Tag Archives: vegetarian

Shame On You, Anthony Bourdain

Every Christmas our family has dinner in the city. Most restaurants are closed, others have special Christmas menus. My wants are simple: A good meal that is free of sesame and nuts.

Several years ago we saw Sweeney Todd at the Ziegfield (After all, it is a holiday movie. Isn’t red the color of Christmas?)  We made no reservations for dinner but Drew had a list in his pocket of Indian restaurants that were highly rated and open on Christmas day. After the movie we made our way downtown to a crowded Indian restaurant and after finally getting a table and ordering food I said to the waiter, “I’m allergic to sesame and nuts, just tell me which of the dishes I can eat.” And he so casually replied, “only the naan, but it’s very tasty.”  And so, I ate only the bread. It was very tasty.

Years ago we went to Les Halles Park Avenue. Service was great, food was excellent. Brasserie Les Halles home base of Chef-at-large Anthony Bourdain —Yup, that’s what the website (leshalles.net) said. And that’s why we went there . . . because it was an Anthony Bourdain restaurant!!!!!

This Christmas we decided to go back to Les Halles. I made a reservation and then checked the menu. Mmmm, I wanted DUCK! But then I noticed the fine print at the bottom of the menu. It said, “Our dressings may include canola oil, olive oil, or walnut oil.” Hmm, walnut oil, now that’s something I usually don’t see on a menu. But a nut is a nut is a nut and I had to call and find out if I would be comfortable ordering from the menu. (Be prepared. I didn’t want a repeat of our Indian dinner.)

So I called, “Hi, we have reservations for Christmas Day and I noticed on your menu that you use walnut oil. I’m allergic to nuts and sesame in any form. Is that going to be a problem?” He said, “No problem, the walnuts and walnut oils are listed on the menu as ingredients on certain salads. You’ll be fine with everything else.

On Christmas day I bring in some homemade potato pancakes and apple sauce for lunch. We hang around the apartment watching Drunk History until it’s time to go to dinner. Our table was in the back, a little tight but, hey, it’s New York. We check out the menu and decide on a few appetizers, wine, and entrees.  I ordered the duck. Of course there are always questions: Any sesame or nuts in this dish? Is this vegetarian? The usual questions. But the answers, wow, I was stunned — we all were. The waitress said she would check with the kitchen to see about the nuts and sesame. She comes back to tell me that I can’t eat the duck. I can order meat or fish without sauce, and, oh, the side salad that comes with some of the dishes . . . nope, I can’t eat that either. We all look at each other. (Seriously, ALL the salads? Is it that hard to take a some lettuce and drip a few drops of olive oil over it?) The girls were ready to leave but, honestly, I didn’t know where we would go. My call, I said we’ll stay. I can always buy some chips and chocolate  after dinner. (Which I did.)

I order a piece of fish. Drew orders duck. Rachel orders the lamb chops with the fries on the side so it doesn’t touch the meat. Hannah ordered the quiche du jour which was asparagus and cheese. Food comes and I get my piece of fish, no sauce, no salad, and a few, very few veggies.  (For this I paid how much?) Drew is happy with his duck, Rachel gets her lamb chops with the fries on the same plate, and Hannah gets a quiche filled with mushrooms. Did I mention that Hannah doesn’t like mushrooms and that she is a vegetarian and that’s why we ordered the fries on a separate plate.

We finally get the waitress’ attention and tell her that the quiche is not what we ordered. “Oh, I guess there’s no more of the asparagus quiche left,” By this time Hannah picked out all the mushrooms and ate some of the quiche. We asked for fries on a separate plate. Hannah said she would be okay eating the fries. The waitress came by twice to say that they will be out soon. (Not soon enough, we were probably home in bed by time they got to the table.)

Very disappointing meal. She took the quiche off the bill. Not a very merry dinner experience. We should have gone to that nice little Thai place on 14th street. Does anyone know if Shake Shack is open on Christmas Day?  A vanilla malted with a side of fries — mmm, that would make me happy.

And there’s more: Hannah called the restaurant the next week and asked to talk to the manager. Here’s what Hannah had to say:

I still never got an answer from them! I am going to email them haha. But basically I called them and told the hostess what happened and asked to speak to a manager. She spoke to the manager and got back to me telling to call the GM (Magda) tomorrow because she would be the one to talk to. So I asked if she could leave a message for Magda anyway and that I would call back the next day. The next day I called for Magda and she was busy. I called back again the day after that and the hostess picked up and I explained to her that I called the other day and left a message for Magda. I explained the situation and said “I left a message yesterday and the day before but I guess it got lost or something” She replied, “it did not get lost. Magda saw it, she was just too busy to call you back.” Uhhhhhhhh
anyway, that is where the story ends FOR NOW!

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Filed under Family, Food, holiday, Long Island Living

Happy Smiley Family Face

Picked up the girls at LGA last night. They spent three days eating three meals a day and lounging by the pool with Grandma and Grandpa in Florida. They looked relaxed, tan, and a bit pudgy. For some reason Grandma Jenny thinks that if you aren’t eating meat (my hannah, the vegetarian) then you should eat an extra serving of pasta! I don’t think the girls are used to eating three full meals a day plus fruit, cookies, and whatever additional snacks offered.

We drove them to the city. It was a good time to have a chat. “You and Grandpa have the same smile when family is together,” says my ever observant hannah to her smiley dad. “What? What do you mean? Do  you know what she’s talking about?” he says to me. “Yup, exactly. It’s that happy smiley face you have on when everyone is together,” I respond. Giggles from the back seat.

Three very happy smiley family faces!!!

We took Hannah home first. She was going to Jessica’s on the UWS and we were going to take her there. “I’ll be quick, just a half hour,” she says when we drop her off. We went to Rachel’s apartment and waited for Hannah’s phone call. An hour and a half later I call Hannah, “What’s happening? Are you ready?”Oh, no rush, I’m getting ready. Take your time with whatever you’re doing,” she responds. Take our time? Oh, she means, take our time waiting for Hannah to get ready.

Upon Josh’s arrival (he has a key!) we decided it was time to leave. After all, they haven’t seen each other in 2 weeks. They don’t need us sitting on the couch waiting. But it wasn’t until Rachel turned to Josh and squealed, “You look like a pumpkin and you smell,” that we actually stood up to leave. If you ask me Rachel was practicing Annoying Love (see Feb. 9th post) on Josh. Hey, it works for us!

I notice that when Drew is on a diet, I lose weight. When he goes off his diet, I gain weight. What I won’t tell you is all the piggy things we’ve been eating these past few weeks. I am a pudge and I dare not step on a scale this week! So this morning I said to Drew, “What do you want for breakfast?” The usual choices are eggs or cottage cheese and veggies. But before he could answer I said, “How ’bout pancakes?” I really didn’t mean it. I was joking but when I saw the loving look on his face I knew it was trouble. “Pancakes? Okay,” he answered immediately. Damn, trouble ahead. Do I even have pancake mix? I didn’t have blueberries but I did have bananas. “Check the cupboard, maybe there is some Bisquick I can use,” I tell him. He jumped out of his chair, made a mad dash to the kitchen cupboard, grabbed the expired Bisquick, put it on the counter and hugged me while giggling madly.” I love you so much.”  Wow, the power of pancakes.

Okay, so I make the pancakes and serve them with real maple syrup. Let’s see, that’s 2 cups Bisquick, 1 cup milk, and 2 eggs — and thinly sliced bananas. I know this recipe quite well, and here’s why: Drew and I were plowing thru the stack and, at some point, I started thinking these pancakes were awful dense. I got up, checked the recipe on the Bisquick box and I was right — they were way too dense because I forgot to add the eggs. Had to make a second pot of coffee to wash them down. I can’t believe I wasted a piggy breakfast splurge and screwed up.  Already I’m thinking that I have to be prepared for the next time . . . I’ll need to start stocking organic blueberries and pancake mix.

Tomorrow: Shopping with Drew and what happened to his new winter coat. (Keep your audience wanting more.)

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Filed under Family, Real life

About a Blog

“Whoa this sounds good.” Yes, you guessed it, Drew’s morning comment. He speaks and I  jot it down, along with whatever else he said. So I’m looking at my note at this very moment and all I can make out is the above quote. Now if I can remember what Ask Amy was about without searching through the paper that would be just dandy, wouldn’t it? But here I am, sitting at the dining room table – – breathe deep, deeper, stop thinking and it will come. Ah, nope, nothing. Must have cicada on the brain!

The following definition was taken from wikipedia: The personal blog, an ongoing diary (yes, yes, I think this is me) or commentary by an individual (eh, not so much), is the traditional, most common blog (you mean I am not marching to the sound of a different drummer?). Personal bloggers usually take pride in their blog posts (well I try to but on a daily basis there are bound to be mistakes), even if their blog is never read (Boo hoo, maybe recipes would help). Blogs often become more than a way to just communicate; they become a way to reflect on life (sounds like therapy to me, I like it), or works of art (I’m all for adding pictures). Blogging can have a sentimental quality.(Sentimental? I don’t think so but I’ve been wrong before.)

So I’m writing a personal blog. I still need a category. I also need to write the About You section but I can’t seem to figure out how to do it – – working on it now. But first I better put a load of dirty clothes in the washer. (You know I could be twittering this!)

Hannah is a vegetarian. In fifth grade Hannah and her friend, Meredith, decided to give up meat. What amazed me the most was how Hannah gave up her favorite food – –  McDonald’s hamburger – –  just like that! No looking back. It is now 13 years later and she is still totally vegetarian (not vegan, she loves her eggs.) Drew and I gave up meat some time during the summer. It happened when we went to a Pretenders concert in Central Park, Hannah picked up a PETA newsletter and left in the backseat of Drew’s car. He read it. And that was that. I’m fine with no meat. I made fish and prepared lots of  lentils, beans, squashes, apparently stuff with lots of carbs. Why am I writing this now? Because we started eating meat again, but not too much.

Last night we had a great vegetarian meal. I made the hot and sour with tofu instead of pork. Tonight I decided to make some ethiopian dishes – – collards with nit’ir qibe and doro we’t (ethiopian chicken stew.) I went to Waldbaum’s for a Murray’s chicken but they only had Perdue. The label read “cage-free.” Seemed like a marketing ploy. They got me, I bought a chicken. Is Murray’s a better, happier chicken? Is it better to be cage-free and then slaughtered? Does it taste better? Do I feel better about this? I searched the internet for answers. I thought about the book I read by Jonathan Safran Foer, Eating Animals, and seriously folks, I’m not feeling good about this. I’m going to make the chicken because it wouldn’t be right to waste a dead chicken. I was okay ordering ribs at a restaurant but, still, as in the past, I am not okay when I have to buy dead meat. Oops, babbling am I?  Probably time to put the clothes in the dryer. Gotta go.

“You never have to worry if the fish on your plate had to suffer. It did.” (from Eating Animals)

Great, I love my veggies, but don’t plants have feelings too?

Way over my word count.

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Filed under Empty nesting, Long Island Living