February 2008 Archives

Hop Cat Part II or, "why fancy glasses are ok if your beer is made by monks"
By Lydia on February 20, 2008 5:50 PM| | Comments (2)
Went out yesterday after work at the record store, hat in hand, to apply for some jobs. San Chez just isn't supporting me in the manner to which I have become accustomed. My fist stop was the HopCat at 25 Ionia. I'd heard that they were only hiring women, and as I have no standards, I just made sure not to wear my glasses. I assume a bar that wont hire men probably wouldnt hire brainy-looking women either. Sidling up to the bar, I saw my friend Kevin from work at the Chez. He was there for the 5$ beer/fries/burger combo. I filled out the application and was convinced to have a beer. In my defense, it was really snowy outside, and windy to the point where I wondered if maybe god wasn't taking the snow back. One Hopslam later, I really really don't want to leave. And let me say, Man does that beer smell like weed. Sips of Kevin's Le Fin du Mond made me realize for the upteenth time how differently I seem to taste things than other people. Every comment I had was met with a disbelieving look from Kevin, the cute bartender, or, more often, both. Yes, I said it, pale Trappist beers taste like butter. And drinking from those thick rimmed bottles is like making out with your ale. Also, Cassis Lambic, a lovely-hued drink by the makers of Framboise, has a strong salt-water nose, and tastes distinctively of oyster. Not in a bad way, but so much so that every minute or so I made a confused face and asked if I was crazy or if everyone else could taste it. Apparently I was crazy. Kevin then convinced me to share a bottle of a darker Trappist Ale. This one was nice, actually, a peaty, vaguely smoky beer, with a rich sort of umami fullness. It had a tang almost akin to eating a really good live culture yogurt, like you could taste friendly bacteria making your food more delicious. One of the things I love about beer is that its never bad. There are boring beers, and odd beers, and beers I don't like as well as others, but they are just gradations of one wonderful thing. Its the varied nature of beers that makes them exciting, and I feel great pity for people who will only drink one thing, only drink their favorite thing. I understand a desire for the familiar, but when new tastes and a great buzz are only $4 a glass, I don't understand being unadventurous.
yada yada yada, I Had the Lobster Bisque.
By Lydia on February 12, 2008 12:42 PM| | Comments (2)
These are cold and blustery times. Times of chill and loneliness. These are soup days. At vertigo recently lunch has consisted of quarts of miso accompanied by spring rolls and hot mustard. And yet some of us get cravings for something more. Andrew's particular craving was "lobster bisque, or some sort of chowder." My car being newly liberated, this poses no challenge, and off we go to find some creamed fish goo. Andrew's first thought was Bonefish Grill, but I don't care for E. Paris as my ex-therapist worker there and there are all sorts of associations. Also, the roads suck and why drive if you don't have too? So we went to Charlie's Crab, feeling very "ladies who lunch." There are floor-to-ceiling mirrors as you walk into the Crab, and apparently Andrew caught a glimpse of himself walking in and thought "man, that dude's got great style!" His ego thus petted, we made our way to a table by the window. That's pretty much the perk of the Crab. The foods okay, but watching ice-flows on the river gives me a great Shakelton's Voyage sort of feeling. Unfortunately, The Crab doesn't serve penguin. Granted, the bisque was lovely, very think and creamy, with a brilliant orange color and sizable chunks of lobster flesh. The portion size seemed small, especially for $8 a bowl, but I couldn't finish mine, so I shouldn't whine. Andrew and I each had a bowl of the stuff, then we shared an appetizer of Coconut Macadamia Nut Crusted Shrimp with a Sweet Thai Chili Butter. This dish was hugely disappointing. The shrimp may or may not have been tender, I just couldn't tell under a tough crust of slightly burned nut. Coconut flavor was conspicuously absent, as was chili in the sauce. Andrew was happy with the niblets of mango scattered about the plate, but I found fault with their obvious deficiencies in texture and flavor. Limp as they were, they provided textural contrast to the rough, hard shrimp, but that could not be counted as a good thing. Charlie's Crab irritated me on this visit. The food was mediocre. The shrimp dish seemed like something the chef (junior line cook?) saw in a trade magazine and thought "sounds like a boost to the ol' profit margin!" I disliked the service too, which was almost disruptively awkward. Really high-end service, the kind Charlie's Crab tried to give, necessitates a grace and a flow. If the server lacks either an intuitive understanding of a table's needs, or the attitude to convince the table of the properness of her movements, the rules of fine serving seem stilted and bothersome. Andrew and I had a fine lunch, but a lunch that costs $30 plus tip when you've skimped on ordering feels like a rip-off if it is describable as "fine." Next time i get a mopey winter soup craving I'll be taking my butterfat elsewhere.
Sunday Dinner?
By Lydia on February 9, 2008 11:40 AM| | Comments (0)
Since last Sunday night at approximately 5:30 AM my car has been stuck in front of my house; stuck in ice and plowed in since. Among my current hassles are walking to and from work and bar, not hanging out with anyone who normally depends on me for rides (thanks a lot guys,) no trips to the grocery and not going anywhere that isnt within walking distance. Hence, the lentil episode of last week. Once I through those out the window it was on to my last can of tomatos. Then that was gone, so last night i made tuna-noodle casserole. Seriously old style, with cream of celery soup. Because apparently the only things I cook are Piles of Glop. Big, moist gobules of mush. I am turning into a friendless goon who sits at home eating gummy casseroles from the halcyon days of 50's Betty Crockerism. Tomorrow I'll probably end up defrosting a roast. If anyone would like to come for Sunday Dinner, all I am asking in exchange it help putting my kitchen table back together! Roast, anyone? I have potatos too! Nice 1950's family Sunday Dinner. I'll wear an apron and heels.
I Hate Belly-Dancing
By Lydia on February 8, 2008 1:05 AM| | Comments (1)
I feel I have a certain tolerance for pain. I mean, I got through withdrawl by myself fine, and I've won a game or two of "ciggarette butt" in my day. This said, today was more than I could take. Yes, I've been pleased with walking to work since my car is stuck in ice outside my house. And yes, I did agree to take this second shift at the Chez after Vertigo, you know, to be a good person, but thats all I was willing to give. I was not about to get stood up for lunch in favor of another man. I was not ready to spend 3 hours in Mez staring at the ceiling, trying to believe the disco ball wasnt silently mocking me with its party lights. I ended up reading the local cat/dog/adoption newsletter and tearing up over cat obituaries. Day like that, you'd think that Mezze, oops, I mean San Chez Cafe, would close early. Hell, on a normal day we wouldnt even be open past 3. But today was my lucky day. Today I got Laura Armenta and her last-name-spelled-backward At-Neemra dancers shaking their breasts annd condescending to take water from me. Now, I dont dislike belly dancing as a rule. Esther's friend Camille practices and its quite cool, a kind of Bedouin tribeswoman dance. I hear thats more true to the dance's roots. The Mez show is like Vegas. Sequined boob-lifters and matching jangly ass-curtains. You could just imagine them looking through the catalogue going "ooh, I love that feathered headress! lets all get them for the summer empowerment series!" Which brings me to the other thing I tend to dislike. These women have a strange neo-feminist conception of empowerment as being getting naked and shaking it. They seem to assume if youre not naked and shaking it you are trapped in man's rule. Also, they are nasty to waitresses. Anyhow, I ended up getting a few tables who stayed until 11. So, its 11:15 and I'm taking out the trash, and the door is locked, bolted and a beam resting cross it. I am struggling with the 2x4 trying to get it out and it flies up suddenly and whacks me in the chin. Its late, I'm channeling Clerks whining "I wasnt even supposed to be here today!" and now I'm standing in the dish pit crying in frustration and self-indulgence. 15 long minutes of table moving and floor-scrubbing later, I am done, and the restaurant is empty. No employees at the bar, nothing. Just me and Cindy, my manager, waiting for a ride. Upside, I didnt have to walk home.
1 Week of Lentils
By Lydia on February 6, 2008 10:14 AM| | Comments (0)
1. Eat from bowl with yogurt. 2. Roll in tortillas with cheese and vegerable. 3. Egg-fried rice n' lentils. 4. Form into patty-cake and pretend its a hamburger. 5. Puree with tahini and lemon juice and pretend its hummous. 6. Mash with potato and garlic. 7. Stir-fry with vegerable and eat with mango chutney. 8. Bean dip? 9. Throw out the fucking window because you are so inexpressably sick of lentils and rice?
San Chez Christmas Extraveganza
By Lydia on February 3, 2008 11:32 AM| | Comments (4)
OK, I know that women bemoaning their body issues in public is so over. Suffice it to say that buying clothing isnt really fun anymore, but a trip to the supermarket is a holiday. So dress shopping for the Chez christmas party was pretty much hell on wheels. Still, I sucked it up and went, because to miss the party would have been silly. I mean, who wouldnt want to get all dolled up in their fresh and finest T.J. Maxx threads and eat crab legs and (surprise!) flavored mayonaise with all their favorite Chez employees. My first mistake was my choice of date. I should have brought the little sis. Instead I brought a "real date," a matter which got complicated when two of my friends decided this week that they want to be my boyfriend. So they are both hurt that I have a date, and decide to go to the party together. Currnet total, 2 suitors 1 date, and guess which of the three isnt interested. So we sit and eat. Food was passable to lousy. Noodles with peanut goo masquerading as pad thai, breaded shrimplets, spring roll. I was too nervous to eat much. I did manage to drink, though. Its nice when you ask what kind of beer they have and the reply is "everything." Also, that "last call" means you can have 5 beers. That kind of open bar is the only saving grace of a work party with a boy who doenst like you. The night was full of shame (me,) crying (not me,) tramping through feet of snow in heels (me again,) and a 5AM drive home. I drowned my sorrows in a bowl of lentils and rice, and some late-night Buffy the Vampire Slayer watching. Making the same mistakes over and over is my kind of evening. More to the point, its my kind of year. On the plus side, lentils and rice is a wonderful one-pot meal full of fiber and protein and is delicious when seasoned with cumin and dressed with plain non-fat yogurt.