Leslie's List: Escarole Soup, True-Life Nightmares, and 'Love Maps'

The best things to eat, do, and read this week.
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Leslie's List HERO 2

Guys. I know it's no fun to listen to (let alone read about) someone complaining, but my gum surgery this weekend—which included a graft on five different sections of my mouth—was a doozy. I'd gotten the procedure twice before, once in high school then in college, but each of the previous times, they'd only done one section of my mouth at a time so the pain—and figuring out how to eat—was manageable. This time around, they basically turned me into Franken-mouth. I had trouble even drinking smoothies and eating ice cream (which is still all I can really manage, for another week and a half). But, that being said, I somehow still had a fantastic weekend! My boyfriend and I literally didn't leave the house for 72 hours and instead did all of those at-home activities we're normally too antsy for. We completed a thousand-piece puzzle while catching up on podcasts, watched both 50 Shades of Grey movies (we had to keep pausing because both of us kept either laughing too hard or getting frustrated at how creepy Christian is, but we made it through), and ate a lot of mashed potatoes and Haagen Daaz 'Dulce de Leche'. On Sunday, a parade of friends visited with frozen yogurt and ice cream so the cabin fever never hit us too hard. This week, I'm taking it easy since I'm headed on a weekend trip with friends come Friday. Here's what I'm up to until then!

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It's Halloween in Los Angeles and things are about to get spooky! On Friday evening, actors will be doing a live-reading of the script of the original Little Shop of Horrors (not the Broadway version with doo-wop singers, but the 1960 cult-classic that inspired it!). The next morning, you can head to a walking tour at Hollywood Forever Cemetery lead by a famous Hollywood historian, then stop by Idle Bar on Monday evening for a Dog Costume Contest! Happy Halloween Weekend!

P.S., If Halloween isn't your thing, Wednesday night is L.A.'s 5th Annual Lit Crawl. It's essentially a bar crawl, with pop-ups, booked-themed events, and lit nerds! See you there! 

Eat small

Aside from Whole Food's Instant Mashed Potatoes (which, for the record, I whole-heartedly recommend)... Yesterday, I made this Escarole and Cannellini Bean Soup from the Cherry Bombe Cookbook, which I adapted from its heart glory into blended baby food with the help of my immersion blender—and it was still delicious! I can only image how good it would be, had I left it whole.

Read small 2
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The fact that I received the 50th Anniversary New York Magazine this weekend was a total blessing—I spent most of the weekend poring over it and its online additions. One of my favorite pieces in the magazine was their "New York Love Map" project, where they collected over 400 stories of spots where people had romantic encounters in the city. Online, you can arrange them between hookups, breakups, and missed opportunities. The stories range from benign teen memories ("Douglas Fairbanks Theater: 'It's closed now but my high school boyfriend felt me up here.'") to heart-wrenching stories, ("W. 81st Street and Central Park West: 'At the nondescript bus stop on the corner a long-distance girlfriend gave me an ultimatum: marry her, or let her board the bus and say goodbye forever. I still wonder if I should have married her.'"). Check it out here.


I came across the "One Minute Wonder" channel on Vimeo completely by accident, but as soon as I realized what it was, I felt like I'd struck gold. It's a series of 60-second "video portraits" of people telling their personal stories that offer a very brief and very personal peak into their lives and motivations. Each one is interesting and bite-sized so you can watch one as a super-quick break between work assignments, or binge several for a fascinating look into people from all different backgrounds.

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I'm not one to watch scary movies—I have to hit "pause" several times while watching This is Us because it gets too scary (note: It's not.)—but I love this podcast, which delves into the real roots behind common nightmares like vampires and werewolves. Recent episodes have covered how the wide-open sky makes us feel vulnerable and how fear can be contagious

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I don't know what it is with furry stools, but I love them—the only problem is the way-too-high price tag... and also the hilarious-sounding name (am I the only one who giggles as "furry stools"?). Anyways, this DIY version from The Kitchy Kitchen is so easy and you can make them for $30! I'm planning on putting together two of them for extra Friendsgiving seating.