Monday, September 29, 2008

This was my dinner last Thursday night...

Originally uploaded by starchmouse.
...right after I had seen The Bonesetter's Daughter with the SF Opera.

Damn I'm a classy lady.

I didn't show you the waffle I had for dessert...

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Soon-to-be Mrs. Savory Bread Pudding

Yesterday was Kevin's first day of teaching at USF, and to celebrate, I took him to Serpentine. Having had a rather large snack at 3pm then promptly falling asleep, I was neither alert nor hungry by the time our 7:45pm reservation rolled around. But reading the menu perked me right up so we dug in to:

Baked Marinated Local Anchovies
flageolet & gigante beans - levain breadcrumbs - scallions -
cherry tomatoes - pickled fennel

I think I could eat pickled fennel all day long. Actually, any form of fennel....

Roasted Mary's Half Chicken
summer succotash of white beans - cranberry beans -
corn - summer squash - salsa verde

Savory Bread Pudding
heirloom tomatoes - garlic confit - swiss - oregano
with roasted summer squash - mixed greens

I loved this so much, I'm going to marry it. You're all invited to the wedding. Except for the fig tart we had for dessert. What a letdown to an otherwise wonderful meal.

Incidentally, there was a couple sitting next to us who, based on their awkward conversation, appeared to be on a first date of some sort. Except the guy was wearing this really awful hat. Like, Robin Hood awful. That's fine if you want to dress like one of his Merry Men, but on a first date?? Really??

The reason I've been so tired is that this last weekend I flew to Wisconsin for a huge family reunion. It was awesome to be able to see everybody, catch up, and slide down The Hurricane (twice) at America's largest waterpark, but getting there was a bit of an ordeal:

4 am - leave house to get to airport
5 am - arrive airport
6:20 am - don't make flight to Chicago because it is overbooked
8:50 am - don't make flight to Chicago because it is overbooked
9:59 am - don't make flight to Chicago because it is overbooked
10:15 am - decide to double-list ourselves for both Chicago and Denver. Dad waits at gate 81, mom and I wait at gate 89.
10:50 am - Mom and I are instructed to wait by the gate in case we get on the Chicago flight, which is supposed to leave at 10:49am but has been delayed to noon.
11:10 am - Dad calls, we made it on the Denver flight, mom and I sprint to gate 81
3:10 pm - arrive Denver at gate B32. Need to make it to gate B88 by 3:25. Run really fast. Realize I am super out of shape, but cut myself slack because I am wearing three-inch heels
3:23 pm - arrive at gate, but they won't let us get on the plane. Next flight to Madison, WI is at 9:20 pm. !!!!

Meanwhile, in Atlanta....

5 pm (eastern time) - Brother arrives at airport
5:15 pm - Brother realizes he relinquished his MA driver's license to get a GA one, and now has no government-issued photo ID, just a temporary license.
5:16 pm - Brother drives to apartment in crazy rush hour traffic to get passport. Once at home, looks at mail, and there is his new driver's license. Gah.
6:30 pm - Brother nervously high-tails it through ATL (ie, worst EVER) security line to make his 7pm flight.
6:45 pm - Brother finds out flight is delayed, and will get him to O'Hare at 9:12 pm. His flight to Madison leaves at 9:13 pm. AWESOME.

Luckily, his flight was delayed so he arrived safe and sound. Our flight was also delayed, so we stumbled into the airport at around 1:30am. The super nice Hertz guy was waiting for us, and we got into our rental car and drove to Wisconsin Dells. After about 24 hours of fun with the fam, we left at 2:45am to make our 5:15am flight out of Madison back home.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Just in time...

Have you seen those new commercials from the Corn Refiners Association? The ones that make you feel guilty for trying not to eat high fructose corn syrup? The first time I saw one I almost thought it was a joke - really? They're trying to make us feel like judgemental jerks for not eating HFCS? But then after a couple more viewings (which is not hard, they are on like every five minutes) the gullible part of me started to feel guilty. Luckily, I read this today.

Lest you think I have broken into the narrow-minded side of everything San-Francisco-hippie, let me just say this. If you eat HFCS I will not judge you. I hope this is true for most of us folks who have made the personal decision to try and cut it out of their diets completely, or at least reduce their consumption of it as much as possible. But honestly, when the craving for a Twinkie hits, nothing will stop me. And the damn stuff really is everywhere. If you choose to buy the $2 loaf of bread on sale that has HFCS over the $5 organic froufy loaf without, that is totally awesome by me. What bothers me about those commercials is that they really try to make you think that HFCS is exactly the same as sugar (which I'm not saying you should be rolling around in either, but still) with a few general facts about its taste and nutritional "value" - same amount of calories per gram, comes from natural sources, fine in "moderation"'s like arguing that poison oak is just as safe as ivy because they are both leafy and grow on the ground. And the issues with HFCS are not merely nutritional...

Also, the people in the commercials who avoid HFCS are portrayed as lemmings who don't know anything about the issue...I think you'll find that because HFCS is so prevalent in our diets, people who have chosen to avoid it have actually read up on the subject, or at the very least, can give several good reasons as to why they made that choice.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Road trip, part 2

Originally uploaded by starchmouse.
Up at the ungodly hour of 7:30 (hey! We're on vacation!) we stumbled outside to the gazebo where a pot of coffee was waiting for us. We chatted with a lovely older couple who were making their way south to Monterey. Requisite weather small take ensued (it was very cold outside) and I warned them that San Francisco was just as cold when we left the day before. Seeing the disappointed look on their faces, I quickly assured them that I heard it was supposed to warm up (I completely made that up, and it came true! I also heard I'm going to win the lottery next week...) and felt a little better.

Next on our agenda: a beautiful morning stroll through the Lady Bird Johnson Grove at Redwood National Park. Then a stop to see the elk. Driving up the coast, we stopped at Meyers Creek beach and got whipped around by the wind.

Our morning's hard work left us a little hungry, so consulting our handy little Oregon coast guide magazine, we decided we would be crazy to NOT go to The Crazy Norweigian's Fish and Chips in Port Orford. Given our Dynamo Donuts fiasco, it should have come as no surprise that it was CLOSED. What is going on here?

The rest is a blur. Lunch. Yum. Driving. Woo hoo. And finally, a stop at the sea lion cave. Yay! Here we saw the sign telling us to positively stay on trails and established walkways. No grumpies!

Finally we made it to Woodburn, where a king size bed was waiting for us. Except there was no blanket. So we called and they brought us....the world's largest mattress pad! We spread it out and almost decided it was okay. But then we decided to suck it up and call the front desk yet again and hope for the best.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Road trip, part 1

Originally uploaded by starchmouse.
I picked up Liv from Caltrain at 9am and then we went in search of Dynamo Donuts. I had read somewhere about its maple apple bacon donut, and thought it fitting to start our roadtrip with these in our bellies. Thanks to my stubbornness ("we don't need to use the GPS! I live here!") it took us awhile to find it. We found a parking spot and walked up and down the block looking for it. Unfortunately, we had parked right in front of it, but seeing as it was CLOSED and it is a tiny storefront with a teeny tiny sign, we completely missed it.

Luckily, our place was right across the street. Fortified with pancakes and a fried egg sandwich, we headed back to my place, because, of course, I had forgotten something. Finally, on the road! We headed up 101.

Liv had a Coastal California guidebook, and as we were approaching Leggett, saw that we were not far from a drive-thru tree. Let's drive through a tree! That must be pretty special. Turns out...not really! There are tons of drive-thru trees along 101.

No matter, we still had the Avenue of Giants to look forward to. We stopped at several places to walk around and take in the yummy-smelling air. We also learned quite a bit about old-growth redwoods in general, thanks to the brochures provided and our ability to read.

Finally, we decided that perhaps we should look for a place to sleep for the night. Out comes the GPS. We are in Trinidad, and pull into the first "motel" we see - a collection of small cottages. They had one available for the night, but alas, the advertised free wireless internet was only available at the bar. (??!!) I needed to email a cover letter and buy plane tickets to Atlanta but didn't feel comfortable doing this while drinking a Stella (and possibly spilling it all over my precious MacBook), so we pulled out our phones to call a few other places. Thank god we did - Liv had a very nice conversation with one hotel that strongly suggested we NOT stay at our current location. Looking back, it did kinda look like a place where somebody would bring strippers to to murder them. So we ended up at the Trinidad Inn, a cute cozy place that thankfully we could afford since Liv and I are not squeamish about sharing a full-size bed.

Being two girls on a road trip, we decided to not sit down for a proper dinner but forage instead. That's how we ended up eating yogurt, snap peas, string cheese, and donuts for dinner. There's nothing more comfy than traveling with an old friend. :) As I tapped away on my computer (round trip tickets to Atlanta, $289 on United, are you kidding me???) we watched What a Girl Wants on the Oxygen network (or, the Oh!) then settled in for bed...

My brother is mean

Here is a conversation we had last night...

Brother: So, (the swingers at the bar) were only hitting on Olivia and not on you?
Me: Well, I never get hit on whenever I'm with Olivia. But I'm okay with that. Years of therapy has made me okay with that. This comment being a joke, since he knows I have not undergone years of therapy, only a couple free grad school sessions to figure out if I wanted to still be in grad school.
Brother: Years of therapy won't fix the fact that you're an uggo.

That's when I started laughing hysterically.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

The Omnivore's Hundred, or, my very first meme (um, what's a meme?)

So here goes, with additional commentary....

1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten. (I also italicized, since my weak eyes can't tell the difference between bold and not-bold.)
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating. (I'm about to get a PhD, yet can't figure out how to do this on blogger.)
4) Optional extra: Post a comment here at linking to your results.

The VGT Omnivore’s Hundred:

1. Venison (Should have rectified this when I went to Texas)
2. Nettle tea (Does a fabulous nettle pizza from Chez Panisse count??)
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho (I wish I had started eating this sooner. My parents would always order it but I would get claypot rice. Gah!)
13. PB&J sandwich (Um, hi, peanut butter??)
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses (I probably have had this and didn't know it)
17. Black truffle (Thank you Italy!)
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese (And I enjoyed it immensely, so there!)
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper (Even the cooked stuff makes me nervous, but next time I find it, it will be done...)
27. Dulce de leche (Homemade!)
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl (If you ever visit me in San Francisco, we will definitely eat this...)
33. Salted lassi (In Singapore, of all places)
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar (Both separately, but never together. Might be difficult now that I know what a cigar tastes like...)
37. Clotted cream tea (Need to do this soon...)
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O (This was my very first foray into college drinking...)
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail (My favorite "mom food" when I'm sick)
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects (Ew ew ew ew ew....the smell of steaming silkworm cocoons is permanently imprinted in my brain)
43. Phaal (Spicier than vindaloo?? Sign me up!)
44. Goat’s milk (Interesting, just goat yogurt and goat cheese, but never goat milk...)
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more (It was a tiny sip)
46. Fugu (At Tsukiji? But my lips did not tingle...)
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone (I want to try diving for them one day)
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle (I ate this at least twice a week while studying in Germany - next time I go I gotta get one of the boards to make them)
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV (My first was a horrid french concoction called 9X, but five years later I had a lovely glass of Dogfish Head 90 min IPA)
59. Poutine (But I really really want to...)
60. Carob chips (Not by choice though...)
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin (You can eat this?? I've had it on my face....)
64. Currywurst
65. Durian (Specifically not allowed on public transportation in Singapore)
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake (Better not get started on my love for fried dough....)
68. Haggis (It was here dad's had the real deal in Edinburgh)
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost (Although I'm told I would love this)
75. Roadkill (Unless I didn't know it was roadkill...)
76. Baijiu (Nope, but have had all incarnations of sake and soju)
77. Hostess Fruit Pie (One of the first things I bought when I moved out of the house, because I could. I never ate another...)
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky (My favorite is the Men's Pocky. A box of this was in every college care package my mom sent me...)
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant. (When I graduate, who would like to take me to French Laundry??)
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse (But I almost ate horse sushi in Japan)
90. Criollo chocolate (Richart counts, right? Or do I need to visit Switzerland?)
91. Spam (And I love it, too, dammit!)
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor (I have had one lobster my entire life. What can I say? I'm a California girl who loves Dungeness crab...)
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake (Cross this out! Thanks to my snake phobia, the very thought of putting snake meat in my mouth is making my heart race and eyes tear up...)

So...82 down, 17 to go? I'll pretty much try anything....