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The end of the month in the big apple

Pussywillows blooming everywhere along the High Line

Pussy willows blooming everywhere along the High Line

Woo hoo! I’m home. I think I must have woken up 20 times last night in a fuzzy half-conscious state wondering where I was. The way you map your dark bedroom in your head – there’s the light, there’s the window, here is the edge of the bed, bathroom in that direction – it was completely skewed after a month of sleeping somewhere else. But still, when the fuzz cleared for a half a second, there was the satisfactory feeling of “oh, I am in my own bed and it is so comfortable!”

Yesterday, after landing in the morning and heading home, throwing in a load of laundry, taking a shower, eating some toast and an egg, I jumped on the bike and peddled into work to get my month of expense reports done (you know what it costs to live in a hotel in new york for a month? you better up your credit card limit…omg), taking the scenic route along the river. Beautiful weather, and there were sunbathers all along the banks of the Isar enjoying it. There was a moment, as I crossed a bridge to head into the inner city that I almost stopped and got off my bike to take a photo of the green blue river, the sunlight, the bathers, the bridge. But then thought…why not just enjoy it…and so I did. No photo for you, sorry.

As I was riding, I really considered the month in New York and the varied conversations with friends, family, and client about whether I could move to New York, and the feeling at least at that moment was that there would be no way I could trade the serenity of Munich for the hussle and crazy creativity of New York. I am definitely a “great to visit, but can’t live here” kind of New York person. But I have also learned: never say never.

Cherry blossoms?

Cherry blossoms?

And I have to admit, the last few days in New York were also splendid. Blossoms opening everywhere, and inside the buildings and museums, the city was celebrating the explosions of color too – my mother probably took 20 photos of the forsythias in the lobby of the Met when we were there.

Forsythia in the lobby of the Met

Forsythia in the lobby of the Met

Weather a perfect cool 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Taco trucks everywhere. 😉 Sarah, the information architect I brought in from Germany to help me for two weeks, had arrived a couple days back and for my last day I dragged her over to get lunch with me at the third taco truck I think I’ve tried. Perhaps the best yet!

Taco truck lunch

Taco truck lunch

These were from a lunch a few days before the kimchi taco lunch, but look more or less the same:

Korean tacos for lunch

Korean tacos for lunch

I know I should rave more about the great restaurants I got to visit while I was there:

Milos – the best greek seafood I’ve ever had. Fresh, almost no sauces – very pure flavors.

Esca – again seafood, this time Italian, I ordered some sea urchin pasta! Lovely.

And then there was the untried but highly desired place I missed out on because there was no chance in hell I was going to wait 2+ hours to get in: Redfarm. Believe me, I walked by a couple times to ask if they had room for one. The owner and host looked at me and said “We don’t discriminate against single diners, we just don’t have room for you for at least 2 hours.” My colleague, Alex, had the same experience when he tried to get in a few days earlier alone.

The biggest “foodie” experience, though, was probably still the trucks. It wasn’t the best food (Esca was!), but it was great fun to look at Edible City every day and find out who/what was cruising around the office.

I can’t say I am looking forward to the long flight back to New York in a week, but there are always great things there to enjoy.

West Village flowers

West Village flowers

 

 

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Shower Power

This horrible little machine came to live in the apartment yesterday morning.

Hot Water Heater - Digital Display

Yes, of course you don’t think it looks that horrible. It’s not in your shower.

Before….I mean before the 20-year old hot water heater gasped its last gasp…we had an “analog” display on the thing. It was a little knob that was a pain in the ass to turn, and sort of vaguely suggested how much hot water you might get if you turned it. It took a day or two to understand how far to turn, but now that I have been here a few years, I had it down to an art. And then the old heater had to go and die.

Just so you understand: I have a standard practice in the shower – I guess like most people. Get in, lather up hair with shampoo. Scrub scrub, rinse. Apply hair conditioner. Multitask while the conditioner works on the hair – shave legs, etc. and then scrub body and face. Rinse off everything. Get out. Process takes…I don’t know…7 minutes or so. Maybe 8? By my calculation…a very reasonable time. I like nice HOT water, except if I have just worked out and am hot as it is….

So the thing is…this little innocent digital display tells me exactly how many liters of water I have consumed (at a certain temperature.) And it is one thing to take an 8 minute shower and NOT TO KNOW. It is another thing completely to take an 8 minute show and to know you have consumed 65 LITERS of water in that 8 minutes. Damn thing probably needs some calibration.

So terrible. I don’t know what I will do. I don’t really want to take a shorter shower. I DO NOT DRIVE A CAR. I RECYCLE. Argh!

 
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Posted by on April 5, 2011 in Technology

 

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Food + Technology = Google Recipes

Just read an article about a new search feature Google is offering. You can now search for recipes specifically. It’ll be interesting to see how Google applies its search algorithm to this one.

Google's new recipe search functionality

Google's new recipe search functionality

For instance:
What’s a recipe? A list of ingredients? A method to make something? Only a combination of those two things? An idea? (E.g., chop up some fresh lemongrass and pour boiling water over it, let steep for a few minutes and enjoy some lemongrass tea…) A photo?

How is “relevancy” established – to push a recipe up or down on the results – still only with clicks? Links in?

They are probably still working these things out. Meanwhile, the functionality includes a couple of nifty little add-ons including time to prepare, calories, ratings, ingredients to include or cut out, etc. Wondering how all this data is collected.

If I take a look at the results I get for a search for “chicken mole,” I find only about 5 or 6 sources on page one of the search results. Granted, some of these sources are indeed my “go-to” sources when I am looking for a recipe, but in general they tend to be pretty plain vanilla…If I am looking for a recipe for Chicken Mole, even better would be features like searching in multiple languages – i.e., Google should recognize the cultural origin of the recipe and be suggesting Mexican sites for me to take a look at. And then offering to translate…cause it does do that as well as we know….on the spot.

What would also be great would be results that return not only “text” pages, but ones that have multimedia on them. For instance, YouTube is a great source of “video” recipes. You don’t necessarily have any text or photos. Just a cook cooking the recipe for you.

And finally, what about suggesting the recipe of a famous chef as a sub-category of the search. I.e., I am not just looking for Chicken Mole, but the chicken mole recipe from Diana Kennedy….can Google give me that?

Anyway, good start Google! Keep going.

 
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Posted by on February 27, 2011 in Food + Technology, New Food Concepts

 

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