Sunday, June 30, 2024

The Tears of a Clown

Sick Day McDonald's
Refusing to buy a test, and unsure if the tests left on store shelves can even detect the new strains, we used logic and facts to determine from my bizarre recurring symptoms, I possibly had a light case of COVID.  I almost cried and then took comfort in knowing I would pass it to my mate who until a week later when he caught his own kooky version of this mystery virus that he would believe it to be true.  Regardless, I got an awesome chicken sandwich out of it, fries and chicken nuggets. 

Did you know that Willard Scott was the first Ronald McDonald clown in 1963? 

Saturday, June 29, 2024

Whoo Hoo, Witchy Woman

Castro's Mexican Restaurant in Clinton Hill
Mexican breakfasts at Castro's this morning.  We passed by all the slightly upscale spots for a more casual environment.  We sat in the enclosed front area where there was a very nice cool breeze. I got the Mexican scramble with a side of sad looking bacon.  
P got the Chorizo scramble.  Both came with beans and rice and flour tortillas.  Gone are the days when you are given chips and sauce to begin a meal.  Every little bit counts these days for restaurants and I realize nothing is free, but a tiny bit of pico de gallo would have perked these plates up or a small stack of lettuce, tomato and onion.  My folks ran a Mexican restaurant and their plate presentation game was tight. You first eat with your eyes and that is important to how the customer remembers the experience which in turn affects their desire to return.  I can't say enough about all the small details.  Friendly staff, coming back to see if everything is okay, coffee refills.  I couldn't do it, it's truly an art.  I was a terrible waitress and realized it after a few hours trying it one night. 

Immediately after finishing the meal, we left to walk home, I felt a virus come on strong and by the time we reached home I had to go directly to bed and called out the next day.  It is unclear how I was affected so soon after the meal and I am a little spooked by the mean waitress that we've had before.  I halfheartedly believe that some women have abilities to put curses on you, and this lady gave me scary vibes.  It's unclear whether I'll be able to resist coming back for their amazing Chilaquiles.

Monday, June 24, 2024

In the Merry Old Land of Oz

A trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art inspired by my pal's recent visit to Spain.  She shared so many incredible pics of her trip that it made me hungry for fine art. 

Walking around the upper East Side is an experience of it's own.  The cleanliness, the doormen, ladies walking around bandaged from recent face surgeries, the architecture and all around different feel then, even the Upper West Side.  And then entering this gorgeous building you're immediately flooded with incredible works of art that leave you speechless.  It can be overwhelming, so we centered on a handful of artists and exhibits before fleeing the growing crowds in search of real food.  
El Greco - Jesus 

I had never ventured up to the rooftop deck but it's breathtaking and the view of the park with the high rises in the distance is like viewing Oz while jacked up on poppies.  Popping up into the fresh air with the wind and bright sunlight leaves you in a haze.

A great feature of both the upper and west sides are the remaining ancient diners.  This one however, upped their food game.  I was completely set to eat a mediocre over-priced grilled cheese but instead ordered the grilled chicken with tarragon and P's cheeseburger was a dream, as was the coleslaw.  Our tanned, blonde buxom waitress, asked us in a sultry voice if 'we were hahhhppy?' and P decided she must be an actress. I thought more along the lines of exotic dancer. 
EJ's Luncheonette at 3rd and 73rd.  The sprawling eating areas extended to an outdoor patio that provided a fun street view.  

A plan to walk over the Brooklyn Bridge collapsed into a timewarp where we boarded an express train that took us right to our local stop.

Thursday, June 20, 2024

Somebody's Gotta Win, Somebody's Gotta Lose

I envy the rush that people who care about sports get when their team is winning or losing.  All the high emotions.  I can only watch in curiosity like your pet stares at you when you're dressing.  It's something I can't seem to partake in. 
The way I can participate in this major part of my partners life is to bring on the snacks.  
Cheese Nachos with cherry tomatoes, fresh guacamole and salsa.  This snack may serve as dinner if you overeat, especially if you make two trays. 

This particular Cardinal's game was played on Rickwood Field in Birmingham, Alabama and they brought out some of the Negro League players.  It was moving, even for a non-baseball fan.  Like much of America's past, the history of this place is both cringe worthy and heartening.  
99 year old Rev Bill Greason (pictured above being interviewed), who grew up across the street from Martin Luther King Jr, mentored a young Willie Mays when Greason was already a 23-year-old war veteran and is one of the last two remaining 1948 Black Baron players, speaks so fondly of those times and keeps a deep love of the game. We can't change the stupidity of the not so distant past but to hear this true American speak is humbling and inspiring,  

Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Well She's All You'll Ever Want

Spinach, Shrimp & Avocado Summer Salad
My giant IKEA bowl inspires me to mix up glorious salads!
After my sweat-fest that was a pot of vegetable soup, I cooled things down the next day with a loaded Spinach salad featuring boiled shrimp in tomato consume, avocado, red onions, cherry tomatoes, corn and celery.  I think a can of rinsed black beans and a hard boiled egg would have been nice.  I like a lot going on in my salads.  I made a vinaigrette with lemon, oil, Dijon mustard, honey, garlic, salt and pepper.  

Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Got Lost in the Game

On sweltering heat days your first thought may not be to make a vat or boiling hot soup, but there is gain in getting your entire meal from one pot (equals one burner) and also something about eating a hot bowl of something and then allowing your body to cool down.  
A hearty 
Chicken Vegetable Soup 
It's important to start soup with a healthy base of carrots, celery, onions, lots of garlic and black pepper & salt.  I cooked that down in the chicken fat, which adds a little bonus flavor.  First browning the chicken and rendering the fat before pulling off the skin and setting aside.
Then I added green peppers and mushrooms.
After the main vegetables are slightly softened down and your trinity is melded, I add chicken stock and about a cup of hot sauce along with cubed potatoes and finally the chicken back to the broth. (Admission of guilt:  Ideally, if using hot sauce, your herb should be cilantro, culantro or parsley but I screwed up and used dill.  But that leads me to say that this could have been a very clean broth with the omission of the hot sauce, and an addition of dill and a splash of vinegar.  Both beautiful soups!)
When it's been cooking for a while, I added cabbage and corn.  Turn the heat down and simmer to your desired consistency.  I like waiting until the chicken falls off the bone and the potatoes make the soup a bit starchy.  As good as this soup is, it's 100 percent better the next day.  This type of chicken soup reminds me of the Irish stews where the potatoes and vegetables are very soft.

Sunday, June 16, 2024

Make it Simple, to Last Your Whole Life Long

Bacon Cheeseburger and onion rings from La Bagel Delight!
It's better that one does not comprehend how much better they could be living and eating in order to stay grateful for the little things, like hamburgers from a deli.  I choose to celebrate ground beef.  Its versatile and what could be more American than hamburgers?  I would argue even more than hotdogs in some ways.  No matter the level of wealth or breeding, everyone admits to being a sucker for a good burger. 

Coincidentally, my nephew has discovered and is recreating a famous street food item in Mexico called Tacos de hamberguesa 'Don Tono' to sell at his burger joint.  A hamburger patty with onions on the grill between two warmed corn tortillas and a very hot salsa molcajete.  For cooling relief, a squirt of lime and guacamole is recommended.  So simple, but he says they are delicious.  I believe him because his pictures alone have inspired me from his burger pop-up, Truck and Trowel.  And it makes sense because one of the best things in life is a charred weiner between a warm flour tortilla. No cheese, no condiments.  It remains true that the simplest pleasures are the best.

Thursday, June 13, 2024

I'll See You There on Cloud Nine

Once a year, at least, it feels important that Americans get a hotdog in their belly.  Preferably, one adorned with mustard and ketchup, chili or cheese or both.  Maybe relish is your thing.  Dressing it as you see fit, is an integral part of the experience. 
Instead of boiling them, I cooked them and toasted the bun directly on the stovetop grill to mimic outdoor bbq'ing, which is the best of the best ways to enjoy them.  
I served these with the first corn of the season and BBQ potato chips.  This is one of those meals where you check multiple boxes.  Joy, contentment, memory, summer, childhood, happiness.  There are undertones of pools or lakes, boats, blue skies, a loving family, running dogs, chirping birds, popsicles, charcoal burning, mowed grass and the list goes on. 
 Don't allow bad Weiner press to dissuade you from enjoying this summer treat.  Nathan's Hot Dogs are amazing and rated best hot dog brand by Bon Appetit.  I think we can all agree on the important benefit of getting in summertime-feel-good-activity, especially now.