Sunday, January 31, 2010

Brined and Roasted Chicken

Last weekend I finally got myself together enough to try my hand at brining a chicken. I followed the advice of Mr. Ass's mother and Cook's Illustrated. Because it was my first time, I thought it best to abstain from any experimentation in flavor/liquids, and just try the straight up salt/sugar/water formula. I would say that the resulting roasted chicken was definitely more moist and flavorful than some I have made of late, and I didn't use a helluva lot of butter, which I often do when making my cilantro butter roasted chicken. Delicious. I then made stock and a garlic/chipotle carrot chicken noodle soup, which became a few lunches and dinners throughout the rest of the week.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Doodley Doo

When I am at home, I spend a lot of time at my desk. I frequently watch television shows on my computer. I often doodle as well. Here I tried to stick to an object vampire motif.
Months ago I drew this.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Ink, Wings and Beer

Last Friday a bunch of us office gals went to Urban Saloon for happy hour. I tried a German beer. Then we went to Rembrandt's where I realized that the pen in my coat pocket exploded, leaving some of the tips of my fingers rather sticky. I have washed my hands countless times since then, but the ink on my pointer finder (index finger?) glommed onto my nail polish and has not let go.
We finished our evening at the Belgian Cafe. I tried the seitan wings. They had more texture and crispiness than I expected. Not spicy. You didn't have to deal with bones or gristle, which was nice.

All You Can Eat c/o Pod (With Complaints)

About two weeks ago I read about Pod's limited time 'all you can eat sushi' deal: for about a week, between the hours of 9 and 11, you could order all the sushi you would want to eat for only $25. This was the sort of deal I could get behind, especially since I had been jonesing for sushi for at least a month. I already wrote about the entirety of the experience on yelp, and I don't really feel like going into grumpy, curmudgeonly detail here, but let me just give you the highlights as succinctly as I can. We had a reservation for 9:30. We stood for 40 minutes after 9:30 before being seated. Ak is allergic to shrimp. The management could not guarantee that the sushi would be shrimp-touch free.
The sushi itself (ak's situation was resolved positively) was only okay, which is to be expected when there is a crazy deal going on, but the long wait (in spite of having reservations) and the momentary 'you can't eat what you came to eat' situation was taxing. I strongly believe we should have been comped something. Maybe our beers? Maybe one of our $25? I don't know. I won't lie, in the end I left relatively pleased with the level of sushi in my belly, but would anything about the experience really make me want to come back in the future? No, not really.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

For No Reason Whatsoever

The first time I saw this I thought it was funnier than I think it is now. But maybe you, too, will get at least a semi-hearty chuckle. Or not. Cats!

Last Free Meal c/o Tiffin

Last Tuesday marked the end of our second busy season. We were all quite pleased about this. For our last meal we ordered from Tiffin. I tried one of their specials, lamb dhankatar (or something like that), and found it to my liking. The lamb was more tender than KoT's usual lamb offerings, and the lentil/pumpkin/sour/tart thing going on with the spices was altogether pleasing.
The dragon dug on the naan.
Now that this part of the year has ended, I am going to turn back to my desire to improve my eating habits and fitness, if only by the smallest of degrees. To that end, I went grocery shopping for the first time in what feels like forever (but really is about two weeks) and bought broccoli and lettuce and other fresh green produce type things that will make me feel full without involving heavy meat or cheese. Last week I mentioned trying to cut cheese out of my diet for a month, just to see if my intake is so great that I could actually lose weight by taking the food of dairy gods out of my life...but then I ate cheese on Saturday, so we'll see how that goes. I do love cheese. And after this next round of nasty weather comes and goes (it's supposed to get all cold and snowy in the next four days) I'm going to get back to walking places a few times a week. Perhaps I'll even get up before 8:25 and walk in the morning, since I always say the reason I don't walk after work is because it is dark (which is true, I walked far more often when it was still bright outside at the end of my day). Sigh. Those are my thoughts on health and fitness; they are not, by any stretch, resolutions. Though wouldn't it be great if I could look cute, cute, cute for L.'s wedding?...not cuter than her of course:)

Monday, January 25, 2010

Free Treats c/o Percy Street Barbeque and Yelp

Last Sunday I enlisted A.S. to be my 'plus one' at a Yelp event at Percy Street Barbeque. The theme was Western, and a good majority of the attendees were properly shirted, booted or hat-ted. Numerous servers went around the space offering free beers, cocktails and portions of the restaurant's dishes. Here, for example, you can see my Victory Twilight Ale, which was only so-so, a pulled pork sandwich, and a taste of brisket. Also on offer were chicken salad sandwiches, spoonfuls of macaroni and cheese, pecan pie, rootbeer floats and some banana pudding thing that I, of course, did not try. There was also music.
A.S. dug the event wholeheartedly, which was good.
After that we went to Locust Bar and met up with A.S.'s friend K. and split a few pitchers while listening to others sing karaoke....which then led to my singing karaoke...which is silly because I can't really sing and I always choose the same song (Undone the Sweater by Weezer, dontchaknow).
One nice lady took a photograph of the three of us and complimented me on my earrings.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Hair Cut Cut

Last week I went to a new place to get my hair cut. It was successful. I like it. It is short but snazzy.
I still generally part my hair on the left, but I have experimented with the right as well (though I don't think any of these photographs, which really all show the same version of the cut, demonstrate that fact).
And here are shots I took on my computer's little built in camera thing.

Cheese, Pizza and Pajamas c/o J. & J. (and S. and N.)

Last weekend I went over to J. and J.'s for a little face time. There was a lot of cheese, and I love cheese....and hummus, who doesn't love hummus!?
Mmmmmm. Cheeeeese.

The kids were in good moods.
He-J. made pizzas. Delicious pizzas. This one, poorly flashed it's true, had corn and mushrooms and lovely, ooey, gooey cheese. The other pizza had pineapples and was quite tasty as well.
N. is seriously digging Buzz Lightyear. S. continues to dig storm troopers.
The evening waned, and S. put his sleeping gear on, complete with Eagles hat and gloves. It was quite a great ensemble, and I wanted to get a real nice picture of it...but S. was a little over the photograph taking, so these are the best I could get.

Serious stylin'.
Thanks to the whole clan for a lovely evening and dinner!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Dinner c/o Modo Mio

L. and I went to Modo Mio last week. We enjoyed ourselves so much the first time round we thought we'd just go back, instead of trying somewhere new. I appreciated the chance to go back to a restaurant, try more of their dishes, get a better feel for the food and the place. We sat pretty much in the same place, and it was low lit, but I think the new camera helped me, and my photographic exposure settings are improving.
I liked the sound of the scallop special for my first course, and they were just wonderful. Nicely seared, great taste and an orange sauce of some kind, which had a subtle sweetness.
For her pasta, L. had the special pasta of the night, a lasagna with all kinds of creamy goodness.
For my pasta course I went with something a little different: the tagliatelle with artichoke, caper, house-made pancetta and veal sweetbreads. I enjoyed it. The last time I felt like a few of the dishes were a little over salted. Saltiness was not an issue in this meal, and it could have been. Oh and the pasta itself was such a different beast than the stuff you buy in the store. I would like to learn how to make pasta. Perhaps I will.
L.'s third course was prosciutto wrapped trout fillet, broccoli rabe, marsala, plum tomato and walnuts.
I ordered the lamb meatball, fried egg, radicchio, capers and sundried cherry balsamic maionese. It was r-i-c-h, but damn good.
We each finished with a coffee.
L. had the caramel ganache dish that we loved the last time, and I tried the cheesecake with golden raisins and all sorts of crazy goodness.
Afterwards we met up with C. and F. for a beer at Wine-O.
I've been digging on this ridiculously red lipstick. I may really become a painted whore.

It was a lovely meal and evening.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Pizza c/o Luigi's and Gyros Sandwich c/o Zorba's

Five cheese pizza with mushrooms and pepperoni. Ridiculous cheesy gluttony.

Gyros sandwich.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Vacation Plans and a Little Griping

So, with the busy season at work slowing down, I have turned my thoughts towards my vacation schedule for the warmer months. There are plans for a visit to Seattle (which I really need to nail down by sucking it up and buying a ticket), a repeat Preakness experience, and, of course, L. and Fat T.'s wedding in New Hampshire. I have also decided that, after the wedding, I will continue northward to Charlevoix, Canada for a few days of camping, whale watching, biking and cheese farm touring.

I still have a lot of research and planning ahead of me before this Canada trip officially becomes more than just a crazy dream, but I really hope I keep it together. I have already told a few people about this tentative plan, and they have asked me who I plan on going to Canada with, and the answer is myself, but, I'm not going to lie, I'm a bit annoyed that this is the case. This is not about my having a lack of friends as much as it is about not having a boyfriend. It's lame, I know, to care about this (it's not really lame, but I feel like I'm supposed to be a bit more stoic about it) but, whatever, I care. I would like to have a partner in crime who is equally interested in going to a pretty place, eating farm fresh food, watching whales and camping with a bunch of French Canadians...who would also like to hold hands with me on occasion.

I mean, sure, I'd like to have a significant other on a more daily basis, but the lack of a companion for a vacation is annoying me more than my average irked-ness over the lack of someone to do the bills with or to count on for conversation and cuddles after the work day. I think I touched upon this in the past, when discussing my inability, when driving from Philly to Tennessee, to venture off the highway on my own, not out of a sense of fear, but a sense of needing someone else to rationalize the waste of gas and time. I do not need a boyfriend to do interesting things, but it would be a nice change of pace.

This line of thought was most definitely compounded by this essay, which L. shared with me last week. I may be oversimplifying the message (not really, look at the title) but the woman's point basically is that it only gets harder and harder to find someone as you get older, so grab who you can while you can. I think her target audience skewed about ten years older than me, but it seems like the message is entirely applicable to me and my peers. If we don't want to be a 38 year old woman who artificially inseminated herself and now has no time for love, we best find ourselves a less than ideal mate right now. But, how less than ideal are we talking? Someone with whom I wouldn't actually want to go to Charlevoix, Canada? Someone who wouldn't want to go to Charlevoix, Canada with me? At exactly what point does one need to adjust their expectations? And what if your expectations aren't that high to start with?

Just some thoughts for a rainy Sunday afternoon. Don't judge me.

Zul and the Paperwhites

Like I said, the Paperwhites all popped last week. Very pretty and strangely not stinky, which is a little odd, but why question a positive reaction to a possibly negative situation, no matter how small?
Maybe next time I will add gin or bourbon to the mix and make them a little more manageable...I ended up getting a piece of butcher's string and tying it around the collective stalks to help them stay upright.
Zul was really unhappy with all the attention I was paying the flowers, so I stopped and paid a little attention to him. I think he would have preferred less photography, more petting, but what can I say? He got what he got.
He is fat. But I changed his food, so he's puking less, which maybe will make him fatter? Oh no. The vet will think I am a bad person. Sigh. I wish I could turn him into some sort of freak cat that likes taking brisk walks on a leash. Then he and I could get in shape together.
S. and I have decided that more flowers in the house would be pretty great, and since he finally emptied all the pots with dead plants in them, we could really go crazy with it (I want to force all sorts of bulbs to grow...amaryllis maybe, and crocuses and all other sorts of pretty things). Of course, I think it's pretty much up to me to actually get the bulbs, so, as with everything that is up to me, we'll see if it actually gets done.
I have problems accomplishing personal tasks, especially in a timely manner. I mean, in certain contexts. If I need to print out my car's new insurance card, I will get it done before driving in an uninsured car, but if I need to beautify or otherwise improve my life in a non-official way, well, how long have I had paint samples on my wall without buying more paint? A month plus some days is how long...and that will continue for at least another week...or more. Next on my list of things to accomplish is brining a chicken, this is a two week old desire, which will not be accomplished today because it is rainy and I would prefer cleaning up my room to walking to Whole Foods. With that as a secondary example, I think it's fair to say that I need more chutzpah. Never you mind, just look at the pretty flowers.

Sandwiches, Dal, Oh My!

Yes. More lunches. I appreciate the boss-men sustaining our brains through lunches during the busy season, but it feels like I haven't had to properly feed myself in weeks and weeks. I don't know if I would still be alive if it weren't for V8. Okay, I'd still be alive, but I have definitely not been eating enough straight up vegetable matter these days. I'm thinking about brining a chicken today, we'll see if that happens.
Any who, this is another Primo hoagie. Specifically the 'American Classic' which is comprised of: Coteghino, Natural Casing Genoa Salami, Ham & New Yorker American Cheese. It was good.
Another day, and Mugshots food for lunch. I ordered the Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato and Apple offering, and added cheddar for good measure. I didn't meat melted cheddar, so that was a negative surprise, and I don't know how to say this but...there is actually such a thing as too much bacon, and this sandwich was proof of this truth. I did not eat the whole thing.

We also tried Tiffin for a change of pace from King of Tandoor. KoT hasn't been quite as satisfying an eating experience as last year, this is partially a result of a less reliable delivery person and, I don't know, it's just not quite as satisfying. I speak for myself. Anyways, I ordered the Saag Paneer Tiffin, which included dal, rice, saag paneer and potatoes. Very good.
The cheese element was particularly good, slightly silkier than KoT's rendition.
Their side sauces weren't quite as great, their pickled onions were sweeter and they didn't include green sauce, which I always enjoy.
Oh food.