Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A few of the things I give Thanks for, in random order.

1. Water: On demand. Out of multiple taps. Hot and/or cold. CLEAN and mostly potable. Seriously, this is NOT a worldwide luxury and year after year I am grateful to have it. 

2. Shelter: Yeah, maybe I am in the middle of a tediously slow renovation, but how awesome is it to not be living in a tent, or under a bridge? Pretty fricking AWESOME!

3. Food: I am never hungry. This is a huge luxury in my life and I am grateful beyond measure that I do not feel hunger pangs daily, or ever.

4. Family & Friends: They like me! They really like me! And this year I got a bruthah so all in all I am happy with where things stand in this department. 

5. Work: I love my job and feel lucky to have one that I like so much in these difficult economic times. 

6. The Showtunes-NASCAR fantasy league: I was invited to join this 3 years ago and saw as a way to see if I could change my opinions about things or if this old dog had learned all the tricks she was going learn. Previously my opinion was that this North American Sport Centered Around Rednecks was just about driving fast and to the left. Well yes to that second part anyway, but it is also more than that. The first year I finished at the very bottom, last year I finished on the podium in third place, and this year I finished first. I am officially the Showtunes-NASCAR 2010 Fantasy League Champion and you know what? Winning first place is AWESOME!!

There is plenty more that I am thankful for but right now I need to concentrate on feeding some folks on Thursday. 

Shush, this is our little secret....

a) This year there was no Turkey Shoot. No Grandpa = No Turkey Shoot. I just could not do Turkey Shoot without the oldest gizzard of all. I miss him and this only makes me miss him more. But we still got ourselves a gorgeous big ole birdy from Diemand Farm because they really do have the best birds, thanks to Dad for picking it up.


b) This year there was no insane excel spreadsheet for the Thanksgiving shopping list. I simply went shopping for everything last night and bought stuff that looked good. I have a couple of recipe ideas and basically I am winging it. More or less. At the very least we'll have turkey and gravy and pie. You know what else? I am not even stressed out about it. If I totally f*ck it all up then we're going to have pizza and beer. With a side of turkey and gravy and pie. No sweat, no problem.

But keep this between us. No one else needs to know.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Sunlight in a bottle

My Greek friends from downstairs are awesome.

Not only are they some of the nicest people in the restaurant business, but they are also incredibly kind and generous.

In the year that I have been working in this building, I have been the happy recipient of many delicious Greek treats - spanakopita, galaktoboureko, Easter bread that my family devoured in seconds. Always a little something that is mouthwatering and which makes my whole day.

Today I hit the jackpot with a bottle of olive oil. Pressed for the family and shipped over from Greece in a giant container, it is pungent and delicious, and I have a precious bottle of it. It tastes the way I imagine sunlight must taste on a hot, dry summer day when the sun is long in the sky and the soporific buzzing of bees is the only sound in the olive grove.


(not the most glamourous bottle, but I have the perfect container at home)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

You say poutine, I say fries and fricking GRAVY! Yah!!

Last night I met up with the lovely Pam of Cave Cibum for a second go at the Gallows.

The reason I say second go is because the first time I went to the Gallows I was completely sh*t-faced. So much so that I couldn't recall if I liked it or not, and that is saying something when fries and gravy are involved. But hey, a bottle of Goslings with your best friend will do that.

Also, I kind of have this prejudice against new South End eateries. My god they can be totally pretentious when they want to be and frankly the Gallows does seem to be hideously pretentious on the surface. The reclaimed barn wood interior, the faintly steampunk decor, the hip lightbulbs.... *eye roll* where are we? Brooklyn? Give me a break.

Well as it turns out I am the one who should have given the Gallows a break. True, the decor grates on my design sensibilities - only because I feel like it has been done, done, and over done. I mean, the big amber ball lamps in the bar area could have come from Linda Mae's circa 1982. You remember Linda Mae's, the stalwart pancake house on Morrissey Boulevard that is now a Chinese restaurant. They had AWESOME chocolate chip pancakes...

Oh wait, the Gallows. Right.

I was wrong about them. The staff was really nice, the drinks were subtle, and the "poutine" was delicious. Thank goodness for second chances, eh.

As for "poutine", well you know what, it's fries with gravy and cheese curds. Pretentious, precious, food snobs have given this lowly dish a dreadful reputation.  And anyway anyone who has been drunk late at night knows that the only cure is fries with gravy and cheese bits -  a universal drunken yen for carbohydrates, grease, and some variety of sauce.

We also had bacon & caramel popcorn and those of you who know, know I cannot eat enough popcorn. The folks at the Gallows know how to make this the right way.  I could have, and would have, eaten ten pounds of the stuff if I had more money.

I am pretty sure I will go back, to the bar anyway!

Thanks Gallows!

Monday, November 15, 2010

So what did YOU have for breakfast today???

Great Monday in the morning! This is the kind of buffet you don't usually see in the city.

I think this is the very same bird that my Mom caught checking out my sister's little puppy.

We all had a big laugh at the idea of Mom trying to explain what happened to little Coco. Not so funny now.

That bird sure enjoyed the breast of pigeon it caught for itself this morning. Shortly after I made this clip, it flew away with the rest of the chest cavity in its claws.

RAWWWWWR!!!!! Now THAT is the way to bring nature to the masses!

Friday, November 12, 2010

If you don't know where your petard is, you are probably hanging by it....

I am not at all surprised that Don Otto's has gone out of business.

When they first opened I was looking forward to a place within walking distance that carried local produce. I went in exactly once and never went again. 

The guy behind the counter was really rude and tried to get me to buy the whole 5 pound piece of turkey when all I wanted was enough for one. He said that I had asked for a piece of turkey and if I didn't take the whole piece then he'd be stuck trying to sell the rest of it. He then banged the smaller piece on to the scale, and basically let it be known that I was really just being an annoying customer. I also bought a shallot that turned out to be shriveled up inside and some greens that wilted and got soggy on the 15 minute walk home. 

Thirty dollars later (yes, the most expensive turkey I have ever bought and I still regret not just literally running away from the whole situation) I walked home wondering how exactly I let myself get suckered into buying such pricey turkey and have just chalked it up to being a big wimp.

Oh well. At least I still have Russo's, Verrill Farm, and Diemand's Farm - where the produce is fresh and the people are friendly.

Also a snide aside: Don Otto's was the wrong name to follow Lionette's. People thought it was a bodega. Well, at least if it HAD been a bodega, it would still be IN business. Harumpf.