I drank beer out of a boot and other stories

by janet on October 12th, 2010

Someone once said on a blog to not apologize for not blogging and just fucking blog. But I do feel I owe you readers an apology for being delinquent. I was out of town for a full week, which was really fun but exhausting, and now my froat hurts where my nostrils connect to my mouth cavity.

So. I was in Madison Sunday through Tuesday and then Minneapolis Tuesday through Sunday (palindrome?) – a conference extravaganza!

But, you guys! I has something important to report! Trees located in states outside of California seem to be infected by some horrible tree disease. They all have the same symptoms: (a) discoloration [I saw yellows, browns, and even reds]; and (b) leaf loss – they were in various stages of it but they were very much all losing their foliage and making a mess on the ground. I saw children being terribly insensitive to this devastating epidemic and making mounds of the infected leaves and jumping in the piles. Assholes.

Anyway, here are some notable things I did in Madison:

(1) Drank beer and ate popcorn at Memorial Union Terrace on the campus of U Wisconsin, overlooking the lovely Lake Mendota. With the unseasonably balmy weather and unreasonably salty popcorn, this was pretty much my idea of heaven. But then I was startled out of my reverie by a terrifying siren/alarm that blared across the campus and lake. Since I’m Japanese, it is in my DNA to expect a Fat Man or Little Boy to detonate after such a siren. When I looked around to see if anyone else was as frightened as I was, however, I spotted no other Japanese person, and in fact, no other Asian person even, so I had to suffer my fear alone. It turned out to just be the daily notice at dusk for the boats to come back in off the lake.

(2) Drank beer out of a boot at the Essen Haus. It was a giant glass boot filled with two liters of beer. I believe it is tradition to drink Spaten Lager, so we did. The main rule was that the second-to-last person to drink had to buy the next boot. Another rule was that you couldn’t put the boot down. Anyone who did had to put $1 toward the next boot. The brainpower of seven Ph.D.s put together realized that neither of these rules had much bite during the last round, when there was no fiscal consequence of being the penultimate drinker. So we altered the rules to state that the second-to-last person to drink on the last round had to buy the first round when tab-settling time came. Brilliant.

Another thing to watch out for, besides not leaving enough beer for the person to your left to finish off, was the big air bubble. A third rule was that you had to drink it toe facing up, which at a certain critical amount of beer would result in air rushing into the toe, creating a huge POP and foam and beer in one’s face. It sounds sexy but it’s not. Super fun, though, and I’m happy to report that yours truly paid nary a cent on the final bill. Do you has a proud?

Here are some things I did in Minneapolis:

(1) Ate at Taste of Thailand, pictured top. I ordered green curry, which is not on the menu but available. What I liked: the Thai eggplants, which were golf-ball sized and reminiscent of okra, and the peas. What I didn’t like: the curry was super sugary. I guess if you have to cater to midwestern gaijin sensibilities, that’s what you end up with, but you could have put the liquid on pancakes and it wouldn’t have seemed out of place.

(2) Gaped at the zombies for the annual Zombie Pub Crawl. Tagline: It just won’t die. We were warned at the conference that we should expect zombies to be milling about town “being weird.” lol. I learned that “Zombie Bride” is a totally played-out costume. The best one I saw was Zombie Ronald McDonald. No Grimace, though.

(3) Had a hotel room party in our suite. Liz was on the conference committee, which netted us the awesome suite with windows comprising two of four walls AND fifteen bottles of wine. We (OK, just me) thought it would be awesometastic to fill the bath tub with ice to chill the Pinot Grigio and Prosecco. Liz humored me and helped me go to the ice machine and back. After three or four million trips, I finally conceded “That’ll do pig” and snapped a picture of it with my new Droid R2-D2 phone!

(3) Ate at 112 Eatery where Liz had the foresight to book rezzies a month in advance. It’s been deemed the best restaurant in Minneapolis several times over. I couldn’t convince anyone to order sweetbreads, but otherwise I was blissfully happy with a number of standouts, in particular the tagliatelle with fuckin foie gras meatballs, and Nancy Silverton’s Butterscotch Budino.

(4) Went to Gay 90’s. I ordered two drinks – one for me and one for my partner in crime, Kurt. The bartender plopped them on the counter and said, “Two dollars.” Me: “Two dollars?!” Bartender, in a duh voice: “Yeah, it’s Thirsty Thursday. There’s a drag show too.”

!!!!!!!! Danger zone. I knew it but utterly failed to self-regulate. The two of us ended up buying and smoking an ENTIRE pack of cigarettes, sneaking into the back room [you have to go through the men’s room] to gape at the gay porn beamed onto the wall, poking a drag queen’s sweaty boobies because we thought they were so beautiful onstage, and realized that was the wrong drag queen and stalked the one with the actual beautiful boobies and poked those too. Soft.

Bushi-tei

by janet on September 30th, 2010

I’m proud to say that all these pics are better than the craptastic ones on their website

Feastery is having a special Bushi-tei tasting special, but you has to buy it by Friday at noon, so I’m going to quickly blog my own trip there recently.

It was on my radar because it is R2’s friends’ (Inigo and Sagan) favorite restaurant in all of SF.

I looked it up on Yelp and it’s a $$$$, and it’s French California Fusion. Thrilling!

We drove up to the restaurant, and something just didn’t seem to fit. I mean, there was a freaking fluorescent “ASAHI” sign in the window.

“How many four dollar sign places have beer ads in their window?” I asked R2.

“How many four dollar sign places HAVE??”

“How many four dollar sign places has beer ads in their window?”

We walked in and figured out that we were at Bushi-tei Bistro, not Bushi-tei proper. Although they are sister restaurants, the hostess at BT Bistro didn’t know where the other one was (?!?). The bartender piped up to say that it was just down the street.

BT proper is chic and sleek, and apparently the bathrooms have the fancy Toto Washlets, which I greatly regretted not experiencing but played it off by saying “DUH we like had those in Japan like from the early nineties, shoot.”

Three of us plunged in for the tasting menu, which, even though I knew about it from Yelp, still gave me sticker shock at $100 per person. Yowza.

Make sure you eat the mustard tentacle – best part

I apologize in advance for not having schmancy descriptions of these, but they were plonked on our table with the breeziest of explanations so I didn’t quite catch the details.

The amuse was a teeny puff pastry filled with tuna. It was not spectacular or innovative, and a bit reminiscent visually of Toledo scariness, but I popped it in my mouth and chirped a surprised MMM!

Next was ankimo (monkfish liver) nestled inside a raw scallop. It’s pictured top. It was very, very important, nay VITAL, that you compiled the perfect bite for each foray into the dish, or else it got…creepy. I mean, how big is the actual monkfish if a sliver of your liver is hockey-puck-sized? [Fun fact: “kimo” is slang for creepy in Japanese – so apropos.] I haven’t had ankimo in ages so I liked it, though I think the decadence of scallop AND liver, while an A++ combo if goose, gets a little fishy-intense when it’s fish liver. The whole dish, though, was brightened by the sublime green sauce, which I may or may not have dragged my fingers through and into my mouth.

Then, the pate pictured above, surely made out of exciting and luxurious bits of things, but I has now forgotten/couldn’t parse our Israeli (?) server’s English in the first place. Around here I started grooving to Bushi-tei and what Chef Waka (Waka waka! I’m sure he never gets that) was getting at. Once again, combining every element on the plate netted just rewards, with that tiny *crunch* of the microgreen nailing it.

All others’ risotto contained bits of crustacean, but mine was mushroom due to my powerful and annoying allergy. This was so delicious that the bowl may as well have been the tip of the world’s largest spoon, for I ate it in one bite. The skin was crackling, the anonymous fish was quiveringly tender, and the risotto lingered intoxicatingly at the back of my tongue.

Next came a spoonful of yuzu sorbet to cleanse the palette. Why don’t we do this at home? It’s so civilized and kinda awesome because it’d feel like having a bite of dessert in between each course.

Finally, Washugyu top sirloin with potato mousseline, haricot vert, and perigueux. This dish was the triumph of the night and also what you will get if you take advantage of the Feastery offer (except porcini instead of green beans even wow-er!).

No wacky camera angle please – I’m naturally fucking delicious-looking

Do yourself a favor, and if you ever see perigueux sauce on a menu, order it. Because it is a rich brown sauce made from MADEIRA and TRUFFLES. Magnificent. Possibly the work of the devil.

The beef, too – unholy. Outrageous! Mind-bogglingly delicate and buttery soft. Just the weight of the knife dragged across the surface cut right through. Excruciatingly delectable.

Dessert was standard issue chocolate souffle; I won’t detract from the beef description to talk too much about it.

Was it super awesome? Yes. Would I pay $100 for it? Probably not (thanks, R2!). Luckily, the Feastery offer is the whole shebangaroo for $50, so you should jump on it. If you’d like an invite to Feastery, comment or message me. I believe I has three invites to give away.

Bushi-tei
1638 Post Street (Jtown)
SF CA 94115
415.440.4959

For Inigo and Sagan: Hee hee.

My Pseudo-Cat Mochi

by janet on September 28th, 2010

Mochi’s Batman shadow is v. cute

There is this cat that hangs out in R2’s neighborhood. Its name, I have decided, is Mochi. I don’t know if it is a he or a she, but it is definitely a Kitler.

Mochi is fucking fascinated by Bootie. I have to admit Bootie is delicious-looking and both R2 and I have caught each other trying to eat her, but Mochi makes this joke a little too often, making me all “Dude. Mochi.”

Like the other day, when R2 left his door open, and lo!

Where the fuck is that chicken finger

I love it when Mochi breaches the homestead because it makes me feel like a cat owner without the accompanying stigma, and up close I can see her lusciously-soft-looking fur which is good mental fodder to fuel my late-night kitteh petting fantasies.

R2 has his own fantasies regarding Mochi. Or, more accurately, fantasies regarding the significance of his own pet.

Me: Ah. Here is an email from R2. I wonder if this email is about that vagrant that is squatting in the apartment near his that is freaking the neighborhood out. *click*

R2: Maybe – just MAYBE - Mochi is a cat from the future, a future where cats have risen to take their rightful place as Masters of the Earth. After years of failed Human stewardship, control of the Earth will finally be taken by those best suited to ensure its thriving survival. Planet of the Cats is better, cuter world – where humans serve their feline rulers. And Mochi is an adventurer-king, sent back in time to help facilitate and influence the very beginnings of this brighter future. He is accompanied by his faithful but eccentric human servant, Daryl. Under the best of circumstances, Daryl’s something of a Renfield, but this is accentuated/exacerbated once they are both stuck back in our time. They are reduced to living meanly on the streets (temporarily, until their mission is complete), and Daryl’s lack of amenities has enhanced his  appearance as a vagrant-type. Mochi, of course, retains his regal dignity, even on the street. His mission: to seek audience with the key to the future, a sage Animal seer who will provide guidance and counsel. But this wise, aged creature – upon whom ALL depends – is kept safely sequestered and protected – even from Mochi’s noble attempts at communication. Try as he might, Mochi has not yet been able to gain audience. And so the adventure continues – with Mochi determined to complete his mission and Daryl focused on honoring his Cat Lord – until such time as they can treat with this Animal Master of the past (our present).

In the future, pretzels are our enemy. That’s why.

At times like these, I really wish my name was Allie and I could illustrate this shit. For now, I will settle on a particularly elaborate kitty fantasy. Thanks R2.

Meritage at the Claremont

by janet on September 15th, 2010

Having a food blog, even if it is more than a food blog, has its drawbacks. For example, if your work colleagues get ahold of it and realize that your favorite word is not “science” but rather “nom” followed by “fuck.” Another example is that everyone turns to you for restaurant recommendations, which can be slightly pressure-ey.

Especially when you have not done your duty and fully explored the lovely East Bay offerings, except for one. Oh, and another. And another. And of course this. OK but my point is that when I had to organize a work dinner for six, I was quite at a loss, because Chez Panisse Cafe had no openings, so I had to pick the backup. I had a budget of $64 per person with tax and tip included, which meant I could click on the “$$$$” in Open Table. That was fun. But then, I confess I haphazardly chose the Meritage at the Claremont just because opentable said “You’ll get 1000 points for this!” (as opposed to the usual 100 points). Not that I even quite understand what points on opentable will net you, but it seemed like reason enough.

My choice was seconded (PHEW) by one of my colleagues, who was distant friends with the new chef (Chef Josh). Also, this dinner was to welcome three new colleagues, so we began with a cocktail on the Claremont’s lovely patio overlooking their insane view of the bay. I had a yummy white grape martini.

We were then seated at a big round table, in between a table that went through two seatings both with cute but fussy children and a table that was occupied by two distinguished, white-haired grownups all dressed up.

Our server was Mario who was awesome and cheerfully rolled with our rowdiness and excessive talk about poo.

First poo story: I shared the fact that Obama doesn’t like beets, and someone else (of course) piped up saying that they didn’t like beets either, at which point I talked about Ten Exposures Theory, wherein research shows that humans will learn to like any food after ten exposures, as long as it’s not rotten animal protein or feces. ReeRee’s friend is trying it – see this silly vid.

Tomatoes are still in season this year, and there was a special tomato tasting menu. Chef Josh said “No season for me is more eagerly anticipated than heirloom tomato season Purple Cherokees, Green Zebras, Striped Germans, Banana, Brandywines: The names are so tantalizing & varied as their flavors. Among the recipes here you will see instances where we use different parts of the tomato separately. It is worth taking the trouble to prepare them differently, to transform them into something special.”

Despite his three punctuation errors, I was liking this guy.

You know those team-building exercises where you have only some rope and maybe a ball and you have to get people or objects across a thing without touching the floor, etc.? The culinary equivalent of that is the Meritage menu. (Side note in what is kind of a side note already – they pronounce it “Meri-tahj” like Taj Mahal, even though the grape varietal that I suspect they are named after is pronounced “Meri-tage” like rage. Heh heh losers.) There were so many delicious-sounding options (e.g., Sonoma Goat Cheese-Potato Terrine: slow roasted coke farm’s baby beets & aged balsamic syrup or California Lamb “Tagine”: cous-cous, black mission figs, toasted almonds & marinated olives), and each came as either a small or large portion, and we were instructed to order two smalls and one large each. Six people x three dishes x 18 menu items x two size options / one vegetarian / one pescatarian / one ethical eater who won’t eat foie / one crustacean allergy x we don’t really know each other all that well x we want to share everything = potential clusterfuck or brilliance, with all of it taking forever to be decided.

[Note: it was indeed brilliant, with the total tab at the end of the night coming to $63.58 each without us even thinking about it or calculating anything!!]

Two of us gave up and just went with the tomato tasting menu. The others also kind of gave up and just ordered what sounded good, in some cases creating two-person contracts for sharing but nothing more complicated than that.

Second poo story: We were talking about animals, and someone brought up the winner of the Darwin award a while back – a guy who died when an elephant defecated on him, and he suffocated (I helpfully piped up “That’s more like DROWNING, isn’t it?”). The others didn’t believe this was a true story, and it’s unclear, but still.

My meal went like this: Amuse – Green Zebra tomato and watermelon “skewer” (pictured middle) which tasted just like the two components should, but more intensezors. Commanche Creek mixed tomato “gazpacho” soup with Haas avocado and cucumber. Well, we can add the gratuitous use of quotation marks to the list of Chef Josh’s punctuation foibles. This gazpacho was heralded by Mario as “the best gazpacho you will EVER have in your life.” Hyperbole. It was good, and the cheese cracker thing was crispy and creamy. Heirloom tomato salad, with “crispy” North Beach pancetta, buffalo mozzarella, basil, and infused EVO. Ignoring the “” for now, this dish was beautiful (see top, and also sorry for the dearth of pictures it was a night where blogging was not really a legit focus lol). I had issues with the mozzarella being in cube form, also not enough of it, but the olive oil sang and the pancetta, despite its natural advantage as fatty animal protein, was upstaged by the sheer transcendence of the tomatoes. Brandywine tomato risotto & seared sea scallops – “petite” herb salad, baby arugula, brown butter vinaigrette. Alright the quoties are bordering on annoying now, but that’s the last one. Normally I don’t love acid with scallops, and the risotto on its own was weirdage, but when you constructed the perfect bite, for which the “petite” herb salad was mandatory, you started to understand what Chef Josh was getting at. Finally, yellow tomato “sorbet” (I lied) with sweet corn creme brulee. I confess I ate this dessert in two parts. First the sorbet, which I thought was refreshing and lovely but that could be because I dislike sugar. I think I forgot along the way that the creme brulee was sweet corn, or else I might have eaten more of it. It tasted like normal, so I just boldly ate only the top of it and left the messy bottom for all to see.

Other standouts were the goat cheese and potato dish mentioned above, and the other version of seared sea scallops - yukon gold potato puree, farmer’s market mushrooms, & braised leeks.

I’ll leave you with Poo Story #3, which was about how one of us (the family doctor) had to perform “manual disimpaction” (the physical removal of impacted stool using the hands) on kids sometimes, to which one of my new colleagues asked, aghast, “WHICH HOLE?” to which we all asked, equally aghast, “WHAT??”

The Meritage at the Claremont
41 Tunnel Road
Berkeley, CA 94705
800.551.7266

I swallowed a moth fly

by janet on September 7th, 2010

Do you know about moth flies? They are not like regular flies. They are way smaller and with rounder wings. You’ve seen them before. They fly slow and they’re not that yucky so you probably tolerate them.

There was one in my new SmartCar (full name: Fergus SoCARtes [get it cuz it’s SMART like Socrates? Yes, that was an R2 suggestion] Panda II [Panda I was taken]). I was like o hai little fly and proceeded to open the window. But…Fergus has, for some weird reason a six CD changer and heated seats …but no power windows. So I was effortfully rolling down my window, and my panting created a vacuum, and the fly got sucked into my mouth.

I’m not squeamish, but I felt little struggling fly feet kicking at my esophagus which is the worst kind of tickle – internal.

So I was like !!!! and reached down into my lunch bag and opened my bag of carrots. I tremblingly threw one into my mouth and gave it three chews and swallowed (because bigger chunks would hopefully drag it down with it). Painfulsaurus Rex.

And…I STILL FELT THE KICK-KICKS! FUUUUUU! It must have gotten inhaled into my windpipe rather than properly down my esophagus. Damnitall.

Next: FORCED COUGHING! That did nothing.

So I sat and squirmed in horror for my 8-minute commute (the fly was surely dead by now but I felt it wriggling like this thing so I was in full-on heebie-jeebie mode) and when I got to work I ran to our kitchen and gulped down the most scalding coffee I had ever drank.

That did it.

PS. Moth flies are so called because they have hairs on their wings that make them look like moths shuddderrrr.

Happy Hatch Day MTFB!

by janet on September 5th, 2010

We missed it last year but not this year! September 5th is www.morethanafoodblog.com’s hatch day, and we are celebrating by torturing animals, and, failing that, using inanimate objects more amenable to photoshoots.

In case you want to torture your own beloved pets, Daniel has made this downloadable hat! Download it here.

Payback obviously hates it (see top). What about newcomer pet to MTFB, Tinx’s brudder‘s genetically defective (giving him long hair even though he’s a bulldog squeeeee!) puppersons Panda!

I like the four hands/arms and half of a toe that were required to make this photograph happen. Thank you Tinx and your family lol.

Anyway, some new embellishments to MTFB that you might notice and like. First, let’s get them out of the way. Ads. Click ’em if they strike your fancy. Second. The randnom button! Speaking of Buttins, here she is, with her favorite munch target monkey:

She is SO PROSH she looks just like the How to Train Your Dragon dragooooon!

As you are clicking the randnom buttin, you might be confused. You might happen upon old posts with broken picture links. I’m working on fixing those. Also, you might stumble on references to Consumermachine, which was the old name of this blog. Don’t be scared it’s no big deal.

Another new thing is the tag cloud, to the right. If you are one of my friends, just click on your name and you will be taken to all (or almost all – also working on that) the posts of which you were a part. <3 Mouse over and it will show the number of posts you have been tagged in. Feel free to start wars with people.

Thank you to Daniel for instituting all of these changes.

Happy Second Birthday, MTFB! Happy fourth birthday to my self-indulgent little corner of the interweb, and thank you to all MTFB readers. I better click publish before midnight!

CIA at Greystone

by janet on September 1st, 2010

Solar flares are so hot right … well more like 2008

“Something…to do with…waiters packing heat? Menu decryptions? Like…we had to code-break the menu in order to order? Its sister restaurant is Hoover’s and it’s a drag club? ‘This is your menu, should you choose to accept it’ you know like Mission Impossible 2 intro?”

These are the jokes that R2 was trying out in the car before arriving at the Culinary Institute of America’s Greystone campus/restaurant in Napa Valley. Then Tron came up with “I’d tell you the specials but I’d have to kill you” and R2 was shamed, and then he also came up with “The food is to die for,” which shamed him even further. Which was itself a shame because out of the two, only R2 would have ACTUALLY gone through with it and hassled the poor server.

Yelp says the food is good but the service is shit. I thought the service was fine – a little slow, and our food came way before our wine which wasn’t ideal, but I thought of it as Top Chef Restaurant Wars and all was well. Also, our server reminded me of Jon I Only Speak The Truth Leguizamo.

Before, during, and after Sookie Stackhouse sex

I got a flight of wine that contained both white and red (and a rose that I tolerated) since our appetizer was fish and my entree was beef. The official, unwieldy title of this restaurant is Wine Spectator Greystone Restaurant of the Culinary Institute of America, and indeed I thought this flight of wine was lovely, particularly on a gorgeous patio with one’s favorite friends.

Our app was Monterey Bay Sardines with Yukon Gold potatoes, fris̩e and herb salad, and salsa verde, and it came with a wine pairing Рtwo ounces of Miner Rosato, 2009, local from Mendocino County.

I choked on the dill but that’s not their fault

What a perfect dish for this setting!  Fresh, light, textbook char on the sardine, inventive, interesting textures, utterly yummy. I would eat this again and again, and it’s now almost a month later and it’s still on their “updated weekly” menu so perhaps I should.

R2 got caught, as he always does, in the gravitational pull of the halibut entree, but at the last moment I successfully lured him away by mentally dangling scallops in front of him. Specifically, Day Boat Scallops – pan seared with sweet white corn, mushrooms, sugar snap peas, and basil pesto.

Peas are pissed at the corm for being sweeter than they are, despite the “sugar” in their name

The sear here was also textbook, but unforch the scallop was more than raw in the middle. I heart a raw scallop, but not a seared raw scallop, the middle of which made me realize the hard truth that scallops, rather than being marshmallows of the sea, are fishy muscle tissue that giant clams use to open and close their shells. G-ross.

Isn’t this the best part of having a boyfriend? Making them eat the lesser of the two dishes you couldn’t decide between? I promptly forgot all about the scallops and dug into my entree:

The pink flower is an angel heralding oral heaven

So tender. Beyond tender. Daniel calls this “tendyond,” though he uses the term for when people are being schmoopy sweet to each other. I was only provided with a butter knife, which I thought was a student-in-training error, but may have been Greystone just showing off.

This dish sparked a beef revival in me (dirty), and now the protein that I unfailingly used to skip over on every menu now automatically makes it onto my Top 3 contenders list. Also, I understand why spaghetti sauce is so delicious, because it’s basically everything you see in the photo above, just chopped into bits and simmered forever.

I was in a terrible situation, where I wanted to savor the flavor and draw out the pleasure of my entree for as long as possible, but my hands and jaw were in shovel and paku-paku mode, respectively. The net result of this was that no one even noticed my panic because I finished my plate at the same time as everyone around me.

For dessert, we ordered the give-us-whatever dessert, and ended up with:

I only tasted the liquid ones because I thought they might have alcohol

You know me. I’m not a dessert gal. I did, however, deeply enjoy the schmancy root beer float, maybe because it was more beverage than dessert. Also, the panna cotta was liquid-ey-er than it should have been and thus, for the same reasons, pleasing.

This was a great way to start a day of wine tasting – it served the dual function of padding the tum to prevent drunkenness too early and making us feel civilized (to buffer our minds against the truth which is that we were going to drink ourselves silly and perhaps puke on strangers). Greystone has yet to have a mayor, so Foursquare folks – get on it.

Thank you to R2 for being DD.

Wine Spectator Greystone Restaurant
2555 Main St
St Helena, CA 94574
707.967.1010

Susiecakes vs Kara’s

by janet on August 23rd, 2010

Daniel visited me a couple weeks ago, and I was like, “I has a Daniel nao wat i do wit it?”

We already had plans to do a super schmance dinner (Michael Mina) and we already had plans to dress up like we were in a dance krew and go to Step Up 3-D, so I was at a loss.

Then – inspiration.

“Do you want to has a cupcake-off between Kara’s and Susiecakes?”

“YES!”

So we went to Kara’s first, and decided we needed to taste-off the basics for sure, so we got a regular with vanilla frosting. Specifically, the fancy name: Sweet Vanilla – vanilla cupcake with sweet madagascar bourbon vanilla frosting. We also got a passion fruit one – vanilla cupcake with passion fruit filling and vanilla buttercream.

We carried the box down the street to Susiecakes, where the chick eyed our pink package but didn’t say anything. There, we got vanilla, Luscious Lemon, red velvet, and mint chocolate. I am not sure why we got four here as opposed to two there.

Oh, an important note: Daniel is now the proud owner of a fatty macro lens. Yessss. Now MTFB can be a legit depth-of-field-ey type blog! I mean, LOOK what he did with Payback’s ears!

And our mimosa at Squat and Gobble!

So yeah. We were as excited to photograph our new purchases as we were to eat them. I knew that they would look smashing on my kitchen table, which is ice-green/blue and reflective.

Oh, Daniel is now explaining that we chose the vanilla and red velvet first, and then he wanted to try the chocolate mint as a mini, but they didn’t have any, so he got the big one, and then I was like you should get another to fill the box, so we got the lemon one for Tinx (who was driving up from LA later that night). [Note: Apparently she never ate it, as when I asked her for comments for this post she said “I liked the Kara’s one but I only had one bite I don’t even remember what kind it was.” Kara’s – ie not the lemon one we got her. Fail.]

[in Heidi voice] Let’s start the show.

Not bad, Daniel.

As for the competition-

Box: Kara’s wins, because (a) it is a cuter color; (b) the sticker is used strategically to close the box; (c) the box is designed better – the flaps fold into itself, whereas Susiecakes the flaps stick out and they use janky scotch tape to keep the box closed; and (d) –

Cuppycake holsters so they’ll stay upright. Susiecakes just rolled around – ugh a pet peeve of mine.

Selection: Although both Kara’s and Susiecakes’ have t-shirts and big cakes, Susiecakes also has whoopie pies, silky and rich-looking puddings, mini cupcakes, and  cheesecakes. So Susie wins.

Cake: Kara’s wins. Moist yet light and vanilla-ey; neither of these described Susie, though “buttery” did.

Frosting: Susiecakes pulled this one out, though it could have been because we tasted four rather than two. So, not a fair matchup. But the Luscious Lemon frosting hit that perfect note of tart and sweet and toe-tingly.

Store decor: Kara’s is cute and sleek, not to mention they have a sweet-ass van that rolls around the neighborhood, frustratedly looking for parking all the time. Susiecakes is all pastels and whites, which is fine I guess.

Convenience: Kara’s has the aforementioned van, not to mention curbside service, and they are open for more hours. Derr.

Yumminess when drunk: Based on the carnage the following day, perhaps a draw.

Lasting power: But the next morning, we thought that Kara’s tasted almost as lovely as they had the day before – not so with the dried out Susiecakes.

Overall taste: Kara’s.

Overall weeeeener~! Kara’s!

I will leave you with Daniel’s master shot of the day - this gratuitous picture of a single sprinkle in focus~

Gratuitous!

Susiecakes
2109 Chestnut St
SF CA 94123

Kara’s Cupcakes [thank you for not making your name “Kupkakes”]
3249 Scott St
SF CA 94123
[Note: I do approve of you calling it your “Karavan.”]

Happy Hatch Day Buttins~!

by janet on August 19th, 2010

Her new go-to pose; the Fuck You I Show You My Balls if I Had Them

It’s a certain kitteh’s one year hatch day toda~y!  Happy Birthday to Buttons aka Buttins aka Buttonia.

Let’s take a look back at her miraculous life with Tinx.

She was so little!

Use this as your iPhone wallpaper

I make my own pellow

Requisite cat in sink photo

Was this in The Last Exorcism?

Haha stupid

HAHA STUPID

At Comic Con we had Katie Cook take this picture and draw her…

Yes

Tuna, egg, and breadcrumb birthday cake awaits you tonight~!

Bootie

by janet on August 14th, 2010

Face of an angel, soul of a pretzel killer

R2 has a bird named Bootie.  She is a cockatiel with adorable orange circles on her cheeks and the cute head tuft thing.

She is a notable bird, because she is <drumroll> TWENTY THREE YEARS OLD!  A normal cockatiel lives in captivity for only 15-20 years. I think she has lived so long because R2 takes amazing care of her. She goes to the vet three times a week for subcutaneous fluid injections and she gets fresh food and water every day.

[“When did R2 become a bird guy?” asked Daniel yesterday. “Well, when he was eight his parents said he could get a turtle, a gerbil, or a bird, and the rest is history,” I said. “Cute,” said Daniel. “Best decision of my life!” said R2 from somewhere.]

She is also the world’s biggest grump. Get too close to her cage and she will hiss. It’s a cute hiss that begins with a consonant like keh! God forbid if you try to touch her – she will bite your finger (ineffectually since she’s but a tiny bird). If R2 puts her on your shoulder, she’ll instantly fly away (in this case, her hiss sounds suspiciously like ick!).

Well, she’ll try to fly. But she’s 23, so she can’t fly. In fact, she can’t even walk, because she has gout (she takes allopurinol just like humans) and has painful feet, one of which is frozen. Her pathetic-ness is so toe-curlingly adorable I can’t stand it.

But she has eyes only for R2. She is hopelessly devoted to him – mero mero as we say in Japanese. Her love for him is deeper than the Mariana Trench. When he goes out of town, the vet can tell because she loses weight out of sorrow. When he says “Booter!” she chirps her cutest chirp. When his mom says “Bootie!” she goes “Keh!” When they alternate calling her name, she goes “Chyerp!” “Keh!” “Chyerp!” “Keh!” Awesome.

Except not awesome, because all I want to do is love her and instead I curl up into a rejected ball while she snuggles with him IN THE BED. I just want to have her hop on my finger and we twirl in a happy, cheepy whirl, but instead she glares at me and opens her mouth menacingly should my finger go within an inch of her face. Sigh.

So, R2 is gone for the week for business, and I am birdsitting her! This entails KEEPING HER ALIVE, first and foremost. This means keeping her happy and not stressed, which will lead to eating so she doesn’t lose weight, and I have to take her to the vet twice, where her weight is recorded as an official decree of how well I do. PRESSUUUUURE.

So. Here we are. The two of us birds. I remembered that R2 was excited a while back because Bootie’s weight was 69 grams, so this was my goal weight for her vet visit yesterday. I also remembered that R2 said she loves pretzels. I also also remembered that he said that birds are social eaters – probably an evolutionary adaptation to avoid consuming poisonous food? But it works even when humans are eating too. So if R2 eats bread, she’ll eat bread. If R2 eats Triscuits, she’ll eat Triscuits. If R2 eats whole-grain Wheat Thins, she’ll eat whole-grain Wheat Thins. And if R2 eats pretzels, she will nom the shit out of an entire mini pretzel – almost 3% of her body weight.

I am used to this look by now

So I went and got pretzels at the market, came back, flicked the salt off of one of them, bit off a corner of one (so she could have a starting place – a pretzel is apparently too smooth and hard for her little beak to handle otherwise), held it through the bars of her cage a safe distance away, and bit into one myself.

At my first chomp, Bootie was like !!! and limped her way over and went Cookie Monster on that pretzel. And just like Cookie M., more of it got on my carpet than in her esophagus, but I was excited that she was eating. She ate so much of it that she came to the inevitable realization that the end of the pretzel was attached to something, and that something was ME, so she went PECK PECK at my finger, annoyed, and went over to her food dish and ate her regular food.

So began our pretzel binges. I’ve never eaten so many in my life. After that first time, I’ve had to eat at least four or five before she takes the bait and starts eating. She seems to respond to the CRUNCH CRUNCH noise so I have to generate this noise continuously, or she stops eating. To make crunch crunch noises constantly, I have to take many bites – in other words, eat many many pretzels. And since she is a super slow eater, it takes her five minutes to finish a pretzel, meaning I’m eating pretzels quickly and consecutively for five full minutes. I’m constantly thirsty because of the increased salt intake and they leave me less hungry for my proper meals, but it is worth it.

Before I took her to the vet yesterday, Daniel told me to feed her another pretzel before I went to get her weight up. “BUT MAKE SURE SHE DOESN’T POO!” Fuckitall. How was I going to do that?

I fed her a pretzel and she ate an entire one, so I thought it was in the bag. But then she pooed the biggest, most solid bird poo I’ve seen in my life, so I screamed “NOOOOOOO!” which may have scared her (great) and then when I reached in to grab her to put her in her travel cage her terror turned to fury and she struggled mightily (this would make a great Hyperbole and a Half post).

We got to the vet somewhat jerkily due to the way a SmartCar drives, but she seemed sleepy which is apparently a good sign according to her owner. When I got to the vet the people were like, “But…this looks like Bootie?” and I said “It IS Bootie. I’m the girlfriend,” and they looked at me like they had won the lottery and proceeded to talk my ear off.  Everything about me was fascinating to them. Where did R2 and I meet? Did I like Bootie? What were my thoughts on Star Wars? Even my Nook was interesting – “Is that an I-PAD?!?” “How long does the battery last?!” “Can we touch it?”

The vet tech came out and I shouted, “HOW MUCH DID SHE WEIGH!” and she said “Who are you?” and the others said “This is JANET, the GIRLFRIEND,” and she said “OH!” and then said “She weighed 71 grams!” and I said “YEEEEES!” and the others said “Write that down! That’s great!” and I drove home very happy.

R2 was lukewarm. He said “I am afraid that I am being replaced!” and I texted back “By me or by her?” all the while thinking to myself: probably both akshully, and he texted back “BOTH!”

But it’s not all roses and puppies and double rainbows (What does it MEAN?) in this household. At night her cage is covered by a blanket, but it’s not big enough to cover all the way to the bottom. On Wednesday night, she was I think growchy that I was still up and reading with the light on until past her bedtime, because she came from her perch up top all the way down to the bottom of the cage (which is a struggle for her with her gimpy feet), hissed at me five times, and then climbed back up. I obligingly turned off the light.

And then last night, I noticed her sleeping in her food dish. This is very cute – it is, in fact, one of the rules of cuteness so I was thrilled. But R2 was concernicus. He asked if my apartment was hot, and hypothesized that she was trying to get away from her heat lamp. I offered to turn it off but he said it was fine.

Dan: so how are you fixing the bootie food sleeping problem?
Me: i’m not
r2 says it was ok when i offered to unplug the heat lamp
i think she is just trying to be cute
Dan: she wants to impress you
Me: more like she’s trying to threaten me
“just when you think you know where i am, i’m in my food dish, bitch!”
Dan: lol
you have such a weird relationship with her
Me: why is my relationship weird!
she is the one who is mean to me
when i am sooo kind and only want good things for her
Dan: that’s why it is weird
it’s unbalanced
Me: ah.
well she’s a cranky old bird
she’s like any wild animal
who you want to feed and they end up killing you
Dan: is she big enough to kill you?
Me: no she’s 71 grams remember?
Dan: i dunno
could she go kamikaze and lodge herself in your throat while you sleep?
Me: she can’t fly
so even if she got out of her cage
she wouldn’t be able to get up onto the bed
Dan: hmm
so she’s planning something else…
Me: she IS inhibiting my sleep by nomming loudly on her food early in the morn
or…
AVIAN FLU
Dan: she is devious!@
she will weaken your immune system by depriving you of sleep
and then the avian flu will cause you to pass out in front of her cage
and then she will feast on you
Me: but i’m not pretzels!!

[R2 gets back Monday night…I will be sad to lose my alone time with Booticus Maximus but I can’t wait to witness their glorious reunion because it will be epic.]