Saturday, April 25, 2009
The night we camped at Lake Powell, we set up the tents in failing light. For dinner, Eva cooked hotdogs in the night's pitch blackness. They were served simply (but at least, as can be seen in the photo above, we did happen to have some Grey Poupon) and eaten by electric lantern and headlamps' light. It was cold and windy and cold. I just wanted to crawl into my new sleeping bag and crash. I believe I managed to stay awake for the dessert of E.L. Fudge cookies, but just barely.
Things looked much brighter in the morning. Water heated on the propane stove moistened instant hot cocoa and instant plain oatmeal, to which we added pecans, blueberries and brown sugar.
These were AgroBerries, but I thought of them as aggro berries.
Bread, cheese, and salami is a good lunch on the trail. Cheese is tasty on day one, okay on day two, and expendable beyond that (unless temperatures are quite cold).
If you found your knife on the ground and all the blades are stuck shut, you might want to go for pre-sliced cheese and salami.
This place, Thunderbird Restaurant outside of Zion National Park, was not as much fun as its sign suggested, but I was too tired and dirty after two days of hiking and camping in Parunuweap Canyon to care.
I was also not hungry enough for pie, or to visit the soup/salad bar, though I did enjoy 3 of the 4 (two large and two teeny-tiny*) pieces of fried chicken I was served. I consumed two tiny pieces and one large piece, as well as all of the slightly congealed white gravy on mashed potatoes.
The vegetables on my plate looked weak. I decided to eat only the bland, blanched pieces that had touched gravy before my plate was set in front of me.
Everyone else I was with had mushroom swiss burgers, and they (the burgers) looked fine.
*Thank goodness for those two mutantly miniscule pieces of fried chicken. I couldn't believe that my fried-chicken-related menu choices were only 4 pieces of chicken or no chicken. I can't eat 4 pieces of fried chicken AND mashed p. with gravy AND boiled vegetables AND soup AND items from the salad bar! Get real.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Devils bright red lurk among milder, yellower friends,
Screw up faces with sour taste of hell and angry roars.
Tube of giant, hot cheese balls aflame,
Redder than these canyon's walls, this soil.
(photo by Dan)
But, seriously, folks:
Raw upheavals, anvils, pedestals erupting,
each high, red wall a chorus of narrow faces,
Easter Island émigrés
singing to the scrub brush opposite,
masks stacked, Dahl's cloud people,
elegant arched eyebrows and mouths.
Ridge and hill and slide piled into one;
above, a contrail hangs like a pine needle
or a maestro's baton,
Mountain of food or fabric or pressed powder
spilling in ribbons, in folds of chalk,
its weight on itself.
Farther colors pale like the memories of colors.
(photo by Dan)
Saturday, April 18, 2009
(phone photo by Dan)
Things I like in GO
- Peanuts (and other nuts)
- Chocolate chips
- Peanut butter chips
- Coconut flakes
- Dried fruit (especially cranberries and bananas) except for raisins (though golden raisins and organic raisins are tolerable)
This one was just peanuts and M&Ms, but it was still sad when some of it got dropped on the sandy path outside of Peekaboo Canyon.
Note to self: 7 miles!!! of trudging through soft, thick sand to get to and from this place? It was beautiful, but... Next time, rent a jeep.
Friday, April 17, 2009
(phone photo by Dan)
Dear Houston's Trail's End Restaurant in Kanab, UT (and Salsa Brava in Flagstaff, AZ),
Your portions are out of control. Do you want all of your customers to be obese? Pancakes should not be larger than my head if they are also 3/4" thick each. Your "short stack" of two is a "WIDE LOAD stack." And side of hash browns should not cover a large oval platter.
A stuffed sopapilla (now I'm looking at you, S.B.) is delicious but it should not be bigger and wider than both of my fists held end to end (especially considering it is jammed with meat and covered in cream sauce AND my fists aren't petite). And if it is as big as that (and you're unwilling to warn the customer), I certainly don't need beans and rice on the side and I will NEVER have room for dessert. Also, I don't really want a bottomless Pepsi. You could at least ask me if I want a refill.
p.s. Houston's, I did enjoy your wallpaper. Salsa Brava, your flavors were excellent before I became overwhelmed and annoyed by the portion sizes, and you did a nice job on the salsa bar. Of the four varieties we tried, I preferred the pineapple habanero.
On another note, when in Kanab, I recommend staying at the Red Rock Country Inn if you want a cheap room and appreciate a hot tub.
Are you in the NYC area? Have you been to FEAST yet? Here's the menu from the second event. Once again, the folks over at One & Supp coordinated the impressive spread.
At the April FEAST, $1600 was raised at the door and given away in artists' grants. Plus, I made dessert.
The next FEAST is May 9, 2009.
[Due to a wilderness issue (as in, I was in a wilderness), this poem could not be posted on Tuesday (see these posts). All due apologies.]
Chocolate Caramel Matzoh Career Paths
No flat cracker tax!
Dipped twice in caramel gold
And chocolate's dark coins
Wafer thin and brittle unclothed
Snaps less easily when dressed
In sweet, candied fashion
Jokes classically, if slightly stale
Thick, glossiest hair style
Unmoved by applause.
This past week, I've been traveling in the red rocks (and sand and dirt) of Northern Arizona and Southern Utah. I wasn't able to get to an internet connection very often (or even pick up a reliable cell phone signal, for that matter), but I did do some eating.
Above is a picture of Sunday's lunch. We flew into Phoenix (finally! after a SNAFU with Delta that still enrages me) and drove north through some dinky towns trying to find delicious Mexican food. This wasn't it, but it wasn't bad. It beat driving around looking for food any longer, that's for sure.
La Fonda can be found sharing a building with a Dairy Queen (that I found to have substandard toilet facilities) in Camp Verde, AZ -- but even if my combo plate was only so-so, the horchata was smooth and refreshing.
More moments from the trip [and that Poetry Tuesday poem I wrote on time (I swear!) but couldn't get out of the wilderness to post] to come!
ADDENDUM: poem is here.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
David shared a leftover treat at work. These are matzoh crackers covered in caramel and chocolate. I call it "Matzoh Brittle" and I recommend you make some.
UPDATE (April 17th): I know this should have been a poetry Tuesday post, and, as you will see if you read my latest (at the time I am writing this) post, I did write a poem on a plane to Arizona (or, as it turned out, Cincinnati) on Sunday that should have posted with this entry. I'll post the thing as soon as I can get my luggage unpacked. It's in there somewhere.
UDATE'S UPDATE: The poem can now be found here.
Monday, April 13, 2009
I don't love Peeps (give me a plain old marshmallow, any day), but if I am going to eat one or two I prefer them fresh. I know many people who open the package and leave their Peeps alone for a few days in order to let them get stale before they're eaten.
What's your pleasure?
p.s. I've got some Cadbury Eggs in my freezer, but otherwise I did not stock up on Easter candy this year. I didn't plan it that way; it just happened. I did have some SweetTart jellybeans at work last week. I'm not a jellybean fan, but they were good.
Sunday, April 12, 2009
I thought it would be appropriate to post this in time for sunrise services on the east coast...
I had another snackreligious experience this week, facilitated by The Journey church in NYC. A young woman from the church handed me a granola bar on the street last week as a promotion for their Easter services. I'm not able to attend, but I imagine they wanted me to enjoy the chewy treat either way.
I suspect this bar is more like candy than true granola, in terms of how healthy it might be, but it's heavenly.
Saturday, April 11, 2009
I'm not much of a coffee drinker. In third grade (when I tried it for the first time I can remember - with coffee cake, as part of some holiday lesson about Santa Lucia) I thought it was disgusting (I did find I like coffee cake, though). In college, when everyone went out to coffee houses at night to study or talk, I would only drink hazelnut coffee with plenty of milk and sugar. Then, after a few years of infrequent drinking, I found that coffee in the evening made my heart pound and race so much that I couldn't sleep. I quit drinking the stuff. Not hard to do, since I've always preferred milk (or lemonade, or water, or...).
In my working life, I've found myself proud that I'm not dependent on coffee. I'm not someone who has to have it to wake up in the morning or get through a dull afternoon. And I still think that black coffee, while I can sometimes appreciate the smell, tastes pretty nasty.
When my father traveled to Vietnam, he wrote to me about the way many Vietnamese serve coffee -- iced or hot, with a thin layer of sweetened condensed milk at the bottom of the cup. That didn't sound so bad, so I sought the drink out in NYC, trying it iced in two restaurants within as many weeks. And I liked it. But I hadn't had it anywhere I could watch it brewing into a clear cup, as my dad had abroad. And so I started thinking about buying a couple of cheap Vietnamese coffee filter sets so that I could make it at home and get the whole experience on demand.
Then, Dad sent me a care package of coffee and candy he brought back from Vietnam. With it, a surprise -- Vietnamese coffee filters and two small glass cups in which to make the coffee. I haven't tried the candies yet, but I did have a night of Vietnamese coffee last week.
Some trial and error was necessary. A little mess was made. Cross-referencing websites like this one helped me decide to use two teaspoons of grounds per filter. This turned out to be a good amount of coffee for the size of the cup, especially when balanced against a layer of sweetened, condensed milk I poured in before brewing. I was not prepared for the glass cups being slightly too small for the amount of water that can be poured into the filters, however. Nor for some of the grounds to make it through the holes in the filter.
Still, we enjoyed the coffee -- strong, but sweet as a dessert. This is officially the only way I like coffee, for now. And the cheap filters are a great addition to my coffee maker-less kitchen.
Friday, April 10, 2009
Greta turned me on to Sirius Icelandic chocolate (sold at Whole Foods). I bought it in part for the packaging, designed in 1933, which is refreshingly simple and lovely (and -- surprise! There are two bars in there, rather than one), but it's really about the flavor.
I chose 45% semi-sweet and wasn't sorry I didn't go darker. There is a rich, warm sweetness to this chocolate, with a hint of cinnamon and a little something dark lurking in the background. Each square tastes milky and smooth and true. The package description suggests this chocolate will melt well and even includes directions for making this into hot chocolate. That's my next stop.
Thursday, April 9, 2009
(made and photographed by Dan)
Her Parmesan-Encrusted Zucchini has joined the ranks of dishes that do not disappoint. Ours needed only a splash of balsamic vinegar.
Next time there's zucchini in the house, we should to try to replicate the Zuccanoes (pronounced zoo-canooz) of Dan's childhood. Did your mom make these? Here's Katzen's version.
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Lately, the weather's been bouncing back and forth between days of grey city rain and days of brighter, cheerier sun. Both are appropriate to spring, of course, but that doesn't mean that the grey days don't sometimes get me down.
I was out of cereal the day on one of those recent grey days and didn't have time to run out to get another sort of breakfast. Frankly, I was feeling a little down in the dumps about it. Luckily, Dave had and offered me a Blueberry Crisp Clif bar.
Clif bars are weird. They look weird (see above). They taste weird. They're also super-dense, sweet, and a little too chewy. My jaw gets tired just looking at one. Some of the flavors are tolerable (I tend to choose Peanut Toffee Buzz or sometimes Chocolate Brownie). Other flavors have struck me as what I'd call "gross" (not that I've tried them all). Occasionally I crave a Clif bar, but I never wholeheartedly enjoy them. There's always a bit of an aftertaste.
I'm happy to report, as I'd never had this flavor before, that Blueberry Crisp was tolerable, if not amazing. The fruit managed to be a little tangy and the whole thing quite nutty. Not bad at all.
I guess this reads like I'm not that into the Clif Bar, but I do like them. At the right moment, with the right flavor, one can be just the ticket. This day, it was decent food in a hungry time - with a little energy boost built in.
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
There once was a girl born near Berkeley,
Whose camera took pictures too murkily.
And so she has naught
Of the pudding she brought
To the FEAST (Hope you don't find this jerkly).
(photo by Dan)
A girl from Dubuque, overheard,
Said, "For snackfoods I'm kind of a nerd."
"And to watch Rescue Dawn
I need pop-off-cob corn."
After that, she did not say a word.
(photo by Dan)
A young miss who has known two Manhattans
(So smoke on your pipe and put that in!)
Is happy to share
Several fries, if you care.
But she needs all her nuggets and napkins.
Friday, April 3, 2009
(imagined, built, and photographed by Dan)
When you don't feel awesome, when you just want to sit on the couch all night taking extra-strength pain killers, when your sinus-pain is building, when you're feeling sorry for yourself and generally being a whiner -- why not ask someone who loves you to make you a peanut-butter-filled banana?
It might just make you feel better.
After I agreed to cat-sit for Ian, I was rewarded with a bonus slice of barbecued-chicken pizza. I don't know its provenance, but it was tasty. The sauce was surprisingly sweet, but worked with the chicken and thick cheese.
Thursday, April 2, 2009
[With apologies to composer Alan Menken and writer Howard Ashman (Little Shop of Horrors).]
Drink up your milk,
Wash off your mayonnaise,
Here, take my napkin,
Wipe that chili away.
Floss out your teeth --
Free from their corning.
I know things were bad
But now they're okay.
Is sitting before you.
They didn't make pulled pork
For you by mistake.
Is here to provide you
No sandwich ever
Small enough for me,
Always had too much
Bread on the roll
I'd get a bun and
I'd eat it all blindly.
Fat in my fingers,
Still I'd say "sure."
From Numpang surprised me.
It was the right order;
It wasn't the pork.
Is here to provide me
Sweet soy sauce flavor.
Catfish -- my friend.
Tell me this sandwich lasts till forever;
Tell me the bad ones are clean washed away.
Please understand that some might
Find it too small.
With appetites these days
It's so hard to say.
A sandwich that's for me.
A sandwich that's for you.
Finally Numpang showed me it can...
Finally Numpang showed you it can...
(Yes it can!)
Fill the right order,
The one that's inside me (you)
With sweet peppered catfish...
Numpang's your friend.
[etc. ad nauseum -- except for the nausea part.]
[Note: I wrote this poem on Tuesday, but had too much neck/shoulder pain from some sort of pulled muscle to get out the laptop. The pain also kind of intruded on the candy commentary. Sorry for that and for the delay.]
Today I am the queen of middling ideas,
Inglorious ruler of neck pain and second-rate candy,
Sultana of sweet nothings and more than necessary.
Today these Whoppers told a whopper,
Promised me Reeses and made me suck
To get at it.
Today I preside over the cult
Of why me? and good-in-theory.
I practice by eating what I preach.
Today I stuck my neck out, reached for peanut butter malted stars.
Today I tried new things and felt my injuries anew.