Tuesday, November 29, 2005

I give life the middle finger, then life gets my finger back

November 15th: Scrape knuckle of middle finger on car door, or maybe somewhere else -- it's a little fuzzy at this point (my memory, not the knuckle; thankfully, I don't have gangrene or anything). Develop minor scab. No big deal.

November 18th: Wake up to find tiny laceration on side of same finger. No idea how I got it.

November 23rd: Scrape area behind knuckle on same finger while packing luggage. Wonder what kind of bad karma my middle finger stirred up.

I should take a picture of the finger to illustrate the uniqueness of each injury, because it really is pretty remarkable. Actually, I think it's possible that my middle finger was the right side of my car in a previous life. (See the right side of my car for reference.)

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

The Whole Foods Redemption

Fair enough, Whole Foods. Your vegan lasagna with tofu and soy cheese is really freaking awesome. You're not off the hook for the burrito yet, but throw in some good free samples and I'll consider forgetting that whole ordeal.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Christmas in November, Bad Burritos Year Round

The last couple weeks at Starbucks, there've been these stacks of mysterious-looking boxes (and by "mysterious" I mean "obviously containing holiday crap, based on the outer decor") with the words "No peeking! The holidays begin November 10" written on them. Needless to say, I was peeing myself with anticipation over what these magical containers were holding. Peeing, I say! Because sanitary concerns always take a backseat to corporate holiday cheer.

Anyway, this morning -- the morning of November 10th! OMG! OMG! -- I stepped inside the door and found myself transported into a wondrous world of "season's greetings" and "happy holidays" and "blah blah trufflecakes other bland sentiments to pretend to include Hanukkah, even though it totally wasn't all that big of a holiday until corporate America realized they could make some more cash by trumping it up." Truly, I was overwhelmed. And in the pastry shelves: new holiday-related snacks! Lots of stuff with cranberry, and frosting, and reindeer meat! I had to get in the spirit of the season, so I got a low-fat cranberry muffin and wow, was it ever mediocre; I mean, Christmas-tastic; I mean, season's-greetings-tastic! Then I sampled the Eggnog Chai Latte, which was actually pretty good and would be even better with some booze content.

But let's move on. Whole Foods. Yes, it's pretty much made me its bitch the last few months. I've fallen under its spell like it was a bespectacled Dorothy Parker-quoting Jewish girl. I figured it could do no wrong, and particularly assumed that the umbrella of infallibility would at least cover the burrito/tamale bar next to the bakery, so today I tried a veggie burrito (made before my eyes) for lunch. Not good. Crunchy rice. Bizarre guacamole. Probably day-old cheese. Not good at all. It wasn't so bad that it warranted a throwing-out, but if any more grains of rice had gotten stuck in my teeth it would have in the running. Don't quit your day job, Whole Foods. The idea of outsourcing the smoothie-making to Jamba Juice was a good one, and it might be a good plan to apply that same principle to the burritos. How about Chipotle?

Monday, November 07, 2005

Starbucks and their damned full pastry shelves

Here's something I realized today. Under many circumstances it's completely possible to avoid buying a muffin/scone/whatever from Starbucks, or from any similar caffeine dealer that runs a carb-loading business on the side. This is because most of these places have too much space and not enough food, and that's not an attractive combination. It's like going into somebody's kitchen cabinet and finding one can of soup way in the back. Are you going to want it, even if it was just purchased yesterday? No. But the Westwood Starbucks negates both of those things by having a very small set of pastry shelves that is usually at least 90% full. I'm standing at the counter ordering my drink and my eyes wander 6 inches or so to the right, to the pastry display looking like it's ready to burst open under the stress of all the freshly-baked crack contained within it, and it's not like I have any other choice but to shell out the extra $1.65.

Friday, November 04, 2005

This is the shirt of the Lord

First off, there was this dude outside wearing a shirt that said "Wanna get high? Take a hit of this:" and it had a picture of the freaking BIBLE on it. Multiple possibilities here:
  1. The shirt was one of those ironic Urban Outfitters-type things, and was therefore being worn as a joke.
  2. The shirt was produced in earnest but was being worn ironically (hey Tiago, I used the word correctly for once).
  3. The shirt was produced in earnest and being worn in earnest.
  4. (By far the funniest, and the one I really really hope is true) The shirt was a joke, but the wearer thought it to be genuine and proudly displayed it in the hopes of spreading the word of the Lord in a hip and edgy manner.
Regardless, I'd have to say that it's somewhat of a failure because the shirt is simultaneously way too offensive and nowhere near offensive enough. I'd like to see another shirt in the same series that says "Wanna get high? Light some Jesus powder in your Holy Spoon and shoot the Lord into the one spot between your toes that isn't already plagued with track marks!"

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Mo' elephant garlic mo' problems

Less than an hour after I pounded my usual iced grande nonfat latte, I'm already coming down from it. This confirms my suspicion that (a) there was fat in that there "non-fat" milk and (b) they skimped on the espresso. I think this entitles me to compensate with a modestly sized glass of diet Coke. Be right back.

Okay, that's better. Oh, wait. Drinking that extra beverage has left me with a rather urgent need to, as they say in Australia, see a man about a wallaby. (My source on that is Finding Nemo. Don't dispute me.) Be right back again.

Where was I? Oh, right, elephant garlic. I bought some for the first time on Sunday, figuring I could do all kinds of cool stuff with it. Why they call it "elephant garlic" I haven't figured out yet; yes, it's enormous, but there are plenty of other words you could use to indicate that fact without resorting to speciesism. Elephants (the African ones anyway) know they're the largest land animals in the world, and I'm sure they already have enough of a complex about it; they're probably sticking their feet down their throats at the watering hole after every meal, hoping in vain to drop enough pounds to put them in second place behind the rhinoceros. For my part, I'm just going to refer to it as Really Big Garlic (or RBG) for the duration of this post.

Anyway, as I said, I had big plans for my RBG. Mainly, I was stoked by the idea of making garlic chips, which I imagined to be both easy and rewarding. But when I got the garlic home, the problems started. I pulled off one of the giant cloves only to find a lot of disgusting grey fuzzy stuff inside; truly, one of the nastier food-related surprises I've had in recent memory. I was reminded of why the whole idea of fresh produce used to pretty much scare me off. If you are at all squeamish, please for the love of God do not click here. You've been warned.

But no matter how atrocious the garlic was, I was not going to throw it out. No, that particular hunk of RBG was destined for a return trip to the Whole Foods from whence it came. Nobody sells me grey fuzzy produce and gets away with it; I mean, I've killed men for less. Okay, just the one time, but it counts. So last night I marched back over there (yes, on foot) and dropped the offending item on the Customer Service counter and told that green-aproned mofo just what was up. But he was all, "Y'all paid for that janky garlic already and we ain't takin' it back, so bounce up outta here fo' I mess up yo' bizness!" To which I retorted, "Bitch, I got homies five deep back there in the cut, so don't be makin' them introduce yo' triflin' ass to their Teks... feel me?" It was then that he finally comprehended the veracity of my incipient tirade, and he happily wrote me up a refund slip and sent me on my merry way. (Fine, I took some artistic license with that story. His apron was black, not green. Happy?)

I thus exchanged the bad RBG for a good one (this time, I verified its non-fuzziness before paying for it) and brought it home to fulfill its garlic chip destiny. I put a clove on the cutting board, sliced it up, brushed each one with some olive oil, and put them all on the cookie sheet in a 350 degree oven for what seemed like an appropriate amount time, flipping each one halfway through the process. Then I pulled them out and tried them. Let's see, how best to describe the taste? I could embellish for a few paragraphs, but I think "awful" will do the trick, or "virtually inedible" to throw in an extra word. Or more to the point, bitter, with an aftertaste of extremely bitter. I tried dumping on some grated peccorino romano and drizzling a little more olive oil on top. Yeah, didn't help. Either there's a secret to making good garlic chips that I haven't caught onto; or, perhaps, there's a secret to being able to tolerate the flavor. I think I should have taken the grey fuzziness as an omen and aborted the whole thing right then.