Food Pic of the Week

Although I am not a fan of Valentine’s Day . . . AT ALL. 

The Bu made a delicious chocolate cheesecake dessert. Now, I kind of want another slice. 

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Have a kick-ass weekend. 

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Food Pic of the Week

Cantina Taqueria and Tequila Bar

Yesterday, I accidentally fasted for 21 hours instead of my normal 16 hours, but I did not really notice until I left the office at 8:30 pm.

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After work, I dropped by Cantina. This is the first restaurant the BF and I visited after moving into our apt.

Although I had not eaten for 21 hrs, I was not super hungry, I only wanted an adult beverage, to be perfectly honest. I decided to go with the nacho appetizer with chorizo (for an extra 3 bucks) and a frozen beverage. Overall, the nachos were a delicious gooey mess, and the amount of guacamole was quite generous. I was expecting a little, struggling side container of guac. I was a little disappointed that the cheese was a velveeta esque cheese because I was expecting REAL cheese from a Mexicanish restaurant.

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How can you drink a frozen drink during a polar vortex? Ummmm, I’m not drinking it outside … duh.

At first, I was disappointed with the size of the beverage for the price of $14, but the Rum Punch definitely packed a punch (no pun).

Random:

I was bitching to the BF about the loudness of 90% of the restaurants/bars in this area of Harlem. He brought up a good point. The bars are super loud to keep talking to a minimum, making you drink more. That could be true. Yesterday’s visit to Cantina was an example of this logic. I really wanted to buy another drink but I was getting annoyed that the person sitting next to me couldn’t hear me. Oh well, I guess that I saved another $14.  Hey, that is almost the cost of a pack of cigarettes in NYC. Since I’m approaching 40, I typically leave after one drink in loud ass restaurant/bars. An exception – when I’m at a club/lounge-type of place because I’m expecting it to be loud as hell. (Not so) quiet as it’s kept, I’m usually the loudest motherfucker in a place.

Food Pic of the Week – Ethiopian

This week the BF and I decided to explore Harlem even though we have been living here for a little more than a year. Normally, I like checking out many different new places in an area and line up a few regular spots. But for some reason, I found my local watering bar within two weeks of moving to the neighborhood, and that’s my main go to. Unfortunately, the restaurant/bar will be undergoing “renovations” for the next couple of month. Many times, “renovations” mean the owner is striping the place so he/she can sell it. But we’ll see. 

We decided on Ethiopian food and visited, Abyssinia Ethiopian Restaurant – 135th and Fredrick Douglas Blvd. I was very pleased with the food.

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A nice platter for two. 

Of course one cannot forget a nice (actually, I do not know if it was a nice bottle) of wine. 

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Yeah, we tore that shit up, and there was so much leftover food. This is the first time that my hunger was fully satisfied with Ethiopian food. 

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I’m a little mad with the server because I specifically asked her to pack the chicken bone in the doggie bag. I was going to make a stew. 😉

Random Thursday & A To-Do List

Even though NYC Marathon is 9 days away, I need to get all of my marathon crap together by Saturday. Against most of you folks’ advice, I decided to go to Spain with the BF from Sunday to Friday (he’s staying until Sunday). Basically, I got three days to get my marathon sh*t together. Since I’m arriving back to NYC on Friday night, I do not want to be running all over town on Saturday (aside from jogging the Abbott Dash to the Finish Line 5K race to the finish and picking up my marathon bib from the expo).

First, a shameless plug. Here’s my bib number if you will be watching the marathon in any of the five boroughs. Holla at your boy. 

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Crap to do before Sunday:

-Although I have not picked up my bag check bag, I want to have all my post-marathon crap that I want to check in one location of my apt. These items include a change of clothes, my tooth, cell phone adapters, cigarettes, lotion, (oh) and deodorant.

-Although I do not know what the weather will be like on Nov. 4th, I want to lay out a couple of marathon “outfits”.

-Find some disposable clothes for sitting in the cold before my marathon wave starts. Now, I wish that had not cleaned out my closet and tossed out my raggedy jeans.

-Purchase my marathon snacks, especially my GU’s and shit, hand sanitizer (so I can sterilize the seat of the portapotty if/when I need to poop before starting), and purchase a dumb book for me to read while waiting to start.

-Pray to the shipping gods that my all of my crap from Amazon arrives before Saturday. The thing that’s most important in this shipment is my external charger/battery case. 

-Make sure that the songs that are on my iPhone are actually downloaded on the phone. so I will not “stream” music and drain my battery during the marathon.  

Hmmmm, before writing this, the list in my head seemed way longer.

Random Stuff:

-Tapering is kind of fun. I wish all runs could be tapering runs. Yesterday, I really enjoyed my 3-mile run. Maybe I enjoyed because I know this training “plan” is coming to an end. Oh wait, didn’t I say that I was training to run the perimeter of Manhattan (32 miles) sometime in December?

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-After God knows after how many years, I finally joined Instagram. I kind have to use it for work (recruitment), but I decided to make a personal account. 

-I love how Harlem converts itself into Halloween mode (or as I call it Harlem-ween). 

-If anyone brings this up later, I will deny, deny, deny, but Cardi B is kind of growing on me. 

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-I keep getting facebook ads for these stupid briefs. After swiping past this the dumb AD for weeks, am kind of intrigued. Perhaps, men have to think outside of the box when it comes to underwear. Basically, the dick and nuts penis and testicles are placed in separate compartments. Eh, but I’m too cheap to drop $40 bucks on this BS. 

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-Did y’all know Bill Clinton has co-authored a trashy crime novel?

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Of course, I checked it out from the public library. I figure that this can be my traveling book for my upcoming trans-Atlantic flight. By traveling book, I mean to bring something that I SAY I will read, but it will sit in my carry-on bag for the duration of my vacation. 

Politics on the Grassroot Level (Update)

This will not be a post about all of that mess that is currently happening on the Federal level. I just can’t with that.

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about attending my neighborhood’s community board meeting ( *** ). My general take away –  the meeting was a hot mess and pretty unproductive. Before I forget, I should put the next meeting on my calendar. The cool thing about this community board is that there are multiple committee groups that meet separately. I decided to attend the Health & Human Services committee meeting. The meeting started off well in two ways:

  1. Only one group gave a presentation.
  2. I made sure that I ate before going so I would avoid being hangry.

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The group gave a presentation about introducing more diabetes and cholesterol educational programs into the community, especially for senior citizens. I believe the group’s presentation was a bit of a practice proposal that they are planning to use for other hospitals in the area.

OOOOOOKKKKKK. Although the proposal had good intentions . . .

  • It seemed like they did everything that you are NOT supposed to do with PowerPoint presentations. They put everything and the kitchen sink on each slide.  Completely read off of the slides from the presentation. Plus, 70% OF THE PRESENTATION WAS IN ALL CAPS. WTF?!!!!

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  • Since they were trying to fundraise for this initiative, other folks in the meeting were giving them ideas about city, state, and federal funding entities to which they could submit grants. Ummmmm . . . you would think that one of the representatives from the group would have written some of that crap. Honestly. Y’all came to the community board for fundraising ideas, but no one bothered to jot down the suggestions. I dunno. Maybe the three women have really good memories.
  • Oh, there were way too many typos, and some of the scientific information was a bit inaccurate.

It seems like I’m hating, but I’m keeping it real. Nowadays, if you are trying to get funding for the portions of society that are typically overlooked (e.g. people from lower socioeconomic backgrounds), you have to bring  it10 times as hard.

Takeaways from the meeting:

  • Man, old people can talk. The meeting went over because we kept having so manyIMAGE166 tangents. But, it was all good. It reminded me of some of my family get-togethers. Hell, one of the meeting attendees was 98 years old and she was still of sound mind!!!
  • I did not realize that my neighborhood had so many drug rehab centers. I guess that I kind of knew something was up because most days there is a huge congregation of folks that look mentally off in the area. During the summer, one guy kind of grabbed me and was begging for money for a fix. Looking into his eyes (fearing that I would be shanked), you could see that there was nothing (no soul, no life) in him. He was truly overcome over by drugs. Damn, that was a little depressing. 
  • That said, the committee is making a point to fight the addition of these facilities in the area. I actually understand where the committee is coming from. Why isn’t the city putting these facilities in other parts of the city (e.g. the nice part of the Upper West Side), in addition to central Harlem?
  • A funny note. The women kept going off about the bodegas selling discountare-you-looking-5a60e0 cigarettes. I kind of had to look away and twiddle my thumbs because I’ve been known to buy a pack or three of those discounted cigarettes. Plus all that anti-cigarette talk was making fiend for a cigarette.
  • Since this meeting was smaller than that of the general meeting, I had the opportunity to introduce myself to some folks and chat about the neighborhood. The women from the committee were really sweet and you could tell that they love the neighborhood. By love, they do not mind the influx of gentrifiers, but they would like Harlem to maintain it’s identity. I’m not sure how you can have the benefits of both worlds, but time will tell.

Food Pic of the Week

Sottocasa Pizzeria -Harlem

The “bu” and I did not feel like cooking in our heat trap of an apt. I swear, boiling water increases the temperature in the apartment by 20, 000 degrees. We hit up a somewhat fancy pizza place in our hood. I guess it wasn’t that fancy since the wall was covered with children’s artwork.

Sausage Pizza

What a lovely spread.

  • Enjoyed the pizza and the ambience.
  • Did not enjoy all of the kids.

(Lame) Food Pic of the Week

This past weekend, my “sister-aunt” was town, and she visited me uptown in my new hood of Harlem. *I call her my sister-aunt, because she is mom’s sister, but she is only 12 years older than me”. We tried to eat at Red Rooster (a more extensive rant on that below); however, we settled for Corner Social – a place that I have visited a few times.

Corner Social ( *** ) is your typical American-style restaurant with a touch of southern flair. In my previous experiences, I recognized that the restaurant served huge portions of food, so the price point versus quantify of food was fine for me.

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Or so I thought.

I order a fried fish “platter”, which was about $23, and this is what came out.

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Fried fish and romaine lettuce

When that mess came out, I was like:

  • Oh, so the rest of the food is going go come out a little later?
  • Maybe the rest of the “real” food is under the lettuce.

Hell, the restaurant could have supplemented that strugglin’ ass fish and lettuce plate with a piece of cornbread. Needless to say, I was very disappointed with the amount of food on the plate. Well . . . there was plenty of lettuce. Part of that annoyance could have been attributed to having ran a 12-mile race ( *** ) a couple of hours earlier.  Here is the thing. If this dish is NOT a salad, then lettuce should NOT be the main ingredient. Although my dish was a struggle, I ate the  rest of my sister-aunt’s shrimp and grits (and her friend’s toast and bacon), and was very pleased with grits.

Also, the plating of the food was nice.

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Time to Rant

Red Rooster: what is it with over-hyped restaurants? I will warn that this is a bit of a hater rant, because I have not actually eaten at Red Rooster. I have said this before, there is no way in HELL that I will wait more than 45 minutes for a table at a restaurant or entry into a bar/club/lounge/crack den in NYC!!! There are way too many comparable options in this city to wait more than 20 minutes for ANYTHING. Like I mentioned above, I figured since and my aunt and her friend were tourists that I would take them to Red Rooster, since EVERYONE raves about this place. Honestly, I wanted to see what all hype was about too. Ok, I get to the restaurant and wait in the line, because I did not have a reservation. I was behind about 10 people, but I figured that the wait would be for about 3-4 tables, since most of the people were in groups. The line did not move for about 15 minutes, so I asked the hostess about the wait for a table. The hostess told me that the line was for PUTTING YOUR NAME ON THE LIST TO WAIT FOR A DAMN TABLE.

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Also, the wait for a table could be 1.5 – 2 hours. What?!!! You mean these idiots were planning to wait over 2 hours for table, then wait another 30 – 45 minutes to order and receive your food. To me, that’s insane. After hearing that, I immediately told my people to meet me at Corer Social where I got that struggling plate of food.

I guess this is one of those place where you have to plan your hunger around getting a table. For example, I plan to be hungry at 1:30 pm, so we should arrive to the restaurant at 10:30 and begin the process of waiting for a table.

Word on the street is that Red Rooster is the restaurant of one of the Top Chef winners. Iimg_2242 do not care if Jesus, himself, was mixing drinks at the bar, an over-priced plate of food is not worth all of that waiting. Plus, the restaurant is too damn loud. Then again, I could be wrong, because I have not tried the food.

Another thing I’ve noticed with my limited/jaded view (due to my cheapness and general hater personality) of the NYC dining scene is that folks lie. By “lie”, I mean folks will front and say how great restaurant is, because they do not want to hurt their egos over waiting 2 hours, spending a ton of money, and leaving the restaurant still hungry and/or sober. I added in the sober part, because you know cocktails probably are around 20 bucks.

What’s was your most underwhelming dining experience?