Thursday, October 24, 2013

Macaroni and Cheese from New York Deli

This could be the worst macaroni and cheese I've ever eaten.

Although I got a hearty portion for my 3 dollars (compared to the skimpy underflowing 8-oz cup I got at Maryland Smokehouse), it was not worth half that.

I don't think it had any flavor, but if it did, it was that of cardboard.

It had none of those things that make macaroni yummy (that is, big gobs of cheese on top, crunchy caramelized bits, or even ground black pepper).

To give it credit, I did eat it on Thursday after it had been sitting in my fridge since Monday lunchtime, but I don't think even being fresh could have saved it from all its shortcomings. This macaroni was so boring, bordering on disgusting, that I couldn't finish it.

After a few bites, I put it away to give it ... dum dum dum!!

 1sad noodle  1sad noodle 1sad noodle

3 sad noodles because I've never been so sad eating macaroni! Not even Chick & Ruth's!

And to think I was looking forward to eating this one for the past 3 days!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Dean & Deluca Peanut Butter Cookie

When I went to Dean & Deluca last week, the bakery counter was full of tempting treats, including bar cookies and brownies to die for. I bought several of those and found them delicious, but the peanut butter cookie of the Giant variety that I chose will be the topic of this review. I must first mention the price, which came out to 1.61¢ a gram, or right about average. I mention that first, because Dean & Deluca is known for being expensive, but that is not true of its Giant Cookies, at least.

Though Dean & Deluca has a reputation for being where you go if you want to break the bank, in my case, it's where I go if I want a broken cookie. My peanut butter cookie did not fare so well over its walk around Georgetown, looking like a jigsaw puzzle by the time I got it home.

In spite of, or perhaps because of, its fragile nature, the texture was very pleasant to consume—dense and soft, almost doughy once you got past the exterior, providing just the right amount of resistance to my teeth. It could only be improved if the sugar granules on top had been a little bigger, or maybe if it had been studded with chocolate chips.

The peanut butter flavor could have been stronger, but there was enough there to make its presence known.

The Bottom Line:
Taste: 4 stars
Texture: 4 stars
Price: 3 stars

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

What did you today? Oh, watched a light show in my mind.

I had my yearly migraine today. For the past 4 years, I've had an ocular migraine pretty much exactly once a year. Usually it's in late winter, around February or March, when spring is just hinting at appearing. It was late this year, but last year, I had two, so I think they're somehow averaging out.

If you've never had an ocular migraine before, here's about how it goes. First, I develop what I can only describe as a "hole" in my vision. It's always somewhere on the left side. I'll start to notice that I can't see things I should be seeing, and I have to do a lot of head cocking to get the entire picture. I don't see blackness; I just don't see what's there.  The best movie to describe this phase of the migraine is the Neverending Story, when the Rock Biter describes the Nothing.

Naturally, this is a terrifying experience. By now I recognize it as the first phase of a migraine, but part of me still wonders if this time it's something different, and I'm really going blind. Or having a stroke.

The second phase is the sparkly phase. The Nothing is replaced by a crack, running across the  left side of my field of vision, composed of sparkling lights. The crack transforms into a big sheet of dancing geometric shapes. The phenomenon moves around, usually working its way upward and leftward. It makes it hard to see, but the right side of my field of view is usually relatively clear.

As time passes, the sparkles gets less and less pronounced, until they are more like a grey shimmer that finally fades off to stage left, like some kind of theatrical transition. The entire weirdness usually runs its course in about a half an hour. Today mine started around 1:15 and was done by 1:46, with only a little weird feeling in my left eye and an annoying headache.

Unfortunately, the headache  stays long after the show is over. Some people's migraine headaches are crippling. Mine, fortunately, aren't that bad—or unfortunately, considering they're an extreme nuisance but not extreme enough for me to legitimately take a break from work for them. I usually just turn off the lights and wait for it to be over. The worst time I ever had a migraine was in the middle of a meeting, during which I had to pretend I was fine and that I really could see the people I was talking to.

I haven't figured out anything particular that causes these headaches, except that they usually crop up at the end of winter, and I haven't found anything to relieve them.  A friend told me caffeine is a good remedy for a migraine, so when this one started, I fixed myself a cup of iced tea. Maybe that wasn't enough caffeine, but it certainly didn't do anything to influence the intensity or duration of this particular migraine.

At least one thing is relatively certain. I've got a good few months before I have to go through this again.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Chocolate Chip Cookie by Ted's Bulletin

The second cookie that I purchased from Ted's Bulletin was a classic chocolate chip.

The texture was a little crumbly, but not too crispy. There was plenty of chocolate, whose chewiness mitigated the slight dryness of the cookie itself.

The chocolate was also dark and delicious. I would definitely take this cookie over the key lime cookie of the same brand.

I didn't weigh this cookie, but I'm going to operate under the assumption that it was about the same price per gram as the other Ted's Bulletin cookie I tried, which I rated at 3 stars. Maybe 1.32¢ a gram is 3 stars for a cookie I don't enjoy too much, but it's a much better value for a cookie I really liked. Maybe I'm being too subjective, but I'm going to call it 4 stars this time.

The bottom line:
Taste: 5 stars
Texture: 4 stars
Price: 4 stars

As a bonus, here is a picture of both Ted's Bulletin cookies, in the cute little dessert case that I stood staring at for entirely too long while waiting in line to order them.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Phenomenal Pumpkin Spice Cookie

I've reviewed ABC cookies one time before, and I mentioned how great it was to have a fruity cookie rather than a chocolatey one. I think Alternative Baking Company's strength is in those kinds of cookies.

The Phenomenal Pumpkin Spice Cookie is one of my favorite flavors by the brand.

I love how slightly crunchy it is on the outside, and how chewy on the inside. I would love it even more, if it were just a little moister, but I guess dryness is the price you have to pay for a cookie with a shelf life.

The flavor is mild, but not too cinnamon-y, excess of cinnamon being my usual gripe with pumpkin, ginger, and other spice cookies. So really, it's almost perfect.

Except that I've become more exacting in my pricing standards lately, and 1.66¢ a gram, as these cookies are, is only worth 3 stars.

The Bottom Line:
Taste: 5 stars
Texture: 4 stars
Price: 3 stars

Friday, October 11, 2013

The Anger Management Fund

Those who know me well know that one of my least attractive traits is a tendency toward tantrums over trivial things. I try (sort of half-heartedly) to keep my cool, but when I'm mad, there's just nothing that makes me want to get un-mad! So what's a hot-headed girl to do?

Well, those who know me even sort of well know that one of my other traits is an unswerving thriftiness. I have rules about how much I'll pay for almost anything, and it takes a truly desperate need to make me exceed my limits. It's not that I don't have the money; it's just that I won't let myself spend it!

And therein lies the key to simmering down when I'd rather just boil over. I need an incentive to curb my anger, and what better incentive for a self-denying penny-pincher like me than free money to spend any way I want?

And so I've started the Anger Management Fund. Now whenever I'm so enraged I want to spit bullets, I offer myself 5 dollars for unrestricted spending. If I want to buy a 60-dollar dress with it, that's fine. Some silly 80-dollar wall decal? No problem. 100-dollar shoes? Girl, that's crazy, but you can do it! (For reference, I usually draw the line at 13 dollars for a dress, 20 dollars for a pair of heels, and zero dollars for home decor.)

Though the logic is somewhat flawed (It's not like the money isn't coming out of my own funds anyway), this actually usually works to help me calm down.

Naturally, I have to avert several meltdowns before I've accumulated enough to buy anything significant. I've been using this system since late summer of 2012, and I've worked my way up to seventy dollars. Not quite enough for a wall decal, but plenty for a couple of whimsical pieces of apparel and jewelry. Here they are.

A bird necklace, another bird necklace, and a dress with a woman bicyclist

And in case you're curious, here's how I earned all that money:
10$ - For 2 forgotten incidents before I opened the fund.
5$ - For overcooking my green beans.
5$ - For forgetting to clean the bathroom, forgetting to get new shampoo, and banging my hand on the oven all within 25 minutes.
5$ - For leaving my clothes in the dryer for 3 hours to get all wrinkly again when I'd put them in the dryer in the first place to de-wrinkle them.
5$ - For overcooking my green beans again!
5$ - For forgetting to bring everything into the shower that I needed for taking a shower.
5$ - For having to cross H street twice while trying to get onto H street. On foot! (There was an overpass in the way.)
5$ - For getting ignored by customer service at Safeway.

(That doesn't account for all 70 dollars, but it does account for all the 43 that I spent on this last batch of goodies.)

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Key Lime Pie Cookie from Ted's Bulletin

A friend recommended I try Ted's Bulletin in DC for "milkshakes, giant cookies, and homemade pop tarts!" So I did.

I was not in the mood for a milkshake, and didn't want to take a chance on pop tarts (which aren't my favorite in general), but I did purchase two giant cookies. Yesterday I ate the key lime pie flavored one.

It was definitely nothing to jump up and down over. It was dry and cake-like, and though not too crunchy, it didn't do anything to make my mouth happy.

I could not taste much key lime flavor, except in the icing, of which there was not much. In fact, I found this cookie so boring that I had to smear it with lemon curd to keep from feeling too disappointed.

It cost 1.99$ for 150g, running up at a decent 1.32¢ per gram.

The Bottom Line:
Taste: 2 stars
Texture: 3 stars

Price: 3 stars

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Ebay Misspellings

I buy a lot of things on eBay. OMG, in the past two weeks, I spent $105.43 in 8 separate impulse purchases—I'm on a spree; I need to tone it down a bit, which is why I'm blogging right now instead of shopping! If only I had a dollar for every spelling error I found on eBay, I would never have to worry about funding my recreational shopping habit.

Since most of the sellers on eBay are average Joes and Janes trying to get rid of their old stuff, you find a lot of "average" spelling errors. Here are some of the most common ones I've seen in the Fashion department, along with commentary by me:

Mid-drift - from now on, don't settle for showing your midriff; show, um, the middle of your drift? Would that refer to continental drift, and in that case, would it be a fault line? Is a "fault line" like a "wrinkle?" If people are selling clothes that expose the mid-drift, does that mean it's OK to have wrinkles now? Can I throw away all those anti-aging serums that cost 30 dollars an ounce? Thanks, eBay seller! Your listing just changed my life!

Burgandy - Once in the distant past, I think I tried to spell "burgundy" the same way. That almost makes this error forgivable. But for the existence of spell-check.

Sequence - Now that is a real word, so I can see why spell-check wouldn't help you on this one, but still, I feel it is necessary to point out that this is probably the only shirt for sale that is actually covered in sequence.
Those glittery things covered in sequins are another matter entirely.

Stripped - Although many gentlemen would probably love to see a stripped dress (or rather, what was left behind after the dress was stripped), a striped dress wouldn't cause nearly as much excitement.

Crocketed - Probably my favorite spelling error that I've run across on eBay is this likely typographic mistake originally intended as "crocheted." When I think of a crocketted bag, all I can think of is a purse decked out with raccoon tails.

And now on to the jewerly department. One time, I saw for sale on eBay a "Ladies nice neckless." Well, you have to do a little transposition to arrive at these hilarious "nice neckless ladies."

Monday, October 7, 2013

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookie from Vegan Treats Bakery

 DC VegFest was a week ago, and there in its midst was an amazingly popular booth staffed by Vegan Treats Bakery.

After waiting in line for only an eternity, it was my turn to make my selection from the tantalizing piles of desserts. I would have chosen one or two, but my boyfriend went hog-wild and bought one of almost everything in the tent. The only giant cookie that we picked up, however, was this chocolate peanut butter cookie.

The salesperson described it like a peanut butter cup, crispy on the outside with a gooey peanut butter filling on the inside. It sounded so good.

But it was just OK.

It didn't have that "Ew, it's healthy" taste that you sometimes get in a vegan cookie, and it held together nicely, with barely a crumble. In fact, I would have mistaken it for a conventional egg-based cookie without hesitation if I didn't know better.

I have to say, though, that I wasn't enamored of the taste. The chocolate exterior was bland, and the peanut butter interior wasn't, how shall we say, exciting.

Although the chocolate dipped part did provide a pleasant variation in texture, I just didn't find anything standout about this cookie.

At 1.93¢ per gram, this was definitely not a great deal for a giant cookie, though especially for a cookie of the vegan variety, it wasn't a great ripoff, either. In general, I would best describe this cookie as unremarkable.

The Bottom Line
Taste: 3 stars
Texture: 4 stars
Price: 3 stars