Monday, March 31, 2008

New York food highlights

ah, new york. so many choices. so much food. so little time. here're some food highlights: union square greenmarket: not as big as i thought, but pretty wonderful! so many artisianal cheese, apples, pies, breads, lots of jam...i wished i could take something home, but we'd just arrived. oh, well. i got some maple pecan candy, which i'm now remembering i've yet to try. what's wrong with me? red bamboo: good! worth the wait? of over an hour? sure, since it's a nice neighborhood for strolling, and they take your phone number to call you when your table is close to being open. i had fake chicken parmesean, which was good, but i'd wished i'd gotten some vegetables on the side. brian loved our spring rolls, but they were a little oily for me. luckilly, it was right around the corner from our destination for the evening, the blue note, where i had a lovely manhattan. is it gauche to order a manhattan in manhattan? ess-a bagel: the concierge sent us down the wrong street on our second-to-last day (thanks a lot, pal!), but the phone book set us straight, and on our last morning, we had really good bagels. really good. confirms the hype good. hint: do NOT ask for your bagels to be toasted at ess-a bagel. they will hate you. this is new york - they don't have to be nice. bleecker street pizza: oh, yeah. the more you eat it, the better it is. one thing i was disappointed about in new york is all the plastic clam shell packaging (evidence below, though i didn't seem too sad about it when i had a few drinks in me and the clam contained cheesecake). you see a ton of ink devoted to plastic bags, then you have people eating in delis - eating in! - sitting in front of plastic containers. it's nutty to me. eating while traveling, especially for those of us with dietary restrictions, is hard enough without paying attention to what your food is being served in. new yorkers, can you let your local restaurants know we prefer paper? or - shock - dishes and silverware? the tourists will thank you. for our part, we'll try not to get our zabar's bags stuck in the subway doors. by the way, thanks for the bemused half-stares on that one, guys. that was helpful. geez.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

bloomington - stop the presses!

i've received word that BLU Boy is now serving homemade ice cream. yes. indeed. i think i'm going to deserve an end-of-the week treat tomorrow, even though i took monday-wednesday off. ice cream, people! the good stuff, made with local eggs from heartland family farm. i'll report back. and also about our new york trip. which was pretty fun.
cheesecake: decidedly not sustainable in plastic clam packaging, but delicious!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

start spreading the schmear

brian and i are headed to new york city very soon. whoopee! we're going to celebrate his recent (cough) milestone birthday, and i would love some recommendations for places to eat. i enjoy some spontaneity as much as the next gal, but it's still good to have an idea of the best places in a given neighborhood. the best, most reasonably-prices places. you don't want to end up some gouged sucker tourist. and good bars that you can go to in jeans and converse. ideas? must dos? we're so going to the union square greenmarket. my heart's going pitter-pat just thinking of it.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Peppermint fresh!

last night, in honor of my Irish heritage, i made a simple potato soup and soda bread from mom's recipe. mom, you never said when to put the buttermilk in, but that's all right. it's a pretty forgiving dough. i had some tense moments over the carrot chunks in the potato soup, afraid they'd end up too mushy, since the onions i was cooking them with were nearly caramelized by the time i turned them off. nope. make your chunks big enough, and cook the potatoes separately, and you should still have a little snap left in your carrot. if that's the way you like it. after dinner, in an attempt to give the mice a hint that maybe they're not so welcome in our home, i spent a few hours cleaning and boiling some water with peppermint essential oils. apparently, mice hate peppermint. i never know how much credence to place in old wisdom like this - there must be some truth to it, but maybe more to people who want to believe it. doesn't hurt, i suppose. hint: never buy a spray bottle from the dollar store. ever. i knew better, but i couldn't find one at the grocery, so i stopped next door. and my $1 peppermint oil/water spray bottle broke that very night. yeah. you get what you pay for. anyway, the house smells minty fresh now. will this drive mice out into what's supposed to be 2 days of heavy rain? we'll see.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

unwanted visitors to the kitchen

aah, spring. the crocuses are blooming, the trees are budding. people are strolling around, smiling, perhaps falling in love. birds and bees are doing their thing. magic is in the air. and, as has happened around this time another year, we have discovered mice in the house. this time, they seem to be coming from behind the stove. my cooking has been drastically cut back. specifically, to buying sandwiches from bloomingfoods. the PEST-A-CATOR 2000 seems to be doing its work, however. what, you ask, is the PEST-A-CATOR 2000? well, my friend, it is a "rodent repelling aid," with the dubious claim that within 2-4 weeks, one will likely see a reduction in mice, due to "patented pulse technology" designed to annoy them enough to go take up residence in your neighbor's house. yep, you plug it in, it flashes, and you go from there. PEST-A-CATOR 2000: ON THE SCENE! whooo, boy. i'm a squeamish city girl; the last time we had mice and brian went out of town, i ended up going to a hotel at 3am, i got myself so worked up. this time (with brian, of course, going out of town again), i have been fairly brave, if i do say so myself. any tips, other than cleaning like crazy and setting up those no-kill traps? we ain't killing no mice in here. i like to imagine that they'll make a nice lunch for one of the neighborhood owls i've been hearing lately. is there anything that mice hate? other than electric pulses in your wiring system? p.s. - i know there's an ad with sliced ham at the top right now. (sigh.) the foodbuzz people are being very accomodating in letting me just promote their website, and not any of their affiliate ads, since there's a lot of food out there i don't want this blog to promote. so, just consider that if you're going to buy a ham, make it from a local producer with happy hogs, all right?

Saturday, March 8, 2008

the blogger's dilemma

hi to all those hoosiers (and friends of hoosiers) who clicked over from feedme/drinkme. nice to have you! so. the plan was to find a good stretch of time time to sit down and write a long, thoughtful post about going to see michael pollan speak at butler a few weeks ago (has it been so long?). well, life has forced me to abandon that plan. look for more frequent, if shorter, blog posts in your future. but on this topic:

(that's me in the middle, bookended by my two cute companions) 0hmygosh! we met michael pollan! he signed my copy of the omnivore's dilemma! it took me over 24 hours to decipher what he wrote: "Kelley - vote with your fork! Michael Pollan." okay, mp. i kind of already do, but i'll keep it up and try to make those slipups of convenience fewer and farther between.

he spoke about in defense of food, so not much of his prepared speech was new to me, but i got a lot from the q&a session. for example: skim milk or whole? long story short: it depends. skim milk has something added to it for texture that raises cholesterol. the fat in whole milk can carry more growth hormone. what, you get the milk with no hormone added? sorry, friend. we've been selecting for hundreds of years for cattle with lots of growth hormone. what an interesting guy. worth the drive to indianapolis, even with the nasty weather coming back. thanks mari and liz for driving, and liz for the picture!