Apr 232019

We’re not a religious family, not even the faux-religiosos who go to church just on holidays in order to look good or meet some kind of biblical quota, I have no idea what I’m talking about here. And Chooch is past the age where he requires an Easter basket, so even the materialistic part of the holiday is kind of just over for us.

(Actually, we got him an international snacks subscription box so someone else can prepare a monthly Easter basket for him, basically.)

However, as I mentioned before, I do really like the idea of Easter because how can you not associate it with spring and that heart fluttery-hope that comes on the heels of the end of another depressing winter?

So while we lack the bonnets and the Easter egg hunts (although Chooch did go next door to Blake and Haley’s and hid some plastic eggs while Calvin was sleeping — Chooch loves his little nephew so much and it’s pretty heart-warming, not gonna lie), I still always request that we do SOMETHING to celebrate. Usually it’s just dinner out at a Chinese restaurant, and then there was that one time we hosted a Pizza Party for Jesus Christ for some of our friends who didn’t have any family in the area. God, that was a good time.

Last year, we were in KOREA for Easter. *sobs*

For this year, I figured we’d just do the Chinese restaurant thing again but then one night, right when I was on the verge of slumber, I had the best idea: Henry could recreate the famous Inkigayo sandwiches that the kpop idols love to eat, but we’d call it the EASTERgayo sandwiches!

A brief background on the Inkigayo sandwiches: In South Korea, all of the main broadcasting stations have their own weekly music show, kind of like TRL was for MTV I guess, where all of the groups and artists perform their current hit song. One of those music shows is called Inkigayo (it means “popular”) and it’s become public knowledge that their cafeteria makes this sandwich that’s only available to staff and kpop idols, called the Inkigayo sandwich (natch). The idols supposedly go nuts for this layered handheld meal, but also there is legend that they use the sandwich as a vessel in which to secretly exchange numbers with each other, since dating is verboten for many of them (literally, some kpop groups have a no-dating clause in their contracts).

Of course, the legend focuses on G-Dragon, because he is a legend.

Goddamit I miss him.

I even made Inkigayo greeting cards for my Hello Hanguk shop! I called them InkiHELLOs, lololol I love myself.

Anyway! I thought it would be cute to make these sandwiches and have a picnic or something, but when I told Chooch the idea he was like WHY U SO CRINGE.

But Henry was like, “Whatever. Just send me the ingredients.”


I was just excited because I was able to read this without the translation. Me and my toddler-level Korean vocab!

There are all kinds of variations floating around out there, and now three convenience store chains in South Korea have started making their own and they’re all apparently completely different from each other. But the one above seems like it is the most true to the original? Hard to tell unless we ship Chooch off to JYP so he can start his idol training.

We decided to go with a nice, sturdy potato bread that wouldn’t collapse under the weight of the layers. And we even eschewed Hellman’s for the more Asian-centric Kewpie mayo (it’s Japanese, not Korean, but still felt more legit than using something American):

Image result for korean mayo

Plus, that mayo is a billion times better than our shit here at home.

Watching Henry slather on each layer, I had my reservations. I mean, we used up nearly an entire loaf of bread on this, so I hoped it wasn’t going to be all for naught.

Just in case, I threw some fruit in the basket and proposed that we swing by Pink Box for some baked goods and boba tea.

God, I love Pink Box. Asian breads are so underrated.

We found a picnic shelter in nearby Schenley Park but of course I had to take a lame picture first, not that anyone seemed in much of a hurry to dig in to some ‘gayos.

Chooch’s first bite produced some not-great reactions…

…but then by the second bite, his face transformed into this mischievous smirk and I could tell he didn’t want to admit it, but after he finished chewing, he said, “OK, holy shit. That’s actually REALLY GOOD.”

This morning he said he wished he had one to take to school today for lunch. Even with all that bread, it’s still probably a healthier option than anything in that gross cafeteria!

His official review was, “Great sandwich, cringey name.”

I can’t explain it, and it looks like crazy talk on paper, but it was one DAMN FINE sandwich. We all scarfed ours without ever putting them down on the plate. I mean, how we didn’t have at least one choking victim is beyond me.

(I even brought out the nice tea sandwich plates that I got for 99 cents at Goodwill, lol.)

Henry went light on the mayo and I think that was the trick:

  • the cabbage salad was so crisp and bright, and the apple really added a nice touch (HE ALMOST FORGOT THE ADDITION OF THE APPLE, IT’S A GOOD THING I WALKED INTO THE KITCHEN THAT MORNING TO SUPERVISE/MICROMANAGE).
  • the egg & potato combo was moist (not sorry) without being wet and drippy. Henry left the crab meat out of Chooch’s and my sandwiches, but he added it to his and said it was fine. I liked that the potatoes made it chewier.

I know that you’re wondering about the strawberry jam and I actually wish there was MORE. It really added the perfect, final touch! It was a light, sweet bridge between two picnic-y salads and it didn’t aggravate my gag reflex as expected!

It makes sense to me  though, as someone who welcomes the addition of jam on her grilled cheeses. I’m fine with any flavor on a standard grilled cheese, one with cheddar or some American slices, but my all-time favorite grilled cheese is dill Havarti on pumpernickel with FIG JAM.

Oh sweetly-spanked Mussolini, I would drop my tears onto one of those right now if I could.

(Sometimes Henry will make that one for me with raspberry preserves in lieu of fig jam and it is a comparable substitution.)

Look, I get the appeal of places like Melt but sometimes I just want a simple-sized grilled cheese (i.e. something I don’t have to eat with a fork) with super classy ingredients, OK?

My mouth is crying.

We were going to do an Easter photoshoot so the bunny ears came along but who even cares anymore. We were punch-drunk off our EASTERgayo sandwiches by this point.

After our lunch, we promised that kid that he could look for geocaches but instead of just staying in Schenley, we left and went to neighboring Frick Park, where Chooch took us down a fucking deer trail into peoples’ backyards and we were like, “YOU’RE GOING TO GET THE COPS CALLED ON US, DUMBASS” and have I mentioned lately how much I hate geocaching?

He only ended up finding two because he sucks at directions and my shoes got ruined because I thought we were going to woods that had cement paths and Henry was like, “THAT’S CALLED A SIDEWALK” but whatever. I was woefully unprepared and I hate walking in mud. Like, a lot.

Some rando fairy town in the woods. This made me laugh because earlier that morning, I accidentally stumbled across this holistic girl’s YouTube channel and before I knew was happening, I had watched six videos, added a bunch of reiki mushroom powders to Henry’s Amazon cart, and a had an intense craving for a kombucha float (made with like, vanilla oat milk ice cream, probably). Henry was like, “This bitch be annoying” but I liked her simply because her voice was soothing and she sounded like she lived inside a mushroom in a forest full of fairies. So when we found this dumbass display in Frick Park, I started cracking up because she probably has a similar set up next to her squirrel wigwam.

Meanwhile, Chooch was looking up geocaches in Seoul. “Look how many are in Hongdae!” he cried, and I was like, why? Are you pre-planning all the ways you’re going to ruin my birthday trip?


Hoooooo lawd, I hate rooting around nature for Tupperware.

Anyway! That was our Easter. Only one tiny complaint was that it was cloudy and on the chilly side, but at least we didn’t fight at all! It was an Easter miracle.

(Those EASTERgayos, tho…)

Oct 102018

For reasons that I will get to in a separate post, we once again found ourselves roaming around NYC last Sunday, the day after the BTS concert. Why is it that every time we find ourselves in NYC, it’s completely spontaneous and unplanned?! I don’t know, but it’s kind of fun and I can’t say that I hate it.

We were in Queens when our original plans shit the bed, so we shrugged and moved on. I mean, at least it happened in a city that has a billion things to do! And I know it’s kind of dumb, maybe not something you would choose to do above all else while in NYC, but there is this ice cream place that I’ve been following on Instagram for a while and it’s on my bucket list. (And yes, my bucket list is like 75% ice cream joints.) So that became our jumping-off point. I mean, at least we had something to start with!

This place also happens to be near Chinatown, so we decided that we would go there first and get lunch.

And then something miraculous happened: we walked around for about 20 minutes while I coveted, and I do mean biblically so, all of the exotic fruit being sold on the street. CHERIMOYA! LYCHEE! RAMBUTAN! SAPOTE! GOLDEN DRAGONFRUIT!

Oh, Chinatown, you fucking snake, you.


Something amazing happened to us in Chinatown, you guys. We found a place to eat that we all agreed on, before any domestic violence broke out, and in record time. It was almost surreal. This almost never happens. We usually walk until our feet are praying to be lopped off by the Nighttime Sickle-Wielding Ghoul.

Are we finally learning how to coexist with each other in public as a family?!

No, it was probably just a fluke.

It also helps that Henry isn’t one of those manly MUST EAT MEAT bastards. He’s super compliant with Chooch’s and my vegetarian needs and is usually the one who finds good veg places for us to dine. In fact, he’s the one who spotted Buddha Bodai Kosher Vegan from across the street (probably also because my eyes are bad). It was crowded when we walked in, but I was determined to suck it up, butter(substitute)cup. So many times I panic at the sight of a crowded restaurant, but when we walked in, I realized that not only was this place vegan like the sign boasted, but it was also DIM SUM. Uh, hell yeah I want that vegan dim sum, bitches, and I will stand here in everyone’s way until a table is cleared for me.

Things were looking up right away though when we got the coveted corner table. Even though Chooch was a dick and wouldn’t let me sit where I wanted because he’s 12 you guys and 12-year-olds are perfect fucking dickheads, in case you don’t have children/have never been around children/wear a child-repelling amulet.

So right away, we started fighting about this and Henry was like ENOUGH. Wow, dad has spoken.

And then our waitress hated us because she thought I asked for meat (I most certainly did not) and she got all defensive and said, “NO! NO MEAT! WE DON’T SERVE MEAT HERE AT ALL ANYMORE!” and I felt like everyone had set down their chopsticks to get a better listen at the dumb tourist who came into the vegan dim sum joint looking for meat.

And then she hated me even more because I had Henry call her back over after I decided I didn’t want the Buddha’s Delight I ordered because I knew it was going to be too much food and I just wanted to fill up on dim sum instead and she was like APPALLED, like no one had ever changed their mind in the history of restaurants existing, ever.

Luckily, the food was amazing and Henry is still talking about it, a week later. I love that he isn’t too burly and gratuitously masculine that he can’t set aside his carnivorous tendencies for an hour to nosh on some finely prepared soy and seitan. I didn’t take pictures, but we got a wonderful assortment of steamed dumplings, some type of bun stuffed with this wonderful sweet faux-meat, spring rolls, something with taro, sweet rice balls….we were fucking stuffed and happy.

Chooch went rogue and got some kind of faux-chicken lo mein and the Chinese family next to us kept complimenting him on his chopstick skills. I was so proud!

And then Henry sent Chooch and me a selca from the restaurant bathroom, which made us lose our minds because HAHAHAHA since when does Henry take bathroom selcas?!

He’s not even smiling, this is killing me all over again!

After lunch, we walked to Milk & Cream Cereal Bar, which I follow on Instagram and drool over daily. I just really love the cereal-as-dessert concept and the novelty  has not worn off on me yet, even though it’s been 10 years (10!!) since my brother Corey and I were launched into sugar shock when we ate at Cereality in Philly and by “ate at” I do mean binged our way into checking off “Gluttony” in Deadly Sin Bingo.

(For those of you too L-Z to click that link, my cereal bowl was called The Devil Made Me Do It and it was comprised of Cocoa Puff, Lucky Charms, malt balls, and chocolate syrup. And then I had to drive for 6 hours back to Pittsburgh.)

So yeah, my love affair with sugary cereal goodness runs deep, so this latest trend of Fruity Pebbles-on-everything is something that really fucking speaks to me like a Leprechaun yodeling in tongues or a Bee Gees record playing in reverse.

Milk & Cream is somewhere in between Chinatown and Little Italy…maybe? That’s what it seemed like. I do not know NYC well at all so when someone asked me on Instagram where this was, I just ignored that part of her question and answered the rest. That’s what you call The Erin Way.

So at Milk & Cream, you pick your base ice cream (vanilla or cookie dough) and any cereal from the laundry list on the wall, which is blended together and splooged out of a soft-serve machine.

I of course chose vanilla and Fruity Pebbles, with a Teddy Graham topping. Chooch went with vanilla and Apple Jacks with a strawberry drizzle. Henry shared mine because I knew I wouldn’t be able to finish it (I think my new diet has shrunk my stomach, and I’m not complaining) but then later on, Henry whined about how he wanted to get his own because he was eyeing up the Cap’n Crunch option which I didn’t notice because my eyes hone into Fruity Pebbles first, always, and now I’m pissed that Henry didn’t speak up and be his own person because I would have liked to try his Cap’n Crunch creation too! Cap’n Crunch is my second favorite cereal, ugh, you fucked up Henry!!

Just look at those specks of Fruity Pebbly goodness! And the ice cream itself was thick and rich, way more dense than I expected after watching it splooge through the soft-serve machine. Suffice to say, I couldn’t finish it and Henry obediently finished off the sloppy seconds. I don’t think I save any Teddy Grahams for him, lol.

While I would highly recommend this place to anyone who loves the ice cream and cereal crossover special, it fucking killed my stomach and gave me a sugar headache, so I spent the rest of the afternoon feeling like absolute trash. I think I should have waited longer after eating lunch!

God, I even fail at eating ice cream. This is where I am in life, you guys. Sigh.

(And of course they have their Halloween specials available now so I want to go back and feast on some dumb Boo Berry brain freeze. How quickly the stomach forgets!)

Apr 272018

Isn’t it crazy when you can not see someone for years and years yet somehow fall right back into a comfortable groove when you do? That’s how it is with my friend Alisha, who I saw for the first time last summer since 2010, and again last Friday when she was in town visiting from Arkansas.

I was so glad that she carved out some time for me on this latest visit, especially when I texted her a picture of a Julian Baker concert flyer and her immediate response was, “YES LET’S GO TO THAT” and within minutes she bought tickets. I forgot what it felt like to have a friend who wants to go to shows!

But first, food. Alisha picked me up from work and we skipped all the frou-frou salutations and went right into our routine of her being annoyed and exasperated and me being totally giddy – ugh, I missed our dysfunctionally perfect yin and yang!

Alisha’s British-voiced GPS led us to Apteka, an Eastern Europe-Yinzer-Vegan joint across from the Allegheny Cemetery that my friend Sarah recommended to me over a year ago and I never made it there because kimchi or GTFO. However, Alisha is vegan so I thought this would be a grand time to check it out and I was happy that it wasn’t crowded yet and the staff wasn’t off-putting as they sometimes can be in a niche vegan eatery, leaving me feeling not inked-up enough and half-assed in my veg-ways. (Which brings us back to kimchi, which I know is made with anchovy paste but I still eat it because I never signed a contract, OK? Korea has changed me!)

Apteka is cafe-style which is kind of annoying when you walk into a place for the first time and they’re like BAM HERE IS THE MENU STAND HERE AT THE COUNTER AND I WILL STARE AT YOU WHILE YOU TRY TO FIGURE OUT OUR WEIRDO MENU GOOD LUCK WITH THE POLISH.

Alisha had a million questions and the Apteka girl very patiently answered her. She asked what the waitress recommended and she blew through the menu so fast I felt like I just been lead through a polka.

Alisha ordered the thing I was going to get so then I had to stand there and stammer, and of course I was unable to pronounce anything on the menu (is it nuts that I was trying to imagine what it would look like in Hangeul to help me sound it out?!) so I just pointed and said, “Lima bean.”

Because the thing I got had a lima bean purée and it was shockingly not phrased more dumb or pretentious than that because you know how nauseating menu descriptions can be in these types of places.  Let me see if I can find a menu…

Kluski Slaskie

baby lima bean + winter bitter leaves + potato dumplings + fried buckwheat + marjoram (GF)

I didn’t even notice that my meal had marjoram on it and I guess it doesn’t matter because I didn’t even notice it while I was eating it to even wonder what even is it. That was a weird sentence.


Alisha also ordered a pot of some kind of tea for us to share. It tasted like ground. Maybe it would have been better with sugar but do vegans eat sugar? I didn’t see any.

Alisha also ordered the Kanapki which was three pieces of small toast, each with a different spread on it. One was for sure carrot and that was the only one I liked.

Guys, that’s my plate at the bottom there and it was so fucking good – those potato dumpling dickheads were so fucking divine and I wanted so much more, and the fried buckwheat was WHAT THE HELL WHY HASN’T HENRY BEEN CRACKLIN’ BUCKWHEAT FOR ME ALL THIS TIME levels of tasty. And that lima bean puree? I didn’t have time to grab my bathing suit before diving into that bitchin’ legume lagoon.

That’s Alisha’s crap at the top.

Somehow, my dinner was considered a “large plate” and hers was “small” and cheaper yet seemed so much bigger and she was still working on it a good twenty minutes after I had licked the last lima smear from my plate.

To cap off our meal, I ordered dessert for us to split, and again, I could have eaten 5 plates of these.

My Apteka verdict is that the food was bomb and inventive, and even had a level of comfort to it that vegan joints sometimes lack. But, for the price I paid and the amount of food I ate, I was a little unsatisfied. I was ready for second dinner less than an hour later. Even still, I’ll probably go back again because I liked the atmosphere, the staff was great, and I want to try the other things on the menu — I’ll just be prepared to eat my arm later on.

Afterward, we went to the Carnegie Library lecture hall to see one of my favorite female vocalists, Julien Baker. Ugh, I have been dying to see her live for years now but something always comes up when she’s here. I thought I was going to end up going to see her alone because I don’t know anyone else who likes her and Henry was a hard nope, but it ended up coinciding perfectly with Alisha’s visit. She was my concert buddy when she lived in Pittsburgh back in the day and I was so excited to have another good music night with her!

Alisha was all frenzied because she wasn’t sure if we were allowed to park in the lot she chose, and then she was mad because we walked some totally long-ass way to get to the lecture hall when we could have taken a much shorter route, but I was selfishly happy about this because I needed the steps since it was week one of the Law Firm Walking Challenge (OH, I HAVE AN UPDATE ABOUT THIS TOO, CHECK BACK LATER) and I was kicking myself for planning an evening of DINNER and a SEATED CONCERT. Alisha was miserable because she had a bad cold and here I was, walking her around Oakland on a super chilly April night.

When we arrived, she was immediately annoyed because the young girls checking tickets at the door were all googly-eyed over my knack for accessorizing and then we stood in the bathroom waiting for the two occupied stalls to open up and then the bathroom door slowly started to open on its own and we were like WTF SCOOBY, GHOSTS!? but here it turned out Alisha had leaned on the handicap door opening button.

And then a few minutes later, we realized that only one of the stalls had been occupied that whole time, so that was cool.

“I should have known it was going to be a night full of stupid things,” Alisha sighed, insinuating that my presence draws this stuff out!?


Anyway, we found some good seats nice and close (BUT NOT TOO CLOSE) in the first row off the floor. Alisha was whining about why it hadn’t started yet and I was like, “Because it’s only 7. We have another hour.”

LOL Alisha thought it started at 7 that whole time and was so angry that now we had to sit in this growing-more-stifling-by-the-minute room. She amused herself by spying on a man who apparently looked at me twice after I said “bless you” to Alisha so she was convinced he was obsessed with me but clearly I think she was obsessed with him! He kept pretending like he was waiting for someone but then no one ever came…

Then people attempted to speak to Alisha and I thought she was going to will herself to incinerate into a pile of Arkansas ash.

“Why does this always happen? I was doing so good all these years and then I’m with you for like a minute…”

“And the awkward social situations come back?” I laughed, and she emphatically agreed.

It really was an interesting mesh of people there that night though. Lots of punk rock college lesbians, little girls, and old guys.

And us.

Tancred was the opener and I really don’t have much to say about them because I have tried so hard over the years to like them, especially when I got more into that Bledfest-type of scene, but I just can’t. The singer is fine but her voice doesn’t evoke a single emotion from me and the lyrics are kind of middle school diary.

But Julien though….

She performed mostly alone until closer to the end of her set, when her friend came out to accompany her on violin. I didn’t take any video and this picture is actually Alisha’s, because I kind of felt paralyzed with regurgitating grief and realized at one point that I was barely breathing.

Julien has this poignant and measured way of singing the most delicate, whispered notes and then, before you have time to prepare yourself, she is lurching her head back and full-blown power-vocals are roaring out of her small frame and sucking up all the oxygen in the room. She will leave you fucking breathless.

So, there’s this thing about me that you should know, and it’s that, as much as I love words, the lyrics of songs usually come secondary for me. It’s the music itself that heals me first and foremost, it’s what gets my heart started, the tears flowing. And then it’s the tone of the voice singing against that music. I have to laugh a little bit because when I was super into the post-hardcore and screamo scene, people would ask me how could I tell what they were saying? And I would say, “I can’t, and it doesn’t matter, because it’s still touching me.” And now, I get the same question because 99.9% of what I listen to is in Korean. And again, it’s the same thing. It doesn’t matter to me what they’re saying, because the music, and the sound of their voices singing in that perfect language, fills my heart with joy that I haven’t felt in such a long time.

But yet, Julien is the rare exception for me. Because I AM listening to her words. And they are slicing through my wrists like a rusty razor. To write the songs she writes…and to sing them with such brittle sincerity and honesty…you have to have a lot of pain in your life. I can’t imagine standing there on a stage in front of so many adoring fans, stripping down to your bare, aching soul, letting us all watch you relive whatever you were going through when these songs came to fruition. She gave us a gift that night, and I will forever cherish it!

This is one of my favorite songs. Careful, she might break your heart.

And then we thought we were going to have to live in the parking lot because one of the parking ticket machines wasn’t working right and traffic was all backed up and we blamed Henry for not driving us.

“You never asked?” he replied to my text. WELL, HE SHOULD HAVE JUST KNOWN TO DO IT!

And don’t you worry – I came home at 11pm and still managed to eke out 20,000 steps.

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. 

May 282017

Friday was one of those days where you hate to complain because when the words come out of your mouth, all you can think is “WOW THIS IS PETTY.” But I was stuck in that “wrong side of the bed” mindset and every little thing was under my skin. 

It was raining. I had to walk to the trolley in the rain. Some asshole car splashed me in the face. I was sitting on some yellow stain of ill repute. I got talked over a million times at work until I eventually just went silent for awhile. Everything was annoying. I had a headache that wouldn’t go away even after visiting Gayle’s Pharmacy. My umbrella blew inside out as soon as I went outside for a walk. I was so vicious to Henry on the phone but he took it like a champ because this is his norm. 

Stupid stuff, but sometimes that shit builds up and I can’t just brush it off everyday. Some days I just lack the resolve and gotta let the hate flow. This was that day. 

After work, Henry and I were supposed to meet our friend Jason and his girlfriend at the 68 show at Smiling Moose. They ended up having to cancel earlier in the day, but we still had tickets and a babysitter, so our plans were the same. 

Except that by the end of the work day, I was DONE. My headache was still there. I was hungry. My hair was frizzy from the rain. I forgot to bring a shirt and shoes to change into and I just felt UMCOMFORTABLE. I had no joy left in the tank.

From the moment I got in the car, I started bitching. Henry was calm as ever because he knew the nucleus of this bitchfest was hunger. Feed the girl, save the world. 

Originally, we were going to eat at the Moose before the show, but I knew all day that this wasn’t happening because I forgot to ask earlier in the week if I could leave work early and I knew by the time we got there it would already be packed since it was Friday. 

And I was right. 


I mean….now, now Erin. Let’s not be petty. 

So we canvassed Carson St and I haughtily shot down every one of Henry’s suggestions with a flaming arrow of estrogen and hanger – that mix you fuck with only if you want to die. 

Henry kept trying to make me laugh and I was like YOUR JOKES ARE NOT SUPPRESSING MY HUNGER. Maybe put a fucking punchline inside a bowl of bibimbap, dumbass! UGH!!

Ultimately, I decided that I wanted to blow off the show even though at one point I had been genuinely looking forward to it, because I wasn’t sure if a crowd was going to exacerbate my total bitchfaced attitude or what. 

“Let’s just go home!” I yelled and Henry calmly said, “Ok. Whatever you want. I’m just glad to be spending time with you” and then I had to pause to puke in a discarded pizza box because bitch, please. 

Driving out of Southside, Henry suggested we try Onion Maiden, a metal-themed vegan restaurant we had been wanting to try since it opened but then forget about it every time we’re looking for a place to eat. 

You know how it is. 

So we rolled up to Onion Maiden and the dinner rush hadn’t yet hit so at least I didn’t have to be overwhelmed by a crowded restaurant on top of everything else. 

It wasn’t the Korean food that I was craving, but they at least had some Korean-inspired menu items. 

We started with a plate of cashew cheese, chutney, mini baguette, apple slices, and “Killing Yoke” deviled (faux) eggs. That’s what’s up.

Henry shared his order of Graves at Sea with me, and also ordered Coffins (I had a bite and immediately had ordering remorse). I got the Kimmy Gimmler of course because: kimchi. 

It was great but definitely wouldn’t have held up as a dinner entree on its own. Luckily, we had that cheese plate and tots too or I would have been ready to eat my arm an hour later. 

Henry got some vegan donut for dessert and I had the cheesecake special: The New Rose, which had like, rose, beets and hibiscus or something. 

It was good BUT—not as good as the raw cheesecake I had at this one vegan restaurant in Cleveland. I can’t remember the name of it now. Earth Something, probably. 

Props to the punny menu. It lifted my spirits and smothered the fury rising up from my belly. I was in a much better mood after that!

(Zenith is still bae, though.)

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.


“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.


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.


“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.

Sep 192014


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!



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.


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.


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!



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.”


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.


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.)


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.


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.


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.


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!!!!!)

May 212014

Plans to go to Cleveland on May 19th had been in the works for several months; basically, as soon as Chiodos announced the dates of their Devils Dance Tour. You guys know that I love Chiodos A LOT but when I saw there was no Pittsburgh date, I likely would have held off and waited for another tour. (Maybe.) BUT! When I saw that not only Hands Like Houses but also Emarosa were supporting them, I was all in. I mean, Emarosa. I’ve waited years for them to rise from the ginger ashes that Jonny Craig left them buried under. But this is blubbering that’s better left for a different blog post. And you know there will be one!

Henry’s oldest son Robbie is also a big Chiodos fan, and we had been fanboying over the new album together on Facebook. So it was no-brainer to bring him along with us. We left early enough on Monday to murder our stomachs at Melt, which is basically a grilled cheese porn shop. You will see grilled cheeses in such greasy, compromising positions at this joint that you’ll be leaving a puddle in your wake.

God, of DROOL! A puddle of drool. What did you sick fucks think I meant?

On the way there, I tried to tag Henry in a post about Jonny Craig’s new band on Facebook, but I forgot that I had unfriended him the night before,.

I love playing games on Facebook. And not the dumb ones like Candy Crush, but the ones that hurt people in real life! Psychological games FTW!


Gratuitous bathroom photo for Alyson Hell, Queen of Loo Shots.

Meanwhile, Henry had been stalking our friend Jason to see if he wanted to meet up. First, he was sending him direct messages on Twitter, but when that didn’t garner him a response, he started texting him, too.

“Oh my god, stop being so embarrassing!” I cried as we walked into Melt. Jason is super fucking busy and I figured that since all of these bands were in town, he probably had a lot of obligations and interviews to knock out at the Magazine Office. Which is why I wasn’t bugging him. But Henry is just so excited to have a friend in his own age bracket, that he gets a little aggressive. Plus, Jason likes bottled beverages so sometimes they talk about that, which is weird, but that’s what I get for being in a domestic partnership with a Faygo warehouse manager. People talk to him about beverage.


Wondering why Jason doesn’t love him as much as he loves Jason. My friend Kate referred to Henry as the Patron Saint of Frowning the other day and now I want to make screen prints of it.


Puppy Kisses, party of 3.

There was a short wait for a table since it was prime lunch time hours, and I busied myself by ogling one of the waitresses who only had a stump of a left arm and still managed to bustle with the best of them. I was thoroughly impressed. But then I was afraid she was going to think I was being rude so I tried to not ever look at her again. Awkward.

I was excited though because for some reason I recently referenced the Jesus Lizard and Henry didn’t get my joke because he had never heard of them, and there happened to be a framed Jesus Lizard poster on the wall. I jabbed Henry in the gut and said, “LOOK!” but he was like, “Ok?” and acted like he didn’t care which is what he always does when I know more than he does.


We were seated in one of those tables where one side has a chair and the other side is one long wooden bench, but the way our corner table was set up, the bench curved at the end so a third person could squeeze into a two-person table. I sat down first so Henry was stuck sitting in the awkward bench-corner and proceeded to whine about it because that’s what bitches do.

“It’s like, sharp sitting here. No really, it’s sharp and it hurts my leg!” Henry cried when I told him to pipe down, we’re in public. “I don’t know how I’m going to be able to eat once the food gets here. Where are they going to put my food?” I patted the corner of the table in front of him. It wasn’t that hard to figure out. “Move down some,” he pleaded with me. So I did but then I immediately moved right back because I only care about myself.

For the last several weeks, I had my eyes on the May special, The Sanchez, which is basically an enchilada inside a grilled cheese. This sounds like it would have a horrific impact on my already thunderous thighs, but WHEN IN CLEVELAND, am I right?

Ugh, but then the Ghosts of Upset Stomachs Past held a summit and encouraged me to go a different route so that I wouldn’t spend most of the show in the bathroom.

So I ordered the Big Popper, which is literally a jalapeno popper between fat-assed slices of Texas toast, DEEP FRIED, covered with powdered sugar and served with a mixed berry dipping sauce. Yeah, that makes sense, Erin. Your stomach thanks you.

All the best parts of the county fair stuffed into one XXXXXL carb-pocket. Only thing missing was a ride on the Zipper. Although, the zipper on my jeans was probably in danger of going on a ride once I was done eating.


I actually missed the shout out on the menu about it being deep fried. Maybe that would have deterred me, because I was trying to be gentle on my stomach, but that’s a ridiculous statement to even make if you’re dining at Melt in the first place. I mean, go drink some chicken noodle soup if you’re trying to knit yourself a gastrointestinal Snuggie. Because I guarantee you won’t be feeling digestively sound ten minutes into a Melt meal.

Henry and Robbie ordered something with meat in it.

I managed to eat a third of my Big Popper. ONE THIRD and my waistline was already engorged. Belly, distended. Forehead, sweaty. The fact that they even serve this shit with fries is hilarious. Oh, you want to know how it tasted? Fucking divine, you guys. All those flavors somehow beat the odds, celebrated their diversity and united to form one cohesive taste unit on a plate. It was like a sweet and savory Pride Parade in my mouth.

Meanwhile, Henry begged the waiter for sugar and also for permission to move the now-empty table next to us over so that he could move out from the corner.

“I have to check and make sure this table isn’t on the waiting list,” he said with hesitation.

“Well, we do have another person joining us, so we’re going to need the extra seat anyway,” Henry said haughtily and I was SO EMBARRASSED because our waiter was cool and now he was going to think Henry had an imaginary friend, because who waits until they’re halfway through eating to be all, “Oh yeah, and we’re actually going to have FOUR in our party”?

Ugh, Henry is the worst when we’re in restaurants. I said that out loud and he huffed, “Oh really? Me asking for more room is worse than all of the times we’ve had to LEAVE RESTAURANTS after sitting down because of YOU?”

I’m sorry, but sometimes I just get sinking feelings and need to leave immediately!

Anyway, Henry got his stupid second table and was able to free his ass from his woefully tight bench compartment. At least we got to quit hearing him bitch about it.

And then miraculously, Jason showed up for a quick visit so the fourth seat wasn’t all for naught after all, and believe me, Henry made sure to be all INYERFACE about it too. And he wonders why I unfriended him!

We hadn’t seen Jason since the Never Shout Never show last December (the one in which he made all of Chooch’s dreams come true!) so it was good to catch up and get some scene chatter in. Music is my favorite topic of all time, so Jason makes a pretty good (OK, fucking fantastic) conversational team mate. OF COURSE Jonny Craig came up, which made Jason (and Henry) groan, but that makes it even more fun for me!

Jason had to get back to work and we desperately needed to walk off our lunch, so after puking a little bit when the waiter asked us if we wanted dessert, Henry paid the bill and then took us on an accidental tour of the ghetto, which was actually pretty exciting.


With nothing else to do (this is what happens when I leave shit up to Henry; he wanted to leave sooooo early to get there but then had nothing besides Melt lined up for us to do! What a cock!), we headed downtown and killed time by walking through some of the arcades near the House of Blues. Really, all I wanted to do was go to Collossal Cupcakes, but Henry was all, “No, we must walk through the entire arcade and look at all of the closed shops and gag on the stench of curry and feet.” So that is what we did and the only good thing is that when we were on our way into another arcade, ONE OF THE GUYS FROM HANDS LIKE HOUSES WAS WALKING OUT AND HELD THE DOOR OPEN FOR US! So then I was like OMG OMG OMG OMG and Henry was like, “Who cares” and Robbie was like, “Ok.” And then every two minutes I was like, “Remember when…!!!”


Collossal Cupcakes ended up being a collossal waste, but at least Robbie got to bond with cupcake dispenser about their shared dislike of sweets.


It was worth it at least to make them sit in princess-y seats.


Henry and I shared a snickerdoodle cupcake and while he complained about it being that type of frosting he hates, motherfucker still ended up eating three fourths of it himself. Fuck him.

Remember when one of the guys from Hands Like Houses held the door open for us? THAT WAS SO NICE OF HIM.

And then some douchebag came in to get a cupcake milkshake for his girlfriend, who for some refused to come in and waited outside on the sidewalk, while TOTALLY flirting with the cupcake worker girl who clearly had already imprinted with Robbie over their mutual adversity to dessert.

Now I want a fucking cupcake milkshake.

May 202014

What a clunker of a title. Let me explain: I had dinner plans at Ten Penny last Saturday night with Wendy, Kaitlin, Barb and Mary. Ten Penny is downtown, and since I accidentally walked past it one day last week, I was pretty excited at the prospect of taking the trolley downtown of my own volition and walking to the restaurant like a big girl. I think Henry was bracing himself for me to change my mind, but really, taking the trolley downtown at this point in the game makes me way less anxious than the thought of driving down there and finding somewhere to park, OMG no.


I walked past Wiener World and knew I was going the right direction, yay landmarks!


Of course I was early, so I wandered around (making sure I stayed close so that I wouldn’t get lost!). When I was on my way back to Ten Penny, I saw two women across the street, waving.

“I don’t recognize these women, but surely it’s some combination of Wendy, Barb*, Kaitlin and Mary,” I thought to myself. So I waved back.

They waved more exuberantly and then began jumping too. So I waved back more exuberantly and did a little awkward jump, because YAY FRIENDS!

They were waving to the bitch next to me. Also, they were strangers. I really need to get my eyes rechecked.

*(Barb ended up not being able to make it. Probably because she didn’t want to see me, ugh!!)

Luckily, I crossed the street and ran into Wendy, so I felt like less of a lost sheep. Thank you, Shepherd Wendy.

We went inside to claim our table and wait for Kaitlin and Mary, and I told Wendy of my newfound independence and bravery.

“I even took a DIFFERENT EXIT when I got off the trolley,” I confided. What a weird little phase I’m going through.

Here is where Wendy nearly choked on her water from laughing so hard. “I’m sorry, but you just sounded so earnest, you fool!” And then she wanted me to say it again so she could record it.



WHATEVER, WENDY. We were soon joined by the rest of our party and commenced the ordering of cocktails, which was hands down the best part of the night for me because I love fancy cocktails so much. Too bad that bartending “degree” didn’t get me very far.

I already knew that I wanted a Stormy Morning, because I always have to look at menus online before going somewhere, whether I’ve been there before or not, because I like to know what I’m walking into. This is how I knew that Ten Penny is a vegetarian’s nightmare. Almost everything was meat, and even the things that were just vegetables or potatoes had gratuitous bacon incorporated in an assortment of creative ways, like the brussels sprouts were capped with candied bacon and the truffle fries came with bacon aioli. (I love aioli so I almost cried about that.)

ANYWAY! Back to the cocktails. I knew before I even left the house that I would be glugging on a glass of the Stormy Morning, which consisted of St. Germaine (yes, please), Creme de Violette (oh shit) and a blanc de blanc. I would have been fine with a barrel of that heavenly secretion and a bread basket. I can never get enough bread.

Dumb Wendy ordered the Stormy Morning before me but only after she found out I was going to order it, so I made sure the waitress knew it was my idea first.

“She’s one of those,” Wendy sighed to the waitress, in a time that made it sound like she was referring to a mangy disease.

But as it were, we were there for dinner, so I had to order actual food. The only veg entree option was a pasta primavera and I can’t tell you how far away from the pasta tip I was that night. So I wound up getting the wild mushroom flatbread, which was fine but not anything that Henry couldn’t have made me. But whatever, I was happy with my dranks, y’all.



For dessert, we all split the S’mores, only because we wanted to fuck around with the novelty of melting shit over a mini-stove thing. That was pretty fun for a second, but the S’mores themselves were only so-so.



Marshmallow poops.




Then Wendy made us have our picture taken.20140520-110413.jpg

Overall, I would go back to Ten Penny the next time I want to more than I would at a dive bar to drink myself stupid. But unless I was going for lunch (GRILLED CHEESE & TOMATO BISQUE: ’nuff said), or suddenly start masticating flesh again, I probably won’t give their dinner menu another shot. Unless Wendy tells me to. Because she basically plans my weekends for me now.

Mediocre food or not, the whole point was to spend time with three of my favorite broads, and that part of the night was five stars, you guys. Go tell Yelp.

And then it was around 11:30 by the time we left and sorry, but ain’t no way, no how this bitch is riding the trolley home at 11:30 in the PM, so I texted my chariot. An irritated Henry arrived about 10 minutes later.

So much for independence.


Apr 032014


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.)


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.


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.


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.)


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.)


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.


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


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.


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.


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

At the same table.


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.)


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.


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.

Nov 182013

I know I’m supposed to be on this stupid diet or whatever, and I swear to god that I’m mostly good about it, but sometimes my sweet tooth prevails. And it can get pretty scary when I try to fight it, so I just basically throw my arms up and concede.

It’s fine when it’s only one “bad” thing per weekend, but this past weekend I really went hog wild. I couldn’t help it. Sometimes you just have to have your fucking cake, you know?

It all started on Friday when I went to lunch with some of my bosses and co-workers. We went to a new-ish pizza place called Proper, except that by calling it a “pizza place” gives the impression that it’s some ordinary bullshit Domino’s. It’s not. They use all kinds of fancy, fresh ingredients and their seasonal menu stopped me dead.

First of all, they had a Harvest Pizza, which had a pumpkin puree sauce, squash, nutmeg, globs of some sort of wonderful homemade cheese that I forget, and sausage which I ordered without. But this is not the point of this post. The point is that also on the seasonal menu was a QUINCE AND PERSIMMON COBBLER, are you fucking kidding me. You guys know that persimmons are basically my favorite fruit other than apples, right? Well, now you know.

I didn’t order it for two reasons:

1. I didn’t want to be That Person who ordered dessert when no one else did, because I wasn’t with a group of people I was all that comfortable with, and I also wasn’t paying for myself. (That probably would have been most people’s go-ahead to order dessert, but I have a Guilt Complex, OK?)
2. One of our bosses ordered two flights of beer so we all could have one without getting too hammered, and I was fortuitous enough to choose an apricot wheat that didn’t activate my gag reflex! In other words, I was able to drink all of my beer and felt pretty full.

Alas, I went back to work with no persimmon cobbler stuffed inside myself. And I pretty much spent the rest of the day thinking about it. And also that night. And then the next day, too. I feared that this could be a repeat performance of the Waffle-copia Letdown. I just can’t go through that again. Not so soon.

And that is how Henry got suckered into driving downtown Saturday evening and grabbing thsi sacred and seasonal cobbler to go. And then he proceeded to get stuck in Pitt football traffic on his way home, which I would normally laugh about except that MY HOUSE MADE VANILLA BEAN ICE CREAM WAS MELTING.


It was still so fucking good though. I have only ever eaten persimmons fresh and on their own, never baked alongside quince and sweet crumbly things! Mother lord, I can’t wait for Henry to perfect this recipe. I don’t give a shit that this picture looks like a pile of dirty albino vomit. I just wanted to eat the fucking thing.


On Sunday, I had plans to go to the grand opening of French patisserie Gaby et Jules with Corey and Janna. This classy joint has technically been open since August, but they celebrated their grand opening all weekend long and the reason I really wanted to go was because I saw “free samples!” And I am a sucker for the free shit.

However, it was rainy and miserable all day on Sunday, and I was starting to feel those initial twinges of Sickness. I almost bailed on Corey and Janna, but goddamn am I glad I didn’t!


So excited for French shit!


I learned that “et” means “and” in French and that diets can GTFO when it comes to patisseries et macarons. It was a really cultural day on so many levels.

When we walked in, I was prepared to be treated like your basic Walmart Shopper looking for Twinkies and Ding Dongs. But instead, the people behind the counter were super friendly! God, I can’t believe Janna judged them on their accents. She was so sure they were going to be dicks!

(That’s how it happened, right Janna?)


HATS!! Gaby et Jules’ Instagram account really had me hyped for hats.


After a nice lady plied us with samples of their new Noel collection (so delicious and out of my pay grade), we proceeded to stand in everyone’s way and act like complete dessert dunces. It was so overwhelming! And that was before I even turned my attention toward the macarons.

Luckily, everyone was very helpful and jovially answered us when we jabbed our grubby fingers at things like mute hitchhikers. A very proper Frenchman even offered us more samples and when I said we had already been given some, he laughed and thrust the small paper cups toward us once more. “Bonjour! Have another! Oui Oui!”

I don’t know. It went something like that, anyway.

I ended up buying one patisserie each for myself and Chooch, plus a white chocolate basil macaron and a pumpkin macaron just for my own piggy mouth.

The woman who administered our first round of samples was the one who rang me up and she broke character long enough to tell me that she likes my purse. (Ha ha, Chooch! IN YOUR FACE!) It was like being in a haunted house and having Jason Voorhees lift up his hockey mask to tell you that he likes your Nickelback hoodie. Seemed weird.

I mean, she could have at least said “le purse.”

Once the three of us were sufficiently patisseried, we went to a coffee shop across the street so we could indulge like True French. This was actually Janna’s first good suggestion in approximately eight years, so I have to hand it to her. I was prepared to just eat my purchases with my hands in Janna’s backseat.


Corey’s lemon boob. It was delightful! I will probably get this the next time I’m there, because I love when things are lemon.


We each ordered a different holiday specialty latte. My soy pumpkin was great but I wish I had went with plain coffee to offset the sweetness of my French spread.


Corey Instagramming his glistening lemon boob, croissant and passion fruit macaron.


Janna got a rasberry cylinder and a caramel cylinder. She saved the caramel one for later but I can attest that the raspberry one was really great! Perhaps she can tell my two readers what the caramel thing was like in a comment. Go on, Janna.


I got the L’Orient, not to be confused with L’Oreal, which I had been salivating over since the first time I saw this glorious green creation on their website. I LOVE pistachio-flavored things and if that’s an option, I will usually pick it every time. Especially if it’s gelato. Sorry that these pictures are so banged up but do you really think I was about to sit in a coffee shop and food-style when this log of L’Orient could be in my mouth? No. It’s amazing I had the restraint to take a picture at all.

That chocolate thing up there was for Chooch. First he told me to bring him back a cupcake but when I was like, “French people don’t care about cupcakes” he said, “I don’t know. Chocolate, then.” Just chocolate. I took my task seriously and made sure that I chose the thing that had the most kinds of chocolate. Henry took Chooch to the zoo that morning so I needed to compete with that.

After Corey, Janna and I succeeded in putting ourselves in a sugar coma, we deemed the day a win and vowed to turn “Frenching up our palates” into a habit. Crepes are definitely on the agenda.


A door that has nothing to do with French foodstuffs.


Chooch and Henry were on the loose when I got home, so I took some time to get Chooch’s Le Royal Chocolat plated and ready to be presented to him on bended knee. And of course he turned his nose up at it.

“BUT THAT IS A REAL GOLD FLAKE ON TOP!” I cried, and that was enough to make him backtrack and give it a whirl.


This is his “I’ll tell you if it’s any good” face. He declared it delicious, or course. I mean, its entire consistency is chocolate, how bad can it really be? I strong-armed him for a taste and I can hereby attest that it was DIVINE. And not in a John Waters sense.

Then Henry was all, “Wah, let me have some too” and we shouldn’t have given him ANY since he acted like he’s better than a French bakery when I asked him if he wanted anything. What a l’douchebag.

To summarize: Gaby et Jules needs to open a second shop in my backyard. The landlord just sent some inbreds to weedwhack our mini-rainforest back there, so there’s plenty of room!


Nov 032013

One of the Caribou Coffee joints was recently turned into a Peet’s Coffee. This wasn’t anything that neither concerned nor enticed me, but I had the misfortune of finding out one day when I went to get coffee at Caribou and instead arrived at a gutted storefront.

“It’s going to be a Peet’s Coffee,” the cashier at the nearby TCBY told me when I went inside and started asking her semi-hostile questions about where in the fuck Caribou went. “It’s supposed to be really good.”

I didn’t give a fuck. I needed an iced latte super fucking bad that day and had to stay in the area so I wound up drinking WENDY’S COFFEE OH THE HORROR.

(“Wendy’s” as in the fast food chain, not my friend Wendy, although I’ve never had that Wendy’s coffee so maybe it sucks, too.)

Then a month passed and I forgot about it because there are tons of other coffee options near my house so what do I care about this Peet’s/Caribou drama. Until one day KAITLIN texted me and was all, “FYI there’s a new coffee place called Peet’s and they have MAPLE LATTES.”

You guys. Maple lattes. Motherfucking maple lattes you guys! The first time I had maple coffee was last June when we were visiting our friend Alyson in New Hampshire and it was fucking splendid. Just so goddamn wonderful! (If you hate coffee or maple or both then skip the rest of this post I guess? I know Henry probably will.) And then in Salem, MA I had an iced maple latte and strongly considered becoming a Masshole just so I could drink that shit everyday because it was like autumn’s elixir, I can’t even describe it. It’s like when you imprint with a werewolf and your mom wants to know what that’s like, and how do you explain it? It’s fucking fantastic, like some real life Adam & Eve bullshit. Totally a personal thing so people should just mind their own goddamn business.

What happens between a girl and her iced maple latte is not my story to tell.

The grand opening for Peet’s was last Monday, but they were actually already open. So I decided mid-morning last Sunday that I needed to go and get myself mapled before I exploded.

First I checked Peet’s website just to make sure this elusive beast really was available. It was, and it said “NEW!!” beneath it, so I took that as a Good Sign. And then the store itself was dripping in Maple Latte advertisements. But when I ordered it, I was told that they were DONE FOR THE SEASON. Is this a joke? Does the Alamo paper their walls with pictures of a basement? NO. (They don’t, right? I’ve never actually been to the Alamo.) Anyway, instead of blowing my top, I went with my second choice: pumpkin spice. BUT I WAS TOLD THEY WERE ALL OUT OF PUMPKIN SPICE.

Sorry guys, I lied to you. I didn’t actually go to Peet’s at all. I sent Henry on my behalf.  I just wanted to see what it would feel like to write about actually doing something for myself.

I’ll tell you what I DID do though, I bitched about it on the Peet’s Facebook page and some Peet’s rep named DON apologized to me. He feels confident that I will enjoy their new holiday flavors, but that’s assuming I (Henry) will ever go back!


And then on Halloween morning, my brother Corey and I went to Waffles, INCaffeinated for some spooky breakfast haps. It was the first time eating there for both of us and we were really excited to go apeshit on some morning desserts. I spent all this time stressing over the menu until Corey pointed out the smaller menu of waffle add-ons, so then my head seriously was about to pop-off because I don’t handle multiple options very well.
It also had the Waffle of the Month at the bottom.

October’s waffle was the Waffle-copia. It was a sweet potato waffle (SWEET POTATO WAFFLE) with a fresh apple and fig compote (FIGS!!!!!! FUCKING FIGS!!!!!!!) and then I briefly also saw something about pumpkin, too but I didn’t need to read anymore. This was what I was going to smash  my face into that morning, pie eating contest-style. Ask my brother how stoked I was. Seriously, ask him!!


Does this look like the Waffle-copia? No? BECAUSE IT’S NOT. It’s the Mega Berry, which is what I had to disgustedly order after ELI THE WORST WAITER began to write down my order, only to pause and laugh, “Oh wait, we’re all out of the monthly special.”

I waited for him to walk away before assassinating his character in ways that could probably land me with a lawsuit, but I WAS MAD. Corey was like, “Who gives a fuck, they had my Funky Monkey, and that’s all I care about.” But I couldn’t stop mouthing off about Eli every time he walked away from our table after refilling our coffee. We’d both say thanks but then I would tack on a “FOR NOTHING!!!” after he retreated. I have impeccable aim when it comes to shooting the messenger.

Yeah, my Mega Berry waffle was good, blah blah blah. And, as Corey kept marveling over, the prices were pretty good too. BUT THE FIGS! THE FIIIIIGS!!!!!

ELI THE LIFE RUINER kept coming over to ask us how our waffles were and I just kept mumbling, “It’s good” but then when he’d retreat, I’d growl “No thanks to you.”

Before we left, some Waffle Man approached our table to ask us about our experience. He had a slight accent, so I think he might have been the proprietor (I like to read about restaurants before I go, and I remembered that the Man Responsible for the Waffles had some weird name, so that must have been him because I’m a really good profiler). Corey and I both said it was great (and it really was, EXCEPT FOR ELI THE WORST WAITER EVER). I’m not a big complainer–no really, I’m not!–so I started to think of ways I could word my Waffle-Copia complaint without sounding like some entitled Yelp reviewer.

“So….was today the last day for the waffle of the month?” I carefully prefaced my cloaked complaint.

“Yes, I’m sorry. I was actually just drawing up some ideas for next month’s special,” he said, flashing his Waffle Blueprint Notebook at me. And then: “Oh my god, your face, it looks so sad!” he exclaimed with genuine concern.

Apparently, my face had fallen into an automatic Dog-Eyed Pout without me even realizing, THAT IS HOW SAD I WAS. “It’s OK,” I lied. “I just REALLY WANTED THE WAFFLE-COPIA.”

And so the Waffle Foreigner explained to me that due to certain logistics (like having to order 50-pound bags of figs), they try to run out the waffle of the month during the last week so that they’re not stuck with a bunch of product that can’t be used for the next month. And I pretended to be understanding of that, and assured him that the Mega Berry was a fine replacement (I mean, it was good, but it was no Waffle-Copia).

He mentioned my sad face again and even said it was the saddest face ever, but look — I can’t get my facial muscles to lie for me, OK? ELI RUINED MY LIFE!!!!! So, to make him feel better, I blurted out, “And the prices here are really good!” like I’m suddenly a senior citizen out for breakfast with the Pittsburgh chapter of the Regis Philbin Fan Club.

“We try to stay competitive,” Waffle Man responded to my awkward sentence.

On that note, Corey and I decided it was time to leave. ELI THE WORST WAITER IN THE WORLD was standing near the door.

“Have a great day, guys!” he cheerfully called out.

“You too!” Corey and I replied, but then as the door shut behind me, I added, “ASSHOLE.”

So, I guess the point to this story is that I don’t get over disappointment very easily. And if you’re a waiter, I WILL PROJECT MY DISAPPOINTMENT ONTO YOU. Fuck you, Eli.

[ED.NOTE: Waffles INC really was great and though it pains me to admit it, Eli was a good waiter. But if they don’t bring the Waffle-Copia back next October, they can all rot. APPLES! FIGS! SWEET POTATO! PUMPKIN! You might as well just call it the Erin’s Orgasm. I’m not so sure Peet’s will get a second chance, though. That asshole Don could have at least offered me a coupon!]


Apr 152013


“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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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


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.

Apr 072012


Chooch went to his cousin’s house today to dye Easter eggs, leaving Henry and I with a wide-open beautiful afternoon. And because it was so beautiful today, we decided to skip rollerskating in favor for a hot dog picnic in the cemetery.


I’ve been a fan of Pittsburgh chef Kevin Sousa ever since I had the great fortune of experiencing his memorable vegetarian feast at the Bigelow Grille. It remains, to this day, my all-time favorite dining experience. I’d even go as far as to say it was transcendent.

And when have you ever known me to say something like that? IT WAS TRANSCENDENT.

This is just a pretentious-worded way to say that we went Chef Sousa’s hot dog joint, Station Street Hot Dogs, to fulfill the food portion of our cemetery picnic.


“This is my favorite part of the day,” the super-friendly girl who took out order said as she popped off the caps of our Mexican Cokes.

That was so weirdly endearing to me and it kind of made me love her. Even if the food sucked, the people working there were so nice it would have negated any sour reviews. And you know how I love to write a sour review.


I remember when hot dogs cost fifty cents and Kristy McNichol wasn’t gay.

After we got our hot dogs and fries, we took it to the nearby Homewood Cemetery & masticated the shit of it while sitting on a rock near a pond.


Henry and I both got a chili dog, but mine was of the veggie persuasion. I almost got the Devil Dog instead, because hello–egg salad and potato chips on a hot dog sounds so disgusting it must be right.

But the chili dog had a bonnet of CHEESE CURD and that was enough to sway me. I’m coming back for you, Devil Dog.

Henry’s standard mastication pose.

I don’t know what came over me, but I started pining for the taste of a real hot dog and kept passive-aggressively begging for a bite of Henry’s while wringing my hands. Mine was so good, but the baseball stadium beef stench was wafting from Henry’s bun RIGHT INTO MY FACE.

“God, just take a bite. I’m not going to call the veggie police,” he mumbled.

AND SO I DID. OH GOD I DID. I took a bite and almost cried, it was so good, this Vesuvial eruption of smutty pleasure and smoked guilt on my palate. My first bite of non-soy meat since 1996. (But god only knows how many times my family minced some meat up into their so-called vegetarian holiday side dishes.)  MY WHOLE WORLD IS FALLING APART RIGHT BEFORE MY EYES.

Oh my god, I can’t believe I did that. I don’t even know who I am anymore. Thanks a lot, Ohio.

After I cried and vowed to repent later to my Saint Rita statue, Henry and I went for a walk around the cemetery; I was wearing Henry’s least favorite sweater boots, which make me shuffle my feet like a teenaged girl, so he kept calling me Captain Floppy Feet, but I secretly changed it to Fräulein Floppy Feet because I’m OCD for alliteration.

[ETA: Henry totally waved at a robin while we were walking around the cemetery, and then tried to deny it.]