29 August 2002

right now i'm eating barb's leftover broccoli tofu stirfry. i'm trying to be a vegetarian again.

oy! thirteen days of catching up! so many fabulous meals and such small powers of concentration. on august 19th i shipped out to california for a few days in san francisco, a few days in the sierra nevadas and a day in berkeley. san fran was all about the yum! magda and i found a cute little chi-chi grocery store called Yum!...the employees there, poor dears, called "yumsters." they had fine salt and vinegar potato chips which reminds me that i completely forgot to bring back a single bag of Tim's Cascade salt and vinegar potato chips, the absolute #1 in salt and vinegar potato chips. drat! i didn't always like salt and vinegar potato chips. in fact, i used to despise them but now i'll take no other chip but the salt and vinegar chip. in fact, when i had access to Tim's Cascade Chips, it was a bit of a problem. but now, lo and behold, i've discovered that they're available online...eight 10-oz bags for $30! buy them for me!.

did i mention that Tim's are available online! so salty! so sour! so crunchy! so good!

ari took magda and me to Jim's diner on Mission St., a little piece of the Midwest right smack dab in the middle of the Mission. i got myself pancakes, lots of weak coffee (mmmmm...) and two eggs over medium. that night we ate at Yum Yum, a chinese restaurant on Valencia...the eggplant was divine! and there was much consumption of Mitchell's ice cream. they actually have both young coconut and mature coconut ice cream. the difference? not so sure. and while i give them props for their avocado ice cream it tasted a bit too much like frozen mushed avocado for me.

...and up to june lake in the sierra nevadas for melissa and bryon's wedding where i ate at the Silver Lake Cafe every single day. Good? not especially, it was just the only place we could find, with the exception of the rowdy tiger bar, which was more of a place to get trashed and beat up rather than a place for an omelette. Silver Lake Cafe was, however, most accomodating and was nice enough to give me avocado in my omelette instead of ham. friendly!

nothing, however, topped the rehearsal dinner, held at a mobil gas station down the road. it was truly a night to say goodbye to vegetarianism...the fish tacos with mango pineapple plum salsa were well worth it. imagine the surprise of travelers, stopping to get gas and possibly a bite to eat, only to find 100+ people crowding around picnic talbles, lit by the mobil sign, dining on fish tacos, lobster, herb encrusted pork tenderloin, shrimp cocktails, baked brie and fabu mango margaritas. melissa talks about this place all of the time and it totally lived up to my expectations. and it also perfectly captured the feel of the wedding: low key and informal yet unexpectadly classy and elegant. sadly, the trapeze folks were so busy helping with the dinner that they had to close down the trapeze for the night. sigh. maybe next time.

on the drive back to san fran, i sampled the BK Veggie. don't do this. it is essentially a garden burger and tastes...funny. ew. gross. i guess i appreciate the effort even though its clearly done for marketing's sake, not in the interest of the little people.

in berkeley, with alix, when i wasn't watching her get her mac on (oh yeah!), we were stuffing our faces with pizza (mine with feta, mushroom and garlic) and sushi. and ice cream!

oh, this has nothing to do with food, but there is nothing in this world quite like the musee mechanique. it is tragically being moved on sept. 10th to a big fancy pier in downtown san francisco. sigh.

16 August 2002

the diet's been grim since lunch yesterday. for dinner last night i had wheatabix. breakfast was a nectarine and lunch today a co-workers leftover (and cold) fries. eesh. all glamour all the time.

i have a coworker who eats the same thing for every lunch and dinner. microwaved fruit with cinnamon and vanilla yogurt for lunch; some sort of veggie dish for dinner. it's heartbreaking, non?

15 August 2002

My roommate, who has a bit of free time on her hands right now, made one of those dinners that was supposed to be enough for one but ends up enough for about eight last night. therefore, for lunch today i am dining on fantastic squash stuff and tomato eggplant stuff over rice. it is so good. so very very good.

and last night, for dinner, my other (soon to be ex-) roommate bought pizza at Tedino's on Sheridan for everyone who helped her move into her new place (with girlfriend) and for me, even though i didn't help at all. it occurred to me that i really hadn't had pizza for quite a while, and thus it was also so very very good...although not as good as other roommate's masterpiece.

maybe one day i'll cook. i'm volunteering at the evanston farmer's market this saturday, helping out at henry's farm. i could whip something up with the veggies i get there (my reward for showing up at 5am to unload the truck). oh, and, yes, i will be alive awake alert enthusiastic for the party on saturday night! roar!

13 August 2002

i realized that i have not made any really complicated meals in a long time. nothing involving a roux, or meringue or anything that involves more than ten minutes prep time. it has to do, i think, with the fact that i get home from work at 6pm and prefer to eat earlier than 10pm. and in the summer, weekends are busy and its too hot to spend all day in the (non-airconditioned) kitchen. so, i look forward to fall and winter, when i can really get cooking. er, not that i necessarily will, but its always nice to think about.

and speaking of complicated dishes, tonight i went with friends to Lucky Kebab and Nehari House, the Indo-Pak place three blocks from my house. There certainly is something to be said for the $3.50 aloo bindi. You just can't beat the way the grease oozes out of the naan and dribbles down your hand when you scoop up the soggy potatoes and okra.

Cheap meat is scary. Vegetarian food, no matter how cheap, does not have that same element of fear. And while, I suppose, some people embrace the risk inherent in eating the $2.00 mystery beef special at your local dive (ecoli is fun!), i'm glad that the potentially fatal health consequences aren't there when i eat the $3.00 vegetarian roll at Lucky Kebab.

12 August 2002

Last night, my friends hosted a sushi dinner starring percussionist and sushi chef Tatsuya Nakatani, who is in Chicago for a week playing various gigs...and, last night, making us wonderful food! Tatsuya spent about five hours, with hardly any breaks, making us sushi and supervising those bold enough to try to make our own...and really, while we did pretty well, it just didn't compare. In the time it took me to make one uneven roll that didn't stick, Tatsuya would make about four absolutely gorgeous rolls. sigh. and it didn't look like he was rushing through the process...it was very pretty and even soothing to watch him in the kitchen. and i ate so much that i had to remove myself from the building in order to prevent further sushi consumption.

anyways, i am extremely inarticulate today, so i'm just going to leave it at that. i must still be suffering the leftover effects of last night's food coma.

lunch today of farmer's cheese on toast (stolen from karen) seems strangely lacking. i don't know why.

i had a vegan out-of-town visitor in on saturday and sunday morning so the rest of the weekend was spent in pursuit of vegan food. thus, lunch on saturday at chicago diner, dinner at kopi cafe and then breakfast on sunday also at kopi. the chicago diner is not so good and if not for the fact that it fills a niche, it probably wouldn't last long. although the waitstaff, however negligent of diners, is very cute. i got a vegetarian equivalent of a egg mcmuffin, with tempeh instead of ham, and it was nasty. the tempeh had the consistency of ground up slugs. and, for the record, chicago diner is in BOYSTOWN, not "wrigleyville," and anyone (like, for example, the chicago diner website) who tells you different has issues. boystown, damnit!, boystown! kopi was much better although i was shocked at the lack of vegan options on the menu. really, one can only eat so many tempeh burgers. but their guacamole is just to die for...absolutely divine! i think it has cumin in it.

after picking up my friend at (historic) Union Station (heck, we've all seen The Untouchables), I took her to my house for a gourmet meal of broccoli seitan stirfry. so simple. so good. i dumped some ginger into the rice while it was cooking, giving it a very subtle ginger flavor. yum! and we had snickers crunch ice cream for dessert. i would've gone with the m&m mint ice cream, but, hey, i'm flexible.

Broccoli-seitan Stirfry with rice (i.e. the five-minute dinner)

  • i prefer sushi rice with my stirfry, but any other will do. i like putting a little ginger in the water to give the rice a little extra kick. you can also serve the stirfry with pasta or with nothing at all.

  • Cut two heads of broccoli into florets, dice two plum tomatoes, finely chop two tablespoons ginger, slice premade seitan, dice 1/2 medium onion (yellow or white)
  • heat three tablespoons of sesame oil in large pan or wok. when hot but not smokind add onions. cook onions till they begin to brown. add 1/4 cup soy sauce and 2 tbl. rice wine vinegar. mix in 2 tsp. cumin, 1 tsp. cayenne and 1 tsp. black pepper. add broccoli and ginger. cook for seven minutes and add tomatoes and seitan. cook till cooked but still a bit crunchy.
  • serve over rice.

09 August 2002

today i had office coffee, a banana and a pb&j sandwich. oh yeah.

yesterday in a really pitiful attempt to have a "healthier" meal, i had a veggie burrito for lunch. puh-leaz! ten pounds of cheese and rice with a few slices of zucchini melted in a tortilla shell does not a healthy lunch make. so, at dinner at the heartland cafe, i did what i had to do. i got the macrobiotic plate which wasn't too bad, despite its complete lack of taste. but no, the greens were good. the rice wasn't burnt. the mushroom gravy looked like snot but didn't taste like it. i fear that the side of guacamole, bell's amber ale and key lime pie countered the benefits gained by sacrificing taste for macrodiet. we also got an apple cobbler but sent it back since it tasted like refrigerator. gross! i don't know anything about macrobiotic diets although i just read that you can't eat potatoes or tomatoes. lame!

07 August 2002

today for lunch, the sole of my shoe had a piece of gum with a dried grass garnish. how gross. it is now picking up bits of carpet fuzz.

i had a greek salad and french fries from the hotdog place. despite the fact that the olives tasted like bananas and the tomatoes tasted like, well, nothing, it was pretty good. i love french fries! my dad had a polish and fries. we got ice cream for dessert.

dinner, in continuing the days trend of nasty food, was a "leek pie" at Duke of Perth, a shephards pie minus the meat, i guess. and melissa's friend fries slathered in vinegar. and deep fried mushrooms. with good beer. appetizers were a large root beer and butter popcorn at the movies.

yes, yes. just finishing my "mocha," a cup of office coffee with half a bag of swiss miss hot chocolate. very sophisticated.

last night had dinner with jen at ethiopian diamond, a delicious if slightly overpriced ethiopian restaurant a few blocks from my house. we had spinach sambusa, kik alicha (chick peas mushed with spices--my favorite!), okra dinish (okra with potatoes and unfriendly spices), gomen (collard greens with lots of garlic) and, of course, the obligatory fermented bread. jen got okra with lamb as well. the okra wasn't too great in general. but everything else was delicious! and eating with one's hands is such a good thing. for dessert we drove to southport and got ice cream at the brand new Double Rainbow. Jen: ultra chocolate and cinnamon caramel. Me: mint chocolate chip and ultra chocolate. not bad, although the mint chocolate chip tasted like mint extract.

lunch on the same day was a veggie burger stolen from one of my roommates. sorry! i ate it on toast with farmers cheese and tomato sauce, which wasn't too bad.

05 August 2002

lunch at the bourgeois pig!
portabello spinach baked omelette, americano, crumpette w/grape jam.

lunch cauliflower and potatoes stirfried in sesame oil, rice wine vinegar garlic cayenne and basil. with rice.

pre-dinner snack sips of the best rootbeer float in town at earwax cafe in wicker park, courtesy of lacey, sara and mark. a bite of jose's scallion tomato cheddar quesadilla

dinner at mas. fancy pants. spicy gazpacho. a goat cheese mushroom empanada. sangria and mango sorbets.

post-dinner snack cheese curls, grocery store cake, champagne, eggplant lasagna.

lunch sauteed cabbage, dill cucumber salad and rice; large quantaties of tortilla chips w/salsa; corn; coconut popsicle

dinner pasta with sauce (chickpeas, chard, onion, squash, tomato sauce, nutritional yeast--a kyle specialty)

more dinner tofu squash broccoli stir-fry; beet kolrabi carrot avocado salad w/vinegar mustard seed and sesame oil. tasty!!!

02 August 2002

toast with farmers cheese, dill and zucchini. veggie and herbs from karen's garden!

01 August 2002

so often we fail to recognize the tragic plight of the hard boiled egg.

oh, a small clarification. i did not eat bacon yesterday. phew. but i ate atrocious cucumber dill soup this afternoon at printer's row in chicago. in fact, come to think of it, the beet goatcheese salad was kind of crappy, too. my father and i eat out often and printer's row has become our regular meeting place due to its location. its a nice place...business casual, very nice servers (if somewhat robotic) and usually a very dependable menu. and, let me tell you, you can't get in two sips from your water glass before the folks there come rushing over to refill it...annoying yet sort of endearing. so, after a brief hiatus from printers row, we headed back today. my father ordered the venison salami starter and a pork sandwich with fries, both of which looked good. the french fries served with the sandwich at his request were crispy and had a nice flavor to them...probably fried in lard. i ordered the beet goatcheese salad and the soup. the salad featured red and yellow beets and was quite pretty. however, it was drenched in some sort of citris dressing that overpowered everything else on the plate. the soup was a disaster--i sent it back. there was too much of something, although i couldn't figure out what it was--either salt or lemon. in any case, i tried my best to stuff it down, resorted to making identifying the over-used spice a game, finally gave up and sent it back. i ate most of my dad's fries instead. and for dessert i had an apple pie with vanilla ice cream which was fine, if uninspiring. lucky for printers row, its one of a very small group of non-fast food restaurants close to my office.

dinner was popcorn with nutritional yeast, rice vinegar and basil. with a glass of chocolate soy. followed at 10pm by a broccoli cheese pie at ennui. followed at 12:30am by toast with farmers cheese and tomato sauce and a cup of chocolate rice dream.

roommate's dinner made at 12:00am by me while she frantically worked to finish a project: linguini with sauce, sauteed zucchini, cauliflower and tomatoes, garlic bread. good karma points earned by me=lots.

Good afternoon. In tragic news, it seems that my partner in culinary adventures is unable to access the site necessary to post messages because her stupid seattle-based major corporation that will not be named but doesn't sell coffee hoists up firewalls that are impenetrable. so, sniff. its just me by my little own self. BUT in solidarity with my dear friend 2000 miles away, i will keep up the now slightly false description of the blog.