Wednesday, December 31, 2014

14 Things I Learned in 2014

The end of the year is upon us, so let's reflect! As a 22 year old, I fluctuate between feeling like a jaded old cat lady with a cigarette and a baby stubbing its toe for the first time throughout the year when it comes to learning new things, but 2014 has been special. I have never documented my own year as much as I have in 2014, and I'm so thrilled that I can look back on this year as one of upheaval, passion, challenge, and so much love. That part is craziest, and sometimes I almost can't believe how much of it there is in my life-- such love for Sanford, love for food, love for writing, and love for all of those closest to me.

Thank you to everyone for making this one of the most memorable years of my life. This list of things I've learned is for you...may it be funnier and less serious than the intro proceeding it.

1) Don't drink caffeine. Ever.

2) If you think heroin might be involved, run for the hills.

3) Hangovers are so real.

4) If you follow through, some good things can come out of "speaking your mind" on social media.

5) I didn't think I could keep a secret, but I can. And I'm really impressed with myself.

6) Relationships should be work, but they shouldn't be a full time job.

7) Sometimes it's better just to say no up front, rather than risk an awkward exit later.

8) Not liking the Beatles is a serious red flag. Seriously.


9) You can get antibiotic prescriptions over the phone without ever seeing a doctor.

10) Relative to most people, the men in my life rock.

11) I am surrounded by an amazing group of female role models.

12) Having three jobs isn't so bad as long as you keep things local.

 13) Them nerdy boys, though.

14) Keep your priorities in order.



Happy New Year, Sanford!

Cheers to you all!



Thursday, December 11, 2014

Happy Thoughts: Getting in the Holiday Spirit

What? December? Madness!! I didn't even notice the year was quickly drawing to a close...I've been too busy having fun living that Sanford-Centric life! Here are some of the recent happy thoughts that make me glad I live in Downtown Sanford.


Every time I walk into work at Willow Tree, I'm hit by the glorious, glorious smell of glühwein, a hot German mulled wine flavored with cinnamon, clove, and citrus. Before this year, I had never had it, and now it's my favorite thing! I even made a batch ( version of it) for my family's Thanksgiving and we all got a little toasty, if ya know what I mean. I'm normally a bit of a grinch this time of year because the rampant consumerism and the music gives me a headache, but I'm finding everything a bit more cheerful this year thanks to glühwein!


This is my favorite new holiday tradition! On the Sunday after Thanksgiving, lovely Uptown friends Tammy and Jeb hosted a beautiful holiday party with as they said, "our second family, our wonderful friends!" Everything was straight out of Real Simple magazine, and I'm kicking myself for not taking more pictures of the inside of their house. Jeb cooked a gorgeous, tender turkey and the rest of us provided the sides. I made green bean casserole with the beans cooked in bacon fat, a homemade mushroom cream sauce, and freshly fried onion rings on top. Jeremy made his father's dressing, a French recipe (obvs) containing homemade croutons, mushrooms, liver, and chicken gizzards soaked in duck fat. I was afraid everyone would be scared of it. but everyone told us they loved it! It always feels nice when you walk away from a potluck with a clean dish. We ate outside under the trees and sky, with all the little kids running around while we sipped drinks (Claudia brought more glühwein!) and stuffed our faces. It was an awesome night full of warm and fuzzies, and I can't wait for next year.


In case you were wondering where your regular dose of Sanford-Centric was this month, I've put things on hold while I write posts for one of my neighboring Sanford blogs, Sanford365! If you've never visited Sanford365, it's our town's premiere blog, covering pretty much every event happening in town, with more followers than the City of Sanford, the Chamber of Commerce, and the Welcome Center combined. So, naturally I was honored when Claudia asked me to write for her! It's a major compliment. I've been learning a ton about blogging, and it's so fun to run around and take pictures of events. (And I get to use a real camera, which is why you might have noticed nicer pictures!) I've also written pieces on Sanford life, including why my generation loves to live here and why walking in Downtown Sanford is really awesome. Even though I love it, I'm not quite used to writing this much, so stick with me while I figure out how to balance my blog life!

These days, I'm so excited for what's happening and what's ahead. I feel like I've finally burrowed myself into such a loving place in life, surrounded by the warmest, kindest people I could ask for. Happy Holidays, Sanford Tribe!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Some Reflections on New Sanford, Accompanied by Mad Men GIFs

Six months ago, I made some pretty drastic changes in my life. I remember the six month mark because in the middle of my personal craziness, there was Sofas and Suds. I remember sitting down the next day, looking over the photos and video, and obsessing over a negative comment I found about the event. I was right in the middle of researching a project about the perceptions of Sanford, inside and out, and this person complaining about quite possibly the most awesome event to ever come to town, quite possibly the single most impactful way to change the perception of Sanford for 1000 people in a single day, all because the event charged for entry...well, it really pissed me off.
I wrote a huge diatribe imploring people to be more Sanford-positive, and for people who didn't like the way New Sanford was running their events to stay at home. I stewed on it for the next several days, angry that we were up against this sort of ignorance, angry that I still heard so much negativity about Sanford on a regular basis, angry at myself for feeding into the ugliness my whole life.

So now that I'm sitting around remembering all of this, and where I projected we would be as a town, and where I would be as a 22 year old kid with awful judgment in a six month period....guys, I'm freaking stoked.
Don't know about y'all, but I feel a change. Sofas and Suds was a hit: bars full, the crowd hyped, and teams getting truly competitive over a couch race. It's just one event, but here's finally some evidence of the fruits of our labor-- two years of waiting, hoping, and pushing, there are people lining the street and having a good time in a little historic town everyone traditionally loves to shit on.

But you know what? I don't hear very much of that anymore. I hear people oooing and ahhing over how beautiful Sanford Ave looks. I hear people tell me that yes, they've been to all of my favorite bars before, and yes, maybe we'll run into each other there next time. I hear people speculating about who is running a Tribe Called Sanford. I hear people exclaiming that this is NOT what they expected. I hear people use the words "we" and "our" in reference to Sanford. Most important, I hear people correcting their friends when they say something negative about our town.
And me? I think I got very very very lucky by surrounding myself with the right people. Without the influence of the incredible New Sanford clan, I would not have had the guts to pursue being an outspoken, crusading, overemotional, ever-so-slightly-hipster young thang with a blog.
(And don't worry, I'll be back with more burlesque for the next Sofas and Suds.)

So are we (the royal we) exactly where we need to be? Good god, no. I'm 22! And Sanford has a long way to go before it becomes the super awesome historic walking town on the water with an urban, alternative, beer and foodie destination twist we dream it will be. But, if this weekend was any indication, we have some good things ahead. Let's keep trying harder, Sanford Tribe.

(Side negative bitches better keep watching out.)

Monday, November 17, 2014

Field Trip: Yabi Sushi

Welcome to the newest installment of Sanford-Centric Field Trips! This week, the good boys and girls of the Sanford Supper Club ventured to one of Sanford's only sushi spots, Yabi Sushi.

Yabi Sushi  

 Number of Visits: Between 10-15
(a few times dining in, a few takeout, and once with the Sanford Supper Club)

Distance from Chez Sanford-Centric: several MILES down 17-92, which I consider almost outside the confines of decency.

Best Described As: the best place around to quell your cheapie sushi fix

Let me preface by saying that I used to work at Orlando's very first Japanese restaurant (note: not "steakhouse", not "sushi place", not "hibachi grill", which has been open for 30 years, and whose parent location has been open Tokyo's Ginza district since 1947. So, believe me. I know good Japanese food. The beauty of the culture's cuisine is the balance, precision, and simplicity of its preparation and while working at Rangetsu, I learned to truly appreciate the excellent quality of the meat and seafood and the subtle, complex flavors involved in Japanese dishes.

Here's the thing. Americans don't really do subtlety, and most of them don't care where their food comes from. As a result, most Japanese places specialize in "sushi", meaning "some tempura fried stuff wrapped up in some rice and seaweed and shit" or "hibachi", meaning "some chicken and shrimp grilled up and served over rice with some white sauce and shit".

Here's the other thing. That stuff tastes awesome. And I love it. But I would like it known from the onset that I don't endorse this type of Japanese-ish food as "good Japanese". I just endorse it as delicious.

I've been to Yabi many many times, and I've always liked it. They've been reasonably consistent over the years, and I pretty much jump at any opportunity to go there. Even Sada likes this place.

Man, the location sucks. 1) I hate getting in the car to go anywhere, 2) you have to make a U-turn to get into the parking lot from our direction, 3) the parking lot is tiny. Also, the exterior of the building is a little scary. The building itself is tiny, so I was somewhat impressed that they managed to create a long table for 30 of us. The decor is typical for a small sushi place, and all the guys noted that the urinal is surprisingly high.

But the food definitely makes up for any aesthetic caveats. The rolls and dinners are plentiful, picture worthy, and cheap! We started with a round of miso soup, and a few of us had salads. Oddly enough, this is the only context in which I enjoy iceberg lettuce. Something about a ginger dressing just makes it all okay. Next, we had a Sanford roll, scarlet roll, and spider roll. The Sanford is my favorite (of course), but I like that all of the rolls are inexpensive enough for us to order several to try. I did notice that they were all well rolled, which is sometimes an issue at cheapie sushi places, where the rolls often fall apart. Rob ordered a shrimp and scallop dish over rice and noodles, which tasted delightful, but was probably packed with MSG.

The server was very curt and probably irritated that so many of us (around 30) were there at the same time. However, he was probably thrilled when he discovered that most of us tipped on top of the gratuity that was automatically added to our checks. You're welcome :)

Bottom Line
I love this place. I think it's great for takeout, a little less so for dining in. I would love it if they decided to have some nabe dishes for guests to cook on the tables, like sukiyaki or shabu shabu, but I doubt their menu will ever change, and I'm still okay with that. I would recommend Yabi as a bit of a guilty pleasure, for the tastiness and price, even if it's not "good" Japanese food. Until someone opens a sushi restaurant downtown, that is. (Ahem.)