Monday, August 17, 2009

Marliave Restaurant Week

Imagine yourself coming home after work on a Friday night. You plop down on the couch next to your partner in crime. "What do you want to do for dinner?" "I dunno, what do you want to do?" Imagine that this conversation gets played out over and over again over a period of 30 minutes. Sad. I know. But sometimes when you've live in a place long enough, you get so bored with everything and this includes meal options.

Luckily I remembered that a friend on Twitter had recently tweeted about her RW meal at Marliave and I've heard good things about it from my partner in crime as well. Typically, I avoid restaurants during RW because I've never had a stellar experience. The quality of the meal is average to sucky and the quality of the service really blows too. Infact, the service is why I avoid RW all together. When I go out to eat, I'd rather not be viewed with unveiled distain. I get it though. You get the odd assortment of people coming to your fine dining establishments acting like they're rock stars when infact all they are are a bunch of hacks. We sometimes get people like that in my shop as well and let me tell you, serving them is not pleasant. It's not about the cost of the meal but it's more about a certain mentality that seems to go with it at times too. So I can't imagine having to work RW for 2 weeks twice each year.

So after 30 minutes of our played out convo on the couch, I checked Open Table and saw that we could book a reservation for 9pm. Perfect. It gave us enough time to get ready and hope on the T. I decided it was time to bust out my new Manolos (see above!) and take them for a test drive. Luckily I didn't have to do much walking because walking in these shoes was not easy at all. It wasn't that they're painful but because they are so high, they pitch me forward a little too far. So walking because an interesting endeavor. I'll have to figure out how to exactly "fix" the situation with my shoes because I love them so much and refuse NOT to wear them. If I had to chose my true loves in life, I'd list: food, premium denim, insanely expensive lingerie, make-up, E and stupid expensive shoes (not in that order but close to).

Slowly, very very slowly (due to my heels) we made it to Marliave. Luckily we got there by 9pm. I have to say that I thought it was odd that I was able to get a last minute reservation on a Friday night so easily.

Hmm...sadly, E and I should have taken it as an indication of what we should expect. I was going to write up an entire review of our meal but E beat me to the punch and already did a fantastic write up here. I'll let you read her take on it because she use to work in the restaurant industry and her observations seem so keenly on point with Marliave.

Here's the thing. I wanted to like it so much. I'd heard so many wonderful things about it and their RW menu was beyond expressive in its number of offerings. But what I got to experience didn't feel like Marliave in its prime at all. Even the space felt a bit run down and not looked after too caringly. The food was decent but the attention to the experience overall wasn't good. Perhaps it can be best summed with my dessert that came to my table looking like a giant boob. I suddenly felt like E had gotten me a gag dessert from Sweet Nothings.

However it was fun to try Marliave. Although I won't be jumping at the suggestion, I'd definitely give it another shot at some point. Besides any excuse I get to show off my expensive shoe collection is always good by me!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

A Quick Lactose Update

The lactose intolerance test came back positive. Explains a lot. However, doesn't explain the odd skin rashes. I still believe those are wheat related so I'm gonna ask for the blood test.

Even though I was really sad to get the test results back positive, I decided that it's not gonna keep me from living my life. For example, I had ice cream last night and didn't seem to have any issues. I have skim milk in my coffee today and everything seems good. I did skip the cheese from my egg/bacon croissant because 1.) I didn't want to press my luck 2.) I don't really care for the melted plastic texture on my sandwich.

I think I'll just be mindful of what I eat, how much I eat...Besides, isn't that what we're all suppose to do anyway?

Thanks for all the support everyone!

Julie and Julia, Meh.

Everyone I know who went to see the movie has gushed about it. I mean, GUSHED. Go see it, see it now. Men, women, gay, straight. How could I an adorer of food not see Julie and Julia? So I went to a 10pm showing by myself...I packed ice cream for a snack and set off.

I wiggled in my seat in full anticipation of the amazingness that was about to occur. Sure, I read the book and thought it was painfully boring; so boring that I skimmed the end and laid the book down. But everyone said that the movie was better than the book and it had Meryl Streep for goodness sakes! And this movie reconnected her with Stanley Tucci. I loved them in the Devil Wore Prada. And while I didn't love, love that book (I did finish it and enjoyed it as a day read) I adored the movie and could watch it day in and day out.

So I expected the same greatness. And while Meryl and Stanley were totally lovely and moving as Paul and Julia, I couldn't quite get passed by my distaste of Julie Powell. Amy Adams is a really great actress because she had me disliking her just as much as I remember from the book.

Julie Powell is disliked so much in the blog world, I believe, because so many people are jealous of her almost meteoric rise to fame and fortune. Personally, that doesn't bother me all that much, kudos to her for all that. But what does bother me is this feeling I get from her of her overwhelming sense of entitlement. I have this feeling that she's a person who isn't mystified by her fame/fortune but sees it as her God given right. I imagine her internal dialogue goes like this,"Of course, I'm a successful writer, fools! In fact, fate was suppose to have made me one years ago! Duh!"

And maybe my sense of her is way off and she's a sweet, humble little slice of pie, but she certainly doesn't come off as such in Julie and Julia in book form or movie form. Sadly, I think her next book, "Cleaving" will just confirm my sense of her further. It's apparently a book about her affair and need to run away and learn the ancient art of meat butcher. Oh jeez. Yes, that's how we all get to deal with issues in our lives, by running away to butcher shop training. Very few people have such a charmed life.

Overall, I liked the movie but couldn't love. Infact, all the flashes to Julie Powell scenes made me cringe and left me yawning. I couldn't get over my distaste for her long enough to enjoy anything she did.

I guess the easiest way to sum up my feelings for this movie is to say that if they make Cleaving into a movie, I won't be standing in line for a ticket. But if anyone wants to just make a movie devoted to Julia and Paul, I'm in!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Wait, I thought milk was suppose to do a body good?

I'm sorry I haven't seen posting much lately. My work life has truly eaten up time, space and energy for little else. I'm trying to get an online shop for Jean Therapy up and have another little pet side project in the works as well. Sometimes I consider blogging but my meals and life with food really haven't been anything too special these days.

I've been trying to make peace with my issues with wheat. It's been tough. Anytime E had anything with bread involved, I ask to take a sniff before she digs in. And I take a deep inhalation. Sometimes I have a little nibble. Even a hotdog bun causes me to go into rapture. I miss bread so damn much that it all seems so damn unfair. If only I had known how truly "unfair" it was about to get.

Recently I had a doctor's appointment. I remembered to mention my stomach issues to her and she instantly scheduled a lactose test for me. I was a little taken aback. I mean, I'm Korean and all but I'm also adopted so I've had a glass of milk with every meal since I could remember. Dairy in the form of cheese and ice cream are a daily requirement for me; my cheese bin in the fridge is always stocked so I can have a quick snack and don't even get me started on the gallons of ice cream I typically have on hand.

When I came home and told E, we both thought the same thing. Perhaps, not really meaning to, my doctor had kinda stererotyped me as being lactose intolerant because I'm Asian. No matter, I'd go ahead with the test. It would be one more thing to rule out for me to be allergic to.

The test is a breathorlizer dealie and one that takes three hours to administer. Also, you can't have anything to eat or drink for 10 hrs before and this includes water. Since I was having the test in the morning I was able to sleep for most of the 10 hrs. But the period from 9-12 was a little rough because this was my typical midnight snacking time. E will have a glass of wine or bourbon and I reach for ice cream. Actually it's probably not the healthiest evening routine and I think we both might want to reevaluate.

I arrived for the test early. I was parched, cranky, tired and my breath was a little funky because I couldn't use "a lot" of water to brush my teeth and absolutely no Listerine. "Why, did I decide this was a good idea? I already KNOW I'm not allergic to lactose". I fumed and chided myself for going along with the test.

Soon I and four other people were ushered into a room and given clear keg cups half full of what looked like water. These were the lactose/sucrose solutions and we were told to drink the entire portion. I took a small sip thru my straw and deemed it not so bad. It was tepid and slightly sweet.

"Well, it could be worse", I thought as I proceeded to try and down the rest of the solution.

Okay, a few more sips into the beverage and I changed my mind. It was disgusting. Drinking lukewarm sugar water is really not fun at all. It was a lot to stomach and I was having trouble downing it all. I kinda felt like a wuss until I looked around the room at the four other people. They didn't look too happy either. Infact, the woman next to me said, "blah, this is awful!".

So armed with the knowledge that I wasn't the only one suffering, I pulled thru and emptied the cup. Every 30 mins for 3 hours we had to come back to the room and blow into the plastic bag. So for 3 hours, I played with my phone (the day that Twitter went down! drats!), watch the Today show and marveled over how many times they recycled the same damn new stories and internally kicked myself for taking the test when I was so not lactose intolerant.

But the reason for kicking myself changed about 20 mins after I chugged whatever was in the cup. My tummy was a mess. I was in a bit of pain and had some GI distress. F-ck! And it didn't stop. My tummy was a mess all day and into the evening as well. Damn me for taking a test that made me so sick!

I haven't gotten the test results back but I'm fairly certain that my test will come back positive and I am indeed lactose intolerant. My GI distress was almost immediate.

While the possibility of being both lactose and wheat intolerant really bums me out, I'm also trying to figure out how to move forward. People have told me that there are plenty of substitutes for wheat and cheese. Plus I know my friend V uses the lactose pills so he can easily handle the cheese on a cheeseburger. And I know that this is true but I also wonder if the best course of action, for me, not for anyone else, is to clean those foods out of my diet completely and see how I feel. I'm tempted to do the latter but I'm also baffled by what to eat, especially as someone who is so wedded to cheese and ice cream. And yes, I've had rice milk and soy milk ice cream and I don't really enjoy either one very much. And sorbet?! I mean it's got a place but sometimes you just want a big ole ice cream sundae or a vanilla creme brulee.

Alright, so I'm being a little pouty about the entire situation and I recognize that. Besides, if all this had come up for me years ago, I'm sure that I wouldn't have the world of alternatives and subs I have at my disposal now. And you know what? Pecan crackers aren't really half bad so maybe I'll be ok afterall.