Archive for the ‘ Food ’ Category

To the Beginning Gardener

So you’re feeling all green and one with the Earth and you decide that a backyard garden is an awesome way to get food. You are right. It is. But don’t let an idyllic picture of a smiling be-aproned lady picking perfect tomatoes be your guide. Let ME do it instead, with my huge filthy boots and many sharp implements.

This is how it starts. There ain’t much to look at.

Choose Wisely – Pick food and flowers you like. Don’t randomly plant shit and then let it get overrun by weeds and/or rot because you didn’t realize you’ll have to eat all those peas or whatever. Generally, if it’s just you, one or two plants will make you all the food of that sort that you would want. So, 1 tomato, 1-2 cukes, 1 zucchini, etc. Multiply accordingly if you got other members of the household who are gonna want some. Be aware that zucchini is prolific as hell.

Equip yourself – Gloves, trowel or weeder, a small spade, a shovel, an action hoe, a rake, a hose with watering attachment, scissors and a knife, and a plastic tub with a watertight lid to keep it all safe in the garden somewhere so you don’t have to lug it all back and forth (this is specific to apartment dwellers and others who end up with community garden situations). You and I both know you’ll just forget it and use the lack of equipment as an excuse to be useless. I know the shovel won’t fit. Leave all that shit out if you gotta, but hopefully you can hide them out of the rain somewhere. At least don’t leave them lying around. It’ll eventually lead to comical happenings that you won’t find comical post-concussion. Continue reading

On Gardening

Mock ye, oh experienced gardeners, but d42 and I, not realizing the intense vegetable power of these creatures planted four zucchini and eight tomatoes. Thankfully, only 2 zucchini came up. So we, still not knowing what was coming, planted some squash next to them. Now we have a slow but insidious war on our hands.

This… is… GARDENING!!!!

See how one of the leaves lost the battle against the onslaught of its neighbor? “You’re beeeeeending it!”

We have both had some doing with gardening, as both our parents dabbled in home grown produce. We even both ended up having an adult figure in our lives who thought giving chickens as a present to small children is totally appropriate, so we have some livestock experience as well. However, this is the very first year that we have undertaken, all on our own, to grow us some veggies.

We live in Oregon now, a state where people grow things, make things, chop wood, climb mountains, and probably once knew the beef they are having for dinner by name. In fact, our apartment complex has set aside a plot of land to parcel out to its tenants based on the knowledge that of COURSE city dwellers will want to keep a vegetable garden out back. So we bought some fencing, tomato cages, sticks, manure, cultivators and other tools, and planted a bunch of seeds in early May.

It begins… with tomatoes.. and a few strawberries

Seeds are deceiving. You look at these tiny shit things and think to yourself, no WAY is this going to become something. Like, 1 in 10 chances this is going to survive and become a thing I can eat. So, instead of carefully planting a single seed or 3 a few inches away from another single seed, we just made a trough and poured a bunch in. We planted many things like that, and so this is what it ended up looking like, even after we realized our mistake and thinned ’em out.

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Crossfit For Your Life (#1)

Last night, around 8pm, I was at the back of what looks like an abandoned building, in a courtyard with walls decorated with such aesthetically pleasing implements such as a rusty saw, and coils of rope. Objects strewn around me included tarps, pallets, and huge round boulders. I was watching folks, their forearms covered in gooey tree sap, lifting these monster rocks, throwing ’em around, grunting, shivering in the wind, cracking jokes. Then it was my turn. My hands around the freezing stone, squeezing like hell with my forearms, I heaved, thought nothing would happen, and then felt it move, upwards! Where I wanted it to go! And upwards some more, and then up to my chest, and damnit! But I just lifted a 112lb stone, which two months ago I could barely move. A giggle, turning to mad-scientist-worthy guffaw leaves my lips in slightly hysterical ecstasy. Where the hell was I, you ask? Why, the gym.

aaaarrrggggggh!!!!muahahahahahaha. That's sound effects for you.

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NYC Restaurant and Foodservice Expo: A Gateway Drug

Random picture of things done with sugar to get you in the right frame of mind.

It was March 9th, and our trip to the Jacob K. Javits center on Manhattan’s west side began with an early morning phone call from ETL: “Hey, what time do you think it is?” I chewed my cereal and considered this for a moment. I glanced at the clock—it clearly said 8:36. Waaaaaaiit a minute… ETL’s pregnant silence was like a claw hammer in my heart. FUCK– Daylight savings time! The one event we were looking forward to—the Press Pastry Tasting—evaporated before our now one-unscheduled-hour-older eyes.

Undaunted, we hustled downtown as fast as the subway would take us. The Javits center on this fine March day hosted the International Restaurant & Foodservice Show on its lower level. We obtained our press passes after some delay, and after cutting a rather self-important CNN reporter (“you don’t need my name, just put down CNN”) in line, and headed into the domain of the restauranteur.

It was laid out in much the same way as any other convention, rows and rows lined with innumerable booths of vendors hawking their wares and services. A great many of them were restaurant technologies and gadgets to make foodservice faster and more efficient. We photographed many things, though apparently, it’s not permitted to photograph artsy porcelain service sets. Photos of these are issued by the vendor only…

The show also hosted the International Pastry Arts Competition—the very event whose delectable wares we were denied by the tyranny of railroad timetables—whose theme this year was “Under the Sea.” Very prom-esque! We made a beeline straight for this area and were presented with such amazing works of gravity-defying confectionary that words cannot do them justice. I will allow ETL to provide imagery for your drooling pleasure. Continue reading

Winter 2008 Restaurant Week: Late Lunch at Osteria Del Circo

3 PM is the no man’s land of dining. It’s too late for lunch and much too early for dinner. That is probably why we (Beelzy and I) were able to get same-day reservation at Osteria del Circo: our gimmick restaurant pick of Restaurant Week advertising “traditional Tuscan home cooking with an array of superb ingredients!” and “dessert all day long!”

The restaurant was fairly empty. A few businessmen sat across from our cozy corner booth. The atmosphere was not as merry as I wanted it to be considering the circus theme. However, there was an uncanny sense of being inside of a circus tent, while simultaneously being in an elegant restaurant. This was achieved through, for example, marriage of perfectly white tablecloths, and festively decorated menus. The restaurant was also shaped in a rough circle, with the bar in the center, and troupes of toy clowns and trapeze acrobats adorning the vaulted ceiling. Continue reading

Winter 2008 Restaurant Week: Dinner at Orsay

When making our restaurant choices for the first and second weeks of the misnamed Restaurant Week (Jan 21st — Feb 1st, excluding the weekend), we decided we would go for a French restaurant and then something with a gimmick. Gimmick, because that’s fun. French, because during the hectic days d42 and I spent in Paris, we ate every cuisine but the most obvious one.

We failed you a bit by forgetting to bring a camera along

Orsay is without question a French restaurant. The receptionist with whom I confirmed my OpenTable reservation even had a French accent. The place is situated in a prime uptown location on Lex and 75th. It is characterized by dim mood lighting, dark mahogany, Art Nouveau arches supporting the high light ceiling, and an appropriately extensive wine list.

Upon arrival, in our business casual attire, we were helped out of our coats and shown to our table despite the fact that our party of 6 was yet incomplete. The downstairs space soon became quite crowded and a woman in furs womanhandled an adjacent table directly into us. “What do I have to do to get a decent table around here?” she stereotypically asked/demanded to our delight. Whatever the murmured reply of the waitress was, the woman and her bespectacled escort stayed sourly where they were seated. I suspect making a reservation would have been the recommended option. Continue reading

Chocolate Extravaganza: 10th Annual Chocolate Show

Chocolatiers and chocolate lovers of all ages packed the streets and avenues created within the Metropolitan Pavillion on November 9th through 11th for the 10th annual Chocolate Show — a frenzy fueled and inspired by, you guessed it, chocolate. Beelzy and I threw ourselves into the turmoil and later, D42 worked her charms on doormen and made an appearance as well.

Join us! Walk down Chefs Avenue, or Coco-Bean Street to find what your caffeine-addled body desires. 65% coca? 85%? –This is no Hershey bar. You can’t just love sugar, you must appreciate the fine concoctions of cocoa. Some of the greats are here to provide you with a taste explosion, to challenge your palate and your sense of sophistication: Dagoba, Knipschildt, Amano Artisan. Continue reading