I wanted to like it…

… but quickly found out that I don’t. It ended up being the reason that I didn’t enjoy dinner that night. This is the most frustrating thing that can happen when you don’t have much to lose concerning food.

It was a normal night at my apartment, where I was figuring out what I should eat. Nothing unusual, right? I decided to try a recipe that I had seen online, and was very excited about it. It looked delicious, and now I had the freedom to make this dish without worrying about who wouldn’t like it.

or so I thought.

I followed all the instructions, making sure to follow everything precisely. The apartment smelled amazing, and I was already salivating. When it came out looking like nothing short of something you’d see in newsprint, I was all too excite to pile some of the rice on my plate, and top it with a perfectly golden chicken thigh.

I excitedly tore off a piece of the chicken with a fork and popped it in my mouth.

Well… it wasn’t what I expected. In fact, it was a little underwhelming. I cautiously put another piece in my mouth and ate some rice with it this time. Flavorful rice makes things better…

…but it surely didn’t this time. In fact, my stomach turned a little.

What on earth happened?! I followed the directions and even made sure the thighs were cooked through! This wasn’t right; how can something so beautiful not match up in taste?? This is when I made a discovery. The cool thing about living on my own is that I’ve been discovering a lot about myself, including the things that I do and don’t like.

I don’t know why I decided to smell the smoked paprika that I bought, but I did. I took a good whiff, and immediately turned my nose up. All in one moment, I immediately saw where I went wrong and figured out why I loathe bbq chips! I had no idea bbq chips had smoked paprika in them until I smelled the spice, which smells exactly like bbq chips.

I had never tasted smoked paprika before then, and assumed in my head that it would be like chili powder; I couldn’t have been more wrong. I thought it would have the same heat, and it doesn’t, and the last thing I expected was that it would smell like one of the few things that I hate eating.

I finally found a spice that I don’t like, and it upsets me a little that I don’t… partially because that’s leftovers that I now have to waste! I don’t want to give it to someone else because it didn’t agree with my stomach, so the only place for it now will be with the squirrels that frequent the dumpsters outside.

Smoked paprika, I’m so sorry. I wanted to like you, but apparently I never did.

The moral of the story is: if something has smoked paprika in it, I’m going to do an about face and look for something else. Also, it’s okay to admit to not liking something as long as you admit it to yourself.

Now let me go out and feed the squirrels. This entry is dedicated to you guys; bon appétit!

Diner Run

Nothing beats a good ol’ diner run late at night.

When the munchies hit you around the time that everything closes and there isn’t much food in the house, or if you need to clear your head, a run to a 24-hour diner is always what the doctor ordered. These can be fun to do with friends, but can also be just as enjoyable alone. My favourite places to hit up for such a run are Tom Jones and Denny’s.

One night about 3 night ago, it was the end of a work day. I was tired and hadn’t eaten anything. The only thing close by my layover spot was Denny’s. I decided to eat in tonight, and was given a table near the door in a corner. The solitude was appreciated since it was a long day and I was getting sleepy, but wanted something to eat so I didn’t wake up late because of hunger.

Apparently, I wasn’t the only one with the same idea. There were 3 or 4 people settled in the far corner of the restaurant. Then, in trickled a part of about 4 or 5 people, the youngest of them appeared to be middle aged. The staff greeted them warmly. “Hey mama! I haven’t seen you in a while! How are you?” These people that were strangers to me had to be regulars to be greeted like this.

Shortly after them came a party of 10 people, THEN a pair of people eating out, and about 4 younger gentlemen thereafter! Who knew that so many people would be hitting up Denny’s on a Tuesday at 10:45pm? I quickly regretted not ordering out, but I was ready to go shortly thereafter. No one was disorderly, but it was more crowded than I had anticipated.

Maybe they were looking for the same solace and a bite to eat that I search for when I drive out to the diner late at night. My fondest memories were of going to a Denny’s near me for breakfast. I was acting in a play at the time, and would always be hungry afterward. I was also looking to be alone for a bit. I always seemed to find my way to this Denny’s since the other late night diner only takes cash. Sometimes, a girl just doesn’t have enough money to remove anything from her bank account.

The staff got to know me very well, and the pancakes served at night always seemed to be bigger. I enjoyed a good cup o’ joe along with a stack of 3 buttermilk pancakes, hash browns, a biscuit and bacon. I don’t always order the same thing at restaurants, but breakfast was my mainstay at Denny’s, and I liked ordering it the same way. It was most disappointing when that Denny’s was closed down and replaced with another diner. The food was not as good; I ended up having the rare occasion on which I sent something back. I hadn’t returned since.

Now if I want to go to Denny’s, I go to one a bit further out than the old one, which is what I did Wednesday night. Instead of ordering breakfast (which I was wont to do), this time, I had nachos.

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They were delicious, considering they were ordered from a diner! It was a different location (one closer to home, unlike the night previous), but it was just as busy! That familiar solitude and peace that I receive from a Denny’s, however, was still there.

Late night diner runs are good for the soul, and those college student memories and cravings. Besides, who doesn’t want breakfast for dinner?

Cheers!

Addictive Thai BBQ & Good Company

In this segment of “SBF Seeks Asian Food”, I traveled no further than my hometown and hit up La Na Thai French Cuisine. Today was a special lunch. I had the privilege of catching up with a friend I hadn’t spoken to in a while. Said friend was actually the same friend that introduced me to La Na. She is also most of the reason I’m an SBF seeking Asian food.

At restaurants, I’m not one to have a usual. I do have favourites, I’m not wont to getting the same thing. La Na is no exception, though there are two entrées that I like to change between. Today has changed that.

Today mixed old and new; I rekindled a friendship with an old friend, and tried something new to eat, which was highly recommended by the waitress. I ordered jasmine soup, and went with a thai bbq chicken that came with sticky rice and a small salad. The chicken was a thigh that had a barbecue style sauce on it.

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It wasn’t a thick smoky sauce like American bbq, but it was sweet and had a very slight kick to it, and maybe a little smokiness. Rice wine or rice wine vinegar was what I smelled and tasted. The flavors that had play in my mouth brought me to one conclusion: I want more. I must have more. Next time I go back, I’m going to break my own rule: I’m having the same thing twice in a row. And maybe a third time. In that first taste and moment, I understand why the waitress kept telling me how good it was.

Afterwards, K and I walked to Starbucks, then back to our cars because she had some work to get done before the school year starts. She loves her current job and I’m happy for her. She also lives back in the area now, so we can see each other more. This is great as I don’t have many friends that I get to see as often as I’d like. My job isn’t kind as far as keeping relationships going, but it’s nice to rekindle one even in the midst of it all.

I’m also grateful to have a new love. Honestly, I had given up on chicken and was considering relinquishing it from my diet. This has rekindled my love and hope for chicken. As I eat quesadillas for dinner tonight, I’ll be dreaming of the next time I can have that thai bbq again.

 

 

SBF Seeks Asian Food

SBF with adventurous personality and lust for travel is seeking Asian food to have great meals with. Thai, Indian and Chinese are favourites, but I’m willing to consider all types. Chilies and heat fuel my reveries, but non-spicy dishes are also appreciated. I have a car and passport, and am willing to travel to find what I like. Bonus points if ingredients can be procured for creating Asian-inspired dishes at home.

I look forward to that next Asian dish to spice up my life, and hope to meet with you and eat soon!

In Want Of A Burner

Let’s be real for a moment. Can we take a moment to be honest for a second?

Jetsetting is fun!

Granted, I do it for work, and I mostly explore the East Coast (and a bit of Canada) because I work regional flights… but it’s the most fun I’ve ever had on a job. I literally have a mobile office! I can be in Detroit in the morning, and in Huntsville, Alabama by evening. In a span of 2-3 hours, I can go to Rhode Island and come right back. AND… if I’m fortunate enough to have time in any of the locales that I visit, I get to explore the area and do my favourite thing: find good places to eat!

This is the life, right? RIGHT?

Well……

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not looking to be land-locked any time soon! It’s just that one thing that gets old for me is eating out. Besides, my stomach doesn’t handle eating out well. The night before Easter and about this time last week, my stomach had been irritated, and I was back and forth between my room and the bathroom for HOURS (I’ll spare you the details. All I’ll say is “both ends”. It wasn’t a good time and I didn’t sleep). I was afraid it was my gall bladder because of how close together the incidents were. Thankfully, according to the doctor, it was not.

Plus, eating out all the time gets to be expensive. Although I do like to eat out at times, it’s mostly to give me inspiration for what I really like to do: cook!

In a hotel, there is precious little that can be heated in a microwave, and even some of your options are limited to what can last 9 hours in a lunch bag without any real refrigeration. Unless you’re going to one special place in a certain location, eating out loses its novelty. I find myself longing for ingredients and a burner over which to combine them and make something delicious.

I know I’ve had this gig for 6 months, but I’m still trying to figure out what to bring when I go away. Nuts, tea, protein bars, instant oatmeal (kind of depressing, but it works in a pinch), sometimes fruit that won’t bruise easily, and the occasional cup of ramen when money is tight seems to be the pattern. It sustains you through a 4-day stretch away from home… and if you’re lucky enough to be near a fast food place, you can grab a quick sandwich to supplement any residual hunger.

The days off have been happy times; the cast iron skillet hits the hob, and I turn the knob for that familiar clicking of the pilot that lights itself. It’s not to say that good meals are scarce on the road, but there’s nothing like cooking for yourself, and assembling things in exactly the fashion that pleases you. Things got so deep at one point that I even missed salad. Yes, salad. It was that serious.

My schedule says I’ll be home tonight, but since I have 3 more on-call days, who knows? I look forward to the next time I can round up some ingredients and enjoy something Rachel-made.

A life-update post is soon to come. A LOT has been going on and is about to happen soon.

Ciao friends!

Food For Celebrating

This weekend in food for Miss Ray was crazy! Friday and Saturday were really good food days.

Friday was a great food evening. A friend and I went out, and we were in the mood for Riesling. After taking some things to her house and checking in with her mom, we were out for the night. After much debate, we decided to go to the movies.

Since we had an hour to kill before the movie started and we live close to the theater, we made one stop to pick up the wine, and another stop to hit up La Na, our favourite Thai food place. While waiting for the food to cook, we requested glasses to start in on that delightful bottle of wine. Once the food was ready, we were about 1/3 of the way through. I was already giggling.

We rode to the theater with a good 2o minutes to spare. We ate and finished off that bottle together, and life was good. Interesting factoid: Riesling apparently goes well with Asian cuisine! After trying it myself, I agree with this assessment. I tell you, there’s nothing better than take out and movies, even if you go to the theater to see said movie.

I didn’t get home until 12:30 am that night, but my food adventures merged into the next day.

One of my friends is celebrating her birthday today, but the girls and I went out with her yesterday for brunch. C planned everything, and picked out the place. I’ve never visited this restaurant, so I was excited. I like going to a restaurant I’ve never visited that someone else has discovered. I’m used to being the one to expose people to new eateries; it was nice to be introduced this time. I didn’t look up info on the place before going, and I’m glad that I didn’t. The first impression is more raw and real if you know nothing beforehand. In fact, it was the first time any of us were eating there.

The location was in Northern Liberties, which I didn’t know much about. We got there at around 3ish, and had to walk a couple of blocks to the restaurant from where we parked. There was an outdoor deck adorned with Christmas type lights for seating, but we sat inside because of the rain. There were dark wood finished floors throughout the space, and dark wooden beams on the ceiling. We were seated in less than 5 minutes since there weren’t many guests at that time.

Everything on the menu looked appetizing; there are things that I want to try on my next visit. Now that I know where this place is (as well as other places that looked good), I’ll have to come back. There were a few versions of eggs benedict on the menu, but the one I ordered was the crab cake benny.

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We also ordered an apple streusel flatbread that tasted like an apple pie with nuts. It had pecans on it, and I liked the additional crunch and flavor of the pecans.

After brunch, we hit up Cold Stone Creamery to spend a little more time together. The weather may have been bad, but we were all in good spirits, and the birthday girl enjoyed herself. This is all that matters.

It was a great weekend with great food; now that’s living the dream! Normally, I don’t eat out that much, nor do I aspire to. However, I enjoyed everything that I ate this weekend. Truly enjoyed it. I also enjoyed those with whom I was eating, which I’m sure made the food taste even better. Does anyone relate to that?

Now it’s Sunday, and my only souvenirs from this weekend are: good memories, some food pictures, and leftover drunken noodles from Friday night. I’m sure I’ll eat that this evening and watch a movie, which is the best way to enjoy Asian take out.

Hope you all had a good weekend, and enjoy your week! Live life and eat well… and please do so with good company!

That’s the non-cooking spirit!

I love cooking. I love to cook for myself and to make amazing dishes. However, there are times where I don’t feel like making much. Call it a bachelorette moment, if you will. Hey, I’m entitled, and I make use of that entitlement every once in a while.

It could be that I started my period or because summer weather is in full effect, but I didn’t feel like cooking anything, particularly on Saturday. In fact, all I wanted Saturday was a big bowl of popcorn with a smoothie, and that’s exactly what I had. Just a big bowl of stove-popped popcorn, christened with olive oil instead of butter with some rubbed sage and salt.

Since I was the only one eating the popcorn at the time, I decided to play around. I like putting herbs in popcorn to give it a different flavor whenever I can. No one else really likes this but me. My favourite herb to use so far is rosemary, but I’m down for trying something different. Besides, I didn’t have any rosemary at the time.

The smoothie I made was cool and refreshing: it was made with a berry mix and some mangoes that I got from Target, and it was mixed with limeade. I’ve become addicted to limeade; when you make it in a smoothie, the end taste is akin to one of those fruit popsicles that you can buy in the supermarket. Mm, delicious!

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This was my entire dinner, and I was very happy with it. It made me think back to the days before my nephew was born. There were times where my sister and I would tell mom that all we wanted was Rita’s water ice and soft pretzels for dinner. Hey, it was summer and it was hot, and we were two kids that liked water ice. Granted, we weren’t really young kids, but we still like our treats! Our mom was willing to indulge us every once in a while. Ahh, good times.

I can’t be the only one guilty of this; no matter how much I love food, there are times where I crave something simple and that involves little to no effort to make.

My name is Rachel, I’m a former cooking student, and I had a bachelorette meal.

no, I’m not ashamed.