

My newly appointed Syracuse Bureau Chief has a smart rule of thumb – A margarita that comes in a cactus glass probably isn’t that good. ‘Nuff said.  And with this third margarita try, I started to think that I needed to refine my search – there seems to be a tequila shortage in Vermont and someone needs to get to the bottom of that.

But if you hike or ski or don’t do either, and  you’re with a big group, this is a bright, happy place to be.

I promise there is a moral to this story. And there’s a happy ending too.

Finally, I found Easter Eggs – LOTS of them.

Easter Eggs!!

Easter Eggs!!

We eventually did find a GREAT margarita – back in New York City at Mesa Grill. And who doesn’t want to grill and chill with Bobby Flay and this seriously good marg?

Mesa Grill, NYC

Mesa Grill, NYC

Now to the moral: Sometimes, the journey is the point and the thing you think you need, really isn’t important. Yes, I do love a good margarita and I couldn’t find one in Vermont (sorry, Vermont, it’s true). But I had something even better – good friends who were willing to humor me and help in the hunt.  We also had parking mishaps and discount shopping and lots of laughter. And I know the laughter was genuine since the drinks didn’t have any tequila in them.

And mostly we had fun.

When you have friends, your molcajete is always overflowing.

Rosa

Coming soon: A margarita to fall down for.

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I was sitting at Clarkson (225 Varick St, NYC), chatting with a member of the Independent Panel of Judges and drinking a margarita while writing about margaritas.  I’d have finished the post too if not for the restaurant’s rule of no laptops out after 5PM (They want their patrons to “join the party”) For a brief shining moment, I was a triple threat of efficiency – simultaneous drinking, writing about drinking and socializing.

I’ve been streamlining my life for some time.

I like to read myself to sleep and since my Marketing Director and West Coast Bureau Chief gave me an I Pad, reading in bed took on a note of danger. Laying down and holding the I Pad up in front of me like I would a regular book only works until my eyes droop.  I endured two rude wake-ups, my I Pad edge slamming into the bridge of my nose, before I came up with a better way. Now, I curl up in the fetal position with my I Pad propped up on the pillow next to me.  I can snuggle under the covers and only need to stick a single finger out into the air to flick the pages.  I’m primed for sleep, already in my favorite position on my favorite side so when I read the same paragraph twice and my eyes flutter shut, my nose is safe.  The unexpected bonus – the I Pad is in position if I wake in the middle of the night or in the morning and want to pick up where I left off.  The only downside is that sometimes the bedclothes cover it but since I never make my bed, this isn’t really an issue for me.

For those of you who want to try this at home, as long as your partner isn’t a fitful sleeper, you can prop up on a person too.

Streamlining doesn’t stop here! Showers are faster when I don’t wash my hair and if I go easy on hair goo, I wake up day-ready and don’t even have to wet it.

Going out to eat saves cooking and cleaning time.  If I don’t go out, I order dinner and have it delivered.

If I do go to the supermarket and if I bother to write a list, I write it to follow the supermarket set up so I don’t retrace steps.

I believe “if it’s yellow let it mellow” and I save a flush.

At work my most impressive, finely honed skill is delegation.

To clean my floor, I step on Swiffer cloths and skate around, catching dust bunnies while my hands are free to do other stuff.

I avoid the washing machine by owning more underwear than anyone should.  Employment and relatively stable weight over the past 10 years means I’ve been able to expand this principle.  My closet bursts with enough shirts, pants and dresses to outlast my underwear.  It’s usually a pile of dirty exercise clothes that thwart me so I found a solution for that too – I rarely work out.

For those of you who think “efficient” isn’t the word that jumps to mind, I’m about to knock your sox off (I hope, like me, you have spare pairs).

When laundry day finally arrives, my clothes are in the washer by 6:30AM and I go to the gym.  I work out until it’s time to transfer the load to the drier and sometimes until the clothes are dry.  My clothes are clean and calories burned before 7:30AM.  If the story of my morning comes up in the office, and it usually does but I don’t know how, my co-worker’s expressions are nothing short of dazzled.  Wishful even, that they’d be motivated to hit the gym and do laundry in the sleepy hours before the day really gets rolling. (It’s nobody’s business that I go to the gym because the laundry room and gym are on the same floor in my apartment building and it annoys me to have to go up and down and up and down – in the elevator – so the gym is preferable to watching my whites soap and spin.)

Drinks at Clarkson

Drinks at Clarkson

Even though Clarkson’s no lap top policy kept me from efficiently banging out this post, I kind of like the restaurant.  It has an Amelia Earhart meets Mad Men vibe.  (I felt like there should have been a sky blue Chevy convertible waiting on a dusty tarmac to take me home.)  The party at Clarkson hasn’t started yet as they’ve only been open for a week.  For much of my visit, they had more wait staff than customers, but I think it’s going to take off.

Please go and get the calamari with white beans and chorizo (menu here).  When you look at the dish and wonder where the beans and sausage are, they’re ground into a tasty paste and stuffed in the calamari shells. The margarita was good, maybe too sweet and too “hot” with alcohol but made with great care and lots of love.

And when you go, please say “hi” to Jeremy, the head of the bar program.  I know him from his last gig.  This means I either drink too much or he’s a really good guy.  I vote for the latter.

When I plotted this post in my head, I figured I’d review pre-mixed drinks – the ones you buy in a bottle or squeeze frozen out of foil wrappers.  But that would have entailed finding them, buying them and trying them.  I think this is better.  Don’t you?

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