Multi-tasking!

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I ended up taking this business trip to Florida on my own, and as such, I have been cooped up in this hotel for two solid days (literally….I jogged outside on a break during the conference today because I hadn’t seen the sun in two days).

So tonight, I decided to venture out. On my own.

I have a good friend at work who grew up near Orlando and she recommended a local restaurant. With the grace of dog and a Google map, I headed out.

It’s a place called Hemingway’s. I was a little non-plussed given that it’s part of the local Hyatt.

But this friend of mine has impeccable taste, so I trusted.

I made a reservation under the name “Smith” for one little me.

When I got to the place (after getting PROFOUNDLY lost on some Florida byways), I realized that I had forgotten to bring my book with me. I wondered what I’d do to entertain my lonely self.

There was no need to worry. My reservation was for 7:00pm which is just 4:00pm back at work.

So I checked email. Let me tell you, yes, I was one of those obnoxious people tapping at my iPhone over dinner.

But over the course of one and one half hours, here is what I was able to accomplish:

1) Lengthy email conversation with my boss to figure out bonus amounts for my team this quarter.

2) Email conversation with our team’s admin to set up seating chart for our group office move in three weeks.

3) Also via email, set up this year’s baseball bet for the season. Another $20 wager with that bum Dodger’s fan friend of mine that the Giants will finish above his suck team in the final standings. Year one, I won. Year 2, he won. Year three, he won. My team is so lame this year I should just put away the $20 now…

4) Did SMS love to my work friend because that dinner was really top notch, she was spot on.

5) Assigned a project to one of my employees.

and most importantly…

6) Exchanged love words with The Good Man because I miss him so terribly much.

Not a bad day’s work over a glass of Pinot Noir and some really delicious scallops.

With belly full, I’m back in my hotel room, bloaty, happy and ready to sleep well tonight.

W00t!

My Happy Meal

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In one of those “I saw something and that gave me an idea for something else” moments, I was scanning the Albuquerque Tribune today and looked under the “Photos” heading where sometimes they have little “Viewfinder” vignettes with a cool black and white photo accompanying. Today there is a link with the title Viewfinder: His happy meal.

It’s a cute little story about a dog. But that’s not the point of this post.

Just reading that title in my stressed out work haste made me think about food, comfort food (it is my lunch hour, after all). I have been so tweaked out with work and personal issues that I have been eating a LOT, lately. Taking to fats and sweets and salty to try to make me feel better about a life that feels on the verge. It’s doing nothing to help my waistline and doing even less to improve my mood.

Nonetheless, as I sit here with rumbling in my tum, I had a thought upon reading that title “What meal would make me happy?” Kind of like a turn on “If you were on death row, what would be your last meal?”

My mom wasn’t that great a cook, so I don’t have a lot of “home cooked” stuff I could list. But let me take a stab at it.

If I had to eat a last meal and there were no space or calorie limitations on my tummy, here’s top ten what I’d have:

1) My best friend’s homemade chile rellenos. She makes them with chile grown by her uncle, the flavor is fantastic and she has just the right batter to make them light and delicious. Alongside her with her pressure cooked pinto beans, she makes the best beans, hands down.

2) Beef Lasagne from Sodini’s in San Francisco. And the seafood linguini…..

3) Fried Calamari from Caesar’s down near the Wharf in San Francisco. And the Minestrone….

4) The green chile chicken enchiladas with an egg and sour cream on top from Gardunos….and a couple margs…I love Gardunos mix. And the carne adovada……

5) Pretty much anything made by my brother-in-law, but his mashed potatoes rock my little world…….

6) My mom’s tortillas “back in the day”. She can’t put the finesse on ’em like she used to, but circa about when I was seven years old and we’d come home from Saturday Mass and she’d roll ’em out and I’d cook ’em on the griddle. Layer on marinated beef or game meat, cheese and you were off to the races……

7) Anything from Legal Sea Foods in Boston.

8) Hamburger. All of the following:
A green chile cheeseburger from Blakes.
A Whataburger.
A Fuddruckers hamburger circa 1986. (I went recently, it’s yucky now, but back then it was da bomb! ).
A carefully cooked thick burger over a campfire on a bun that *might* have a little sand or ash on it but who cares because you’ve been swimming in the lake/fishing/ hiking/ skiing all day and you are FAMISHED and besides you already ate two hotdogs……

9) My own chile con queso and chips

10) Huevos rancheros from this restaurant in Albuquerque that is now defunct and it will plague me all day until I can remember the name……

Honorable mention:

Biscuits hand made by the mom of my college roommate along with her homemade apricot jam….next to two farm fresh (I pulled ’em this morning) over easy fried eggs.

Homemade ice cream (my best friend’s recipe) and a couple of my homemade chocolate chip cookies

Anything from Chopies, Nopolitos or Sadies

An Owl Burger (the one in San Antonio, NM, not the Albuquerque location)

Pizza from New York City, preferably the borough of Brooklyn….

Anything from the Aqua Grill in SoHo.

A good old fashioned Polish buffet alongside my Midwest family in South Bend. Ah the fried chicken! And the sausages! And the saurkraut! : drool :

Crabs, lobsters and clams straight outta the pot by the pool at the home of my best friend from high school. Ah, those were good days…..

I’m sure there is a lot I’m missing, but that’ll do for now. I’m happy. And hungry.

: rumble :

State Approved Yummies

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This past weekend I had a hankering. I’m a bit depressed and no small amount of stressed out and I was in need of some comfort food. You know, the something like mom used to make.

I woke up Sunday morning with a strong hankering for Biscochitos. So I gazed over the recipe, decided on Crisco over traditional lard, looked in my liquor cabinet to see if had the requisite brandy (I didn’t) and set off to the grocer for all the goods. I already had anise seed so I was ahead of the game……

You have to understand, this was a rare bit of homemakering that I’m not used to. Neither is my long suffering, but very patient partner. But he knows he gets to enjoy the fruits of my nesting, so he’s all good.

I mixed and blended, whipped the eggs, poured the brandy (as a kid when I made them I always found a way to sample the brandy as it went in, just a small teaspoon full for me, and it always made me go “bleah! Why would anyone drink this?” As a grown up, just the smell made me “ew”, so no sampling this time…..)

Soon I had a stiff dough to work with and I cursed while rolling it out and cutting the individual cookies. As is tradition, I burned one batch (I *always* burn at least one batch while making ANY kind of cookie). But soon I’d turned out a pile of the sweet, but not too sweet, treats. I shared some with the neighbors. I ate my fill until I was sick, and then came the litmus test. My Brooklyn boyfriend gave them a nibble and declared them as addictive as I know them to be (he rocks, by the way).

So I was all up in my Biscochito bliss when I read this article in the Las Cruces Sun News.

The ice cream mix, pecans and Biscochitos, sounds divine. But what caught my eye is that I guess I somehow missed that in 1989 the New Mexico State Legislature made the Biscochito the “official state cookie”.

I *had* heard that the current plump Governor loves these same anise treats turned out by the chef at the Governor’s mansion. Wouldn’t that be great? To have someone turn out a batch of delicious just like that, whenever you want? Wow. I’d be a plump Governor too….

So not only did I make comfort food, I made NM State approved comfort food. Go me!

By the way, the recipe I use comes from the “Cocinas de New Mexico” cookbook put out by PNM. The recipe is online here. That “Cocinas de New Mexico” cookbook is a dandy if you don’t already have one. I have always used the quite old version my mom has but I will probably order one of my own.

Just….yum.

Artist Diana Bryer’s “Making Biscochitos”

Travesty!

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Oh sure, sure, it’s all “retro” and everything…but it’s not what I recall from MY childhood. Banana flavor seems….wrong….

Twinkies come in banana flavor

“NEW YORK — Twinkie lovers, get ready to go bananas.

Hostess – owned by Kansas City, Mo., company Interstate Bakeries Corp. – began selling the banana-creme snack cakes last week at retail stores nationwide, returning to its 70-year-old roots. From 1930, when the Twinkie was first invented, to the 1940s, Twinkies were filled solely with banana creme. But a banana shortage during WWII forced Hostess to replace it with the vanilla flavor.”

And by the way, may I just say “ew!” Artificial banana flavored ANYTHING makes me gag, and : shudder :