Q is a place I like to go.

(Side note--isn't Q the greatest letter? It's so self-sufficient, so able to stand alone--Q the lone wolf.)

I think it's rare to find a place in which the food and the atmosphere are equally satisfying. Case in point: my and Nora's favorite Geary sushi spot. The miniature california rolls and array of complimentary items (edamame, post-meal green tea ice cream, teriyaki salmon--they spoil us): perfection. The rickety wooden tables and abundance of loud, multigenerational, photo-taking families? Not so much. But being a fan of both homemade mac and cheese and found objects, I think Q gets it all right. Eating at one of Q's back tables feels like nestling into an untouched and bizarrely comforting corner of outer space. Starry strung lights in decidedly unnatural colors swoop low over the diners. Photos and little odd things are imprisoned beneath each table's paned glass surface; I'm always sad to see them go when my (inevitably too big) plate of food arrives. Mounted to the walls are all sorts of ambiguous urban and otherworldly objects--my favorite is a giant boulder-like thing that sticks straight out of the wall. (A meteor! A moon rock!)

On our last visit, Martina made the best choice--the amazing and gargantuanly-sized mac and cheese, which Elana and I nibbled on when Mart folded.

The winner:

Later, we crossed the street and tromped around in Park Life, which is the most incredible little curiosity shop. Among its offerings: a cardboard chihuahua; a pudgy miniature head stress ball; a Japanese-looking, bunny-shaped piggy ("piggy") bank; an assortment of brightly-colored, invented felt creatures (our favorite was shaped like a cream puff and wore a very surly expression); a make-your-own-dinosaur kit; and an object that looked exactly like a deflated basketball but was found to be, upon closer inspection, a porcelain bowl.

Put a hundred million dollas in here:

Behind the store at Park Life is a small gallery, and in the center of the gallery was, when we visited, a small wishing tree. I love the idea of this--sort of a participatory work of art, something so collectively created. On the leaves of the trees were hung what seemed like hundreds of written wishes, and we added our own to its arms. I felt almost guilty reading them--like eavesdropping on a thousand private conversations--which might have been part of the point.

I'm tired right now; was up till way way past my bedtime reading Dickens's "Our Mutual Friend", a book I thought I'd like but am having trouble getting through. It feels so staid and two-dimensional, and the female characters drive me insane. Anyway, I got a call from Dana, my East Coast wise one, with two hundreds pages left to go, which put off finishing Podsnappery until a few hours after midnight. (Still, definitely the right decision--Dana > Dickens any day.) Now I am about to make myself some soup (it's rainy here and soup seems to fit the mood) and grab another coffee on the way to class.

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