Reviews: Chickpea And Where’d You Go Bernadette

Here are some reviews.

Chickpea

Service was horrible. I asked the waitress what beers were on tap, she said “They are on the board,” that I couldn’t read as it was halfway across the restaurant and parallel with me. To avoid any awkwardness, I simply said “Oh.” She walked off. When she came back, I asked once more, this time stating I couldn’t see the board. She said, “A lager, a pilsner, a pale ale.” Needless to say, I didn’t order a beer.

 

With such disinterested service, I figured the food had to be fantastic. Why else would people continually flock to this place? I was wrong, it’s some of the blandest food I’ve tasted. It’s on par with lowest common denominator targeting workplace cafeteria food that needs to feed masses and offend as few palates as possible. To their credit, they do know how to plate and make the food look very presentable. However, I’d gladly take a hit in that department to avoid eating a potato that has had nothing done to it other than making it not raw.

 

Those wanting Lebanese or Mediterranean fare should go to Nuba or JamJar. Both restaurant’s flavors are superior. Heck for that matter, go to any hole in the wall donair joint and you’ll also save a couple of bucks.

Where’d You Go Bernadette

Simply put, I love this book. Mental health and biting social commentary permeate the pages. There’s a lot to mull over and empathize with. I started out thinking, “I know these people,” by the end I was thinking, “I am these people.” As I closed it for the last time, I wanted to immediately open it up and do it all over again.

 


 

Bag Your Own Damn Groceries or Fail After The Fall of Society

It’s burrito week at our place. Don’t worry, they are pretty light on the beans and heavy on everything else: Guacamole, coleslaw, pico de gallo, and lime and cilantro rice. We were running low on salsa. I made eleven jars last time, but we kind of went through them faster than expected. Since I think it should be a federal offense to have burritos without salsa, I had to run to the store and buy some.

I love our grocery store and have been going there for years. Let me tell you though, I do not like it around meal time or after brunch hours. Basically, when hipsters appear en masse. The aisles are narrow and some folks simply stand there in slack jawed amazement at the sights and sounds of a busy store. Literally. They stand there and wonder what it is they went to the store for. How about a pad and pencil so you can make a fucking list? Okay, I am getting mad about something I am not even mad about, this time.

I flew into the store and grabbed the salsa that I wanted. It is salty and delicious. Not as good as my homemade stuff, but still delicious. I headed to the cash register. All of them were quite full, so I picked one and proceeded to space out. It is a trick I have taught myself in recent years. A good way to increase patience and let the time fly. Because time flies when you’re not paying attention.

That was me, until I became aware of two customers in front of me. After requesting plastic bags, she just stood there. Her card was in her hand and for a moment she acted like she may start bagging her own groceries. That is, until she remembered that she is the queen of the universe; that she had a line of people behind her and an able bodied cashier to do it for her. So, there she stood. A growing pile of groceries and several plastic bags in front of her. All she had to do, was put them together. She didn’t. The cashier finished ringing her up and quickly placed her items in the bags.

Seems to be more proof that we are screwed as a race. I could also, just be high strung. Am I crazy? Either way, see you at the end!

 

Birthday BBQin’

Now time for something a little less heavy. I know that many of my recent topics have been about political and social issues. Then I had a few terse words for smokers yesterday. Today is going to be different! [Steps down off of soapbox. Digs index fingers into the corners of lips and pulls up. Although to some it may appear that I am baring my teeth, I am indeed smiling.]

I recently had a birthday. Basically, a trilogy of days filled with back to back excellence. I would say that it all began when I was finishing up a previous blog post, listening to jazz with a tumbler of Glenlivet at my side. Not a double as I don’t want to end up drunk dialling on my blog.

My wife was busy in the kitchen baking an absolutely delicious carrot cake from scratch. She stayed up late finishing it for the party the next day. Even though the cake had cooled, it was so warm in our place that the frosting kept melting. She had to intermittently put the cake back in the fridge.

For the party we had a small group of people over. There was plenty of food, even though the entire day I was worried that there wasn’t going to be enough. Guests brought stuff too so in the end we had tofu burgers, veggie dogs, corn, potatoes, salad, an assortment of chips and of course beer. Plenty of beers from the local breweries. Delicious.

On top of a google play card, my wife also got me a writing journal that at the moment is still blank, but I have been carrying it around with me. Some other friends gave me some beers and some books and in general the gift of friendship. Just showing up was gift enough!

While it wasn’t intended as a gift, being told that Nazareth is responsible for Hair of the Dog also counts. I wasn’t alone in thinking it was AC/DC, although other than the part where he is screaming “ASUNUVBITCH!” it sounds nothing like AC/DC.

The BBQ was a great time! In fact after everyone had gone home I just kept saying, “We should do that again, maybe this time with tacos!” The feature image is of what remains of the carrot cake. In hindsight we should have taken a picture when it was whole, but forgot in the heat of the moment.

Habanero Hot Step

I woke up this morning with a stomach ache. It could possibly have something to do with the four s’mores I slammed last night. Although more than likely it had something to do with all the homemade habanero salsa I consumed instead.

I had never made habanero salsa before, but I’d had a bee in my bonnet ever since I’d ate some definition altering sauce at Santeria in Portland. I wanted to make a sauce that was similar. Something thicker and with more low end flavor than those runny sauces that, while delicious, are a one note runny vehicle for heat, salt, and vinegar. When I saw habaneros on sale at the grocery store, I knew that yesterday was the day.

One thing I hadn’t counted on was pepper spraying the entire apartment. Habaneros are some serious shit compared to the jalapenos I use for my regular salsa. My wife was coughing like crazy from the other room and I would too from time to time. Heating up habaneros makes the spicy heat airborne. A cough would force us to inhale and we would be forced to cough more. Even with the exhaust fan on, there was no escaping it.

I persevered though and continually tasted the salsa, ensuring I had the proper amount of onion, garlic, and cilantro. My version is dang close to what I was trying to imitate. So in celebration I marinated some tofu and pulled out the slaw and pico de gallo I already had on hand and made tacos for dinner.

I pretty much drenched my share with the habanero salsa before adding sriracha and another homemade salsa on top. By the end of dinner my nose was running and I was sweating big time. Not only due to the peppers, but we are in the middle of a heatwave. Then I ate four s’mores, three my wife knows about – until she reads this.

Back to today, my tried and true solution for getting rid of a stomach ache is to go for a run. I mean I could lay on the couch for ten hours, but that ain’t my bag. So I went for a solid ten kilometer run, in the middle of a gaddamn heatwave. I had no water left by the time I finished and made beelines for any sprinklers I saw along the last stretch. I also had my belt on in precarious spot that caused my shirt to chafe my chest.

So when I get home, I am sweating buckets, my legs are tired, my left nipple is just on the cusp of bleeding, and I still had a stomach ache. Oh and few hours later, the clouds moved in, engulfing the sun and dropping the temperature. Oh well, having a lovely lunch with my wife was great and the peanut butter and jelly donut was the perfect ending to the afternoon.

foodies/cuisinomane (Now Legal In Quebec)

Foodies, what are they? Are they: hedge chefs, super fans of food, food photographers? All of the above and then some? Where do they come from? What is their education background? What is their profession? Am I a foodie?

Who doesn’t like food? I mean even just a little. Regardless of the flavors or culture. If you have a friend that says they don’t like food, they either hashtag thigh gap and need help or they are quite possibly an alien! Get out of the house, call the J. Edgar’s, run for your life!

However, if you have a friend who says they are a fan of food as in, “I loooooooooove foooood, sooooo gooooood.” As if they think they are special or deserve an award, that is an asshole! For I as well, am a fan of living and not contracting scurvy, gout, rickets, or having my teeth fall out of my head! If it tastes good while doing so, so much the better.

A few years ago I started cooking a majority of our meals from scratch. I rarely use canned goods unless something is out of season. I will boil tomatoes and process them. I save vegetable trimmings to make a stock for soups. Bread and biscuits are conjured from flour and water, sometimes beer. Pudding from scratch from an old family recipe, sure I have to stand there and stir like crazy, but it is far superior to anything in box. I find it amazing how little time it actually takes to make something from the very base and how much that teaches you.

A friend of mine was complaining about food photography. He made the mistake of doing this in front of me. Who in turn notified a bunch of other smartasses at lunch. Which caused people take out their phones and tag him in their photos of Big Macs and Quarter Pounders. That’s right, this happened at McDonald’s. This could have quite possibly been the first case of food photography at the entire history of the brand. When it comes to McDonald’s, I don’t care much for the food, I can choke it down. It is more for the company.

I must admit, when I see people break out their phones and snap a photo of their food, I sometimes snicker. It isn’t bad to take a photo every now and then. I’ve been known to do it from time to time. When the food arrives and my eyes uncontrollably bulge with excitement like hyperventilating french bulldog who just sat on whoopie cushion. However, when the food arrives mid conversation and the phones come out and go away in one movement, leaving just enough time to make sure the food is on the screen. That is when I start laughing.

What a douchebag. Who in your social media life is truly going to give a shit, really? The fact that they are doing it out of habit, to add to the collection, is kind of creepy. Like a serial killer who always takes a token or that artist who takes a zillion photos of the exact same kind of thing. The difference is those two are aware of what they are doing.

Can you imagine what this trend would have been like about forty years ago during the age of neighbor vacation slideshow nights. Having to sit through slide after slide of what they ate. Then there were the Johnson’s who always took photos of the aftermath. What a bunch of weirdos.

Have I decided that I am a foodie? Not yet, I seem to like having good food, but won’t turn down anything as long as it is meatless. Yet, I thoroughly enjoy preparing delicious and large meals that last through the week. I take the occasional photo, mostly of donuts. I won’t buy Budweiser, but I will drink it if that is all you have.

Regardless, I am outraged by the term. I can’t help that I want to eat decent food. You only have so many years on this planet. You only have so many calories you should intake. Tell you what foodies, take charge. Spit out your craft beer. Yell at the top of your lungs, ” We ain’t foodies! Ya’ll just a bunch of poodies!” I can’t believe auto correct didn’t turn that into poodles as I was expecting it would.

One Small Observation From A Vegetarian In Regard To Gluten Free People.

  Okay, I am a vegetarian! My wife and I pretty much went cold tofurkey back in November of 2007. She had made a bet with a co-worker that she won within a month. After that, there was two month transition, where we settled our accounts, cleaned out the freezer, and had our last traditional Christmas dinner. By February we were completely clean and haven’t fallen off the wagon once.

  So after seven years my dietary decision is still a fairly hot topic. I am ovo-lacto, that means I will eat eggs and dairy. I stick to free range eggs and small local dairies. I will also use other products where animals were not slaughtered, such as honey. I will avoid animal stocks and oils.

  “Do you eat fish?” Is it a slaughtered animal? No! Pescetarianism is for quitters. They are trans-dietarian, carnivores stuck in vegetarians bodies. Also, if I did eat meat, it wouldn’t be from the overfished ocean!

  “But you eat eggs.” Yeah because I am pro-choice. I don’t want to be hypocrite. Also, the eggs are not fertilized and, once again, the chickens are free range. Yes, real free range. I checked-out the eggery, ovary, rootin-tootin egg ranch, or whatever it is called. Honestly, I don’t even know what to type into google.

  “And you eat off of grills where meat was cooked, you scandalous bastard.” What is this the fucking Spanish Inquisition! This seems like it is a religious choice fraught with persecution. All I am trying to do is avoid harming and slaughtering animals. Food production economics and my health are secondary benefits.

  Within recent years there has been a spike in people who can’t eat gluten. Celiacs disease is apparently a fucking pandemic. Look, I understand that there are people who actually can’t eat gluten. Who were told they shouldn’t eat gluten by a doctor. It’s the other ones I have an issue with. For the love of fuck people, you are supposed to fart! It is cool, everyone does it. Some of us just do it better. Especially me, after a bowl of vegetarian chili I can go full Umbrella Man.

  Anyway, gluten free folk walk up to the same people that were asking me all those questions above and announce, in a very Marvin the Martian like voice. “I don’t eat gluten.” No pins drop, no records skip, no one bats an eye, no questions asked! “We weren’t supposed to eat wheat,” they continue as they take a bite of lamb shank.

  I don’t think we were supposed to eat meat either. In fact, I can’t even bite through an onion ring without pulling out the scalding hot slime of pain causing first degree burns on my chin[1]. While my dog stares at me with a an expression that says, “Dude, your teeth suck!” Much less take down a gazelle and tear out its throat.

  Yeah, we were totally supposed to eat meat! What the hell are we supposed to eat? Were we even meant to survive? Maybe we were just meant to live in trees, throw fecal matter, and rage hump magic mushrooms in a glorious mating ritual that happens every Tuesday. Except we wouldn’t know it was Tuesday because magic mushroom rage humping fecal flingers don’t have calendars, typically. I don’t know. Maybe I should just take it as a compliment that my being a vegetarian is a conversation piece and not the tax forms of the food world.


[1] Which is why I have grown a beard, to cover the scars.