Thursday, October 1, 2009

Good Morning, Baltimore (Warning: this post includes Pirates and Alligators)

Don't you feel like it's been FOREVER since we've chatted?  (Wow, don't you think that could have been a little less narcissistic?  Like you're all sitting in front of your computers waiting for me to say something, when in reality you're probably looking at porn or misspelling things on Facebook.)  Speaking of Facebook - I created a fan page on Facebook and created a link so you could become a fan. It's over there - to the left.  Oh forget it, just click here.

Actually, it feels like a chat to me, but maybe not to you.  You know, this needn't be a one-way conversation like a freshman lecture or most marriages.  Please feel free to use that comments feature below to express an opinion, suggest a restaurant for me to visit, or request a recipe.  One of my friends, Jaylene from Tucson, recently requested a pork roast recipe, and I'm happy to print it here for you now.  Please note that it requires a marinating time of at least 8 hours (don't you hate it when you leaf through a cookbook and find something you want to make, only to find you would have had to start yesterday in order to make it):

Asian Style Pork Roast:

  • 1/3 cup lite soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/8 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Asian chile paste
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper
  • 1 (2 pound) fat-trimmed pork tenderloin
  1. Pour the soy sauce, sesame oil, and Worcestershire sauce into a medium bowl. Then whisk in brown sugar, green onions, garlic, chile paste, and pepper. Place the tenderloin in a shallow dish. Pour sauce over tenderloin, turning the meat a few times to coat. Cover dish, and refrigerate at least 8 hours.
  2. Preheat oven to 450. Transfer pork with marinade into an aluminum foil-lined baking pan.
  3. Roast in a preheated oven 25 to 30 minutes. Remove, and let stand 5 to 10 minutes before carving.
Try it with some chinese broccoli or bok choy chopped and cooked in a wok or large frying pan.  Just use a little chili oil and some hot red pepper flakes on the veggies.

So --- where should we start today?  Musings on the oddities of life, like why there is a duck on the Bubble Yum bubblegum wrapper?  Ducks don't eat gum.  I know.  When we used to go to the duck pond to feed the ducks, inevitably some idiot kid would throw gum at the ducks to see if they'd eat it.  They wouldn't.  I don't know where ducks rank in that whole chimps, dolphins hierarchy of smart animals, but they're smarter than several 6 year olds.

Still, though, what's up with that duck?

I love gum - I eat it a lot; mostly that Orbit gum.  I can go through a pack a day, easily.  And it's becoming like Jelly Belly jellybeans - every flavor is out there.  It used to be just spearmint and peppermint and bubble.  But now they have Mint Mojito and Strawberry Daiquiri and Pina Colada and Grape Jelly.  OK, I made that last one up.  I do that.  I once convinced a friend of mine that Ocean Spray was developing a new drink called Cran-Sexual.  For drag queens.

(I'd name the friend, but I've been trying to stay away from using names without permission (yes, I checked with Jaylene, first.)  I'd use nicknames, but the only ones I can ever come up with are the names I call my husband and the names people called me as a kid.  And since I don't think anyone wants to be called Cuddleburger or Fat Frog, I'll have to figure something else out.)

I don't eat a lot of sugary bubblegum anymore, but I sure did as a kid.  I also ate those Wise Onion Rings.  Remember them?  They were kind of like Funyuns?  It is SO gross to think about those now.  They're basically nothing but onion powder and salt.  Ugh.

I also ate Chocodiles.  Remember Chocodiles?  With that cartoon crocodile?  Did you know you can still get them?  Mostly on the west coast, because unlike other Hostess products which will last through the next ice age (if we ever have one, damn global warming), Chocodiles need to be fresh.  The only commercial bakery that still makes them is out west, so that's the only place you can buy them in a retail store.  But if you're really jonesing for a Chocodile, (I am SO not kidding) will send them to you.

(And speaking of cartoon reptiles, while I was on the treadmill at the gym last weekend, I saw some cartoon with a cartoon alligator that looked really cute.  He was talking to a cartoon rabbit (who did something called a "hop-think"), a series of cartoon ducks, and a cartoon hippo or rhino or something.  There may have been an elephant, too.  No, I swear I didn't drop acid and go to the gym.  Does anyone know what this show is?  Please let me know - I need to find out and meet the totally twisted mind that dreamt it up.)

Or we could talk about strange people on the subway - like the Pirate of the R Train.  He's got an eye patch (a look that really requires a parrot, a ship, and the year 1896 to be effective) and he mumbles something intelligible before launching into a James Ingram song.  Then he asks for money.  I'm sorry, but I wouldn't give money to anyone singing a James Ingram song on the subway - even if it were James Ingram himself.  (Though the thought of James Ingram in an eye patch tickles me. I have no idea why.)

There's also that guy who announces, loudly, but with no change in inflection or discernible punctuation, that he's handing out food for the homeless and hungry.  It's sad, no doubt, though the latter category is so much more ill-defined than the former, that I'm always half waiting for some passenger to announce they skipped lunch and ask for a sandwich. I guess the check and balance on that happening is that the bellowing gentleman is just scary looking enough that you'd have to be pretty damn hungry to ask him for a sandwich. Also, you'd go to hell.

Well, as long as we're doing transportation, let me tell you about my trip to Baltimore on Tuesday.

I hadn't been sleeping well for a couple of nights (the humidity and rain have brought out mosquitoes, and I'm alternatively scratching my hands off and worrying about West Nile Virus.)  I got up at 4:45 and couldn't fall back to sleep, so I made some coffee and watched tv until I had to leave to go work out with my trainer, then head to the train station.  It should be noted that my trainer is clearly a prince of a guy, who manages to spend two hours a week with me, despite the fact that I sweat heavily and sometimes smell like the floor of a bar.  At 5 am.  On a sunday.

So, by the time I got the 9am Acela to Baltimore, I was brain-dead tired.  Fortunately, the train was full of plenty of self-important jerks travelling to something critical in DC, like getting more bank bailout/bonus money or fighting for a federal mandate that everyone have health insurance but opposing any possible mechanism that would make such a mandate affordable to the people who actually need it.  You know the type of people I'm talking about?  They're having a cell phone conversation but cheating on the person on the other end of the phone by sending emails on their Blackberry at the same time?  And screaming.  Or they're asking their assistant to make reservations somewhere that serves steak and heart disease so they can spend their much more valuable time watching 24 on their computer?

I was fortunate, though.  I found one of those single seats, with the mini-table in front of them that - once you sit down - is actually six inches too high to actually use. Across the aisle there was a guy and girl headed to some meeting together.  They were relatively quiet, but I need to vent that his traveling companion was wearing one of those single piece knit dresses, in black, with a turtleneck collar.  And fishnet stockings.  And stilettos.  She looked like hooker in a library.

And she smelled like cilantro.

Well, something smelled like cilantro and she was the closest so I'm fairly sure it was her.  Cilantro isn't a smell you want to find the source of unless you're in an herb garden or a Mexican restaurant.

The actual visit to Baltimore was uneventful.  I got to see a former, and hopefully future, client of mine whom I like a lot.  We had a really nice lunch at a mediterranean restaurant (Desert Cafe - an uninspiring name, but the hummus was delicious.)

I returned to the station with plenty of time before the next train to New York.  In the station, I noticed one of those racks that hold brochures for local attractions.  So, of course, the top rack had flyers for the Orioles and the new Camden Yards, for the Inner Harbor, and for nearby cities like Annapolis and St. Michaels.  But what was surprising was the second tier attractions.  In Orlando this is where you get your lesser theme parks; in Miami, your parrot and monkey jungles.  But the second row is still pretty decent attractions.  It's usually the fourth or fifth row before you get to the outlet malls, stores that sell shells and other "crafts" and theme restaurants that feature failed actors dressed up in polyester period costumes that serve as a bridge between their role as a witch in a regional theater production of MacBeth, and their role as a clerk in a retail shop selling crystals and other occult items.

Not Baltimore.  The second row of brochures included the Maryland Renaissance Festival, the Baltimore Hard Rock Cafe, something called "Pirate Adventures on the Chesapeake" (Because, despite what you've heard about the Caribbean and the Barbary Coast, Maryland was a hot hangout for pirates) and - finally - Bingo World.  Seriously, folks, you can't make this up.  And nothing I can say would do it justice.  The photos in the brochure included a picture of empty folding tables and chairs, and a photo of two old women daubing their bingo cards.

Well, that's it for now.  Coming soon:  Neil's birthday, my hosting reel, Andy Cohen's talk show on Bravo and reviews of the Standard Grill and Nizza.


DO THIS, New York:

Make my pork roast.  It's delicious.

Find out what show has that cute cartoon alligator.

Order some Chocodiles.  They're like Twinkies covered in chocolate.

DON'T DO THIS, New York:

Skip the Funyuns, and all other artificial onion rings.

And James Ingram.

And Bingo World.

Just skip it all.

No comments:

Post a Comment