“The Paying Guests” Linzer Tarts

by Cara Nicoletti on February 14, 2015

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Despite what some of my exes say, I have always loved Valentine’s Day. My grandpa sends me a box of Russell Stover chocolates in the mail and everyone talks out-loud about their feelings, which is a good thing to do every day of the year but we sometimes don’t. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have a romantic love in your life, you can celebrate any kind of love you want—the love you have for your car for example, which I just saw on My Strange Addiction (don’t watch it). Or you could celebrate the love you have for your friends, which in some ways is even more important than the love you have for your partner.

Right now I’m reading The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters. I have a feeling that something spooky is going to happen (don’t tell me!), but at this point, it’s mostly about a budding friendship between two women—Frances and Lilian—in London 1922. The first time Frances and Lilian spend the day together, they pack a picnic and head to the park. What each of the women pack speaks volumes about how different their personalities are.

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“Unorthodox” Chocolate Babka

by Cara Nicoletti on January 6, 2015

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I’ve never cared very much about birthdays. I have an epically bad one—New Year’s Day—which means that everyone is always too exhausted and hungover to do much celebrating. Either that, or everyone has started in earnest with their resolutions and no one wants to eat cake and mashed potatoes or drink champagne (for at least another couple of days). The last few weeks though, I found myself caring a lot about my birthday—stressing and dreading it in a way that was unfamiliar to me—the mere mention of it sending me into a sweaty anxiety spiral. I feel easy about the number 28, it’s a good, solid, round number. 29 I do not like. 29 feels like clinging to something that just isn’t there anymore, and it’s okay that isn’t there anymore—can we just skip to a clean, even 30 and be done with it?

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Brooklyn Restaurant & Book Pairings

by Cara Nicoletti on November 18, 2014

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Recently, I took a series of photographs pairing my favorite neighborhood restaurants with books for Opening Ceremony. I wanted to share those photos with you all here!

Okonomi, with a side of Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami
Haruki Murakami writes about food a lot in his novels and short stories, but the food scenes in Norwegian Wood are my favorite because of their clean simplicity. At one point the narrator eats a breakfast of “rice, miso soup, pickled vegetables, and fried eggs,” and at another point “eggs, mackerel, fresh greens, eggplant, mushrooms, radishes, and sesame seeds, all done in the delicate Kyoto style.” I had never had a traditional Japanese breakfast until Okonomi opened up down the street a few months ago. Every morning there is a prefix menu, the only choice you get is what fish you want, and all the fish comes in fresh every morning. Along with the fish, there are steamed greens with sesame seeds and tofu, pickled vegetables, a small square of egg custard, rice with bonito flakes, and a poached egg, barley tea, and the best miso soup I’ve ever had. I always leave Okonomi feeling somehow cleansed—not my usual feeling after going out to breakfast.

150 Ainslie Street
Brooklyn, NY 11211
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