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Monday, June 28, 2010

shingetsu

So, Sunday night - Mother's Day - BuffaloRib - my middle sis wanted to take us to dinner, as Openheart - my oldest sis, Duwende - my nephew and I were leaving the next day. It was after 9 when we were finally off to look for a restaurant. After 9 on a Sunday, Mother's Day, is probably not a good time to be searching in Lakeland, Florida for an open restaurant.

We went to the Japanese restaurant/sushi buffet in Southgate. Southgate is that famous shopping center with the 50s style arch that some of the filming of Edward Scissorhands (one of the classic movies of all time) was filmed at. Of course, now that my palate and my stomach are much more discriminating, buffets throw up red flags, red flashing lights, emergency 20 inch thick steel barriers, and guard dogs trained to kill. But we were in Lakeland, and it was late, and this place was clearly open. So we scoped the place out. There was a long buffet line of sushi, with the sushi chefs standing behind the line smiling at us. Behind their old, scary sushi. You know how when sushi sits and it gets all shiny, and then it starts to dry out? That's how it all looked. Dark and shiny and scary. And I remember the hot food having lots of fried stuff.

So, we got back in our respective cars and drove on. Then we found Shingetsu. My sis ran out and asked them if they were still open. The little Japanese lady said, yes, I'll make sushi for you.

So we loaded out and headed in to an empty restaurant - expect for one chatty guy at the bar. We got a sake, and we all had a few thimblesfull. Duwende was running around checking out the place, but luckily, no one was in there. Openheart got a free glass of wine for Mother's Day, she could probably use it.


We got seaweed salad. This is almost mandatory for me. Unless it's not hydrated enough like the seaweed salad at Mitsuwa, it's generally always yummy.


Creepy Uncle H - my bro-in-law - got the chicken teriyaki, which came with soup and salad. Here's the salad with the carrot ginger dressing.

I gotta admit, it wasn't good. It was like the packaged coleslaw mix, with pureed carrot and a little ginger. It wasn't dressing, it was cold baby food.


Here's the miso. It was fine. I'm not gonna bash the miso when she was serving us after hours. Miso sits and it gets cloudy like that, but it still tastes fine.



Here was the chicken teriyaki. I don't know if I tasted it, but it seemed edible enough, it was a nice presentation. Teriyaki generally isn't my thing anyway - except for ribs, of course.




Here was the hamachi kama. It was cooked a little too low, the skin wasn't crispy, but I imagine all the equipment had already been off and it wasn't as easy to cook it properly as if we had ordered it an hour prior. It was still hamachi kama meat, which is yummy flavor unless it's old.




Here was all the sushi. Philadelphia roll, mainly for the Duwende. Caterpillar roll, dragon roll, salmon nigiri, conch, and... Shingetsu roll, or something like that - tuna avocado roll with more tuna on top. The rolls were all nicely rolled, and the rice was nice, and the fish was fresh.

For late on a Sunday, after the hellish 2 weeks we had, this was an amazing dinner. I got to hang out with my sisses, not having to rush eating to go somewhere. I didn't have to worry about my dad, my mom was hopefully going to be moved to a rehab within a week, and I was finally going home the next day to see the Food Pimp and the cats. This was the longest I had ever been away from the Food Pimp since maybe I had moved to Boston. This was our last supper of sorts.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Escape to St. Pete

So, Saturday. I had been in Lakeland, Florida for 11 days, following my mom's stroke and her rush to the hospital. I had probably seen my mom a total of 15 hours the whole time I had been in town. My sis and I were both winding down our stay. We had decided on a rehab facility for my mom, pending her release. She was less responsive whenever we came to visit, but I kept wanting to believe it was because she had tests, therapy and visitors in the morning, and we rarely got there before 11am. This was one of the inconveniences of me not having a vehicle - and having to help take care of the needs and wants of a 3 year old and a 79 year old. But, we were getting things done.

So, Martha - the lady that my parents had rented a room from until their house was to be completed - was going to the beach overnight with her sisters and daughters and nieces. She had asked if we could stay at her place with my dad. I'm not sure if she was worried about my dad or about her place with him in it alone. So my sis and I got up and packed the car and headed over. My dad was not there. We put our things in Martha's bedroom. Openheart, my sis, got on the computer. My nephew, Duwende, discovered the organ as soon as he walked in. He figured out how to turn it on and was playing it. Of course, I felt like I had to keep an eye out so he didn't break the thing. I found the toy box and tried to distract him with a plane or boat or some boy toy. It distracted him for a half a minute. Then he was exploring the house.

So, to give you some backstory. We were staying at my bf's dad's house. My parents had demolished their house, foundation and all, and they were rebuilding on the same site. So my bf's dad is anal. He has a very clean house, with nice expensive things. As his kids say, he decorates like a gay man, but allegedly he's 100% straight. So every night, Duwende would run around and pick up expensive decorations in one room, run around with them, and then put them somewhere else. Crystal hearts and whatnot. There were these like crochetted or knitted coasters with different birds on them - cardinals and bluejays and the like. Two were on end tables to place the remote controls on. Others were on the coffee table. So they all faced a single direction, and they were carefully placed on the tables. Every morning or night, Duwende would shuffle them, put them all on a table, not organized. Then every night or morning, they would be put back in their "home positions", the two with the remote controls back in place. It was tiring to try to stop the kid from rearranging everything, as the whole day was spent running errands with my dad in very exhausting and inefficient ways, sitting with my mom, looking for positive signs of change, trying to keep Duwende in line/ entertained and not crying.

So, when we went to Martha's, there was a whole new level of vigilance to be employed. Martha's house has 100 times more breakable valuable stuff. It's like a museum. There are tons of glass doored curio cabinets with doll collections, glasses, figurines - lots of Hummels. So Openheart was on the computer, and I was trying to keep Duwende away from the cabinets. But he couldn't resist. The cheap plastic toys weren't nearly as intriguing as the expensive porcelain houses that looked like the houses set up on model train towns. The kid is obsessed with trains. Everything references a train in some way. So it was very important to Duwende to get to those houses, and rearrange them, and bring them to different parts of the house and leave them there. But I knew he couldn't touch them. Once he touched one, it was all over. Bring him back, give him a toy. Catch him at the cabinet, bring him back, give him a toy. Tiring.

So, I decided to eat. I heated up our leftover Jamaican food. I ate some, then Openheart and Duwende decided to eat. But then, Big Boy (my dad - it's a funny nickname because he's the tiniest man without being a little person) came back. He shuffled into the kitchen from the garage. He saw Duwende apparently trying to get into the glass case again, and he started yelling at him. We went to see the commotion, and Big Boy started yelling at us about how expensive everything was and we would not be able to afford to pay for if Duwende broke something. So Openheart took Duwende in and tried to get him to eat.

So, then, Big Boy shuffled into the kitchen, where we were. He went around to the table, opposite my sis. He started yelling at her about making an appointment for him with the contractor to settle the final installment payment for the house. He said she wanted to control everything, and how he couldn't just pay without checking everything - it would take at least a week, etc, etc. If she wanted to control him it would put him in the poor house. She yelled back how she was just trying to help, she didn't have to be there at the meeting. He got very angry (which is very easy) and he raised his fists at my sister across the table. Openheart provoked him, saying go ahead, hit me. Duwende curled up in the fetal position on his chair, and I yelled at my dad. He had a crazy look in his eyes. I said something like, "No. You don't raise your fists anymore." We had a stare down, but I was so pumped with adrenaline, I didn't back down. I knew I couldn't touch him. If I had so much as pushed him away, he probably would have fallen to the floor and cracked his head open. That's how small he is. So we went to Martha's bedroom and gathered our stuff and packed the car. I grabbed some of the food from the kitchen - provisions. We walked out, and Big Boy was still just sitting at the kitchen table not moving when we left. Openheart smoked a cigarette. We went to the hospital. We decided to go to St. Pete to visit Lavender and her family. All the emotion and commotion and running to Lavender's house for asylum felt like my childhood. Our families were very close at one time, and her family knew a little too well about my dad and the abuse. And now, as an adult, I felt like a helpless battered child.

So, the family welcomed us with open arms and paws.

This little guy, Ricky Bobby (that's his real name - the Will Ferrell character in Talladega Nights) greeted us at the door. Lavender picked him because, when her and the husband were discussing dogs, they decided they didn't want to have to pick up big poops like ones that labrador retrievers make. So she picked the smallest Papillon instead. So Ricky Bobby jumped right up to kiss Duwende, and knocked him flat on the floor. He was terrorized, but damnit, that was a total youtube moment if I'd ever seen one!

So we dumped our stuff in the front room, and then the husband, we'll call him Silent Bob, cooked us dinner. Lavender had bought some pita chips and hummus, because she figured that's the type of "exotic" food we would eat. And of course, we ate it. They had a Zephyrhills water cooler, and we drank water out of little plastic kid cups, so I had to refill every other drink I took.

As she was talking about the "hippie food" that we must eat, Allen, her son, said something about being allergic to bananas. Openheart told him, he probably just had a bad reaction to bananas because they weren't organic. So then he started asking Lavender to only buy him organic bananas from then on.

So Silent Bob whipped up some steak quesadillas.


They were making jokes about cooking for a chef food blogger - but I gotta say, the inviting warmth of the home and the company and the food, it was so comforting. Those were the best damn quesadillas I have probably ever had in my life. I gobbled them up!

They had strawberry shortcake... but for whatever reason I didn't want any. I was too tired and worn and jaded and... just didn't want something so sweet at that time.


So we watched some episodes of Community that I had not seen. Community is like their family's favorite show that they watch together. It happens to be probably my favorite current sitcom. So that was great.

We went out to look at the pool and hot tub, the nonworking boat they have in the marina - poor things. We looked at the landscaping.

I got to see how small Ricky Bobby's poops were - I stepped on one on the carpet. Thankfully, he wasn't a labrador retriever, or that would have been some big poop, and I probably would have slid across the floor and pulled a calf or something.
Later on, Openheart came and said, I think Ricky Bobby ate some cheese. Lavender was confused, they didn't have any cheese out. He had dug the cheese out of my purse. In our flight from Martha's house, I had grabbed the block of cheese we had been snacking off of, and I had shoved it in my purse. So, he had eaten almost half of the block! And he was like a tiny dog who weighs less than my cat! I felt really bad. But Lavender and Silent Bob both seemed very nonplussed about the whole situation. Well, Lavender thought it was weird that I had a block of cheese in my purse... which of course, was weird.

We stayed up pretty late talking.

Then we got up early. It was Mother's Day. Violet gave Lavender a handmade card that said what a beautiful mom she was. Lavender cooked bacon, and she made a pot of french press coffee. She had bought almond milk because that's what Openheart drinks. Neither of us drink milk - I drink soy milk, but Openheart can't drink soy. So Lavender made Allen taste the almond milk. He was hesitant, but then he liked it. He liked it so much that he made Lavender buy it from then on.

They took us to the beach. A little locals beach. I sat in front in the Odyssey, and Silent Bob gave me the rundown of the areas we were driving through. There were alot of empty store fronts. It seemed like a sad nice place.

We got to the beach, and when we were unloading the car, we lost Duwende. We didn't see him anywhere. So we ran up the stairs, and there he was, in the sand, almost to the water! This was his second time seeing the ocean, but I guess he was drawn to it. And it was so warm. Like bathwater. I had not brought my swimsuit - I didn't have any thought that I would be going to the beach when I hurriedly packed. So I just had a tshirt and shorts. I did have a sports bra on, but all my sports bras are old and loose, so I kept the shirt on and just waded in the water. It was nice. I could live there. There on the beach, that is. In St. Pete or Tampa maybe - not Lakeland.


There's Lavender and Silent Bob. Lavender said how they don't take it forgranted that they live so close to the beach. The Food Pimp and I don't go to the beach in San Diego as much as we would like, living so close, but we never take it forgranted. The smell of the air as you drive to the beach. The driving around in circles, looking for parking, the traffic and tourists. The overpriced waters that they have at the convenience stores by the beach. The wind, the cold water, the dirty sand, the lifeguards waving you in if you are having too much fun in the big pacific swells, the no alcohol on the beach rule - I don't take any of it forgranted.

Anyway, it was almost 1pm. My other sis, Buffalo Rib, was already at the hospital. So, I said we had to leave. So we packed up, and Silent Bob, ever the gentleman, got the Odyssey and picked us up by the showers. As we were loading our stuff, a girl walking by said, The Food Ho? (Actually, she said my real name) and I said Absolut (again, alias). This was my friend of a friend from New Orleans... here at Sunset Beach in St Pete. Weird.

Silent Bob informed me that the gay beach was the next beach over. For some reason, he kept pointing out the gay areas of the city to me. Was he inferring something? People have thought that TFP and I were married for convenience before. I'm a little butch, TFP spends a lot of time doing his hair, but a lot of guys do, these days. Okay, he spent a lot of time doing his hair back when it was gay to spend a lot of time doing hair, and he notices appearances, specifically shoes. Wouldn't this be embarrassing if I'm one of those women, who years from now find out the dirty little truth, and it's one of those situations where people whisper behind my back,"I always knew." Of course, I feel like sometimes that's what people are waiting to hear about me. For my mom's God's sake, my own husband thought I was a lesbian when he first met me!

Anyhoo, getting back to the topic at hand, food. We went back to the house, and Lavender fried up some lumpia for us.


She had been nervous the whole time about me writing about them in my blog, because of my less than generous descriptions of friends and family. Also, because when I slam a restaurant, it can be pretty ugly. I do have to say, that I've had to keep the blog a secret from certain people, who I've written unflattering descriptions of, or who I expect that I one day will write unflattering descriptions of.





So, I'm not kissing Lavender's ass. But they were damn good lumpia. They were just shanghai lumpia. They were just seasoned meat, which I am a big fan of. She mentioned how some Filipinas (I don't know of any Filipino husbands who make lumpia)put the stuff and the raisins in their lumpia. I hate raisins in lumpia. It's almost as gross as finding a fly in my food. Almost. But yeah, I give her lumpia the thumbs up. We crunched them up and ate em. She packed the leftovers for us to bring, but sadly, we left them on the kitchen table.

That brief stay was so comforting. They are really a very funny and loving and lovely family. So it was a nice time, and we were happy to have hung out with them. I was anxious to get back to the hospital, but at the same time, I didn't want to see my dad. We got there, and it was like grand central station. Everyone was coming in. There wasn't enough room in the hospital room for everyone. The physical therapist came in, and she didn't want us all in there, but she didn't kick us out. Finally, I walked out. My dad was having a loud conversation with one of my mom's friends - because he is only capable of having loud conversations, of course. This was not helping my mom at all. Finally, my sis told them to not talk loud and to leave the room. Needless to say, the physical therapy did not go well.
I wondered silently if anyone had realized that not only was it Mother's Day, but it was also my parent's anniversary. I didn't bring it up.

Later on, Lavender told me that Ricky Bobby had been having big soft poops, but other than that, he seemed fine.

Friday, June 25, 2010

silver ring cafe in bum... I mean munn park

So, there's this cuban cafe in Munn Park in Lakeland called the Silver Ring Cafe. It's been there since I remember, back when we called Munn Park Bum Park. That's when it was shady and full of bums. But several years ago, they cleaned it up and put kinda trendy little restaurants and stuff there, for the downtown workforce I guess. I'm not sure where people work downtown, because most of the business buildings downtown are empty.

I went once to Silver Ring with my bf, and we were grossed out because they stacked the loaves of cuban bread on the shelves naked. When we went in this last time, they didn't have the naked bread on those shelves... times have changed, but the menu hasn't. We decided we were going to the park to let the Duwende burn off all that energy he always has - right before he gets tired and cranky. So we got cubans to go - sandwiches, that is.

So, when we ordered, they asked, do you want everything on your cuban. And my response was, sure. But when we got to the park and I opened it up, I thought, why the hell is there mayo, lettuce and tomato on my CUBAN? It was "dressed" like a po boy!!!!!



And when I say dressed - it was like a special occasion, like prom or something! There was just an inordinate amount of mayo. Anyway. Cuban - roast pork, ham, swiss, lots of pickles and mustard. That's all. There were like 2 pickles on it. I think without being dressed, it would have been a good sandwich.

The crab croquette things, on the other hand, were gross.

Okay, so getting big fried crab balls to eat at the park on a hot day was probably not a wise choice, but I was just trying to sample the cuisine of the city as much as possible. These were crabby in a bad way. Like, pasteurized canned crab way, or almost spoiled - those are kinda similar tastes. Anyway, we watched the Duwende interact with the other kids. This adorable kid a few years older - he looked to be a halfsie - took the Duwende under his wing for a while. He would grab him to go play on this slide or this play structure or that one with his siblings. But then, they went to the swings. They were swinging together. But then, the Duwende got off and stood behind the bigger kid, and of course got knocked frontward, and then on the downswing as well. Then that was that. That's one of life's lessons that I guess every child must experience first hand to understand.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Spice Island

So, there's one of those restaurants in one of those old service station buildings on Massachusetts by the hospital in Lakeland. These are always appealing to me because I assume the food is going to be delicious and soulful. This particular place is just that - Spice Island. I think it's funny that there's Island Spice on the West Coast and Spice Island on the East.



So I had been eyeing up Spice Island since I had first seen it. So one night my sis, Openheart and I decided to go there for dinner and then eat it at the park on the other side of Florida Ave. It was about 8pm. The place was closed. But this young Jamaican couple was talking to a guy through the chain link fence on the side, trying to convince him to open. Finally, he did. He said, curry goat or curry chicken only. That made it easy - one of each. And he charged me like $15 for the 2 heavy containers, and a ginger beer.





So, they were exactly the same, same sauce - just goat or chicken. I couldn't decide which one I liked more. They were both really good, not saucy, but I didn't miss the sauce because the meat had really soaked up the flavor. The rice was good. The cabbage was delicious. Not cooked down all the way, and not raw... just right.


I like the way it's overlabelled - Reggae Style - Jamaican Style - Reggae Country Style Brand - Ginger Beer - Soda. Anyhoo, it was delish, spicy and sweet, but not too sweet. Sometimes I find that ginger beer will just make me thirstier. This one did not.

So we were eating. Duwende was silently and methodically playing. But he wasn't burning enough energy. And then he was about to cross the road to the car, so I had to solve this. I had to play. So I climbed up one of the slides and made lots of noise and stuff. That got his attention. So he started running up every slide before he slid down it. So, I ran around on all the equipment, and he did too. Unfortunately, I was getting tired before he was. We went to the swings, we pushed him, then he pushed me, which is scary, because I was pretty sure I was going to knock him over on the down swing. I don't remember if I did or not....
This brand ginger beer, I have never seen

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Mickey Dee's and other food

So, when I say Mickey Dee's, I'm not talking about some college bar. You know... Mickey Dee's, McD's, McDonald's. What, not foodie enough for you? Well, the McRib is only a promotional limited seasonal for a short time only item. You gotta get em while you can. Actually, one night we were looking for a McDonald's with a playplace for the Duwende. He needed to burn off some excess energy from being pent up in the hospital. So we drove to like 3 McDonald's. At the last one we gave up and just decided to eat - after all he'd get a happy meal with a toy at least. So we went to the Mickey Dee's by my parents' house. I had had many a meal from there. We walked up to the counter, and the manager was standing there bitching at all the employees for just standing there. Meanwhile, the dining area was dirty. I mean filthy. Tables were not wiped, food everywhere. It was icky.

Anyway, I got 2 McRibs. No fries. Openheart got a McRib, a happy meal for the little one. And for the other little one, he had already eaten I guess, so he just wanted an apple pie. But of course it's like 2 for whatever price, so they gave him 2.

So Duwende somehow managed to like get his highchair apart or something. It was a little shabby. And most of his fries hit the floor. The floor was so gross already that we didn't bother to pick em up. Meanwhile, that bossy manager should have been having people clean the joint.


So here was one of my little McRibs. 490 calories for this baby. So if you want to see the grossness of the McRib in all it's naked glory...go to Fast Food Facts I believe I've studied the inside color of a McRib before, but it doesn't stop me from craving them. I believe they are made with a lot of the fatty porky parts that I love and others abhor because of the pure "fat" content of fat.





Here's a pasta fagioli from the food court at the hospital. I was all prepared to spend the night with my mom in ICU. So I went for some food and drink before going up there. It was a tasty soup. It was nice because I didn't get much time alone, and there weren't too many people in the cafeteria. It was a big disappointment though, because when I got up to ICU, they told me that my mom was not to have visitors overnight. She had been sleeping a lot during the day and restless at night, and they thought that she would do better without anyone there. That sucked, and I almost wanted to believe that she asked for no visitors. But, in the end, my sis picked me up, and it was probably better that way. Because that little pull out chair in the room is not comfortable at all.


Here is the cat that hung out in the backyard of the house we were staying at. This looked like my mom's cat when he was younger. My mom had adopted a cat for me when I was in high school. She brought him home, and we had to go get supplies for him. So, we took him in the car with us. He was on my lap, and he pissed on me. So, maybe he was always my mom's cat all along. I feel like whoever was the first person to pick the cat up and whisk it to their home is really the cat's mom. Anyway, I went to college, and this cat lived to be 17 or 18 years old, I think. He eventually became an outdoor cat. Sometimes, my parents would go away for weeks. The neighbor across the street would feed him. But as soon as my mom got back, he would be in the driveway rolling around, waiting for her. When he died, my mom was so grief stricken that it surprised her. She didn't realize how much she loved that cat.



Here's Duwende on the Bawney Twain Wide at Chuck E Cheese's. So one night, we went there during the visiting hours break. My dad laughed in derision when we walked in. The pizza is pretty effing expensive, and it sucks. But it was really all about entertaining the Duwende. As soon as he got past the velvet ropes, he was gone. We got some tokens and followed him around. Of course, he wanted to ride these boring little train rides first. I think he wanted to ride this one twice. But then he did the virtual rollercoaster which looked fun. It looked kinda crazy for a little kid, but he liked it. Big Boy - that's my dad - actually started to loosen up, and he enjoyed watching Duwende play all the games. Big Boy would have never have set foot in a Chuck E Cheese when we were young. I remember going to Chuck E Cheese's for friends' birthdays, but never with my parents. We got our pizza, and they bring it on this silicone pan. It just looks and tastes like some frozen pizza, which I'm sure is what it is. I realized how bad my dad's arthritis was, when he had trouble cutting a slice of pizza with a plastic knife. So after we ate, Duwende ran around and we had to unload the rest of the tokens. He tried to play these games that were for older kids. I tried my hand at the hoops game. It was really hard! My dad actually joined in, but of course, the hoop was so high and far back that he couldn't make any. This was the most fun I'd seen him have in... in as long as I can remember. Maybe if he had gone to Chuck E Cheese's when we were young, he would have loosened up some and not been as mean and cranky.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Reececliff

So, one of the positive things that came out of my mom's stroke, was that I had to turn to help of one of our old childhood friends. Our families had a falling out years ago, and we had not talked since. I am not much of a chatty cathy when it comes to picking up the phone, but since my mom's stroke, I'd had to make a lot of calls I didn't necessarily want to make. But one call I did make, and I'm very grateful for is my friend Lavender. She lives in St. Pete, and she's a physician, so it just seemed right to call her. And she has been a big help ever since.

So she came to the hospital 2 days in a row. On the second day, she brought her kids, who I've never met. She wanted to pull us away from the hospital and get the kids to play, and give us a break. We drove around Lakeland and showed them the spots that we used to go to as kids. We went to Lake Morton and fed the swans and ducks and other birds - 2 store bought loaves! This is kind of unheard of, because as kids, we were only allowed to use the old stale bread that we had on hand, so it would generally only be half a loaf.





So we saw these mounds on the brick and trees. They looked like pale urchin roe, or bubble gum. We were wondering out loud what they were, and someone said they were snail eggs.

I wondered if you could harvest them and eat them...but I didn't try!

Sadly, there aren't as many birds around the lake as there used to be. Partially, I guess because of a heinous fraternity prank. Some dumb kids birdnapped and killed some of the black swans, so they removed them from the lake for their safety.

On to more happy topics...
food.

So we went to eat at Reececliff. It's an old diner that I think I'd only been to once with my sisters and their friend. I remember their friend saying, don't get the tuna salad because they sneeze in it. And I was deathly afraid to get it, even though it wouldn't have been my first or second choice anyway.

So, Reececliff closes at 3 or 4, so we just made it in time. There was only one or two customers left. This was kind of okay, because Duwende did not use up all his energy yet, and he was not having sitting still and eating. So, I got the reuben and the jello. Well, actually, the name of the jello was something like congealed salad. Sounds gross, eh? Well, we were all envisioning that ambrosia salad that they have in grocery store delis. It wasn't though. It was just a red block of very gelatinized jello with some fruit on top. Anyway, the reuben was alright. I think it was too damn hot, so I wasn't very hungry.


Lavender got the chicken fried steak and green beans, which looked delicious.


The kids got chicken fingers and grilled cheese. I can't remember what Openheart got, because apparently, I didn't take a picture of her food!

So, we also went to Lake Hollingsworth and took pictures on "the tree" that we used to climb as kids.

Here's Duwende with Lavender's kids - Allen and Violet. It was a very nice time, but not quite a distraction of what awaited us back at the hospital.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Old Italian

So, one of the old school restaurants in Lakeland, FL that church groups, school glee clubs and little league teams would go to is CDB on Memorial Blvd. That area is anything but thriving, but CDB is still open. I had never been there. But the Wednesday after I had arrived in town, that is where we went for lunch. For those of you who didn't read the previous blog, my mom had a stroke, so I had flown in to see her. This was our first family meal - excluding my mom and the Food Pimp and the nephews. My 3 year old nephew had gone to stay with his other grandparents in Orlando. So, I really don't think we've ever, EVER gone out to eat without my mom - my dad, my two older sises and me. There would have been no reason or occasion for that. So, there we were. My dad never really ordered for himself. My mom always ordered for him. She would either pick his entree, or give him choices to pick from. This time, he was on his own. So, of course he had soup. So the choices of the day were tomato bisque or vegetable. So I chose tomato bisque for him, vegetable for myself. That way, if he didn't like it, he could have mine. He seemed fine with the bisque.





So, at this point, I think I should stop and give everyone the coveted/despised nickname. Maybe I owe it to my family to call them more than sis. But you know, there's such a responsibility with giving aliases, that more often than not backfires on me. Oh well, that's kinda my thing.



My bro in law - Creepy Uncle H - He kinda gave himself this name. To be discussed in a later blog entry.

My middle sis - I shall call her Buffalo Rib - the Food Pimp and I like to eat buffalo wings and bbq, and we know that my sis and her hubby do too, and she's also a strong person in general... strong, like buffalo rib!

My oldest sis - Openheart - she's very passionate and sensitive and she wears her heart on her sleeve

My nephew - Duwende - this is so perfect for him. These are mythic philippine creatures. They are little house elves who can be benevolent or mischievous, they get angry if not fed, they take your posessions and hide them, or they can be helpful.

The "landlady", the friend of my mom's who my parents were renting a bedroom from until their house was finished - we'll call her Martha - she's a patriotic lady with a flag in her yard and flag designed house keys.

My dad - Big Boy - seems pretty appropriate for him. (He's about 4'8 and shrinking)


So getting back to the food. The vegetable soup that I got:

It was flavorful. It tasted like a little old Italian lady was in the back stirring a big cauldron of soup.

Openheart got the salad - one of those nice looking italian jobs...


Of course, the old school plate of garlic bread came with the starters


So for grinders, I think we got either italian sausage



Or I got the Milano - cappicola, ham, genoa salami, olive salad, and cheese


So we had a pleasant lunch. Then back to the hospital. At some point we went to Home Depot or Lowe's or both. These are like my dad's two favorite stores. I know, that's how all dads are. But I sometimes think he wanted to build a new house, just so he had excuses to go into these stores every day. Anyhow, he had become obsessed with weatherstripping. He liked the weatherstripping that Martha had on her patio doors, and he wanted to see if he could find similar weatherstripping. He already had weatherstripping on the windows and doors, maybe not ther front door for some reason, but he just wanted to look for it, for some reason. A sales associate came by and asked if we needed help. Big boy tried to explain to the guy what he wanted. The guy called for an associate from that department and left us. That way Big Boy got to mumble about how they don't know anything there. So another guy came, and he said, whatever they had there on the floor was what they had. Of course, not the stuff my dad wanted. So we left. That was fun.

Friday, June 11, 2010

The month of May

So, I've been trying to get a new post up for quite a while. I know. It's nothing new, me dropping out of the blogging world for a month. But this time I have a legitimate excuse. The mother of all excuses. My mom was hospitalized during a stroke, and she hung on for a month before she passed away. So, I spent all of May - except for one week in Florida.

So, I'd been pretty much cut off from the world, not much TV, no internet, no news...
But I had to eat, even though often I did not feel like it.

I'm not going to bog you guys down with too many details of my mom's demise and my family drama. That's fodder for perhaps another blog. Let's just look at food, shall we?


So, here's my nephew and his butter chicken. This was at Cafe Roti, the indian restaurant across the street from the hospital. This one has a good backstory, actually. My mom was in ICU, and there was a 7pm - 9pm shift change when visitors were not allowed. So my sis and my nephew, my dad and me were walking down to the lobby. My dad is very hard of hearing, old, oh, and he doesn't like his daughters. So he said he was going somewhere, and he would be back at 9. My sis and I had no car. My dad had another car parked in the grass behind my parents' house, that supposedly only needed to be jumped. I asked him if we could go jump the car, and he started yelling at us about how he couldn't be with us 24-7. Which we were trying to explain if we had our own car, he wouldn't have to be. But, it was an embarassing scene in the hospital where my mom once worked, so my sis and I decided to walk out and go somewhere nearby to eat. So we went to the indian restaurant.

So, my nephew is adorable. But he did not want to be in that indian restaurant. Too boring, too quiet, no bed for nappy time? I don't know why. But we got to eat a little before he started screaming and crying at the top of his lungs, so my sis had to take him outside.




So here's the naan bread, which was nice and light and warm.






Here's the samosa, which was really good. I don't know why they had to put it on a bed of slaw mix veggies though. I got to hear the server say a couple times how she recommended it to every table. She said that when the place first opened the samosas were smaller or something, and they were terrible. She suggested they change the recipe, and then they became delicious. No comment there.







Here's the lamb and spinach. It was okay. I was starving, so at the time I gobbled it up. Until the terrible toddler started screaming. So I had a few more bites then had the food packed up. I felt so bad for this one table that had been there all through the tantrum, that I bought them a round of beers. That's what I would want someone to do if their kid had ruined my dining experience. Then again, that's probably part of why I don't have kids.

So, we walked back to the hospital and went back up to the waiting room. My dad was there, and he pointed an accusatory arthritic finger at me, and said, "when you parked the car, you parked it in a physician's space, and it is towed." I was confused, and puzzled. I didn't remember parking in an illegal space. I was confused and tired, not mentally sharp. But I thought only the ground floor spaces were physician's spaces. So, then I thought, he just lost the car. So, I said I'd go look for it. Of course he had to come with me. We went to the 2nd floor. There it was where we left it. And then I remembered - I hadn't driven. My dad had. He had parked the car there. But as soon as he lost it, thinking it was towed, he remembered me driving it and parking it illegally. That's how his mind works. I figured this was going to be a long week. I didn't even know a fraction of it.