The Yummy List


All content copyright 2009 by Holly Gleason. Web design by Lauren Carelli.

October 2006

October 2006
: Ribbed Turtles, The Other Side, Maple Fries, Grown-Up Nicknames & PJ Clark’s

Ribbed Turtleneck The Gap

   Classic. Basic. Long enough in the body to be pulled down to elongate the trunk—or scrunched up at the waistline for a slouchy casual look. The ribs add texture to the black, white, two shades of gray staple, and they launder as easily as a classic t-shirt. This fall/winter’s ubiquitous uniform top… the wifebeater with sleeves and a high rise, but loosely body-following sexiness.

Ginger Green Tea Soda Hansen’s Natural

   Zing with reasonable effervescence. You pop the top, and you’re met with the cleanest taste you’ve ever encountered—that middle and bottom note of green tea’s natural freshness. But the ginger top note is strong, zinging, a serious jolt of being alive. Without all the caffeine, a few swallows and you’re awake—and that insta-wow comes without the stomach pressure that soda often causes.

25 Degrees Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles

   Really good hamburgers… top quality garnishes… only the best cheeses… even better wine. In a beyond luxe coffee shop, Hollywood it boys and girls can dine on America’s classic everyman food, drink like an elevated Frenchman and enjoy the night as it passes into day. Only in California, only on the Boulevard of Dreams.

Chocolate Brown

   So dark it is like molten fertility and comfort. The essence of the earth, the dirt, hot fudge as it’s melting down to a pourable consistency. It speaks to nurture, richness, easy-going. Chocolate brown is richer than beige, more luscious than taupe, more inviting than ivory—and it has a vibrance and depth that black will never embody. To be the full breadth of fall or winter with a sense of life-to-the-fullest is to embrace chocolate brown as your basic shade.

Apple Store 5th ave and 59th

   A bursting hive of all things Apple Computer, Pod and beyond… With enough trial models that anyone can get online, try the latest software, check out the new models… and the staff, young, hip, cyber/compusaavy, is friendly, smart and willing to make the complex world of even user-friendly Mac technology luddite accessible. In a world where geeks and dweebs often intimidate the rest of us with their condescension and complex protocols, the mondo Manhattan Apple Superstore makes the culture inviting 24/7.

“…laughter is timeless; Imagination has no age and dreams are forever.”

   Somewhere within the drama, there is an irony or an ecstasy that will set you free. Somewhere you can daydream a better truth or circumstance, find a reason to explain or create a world beyond whimsy. All you have to do is find the joy, the whim, the sparkle, seek the best and let it fly. Truths like this keep all of us as young as we wish to be… and that is something Uncle Walt knew better than anyone.

Superbalanced Foundation Clinique

   Goes on sheer. Feels satiny. Covers completely, while letting your skin show through. Stands up to the most grueling days. Adjusts because no one’s skin is just dry, oily or temperamental. How they do it, I don’t know… Just glad on a superheated day they did!

Getting Unstuck Pema Chodrun

A Buddhist nun, Chodrun speaks of habituation without making it sound like a trod-down buggy horse in Central Park, even as she illuminates the shackling reality of grooved behaviours. In not judging those reactions, responses and attitudes, but rather acknowledging and accepting, we pave the path to emerging into a freeer, more compassionate way of being. And that gentle mercy begins with ourselves. By changing our internal dialogue, we create a more ascendant way to live… Listen and feel the wings almost unfurl from one’s shoulder blades, that’s how empowering the pixieish sprite of a spiritual teacher comes across.

Stepping Off

   The moment where you look out (or up), take that step into your dream or even next obligation. But in stepping off, you commit to it. You know this is the course—and you embrace it with the very core of your being. You don’t just accept the future, but you throw your heart open to it. And it all starts with that first foot in the air, taking that first bit of ground beneath your feet—and knowing that when you get off the curb, you put yourself knowingly in the active flow.

The Other Side: Music From East Nashville Various Artists (Red Beet)

   Eric Brace honed his eye covering culture, especially music, for The Washington Post - yet the sweet-faced musico/songwriter’s love of words and melodies permeates his compilation celebrating Music City’s shadow music scene. A hotbed of creativity that exists beyond the big rigs and mondo-numbers of Music Row, E. Nashville’s fertile ground let Brace plant the of classic Americana band Last Train Home. Giving back to the scene and the Martha O’Bryan Center, which provides education and employment services to local people, this double disc set was born.

   Recognizing what is so obvious, yet so unseen, he gathered the tribes—journeyman Todd Snider who bookends the project with the tenderly insightful “Some Things Are” and “From A Rooftop,” rock upstart Matthew Ryan, critic and incisive humorist grasser Peter Cooper, old school country thrush Elizabeth Cook, almost trance-folkie Kieran Kane, post-Westerburg punk/sweetness from Steve Wedemeyer, the brittle fragility of images from Stephen Simmons & Eric Fritsch and the gypsy violin- and cello-drenched’n'etched serenading of Circus Dog Serenade. As engaging as a Starbucks or Putamayo compilation, this can be loaded, forgotten and enjoyed deeply.

   Bonus: To celebrate the release, many of these artists will be appearing at Nashville’s celebrated alternative venues The Basement on Oct. 27 and the Family Wash on Oct. 28. Experience a boiling over scene live and alive.

Sweet Potato Fries w. Maple Sauce Comfort Diner, 23rd + 5th Ave, New York

   Finger-wide, moistly steaming on the inside—crisp flesh giving on the outside, they arrive in a basket lined with plain white paper. In so many ways absolutely unremarkable… until you bite down. Then it’s a sweet earthiness, the delicious flavor of the ground’s nutrients pulled into a tuber that is long on vitamins punctuated with an almost cinnamony undernote. And as if that’s not enough, they come with a marple sauce to dip them in that this is the best of honey butter infused with the essence of top shelf pancake syrup. Slightly thick, the color of café au lait, the sauce quite frankly makes one wish to be packed in it, rolled in tin foil and left under heat lamps to internalize its delicious moist sweetness.

Thakoon 9 West

   As part of the accessible, but sexy footwear line’s Front Row collection, 9 West’s October designer throws a broad net and mines an incredibly diverse assortment of shoes and accessories. With lace overlaid rubber “wellie” stable boots, a natural leather shopper and satin d’orsay punps also lined with lace, this is mystery with a certain siren factor built in. Even the folded cuff—all the way down the shaft—thick high heel books suggest strong legs built to walk for miles, but won’t tire by nightfall and a nightful of dancing. In select stores, and on their web site.

Sweet Potato Fries w. Maple Sauce Comfort Diner, 23rd + 5th Ave, New York

   Finger-wide, moistly steaming on the inside—crisp flesh giving on the outside, they arrive in a basket lined with plain white paper. In so many ways absolutely unremarkable… until you bite down. Then it’s a sweet earthiness, the delicious flavor of the ground’s nutrients pulled into a tuber that is long on vitamins punctuated with an almost cinnamony undernote. And as if that’s not enough, they come with a marple sauce to dip them in that this is the best of honey butter infused with the essence of top shelf pancake syrup. Slightly thick, the color of café au lait, the sauce quite frankly makes one wish to be packed in it, rolled in tin foil and left under heat lamps to internalize its delicious moist sweetness.

The Party That Started A Revolution/Let Them Eat Cake Punk Campaign “Marie Antionette”

   Pink and black. Cut and paste, highly DIY letters. Sniped everywhere in New York. Alternating posters—proclaiming the most inflammatory yet sloganeering truths of the fall of Marie Antoinette, the excessive, gossiped about Queen of France who indulged her excess and delights in a full-immersion hedonistic orgy. It was grand and galling enough to the people that she eventually lost her pretty, chandelier-scraping powdered hair and face for it, and Sofia Coppola is creating a buzz for her lavishly costumed historical film.

   The juxtaposition is marvelous. Cannily appropriate for the rebellion that sparked at court, Versailles and the most lavish salons of Paris. Viva la difference!!!!!

Chocolate Coconut Chew Luna Bar

   Something that’s good for you that manifests as total candy? Indeed, the people at Luna Bar have figured out how to pack protein into a chocolatey, coconutty treat. Less cloying than a Mounds bar, more satisfying than junk food and ultimately nutritionally sound, this isn’t even cheating—it’s replacing that meal or picking up a sagging rump with a smart, sweet-tooth fulfilling choice.

Guitar Hero Play Station

   Air guitarists can take it to the next level—and musicians can have a slightly more gamey notion of the mano-a-mano “cutting contests”—with this Play Station strap-on-n-play game. The notes flash—and you ht them. Like the magic carpet ride dance-as-the-machine-calls-it arcade game—imagine the hybrid of the flashing light, flying saucer repeat the pattern game Simon and Twister—this is way of working out that’ll make even the most casual fan feel like a rock star and make folks with chops feel finger-tied and quicker-faster-more-complicated-wow!

Yoplait Save The Lid Breast Cancer

   As simple as peel’n'eat. Well, okay, peel’n'eat’n’ mail. But if you’re gonna eat standard grocery yogurt, the thicker tin foil top of the Yoplait brand earns money for breast cancer support throughout the month of October. A cheap trick to drive brand consumption, yet a higher purposed reason to snack. After all, to fill one’s belly and such a good cause’s coffers with no real extra effort, well, that’s the sweetest contribution of all.

Inimitable Chanel

   Nothing opens the eyes quite like a few good strokes of plain black mascara. Brush, sweep, push—and voila! your eyes are both framed and featured. And whereas once upon a time, it was the decision: Thicken? Lengthen? Curl? Separate? Now you can have it all. Chanel’s latest greatest mascara innovation is billboarded for being “multi-dimensional,” and in that rarest of all realities, it actually delivers on its hype. The heavy weight champ of the mascara realm…

Shepherd’s Pie Park Corner Bistro Oak Bluffs, MA

  Bits of top grade angus rather than ground. A rich delicious sauce, almost a reduction of red wine and sweet onions. Pieces of carrots, corn, crumbly bacon. A crust of mashed potatoes roasted golden. Then a bird’s nest of the thinnest onion rings. It has a tang that intrigues, yet enough of the warm comfort food that has made this family dinner staple for generations.

Cocktail of Stars

   Looking up, out on the deck. Myriads of bright lights, twinkling for all that they’re worth. Sparkle plenty. Stars cast against the sky, held in their orbit by a gravitational pull all their own. Humbling. Inspiring. Bewitching. To look and see that web of diamonds is all one needs to know it is that much bigger than whatever we’re thinking—and in that, there is wonder, awe, freedom.

Oversized Sun/Rooster/Calendar Bangle Hermes

   In aqua blue or cherry red, this is the zodiac and the year of the cock—or the early bird crowing—rendered in classic Hermes enamel. Well over an inch wide, it takes up major real estate on one’s arm, speaks of one’s strength and balances pastoral and cosmic, science and down home. Anyone who’s ever considered astrological overtones, reached for the sun or smiled at chickens running wild (I, personally, have done all three) will be amused, instantly made chic and absolutely thrilled with their bauble.

Lalande de Pomerol Chateau Haut-Surget 2002

It was a big life, and it would require dusty old vines—preferably of French origin. Spicy, of course, but also slightly musky. Currant notes, perhaps, or the deepest note of black cherries. But it would also have to be a red that wouldn’t drown the tastebuds like kittens in a burlap sack full of rocks—and so it was that the Chateau Haut-Surget seemed to fit the bill.

   A definite presence on the tongue, it made its statement, lingered for a moment, then became the kind of memory that intrigues and tantalizes. You want more, because just when you think you have it, it’s gone. Just like the ghost that was gone, just like the women sitting around a dimly lit table at Night Town considering all that had transpired.

Numbers Bed Radisson

   A friend with back issues recently confided ordering one of these beds from late night tv infomercial-land - and the shame normally conferred on such confessions was eradicated by his absolute relief and rest factor. Upon seeing one in a recent hotel room, I dialed and experimented - and found a number firm enough to make my body feel supported and my soul comfortable.
   Everyone has an optimal number. Just dial. Dial or check into a Radisson, and check out how it feels yourself.

Acapulco NARS

   Sleek, black oversized candle holder that contains an evenly burning wax. Looking ubran and chic, it fits in anywhere—but what’s even better is the scent: an incredibly balanced mixture of chocolate and vanilla. Home and comfort, sweetness and balance—not the cloying sugary notion that catches in one’s throat, but rather the core essence of each of those return-to-childhood scents rendered with the nuance and softness that make vanilla open one’s head and chocolate almost sink one into the a cocoa-laden feather bed…

White French Bread Pizza Stouffers

  The classic all white cheese, no sauce with sprinkle of spices that is the most sophisticated of pizzas. One of those things that becomes a crunchy spear of crisp airy French bread with a delightful brushing of garlic infused olive oil in Stouffers’ well-tendered hands. You can dress it up with roasted peppers, fresh spinach or sundried tomatoes, you can leave it in its pristine form; indeed, it can even serve as a more grand cheese bread. One’s basic grocer’s freezer has never been so haute or chic..

Birthday Fortune Telling Book Chronicle Books

   Every date fleshed out with characteristics, life predictions, personality insights. Each month opening with all the pertinent nostalgia. Indeed, a little bit retro vintage, a lot product of the longing for what was. This red leatherette book can be tucked in a purse or London Fog pocket and used as an instant conversation starter, diviner of essence, realizer of answers. A perfect gift to be remembered, yet never so personal as to miss its mark.

Gulf Coast Blues & Impressions George Winston

   It used to be when one thought of New Orleans and bodies in the streets, it was the sweat-soaked exuberance of revelers and merrymakers enjoying the French Quarter or folks sending their loved ones off to their eternal reward with a Dixieland euphoria to lighten their journey. These days, the Crescent City is a somber place, but on Windham Hill stalwart George Winston’s solo piano work, he doesn’t forget the jubilation of the Mississippi’s final outpouring point—even as he broods, meditates and exhumes the melancholy beauty of an always fetid place whose humidity clings to the body, reminding one they’re living at the pace of thickened molasses. A work in distilled truths, it is neither dour nor depth-plumbing… a perfect way to ease into Sunday morning, realizing how great the forces of nature, how resilient the human spirit and how powerful music can be to distill the truths beyond words.

Grown-Up Nicknames

   BooBoo. Gopher. Alpha 67. Kitty Kitty. Tinkerbelle. Poetry. Great White. Personal code. The warmest affection there is: a name just for someone you adore, that says something about who they are, especially who they are for you, that is for your use only. Think about the people you love… think about a whole other way to call their name. Try it - and smile.

The Shame of Chopsticks

   They emblazon the front of American made cotton classic, the bane of the somewhat clumsy. To eat Chinese without chopsticks suggests a certain lack of experience, and this t-shirt—with its Cantonese declaration—both celebrates this truth and mocks the expectation. In a world of artificial signifiers, standards and realities, this points up the folly—even as it looks too darling with jeans.

Nick PJ Clarke’s, New York

   They don’t make ‘em happier, more gregarious, more welcome-to-my-home than Nick, the chef lured from the kitchen when informed that a very happy customer referred to his rice pudding as “pornography with raisins.” He is a hale fellow, well-met, with a big smile and bigger laugh, committed to turning out classic American fare without too much fuss, just a definite sense of conviviality and the communing of people who’re about coming together in a way that evokes neighborhood taverns, beer joints and local hangs. Quality intersecting with no frills, good drinks and better conversation—and a chef who believes the merriment of moments savored without the haute pretensions heightens the taste of great basic food writ well.

“Dreams are but thoughts until their effects be tried.”

   To think is to consider, to dream is to apply desire. Such a simple difference, and yet it is one of exponential potential. Dreaming applies fire to the engine, agitation to take action. In the letting one’s mind conjure, one begins creating the how-to that can become the step-by-step to realization. Dream. Act. Be. See.

Fresh Hair Color

   There’s nothing like the sheen and glow of fresh hair color: the pigment fairly bursting from the shaft. So bright. So brilliant. So vital. Whether it’s a deep claret, a vibrant mahogany, an almost lacquered black, there is depth and nuance—and in that moment of awe, you realize why you submit to the process every 6-to-8 weeks.

Hulk Hogan/Danny Bonaduce “Odd Couple” Promos VH-1 Celebreality Series

   Take the WWF lynchpin and the evil genius kid from “The Partridge Family” who can’t get it together—then cast them as an even more mismatched “Odd Couple.” Reduxing Jack Klugman and Tony Randall’s original TV show opening, the gags are writ even larger—Bonaduce tosses a cigarette to the sidewalk, Hogan doesn’t skewer it with Felix Unger’s standard umbrella and hand it back, instead he reaches for a patio umbrella; Hogan doesn’t just help an old lady across the street he carries her, while Bonaduce’s Oscar Madison turn with the thwarted on-the-streets pass’n'rebuff is salved with a gay man checking him out.

   Reality shows can leave one cold. But these two doing the herky jerky chorus kick is amusing enough to sustain us through both of their series new seasons bows on Oct. 22.

Minced Beef and Scallion Dumplings Virago, Nashville

Contained in delicate noodle wrappers, the minced beef is laden with the slow-spreading heat of ginger, with its pungent sweetness, yet warmth. With the popping tang of scallions, these dumplings juxtapose every taste patch on one’s tongue—except salty, and given that this is basically a luxe sushi den, there is always soy for that. As yummy little pouches of protein rendered in a far more intriguing mix, these appetite-whetters are a stimulating way to wake up one’s mouth for the meal.

Black Suede Back-Bow Mid-Calf High Heel Boots Bebe

   Just as the leg begins its curve, the barrel shaft of these black suede boots intersect the calf. At that point a black patent oval insert drops down the back and is punctuated with a tied bow, drawing the boot in just a touch, drawing the eye down the place where the ankle begins its swerve in, then flares out and down to a four inch heel that thrusts straight into the concrete. French in its soignée, Brit in its post-Mary Quant neo-mod execution and classy in the leanness of the lines, this is cute and sexy and steamy in one relatively inexpensive proposition.

Vituperative (vi-too-PER-ah-tiv) adjective

Harsh, censuring. Traditionally spoken, though actions can resonate louder and with as much intent as words. We’ve all been there—and there is only one word for it. Now you know what it is.

Level Vodka

   Smooth in a way that has almost no kick, Level Vodka emerges from the club scene—and becomes the affordable luxury brand of sophisticated hipsters. To order it speaks to one’s cultural au courant, yet to drink it is to enjoy a vodka that goes down easy, inhabits a Bloody Mary or a madras with ease, yet presence.

Moving On

   Sometimes it’s time. There is no point lingering on what might have, could have, should have… You put your key in the door one last time, turn it and don’t look back. At least you don’t look back with longing, merely gratitude for the time, the knowledge gained, the truths unlocked. But sometimes, it’s time… and when the clock hits that reality, moving on is the beginning of everything you were put here to do. All you have to do is get going.

Lemon Mints Chowards

Powdery, slightly tart, yet sweetly rendered, Chowards Lemon Mints are subtler than one would expect—and offer an almost contrapuntal take on what people expect from lemon candy. These are not sour or bitter, but rather soothing and anything but chalky. From the people who make the beyond description lavender mints, this is an unexpected version of something that is so the familiar, that it’s almost nurturance in tablet form.