Happy wedding my beautiful hippie chick and rocket scientist!

I was lucky enough to be invited to my pals’ wedding. Which was on a boat. ON. A. BOAT. It was epic and awesome.

Mazel tov was happily shouted at sunset after breaking some glass. Much folksy dancing occurt. Happy smiles abounded. Many glasses of grog were consumed.

Appetizers, yaaaay! Plus passed apps. I may or may not have eaten half of the wheel of baked brie.

Meatacular and vegtastic dinner.
And then the bride and groom walked around to folks and were like “Soooo, you should start using the glasses on the table. Go get some grog. In the big mugs.” You’ve got it!
Desserts were awesome. Peanut butter mousse in a chocolate cup, cake pop, and pistachio pudding layers. So tasty!

And all I’m gonna say is that the groom and officiant had an awesome ending to the wedding. I’M ON A BOAT!

Halfmoon Salad & Sandwich Shop

Tasty salad, yay! I went a little extravagant on this one and ended up spending a little over $11 on it. Tee hee, whoops! It was so good, it was worth it, though.

Cucumbers, walnuts, avocado, beets (not from a can!), chickpeas, red onions, blue cheese, artichokes, mushrooms on top of some lettuce. Crunchy tastiness! Dressing on the side ‘coz I haven’t been into heavy salad dressing.

You can pay another $0.50 to get everything chopped, if you’d so like. Everything was fresh and tasty. Totally loved it.

Although, minor thing – I wish they had some salad combos listed, because I am terrible at coming up with my own combinations. This was a success, but I was wondering if the ingredients that sounded awesome in my head would actually be awesome on my tongue.

Oh, and BTW, this was a large salad. Who orders small salads for a meal? They’re salads. Go big or go home (hungry).

Coconut Flour Muffins

Coconut flour is my new obsession. It smells so coconutty and good! And it’s got a ton of protein in it – 2 grams in 2 Tablespoons. It’s also about 80 calories in 2T, but it doesn’t work 1:1 in conventional wheat/all purpose flour recipes – it’s much less.
It’s gluten-free, stupid low-carb, and but best of all, it tastes and smells DELICIOUS. Right now the co-op has it on sale for $5.02 per pound. Okay, that sounds expensive for a flour, but like I said, it uses a lot less in a normal recipe than regular flour would. I made some frozen berry studded coconut flour muffins. So tasty!

Coconut Flour Muffins
1/2 C coconut flour
4 egg whites
1/4 – 1/2 t baking soda
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 c coconut milk (or yogurt, or whatevs you’d like)
pinch salt

Bake 350 F for 15-20 mins for cupcakes/muffins.

Easy peasy, lemon squeezy! You can mix them all together – trust me, it’s okay. There’s no gluten involved to complicate matters. The coconut flour will really absorb all of that liquid and look just like a normal batter. I made 11 muffins/cupcakes with these amounts.

The texture is very light and fluffy – almost like a ricotta dessert. Very moist, too. So tasty! What a nice surprise. I was expecting something dense, or coarse.
I hope you’ll try making these – they are so easy and tasty. I hear there are some sort of healthy aspects to coconut flour too, so if you’re one of those health nuts, these might be a sort of healthy alternative to breakfast muffins or cupcakes. I haven’t done much research on the matter, but I just love the way this stuff smells.

But who cares about that stuff – they taste so good, you’ll want to make them over and over again.

Cauliflower Scardey Cats & Bunny rabbits

One night I decided to try taking a (rare) creative twist on cauliflower “pizza“/patties. Scaredy Cats & Bunny faces instead of circles!

I put some pureed and seasoned cauliflower in big cookie molds! Aren’t they cute? Bunny faces & scared kitties! Made of veggies!

First, you should start off with some boiled/steamed cauliflower. That’s it.

Then MASH IT! Mash it with a big ole’ masher! You can mash it for a while, but if you’re impatient like me…
You’ll enlist the help of your handy-dandy immersion stick blender to puree it into bits.
Tada! Then I added some cumin, romano cheese, garlic, and the teensiest pinch of salt. You can add whatever else you want. Egg is also a good binder, and I probably should have added some because I am terrible at eating enough protein.

Then take your pureed cauliflower and plop them into molds. Yaaay, cute veggies! I baked these so they were a little firmer, but you could also just put it on a plate warm as-is so it’s like mashed potatoes. Who can resist such cuteness?
I also made a few small circular “pizza” patties.

Fam in NYC, oh and food, too.

Just took a whirlwind trip to NYC. Aunt Cali & one of my fave cousins were in town! So we drove down (on the Taconic, like hell I’m paying $12 on the GW plus the 87 tolls to get in to NYC!) one night, and spent it with Maka and CVS, my awesome bro & sis. Ordering sushi, natch.

$1 sushi & sashimi slices makes me a happy girl.
$6.50 Naruto roll. Cucumber outside, avocado & tuna inside. Tasty and refreshing!

Albany John got a roll with hamachi, sake, and toro. Plus some cuke and tobiko. Tasty, too! I wanted to meet up with YehYeh, but I had a cold and I didn’t want to get him sick, too. I feel so badly being in the area and not seeing him, though, or even telling him I’m there.

Mmm, more sushi rolls.
Spicy tuna, white tuna, and a specialty roll of some sort. I think we ordered about $70 between the four of us, $35-40 of which was me. Hey, I like sushi. Albany John was like “Hey, make sure you take it easy honey, this is usually where you hit the wall,”

And then I ate all of my food, and started eating his sushi. To be fair, I have been extraordinarily hungry lately.

The next morning we woke up and went to the Barking Dog on the UES. I even found parking on the street after trying to pay for parking twice, and no attendants being around. Yaaay, lucky! I consider it my reward for driving through 5 miles of Queens Blvd and catching every. single. light. on the way there.

Started off with some beverages. To quote my awesome DC cousin (who was also up for the event), “Boozy cousins brunch!”. Yaaay!

Rare burger for me! More like medium, though. Premade patty, too. But there was some pink, so I was happy enough. And it actually tasted quite beefy. So that was nice. Coleslaw was gross, though. Prices were totally awesome for the UES. I always get a kick out of dining in the UES of Manhattan because all of the meats are super low fat. Those UESers love their low fat meat on buttered carbs, heh.

Albany John got a waffle, fruit. Nom. Yes.

I don’t ever think I’ll spend enough time in the city.

Gelato in Colonie Center

Went to Colonie Center to check out the gelato in the food court with Daniel B. and Albany John one night. Albany John was pulled by some sort of tractor beam into the video game store, which led to some gelato sampling and chatting.

Me: “Oh, I like the pumpkin,”
DB: “Yeah, it’s pretty good,”
Me: “Wanna split one?”
DB: “WHAT?! GET YOUR OWN!”

I think sharing has to be a girl thing.


Strawberries & cream and pumpkin gelato for $3.24 with tax. And they take credit cards! Yaaaay! (I’m so bad at actually carrying cash)

The pumpkin was awesome. Not too sweet (although I’m sure the Profussor will say it was sweet), and lots of pumpkin-y flavor. Not too creamy in a good way.
Strawberries & cream flavor was a little weak on the berry part, but otherwise tasty.

You get 3 scoops with a small – totally enough to share BETWEEN TWO PEOPLE after a meal, or whatevs.

Beefsteak

Albany John and I went to the Beefsteak event at Wolff’s Biergarten this Saturday. So much fun!

I bought the tickets as soon as I read about it on Friday Puppy and anticipated its arrival like most wee children do Christmas. Waited in line for a bit until the doors openedand then we soon made our way inside. I’d read the NY Times article on Beefsteak before, and I’d always thought it sounded like a great idea. I was beyond excited when I knew I’d be able to try it up here!


There was a procession of meat by all of the staff. What a joyous moment. Trays of meat! Trays of meat!
The delicious bits were brought in on platters, and served with tongs on to everyone’s platters. Nom. Sidebar: The gent above also had awesome hair.
Here’s Mark serving me some delightfully rare beef tenderloin. I asked him after the fact if he minded that I took his picture, and he was like “No, that’s why I was trying to look all serious,”

And then he came back and said “Now, if you’d have asked, I would have posed for your picture like this. Cheers!”

OMG, I <3 Mark! He's got a perfect personality for being in the service industry. Super nice and friendly.

First round of beefsteak. It’s thin slices of bread with slices of beef tenderloin placed atop. With butter. The first few rounds were light on the butter, but it quickly became a decadently fatty affair.

Here’s round 9324098-0424. So much deliciousness! You didn’t have to eat the bread, either. Many folks used them as markers to see how many slices they’d had. Some tables had impressive stacks of bread.

The beef was SO tender and tasty! Look at how deliciously rare that was! There were pre-dressed salad bowls and french fries passed around in addition to the beef, and free-flowing dark and light beer. I forget what kinds, because I’m bad at telling beers apart other than it tasting like beer.

Everyone seemed to be in a jovial mood. It’s so rare to see an entire restaurant full of really happy people. I loved the staff in their long sleeved uniforms and bow ties. And Matt’s glasses were super awesome! They plan on having beefsteaks quarterly, and if you weren’t here for this one, make sure you keep your ears perked for the next date. So much fun! I think next time I will dress up all 1950s-like.

Bested by bread. I had more than the number of slices on the plate – I ate a bunch of bread slices, too.
Friehoffer’s cookies at the end! What a sweet way to end a nice event.

It was $45 per ticket, and then you tossed down whatever cash you wanted at the end to tip the (very accommodating) staff. I thought the ticket pricing was quite fair, given that Wolff’s was shut down for 3 or so hours for the event, and it was such a unique experience with a great atmosphere (and hey, grossing close to $4,500 in 3 hours is awesome for a local business).

I look forward to going again, and hope to see you there, too!

Tour de Donut a Deux (1.5 weeks later)

A week and a half late, and many dollars short, here are my fave/only pictures of the 2nd Annual Tour de Donut.
Maybe you can tell what my favorite place was… Oh, I’ve nver been good at hints or subtlety. Golden Harvest Farms FTW!
AND THEY HAD PEARS AND GRAPES!


And sacks of delicious donuts.
How good do they look?
It looks like an average, perfectly (almost toooooo good looking) donut from one side.
And then you turn it and see nooks, and perfect imperfections. And when you hold it, you feel the light and crisp exterior.
Which gives way to the fluffy interior with perfect apple cider flavoring.
And then we went to Love Apple Farm where Albany John got some so-so Mexican food ’cause he was all like “I need to eat real food,” and I was like “Um, hello, we just had donuts!” and he was like “No, that isn’t real food,” WHATEVER.

The rice was gummy (like Mexican fried rice), the tamale was supposed to be “very hot”/”Extra spicy”, but I couldn’t tell it had very much flavoring in it, much less a spicy kick. But their presentation was really pretty, so there’s that.

Big props to Daniel B for loaning my Sista a sweater during the chilly and somewhat rainy tour!

Why I Don’t Shop at Price Chopper

It all started with one little tweet.

Price Chopper sent me a tweet inviting me to a baking class.

Daniel B got the pot a stirring with his tweety thread which was filled with some entertaining theories as to why I don’t shop at one of our local grocery chains.

My reply and their following response was here. Basically, a thanks but no thanks since I don’t shop at Price Chopper stores (I don’t know what it is, but I hate not responding to direct invitations). Their response was along the lines of “Bummer, sorry about that! How can we do better?”

I feel like I owe you all more of an explanation on why I don’t shop at Price Chopper, since there was so much interest in the subject. It’s actually pretty simple.

I don’t shop at Price Chopper any more because of multiple poor experiences in-store, followed up by rude customer service responses. I know that sometimes retail folk can have their off days, and that’s when having a solid customer service team can really help repair a situation.
Unfortunately, every time I’d called/emailed/passenger pigeoned Price Chopper, the response from their customer service reps were always the same. Essentially a “Well, you did XYZ. It’s your fault it happened and we fully support the decisions/actions made by the store members.” kind of response. Somehow, it seems that taking customer complaints personally isn’t something new with Price Chopper.

I’d probably still be a Chopper Shopper if their initial customer service responses had been something along the lines of “We’re sorry about XYZ, please know that we value your business and will try to make your next experience better.” Maybe even a coupon if you really wanted to get crazy with things.
Cheap, cheap words to make a customer feel valued. Who cares if you don’t actually care with what the customer said? As long as you see in their records that they don’t call up eight times a week screaming that they were possessed by a succubus you put in your products, maybe your first steps should be a little bit of chillin on the hubris and trying to ameliorate any problems.

The first tweet response from Price Chopper I thought was quite nice. It was a tone I’d been hoping for as a response from previous calls to customer service.

Then I noticed another tweet that said they’d have someone else contact me to follow up. Did I want a follow up from customer service I’d previously been unhappy with? No, but I figured I could just ignore the email any way. I mean, I ignore all of the promos I get from Albany PR for Price Chopper.

It turns out, I almost tossed it in my junk mail, but I opened an email from incredibly generically-named sender Consumer Response, and titled CASE ID:263767. I was expecting the usual flattering prose from a lady or gent in Africa in need of transferring millions of dollars to the US with a princely reward, all for the simple request of my bank account number. Or maybe I’d won the Irish Lottery I never knew I entered. These folks are getting creative, I thought.

Instead I was surprised (and yet somehow, not surprised at all) to see a generically worded and addressed:

Dear Price Chopper Customer,

We are sorry that you have experienced a problem with customer service at Price Chopper. As we do not have record of you contacting us previously, please provide us with details regarding your concern, your name, and contact information, and we will certainly look into it.

You can reach our customer service team at 1-800-666-7667 (option 3), 8:30 am to 7:00 pm Monday through Friday, and 10:00 am to 4:00 pm Saturday and Sunday, or on our website at

Wow. Really personal, hunh? Especially since I’m not a Price Chopper shopper. To be honest, this made me less likely to want to shop at Price Chopper again. Not only did they send me an email I never wanted in the first place, but it was an email with a chore. It was also a different tone than their lighter tweeting, way more Corporate Machine.

So here’s the thing – I appreciate that there is some kind of effort being made, but I’d have much preferred interacting with better-trained customer service reps right from the get-go.