The Kitchen Wall


I don’t know when it’ll happen exactly, or where it’ll be, but I’m really looking forward to knowing where we’ll be living next. It’s been a really long time since I’ve been able to live somewhere without seeing an end to it not so far off and there have been quite a few things that I’d love to finally be able to do with a more permanent home base.
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1) Being able to start building up a community around a regular ritual is something I’ve been hoping to do for a while. A dinner party, game night, movie night, anything like that. I’d love to be able to gather people together.
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2) I’d also like to start mentoring somebody- and to be mentored. It’s hard to get that going when you might just leave soon enough. To get the most out of these ties, it takes a long-term investment of time. Soon enough!
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3) I have two ideas for side projects I’d love to have- one nonprofit and one business service. Again, it’s tough to start these things in a place if you’re planning to uproot. I’ve been working on these ideas as much as possible and I feel like I’ve gotten as far as I can so far without a permanent base.

Chi-City


Three Important Reminders from Joshua DuBois

On the morning after the election, one of my favorite people I’ve never met, @heydubois posted a little list of things to remember. I’m going to add some of my own, and at least once straight up paraphrase him ‘cuz it was so good.
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1) Deep breath. I dunno if you believe in God in the same way I do, but I’m a believer that the world and my own security will always rest in much bigger hands than whoever signs laws at a given time. Whatever your beliefs, know that your life is far bigger than politics. They matter, sure, but there are other parts of your life that matter even more. If you get the grace of awareness on your last night on earth, you’ll remember kisses and births and people. Not campaigns and debates.
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2) Do what you can and know what you can’t. It’s the Serenity Microprayer. 20-40 years down the road, what will you be telling the grandkids about your part in all of this? When they look through your old posts, will they be proud? Did you speak up for those who were being discriminated against? Did you fight for the things that matter? Winning every fight isn’t a reasonable expectation, but giving your all to each one is. If you do exactly that, you’ll have no regrets.
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3) Be a compassion machine. The next few years will be full of tears and tempers and tearing each other apart. It’ll be a suffocating smog to so many. But plant your feet firmly in unconditional love and your very existence will be the most refreshing thing.

Talde


Top Meals of 2016

Easily, one of our biggest Brooklyn highlights was getting to eat at Talde. Dale Talde is likely my favorite chef since he makes a lot of the types of things I would make– interpretations of pan-Asian classics and grown-up versions of the unglamorous stuff he ate growing up.
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Our dinner included shrimp sambal, bacon oyster pad thai, the best poke I’ve ever had, and a lychee martini. Probably my best meal of last year.
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A couple runners up:
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Tasty N Sons (Portland) – I came for the shakshuka but it’s hard to go wrong. Their merguez sausages were fantastic and it went nicely with an Asian Ginger Bloody Mary.
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Mame Sushi (Eugene) – Pay-what-you-can ($20 and up) sushi with a hole-in-the-wall aesthetic but man that was some incredible, melt-in-your-mouth level sushi. I went in with a lot of anticipation on our anniversary and Mame lived up to it.
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Honorable mentions: Pok Pom (Portland), Drina Daisy (Astoria), Au Revoir Bistro (San Diego), Name-not-known Donburi Place (Tokyo), Faust (Providence), Basilisk (Portland)

New Years Kiss


Spent some time last week writing down a few of my goals for this year. They’re simple hopes. Unlike previous years they mostly don’t involve a whole lot of travel, hashtaggable challenges, or skydiving-esque feats. They’re overall simpler in appearance, but they just might have a legit lifelong impact. Here are three:
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1) Find a new job
On the hunt right now, and while job hunting is not something I particularly enjoy, I need one! For the first time, I’m looking for something I can commit to longer and I feel nice and ready for it.
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2) Know where home will be
I’m ready to take a break from moving every two years. I love having lived in so many places, but I hate the goodbyes and having to start community from scratch. Wherever we live next I hope will be home for longer- more than one season of life.
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3) Quality over Quantity
As someone who does way too many things- I’m hoping to grow in this approach. Fewer clothes but nicer ones that last longer. Deeper relationships rather than rolling hundreds deep into the club and all that.
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Ah what the heck. Let’s hashtag these challenges. #philippeforhire#sweethomelazaro#philippewantstoembracetheideaofqualityoverquantity

Seminary Co-Op


Favorite Books from 2016

Got to spend a good while wandering around the Seminary Co-Op by the University of Chicago. This bookstore is magnificent.
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Speaking of which, here are my favorite books published in 2016 that I read this year.
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3) Chicago by Brian Doyle
Just posted on this the other day. I love the narration’s young optimism, the way the book’s voice matches the energy of a big city being discovered, and the simple vastness of its world.
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2) Commonwealth by Ann Patchett
Patchett can do no wrong, it seems. Although this novel teeters more on the side of family drama, it still unfolds in such a creative way that it got all my interest.
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1) Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
Such a good century-spanning epic that follows two branches of a family tree- one that stays in Ghana through its colonization and one that is sold to the US and undergoes an evolving African American experience.
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There are two books I also wish I read because I’m nearly certain they would’ve made the list. Everything I’ve heard about Colton Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad suggests it would have made it and may pair with Between the World and Me as the two most important books this decade. I’d also think Jonathan Safran Foer’s Here I Am would be here, since Foer has yet to disappoint.

Loving


Top 3 Movies of 2016

Thanks to all the ice and snow, Deanna and I got to enjoy a day at home and at the movies. Loving definitely makes my short list for favorite movies from this year.
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Speaking of, here’s that list.
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Arrival – It’s the linguistics-nerd, sci-fi puzzle film we never knew we needed. It’s Spielberg’s whimsy, Christopher Nolan’s inventiveness, and Terrence Malick’s visuals all tied into one story.
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Loving – How perfect is it that the couple whose case ended up setting the Supreme Court’s ultimate ruling in favor of interracial marriage had the last name Loving? Obvious answer, it’s too, too perfect.
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Zootopia – A second animated feature… but some of my favorite movies in recent years have been Disney/Pixar movies, so maybe that shouldn’t be so surprising. Those were some socially-conscious cartoon rabbits.

Chicago, NY: The Food


Things We Plan to Eat in Chicago & New York

Can’t wait for our Christmas trip that starts next week. I anticipate a tasty, cold couple of weeks.
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So far our to-do list is something like 70% foods from these two cities. Here are some 🌭🍕I’m really looking forward to getting a bite of.
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Italian Beef – particularly Al’s Italian beef. Chicago stakes its claim on pizza and hot dogs but really, I’ve always thought Italian beef was the under-the-radar darling.
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Talde – One of my favorite chefs happens to be Brooklyn based. No way am I passing this up, the reservations have already been made.
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10 Below – Am I in it for the aesthetic? Largely. Will it be crazy to go for ice cream when it’s almost actually ten below? Yup. But how often do I get this shot, really.
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Any other food recommendations for us?