Monday, February 2, 2009

Everything Happened at Once

I haven’t written for a while because all of a sudden, everything happened at once.

As promised, my two Norwegian friends arrived in the States about two weeks ago. They’re going to be in the US for a year, living out the dream. They’ve spent a long time planning, contacting Norwegian newspapers and magazines, who they’ll be freelance-writing for while they’re here. They basically just up and left their day jobs to experience and write about New York for a year, much to my happiness, cause now I’ll have two amazing roommates.

We found an apartment pretty quickly, and we just moved into a beautiful (affordable and large by NYC standards, but expensive and small by any other) apartment on the Upper East Side, just a few blocks from Central Park. Or, that is, my friends and my stuff moved in, I haven’t actually had a chance to live in our new apartment yet.

About a week and a half ago, I all of a sudden got hired for a month as a production assistant on a TV show that’ll air on a cable network. I had to pack up my room in a weekend and leave NYC to meet up with the crew. I’ve been hoping for a longish-term gig like this for ages, but of course it happened the second I had a ton of other stuff to do. We made it work though, my friends and wonderful brother volunteered to do the actual moving so I could take the job, and so when I get back at the end of February, I’ll come back to a fresh, new apartment.

Being on set is enjoyable, but tiring. The days are long and the nights are short. There’s a lot of packing and unpacking, waiting and running around, but it’s great fun to be a part of. The crew I’m working with is great, and I love being a part of the team. One of the absolute greatest perks of being on location, though, is that the production company covers all meals. That’s right, eat what you want for a month and don’t worry about having to pick up the bill.

The gig started out with three nights in DC, with two days jam-packed with interviews. Most of the time while we were in DC, we were so strapped for time that we ended up eating in the hotel restaurant (or diner, rather). One night, though, we ventured onto the metro system and into downtown DC for some real dinner.

We stumbled upon this Mediterranean/Middle Eastern restaurant in downtown DC called Zaytinya (701 9th St, NW, Washington, DC 20001 202-638-0800). It was absolutely superb. The place is chic, but not overwhelmingly so, it’s just a cozy atmosphere. The idea is kind of like tapas, you order a bunch of little courses and share them with your group. (And we all know I love doing this!) We had Baba Ghannouge, Falafel, Lamb Bahar (spice rubbed lamb), olives, Chicken Melanzano (chicken breast with pomegranate and charred eggplant puree), shrimp in a mustard and lemon sauce, Fattoush Salad (tomatoes, cucumber, onion, pepper, radish, pita chips, pomegranate), the list goes on. I usually like this type of cuisine, but it’s never been my favorite because I always feel like there’s something a little bit off, or missing taste-wise, from the dishes. This wasn’t the case here, everything had full-blown taste, wonderfully put together dishes. It was incredible. And dessert! Oh my, dessert. I had a cheese tart with the most decadent and incredible greek honey thyme ice cream, pistachio shortbread, and sweet walnuts. I’ve been dreaming about it ever since.

Since Thursday, the crew and I have been on a range in Kentucky and we’ll be here for another week, shooting footage for the show. Kentucky has just had one of the worst ice storms of its history, blowing out the power for over 500 000 people. It started out with snow, which froze to ice, which was too much for the poor trees to bear, so they toppled over and took a ton of power lines with them. I must say, the ice was extremely pretty, despite all of the damage it did. Luckily, the power came back on at the lodge we’re staying at just before we arrived, but the Internet was back up just today. (There's actually only one spot in my room where I can pick up the wireless, so now that I've found it, I'm sitting on the floor there and writing this.)

I’ve found out that there’s a great deal of truth to the southern hospitality people talk about. Our stay here has been great and the owners and staff at the lodge have really taken us under their wings and are making our stay and our jobs easy. The food they make for us is wonderful, real southern comfort food: grits, sausage, eggs, gravy and biscuits for breakfast, pimento cheese, chicken salad, and tuna sandwiches for lunch, and (Kentucky!) fried chicken, smoked ham, steaks, and creamy, creamy mashed potatoes for dinner. The desserts are great, too, pecan pie, banana cream pudding, oatmeal cake (picture). I could learn to live like this...minus the ice storms.

I do have that amazing NYC apartment waiting for me...

1 comment:

Tima said...

Glad you have made it through the ice storm and you are on line again! And keep up the good work!