In which we drink

First, this is the honey mint limonata I recently had at Espresso 77 (a Jackson Heights, NY establishment mentioned earlier):

The perfect cooler on a summer day. As you finish sipping it on a Sunday morning, head over to the Jackson Heights farmers' market and stock up on the latest seasonal offerings.

On a different occasion, after a few beers post-Bug's bedtime, Adam took this "artsy" picture:

We call it the Ode to Dogfish Head.

Eat, drink...and drink.

Queens Library Mock Caldecott Discussion

Recently Queens Library had its first Mock Caldecott discussion for the year. In the past, we've had our first meeting in June. We review what has come out so far, and we eliminate some possibilities to make our discussions in December and January a little smoother. Here are some of the books we discussed a couple weeks ago (in no particular order):
  • The Fabulous Feud of Gilbert and Sullivan by Jonah Winter, illus by Richard Egielski (Arthur Levine)
  • Tsunami by Kimiko Kajikawa, illus by Ed Young (Philomel)
  • Redwoods by Jason Chin (Roaring Brook)
  • A Book by Mordecai Gerstein (Roaring Brook)
  • Birds by Kevin Henkes, illus by Laura Dronzek (Greenwillow)
  • You Never Heard of Sandy Koufax?! by Jonah Winter, illus by Andre Carrilho (Schwartz & Wade)
  • Higher! Higher! by Leslie Patricelli (Candlewick)
  • Hook by Ed Young (Roaring Brook)
  • Mermaid Queen by Shana Corey, illus by Edwin Fotheringham (Scholastic)
  • Goldilocks and the Three Bears by Genadii Spirin (Marshall Cavendish)
  • Cuckoo's Haiku: and Other Birding Poems by Michael Rosen, illus by Stan Fellows (Candlewick)
  • All in a Day by Cynthia Rylant, illus by Nikki McClure (Abrams)
  • Chicken Little by Rebecca and Ed Emberley (Roaring Brook)
  • Sparrow Girl by Sara Pennypacker, illus by Yoko Tanaka (Hyperion)
  • The Fantastic Undersea Life of Jacques Cousteau by Dan Yaccarino (Knopf)
  • A Chair for Always by Vera B. Williams (Greenwillow)
  • Dinothesaurus by Douglas Florian (Beach Lane)
  • Curious Garden by Peter Brown (Little, Brown)
  • Bird, Butterfly, Eel by James Prosek (S&S)
  • One Red Apple by Harriet Ziefert, illus by Karla Gudeon (Blue Apple)
  • Down, Down, Down: A Journey to the Bottom of the Sea by Steve Jenkins (Houghton Mifflin)
We had some "easy" ones to get rid of, such as Higher! Higher! and Chicken Little. While we loooooved them for storytime, we agreed that they weren't "Caldecott worthy." Some other books went fairly easy under the category I-Get-What-They-Were-Trying-For-But-It-Wasn't-Entirely-Successful: The Fantastic Undersea Life of Jacques Cousteau, You Never Heard of Sandy Koufax?!, Down, Down, Down, and The Fabulous Feud of Gilbert and Sullivan. Under the "Whaaa...?!" category, our committee threw in All in a Day and Sparrow Girl.

** At this point, let me remind you that I speak for my whole committee and these "categories" I've made up don't necessarily reflect my own thoughts on these books - I only share our consensus.**

We adored the artwork in Cuckoo's Haiku, but some felt it was better suited to adult Audubon fans than children. Goldilocks was described as inaccessible. And let's just say that A Chair for Always didn't have anyone standing up for it.

There were two books we eliminated but, oh man, was it contentious! One Red Apple and Birds were the most divisive books! One Red Apple is just gorgeous with all kinds of lovely details and textures, but there is a foldout that has all kinds of design problems. Take a look: you'll know
what I'm talking about. And we all agreed that Birds is stunning; however, we got really hung up over the idea that the reader is an active participant throughout the book...and then you get a whammy at the end with the appearance of a girl and suddenly you realize that the story isn't about you and the birds at all but it's about this girl and the birds. The storytelling does a switcheroo and rips the reader right out of the story. It's jarring. Oh, the arguments over all this!

So here is the final group that will move on to our final considerations in
  • Tsunami by Kimiko Kajikawa, illus by Ed Young (Philomel)
  • Redwoods by Jason Chin (Roaring Brook)
  • A Book by Mordecai Gerstein (Roaring Brook)
  • Mermaid Queen by Shana Corey, illus by Edwin Fotheringham (Scholastic)
  • Curious Garden by Peter Brown (Little, Brown)
  • Hook by Ed Young (Roaring Brook)
Is there an illustrator busier than Ed Young these days? I think not...

As many of my readers know, I actually will no longer be working at Queens Library as of July 1st. I have accepted a position with HarperCollins as their School & Library Marketing Manager! So if you're going to ALA in Chicago, be sure to stop by the booth
and say hi. As far as how this changes Pinot and Prose, I really can't say right now. Stay tuned!


The Invisible Blogger

I'm still here! I swear! I haven't forgotten!

Life is slowly getting back into a rhythm, and I should hopefully be posting more soon. In the meantime, feast your eyes on this:

Tilapia Tacos with Peach Relish - the perfect way to celebrate summer, no?

Eat, drink, and live life to the fullest...even if it means neglecting your blog sometimes...



...to all of you joining me from Kristin Cashore's blog! If you want to chat about Graceling and Fire, then you've come to the right place!

As mentioned earlier, I am in the midst of culinary school, a new blog, work, and houseguests...so my blogging for the next week might be rather scant. But stick with me! I'll be back! Most likely with tales of food and books...

It's great to have you here!


Playing catch-up

So I certainly haven't been as prolific in my blogging lately.  However, unlike in the past when my excuse was laziness, I can happily confirm that the reason I've been slagging lately is because of my glittering, happy life.  Seriously! 

Here's what I've been up to:
  • Renewing my YALSA membership.  I have lovely YA librarian friends who are encouraging me (or harrassing me, in some cases) to get more involved with teen librarianship and literature.  I do love YA books, YA librarians, and YA authors (oh, you know the clique of which I speak), and I would love the opportunity to hang with them some more.   I'm already a sucker for all things Georgia Nicolson and The Luxe ...why not put my obsession to good professional use?

  • Visiting the Jackson Heights farmers' market.  It opened for the season yesterday and it was the first time I had ever been there.  I was pleasantly surprised by the selection: turkey, whole chickens, strawberries, asparagus, various lettuces, buffalo mozzarella.  And I was assured by my friends who live in the neighborhood that this was just the beginning; more vendors join the group as the season progresses. 

  • Also in Jackson Heights, my friend Lori turned me on to Espresso 77.  Amazing coffee drinks and incredible pastries.  I was tempted by the spinach scone but resisted.  Lori said they have also had peach-ginger scones as well as Gruyere scones!  On top of it all, they had t-shirts on the wall with sayings like "I Love Queens" and "Jackson Heights" printed on them.  Given the enormous rainbow flag waving outside the shop, the word "queens" takes on such fantastic connotations (not to mention that the day I was hanging out in JH there was also a huge gay pride parade).  Lastly, I took this picture at the accoutrements station (in case it's difficult to see, the sign says "visualize queens"):

  • Still working on the possible collaboration with Edible Queens.  I'll keep you updated.

  • Starting culinary school at ICE tomorrow.  Feeling panicky.  And sleep-deprived.  Here is a picture of my ensemble:

    Those of you who know me will know that I immediately cracked a smile once this photo was taken.  And I really do love my knife that much - my Favorite Kitchen Item.  The 10-inch Wide Wusthof chef's knife, in case you're wondering.  As evidence of my true self, I offer this:

  • Thinking about those two School Library Journal  reviews that are a week late...

  • Recovering from a dinner party last Thursday night (fish tacos with lime-cilantro crema*), another one on Saturday night (crostini with various locally-produced toppings - one of which was the pea shoot pesto), and then one more dinner party last night (grilled asparagus and grilled lettuce from JH farmers' market; grilled corn and fantastic bread from Food Cellar  in Long Island City; strawberries marinated in balsamic for dessert).  And it's not over: we have guests - Amy , Lisa , and their daughter Ella - arriving on Thursday.  But they are the Best Houseguests Ever so I'm not sweating it too much.

  • Looking forward to trying the new restaurant, Aged, in Forest Hills with Jenn (of Reading Rants...whose blog I'm having difficulty linking to right now).  It's clearly off to a rocky start, but I'm willing to dive in.  We'll see...

So I think that's everything...yeah.  I think so.  Maybe.  I'm just completely discombobulated.  Book reviews are coming soon...ish.  Stay tuned!

* Note: I don't use the low-fat versions the recipe calls for.  I'm all about full-fat, thank you.


Close enough to smell her!

Alice Waters, that is.  At Union Square.  This morning.  I stood about five feet from her.  Then she walked by me, passing within about 2 feet of me.  Adam kept whispering, "Say something!  Say something!"  Bug was just confused as to why we were all a-thither.

No, I did not take a picture.  No, I didn't say anything.  Don't bother giving me a hard time about it - Adam already harrassed me within an inch of my life.  I won't regret not saying anything, though.  I was just thrilled to have seen her, not to mention that the market was insane - it was not a good time to stop someone and tell them you believe in their philosophies...you think their ideas about school lunches are right on...you love Chez Panisse...you love her Edible Schoolyard project...you think she's absolutely lovely...you want to invite her over for dinner...

See why I didn't say anything to her?  I'm embarrassing.

Eat, drink, and keep those heroes on a pedestal until they prove otherwise...


Foodie Books for Kids: Omnivore's Dilemma

Yesterday Penguin had their fall preview event and good times were had - look for Betsy's recap soon.

For better or for worse, I ceased to notice other books once they showed me this:

My initial glance at the advanced readers copy revealed lots of photos and charts and lists. I'm completely thrilled to read the whole thing soon. Coincidentally, I'm actually in the middle of reading In Defense of Food right now.

Look for a review in coming months.

Duff? Duff who?

Look, look, look!

And who says children's literature and food don't mix? Not me. No way. They intersect in more ways than I could have imagined when I started this little blog.

Eat, drink, and serve cake.

With a Little Help from my Friends

Last night I went to dinner with my friend Heather Scott, library marketing goddess and NYC afficionado. At Heather's recommendation, we met at O'Neills, an Irish pub at 3rd Ave. and 46th St. I know, right? You wouldn't think much of the location. But the food is some of the best pub food I've had. I can't recommend the bangers and mash enough - the sausage was crispy (but not burned) on the outside and intensely flavorful and moist inside. A treat.

But here's what I'm really blogging:

Heather made me her chipotle brownies!

Sadly, I don't have the recipe. Quite frankly, I don't really want to know how they're made. Am I the only foodie that sometimes feels as if the beauty and spontaneity of food can be ruined by getting the recipe? Asking Heather for the recipe would have completely taken me out of the moment. So I am sorry to disappoint those of you wanting to immediately recreate this.

However, I can tell you that this is a family recipe of Heather's. Heather has tweaked it to include chipotle, vanilla sugar, and cinnamon. So I would imagine that you could take your favorite brownie recipe, such as Ina Garten's Outrageous Brownies, and play around with the flavors to taste. I'm of the opinion that Heather got it just right: the chipotle and cinnamon don't give the brownies heat...they give them warmth. Kinda of like a great night out with a friend.

Eat, drink, and cultivate friendships.


I confess...

...I'm waaaay excited.

"I can't help myself. You're just so...mouth-watering."


BEA Hangover

Not literally, of course. But I do have that head-hurting, body-aching, totally exhausted feeling after my BEA weekend. I blame the bowling. Here are the highlights:

- For a short time, SLJ has a picture up of the panel I was on during the Day of Dialog. A recap of the whole day is here.

- I went to a tea with children's authors where we sat at a table with an author and/or illustrator and had the opportunity to really discuss their work on a one-on-one basis. Among the authors in attendance were Jon Scieszka, Libba Bray, Suzanne Collins, Kristin Cashore, and many others (in particular, I heard glowing reviews from Sarah Dessen's table). I was fortunate enough to sit with Christopher and Walter Dean Myers, both of whom have books coming out with Egmont USA: Riot (written in the same screenplay format as Monster) and Looking Like Me, which is the picture book illustrated by Christopher Myers. It was a fun discussion with lots of good-natured jabbing across the table between father and son, as well as some interesting conversation about identity, race, and the human experience. Riot will be released in September 2009 and Looking Like Me is available in October.

- I saw Tiger Beat with Stacy and Jenn at Books of Wonder on Friday night and they killed. Libba Bray rocked both "Superstitious" and pink tights with Converse. Yes!

- Tiger Beat event was followed by KidLit Drink Night, which was SO much busier than previous KLDNs! But I had the awesome opportunity to meet Pink Me (yes!), MotherReader, and Rebecca Stead (who I talked to for waaaaay too brief a moment!). I also hung out with well-known friends and colleagues Bethany Hegedus, Kekla Magoon, Heather Scott, Molly O'Neill , Michael Santangelo, and Melanie Hope Greenberg.

But, wait! There's more!

- I attended a reception for Egmont USA's inaugural list at Hosfelt Gallery (swanky!). However, I was feeling rather anti-social by that point so I cornered Ellen Greene and made her talk to me the whole time. There was a fab band playing and a few authors even danced. Servers also passed around goodies and there was a fantastic mushroom flatbread that Ellen and I swooned over. Overall, a lovely soiree.

- My last event was bowling at Lucky Strike Lanes with Little, Brown in celebration of Geektastic: Stories from the Nerd Herd, their analogy edited by Holly Black and Cecil Castelluci (Jenn's review). Name a major YA author and they were there: Libba Bray, Scott Westerfeld, Justine Larbalestier, David Levithan, Holly Black, Sara Zarr, Barry Lyga...and those were just the ones I recognized! I also got to hang out with two of my favorite YA librarians, Jack Martin and Chris Shoemaker. The best part? Competing with Scott Westerfeld for last place honors - it's hard to be intimidated by your favorite authors when you're bowling with them!

Eat, drink, and thanks to all the publishers and authors who made BEA so much fun!