Thursday, December 10, 2009

Fast Foward To: Here

Oh darling, there's nothing like turning another year older and remembering all the things forgotten, put aside, piled up, and put out of mind. Like this blog. Like my attempts at painting actual hangable art, and creating a budget to actually follow, and follow successfully.

Well now, the lady of lunching is currently on a hiatus from habitual noontime, downtown lunching. And evening dining and drinking debauchery. And also seemingly gone are the $150 salon trips, morning coffee jaunts, with memorable vintage shopping sprees. But all is not lost.

Enter email account number 3- used solely for online mailing lists, coupons, "what's happening" mailing list updates, and sample/freebie giftcard tryouts. The Panera coffee punch card is extinct, as is the local drive-up coffee window, and those pesky credit cards. Holding back on some fabulous things does cause a new found appreciation for the new adventures when you take them.

Now enter new adventure: dining with sushi. Even though the lady is Asian- she's never had sushi. She's not that kind of Asian. So for the big birthday celebration, some sushi veterans took me out to for sake and new foods. The caterpillar roll looked like a real caterpillar but tasted delicioso with a mixed sake martini- and nothing can compare to the 'big O' roll- a favorite with everyone at our cushy sofa sectional in the front of the restaurant.

I now dream about my next sushi trip.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Flat Branch Pub & Brewing it up


Beer, scotch, bourbon, veggie burgers, and cream sodas you say? Around and about the downtown District area for the last 15 years, and the first brewery in over a hundred years, Flat Branch Pub & Brewing has earned a hearty reputation. They brew their own locally named-for beers, along with a super tasty sarsaparilla-esque root beer and cream soda that you will never be able to drink enough of! Starting off with beverages that are different in name and flavor (in the "good way" of course), there's the Green Chili Beer- which one of my great friends quotes as tasting "like beer and nachos had a baby" and is definitely on the spot. Esquire online gives Flat Branch a 76% rating as a "Best Bar."
For the meat-eating crowd, the burgers here are thick, juicy, and heartily flavorful (that's what I've heard again and again at least). And for the rest of the fanfare of non-meat eaters, Flat Branch has an awesome, super filling, hearty, tasty veggie burger. When you normally think of veggie burgers, something with soy comes to mind, maybe with a dash of pepper. But just wait. Their version of the veggie burger has dirty rice, oats, red pepper, tofu, portabello mushrooms (mmmm...), which you can add a slice of pepperjack cheese to and douse in a basil pesto. Grab a side of their homemade garlicky smashers and into veggie bliss you go. Really, it's hard to get enough of their ruby red cream soda, so go check it out.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Such a Creepy Girl, Such a Pretty Voice


With the days going by weighing between light and heavy, the mood puts me in a musical moment. There are so many countless bands and solo artists who's albums pile up around my speakers- but my guilty pleasure are solo girly pop artists. "Pop" has almost lost its luster, or actually just morphed into a vast array of blended mediums- a little synth, a little rock, a little more lip shine, and a with lot more gloss. Stumbling around today, I find a female artist from Estonia (she does realize most people don't know where it is- do you? Look around Russia). Her name is Kerli and she has a beautiful voice-an actual different voice! Her debut music video off of her Love Is Dead album is a blend of cute and kitschy Hot Topic wall posters, but I dig it.

So, here's my lowdown- The look of Lady Gaga (ala Christina Aguilera possibly with all that platinum, unless on the flipside-gasp!- it's natural..), and the eyes and dressy gathering of Amy Lee from Evanescence- but with a softer, lovely voice. You can check her out on myspace- with an unplugged song to prove her vocal prowess, and of course her album is out now. Something about her should make you feel a little mixed up, with such a blend of soft and edgy darkness- but her voice will put you at ease.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Glass Ring Me In


Glass Rings! Murano glass! Italian style on your hand! Non-metal cocktail rings are sometimes a little tough to find, at least here in the Midwest, and not elsewhere besides in a plastic clearance $1 bin. Enter: Glass rings. They carry the cocktail-ring weight but can be slim enough for your index finger or large enough to garner yourself some attention. It's the Italian lamp working style of glass making that has made Murano a hallmark in the glass working industry. Many craftspeople and jewelry makers have mimicked the original Murano glass ring style and made it their own- adding copper, gold, and other metal designs. The Carrotbox has been a great resource for some feminine designs that haven't been around town. Even Pier1 gets in on the action with a metal and glass combination- and many of them appear to be some sort of precious stones- but are just molded glass! My rings have been dropped many (okay, very many) times and only one has sustained a chip- and the drawback is not that a chip would add character to the overall design, but that my finger is essentially nearing a possible cut on a daily basis. Luckily, I don't mind suffering a little for these lovely rings.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Tulips in Bloom


Spring is abounding everywhere- even with rain falling in buckets throughout the midwest! The dark, gloomy, overcast skies call for a brighter daily ensemble palette. But how do you get the 'spring look' (Thanks to Stacy) without falling victim to the overabundance of pastels? Hold onto your bright-popping colors and bring a different shape into the mix. Add some Tulips! Why, of course! You can add them to your garden as well as your closet!

Take a moment to peruse Shopstyle- and behold the vast array of almost-knee length, knee length, and below-the-knee length skirts in every color and pattern (even in pastels). Yes, Behold! Marc Jacobs has a great example above keeping the color alive in satin violet with the springy punch of polka dots. Add in the figure (especially for the hip area) flattering shape, and you've got yourself a fabulous skirt that goes great with those current airy spring tops, and will always pay homage to your stems, er, I mean legs, or gams, or what have you. Drapey fabrics worn in just the right areas are always a plus- so you can look pulled together and sport a spring look that's fun!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Lions, Tigers, 110 Beers, Oh My!


With a quick weekend jaunt to the Little Apple in Kansas- an old, familiar haunt quickly won me over. Old Chicago with its decadent pizza and calzones make such a hearty meal- even for a bonafide vegetarian. Well, this vegetarian who can't get enough cheese and veggies at least. Starting with a side salad, and also the daunting task of selecting one beer from the selection of 110. ..I slightly lingered before making the decision to enjoy my favorite beer. Good Kansas City beer by the way- Boulevard Wheat (with its signature sidekick slice of lemon) is the tastiest and bodes well (even according to Blvd's brewing information) with a spinach artichoke calzone and side of marinara dipping sauce. The calzone was filled with spinach and artichoke of course, plus sun-dried tomato, basil, garlic, and oozing with cheese. Mozzarella (the homemade version being uber delicious) is always the happy, stretchy cheese in these sorts of foods and brings a smile to everyone. The calzone itself was a huge wrapped meal I could hardly finish myself, so a portion was shared with others who also enjoyed every bite- and even more so than their own meaty calzone. Vegetarians prevail- although next time we'll be a little more adventurous in trying new beers, with about 100 more to go. . .

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

French Fry Me Up


Hot, curly, Arby's fries are a tasty temptation that hits me out of nowhere. Maybe it's the warm, spicy, and fried goodness? Maybe it's the need for more grease and salt in my diet? Since it's the single thing consumed by me (the vegetarian) off their menu mostly- and subsists of copious amounts of grease- it had to be written about! There's even a recipe to make the glorious fries in your own home- let me know how it works out though.

What makes the fries so great is the combination of zesty seasonings, the super-wide curlyness, and lastly- the fry's perfect balance of being crispy and mushy in the same bite. They are great with or without the famous Arby Sauce. In fact, a perfect lunchtime snack is a large Tropicana lemonade, and two large orders of curly fries. The fries are always hot and fresh, and the cool lemonade tempers the flavor and temperature just right. My mouth is watering. . .

Monday, April 6, 2009

Get Some Bling on Your Arm


Let's leave the monogrammed bags behind, even with the refurbishing of graffiti to the Louis Vuitton Speedy 30. In the current world of exquisite replicas and resales, the only thing shocking about carrying around the iconic tote- is if it were one purchased at actual retail.

Now, I will say it is genius, and has been quite popular and successful -to use the same handful of bag shapes and material but go farther to change up the landscape. But since purchasing my first Kathy Van Zeeland bag, my thoughts on handbag accessories and their fabulousness has changed. The fabric ranges from patent, mesh, denim, to coated denim. Just by glance, each shape of Kathy's line appears plush and touchable- and then she adds her own splash of bling! Rhinestones done very tastefully, with leopard print, chunky matching key chains, and large silver logos adorn her pieces of art, brought to you in the form of handbags, satchels, totes, and wallets. There aren't many designers that actively use pieces of hardware with shiny, soft, pieces of material aligned with many useful pockets out there. Owning a Kathy Van Zeeland bag is appreciating a great work of art while putting it to use in every woman's life (and she's even got a bag just for new moms that will definitely put to rest your qualms about world of pastels). My vote, is that if you're wearing anyone's initials painted all over- they might as well be your own. And if you're looking for a fabulous bag, just ask Kathy. Plus, you can even find her great prices on QVC- now that's easy!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Gritty Waffles with Coffee


There's nothing like getting up early on a blustery cold day, and seating yourself in anticipation of a toasty, tasty, waffle. During my first trip to the nearby Waffle House, I was in anticipation of how good the coffee would be, before pondering on the food's own taste quality. The very first Waffle location was opened on Labor Day in 1955 in Georgia if you must know- and now is an American staple, with over 1,500 locations! After a few moments of looking over the menu, my meal included eggs, grits, a waffle, hashbrowns, toast, and coffee. Sounds like a feast, right? Luckily, the Waffle has been using the same coffee beans since 1972, so taste was not to be missed.
Yes, absolutely, a feast it was! The buttery grits far outdo any instant grocery store concoction, no offense to Quaker's brand though. And the waffle with its buttery goodness and warm maple syrup was the first to go! Eggs were happy over medium in their perfect ovals. Now, to get to another exciting part of the breakfast, I'm going to rave about the hashbrowns. Hashbrowns- just shredded potato? Oh no, at the Waffle, hashbrowns get their own side menu of options. Smothered, covered, diced, chunked, topped, peppered, capped, and at the very bottom- you get the option of going "all the way." The hashbrowns are so lovable, you can get a regular, large, or triple order of them. So many options, so little time!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Add Lime in the Springtime


It's officially the beginning of the spring season, 2009! Time to rejoice in the warmer climates to soon be visiting the Midwest- and add some lime to your Corona! It's the best selling beer in Mexico, and the highest imported label in the U.S. Many people say they don't enjoy this beer without a lime! Supposedly, limes were inserted into the necks of beers in Mexico to keep bugs and flies from drowning in your beverage...which sounds more fiction and rumor. But these days, while enjoying every last drop your well-earned dollar can pay for- it's all about the flavor. And the skill.

Skill you say? Yes, the perfected skill of liming your Corona Extra. No light here please. Pretty much every time a bartender is asked for the 'import' special with a lime, you get a Corona bottle with a lime wedge the size of a nickel stuffed in the top of the neck. And every time, they get a dirty look- while more lime is asked for.To get it right, you need a lime wedge-which is about twice the size of a slice (or actually 1/8th of a lime) and an opened Corona. First, squeeze the wedge's juice into the beer- most people don't squeeze the juice but opt for lime-stuffing instead. Second, squeeze the lime wedge horizontally into the neck of the bottle. Carefully (very carefully!) place your thumb over the top- making sure to cover the opening completely and avoid any spillage. While holding on tightly, turn the beer upside down, and slowly watch as the lime floats to the bottom. Once it touches, turn the bottle back over and consume at your leisure.

The BIG difference is squeezing the juice out-without that part, tipping the bottle upside down doesn't make a different to the flavor which is the same as stuffing the lime in the neck. Someone thought to surpass the skills requirement, and even invented a Lime Bomber to make the task much easier! (Watch the video). Now, another skill or trick to learn is getting the lime out of the bottle before tossing the glass in the recycling bin...but that's something you'll just have to work on yourself.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Yes to....Carrots? No to preservatives?


Hmm, that's right, Yes to Carrots. And to tomatoes (for oily skin), and cucumbers (for sensitive skin). It's the new black. It's apparently the new organic-paraben-free alternative to Burt’s Bees. Instead of harnessing the natural identity of bees, the brand digs up veggies, mixes them with natural occurring ingredients like salt from the Dead Sea and serves it up for different skin types. A big push in the organic industry is what has helped this San Francisco, CA company build it's wealth- it's USDA Organic, against animal testing, all recyclable, and a portion of your purchase goes towards a Seed Fund, which is a non-profit group which helps out communities attempting to sustain themselves by growing food. All this is very cool. But the most important part to us- the consumer end is the effectiveness!

It works! In fact, after buying and losing many tubes of chapstick, the only one ever really missed was my Yes to Carrots C Me Smile Melon one. Lost forever! They contain some beeswax, vegetable extract, and the most helpful ingredient- soothing shea butter. Happy as a clam while standing at a local Walgreens with the replacement purchase in hand, my eyes gazed upon the other countless products with each their own purpose and type of vegetable. Now, it's a mission to become a human guinea-pig and indulge on the world of saying Yes! carrots, tomatoes, and cucumbers.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Sesame Seeds for Dessert


After raving about enjoying a dessert of sesame balls, I was offered a taste. Delish! How could sesame be a main component of a dessert? When we think of desserts, images of chocolate syrup and powdered sugar with cherries and whip cream dance in our heads. Then you take an eastern hemisphere nod to dessert and wonderful sesame seed balls are the dish! Sesame balls are mostly made of sesame seeds and rice flour- with a bit of brown sugar and bean paste. Rolled up and fried, to be served toasty, with or without dipping sauce. Epicurious has a great recipe, and for extra special occasions you can add chocolate instead of the sweet bean paste. Ching He-Huang uses dark chocolate in her recipe. I've come across her tv show Chinese Food Made Easy, which airs on the BBC a few times and she's a fun cook. For some reason, I'm more intrigued by a wonderful Chinese female chef, with an English accent, than the colorful dishes sometimes! Take a look a section of an episode on Youtube. The closeups are scrumptious and mouthwatering! And you can totally order some sesame balls from a Chinese or Thai restaurant. Order up!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Shoe Obsession


The higher the heel, the higher your height- and the taller you are, the more confidence you have. An interesting article by career coach Marty Nemko talks about how a shoe obsession can boost your career. It's always the subject of the easy, amazing, ways that careers or esteems are boosted by doing the smallest actions. Almost every article speaking of women's collections of shoes and the adoring fandom wonderful shoes create must mention Sex and the City. There. 'Nuff said.

Wandering about one day being a tourist (and willfully avoiding the True/False Film Festival tourists themselves) in the District and visiting Maude Vintage, perusing the vintagey, thrifty stores- a pair caught my eye. Well, actually my friend's eye before mine, but just seeing an exquisite (and hardly scuffed) pair of Max Studio heels going for a fifth of it's original price was unmissable. They screamed "I'm yours" and so they are now- but not a victim of impulse shopping, oh no. My self-patience decided that if they were there when I returned later in the week, if they waited for me- they would be mine. (sorry, no pic of them here, but an equally faboo set of MaxStudio heels instead). Score!

My brain goes back and forth, as a heel lover myself, between the exotic, hard-to-find, vintage shoe or the brand new spiciness a dept. store pair has on the soul. And as we all know, spiciness is always good for the soul.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Yummy Gummi Bear Shot


Yummy Gummi- shot? About every other bartender quizzed so far around town knows how to make the gummi bear shot. There is high speculation about what flavor the clear/white gummi bear really is, and usually it's considered the "mystery" flavor. Some guess coconut or pineapple- and then it depends on the brand you choose. If you want to take it to the originator- it's Haribo. Haribo is the extra chewy but so flavorful brand, and many believe it's Trolli who's actually the original. Nope- Trolli is actually the first German candy company to make gummi worms, and they did so almost 60 years after the bear.

People who love the candy bears, that get their gummi-ness from gelatin and a boatload of sugar, are bewildered by the gummi bear shot. The flavor is the white gummi bear and here's how you make it according to Drinks Mixer:

1 oz good vodka
1/2 oz raspberry schnapps
1/2 oz cranberry juice

The shot actually turns out clear-and just by searching online, there's a variety of different schnapps that can be used...though they must taste different? And the cranberry use must somehow be clear, but at least it is mighty tasty! So far, only two bartenders have nailed it when asked. Currently it's a favorite shot of mine, so there will be more quizzed in the future. Plus, no gelatin in the drink. Vegetarian bonus!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Subbin' Sandwiches Since 1975

The great veggie sandwich is somewhat hard to come by these days, with dressings soaking the buns and resorting to the "fat free" versions without much taste and with hand-fed home-grown cow meat being marketed to be ever so tasty to meat eaters- those lunch sandwiches are much more popular. Sometimes a sammie can be so good, you don't notice the rooftop of your mouth being scraped bare by the dried bread soaked in sauce. But, for human herbivores out there, a simple lettuce and cheese sub won't do.

Enter the Vegetarian at The Sub Shop. A-M-A-Z-I-N-G bread! They never freeze the dough, it's made from scratch, and its the softest, chewiest, wheat bread. This impresses me- especially being a fan of Sara Lee's numerous wheat breads. Yum-yum! So their signature vegetarian sub has olives, onions, mushrooms, green peppers, swiss cheese, american cheese, mozzarella cheese, tomato, and some mayo thrown on. That's 3 different cheeses, and 5 veggies, on your delish bread. For the extra vegan touch, they can withhold the cheese, and add some kraut. Since my first ever veggie sam was this week, the vegan choice will be my next. And it will be soon!

If you happen to eat meat, you will be pleased to know they make meatballs as well. One interesting combo that still has me confused is a grilled cheese sub with pizza sauce. More research must be done to figure out if there's any meaty substances in the pizza sauce, because it could, maybe, possibly be a yummy combo. It might be better to try it out at home first though... So, even if you're extra hungry, there's a half foot, whole foot, and two-footer sized options for your appetite on the menu. They come wrapped completely in foil to keep them toasty for your taste buds. My vegetarian taste buds are quite pleased, and a selling point was that their Vegetarian sub won Best of 2008 by Columbia.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Chai is Tea. So Chai Tea, is 'Tea Tea'?


With bells ringing on a rainy, slightly blustery day, the best post-lunch perk-me-up is a Chai latte. Since renovation had been completed in a nearby building, my jaunt led me there, inside to the new Starbucks counter. When asking for a Chai latte- the returning question was "what kind?" There's a kind? Oh yes, much beyond the hot or cold decisions, now you can choose the brand/type of tea- for instance Tazo is the main one utilized by Starbucks. They have regular Chai, London Fog, Black, and Vanilla Rooibos (this last one actually does taste like vanilla).

For those out there that enjoy the rainy spring showers, and opt for the colder beverages- you have more choices. The new Tea Infusions mix apple or berry juices with your chai, add a little extra spice and serve chilled on ice. Possibly more flavors to come?

If you like to get really fancy, Adagio has just the selection where you are able to pick your blends and get as specific as you wish. Time for Tea! And yes, oddly enough in America, we don't recognize that Chai is the word for tea in many other countries...and we still call it Chai Tea.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Shot of Comfort, Shot of Lime


While at Blondie's the other night, the man in the lab (minus the coat) began mixing his guessed concoction of Soco (Southern Comfort) and concentrated lime to come up with the perfect Soco and Lime Shot. Speedy fingers requesting some help from Google, and we found that the mix is one half Soco and one half lime juice. Except not the super, extra bitter, concentrated kind. But we four were on a mission and attempt, after attempt, we continued on our journey. One suggestion was to add water, another to add ice, to shake, to stir, and finally- at wits end, we drank whatever mixtures we were left with. And never really capturing the well-mixed flag on that night.

Thank goodness it was just the predrink session!

Southern Comfort is a liqueur (i.e. blend),of whiskey, peach, orange, banana, vanilla, sugar, and cinnamon flavors. It is NOT a bourbon whiskey. It is actually brewed in Ireland and was introduced in 1889- and depending on what country you live in- comes in several different proofs! (several, you say?- the lowest being in Australia and New Zealand). The originating Irish bartender moved to Memphis, TN. and worked on his patent there- and won the World's Fair Gold Medal in 1904, in St.Louis, MO. (Midwest representing!). The picture on the label is an actual place, called the Woodland Plantation in Louisiana that is a national historical place in the south. The tagline "None Genuine But Mine" is the first one penned by the bartender. So enjoy your Soco and add some lime (50/50 to be exact), and cheers to your friends!

Boyfriend Sweater-ize


The perfect accessory in between winter's bitter cold and dry months, and spring's semi-warm and damp months is the Boyfriend Sweater or Cardigan. Yes! It's about time for the season to be right! Now made especially for women as well, but still carrying the name of "boyfriend's", the super comfy and thin cover-up works with just about any outfit, and comes in every color and some luxe fabrics like this one at VS. Some cardigans have pockets, but they usually have large buttons, lengthy sleeves, and will cover a long torso. The most comfortable fabric, and definitely most favored: Cashmere! Just pulling it on makes you feel luxurious- and one place to find a great one is J Crew. Sexy! Belt it at the waist and fabulous you are, as well as prepared for the "in-between" season!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Noodle Me Up, and Slurp Me Down


"They are made of rice- which means they are healthier for you, and you can eat more!" she said. The blonde spoke this statement with such authority and though it may have sounded believable or even seemed so, research had to be done about the rice noodle. Yes, it's an asian thing.

By "better" she might have meant "healthier." Well, it's based on your idea of healthy, because rice noodles have less protein and more starch than your regular run-of-the-mill spaghetti noodles. Here's some tidbits from the Food Coach’s info on rice noodles. The pasta type of noodles are made with durem wheat flour, which has a high protein and gluten content- and gluten is not so good for the intestinal tract. Many people are actually allergic to gluten- found in wheat products, including Couscous (which is a pasta- not a grain...though we all know it looks like a larger version of rice..). Take a quick look at the cheat sheet about knowing your noodles that might be fun from the kid's version of the NY times. A great (and favorite dish) with rice noodles is Phat Sieu, a great stir fry with rice noodles and veggies (and usually pork for your herbivores out there)- and a light sauce that is SUPER tasty.

Monday, January 26, 2009

You like them apples?


After a semi-rough night of catering to the needs of food-ordering customers, myself and some friends ventured a block away to sit at a different bar. Luckily, drafts were only $2.50 each for the late-night happy hour and sat at the bar we did. Never having all drank together, the conversation was quite interesting and all the funny. Especially when we realized the other 3 fellows were younger than me! While gulping down my favorite St. Louis brew (with extra lemon)- two of the others ordered another round of some apple beer. Apple Beer you say?

Yes, Floris Apple Garden beer. Garden? Apple? These two men didn't mind to be drinking this "foo-foo" sounding concoction, so they offered me a taste. Much more sugary than a Strongbow Cider, but good none the less (and maybe less alcohol content as well). The sugar mixed with the carbonation made the drink taste like a soda- spiked with alcohol. It earns maybe 3 stars out of 5 - but too much sugar usually leads to a bad hangover. Good ratings here as well from the Beer Advocate
There was only that sip, and my wheat beer filled me up the rest of the morning.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Soupin' It

Here in the midwest, we're used to have below-freezing temps and scattered snow flurries one day and then 50 degree sunny skies the next. Luckily, we have several soup options down and around town and at just about each sandwich shop. Not only can you get a toasted sammy, you can get a bowl (or yummy bread bowl) of delish soup. A favorite of mine is creamy tomato soup or tomato basil soup.

"Usually" (quotes!) they aren't concocted of a beef or chicken base (if you're lucky) but with a salty or veggie stock, and actual tomatoes instead. Being a vegetarian - you've got to pay attention to small details like this- so always ask, and if the staff are unsure- or don't have a list of ingredients to refer to- get something else! A restaurant customer the other night was verifying if a dish contained any gluten- which effected her possible life-threatening condition, so the kitchen was asked and lists were double-checked before assuring her it didn't. If in doubt, just always ask. Another (sometimes) imposter is copycat broccoli cheese soup, which uses chicken broth. A good friend of mine hooked me on a easy home version of the Weight Watchers (good for you and easy to make as well) WW broccoli cheese- and we just substitute veggie broth for chicken broth. It's easy and satisfying every time. Throw in some croutons and top with more shredded cheese and it's a party all right!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

To Bread or not to Bread?

If you are among the chosen who work in a desk-office setting (where you're sedentary for a majority of the day), you might have to work out a little harder at the gym. Why?

The endless food days and leftovers from events (always requiring food), that are held for your department or others. If you're lucky and have events very often, you actually become quite picky on your choice of bagel, schmear, and/or pastry. And if the right person raves about the selection, you'll be guaranteed a future indulgence of a similar spread in the future. Always: Coffee and bagels, and Sometimes: Orange juice, pastries, cream cheese, and fresh fruit. There's almost an endless combination to pick from- but we learn to get there early (and nab that last gooey cinnamon roll!) to get the best pick.

The absolute tastiest bagels in the business are Einstein’s, and they have the largest (and absolutely delicious) selection of schmears. Mouth-watering. Unfortunately, there isn't one nearby- in fact to get to one requires a drive of a few hours. But Panera is usually our go-to breakfast breaker. Then there are some locals that have healthier options (and tastier!), but remember that if it's better for you, it's price is 'better' (i.e. higher) as well.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Great LEGS at a great deal!

Here's a quick link to some awesome tights at Kohl’s that are on sale- right now! Simply Vera Wang is a great hardy brand to find some things fabulous and here they are- you won't be disappointed.

Bang for your Buck

Tight budget clamping down calls for one thing- coupons! The best thing to do is create an alternate (one of several so far) email address and use it to subscribe to weekly/monthly emails advertising freebies and coupons. Luckily, Quizno’s sent me one for a 'buy one get one free' deal- and on the sidebar also advertised their new $5 menu- with 20 subs on it. And then there began a wild goose chase at lunch.

Quizno’s locations in our city no longer recognize the $5 deal at any of the franchises- so that was out. They do offer a $5.49 deal on the basic sammys (there are 5 and no veggie option-that's extra). Except the location in the district is permanently closed- When did that happen? Since the bitter freezing cold wind is currently upon us, the nearest sandwich shop was the Cafe Bleu. Half a block later, and we took a second look at it's sign, which read "Thank you for your patronage. The Cafe is closed permanently." Dang. Hopped in the car for a ride down the eastside to the next nearest Quizno’s location and joined the long line at the sandwich counter. Opting for the smaller sized veggie was a good idea ($.10 less!) except to realize; at the segment where they ask you what toppings you'd like (after it's been grilled/cooked); they were out of the best veggie topping: guacamole. They normally smother this on without regard and then it must be manually smoothed in equal parts on my sammy. But not today. The economy left me hungrier and missing my guac today. How much bang for your buck is that?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Drink says it all

The "Samoan" martini at Addy’s is a super-yum vodka martini infused with 3 SECRET alcohols mixed together, and splashed into a typical martini glass. However, this glass is rimmed and swirled with light chocolate syrup, white chocolate syrup, and some caramel. Goosebumps arise just imagining the bartender making it!
*Tidbit: These Girl Scout cookies were always called the Samoa until just recently- and the rumor is that the effect is only of a regional nature. Except we've lived in the same state for many, many years....but the $4 for a box of these currently named Caramel DeLites are worth every cent and are pretty much equivalent to being addicted to the most addictive substance: sugar. MMmmmm.

Last Friday night, (in anticipation of the upcoming Freaker's Ball at D's house), my heart was calling for one as guts and inner worries were spilled out to a good friend who was an old co-worker. Randomly, a blonde beauty who used to be employed in the same dept. no less (a few years back), was there with a group of girl friends and looked quite nervous (or was it tipsy?) came to speak to C. He was so surprised- and nervous no less, which left me in giggles. No pushing or deriding gave him enough courage to go to her table or order drinks for the girl group. This moment of slight failure left us to decide on drinking draft beers for the remainder of our evening. Nothing says cool composure like Blvd. Wheat with extra lemon (it's the zest!).


After having a lovely lunch, with only an hour allowed, the flavor of my sandwich's sauce still lingers. Figuring in time for walking (to the parking garage), driving to the fancy pants restaurant (after calling it in)at Hemingway’s to pick up the carryout order, then back to J's job to scarf it down took a little more than the allowable hour.

The rosemary potato fingerlings and grilled cajun tilapia made a scrumptious combination. With tomatoes and cucumber, on a spread of goat's cheese, the fish was definitely mouth watering. Better known as a fine dining steak restaurant, and as a wine and cigar shop before that, H's has upped the anty on lunches that don't fit into the convenient (aka fast food) column. After all this? J was convinced to treat me there on our upcoming wedding anniversary!