Nov 292022
 

We needed somewhere to eat dinner when we were en route to Tennessee on Friday and of course Henry put the burden on me. I hate that!! I can’t understand maps first of all, so I always end up finding a cool place, getting my heart set on it, only for Henry to say, “THAT IS NOT ON THE EXIT” like I know what that means.

I really hate him sometimes.

There was this cafe that was also a used book shop that had lots of vegan options and sounded like something I would love and I put all my eggs in that basket. Then of course, Henry was like THAT IS IN CHARLESTON, WV AND WE ARE NOT GOING THAT WAY but hello, he’s the one who was like, “Look for Rt. BunchaNumbers on the map and go from there.”  THAT IS WHAT I DID??

Anyway, I found a place in Davidson (? I think ?) WV called The Dish and it seemed appealing because they had housemade veggie burgers as well as brownies made with avocado. This seemed much better than going to a diner and getting stuck with either grilled cheese or a Gardenburger – not knocking either of these, and you know I love that greasy spoon ambiance, but I also wanted something healthy-ish.

Chooch was playing some dumb game on his phone called Bitlife all weekend and it was really embarrassing when he would say things like, “Now my mission is to become a pornographer” and the waitress would be lingering on the periphery. Or, “Great, 7 of my kids have measles and one just died.”

Henry and I are actually broken up but here is one of the last pictures we took together.


I had major regertz after seeing Chooch’s PB&J on a waffle that he ordered from the kid’s menu because he “just wasn’t that hungry” all of a sudden, but then was “starving” by the time we got to the hotel in Virginia an hour later. (I think we stayed in Virginia?? Yes, we did. I just had a flashback of passing the billboard for Dolly’s Diner and then going through the tunnel, and I think then Virginia happens.)

Oh you guys, my veggie burger was delectable. It came on a pita which was a nice departure from a typical bun! (Although the bun on ex-boyfriend Henry’s burger looked bangin’ so I kind of had double-regertz over that one.) There was avocado on this and a nice sauce that I enjoyed immensely. The only downside was that I ordered the veggie of the day – Brussels sprouts, which I love –  after confirming with the server that they weren’t going to be cooked in MEAT since nearly all eating establishments like to sully the sprouts in that way, making us veg-types the most sad. However, they gave me a baby portion! Literally like half of a palmful. I will say that they were cooked nicely and not all butter-logged and soggy. But still. I wanted more!

And then we split a warm brownie made with avocadoes, which Chooch frowned upon because he couldn’t wrap his head around this healthy ingredient substitute, but I thought it was just right.

Anyway, the whole reason I’m even writing this is because one day in the future, someone is going to ask, “What was that restaurant we ate at that one time…” and all I will have to do is check my dumb blog (if it even still exists) and scream out, “THE DISH! I WIN!” And also because I wouldn’t mind returning to this place the next time we’re driving out that way because it was delicious and didn’t make me feel shit afterward!

If you have any restaurant/diner recs that are on the route from Pittsburgh to Gatlinburg, let me know. I hate relying on Yelp, even though this time it worked in my favor!

Oct 142022
 

Not technically a live blog, but I’m still in the car traveling back to PGH and need something to do. So let’s look at the vegan fun that was had today!

As you may know I’m just a run-of-the-mill vegetarian but I always try to seek out vegan joints when we’re out on road trips for a number of reasons: the food is almost always delicious and a nice change from the soggy veggie burger I’d likely be eating at a roadside diner, it’s usually healthier (usually!), I like supporting vegan communities in other cities, it’s a lot easier to find a fully-vegan place than a meat-centric place with a generic Bocaburger on the menu used to placate the token veg that comes in with their carnivorous counterparts.

Good thing Henry isn’t one of those big shot manly men who refuse to put anything plant-based between their lips. He might look like he wakes up and immediately grabs a fistful of Slim Jims off the nightstand for a breakfast pre-game, but he genuinely is so used to faux meat options that he often will cook it for himself at home.

Originally we were going to go to NYC for a partial day trip but honestly, after I found out NCT was already going to be gone, I just didn’t care anymore (the trials and tribs of a forever 16yo) and also one of the places I wanted to eat doesn’t open until 5pm and we were definitely not planning on staying that long since we still had to eventually drive home today. Plus, when I woke up this morning, I was NCT-hungover and didn’t feel like fucking around with the logistics of getting there so I made the executive decision to just come home. Henry was like, “WOW ARE YOU SRS?” with a thank god quietly queefing past his lips.

However!! I had a plan B, and that was to go to Vegan Treats in Bethlehem PA because wait a minute it’s been a minute since we were last there. And then I wanted to swing by Harrisburg to have lunch at The Vegetable Hunter, a vegan spot I’ve been following for a bit on Instagram and also I’ve never actually been to Harrisburg for the dozens upon dozens of times we’ve driven past it to better locations (or…Newark).

The last time we went there, it was also in October and all the creepy Halloween treats were on display.

(Just an FYI as I’m writing this, we’re now home – blogging in the car wasn’t happening because I kept wanting to stop and rehash last night’s NCT concert lololol.)

OMG, we got the purple and black ice cream cone one up there, the Frankensteing, the green eyeball monster, the red&white red velvet one over there, all to take home to share with Chooch. Then Henry threw in a brownie, and pumpkin soft serve to eat for breakfast since it was like 10am and our hotel breakfast was…well, hotel breakfast.

I would like to state for the record that we almost didn’t get soft serve because when Henry asked for today’s flavors, he then turned and repeated them to me as if I wasn’t standing right there, as if the Vegan Treats employee was speaking in a special language that only people familiar with ovens could understand. I opened my mouth to say that I would like to try the pumpkin, but literally .00000003 seconds after Henry translated the utterly confusing big people language to me, he turned back around and said, “That’ll be it” and handed over the credit card.

Now, because I’m me, I quietly stewed about this until we got outside when I unleashed my vitriol. Henry somehow was very calm about this and said, “I’ll go back in and get it” and then told me to go for a walk, which was a good plan because I am currently in a workweek hustle competition on FitBit and some  broad named Marisol is REALLY testing my patience. So I walked around a random street of Bethlehem while Henry accidently entered the bakery through the wrong door and found himself in the kitchen with the bakers.

Then we stopped in Harrisburg for lunch at The Vegetable Hunter! I will say that while the food was great, the people at the counter were not very welcoming. No one else was in there but they didn’t even bother to greet us, show us the menu, ask if we’ve been there before, etc. We didn’t even know it was the type of place where you order at the counter  – I had to ask.

We were the only diners so that was nice. You never know what sort of clientele a vegan joint will bring! (Well, you do, actually, and that’s why you get happy when no one else is there, lol.)

I ordered pulled pork for Henry and immediately wished I had the whole sandwich for myself instead of just the half he shared with me.

I got a ranch chicken and bacon sandwich and it was DELICIOUS – the chicken was made with tofu and perfectly seasoned (what do I know about seasoning though) but it was pretty small. I would have been super hungry still if Henry hadn’t shared his pulled pork with me. My kale salad had peppercorn in it which I was not a fan of.

But overall, I thought the food was nice and would stop back again. They also have a location in Hershey so you never know!

Before we could enjoy our lunch, I made Henry walk near the river so I could catch up to MARISOL who apparently wasn’t stuck in a car all day and could just walk around whenever she fucking wanted. Henry was like, “When you get home, you will walk all night and win, calm down.”

I knew I shouldn’t have accepted this week’s challenge! I somehow managed to get my step goal yesterday before the concert started so that helped, but I had been consistently going over my goal all week and getting more 20,000+ each day since I was off and could take long, leisurely walks at my discretion.

We parked in front of this cutie building.

These are trash but I was wearing my NCT127 concert shirt today and I wanted it memorialized, haha.

I dunno what this building is, but I liked the roof

After we ate, I was like, “SAY, CAN WE TAKE A QUICK STROLL OVER TO THE STATE CAPITOL FOR DIGESTIVE PURPOSES” and Henry was like, “Sure” and then realized I was in a frenzy FitBit refresh sesh, trying to see how many more steps MARISOL had racked up while I was sitting on MY FAT ASS, EATING LUNCH.

This was a really great idea, actually. It was interesting to see all the … things.

I know this was pink for breast cancer awareness, but it was shocking at first glance! I loved it.

I had some thoughts on this.

Anyway, what a nice pitstop on our drive home! Of course, I realized too late that I should have asked Megan to ask her bf Eric if he had any recommendations, but we also didn’t want to spend too much additional time off the road. We were there for about two hours, but driving out, I was spotting some cute shops, etc that I would have liked to check out! And there was a cafe called Amps (which looked like “Pimps” to me from afar because the font was weird) that we were parked near but I was so full after that lunch that the thought of adding a latte to the mix kind of made me burp.

So that was our drive home, in a nutshell! We didn’t do any other stops aside from rest areas, where Henry would get gas, pee, stock up on energy drinks, while I walked in circles in the parking lots. And we talked about NCT127 pretty much ALL DAY.

Sep 182022
 

Yo. Yo yo yo. This weekend was jam-packed with delicious vegan treats (and lots of house projects, etc but that’s all boring and mostly shit that Henry was doing while I crossed things off his list). First up, we drove out to New Kensington on Saturday to pick up our pre-ordered 1/2 dozen of Stranger Things donuts. They were pretty pricey for the size (our basis of comparison was Valkyrie, another vegan donut bakery that is comparable in cost but much larger) but the taste was mighty.

I genuinely liked them all, but the Eleven (the waffle one, obv) was my favorite because it was a fry-donut which I really like, and the glaze was maple syrup-y. It was just really delicious without being too cloying.

Tied for #2 was that Demogorgan one up there that looks like a cannoli kind of. It had a tangy raspberry jam filling which tasted super fresh, like the raspberries were plucked right off a branch before being shoved inside a Demogorgan’s asshole. I am probably spelling that wrong every time because I also cannot pronounce it, even having watched all 4 seasons of Stranger Things and Chooch always has to angrily correct me. Sure, I could Google, but let’s just keep it authentic.

My other #2 was the Steve which was two crispy donut slices sandwiched together around the SMOOTHEST buttercream, oh holy SHIT it was like jizz from an angel. So silky. So sweet. So XXX inside my mouth.

The Will was a classic iced and sprinkle donut, the Hopper was topped with fried apples, and the Joyce was chocolate and filled with a peanut butter cream – this was the only one I wasn’t crazy about only because when it comes to donuts, I tend to gravitate more toward the light and fruity flavors. I thought it tasted great but it was just too much for me!

I should also note that these donuts were split three-ways, and that Henry abandoned us when we came home with them so CHOOCH cut them and I was so nervous.

THEN!! Sugarspell Scoops, the PREMIERE vegan ice cream shop in Pittsburgh, had a BOOK-THEMED pint presale to benefit the Sharpsburg library so you know I had to open my wallet and show my support for books and vegan ice cream. There were 6 flavors in all, but I’m trying to not be too pigalicious a week before the pie party, so I gave myself a 4 pint limit, lol ugh.

I had to get the Alice In Wonderland flav though because it’s EARL GREY and that’s one of the types of pies Henry is making next week! (Spoiler to all the people who are reading this who might actually be there next week.) Moby Dick is a mint cookies and cream, Huckleberry Fig is a LUSCIOUS sorbet (I love figs so I had to get this one, also sorbets are so healthy RIGHT??), and the Baudelaire’s one is self-explanatory.

DO NOT MAKE ME CHOOSE A FAVE. Sugarspell knocked it out of the park as usual. I love them so much and want everyone in Pgh to support them, whether you are vegan or not!

In other weekend news, we watched “X” (I’m so out of the loop when it comes to horror movies, someone should revoke my Fangoria card, really) and it really resonated with me in some type of way that I don’t think was a good thing? I had some pretty killer nightmares, the kinds that are rooted in reality, like “THIS COULD HAPPEN AND I CAN’T TELL IF IT’S A DREAM” and then I woke up feeling awful and disoriented.

REALLY GOOD MOVIE THOUGH, I know I did a shitty job selling it, lol. But wow, I’m ready/not at all ready for Pearl.

Then Henry knocked Wonho over and gave him apologetic fluffs. I was so mad though.

<Hold plz, Chooch has requested that we go on a walk. brb>

<OMG it was just a thinly-veiled excuse to go to the gas station and have me buy him drinks and also the stupid ONE CHIP CHALLENGE and somehow, that, two waters, and a Gatorade came to $20 and yes I know the chip is like $9 but I feel like one of the drinks got rung up twice and I didn’t take the receipt and Chooch and I argued about it the whole way home because he didn’t want to go back to get it because “that guy always makes him uncomfortable because he’s so weird” and I yelled, “YEAH HE’S SO WEIRD BECAUSE HE’S THINKING OF WAYS TO SCREW OVER THE NEXT CUSTOMER!”>

<Now Henry is lecturing both of us and Chooch won’t eat the chip because it “tastes bad” and we were like WHAT DID YOU EXPECT and then I screamed, “YOU’RE EATING THAT WHOLE THING, GET A GLASS OF MILK, ASSHOLE.” But he just laughed and went to his room. UGH!!!>

Um, nothing else really exciting happened. Lots of spray painting picture frames and old TVs. Henry said his FitBit shows that he swan for 20 minutes yesterday and we figured out that it must have picked up on the motion his arm was making when he was spray painting??

Sep 042022
 

One of my favorite things to do before going on a road trip is look for restaurants in the area. I have a very particular set of requirements so it’s good to be proactive. If we’re going to a bigger city, I will for sure look for vegan joints but small towns have me looking for the greasy spoon time capsules. If a review is bad because the place is outdated, it goes on the list.

If it’s quirky or novel, borderlining on roadside attraction, here comes Erin. (See: Mr. Happy and Pal’s!)

These are the very important duties I task myself with, in case you were wondering what I do when I’m not getting yelled at by attorneys at work or walking my feet off because I’m a slave to my step goal.

So when I came across Mr. Pancake, housed in a structure shaped like a river boat and family-owned dating back to the 60s, I refused to leave Wisconsin Dells until we ate there.

Especially after watching some local news story from 12 years ago highlighting the breakfast spot loved by tourists and locals alike.

That clip of the food-faced bitch getting floaters all up in her apple juice made me dry heave though.

But I was otherwise reminding Henry by way of FACE-SCREAM that we were going to eat at Mr. Pancake and he was like “ok” while pushing past me to finish his chores and Chooch would just curtly say, “I don’t know what that means” and then acted like it was NEWS TO HIM when we drove past it yesterday while going to our hotel.

Anyway, we almost had to scrap the plan because they’re only open until noon so we would have had to go Sunday morning except that we still need to drive to Chicago-ish to go to Six Flags and prefer to get to new-to-us parks when they open because we’re always on a mission, you know.

I’m sure Henry and Chooch were less then thrilled with my declaration that we’d just have to leave the hotel earlier than intended and get to Mr. Pancake as soon as they opened at 7.


We were the first ones here! We arrived at 6:53 and Henry was like I AM NOT SITTING IN THIS PARKING LOT IT WILL MAKE THE WAITSTAFF NERVOUS so we had to drive around the still-sleeping Dells. When we got back at 6:58, the lot was still empty and I told Henry to park right next to the door and he was like I AM NOT PARKING THERE I WILL PARK OVER HERE AWAY FROM THE BUILDING. What a weirdo.


Then I got out and ran over to the door but the CLOSED sign was still up even though it was now exactly 7 so I got nervous but JUST THEN the hostess came over and flipped the sign while smiling at me through the window of the door.

I ran back down the steps and yelled, “SHE CHANGED THE SIGN TO OPEN!” to Chooch who was like “yes I know I’m standing right here, I saw, you’re so annoying.”


MR PANCAKE SELFIE! WE WERE THE FIRST PATRONS! Our waitress’s name was Paula and she was amazing and really helped us navigate the tricky menu.

(It was not tricky but she still held our hands and promised us that we would never walk alone while in her care.)

(Fine. She didn’t hold our hands but her soothing tone implied that was spiritually braiding her fingers into ours while leading us down a path of tulip petals and housemade maple cinnamon syrup.)

FIRST ONES BEST ONES!

Chooch is in the Blocking His Face From Mommy’s Camera stage of his life.


You guys!! I got a blueberry waffle which came with lemon butter! When Paula checked in on us later, I blurted out with such urgency that her face flashed with alarm, “I didn’t know the butter was going to be lemony!” But then I gushed, “I love it!” so her face relaxed into her standard cheerful Wisconsin visage and she proudly declared that it’s made in house. JUST LIKE THE SYRUP.

A few years, two bitches from some local supper club took the reins of Mr. Pancake from the family who had been running it since the 60s. The history on the website says that they kept the OG recipes but added some stuff to the menu and I told Henry I bet the BARISTA section of the menu and the fancy house made butters and syrups were their doing. But for some reason I said it is a disparaging, snippy tone like these uppity supper club broads were really leaving me with a bad taste in my mouth for literally no concrete reason that I can give you to back up my intentions. Sometimes I JUST BE LIKE THAT.

Anyway, I also had my eyes on the Iowa Corn Pancakes (?!?!?!) because they were filled with corn and corn meal!! But I cannot eat three pancakes and there was no down-sizing option. However, Henry got an omelet which came with two pancakes and Paula said that he could substitute any of the specialty pancakes for a small upcharge so I told him to get the corn ones and he did and they were SO GOOD. Actual corn kernels plopped out when he cut into them. I mean, it wasn’t like a pouch of corn cooked into the cakes but more so just interspersed throughout. I love corn stuff, especially when it’s surprise corn like in Korea, where they love to sneak handfuls of kernels in where you’d least suspect it, like pizza and lattes.

음ㅁㅁㅁㅁ, 옥수수 🌽.

By the time we left, Mr. Pancake had filled up with patrons filling up on carbs before a day of water-parking, including a family with a really fucking bratty toddler that proceeded to scream its face off immediately upon being seated and at one point the mom yelled YOURE BEING BAD and I am going to start publicly calling Chooch out for being bad too. It’s what he deserves.

Mr. Pancake gets an A- from me though because I didn’t like their souvenir T-shirts and they didn’t have coffee cups for sale!! I would have bought one for sure. They should make white ones with a red outline of the Mr. Pancake river boat thing.

끝.

Aug 162022
 

We had so much fun riding coasters all weekend but the thing living rent-free in my mind right now is all the glorious boardwalk pizza we devoured. Last year, we only had Mack’s pizza and I was totally sold on the hype. (Chooch went rogue that year and had Hot Spot though and loved it which doesn’t surprise me because Hot Spot is totally amazing, although when I used to eat there with my fam as a kid, I don’t think I ever had pizza – I feel like it was always a hot dog??)

Anyway, if you don’t know this about Wildwood, there is a long-running debate over who has the best pizza and the two that have garnered the most popular votes are Mack’s and Sam’s. I was determined to try a slice from each this time to see where my allegiance lies.

We stopped at Mack’s first on Saturday for a lunchtime slice. Last year, I had a slice of white pizza and still maintain that it was the best goddamn slice of white I’ve ever masticated in my whole entire life. But this year, I wanted to go the olive route because that is my go-to topping like, when I die, if you feel so inclined to visit my grave, forget the flowers just bring a fistful of black olives to sprinkle on my tombstone.

Hoo-boy, Mack’s did not let me down. I was scared that last years’ experience was a fluke, but Mack’s secured their spot in my pizza palate for the second year in a row. I can’t explain it, but it’s the thinness that I love, a sweet-ish sauce, and SUPER GREASY. I love a greasy slice, I can’t help it.

Chooch was like, “It’s ok,” about his plain piece, because he rarely gets stoked for anything anymore (at least, not when he’s with his PARENTS).

I dunno even know what Henry got. Sausage probably. He liked it.

Almost immediately, we walked down to Sam’s for slice #2 (I wish I could say we ate our way down the boardwalk, but I know my finicky digestive system and gave myself a two-slice limit, sigh). Sam’s is much bigger than Mack’s and feels less intense – it’s hard to explain but with Mack’s you have to kind of shoulder your way past the crowded counter to the very small dining area and then you have pay cash after you order and I always feel panicked like we’re going to mess it up or something??

But Sam’s is larger and has a huge dining area, and it just felt way more calm somehow. Mack’s is CHAOTIC but so worth it.

Right off the bat, Sam’s lost points because they don’t have black olives as a topping. I got a slice of plain which was fine. I think though that I expected it to be difficult to choose which place I liked better, but I knew without a doubt as soon as I took the first bite:

It’s Mack’s for me, fam.

Look, I’m not going to hate on Sam’s because that pizza was fine! If I hadn’t already experienced the sweet, greasy glory that is Mack’s, I would have been completely satisfied with Sam’s. It was like your standard quick lunch fare, comparable to pizza I’ve had at various amusement parks.

But because I’ve had Mack’s and know of the super serious age-old MACKS v. SAMS competition, I was actually floored that anyone would choose Sam’s. I said this to Henry in my fanatical UP IN ARMS manner and he hesitated, like maybe he wanted to choose Sam’s but was scared??

Chooch opted out of second lunch, making me feel like a glutton. But he did try a bite of Henry’s and was not impressed because he’s suddenly a pizza snob.

However, he and Henry both had a slice much later that night at Olympic Flame, which was chosen on a whim. I noticed that they had a framed certificate in the front declaring them the 2022 winner of the best pizza award. Mu curiosity was piqued but I had too much cheese for one day and instead ordered a kalamata olive pita which was DELICIOUS, might I add. But don’t worry – that didn’t stop me from trying some of Henry’s green pepper slice and OK, Olympic Flame. I see you. That was a FINE SLICE, indeed, and in my opinion, worthy of that highest honor piece of paper.

It wasn’t as thin or as greasy as Mack’s, but still had a sweet-ish sauce, and the crust was sooooo soft and not the opposite of dry (M O I S T). I was a believer. Did I like it more than Mack’s? I DON’T KNOW! Probably not. I need to go back again next year and eat nothing but pizza. For science.

Chooch had been going on all weekend about the “corner piece” he saw but couldn’t remember where. We kepy saying, “You mean square slices?” and he would just say, “Corners.” Um, OK. He kept running up to every place we walked by in order to ogle the pizzas at the counter, until he finally found his coveted corners at Franconi’s.

The corners in question.

Here he is on the move with his piping hot corner which he declared the winner. I tried a bite, much to his infernal resistance and disgust, and it was pretty good! I think I would rank it right below Olympic Flame and much higher above Sam’s. I think now I just want to hate Sam’s on principal. Like, what kind of person actually thinks Sam’s is the best, I’m so confused about this!

“You like Sicilian pizza, then,” Henry said to Chooch.

“No, I like corners,” Chooch argued.

“Yes, Sicilian,” Henry pushed, and really, why do we set ourselves up for this frustration?? We should know by now that you literally cannot tell Chooch anything without him turning into Riley, Riley, Quite Contrary. Disagreeing with us is what gives him life, I’m convinced.

It’s now Tuesday and they’re still arguing about Sicilian pizza.

“I used to like Sicilian pizza a lot when I was a kid,” Henry mused on our nightly walk and I called him a cunt because I had no other response.

I gotta get back to Wildwood next summer because now I regret not also trying a slice at Hot Spot, ughhh. And if you’re wondering why I didn’t have any on Sunday, it’s because I had a boardwalk smoothie bowl for lunch (listen Linda, I love me a fucking smoothie bowl and I had to put a moratorium on the grease intake until an hour later when I had some Curley’s fries.

Vacation, amirite. Now I’m back on that oatmeal and exercise grind!

Sigh.

Jul 192022
 

Saturday was a pretty chill day. For alibi purposes, here is what went down:

I spent a million hours at the salon getting babylights. I went to a new-to-me place called Bad Apple because my friend goes there and posted about it on Insta and I was like, “That place sounds nice and the name matches my tattoo” so I made an appt because the last place I went was only out of convenience and being panicked about going back to work after two years of WFH’ing and I needed something done FAST.

I liked it but they only did partial highlights without me even realizing what was going on and the gray coverage was NOT good – the whole front of my head was like a billboard for gray hair recognition! And the broad who did my hair was not really my style. She was more like, Big Hat at Coachella vibes and I wasn’t comfortable with that.

I’m picky. We all should be when it comes to our hair!

Anyway, I really liked Bad Apple a lot and the girl who did my hair (Carly) was SO CHILL and easy to talk to. Definitely my type of person. My hair isn’t like, IN YOUR FACE, different since I only just recently had highlights done, but she did a full highlight and blended and toned it SO WELL. I didn’t even need a cut and she was gushing about how healthy my hair is and that like, never happens, so I am crediting that to Vegamour (which I was going to cancel but now I’m like SHOULD I??) and Jennifer Aniston’s Lolavie product line.

After spending nearly all day in The Chair (9:30 – 2ish ugh this is why I’m like the ONLY GIRL in the world who does not enjoy going to the salon. Sitting still is not in my wheelhouse), I came home and scarfed down a quick salad and then Henry and I went to Allegheny Cemetery so I could walkwalkwalkwalkwalkwalkwalk.

We took this to send to our AWOL son.

Shortly after, I saw a fun photo op and asked, tentatively, for Henry to help me achieve said shot. Of course, he blundered it bigly, resulting in A Fight because honestly his lack of even the basic, most RUDIMENTARY photo skills drives me nuts. So then he had the audacity to get mad at me for getting mad at him and I was like YOU KNOW WHAT, JUST LEAVE AND PICK ME UP LATER and then I performed a perfectly-timed storm-off down a brick path while he stayed on the road.

I made sure I waited a long time before tossing a furtive glance over my shoulder to see if he was following me.

HE WAS NOT.

Which equal parts pleased and angered me.

THIS IS CHOOCH’S NEVER SHOUT NEVER SHIRT :(

Well I was off on my own, I paused to take some pictures of my new Korean Vans <3. I’d like to point out that they were shipped from South Korea on a Sunday, and I had them on my feet by the following Wednesday.

South Korea does NOT fuck around with shipping. When you hear expats saying that South Korea has THE BEST delivery service, believe.

Meanwhile, Henry was commenting whiny things on my Instagram for all to see and I was like OMFG this man is so desperate so I made my way back to the car and then he had to play his little hiding game with me which is so annoying. I should have just left him there – I had my car key on me….

…but not my house key. Dammit, I’m always missing something!

I felt bad for Henry because he clearly cannot survive without me so I accepted his groveling apology but only because I wanted to go to the Grant in Millville because it’s been years since we had a slice of the best coconut cream pie in at least the whole state if not the UNIVERSE.

We got there right when they opened at 4, us and all the Olds! We were relegated to the BACK ROOM which isn’t as woodsy and Bavarian-esque as the main dining room so I was pissed. I guess we weren’t OF AGE enough. (Henry probably was but then I lowered the average.)

I like this picture up there though because Henry sort of looks like he’s smiling at me. Smrobly a fluke though.

We decided to get dinner while we were there too even though we weren’t really hungry but it’s a good thing that we did because our food took a really long time to come out – I didn’t mind so much because we didn’t have any where we needed to be and this was basically just helping us build up an appetite, but our waitress was so stressed about this delay and she kept reporting back to us and making sure we were properly hydrated. I fucking LOVED her. Honestly, we didn’t care about the wait at all because we were super engrossed in receiving updates from Chooch (this was when he was suffering through the off-the-cuff vegetarian burrito made from pineapples and cactus, lol) and we were obsessed with the ongoing plight of the young host/busboy who kept trying to sit down and take a break in the corner only to immediately be summoned. My favorite part was when he tried to seat people in our dumb room and one of the waitresses came back to say, “They want to sit in the front room.” He went back to retrieve the menus from the table and as he walked past us to go back to the front room, I heard him huff under his breath, “of course they do.” It was fantastic.

Anyway, our waitress ended up comping us one of the slices of coconut cream and I was like, “This was not necessary – Henry leave her a giant tip” but when she came back with the check, she wisely gave it to me which was good because Henry is a shitty tipper.

Oh man, we ended up so stuffed from eating a dinner that we weren’t really hungry for but that pie man. THAT PIE. It is a religious experience. I am a FIRM believer in the Book of Whipped Topping Coco-Cream. Meringue is for pariahs.

Waiting for Henry to pee on the way out. This is the room I wanted to sit in. :(

HENRY, POST-PEE.

Well, those were the highlights of the day. We came home and spent most of the evening rearranging Chooch’s room. We really want to have that fucking attic cleaned out and painted before he comes back so it can be an extension of his room (like the lounge area) but I don’t think that’s happenin’ hot stuff.

Jun 132022
 

After a not great week, I felt like getting Onion Maiden brunch on Saturday in an effort to start the weekend off on the right foot. Spoiler: It was a success. Originally, I just wanted the ube creme brulee donut but then I saw the kabocha tamales on the brunch menu and it just escalated from there.

Henry also got ube donut holes and Chooch got a panini…it was a great Saturday morning, honestly.

Mmmm, ube.

I love that ube is getting to be so popular lately because it’s one of my fave flavs, along with pandan. OK maybe I’m being color-biased, but they’re really great tastes too! In fact, we officially are resurrecting the beloved PIE PARTY this fall and I have already sent Henry various recipes for both ube and pandan pies. Let’s get it.

Oh! Earlier that morning on our walk to the post office, Henry found a phone on the sidewalk and I was cracking up because this is the second time he’s found a phone in that same area (ROSS’S BLACKBERRY, ANYONE??). He charged it once we got home and was convinced it was a little girl’s phone because the pop socket was floral so he made me call the emergency contact number (in the phone as WIFEY/BEST FRIEND) but I kept getting messages from the service provider asking me to enter my PIN.

There was so other information that we could access so it became a waiting game of WHEN WILL SOMEONE CALL.

Finally, about two hours after finding the phone, someone called! It sounded like kid, like a middle school boy, and I legit could barely hear him so I wasn’t even sure who he asked for before I went into my frantic tale of WE FOUND THIS PHONE, HELP US RETURN IT. The person was like, “OK I CAN COME GET IT WHERE R U” and I described the part of Brookline I live and was just about to readily DOXX myself when I suddenly came to my senses and said, “Can we meet at the CVS in Brookline?” They said yes and that they would call me when they were on their way, in like 30 minutes.

“You’re not going by yourself,” Henry mumbled like OK hero, suddenly trying to steal my thunder after putting the onus on me. I did all the legwork! All he did was bend over and pick the damn thing up off the ground!

Immediately after this, the phone rang again and I think it might have been WIFEY but it was soooo awkward because I couldn’t understand them, like they had a stocking over their face and were talking into a pillow. I tried to explain sitch and said, “But someone is helping me get the phone back so…” and they were like, “*Charlie Brown teacher-isms*” and I was like, “Cool thanks bye.”

WIFEY.

20 minutes later, I got another call on THE BURNER. It was the OG person, telling me that they were on their way and would be there in 5 minutes, maybe less. They were panting and Henrt was like, “Maybe they’re riding their bike.”

Now I was really getting into phone re-homing mission, imagining a 6th grade furiously pedaling down Brookline Blvd, on their way to get back their GF’s Cricket phone.

Imagine by surprise when we got to CVS and a man in his 40s wearing a Steelers bandanna approached me.

“Are you the phone person?” I asked, as he reached for the phone so I guess that’s a yes.

“Thank you so much! He’s gonna be so happy you found his phone!” he said in his MIDDLE SCHOOL BOY VOICE. OMG I can’t believe I was conversing with a grown man on the phone and not a Brookline Elementary pre-teen. I was stunned.

Then I said you’re welcome and we went our separate ways. The hand-off lasted less than 5 seconds before MIDDLE SCHOOL BOY VOICE was headed back to the Brookline Pub (presumably – he looked like a Brookline day drinker).

After that, I went for a long and glorious walk in Jefferson Memorial where I started listening to Yerba Buena (finished it today and REALLY loved it more than I weas expecting to) and was handed a JESUS PAMPHLET by some old bitch in a Cadillac.

Henry and I were going to see Jurassic World later that night but ended up staying in because I had too much nervous energy to sit in a theater. It was actually a really great day all around, a pre-gamer for what would end up being one of the best Sundays I’ve had in quite some time BUT YOU WILL HAVE TO COME BACK FOR THAT.

(Because it’s 90 degrees and I want to go to bed, lol.)

Jun 042022
 

My brain must use up every last ounce of positive energy I have as it tries to keep me alive/afloat during the long winter months, that come June, I have nothing left to give. This happens every year, like clockwork, where I just feel so down and drained, I fixate on every last tiny flaw and inadequacy about me, and my patience is at a deficit.

Is it seasonal depression, because that seems pretty fucked to get depressed every June, of all months. Oh well. Just putting that out there so it doesn’t appear that all I do is ride roller coasters and have fun. Because the in-between exists, too. You know. I’m hoping that going to see Stray Kids at the end of the month will give me a much-needed wellness adjustment. This body needs a kpop concert.

Here’s a picture of one of my emotional support cats, Drew.

That being said, today was decent. We went to ShadoBeni (they have a brick & mortar location now!) for lunch takeout. If you live in Pittsburgh, even if you aren’t vegan or vegetarian, you gotta try it. It’s Trinidad food and the guy who runs the joint is just really cool and the food is yummo. LOL just kidding, I would never say that. I would say that the food is delicious, like a normal person would say.

Chooch actually came with us! Last night was his last night at McDonalds so we have him back on weekends again! Before we left though, he was cutting the grass so moronically while Henry was out there yelling at him that people walking by our house actually slowed down to laugh. I mean, I was laughing too, as I watched from the window. First of all, he insisted to cut on the diagonal in an effort to put lines in the yard but we have shitty city grass which is approx. 60% weeds so this was an impossible feat to accomplish.

Anyway, we got our lunch and took it down the street to the nearby Uniondale Cemetery which I have not been to since I WRECKED THE CAR THERE last October. Henry smirked at me when I quietly pointed out the SCENE OF THE CRIME, because Chooch, not paying attention in the backseat, still doesn’t know The Truth and thinks that Henry wrecked the car by being foolish and irresponsible.

LOL.

Dude. I got the SEA MOSS PUNCH not knowing wtf a sea moss is and it was unexpectedly delightful! First, it reminded me of a chunky horchata. Then, I was like NO THIS IS LIKE SIKHYE which is a traditional Korean sweet rice punch in the same vein as horchata. But the more I drank, the more it was tasting like if polenta was a bev.

That is to say, this might be my new favorite refreshment. Except that when I finished it, it looked like remnants of infant vomit was coating the sides of the cup, but I can overlook that if you can.

DOUBLES! If you haven’t had doubles, you need to fix that STAT. We actually had this for Thanksgiving last year, courtesy of ShadoBeni’s Thanksgiving home assembly kit thingie.

Also got some coconut bake with sorrel jelly. I could have eaten a whole loaf (?) of this but instead I shared my order with CHOOCH who realized after the fact that he would have liked to have ordered it too, ugh. I seriously wouldn’t share my food with anyone else, he is so lucky that I have some maternal instinct left in me.

Can we just talk about these dumb shoes for a second? You know I’m not one to ever shy away from outrageous/flamboyant fashion choices, and I think it’s solely just because these are CROCS and I associate them with one of the worst people I have ever worked with: TINA who had a mullet, referred to cars exclusively as “vehicles,” and wore country concert t-shirts to work WITH CROCS.

So in my head, TINAs wear CROCS.

But apparently Crocs are having their moment. I have no idea why, but I see seemingly cool/trendy people in their $$$ streetwear at amusement parks, but then they have ugly ass Crocs on their feet. And I guess those dumb Croc pins or whatever the fuck they are called are like a whole thing. My friend Nate said that his niece has Crocs and those dumb jibbets or whatever cost more than the actual Crocs.

All I can figure is that a rapper or some idiot influencer must have worn a pair ironically at some point, thus causing a craze because they are literally infiltrating walkways all over the country and I actually hate it.

So when Chooch was like “I’m getting these carrot Crocs” and I saw that they cost SEVENTY FIVE DOLLARS, ya’ll, I was like, “YOU, MY GUY, ARE A FUCKING IDIOT.” But hey, it’s his McMoney. So he bought them and got his buddy to also buy a pair and now they’re an idiot duo.

I told my work friends about this yesterday in our group chat and there was a divide: half of them were like EFF NO TO CROCS and the other side were like DON’T KNOCK THE CROC(s). I admitted that it wasn’t the carrot thing that was the deal-breaker for me, it was the Crocs themselves, and that if there were carrot Vans, I would 100% wear them fearlessly.

“Vans are my God-tier brand of shoes,” I said in the chat, to which one of the pro-Crocs people said she couldn’t wrap her head around Vans and the other Croc-head said that “Vans are the new style, Crocs are the hippy-style.”

Nate immediately side-chatted me and was like, “VANS ARE LIKE, FROM THE 60s THO??” and I was all fired up about this but then didn’t have any energy left to care. This week was short yet long.

But I would like to say here for sanity’s sake that CROCS ARE FROM THE EARLY 2000s.

VANS ARE FROM 1966.

Anyway, if anyone can rock carrot Crocs with aplomb and confidence, it’s Chooch. So, good for you, Chooch.

Anyway, after we ate I needed to do a lap around the cem for digestive purposes, but also because I had a morbid desire to see the thing I ran into last October. Henry was like, “Wow, you can see the paint from the car on it, good job,” and luckily Chooch was waiting for us by the car so it’s still A Secret.

And that’s the main stuff that happened today, on this very low-key Saturday, aside from: more yard work, driving around looking for a notary that’s opened on Saturdays now that Chooch’s renewed passport is finally here and we have some final paperwork to submit for his study abroad thing, and buying plants at Lowe’s.

May 242022
 

Guys, we went to Cedar Point last weekend as a belated birthday “party” for Chooch which I think I probably mentioned in some scattered blog post or another at some point. He brought his friend Zakk. It was one of the best times I’ve had at Cedar Point to date, which is a huge feat considering how finicky this place can be.

Back when our friend Jason still lived in Cleveland, we used to meet up with him at Melt for some pre-show grilled cheese action. This was when Melt was still new and novel and didn’t have a ton of locations spread across Ohio. So when Cedar Point got their own special Melt location, it wasn’t that exciting to us.

However! Jason no longer lives in Cleveland and we no longer road-trip there constantly for concerts, so it’s been A MINUTE since I burnt my mouth by scarfing a Melt original too zealously. Normally we don’t do sit-down meals at parks but I thought it would be nice to pencil it in this time since it was kind of a special occasion and Chooch had a friend with him.

I checked in with Chooch around 2 and he said that they were both ready to eat too, but they were in line for Magnum. Henry and I had just gotten off Steel Vengeance (<3) so I told him we’d just walk to Magnum and wait for them there. He texted me again right as we got to Magnum and said they were in the station about to get on.

Oh, good! We were just in time to see their train leave the station and then promptly get stuck on the lift hill, lol.

At first, we thought that someone got busted with their phone out because one of the Magnum crew people left the station and walked up the track to them. She was going back and forth, stopping at certain rows, so we weren’t sure what was going on at that point. Then she left and a few minutes later, another crew person went down under the lift hill and pushed a button as a recording came on that said ATTN THIS RIDE WILL NOW RESTART so that was fun to watch.

Magnum’s manual literally says, “Turn it off and then turn it back on.”

This ride is soooo janky but iconic and incredibly photogenic.

LOL Chooch.

Finally, we were reunited as a QUAD and walked together (sort of) to Melt. I was happy that it wasn’t crowded AT ALL and a little surprised when the hostess said it would be a 20 minute wait. I looked around at all the empty tables and said, “OK. We’ll wait.” The place was literally at like, less than 25% capacity, but OK.

We had JUST sat down in the waiting area, and the hostess was calling my name, cradling a stack of menus in her arms. Literally less than a minute after she told us it would be 20 minutes?? Did she mean 20 seconds??

I loved that Melt’s decor was a marriage of the traditional Melt aesthetic (vintage plastic holiday yard statues, old school arcade vibes, etc) with historical Cedar Point memorabilia.

Anyway, it quickly became clear that when the hostess said “20 minutes,” she meant 20 minutes for the waiter to take our order which was whatever, but it became progressively longer between returns to our table. He was really personable at first but then gave us less attention every time he got a new table and I was super butt hurt over this.

Meanwhile, Chooch ordered some type of “wet” chicken sandwich but refused to say the “wet” part and just sort of pointed at it instead. He got the vegetarian version of his and I got the vegan version of the BIG PARMA (a whole one so Henry and I could share). Henry got an order of tofu wings, and Zakk just got chicken strips – lame!

It took so long for our food to come out. It’s frustrating when you see tables that were seated way after you get their food first. People were coming and going and we were all just sitting there, idly sipping our drinks and looking at our phones….

…well, the guys at my table were looking at their phones. I was looking at everyone else’s food around me and eye-stalking the young food runner who kept coming out of the kitchen with NOT OUR food.

And then when our food did come, they only brought me a half of my sandwich like they were TRYING TO TELL ME SOMETHING (“It’s called smaller portions, HONEY”). This was an issue because I knew we were going to get charged for a whole, and also because half of this was supposed to be Henry’s. But the way I said, “I ordered a whole,” came off sooo bitch-babyish. It was like I had floated over myself and just in time to witness the stampy-foot whine come out of my mouth, like I was complaining that Santa brought me a brown pony when I ASKED FOR A BLACK ONE WITH A WHITE DIAMOND ON HER NOSE.

Whatever. Some people find this side of me endearing, like Veruca Salt Lite.

Meanwhile, Henry was mumbling, “Don’t worry about it” but I was like BABE I GOT THIS. (LOL I would never call him that, FYI.) Anyway, I got the other half of my sandwich in less than 5 but then it seemed like our waiter liked us less after this so I was sad because I really liked him but it was clear that he was only interested in playing with all his SHINY NEW TABLES.

We cut Chooch and Zakk loose after they were finished eating because it became clear that we weren’t going to get our check anytime soon. So now with those two gone, we had an open window to the table in front of us: a mom and dad with a daughter who was about 4, a boy who was like 3, and then a super little baby. The girl spilled her chocolate milk ALL OVER HERSELF and started crying, which brought me so much joy. So the mom dumped the baby on the dad was took the crying girl into the bathroom to mop her off.

“Wow, she actually got all the stains out,” Henry marveled when they returned. Laundry-related things excite Henry greatly.

Still waiting for our check, and now these two older women were standing right next to our table, like so close that I actually thought maybe we had been there that long that Chooch and Zakk had grown up into middle-aged women? Turns out they were looking for the chocolate milk bitch. They finally spotted her (I mean, she was literally at the next table, put your fucking glasses on maybe) and handed her a bag from the gift shop with a NEW FUCKING T-SHIRT IN IT (well, obviously new – I assume it wasn’t off the back of some other child-bitch). I can’t remember what the damn thing said now but it was purple and had like a cupcake on it that said best day ever, or something, like why wouldn’t you get a Cedar Point-specific t-shirt, but OK.

So now the dumb girl was happy again and I really needed to pay the damn check and get away from this Church of the Latter Day Saints commercial.

First of all, how do those women even know that this kid deserves a non-milky, dry t-shirt? She could be a terrible kid!! She could have a record at pre-school!! What if she’s a kindercare bully?? There could be a row of mutilated, naked babydolls in her closet!

I felt very conflicted over this good Samaritan spectacle.

“I would never do something like that for a kid,” I murmured around my straw (paper even, go Melt!) as I took a sip of water, and Henry said, “Yeah I know.”

But then! Her little brother fell out of his chair – not even all the way. It was a super slow descent where he lazily ping-ponged between his chair and his dad’s chair, and didn’t even hit the ground, but still somehow hurt himself enough that he started wailing, so now the mom had to take the baby from the dad so that the dad could hold the screaming toddler in his lap.

IT WAS ALL TOO MUCH.

I wasn’t ruling out the possibility that he did this on purpose so that someone would buy him a shirt too. We made eye contact while he was crying and I hope that I was able to convey in my returned glare that it wasn’t going to be me, buddy.

Finally, we got to pay the damn bill and get the FUCK out of there. Great food but easily one of the most frustrating Melt experiences of my life, lol ugh.

Apr 152022
 

Hello from Savannah, Georgia, where we are crashing for the night. We left Orlando early this morning and spent the day in St. Augustine. Much fun was had, at the expense of our feet as usual, and I will relay all of the details at a later date. But for the purpose of this post, I want to talk about the place we ate lunch.

Sarbez.

I may have planned the entire day around this place because hello: a grilled cheese arcade with tons of dive bar aesthetic? Oh yeah, I will make my travel companions go out of their way for this experience.

“Is this it?” Henry the Stoop asked. No, it’s the grilled cheese arcade across the street, Henry.

God.

First of all, THE CHOICES. I almost made a custom g.cheese but then I saw the VEGAN GRILLER which has TEMPEH and I am an avid tempeh eater. Sometimes I like to cut some up and mix it into my morning scrambled eggs. I’m getting very fancy in the kitchen these days.

Chooch got the Hashton Kutcher, sans sausage, and I don’t know what Henry the Meathead got. Who cares.

Wishing I had purchased a chocolate tape for five dollaz.

Alas.

We were assisted at the bar by a really awesome guy named DALE who held our hands through the ordering process. Then he noticed Henry’s VelociCoaster hat and asked, “Were you guys at Universal?” and then we started gushing together over the perfection that is VELOCICOASTER and how it is quite possibly the best in the world and I was like, “FRONT ROW AT NIGHT” and he was like “OH MAN I DIDN’T GET TO RIDE IT AT NIGHT” but at least he lives in the same state as Universal and can hopefully return soon for a night ride.

I legit cannot stop thinking about it.

We also got a pickle dog to share and it was SO GOOD. A pickle deepfried in cheese, on a bun, with some type of amazing sauce. Yeah BOY-O.

Hallelujah! Cheesus has risen.

(Vegan Cheesus, that is.)

Not sure what type of vegan cheese they use there but it was delicious and had a decent melt to it.

The bathroom was playing Elvis which normally would have been MEH but in this case, it really added to the ambiance.

(Hold on. I’m remembering my sandwich and missing it.)

SING IT SISTER.

Part of the arcade was decorated with a VHS tape wall and it made me laugh because I have tons of these, similarly-labeled, in our dumpster of an attic. I was SUPER into renting movies when I was in high school and then copying them using my fancy-pants dual tape VCR. I miss renting movies from Blockbuster, Hollywood, and our local supermarket’s Iggle Video section, but I *really* miss all of the independent places that were super small with porn in the back. :(

Henry knows all about those types of places. The one I remember the most (aside from Incredibly Strange Video which was my SPOT) was this place in Baldwin called Firehouse Videos. I used to rent horror movies there to watch in my basement with dumb Psycho Mike after eating next door at HOME COOKIN’ where my fave waitress used to make me incredible grilled blueberry muffins, which I would also eat with a side of cole slaw and everyone there was convinced I was pregnant.

Holy shit, thank god that psychopath never actually got me pregnant!!

Back to Sarbez and all of its glorious mirror selfie opportunities.

Henry Wah Wah I Lost My Ball had to call DALE over to help him and Dale was like, “Your ball’s right there, dude” and I wanted to die because Henry is so embarrassing everywhere we go.

Chooch made me play Pong with him and I proceeded to win 7-0 BUT!! I think that I actually wasn’t playing and that it was the computer, because at first I thought I was controlling it but then there were several times when it felt weird so…

Don’t tell Chooch.

He mumbled, “I hate you. I hate this game,” and stalked off to play something else lol.

What a great effing experience. I mean, it made my stomach hurt bigly because I just can’t eat heavy stuff anymore, but it was worth it even though we proceeded to spend the next 2 hours in the car driving to Savannah and bickering, ugh.

Oh well. More travel lies ahead so I guess I should say goodbye and goodnight.

Mar 052022
 

For this weekend’s Greasy Spoon Lunch Date, I picked a place called BRENDA’S FAMILY RESTAURANT in Mills Run, whatever the fuck that means. (If Henry were the author of this Internet Diary, he would tell you exactly what that meant, with coordinates and a hand-drawn map.)

Brenda’s was a cool hour and 12 minutes away but I always enjoy going whatever direction out of the city that is — south? I can’t remember. It’s by Uniontown and I always have a tough time finding that place on a map. We listened to Kpop (mostly NCT, natch) and ranted about Russia and dumb white trash Repubs in Congress like WHOREN HOEBART and M.T. GANGRENE.

I am a good feminist.

I was getting really upset though to the point where I was ready to be trained to blow darts into Bad Russian necks.

“Can’t someone just like, poison Putin’s borscht??” I cried and Henry was like I AM PRETTY SURE HE HAS PEOPLE TASTING HIS FOOD FOR HIM.

So…back to the blow dart mission. OK.

Anyway. Sigh.

We made it to Brenda’s right when I was really starting to lean into my hunger. I made Henry go inside first because I was scared. I wasn’t really “scared” like I thought Leatherface was waiting on the other side but you know how sometimes you walk into a small town restaurant and everyone turns and looks? When I walk in first that always happens, usually because I’m dressed in something that’s not a sports sweatshirt, Looney Tunes hoodie, or flannel. On this particular occasion I was wearing a cropped gold lamé-ish young girl’s dance costume jacket over my NCT 7th Sense shirt and Cherry Bomb purse. So basically like a 14-year-old going to a Kpop concert.  I didn’t think I looked all that flashy but Henry just frowned and went inside first, using his boring blue-greenish Henley as a shield.

Hey! See those stools in the background? That is the reason I chose this place! There was a picture on Yelp that showed those stools and I was like, “OK Brenda, I’m listening.” Then I scrolled to the next picture and saw the booths with their strange 1970s watery-shit color and I was like, “Henry. I found it. This is the one.”

Seasoned with Old Bay!!

I asked Henry if this was like a big deal or something and he started to explain to me what Old Bay seasoning is like I’m a Dumbo and I snippily cut him off and said, “OK because they used two exclamation marks so I was just wondering if it warranted the extra mark but OK cool story.”

Also, the shrimp is either so big that it’s whatever comes after JUMBO in the size adjective spectrum, or they’re VEGAN? Probably definitely most certainly the former, lol.

OK OK OK I choose these places for the childhood comfort levels, not because I’m expecting some Michelin caliber plates, you know? It’s just fun to get out of the house and eat something non-fussy and casual, and everyone knows that grilled cheeses are my ult bias in the lunch genre. I have always been and will always be a grilled cheese head. And when we go to these little places, I’m not expecting some cheesy Big Boi like you’d get at Melt or some other trendy sandwich joint. But I also don’t want a soggy balled up thing that’s missing cheese on one half (sorry, I still am not over that plate of scraps I was served last summer at Hyde’s in Cinci).

You shouldn’t be “surprised” or “shocked” when you get a decent lunch at a small town restaurant, but in my experience, those of us who order grilled cheese are usually disappointed because this is traditionally the “kids choice” on a menu so it’s like the cook doesn’t even try.

But this one?! IT WAS SO GOOD. I opted for rye bread because I always forget about how much I love rye bread until I see it as an option on a menu and then shout, “I AM GOING TO CHOOSE RYE” and everyone at my table is like “ok” without looking up from the menu except with the one time I was at Pamela’s for breakfast with Wendy and Jeannie and Jeannie totally took my bread bait by agreeing that rye is underrated and then we had like a 20 second conversation about rye and I don’t even think Wendy noticed, probably.

“This bread is SO BOUNCY!” I gushed to Henry, who squinted and repeated, “Bouncy?” because he can never find good  terms to describe his food so he always likes to try and diminish the quality of my superlative descriptors. It was so good that I didn’t even bother to take a picture of Henry eating his coleslaw.

Of course I saved room for dessert! This is why I skip the fries and just pluck some off Henry’s plate. I knew from their website that their desserts are HOMEMADE so I made sure to save room to satiate my coconut cream curiosity. I knew as soon as the waitress pulled it from the cooler that it was going to be of MERINGUE variety which we all know is not my fave, but I was determined to keep an open mind.

And you know what? That meringue was actually delicious. I am super picky with that strange cloud-like pie helmet, but I do find it satisfying when done a certain way.

(I was going to say “done right” but I truthfully don’t know what “done right” is in this sense. Please tell me if you know).

This one was very, very light. Like it basically dissolved as soon as it touched my tongue, which I appreciated. I hate when you have to chew the meringue. I don’t want to chew it because I don’t really understand what meringue even is.

And the coconut cream part was satiny and delectable! The crust was nice too (I spelled it “noice” as a typo and considered keeping it and then immediately felt like an asshole, and not a cool kind of asshole but like a sleazy douchebag asshole and I squirmed a little bit)

Of course I had to check out the bathroom we left. Lots of inspirational Hobby Lobby art, as expected.

#FAITHFAMILYFRIENDS

Appreciated the wild basil and lime soap though! Good flavor choice!

There was a guest book so I signed it on the way out! “Really, you had to put down our full address?” Henry groaned. My comment was AWESOME GRILLED CHEESE!!! <3

[I know we have to continue living our lives but it is not lost on me  that we had the freedom to drive an hour to eat lunch while millions of people have been forced to leave their home country behind. This fucking sucks.]

Feb 282022
 

In today’s non-episode, we will be discussing our choice to drive three hours for a vegan lunch. Was it worth it? Do we regret it? Is the hype real? Will I continue to follow this establishment on Instagram? Am I considering moving to Columbus?

YES NO YES YES IF I  MOVE ANYWHERE IT WILL BE KOREA, SO.

That’s it! That’s the whole post! Questions answered!

Sikeeeee. I do have some words. First of all, the aesthetic was just my style: horror movie posters on the wall and 1980s goth lethargically wafting from the ceiling. I mean, bitch please. The only way this could have any more ERIN would have been if they had a Kpop section in the back or something with vegan Kpopcorn chicken as the premier menu item.

Oh! Here comes Henry, in all of his ACHING BONES glory. He just groaned because I’m writing in my blog (and also, bad joints). Apparently, I am intolerable to be around when I’m writing in my blog. I just suggested that we co-write this together since he also ate at Seitan’s Realm and surely can eke out a few coherent words?

He just said no.

The seating area of Seitan’s Realm is very small – three booths on either side of the wall, and stools at the front windows. Luckily, a booth had just opened up while we were ordering so we didn’t have to go and sit in the car and pathetically wait to be called back in like when we tried to eat at that punk ass bitch G&G’s joint last weekend.

As I was sitting down, I happened to look over to the right and screamed because THERE WAS A PICTURE OF ROBERT SMITH AND HIS WIFE MARY above our booth! It’s almost like we reserved that specific booth! Could this place BE any more Erin Rachelle Kelly-approved??

Oh wait, yes it can, and yes it was. Because THE FOOD. I know, literally the whole reason we were there. It was 100% worth the nearly 3 hour drive from Pittsburgh. I got the Dude Ranch because if there is fake chicken on a vegan menu, I’mma opt for that mothercluckin’ piece, OK. I guess first I should tell you that none of the meat alternatives in this establishment were any of the big “brands” (think Beyond, Impossible, etc). True to their name, everything was housemade with seitan. Which I still don’t quite understand, never question, but I can tell you that I really love it.

My chicken was JOOOOOOOSEY, son. And it had some bangin’ faux bacon up in it, cheeseless chedduh, and the creamiest sauce. Oh AND IT WAS ON A GOOD GODDAMN PRETZEL BUN.

This sandwich was massive and sloppy; it totally required the hep of utensils – I mean, maybe you could have handled it but I scream when I make food messes and every time I tried to lift this big boy out of the basket, I seized up with anxiety.

Henry got a Beef n’ Chedduh sandwich which was loaded with sliced “roast beef” and VELVETY fake melted cheese on an onion bun. He let me try it but I have to tell you, I was so fucking married to my DUDE RANCH that I can barely even remember what his tasted like.

We also shared a side of mac n’ cheese and bro, holy shit. You could not tell. Henry is a manly meat man and even he was like I COULD NOT EVEN TELL. He did say that he could tell his mock roast beef wasn’t real, but I mean did it taste good? Yes, he said. Yes it surely did. Yee haw.

“I liked everything I ate, so it’s a good review I guess.” – literally the best Henry could come up with, I hate him so much.

We brought a chicken sandwich with mac n’ cheese home for Chooch, Henry splurged and got himself a burger to try later, and we split a piece of German chocolate cake in the car on the way home later that afternoon. It was delicious. I wish I had another slice to eat right now. :(

Even Chooch, who does not show any excitement or even a sign of life most of the time these days, was semi-enthusiastic later that night when Henry heated up his sandwich and put it back together for him. “This was REALLY GOOD but now I wish I had gotten the spicy one. Why does this place have to be so far away?”

I KNOW, WHYYYY?? I was literally so sad while eating my lunch there because I couldn’t stop thinking about how I can’t spend the next several weeks eating my way through their menu and I can’t just zip right over there and slurp up whatever insane special they come up with.

If you’re a vegan or vegetarian, Pittsburgh isn’t the WORST place to live, but we really don’t have any of these wild fast food vegan options like other cities do and it’s sad but also maybe good because I would probably need to size up and I kind of like the size I am now, but I also REALLY LIKE THOSE JOOOOOOSEY FAUX CHICKEN SANDWICHES.

(I almost called it a sando which is what the obnoxious Oak Hill Post restaurant up the street from me calls their sandwiches and I hate it so much. Actually, I hate all of their whatever-we-call-hipsters-now vernacular so much that I actually stopped eating there lol I AM LIKE THAT.)

Feb 222022
 

I used to be really into going to major FOODIE type of restaurants, but lately I’m looking for something a bit more down to earth than sitting in a candlelit room with yuppies, having the essence of hickory and truffles elegantly farted into my face by a haunted accordion. I mean, that shit is cool for a second but sometimes I just really want to eat comfort food in some small town dive with the local yokels, you know what I’m saying?

I guess this is our current version of “going out on dates” since Chooch has ditched us for That McDonald’s Life. Not gonna lie, it’s been nice to get out of the house and neither of us are opposed to driving out of Pittsburgh so it’s been nice to see non-Brookline sights. Even rural shit, I guess.

For this weekend’s diner date, I let Henry choose. As usual, he chose poorly. It was some place called G&G’s or something else equally auto body-sounding. It was in VANDERGRIFT, whatever that means, and at first I was like, “OK G&G’s, I see you. Let’s goooo” because it was situated squat in the middle of an adorable small-town street (actually, it was on the corner) and it looked cute! Not all like tires were getting rotated in the back!

Except that it was PACKED and not regular-PACKED, but TIGHTLY-PACKED. So as soon as we walked in and put our name and number on the list, I felt panicky. I mean, I’m getting less OMG about eating in restaurants during The Bad Times, but I’m not OK with crowds still. And I really didn’t want to sit in the middle of so many small-town mouth breathers just for the sake of a grilled cheese that, let’s be real, would be devoured within 4 bites.

Since the host had my number, we went back to sit in the car. There was nowhere to stand in the little foyer without jutting your buns into the face of diner.

We had only been waiting in the car for about 10 minutes before I started getting RULL antsy and “don’t they know who we are”‘ish, so Henry was like, “OMG fine let’s find somewhere else to go, fuck me for trying to choose a place without your consent.”

THAT’S RIGHT, BITCH.

I ended up finding a place through my nemesis Yelp that was allegedly “9 minutes” away. At first I was like, “I’m not sure about this place, it has taxidermy” which is obviously completely off-brand for me. But at the same time, it was the kind of DARK LOG CABIN vibe I was yearning for and just didn’t know it.

On the way there, that fucking G&G motherfucker had the audacity to call me to tell me our table was ready. Cool fucking story! I was mad that they called and not texted (you know, with their restaurant landline) so I refused to answer out of principal. They called right back! Jesus, why are you sweatin’ me, G&G?? Get a life!

Anyway, we rolled up to BONFIRE and I was like, “OK, this is nothing to look at from the outside” and then immediately upon entering, we were cock-slapped in the face by a wall of stale cigarette stench because the steps to the basement LOUNGE was right next to the entrance. I was tempted to go down there and check in on the sad sacks crying into their beers, but there’s always next time.

The front room was empty aside from a table of OLD MEN REGULARS who told us to just go ahead and sit down. I had lowkey Blue Flame-circa-1984 vibes,  to be honest, and even though I still was MEH about the DEER HEADS everywhere, I was really feeling like this was the place that I was meant to me, fuck you G&G. (And you too Henry for suggesting that dump.)

Henry immediately headed straight for the bathroom while I chose the one booth that was situated right next to a beam on one side – Henry’s side, lol.

The waitress came to get our drink orders and she was so adorable in a cowgirl flannel and Princess Leia buns. She said she loved my sweater and I sang, “I THINK I’M GONNA LIKE IT HERE” in my best Annie impersonation while Daddy Warbucks was pissing in the john.

“How was the bathroom?? Was it cool??” I cried after Henry returned and finally managed to get situated in the booth without having to slice off part of his gut first. (And yes, I was a good orphan and ordered a stupid unsweetened ice tea for him in his absence.)

“Not really, it was just a regular bathroom,” he said. “Nothing special.”

“OK well I’m taking my phone anyway just in case,” I cried as I rolled out of the booth toward the restrooms. Henry never thinks anything is special so I’d be the judge of that.

It was OK! Kept up the dead animal theme.

Back in the LODGE, Henry ordered cole slaw and something called Texas Toenails or something from the appetizer section of the menu – he was really flexing that Faygo salary. Meanwhile, someone sitting at the Old Man table had a ringtone that sounded like the horn of one of those mini-big rigs that the SHRINER’S drive down my road during the Memorial Day Parade.

Hold please, while I find an example.

LOL I just caught Henry looking all around for the sound.

Every time that notification went off, I pictured one of the old guys paying the check and then peeling out of the Bonfire lot in his bitchin’ Shriner mini-car, honk-honk motherfuckers. Why was this so stupidly funny to me??

I finished the word search in like 5 minutes or less because I am actually a prodigy at word searches in case you never read about me in the local Pennysaver or whatever. Also, Henry thought our server’s name was Audible and definitely not Autumn.

Dude, this grilled cheese was just what I needed. And I stole some of Henry’s fries which were JUST THE WAY I LIKE IT. Yeah, I could handle the whole HUNTER’S LODGE vibe a lot better if all the dead animals were fake. I felt like a hypocrite gushing over how JUST MY STYLE that place is! But it’s true! I love dark/dim restaurants. Sigh.

Meanwhile, there was a steady stream of old country classics playing, as expected. I don’t like country at all but if I’m going to be stuck somewhere enduring it, I would definitely prefer the stuff from the 70s and early 80s, like Kenny Rogers or Dolly Parton shit you know? So I wasn’t mouthing off about the Bonfire soundtrack at all. However, at one point, this one song came on that made me straight up drop my grilled cheese.

“OMG I HAVEN’T HEARD THIS SONG SINCE I WAS LITTLE AND IT’S BRINGING BACK HIDDEN MEMORIES, MAYBE OF MY BIO-DAD???” I hissed across the table because god forbid any of the deer heads heard me baring my soul. There was literally no one else around us but them. :(

It was that I WOULDN’T HAVE MISSED IT FOR THE WORLD jam and I was like on the verge of spurting out tears.

Henry couldn’t remember who sang it, and I’m certain I probably new knew, so a quick Shazaam learned him  that it was Ronnie Milsap.

“Oh, I never would have guessed that,” I scoffed. “I don’t even know who he is, just his name.”

“RONNIE MILSAP?!” Henry repeated, like OK I already said I know the name, just not really who he is but cook on with your irritating reiterations, Chef Dick. And then, “THE BLIND COUNTRY SINGER!!!??”

The way he said this, totally blurted it out across the table in this serious, frenzied way like he was the friend I phoned and he was telling me the winning answer.

We locked eyes for a moment just as the SHRINER NOTIFICATION went off 4 times in succession at the Elder Table and I just lost it, mid-chew, about to spit out a glob of grilled cheese cud onto Henry’s glasses. It was the most hilarious 3 seconds I’ve experienced in quite some time, Henry’s dire Milsap description followed by clown horns. I was choking at that point, tears streaming down my scrunched up fat face, and even Henry started laughing but I don’t think he knew why.

OMG I will never forget RONNIE MILSAP ever again except for when I started to write this portion of the blog post and had to google “Who sings….” because I totally forgot.

THE BLIND COUNTRY SINGER.

JOHN WAYNE SHIT.

SAW SHIT.

OK somehow I ended up feasting on coconut (WHY DO I ALWAYS TYPE COCOCUNT AT FIRST???) cream pie three weekends in a row, and I have no regertz. This one was so good and totally my style!! I knew as soon as AUDIBLE was walking over playing a sample of THE LAST BUCKAROO* with my slice of pie in her hand, that this was going to be a winner. For starters, it had WHIPPED TOPPING. And the actual coconut cream was fresh and homemade-tasting and not snot-textured and vanilla pudding-y which is my least favorite kind and sadly the kind that Janna and I had two weeks ago at that other place I was obsessed with but already forgot the name of.

*(I literally just googled “What are names of classic western books” lol)

This is where all the CIG STENCH was emanating from.

Oh shit, I should have checked the menu to see if they have SHIRLEY TEMPLES because this totally seemed like the type of establishment that would.

Anyway, I am smitten with this place. I want to go back soon-ish and check out the BACK ROOM which seems to overlook A GORGE. Or maybe just a slight hill.

I might have my birthday dinner here so stay tuned for an invitation. The Watering Hole area would probably be a great place for an AFTER PARTY. If I send you an invitation, you better show up and say I WOULDN’T HAVE MISSED IT FOR THE WORLD.

 

 

First round of Shirley Temples on Chooch!

Dec 022021
 

OK Brenda listen up. You know how we’re always sniffing out vegan eateries in whatever town the coasters are luring us to? Well, um…I might have chosen Six Flags Over Georgia PURPOSELY based on its close proximity to SLUTTY VEGAN. Henry alerted me to the existence of this BEAST of a vegan establishment several months ago and I have been obsessing ever since.

They have several locations around Atlanta, but from the YouTube videos I’ve watched, it looks like people line up clear around the block for this joint – one of the vegan YouTubers I watch actually stood in line for 5 hours outside in the winter when Slutty Vegan’s food truck travelled to NYC, and she still said it was WORTH THE HYPE. Also, whatever bacon they use appears to be the benchmark for all vegan bacon because I’m always hearing people comparing vegan bacon to Slutty Vegan’s bacon.

Also, it’s owned by a Black woman and this makes it even more appealing to me because you know how I love to support places like this!

Anyway, after leaving Six Flags Saturday night, Henry was like, “OK, let’s just go there and see if it’s a mess and then we’ll go from there.” I was literally having quiet, contained anxiety attacks about this because I wanted to shove slutty meatless delights into my whore mouth but I also didn’t want to endure crowds of people. LUCKILY, whichever location Henry chose was not the popular one because there was only one other person there!

It was a really small, walk-up location. I’m actually not even sure if you can dine-in at the main location now that I think about it, even though it does seem like it’s a much bigger place.

Right away, it felt like a party. The music was blasting even outside so as we walked down the sidewalk from our car, the vibe was RIGHT. Then we were greeted by the friendliest lady at the ordering counter; she was just BEAMING charisma, I fucking swear to god. There is nothing better and more comforting than going somewhere for the first time and having an employee essentially hold your hand and walk you through the process, which is exactly what she did and I really, really, really wish I had the forethought to check out her name because I would have loved to give her props when I wrote my Google review!

She explained the menu to us, told us what the most popular items were, what her personal favorite beverage is, what types of sauces they had on hand…it was like VIP treatment. The reason I’m really stressing this part of the experience is because it’s not uncommon to get treated like shit at trendy, hipster-run vegan restaurants. It’s almost like they know we’re FRAUDS when we walk in: you have Carnivore Henry, Vegetarian Chooch, and 50/50 Vegan/Vegetarian me.

I eat eggs still, OK?? And honey! SORRY.

But according to the owner, Pinky Cole (who is AN INSPIRATION, let me tell you), the majority of their customers are actually meat-eaters and that is actually amazing because this means that’s at least one meatless meal that these people are eating and it also means that this place is dispelling the myth that vegan food = rabbit food, and that maybe it’s delicious enough to get them to at least CUT BACK on their meat consumption. And that is actually so wonderful to think about.

So maybe this place is super gimmicky, but it gets people through the doors. And then it’s the quality of the food that gets them coming back. Because I am here right now telling you that this was the best vegan “fast food” I have ever had and I am WHIPPED for it. Literally have not been able to stop thinking about it since we left Georgia last weekend.

Oh! And when it was learned that we were n00bs to Slutty Vegan, our counter friend called back into the kitchen that there were VIRGINS in the house and everyone started cheering and banging on the counters. IT WAS SO EXCITING!!! My other favorite part though was hearing Chooch casually order a Fussy Hussy with no tomatoes. And Henry opted to upgrade his One Night Stand to a Menage a Trois, which added the legendary BACON and also FRIED SHRIMP!!! to the mix. I was really excited that he did this because I originally wanted to get the HEAUX BOY but it wasn’t available that day so I opted for the Chik’n Head instead. It is really hard for me to pass up vegan chicken sandwiches. I wasn’t much of a burger-eater in my past meat-eating days, but I could definitely kill a chicken sandwich. In fact, that and the McFish are the only things I ever really got at McDonald’s but that feels like an actual lifetime ago.

(I can still vividly remember the special chicken parm sandwich from Burger King though, OMFG I loved that shit as a kid!! It also felt like such a “grown up” thing to eat for some reason lol.)

Anyway, once our order was ready, we were floated out the door on a ribbon of hilarious and exuberant SLUT chants from the Slutty Vegan staff. It was one of the best send-offs of my life, not gonna lie, fam.

Then we had to endure the 10 minute drive back to the hotel which was EXCRUCIATING with a bagful of tempting, tongue-curling smells as the fourth passenger.

These pictures are shit but look, Linda – I was tryna EAT the damn food not fluff it for Glamour Shots. I dunno what that sauce was on my chik’n sandwich but I’d like to marinate all of my foods in it starting yesterday. Henry and I always get different things so we can share but I really didn’t want to give him half of this, ughhhhh.

(LOL it was Buffalo sauce – I just looked it up. As a vegetarian, I haven’t really had many opportunities to eat food saturated in Buffalo sauce so I’m not sure that’s a taste I would have recognized.)

(FOR INSTANCE: I HAVE NEVER HAD BUFFALO CHICKEN DIP!)

You can see the shrimp and bacon sorta. I should have taken headshots of that fucking shrimp because it was INSANITY. Maybe it didn’t taste SO MUCH like the real thing that it would fool a meathead, but it was pretty fucking close. The  texture was scary-realistic and the taste was half-past shrimp adjacent, more toward shrimp shadow. Like, it was REALLY CLOSE to passing, you guys. I am obsessed with it. There are some faux shrimp products on the market that we have tried and nothing has come close until Slutty Vegan. When can I go back.

And that bacon? Yeah, I get it now. I’m officially IN THE KNOW. That was some delectable fake bacon, Wendell.

And Chooch actually didn’t even want to go there once he saw the pictures because he “wasn’t that hungry” and “wouldn’t be able to eat all of that” and yet…and yet.

Bitch inhaled that burger before Henry even sat down and unwrapped his.

But yeah, that burger. Ouch, my gut, but give me more. They use the Impossible Burger but they add their own spices and secrets to it and whatever happens after that is pure animal-friendly magic. SLUT SAUCE FTW.

I hardly ever write actual online reviews but then I heard that BLUE LIVES MATTER fucker-bitches were flooding Slutty Vegan with negative reviews when Pinky made the choice to stop giving discounts to the Georgia police during the aftermath of the George Floyd murder, in solidarity with Black Lives Matter protests, I definitely felt compelled to add my five-stars.

I salivated for mths while watching so many YouTube videos about this place. Finally came to Atlanta from Pittsburgh and was determined to wrap my mouth around one of these slutty creations. I can now say with confidence that Slutty Vegan is worth the hype! Even my carnivorous partner was doing the Homer Simpson moan while devouring his Ménage a Trois! (That shrimp! The texture! The flavor! HOW?!) I got the Chik’n Head and, four days later, am still having vivid, possibly explicit daydreams about it.

The vibe of Slutty Vegan really elevated the experience – it felt like walking into the friendliest, most inclusive party, and when the person at the ordering counter found out we were VIRGINS, she happily navigated us through the menu and made helpful suggestions. I wish I had gotten her name because she was SO GREAT!

I have eaten at some vegan places where everyone acted like they were 2 cool 4 skool and it really took away from the experience but that was not the case with Slutty Vegan. I’m obsessed. This was the best, most indulgent vegan food I’ve ever had and I’m so sad that I’m back in Pittsburgh, hundreds of miles away from my new crush, Slutty Vegan. :(

Oh man, get me back to Georgia STAT. I need to eat my way through this menu! I want Pinky Cole’s autograph. What a gem.

Nov 202021
 

We’re having a pretty A-OK Saturday. I lost my temper momentarily because NONE OF THE MALES in my house had taken out the garbage and that is the only reason why I KEEP MALES IN THE HOUSE in the first place. But other than that, today has been merry. A real pocketful of posies. Etc.

  • Picked up three books at the library!
  • Started to read In My Dreams I Hold a Knife and was worried because my track record with dark academia is bleak but this seems good so far!
  • WENT TO GET CUPCAKES FROM MY FAVORITE CUPCAKE JOINT, VANILLA PASTRY STUDIO!

You may remember that many years ago, I wrote some dumb blog review about that place and one of the bakers saw it and printed it out for the owner, THE SUGAR FAIRY, to read and I found out because SAID BAKER left a comment telling me that owner loved it and I was like OMG IM DEAD but then the next time Henry went there to get cupcakes, that baker came out from the back and said OMG ARE YOU HENRY because she recognized him from my blog so then it became this funny Ha Ha thing where Henry was the face of Oh Honestly Erin etc etc. but honestly, these cupcakes are just…they’re the limit.

Here’s my old post about them from 2009. I haven’t even glanced at it since then so god only knows how atrocious and vulgar it is:

When Cupcakes Surpass Expectations: A Positive Review

OK well we reference a circle jerk in the second line, so that really sets the stage.

Anyway, VPS moved to a new location several years ago and then eventually closed when the Sugar Fairy took a job as a pastry chef at a restaurant downtown. Yeah I know I could have just gone there but it’s not the same. It’s just not. Talk to the hand, etc.

Then last week one of my pals posted in their Instagram stories that VPS was reopening in their OG location?? I went and looked and sure enough, it was a real thing and not something I misread with hopeful cupcake eyes. The soft opening was today at noon. Did henry and I get there 30 minutes early in anticipation of a line? You bet your sweet buttercreamed ass we did.

No one was there yet! So we territorially sprayed our spot at the door while we had a chance. Then some guy came out and said that he was actually first. “I even brought a chair,” he said, pointing through the window at his portable concert chair thingie. Turns out he’s like BFFs with the Sugar Fairy!

Anyway, he was a real treat to talk to, and then another guy strode up and got in line with us and he was really cool too! It was the best line I’ve stood in in quite some time. Cupcakes will do that.

They let us come in about 15 minutes early! There was a decent line that had started to snake out from the door (I WAS SECOND BEHIND BFF) so I was glad that we did get there early.

We got one of each and then told the guy to just continue plopping the ‘cakes in until the dozen box was filled. I was about to spend too much time thinking about what I wanted because it’s been over 5 years since one of the delicate frosted orbs from above melted on my tongue and I wanted them all.

Oh would you look at this smoll boi with the big sugared hair? Look how the cupcake portion is GLISTENING. Look at the specks of legit vanilla bean in that frosting beehive. I am heavy-breathing so hard right now. Thank god no one is currently home. (Chooch is at work as usual ugh and Henry is at one of his favorite stores: JOANN.)

Wow what a happy moment, tonguing a Vanilla Pastry Studio buttercream mound again. Shit son. These cake-muffins are just the best around. Go there. You won’t regret it. (Well. Maybe until you step on the scale. What? I’m a big numbers person, I can’t help it! MY WORLD REVOLVES AROUND MY MORNING WEIGH-IN I CANT BEEAK THE CHAINS, I AM BOUND TO THE SCALE, ITS MH ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP.)

We didn’t eat them all! Henry and I split the four in the above picture, so we each had two cupcakes and then felt the SUGAR DOWNS quickly after. But never fear! We took a drive out to Keystone State Park to walk it off. Whew.

“Take a picture of me with the lake behind me.”

“Give me your hat. Now take a picture of me with those things.  No, those things. No, THOSE THINGS. Whatever those things are.”

(Cattails? No. I don’t know what to call these things.)

Also!!! See that box thingie in the tree? That was the thing that started my infamous giggle fit the last time we were here! When I was trying to remember the name of the place I wanted to go today, I kept saying, “You know, that one place where I laughed a lot. No, the one where I laughed like A LOT and you and Chooch were annoyed and didn’t think it was funny. Where I almost peed my pants. I don’t know, it was because of vampires or something and I was laughing.”

And then Henry was like, “Oh. I know where you mean.” Lol.

Keystone Kackling.

“Take a picture of me looking like a stüp*.”

*(What I called stupid people.)

“Take a picture of me holding my jacket open like this.”

I do love this jacket. I got it at Target! It’s Wild Fable or whatever their strange 90s fashion reboot line is called. I’m going to be very sad when it gets too cold to wear this but hopefully I’ll be able to get away with wearing it in Georgia next weekend.

“No wait, I wasn’t doing my PEEING DOG pose yet.”

“Ok, now I’m in prime canine PISSition. I’m ready. Take the picture. Henry are you taking the picture?”

“Wait let me do my SIGNATURE windmill pose now. Do I look cool? As cool as the Dutch ones?”

Henry just diligently snaps away while mumbling, “Sure but you will find something wrong with all of these as usual.”

Fake engagement photo. Ugh.

MY NEW MOUSTACHE.

“Take a picture of me looking scared behind a tree.”

“Take a picture of me pretending like it’s my school picture. EW WHY DO I LOOK SLEAZY??”

“Because you WERE sleazy in high school,” Henry said.

Touché.

Here are canoes.

Henry and I both had to pee after that and I offered suggestions on how we could both pee in the same toilet in the park restroom at the same time and he wouldn’t entertain my ideas because: “I feel like that would burn.”

OK well now I am going to finish my cup of coffee and read some more of my book before it’s time for FAMILY KPOP KARDIO NIGHT. (Chooch doesn’t know this is happening and will likely start a fight in order to get out of it so we’ll see. Check back later for the shocking conclusion, I guess.)