Poisoned Hummus, Heart-Shaped Melon, and YES I DID TALK ABOUT THE KIDS’ SWIM CLASSES, MOM

Andy surprised me with a date to a fancy restaurant on Sunday night. I mention this as an excuse for not writing a blog post in time for Monday morning. I am not mentioning the name of the restaurant because I woke up this morning with rather a bad case of food poisoning, and I don’t think it was the restaurant, because yesterday (Sunday) I also ate some hummus that had sat at room temperature for five hours and definitely it was that that did it, right? Anyway, I don’t want to say the name of the restaurant and have you associate it with food poisoning when they probably didn’t do anything wrong. So, yes! Getting surprised with a date night at the end of a long weekend/week/several years with children is the greatest thing. I eat every single meal with my kids, all the meals, and they’re nice people and funny and it’s pretty okay except I have to get up a hundred times because someone needs more water or apple juice or a napkin or more rice or to have their hands held while they sit on the potty and my food gets cold. Instead of this, I got to leave it all behind and go out with Andy, who wore the very tight pants I love and who smelled of the cologne he has worn from time to time since high school, which makes me feel like I’m sixteen again. The restaurant was so pretty and I ate the most delicious chicken liver mousse on the smokiest grilled sourdough and it definitely did not give me food poisoning. I also had ravioli that was okay. It bummed me out a little because the pasta dough was made with whole wheat flour (no thanks :/ ) and it was a little undercooked at the edges and the only thing worse than whole wheat flour pasta is undercooked whole wheat flour pasta. I still ate every bite and I loved being there, in a pretty place, wearing clean clothes and eating food that my kids hadn’t coughed on.

This morning I woke up feeling sick. My dear Molly texted to ask if I was home and then dropped by with a sack full of tacos for me and big fluffy pancakes for the boys in honor of Galentine’s Day, which as we all know is February 13 and is officially celebrated by plying your best lady friends with breakfast foods. We both agreed it was the ultimate tragedy to bring a sack of delicious greasy breakfast tacos to someone with food poisoning. I put the tacos in the fridge and fed the kids the pancakes. I skipped lunch but felt hungry by mid afternoon and went for it- I reheated that taco in the oven until the edges were hot and the middle was lukewarm and I enjoyed the fuck out of it.

Here’s what we ate this week:

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Crispy Thai Pork with Cucumber Salad. I don’t remember Monday. I think we might have set some things on fire in the backyard? We definitely ate this pork! It all blurs together. So I’ll use this space for a weekly business update. We are no further on the insurance question. No one will talk to us or return our calls. Andy needs to order pump supplies soon (hundreds of dollars) so talking to a person would be nice, Gigi who allegedly does this for a living. Also (not entirely unrelated to my short-tempered snark in the last sentence) I’m really slacking on the meditation. I blame the dog. Gonna get back on that wagon this week.

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Pages from Lies and Other Tall Tales, a delightful find from our local library. I can’t wait to have an excuse to use that hatching monkeys insult on someone.

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Andy’s been teaching Henry to play poker. Here you see the product of Henry’s work to use one deck of cards to make poker hands ranked from worst to best. I thought it was fun!

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Chorizo with Roasted Pineapple and Guacamole. I hated everything on Tuesday. Betsy DeVos was confirmed and I read that all the drama about getting one more Senator to flip to vote no was totally fake- that McConnell had the votes he needed all along, Murkowski and Collins had his blessing to vote no because it was better for them politically and he would still have the numbers he needed. It didn’t matter that Cornyn and Cruz received overwhelming feedback from constituents on the left and right begging them to vote against her confirmation because they are not responsive to nor representative of the electorate. They care about winning their Republican primary in 3 and 1 years respectively and nothing else. I should have known this was true, but I didn’t. To have so many people across the country reach out to their representatives and to have it not translate into changing a single Republican vote was, to steal a word from Gorsuch, disheartening. And then Cornyn had the absolute gall to put up a fundraising link on facebook right after DeVos’s confirmation. I commented on it to say I was so disappointed in his vote and that he had failed our children and old white guys felt compelled to chime in and say I’m a hack and a libtard. And then some mofo on the Austin Area Homeschooler’s facebook page posted a link to a Breitbart scholarship that is only available for white males and it just felt like everything was terrible and the world is only old white guys who get to do and say whatever they want. And then I had to go to parkour and that sucked too.

But the tacos were good. I rarely make the same meal twice in a span of two weeks, but George loved the chorizo so much last week and asked for it again this week so I did it. I’ll share the recipe here once I can work up the energy to type it up.

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Parmesan Chicken with Red Cabbage and Baby Fennel Salad. On Wednesday I woke up ready to get shit done. I went to Blue Earth Farm and did Shovel Fit (light) with Joanna. I did not actually use a shovel. I used a little pick to break up dirt clumps in the new garden beds and I thinned out some lettuce. I don’t think I burned a lot of calories but I loved every bit of it. Working in the sunshine, talking to Joanna, marveling at the fact that our children could entertain themselves peacefully with minimal adult oversight. I’m gonna try to go once a week, and this week I’m gonna dig some big ole holes with a real life shovel. That night I researched how to do an open records request for our Senators, to see if I could ask for the number of constituents who contacted their offices about DeVos, and what way they wanted the Senators to vote. I drafted letters and researched who to send them to (harder than you’d think) and the next day I mailed them. I also mailed my ergo, that I have used to carry Henry and then George for the past five years, to Carry the Future, so it can be sent overseas to a refugee family in need. And I sent valentines. All of these things together had the effect of making me feel less powerless. I felt better. The chicken and salad were both good, but were not the focus of my day.

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Last week my mom said, hey, great blog post but why didn’t you write about how well the kids are doing in swim class? These are for you, Gangie! We’ve had three classes, one a week, and Henry can swim to an island-y thing without floaties and George swam completely submerged, with help, for a couple of seconds. In this picture, he’s practicing turning around and getting back to the edge of the pool in case he every accidentally falls into one.

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After swim class we dropped by Christy’s house because she had just gone to the Japanese grocery store and picked us up some treasures. She and her girls had to run to their next appointment but the boys and I stayed behind and (creepily) had a picnic of onigiri stuffed with salty salmon flakes and pickled plums on her front lawn.

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A soup that is almost, but not quite, entirely unlike pho. It’s rice noodles in a ginger-spiked chicken stock with herbs and lime squeezed on top.

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Miso-Glazed Salmon, Coconut Roasted Kale, Onigiri, Japanese Cucumber Salad, Not-Katsu. Speaking of bastardized versions of classic Asian dishes… Katsu is a breaded and fried meat cutlet. What I served was reheated leftover parmesan chicken with a dipping sauce that was not much more than ketchup mixed with soy sauce because I didn’t have any worcestershire sauce to do it right. Everything was pretty good though, even if it was an odd assemblage of items.

I woke up early on Saturday morning to help Jordan and Helen pick up the world’s largest couch. We won’t be starting our own furniture moving company anytime soon- we went to the wrong house and rang and knocked on the door at 8 in the morning. It was blessedly, mercifully, vacant, which we noticed after peeping in the windows. Once at the right house, we struggled to get the massive sectional through the front door, bumping an heirloom grandfather clock and denting the door jam in the process. So we suck. But Helen and Jordan have a sweet ass new giant couch! Then we hung out with Joanna for a bit at the Buda Farmers’ Market. Oh did I love that! I bought fudge and a Mexican chocolate brownie from the vendor across from Joanna. “Good witch” incense and kaolin clay soap bars from another lady, and green onions and thai red pepper flakes from another lady. This last vendor asked if I had a garden, and I said, yes, I’m building my raised beds now, and she gave me a box with dozens and dozens of carefully packaged and labeled seeds of all kinds. They’re from some doomsday seed company, meant for you to have all you’d need if the world ended right now but you and your seed box were somehow spared. She had 300 boxes to give away and we stocked up. Super exciting.

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Strawberry Coconut Balls.

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Out-of-Season Watermelon. These were my contributions to a little pre-Valentine’s Day party Helen threw for the kids in our lives. I also brought that (probably poisoned) hummus and some vegetables. It sat on the counter while the kids decorated valentine bags and gluten free brownies, ate pizza and chocolates, built fairy houses outside and played with bubbles. Then we drove home and I ate some of it for a snack and the rest, as they say, is history!

I hope you have a wonderful Valentine’s Day! I’m making steaks for Andy and George and what else but risotto for Henry, with a super 80’s couer a la creme for dessert. We’ll talk about that next week! See you then, valentines.

Hoecakes and Facebook Vigilantism

I got to see Diana Kennedy at the Texas Book Festival in November. If I had dragged myself away from Facebook long enough to write a blog post that month, she would have been at the top of my list of (non-political) things to write about. She is a goddamn marvel. She’s 93, British, and fiercely opinionated. She wore tight leather pants to her session and told us, the audience, how shitty and wasteful we are. I was charmed. You can get a little taste of her glory in this interview with the San Antonio Express News. Anyway, I’m bringing her up here because one of the things she shared with us, when asked for her advice on how to live a good life, was to be more critical. Kennedy’s doing her part, for certain. Her newest book (an updated version of one of her classics) contains two separate chapters on her pet peeves, which she refers to as her ‘betes noires.’ Which brings me to my point. What is the best way to be critical?

I’m judgmental. Really judgmental. To me that means that I’m quietly critical, though I don’t have a poker face to speak of, so if I’m being quietly critical around you some of that judgment is going to come across without me having to say anything. But how should this play out online, in the Trump-era specifically, when you can’t see me wrinkling up my nose at the shitty thing you just shared? Is it worth speaking up and calling out your Facebook friends when this happens? Or better to not waste your time on it and judge them silently and move on? Don’t tell me that not judging them at all is option C. It’s not for me! Some examples from the past few weeks:

  • After the women’s march, a friend posted a picture of some Army ladies in their fatigues holding big guns with the caption “Real women who march for rights.” I thought about asking her why being afraid that my family (and millions of others) would lose our health insurance and marching to try to make my voice heard meant that I wasn’t a “real woman.” But I ended up not saying anything. I thought about saying something snarky about not being a real woman again this week when this same lady invited me to a LuLaRoe (?) party. I didn’t say anything then either. But I judged, oh, I judged.
  • Another friend posted an image of Kurt Cobain with a made-up quote from him saying that Donald Trump was just the sort of outsider our generation would call on to save our country. I thought about posting the Snopes article that explains that this is a made up quotation, but didn’t because this friend has put Snopes in her “fake news” category, so what’s the point?
  • Someone else shared a news  article that said  Iran would ban U.S. citizens from entering their country in response to Trump’s ban and said “Oh darn! I really wanted to go there. Smirk.” I did leave a comment on this one, and tried to explain that this will have devastating effects for families and to urge him to think about the lives that would be upended by this.

So that’s what I did in three cases out of dozens, but what’s the right thing to do? Do you speak up every time and hope that you can get through to someone, or at least be a voice of dissent for other people who read this stuff? Do you stop following or ignore these people because it’s exhausting and the fight’s not with them, it’s with the politicians? I just don’t know. I wish Diana Kennedy was available to coach me through it.

Here’s what we ate this week.

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Homemade Chorizo, Mexican Rice. Henry ate his way through the bowl of pickled red onions like they were a side dish. It was mesmerizing to watch.

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Hoecakes and Bacon. A parkour anecdote! George and I head into the active play room where he immediately throws his body on a big peanut-shaped yoga ball. He rolls around erratically for a minute before moving on to the trampoline. Meanwhile, a little toddler wanders over to the peanut ball and picks something up. Her mom follows her and says loudly, “These are NAILS!” Of course they’re George’s. We’re still working on the master bathroom and there are little piles of nails here and there on the tables in my room. He’s been carrying them around in his shirt pocket all day, taking them out periodically and pretending they’re lightsabers, and I forgot they were in there. So I had to walk over there and say “Oh, I’m so sorry, those must be my sons- he’s been playing with nails.” She looked at me like I had two heads. It didn’t occur to me till later that night that most parents probably don’t let their three-year-olds play with nails.

And a note about hoecakes. Andy’s dad takes deep dives into any and every subject that interests him, no matter how trivial. There is a famous family anecdote about him spending hours in the barbed wire section of the Smithsonian reading everything they had posted about the history of the stuff. Recently, an episode of Cook’s Country led him to research hoecakes, and the meaning behind the name- were they cooked on actual hoes? (Signs point to no!) Anyway, he told me about how people would use them like bread to make pulled pork hoecake sandwiches, and I spent some time daydreaming about that. Later, when I was flipping through my Big Bad Breakfast cookbook looking for dinner ideas, I came across a recipe for hoecakes, along with a long headnote about the etymology of the name, and figured it was a sign that I should make them. They were delicious! I’ll have to try them again in sandwich-form when I can get my hands on some pulled pork.

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Egg McMuffin. Thinking about hoecake sandwiches made me think about the time I made homemade McGriddles and that made me want a hammy eggy sandwich thing. That’s all.

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Sticky Balsamic Ribs, Garlic Cheese Grits, Burnt Green Onion Dip with Curly Kale. When I was planning this menu I thought it might be too ambitious. The ribs and the kale (both genius recipes on Food52!) require multiple steps, and the grits have to be stirred continuously for 15 minutes while you’re simultaneously tending to the grilling of the ribs and the production of the weirdo kale dish. But I decided to go for it, because the kids have been playing together, without maiming each other, for longer stretches lately and maybe I could get away with it. It ended up being pretty damn hard to accomplish. George was impossibly clingy and needy and difficult the whole day. He clung to my leg, stood on my feet, stepped in my way every step of the production of this meal. I got the ribs on the table and went back out to grill the green onions (which is one of the top five best smells in the world, by the way) and he stuck his head out the back door to tell me that the ribs weren’t good. They were good. Don’t listen to uncharacteristically-rude George.

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Red Beans and Rice.  Mary came to watch the kids for me on Thursday and I got to drop off the bags of stuff for Goodwill that have been hanging around in the trunk of my car for the last four weeks. I worked in the yard all afternoon, while Mary and the kids kept me company. Mary (she’s my mother-in-law, did you know?) talked about maybe doing a half Ironman in the fall (she’s also a super-human, did you know that too?) and it was the first time I have ever felt intrigued instead of repulsed by the idea of all that physical exertion. I don’t think I should start with an Ironman (I cannot jog the length of my block without getting a stitch in my side and giving up on the whole idea) but I do want to do something. Molly mentioned joining her for a class led by a Very Handsome Man in which you run on a treadmill on a steep incline while listening to hip hop music. This sounds promising (aside from the treadmill part). But I also want to do my brother-in-law’s patented workout program, Shovel Fit, in which you do grueling manual labor in the garden to get fit. Joanna has given me the green light to come out to their farm and get to digging. Opportunities abound!

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Spaghetti Aglio e Olio with Roasted Brussels Sprouts. This is from the Food Lab cookbook, though it’s called pasta with three kinds of garlic, or something along those lines, but it was great. I’m sorry the recipe isn’t online- Lopez-Alt is the master of taking the same ingredients anyone would use for a classic recipe and handling them in a new way that makes it so much better than the swill I would throw together on my own.

I’m doing a free month of a meditation program. I didn’t know anything about meditation, and what it involved beyond sitting somewhere quiet with your eyes closed. What do you do while you’re sitting there quietly? I’m a bit behind already, but I did the second day on Friday, after the kids had gone to bed. It was a hearing meditation exercise, and I was instructed to listen to the sounds that were all around me, to take them in without judging them, to simply notice them and let them wash over me. Adelaide, our elderly boxer, spent the duration of this exercise at the foot of my bed snoring, farting, and then licking herself with her giant floppy tongue.

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Super Bowl Fare. Meats and Cheese, Fruit, Cheesy Beer Muffins, Korean Fried Chicken Wings. We watched the Super Bowl and ate snacks in front of the TV. The kids were enraptured. They loved the game, they loved Lady Gaga, who they were surprised to find wasn’t a baby, and they loved getting to stay up past their bedtime to watch TV. These wings are delicious. I skipped the red pepper flakes because the kids were eating them, but there’s a full cup of sliced ginger steeped in the basting sauce, which lends a delightful, kid-friendly, spiciness to the wings. It was fun and sticky and fun.

That was our week! Some of it! For those of you who have asked about our insurance and my lady parts, two random bits of housekeeping: We still don’t know what’s happening with our insurance. We have been assured that people somewhere are working on it. Someone said we’d be covered for January. We don’t know if the new plan costs a trillion dollars or basically anything else about what’s going on. I went off birth control and had a normal period this month that lasted about a week like a normal human woman!

I’m off to meditate on how to be my best and most Diana Kennedy-like self while listening to the sound of dog farts. See ya next week.

Blueberry Pop Tarts, Dinner and a Show at Botika in San Antonio

I ripped up all the carpet in my house. And all the plastic laminate that looks like wood but is actually just pictures of wood glued to plastic that smelled like one hundred thousand tennis balls when I pulled it up. And I stacked up all this flooring and carried it out to two big bagster bags (that’s half bag and half dumpster) in our front yard. And I did it all by myself, mostly! It was dusty and satisfying. Before I set up the bagster bags, the filthy carpets and filthier carpet pads were rolled up and piled in a heap by the front door. The kids loved that pile of dusty old carpet. They climbed all over it and named it, for reasons I still don’t understand, The King of England. George would say, “Hey, Henry! Let’s go climb the King of England!” and they’d run off to hurl their bodies into the heap, sending clouds of dust and pet hair swirling through the air. Andy and I set up the first bagster bag and moved the carpet pile in the dead of night. George woke up the next morning and burst into tears when he saw it was gone.

We’re getting new flooring, a strand-woven bamboo. I thought it would be here by now but it turns out we’ve got at least three more weeks to wait for it. I will use this time to fret about my children falling out of bed and cracking their heads on the cement.

Speaking about fretting over the untimely demise of my children- Andy and I went away for an overnight trip to San Antonio this weekend and left the kids with Andy’s mom and dad. This was our first night away from them. Andy’s mom is brilliant with the kids, and they adore her and Art, but still I found (crazy) reasons to worry. What if they fall in the pool? What if they mess with the dog while he’s eating and get mauled? What if Andy and I are in a fiery car crash? We really need to write a will. But everything was okay! Great, even! The kids had fun, they got to eat pancakes and watch movies. Andy and I got to talk to each other and hold hands and eat without having to stop to help George pee on the potty. And sleep through the night, with no one climbing into our bed at six in the morning to rub my elbows! We went to PAX, a video and tabletop gaming expo, and got to see our puzzler friend Mike who makes amazing games, one of which, Thornwatch, we got to playtest. I was a Sage, trying to protect little villager children from being carried off by gliders using my elemental forest magic. A mighty fine way to spend an afternoon. We also saw Mike’s panel, went out to a fancy and weird dinner (more on this later), and played a bunch of board games in the massive tabletop gaming room, including my favorite from last year, Morels! A mushroom foraging game! I lost both times. Andy’s just a better mushroom forager.  We also really liked Hounded, where one person plays as a fox and the other person plays as a five-team hunting party trying to kill the fox. I was the fox, and your goal is to flip over the tiles that make up the game board and uncover the morning, afternoon, and evening tiles without getting cornered by the hunters, each of whom have their own chess-like movement abilities, and this time I won. So foxy. Probably the overlap between people who come to my blog for food/uterus stories and people who also want to hear about board games at length isn’t great, so I’ll leave it at that. We had a great time and we were so lucky to get to strike out on our own for a day- thank you Mary and Art!

Here’s what we ate this week.

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Easy Weeknight Chili with Blue Earth Farm‘s Heritage Ground Pork. Look at how I’m a real food blogger with that artful cilantro splash in the corner. It’s there and not on top of the chili because we weren’t hungry yet but the sun was going down, so I put some chili in a bowl, took its picture, and then slopped it back in the pot to sit until we were ready to eat it. This chili is from The Food Lab and is worth the price of admission. The recipe’s not online, or else I’d link it here. I think a bracing amount of tomato paste and a splash of whiskey at the end are what set it apart, but this amazing and beautifully fatty ground pork didn’t hurt either.

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Okonomiyaki, Thai Sweet Potato Salad. I’ll be honest, I half-assed the implementation of this salad and completely ruined it. I used all the lime juice in the world which turned out to be too much. I ate the peanuts off the top and gave the rest to the chickens. Or else we threw it away so Adelaide didn’t go out there in the cover of darkness and eat lime-y sweet potato hunks and then throw it up on our concrete floor. Andy does the clean up while I play a pirate game with the kids on my phone so I don’t know where this stuff ended up. Okonomiyaki is good and cabbage-y!

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Christy’s Honey Flank Steak, Gwyneth’s Sesame Noodles with Roasted Broccoli and Furikake. This is a perfect after-parkour dinner, when I get home at six and we have to eat right away. The flank steak marinates in hefty pours of honey and tamari plus a fistful of minced ginger overnight, and then you can grill it up quickly right before dinner. The noodles are even easier. I added broccoli that I tossed in coconut oil and roasted at 425 for 15 minutes, so we weren’t just eating meat and noodles for dinner.  The kids just ate meat and noodles for dinner though. Henry painstakingly removed the scallions and broccoli from his pasta and put them in a little pile on the table next to his plate. George said he didn’t want to eat any of this stuff, but later pulled his chair up next to the meat plate and picked out the choice crispy bits. Bah.

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Pupusas with Curtido and Refried Beans. This meal obligingly used up the ends of things that have been hanging around the fridge and pantry. The last hunk of cabbage leftover from last week’s winter slaw and this week’s okonomiyaki became curtido, an oregano-y quick-pickled cabbage condiment. And a sack of tamale masa that’s been in the pantry since Christmas became the dough.

I made a bunch of cheese-filled pupusas, which are a cinch, and a couple bean-filled ones, which are a nightmare. Henry doesn’t like cheese so I probably would have done this for him anyway, but I had to do it this time because we’re in our second week of a dairy-free experiment for him because he’s been complaining about his stomach and the doctor said it’s probably dairy. It looks like she’s right because he hasn’t complained about his stomach at all. Which is good and kind of sucks too because Henry loves all non-cheese dairy- he guzzles milk, yogurt, sour cream by the bucketful. I’m hoping he can still have a little in moderation- noodles with butter and parmesan, a slice of cake- and just not do the crazy glass of milk + bowl of yogurt breakfasts he’s become accustomed to.

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Roasted Chicken, Mashed Potatoes and Gravy, Sage Stuffing. I want a thanksgiving dinner approximately every 8 weeks. This month’s installment cut out anything virtuous and doubled down on carbs and gravy.

On Friday, the kids had their first of 18 weekly swim classes, and they loved it. Each of their teachers were fun with a masochistic streak- Henry’s teacher encouraged the two kids in her charge to kick water in her face with their flippers, George’s teacher asked him and another tiny child for high-fives after each round of activity and would then throw herself underwater when they acquiesced in a sort of slapstick routine to show how strong the kids’ high fives were. She did this EVERY TIME. I think she’s in her early twenties, but still, how can anyone muster that level of energy? After class, we walked around a nearby Randalls to look for something the kids could eat for dinner with Andy while I was at enneagram. They proposed blueberry pop tarts, which they had never tried (being ardent devotees of the strawberry flavor) and I said, fuck it, let’s go for it.

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Botika. And a real dinner! Out on a date with Andy! We ate a million more things than this, but I didn’t want to be the asshole who took pictures of everything. When I read about this menu online, I was so excited. It’s South American + Japanese fusion and I wanted to eat everything. We almost did too, because it was happy hour and also restaurant week. We tried everything on the happy hour menu, split the restaurant week menu, and got a bonus order of eel and hamachi nigiri. Some things, like that nigiri and the mushroom and green chile empanadas from the top photo were really good, other things were not, like the eggrolls at the edge of the bottom photo which tasted of nothing and came with a sickly sweet dipping sauce, and a cube of pork from the restaurant week menu that was so dense it was almost impenetrable. Worse though, was the befuddled service. The first thing they brought out was two orders of the empanadas- we said we’d only ordered one and the lady said, oh okay! This happened again with the eggrolls. And then they brought out the nigiri and said, we are SO SORRY this took so long, when it definitely hadn’t. For the rest of the happy hour items, someone would come up to our table and ask if we’d received our tuna tartar yet, or how about the Japanese peanuts? (N.B. Don’t order the Japanese peanuts). And after the happy hour stuff they just stopped bringing things for a while. Finally, our waiter came back to ask if we’d gotten any of our restaurant week stuff yet, and we said no. Eventually we got the rest of the courses- a tiny empanada, this time duck-filled, that came with a sadistically spicy peanut sauce, a miso soup that was supposed to be South-American-ified with cubes of queso fresco instead of tofu, but which were not present in our serving, that crazy pork brick, and a mango pudding that we asked to come out with the pork and our check because we had been there for eons and wanted to get back to PAX. Everyone was really nice- the waiter, the ladies that brought the food out- but it seems like they have no idea where the food is supposed to go once it comes out of the kitchen. It was the same story at all the tables around us. A server brought a bowl of soup to a guy sitting next to us and then bizarrely sort of accused him of trying to take a soup that he hadn’t ordered/paid for. At the table on the other side of us, a server brought out a dish of noodles but didn’t know what she was holding or who at the table ordered it, so she said, “I have some noodles. With, uh, vegetables?” And a guy was like, “Uh, I ordered the short rib noodles?” And she said “Yeah, I said that’s what this is.” So weird! Also, they had a giant dragon head ice sculpture. That’s neither here nor there, but in reckoning the pros and cons of a restaurant, you can’t not mention a dragon head ice sculpture. Also the bathroom is pretty. So you know. I guess I can’t recommend it. Unless you have lots of time to spend eating occasionally good and occasionally not good food and would enjoy watching the surreal theater of servers being sent out into a sea of tables holding something, they know not what, for someone, they know not whom.