Sunday, August 31, 2008


Remember when I escaped Chicago, went to an orchard, drove country rodes and ate veal? I do. I want to escape Philadelphia and do the same thing.

Water Ice Makes The World Go Round

After a while we left the Rodin garden area and ordered ourselves some Rita's then went and sat in another park to slurp it. I ordered peach and blueberry, which might have been a mistake since they're both on the sweeter end of the spectrum. Usually I'll get a sweet flavor and then the lemonade flavor to add a little tartness. The boy who served us didn't know what the word veto meant. That reminds me of the girl at the grocery store check out line a few weeks back who didn't know what a beet was. And that reminds me of the boy at the grocery store check out line a few years back who didn't know what an artichoke was. Sigh.
While in the park an older lady appeared with her puppy. We encouraged them to come say hi. Say hello to Duke, or Duke-y, a miniature collie who fell in love with J.


Last Sunday the apartment I have been subletting began the process of being turned over. By this I mean that the true leaseholder's (C.) stuff started to get packed up and the new tenant's (L.) stuff started to be moved in. My childhood friend and I, after partaking in many of the donut munchkins C., and her girlfriend M., brought with them as sustenance for the troops helping them with all this moving, left so that we wouldn't be in their way. I had no idea what we should do for a few hours since I continue to be working with limited funds and continue to be at a loss for proper ways of entertaining myself, let alone other people. So we went to the Rodin museum and talked for a while, which was nice because I like talking to people and sitting in nice places.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Lunch at Dos Segundos

After our manicures J. and I took a walk on over to the museum and then down Kelley Drive. After the walk we took in some Olympics before heading to the Northern Liberties neighborhood in order to participate in one of our longest held traditions...playing foosball. Before we played this foosball we had lunch at Dos Segundos.

I had a margarita. It was quite nice. Amazing, no. It didn't seem like it had been made out of a premade mix but, paradoxically, it didn't taste like it had been made with fresh limes either.
A nice guy, whether an employee or simply a patron of the establishment, saw me struggle taking a photograph of our new nails and helped me out. Below you can see my shiny new nails.
My childhood friend had a chimichanga the size of a small baby.
I had goat tacos. They were quite, quite yummy. The meat was tender, the cilantro fresh, the whole thing juicy. I might have wished for complimentary tomatoes and sour cream but even without (I actually paid for the sour cream) the dish was tasty. Each taco wasn't skimpy on the meat.

We were seated in a very sunny spot, I had already gotten too much sun on my chest from our early walk and then I had to worry about my back getting equally burned. So I constructed a cape out of a napkin in a not entirely futile attempt not to burn.
J. was kind enough (psych) not to remind me of my cape as we walked out the restaurant. Sigh. I am awesome. Not because of the cape. No. I am awesome because then we went to North Bowl where I used the entirety of my quarter cache to play a few games of foosball with my pal. And after a rocky start, beat her pants off her legs. That's right. I am the awesomest foosball player ever. Still got the touch, baby. Still got the touch.

Another First

After breakfast L., J. and I walked on back towards home. L. had to stop and get her nails done and I commented that I had never had my nails done. J. suggested we get manicures as well. This was exciting even though I keep my nails cut as if I bite them. There's a lot you need to know when you get your manicure. First off you should know to saunter on over to the shelf of one million nail polishes. Once there you should spend a long time trying to decide what color you want and neurotically ask your friends if a light blue is too much while being drawn by the pink sparkly color near by. Then you should wait until the lady (in our case Vietnamese ladies) tells you to sit down. Then let your hands go limp. Don't try to talk, there's nothing that needs saying. Getting a manicure means never having to say you're sorry...or anything else for that matter. First she'll cut your nails (which is pretty hilarious when they're already ridiculously short) then she'll put some stuff on them, then some other stuff, then stick you hand in a little bowl full of I don't know what. Then she'll---this is boring isn't it?
My fingers before any of the treatment.
The last step is putting your hand into something that very strongly represents one of those easy bake ovens...only it has a fan blowing air on your fingers and UV light emanates out of it, like some kind of crazy black light.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Breakfast c/o Marathon Grill

On Saturday morning my childhood friend and I met up with L. and C. and M. for breakfast at Marathon On The Square. I ordered the eggs benedict and a coffee. Frankly the eggs were a little disappointing. They looked great and the Hollandaise sauce seemed like it wasn't made with a package and water but all the tastes weren't quite right. The potatoes were eh, the sauce had some lingering tabasco lemon thing going on and the ham was forgettable (literally, I forget eating it). The eggs were cooked properly though. And that's always good.
Everyone else had one kind of egg dish or another but C. also ordered a helping of chocolate chip cookie dough pancakes (I know, craaaaazy). My first taste was only okay...and that is because I didn't get any of the dough. The second and third bites I ingested were quite tasty in a strange way. I mean, cookie dough in pancakes for breakfast?

Another high school alumni friend of J. came by for coffee and was kind enough to take these photographs before going on his merry way.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A Finally First

On Friday my childhood friend J. came to play with me. Now, technically, J. and I only met in high school but for a reason I can no longer remember I call her my childhood friend. I haven't seen her in a long time but when I moved back to the east coast I gave her a call and suggested she come play in Philly (she lives in New Jersey). And she did! It was like magic! So on Friday I picked her up from the train station and we quickly made our way to South Philly in order to have cheesesteaks. J. had an opinion about which one of the two famous, touristy cheesesteak shops to visit and with that opinion we went to Pat's King of Steaks. I managed to order my cheesesteak correctly though the near toothless man who took the order was so brusque that I almost walked away without my change...which I guess is part of Pat's charm...surly toothless cash register dudes.
I ordered a cheese whiz steak 'wit' onions. It was pretty great. All fake cheese and greasy steak juice. My first few bites were more bread than steak or cheese but once I got into it I was very satisfied.

Next month maybe I'll try Geno's. It seems all Disney World tricked out. The question I almost don't want to pose is this: how different can one cheesesteak be from any other? Answer me that.

Work Wich

I brought some deli meat and cheese and bread to work last week. Then I made myself sandwiches with these ingredients. That's right, sandwich for lunch.


So there are some people on my googlechat that I never chat with...many former Chicagoist colleagues, in fact. And often enough they have little links that go to something entertaining. Today one of the links went to the site below...and this was something that made me laugh. A few others did as well but I'll let you see them for yourself.

Where Are The Dogs

Monday, August 25, 2008

Team Building!

On Thursday, after work, the majority of my coworkers, supervisors and boss-men and I went to a Phillies game. This was billed as a team building exercise. I guess a team was built. It certainly wasn't compromised.

It was dollar dog night. I had two dogs. One with too much mustard and some onions, one with too much ketchup and some onions. The 'too much' element to both hot dogs was entirely due to the way that each condiment gushed from its pump containers...I wasn't alone in having this problem...and I don't think, even knowing this now, that I would do any better if put in the position of having to do it again.
Ridiculously overpriced beer was had ($6.75 for Miller Lite) but not too much of it because, you know, it was a team building exercise not a drunk making exercise. I don't really care about sports. I'm one of those 'I'll watch the big finale and maybe care' but hardly ever do I get all excited on my own. There have been exceptions...I do like to watch Ohio State football and I got pretty into the White Sox (well, in the weeks leading to their winning of the World Series) and I thoroughly enjoyed the first 8 or 9 days of the Olympics. The point is that many of the other work participants actually knew who all the players were and were really excited. I took a passing interest but just couldn't gather that much interest in the whole thing. The Phillies won though and that's good.

Cousinly Salon

A cousin of mine hosts what I like to think of as a literary internet salon type dealy...I'm not actually sure how she would categorize it...and you can read an essay I wrote a while back there. Many long time readers probably already have. But newer readers might like to read my Veronica Mars essay...especially because I've started a second installment...but it will be a Buffy inspired trek.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Strange Combo Stew

On Sunday I turned my left over jerk chicken into a stew. A stew with a few coq au vin notes...mainly a bit of red wine. I added more potatoes, carrots and olives. I then ate this stew for dinner for the majority of the next week.


After that walk I stopped by my local Rita's and had me some black cherry and lemonade water ice. It was delicious.

Last Sunday

Last Sunday I took a walk around the Art Museum neighborhood. It was pretty.

Friday, August 22, 2008

A Particularly Funny Conversation

So, my work place is pretty big on communicating via instant messenger. This is, in part, because a number of my coworkers are not located in the office and, in part, because of the nature of our work ( if people are talking all the time it's pretty hard to concentrate). Today this conversation took place between myself and H. It was very satisfying.

C. Says:
how do you spell that word?
H. says:
no idea
H. says:
C. says:
ah ha!
C. says:
H. says:
huh. who knew there was an i?
C. says:
somewhere in my brain i did. but google knew it for sure.
H. says:
google's so smart
C. says:
i know, i'm thinking about marrying it and having google babies
C. says:
they would know everything and have a killer sense of humor
H. says:
wait, I'm imagining that...
H. says:
in my mind, you have baby-shaped google logos
C. says:
in my hands
C. says:
and i'm coochecoochecoooing them
H. says:
I wish I knew how to draw
C. says:
feeding them information about places, people and things
C. says:
and they grow bigger and bigger
H. says:
through the USB port in their side
C. says:
and then suddenly they're graduating from high school and having sex
C. says:
and making inappropriate your mom jokes
H. says:
or having sex and graduating from high school
C. says:
and their dad's never around
C. says:
always so busy at work
C. says:
constantly searching, searching, searching
H. says:
sigh, that google
C. says:
it seemed romantic when i was younger

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Drinks and Jerk Chicken c/o Mount Gay Rum

So, as I mentioned, Saturday was National Rum Day and Mount Gay Rum's public relations people were kind enough to send me a sample bottle of their rum and a long list of recipes in which it was featured. In the end I chose to make use of their jerk chicken recipe (I considered their chicken stew but it involved pineapple and orange juice and I'm not sure if that the kind of stew I like...actually I know it's not and I made another kind of stew later on that you'll just have to wait to read about)...which I am happy to share below. I also looked through their myriad drink recipes before deciding to, as Fleetwood Mac might say, go my own way. What was it?
1 shot mount gay rum (Eclipse model),
1/4th of a lime (squeezed)
Strawberry peach juice and a splash of tonic
All shaken together (well, actually the tonic was poured after the shaking).
It was, if I say so myself, quite tasty tasty.
I've never had jerk chicken before, let alone made it, so I can't tell you if it was successful on that score but I took the Mount Gay recipe and followed it pretty accurately (except I made more of it so increased things a bit and added potatoes...which I'm sure makes me a non-authentic jerk...ha!).
The recipe for the chicken, as I adapted it:
4 chicken drumsticks
2 split chicken breasts
1 cup Mount Gay rum
about 6 tablespoons jerk seasoning (I bought the seasoning from I have no idea about the quality of the product)
all that chicken and rum and seasoning gets put into a big ziploc bag and marinates for 3 hours
3 potatoes roughly chopped and three garlic cloves, smashed

Okay, for this part, you lay the potatoes down into a big casserole dish then put the chicken on top, making sure all the jerky rummy goodness gets into the dish

Bake at 350 degrees until chicken is done (if you want it to take forever...which, it seems, I did)

The other element of this recipe was a salad. It was very similar to one of my favorite salads. So much so that I kind of just made my salad but with the addition of their ingredients:
juice of one lime
chopped parsley
two avocados, gently cut into happy chunks
3 tomatoes chopped
1 red pepper, roughly diced and chopped
1 yellow pepper, the same
They included a vinaigrette:
3 tablespoons vinegar (I found it slightly irritating that they didn't specify what kind of vinegar)
lime juice
shredded raw beet (I left this out, though I bought a beet and was astonished when the friendly cashier had to ask me what it was)
1.2 "juice cup" of oil (again what kind of oil, I wonder? and what is a "juice cup"?)

Coworker L. came over to watch the Olympics and share in the food. She seemed happy with the chicken and salad and rum drinks. I know I was.

Thanks Mount Gay! And, hey, tell all your friends that I'm always happy to test things out and share my results with the blogging public.