Thursday, March 26, 2009

Jesus is Crackers

Happy Lenten, folks. I suppose I'm going to burn in hell for all eternity for implying that Jesus is crackers (nevermind that it's true) but we're going to hit up a fish fry tomorrow anyway. I wonder if the bread the fish with Jesus... 

We headed out to The Spot last night and saw a delightful band called Kiss Kiss. They've started to limit how many non-students can go, you actually have to be with a Case student now. Thankfully I can walk up to security, fake my best Captain Morgan pose and say "Why yes, I am dating a Case grad student!!" (I'd only do that in my mind). They were pretty fun to watch. At the end, they brought out a couple of cymbals and had random folks beat on them for a while. 

After that, we walked home and fell asleep. 

I didn't get to mention the other day that I had my first civilized meal in my own home since I've lived here. I have now been in Little Italy/Cleveland for six months and until last week, I didn't actually have a kitchen table. We ate on the floor (I didn't have a couch, either). I made sweet potato gnocchi (courtesy of Ohio City Pasta) with chicken and cream sauce. The sauce went a little something like this: 

1 c heavy cream
Fleur de Sel
Cracked pink and black peppercorns

I didn't locate a recipe, I just thought of things that taste good with sweet potato and made it savory. Absolute heaven, let me tell you.

Our new addition with food all over it

The money (chicken money) shot

We're going to be visiting the West Side Market again soon, I hope. I've been eyeing the squid ink pasta at Ohio City Pasta and the pink sea salt next door. (The fleur de sel is amazing, though).

I have told a grand lie, loves. Kiss Kiss has grown on me since I started this post. Give 'em a listen.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Dear Blogger, please excuse my tardiness...

What a long, strange trip it's been.

Jeff and I haven't really been in Cleveland a whole lot lately. We were in Washington DC for a few days and then we visited Columbus for the annual St. Patrick's Day party at his parent's house. According to Jeff's Dad, he's had the celebration every year since 1978.

Anyway, here's some of what we saw:

The Smithsonian Castle

Inside the National Cathedral

A Peruvian Court Dress at the Kennedy Center

The gate into Chinatown

The Capitol Building

I have a lot more of our pictures on my Flickr page. Jeff also took a lot of pictures. Check them out if you have the chance.

After a wonderful bike ride when we arrived, Jeff took me to Kanlaya Thai Cuisine in Chinatown. The food was amazing! I had pineapple chicken that was actually in a hollowed out pineapple half. I had a couple of the cliche "umbrella drinks" and sloppily professed my undying love to Jeff - it was true but I'm sure anything I may have regretted saying could have been blamed on the alcohol - right? We spent the evening doing a crossword puzzle until I fell asleep.

The next morning we ate convenience store muffins and yogurt and headed out to the Metro and around DC. We walked around all day, and stopped back in Chinatown to eat at Tony Cheng's. This restaurant had Mongolian food on the first floor, and Chinese food on the second floor. We went upstairs and ended up having one of the best Chinese meals either of us had ever had. I ate the Kung Pao chicken with an egg roll, rice and hot and sour soup. My meal ended up costing about $13.00. (Amazing!!)

We considered visiting Madame Tussaud's wax museum but balked at the $19.95 admission fee. I settled for photographing Whoopi in the lobby and we moved on.

Whoopi Goldberg acting as a DC panhandler

In the late afternoon the sun disappeared and it got a bit colder. We visited the Lincoln Memorial and enjoyed a free concert at the Kennedy Center. After getting back to the hotel, we decided to check out a mexican restaurant and went to La Lomita Dos.

I wasn't as impressed as I have been with certain restaurants in Cleveland and Columbus.

Por ejemplo...

We ordered the "Chorizo con Queso" from the appetizer menu, only to find it was not chorizo...It was SMOKED SAUSAGE!! Yucky. The rest of the meal was good, but it took forever and a day to get the check. It was overpriced for generic mexican food, but there was a Mariachi band and that made things a little better.

On our last day, we visited the National Cathedral. This was one of my favorite sightseeing trips. My first few minutes in the cathedral were filled with quiet awe - I'm pretty sure that I stared with my mouth agape at times. Religious or not, there's an energy about that place.

This picture reminded me of Grace Cathedral Hill by The Decemberists.

And yes, I did pay 25 cents to light a little white candle! (The suggested donation was $1, shh)

On the way out of DC we had lunch at Satay Club where I had a very inexpensive and very filling lunch (General Tso's, hot and sour soup and potstickers) for $7.95. Yum!

It was an amazing trip, altogether. We found out a lot about ourselves and each other, we're stronger and (if possible) we love each other a whole lot more now. The first trip we took together was to DC, almost three years ago, so it was a little nostalgic too. We saw Ozma in DC at the 9:30 Club. I fell asleep during The Rentals set. Nothing against the band, I was just VERY tired. I had to tote around a cute guy with a broken arm, jeez...

I hereby vow to post a bunch more starting today. We went back to Columbus for a wedding last week and had a great time, but I sorely missed my city and have wanted to be home. I missed you, Cleveland (and your bloggers!)!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Oodle Doodle

Why does the first nice day of the year make us feel like kids?

I could have stood outside all afternoon today to watch the "adults" tunefully walking along as if bemused by happy memories of a first love. There was a man on the corner of 9th and Euclid playing a saxophone.

"B flat! B flat!!!" I wanted to say, as he slunk through a rendition of the Pink Panther theme. I kept my thoughts and timbre to myself and continued watching people go by.

I didn't want to go back. Not today. I wanted to ride today. At various points during my day, I considered feigning illness and tried very hard to think of a plausible one.

Ebola? No.
Food Poisoning? No.
A Cold? No.

Oh well. I made it. I survived the day, practically unscathed. I'm getting little bruises on my calves and shins from clumsily banging around the gym at work. I'm lucky to have a man who loves me, bruises and all. Aristocratic people in the Victorian era wore white makeup (hooray for lead poisoning) so they wouldn't appear sun-tanned as their hired help. Personally, I feel very honored to have my scrapes and scars. I earned them, and they all have their own stories.

(Coming soon, the story of the Lake Erie Bikeway curb romance!)

Tomorrow is a day for shopping and being outside whenever possible. The air is so heavy now, it seems to touch the asphalt and make everything smell wonderful. I wish that I could open up my windows, but I'm afraid to remove the plastic just yet. With a little cautious optimism, I just might do that tomorrow.

Music Suggestion of the day: A Northern Chorus
(They broke up, but one of my very favorite bands)

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Egg Love

Egg Song

For my fellow bloggers to celebrate their love of eggs.

Bicycle! Bicycle!

You know those buttons at the crosswalks you press to activate the crosswalk? (For those of you not in Cleveland - ours talk...) I have the strongest desire to karate kick one to activate it.

Jeff and I are hitting up the West Side Market this weekend and going to India Garden again. Any ideas/recipes to make? We had such luck making this amazing lemon pasta with chicken and cream last time.

DC is next week and I feel like a kid getting ready to go on summer vacation. I don't even want to work tomorrow, but if I didn't I know that'd be a little obvious that I wasn't sick. I skipped on the gym tonight in hopes to go on an evening ride (I was going to attempt the Euclid Corridor) but someone has my floor pump and I have a flat. I have a 2008 Specialized Dolce road bike that is my baby. I won't ride it to work in the Spring/Summer since it would totally break my heart if it got stolen. I'm looking for a bike in the $50 to $100 range to get to and from work. It's not that I'll miss riding the HealthLine... Boy, do I have some stories about that bus.

Tonight, I am being a lazybutt and ordering pizza/soda because it just feels like one of those nights. Sorry Alexa... I wussed out on the anchovies this time. I was going for a sure thing.

Columbus has a neat little cycling group that rides on Sunday nights and they were really fun. It was all ladies, and we'd go for a short 15 mile ride through the city. It was a little less fanatical than Critical Mass (I just signed up for Critical Mass here, though) but we looked out for each other. It was a good time. I left the group really quickly, because I moved to Cleveland really quickly. That's a story for another post. I really miss riding my bike. I am so anxious for touring season (Coming soon!).

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

These are a few of my favorite things...

I suppose that no matter where you live, you've got your "favorite" places to eat/visit. Every person in every city in every part of the world has their own favorite things. I've been thinking about this since I posted about India Garden and the like.

A fellow blogger posted about the Rockefeller Garden here in Cleveland, and it made me think of the Franklin Park Conservatory in Columbus. Cleveland's COSI is the Great Lakes Science Center. I suppose if I were to post every experience comparison between Columbus and Cleveland here, it'd be a pretty long post at some point, maybe when I've had a little more time under my belt here. Why does it matter? Why spend hours waxing poetic on all the places you've been in City A and compare them to the places you've been in City B? What if you've traveled and spent enough time in 50 cites to compile a list resembling one great clusterf**k of an algebraic equation? It's a whole new city, a whole new experience! Quit f***ing it up by comparing it to everything else!

...Because it helps make wherever you are feel a little more like home.

I suppose I'll spend a lot of time exploring the city when it's nicer out, subconciously finding Cleveland alternatives to Columbus favorites. There have been some differences here, however. When I lived in Columbus, I didn't have a favorite local band. There are a couple here that I'm particularly fond of, though. I really enjoyed To Be A High Powered Executive and Machine Go Boom. Both bands have evidently broken up.

Sometimes I wish I didn't live in Little Italy, and sometimes I'm really glad that I do. The thing about Little Italy is that it's a small-ish neighborhood with nice restaurants and really nice people. Some people here evidently hate black people though I've not seen any evidence to support this. If it's true, that's a shame.

It's such a secluded little area smack in the middle of a great big city, and it's almost too easy to stay close to home. When I lived in Columbus, there were a lot of nice bike paths. Now, I hardly know where any of them are and that worries me a little (I plan to ride in several cycling tours this Spring/Summer). I'll figure it out, right? Everything will be O-K.


Many friends I've made here so far don't seem to share the same interests as I do, and a great deal seem to shrink away when met with the prospect of hanging out with a bonafide couple. A girl I spent my first few months hanging out with is 11 years younger than I am and seems fairly fixated on drinking. Don't get me wrong, I loves me a good drink or two... But nothing makes you feel more crotchety than leaving the bar at 8:30, announcing that you've got to be at work in 12 hours. Another friend spends a great deal of time in the Mayfield Smoke Shop, brooding over a can of diet Red Bull and a pack of Marlboro Mediums. No thanks.

Am I not doing this right, or something? Is there such a thing as a platonic personal ad?

"30 year old female, in a relationship seeking friendship, fun, and conversation (by the way I really don't want to have sex with you, thanks)"

Must there truly be an ulterior motive to everything? Does a meetup for coffee and conversation really imply a want for some "NSA" lovins'? Yes, I'd like to check out that new sushi place down the street. No, I don't want you to put anything in my butt.

I suppose we're all a little crazy, or that we'd have to be - to survive. Seal said so. Perhaps I'm becoming some elitist r-tard in my "old" age. Maybe I should go to Craigslist and post an ad that says "Seeking Friends - Must have a very high or better musical taste rating with me on or you can just go die in a fire"...

Nah. I think this happens when you've lived someplace for 29 years and then you move someplace new. One is too used to having their friends simply exist, when in reality those friendships were cultivated over many years. My next door neighbor in Columbus had been my senior prom date in high school, and he didn't move there intentionally from what I can tell.

I really do like it here, I just feel a little awkward, still.

* A note: The reason for the DP (double post) action today is because I had meant to submit the India Garden post last night and instead went to bed with my browser open. Go me.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Cruising for an Indian Buffet

I really wish I had the fortitude to post every day like Alexa et al... I'll have to work on that.

Jeff and I are heading to Washington DC in about a week. We're going to be tourists and then hit up Columbus for a St. Patty's Day party his parents throw every year. Sometime before we go, I'm actually going to get furniture! I'm thinking of throwing a little foodie party when I have places for people to sit. I've lived in Cleveland for six months and I have no living room furnishings.

Onto the food...

I've had some fantastic Indian food in Cleveland at Cafe Tandoor, and have found numerous Lebanese restaurants that are also pretty amazing. While Cafe Tandoor is quite nice, I have been missing a little Indian buffet in Columbus called Taj Mahal. You could go on the weekends and eat some pretty damn amazing Indian food for$7.99.

Until now.

Oh. My. God. Becky...
*clears throat*
No, seriously. I had found a small ad for a place in Lakewood called India Garden. They advertised a lunch buffet for $8.99, so I mentioned it to Jeff. We love visiting Lakewood restaurants (Angelo's Pizza, Melt...) and thought we'd give it a try. When I sat down with a plate of naan, a samosa, and some amazing chicken curry - I looked at Jeff and said "I think we've found our Cleveland Taj". Do not pass up this little restaurant. We waited for about 5-10 minutes to get a table because they were packed. There was a wait for a short time after that because people just kept coming in.

The staff is friendly and very willing to answer any questions about the food. Jeff and I loved this place and are planning to head back very soon.

They include Mango Lassi (a yogurt drink) with the buffet, too. The kheer is the best that I've had (outside of my own, which is crazy...I know).