A Vegetarian Mix Up

29 12 2011

Every year my co-workers and I are treated to a fancy lunch paid by my boss. It’s something I look forward to every year. We either do it for Thanksgiving or the winter holidays, and today was out annual paid for lunch for the holidays. The small group of the five of us headed over to Gordon Biersch in Chinatown to imbibe in the fancy food and beer that they serve up.

I walk by the restaurant/brewery almost daily and was just talking about the joint with a friend a few weeks ago, so I was pretty pumped. On G.B.’s website, I had noticed a vegetarian menu, which was pretty cool that they were so accommodating. (I’ve decided that for the month of December, and maybe longer, I’m going what I’ve called, Buffalo Wing-aterian; i.e: the only meat I will allow myself to eat are buffalo wings!) But when we got to our seats, I didn’t see the vegetarian menu out, and I was too shy to ask for one, so I figured I could just find something off the normal menu.

It came down to two dishes I was deciding over: lobster or salmon? The idea of a ginger rice seemed delectable, but the lobster would probably be more “lunch-like” and promising. So I went with the “Lobster Burger.” I must not have read the description correctly, because when my food came, I was thoroughly surprised. So surprised even, that when the waiter brought it out, I initially turned it away, since it didn’t look like what I had pictured it being. I should have just turned it back, because what I got ended up being a jumbo beef burger with a few measly pieces of lobster on top. For some reason, I thought I was ordering a lobster sandwich, and it was just called a “burger” for reasons unknown. (Yes, I thought it was odd, when they asked me how I’d like it cooked, but again, I assumed they were referring to the lobster, sort of like how you can get tuna cooked differently. Obviously, I don’t eat out enough. Maybe  I’m not as much a foodie as I had hoped I was.)

My lunch became compromised of the addicting garlic fries.

I was tempted to send it back, but it was my mistake that I misunderstood the menu/didn’t actually read the description, so I delved into the rest of the food on the plate. I eagerly gulped up the few small tidbits of lobster, and then created an odd sandwich of garlic fries, ketchup, lettuce, and tomato on the burger buns. Not the most delicious substitute, but thankfully our appetizer and the delicious beer I had (Hefeweizen) had proved substantial.

When the waiter came to clear our plates, I had to somehow explain that the reason a perfectly good slab of meat was left alone on my plate was because I mistakenly ordered wrong. It was pretty embarrassing but our waiter apologized profusely and offered to get me a crab cake instead. I had already missed the opportunity to send my dish back and had eaten everything else, so I turned down the generous offer. I was also surprisingly full- though maybe I was just overwhelmed with embarrassment. Thankfully, a co-worker offered to take my burger home to her daughter or dog, so the food wasn’t wasted.

I just felt so incredibly silly. I had been looking forward to this paid lunch for months, and when the time came, I basically ended up having a beer, french fries, and two burger buns. That’s not really what I call a meal worth the wait and the money, but at least the beer was especially delicious! I joked that I should have just had beer for lunch and that that would have been cheaper and more promising. Oh well, I guess that means I should just go back and better read the menu next time!


Tuna Burrito

8 12 2011

Last night I was hungry, but didn’t want to spend my money to buy some dinner. I decided to create a dish from the food scraps I had lying around my apartment instead. Thankfully, I had just bought the key ingredients to make a quesadilla (tortillas and cheese), but I was hoping to make something a little more interesting this time around. First I considered the ingredients that go into the standard taco: rice, cheese, beans, veggies, protein. Well, I didn’t have any rice or beans, or a typical protein found in a burrito. That’s when I started to get creative…

So I took one wheat tortilla. Swirled some of California Tortilla’s California Screamin’ sauce on it. I had just bought some rice-milk mozzarella shredded cheese (which I was ambivalent to try, but it turned out to be pretty ok) so I tossed some of that on the tortilla. Not a bad start. I remembered I had some lettuce and black olives, which are common ingredients in Mexican food, so I added some chopped up pieces of those. It was almost done, but where was the protein? The only thing at hand was a can of tuna. Could that work? I’ve seen fish tacos, so I figured that tuna wouldn’t be too far away from that thought. Straight out of the can, I plopped some onto my creation. (A friend suggested I mix it with mayo to make it tuna salad, but I thought that sounded gross.) So I rolled it all up and prepared for my first bite.

My tuna burrito was not bad. Actually, it was pretty tasty. I have to admit however, that the sauce was probably the dominating flavor, with the tuna coming in at second. The cheese was mainly there for texture and balance. The lettuce added some nice color and crunch, and the olives; well I love olives – they were delicious. Overall, I would call it a success. I would even venture to add this to my collection of signature recipes. Feel free to try it out and tell me what you think!


– 1 tortilla (I used whole wheat)

– any type of hot sauce will work (I used California Tortilla’s California Screamin’) 1-2 Tablespoons

– some shredded lettuce (a handful’s worth)

– shredded cheese of your choosing (I used rice milk mozzarella) 1/4 Cup or so

– black olives, halved, around 8

– 1/2 can of light tuna in water

Place on tortilla and roll up. Enjoy!


Everybody’s New Favorite Dish

22 11 2011

There’s a new recipe that is slowly making its rounds through the wonderful internet world. As many of you are preparing your immense Thanksgiving feast-feats, I figured this would be the perfect time to introduce you to quite possibly my new favorite dish. Now be forewarned: this dish is not for those who do not claim to be adventurous eaters. This dish is also not for people who can not act like kids at heart. This is the kind of food that is best enjoyed if for example, you have tendencies to want to play with your food. Kids, let me introduce you to the wonder of Spaghetti Hot Dogs.

If you have not already checked out that link, let me tell you how this baby works. You start with some uncooked spaghetti and some uncooked hot dogs. The first step is to poke the hard noodles into cut up hot dog pieces. You will wind up with a galactic and dangerous looking creation:

Intergalactic planetary, planetary intergalactic.

You might think this is odd enough, but wait- there’s more! The key to this recipe is the next step: boiling it all. Stick these alien-looking monsters in a pot of water and bring to a boil. To your amazement, the noodles and hot dogs will not only cook to be slightly more edible, but they will also look like this:

or this:

or even this:

Depending on how you cut the hot dog, and where you stick the noodles, your creation can look a number of ways. But rest assured, the dish will come out looking supremely bizarre either way. As for the eating part of this fantastic creation, I’ve hear that many people are frankly too weirded out to consume it. But if you are feeling brave, then dig in! Possible condiments/toppings could include mustard, ketchup, cheese, chili, hot sauce, etc. The goal here is obviously to be creative. So enjoy!

Farewell To Another Blog Of Mine…

2 11 2011

Many of you may be aware that I author another blog. It’s nothing special, and I haven’t written anything in it since May. The blog, works similarly to Twitter, where I wrote in brief entries of whatever food I was craving at the time being. The blog was aptly named, “What I’m Craving.”

It all started with the first posting on April 27 of last year. The first thing I decided to document craving was a simple one word: “Pho.” The blog continued on for about a year wherein I would write a simple word or two describing whatever food I was yearning for. It started out as any other successful blogging idea, with entries coming in every few days, but then as time wore on, I either had fewer noteworthy cravings, or didn’t feel the need to blog about them. Needless to say, the posts were trickling in every few months until I realized that the last post was more than a just a couple months ago.

So I’m deciding to pull the strings on What I’m Craving. The idea seemed to have only entertained me for about a year. That’s fine. It was purely experimental and I suppose I’m impressed it lasted as long as it did. Anyways, I’ll keep the blog up for a few more days if you’d like to head on over and see what I was craving over a year’s time. It’s really just silly stuff. Bon appetite!

What I'm Craving About Page

I Like Hot Nuts

6 10 2011

I think I’ve concluded that I’m a sucker when it comes to spicy foods. I really like things hot, as I enjoy testing my taste buds to see how hot I can take certain foods. I’m not however, going to partake in any spicy-food endurance contests, but I have been known to really savor the spiciness of certain foods.

Today I was out for a walk, when the craving for something hot and spicy hit me. I knew that if I didn’t satiate that hunger, my day just wouldn’t feel complete, so I hurried into the closest CVS to browse the shelves for something that would tickle my fancy. It came down to a can of Wasabi Soy almonds and a bag of Planters’ Five Alarm Chili peanuts. I settled on the peanuts.

I tore into the wrapper and found myself absolutely delighted by how spicy these nuts were. These babies are not for the faint of heart who may only like somewhat spicy foods. This is the real deal. I knew that it was the end for me, when I began to sweat but couldn’t stop eating the delicious peanuts. Thankfully, I was able to save some of the snack for a later heat-induced feeding frenzy. This stuff is good!

Burger Boycott

13 09 2011

Many of you may know that I love me a good burger joint. Living in D.C. is great for your burger cravings too, with so many places all over the city to satiate your cravings, from Good Stuff Eatery, to Fuddruckers, to Rogue States to Shake Shack to Bobby’s Burger Palace; lest us not forget the always confusing two places: brgr:shack and BGR The Burger Joint. So it isn’t difficult for me to eliminate going to one of these burger places, in my boycott against the company. That’s right, I’m boycotting a well-loved D.C burger place.

The pointing shall begin at BGR The Burger Joint. A word to the wise: unless you order a basic burger, be prepared to fork over more than $10 for your sandwich. Frankly, I feel that this is pretty unreasonable to pay so much for a so-called “gourmet” burger. Of course the website doesn’t list any of the prices either, so you have to be careful of what you order or a be really dedicated fan to be happy with what you pay for your order. Speaking of the high prices, BGR charges a whopping 99 cents to add cheese to a burger. Believe me, that adds up. I’m pretty sure most other places only charge you the standard 50 cents for cheese. Want fires with that? That’s going to cost you even more, plus you’ve got to have a drink.

It all started two visits ago when I went to BGR for a pre-kickball game meal. My complete order of fries and a (not boring and plain) burger came to a total of something like $20. Are you kidding me?? That meal should have cost half as much. I forked over the dough and ate my meal, regretting paying for every bite. Sure, the food is decent, but it’s not my favorite burger either.

Last night I ventured back to BGR with some family members. I made them very aware that I had been boycotting the place, but since I was being treated to dinner, I decided I could give the place another try since I wouldn’t be paying. This time I was more careful to order a simple turkey cheeseburger. I do have to admit that at least BGR makes some tasty sweet potato fries. But then again, I have yet to see a place mess that up. On top of all that, we were accidentally charged and ordered a second milkshake. (I’m sure we didn’t need that extra shake, thanks.) Anyways, I ate my meal and thought that was the end of that. Until I came home hours later completely sick with a stomach ache. I’m not sure why it happened but the toilet became a good friend of mine.

Why has BGR continued to curse me with bad experiences? Was it food poisoning? Either way, it pretty much guaranteed that I really will not be returning to them anytime soon. You guys better get your act together or be ok with losing a disgruntled customer. But I’m not upset with my break-up with BGR. I’ve always got the plethora of other places instead, anyways…

Vegetarian Temptations Conquered!

7 07 2011

Yesterday’s post about the end to me vegetarianism was all about the information I have gathered during my last six months and how I figured I’d tackle the next (at least) six months of my now non-vegetarian life. Today’s post however, is more of reflective of my vegetarian experiences. Although it may have only been a handful of months, I experienced enough challenges to make it seem like a longer amount of time.

There were plenty of temptations to try to steer me off track. A mere three months in, came my birthday. That was the first time I really considered quitting the vegetarian thing. I really considered easting wings to celebrate my birthday. But for one reason or another that didn’t happen. Next was Passover, when my family always makes the traditional brisket recipe. How could I not partake in that? My parents were concerned that I just wasn’t the same without meat, but I reassured them it wasn’t such an ordeal. The next challenge, and maybe the toughest came when I volunteered for the DC101 Chili Cook-Off. A Festival devoted to a meaty dish and I was in the middle of it all. Thankfully one place, Hard Times Cafe, served up a vegetarian version so I could still consume the dish of the day. Walking among the tents and tents of competing vendors however, was a pretty sad and tempting sight. All the free chili samples I could want, yet couldn’t eat! Lastly was a formal event: a wedding of two friends. This was the last temptation I would endure as a vegetarian. Thankfully however, the reception’s dinner included plenty of substitution courses, so I didn’t have to feel so left out.

I didn’t beg for meat! It’s an appropriate song!

I survived all the temptations and didn’t break the six months for meat once. I also learned that tofu is not as disgusting as I had thought it was. I ate tofu hot dogs and tofu buffalo wings, something I would never touch otherwise. I also ate tofu in other dishes, and didn’t completely hate it. It’s not like I”m going to go out of my way for tofu now, but at least I know now that it’s not a purely putrid ingredient.

All in all, being a vegetarian turned out to not be the end of the world. It really wasn’t as difficult as I had thought it would be. Now when I learn that someone is a vegetarian, I can relate to their dietary restrictions. I used to be wary of those vegetarians, but now I will accept them with open arms. Vegetarians are people too, even if they think tofu is a legitimate food!