What’s the rush?

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City people are always in a rush, it seems. I don’t know where they’re rushing to or why they’re even rushing sometimes. They just do. Even when there’s absolutely no reason to.

On the way out of the restaurant after this dinner, we were practically mowed down by this young father who comes barging down the narrow restaurant aisle wheeling his baby stroller straight at us!

There are tables and chairs, and diners on both sides of the aisle. But he didn’t even blink! There didn’t seem to be any sort of emergency. But who knows? Clearly this guy was on a mission!

For a split second, we stood frozen in shock as he continued his stampede towards us. Let’s face it, there was just no stopping him!! He was bent on flattening toes and sending little old women (the few in front of us) flying in all directions.

There was no time to warn anyone. We barely saved our own toes.

Stomach flu

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It’s been one of those nights *sigh*! Hip2bDaughter2 and I woke up at 2:30 am last night with stomach flu. I dare say the culprit was the yogurt we had at dinner that some irresponsible shopper had probably changed their mind about buying and left anywhere but the frozen section, and the store person had stupidly placed it back on the shelf, and I had unknowingly bought it.

We’ve had this experience with milk before on a number of occasions. So I have a pretty good idea how we ended with this horrible bout of stomach flu. We barely got any sleep last night and we barely could hold anything down all day today. Now I’m starting to get that uneasy feeling that I am going to be sick again.

Picky Eater’s Approved Restaurant List

Picky Eater's Approved Restaurant List
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It shouldn’t surprise anyone that we have our very own Picky Eater’s Approved Restaurant List, or PEARL, for short. It’s a list of the restaurants whose food pass our taste test. Lately we’ve had to strike a few names off our PEARL list due to deteriorating food quality, decreasing portions and prices creeping up behind our backs. Not naming any names here.

Eager, almost desperate, to find new places to eat, we looked online for recommendations and well, let’s just say we were sorely disappointed. For instance, we went to this Chinese restaurant that folks were raving about, all set to chow down on some delicious roast duck and look what they served us – duck bones!!

So to heck with those. We’ll take our chances with a few random places we’ve picked out ourselves. And man, did we find some ‘pearls’! Like this unassuming corner eatery where we found these super delicious barbecue pork puffs.

pork puffs

I love this stir-fried seafood noodles in herbal sauce with succulent pieces of fish, squid and the freshest shrimps (which is pretty rare). The sauce has a slight sweetness that made me drink it up till the last drop. Drinking sauce? Yeah, it’s that good.

Chicken chop with fries… and rice? Don’t ask me what’s with rice and fries sitting next to each other on the same plate, I don’t understand it either. But Hip2bDaughter2 loves this.

So slowly but surely, we are populating our PEARL list again… and that can’t be a bad thing. Looking forward to the weekend, as always, and more new eateries to explore.

Oh precious Sundays

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Our weekends are not the same any more. Instead of 2 days, we have Sunday-only weekends now. Which is a pain. As if weekends aren’t short enough. No thanks to our unapologetic neighbor who is doing some major work on his home.

He calls it remodeling, I call it bringing the house down!! The incessant pounding, drilling and grinding goes on. all. day. long. from morn till dusk. It’s INSANE!

We can’t watch videos. We can’t watch TV. Even with the volume on max, all we can do is lip-read. We can’t even have a conversation because we can’t hear ourselves. We’re down to hand gestures, lipsync-ing and mind-reading. Let me just say this. It doesn’t work very well!

Pounding, drilling, grinding SO LOUD it’s driving the entire neighborhood up the wall! I’m not kidding. Do the math. If that infernal racket is going on for 6 days, all day, from 8 till 6, how much is there left of the weekend?

You got it. Only Sundays. Sundays are our only day of peace and quiet, literally. It’s our only day to sleep just a wee bit. You guessed it, our baking Sundays have come to an abrupt end. No electric mixers, no blenders, nothing that makes more than a beep please. We just want one quiet day a week. Is that too much to ask??!

Oh gawd, is it Monday again today??!!

Tell me it’s Sunday, please!!

No magic in this movie

No magic in this movie
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Seems like the only time we eat popcorn is at the movies.

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Yes, we were at the movies yesterday. We happened to have a couple of free tickets to waste so we went to watch of all movies “Loopers”. Sci-fi and time travel? Sounds a bit iffy but we figured how bad can it be with Bruce Willis in it, right?

Wrong!!

It’s probably the worst movie we’ve seen all year. And we’ve watched like 2 cinema movies this whole year. So you can imagine 🙄 . By the second scene – tops, I had completely switched off. Plugging my ears with my fingers, I sat back and tried to catch a few winks BUT …

… the volume was so deafening, the random booms that went off made us jump out of our seats. Here we were, hoping to escape the unbearable construction noise from next door and the level of ear-popping was even worse here!! Many times worse!!

How’s that?? Seriously do movies have to be this LOUD?

Wokay, THAT’S IT! A half hour in and we upped and walked out!!

Went home, popped a bag of what else popcorn into the microwave and had ourselves a little tea party to calm those frayed nerves. The sound of those corn kernels popping was like music… if we could hear above the deafening din from next door, that is 🙄 !

When do you stop calling your kids “kids”?

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I wrote in an email to someone that I only ate a tiny bit of cake and let my kids finish the rest. Nothing wrong with that, I didn’t think… until I got a quizzical reply back that it’s funny I still call Hip2bDaughters “kids”.

O.kay? 🙄

So what should I call them?

I tried substituting various other possible words but none of them sound quite as endearing. I’ve always called my kids “my kids” and I suspect I will continue to call them that for as long as they’re MY KIDS 🙄 . What else would I call them otherwise.. they ARE my kids after all, at ANY age, no?

To me, it’s so obvious that the word “kids” means offspring. But to many folks, the word “kids” is only applicable to little children and then as those little children grow, they simply become your “children”. Maybe they studied a different brand of English than I did.

Actually I’m sure they did. And you know how I know? Because I’ve met so many folks who try to correct me when I say “I dropped Hip2bDaughter1 off at school” and they go, “You mean, at college?”.

Yes, of course I meant college, isn’t a college a school?

And when I say “Steev is away at school”, they are quick to insist, “You mean, at university?”.

Yes, of course I meant university, isn’t a university a school?

Dear Braggamama

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It’s been ages since our planets have come within 2 light years of each other and I was, in fact, beginning to thank my lucky stars when… well, just my luck that as I was packing to leave the gym, you should come walking in!

Okay, so you had me trapped between the machine you were on and where I was cooling off under the fan and air-conditioning. If I’d been hoping to get away with a hi and bye, I’d be kidding myself. It’s obvious no one runs into you and gets away with less than a deafening blast of your relentless trumpet.

You and I go back quite a ways. Your son and mine went to the same school, so we used to run into each other. a. lot. More and more, I was noticing a disturbing trend with you. You would ask leading questions like “Oh, did you go anywhere during the school break?” and…

… before I could open my mouth, you’d be rattling off details of your family vacations to far-flung lands, the new car you’ve just bought, the expensive private school you’ve transferred your kids to… as if I needed to know all that. No, seriously! 🙄

Now that both our sons are in college abroad (thankfully thousands of miles apart), your questions are centered around the topic of universities. Today your question was, when will Steev be graduating? Again, even before I could utter 3 syllables, you were off about which university your son is at, when he’ll be finishing and what’s next for him… 🙄

Great plans, good for you but it’s really none of my business.

As usual, I didn’t get a chance to say much. Just aha, hmmm, whenever you stopped to come up for air. I think you’d make a great diver, you can probably hold your breath underwater for a good half hour!

Sorry, I couldn’t help stifling mental yawns and rolling my eyeballs to my mental ceiling quite a few times. To be quite honest, I wasn’t not even listening half the time. I’m well-trained like that. I have lots of friends and family like you. So I’ve learned to switch off on demand.

Anyhoo, happy your son is doing well. So’s mine. And I hope you and I don’t run into each other too often.

What I’d like to be eating right now

What I'd like to be eating right now
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Can you believe I haven’t published a single post about food this week? Strange, I know. I find writing recipe posts a bit of a drag but food posts are okay. So let’s drool over some of my favorite foods.

I love, love, love this Cranberry, Apple, Walnut Grilled Chicken Salad. The minute I grab this off the counter at Carl’s Jr, my fingers are going crazy ripping open the little bags of dried cranberries and glazed walnuts. Once when I couldn’t crack them fast enough, I brought them back to the counter to have the guy cut the bags open for me.

When it comes to In-and-Out burgers, I’m usually quite conservative and never go beyond a single. I look across at the folks having double and triple burgers and I’m wondering how to even start eating it. Do you eat it one layer at a time, or try to cram all 3 layers in at once 😆 ?! It’d be interesting to watch me try it!

And Cheesecake Factory, I absolutely love. I don’t care how many thousand calories my order is. I really don’t. I don’t count calories so what do I care?!! I just want to get at my pasta. OMG, this is so rich and so so so fattening good! I can usually only get through half my serving with no room left for cheesecake. But then next day, I can’t wait to get to the leftovers. Yums.

Ack, I’m super hungry just looking at these pictures.

Quinoa and us, the anti-climax

Quinoa and us, the anti-climax
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I’m not sure what possessed me to buy a whole bag of this. But I did.

Yup, you see it right there inside that mushroom cap, peeking out from underneath the layer of cheese.

Quinoa!!

That’s right. Quinoa.

I’m sorry I can’t post a close-up because just looking at it gives me goosebumps! This is the best I can do. As long as I don’t see it, I’m fine. I mean, after all, it’s just a grain, right? And the name sounds so cool some celebrity will name their baby after it, just you wait.

So how was I to know an innocent grain could look so utterly unattractive when cooked?

Okay, here’s the story. I’ve been reading about quinoa. The rave reviews. The health benefits. The disclaimer, I’m not someone who falls for health fads like detoxes or enzymes or electronic belts that can jiggle away your belly fat (huh!), or whatever’s making the rounds on the internet today.

I prefer to err on the side of common sense and I do my homework before I even think about jumping onto the bandwagon. Exactly why I don’t bother with Facebook. Apparently some people (not all) get such a big kick from posting a bunch of bull. And people actually believe that bull!! 🙄

Quinoa, now that’s a different story. It’s not an urban legend. It’s not from an email spam written by some 10-year-old kid with too much time on his hands. Quinoa is supposed to be good for you and I thought we could actually be good together. But I just can’t stomach looking at it!

You know we don’t like to waste food. *sigh* So I forced down 4 of those quinoa stuffed mushrooms, Hip2bDaughter2 ate 3 with her eyes closed and Hip2bDaughter1 only managed 1 before she started to gag. We were laughing so hard we almost fell off our chairs as we tried to wash it all down with a gallon of iced lemon tea. Pretty traumatic but funny! 😆

Now I have a whole bowl left over! No one’s going to eat it. So it’s going to the dogs. Or birds. Literally. I’m dropping the whole bag of it off at the park with a little note to our feathered and furry friends, Enjoy and here’s to good health! Hip2bDaughter2, my animal lover, is going, Mom, are you trying to kill the birds in the park? Or the dogs? 🙄 No, honey, they’ll be in the pink of health when they’re done with dinner.

I have a whole bag of uncooked quinoa in my pantry! It’s expensive and I don’t want to waste it. What am I going to do? I’m thinking maybe I should make quinoa dog food for Tyson. Now where do I find quinoa recipes for dogs?

Our own table and other 5-star surprises

Our own table and other 5-star surprises
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While I’m known to rant quite a bit, I always give credit where credit is due. It’s just that there’s very little here that truly jumps out at me, ya know. So when something like this happens, it gets me giddy with excitement and I can’t wait to blog all about it.

In a city bursting with restaurants, there are only a handful that we frequent. We tend to avoid the ones that come highly recommended because from experience, those are usually the ones that fail our standards of food quality, hygiene, customer service and/or the Hip to be Picky Eater Index. 😉

At the handful of restaurants where we are regulars, it strikes me as really weird that their staff always act as if they’ve never seen us before. They don’t acknowledge us. They don’t remember how we like our orders. They don’t remember where we like to sit. Not only do we not get any preferential treatment – whatsoever, the service can sometimes be frustrating.

Friday lunchtime, the girls and I went to our favorite Nando’s restaurant outlet. This is the only one of all their franchise outlets that we go to simply because it’s probably the only place in town we know of where the staff are always smiling and happy to see us.

Mind you, this is not a Mom and Pop joint where friendly, personal service is a given. These guys just work there but still they would greet us loudly, sometimes in chorus, every time we walk through the door. They would nod us to “our” table with knowing smiles. Yes, we even have our own table!

Last Friday, we noticed our portions were super-sized. Our plates were heaped high, higher than usual, with our favorite grilled vegetables and peri chips, and they brought us an extra drink on the house. The girls and I usually share drinks (because we hate going to public restrooms) and these guys said, no, go ahead, have a drink on us.

When the check came, we were in for an even bigger surprise. We eat there so often we practically know how much our meal would come to. Only this time, the figure was wa-ay lower than what we normally pay. A surprise discount!

Okay, if I’ve ever doubted that good customer service exists, I take it back! This is definitely one for the record, and in case you’re wondering, the answer is no, we didn’t ask for a discount, we’re not on back-slapping terms with the staff though they always seem happy to see us, and I’m not getting paid to write this. 😀

 

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