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. 

FUCK EVERYTHING! LIFE SUCKS!

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.

THAT FUCKING GOLD MEDAL PIE.

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

And sure enough!

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

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

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

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

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

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She wasn’t impressed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

The fuck.

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

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

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

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

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

Sep 192014
 

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

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

1. Food there is exorbitantly-priced

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So, I ran.

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

Thank god for accidental exercise.

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

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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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…!!!”

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

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

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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Marshmallow poops.

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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
 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Get on that, Henry.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Don’t be a bitch, Marcy.)

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

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

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

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

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

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

20140402-160918.jpgBabe. <3

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Feb 272014
 

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

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

Does that make sense?

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

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

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

At the same table.

JUST LIKE THE AMISH.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Beverage aftermath.

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

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

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

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

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

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.

GODDAMNIT.
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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!

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So excited for French shit!

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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?)

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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A door that has nothing to do with French foodstuffs.

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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.

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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!

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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!!

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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
 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I hope.

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

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

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

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

Apr 072012
 

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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.

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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.

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“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.

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

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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.

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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.]

Feb 112012
 

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Alternately titled: Come Back Thursday (If You Want To See Keith)

Any day that includes lunch at Zenith is bound to be a great day. And this was Laura’s first time, so that made it even better. It’s fun watching someone take in Zenith for the first day; there is so much to look at (in addition to fill your stomach with)!

We met Kara there yesterday at 11, after I perfomed the mother of all parallel park jobs and Laura was all, “OMG all of those years reading your blog never could have prepared me for the sheer amount of adoration I have for you right now. You should be on a DMV billboard, you are that amazing. Look at how I’m trembling from all of your glory right now!”

Typically when Kara and I meet for lunch, we both have our sons in tow. But yesterday, Chooch was in school and Harland was at home with his dad, so we were able to have a conversation that didn’t consist of “OMG sit the fuck down!” and “Chew, chew, chew!” (although someone should have considered saying that to me, the way I masticated my tofishy sandwich like I had a gun to the head and a Choke Pear to my asshole). Kara was worried we wouldn’t remember how to interact or have anything to talk about, but obviously we prevailed.

(Thank you, Revolutionary War porn)

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So happy to scope the tea list! Laura is secretly 70 and British. But seriously, Zenith has phenomenal tea. I usually get some kind that has sarsaparilla in it, but I couldn’t remember its name and then thank god Kara pointed out that there was an Earl Grey Lavender, because true friends remember which of their friends like to toss some lavender in their mouths every now and again. So that is what I ordered and it was full of floral, just how I take it.

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My teapot came with a warning. Our waitress, who I believe was the owner and not happy about having customers as soon as the door was unlocked, set everyone’s tea pot down before them and to me she said, “Be careful, with yours. The lid doesn’t want to stay on.”

Kara said she thought to herself, “Of all the people at the table to give the dangerous tea pot to.” It was one of the many moments I have throughout any typical day where I whisper wistfully to myself, “I wish Henry was here to do this for me.” But I prevailed! I spilled a little on the table right away, but everything hit the cup after that point. Every day, I conquer new (tiny) battles. That’s what growing up is all about, or so I hear.

20120210-153820.jpgTofishy in black and white.

Even though I’m not a real vegetarian anymore (sushi won the war, so I guess I’m a pescetarian now), I still enjoy vegetarian food. I still don’t eat meat or chicken though, although the one thing that tempts me more than anything is bacon. And I live in a world where everything has bacon in it, even donuts and milkshakes – DO YOU KNOW HOW DEVASTATING THIS IS. There is a big event being planned around bacon, so that’s all I’ll say on this subject for now. Anyway, Zenith has some wonderful vegetarian and vegan fare, and it’s so delicious that even my meat-eating friends enjoy it. I thought Kara and her stroganoff were going to conceive at one point.

Laura ordered a burrito that was the size of an American forearm* and it almost gave me order remorse. But my tofishy sandwich was amazing enough that I was OK with admiring Laura’s motherwhomping burrito from afar. The vegan tartar sauce was so tangy-good that it had me substituting my tongue for my napkin.

*(As opposed to a Caribbean forearm.)

Usually I get a salad with my lunch, but something was telling me not to. To save room for cake? Because I’m allergic? I brought it up as we all sipped on our teas, and Kara was all, “What is wrong with you? I can’t be friends with someone who doesn’t like a good Zenith salad.” So I looked up my old Zenith blog posts and found the answer:

“It was like the vegetation version of clown cars. As soon as he set the bowls down in front of us, leaves of lettuce the size of elephant ears began unfolding and springing forth. It was the most difficult, not to mention aggressive, salad my fork tines have ever speared.”

It had nothing to do with taste, apparently, but the level of difficulty surrounding it. It’s hard enough for me to eat a basic grilled cheese without a Gallagher-approved safety tarp, let alone a salad that belongs in Little Shop of Horrors.

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You would think this was around the point I brought up my dire yearning for Revolutionary War porn, but it was not. (Although Kara has a friend in the adult film industry who said he could probably make my dreams come true OH MY MUSKET-FUCKING GOD! But um, that’s a story for another post.)

The unfortunate part of the meal was that our favorite waiter Keith was not there that day. Even though our waitress intimidated us and flashed some weird gypsy death rays at a couple who had the nerve to poke their heads into the kitchen in the universal sign for “We have been sitting out for here for an unacceptable amount of time and would now like you to bring us our menus and meet every last one of our yuppie needs,” I still mustered up the resolve to ask her if Keith still worked there. She seemed moderately taken aback and said that Keith now only works on Thursdays.

“Come back on a Thursday if you want to see Keith,” she proceeded to tell me almost every time she walked past the table, which wasn’t very often, because she hated the other couple out in the dining room. So I hated them too, only because I wanted to order cake and didn’t want her to get mad about it.

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Since I asked about Keith, I made Kara inquire about our cake options. I didn’t want to press my luck with the lady. Kara and I both ordered a slice of lemon vanilla bundt cake and it was the word “moist” in a wedge, on my plate, slathered with icing sweet enough to make a death row inmate smile. I was so full from my sandwich, but I kept shoveling it in. This is what I’m trained at. Right before I die, I hope to have the opportunity to impart my wisdom on Chooch: NEVER LEAVE A DESSERT UNFINISHED.

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A few minutes after I took this picture of Laura, I looked at it and asked, “Wow, why do you look so full of duress in this picture?” and then I remembered it was right at the moment she was lamenting the time she left a takeout box containing a t-bone on the roof of her car a year ago. Then the lady brought us our checks and said, “Come back on Thursday if you want to see Keith.”

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It’s tradition to flounce around the antique-side of Zenith once we’ve rolled ourselves away from the table. Laura immediately found a sword and started waving it around. She’s such a loose cannon! And then Kara found on a small table the most hottest picture of Jesus these eyes have ever seen. I grabbed it from her and imprinted with it immediately. Our waitress happened to be passing by and said, “Isn’t that creepy? My daughter had it hanging on the wall, but I put it down there because it was freaking me out.”

I asked her how much she wanted for it, and she said, “$10…but only because it’s kind of old!” she tacked on as if she thought I was going to exclaim, “$10! Astronomical! Why, you’re out of your mind!” and then she took it from me and tucked it back behind something else on the table and walked back to the kitchen.

“You’re coming home with Mama,” I whispered, snatching it back off the table and holding protectively against my Virgin Mother bosom.

20120210-154021.jpgThis picture is so visually pleasing to me. It reminded me of the time in 2005 when I needed a new notebook for college and I found myself unable to choose between two notebooks of this same shade of purple and a lime green. CVS was about to close and I had Henry hulking around behind me, hissing, “JUST PICK ONE!” It turned out they were buy one get one free so I got to have both! [Yes, things were so tight back then that Henry only gave me financial clearance to purchase one (1) notebook for school. Now that I work at The Law Firm, I sometimes walk down that aisle and think cockily, “I could buy like, FIVE of you if I really wanted.”]

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I finally flagged down the lady again and told her that I intended to purchase Hot Jesus and she was like, “OK, can I go to the bathroom first?” Like I was leaving without it! When she came back to get my credit card, she brought up Keith again and I called after her, “He was the best waiter I ever had!” This gave her pause at the cash register.

“Well….maybe under certain circumstances,” she said, which led me to believe that perhaps their relationship was rocky. I would have been satisfied leaving with that information only, but she just kept telling me things about him (not bad things though; they apparently have a mom-son type of relationship so she was candid) and by the time I left, I knew everything short of his social security number and how he takes his eggs in the morning.

And I also really like that lady now. I feel like we bonded over Hot Jesus, Keith and Hating Yuppies.

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“Come back on Thursday if you want to see Keith!” the lady called out one last time as we exited the door.

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Oh Christ, have you ever seen a hotter Jesus?

Nov 292011
 

When my friend Jason presented me with the option of either going to the AP Fall Tour in Cleveland or at home here in Pittsburgh, I didn’t hesitate to choose the 2.5-hour drive to Cleveland because I wanted to go back to Melt.

I mean, I wanted to hang out with Jason.

While eating the fuck out of some Melt.

Saturday morning, Jason and his wife Emily were already standing outside of the back entrance, sentinels in anticipation of an impending line of grilled cheese aficionados. We were soon joined by Jason’s friends Terri and Christian from Philly, who were quick to apologize when it came up in conversation that I once stayed in a motel in Camden. Then I asked if they have ever eaten at Cereality, because that is all I know about Philadelphia. I’m not sure how well I sold the cereal bar, considering my review featured the line: And then I almost threw up on my drive home.

I think these were actually the first words I slapped them with after the standard “how do you do”s. I am not very good at small talk.

Once we were all situated in a booth (first ones in, motherfuckers!), Jason, Terri and Christian all ordered different root beers and I could tell Henry was bursting at the seams to start masturbating their minds with all of his lame bottled beverage knowledge. (And then he orders plain old iced tea.) Meanwhile, Emily’s palate twice rejected the grape soda she ordered so she finally surrendered and just got a Coke. Jason teased her about holding up the ordering process but if it had been Henry, my foot would have swiftly kicked his nuts in lieu of good-natured teasing.

Last May was my first time at Melt and I experienced a complete meltdown behind the curtain of my menu. Absolute ordering paralysis. So many choices! And nearly all of them can be made vegetarian/vegan. So what did I get? A plain old mushroom melt. Granted, not so plain when you get it at Melt, but still – it was a far cry from fancy and exotic. Delicious, but pretty pedestrian when wedged in between a line up of artery-clogging sensations like The Dude Abides (homemade meatballs, fried mozzarella cheese sticks, rich marinara, provolone & romano); Paramageddon (2 potato & cheese pierogi, fresh napa vodka kraut, grilled onions, sharp cheddar); and The Big Popper (fresh jalapeno peppers, cheddar & herbed cream cheese, beer battered, mixed berry preserves), which I almost ordered because my aunt Susie recommended it and also because of the mixed berry preserves (Henry puts jelly on my grilled cheeses at home; it’s the best way to eat a grilled cheese) but I was afraid the jalapeno peppers would ignite bonfires in my stomach for the rest of the day.

But then I saw that the special was the New Bomb Turkey, which could be substituted with seitan turkey, and just like that, all the other options paled in comparison. Terri and Christian are both vegetarians as well, and Terri also ordered the New Bomb Turkey so I didn’t feel like an asshole forgoing the meat like I normally do when I’m eating with a bunch of carnivores and being the “difficult one.” Jason and Emily ordered the regular versions of this, Christian I believe got the Dude Abides with vegetarian meatballs because I remember exclaiming that I might have wanted to get that instead but I already ordered. Henry got something dumb.

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Waiting for our food went something like this: Blah blah blah, JONNY CRAIG DISCUSSION, blah blah blah, OH HENRY IS THE BEST FOR BRINGING A CASE OF BOYLANS ROOT BEER EVEN THOUGH IT WAS ERIN’S IDEA, music industry scoop, WHERE IS OUR FOOD MY STOMACH IS REVOLTING & IT SOUNDS LIKE NICKELBACK.

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Oh, you guys. It was the most glorious sandwich I have ever had the pleasure of sloppily masticating. I softly cried when I took the first bite, like a woman meeting her baby for the first time. (I did not do that when Chooch was born; I was too shell-shocked and hyper-aware of the fact that beneath the sheet, my abdomen was splayed open like a freshly-fucked corpse on a row of milk crates in the back of a serial killer’s Econoline van.)

The bread alone on this sandwich was enough to grow a food baby in a belly. They use the thickest slabs I have ever seen on a sandwich and I don’t know what sort of liquid heart attack they use to grill it, and it’s probably best that I don’t know, but it makes the most glorious goddamn grilled cheese vessel of all time. If it won an award, Kanye West would probably interrupt its speech just to agree. Greasy as fuck, crispy around the edges, moist in the middle—just the way Henry liked his hooker vaginas when he was in the SERVICE.

And there’s so much going on between the slices, I have no idea how the sandwiches don’t topple over on their way to each table from the kitchen. Even the vegetarian versions had so much seitan turkey jammed atop a soft wad of stuffing, there was no way that bitch was fitting into my mouth (and I do have a big mouth) without the aid of a fork.

It was all the things I never get to have on Thanksgiving, punched inside a towering stack of Paula Deen-approved toast and served with a prescription for Lipitor.

The cranberry dipping sauce was like gilding a lily at that point, but fuck did it make for an ambrosial lily.

I had to take copious breaks, but I managed to polish off an entire half and I felt my stomach expanding sickeningly throughout it all. Henry had already engulfed his entire plate in that time.

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Speaking of Henry, here is what he has to say about his lunch at Melt.

Me, watching Henry wash the dishes last night: What was on your sandwich?

Henry, in his standard indignant tone: It was gyro melt.

(I guess this means we’re supposed to figure it out on our own.)

Me: OK, no one cares anyway. How sad were you that you couldn’t sit next to Jason and dish secretly about root beer like two little 1950’s school girls?

Henry, maintaining his Man of Few Words image: I wasn’t.

Me, as Henry takes a hearty swig of Faygo Cola. Dish washing is hard work, ya’ll: What was harder to wrap your mouth around, your sandwich or the words “I do” in 1993.

Henry: Why do you have to do that.

Me: Seriously, which one?

Henry, adopting his “You’re pushing me” high-pitched squawk that I hate so much yet cause so often: I don’t know! Let it go!

(He hates being reminded of That Time in his life.)

Me, furiously scribbling in my important “I’m Interviewing Henry!” notebook (it has monsters on it): If you could have your own sandwich on the Melt menu, what would be on it?

Henry, trying to make my dinner at this point, so you would think I would back off lest a generous sprinkle of rat poison fall into the pot: I don’t know!

(This is assuming Henry has any imagination, but it would probably be some sort of flesh marinated in Faygo and served on a bed of emasculation, with a bandanna as a napkin.)

Me: Did you think our waitress was hot?

Henry: [Looks at me suspiciously and slowly says no. This means YES.]

Me: What about the guy who refilled your iced tea?

Henry, in a flat tone: No, I didn’t pay attention.

(This means he’s already downloaded busboy porn.)

Me: How disappointed were you that none of our lunch companions remarked upon your striking resemblance to serial killer Ed Kemper?

Henry, playing Bakery Story on his phone at this point: I wasn’t.

Me: If you found a finger in your sandwich, would you

  • Pull it out and set it aside, then puke in a flower pot;
  • Eat it. Meat is meat and they know what they’re doing at Melt;
  • Use it to replace the butt plug you lost during the Great Marital Separation of 2001.
Henry: [Laughs like a gay Santa, I think to illustrate the fact that this is going to be one of those NO COMMENT moments.]
 
Me: If you invented a sandwich at Melt in my honor, say if I died saving an albino support group from a hostile group of arms-bearing Serbians mistaking them for enemy Albanians, what would you name it?
Henry, no hesitation: Pain in the Ass.
 
(That sounds unappetizing and pregnant with pinto beans. Pretty apropos then.)
 
Me: There were some big words on the menu, like “muenster” and “diablo.” Did you use your phone to covertly look up the definitions under the table?
Henry: [walked away.]
 
Me: What would your SERVICE buddies say if they knew you were eating trendy gourmet sandwiches and not pork-n-beans?
 
(Totally typed porn-n-beans at first.)
 
Henry, in a beaten-down, wilted-dick mumble: Nothing.
 
Me: What did you eat in the SERVICE, anyway?
Henry: FOOD.
Me: No, seriously. All asshole-ness aside, I really want to know.
Henry: I ATE WHATEVER I MADE.
Me: So like, succotash?
Henry, slashing my throat with his glare: I don’t know.
 
We officially reached WOKE BEAR status at this point, so I quickly closed my notebook. Maybe someday Henry will regale us with tales of making messes in the mess hall. But today is not going to be that day.
 
Here’s a quick review from a special guest:
 
Henry’s Moustache: I have been trying for the last 20 years to emulate Tom Selleck’s lip wool. Maybe then I won’t walk around with meal souvenirs tangled in my bristle. Someone please send Henry a stencil.
Jun 272011
 

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

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

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

Grocery stores are gross, you guys.

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

God those things are like pure, unadulterated candy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Henry is so smart like that.

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

OMG I’LL NEVER BUY POPSICLES AGAIN

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

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

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

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

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

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