Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Country Candles

A rare thing is on the verge of happening folks. My blog life is almost caught up with my real life. This happens every so often, but on the whole my blog runs about a week or two weeks behind ... this gives me a sense of always having something to write about on the blog. But with the exception of the meal I had last night, I'm pretty up to date. And, horror of horrors, I don't have any concrete plans for large scale adventure or exciting meals on my horizons. Whatever shall I do? In any case, on Sunday Mr. Ass invited me up to the country for dinner. I really dislike leaving my house after 7 on a 'school night' but I hadn't interacted with any people since Friday, so it seemed like enjoying the country and human conversation might be a good idea and off I went. I was remiss in my photography as far as the meal was concerned. Mr. Ass grilled/cooked chicken and boiled a little pasta and we sat outside with a bunch of candles (the electricity kept going on and off) for a spell.
I wish I had made it up a little earlier so I could have had a better view of the flooding that Mr. Ass told me had happened but it was too dark by the time I got there/I wasn't wearing proper shoes for traipsing in muck.
I really need to make exciting dinner plans for some time soon.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Snacks c/o Fare, Booze c/o McCrossens and Autumn Planning

So last Friday LW and I met up in order to enjoy the last of the not so bad weather before the hurricane. We decided to start our evening at Fare, the newest restaurant in the neighborhood. This is what an alley looked like as the sun set, with the help of photoshop.
I ordered a glass of Belleruche Chapoutier Viognier, which was good but not earth shattering in its goodness.
LW ordered their chicken thighs while I chose to try their small plate of braised leeks and fennel with nicoise olives and goat cheese. My first bite was kind of bland, I liked the texture fine enough but even with the olives there wasn't a lot of bite or pop going on. This improved once I actually got a smear of the goat cheese, which was buried underneath the leeks and fennel.
The baguette-like bread accompanying the dish was nicely toasty but still forgiving on the teeth with a nice chewiness going on. LW wasn't amazed by her chicken, and I wasn't amazed by this ... but I would give the place one more try before giving up the ghost.
After our meals we embarked to McCrossen's where we enjoyed a few beers and asked T. to solve our life problems. T.'s advice to me involved continuing to write my blog but to stop with the meandering, stream of consciousness content. Which reminds me of this one time when I was in high school and there was a dance and many of us got drunk...which, come to think of it, reminds me of this other time, in college, when I made the most revelatory comment in a literature class and was summarily applauded by all of my peers all of whom were drunk and sitting on unicorns. I'm sorry, was I saying something? Oh yes, so according to T. my life's problems are unsolvable. What a terrible angle for me. It really brings out my turtle features in a way that I'd rather stayed hidden. Alas.
According to LW I may be better off in life if I join a dart team...So now it seems that I'm going to be on a dart team. I will not buy darts. No. LW's friend and I will share her castoffs. I plan on buying THE SPERMINATOR flights in order to stand out from the crowd. I think it perfectly represents my character and capabilities. My nickname on the team will officially be: "C the closer C." It has more of a ring to it if I used my real name.

A good time was had by me and I think LW. And while most of my life's problems haven't actually been solved, I'm not going to moan about it any more. Tonight.

Small Reminder

Like Meals I Have Eaten on Facebook. It won't hurt you. I promise. And you'll get occasional links to interesting things about food.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Particularly Pretty Pizza with Grown Up Pupster

As often comes to be, I had to do laundry last week. C. and I set up a day and time for such a thing. I bought a big bottle of white wine, and she put in our standard pepperoni/mushroom combo. It was a lovely evening, so we sat outside. And when the pizza arrived I was just blown away by its prettiness. I think C. was too. We decided not to eat it, in fact. Instead we ran out to Lowe's and made a frame and framed the pizza. Right now it's hanging in C. and R.'s apartment, but in a few months I'll take a turn. I have no idea why I even went on that particular fiction...we ate the pizza, and it was quite satisfying. No frames. A great evening as always - thanks to C!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Happy Hour c/o Rembrandt's

Last week I met up with A.S. for happy hour drinks at Rembrandt's. I had the Pils, which was their $3 draft and decided to try two things off their $3 happy hour menu: the slider and the taco.
The slider was great, like one of their burgers all mini-fied (exactly what it is). The taco was definitely generous with its meat, but not quite as satisfying taste-wise.


Well, I thought I'd close my eyes for a little around 11 and just woke up. So I guess the hurricane passed? Or it's still to come? It's all a little unclear to me.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Hurricane Hurricane Whoicane?

So it's raining now. The tree by my bedroom is beginning to rustle with the wind. Things are definitely picking up. I feel like I've done as much as I'm going to do in terms of prep, but I worry that there are holes in my planning.

I have:
1. Filled the tub with water (though the drain thingy isn't a perfect seal so I've tried to jerry rig it so it doesn't keep leaking ... but it keeps leaking)
2. Bought asundry (?) things to snack on that don't need to be cooked but maybe not the most pratcial of things
3. Used additional containers so that I have plenty of Brita water filter
4. Located my flashlight and lantern, as well as the collection of candles that NC C. gave me for Christmas :)
5. Decided to watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer until the power goes out or I get bored. I may also try watching Dr. Zhivago on Netflix...until the power/internet goes out
6. Moved my car a little so it's on a hill and not directly next to a tree
7. Took my car's title out of the car
8. Eaten cookies and had a glass of white wine
9. Poached a salmon and cooked some beets
10. Tried to get the deck a little less full of projectiles

And there you have it folks.

Pick Me Up, Modo Mio Style

You may have noticed that I'm a bit of a Debbie Downer lately. You would notice this even more if you knew me in real life, but even the blog's tone has been a little sadsack as of late. Last Saturday the sadsack really went into high gear, and when I texted L. with my misery she suggested that we look into whether Modo Mio had any openings. This was a very good idea. L. is pretty smart. I called the restaurant and had the option of either a 5:30 reservation or a 9:45 reservation. I went with the early bird time because my misery couldn't wait. Back when we went to Gettysburg Dad bought a few bottles of wine and gave them to me, so I pulled out the Bordeaux as my wine contribution to the evening. It was a good one.
I started with a stuffed artichoke. I can't quite tell you what all was inside of it, but I was surprised by the whole thing. The bottom of the dish was smoked mozzarella, then the artichoke was filled with a mix of meat and other things, topped with chopped tomatoes. It was served at room temperature, and while I understood that was how it was supposed to be, I think I would have actually enjoyed it more heated. The cheese would have been melty, the stuffing a little more interesting. I don't know. It wasn't the best thing ever.
I went with the special pasta of the night, which was a baked dish with three different cheeses and those tiny pastas. Crap, I can't remember what they're called. And tomato. This pleased me, though I still had visions of that damn raviolo in my head. I wish that Modo Mio had a twitter feed that would let me know in advance when that raviolo will show its face again.
I decided that was the night that I would finally order their whole fish. Now, like a jerk, I've forgotten what the fish was. It was good. It had teeth.
At some point we were given this arugula and raisin side, which I always like.
And Modo Mio wouldn't be complete without the complimentary sambuca shot.
L. took this photo and I like it. It's strange that for the first 25 years of my life nail polish simply wasn't my thing, and now it is. Deep thought of the day folks.
For dessert I ordered the pannacotta with peach puree. I think this was it, though at first they gave me another dessert.
I'm a lady, always covering my mouth when I laugh while stuffing my face with sweetness and gulping down cappucino.
Our night continued after dinner and involved various stops and conversations, but none of that was documented. Mad props go out to L. for the Modo Mio pick me up!

Friday, August 26, 2011


This is the perfect illustration of what happens to me on the regular. For me it usually ends with me saying my name outloud in a disappointed tone.
Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal
see more The Daily What

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Weekend Walk to Rittenhouse and Eggs c/o Parc

Last Saturday I accidentally got up much earlier than I meant to and then didn't know what to do with myself. Even after lollygagging for quite some time in bed, I still found myself with many a morning hour to pass, so I rolled myself into acceptable clothing for the outside world and took myself on a walk. I didn't really have a purpose, but I figured I'd go to Rittenhouse Square and check our their weekend farmer's market before maybe sitting and having a coffee somewhere. These morning glories are pretty and on 21st Street. Somehow I feel like they are the harbinger of colder days ahead, and I hate them for that.
The market was of decent size and I saw all sorts of things I could potentially eat and love, but I had a pretty full drawer of produce at home so I managed to keep myself from purchasing anything.
The flower stalls were extremely tempting, but I managed to avoid plunking money there as well. I did this mainly by reminding myself that the apartment was in a state of great upheaval due to S. being in the process of moving out, so a nice bouquet of flowers would go .... nowhere safe. Maybe this weekend I'll buy flowers.
I love brain flowers.

After taking in all the farmers market stalls there were to take in, I noticed that Parc's outdoor seating area wasn't awash in people. I liked the idea of sitting quietly and watching the edge of the park and the people going by, so that is what I did. I ordered a cafe au lai, and was a little disappointed to find that its size didn't quite match the French bistro vibe authenticity monitor I have in my purse at all times. It was a lovely cup of cafe au lait, but not nearly right in terms of portion. Too dainty.
For my meal I ordered the poached eggs with asparagus, parmesan and a mushroom puree with a fancy name that I forget. The eggs were perfectly cooked. I was surprised by the asparagus being chopped, but wasn't grumpy about it, and the mushroom sauce was decent as well. I also learned that one of the girls at the table next to me is engaged. The man on the other side of me wasn't pleased with his meal, but when two different people came over to ask him what they could do to rectify the situation, he said nothing. I wonder if they gave him something for free. I wonder if anything was really wrong, or if he was just being grumpy.
Serious yolk action going on.
Sigh. Here is my 'woe is me' moment of the morning. So I need to find a roommate. Preferably by September 1st. I have yet to be able to do so. I had one really great prospect but lost him for reasons that are dumb and hurt my heart. Basically I was honest about something that might happen ... only to learn that it wasn't going to happen one day after the prospect signed someone else's lease. The fact that this one thing isn't happening has also made me sad. I thought I was making some small kind of progress in a direction of goodness, but now I feel like I'm entering into another year of all the same stuff with no real positive change or growth. I told you this was 'woe is me.' And to cap it off, my second 'faux 30th beach weekend' is in terrible peril because of the likelihood of Hurricane Irene. I really wanted another weekend like that, and while I am still excited about figuring out some backup activities with the folks that were going to come to the beach but who will (probably) end up in Philly instead ... well, it's just not the same. It's not pretty. It's not seafood at Fin's. It's not sitting around a fire listening to crickets. But I need to accentuate the positive. It is hanging with folks I love and haven't seen in some time. It is an opportunity to enjoy myself in Philly instead of constantly fleeing. Sigh. I am grumpy. But the breakfast above was not grumpy.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Riesling, Cheese and Bite-Sized Treats c/o McCrossen's

Back in April - how has it been that long, I ask you? - I really enjoyed going to the monthly cheese/wine/food pairing at McCrossen's. I imagined it becoming a regular part of my life. But, alas, life made things a little complicated. Or, rather, McCrossen's made things more complicated by stubbornly scheduling the events on days when I was going to be out of town, moping, or poor. All to say that it wasn't until last Thursday that I finally made my way back to McCrossen's monthly event. L. - McCrossen's General Manager and wine expert - has been excited about Rieslings for what feels like months. I think, in fact, it has only been one. So the theme of this tasting was basically all Rieslings all the time. Or "Summer of Riesling." The first pairing went a little something like this: Riesling "Golem" from Misfit Wine Co. paired with Evalon LaClare Farms goat cheese and Grilled Sea Scallop with radish, uni, and red miso. Let's talk about the scallop for a minute. I often find uni to be too much. Too much of what I don't know. Too much uni, I guess. But somehow this uni, with this scallop, paired with the just plain worked folks.
And the Riesling was not so overwhelmingly sweet. Lauren was so enthusiastic while talking about each wine, and about the diversity of Riesling in particular. I'm not usually a fan because the typical Rieslings really are just too sweet for me...but this one wasn't.

Next up was the Riesling "RS20" Mac Forbes, paired with a La Serena sheep's cheese and a Spicy Calamari salad. There was a time when I thought that if a cheese wasn't creamy or blue, then it didn't have a lot to offer me. I was so totally mistaken. This cheese. This cheese was funky. L. and I ended up sitting with two total strangers for our meals, which at first weirded me out - I hate having to make small talk with people I don't know, but in actuality our eating mates (who didn't know each other either) were delightful.
I couldn't manage to take a good photograph of the calamari salad. I liked it well enough, but it wasn't really a standout dish for me or anyone at the table. The cheese, on the other hand, got rave reviews.
After that came a Meddersheimer Rehingrafenberg "Quarzit" Reserve (try saying that once, fast), paired with Comte Essex and Duck Confit Orreciette with geiser, caramelized onions, and foie gras breadcrumbs. This was, hands down, the table's favorite food of the night. So many things going on, and going on so well. I took the bowl and slurped up the gravy and didn't feel bad about it at all. And the cheese. Ugh. So good.
The last pairing was founded on a Dr Hermann '09 Riesling "H". Along with a blue goat's cheese - Cremificato Verde - and Roasted Drya Aged Sirloin with jersey tomato salad. Swoon. The cheese was potent but unlike any blue cheese I've had - and technically I think it was actually green. The wine was more of a typical Riesling, and while it did pair well with the food, I didn't really dig it. Too sweet for me.

But the sirloin. My goodness. It was so rare. I loved it. K., one of our table friends, wasn't used to such rare meat and I don't think it was her fave...but for me it was just delightful.
What a great experience. I think I liked the first event more - in terms of the diversity of wine selection - but it was really interesting and edifying to sample a number of different types of Riesling and see how surprisingly well they could pair with foods traditionally paired with heartier reds (steak? duck?). And while I gave L. some weird looks when first approached with the 'why don't we make this a table for three...actually four' I'm so glad that my face didn't stop progress, K. and K. were excellent tablemates. K. actually ended up buying a bottle of Malbec and sharing a glass with each one of us, which was so super nice of her and fun to boot!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Beer and Sausage c/o Frankford Hall

Mr. Ass and I have discussed going to Frankford Hallf for quite some time. Maybe just a month. Maybe longer. That discussion finally became a reality last week.
I am still very much in a Kolsch appreciation mode, so I gravitated to that beer choice when it came to choosing what to drink. The mugs were huge! $12 for a liter of beer. I think that's right? Yes. I liked this beer.
Not sure what Mr. Ass ended up with. But it, too, was huge!
For my meal I went with the Kasekreiner - a beef/pork sausage with cheese, and went with the sauerkraut for my side. I also asked for a homemade pickle. Mr. Ass felt that $7 for a sausage wasn't right. I didn't have quite as strong an impression about the cost, though when I think about it maybe I'd prefer to spend $10 for two sausages. They charged $1 for buns. The sauerkraut didn't rock my world, and the pickle was decent. The sausage itself was pretty good, I liked that every once and a while an oozey gob of cheese would appear.
It was a Monday or Tuesday, so it wasn't too crowded or crazy. But I can see how this would be a place - while the weather is still good - for larger groups to get some serious drink and gaming on. Jenga and the like. A rousing round of Uno, perhaps. I'm glad I finally made it up and over to this latest Stephen Starr establishment. Is it on my 'must go back' list? Maybe on a lazy fall afternoon, maybe.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Pho c/o Ha Saigon

Last Sunday I woke up wanting something, and I quickly realized that what I wanted was pho. I texted L. to see if she was down and once she confirmed she was, a plan was made. It was rainy but we made it work. And here we are a week later and it is certainly about to rain. So much rain.
I got the steak and fatty brisket combo for my pho, though I must say that the steak wasn't very rare at all. I want it to still be a little pink. Maybe I need to ask for it on the side, and then put the meat in myself.
So I'm in a bit of a funk this morning. I'm still looking for a roommate, and it's getting stressful for reasons I can and cannot discuss. I thought I had found a perfect fit, and, ugh. Can't discuss. It leaves me, this morning, feeling gloomy. And the clear rain that's about to unleash on this day makes me even more gloomy. Is it too early to already give up on this day? Just hunker down and watch movies and read a book? I'm not sure that would even fix it. I need a hug or something. A squeeze. Or a lobotomy. Maybe a shower would be a good starting place, excuse me while I stand out on my porch and let the rain wash all my troubles away.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Familiar Faces and a Yankee's Tailgate

Way, way, way earlier in the summer my Childhood Friend and I began to discuss seeing each other. Though we don't live too terribly far apart (she currently calls Passaic, NJ home), we hadn't laid eyes on each other since our tenth year high school reunion (she's identified as "J." in those photos but really her moniker is, and always has been, "Childhood Friend). We decided this needed to be fixed during a rather epic Facebook conversation on a former teacher's wall, obviously. We eventually settled on last weekend, but the exact plan went from her coming to Philly to see me and perhaps that aforementioned teacher ... to the two of us going to the teacher's (known from here on out as K.) tailgate near Yankee Stadium. At first there was talk of going to the game, but my Childhood Friend is a serious fan. I mean super serious. Girl painted her bedroom in Yankee's colors serious. And though I assured her I could make it through a game, I couldn't promise that I wouldn't be goofy, poke fun at the Yankees, or read a book ... and this was totally unacceptable to her. Anyways, we made it to the parking lot and what a spread K. laid out. In addition to grilling burger and chicken sandwiches, he had ribs, chicken, seafood salad, mac n cheese, spiked-with-midori-lemonade and a host of other treats.

I went with the chicken, ribs and seafood salad. I should have gone back for a burger, because they were most certainly going to be good, but I never quite made it to a round two of food.
K.'s uncle suggested I try the lemonade. It was super sweet, and fitting to Childhood Friend and me. By this I mean that on some weekend afternoon, during our senior year, we somehow decided that making lemonade is what we should do with our day. The thing of it was, however, that we had no idea how to actually do this. I think we basically just thought you squeezed lemons and added sugar and boom, lemonade. K. came across us, or perhaps we asked him for a pitcher, and totally showed us the light -- water and ice. So here we were, nearly fifteen years later, drinking spiked lemonade. Well, Childhood Friend didn't, and I only had one glass. But you see where I'm going with this don't you?
This was the scene. People throwing baseballs, grilling, drinking and all that in preparation for the game. I think we also saw a dude on a longboard.
It also turned out to be a birthday celebration for K.'s friend/significant other...we weren't quite sure. So the Yankee's themed tent was extra special with streamers. Also in attendance was another teacher from high school. He taught me Middle-Eastern history, but didn't remember me, which was fine. We still had good conversation.
Cupcakes in honor of the birthday girl.

K. lit the candles with his super fancy cigar lighter.

Advisor and advisee all grown up. K. no longer works at the school. Instead he's some kind of big deal lawyer in Philly. I envisioned asking him to set me up on blind dates with his associates, but realized that would be a really weird thing to ask someone you haven't seen in over ten years. And yet here I am talking about it on my blog. #thingsyoushouldkeeptoyourselffail
I love it when I tell people to wave at the camera and they do so.
At some point Childhood Friend and I joined the larger circle (we were at first sitting not under the tent). I mentioned to K. that I liked sitting next to him because I enjoyed the smell of cigars since I quit smoking. Plus I just like a cigar now and again. And he was generous enough to give me one. This picture needs no further explanation.
I eventually had to drive back to Philly, so while I wanted to drink really nice Whisky with two former teachers, I thought that probably wasn't in my best interests. But I did get to hold K.'s glass while he went and did something. This, my friends, is how I roll.
I look way weird in this photo, but Childhood Friend looks lovely and it's the only photograph of the two of us taken that day. Well, there's another photo, but we look almost exactly the same.
And then the game began and we left, walking by the stadium as we did so. J. has a photo of me standing in front of it, but I don't, so you'll just have to imagine me in front of it, smiling.
It was so great to meet up with Childhood Friend. Neither of us understands why we go so long without seeing each other, since each time we finally do meet up the conversation is still easy and the laughing is good. I have known her since I was 14. That is a long time to know someone, I think. It was also fantastic that K. welcomed us into his Yankee's fold. Dude knows how to throw a tailgate. No lie. Shame he has no Phillies love.