29 December 2004

another food thing from long ago

this l'il story is from my February 2004 trip to NYC. my friend courtney always shows me the best time and this time she far exceeded my expectations. she also tells a good story, so rather than retelling it in my own words, i'm just taking what she wrote from her blog:

"Nothing like a little celebrity spotting to entertain one's out-of-town guests. There's often this perception on the part of visitors that New York is nothing more than an endless imitation of its cinematic projections. Like it's just a reflexive series of images and skits. They say "it's just like in the movies" -- or Seinfeld or Will and Grace or Law and Order -- until you start to think you're not a person in a city, but some clueless production intern weaving around a colossal, debauched movie set.

I picked up Eliz at JFK airport early this morning, and we drove back to the Upper West Side for breakfast. On the way to vegan pancakes at Josie's, we had a drive-by sighting of Jerry Orbach and company filming an episode of Law and Order. "New York is just so New York," Eliz puzzled. I couldn't disagree, really.

Josie's was all locked up until lunch, so we walked six blocks up to Sarabeth's on 81st street. I hadn't been there for about five years, at least. I'd forgotten. The place was packed: immaculately coifed women in pearls and mock turtlenecks, execs on their business breakfasts, mysteriously idle thirty-somethings in expensive, rumpled sportswear preparing for a day of who knows what. "I've never felt underdressed for breakfast before," Eliz quipped as the hostess escorted us to the table.

She sandwiched us between two other two-tops. On one side, a man and a woman of the high-end sportswear variety soberly formulated a pitch for a reality television program. It was to be a cross between American Idol and Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, but with a dating component involved. Like in the Bachelorette, probably with one woman and seven men. ("Sound like a bad porno," Eliz whispered.) The details hadn't been worked out yet. They were still in the very early planning phases.

On our other side, an older woman counseled a younger one on the state of her life, saying things like, "Life is about being happy. You need to feel that in yourself. You need to love yourself." The older woman's features had the disconcertingly smooth affect of plastic surgery. Her head was sculpted with cosmetics and hair product so emphatic that in spite of her animated delivery, her features never really moved. She spoke in loud, bracing tones so appalling that at some point the couple to her other side asked her to quiet down. The younger woman quietly acceded to most of what her elder had to say. She was a soft-spoken Korean woman. She sat next to me on the booth side. I couldn't see her well, and I didn't want to turn and stare. "It's like Soon-Yi Previn and her mentor or something," I sneered inwardly, then quickly chided myself for perhaps thinking such a thing simply because she was the only normal-seeming Asian woman in this Woody Allenish Upper West Side of narcissistic professionals and socialites.


Eliz and I accepted fairly early on in the meal that we'd be incapable of sustaining a conversation in such an environment; so we ate silently, rapt. The style and scope of the older woman's oration was so ingenious that on several occasions Eliz and I broke into helpless, mortified giggles, ducking awkwardly into our napkins or turning to the side (only to find the hip couple plotting out their uber-reality TV show). We looked desperate yet gleeful, our mouths frozen open with no sounds coming out of them. This was a sadistic comedy in which we were trapped.

Finally we realized we couldn't make eye contact with one another and behave like adults, so Eliz peered viciously into her plate of red omelette while I gazed beatifically at the ceiling and shoveled my mouth full of lemon-ricotta pancake.

When we finally got outside, we dissolved into peals of mirth. "Who are these people?" I wondered aloud. Eliz had no answer. We recalled our favorite parts of the whole wacky script. Eliz said, "Did you hear it when she leaned over and said, 'WHAT YOU NEED TO ASK YOURSELF IS, IS WOODY REALLY YOUR SOUL MATE?'"

Gasp. No, I had not heard it. But my worst imaginations had been made reality, or reality had been made my worst imaginations.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Soon-Yi Previn.

I howled and told Eliz. No! she said. Could it have been? We tittered and cawed and went home to do a google image search for Soon-Yi Previn, with whom we had just shared breakfast. If something's off between Woody and his bride, you heard it here first."

dinner, two years ago

in june 2002 i went out with my friend to celebrate her 25th birthday. we've known each other for most of our lives and are dear friends but have taken very different paths through life, she that of the corporate lawyer and i of the librarian. the dinner party consisted of myself and her lawschool and medschool friends. i should say that i absolutely adore my friend. since that night, we've had many conversations about the whole experience and she was also somewhat horrified by the scene. it was, uh, a laugh riot:

the dinner. we ate at Butterfield 8, a new hyper-trendy Chicago restaurant/bar (emphasis on the bar) in what is undoubtedly the tackiest neighborhood in the city. i think we were the only people in the entire place who were not coked up. everyone was freakishly thin, 'beautiful,' wearing more make-up than i had worn in my entire life, and, of course, in High Fashion. they had excruciatingly fake tans and frosted hair. the owner of the place is a dead ringer for Rod Stewart. i hate rod stewart. these people weren't yuppies. they transcended yuppie-dom. so, whatever. i order my $12 martini. we sit down in a booth in the corner of the restaurant, me, thankfully, facing the wall and, therefore, not able to see the restaurant/bar fill up with even more make-up and plastic surgery-laden coke fiend wanna-be-L.A. midwesterners. our waitress approaches the table and, within thirty seconds of opening her mouth, makes it very clear that she was hired not because she has any abilities whatsover but because she looks like a supermodel. my right leg weighs more than her entire body. perhaps she is coked up too? we order more drinks and forty-five minutes later(!) she comes to take our dinner orders. the only vegetarian option they have is spaghetti putanesca, which i despise (and, anyways, it has anchovies in it!), so i end up ordering a "platter of sides" (their selection) and a salad. some thirty minutes later, she brings out salads to the three people who ordered them and, two minutes later, she brings out one entree ("Sorry. the kitchen finished this really fast."). the rest of the entrees come out about thirty minutes later, after the bussers have tried, unsuccesfully, to clear our salads several times, many times mid-bite. to say that my entree was awful is being generous. creamed corn, butter-soaked spinach, a baked potato, potato strings and butter-soaked mushrooms. um. ew. we eat, we get cake, we talk about how difficult it is to maintain curly hair. we talk about the fact that jamie does all of her banking online, except for the checks that she writes to her cleaning lady. we talk about a guy that sarah met on j-date (www.jdate.com --good for hours of entertainment!). we talk about people who are so beautiful and thin and we discuss their weddings. i excuse myself to go to the bathroom. in the bathroom there is a woman whose job is to squirt soap into your hands and then hand you a towel after you've rinsed it off. the woman in the stall next to me is puking. when i go back upstairs and tell my friends, they ask, "Do you think she was drunk or just bulemic?" at this point, two women sit down at the table across from us. one has a very large louis vuitton bag from which she pulls out a SMALL DOG! she places the dog on her lap as if it is the most normal thing in the world. when i point this out to jane and she asks me which table i'm talking about, i kind of nod in the appropriate direction. the women with the dog are, with the exclusion of the woman squirting soap in the bathroom, the only two black women in the restaurant. becky rolls her eyes and says, "i figured it was them." i squirm. the check comes and the total price is divided equally among all of us minus the birthday girl. this is after i, as a budgeting tool, decided to not get any wine. i have to help pay for the $100 bottle anyways. it is $60 a person for the dinner. i have $56 in my wallet, having thought that this should more than cover any dinner expenses. my friend the birthday girl begins whispering frantically at me that she feels horrible that i have to pay for my dinner and can she PLEASE help me and PLEASE let her pay and everyone there makes SO MUCH MORE thank i do, etc. etc. i refuse but feel, suddenly, like a pauper. "I may be poor, but, goddamnit, i still have my pride!" i squirm. i assure her that although i am not yet making a six digit salary (unlike everyone else at the table), i can still afford to pay for my own dinner. we get ready to leave and she insists that i take money from her so i can take a cab home (after all, i have no cash in my wallet at this point). i say fine. i take the cab as far as $20 will take me (i shared it with someone who got out first and was not exactly on the way) and trudge the rest of the way home, trying to figure out why it is i feel like crying.

27 December 2004

euphoria chocolate

my coworker left me a small bag of chocolates in celebration of the holiday season and i am proud to say that i have not yet finished the bag. no, i am savoring each and every little chocolate bit, especially the dark ones. okay, i ate all the dark ones. i couldn't help it. but i've still got milk and white chocolate bites from the "Chocolate Mingle," as it is called. and i fully intend to eat them using full moderation. just because, you know, i want them to last for a while. they're good!

26 December 2004


christmas happened. woot. my brother is in town visiting so i had someone with whom to spend the day while i was busy doing nothing.

day one
breakfast/lunch: "huevos rancheros," meaning, heated tortillas topped with black beans, chicken (made with nasty taco seasoning out of a packet), fried eggs, salsa verde (made by me first thing in the morning), flavorless out-of-season tomatoes (expensive!) and cheddar cheese. very healthy. very light.

dinner: Locomotive, which is closing on january 1st for good, with Emily and Mary. my last meal at Locomotive (i still have leftovers from the meal for lunch tomorrow, which counts for something): Aloo Baigan, potato eggplant curry over rice, which i split with my brother. we also shared borek, a filo pastry filled with spinach and feta. served with tomatoes much better than the ones i bought at the store. the borek at Cafe Zam Zam, which might have been better because it was the first i'd had and it was free. dessert, which is always the highlight of Locomotive, involved Oregon Snow, which is a coconut lime gelato that never fails to amaze, some sort of alcohol-drenched spice cake with vanilla ice cream, tiramisu and chocolate pot de creme. all absolutely fantastic. i was stuffed about half way through dessert but felt it necessary to finish all of it since it would be my last Locomotive meal. sigh. they talk about coming out with a cookbook -- i hope it happens.

day two
breakfast/lunch: leftover huevos rancheros. not bad.

dinner: at marche, the fancy restaurant near my house that seems to be the default for out-of-town guests. to start, we split the risotto goat cheese fried fritters which were okay. not nearly as good as the dozen oysters that we ordered. oh, except we'd ordered 1/2 dozen and they brought out a whole dozen by mistake. bummer. as an entree, my brother got this divine venison with apple-smoked bacon, roasted chestnuts and brussel sprouts. a lovely combination. really lovely. i was still recovering from Locomotive, so i got a salad. okay, granted it was topped with bacon and a poached egg, but it was light, i tell you! light!

dessert: we stopped at Lucky Noodle on the way home for gelato and espresso. ever so euro of us, don't you think? i got dairy-free peach gelato which was fantastic. mike got strawberry which was not as good as the peach. but i am partial to peach ice cream. especially peach ice cream from Kilwins in ann arbor, with big chunks of frozen peaches. the best! it's a chain, but it looks so down-home, independently owned, etc, etc, that i've chosen to be fooled. and word is that it's actually a Mackinac Island joint which makes it better, right?

day three
my brother is gone, sadly. it was nice to have him around for christmas. now i'm back at work. today i ate at glenwood with some folks from work. i had a greek omelette, homefries and an english muffin. carb-o-licious! i need a nap now.

24 December 2004

christmas for the jews

i am just back from a frantic trip to the grocery store, where i spent far too much money buying much to much food to tide my brother and me over the christmas weekend lull. it occurred to me earlier today that i've never been out here for the holidays and i have no idea if anything at all is open on december 25th. combined with my insistence, of late, on relying solely on the contents of my cubbard rather than buying groceries, i was pretty much clean out of food that is acceptable to serve to guests. so off to Trader Joe's and Alberton's i went. in order to impress my brother, i realized that i had to get normal person food, like cereal, eggs and juice. plus some cheese, crackers, stuff to make chicken tacos, chips with salsa and guacamole, soy milk and a bag of chocolate chips in case we're inspired to make cookies. d'you think that's enough for two days of eating? we are, mind you, eating out tomorrow night (thank god the fancy vegetarian restaurant in town is owned by jews!).

i also have 1/2 a fake meat lasagna, made last night and eaten for last night's dinner, today's lunch and today's dinner. kale was cheaper than spinach so i went with that, steamed, of course, before adding to the ricotta. it tastes just the same as far as i can tell. and then a tube of that weird fake soy sausage stuff, grilled up and chopped into "ground beef," sorta. with cheese, lasagna and a jar of tomato sauce -- not the usual cornocopia of fresh veggies, but since i can't even spell cornocopia, i don't really think that i should use it in my lasagna. it is pretty tasty, if i may say so. simple, but good. and toasts up nice. plus the cat seems to like it.

well, that's it for a relatively boring post. hopefully i'll get my brother to stop at sweetlife on the way home from the airport. geez. hopefully sweetlife is open.

23 December 2004

French Laundry

recently, some of my friends ate at the French Laundry, in honor of a 30th birthday. this is what i also plan to do in honor of my 30th birthday. for those who don't know, the French Laundry is considered to be one of if not THE best restaurant in the U.S. here's the write-up from laura, andy and garett's dinner:

Monday night's tasting menu at The French Laundry for Garett's 30th birthday. They write things out in a weird way, so I'll do it verbatim and then try to translate:

"Oysters and Pearls": sabayon of pearl tapioca with Beau Soleil oysters and Iranian osetra caviar (This was the most indulgent way I've ever had caviar; usually I am trying to ration it out with my toast points, but here they gave us a spoon and what was essentially Caviar Pudding.)

Jacobsen's Farm "Musquee de Provence" pumpkin soup with chestnut beignets and Perigord truffles (This is what three of us had -- the truffles were in a kind of creme fraiche/butter mix that was in the middle of the bowl. I have never had such sweet pumpkin soup, ever.) At the same time, Garett instead had the poached Moulard duck "foie gras au torchon" with Bartlett pear relish and toasted brioche, which was one of the best things I have ever put into my mouth.

Sauteed filet of Japanese Suzuki, wilted Arrowleaf spinach, caramelized salsify and beurre rouge (The caramelized salsify was so extraordinary that we all asked our waiter about it. The beurre rouge was basically a very syrupy and wonderful wine and butter reduction.)

Fricasee of Maine lobster "mitts", globe artichokes, sweet carrots, pearl onions, Nicoise olives, and "Barigoule" broth (I guess lobster mitts are the meaty round part of the claw. They had been poached in butter. The olives were just tiny slivers of slices to flavor the broth.)

"Aiguillette" of Liberty Valley duck breast, endive fondue, blood orange "supremes" and candied citrus zest (Not only was the duck the most perfect ever, but the blood orange segments were pretty much oranges made into rich marmalade without being mashed up into a jelly. They were exquisite on top of the duck.)

Snake River Farms "calotte de boeuf grille", Yukon Gold puree, broccolini, crispy bone marrow and sauce "Perigourdine" (I have never eaten better beef in my life. Period, paragraph. And I don't even like cuts of beef. Every bit of it had so much intense salt and grilled flavor. The crispy bone marrow was definitely the strangest thing on the menu. It looked like a tater tot but inside was this kind of runny, fatty goo. It had intense flavor but was not my favorite part of the meal.)

Reblochon cheese with "Pruneaux d'Agen" tart, cinnamon "gastrique" and garden mache (This was the dish that made all of us at the table start giggling giddily. Who knew that a little poached prune tart could be so perfect with cheese? The cinnamon "gastrique" was an extremely concentrated apple cider reduction the consistency of honey, and made everyone's eyes pop out of their heads.)

Coconut sorbet, Persian lime gelee and toasted coconut "gianduja" (this was Andy's least favorite part of the meal, and the part that did seem the most extraneous. The Persian lime gelee was really subtle and amazing, but the toasted coconut gianduja was pretty much a stick of white chocolate with coconut scattered through. Very candy bar-ish.)

"Douceur au chocolat": Devil's food cake with Valrhona "Guanaja" chocolate creme, espresso Anglaise and chocolate chip ice cream (The chocolate chips in this ice cream were actually Scharffen Berger cacao nibs. I couldn't finish my chocolate thing, which was a bit of chocolate cake topped with a super-dense pot de creme, layered with milk chocolate ganache, then dark chocolate ganache, then gold leaf. Sweet Jesus.)

Then they brought us individual tiny cremes brulees, caramel panna cotta, tiny fruit gels, little chocolate mousse pyramids, cinnamon-cardamom meringue sandwiches, shortbreads, and lemon tarts. And coffee. And 15-year Madeira. I didn't really need to eat today. Next time we go (next week, perhaps?) I'm ordering off the a la carte menu.

22 December 2004

minor celebrity interaction!!

(context of following email exchange: i am obsessed with an obscure 1980s british comedy called Consuming Passions. i spent years forcing people to watch it...they usually fell asleep. then one day it mysteriously went missing. at any rate, i just finished Candyfreak by Steve Almond and felt that it was my responsibility to tell him about the book. so i did. and he responded! yay! i feel so fancy!)


wowza. sounds great. i'll rent it post-haste.
thanks for the rec & the kind words about candyfreak.
chocolate kisses,

Deepfry wrote:


Hello! I just read your book and found it to be quite excellent. i have recently relocated to eugene, oregon from the midwest and noticed, after reading Candyfreak, that they have Annabelle candybars in all the stores around here. i'm now trying to do my part to keep small candy companies alive.

i don't typically email authors of books i've read, but i just had to recommend a movie to you. Consuming Passions, a british comedy released in 1988 is a fantastic candyfreak movie that you should rent (if you can find it) and watch immediately.

The movie, based on a play called "Death By Chocolate" by Terry Jones and Michael Palin, is about a nerdy, insecure Ian Littleton who lands an entry-level job at Old Chum Chocolate Factory. On his first day on the job, he accidentally knocks three men into the vat of chocolate and they are processed into the candies. as it happens, this happens on the very day that Old Chum, having just been purchased by a giant candy company, has begun production of it's new chocolate recipe in which there is no chocolate. in subsequent taste tests conducted on the new chocolates, only the folks who've eaten the chocolate with the people in it like the stuff...everyone else hates it. the company promotes Littleton to some new fancy position so that he won't turn himself and the company in. as you might guess, crazy hijinks ensue involving more cannibalism, sexual bribery, and, naturally, a love interest for Ian Littleton . it's really a fantastic movie. i promise. and it has a strangely all-star cast, despite it's obsurity: prunella scales (of Fawlty Towers fame) as the ditsy secretary of Old Chum's owner, Jonathan Pryce as the evil candy tycoon, Vanessa Redgrave as the oversexed widow of one of the chocolate-processed men, etc. it was panned by critics, but critics are idiots.

you can see the imdb info at : http://tinyurl.com/6dpwl


i was too lazy to put together a lunch to bring in yesterday, so i bought a frozen Annie's cheese enchilada from the bookstore. not bad for $4. probably the cheapest lunch option, not including getting a bagel which doesn't particularly fill me up.

dinner was a very tasty broccoli mushroom tempeh stirfry with rice made in my new rice cooker! ooh ahh! rice cooker! so easy! so convenient! i LOVE it! and today for lunch? a very tasty broccoli mushroom tempeh stirfry.

21 December 2004

extremely long post about seattle

i lived in seattle from September 1999 to July 2000. i think it's safe to say that my departure, to Michigan for grad school, was something of a fleeing of the pacific northwest. this past weekend was my first time back since leaving. i'd been invited up to see my friend perform in A Tap Dance Christmas Carol and, well, what better way could a Jew possibly spend the weekend before Christmas?

so, i got in on Saturday afternoon, after a lovely sunny drive up I-5 that offered me views of Mts. Bachelor, Adams, St. Helens and Rainier. though i hadn't eaten much of anything all day, the initial wave of anxious nausea that swept over me pretty much killed my appetite until about 3pm. by 3pm, i'd stopped at the homestead, dropped off my stuff, met all four cats, reunited with a grad school friend and followed him to a very busy whole foods, assembled my bike and gone off to explore all the old haunts, as it were. once on my own and somewhat more emotionally settled, i realized i was actually quite hungry. i was in the U-District, my first home in Seattle, and stopped at the cheap-o teriyaki joint down the street from my old house. i used to eat there all the time. got the same chicken teriyaki with rice and iceberg lettuce, and a water, and settled down to eat. it was exactly the same, although $1 more expensive, which i'll accept with with the 4-year passage of time. cheap, smothered in fantastically sweet teriyaki sauce, mostly if not entirely dark meat, and a ginger sesame creamy dressing for the lettuce. oh bliss!

after lunch, walked across the street to my bike, parked in front of the Safeway, with the same guy sitting in the same chair, selling RealChange and repeating his offer over and over like a record: "Real Change? Thank you, have a nice day ma'am/sir." he's been saying the same thing to every single person who exits that grocery store for at least four years and probably more. it occurred to me that i couldn't decide if it was the stuff that had changed that weirded me out (giant new QFCs, closed used book store, etc.) or the stuff that was exactly the same (Real Change guy, my old house, still painted red-orange, etc.) that i found to be disturbing.

anyways, i hauled myself to Capitol Hill (and, wow, i had no recollection of how hilly that town is!), met up with the tap dancing friend and went to get coffee at Espresso Vivace, on Denny. i ordered a latte that looked exactly like this:

it was so good that i all but burst into tears. Vivace is to most seattle-ites (or was, when i lived there) as one of the best places in town for coffee drinks; it is known to me as the place where a friend witnessed a barista throw a finished latte across the work area because she was so unhappy with how it looked -- now that's dedication to your art!

after coffee, my tap dancing friend had to go back to the theater, so i spent a few hours wandering around before meeting up with a rugby friend for dinner at the Red Line, a restaurant owned by a woman who i might have played rugby with. it's unclear. at any rate, the restaurant is a super cute, brightly lighted place (with wi-fi) that offers an array of sandwiches, hot and cold. even though i have major major guilt whenever i eat meat in front of vegan friends, i just had to order the prosciutto fig panini...with a side of tomato basil soup. the soup i ordered, and order whenever i see it on a menu, because when i was in high school, i used to live and die for the tomato rosemary soup at Scenes, a coffee shop in chicago that lost it's lease when starbucks opened down the street. needless to say, nothing has come close to measuring up. so, this soup was pretty good but not great. the sandwich was, well, interesting. the prosciutto wasn't quite salty enough to balance out the sweetness of the fig spread. and the cheese, which was, i don't know, maybe brie? but i did like it. and in just attempting to research the sandwich, i found that the owner not only played rugby with me but gave me free pizza when i lived in town and she worked at paggliaci's.

by the time i'd finished the sandwich, the cream from the latte had taken over and i was feeling very, very tired. i dragged (dragged because tired, not because lack of interest in performance) myself over to the theater and watched the very cute (much cuter than i expected, as i am prone to outbreaks of bitter Jew-ness during the christmas season) Tap Dance Christmas Carol, which i'd detail if it had anything to do with food. but it doesn't, so i'll move on. after the show, we went to 611 Supreme for drinks with Tap Dancing Friend's friends; we parted ways and I dragged Tap Dancing Friend to the WildRose, Seattle's premier lesbian bar. this is the kind of place that is often blaring Melissa Etheridge or Indigo Girls. it's classy. and the same people were working at the bar! wow! after a drink there, we head home and crashed. a succesful and only temporarily traumatic day, with a pleasant (if late) ending.

the next morning, i insisted (not that it took too much convincing) that we head to Mae's Phinney Ridge Cafe, home of the pancake sandwich, an item that i've consistently craved for the past four years. it did not disappoint. granted, you can order two pancakes, two eggs and a side of sausage at most breakfast places and assemble the sandwich yourself (which you have to do at mae's, anyways) but there's something about ordering a "pancake sandwich" off the menu that really brings it together. we both ordered the sandwich, mine with turkey sausage, Tap Dancing Friends with bacon, and we both managed to finish half of our breakfasts. i'd forgotten that monstrousity of the pancake sandwich. in hindsight, i usually ate half at breakfast and then half for lunch the next day (soggy pancake sandwich is it's own unique culinary experience). i thought our server was Mae in the flesh but just realized that the restaurant has been "a seattle institution since the 30s." maybe she's aged well?

Tap Dancing Friend and i travelled back to Capitol Hill, where we split up, she going to her matinee, I setting off on my epic waterlogged tour of the city. did i mention that it was cloudy? and rainy. and i was without raincoat (stupid!). that i was immediately plunged into the depths of sadness and desperation that i'd endured through much of my stay in seattle? i was stuffed but couldn't think of anything i wanted to do except eat. oh, and go sit in the hot tup at Hot House. but I rallied, and kept on walking, down capital hill to first hill, stopping to check out the new café where Four Angels, home of the best latte in town, used to be located, past Seattle University, my former place of (half-hearted) employment, over to the former site of No Way Café, where I dined almost daily. I magically ended up in the International District. After a failed frantic phone call to Cindy, from whom I’d hoped to get some restaurant recommendations, I headed to An Thinh, a Vietnamese and Thai restaurant selected on the basis of the number of people dining inside (and the fact that I was sick of getting wet). I ordered something I’d never had before and the only identifier I can remember is that it was #52 on the menu. It had several small rice pancakes wrapped and filled with some sort of pork and scallion thing, topped with deepfried shrimpcakes (deepfried shrimp heads included), chicken or shrimp patties (steamed, I think), cilantro and bean sprouts. It was delicious! And I enjoyed listening the servers, all teenage girls speaking half the time in English, the other half in (I think) Vietnamese about boys. The conversation went something like this:

Girl A: “Oh my gosh, I have to tell you what he did! [long explanation in non-English language]!”
Girl B: “Wow! I can’t believe that! That’s crazy! Did he [long story in non-English language]?”
Girl A: “Yeah, totally. Isn’t that tacky!”

Can you believe it?! I came close to asking them to fill me in but that seemed rude. My sense of being left out was alleviated by the fact that the sun had started to come out. My mood instantly shifted and I decided that Seattle was actually quite beautiful and fun and I should maybe move back there. Yikes, moodswings. What an idea!

Eventually, I met back up with Tap Dancing Friend, and we went to Rosebud to get a drink. I had a $2 manhattan (happy hour surprise!) and she had a mediocre (lacking in whip cream until she requested some) coffee drink. Dinner that night was the cast party potluck. Everyone was very nice and someone had brought a pesto-goat cheese-diced sundried tomato mold that was fantastic. Oh, we also at some point ate at Jitterbug in Wallingford after a failed attempt to eat in Ballard. We both got the gingerbread waffles with eggs and sausage. Tasty!

And that was Seattle. Full of good eats at reasonable prices. Next time I get up there, maybe I’ll splurge and go to the Brooklyn (where I went with my mom and friends for my 22nd (?) birthday) or the Flying Fish. And I’ll be sure to get a crumpet at Pike Place and a piroshky on Broadway.

17 December 2004

the accidental dinner

i am eating dinner right now (thank you wireless internet!!) and it is, much to my surprise, quite tasty. i have been attempting to eat the contents of my kitchen, rather than grocery shopping all the time and laying certain items to waste. so tonight i got home from the gym and opened up my cupboards (and fridge) to see what i had. i am now dining on:

  • edamame, once frozen now boiled
  • this concoction that is pure brilliance, as it turns out: canned tuna mixed with nayonaisse and chopped hot pickled peppers, wrapped in a heated corn tortilla. i thought it was going to be kind of nasty, but i'm liking it. a lot. enough to make again. go me!
  • oh yeah, and i had some plain yogurt mixed with honey as an appetizer which would have been awesome but the honey had crystalized. still very doable.

so, go me! i have been creative and i have succeeded!

special treats

over the past few weeks, someone has been leaving fancy chocolates in my mailbox at work. as far as i can tell, i'm the only one in my department receiving these chocolates, and i have no idea who they're from. sometimes i don't get to my box and i end up with three or four chocolates waiting for me. i haven't gotten one in a few days; i'm sad and worried that my failure to pick up the chocolates on a daily basis suggested to the secret chocolate fairy that i wasn't interested. sigh. how sad! it was such an exciting thing to get surprise mystery chocolate. fancy chocolates at that!

16 December 2004


breakfast: coffee. well-rounded and nutritious!

lunch: leftover beans and rice with a wee bit of cornbread.

mid-day snack: vegan and pineapple "cheesecake", clam dip with crackers, some sort of red and creamy harry and david dip with said crackers, all courtesy of the administrative office folks who are on this holiday cooking binge -- which i strongly support.

dinner: sushi from sushi station with jon, lydia and kelly. i got the chirashi sushi which apparently means "scattered sushi." funny, i always assumed that chirashi meant bowl, meaning that i'd been ordering "bowl bowl" for years. this is somewhat akin to maki rolls: "roll rolls." jon actually reads this blog. maybe lydia does, too. hi jon and lydia! we discussed my original intention with this blog, to record all of my meals, snacks, sips and bites, which clearly didn't happen. what happened, i think, besides general laziness and also some guilt associated with blogging at work (this was at my old job -- i never engage in non-work related work now when i'm at my new job), is that i was sort of embarrassed and a bit horrified by my diet. take for instance, yesterday: that i ate breakfast was a total fluke; lunch was beans, rice and cornbread with is entirely respectable. but dinner? popcorn and graham crackers. ah, and water. i mean, really. it would've been okay if i hadn't had macaroni and cheese the night before (at least the whole box, as previously noted) and, gosh, graham crackers the night before? oh no, i had dinner with some folks, so it was a feast. but the night before that was graham crackers and sushi rice. you see? i can barely believe i'm posting this. it's so shameful. at any rate...

dessert (just when i'm done listening to more commentary about the supposed threat of the internet on the sacred duties of the librarian): popcorn with olive oil and popcorn, which i'm craving after discussing it with my dinner companions. and mint tea.

15 December 2004


this morning was treated to breakfast by considerate boss. we, the entire department, dined at the Glenwood, a pretty basic deli/diner kind or restaurant with all the usual suspects on the menu. i ordered coffee with soymilk and the european egg white scramble (chicken, tomatoes, swiss cheese, something green that may have been broccoli). it came with homefries, half of which were fried to crispy perfection, the other half of which were somewhat raw. how odd. and it came with wheat toast, the really dense kind that is like a meal in itself. she who paid the bill got yogurt instead of homefries (or fruit) with her eggs, which i found to be clever. i don't know what flavor it was, but it would be great to get a little plain yogurt and some honey. yum! anyways, now i'm sitting at my computer and feel a little nauseous from so much food.

that's all.

13 December 2004

non-food related addendum to previous post

disadvantage to working out on almost-daily basis: $400 interview suit no longer fits. crap. good thing it's about as useful as a bridesmaid dress.

workin' out

one of the best--no, THE best thing about working out is the increase in appetite. when i played field hockey in high school, i could eat like a horse. this also had to do, no doubt, with the fact that i was a growing girl. college field hockey wasn't as rigorous as high school, but i could still stuff myself during the fall. now that, after a few years, i'm actually working out almost daily, i am getting back to what i feel is normal for me: the ability to eat a box of mac 'n cheese in one sitting, annie's cheddar in this case. how refreshing.

speaking of canned foods...

well, since i'm stuck at my desk for the next half hour, waiting for the citizens of oregon to bombard me with virtual reference questions (bring it!), why not take some time to detail this year's thanksgiving. like all midwestern jewish families (at least in my world), mine has been heavily influenced by culinary developments in the mid-twentieth century, better known as The Can. while some of us fancy ourselves rather the gourmets, we still can't help but love a meal that takes less than fifteen minutes to prepare and requires nothing but a can opener, a large casserole dish and a spoon (e.g. the tasty tuna casserole). so thanksgiving, perhaps because of the magnitude of diners and dishes, seems to be the time of year that we celebrate not the fresh fruits and vegetables of the harvest, but the dishes that come from ingredients that have decade-long shelf lives. this years' dinner, served at my cousins' house, included:

sweet potatoes mashed and shaped into small patties, dipped in special k or wheaties, each topped with a single marshmallow and baked until said marshmallow browns. for most of my life, i assumed that i despised sweet potatoes. turns out they're one of my favorite foods -- when not dipped in special k and topped with a marshmallow.

cranberry sauce slid out of the can, served on a bed of lettuce, in whole form, with ridges still showing. pretty much as so:

rainbow jello mold what is, in my very professional opinion, the piece de resistance, this is not your typical horizontal jello mold, but a vertical rainbow mold. this dish is made with blue, green, red, orange and purple jello, and coolwhip, which gives it a creamy, opaque finish. this year, it was festively decorated with sliced kiwis and strawberries, delicately attached to the top of the mold with toothpicks. really, it is something. i honestly can't imagine thanksgiving without it. my cousin used to tell me that she'd give me the recipe when i got married. i am pretty sure that her announcement last year that she'd give me the recipe whenever i wanted it was her way of telling me that she knew about the queer thing. maybe.

green bean casserole in which one boils a few bags of green beans, toasts some sliced almonds and mixes them together with a cup or so of mayonnaise. tasty delicious.

turkey oh yeah, there was that, too. this year we got fancy and offered both regular and smoked turkey. i took some of each.

stuffing possibly made from scratch; very good, especially with gravy.

dessert included a pumpkin pie cheesecake made by a. and yours truly, a pumpkin pie purchased somewhere and an assortment of pastries made by long lost cousin and her son. but the jello. oh the jello!

oregon = midwest

it turns out that when it comes to holiday snacks, oregon and the midwest are pretty much in line with each other. in other words, both here and at home, i am treated to strange combinations of food that probably come from cookbooks circa 1955, lean heavily towards the prepared and canned foods and almost always involve mayonaise and/or cheese. i am, incidentally, fantastic at making this stuff, myself, what with it being in my blood (third or fourth generation chicagoan). at last week's holiday party, the spread included Fish Eye Salad, which is actually tapoica, fruit cocktail, pasta, sugar and whip cream. it was fascinating.

today's culinary lesson of the day:

just because it brings together pineapples, ham AND cheese, doesn't mean it's gross.

i crashed the holiday party of another department and found myself face to face with a dish that consisted of ham, pineapple, bluecheese, mayonaise, shaped into a lovely mold and coated with almonds. my initial reaction was one of fear, uncertainty and confusion. but i am an adventurous eater and after a few triscuits, my mouth was dry, so i decided to dig in. so, well, hey, it was good! it was great! the sweetness of the pineapple mingled rather nicely with the blue cheese and salty ham. so, if the person who made the dish is reading this (and i should hope not, really), rest assured that i left a happy camper, and would've stuck around, had the idea of eating the entire thing not struck me as tacky.

i still long for the opportunity to have a Midwest-style potluck...and, well, now i could extend it to include oregon delights. think of it: tuna casserole, jello, this pineapple thing. what a feast!

12 December 2004

desperately need to get to the grocery store but too lazy to do so today. as a result, for lunch i enjoyed canned tuna (in water, not oil), drained and served on "wheatines," the Barbara's brand healthy version of saltines. mmmm. now, for dinner, i have just completed an amuse bouche of graham crackers and will soon be following that with a bowl of sushi rice (from the new rice cooker!) topped with Soy Vey! marinade. all class, all the time!

09 December 2004


i now, as of an hour or so ago, have a strong wireless connection in my apartment. this means that:

1. i can blog and
2. i can blog while in bed

this is much nicer than trying to sneak in little entries while sitting at work, which no one probably cares about except me.

at any rate, i am just back from a lovely dinner at Locomotive, an upscale vegetarian restaurant which is tragically closing at the end of this month. why a perfectly wonderful, conveniently located (three blocks from my house) restaurant with a charming staff would choose to close is beyond me. my friend heather, when hearing of the news, literally burst into tears. someone should stop them. maybe it should be me.

this evening, i joined about 15 people, all sociology graduate students, for dinner. i had come from a hanukah party, where they were still working on latkes when i had left, so when i saw latkes on the Locomotive menu, i of course had to get them, despite the rather steep ($13) pricetag for a pile of deepfried shredded potatoes. as expected, though, the potato pancakes were fantastic, crispy and accompanied by a rasberry applesauce (chunky) and sour cream. i've discovered recently that i really enjoy eating my latkes with both applesauce and sour cream on them together. those who insist on choosing one or the other are close-minded dolts. with the latkes was served a carrot souffle which was much much better than it sounds. it was, actually, quite fantastic and i would've eaten an entire entrees worth if i'd had the chance. it was sweet and fluffy. for dessert, my end of the table ordered "Oregon Snow" (coconut lime sorbet), pumpkin ice cream, vanilla ice cream, twice-baked bosc pears, a walnut chocolate terrine in whipped vanilla sauce and a cranberry cobbler. the sorbet was much creamier than i'd expected and delicious with the cranberry cobbler. cranberries are ever so underappreciated. we must break the chains of the cranberry juice! the berry itself, unpressed, has so much to offer! when baked (in a cobbler, at least) it offers such a lovely tartness. it works so well with sugar!

anyways, yes, it was good! but not as good as green zebra! that was much fancier and good in that nouveau fusion blah-blah-blah kind of way. i'll just say for now that many dishes featured foam.