Brunch + Munch

a few day's ago halimah mentioned that brunch might be her new favorite meal. i thought she was effing crazy! i mean, i love brunch like no other; the tofu scramble, the bloody maries, the toast topped with tofutti cream cheese, the goddamn home fries, etc. but do i love it more than i love dinner? or lunch for that matter? or even.....dessert?!

tuesday may have changed my mind. while brunch, for me, is usually eaten at mi-lah, the royal tavern or one of the other (few) restaurants with halfway decent vegan options around here, tuesday i rolled out of bed at the crack of noon and thought, "today, today i will make brunch". there was no other choice, really.

friends and housies have recently been cooking more eggs in the kitchen - scrambled and fried mostly - and it allllmost brought me back to those non-vegan days. the runny yolk, the melted cheese, mmm. did i just think "mmm"? NO! instead of missing that old egg+cheese on a bagel, i quickly got grossed out when bert dropped an egg on the ground and i almost slipped on the albumin. i set out on a quest to develop some sort of vegan fried egg. the result, while nothing really like a vegan fried egg, was worth the journey. brunch, i love you so.

behold: pan seared tofu stuffed with garlic, onion, avocado and tofu-mustard "yolk" topped with creamy mustard sauce, microgreens and more avocado. add some veggie bacon and toast and you got yourself a brunch. i dare you to charge me $9 for this, the abbaye.


2 a.m., post P.O.P.E. snack: the pretzel factory (8th & washington) is only open during the middle of the night, churning out all the soft pretzels that will populate the food trucks of philadelphia that very same morning. 1 dozen piping hot (we're talking directly from the factory's oven into a brown paper bag) pretzels + a generous container of spicy mustard = $4.
good. lord.



food womb

o, horizons, mother of them all. for years you have nourished the people of philadelphia with true culinary vegan genius. you have given the naysayers of vegetarian dining a miso marinated middle finger, a delicately pan seared F U. you have given our taste buds a magic carpet ride, you have put a joyful song in our hearts and bellies.

last week, to celebrate our friend halimah's new found freedom from employment (and the inauguration of our very special 44th president), we made a reservation for 4 in the food womb. let us amend our ode above: horizons, while a spectacular vegan dining experience, is not perfect. the artwork on the walls is laughably bad and the service, while totally acceptable, is a little overbearing. we were waited on by no less than 4 people, which always kind of rubs me the wrong way; one server + busser seems like plenty. fancier restaurants always seem to want to pile the workers on your table, and why? anyway, we're not writing this post to critique the ambiance or waitstaff. we're writing to talk about food!

the booze: i arrived half an hour earlier than the rest and sat at the bar and read a wondrous book. i ordered a bottle of sprecher bavarian black lager, which was dark, smooth and malty, the perfect pint for a ten degree january evening. when the girls arrived and we were seated, halimah promptly ordered a martini straight up with olives and the rest of us decided on a $28 bottle of red. i forget what it was called, but it was from france! it was sort of a one-note pony, but that note was mild and juicy and nothing to complain about. it also sported a charming label, never a bad thing:

sipping our spirits by the soft candlelight, we came to the group consensus to order the chef's tasting menu: a 5 course, $45 per person parade of delights. can you argue with 5 courses? no.

first up: a winter vegetable bouillabaisse with a roasted red pepper pesto crouton. it was a charming soup, with a one-of-each selection of small, tender vegetables in a hearty, but refined, tomato broth. the stand out for me was the single, buttery, elegant brussel sprout, floating in the bowl like an emerald.

the second course was a wild mushroom crepe topped with a golden beet tartare and seaweed caviar. it sat in a nice truffle cream dotted with sharp parsley puree. the crepe itself had a right-on texture, just the right amount of spongy. the flavors were well balanced and the caviar was (according to the lone diner who has tasted the fish egg variety) eerily similar to the "real" thing. as a second course goes, it was a tempered medium of rich flavors without being too heavy.

third course was a riff on mock scallops: pan seared tofu rounds on a creamy hearts of palm risotto, with pesto and kalamata olives. the texture of the tofu was lovely (though really like a scallop? probably not), and the risotto was nicely cooked. however, the pesto was terribly over salted and invaded the entirety of the dish. i guzzled the remainder of my second glass of wine just to help it go down easier. while not ruined per se, the dish was disappointing to me for this reason. the others at the table agreed that their portions were also salted with too heavy a hand. this is a bummer because i've never had anything but righteously seasoned food at horizons and this was the first dish to deviate from that winning streak. nevertheless, we cleaned our respective plates. this is what they looked like before:

lauren here, taking over for the last two courses (you know i had to review the desserts!). our fourth course would fall under the label as 'entree' as it were. it consisted of grilled seitan with smoky eggplant over braised black beluga lentils with a grain mustard sauce. as much as i hate to talk smack on the best/only vegan gourmet restaurant in the city, much like the pesto topped pan seared tofu, this dish was sorely over salted. while the seitan had a beautiful texture and a solid grilled flavor, the smoky eggplant was nowhere to be found and the black lentils tasted more like black beans. the whole shebang was topped with an "avocado taco" which was really just a tortilla chip with a dollop of guac. i didn't really understand where this fit in with the rest of the dish, except i suppose it complemented the black bean-like lentils, but i don't think those were even supposed to taste like black beans in the first place. weird, BUT, still damn edible and the mustard sauce really rounded out the seitan nicely. once again, no plates went uncleaned:

as our plates were cleared, we wondered aloud, "how can we possibly eat dessert?" let me just say first and foremost, i love dessert. (when i was little, i pretty much had a problem, a sugar problem. at a picnic once, i asked my mom when i could have dessert and she sternly told me to finish my lunch. "but mom, the cookies are calling me!" - if that's any indication.) however, i usually don't eat dessert when i'm out to dinner because i'm just too full. at home, dessert - a square of fancy chocolate, a cookie, a few bites of ice cream - is eaten a half hour to an hour after dinner, once the dishes have been done, the leftovers put away, the wine bottle emptied and the party moved to the living room couch. it's then that i've had enough time to digest and need to satisfy that one little tiny space in my stomach saying "sugar. sugarrrr!" however, at our chef's tasting, a mere eight to ten minutes passed before our dessert platter arrived. yes, i said platter:

left to right: coconut cheesecake, cinnamon ice cream, peanut butter bomb chocolate cake. sighhhh. the little sliver of coconut cheesecake was a silky creamy consistency and touted a not-to-sweet coconutiness. the tiniest mini melon ball sized scoop of ice cream was delicately spiced, and the icy texture was a nice respite from most overly fatty store bought brands. what really took the cake (ha!) was the pb bomb cake. i would say it was the bomb, but i can only fit so many puns in. it was a moist, dense chocolate cake topped with peanut butter mousse and the whole thing was dipped in chocolate, dusted with crushed peanuts and drizzled with more chocolate! whew. this was a pretty decent size piece of cake and was very decadent. i would have been totally fine if this was the only dessert they had brought, and probably a bit less painfully full as well.

we sat and finished the wine, our used napkins thrown in like towels after a particularly rigorous boxing match, and talked until the rest of the dining room was empty. we toasted halimah and her generosity. she thanked us for coming with her, and we thanked her for not using her gift card for four solo visits instead of bringing us along. i don't know the next time we'll be back to the food womb, but i do know that each and every time i emerge a reborn vegan.


a chickpea for the bleeding heart of thee

after a long and sad day (we went to the funeral for our mom's husband's mother), the VR crew was looking for comfort food of the highest - but also healthiest - order. after all, some of us (me! it was me!!!!) went to a pilates class tonight and didn't want to spoil the hard work on empty fats and starches. so we turned to the bible, the source, the matriarch of all the cookbooks in our kitchen: the veganomicon. even with a paltry pantry, i knew we had the fixings for a highly regarded favorite: chickpea cutlets. while we prepped, peeled and pan fried, our dear friend bert whipped up some vegan white russians (soymilk + vodka + kahlua) - after all, we were going bowling later. after their 12 minute tenure in the frying pan, we doused the cutlets with leftover maple mustard sauce from a potluck-bound squash salad i prepared last night, and supplemented them with a lemon-y spinach 'n sprouts salad and quinoa fortified with creamy roasted eggplant and tahini. it was super simple and spiritually satisfying. i urge you to link to isa's clever recipe, courtesy of chow.com, here. dinner with friends - the greatest of heart healers:


lady cake: sweet karma

you may remember the blossom-adorned birthday cake i made for our friend elisha's birthday a few weeks ago. the other day, she returned the favor with a tray of beautiful carrot cake cupcakes. and it's not even my birthday! elisha believes that every day is special enough to warrant a treat. and these cupcakes are indeed special: moist and dense and studded with raisins. and the orange frosting gives them a nice 70's rollerskating rink feel. voila:



for life

if you want a tattoo and/or some good conversation, go to kevin riley. even though he looks way punk rock and is covered in ink (which may signify "scary dude" to some people), he's gentle as a lamb, smart as a whip, and ridiculously talented. he maintains a super comprehensive website to document his tattoo portfolio. you can even see by calendar date the tattoos he's done day by day! it's very cool. he is also in a killer band called northern liberties, runs/ran a record label called worldeater, lives in a gorgeous warehouse space that he renovated himself, collects weirdo toys and dabbles in building guitars! this is an advanced human being here, people. below is a tiny heart tattoo that i got from him as a birthday present last march.

remember that i love small and special things. that gross bandage on my finger was probably from slashing myself while trying to chop a butternut squash. anyway, check out kevin's sites (here is also a link to the tattoo studio where he works) and if you live in or around philadelphia and are considering a new tattoo, do your present and future selves a favor and get it from him!




Today has been, is, and will continue to be a wonderful day.

Aside from the obvious (L.A. Thompson invented the roller coaster on January 20th, 1885, ya'll!), many great things have happened today and I will remember it for a long time. I spent the good part of the morning at work (a little coffee shop) listening to WHYY, jumping around cheering, getting teary eyed and eating fruit, yogurt and granola.

Then my friend mailed me my Klean Kanteen because I so forgetfully left it at a house show in NYC a few weeks ago.

Now! I'm on my way to Horizon's, the vegan cream dream and mecca of Philadelphia. Posts, pictures and foodgasms to follow!!


stick team

a note to begin: do not be mislead by the charming icon on the left, the expectant chef tasting a delicate consommé or reduction or whatever. what transpired today was an experiment of an entirely low brow nature, an experiment involving vegetarian hot dogs, thick beer spiked batter and a deep fryer from the 70's. what happened today was corndogs.

for me, major televised sporting events are an excuse to drink beer in the afternoon and eat funny food. when my hometown team wins, that's a great bonus! people will be nicer to one another on the street the next day and i'll have something to chit chat about with the regulars at work. sadly, today i drank no beer (i'm fighting an oncoming cold) and the home team lost, but funny food was still in full effect.

i've never made corndogs and i've never used the deep fryer my mom gave me (out of her basement, i think?) a few summers ago. that's why this whole endeavor counts as a culinary experiment, even though cheffy up there in the corner would surely scoff (or, as the french say, escoffier) at such a notion. but the way i see it, every food - trashy or high falutin - has its day. and football is a lot like a hot dog: a symbol of the good parts of americana (simplicity, non-pretension, commitment to pleasure) and the bad parts, too (commodification of pleasure, convenience over health, machismo). but i digress: the point, friends is that ryan and i made vegan corndogs today and, dammit, they were good.

first, the batter: equal parts flour (we used whole wheat which kind of made us feel better about the negative nutritional value of these suckers) and corn meal, generous pinches of salt, sugar and cayenne, and big splashes of soy milk (plain vitasoy) and beer (schmidt's). we made the batter pretty thin - after all, the goal is a nice, crispy coating, not a sheath of corn bread. we cut two packs of veegs doggies in halves, so there would be more to go around at the sports watching get together. sharing is key, dudes. the halves were rolled in some cornstarch:

then, we fired up the deep fryer. because of his restaurant experiences, ryan was way more comfortable with the fryer than me, so i let him take over that very integral part of the process. we first used a vegetable oil and olive oil blend (b/c we were low on veg oil), but it wasn't really getting hot enough so i ran out to the market to buy more veg oil. it takes a disgusting amount of oil to deep fry - try not to think about it. so with 100% vegetable oil, we really got that baby going.

in the above photo, there are too many doggies in the stew. we quickly learned that the dogs like to stick to each other and must be limited to three at a time. it's time consuming but worth it when they started to come out perfectly. we made a big batch of the corndogs, a hand full of onion rings and one lone jalapeno popper, and took it all over to the football friend get-down. and they were a hit! who doesn't love a battered hot dog, i mean really. shown below with some ketchup spiked with sriracha for dipping, wake up to your golden nugget junk food dreams.


p.s. another special thanks to ryan (master! snack master!) for really captaining this entire process.


Cuddl-Duds: Feel Good

With the low of 9 (feels like 0) and the high of 16 degrees yesterday, it's not hard to see why everyone is talking about the weather. Also, is it too late to talk about Christmas presents? They're still relevant to me, so I don't see why it would be.

Basically, I've been surviving the last blustery week with the aid and assistance of my Cuddl-Duds. I was introduced to this product in Christmas '07 when Momma K gave me a long sleeved shirt made from woven bamboo fiber. I used it at yoga a few times and that was that. This Christmas, I asked for a pair of long underwear and Em and I both received long sleeved v-neck shirts (with a cute bamboo print up the left side) and long underwear type pants. These garments are by far the softest things I own. Made of 83% rayon from bamboo, 12% nylon and 5% spandex, they are the perfect combination of fit, form and function. I would wear these out all the time, except people might think I'm from the future or something.

Top (or bottom) it off with some super soft booties/socks that Grandma gave me and I've pretty much been living in this outfit:

Screw you, East Coast winter!!!


Get to Know Your Locals

As much hype as has been buzzing around the new Local 44, I'm going to have to hop on the wagon here and review it as well. The beer geek's paradise/pub grub haven (also known as a "gastropub") on 44th and Spruce opened New Year's Day to much acclaim and a lot, A LOT of business. We decided to hit the place up the Saturday after New Year's (a.k.a. January 3rd, a.k.a. the third day they were open) and my initial response was sheer and utter claustrophobia. At 9:30pm, the place was packed to the brim with a mixed crowd of, well, locals. Barely a body could squeeze past the bar, let alone even begin to think about getting a table. We quickly high-tailed it out of there, tails between our legs.

After quasi-writing the place off, I decided to give it another go a few days later. At the more quiet hour of 3:30pm, the place was near empty, service was prompt and the food ruled. Vegan options weren't super plentiful, but for a small menu the ratio was very admirable. We started off having the spinach potato croquettes with a creamy vegan dill sauce; the sauce really sold me and really made the dish:

Of course I had to try the seemingly infamous Oyster (Mushroom) Po' Boy with vegan remoulade. When I first read a review of this sandwich online, it was only called an "Oyster Po' Boy" and man, was I surprised and delighted when I realized the truth of the matter. Behold, my second favorite sandwich in the city:

I didn't get a Kenzinger, as the picture misleads you to believe, but a Victory Brewing Company Prima Pils, one of my favorite beers, and one of TWENTY that the Local has on tap (and two on cask!). I was also fortunate enough to try the taco trio, as we made a special request (yeah, I kind of hate when people do this too, but the waitress was totally cool about it) for 2 tofu tacos and one mahi mahi taco (for a friend). The taco kind of reminded me of a giant fish stick on a little corn tortilla, and was a little scant on fixins, however, still tasted pretty darn good. Did I mention the totally killer fries? No?

My recommendation: go there, early, like pre-5pm on a weekday early. It'll be worth it I promise!


Cait's Muffin Mania!

A few years ago I met a darling little vegan lady at a house show. How did I know she was darling and vegan? She brought muffins (or were they cupcakes? or cookies?) to the show for all to snack on. Vegan snacks are practically my middle name so I knew I had to meet her.

This was back when I was but a novice vegan and it was then that Cait suggested I check out "How It All Vegan" by Sarah Kramer. Since then I have amassed so many more cookbooks, and pretty much every time I get a new one, I tell Cait about it, just in case it slipped under her radar and I can return the favor.

Since Cait moved from Allentown, PA to Athens, OH I don't run into her as much and the vegan chatter has ebbed. However, I recently stumbled upon her new blog, Cait-a-Day. The concept is genius, really, as she's taken the wonders of The Artclash Collective's Fun-a-Day and is attempting to apply it to every month of the year. January is her first month, and she's making a different batch of vegan muffins every day and posting the recipes and pictures! My two favorites are Perky Peanut Butter Pretzel (pictured) and Pants Party Peanut Butter (it's not a coincidence that both have peanut butter in them). I can't wait to try those and lots of others!

Check out Cait's blog (but keep reading ours too!). Next month she's going to dance for 30 minutes every day! This probably won't be as deliciously rewarding for her friends, but it still sounds rad as hell....

P.S. If you live in the Philadelphia area, you can check out the Fun-a-Day art show on February 14th at Studio 34 Yoga in West Philly! This is me encouraging you to go.

"love it or hate it"

dark, syrupy, rich and heeelllllllla salty - i'm talking about marmite, a wondrous yeast spread introduced to me a few years back by my good friend john aka boners. if you like the flavor of nutritional yeast, it's pretty safe to say that you will enjoy yourself some marmite. on the other hand, it's weird and potent stuff (popularized by the british/new zealand palate, not universally known for, um, refinement), and maybe you would not so much enjoy it. what is safe to say, however, is that when it comes to marmite and all things briny and/or yeasty, you either love it or hate it. in fact, that exact phrase is british marmite's marketing slogan, love it or hate it. very few modern companies that i know of have the gall to use such a cheeky and honest slogan. it's almost as if to say (imagine this in a gruff english accent), "if you love it great. if you hate it, well we don't have much need for one another now do we?"

obviously, i fall on the side of love. a piece of white toast, slathered in margarine and a thin layer of marmite is comfort food right up there with mashed potatoes and mushroom gravy. small amounts of marmite can also be added to soups, stews, and gravies for a more rounded out saltiness than regular sea salt delivers. and while marmite is loaded with sodium, which is a health concern for some (the nutritional content is not listed on the package), the stuff is packed with vitamin B complex, including B12, which can sometimes be elusive in the vegan diet. what's more, a dab will do ya: a 1/2 or even 1/4 teaspoon is all you need for a world of flavor. we've had the same jar on our pantry shelf for well over 2 years because it stretches so far. so, just like with table salt, you don't want or need to dump it on everything, but sometimes a tiny bit can add just the element that dish needs. for more on marmite, including its long and storied history, wikipedia's gotcha.

and here's an afternoon portrait of our handy jar of marmite. note its quiet british dignity and proud proclamation of being vegetarian:

now go get yourself a bottle and join the team!



The Masonic Temple of Philadelphia - Cult or Just Some Dudes Chillin?

Earlier this week I found out that one of my friend's Dads was just inducted into the Masons and it re-sparked my interest in these crazy ass old dudes and their mysterious culty ways. On Thursday I decided to further explore the topic by visiting The Masonic Temple of Philadelphia with the aforementioned West Coaster, Bert. I had been to the Grand Lodge at Broad and Market once before in 2005 but I forget a lot of stuff and so I decided to go again.

Firstly, let me point out that I forgot my camera. I'll be using some photos from the website to spruce things up a bit so forgive me if they're kind of lame. Secondly, this has nothing to do with vegan food. Oh well.

Our tour guide was the Executive Director of the museum and library on site, and also an 18th century historian, so he was kind of bookish (pun intended) and also a bit droll. ALSO he used kept deferring to the phrase "That's not really my century of expertise" when we bombarded him with questions. The tour started at 4 and as we arrived at 3:56 we didn't have much time to browse the museum which seemed chock full of all the cool shit that I'm into (note: once I found out that you could buy almost anything emblazoned with the Mason logo in the gift shop, it lost pretty much all cache). The hour long tour consisted of getting to peek at the 7 main rooms of the lodge, all decorated with really intricate and ostentatious themes (Corinthian, Ionic, Gothic, Oriental, Egyptian, Norman and Renaissance). My favorite was Corinthian:

This staircase was pretty killer as well:

In each room we heard a bit of architectural background, as well as some fun facts about building upkeep or alternate uses (they now have weddings in the Masonic Temple but the rooms are so ornate and lavish that it sometimes takes attention away from the bride!). As we were both totally siked at the opportunity to try to unwrap some of the top secrets of the Masons, we asked a lot of questions. Apparently to be a Mason you have to be a man, believe in a single higher deity ("Whatever it may be", yeah right!) and be of high moral fiber. Bert asked if people ever try to swear on a controversial deity, like the devil, and the guide said he couldn't really share that information. I asked what the wires strung across the ceiling about an arms length above my head were for and the guide answered, "Those are part of the secret ritual. I don't see why everyone gets so excited about the ritual." Probably because it's top secret, dude.

For more information, check out the Masonic Temple website (there are some pretty rad 360-degree views of all the rooms and a self guided online tour with information next to each photo). Or if you prefer the real deal, it's $6 for students (yeah, I still use my ID!) or $8 for adults, at Broad and Market. Just don't ask what the swords are for, I'm not sure I want to know either....

lady cake

i just can't help it - i love birthdays. perhaps i'm not old enough yet to understand why people start grumbling about this annual recognition of time passing. what's not to love about attention, presents, food and, at a legal age of course, copious amounts of boozing? there's no stopping one year from turning into the next, so i say revel in the moment, maybe say a silent little prayer of thanks that you're still alive on this earth, and eat a piece or half of your birthday cake!

our dear friend elisha gathered us last weekend for a special dinner. as much as she didn't want to admit it, it was also a birthday dinner, to be done in the potluck tradition. e is a wonderful artist and a master baker, the kind of girl who can make 4 dozen cupcakes, all with different fillings mind you, without once consulting a cookbook. i knew she needed something extra special for her b-day dessert. the plan: a double layer chocolate cake with pale pink frosting. so after consulting a tried and true cake recipe i proceeded to get going in the kitchen...

as i had hoped, the chocolate cakes came out beautifully. a batch of vegan buttercream frosting followed (god, i hate making frosting) as i let the cakes cool. some sour cherry jam, courtesy of the amish, became the cake's middle filling, and a handful of lovely small purple flowers topped the lady cake off.

okay, so perhaps not the most perfect of cakes; indeed, a pastry chef, i am not. but i was pleased with its homespun feminine charm, a good aesthetic for this occasion, i think. the cake was cut at midnight (after candles, singing, and, yes, wishing) and we toasted elisha and our friendships in a warm, dim west philadelphia kitchen. i do so love birthdays.



lunch a trois

lunch today for 3 hungry kids (lauren, myself & burt, a rad friend visiting from the west coast) was, fittingly, three small sides. lunch makes most sense to me when it's an amalgamation of dishes cobbled together from the fridge - leftovers, frozen bread reborn as toast, salad, dips, fruits, etc. today, we feasted upon homemade seitan sausages (AKA "snausages") and stir fried shiitakes on greens with tangy lemon dressing, tempeh salad on kalamata olive toast, and pasta fagioli (courtesy of new housie tony - he scores again!).

i wish more restaurants and cafes would offer lunch this way. you know, like a menu of twenty sides with the option to pick three or four to make a nice rounded out plate. that's how the vegan luncheonette (i can't link to them b/c they don't have a website, so this will have to do) did it, why can't more places figure it out? until then, i'll be rocking the 1 p.m. lunch block with friends at the dining room table, sunlight streaming into the kitchen, the halo benders on the stereo...



New Year's Day - The Tavern Royale

New Year's Day was a lovely blustery freezing day to be alive. We awoke at a late hour wherein I promptly jumped on Em's bed, groggily proclaiming "I'm hungy" (sic). A quick phone call to The Royal Tavern confirmed that they were serving brunch until 5pm, which is good, because at the rate we were moving, it was clear we weren't going to make their normal brunch cutoff of 3.

The Royal, as we lovingly call it, is not a new restaurant for us. We go there probably once or twice a month for brunch (or twice in one week, whatever) and I pretty much get the same exact thing every time. Behold, the tempeh club, in all it's glory:

With three perfect layers of crispy vegan bacon, succulent grilled tempeh, lettuce, tomatoes and basil aioli on pullman loaf, I could easily eat one of these things every damn week. And sometimes, I do! Only problem is, with 3 fat layers, you really gotta face that thing:

The meal is beautifully rounded out by some of my favorite fries in this city, complete with a veganaise-based (or is it just straight up Veganaise?) dipping sauce, which as you can see in the picture, gets a shot of sriracha to spice things up a bit. The ante could only be upped here by the introduction of another meal, whereupon Em and I "go halfsies" and each order one meal, then swap plates halfway through. It's a great way to get to try two things off of a menu or a good compromise when you just can't make up your mind. Emily got the new tofu scramble with yet more succulent tempeh, juicy as hell roasted roma tomatoes, spinach, tofu and some herb concoction that blew my hungover little mind. Top it all off with a killer bloody mary and this New Year ain't looking so bad.

Aside from waiting nearly 35 minutes for a table (we had a group of 7, what did we expect?) and subsequently quietly yelling at the table of 10 to "finish their damn coffee already", we had good service and the food was as delicious as always. We left our waitress a big old New Year's tip for dealing with our cranky asses (yeah, we broke a creamer, but it wasn't our fault! And so what if we play with our food?) and being pretty charming at that. Then we headed home to surf the couch, watch some flicks and maybe, just maybe, crack that last bottle of champagne.


soul soother

hot toddies, just the basics:
1.5 ounces powers irish whiskey (or whatever you got)
juice of 1/2 a lemon (roll it under the palm of your hand before cutting to get the juices flowing)
1/2 to 1 tsp. agave nectar or raw honey

pour boiling water over the whole thing, drink slowly,
and feel a little less harshed by reality.


speaking of cooky

after dinner tonight (curried spinach & tater soup, chickpea quinoa pilaf, roasted carrots and leeks w/ mustard sauce, green salad w/ lemon vinaigrette, and pumpernickel toast w/ carrot spread), our new housemate tony (vegan superstar in the making!) and a few of his friends whipped up a batch of chocolate chip cookie dough. it didn't quite make it to the oven...most of it was consumed in the raw-on-the-spoon fashion.

but at some point, later, tony decided to form the remainder of the dough into 4 limited-edition cookies and popped 'em in the toaster oven. 12 fragrant minutes later, they fulfilled their destiny on the cooling rack. and yet later:

{that's a.m.}

in the kitchen, filling up a pint glass of water, i noticed two and a half cookies left on the tray. i ate half of one, and it was good. really, really good. using what self control remained in my sleep-starved self, i dutifully saved the other half (well, now re-visiting the photo, i realize it's far less than half!) for the camera:

barely 15 seconds after the above photo was taken (and checked for quality), the entirety of that cookie was joyously shoved into my face. yes, right off the filthy desk - don't judge.