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THE BEST BIRTHDAY TRADITION

By Nora Zelevansky / November 9th, 2012

My friend S.D. and I have a tradition: On our birthdays, we send each other packages of either strange (but enticing) or indulgent foods from companies across the country.

The whole thing started during my sophomore year in college, when SD—with whom I’ve been friends since we were four—first sent me a candy bouquet.  Let’s just say I can’t believe how long its been since my 19th birthday and what we’ve sent each other in that time: We’ve exchanged everything from artisanal Baked marshmallows (support Red Hook!) and Zabar’s cheese crackers to salt and flavored popcorn, dark chocolate spreads and chili-infused brownie bites.

For a while, thanks to S.D., I was even a member of the Jelly Belly fan club (yup, I’m admitting that), which meant that I got advanced tasters of any new flavors that were coming out.  Yeah, I tasted the Dr. Pepper flavor waaaay before it came out.  No big deal.  I’m not bragging or anything.  Don’t hold it against me: It’s not my fault if that makes me cool.

Anyway, this Monday is my birthday yet again.  (They seem to come quicker as you get older, right?)  And today I was feeling a little blue.

This has been an amazing year, for sure.  My husband Drewser and I moved from LA back to NYC, my debut novel was published, I even just returned home from a great trip to LA, where I got to teach a Writing Workshop at Scripps College (my alma mater) and work on a feature for ELLE.

But, in the aftermath of Sandy, this is an odd time on the east coast.  Though, for me, the Obama news is happy as can be.  Writing my second book is turning out to be a slightly different process than the first time around, a bit more pressured, less carefree.  Also, I guess the passage of time always make us pensive.

Anyway, I was feeling melancholy.  But then I received S.D.’s gift for this year!  It was the above super adorable and well-designed box of Parisian Macarons from Macaron Café in NYC, from which I will most definitely sample while writing my NaNoWriMo words today.  Just the kind of writing motivation I needed and something cheerful to remind me that birthdays may be strange sometimes, but they also can be sweet.

xo – N.

PS Does anyone else think that this post should be read to the tune of That’s What Friend Are For?

 

BROOKLYN (RED HOOK): GETTING BAKED [VANILLA AND CHOCOLATE MARSHMALLOWS BY BAKED]

By Nora Zelevansky / December 14th, 2010

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I probably shouldn't even admit this, but last night I watched First Daughter, which is that fiasco where Katie Holmes plays the President's daughter and the Commander in Chief is Beetlejuice.

Personally, I recommend you spare yourself that experience.  Don't even get me started on Katie Holmes' weird mouth. Yup.  I took one for the team and, I should mention, that it was only because of the above marshmallows.  My friend S. sends me yummy food baskets for every birthday and this year's included brownies and marshmallows (yup, chocolate flavored ones too!) made by a company out of Red Hook called Baked.

The Drewser and I have been roasting them on chopsticks over our old school gas stove, which is – I realize – a little college dorm room and a little low-end, but SO YUUUUUUMMMMY!

Just take a gander for yourself:

Screen shot 2010-12-13 at 9.51.35 PM

They're good.  So good, in fact, that I watched all of First Daughter in a contented stupor.  Isn't life grand?  Sad sad state of affairs.

xo – N.

OREGON (AND BEYOND): THE BEST NEWS ALL DAY

By Nora Zelevansky / February 4th, 2009

0209KettleBaked

(The best invention since, well, regular Salt & Vinegar chips . . . or maybe La Loo's Goat Milk Ice Cream . . . or maybe Gary Poppins' Salt & Vinegar Popcorn)

Okay, I know this isn't exactly a lesser known gem found locally in LA, BUT I just went to the bodega on my corner and discovered something genius: my favorite Salt & Vinegar Kettle Chips–BUT BAKED!

Like any sane human being, I'm a salt & vinegar fanatic and this is really just a momentous event. Virtuously eating salt & vinegar chips?  I wouldn't have dared to dream.  Only out of Oregon, man. Just wait until I write my "Best Of Oregon" post and you guys all roll your eyes over how much I loved my road trip through that damn state.

And speaking of obsessions, my cat Waldo seems to like them too . . .

0209KettleBaked2

Oh, silly Waldo . . . chips are for kids (named NORA).

xo – N.

P.S.  I should have mentioned: I got my chips at St. Regis market on the corner of Third Street & Orlando in LA.