Sep 102017
 

On Saturday, we had donuts and coffee at some point while in Chicago. I’m not a big donut connoisseur by any stretch, but that might be because Pittsburgh doesn’t really have much to offer in that vein. (Although I still haven’t tried Duck Donuts and that place seems appealing to me.)

(And please don’t say BUT PEACE, LOVE, LITTLE DONUTS because I fucking refuse to support an establishment owned by a homophobic bigot piece of shit. It saddens me how many pieces have seemed to either overlook that or have forgotten. But I never forget!)

I wanted to try Firecakes though because they’re reknown for their donut ice cream sandwiches. Unforch, we stopped here right after eating pizza and I did not have it in me to find room in my stomach next to all that cheese. Ugh. I always have big plans of visiting a city and eating all their trendy food and then end up only eating two meals. 

(Honestly, aside from breakfast in Indiana that morning, the late lunch pizza was only sit-down meal for the day in Chicago.)

If there is anything pistachio on the menu, I will snatch that shit up without a secondary glance. This Sicilian pistachio old-fashioned was a DELIGHT. My donut preference is light and non-messy. Nothing filled. I hate filled donuts! And I’m not big into chocolate-y ones either. I like ones that get most of the flavor from the actual donut dough, and that’s how this one was. Not too sweet, with a gentle, light-handed pistachio nuance. #doucheyYelpreview

I didn’t want to share, but I did because I wanted to try Henry’s which was good but messy and filled. :( It was butterscotch praising, which I almost ordered but now I’m glad I didn’t because that pistachio was everything I wanted in that moment. 

(I just stared dreaming at the photo of it for a couple seconds into the Inappropriate Zone.)

Chooch got a red velvet but I didn’t try his because, I can’t believe I’m going to say this, I think I’m over red velvet. We had a long, good run together though! 

Later that evening, we hit up Goddess and the Baker because it was the only non-Starbucks cafe open at that hour within walking distance. Henry hated  it immediately because he hates coffee and everything about that scene. Chooch was down though because he’s a hot chocolate aficionado. 

I got a pourover and later had major order-remorse when I noticed the specialty drink menu — so many interesting flavored lattes that appealed to me! I’m really into honey, floral, and maple—not all in one latte, but you know…if I wander into a coffee joint that has those options beyond your standard pumpkin spice and caramel, I will happily overlook the pretentious third wave coffee klatch I’m inevitably walking in on. 

(Speaking of, there is a place here in Bloomfield that has an impressive list of housemade floral syrups and maybe I’ll stop there today—YOU DONT KNOW MY SCHEDULE!)

That pourover was delicious though. However, while I was waiting for it, some suspicious guy walked in, came right up to me because why wouldn’t he, and said something like, “Excuse me, miss” and then a bunch of words in a tone entirely too low for me or most normal-eared humans to possibly hear. I panicked because he had a very questionable aura to him so I blurted, “I DONT HAVE ANYTHING IM SORRY” because I assumed that he was asking for money or my pledge to Christ. 

There was a moment of uncertainty where I was braced for a knife in the gut, but then he nodded and walked slowly back out onto the street. 

I kee expecting this sign to say “eat now caffeinate later” and that would just be so fucking wrong. 

Overall, I would go back to both of these places in Chicago (they each have multiple locations, too) and probably would try to save room for a donut ice cream sandwich next time because I have The Regrets. 

Thank you. This has been a coffee and donut intermission. 

Aug 122016
 

We took Henry’s mom to the Grant Bar for dinner on Wednesday, which is down the street from Mr. Small’s and has THE BEST COCONUT CREAM PIE ON EARTH.

I’m not kidding. I’m a coconut cream pie savant, having studied all types of crust, custard, and creamy caps (I prefer a whipped topping over a meringue, for your information). I know a good coconut cream pie. I’ve been disappointed, I’ve been underwhelmed, I’ve been satiated, but rarely have I been WOWED. That old dude at Grant’s knows what’s up. Honestly, I can never even remember how I felt about the actual food every time I’ve left that joint, because it’s the pie that stays on my mind.

THAT FUCKING GOLD MEDAL PIE.

“You’re going to love this place,” Henry said to Judy as we walked in. “Everyone here will be your age.”

And sure enough!

We had a great time at Grant’s except that I hated our waitress. I mean, she wasn’t THE WORST but she was definitely stand-offish and having a rough night and I’m sorry, but if I’m afraid to ask a waitress questions, then what’s the point, why didn’t I just go to a fucking vending machine for dinner.

First of all, I asked for cole slaw in lieu of a potato product for my side, and she MIGHT HAVE TOLD ME at that time that all sandwiches COME with a small side of cole slaw, but instead, she brought me like three servings of cole slaw and I was like, “Oh. OK, wow.” I mean, perhaps I would have asked for cottage cheese instead!

Second of all, I decided after we ordered our food that I wanted some type of beer so that I could calm my nerves because I was going to the show alone and walking into the venue is always the hardest part for me because NO FRIENDS, SO SAD. I didn’t have a drink menu but Henry pointed to a sign on a wall that had some kind of dumb beer special on it so I was like excuse me can I have that and she made a huge deal about needing my ID and then took forever to come back to check it and I was so frustrated because she made me feel like I was abusing my power as a customer by ordering a bottle of beer and I’M SORRY I HAVE SOCIAL ANXIETY AND NEED THIS RIGHT NOW PLEASE DON’T MAKE ME FEEL WORSE.

Third of all, I realized she reminded me of an old boss and that just made it worse.

Meanwhile, Judy was all, “LEMME TRY SOME OF THAT BEER” and took a swig.

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She wasn’t impressed.

She shrugged and made an “eh” expression and Chooch leaned over and said, “That moment you make the Trump face” and it was PERF.

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“I was always more of a whiskey and water person,” she said matter-of-factly.

And then we got the last three pieces of coconut cream pie!! Henry had to settle for lemon cream so he acted like a little pussy bitch about it.

I wish you could taste this pie right now. I wish I hadn’t eaten a grilled cheese so I could have had two pieces of pie and Chooch could have gotten apple instead, I don’t give a fuck. I wish that old man pie baker lived in my kitchen cupboard.

Apparently, Judy’s mom made a killer coconut cream, so we all braced ourselves  and waited for her to denounce Grant’s limp-writ

Because I was going to a show, I didn’t get to watch the Olympics with Judy that night and I was pretty sad about that. But we got some swimming action in last night! She kept talking about Linda Lasky and I was like, “WHO IN THE FUCK IS SHE TALKING ABOUT’ so I googled her and all I found was a bunch of basic, non-medaling women. Eventually I realized she was referring to KATIE LEDECKY.

The fuck.

Also, she doesn’t care WHAT color Ryan Lochte’s hair is, because MMM MMM MMM. He’s darling! Also, it’s “Lockie” not Lochte. She was very perplexed when he didn’t medal and kept murmuring, “Lockie, what happened to you?” over and over, and it was so depressing.

Judy’s favorite swimmer is Esther Williams. I hadn’t heard of her and when I looked her up, I realized she is old as fuck—so old she’s dead.

Then it switched to gymnastics and she was filling me in on a lot of the things I had missed during the week. “And there’s Aly and….the black girl.” Oh Judy.

Henry took her home today at work, so I had to watch all the swimming stuff without her so no surprise Phelps got a SILVER. NOTHING FEELS RIGHT!!

I just realized I’ve been watching TV all night on the non-HD channel. I’ve been spending way too much time with Judy.

Mar 212016
 

As opposed to Sunday, when we ate each others’ bitter words and empty threats because welcome to the cuckoo house!

I mean, anyway.

Pictures of ice cream cones from Millie’s kept popping up in my Instagram feed last week, because they were having a grand opening. I decided that it was imperative we go and get some on Saturday because we’re whores for ice cream and god forbid we’re left in the dust. It turns out that Millie’s is in the old space Oh Yeah! used to be, which is kind of funny since it was only a few weeks ago when Chooch and I did a drive-by and saw that something new was moving in there.

The menu is not very extensive, but it’s all homemade and I heard one of the ladies there telling a customer that they only thing that’s not locally sourced is the almond extract that they use to make their waffle cones. So if you’re into that type of thing, Millie’s is the place for you.

I think that’s great, I guess, but all I really care about is one thing: UNUSUAL FLAVORS. And they definitely had a few. I went with one scoop of fig because figs are my spirit fruit; and also a scoop of the sweet ricotta, which was littered with pistachios and cherries. You guys, it was so dreamy.

Chooch really lived large and got one scoop of vanilla and a scoop of chocolate. Slow down, Chooch. Your palate’s getting a little too mature there.

And Henry got a scoop of the spiced rum banana in a bowl even though I tried to coax him into the orange marmalade poppy seed. NO ONE LISTENS TO ME ANYMORE.

Henry forced me into letting him taste the ricotta and he liked it so much that he had to go up and get a scoop for himself. I was unreasonably irritated about that. I guess because my #FOREVERFAT stigma would never allow me to go up for seconds at an ice cream shop!

UGHHHH!!!!!

Meanwhile, Chooch and I had a huge argument on the way home because I casually mentioned that I thought the little dab of marshmallow at the bottom of the waffle cone was a nice touch, and Chooch spat, “There wasn’t any marshmallow in that cone!” And then Henry was all, “It was probably just ice cream” and I said, “OH OK, DRY AND STICKY ICE CREAM?!” and then it was a big fight by this point.

Later that evening, I found THIS:

I WIN, MOTHERFUCKERS.

I’ll definitely go back to Millie’s (sooner rather than later) but I won’t pretend like I don’t miss the weird vibes and one-way window on the bathroom door of Oh Yeah. It’s going to be hard for any ice cream shop to usurp the empty spot they left in my heart. Ugh, that place may have been sorely mismanaged, but their add-ins were ON POINT. And their interior had way more personality than Millie’s, which is your typical, unoriginal bright-lights and candy-colored stripes.

Click that Weekend Picturepalooza thing down there for some Oh Yeah memories….(BONUS: there are also pictures of Marcy on this old blog post!)

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To counteract the afternoon ice cream splurge, Henry made me this delightful plate of color for dinner, featuring his SEXUAL SALAD DRESSING!

Usually Henry ladles me plates of browns and beiges so this was a nice change.

LAST BUT NOT LEAST, Chooch got some kind of rare baking bug up his ass and hounded Henry all day to let him bake something. Henry found a recipe for sopapilla cheesecake squares that seemed safe enough for a nine-year-old to follow, and if you didn’t already know this about my child, he LOVES sopapillas. Like, I could probably slide a sopapilla under his door on his birthday and do nothing else, and he would probably be happy.

LOL, OK let’s not  get carried away.
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It was actually quite delightful. Henry said that Chooch very competently did most of the baking, and that Henry really only handled the oven part. I’m impressed! I would have quit before Henry had all the ingredients all lined up. One of my friends commented on Facebook about how at least now they know I won’t starve when I’m old and this is a really good part. Stay in the kitchen, son.

In other news, I just did some hip hop tabata workout that I found on YouTube and for the last three minutes I thought there was an alarm going off somewhere in the house but it turns out that’s just the ringing in my ears.

That might be the ice cream alarm.

Feb 142016
 

You know how some people can be together for a decade+ and still want to swathe themselves in sequins and put on matching UNDERGARMENTS for Valentines Day? Henry and I are not that couple. In fact, I can’t remember the last time Henry wore sequins. :( So I don’t even stress over February 14th anymore. Especially after I baked him a cake one year and painted him an adorable ode to our polarizing feelings on music festivals, and he never does anything for me. NOT BITTER. Not even a little bit.

This year, my Valentine is Chooch, and we’re spending it with Never Shout Never at Mr. Small’s.

But then yesterday, Chooch ended up having his own pre-Valentines play date, so Henry was like, “Well, do you want to go to dinner or something?” SUCH ROMANCE!!

I decided that since this was the best he was going to do in the Valentine department, that we should go to Zenith since it’s my favorite and he never wants to go because he has it in his head that it’s a breeding ground for “pale, peaked* vegan hipsters.”

*(Pee-kid, not peeked—don’t get it twisted!)

His exact words. I have rarely encountered this human subset at Zenith, but full disclosure — I’ve never been there for their Sunday brunch so for all I know, that’s when all the vampire-complected Bon Iver fans come out to play, half-decapitated on their infinity scarves.

It’s almost as though I majored in Stereotyping.

We got there sometime after 5 because we’re nearly at earl-bird status, and I was smug to point out that there were only three other tables of patrons there, and none of them were boasting any offensive air of pretension about them.

One Man, Four Cups.

I’m not a big tea-drinker, but one of the things I always have to do at Zenith is order from their extensive tea menu. It’s part of the process! Kara will tell you. She knows. If I had spent half the time studying textbooks as I do that fucking tea menu…well, I’d still be in the same position I’m in now. Never mind. I forgot that I didn’t get far in life because of a different kind of stupidity. Hahahaha. Oh god.

I was torn between the Earl Grey Lavender and Maple Vanilla, so I asked the waitress for her opinion. She got all stressed out and called over to the proprietor, Elaine, for help.

“I don’t do anything lavender,” Elaine brusquely called over, scrunching up her nose. “So yeah, Maple Vanilla.” Elaine is my homegirl so I went with her choice, and it was a smart one because I’m currently chugging my Sunday morning coffee and crying that there’s no maple.

Elaine brought the pot over to our table. “Now, don’t pour this right away,” she said. “I mean it! I tell people all the time that it’s not ready, and then I go back in the kitchen and I can SEE them pouring it! I’m like, it’s gonna taste like crap!” God, I fucking love her.

OMG it’s a salad. You’ve never seen a salad before. Henry had to finish mine because I’m really picky with salads.

“Look at those lamps back there,” Henry casually pointed out, and I gave myself whiplash in my attempt to beat all of the invisible people around us in a race to see it first. Up in the corner, there were two majestic holy lamps dangling like carrots, begging me to buy them.

“YOU HAVE TO ASK HOW MUCH THEY ARE!” I cried, to which Henry responded with his patented “get real” smirk. I mean, why else would he point these out to me if he didn’t secretly desire to furnish our home with them!?

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“I bet they’re $100 a piece,” he quietly guessed, before stabbing the rest of my salad with his fork.

“Well, you could be wrong!” I frantically said. “I thought that our wheelchair was going to be $500 and it was only $40!”

“Why would you think that wheelchair was FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS?” Henry asked in disbelief. Because I’m an idiot, OK? Is that what you want to hear?! The value of the dollar confuses me.

Meanwhile, on Facebook, Kara was 100% encouraging this purchase. It’s a wonder that Henry hasn’t tried to get me to stop being friends with Kara yet. (Jokes: No man controls my life.)

Our waitress reported back that the lamps were $80 for one, $150 for the pair. Henry thanked her and kept shoveling food in his mouth without giving me a definitive answer and I was losing my mind.

I was annoyed that Henry ordered the Moroccan stew, because that’s what I ordered and I wanted him to get the seitan so we could share. He’s so fucking selfish. He apparently didn’t “feel like seitan and asparagus” on this night. At least he ordered a different kind of vegan cake though, so we could share the chocolate blueberry and strawberry almond. Seriously, there are times when I consider stopping by just for tea and cake. Their actual food is always good, but those cakes. Those goddamn cakes.

Maybe I should have my birthday party there this year.

Meanwhile, guess whose puppy-dog eyes won the war of the majestic holy lamps!? I think once I cried, “IT CAN BE THE FIRST FUCKING VALENTINES DAY PRESENT YOU’VE GIVEN ME IN 10 YEARS,” he was overcome with guilt and decided that $80 was a small price to pay for an evening free of me pouting, slamming doors, and breaking glass objects.

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So this guy came out with his ladder and Henry was all upset  because he didn’t want the man to have to do this during dinner hours and kept saying, “I’ll just tell him we can come back for it” but I was like, “You shut your face, he looks very happy to be shoving tables out of the way and untangling wires.”

(He kind of didn’t.)

But I needed to leave with that lamp that night. I had already imprinted with it.

“Where the fuck are we even going to put this?” Henry asked, the regret of pointing the lamps out in the first place rising up in his eyes like mercury in a thermometer.

“In our bedroom, duh.” It’ll be the perfect complement to the crucifix collection I’m starting on the wall behind our bed. Sometimes he just doesn’t think.

Here’s Henry acting like a Big Help by doing nothing more than standing with arms akimbo.

“Now you screwed us all up!” Elaine joked, standing by the kitchen door as Henry walked back to the table with one of the lamps. Now they had to find another lamp for that corner. But that’s what happens when everything in your restaurant is for sale, I guess! Anyway, they said it’s from Woolslayer in Bloomfield, whatever that means.

My favorite part of Zenith has always been the post-meal store perusing. This was way less fun with Henry. He wouldn’t try any of the vintage dresses on for me like Kara does. :(

On again, off again.

I don’t think there has ever been a time I visited Zenith and left without taking a picture in this bathroom.

There were other things that I wanted to buy but Henry had that steely look of DON’T EVEN etched all along his weathered face, so I just figured that I’ll wait for the next time I’m there with Kara.


“You should have bought them both,” I said on the way home, knowing as soon as the words came out of my mouth that it was going to stir the pot in a big way.

“You’re never happy!” Henry cried. “You get one, you want two. If you got two, you’d want three!”

He’s not wrong.

****

I started writing this post last night, but then I was interrupted by an evening of violent vomiting. Henry thinks it was food poisoning since I woke up feeling fine; not food poisoning from Zenith though, because we both ate the same things. “It’s probably whatever you had for lunch,” he suggested with a tinge of accusation in his tone. This is a strong possibility, considering I made my own lunch and god only knows what goes on when I step into a kitchen.

However, what I think actually happened is that I brought something home with that lamp, some type of holy spirit, and it literally was exorcising me last night. Thank you, lamp. I feel less demonic than usual today.

 

Sep 192014
 

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The aptly-named “Riot Feast” food vendor list.

When we go to Warped Tour, I usually smuggle in some granola bars because:

1. Food there is exorbitantly-priced

2. There are basically no options for vegetarians. It’s burgers and chicken strips or GTFO.

I was pretty worried about the food sitch at Riot Fest, since we’ve never gone to it before. But apparently, this year’s Riot Fest was the biggest one yet, so I don’t think a lot of people really knew what they were in for it. Which was: food trucks for daaaaays. It was the best of the county fair and local staples all lined up on one street and even the options for vegetarians and vegans were downright staggering. There was so much for even me to eat that I was sad I ran out of time!

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We honestly had no time at all to do any tourist-y things in Chicago (it was literally: get up, stand in line, watch amazing bands for 10 hours, go back to the hotel and crash), so it was really awesome to still get to eat like we were vacationing in the city. And we could see the city skyline from Humboldt Park, so there was that, too.

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Riot Fest didn’t start until 2pm on Friday, so we only ate once that day. Henry had some sickening duck sausage contraption and I had a fucking fat Thai-tofu wrap. This bitch was goddamn rotund, all distended from the gluttonous amounts of tofu and vegetables rammed into that sturdy wrap. It was cold and raining when I got it, and I ate it like a hobo in a snowstorm: double-fisted, jacket sleeves half-covering my hands, hood pulled up over my face, like I hadn’t eaten since that day 6 weeks ago when someone threw a can of anchovies at my forehead. I kept talking about how good it was, but really I’m not sure if I was even able to recognize tastes and flavors at that point of the day, because the weather was so miserable and we were exhausted and overwhelmed by hordes of people. But I sure as fuck felt 1000% better after that was able to quickly go back to dictating which stage we needed to slip-and-slide to through the mud.

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The thought of drinking coffee at Warped Tour makes my belly ache. But last weekend at Riot Fest, the temperature fluctuated between 40-65 degrees. Coffee was welcome. Especially on Friday when it was so cold and wet that I’m not sure it wasn’t actually snowing at one point, but the line for Dark Matter was Cedar Point-levels of long. We actually couldn’t even find where it ended because there were so many people everywhere, that food lines just kind of snaked around in no real order and then disappeared into the masses. So I did my standard JUST FORGET IT!!! foot-stamp and went back to shivering beneath my flimsy, lightly-lined windbreaker. It was OK though, because I hit it up the next day before a line formed and it was delicious. Coffee is such an efficient attitude-adjuster. Henry can attest to that.

The only gripe I have is that Dark Matter apparently teamed up with the band Mastodon to make a limited edition blend that’s aged in bourbon whiskey barrels. Mastodon was playing Friday night, so I feel like this would have been an obvious thing to have available. But I know that I will be ordering a bag online, at least!

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THIS CHEESE, YOU GUYS. THIS CHEESE WAS EVERYTHING. The menu:

Queijio de Coalho Brazilian-style Grilled Cheese on a Stick:
Original w/ black rum maple syrup
Hatch Chile w/ hot pepper jelly
Garlic w/ mojo de ajo
Smoked Bacon w/ pineapple chipotle

The Hatch Chile was my favorite. Also, I liked it better when I thought their name was Drunkow.

Over the course of the weekend, we had each of the top three. Surprisingly, Henry didn’t get the smoked bacon one for himself, unless that’s what he was doing one of the 8298374892759093245 times he slipped away to “pee.”

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Ugh, I wish I was eating this damn stick-cheese right now. I CAN STILL TASTE IT IF I SQUEEZE MY EYES SHUT TIGHT ENOUGH.

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I also buried my face into an arepa on Saturday, which is like a savory corn cake and mozzarella, cooked on a griddle. I miss arepas. I want more arepas. Fuck the pie party, let’s have an arepas affair. (Thank god Pittsburgh’s Conflict Kitchen is focused on Venezuela right now because I’m going to eat the ever-loving shit out of some arepas this weekend.)

At some point on Saturday, I also inhaled a bowl of sweet coconut rice loaded with fresh blueberries, strawberries and raspberries, so I was in a pretty mild mood. (Henry thanks you, food trucks.)

(And this is not to mention all the STRONGBOW I chugged all weekend too. Strongbow is my favorite cider in the whole entire world, and pretty much nothing was going to bring me down with that shit in my system. Not even the $7 Henry had to continually hand over for beverage tickets.)

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On Sunday, I finally grabbed a grilled cheese from the Cheesie’s truck I had my eye on all weekend. I got the only one that didn’t have MEAT on it, the Caprese. A grilled cheese is no longer a grilled cheese once you start desecrating it with meat, I’m sorry. Those sandwiches need to have another name. (No offense to my carnivore bros out there.) It didn’t matter though because my Caprese was wonderful and it came with a small tub of pesto mayo, of which I made sure to scrape clean and I didn’t give a fuck who was looking. Pesto is the shit.

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I also had more stick-cheese, and also a roasted red pepper and goat cheese tamale from Dia De Los Tamales, which was so good that I wish I had ordered more than one. I’m such a food-ordering fuck-up. At some point, we also ordered some baos from Wow Bao (mine was vegetable wheat, Henry’s was who cares) and they too, like everything else lined up in that park, were a mini riot fest for the mouth.

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I think Henry ordered something from Big Pork, but I was way too involved in my own masticating to give his stuffed maw even a glance. I wanted him to get a Chubby Wiener just so I could tell Facebook that Henry was eating a chubby wiener but he “wasn’t in the mood for a hot dog” and I was like “Who said anything about a hot dog?”

Oh and we split a peach and bourbon hand pie from Blue Sky Bakery! I liked it but Henry wasn’t impressed, probably because it cost $4 and was really small. Every time we walked past their cart that weekend, I swear their menu kept growing and I wanted to eat it all. But….bands > food.

Oh, but we didn’t gain a single pound*. I estimated that we probably only sat down for a total of 30 minutes a day (and by “day,” I mean a Riot Fest day, which was approx. 10:30am-10:00pm; Friday was only about 12:30-9:00, though). The rest of the time was all walking, standing, running (for me), bouncing (for me). I found out afterward that it was about a mile’s distance from the Rise Stage to the Rock Stage. Contrary to the map below, there was no way to cut across the park other than following the road along the perimeter.

Which, by the way, didn’t connect into a full circle. All the water was fenced off and the road going through the middle wasn’t accessible. It was also nearly impossible to cut through the grassy areas to get to each stage, because there were ridiculously-placed VIP sections blocked off and as the days on, the population around each stage had become so dense that the only way to cut through was to put your head down and charge. It’s a miracle that Henry and I never became separated. Can you imagine? I would probably still be in Humboldt Park, laying behind a porta-potty in the fetal position.

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I wish I had worn my pedometer, because it would have been interesting to see how many miles we walked each day. Saturday especially had us going from the Rise Stage to the Rock Stage more times than I would have preferred. (And one of those times, I ran most of the way because during Television’s set on the Rise Stage, I realized we were cutting it close for Saosin on the Rock Stage and I needed to BE UP FRONT FOR THAT SHIT.

So, I ran.

Henry did not run. But I was wearing a bright orange Epitaph backpack so he said he knew where I was at all times. Like I’m his child.

Thank god for accidental exercise.

*(There was a funnel cake truck there that probably would have made this statement untrue had I caved and indulged in one. Each one basically had the contents of an entire dessert cart balancing on a bed of funnel cake. AND I SAW BRADLEY SCOTT WALDEN FROM EMAROSA IN LINE FOR ONE ON SATURDAY AND ALMOST HAD A HEART ATTACK!!!!!)

Apr 222014
 

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We are pretty apathetic when it comes to traditions in our house. I remember really loving the whole egg dyeing experience as a kid, and then getting stoked for it out of nowhere a few years ago to the point where I had an egg dyeing party (and, because I looked at the wrong calendar, I accidentally had it like 4 weeks before actual Easter, oh well), but mostly I’m just totally ambivalent about it. Chooch hadn’t even mentioned it, so I assumed we were going egg-free this year, but then at the last minute Henry was like, “Are we dyeing eggs?” and then Chooch and I were suddenly Egg Dyeing’s Biggest Fans.

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“This is dumb.”

Chooch immediately cracked every egg he dropped into the dye cup-things. Did I mention that HENRY bought the dye kits without us? Immediately made the process 87% less fun. WHO DOES THAT?!

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Goddammit, so did I.

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Erin + Jonny = Easter pukes for Henry.

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“You’re doing it wrong.”

I love that Henry stands around acting like some superior King Pinterest douchebag, judging our slipshod handiwork with smug smirks and disgusted lip curls, but then never EVER steps in to “show us how it’s done.” God, why don’t you just open an Etsy shop of judgments, Henry?

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You deserve this, Henry.

Chooch and I lost interest in < 10 minutes. Henry tried to get us excited by adding vegetable oil to some of the colors so we could try our hands at marbling, but…bitch, please. That’s not enough to stroke our attention erect.

Henry said this is the last year for egg dyeing. #toomanyweeners

Then the Penguins lost game 2 of the playoffs and my night was over. (And, in turn, so was Henry’s.)

***

Meanwhile, this was happening in my classy neighborhood, prompting a couple of my friends to admit that they thought it was going to be Henry for sure:

Brookline man arrested after fight with girlfriend, police

April 20, 2014 5:29 PM

By Andrew McGill / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Aaron Goempel began his Easter by dying eggs with his girlfriend. He ended it in jail.

The 27-year-old Brookline man was arrested just after midnight Sunday after throwing hard-boiled eggs at his girlfriend and wrestling with police officers coming to her aid, according to court documents. At one point during the struggle to restrain him, he reached for a nearby sword, authorities said.

He remains in the Allegheny County Jail.

According to court documents, Mr. Goempel and his girlfriend were preparing for Easter by dying eggs in the living room of a residence on Wareman Avenue.

They got into an argument about Mr. Goempel’s infidelities, police said, and Mr. Goempel threw eggs at her, hitting her right eye and raising a bump.

She called the police. By the time they got there, Mr. Goempel had barricaded himself in his room.

The officers knew him: Mr. Goempel has been arrested multiple times for public drunkenness and disorderly conduct, police said. He also has a reputation as a spitter, according to court documents.

Breaking in, officers saw Mr. Goempel reaching toward a collection of knives and swords on his bedroom dresser. They quickly subdued him, though not before he kicked one officer in the crotch.

Taking no chances with spit, the officers slipped a pillowcase over Mr .Goempel’s head before taking him to the police car.

He is charged with aggravated and simple assault.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/local/region/2014/04/20/Brookline-man-arrested-after-fight-with-girlfriend-police/stories/201404200224#ixzz2zYWREwCv

Apr 032014
 

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I briefly mentioned last week that my friends Kevin and Lizzy sent me a box of fruit from Miami and I went into fruitiac arrest right there at my dining room table. It was actually the first time I used #blessed without an iota of facetiousness.

Literally every single fruit in that box was something that had never once graced my filthy lips. And I knew this because I didn’t recognize anything. Thank god they packed along a brochure from the fruit stand Robert Is Here, which is now my favorite place ever and I can’t wait to go to Florida.

Of course, Henry was in a “rush” to get back to work (I just like to put random words in quotes, OK? It makes my finger tattoos tingle) so he claimed he didn’t have time to cut anything for me. Luckily, one of those small beige balls was slightly ajar, so I swept it away into the kitchen and started ripping it open with my bare hands, until Henry finally sighed and confiscated it. He cut the rest with a knife and packed it away into one of my plastic fruitainers (a container for fruit, duh) like a good father getting his child’s school lunch ready.

According to my brochure, what I had so savagely opened in the style of caveperson was a sapodilla and I rejoiced because Kevin is always BRAGGING on Facebook about how he’s sucking back sapodilla MILKSHAKES, no big deal, and I get all jealous because what is a sapodilla, I have no idea but I want it.

The description in the brochure says that a sapodilla tastes like a pear with brown sugar. I am here to confirm that it tastes like a pear with brown sugar, how is that possible?! It was also a little bit reminiscent of root beer candy, HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE!? The texture itself is a little bit grainy, definitely pear-like. I wish I had some in my mouth right now. (I wouldn’t share this with anyone, FYI.)

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In my haste to devour all of the sapodillas, I never got around to ramming my phone up into their grills, so please enjoy a stock photo that I procured from the Internet. I can’t wait until Henry plants sapodilla seeds in our tropical climate backyard biodome that he doesn’t know I’ve enrolled him in college to learn to build. And then he can peruse his beloved Pinterest for candied sapodilla and Kevin & Lizzy’s sapodilla milk shakes and sapodilla-on-the-cob and sapodilla lampshades. Sapodilla moustache rides?

Sapodilla chevron mason jars suspended from sapodilla pallets! Don’t forget to put a motherfucking bird on it.

Get on that, Henry.

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When I came home from work that night, I made Henry cut another fruit for me, the lone yellow guy up there. At first, I was confusing it for the mamey sapote because I am apparently dumb at matching. (Never mind the other day when I bragged about being excelsior at it; just call me Mary.)

(Because I’m contrary. God, go read a fucking nursery rhyme once in awhile.)

OK, so how can I describe this fruit to you without grossing you out….it’s like sticking a spoon in a yeasty vagi—OK WRONG, WRONG. Let me try again. The texture is custard-like and squash-y, not your typical pulp-y fruit innards. Do not be afraid of it. There is no squirting of juices to ruin your clothes (I know I’m not the only one that winds up walking around with fruit-jizz splotches on my shirts after wrestling with an orange). It’s soft and velvety, and even though it stinks of raw pumpkin, once you move past that, it is the most gentle sensation upon your buds, and I liked to imagine that when Robert Smith wrote the line “the strangest twist upon your lips” it was while watching some broad slowly masticate the shit out of a canistel, which is what this fruit is, and not a mamey sapote. Now that I’ve made you read 18 sentences wondering WTF fruit this is. I write good, y’all.

The flavor of the canistel isn’t in-your-face sweet like fruits that you average Americans are accustomed to, but it’s more of an egg custard. So there were times that I was spooning it into my maw where I would get a little skeeved out, remembering that I wasn’t eating some kind of exotic cheesecake, but the actual entrails of a fruit right out of its skin. It kind of made me feel like a savage. AND I KIND OF LIKED IT.

It had a very interesting moist:dry ratio and made me think fondly of Thanksgiving because now I want this shit in a pie shell.

Texture Freaks: This one might just tickle your gag reflex.

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Next up was the weird eggplant ball and the oblong cactus-thing. I determined these to be a star apple and guanabana, respectively. Coincidentally, my friend Eve had just recommended the guanabana to me a few weeks ago! I like having fruit friends. I mean, literal humans that also enjoy the sweet spoils of nature, not actually friends that are made of fruit.

(Although in 9th grade, I did have a friend that was an orange. His name was Marcus Aurelius and my asshole mom threw him away because he was starting to rot.)

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Henry blew out a harried sigh when I shouted, “WAIT! I need to take a picture” right as he was about to start hacking away at the star apple with that big knife in the background. (Don’t tell Henry, but sometimes, even though I’m not supposed to be handling sharp objects, I carry that knife with me around the house because I watch way too much shows like The Following and read too many home invasion news reports and yeah, I’ll probably wind up accidentally slicing through my femoral artery and then Henry will come home to find Marcy lapping up the pooling blood around my dead body. And then she probably will live forever after that.)

(Don’t be a bitch, Marcy.)

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I know, this inside of the guanabana is pretty gross; all glazed-over and white like the inside of an earthworm. (I think? It’s been awhile since that day I vomited in high school Biology.) It’s impossible to do anything with either of the above two fruit other than just spoon it into a bowl and go for it. Nicer boyfriends may have picked the seeds out first, but Henry told me to just spit them out. :(

He put both fruits together in a container, and by the time I was ready to eat it at work, they had kind of melded together into one gross lump of mash. Visually unappetizing (if I posted a photo of what it looks like right now on my desk at work, it would be the worst promotion ever), but each was delicious in its own right. Let’s talk about that.

The description of the guanabana says it tastes like pineapple cotton candy. How can this be possible, I do not know, but it’s pretty accurate. The pulp was firmer and wetter than the canistel, and reminded me of the cherimoya. Perhaps they are cousins. The guanabana had a mild tropical bite to it, not unlike that of the pineapple, but much less tangy and juicy. And it’s true: the lingering flavor at the back of my throat reminded me of cotton candy! (However, I can’t say that I would have naturally picked up on that on my own. Reading the description beforehand might have swayed my opinion—-like when Henry watches Fox News.)

I really expected this white piece of mangled flesh to be the winner here, but the star apple (or caimito, if you’re trying to be fancy) blew me away.

My favorite cake at Bethel Bakery is this almond majesty full of the softest raspberry buttercream frosting that I have ever suckled. It’s so regal-tasting that I always upgrade regular old birthday cakes so that they’re inseminated with raspberry splendor. The star apple—somehow, someway—reminds me of that fucking buttercream. The texture is thick and mostly smooth with a slightly grainy consistency that mocks sugar granules. It has subtle raspberry notes and a gentle saccharine tongue-hug that makes you remember that nature has its own sweetener. And I’m not talking about God’s ejaculate. (OR AM I.)

However, eating either of these fruits probably looks hideous to innocent bystanders. Especially when I’m orally chucking seeds into a spitoon. Today, I mixed in blueberries in an attempt to offset the general visage of eyeball paste and mashed-up road kill kidney. It didn’t work.

20140402-160918.jpgBabe. <3

Aaaaand, typing that while I’m still sitting here eating it was really dumb. This would have been fine a month ago when I was a casual bulimic for a few days.

Yesterday, I attempted to wield my knife-guardian and began hacking into the remaining beige ball in the box. I thought it was another sapodilla, which are soft and Erin-friendly as far as cutting goes. But instead, I made it less than an inch before the knife encountered the hugest pit I’ve ever seen in a fruit. So I had to wait for Henry to come home and finish the job.

In the meantime, I was unable to locate this big-pitted bastard on the brochure so I had the genius idea to EMAIL ROBERT IS HERE. I attached the below picture and made sure to also tell them that sapodillas are the best fruit in the whole universe.

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Within a few minutes, Employee Tracey emailed me back!!

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OMG ME AND ROBERT ARE FRUIT BROS!!! I started screaming and fanning myself, totally fruit fan-girling, while Henry sat there and glared at me in his typical Henry fashion. Sorry you find joy in nothing, old man.

Anyway, the mamey apple tasted like an apricot, indeed. Just more exotic, and more like a dried apricot, even though it didn’t have a dehydrated texture. I let Wendy try a piece and now she’s mad at me for making her like fruit that she won’t be able to get at the grocery store here. Welcome to my world, Wendy. :(

There was one last fruit that Henry cut for me yesterday, and he RUINED IT because it wasn’t ready. (It’s that football-looking thing in the first picture.) The insides were really tough and it kind of looked like a cantolope, and it had the most amazing stench. I kept shoving a piece up Henry’s nose.

“I KNOW! OK! IT SMELLS GOOD!” he kept screaming at me while swatting away my hand. I’m just trying to make moments with him, you know? Memories to include in our never-to-be-written vows.

But he was supposed to wait until the fruit was much softer and the skin was wrinkled, and after that it was supposed to taste like STRAWBERRY PUMPKIN CHEESECAKE because it’s a mamey sapote you guys! It’s what I originally thought the canistel was! Henry’s lucky I didn’t take the knife from him and [withheld so it cannot be used as future evidence].

But don’t worry. I’m now a registered user over at the Robert Was Here website, so: one mamey sapote coming right up!

[A million thank yous to Kevin & Lizzy for broadening my fruit horizons. When we visit—and we will!—, please take me to Robert Is Here so I can get him to autograph my brochure!)

Feb 272014
 

This is kind of a weird Throwback Thursday for me because I’m not actually reposting anything, but finally posting something for the first time that has been mildewing in my drafts folder for almost a year.

Last April 15th, I went to a vegetarian dinner thingie with Janna, Kara and Chris. Usually, I would get around to writing about it within a week. But that happened to be the same day as the Boston Marathon bombing. And it just didn’t feel right to be all, “Yay, this is what I did several hours after a devastating situation rocked the nation!” I was so caught up in reading and watching everything I could about it for the next several weeks, obsessing over the whole boat situation (SERIOUSLY THAT WAS ALL SO FISHY TO ME) that I just quit caring about this dumb blog entry.

Does that make sense?

And then so much time passed that I started to forget a lot of what I wanted to say, and I lost the menu so then I was forgetting what I had even eaten. But I don’t like leaving things unfinished, so I went back and tried to fill in the blanks to the best of my ability.

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It’s not that I’m some sort of epicurious, wannabe gourmand or even some pretentious food blogger who uses the words “epicurious” and “gourmand” (too many sex analogies), but ever since I attended one of Pittsburgh chef Kevin Sousa’s vegetarian dinners at Alchemy in 2007, that tattooed food whisperer has been on my radar.

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Chef Kevin’s newest venture, Harvard and Highland, presents a vegetarian table once a month and seats only eight people.

At the same table.

JUST LIKE THE AMISH.

I really liked the intimacy of this, though I still chose a seat on the end, forcing Janna to sit next to a strange lady. However, I wasn’t interested in what the other two couples were talking about (running, running, running, marathons, running). That is, not until I overheard an older woman at the opposite end of the table talking about dragonfruit and it was all DUMBO EARS: ACTIVATE. Usually my skin burns at the mere idea of small talk, but I had to interject. I just had to, because that very day, do you know what I ate? FIRE DRAGON. You guys, it’s dragonfruit that is bright fuschia and utterly amazing. It’s like art fruit. So I had to tell the rest of the table this and they were like, “Ok” followed by a silent but implied “who cares?” and then the token Pan Asian at our table started bragging about all the exotic fruit he grew up on since his parents are from Thailand or somewhere else that I can’t locate on a map, and he went on to talk about durian while I quietly vomited in my mouth at the thought of that horrid fruit, and he was all, “But you can’t find that anywhere in the States” and I was like, “OMG you ignorant fruit fan, yes you can” and automatically counted off at least three places in Pittsburgh alone.

Except this part of the conversation happened inside my head because I hated that guy and didn’t want to waste my breath on him.

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This was my least favorite. It was too salty. But it came with a flower, so I ate that.

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To my delight, our plates were paired with craft cocktails instead of disgusting beer like the last vegetarian thing I went to. Every single cocktail was amazing and because of them, I forgot everything I wanted to write by the time I staggered back to Janna’s car. If I were a real food blogger, I’d have brought my dichtophone and notepad (and inflated sense of entitlement) with me.

Since Kara is pregnant, she only allowed herself petite sips of each cocktail and then Chris got to chug the rest of hers on top of his own. Lucky son of a bitch.

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Men — find a way to make your semen taste like this creamy puddle of molten feta and you will have to knock people off your jocks all day long.

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OMG I think this was the breakfast plate? It had fake egg things (nettle scramble, whatever the fuck) and some kind of French toast impersonator and more foam stuff because that must be really fun for Kevin to make so he just puts flavorful foam on everything. (Kind of like how I put wonky eyes on all of my paintings.) We all basically ate this in the fashion of having our wrists tied behind our backs.

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Halfway through the night, I realized that the Durian Dick was friends (or maybe just in his own mind) with Chef Sousa and kept hinting around about wanting to go pick mushrooms with him or something and I wished I had a durian or two and the sock of a giant. IF YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN.

(If you don’t, I mean that I wanted to fill the giant’s sock with the durians and beat the smugness out of him. But now you ruined it.)

And Kevin himself served every goddamn plate to Mrs. Durian Dick. Every single time! I kept hoping that the waitstaff would switch it up and maybe we would each get our turn with Kevin, but no. He catered specifically to her every time and that is how I know they’re having an affair.

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A pond of molten Christ on wood, with mushrooms and stuff on top. It was such a religious experience that my tongue was involuntarily spelling out the rosary. Janna didn’t eat all of hers because it didn’t come with preservatives.

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I was trying to get a photo of my chef crush but JANNA moved her stupid head. GOD, JANNA.

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Ahhhhhh desssssert! It was stuff that tasted amazing in a truncated Mason jar! And there were more flowers to eat! It was paired with some creamy (the theme of the night, obvi) sarsparilla drink that I will be requesting by the jugfull if I ever go back.

The loud lady at the end of the table (next to Durian Dick) had a vegan version of the dessert and asked EVERYONE BUT ME AND CHRIS if they wanted a taste. Everyone said no and I actually really did want to taste it but I’m too proud to beg. (Sorry, TLC.)

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Beverage aftermath.

After dinner, we all kind of sat around waiting for the go-ahead to leave and everyone seemed OK with continuing the strange act of Conversing with Strangers, but I wasn’t interested. I was becoming increasingly annoyed and anxious, because I lack the social wherewithal to successfully survive an evening of eating food and, as my friend Alyson would say, “expelling air” with people I do not know.

However, we didn’t eat until 9PM and I had gone there straight from dumb work, plus I’m on a diet and subsisting on leaves and carrots for the most part, so I was pretty irritable and ready to masticate the FU-HAHAHAHA-UCK out of some meatless spreads.

Or I’m just a people-hating asshole. Take your pick.

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My favorite part of the night was how they filled us up with liquor and then made us walk down a dangerously steep staircase afterward. Surprisingly, there were no casualities.

What is an acceptable way to show a chef that you are in total appreciation and awe of the edible gifts he bestowed upon you that evening? Because I’m not above asking him to autograph my tongue.

Jun 302013
 

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Here you will find a series of photos (and one 15-second video) illustrating one Henry J. Robbins indulging in a Twin Kiss twist cone.

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In this particular photograph, our hirsute subject is telling this writer that he will not eat his ice cream cone if photographs are going to be taken.

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Moments later,  our irascible subject lets his guard down and indulges in a quick, hearty, sexual lick; lives to regret it.

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Subject’s son eats his ice cream with wild abandon; ice cream lands on shoulder.

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Surly subject squats alone at a table with a seafoam background.

20130629-194439.jpgMustachioed Subject attempts to block his ice cream sucking with one lone blue collar working hand, but everyone knows what’s going on behind the meat-fist.

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Temper flaring, subject tries to ruin this writer’s camera with an ice cream cone sucker punch; fails.

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Subject gives silent treatment for next 30 minutes, refuses to watch ice cream cone cinematic masterpiece:

Apr 152013
 

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“Just stay in the car,” Henry barked when we pulled into the Oriental Market parking lot. “Please,” his bark turned into a whine.

Yeah right, and risk missing out on the expensive delicacies that Henry would be sure to pass over?

Chooch and I pushed and shoved our way into the store past Henry, who was rapidly aging right before our eyes. He was also muttering under his breath and I’m certain it probably wasn’t an apology for farting.

The very thing I saw? My elusive MANGOSTEEN, mothafuckas.

“I AM GETTING THIS!” I declared to the entire produce section, but no one paid me any mind because I’m sure crazy white bitches up in the Asian markets are a dime a dozen.

Ignoring us doesn’t actually make us go away, though. Sorry.

You could almost hear Henry’s forehead vein strumming along as he watched me toss a bushel of mangosteen balls into the basket at $9.69 a pound.

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Unfortunately, the little market was wax jamboo-less by the time we rolled up, but I made sure to Google that shit and immediately add it to my Must Eat list.

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I’m so glad that I decided to buy one of these aroemanis mangoes even though Henry said, “IT IS JUST A MANGO.” Because it tasted much better than a regular mango! Richer, creamier, more expensive.  (And NOT Asian, I’ll have you know. The sticker says that it’s a product of Mexico, what the fuck is THAT, you produce posers!?)

Henry tried to pull the same authority with the Fire Dragon.

“THAT’S JUST A DRAGONFRUIT PUT IT BACK!” Henry yelled. But if it was “just a dragonfruit,” then why did they also have dragonfruits for sale further down!? So I made him buy a Fire Dragon, too.

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Chooch always picks out one package of cookies and then promptly makes puking sounds in the backseat of the car after tasting one.

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This is Henry’s face after the young girl wearing oversized lensless eyeglasses rang up the small pile of produce and asked him to hand over something greater than thirty US Dollars. We didn’t speak for awhile, but he seemed to be in a little bit of a better mood once he went to Jo-Ann Fabrics. (Seriously, I can verify that Henry doesn’t actually have a vagina, but I can understand why you’d wonder.)

A little later that afternoon, Henry stormed into the family room with one lone eyeball-sliver thing on a plate and spat, “HERE. YOU BETTER PRAY YOU LIKE IT BECAUSE YOU’RE EATING THE WHOLE BAG.”

It was a small piece of mangosteen and maybe it’s the lore and mystique talking here, but it was pretty fucking fantastic. It was like a mild Sweet Tart, with the texture of an eyeball, but the closer I came to the seed, the more its consistency was creamy and buttery like an angel’s nipple—just like my beloved CHERIMOYA. So if you don’t like cherimoya, go fuck yourself. I mean, then you might not like mangosteen.

But it wasn’t as good as cherimoya. That’s still top dawg.

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Thank god I bought the Fire Dragon because WOULD YOU LOOK AT THAT AMAZING FUSCHIA HUE?! I was worried that it was going to deceive me, the same way that beets fool me with their vibrant chromatics. One of these days, I’m going to eat a beet like it.

I hope.

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Henry could shove one of those into a ring and I’d say yes.

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This is what the mangosteens look like in their protective casing. I think I should probably keep a bag on hand when I’m riding the trolley. I might need to use it. And by use it I mean forcefully swing it into the balls of a would-be rapist. Those motherfuckers.

I’m eating my 4PM fruit salad right now at work and it feels so good to be back in action, like I could do ANYTHING. There are also grapes, apples and tangerines in my fruit salad, but who cares.

If it’s slow at work tonight, I’m going to check to see if there are any Fruit Clubs on Meetup.com and if so, I’m going to join and be a complete fruit snob. You know, like I am with everything else in life.

Nov 062012
 

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You know what Henry wanted to do on Sunday?

Sleep, watch FOX News, nap, snooze, eat some jerky, scratch his balls while dozing off, doze off, nap some more, watch things being made on the television, go to bed.

You know what Henry did instead? Every goddamn thing Chooch and I told him to do.

First, we went to the West Virginia State Penitentiary in Moundsville, which I will get to later. (Warning: it’s gon’ be photo-heavy.) Immediately afterward, Chooch and I started whining about being hungry. I mean, we had literally just gotten in the car. We’re like a cuckoo clock for hunger.

“Oh Jesus Christ, here we go,” Henry spat, stupidly thinking he could drive 90 minutes home and just feed us whatever orphanage porridge du jour he had planned.

Seriously, almost everything Henry cooks us for dinner is gray. Sometimes olive and throw-up. Indian porridge, I guess.

“There’s nowhere to eat here anyway,” Henry smugly (and wrongfully) pointed out. So I countered with at least 6 different restaurants I saw as Henry sped past.

I don’t know what made me latch on to Young’s Cafeteria, but when we started to pass it, I screamed to Henry to turn in there.

“Why?” he cried. “You’re not going to like it!”

Look, when in Moundsville, eat like the Moundsvillagers, right? And I imagine they must flock in droves to a restaurant attached to a run-down motel with a shady accountant’s office in the back.

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“This is going to be just like that Roadside Restaurant you hated,” Henry mumbled as we walked through the doors and were hit with a blast of 1960s wood paneling, coagulating gravy and geriatric disdain. But unlike the Roadside, where we were forced to order from a grease-encased menu, we instead got to push a tray through a grease-encased tableau of said menu, like taking a tour of an 85-year-old’s last meal request.

As we stood there holding our trays, every last townie looked up from their snot-gravied plates and if they weren’t all whispering “City folk!” to each other, then my knack at prejudging is really tarnished.

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You better believe I tried their homemade p-nut butter pie. And it actually was delicious, but it reminded me of when I used to give my German Shepherd a spoonful of peanut butter to disengage his barking ability before I would sneak out of the house in high school. I’m sure Henry enjoyed my pie-feasting silence.

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The cafeteria offerings actually started out with fruit-suspended jello dishes. Come on, Young’s. Could you be any more cliche? I couldn’t decide if it was more hospital tray or 1967 block party. I even had the green one on my tray for a split second before coming to my senses.

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I could practically see Henry’s ears smoking as his brain frantically tried to dissuade his stomach from choosing every single bowl of disgusting Old Person Side Dish. Pickled eggs, REALLY? You know there were beets floating around up in that display somewhere, too.

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Like I’m one to talk for thinking that this BEAN SALAD would be a good idea. Oh my god, one bite and I thought it was going to spring forth in all its vinegar’d glory and kill me. I swapped it out with Henry’s cole slaw when he wasn’t looking, but that was just as dried-up as all the octogenarians dining around us.

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Healthy stuff.

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Their entree offerings were exactly as I had guessed, short of salisbury steak. Just a bunch of mystery meats lost beneath gravy pits of varying colors. However, they actually had a vegetable lasagna! Chooch was ahead of us and doing everything on his own because he’s apparently his own person, when the fuck did that happen? Oh wait, it’s always been like that. Apparently, the close proximity of so many vats of vomit models had him suffering the same recoiling gag reflex as his mother, so he opted for the vegetable lasagna too. I heard the old hair-netted broad ask him if he wanted sauce on it, and he had the good sense to shoot down that idea.

I, on the other hand, did not engage my smarts and said yes to the same question.

In return, I was handed a plate of vegetable lasagna smothered under a blanket of MEAT SAUCE, MOTHERFUCKERS.

Seriously, MEAT SAUCE?! On VEGETABLE LASAGNA? Look, I’m not one to send back food, but I had to make an exception with this. So after whispering tersely with Henry about how “I can’t eat this now! WHAT SHOULD I DO? YOU DO IT!!!!” I handed it back to the old lady and said I didn’t want any sauce at all.

“The marinara sauce is next to the meat sauce,” her youthful co-slopper pointed out, and, not having heard me tell the old broad I didn’t want any sauce after all, was just about to begin ladling a blood pool of tomato sauce onto my pure, virginal slab of vegetable lasagna when I yelled, “NO SAUCE!” I mean, when I was originally asked if I wanted sauce, I assumed it was a creamy sauce to match what was already on the lasagna, and I only said yes because that shit looked desiccated, I’m sorry. God only knows how long it had been sitting in that vat, forced to commingle with the likes of chicken a la king and pepper steak. I’d be all withered, too.

But why would you want to put marinara sauce on a vegetable lasagna?!

I had to remind myself that we were in West Virginia, after all, and they probably don’t know any better.

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This picture is too good not to use again. Why was Henry so angry? Oh god, the possibilities are endless. The fact that Chooch and I were acting like obnoxious tourists could have had a lot to do with it. Or the fact that we weren’t paying attention to the crap with which Chooch was filling his tray (like chocolate cake and a chocolate chip cookie and chocolate milk and chocolate chocolate). Or the fact that our lunch cost over $40, hahaha.

“I thought cafeterias were supposed to be for poor people?” I asked Henry, who is an authority on Poor People Things.

“Not when you’re charged for everything separately!” he growled. I don’t know why he was taking it out on us when his tray was the one filled with an individual hospital patient smorgasbord. I seriously think he took one of everything in the disgusting wet salad section, where everything was either pickled or buried under a relish helmet.

You’d think he would have been content—-this was a Babylon for blue collared gourmands!

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I wonder if cafeterias remind Henry of THE SERVICE. I wonder if he ever had kitchen duty. I sense a potential Henry interview.

While my lasagna wasn’t anything to blog about, I enjoyed my time at Young’s. It reminded me of when I was little and would beg my mom to take me to Woolworth’s at the mall just so I could eat in the cafeteria. There’s something special about cafeteria pudding when you’re 4 years old. And pinching your mom’s fingers between her tray and yours.

THAT’S what I forgot to do to Henry.

Oct 132011
 

Why do I keep having parties? All they do is stress me the fuck out. And you know, this time, I was trying to be more lackadaisical about it but all that did was make me wake up Saturday morning to a constricted chest and a build-up of pre-party heart palpitations. And it wasn’t like there was a ton to do — Henry just had to make two pies while I roamed around the house, looking at my imaginary Swatch watch and calling him a motherfucker.

“I don’t know why you get so stressed out when I’m the one who has to do everything,” Henry called out from the kitchen, elbow-deep in butterscotch, while I zoned out to Chiodos and buffed my fingernails. Finally, he finished his pistachio pie and deemed the butterscotch pie as “getting there,” so we packed it all up and split for the pavilion; upon arrival, Henry had already written a list of a hundred things he forgot, which meant Chooch and I got to hang out alone in the pavilion while he “ran real quick” to the store.

I. False Hope

While I was chastising my son for being 5 and incapable of using a swingset on his own, a car pulled up the dirt part alongside the pavilion. Chooch and I ran a Special Olympics practice lap toward it just as a man was emerging from the driver’s side. It wasn’t anyone I recognized, but I am never one to turn away a pie aficionado.

“Do you mind if I take some pictures of my wife?” he asked. That’s when I noticed that in place  of a checkered bib fastened around his neck and a pie fork in each hand, he came equipped with his camera, his very pregnant wife, and a young kid.

Oh.

Hopes crushed, I gave them the green light and Chooch and I moped back to the playground with our heads down. Maybe that was just me. It was already past the start of the party and no one had arrived, so what did I care if some weirdos were taking lovey-dovey family portraits over by the porta john.

Then another car pulled down and around the pavilion, so Chooch and I jumped up and cheered just in time for the two strangers in the car to leer at us as they drove back up the road.

“What the fuck?!” I yelled to the party gods, who were clearly angry with me for some reason. Not sending thank you cards fast enough after my birthday party? God, fuck off.

Finally, Henry came back at the same time my brother Corey and his girlfriend Danielle arrived, so they were here for the next fake out, when a pick up truck pulled into the lot across the street but then it turned out to be some assholes bringing their dog to the park for a walk. It was nearly 2 at this point and I started to cry a little.

II. The Horse

The incredibly affectionate family/pie party crashers had taken a break in their photo session long enough to plop down for a picnic in the grass. We were sitting at a table under the pavilion, openly mocking them, when Corey noticed a horse coming out of the woods. Atop the horse sat a poised older woman in some kind of fucking safari hat and chambray shirt. Corey could not stop talking about how poised she was, like she was expecting to be photographed or draped with a champion’s sash.  Everyone (but me) took turns telling her how beautiful her horse was as she clomped off toward the playground.

Chooch decided that he HAD TO GO TO THE SWINGSET at this moment and he would have to RUN AS FAST AND AS LOUDLY as he possibly could because it might not be there much longer. Off he ran like a madman, ignoring Henry’s warnings of “Don’t run near the horse——aw, shit.”

Too late.

The horse got spooked and started to buck. The bitch on his back was suddenly less than poised as she tried to get him to calm down. We all just sat there and stared, and then I had to turn away because I was laughing so hard. We’re all so incredibly irresponsible when it comes to that kid.

At least she wasn’t thrown off the horse, I guess.

III. This Is My Brother, Corey; He’s Color Blind

Since there still wasn’t a party happening, Corey, Danielle and Chooch sat down and colored some Star Wars pictures. Thank god for crayons and coloring books.

“You know I’m color-blind, right?” Corey asked me.

“What? No!” I replied.

“Yeah, I found out when I was like, 7 and got my first pair of glasses. The doctor was basically like, ‘You’re color-blind as fuck.’ I can’t believe you’ve known me for 21 years and didn’t know this!” Corey said, mock-offended.

Meanwhile, Chooch was chastising Corey for coloring Luke Skywalker totally wrong and I was like, “Dude doesn’t know his colors, Chooch. He can’t help it.” I tried to give Corey a sympathetic smile but I couldn’t stop laughing long enough.

Anyway, the point of Corey’s story is that his color-retardedness is affecting his ability to excel in one of his classes, so his adviser intervened and told the professor about Corey’s “condition,” at which point he was sent to the disability office and had to sit among suicidal students and a guy with one leg.

This was so ridiculously funny to me that I could not stop laughing and talking about it. All day long, whenever someone new would arrive (and yes, people did eventually arrive), I would introduce Corey as “my brother; he’s color-blind.” Show me your weakness and I will mock you relentlessly.

 IV. The Butterscotch Blunder

People were finally beginning to arrive and Henry let me set out the pistachio pie (which was like spooning a cloud from Heaven into your mouth; I bet angels get breast implants made from this sweet fluff) but said that the butterscotch pie still wasn’t ready.

“Don’t touch it!” he barked preemptively when I made to open the weird helium-balloon looking cooler stowing the runny pie. “I just checked it and it still hasn’t jelled.” He tugged on his coller a little and then took another swig of his iced tea jug.

This pretty much went on all day, this dance around the reverse pie-incubator, until finally it was 6:30 and everyone had left with nary a slice of butterscotch pie (which is one of my all-time favorite pies and I haven’t had it in years because my mom doesn’t care enough about me to bake me one, but she’ll still bake them FOR HER EX-HUSBAND WTF). I was devastated. Yes, I had shoveled multiple varities of fruit- and cream-filled desserts between my oscillating lips, but there was a void that couldn’t be filled by any berry or Nutella. I needed that fucking butterscotch.

(Two pies came close though: Kaitlin made a black forest pie and then told Henry to suck it; and Laura’s fiance Mike baked one of the best apple pies with a crust soaked in some sort of sex nectar, I don’t even know but I think I may have broken a few laws with it in my mouth.)

V. The Park

Everyone is always bitching about how hard it is to find park pavilions, no matter what park we’re at, so fuck that: the next pie party will be at a strip club. Maybe then people will actually show up.

And then there won’t be any stink bugs to freak people out. Just crabs.

VI. Where’s the Avocado Pie?

Henry didn’t make the avocado pie this year and of course everyone was like, “Did Henry make the avocado pie?” No, Henry didn’t make the avocado pie because he was too busy fucking up the butterscotch pie.

VII. Pictures of People Eating Pie

Pie Eaters:

  • Me me me me
  • Henry and Chooch
  • Laura
  • Corey and Danielle
  • Robbie and Karen
  • Ron
  • John, Jennifer, Abby and Gavin
  • Nancy and her baby, Joey
  • Jamie and her baby, Crosby
  • Barb
  • Kaitlin
  • Sandy and Elena
  • Sean and Kylie
  • Joy and John
  • Kristen and her dog, Joey
  • Blake and Shannon
  • Henry’s mom Judy
  • Henry’s sister Kelly
  • Zac
  • Janna

 Henry bought some sort of pie shower caps, except I thought he said they were for vaginas. I was so confused, but figured it was something he saw his ex using one time, so I didn’t question it.

I don’t think these kids stopped moving long enough to eat even a bite of pie.

WHAT WERE THEY TALKING ABOUT? It seems so intense.

Since it was an open house-type of party, people came and went all day. Henry kept trying to make everyone take pie home with them, because the pie:person ratio was totally ridiculous this year. There were some pies that hadn’t even been cut into by the end of the day. Was everyone on a diet this year?

We even considered handing off some pie to the picnicking pregnant family down by the porta john.

Joy’s fiance John asked me what started the whole pie party thing. When I told him that it was basically because I wanted pie and wondered how I could trick people into bringing me some, I think he believed me but I’m not sure. It’s kind of cool how much people enjoy pillaging a spread of pies in a park pavilion on a beautiful autumn day, though.

Probably frowning at Kaitlin’s black forest pie.

Laura actually likes having her photo taken, so she doesn’t care when I sneak up on her.

Overall, it was a great day, great weather, great pies, and great people. But by 6:00, I was writhing around and yelling WHY DID YOU LET ME EAT SO MUCH PIE!? because everything is Henry’s fault.

The next morning, Henry finally admitted that he fucked up the butterscotch pie, which had never jelled, not even after a full 24 hours. There goes your spot on the Food Network, Henry, you fuck-up.

Jun 272011
 

If you see me at the grocery store, rubbing elbows with Domesticates and Elderlies sporting open wounds, then you know I have to be there for a very good reason. This girl don’t shop for food otherwise.

On this particular Saturday, the reason was: popsicles. REAL popsicles to be made using the Zoku Quick Pop maker that my aunt Susie got Chooch for his birthday. She said she wanted us to have it because she knew how much fun we had making chocolate lollipops together as one big happy 1950’s TV family and figured we’d also take great delight in preparing our own frozen treats as well.

I’m sure she also probably knew that no way was I going to settle for popsicles made solely of Everfresh juices. I wanted the gourmet shit that I saw on the Zoku website. Henry let me choose two recipes and then we went to the grocery store where I complained the whole time and had panic attacks every time I got too close to meats and people.

Grocery stores are gross, you guys.

Even though the recipes I chose only called for lemons and cantaloupe, I decided we needed many more varieties than just those two pedestrian fruits. I’m a sucker for melons and there was a pile of like, 6 different species. (Brands?) I couldn’t remember which I liked the best. Thank god Henry keeps track of these things (only because he knows better than to ever buy for a second time something I hate) and loaded a Santa Claus melon into the cart.

God those things are like pure, unadulterated candy.

We also needed exotic things, like AGAVE NECTAR, and I complained that the aisle housing these sweetening novelties smelled weird, like a Mexican abortion clinic, which triggered Henry’s official look of STFU Spoiled Bitch. Turns out AGAVE NECTAR is like honey for cooking snobs. (But what the fuck do I know about things that people buy as ingredients. I’m an eater not a cooker.)

(I may or may not have spelled out the word “AGAVE” every time I needed to say it because I don’t know how to pronounce it.)

Henry’s favorite part of having me tag along is when I hold up food products and ask, “Do I like this?”

“Not for $8.99 a pound, you don’t!” he spat when the item my delicate hands clutched was a bag of rainier cherries. This is how I learned that fruit is expensive. I have no basis of comparison when it comes to these things, especially since I was raised on fine food fare, so I will take Henry’s word for it. Especially after I said, “Wow, that was cheaper than I expected!” when the grand total came to $70-something and he nearly sliced out my tongue with his travel toenail clippers.

“This was all shit for popsicles and like, two frozen meals for YOU. Chooch and I got NOTHING,” Henry argued. Oh wah wah, go order a fucking pizza then. (He did, too.)

The popsicle maker comes with a fun face-maker kit, so I cut some bananas (the only fruit I sort of know how to slice) and started using the shapes to make eyes when Chooch pushed me out of the way and yelled, “I WANT TO DO IT TOO!” which made me yell back, “NO YOU’RE RUINING IT! HENRY, HE’S RUINING IT!” which made Henry yell, “OMG BOTH OF YOU GET OUT OF MY KITCHEN!” Henry was apparently doing the “important” part, which was actually mixing all the ingredients together so we could have something to even put the fruit slices in.

Henry is so smart like that.

I guess our sibling-like bickering was impeding Henry’s ability to properly mix up a batch of girly lemon cream, in which he added LAVENDER because he knows that’s my favorite flavor (not really, but close) and he’s been kissing up to me so I don’t pack a bag and GTFO, which is what I’ve been threatening to do lately. Oh go on, laugh. We’ll see if you’re still laughing when me and my hobo sack show up on your front stoop, asking to pitch a tent in your living room.

OMG I’LL NEVER BUY POPSICLES AGAIN

This Zoku thing is genius. You would think, since I had a hand in preparations, that at least the first few batches would come out looking like molten shit on a stick; maybe some would break off inside the machine; maybe at least one would have hemlock in it, making all of Henry’s wishes come true. But no, the inaugural batch and each one after turned out perfect. (Although Henry will argue that I jacked shit up when I tossed in a handful of Froot Loops to the cantaloupe mint mixture.)

Did I mentioned that after Henry diced it, I pureed that all by myself (after Henry showed me exactly which button to press and then hovered over me to make sure nothing fell in, like my face or a brick of cocaine)? Anything that is Erin-proof is a dream contraption. Go get one.

We had so much fun that I demanded we go to Williams-Sonoma that very same night to buy more sticks for the damn thing. Ours came with four and after making two of the lemon popsicles, it quickly became clear that we would need as many  more as we could possibly get (though Henry said one box of 6 would be fine). I have never been inside of a Williams-Sonoma (what reason would I have?) but luckily, before I could break out into fear-of-cooking hives, Chooch led us straight to the Zoku display. At least he’s good for something.

We didn’t have the ingredients on-hand to make fudgesicles and Henry started bitching about not wanting to leave the house again, so instead he improvised and concocted something akin to frozen Mexican hot chocolate. I approved.

Chooch and I made striped ones today, ALL BY OURSELVES! Literally anyone can use this thing without fucking it up!

But seriously, the grocery store, Willams-Sonoma and then a trip to Home Depot on Sunday? No wonder I feel so suicidally disoriented today. At least my freezer is stuffed full of frozen wonders! (The popsicles, not sperm and phalanges.) The cantaloupe mint is my favorite. I’m going to go fellate one right now.