Friday Five

1. Meet Henri. The brooding, self-important, contemplative, endearing little Frenchman. Oh, and he’s a cat. Thanks to Lunar Euphoria for posting this!

2. Seconds.
I have a lot of favorite meals. Meals that are memorable because they were eaten in a lovely restaurant or with good friends or in celebration of a happy occasion. In these cases I often don’t remember specifically what I ate, only as the years pass having a fond recollection in a generic way that the food was delicious.

Then there is that once-in-a-lifetime meal. The meal that I feel sure I will recall on my deathbed. The meal that has ruined me for all others like it. The meal that has each bite imprinted on my taste buds. And of course it was the simplest of dishes.

Once upon a time, in a little town in the Liguria region on the Italian Riviera there was a restaurant overlooking the Mediterranean. (Doesn’t this sound like a delightful fairy tale?)  It looked something like this:

Monterosso Cinque Terre

Monterosso, Italy

I stopped for dinner at a cafe with one thing on the menu: gnocchi with pesto. Pesto originated in Genoa, a hop, skip and a jump from Monterosso. There are many variations on the theme, but purists consider pesto to be just five ingredients: basil, olive oil, Parmesan, garlic and pine nuts. This would lead you to believe that pesto is pesto is pesto. How different could it be? In that case, I would say that you have not had the good fortune to eat pesto in Liguria. The aroma of the basil and garlic, the sweetness of the olive oil, the nutty Parmesan — each in the perfect ratio and softly coating the gnocchi. And, oh, the gnocchi. Little pillows of potato dumplings so light they almost deflated when I bit into them. All of that while sitting at a table on the small terrace with a view the blue-green water and feeling the gentle salty breeze. Hard to imagine another meal pushing this one out of the number one slot of all time.

What was your most memorable meal?

gnocchi with pesto

3. Don’t do anything. This round up of best advice has been circulating on LinkedIn from more than 70 notable business people from start-up entrepreneurs to CEOs. Of course, there is no shortage of advice on the web (or anywhere else for that matter). So when I started thinking about the most reliable advice I’ve received, it seemed more appropriate to adopt something my mom has always said: if you’re really not sure what to do in a situation, don’t do anything. Meaning, don’t rush into a decision because you feel pressured. Time and again, I’ve found that to be true. There aren’t many major choices in my life that must be made instantly, and usually, if I’m unsure, stepping back for even a few minutes can give me the right amount of perspective to help me make a decision I’m comfortable with.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received? 

 

4. Kiva update. I’m happy to report that  Ana from Mozambique is repaying her loan on time and Melissa Lizeth, who was behind schedule for a while, has now fully repaid her loan. That gave me enough funds in my account to make a new loan.

This time, Liza from Northern Mindanao, Philippines, requested a loan to purchase supplies for the general store she has owned for six years. She is planning to purchase items such as shampoo, toothpaste, soap, salt and vinegar. Her goal is to expand her business soon. She is 56 years old, married with three children. Right now she earns about USD $75 per month on sales from the store. (The average annual salary in the Philippines is USD $1175.)

For those of you not familiar, Kiva is a non-profit that connects lenders and borrowers around the world to help alleviate poverty. Through their site, you can find someone in need of a micro-loan and send a donation to fund their dreams. If you’re considering trying out Kiva and you use this link, I’ll get $25 in my basket to make another loan for free. Or you can visit the Kiva main page for more info.

Liza_Kiva

Liza

 

5. The story of my life…

Mutts_novel

Mutts, by Patrick McDonnell, February 28, 2013

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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14 comments

  1. Henry is just like my cat, Atticus. I swear he’s constantly chanting in his head, “I’m surrounded by idiots!” Oh cats are special. Have a great weekend!

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  2. Ooh! I didn’t come here expecting to see my name in lights (or the blog equivalent of lights).

    My favorite meal was a wild mushroomy pasta dish at a Italian restaurant in South Beach Miami. I never can remember the name of the place, but everytime we are near I make a point to find it and order that dish again.

    My brother-in-law gave me following career advice when I was 18: “Whatever you decide to do, do it better than anyone else.”

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    1. That meal sounds delicious – and I bet eating it in South Beach only adds to the good memories.

      Great career advice from your brother-in-law. I was at a previous job (this was right out of college) and a co-worker said to always take pride in your work. Even if you’re dissatisfied with your employer or work or whatever. Your fellow employees are depending on you and you shouldn’t let them down. I’ve always remembered her saying that, so emphatically too.

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  3. I adore Henry, and want more of him! So full of ennui, so French!! 🙂

    I had a memorable meal while in Italy too…mine was just a simple lasagna. No meat, and not too much of anything but delicious noodle, some kind of fabulous cheese made right there, and sauce. It was the best lasagna I ever had, before or since.

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    1. Yes! Ennui, that is the perfect word, Cynthia!

      I found that the best meals I had in Italy were the simplest dishes. Caprese salad. Panini. Ziti with mushrooms. When you have the best ingredients, you don’t need to do much to class them up. 🙂

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  4. The cat video is brilliant! Made me laugh out loud. Love the title too.

    My most memorable meal was in Aix-en-Provence. We were seated in the most beautiful courtyard with fountains bubbling, in that sublime light that can only be found in Provence. I had a salade Niçoise and I will never order another one anywhere. Every single ingredient was perfection.

    Great advice from your mom!

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    1. You are making me hungry, Carole!

      I know what you mean about not ordering the same dish again. I tried to replicate the pesto time and again. Changing the quantities here and there. It has never been close to the perfection I tasted in the pesto from Monterosso.

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  5. I LOVE Henri. Seriously laughed out loud, so thank you! And #5 is hilarious too, and so true 😀
    As for my favorite meal, wow, that’s a tough one. Gnocchi with pesto sounds incredible and hard to beat, especially with the ambiance. Amazing. I think one of my favorite restaurant meals ever was Salt and Pepper Shrimp at The Ducky Wok restaurant in Boston (alas and alack no longer there). Also there were the stir-fried pea pod stems. I also still fondly remember Wienerschnitzel from when I was in Germany as a teenager. YUM!

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    1. The Ducky Wok!?! That’s the best restaurant name I’ve heard in a long time. How could you not get the meal of a lifetime from there? 🙂

      And remember: the whipped cream on the counter is not whipped cream. 🙂

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  6. Just reading about your favourite meal makes me hungry! It sounds SO good. I don’t have a particular favourite meal – just some favourite restaurants.

    Best advice: Sleep on it. Often when I’ve had a problem – either at work or home – if I sleep on it, my subconscious works it out for me.

    Love Henri and the author cat! Lucy (aka The Neurotic Cat) must have written a whole series by now.

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    1. A video from Lucy’s perspective would be hysterical. I’d love to get her take on Rosie’s antics. 🙂

      Great advice – it’s similar to what my mom use to tell me. If you’re not sure what to do, give yourself some space and you can get some clarity to figure out the next step.

      Like

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