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Friday, August 22, 2008

Haggling for Spaghetti

So, when I was a kid, I always wanted my mom around way more than she was. She was always at the office, at the hospital, at the nursing home. And then when she was around - sometimes she would be 'on call' so we would be at the mall or wherever, and then we would have to leave for her to go to the hospital. I really missed her a lot, but I didn't understand that that was work. And she has provided so much for me throughout my life.

Anyway, I feel like the absent mom with my blog. And I can't say that I'm providing fodder for the blog, because I have mixed feelings about writing about work on this blog. I don't want to mix the two too much.

So if you've been reading the scant entries I've been posting lately, the Food Pimp and I have not been the healthiest of eaters lately. We mostly eat just the one meal right before bed. But there was this union tribune article over a month ago about food myths - like how eating before bed is really bad for you. The article said that how many calories you ingest is more important than when you eat it. I get it, but I must be wreaking havoc on my metabolism. I don't eat much all day, then a big meal right before bed, then maybe a big meal the next day for lunch, then not much for dinner that night, you know - inconsistence reigns supreme in my life right now.

Anyhoo, the other night, it seems it was Tuesday, we wanted a big traditional italian (okay, it's really american, I just wanted to say italian so that any italian reading this would be offended) dinner. We looooooove spaghetti and meatballs. How pedestrian, you say? Oh c'mon, read some of my other food blog entries. They are 12 out of 13 all pedestrian food blogs.

Anyhoo (I love that expression, do people still use it though? Well, if not, I'm going to retrofit it back into our vocabulary by overusing it) we thought we would order from Mazara. We used to go there when we first moved here. It's one of those charmingly cheesily faux decorated italian restaurants - but the people there are actually italian. So the meatballs were really good, and the pizza too. But the prices started creeping up. And then we got takeout. The prices would range from $20 to $42. I swear on the chorizo pig. (BTW, I hope no one misses the chorizo pig, I just kinda thought I would let him out to pasture for a while...)

So, we tried NY Pizza spaghetti, and it's pretty good. And it's close. And it's always under $20. So we always get NY Pizza. But on Tuesday, we wanted a change, so we ordered delivery from Mazara.

A lady took the order. She said, wait for the total. Then I heard her asking some guy what the total was. Then she said, $33 something. So then I said, okay, I'm going to have to cancel the order. So she hands the phone to this guy.

He said, yes, how can I help you.
I said, I just wanted to cancel my order, that's all.
He said why?
I said, because that's too much - I can't pay $33.
He said, tell you what (this is always an expression to be followed by something shady) I'll make you smaller portions. How many of you are there? Two?
I said yes.
He said, I'll give you the spaghetti, two small portions, one order of meatballs, the salad and garlic bread, $20.
He said, because what you ordered is good for 4-5 people.
I said, but we eat 3-4 people worth of food.
He said, I'll bring this to you, and if it isn't enough, next time you order, talk to me. I don't think I got his name - I was skeptical, but how could I not once at least, see what kind of meal haggling would bring to my doorstep.

So a while later, the buzzer went off. A guy walked up to the door, and sure enough, it was exactly $20. I paid. We took the grub.

The spaghetti was in those little aluminum pans. I want to say they are 6 inches. Well, they are not the big ones. The meatballs were in a separate container. 4 total. We said, well, at least there's lots of sauce. But as we mixed our spaghetti and meatballs, we noticed there was an awful lot of water in the spaghetti. Too much - like they ladelled the spaghetti and a cup of water into the teeny aluminum pan. The meatballs were delicious, though. So, I guess the moral is, don't haggle for spaghetti - you wind up with small watery portions.

So last night, as in Thursday night, we got spaghetti and meatballs from New York Pizza. The total was $17+. It was in the normal 9 inch(?) aluminum pan. So we each got 4 small meatballs. They were brown though. Overcooked, and no sauce on them. They were good - I've definitely had worse. The sauce was thick, but there was not enough. I swear when we order from New York Pizza after 9, there is always less sauce, because they are probably running low on it and they have another hour of service. So, yeah, two mediocre spaghetti and meatballs dinners. If you could take the Mazara meatballs and the New York Pizza portion with lots of thick sauce for the New York Pizza price, then that would be the perfect dinner.

Does anyone know of one of those church dinners, all you can eat spaghetti and meatballs, because we just haven't been satiated.....

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