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I’ve been back in NYC for the past week, catching up with friends and eating delicious meals all around town as New Yorkers are wont to do. I don’t think of myself as any real foodie but I just may have taken for granted the amazingness of the food here for the past 12 years. It tastes so good. Almost everywhere you go. In addition to the gourmet-level home cooked brunch I had on Sunday, these are some of the places I’ve been eating:

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Sauce Restaurant - This is my neighborhood favorite!  I will never turn down an Italian meal and the deliciousness pared with proximity to my apartment make it my regular go-to.  The Pecorino Kale salad and soft polenta “Plank” with bolognese sauce make me happier than any meal I can conjure in my mind.

Emmett’s – A tiny and tasty neighborhood spot is one of the only new (to me) places I’ve eaten since being back in New York.  The pizza was great, as was the playlist.

Satsko – If there ever was a bar where everyone knows your name, this is it!  Satsko’s was a mainstay of my early years in NYC and has hosted many boozy nights since.  The sake offerings are phenomenal, as is the Carriegiri sushi-esque roll of avocado, smoked salmon and melted mozzarella with a spicy mayo dipping sauce. Mouth-watering!

LIC Market – I don’t spend a lot of time in Long Island City, Queens, so after my first time at this restaurant, I make it my go-to when I’m in the neighborhood.  This past weekend I was there for brunch and the complimentary pastry plate, complete with mini-chocolate croissants, was just as delicious as the rest of the meal.

Motorino Pizza – Oh, my!  I wasn’t even this full on Thanksgiving!  This pizza is just amazing.  My friends and I split five pizza’s between four people and the flavors are fantastic!  The Cherry Stone Clam white pizza is particularly special.  This is some next level pizza.

And while I haven’t done much by way of cooking since I’ve been back but I did make a friend’s Blue Apron meal with her on Sunday night and it was also so good!  All ingredients, in exact proportion, are delivered right to your door for a really reasonable price.  This is the second Blue Apron meal I’ve helped prepare and I have to say, it’s pretty great.

[posted by Lauren]

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(Image found here)

Late last night we landed in Denver airport to begin our holiday season with Thanksgiving in Boulder.  I am so happy to be in a sunny place with fresh mountain air.  It is always so nice to be back in Colorado; it is such a special place at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains where you can have good food, find great company and chill.  I will admit, however, that it is completely freezing here!  Bye, bye California!

[posted by Farrell]

Our Mom came out to LA last week and we had so much fun!  Once she arrived, we had a delicious homemade meal at our house.  Then we spent the weekend in San Diego and saw two Monster Rally shows.  We had more good meals, spent time together in Atwater Village and topped it all off with a psychic reading!  Thanks for coming, Mama.

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[posted by Farrell]

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After spending the weekend back in NYC, I returned to Bridgehampton, NY on Sunday. I am renting a friend’s room here through the end of November (though I’ll also be in NYC and Cleveland for portions of the month). It is beautiful and quiet here. Yesterday I went on a late afternoon walk on the beach and the day seemed to grow exponentially more beautiful every minute I was there.

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[posted by Lauren]

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Earlier this week I was feeling desperate to find some new music for listening.  That all changed when my forever friend Jo introduced me to Cambodian rock n’ roll oldies; I’ve been hooked ever since.  Jo has been living in Cambodia for the last a year and half.  Today she kicks off a new column about life abroad as told, in this case, through music.  Enjoy!

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This week I left Phnom Penh for a long holiday weekend trip with friends to beach-y Sihanoukville. Right away we got a proper hang going on the beach with a bottle of wine, crabs and squid perfect in a Kampot pepper sauce (haggled over at the market!), and a gorgeous sunset over the Gulf of Thailand.

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For the finishing touch to get our beach hang jammin’, my friend started playing a soundtrack of Cambodian rock n’ roll oldies that knocked my socks off. At first I thought I knew the music – at times, it sounds like surf rock, Motown or even psychedelic – it sounds so familiar to the rock n’ roll I grew up with and yet completely foreign. It also sounds much more original than the conservative and sappy Khmer pop music being made today.

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I found out this mesmerizing music is from a creative burst during the 1960s & 70s between Cambodian independence from French colonial rule and the rise of the genocidal Khmer Rouge, in which there was a flourishing and unlikely Cambodian rock n’ roll scene. This music was influenced by the incredible rock music happening in the US and the UK filtered through a French lens, but decidedly Cambodian.

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The music from this time was mostly lost due to persecution of the artists by the Khmer Rouge and has been widely forgotten. When I pressed my friend for the name of the bands he said nobody knows and just to google “Khmer Rock n’ Roll.”  However, there have been some efforts to preserve and resurrect this musical moment, including a documentary released this year: “Don’t Think I’ve Forgotten: Cambodia’s Lost Rock and Roll.”

Living in Cambodia for the past year and a half has been a kaleidoscope of perspective-altering friendships and work, charming culture, remnants of a dark history, converging Asian and Western influences, and nearly constant sensory input. It often feels hard to make sense of it all and write home about how it has been to live here. So, to know about Cambodia and what I can’t articulate with words, please listen to this haunting and oh-so-cool music.

*Revisit Jo’s previous post on Sister Disco looking at portrayals of women in art through the unlikely combination of Karen O + Kandinsky

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