Monthly Archives: May 2013

Food Words (Fwoords? Foowords?)


People should stop using the word: mouthfeel. I first saw it on a chalkboard display at a Starbucks where they listed all their coffee origins and then described them. Later on, I came across it several more times, and I realized that this is an established term in food writing. And that just disturbed me even more. Maybe it didn’t sound remotely sexual when the term was first used, but now, if I walk into a cafe that boasts of its beans’ “creamy vanilla mouthfeel,” I feel like the only thing I could possibly order would be a dirty chai. Which would be spilled on my white silk blouse (I don’t have one), and then I would realize I didn’t have my wallet and I would have to find “some other way” to pay for my dirty, dirty chai. …I think you see where I’m going with this.

 

People should start using the word: Capresish.  Everyone knows what Caprese refers to, right? Tomato, mozzarella, and basil, drizzled with olive oil delicious on its own as well as stuck in between some delicious bread. But there are many possible combinations that are kind of like Caprese, but not really. Any combination of at least three of the above, or substitutes, that is clearly meant to approximate Caprese should be called Capresish. In fact, you should start calling it that right now. And … go.

 

This has been a mid-afternoon break. Now back to work.

 

Do any commonly used food words bother  you? Have you created any yourself that you hope will catch on? Tell me about it! 🙂

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Monday Madness: It’s Memorial Day, F*%^ Off


I think I’ve worked almost every memorial day since graduating from college. While I was working in human services, they needed staff 24/7 and of course Monday was a regular shift for me, and I could never afford to take a day off because I never got paid days off. You’d think it would be different now that I work an office job, but my office doesn’t close for Memorial Day. At least, that’s what I was told, although no one else is here, so… Oh, well. I’m here, so if no one comes along and tells me to leave, I’m working at least most of the day. I need to get stuff done.

Come to think of it, did Bennington even give us Memorial Day off? I’m thinking they probably did, but I’m having a lot of trouble remembering. If I recall correctly, that was always our last week of classes, which for me usually meant finishing that last literature or psychology paper, pulling together that presentation, and goofing off just a little bit in my last voice class because I’d already done the performances for that term. Enjoying the sunny End of the World and trying to get in a last hangout with friends before we all went away. Like in so many other cases, no one lived close to me, so seeing people over the summer was usually not possible.

And so I ask you, Memorial Day, if I don’t get the day off then what are you good for? Not only that, but the MBTA runs on a Sunday schedule, which is the worst one. The bus I usually take doesn’t even run, and the other option runs far less frequently. As luck would have it I didn’t end up being late, but I did have to wait about 20 minutes at Kenmore. Which is just awful.

Well, I’m at work, so I guess I’ll get going on actually doing work. Have some burgers fresh from the grill for me OR I WILL HUNT YOU DOWN. Not really. Yes, really.  

Lonely (Relaxing) Dining: Life Alive, Central Sq.


This morning I scheduled a massage to use my living social coupon. It was at 10am, which is usually a time when I’ve just gotten up and am introducing myself to the weekend, on Saturday mornings. I rarely leave the house that early on a weekend day. Only if I have a specific reason.

Since I was so close I decided to go to Life Alive afterward, which is an organic vegetarian eatery with AMAZING smoothies. I had a “Sufi Poet” salad (I have no idea why they call it that), which was light but substantial enough for me, with really good flavors, and reminded me how much I enjoy dried cranberries on salads. I also got a Coconut Alive smoothie, and it was just perfect.

I know this picture is dark. The lighting is very dim in the cozy corner where I was sitting for this meal.

I know this picture is dark. The lighting is very dim in the cozy corner where I was sitting for this meal.

So, I sat on one of their little loveseat benches and read my book while consuming this delicious food. I ordered a demi salad, and it was still a pretty good size. I don’t even think I could finish a full sized one. I’ve been wanting to try their other, cooked dishes. I really want to get The Fool. Anyone ever had it? Did you like it?

It was rainy today, and a little colder than I was prepared for (I didn’t have any socks on–oops), but not too bad, since the rain was that misty drizzle type that gets you a little damp at the most. Not like Friday, when it was pouring down all evening. Glad I wore boots then. So as I was walking between the massage place and central square, I was in a really good mood, despite being kind of cold. After my nice lunch I was still in a pretty good mood, although it was starting to rain a bit more. Shoe shopping was really the only thing to do before heading back home.

I went to DSW with a $10 coupon. I was looking for shoes I can wear to work, something fairly comfortable but nice and pretty, maybe a little different. The ones I found are bright green, so I think I succeeded there. I also got some stuff for play, because it was drastically reduced. There was a red leopard wallet the tag on which said “compare at $40.” I looked at it and thought, I would never pay $40 for this. You know how much I actually paid for it, according to my receipt? $7. So. Yeah.

Look for the red, 70% off tags in clearance, because DAMN.

Look for the red, 70% off tags in clearance, because DAMN.

 

If you think I saved that much and still paid a lot, think again…

As for cooking adventures, I haven’t been having them much lately. Nothing worth posting about anyway. I have a brief post to write about a stir-fry I made the other day, which was pretty good, but otherwise all I’ve been making is things like eggs, bagel sandwiches, salads, etc. No one wants to read about that. If you think you do, you’re wrong.

I’ve actually been feeling quite unenthusiastic about food lately. Not sure why. Every time I think I really want a particular thing, I usually decide not to because the more I consider it, the less sure I am that I want it. Most of my food choices lately have been solely based on money, and occasionally on going out to hang out with someone. The  only thing I’ve really been excited about, in general, is smoothies. I was really happy about going to Life Alive today, though, so that was something.

I got beans the last time I went shopping, intending to make chili before it got too hot to enjoy it, but then I lost interest. I think I’ll get more chicken and make tikka masala instead.

 

Monday Madness


I’ve been feeling frowny today, not being completely unfocused but not as productive as I would like to be. Mustn’t get ahead of myself, though; maybe it won’t be so bad after all. To make a long story short, I’m very busy, and I probably will be until mid-June. More on that maybe next week…

You know what’s weird? Some places offer three sizes of cups, and others offer only two. Weird, right? You never know whether it’s small and regular, small and large, regular and large, or maybe they call regular “medium,” which doesn’t make much sense if there aren’t sizes on either side of it. They generally tell you on the menu what terms they use in that store, but I’m starting to be annoyed that I have to hunt for it at all. I think I advocate one-size beverage shops. No confusion. Just order the drink and they already know what size to make it.

And the places that have 4 sizes… they’re just asking for confused orders. Especially if they go by weight or volume. Someone wants the 12oz cup, and they order a small, but to you that means the 8oz, so then they get a smaller drink than they wanted. In some cases, hell breaks loose because there are people who really cannot handle not getting what they want.

(I so rarely get what I want that I can barely handle it when I do.)

These are not thoughts you should take seriously. I was thinking about stopping at Cafenation after work to see if I could snag any day-old bread. And maybe order a small iced tea. Or would it be a regular? …and things just kind of spiraled from there, as sometimes happens in the madness of Monday.

 

 

On Tasting Boxes and Who to Support


I mentioned in a post a while ago that I’d signed up for some tasting boxes. Love with Food was the first, and Goodies Co. was the second. So far I’ve had three Love with Food boxes (March-May) and one Goodies Co. Box (April).

Love with Food costs slightly more, but they give money to food-related charities with every box you buy, so that’s pretty much worth it. In terms of the foods you get, They both seem good, not that different, and in fact Love with Food seems a bit more creative in their choices. I also really like that they have a theme for every box. Because Goodies Co is in beta right now, I get “founder” status, which I thought was pretty cool (even though it means nothing).

The first thing about the Goodies Co box that I noticed was that the box itself was bigger. At first that was exciting, but really, doesn’t that just mean that Love with Food is wasting less trees? It didn’t seem like they actually sent more food.

It was when I received that box that I started thinking, oh, crap. Why? Because, right there on the return address, it said “Wal-mart.com.”

I went to the site, poked around, and discovered that yes, Goodies Co is organized/run/whatever by Walmart. They weren’t hiding it, but they certainly didn’t put it anywhere on the site I would have seen until I was looking for it.

I have never, ever been a fan of Walmart. I can’t explain exactly why, it just always put me off. The only times I remember actually going into the store was during college, when there was a location down the street and it was just easier to get there than to the real grocery store. You could find all kinds of random stuff there, and during college convenience often wins. But even then, I only went there a handful of times. And I don’t think I’ve been in one since.

I’m not saying that to brag about my avoidance of walmart (although I am quite proud of myself), but to let you know that they’re not a company I’m really interested in supporting. So when I found out that I’d signed up for a service provided by them, therefore making them money, I started to really consider whether I should keep that subscription. Then, this morning, I saw this article about Walmart posted on facebook. And I figurately almost threw up. My brain was throwing up. I mean, I wasn’t surprised, but still horrified. Why do huge companies think it’s ok to prioritize making and keeping the most money possible over building good relations with the people around them? The saddest thing is that Walmart manages to have any hourly employees at all, considering that stuff like this goes on, but jobs are scarce enough. I’m sure not all of them are really like this, but I would doubt many people really like working there.

So, without needing to know that every single Walmart employee experience is like this one, my desire to not associate with Walmart was strengthened. I cancelled my subscription. The May box already shipped this week, so I will get that box and then no more. Whatever benefits I get from it are not really worth spending my money at a business I dislike this much.

Before I head off, I would like to say that I am not telling YOU, reading this, not to subscribe to Goodies Co. or shop at Walmart. That is for you to decide. And I’m not telling you to subscribe to Love with Food either. I’m just giving you my thoughts and you can figure out yourself if you’re going to take any of my words to heart. If you want my recommendation, I think you can deduce from this post which one I think you should get.

Shrimp and Mango Sort-of-Stir-Fry: Success?


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The mango was more mush than pieces.

 

This is something I made last week, and I figure I should write about it before I forget how I made it. It was very simple and thrown together without much effort, honestly, as I didn’t feel like thinking about it. I had originally intended to break out my new grating dish from Spain (which I will share a picture of at some point) and put some fresh ginger in this dish, but then that all just seemed like too much effort.

The broccoli, being frozen, was the first thing thrown into the pan. As it was defrosting/sizzling away, I started to cut up some mango. The mango was of inappropriate ripeness, too soft and mushy with not really enough flesh to get good chunks out of it. As it cooked it turned pretty much to mush. But that’s ok.

Shrimp was added and started to pink, as per the standard way you cook shrimp in a pan. No need for any further comment on that…

I had the brilliant idea of just squeezing the remaining mango over the pan, because I wanted some juice. As everything cooked, I decided to add some red pepper flakes. I could have gone with chili powder, but I just love me some red pepper flakes. 😉

This was one of those rare times I didn’t use any oil in the pan, and that was noticeable. Overall the stir fry was slightly lacking in moisture. But it wasn’t overly dry and it wasn’t bad. The main problem with it was that I only had a handful of shrimp left to use, and I wanted more. So that counts as a success, yeah?

I cooked up one of my old favorites, Near East brand rice pilaf, to eat with my stir-fryish. I actually think I still have a bit of that left over. Basic box directions, so you can look that up yourself, I’d imagine.

Honesty: if I had been willing to put a little more effort in it could have been a lot better. Like maybe I could have thrown in some roasted red peppers, which is one of my favorite food items ever. They are especially nice to make salads more interesting when you’re lacking time or any interesting vegetables. –But sometimes you make food that’s just adequate, instead of really super delicious, and that’s ok, especially if you’re only cooking for yourself.

Side note: where did these dark clouds come from? I thought it was supposed to be nice and sunny today. I don’t want to go home in the rain. 😦

Monday Madness: Weirdest Work Week Ever


This week my office is closed Wednesday and Thursday. So I have a two day work week, then a mid-week weekend, then one day of work, and then the regular weekend. It’s weird and definitely puts an obstacle up in front of actually getting my work done, but I’m happy to have some extra days of leisure snuck into my schedule. It’s hard to try to get both chores and relaxation done on weekends. And no one wants to do chores in the evening after a full day of work.

Now, to be honest, I should have skipped this Monday, because I don’t have anything interesting to say. I am too tired and stressed to be in a good mood or to really be creative. I did come up with some post titles for the rest of the week. I’m not planning to actually follow them, but I thought I’d share anyway. So here it is:

Daily Blogging for Pessimistic People

Monday Madness

Tuesday Tribulations

Why, Wednesday?

Thanks, Thursday [sarcastic tone]

Fuck you, Friday.

 

I hope you were amused by that.

Eating All Over Town


As I commented to a friend earlier today, I have been stubbornly refusing to go grocery shopping for about two weeks now. That is not to say I haven’t been to the grocery store, but I’ve only picked up a few things while I was there. I haven’t done a full shop for quite a while. I’m going to try to force myself to do it tonight. If not, it will have to be tomorrow, because there are too many things I need.

In the meantime, I’ve been buying a lot of food out. Breakfasts, because I haven’t wanted to wake up in time for breakfast. Dinner once or twice. Otherwise, I’ve been scraping together meals from whatever’s around in my kitchen, but not too much worth posting about. I’ll update you soon on one or two of the things I’ve adventurously cooked.

Until then, I wanted to run down some of the foods I’ve been purchasing… or having purchased for me (I visited my parents last weekend, so of course they bought me food), with short reviews of the places. We’ll start with when I was in Worcester.

1. Surya – Indian restaurant – I have loved this place for a very very long time. They’ve changed a bit since we first started going there. New owners or new chef or both. Some of my favorite items there have been the Rose Milkshake, Mango Lassi, Shahi Paneer, Chicken Tikka Masala, and Nan. And my ultimate Surya dish, tandoori chicken. At other Indian restaurants, tandoori chicken is not really my top choice. But here, they do this amazing thing with the marinating or the cooking method that just makes it so incredibly flavorful and juicy. This time, I decided I wanted to try it hot. Let’s just say that was a mistake. I usually get it medium, and I can hardly feel any burn at all. Fully spicy, it was still good, but actually made my throat sore, which I have never had happen when eating spicy food before. So I won’t be doing that again. If the burn had stayed in my mouth, and out of my throat, I would have been fine with it. Not a fan of food that makes my throat hurt. It actually still hurt the next day. But PLEASE don’t take this as a negative opinion of the restaurant. They are my favorite Indian restaurant I’ve ever been to and I recommend that everyone go there.

2. Ronnie’s – Sea food and ice cream – This place was close to my childhood home, so I’ve been there many, many times. I never get to go there anymore, though. I miss it. It’s a seasonal place that is open from April to October, I believe, and they have really good, quality seafood. They also have standard burgers, chicken, etc. for people who don’t like sea food, but then why would you go to Ronnie’s? I had the expensive jumbo lobster roll, which is just the perfect item if you like lobster. The clam fritters are delicious but probably not very healthy. And if you go for ice cream, I’d suggest the chocolate-dipped soft serve.

Now back to Boston:

3. Monte Cristo Mexican grill – Ok… so, I’ve ordered from this place before, and it always takes them a while to deliver, but it took them a really long time on Cinco de Mayo. I should have expected that. But I was ordering from Eat24 with one of their weekend coupons and they’re the only mexican restaurant on there that delivers to me… at least, the only one that didn’t also serve chinese food. So I got a carnitas burrito, which was tasty, but not life-changing or anything. (I have yet to come across a life-changing burrito. If you find one, let me know, because I WANT.) The service is friendly here but a little slow. The food is good, but not great, and sometimes just ok. I did get pork enchiladas from them one time and they tasted amazing, so maybe just go with the enchiladas, or a burrito if you’re not feeling too picky. But their fajitas aren’t served with tortillas. I was really confused…

4. Caffe Aromi – I’ve only been in this place one time before, just to get a latte or a chai or something. I stopped there for breakfast one morning last week because I was in a rush (unfortunately, it didn’t help me get to work any faster, but nevermind). I got a breakfast sandwich and a latte, and I wished I’d gotten a savory croissant and regular coffee instead. What I got was good, but my sense when I’m there is that I’m overpaying. I just don’t feel like you quite get your money’s worth. Also, the decor strangely makes the room look kind of empty, which is rather unpleasant to me. The food to me seems comparable to most other independent cafes, so maybe it’s just the weird tables and chairs I don’t like.

5. Grass Fed – I went there because I had been craving a burger. After debating going for quite some time, I finally determined that I didn’t feel like cooking so I headed out. I just got a standard cheeseburger, and I was what I expected. The draw of Grass Fed is being pretty much “gourmet” fast food. They claim to use local products as much as they can, which is a nice incentive, as it’s good to support local. The best way to describe their burgers; they taste like fast food, but good. It’s not a real, big barbeque burger, but it’s not a gross McDonald’s patty either. Worth heading out there once in a while.

6. Mr. Crepe – This place in Davis Square is a nice little treat once in a while. I used to go get coffee there on occasion when I went through Davis on my way to work. Their coffee is pretty good. Unfortunately they lost my order at first, meaning I had to wait for at least 15 extra minutes for my food to be ready. Of course. It was good. I got savory crepes with spinach, basil, and tomatoes, and I was fairly satisfied. As for the crepes themselves, I’m more a fan of the ones at Cafenation. These I think would be better with the sweet fillings. But that’s just me.

 

That’s all for now. I’m proud to say that I managed to stop myself from ordering a pizza, but I don’t know how much longer that will last. Pizza is wonderful and when you get the craving, how long do you really expect to hold out against the amazing power of pizza?

Lonely dining: smoothie time!


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Raspberry mango smoothie from Temptations Cafe in Coolidge Corner, Brookline. I didn’t ask what they put in it, but I assume raspberries and mangoes are two of the main ingredients. It’s very tasty.

Monday Madness: Sunday Madness


Coffee is winning the war of spilling vs. not spilling. By this I mean that I’ve been spilling a lot lately. My coffee this morning kept leaping out of the little hole in the lid, as it so often does. With all the advancements in science and materials and engineering, they still can’t make a coffee cup that actually keeps the coffee inside of it. I find this confusing.

Yesterday was SoWa Open Market Opening Weekend, and I brought my mom. We were slightly pressed for time and I was hungry and tired, so we ended up resolving that we would come back later in the summer. I still say it was too cold to be that crowded, because the wind made it feel much colder than it was. The point being that it was crowded: hence, Sunday Madness.

First, I had it in my head to try to grab some lunch from the food trucks, but the whole food truck area was so crowded and confusing, it was almost impossible to tell where the lines actually started, and I gave up without getting any food from them. It was very upsetting. We ended up buying a scone each at one of the food booths, and they were very tasty. Mine was lemon basil. I have never had basil in a scone.

It was a little better once we got to what I consider the main area, which is all the art/merchandise vendors. We strolled and browsed. I contemplated buying some awesome vintage/steampunk inspired jewelry from Emry’s Finery, where over a year ago I got the locket I wear almost every day, and I found one artist who made many pieces I desperately wanted for my walls. His name is Nathan William Murrell. He said he would be back at SoWa later in the summer, so hopefully I’ll have some bucks to spare by then and I can satisfy my need for paintings of anatomically correct hearts.

As we wound our way through the tents and the people walking very very slowly, I saw a booth with a sign that said “black magic coffee co.,” and I really felt the need for some coffee. The line wasn’t too long, so we stood and waited for the coffee artist to deliver caffeine to our mouths. We both got cappuccinos, and I was satisfied. Unfortunately they do not have a brick and mortar store, but I was informed that they will be at the Market on Sundays at least most weekends. I recommend checking them out, as long as you have the patience to wait in line a while.

There was much to see and much to buy, and I didn’t actually buy anything this time, but I intend to go again as soon as it’s feasible, and if I’m lucky I’ll have some money to spend.

Now it’s back to work of course, but before I go back to toiling over manuscripts I have to acknowledge my awesome Saturday night. I went to see my favorite band play at Ralph’s Diner in Worcester. They are The Blackboard Nails and I just love them more every time I hear them. If you’re in Boston, New York, or certain parts of Canada, there’s a good chance they’ll be playing in your area at some point, so check them out.

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