Part 1: A Haircut.
How much did I give? I gave right up to here!
This much! That's Alex, the very nice young stylist who cut my hair this afternoon, with what used to be MY ponytail. Now it belongs to the Pantene Beautiful Lengths program, who will take my donation and a few others, trim them, dye them to match and make a wig for some woman out there who's lost her hair while fighting cancer.
I never in a million years would've imagined that I would find myself making a salon recommendation on this blog, but if you live in the NYC area, and you've ever considered a hair donation like this, and you want to just have somebody else take care of everything for you, give the Mark Garrison Salon a call. If you meet the donation requirements, they cut donors' hair for free on Wednesdays, and for half-price on other weekdays (I went for the half-price because I really wanted to get it done this week & you need to book a few weeks in advance for the free ones). They were also running a raffle for the Susan G. Koman Foundation, and pink ribbons were very much in evidence - I don't know if the owner of the salon has some personal history, but there seems to be a real company commitment to this cause, everyone there was very welcoming & enthusiastic about what I was there for.
I will definitely go back to them again if I haven't passed the 5% gray mark by the time I've grown enough to give again.
Part 2: Two Markets
So today's plan was to get all of my Manhattan errands done. The first was the hair donation, of course. The third was to pick up a few more Hawaiian goodies from my friends Steve & Camilla, who have cut out gluten this summer and really dedicated themselves to eating organic foods, locally grown as much as possible. I've been the lucky recipient of a number of items that didn't make the cut - today it was fishcake, Portuguese sausage and almost 3 pounds of haupia (coconut pudding) mix. Yum!
Between those, I met my friend Mandy for a trip to a couple of our fantastic local food markets. She's the one who took the pictures above, I asked her to do that right after we met & a lot of giggling ensued on both sides but she did get some nice pix.
We then wandered on into the Union Square Farmer's Market.
Fall blooms all a-glow -
Friendly witches selling magical gems er I mean jams -
A vendor comforts one of his pumpkins - "There there little pumpkin, Halloween isn't for 2 more days, someone out there is looking for you right now!"
And SCRAPPLE!!!! YAAAAY!!!! Guess what I'm having for breakfast tomorrow? :D
Note to self: Next time you go to the farmer's market with Mandy - suggest having lunch FIRST.
Weighed down by many, many purchases, we then jumped on a bus over to the Chelsea Market, which Mandy had seen featured on the Food Network. We had crepes for lunch (delicious, although if I'd seen the Aussie-style meat pies in the "Tuck Shop" booth around the corner first I definitely would've had one of those instead, cor blimey they looked scrumptious), and thus fortified against all but the most powerfully impulsive of impulse buys, we then proceeded to see what there was to see.
A couple of highlights there:
One completely amazing pumpkin carver carving one completely amazing pumpkin.
Some unbelievable cakes:
I got myself some. Almost got Mandy to get some too, until I noticed the frozen frog legs, which she loves. They came in little individually-bagged pairs and when her hands got to be full she put some in my hands too. We had the staff cracking up as we rushed towards them with our hands filled with precarious piles of frozen frog legs. One of them whipped out a bag for us to pour them into; we made our purchases & that was the end of our very pleasant visit to the markets.
I went up to Steve & Camilla's, collected da "grindz", heard a couple of stories & looked at some of their pictures from today's Occupy Wall Street bank march, and then headed home to make myself some dinner.
Part 3: One Last Summer Dinner.
So...did you hear it's likely to snow here in the Northeast? TOMORROW?
Tonight's dinner ended up being consciously in honor of the turn of the season.
For "Baydog" and Steve the Paddling Chef, the two friends who introduced me to (in concept if not in person), the Northern Puffer, those delicious (and completely non-toxic) little cousins of the more famous Japanese fugu have powerful associations with summers past. Baydog alludes to their seasonality and Steve told me that when he was younger, they used to catch buckets of "sea squab" when they would visit his uncle in the Peconic Bay area in the summertime.
At Union Square, I'd also bought what I suspect is some of the last corn that will be offered in the market this year. It was small and undergrown, the sort you'd throw back in the bin without a second thought in August, but the kernels that were grown were as sweet and good as you'd want.
The cherry tomatoes? Probably the last ripe ones I'll get from my garden this year - it wasn't a good year for tomatoes but they did start coming through nicely in mid-September.
It was a simple meal to prepare. The tomatoes just needed rinsing. The corn, I boiled. The blowfish, I dredged in seasoned flour & then fried them up quickly in olive oil. "Eat them like drumsticks", said the sign - perfect description.
That was my culinary farewell to summer.
The onset of fall?
Acknowledged in the beer. Sixpoint Autumnation.
A delicious dinner it was, if I may say so myself.