Eating Chinese at the Food Court – Never Okay.

I don’t care if you are starving and haven’t eaten a “bad carb” in a week and every single other line in the food court is 20 deep. I know those lo mein noodles have a sheen that says “I’m not greasy, I’m delicious!” I hear ya that the “grab and go” selection of salads at a whopping $15 sounds (and is) insane and who could possibly pay that much for a salad with questionable, cold chicken on top. And you braved the mall (or are stuck on a layover at the airport!) and you deserve a treat.

I understand that you give zero fucks that General Tso’s Chicken has no connection to any real general and it is an Americanized dish. Let’s face it, its fried chicken not dipped but tossed! And in a delicious sticky sweet/spicy sauce! I don’t even consider such a dish when I am ordering from a legit restaurant, but something about the food court style of buffet goodness where you must pick TWO not ONE proteins for your combo plate value draws you to such a monstrosity.

It’s okay to want it. Just don’t give in. You can linger, you can get up close and personal with the buffet-style chafing dish display of veggie fried rice, chicken with broccoli and some unknown mixture of vegetables and what may or may not be meat. No one – seriously no one ever – feels good after it. Best-case scenario you dump out half of the plate after realizing that your $8 value was not such a value and this is disgusting and will make you sick. It’s not even hot. Worst-case you fell weak on such an option at the AIRPORT and now you are on a plane and your stomach hates you and your neighbor hates you too.

Take heed, friends. No on wants to be peeing yellow out of their butt. And if you are going to binge eat Chinese food, there are way better ways to indulge. Your stomach will thank you. Your future self will thank you too.

Now, go wait in line for your smoothie like you are supposed to. Or…if you must indulge, Wendy’s is usually pretty fast, even with an insane line. Or perhaps you can find a burrito joint?

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Eyes Like an Eagle

On a recent trip to the DMV, I had an incredibly rare experience. I was fast, literally in and out.

My internal clock is set to greet the day around 7am, so getting up in time to be at the DMV when they opened was pretty easy. I actually had spare time because the new facility is incredibly close and convenient to my house.

The 8am trip was planned to decrease the unpleasantness of the situation, but I had no idea how fast it would be. I mentally prepared myself for sitting and reading my book while waiting for them to call my number – not even really reading that much because of my tendency to constantly stare at each of the digitalized numbers in anticipation of my turn.

I lose my belongings a lot (well maybe not a lot, but certainly more frequently than the average person) so I’ve got a system in place. I have both a State Driver’s License AND a State ID so that when I go out partying with my fanny pack, I don’t need to bring my actual license in case someone IDs me for drinks/entry. It is the same theory behind my party key. The party key was born out of the desire to a) take up less space and b) be incredibly more convenient to replace than if I lost all of the other crap on my regular keys.

So here I go, cash in hand, and ready to replace both my license and my state ID. The latter got lost doing something fun at some point in history but since I didn’t feel like going to the DMV, it wasn’t replaced until the time when I lost my actual and necessary drivers license. That is the whole point – to decrease trips to the DMV. I lost my drivers license in the airport somewhere between checking in and running for my plane on New Years.

Anyway, you have to pay more money for both – it’s $11 for the license but they jack up the price to a whopping $18 for the state ID.

I sat down and he asked me to verify my information – and never even asked to look at my passport, ready at hand. Last time at the DMV it was established that I now need my glasses to drive so whereas before, when they asked me if I wore contact lenses or glasses, I’d say no, even though I have glasses that I wear sometimes. So, we go through the motions and we get to eye color. The guy says to me “Are you sure your eyes aren’t green?” And I said, eh I’m okay with the grey. A second time, “Really? You are sure they are not green?” Me: “yeah.” Guy again, “I don’t know I think they are green.” Me: “Sigh…” For the record they are still gray on my ID. They change color, I don’t know, they are pretty, I like them and I also don’t like to attempt to quantify them with a color restriction.

Now last time I was there, I’d been wearing my Rx sunglasses so it is always a little harder for me to read far away things right after taking them off so when the woman that helped me asked me to read the line in the middle, I got it wrong three times, and was just like “OH MY GOD ARE THEY NUMBERS OR LETTERS!!! GIVE ME A CLUE!!?”

This guy didn’t have the same trouble, I begrudgingly put on my glasses (actually not really because I just got a new pair and they are pretty sweet) and like a champ, read the line correctly on the first try.

“Eyes like an Eagle,” he said.

And there you go… off to take pictures.

I am now very careful when I sign my ID because here is another fun fact, if you are getting spendy at the strip club, they make you verify your signature on the card with the one on your license and your debit or credit card so you better do your best under the restraints of small spaces and a digital pen or you might be like me, running across the street to the ATM in order to continue to shower yourself in boobs and booze. (You run across the street b/c the ATMs at strip clubs charge you an outlandish $20 fee.)

And there you have it. A trip to the DMV from door to door in under an hour. Who’d have thought I’d be making breakfast before 9?

A Defense for After-dinner Drinks and Return of the Sometimes-boyfriend

The after-dinner drink is pretty darn great. So what you had a cocktail or two and a bottle of wine and maybe even some champagne or other bubbles over the course of the meal. The joy of the after-dinner drink is that no one can criticize you for it.

If you order an amaro or some other aperitif after consuming all of the above listed beverages over dinner, no one will judge. They might even give you a little respect for solid ordering and general dining know-how.

In case you can’t tell, I’m a fan. I’ve grown to enjoy the slightly herbaceous taste of many amari and seek them out when possible. Mmmmm after-dinner drinks. Yeah!

I went to two separate tastings that featured the Cocchi Barolo Chinato and both were served with a bite of dark chocolate. YUM. In case you are not familiar, it’s a lovely creation from Piedmont, Italy featuring DOCG Barolo and infused with herbs and spices. It’s delicious.

When sometimes-boyfriend had a birthday coming up but was moving and therefore not doing anything for his birthday*, I planned a fun birthday dinner out a few weeks later, followed by champagne and cake-baking at the house to celebrate.

I found this amazing recipe on Smitten Kitchen, one of my favorite cooking blogs. It is called “Red Wine Chocolate Cake” and includes ¾ of a cup of wine in the recipe. I thought it would be super fun and classy to substitute the Cocchi Barolo for the wine and also sip on a glass of it while we enjoyed the cake (once it was finished baking.)

A few things: If you decide to give this a whirl, there is cinnamon in the recipe and cinnamon notes in the Cocchi Barolo Chinato, so don’t include the 1/4 tsp of cinnamon. It is a bit overpowering. Also, not going to lie, for a non-baker it is not the easiest to execute a cake when you are full of giggles, kisses, wine and general euphoria. My point being that it is possible that I was a tad sloppy with the measuring of the cinnamon and put more than what the recipe called for.

Nonetheless, the cake came out pretty well. As I mentioned, a little cinnamon-y and perhaps a tad dry because we were distracted and our creation stayed in the oven just a tad too long.

Hey! Don’t judge. Have you ever tried to bake a cake a little bit tipsy with a hot date? Even with the minor hiccups, the cake was a solid recipe and you should try it. Probably do it with your best friend or someone who actually likes you.

*He did go out on his birthday. I just wasn’t invited. (You are shocked, I know.) Cheers to me for planning such an extravagant day to make up for his “lost” celebration.

Don’t Mess with My Bananas

Okay…guilty. While I own canvas bags, I regularly forget to bring them to the grocery store. I know. I am a terrible human. And for that, I am sorry.

But seriously, why are the checkout people always so rough with my bananas? I don’t want bruised bananas. I actually like my bananas pretty firm. (l do!)

The worst offender is Whole Foods because after you’ve just unloaded $75 on produce and a few other items, if you didn’t bring your own bag, they put everything in ONE BAG. You are basically guaranteed to come home with your expensive produce all mangled in the name of conservation.

Odd because at other stores, eggs have to go in their own bag. It makes no sense. They are in a carton and therefor not that fragile. I promise…they can go with the bread. They can go with the herbs. They can go with all kinds of things, just put them in the bottom first and then add light things to the top.

But it isn’t just Whole Foods offending my bananas. I’ve noticed this horrible act at markets all over the country. Slamming bananas down on the weigh/scan part. Tossing them haphazardly down toward the bagging end. “BE GENTLE!!!” my eyes scream, “THEY WILL BRUISE!”

Moreover, in general I hate when someone else bags my groceries. This was particularly annoying when I was on my bike because its all got to be weighted properly. Especially because my neighborhood Rouses (and I’m sure most other groceries around the country) puts on average 3 items per bag. I feel like I need to get a cat, to get a litter box just to have something to DO with all of these plastic bags.

As a side note, if my apartment were a sitcom, my roommate would be perfect because he is almost always eating a banana when I see him. I don’t think he cares if they are bruised and eats them well into the browner-stage of ripe. Good for him. Generally in his underwear. Sometimes I find the peels in random places – that’s how I track him.

I must remember those canvas bags.

There’s always next time.

Delete History

On a recent visit home, I overheard my dental hygienist talking to my mother about her daughter’s Internet usage. She was explaining that her daughter, I think she’s about 9, is allowed to surf the web as she chooses (not after bed time, etc.) but she isn’t allowed to clear the history. She’s in big trouble, as a matter of fact, if the history is cleared.

This makes me think of two things – 1) How do 9 year olds know about delete history? And 2) How can I make myself be in “big trouble” for deleting history.

As you well know, my phone is a bitch. Betrayal in every way possible. Calling exes that have been deleted and the worst offense of all: allowing for cleared history. My phone enables drunk-Andrea to cover her tracks by letting her delete calls and texts from the night before.

In a few cases (see below) it is a great idea to delete an unsavory exchange. Ever been dumped via text? Best to delete that shit, no sense re-reading that pussy move.

Specifically after a break up, if I’ve had a bottle of wine with myself, or two with my best friend I might feel like sending a text. Something’s been on my mind. Or maybe I go balls to the wall and actually DIAL. (You know if someone picked up if the call is more than 34 seconds.) Anyway, if you have MORE than your allotted one bottle of wine, you may think, HMMmmmm I am pretty sure I called/texted/attempted some sort of communication last night, so you flip through your phone. A telltale sign of bad decisions made is a cleared history. You covered your own tracks.

You think that it’s gone, because you can’t see it. IT NEVER REALLY HAPPENED. Sadly, it did. You have no way of knowing if it was read, sweet-ranging-to-pathetic, offensive or totally nonsensical. So, for what it’s worth, say fuck it and move on.

Times when you should clear history:

Computer:

  • You are at work and doing non-work things on your computer
  • You’ve watched the same Taylor Swift video/Miranda Lambert video more times than is socially acceptable
  • You Googled yourself too many times
  • You Googled your ex/Your ex’s new girlfriend
  • You are on a family computer and it is better that your dad not accidentally happen upon your specific taste in Internet pornography

Phone:

  • A boy (girl) you like said something super mean and it is better not to subject yourself to the perils of rereading, rehashing and trying to make sense of it
  • You said something really stupid and it is better to save yourself from rereading, rehashing and trying to make sense of it

Both:

  • You are about to die, and in that case, smash both phone and computer so your memorial is as it should be – free of the personal embarrassment associated with your mother/father/significant other flipping through your weird.

Accidents Will Happen

Winter Solstice – the longest night. Also, Camille’s Birthday Part II at The Franklin, followed by another friend’s B-day celebration launching paper lanterns at The End of the World.

We were seated at one of the long communal tables, and it was clear from the start that our server was intimidated by the amazing amount of sparkles and fierce outfits worn by my two girlfriends and I. Not her fault per se, but her initial intro was remarkably long-winded and generally lacking in anything useful. I’ll call her “Sophie” because I’m not an asshole and don’t need to publicly shame our skittish waitress.

Maybe was because the place recently opened and we scared her off by asking reasonable questions about the menu like, “Is this Champagne listed by the glass a rosé?” It’s possible that she was just so green that everything and anything could shake her. I can’t say for sure because I didn’t have the opportunity to ask our waitress much of anything as the meal progressed. (Mostly what she said to us in our few encounters was related to how cool our outfits were…so for that, again, thanks, Sophie.)

If you are thinking that we were being drunk and obnoxious, I assure you we were not. How could we be? We had zero prior drinks and our first round of drinks were empty for 20 minutes while we attempted to get her attention. (She wasn’t busy with other tables either. She was polishing wine glasses to the side of the bar, directly in our line of vision, refusing to make eye contact.) And for the record, she said that no, the Champagne was not a rosé. We gave her the benefit of the doubt and three grown-up girls were actually looking at this pink glass of sparking wine thinking “Maybe it’s the lighting?” as we each took turns tilting the flute to get a better angle. It was not. The girl retrieved the bottle with the intent of proving to us that she was right (she wasn’t). After several minutes of confusion we established that no, it wasn’t the pink glitter on my eyes reflecting in the glass, and no… no one else is having trouble seeing, the wine is in fact pink.

Whatever, it happens. Not a huge deal. I was starving so I ordered a bunch of small plates – avocado tempura, the fish crudo of the day and a steak tartare. We also tried to order raw oysters for the table but she came back after dropping cocktail forks to give us the bad news that they were sold out.

Moving on. I was surprised when the only hot plate (avocado) was served first, but it was delicious and that kind of meal is incredibly flexible. After the crudo came out, there was still no steak tartare to be seen so we checked with Sophie on the status of the dish.

She was really awkward with a wave of “Let me go check with the kitchen…” and a variety of other reconstructions of the same. Let’s face it, Sophie. You forgot. I actually didn’t care that she forgot. I just still wanted it. Why be pissed at the end when I could just remind her that we’re still waiting on a dish.

The tartare came out and it looked like someone opened a can of dog food and flipped it over on a plate. It was probably the ring mold combined with the fact that it was all chopped up, the steak brown, the balsamic brown, strawberries red and the quail egg raw. I had to give myself a pep talk to take a bite. I’m glad I did because although the appearance of the dish was garnering it zero points, it was actually delicious.

Then she dropped a knife on Caitlin. And then a fork on me. Oh, Sophie. We were watching her attempts and knew it was headed for disaster but we all put more than our share of hours in the service industry and these things happen…not a huge deal.

But then she avoided us. Like REALLY avoided us.

I managed to find her hiding in the corner to request a candle to surprise Camille for her birthday dessert. The ice cream took about 20 minutes if not more, giving us ample time to crack jokes about milking cows and making ice cream. I should’ve written some of them down, we were kind of crushing it.

Finally, girlfriend dropped the ice cream but RAN off. I really wanted a glass of wine or perhaps an amaro with dessert and she was impossible. I even started to order something and I knew she heard me and still she jetted off. Seriously not helping her sales.

I walked to the bar to order a drink because I’m over it and the ice cream was melting. The bartender gave me a snarky comment asking about my server, and reminding me that if I want to order a drink from him, I need to start a separate tab. I’m okay with that and order the Cardamaro Amaro and a shot of whiskey before I don my fur and head to the frigid outdoors. The bill is $18 and some change and I handed him a $20 and he turns to go the register and brought zero change. Which is fine, but I enjoyed the surprise on his face when he saw that I wasn’t planning on giving him a shitty tip, and that I handed him a 20 and then fished out more from my wallet and I’d placed a $5 on the bar top. He didn’t hate me anymore and we chatted while he made drinks. I assumed he was mixing up a few drinks at once so you can imagine my surprise when he handed me a shot of whiskey and some cocktail. Hmmmm I think. But decide to just go join my friends back at the table.

Now we had a new game… “Guess the Drink” because we were curious what he made me. Amaro is generally served neat so clearly he misunderstood me. Actually he didn’t – he was being super judgey and assumed that I wouldn’t order something as refined as an amaro since I didn’t order from my server. After a few tasting notes shared among the table we had our suspicions about what the drink was, and I decided to pop over to my new bartender friend and asked.

Wooh! We (Caitlin) were right. Bartender didn’t hate me anymore and was happy to give me the drink that I actually ordered. Kind of, he went the extra mile and poured me a taste of an amaro that he preferred along with the one that I ordered. I went with the bartender’s choice. And as for the cocktail… it was called Accidents Will Happen.

Don’t they just?

PS: I’d like to say a big FUCK YOU to Yelpers who call out a server by name in a negative review for anything short of being actually mean and offensive. Not even our little dear Sophie will hear a bad word about her because honestly, overall I’d still go back. No big deal. Surrounded by great friends, the food was good, drinks were good. No one died.

That rant was for you, Wendy M., you are a bitch. I will save you an extended defense of myself because I remember Wendy M. and she isn’t worth it.

Damn you, Emily!!!! (WAG MY FIST IN THE AIR)

Awhile back I got a promotion, and with it a sweet new phone. I had a sometimes-boyfriend and it was looking like he might become an all-the-time boyfriend. I really liked this guy so it seemed like things were on the up and up.

Turns out I was wrong. Sometimes-boyfriend decided that he didn’t want to be my all-the-time boyfriend, but since he’s such a stand up guy*, offered to still help set up my new fancy iPhone.

Great, fantastic. It was fun, we had a good time and now I had a cool new iPhone like many of my hip friends. Sometimes-boyfriend set the whole thing up – my email, Facebook, Instagram, the Find My iPhone and also got me a few cool apps I’d never heard of. I was good to go and set off to learn about hashtags. #awesome.

Time passes and eventually, because it’s me, I lose my phone. “DAMN IT WORLD (whiskey?!)!” I bemoan, as I shuffle through my sheets, my bag from last night and every crevice of my couch. But then…a light. This phone is not like all of my other basic phones; this phone can be tracked! Huzzah! I win.

But wait, I’ve never used the Find My iPhone before. So I take to my computer, looking on iTunes, searching the web. WHERE CAN THIS MAGICAL MAP BE!?

I can just hear my phone taunting me. “I’m not like a regular phone, I’m a cool phone.” (Boobs bouncing in my face.)

Finally, I Google search, and voilà here is a map and it has a dot with an iPhone. But wait… it says Emily’s iPhone. I look further, not only does it show Emily’s iPhone, but it shows also shows her iPad, her MacBook Pro… ALL OF THE GADGETS! Ugh this bitch Emily has all of the toys and still I can’t find my phone. I’m pissed. Sometimes-boyfriend clearly set up my phone wrong. Who does this girl Emily think she is, anyway? Sure he was my sometimes-boyfriend but seriously, WTF.

Naturally, I take to g-chat to unleash my fury on sometimes-no-longer-boyfriend. “WHO IS EMILY!?” I want to know. “WHY CAN I ONLY FIND HER STUFF ON THE MAP!?”

He is confused. He literally has no idea what I am talking about. It’s confounding. The conversation is basically pointless and comes to an unsatisfying end.

End story.

Just kidding. I know…you are wondering, “Who is Emily?” and “Did you find your phone?” So I will tell you. Turns out, Emily is the default used to preview the Fine My iPhone app. My phone was at the bar where I left it and I could find MY phone by logging into the Cloud. And my dignity? Well… this was all too funny for me to worry about that.

Whoops.

I did actually apologize for the whole g-chat thing. But still… Emily, you kind of suck.

*Kidding.