Burgers. A whole new ball game

6 Aug

We could be forgiven for thinking burgers are popular in the US. There is absolutely nothing like the style and quality of US burgers in Australia. And it has been an absolute pleasure researching what I call the burger phenomenon.

We have tried Brgr in Chelsea (grassfed – nice but boring), Shake Shack (ok but tasted cheap), and Five Guys, Long Beach (no fillers or preservatives).

Five guys was the clear winner:


But at 960 calories for this little beauty, I probably won’t be treating myself to another…

Coffee. In NYC

6 Aug


Australians drink very specific coffee. It usually has swirly stuff on top, it is strong, and it doesn’t ever drip out of a percolator.

It’s been interesting trying to find a place that makes it strong enough for us (without being bitter).

Joe on 85th and Columbus was very very close. Some other fine finds have been 11th st cafe, Mojo, and Stumptown.

We have discovered the “cortado” which is like a piccolo where I come from. But we embarrassed ourselves by assuming all New Yorkers knew what a cortado was and ended up trying to explain it – whilst having no idea ourselves how to define one.

Cigar Borek, Istanbul Grill w14th st

6 Aug


Every time we walk past this place I ask Mrs CL if she wants to try the cigars – her family are big borek eaters, being Bosnian. Finally we went in. They were delicious, if a little ‘spring roll’ like. We also had ayada lamb, which was DELICIOUS. Also one of the cheapest meals we have had here.

Mrs and Mrs CL in NYC for Summer/Autumn

6 Aug


(Source Dhani Jones)

This is the bastard storm that kept us circling above JFK for almost an hour – thought we’d never land…



Mrs CL and I have been planning our little midlife crisis trip to NYC for a couple of years, to explore and experience it not as hectic tourists squeezing every last thing into a meagre few days, but as residents of this wonderful city.


But then we decided we would also use the opportunity to get legally married here! So it has been very hectic, and we have spent the first few weeks touristing it up with our friends and families who have made the trek over to attend the ceremony.


But now they’re gone and we are scaling back our orgy of American food and excess – slightly. We love food, and we are not using the ‘but is it paleo’ card to avoid eating it. Sorry.

We will however drift back toward a whole, sustainable kind of eating pattern whilst we are here. I will be posting a few pics and things, for your information.

Tomorrow we are booked in to Nobu, should be great! Bring on the degustation!


My Coming out as a Lesbian Story

23 Apr

I suppose the key element of my growing up as a lesbian was the concept of ‘lying low’. I knew from around 14 years old that I was a lesbian, even though I knew I was ‘different’ from a very young age, when I wanted to be friends with the blokes and wear a bow tie – but I didn’t plan on letting anyone else know I was gay until I had escaped the oppressive exclusive all girls’ private school and the one-pub hick inbred town I grew up in, and ‘found a girlfriend’. Apart from all the conservatism around me, it seemed a bit pathetic – and, well, just not very thorough – to ‘come out’ without ever even having kissed a girl.
So I waited and waited and waited… I kept a scrapbook of Kate Winslet pictures – with whom I had become obsessed since seeing her in Heavenly Creatures – and wrote a diary every day about how alienated I felt and how disgusted everyone would be if they knew I was gay. It was also filled with questions about how you even knew if you were gay. I mean, I didn’t want to have sex with girls or eat them out – I just wanted to kiss them. Was that gay enough?

And I clung to any and all pop culture references i could find – which was hard in that small town, before the Internet. There were a few films on SBS, like ‘Go Fish’, some references in tv shows… but that was really all. A bit of gossip mag stuff about Madonna having a girlfriend, and rumours that some sitcom star in the US was a lesbian. But that was it – no role models, no peers, no way I could make that mental leap from being alone in a country town to having a settled life as a lesbian in the real world. I was scared. And there was no one I felt I could talk to.
I was determined to wait until the end of my final high school exams before I did anything about being a lesbian. Except for the fact I had a debilitating crush on a classmate. A convenient choice, because rumours were rife that she was a ‘lezza’. Accompanied by copious ‘ew’s and a titillated sense of scandal. She looked like Pamela Anderson but was sharp and smart and gorgeous and dangerous. Of course, as one of the smartest and most diligent students in our year, I was too shy to even talk to her, let alone do anything more. She starred in my daily diary but that was about it.

Finally, at age 18, a few weeks before the HSC – final high school exams – I couldn’t take it anymore; I got so miserable with my simmering secret identity that I broke down one day and told my mother. We cried together and she told me I would have a hard life. She wasn’t wrong. But I wish she’d lied.

I asked her not to tell anyone, but she secretly told my dad. She confessed later on but I had already tweaked when I saw the terrified look on his face one day when my grandmother was saying something homophobic. He kept looking at me like he wanted to protect me, all panicky; I was used to it, though – my exclusive private school education had provided me with daily training on combating the slings and arrows of overheard homophobia. I had learned to steel my face so as not to give anything away. But my insides weren’t yet made of steel.

So it stayed that way for a year or so until my sister tricked me into coming out to her; she asked me one day over a casual bowl of coffee at the Green Iguana in Newtown – Newtown! Finally! the Mecca of the lesbian! – whether I preferred Johnny Depp or Kate Winslet. Then my brother invited me out to lunch and over a chili basil chicken at Peppermint Thai in Newtown said in his understated country drawl, “So, Mum says you’re gay, Taz.”

And that was how it was with most people – they all knew I was a lesbian and had been just waiting for me to say it. Kind of embarrassing, really.

Next I came out to a couple of my best friends who were living in the UK at the time. I told them I was queer and that I understood if they didn’t want to be my friend anymore. They did, and said I was an idiot for thinking otherwise.

But then one of the friend’s mothers rang my mum to tell her I was a lesbian. Mum had the privilege of saying, “Yes, I know – I was the first person she told.” And that was my first taste of the world’s entitlement to intermeddle in the life of a lesbian. I can’t just ‘be’, for everything I do must be performed under the auspices of other well-meaning people who concern themselves with my conduct. Like the trusted friend spilling the beans to her mother, who immediately rang mine. Like governments, religions, societies, workplaces, strangers – they all have something to say about my being gay, even though I never asked them, don’t particularly care, and would rather just get on with it, as everyone else gets to do.
Still, I don’t recall my mother ringing my friend’s mother to intervene when I told her she was dating a violent coke dealer.

By this stage, all my friends now knew I was gay, said they had always known, and were fine about it all. But what I have never figured out is why they were such homophobes in my presence if they ‘knew I was a lesbian’ – they terrified me and prevented me from confiding in them. And before long, almost everyone I had gone to school with had had some kind of three-way or at least kissed a woman. Many of them had kissed more women than I had. I had never been a risk taker or an exhibitioinist, and it struck me that this was what their ‘experimental behaviour’ really was about. It wasn’t about their identity, it was about having a good time.

I also felt my school did not do enough to pave the way for me. The fact is, some people will end up being  gay or already know they are gay whilst at high school. Throughout my entire childhood and teens, it seemed everyone just supposed every person would be straight, including me. Why was this? Why not at least make statements like “some of you will be gay – and that’s fine”. We never once had a morning presentation at school given by a gay person saying, “I am gay – it’s ok, and some of you will be gay, which is ok too. If you need help, do this.” The issue was totally ignored by everyone in my life, until I was forced to break down in tears and confess it – with shame and fear.

I still have to come out fairly regularly – in work situations, to clients, to people in shops, to landlords or handymen or real estate agents. But now I am fully galvanized – inside and out. I am more certain in my identity and I certainly don’t feel fear or shame. At best it is pride and at worst a frustrated indignation with which I proclaim my gayness.

I am getting married in New York this year, as a fatigued advocate of marriage equality in Australia. I have finally reached that settled lesbian life I couldn’t even begin to imagine as a teen. And I think the world has changed for the better – or is that just me?

The importance of critical thinking

9 Apr

Faith is a wonderful thing. But it should be earned. There are some great paleo people out there, questioning. I respect that. Swallowing someone’s particular manifesto hook, line and sinker is a mistake. Everyone is different and all things do not necessarily work for all people. Keep this in mind.

This includes things like:

calories don’t count.
Safe starches
Gluten intolerance
High protein intake
Very low carb

Beware things taken to extreme or with no room for error.
Beware things that seem like a miracle cure. Everything takes some work.

Beware Martin Berkhan’s disordered cheesecake bingeing. Beware the anti-sugar crowd’s belief that fructose is the devil but you can eat as much glucose as you like. Beware scaremongering against vaccination. Beware those that encourage unlimited intake of fat and meat – and bacon. Beware those that think they are part of a Paleolithic tribe.

This is your life, not theirs.

I got where I am by critically evaluating the advice on offer. To do otherwise would be akin to the blind acceptance of the Conventional Wisdom.

Not everything espoused by Conventional Wisdom is wrong, by the way. Unfortunately it is tainted by vested interests.

As is paleo.

So before you crown the next paleo guru of Nazereth, ask what’s in it for them? And what’s in it for me?

Why do the goal posts keep moving? Why is there ever yet more to sell you?


(source: http://austhink.com/critical/pages/teaching.html)

Birthday crack

9 Apr

I have mentioned my grandma’s yummy choccy cake elsewhere on this blog. It’s delicious. But more than that – who’s going to refuse a cake baked lovingly by an 83 year old?

We had a family get together the other week and grandma’s trusty cake made an appearance again.

And I was genuinely frightened by the single-minded focus and drive with which my 2 year old nephew devoured the thing. It was like an alien ship had temporarily taken over his body with the sole purpose of “eat cake”. Resistance was futile.

I don’t have kids and I challenge anyone without them to tell a parent what to do – just from observing my sister I know parenting is damn hard work! – so I’m not even going to go there.

Where I am going to go is the crazy
Power sugary crap seems to have over kids, seemingly innately. Even kids who don’t usually eat the stuff. Why does it taste so irresistible to them? What is the source of this inexplicable power? And I guess the most important question is – how do we deprogram them?

(source: http://betweenthepagesblog.typepad.com/between-the-pages-blog/2010/08/resistance-is-futile-and-can-be-tasty—star-trek-borg-cakes.html)