Archive for July, 2008

29
Jul

Kanella

   Posted by: JS74nCLOr6    in restaurant, Review

An adventure in center city led to a lovely lunch. Let me tell you about it!

Kanella! It’s a Greek Cypriot kitchen.

And there was cuttlefish on the menu! Prepared some way other than “in its own ink.”

Sadly, I was in a rush, so I did not order the cuttlefish, but the (very cute) server told me that it is often an appetizer, so when I make reservations I should ask to make sure they would have it.

Instead, I had the Spanikopita. There was more feta than spinach and it had a lemony tang… and while neither of those are my first choice in how to prepare the dish, I was still delighted by the flavors and textures. If I say it was creamy goodness (with a little bit of tart) exploding in my mouth – you guys will take that as a good thing, right? I think even the phyllo dough had flavor! Slightly nuttier than the average phyllo.

It came with a delicious salad, which would have made me quite happy on its own, and a mound of greek yogurt – sexy, tasty, creamy greek yogurt.

Because I was eating at 2pm, there were only 4 other tables filled, so I got to talk a little with the server and owners/chefs. They have only been open three months. The owners/chefs are from West Philadelphia. And they already fill up with reservations most nights for dinner.

In addition to loving the fresh foods, I also loved how it was decorated – it’s a bit like Lourdas, in Bryn Mawr, with the white washed walls and blue trim (possibly required for 78% of Greek restaurants in a geographical area), but it goes even further with rough-hewn wood tables and benches. Over the doorway is a massive bundle of the eponymous cinnamon, and the windows are lined with potted plants – some floral and some herbal (and looking like they might actually be used in the cooking). There’s even a lemon tree. It was strange to have the restaurant be air conditioned because it felt as though it was an open air taverna… a fairly fancy one.

So I’d love to go back there. I’d love to share this restaurant with you guys. I’ll warn you now that the dinner entrees went up to $26 & market price, but there weren’t any appetizers over $10 so I’d propose a dinner of appetizers and salads (at least for my part). And I can’t tell you what they’ll have because the menu seems to change daily – they had just printed up today’s dinner menu and brought it out when I got to see it.

23
Jul

Weight Watchers

   Posted by: JS74nCLOr6    in Food, weight/exercise

You know… I am not so sure about my Weight Watchers meeting. I mean, I really do like the way the program is structured and I think it’s very reasonable. No, it’s the actual people who worry me.

There’s the woman who believes all of her problems are solved by a sugar substitute called Whey Low because it has zero points and doesn’t have that crazy artificial stuff that other sweeteners do. So she’ll eat half a Boston Cream Pie or so, if it’s made with Whey Low. She brought samples for us to try, and I’ve got to say that it’s the only sugar substitute I’ve tried that gets the nice, crunchy texture of sugar right. But it’s primarily highly processed fructose, which some people think has exactly the same problems with it as high fructose corn syrup… and I just can’t burst her bubble.

There’s one woman who is incredibly bitter and keeps talking about how she thinks the reason she isn’t doing well on her diet is because she doesn’t think she deserves to look good. Because her job isn’t as happy a place as it used to be and she’s not getting any validation there and can’t control anything. At which one of the other women turned to her and – I kid you not – said, “See, that’s what’s great about dieting. That’s the one area of your life you can control, so you should focus on that.” And until I said something, not one person was going to come up with, “Honey, maybe you should see a shrink!” (though I did phrase it a bit more tactfully…) But I totally waited for someone else – especially the group leader – to come up with the idea.

I think I am the only one in the group who doesn’t have alcohol as a major source of calories.

This week, we were told that in order to get more control, we should work out a schedule so that we’d always snack at the same time and all – and have a rigid timeframe for food. And, oh my god! I am totally cool with keeping track of everything I eat – partly because I find it hilarious every time I pause to enter things into the computer so I can see how much more food the computer will let me eat, and partly because I like making lists. When [redacted] saw me entering food, her response was, “Oh, I understand now why this particular diet appeals to you.” But you know what? Writing down everything AND scheduling everything is just way too OCD for me. And I think that if it’s too OCD for me, then nobody could be healthy doing it.

And then just today I have noticed a couple point weirdnesses on the computer:
1) Bagels. For some reason (lots of highly processed flour/carbohydrates), Weight Watchers hates bagels. I love bagels. And there was a meeting a few weeks ago where everyone else had given up bagels because they were just too many points, and I am totally still in the bagel camp. But then again, today people were saying that a standard, 6-inch bagel was 2n points. But on my computer, a medium bagel is definitely n points. Is there a different bagel scale of which I am unaware? I’m pretty sure my bagels are medium-ish. ETA: apparently the right answer is 2n+1
2) Lettuce. Betrayed by lettuce! So I can put in up to 10 ounces of lettuce on the tracker at one time. (I love discovering places that sell a pound of spring mix for cheap) And according to the computer, 10 ounces of lettuce are 0 points. Just today, however, I had accidentally left it measuring in cups, and 3 cups of lettuce is .5 points… and I’m thinking that unless I am damaging my lettuce by squishing it into those cups, my 10 ounces might have taken up a bit more space… maybe… after I fluffed it in its box.

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21
Jul

Nan (restaurant review)

   Posted by: JS74nCLOr6    in restaurant, Review

After an hectic and itchy week, I called a few friends to see if they wanted to have a fancy brunch. One of them, not only said yes, but then said, “And I’m still at work right near you, so we could meet up for dinner.”

Restaurant review: Nan is a pricey restaurant that claims to have, “the finest Thai-French cuisine,” but looks like a hole in the wall and is right near a delightful Indian restaurant, a delicious Thai place, a pretty decent Thai place, and several other restaurants as well – all much more reasonably priced. I have never found the place even remotely tempting. But it was pushing 10pm, and everywhere else we tried was closed, and Nan still had its Open sign out.

And I was wrong. Totally and completely wrong. Not only was the food excellent, but the server and the chef were both incredibly kind and generous with their time and made us very comfortable even as they were closing up the restaurant and cleaning the kitchen. They even made sure our rolls were piping hot (including the second round, when I asked for more because they were very tasty dinner rolls). The squid salad was tender, lightly grilled, and tangy (and we sopped up the last of the dressing with the rolls, we were that happy.

He had the Pad Thai (his standard yardstick for the quality of Thai places) and was delighted. Each flavor was distinct and almost subtle, so it ended up being a lighter and more exciting dish than it is at most places. I ordered the salmon crusted in red curry – and it was perfect. Rich and perfectly cooked – the first bite was too hot, but it melted like butter. The whole way through, I was deeply apologetic (in my head) for all of the previous aspersions I had cast on the place. And we finished up with ginger ice cream which was just crammed full of candied ginger in chunks. All creamy and settling and a perfect way to end the meal.

8
Jul

dinner?

   Posted by: JS74nCLOr6    in Food, lists

What should I have for dinner? I have a lot of points left (24, if that means anything to you), so I can be a little luxurious…

But I have kale.

And a bunch of collard greens so young and tender they are almost like spinach.

And I have some turkey meatballs (or I could thaw some turkey sausage fairly quickly).

Or chicken breasts are on sale this week.

And that’s looking a lot like my dinner Monday and not very extravagant…

so offer me some new ways to season or prepare my kale, so that it will be an indulgence. (Though no dairy-based dishes because I would need to buy most of that special, and I’m about to go out of town for two weeks).

(Dairy in the house includes cheddar, cream cheese, and parmesan)

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7
Jul

tea and a movie

   Posted by: JS74nCLOr6    in Review, tea

GeeksDoItBetter and I watched The Hard Word with Guy Pierce. It was a heist movie I picked up randomly because VHS is cheap as can be these days. But we both like heist movies, and this was the video we picked.

But, ummm… guys… you’re doing it wrong.

When you meet the characters in prison, you kind of think one of them might have a dark secret… well, the closest you get is confessed to the shrink to get into her pants and doesn’t affect the action at all. You’d think that the merry band of thieves might not trust each other 100%, but no, they’re brothers and they’re sticking together through it all. You’d think the obvious bad guy might be a misdirection from the sneaky bad guy, but no. You’d think that when one of the brothers gets sick before the big heist, it would be part of some clever plan and create opportunities for deception; but no, he just whinges a bit and gets on with things without it really affecting his job performance. When they lose the money, you’d think that it might be someone double crossing them to steal it all for his/herself; but not so much a double cross as the main guy being stupid enough to tell the Bad Guy where he stashed the money. Really. So you’d think that when the Bad Guy comes back to the six months later with another heist proposal they’d find some way to double cross him and steal all the money, but no, they just shoot him. *blink*

Not the movie I was looking for.

Also, it would have helped if the female lead could act… or even move her mouth when she talks.

And I tried a new tea over at [redacted]’s: Republic of Tea’s Yerba Mate Latte

tasting notes: deep, chocolaty brew. An exotic blend of cocoa and Brazilian mate, featuring small amount of natural caffeine. Rooibos, cactus flowers and almonds add depth to this deep rich brew. Add steamed milk for a creamy herbal latte.

It was every bit as rich and tasty as promised, but it was right on the line as to whether it should have dairy in it. On the one hand, it’s rich and desserty; but on the other hand, it’s green and red teas and not too bitter or dark. I ended up putting milk in it, and was pleased.

I have ordered a canister for myself. ETA: …or I thought I had.

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6
Jul

salad -> pasta

   Posted by: JS74nCLOr6    in non-vegetarian, Recipe

Bought 6 pounds of ground turkey today and turned 2/3 of it into meatballs and 1/3 into 3 ounce patties.

I have two kinds of kale. One looked tasty and mild (and was being sold by the only booth at the farmers’ market run by city kids), and the other one is the kind of kale called for in this NYT recipe. I am tempted, though, to make that hot (instead of a raw salad) and serve it with my meatballs and some pasta. And by serve, I mean eat up all by myself! (Actually, since I think that will let me cut the oil way lower, it might turn out healthier.)

So far today, I have eaten nothing other than 3 peaches and the meatballs I plucked while hot from the oven (to test for doneness, of course… well, that and because I was hungry and they were tasty)… but I might be too hungry right now for more elaborate cooking. Good thing the recipe looks like it will be fairly quick to throw together on a weeknight.

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