Tagged: food

Well, Hello There Beautiful.

Ah, internet. I’ve come back to my poor, darling, neglected blog.

It’s funny, I thought writing less a week would mean I’d have more time to come up with incredibly awesome ideas to write about, but that has not proven to be the case. Instead, I’m finding that I have totally awesome ideas, but then I go back to playing Warcraft or watching Netflix or whatever and I just let that good idea go back to the idea graveyard or whatever.

However, I have been shamed back into action by Jennie Saia of Tip Of My Tongue, who is as funny, sweet, and refreshing as I am ironic, dramatic and punny. Check her out!

What have I been up to besides not writing and working my ass off? Well, I’ve been focusing on three things, mainly.

1. I went back to my Challenge to order out less and cook more. Yes, I wrote that post in early December and it’s now February. It’s been a bit of a hectic 2014, if you haven’t figured that out yet. I gave myself a ten-day no ordering food test last Tuesday, and so far I’ve done… decently. I have been doing a fair amount of cooking and eating what I’m making. Technically, I did eat takeout on Friday, but Captain Apollo got the food, so it wasn’t really delivery. Right?

Lemon rosemary chicken? Yum yum and four meals done.

Lemon rosemary chicken? Yum yum and four meals done.

2. On a related note, I’ve been working out a lot more as part of my initiative to lose a little weight. It has been going. Not great, not quickly, not even particularly efficiently, but going. It’s been great, but god it’s a timesuck.

3. I made this Bob Ross inspired lampshade. Because, y’know.

bobross

 

Anyways, I have been shamed, and I will make a bigger effort to make this a priority.

Tops Never Stops (being really odd).

I just ran out to Tops to do a bit of shopping and it was very bizarre in there today, internet.

First of all, going to Tops always makes me feel like I’m cheating on Wegmans, because Wegmans is basically a cult. It’s a lot farther from my house than Tops, however, and there’s a gas station right in the parking lot, and on a day where I mostly want to curl up in my jammies and drink spiked hot chocolate all day instead of venturing outside, I feel like Tops is the perfect place to hit up for some low risk snacking.

As I told my dear roommate Varenka, Tops is where you go when you’re hungover and you don’t want to run into anyone you know while you’re sneaking in to buy Cheetos and Dr. Pepper in your unwashed fat pants, whereas people dress to impress to go to Wegmans (not true).

At any rate, the cashier was ringing up my very bizarre basket, which consisted of bean sprouts, frozen pierogies, and goat cheese, and I noticed that the woman behind me had not one, but nine three packs of chocolate pudding, off-brand cheesy puffs, and saline solution.

I’m not one to judge (lemon hummus and raspberry kefir), but doesn’t 27 packs of pudding seem like a lot? I’m a little inexperienced with pudding, but it seems like a lot to me. Is she feeding an entire soccer team? How many people are on a soccer team, again? 14? Or is that football?

I digress. She just had a lot of pudding. Although to be fair, the girl in front of me was only buying ramen packets, but it’s finals week, and you gotta do what you gotta do.

Another weirdness – there was a basket hanging from the number pole thing (you know, that thing with the lighty number doo-dah) labeled “My Pick of the Week” and apparently Sharon, who was my cashier, had picked cough drops for her pick of the week. Was she sick, or was she a cough drop enthusiast? I wanted to ask, but she was a rather glare-y high schooler, so I didn’t want to be attacked by her hormone fueled rage-angsting.

I just googled cashier pole to find a picture of what I'm talking about and...it was awful, internet. So you get this picture of my dog Dr. Pepper looking askance instead.

I just googled cashier pole to find a picture of what I’m talking about and…it was awful, internet. So you get this picture of my dog Dr. Pepper looking askance instead.

I just have so many questions, internet. Like why they always seem to have containers of cut-up strawberries mixed with blueberries in the produce section. Is there a trend I’m missing out on here?

 

 

Asparagus is the devil.

I’m using a writing prompt today from this randomness I found online: 501 Writing Prompts.

Describe a vegetable that you truly dislike.

(A little backstory – I’m sitting out on Gallifrey’s porch with Varenka and reading from this list of prompts aloud and when I read that one she said “Oh god, do that one and write about your love-hate relationship with asparagus” and I went “Love-hate?” and she went “Hate-hate.”)

I loathe asparagus.

Okay, maybe not loathe. I loathe Hitler and Stalin and people who starve puppies.

I have, at best, a complicated relationship with asparagus.

When I was a small child, I was very gullible (okay, I’m still very gullible, but slightly less so).

For example, I thought this was a good look.

For example, I thought this was a good look.

My aunt once told me sharks lived in Lake Erie and I didn’t go swimming for a week. My aunt also once told me that if I hung upside down from my closet rod, I’d grow faster. Also that your ears bleed a lot when you get them pierced.

Actually, come to think about it, it was mostly my aunt who preyed upon my naiveté.

However, in this particular story, it was my American Grandfather who told me that asparagus spears were so named because if you ate them at the wrong angle they would stick in your throat and you would die a horrible painful death.

My family, ladies and gentlemen.

Anyways, since then I haven’t touched the stuff. I think partly because my grandfather psychologically scarred me and partly because asparagus is the devil.

Just me?

Food, Life, Other Stuff.

Have you checked out my Facebook page yet? I have 5 days to get another 54 likes… yikes! HELP ME!!

***

I asked Mi Madre what I should write about today and she suggested I post the recipe for an amazing quinoa salad we tried the other night (okay, she made it and I ate it, but let’s not be trivial here). Click this sentence to be taken there and please note that Maman highly suggests adding the entire avocado and serving it on a bed of spinach.

That recipe is crazy good, but the topic of recipes is a little too juicy to get caught up in just one.

It’s amazing how food can bring people together. It’s not a topic that hasn’t been explored before by wiser, more poetic, interesting, pretty, and talented people than me.

Anyways, food is awesome, not just in a “it keeps us alive” kind of way, but in a “remember how damn good great gran’s pie was?” kind of way. Food is, and should be, nostalgic. I could list for you the top 5 best meals I’ve ever eaten and most of them are more because of the experience and the ambience than because of the food. That’s probably fully half of the reason most people are so freakin’ picky about how they want their mashed potatoes on Thanksgiving. If it ain’t how Ma does it, it ain’t the same, no matter how good your French Potatoes au Gratin are with the drizzly truffle oil and the snotty demeanor.

Jerk.

Jerk.

It makes me sad that there are people that feel like they can’t hoe down on good chow because they need to look or be a certain way. Yeah, I get it, eating hamburgers everyday is bad for you. Yeah, treating yourself to a five-course meal everyday is silly and expensive. Yeah, being 600 pounds is no bueno. There’s a fine line between condoning eating and condoning being unhealthy and overweight that I’m nudging, yes.

The thing is, most people don’t realize that you can make good, healthy, not bad for you nostalgic meals, and once in a while you can even eat the full fat, drizzled in cheese, deep fried thing and it will all be okay. 

My point, if I have one, is that living life by eating carrot sticks and juice means you’re missing out on some good, homecooked meals, and the memories that go along with those meals.

Capiche?

The Puerto Rico List.

I’m back on an airplane again, internet. We left Puerto Rico at 7 in the morning (ish) and it is currently 9:28, somewhere over the Atlantic. Current soundtrack? Tales of Girls and Boys and Marsupials, by arguably the best band of all time (if not, certainly my favorite band of all time) The Wombats. Current occupation? Not reading the crappy book I picked up at the drugstore the other day. You’d think 9 books would be sufficient for a 12-day vacation. Apparently not. Yet I digress (is still my favorite English idiom).

It is extremely hard to wax romantic about the intense beauty of Puerto Rico on a dingy grey airplane whilst listening to energetic English pop-punk boys sing-scream about female doctors, but I suspect it’ll be worse sitting at home with my two golden retrievers constantly head-butting me in the thigh. So here we go, the grand takeaway, the end-all-be-all, the moral of the story. The list of the absolute must-do’s in Puerto Rico, speaking as someone who has been to the island thrice and knows more of the layout of the place then I know about my home state.

To the engaged couple stumbling upon this page looking for honeymoon tips, the eager traveler, or the businessman with refined tastes and people to impress, welcome to hnw cassandra. Sit down and stay a while, why don’t you.

The Top Expensive Restaurants in San Juan/ Condado.

1. Budatai for the pork belly profiteroles and the harame.

2. Trois Cent Onze for the duck and the dirty martinis.

3. La Pearla for the lobster bisque.

4. Il Bacaro Venezia for the pasta and the awesome service!

The Top Inexpensive Restaurants in San Juan/ Condado.

1. Inaru for the ceviches and the sangria.

2. Via Appia for the chicharrones de pollo.

3. Ceviche House for the fried snapper.

4. Mojitos, for the mofongo.

The Best Breakfast Spots in San Juan / Condado

1. Café Saint Germaine for the Sunday Brunch.

2. La Bombanera for the mallorcas and the fresh pineapple (but it’s being renovated, so make sure it’s open).

3. Di Zucchero for the coffee.

4. Punk for the acai bowls.

The Best Adventure-y Things to Do

1. A combined trip to El Yunque and the Bio-Bay – or at least the Bio Bay! It’s stunning.

2. El Toro – Unless you have a serious fear of heights. But the views can’t be beat and neither can the adrenaline rush.

3. Go snorkeling. Just do it. You won’t be sorry.

 

Things That Are Over-Hyped

1. Marmalade – expensive, snobby, and they tend to drench everything in truffle oil. I’ve been twice and it’s just not worth the price tag.

2. The Bacardi Factory Tour – there’s just not a ton to see.

3. Flamenco Beach on Culebra – pretty, but crowded. Go to Playa Sucia near the south- east tip of the mainland or Playa Pieta on Vieques instead.

Things That Are Under-Hyped

1. The taxi services and police are very friendly and generally willing to offer directions or advice. English speaking abilities vary, but the taxi drivers are very knowable and organized.

2. Pinones is a boardwalk that you can wander or bike with beautiful beaches and a bunch of kioskos selling cheap local food. Definitely make sure you have the number of a taxi service with you to call for a pickup, however! They’re a little out of town, but well worth it.

3. Wandering around Old San Juan is breathtaking, especially during the morning or at night when it’s not too hot. Sundays are a little sleepy, but it’s still worth getting there to meander the perimeter along the wall.

4. There are multiple vendors wandering around with carts of ice-cream. It is absolutely worth getting a cup. I had the coconut and it was unbelievably fresh!

 

If You’re in Town Around

1. The first Sunday of the Month, go to the local market in Condado, next to the La Concha hotel.

2. If you are in San Juan while they are running the Saborea Food Festival, definitely check it out.

3. Ask your concierge when the cruise ships will be docking in Old San Juan – there are generally sales going on in town.

Random Advice

If you’re trying to decide whether or not you should go to one of the little islands off the coast, definitely go for Vieques. There’s a lot to do and see and the beaches are extremely beautiful. Culebra is idyllic, but there’s not a ton of food options and the beaches can be crowded.

The Chicken.

Holy Frak, you guys. I HAVE FOUND THE BEST CHICKEN ON THE PLANET.

Technically, I’ve known about this chicken for an entire year, but I had to wait to make sure.

You know when you eat something spectacular, and it lives in your mind as this awesome experience, and it grows on you and preys on your weaknesses and then it’s so built up that when you go have it again, you are thoroughly disappointed because it doesn’t taste how it does in your memories?

This is nothing like that.

This chicken tasted the same as it did a year ago when I had it the first time.

Maybe even better.

This chicken can be found at Via Appia in San Juan, Puerto Rico. No, I’m not giving you an address. Work for it a little, punk.

Via Appia is technically an Italian restaurant. It is vivid and lively and always brim-full of people who do not speak a lick of English.

You will be tempted to order Italian food.

Do not do this.

Get the Chicharrones de Pollo with a cold beer. No, it’s not on the menu. It might be listed on the specials board. It might not. Roll with it. Smooze the waiter a bit. Flirt. Bribe him if you have to. DO NOT GIVE UP ON THIS CHICKEN. IT IS WORTH THE ELBOW GREASE.

When it comes out it will look like this:

hnw cassandra chicharrones

I know what you’re thinking. This is not a pretty dish. You want it served to you on a cloud floating gently down from heaven. You want a chicken wearing a delicately woven crown of truffles and pixie dust. You want to be romanced with a chicken that sings you a love ballad as you masticate it with your pointy canines.

Shut your face. You can deal with it, pansy. And no, that’s not a Heineken, you putz. It’s a Medalla. Get with the times.

This chicken could make a Yakuza mob boss cry tears of joy. This chicken could probably end a war. Maybe even a World War. I wish this chicken was around when Hitler was just getting started, is basically what I’m saying here.

Maybe you think I’m overreacting a little bit. Maybe I am. All I’m saying is that I just watched the ocean come and go for like an hour and I’m feeling poetic and beautiful and a little bit romantic and that this chicken was the perfect end to a perfect day.

Via Appia, San Juan, Chicharrones de Pollo.

Do it.

40 Days- The Fruit Fast.

I’m doing a fruit fast this week, internet, and as it stands right now, I would shank somebody for a slice of pizza. 

I said it. Little Miss Yogi can’t do this anymore. I’m freaking out, man. I’M FREAKING OUT.

How long have I been on this horrific fruit fast, you may ask?

Um.

24 hours?

I know. Pathetic, right? It amazes me how much of my day revolves around food. It’s sad. I went to go buy bananas yesterday, and past my favorite pizza joint and out of habit I put my blinker on to go in. I don’t know whether to be in my house so I can eat fruit whenever I want or be out of my house so I don’t break into the mac and cheese. I can’t even Pinterest because looking at recipes makes me hungry. 

What is up with this, people?? Am I losing it? (Related question- did I ever have it?)

I don’t know why I’m struggling so hard with this. My parents have a smoothie maker and a juicer and a well stocked pantry full of all the delights of every rabbit I’ve ever met. I started off my first day with a broiled grapefruit and strawberries and a big glass of freshly made pineapple-apple-mint juice. It was scrumptious. So why am I sitting here envisioning a toasted everything bagel smothered in dripping Manchego cheese?

Okay. Stop. Breathe.

I never knew how much food ruled me. I eat fairly healthily. I’m a huge fish fan. I voluntarily make and consume a massive amount of brussel sprouts. The amount of sushi my family goes through on a weekly basis would, quite frankly, make a lot of my friends gross out in a major way. That being said, when I crave a bagel, I go get one. If I want Chinese food at three in the morning, I have to have it. I will go out of my way some days to plan my schedule so I can go out and eat somewhere without my mom knowing about it. It’s my secret little act of rebellion (well, not secret anymore).

I feel like I’m being tested and coming up lacking, internet. Last week, I said I was going to make an effort to go to a morning class. I still haven’t, because the mere thought of having to wake up in the morning makes me anxious. The mere thought of denying myself certain foods, even for one day, makes me almost have a panic attack.

I guess I don’t have an explanation for that one yet.

In the mean time, I suppose I’ll go eat yet another banana.