Sunday, May 12, 2013

pizza, burger, mom

I'm always overwhelmed with my mom's unconditional love. I just don't get how moms develop that much selflessness when it comes to their children. I like to think that I'm a pretty nice, caring person, but I just don't think I'll ever understand the level of niceness moms are on. Like when I was a kid--I could never finish a whole McDonald's hamburger, but my mom would still take me there and waste her money on half-eaten meals every time I asked. Then when I finished a whole burger for the first time, she was actually proud of me. This would be a good time to note that I am an only child. Small victories, I guess.

Roberta's: cheeseburger on a house-made bun and fingerling potatoes

best burger ever

She used to pick me up from school every day with a lunch packed so I could eat before going to the piano lessons that I begged for, but eventually abandoned ten years later because the only thing I had really learned was how to play "chopsticks." Also, it wasn't just a PB&J type lunch, it was serious multi-layered lunch box filled with Korean food--fried rice, rice cakes, noodles--plus a million side dishes that I liked. And obviously, I only ate the kind of side dishes that took a lot of time to make. Even after all that, I would ask for a calzone at Pizza Hut, and she would take me to get one. I'd make her order it because I was way too chicken to order my own food until I was about 13.  I was so so spoiled, and I think that must partially be why I love food so much. 

Speedy Romeo: "The White Album"

a pocket of ricotta

pickled peppers to tame the dairy-ness of the white pie

I used to be really really tiny and in desperate need of fattening, so my mom let me eat whatever I want. And since I would get hungry every two hours like a bird, she would make me anything I wanted to eat at any hour of the day--like tuna fish sandwiches and cheetos at 6 am. This is probably the least sentimental, least beautiful way to describe how much I appreciate the love my mom has shown me, but it's what sticks with me the most. Even now, whenever I come home, my mom treats me the same way.  I've definitely woken her up to say that I wanted instant ramen, and she's made it for me with a side of kimchi and an egg plopped into the broth. Even after reaching the pinnacle of laziness--asking your sleeping mother to wake up and rehydrate noodles for you--I know my mom still loves me enough to do that a million times over if I asked. So when it comes to food, I approach it in the only way that I know how--with lots and lots of love and a stupidly, endless appetite.

So what I'm trying to say...all this food I ate, it was all for you, Mom!! Happy Mother's Day!

Just joking. That would be the worst gift ever.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

brunch, three ways

Crispy Kale & Avocado Sandwich crispy kale and avocado sandwich with piquillo pepper, currant and marcona almond relish. From Tandem Bar

I never really understood what people meant when they would proclaim their love for brunch. I mean, lunch is my preferred meal, but I've never thought, "Omg, I love lunch so much!" because that's weird. It doesn't make any sense. I'm still not sure that I even get what brunch is. I used to think it just meant extending acceptable breakfast hours, then I thought it was just a weekend word for breakfast. But once I moved to New York, I noticed that all these restaurants and bars have special brunch menus, although that often seems to just involve adding an egg and a side of home fries to the regular menu items. I'm still confused about the concept of brunch as it's own meal category, but now that it's been almost 2 years of living in Brooklyn, which is like, brunch headquarters, I'm starting to get it. 

I like brunch because anything goes--you can eat pancakes at 2 pm, put an egg on a hamburger and call it breakfast, add champagne to your orange juice--and nobody's gonna judge. It can be really tiring always trying to do what other people want and expect from you, and I think that's why people like brunch--it's a nice respite from a week spent trying to appease others, whether it's your friends or your boss or hungry customers. Going out to brunch is like re-claiming all those moments you had swallow that annoying lump in your throat, force a smile and say "Okay! Sure, whatever you want."  It's your turn to indulge yourself and do whatever makes you happy without worrying about anybody else. As my pal Nina would say, "You do you."

I ran out of things to say about brunch before I could transition into these photos, so I'm just going to stick them in here. Lazy, I know.

My sandwich at Tandem came with a choice of two sides. I chose patatas bravas and a side of grits because if that's an option, I always want it. I think Tandem named the potatoes "patatas bravas" just because it sounds nicer than "home fries" or "fried potatoes." And I'm pretty sure patatas bravas are supposed to come drizzled with mayonaise, and these did not. It's like when restaurants use "mayonnaise" and "aioli" interchangeably because aioli sounds fancy. Anyway, I'm not really complaining though because those were some seriously good potatoes. I swear they were fried in bacon fat--a nice hint of porkiness to my vegetable sandwich. The sandwich, by the way, was the most delicious vegetable sandwich I have ever had. And that's saying something because to me, a sandwich without cheese is hardly a sandwich at all. 

"Turkish Breakfast" from Olea: Eggs scrambled with cilantro, tomato and red onion, fattoush, eggplant salad, herbed yogurt and grilled pita bread. But as you can see, the pita bread was not grilled. I didn't care though.

Patty melt and fries from Mega Bites, which is a really strange name for a diner. I had never been there before, but my roommate loves diners, so I knew I'd end up there eventually. The only bad thing about my meal here was that I realized how close it is to my apartment next year. I know that sounds like a good thing, but I foresee way too many meals taking place at Mega Bites. I've never been one to exercise much control when it comes to my food cravings.

I hardly ever get patty melts, but this one made me wonder if I should make that a regular thing. The buttery sandwich bread really puts it over the edge. The fries were perfect--well seasoned, crispy on the outside, warm and soft on the inside. I kept eating them long after I had started feeling uncomfortably full. I guess that's what they mean by Mega Bites?