Welcome to The Weekly, a (you guessed it) weekly briefing on life in the big city (more or less). As a Midwesterner who moved to New York City a little over a year ago, I’m both within and without, as F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote, and The Weekly will give you a peak into what I’m doing, seeing, eating, reading and buying every week in the Big Apple (nobody here calls it that, interestingly). Without further ado, meet The Weekly.
A New York minute:
Friday, 9:01 a.m.:
People from different teams are slowly filtering into the office, and I sit here as the sole member of my team for now. On Monday and Friday mornings, I always question why I still arrive at the office by 8:40, like I did this very morning. And the truth is, even if I know no one from my team will be rolling in until 9:30 at the earliest, I like being the first person in the office. It’s peaceful and undemanding, so I can settle in and focus. And on Fridays, I can eat my breakfast. Breakfast is my favorite meal/time of day, and I like to make a little ritual out of it. So on Fridays, I get my usual morning coffee and something to eat (usually breakfast tacos from a cart called King David Tacos in Madison Square Park), but not this morning. Although I have been craving their tacos all week, this morning I decided I didn’t want something so salty. So I picked up a chocolate croissant and an iced vanilla latte from Idea Coffee (my usual coffee spot). A quarter of said croissant sits beside me as I type this. It’s very good, flaky, golden, sweet but not too sweet. The chocolate in this is fantastic because it’s not overly sweet, but a little bitter and ever-so-slightly cinnamon-y? Maybe I’m imagining that last part. Either way, this breakfast is an unusual occurrence for me because I don’t love croissants. I often find them both uninteresting and hard to eat without wearing the flaky layers all over me, but for my rare chocolate croissant cravings, this is very good.
Follow up: A coworker of mine finally arrives, and says to me “You’re always here so early.” I explain to her what I just told you, and she agrees that maybe I shouldn’t come in so early all the time. But you can bet I’ll still be here at 8:40 on Monday, and every day after that.
Stories that should be on your radar:
"The Problem With Colin O’Brady" (National Geographic), a story about a professional adventurer who convinced everyone he made a world-first Antarctic trek, but actually kinda didn’t…
"The True Story of Madam Walker, the Pioneering Millionaire Behind Netflix’s Next Big Show" (Worth). I didn’t write this story (you can find that one here), but I found this one to be particularly impactful and interesting. Madam Walker is widely believed to be the first African American female millionaire, having been born to enslaved parents and ultimately creating a lucrative hair care line. When she passed away at 51, she had amassed $8 million in today’s money. A fascinating and important read.
Food for thought:
After learning about a Sri Lankan dish called Hoppers (aka Appa) from a coworker of mine, and then subsequently mentioning it to my Sri Lankan boyfriend, the two of us ended up at a restaurant called Sigiri on Saturday night to try them. The verdict? Absolutely delicious. They are these savory crepe-like pancakes dried out to form a bowl shape. They are served both plain and with a fried egg in it. Both were tasty and the perfect vessel for dipping in curry and/or the runny egg yolk.
Fashion hot take:
Watching Netflix’s Next in Fashion series made me realize I could care less about fashion, and that what actually makes fashion at all interesting is the style element, where the wearer, the stylist and/or the designer can bring their own perspective to the clothing. Every time the judges on the show would criticize something a designer was doing (outside of technical construction stuff), I would just think about how subjective their criticism is and how the judge was basically saying those clothes didn’t match their style. But that doesn’t mean the designer was making bad clothes, just clothes for a different style, their own style. I burned through the series last weekend, and this idea of style versus fashion has been on my mind all week, and even inspired me to go through my closet to find some new outfit pairings.
Best purchase of the week:
A joint subscription to Bon Appétit and Condé Nast Traveler. I’ve been really getting into BA, with their newsletters, their YouTube channel and the stories and recipes on their site, so I decided to pull the plug and subscribe to their print mag, too. And for $20, I was able to get an annual subscription to BA and Condé Nast Traveler, which is a magazine I used to subscribe to in college. So I’m happy to begin getting both of those in print regularly.
One last thought…
Claire Saffitz is hardly the most exciting person to watch. My boyfriend even went so far as to call her “boring.” And though I was offended on her behalf, he’s not totally wrong. Her “Gourmet Makes” YouTube series on Bon Appétit’s channel isn’t riveting, especially when compared to other YouTube sensations. So you can imagine my surprise when I learned that Saffitz is in fact an internet sensation, complete with her own hashtag. So along with my considerations of style versus fashion, I’ve also been thinking about Saffitz (a fellow St. Louis native) and what makes her someone I continue to binge watch despite the fact that she isn’t particularly outgoing or funny or anything you would expect a YouTube sensation to be. And after reading a profile the Man Repeller wrote about her (I’m telling you, I’ve really been thinking about this a lot), I’ve decided that it is the lack of all of those things that makes her interesting. According to MR, she didn’t really want to host the “Gourmet Makes” series and she didn’t really want to be on camera, and she wasn’t going to change any aspect of herself to appeal to a social media audience. And in a world that is so highly filtered and curated and streamlined for what YouTube personalities should be like, I think she stands apart because she appeals to none of those things. She is just Claire Saffitz, a BA contributing editor who is sometimes grumpy, sometimes excitable and always persevering in the face of kitchen challenges. And in a world that glamorizes the influencer, it’s encouraging to see a real person being her uncompromising, authentic self rack up the views.