24 January 2003

i am visiting alix in noblesville, indiana which is close to indianapolis. i just ate a white chocolate swirl hershey kiss and, wow, was it tasty! bursting with chocolatey goodness. a golden nougat of flavor.

not that its food related, but alix is sitting next to me putting 37 one-cent stamps on an envelope. very methodically, i should add. ah, the things we do.

22 January 2003

Happy National Popcorn Day!

bwuah. manny's for lunch today, this time accompanied by my father, always an enthusiast when it comes to grease bomb food. I got the highly vegetarian ruben, a bowl of kreplach soup, a potato pancake and a chocolate phosphate. my dad got a meat and potato knish, a corned beef and swiss sandwich, two potato pancakes and a chocolate phosphate. oh, the love i felt for my father as we both sipped from our chocolate phosphates, and leaned over our plates, piled high with corned beef, cheese and fried potatoes. there's really nothing quite like lunch at manny's to bring together a father and daughter. while working our way thru rubens and knishes, we talked about the probability (quite high) that my father came to manny's with his father once upon a time. and perhaps one day i will bring my child here for a delightfully artery-clogging meal.

i should note, however, that my father did not finish everything he ordered which is unheard of. scandalous! shocking! he gave me his leftovers so i could eat them for lunch tomorrow and, well, i already ate them. today. an hour ago. half of a corned beef sandwich. mind you, not just a normal 1/2 sandwich but a manny's 1/2 sandwich which is equal to one and a half normal sandwiches. its a towering mass of thin sliced corned beef smeared with mustard and delicately topped with a single slice of swiss cheese.

can you believe that there are people who eat there every day?? EVERY SINGLE DAY!!! okay, not to my knowledge, but i think its a safe bet.

tonight for dinner? popcorn, of course.

i'm torn as to how i feel about this article in the guardian. on the one hand, there's so much poverty, so much hunger, etc. in the world and its just grossly inappropriate to blow $40,000 on a tin of caviar. but, on the other hand, gosh, you gotta respect someone who takes the pure pursuit of pleasure to such an extreme. no guilt, no moderation, just all out going for exactly what you want. i mean, certainly you have to be rather firmly lodged in a certain economic bracket to do this, but gosh, its so over-the-top obscene that i kind of like it.

19 January 2003

after a disheartening trip to target, the only thing that could perk up magda and me was a trip to west lawrence ave., a korean/mexican/eastern european part of town. after trying on cowboy boots, we headed down lawrence to Korean Retaurant (actual name), a 24-hour restaurant that supposedly rivals San Soo Gab San. but the servers were so nice...it was disorienting. we had a vegetable egg pancake, cut with scissors at the table, bibimbop and bolkokie. after stuffing myself with korean food, i headed over to a potluck where i actually ate a second dinner! good show! one of the hosts is a chef and he made paella which was fantastic! friends who can cook (or are married to people who can cook) are such a good thing.

17 January 2003

a few days ago i remembered that it was winter and that i should be making and eating soup and so, with no future plans to actually do so, i bought a bag of lentils and a bag of split peas. it was, in fact, a night that i had two batches of canned veggie broth with egg noodles for dinner.

last night, however, when magda and i decided to get together to watch la grande bouffe, i figured i'd whip up some soup. and so, while watching a movie about men eating themselves to death, we dined on split pea soup, biscuits and, finally, coconut lemon bars. i must say that there's something rather unique about eating dinner while watching a bunch of men gorge themselves on gourmet food...i'm convinced that i ate a lot more last night than i would have if i hadn't been watching that movie. and this morning when i woke up i did feel a bit, er, off as if i had spent the night trying to eat myself to death. strange.

and, it should be said that this past tuesday i had a delightful meal at san soo gab san, a 24-hour korean restaurant on western. the waitresses are mean, the air is smokey and the orders often times come out wrong. i love it. regardless of what you order, you also receive a dizzying array of sides ranging from kimchee to rehydrated fish strips to, oddly, steamed broccoli. magda and i ordered dol sot bibimbop, served in a hot stone bowl that continues to cook the rice thus making the outer bits crispy and good; we ordered something and got instead stirfry noodles and we ordered fried dumplings. we only had to ask for our tea twice before it came. the man sitting on the other side of a divider kept leaning over to stare at us. it was really quite fantastic.

10 January 2003

i wish i could post an update on this blog but i have had absolutely no inspiring food experiences since i engaged in the culinary equivalent of hitting myself over the head with a sledgehammer: ramen. that was on tuesday. on wednesday i had (two week) leftover broccoli chowmein for lunch (attesting to the high amounts of msg) and pasta mixed with mozzarella, tomatoes and tapenade for dinner (not bad, really, for a last minute thrown together thing). thursday lunch was a fabu chopped salad because, you know, chopped salads are all the rage and dinner was, er, uh, a cup of peppermint tea (at 10pm after accupuncture...it was all i could take). today's lunch is the rest of the chowmein. dinner at the folk's house.

wow. and that is exciting.

07 January 2003

ramen for lunch and am now experiencing that hazy msg overdose daze. its hard to focus. i need a nap. i type this, of course, as i take another bite of the snooze-inducing soup.

i recently started thinking about good places to take guests from out of town when they pass through chicago. this is what i have so far:

1. Red Apple, an all you can eat polish buffet.
2. the 24-hour korean diner on Western with mean servers.
3. Victorys Banner, a bizarre vegetarian restaurant with fantastic brunches.
4. Ethiopian Diamond.
5. any hot dog place.
6. the bubbletea bar under the Phoenix in Chinatown.
7. this brazillian place in River North where you pay a flat fee for all-you-can-eat meat (oh, and there's a salad bar). the restaurant employees wander around with these big trays of meat and, get this, you have a little placard thing on your table that is red on one side and green on the other. if you want food, you flip it to the green side.
8. Margie's soda fountain.
9. Manny's deli (right by maxwell street market, an open air flea market).
10. Soul Vegetarian, on the south side, which i have yet to get to.
11. Carol's.
12. Taste of Heaven.
13. Argyle.
14. Lula (for a splurge).
15. La Unica, in the back of the cuban supermarket.
16. Taquerias.
17. Tamales at Maxwell Street.
18. Devon
(from Becky:)
19. Lulu's
20. Clarke's
21. Pizza D.O.C (Lincoln Square)

03 January 2003

the weirdest bit
i almost forgot one of the strangest bits of last night. those kids. one of them had hava nagilla set as the ring on his cellphone and at some point in the evening, all the girls started singing "matchmaker" from "fiddler on the roof." huh?!

i drank jesus

chinatown is a mystical place. last night, after a fine dinner at the phoenix, where they were very attentive to the amount of tea we had left in our tea pot throughout the evening, logan, ann and i headed downstairs for bubble tea. cafe conundrum, as dubbed by logan, was dimly lit, with dark red walls bearing posters of john belushi, anime, japanese boy bands and anne geddes naked baby bums. televisions hanging over the bar played the Orange Bowl (usc vs. iowa). with a one-drink minimum per person we all ordered tasty frosty drinks but logan's selection clearly surpassed anything i could have ever dreamed of. he ordered the "I Love Jesus," a tasty mix of strawberry ice cream and coconut milk (or 7-up). I. Love. Jesus. I chose "Satin," a chocolate ice cream cocacola drink listed directly under I Love Jesus (and you know there's a typo in the name of that drink because god loves strawberry and the devil prefers chocolate).

Queries regarding the I Love Jesus drink:
Does one consummate one's love of Jesus in consumption of the drink?
How did they decide that this drink was the I Love Jesus drink? Was there a fight? Did someone else think the I Love Jesus should have vanilla ice cream and orange soda?
Why do they give you that really fat straw when there are no chunks in the drink?
Was I up all night with a caffeine buzz because I turned away from Jesus and chose Satin instead?

as we heathens sipped the fruity nectar of god and stomped each other in jenga and connect four, a group of ten or so clearly underage highschool students gathered around a table, chain smoking, drinking beer, reading YM and talking about weight loss. these girls and the boys sitting with them could not have possibly been over 17 years old. which was brilliant given the proudly displayed "You Booze, We Lose" poster hanging just a few feet away (under John Belushi standing in front of an american flag in his college shirt swigging a bottle of jack daniels).

i love this country.

02 January 2003

And a happy 2003 to you. I brought in the new year with an obscene dinner party at sara and jose's house. as always, they busted out the works with homemade bread, tapenade, veggies and dip, hummus, cheese, roasted veggies, etc. and after we stuffed ourselves on appetizers out came the homemade pizza. dessert at midnight was, of course, champaign. and trust me, if you think that stuff is good by itself, you should try combining three kinds at once.

so, my new years resolutions in food are to:
-finally get starter from sara. its sitting in the fridge, ready for me.
-make soup

that's it. start small, i say.