Thursday, March 14, 2013

Blogging's a bitch

So this whole blogging business is much harder than I thought.  I am trying to link my blog to Facebook page and apparently I need something like a programming engineering degree to figure this out.  I am writing this as a test to see if it shows up on my FB page.  I have read some posts that say it will only post new feeds and not old ones...we shall see....


Sunday, March 10, 2013

Your crazy if you go to Nighttown and order anything but the Dublin Lawyer. This is what I told some newbies in the group as we headed off to my favorite Cleveland restaurant- the only place I ever want to take guests.  And I hate to say it (well, not really) but I was right. Three new converts to the Lawyer which is made with Cayenne butter, heavy cream, white rice pilaf, and chunks of lobster. 

And lucky me, since it is independent restaurant week, I was able to get the P.E.I Mussels in a garlic white wine broth, my Lawyer, and bread pudding (not a huge dessert person but the rest of the table enjoyed it) for $33.00.

I just love everything about this place -

The atmosphere is cool without trying.

Eclectic, literary, relaxed, hedonistic, sexy - all at once. I'm not sure you can even use literary and hedonistic as adjectives to describe a restaurant but I am! And Nighttown would let me - it is a place where anything and everything seem to go - and go perfectly well together.

In my head I picture myself sitting in a booth in the back of the dimly lit room, smoking a cigarette, sipping a gimlet, listening to jazz and just 'being.'

In reality you can't smoke in restaurants anymore (and I quit some five years ago anyway, we didn't hear music last night or strangely enough ever there even though Nighttown is rated one of the top 100 jazz clubs in the world by Down Beat magazine, and I opted for the cosmo last night as opposed to the gimlet (both are favs of mine).

Already planning my next visit...

Linked below are some of my favorite write-ups on my favorite place:

Monday, March 4, 2013

The saga continues

Today I planned on taking a lunch break at work and made an appt. to donate blood at 12:45.  I think in my acts of kindness excitement I forgot that I had a one o'clock conference call.  When the scheduling conflict dawned on me I tried to call Red Cross to cancel my appt. so I wouldn't take up a valuable donor spot.  Of course, no answer.  I actually had to drive there to say I wouldn't be there (not to worry they failed to put me in book anyway) and to reschedule for later that evening....Fast forward several hours - blood drive take two.  I read the eligibility book about which I had a gazillion questions, yes I have been to several European countries since 1980, my grandma might be of Hispanic descent since she was an orphan, I don't know if I took something with aspirin in it in the past 48 hrs. (does Ibuprofen have aspirin in it?)....I finally made it to the donation chair...I had read the book, done the screening, got the finger prick and was just calling my husband to verify we were in Costa Rica two years ago and not one when I realized I had forgotten to mention something...I called Joe and when he said we had been to Costa Rica last year I said, "no that can't be right - we wouldn't have gone to Punta Cuna only 4 months after Costa Rica" - oh my I forgot to mention the Dominican trip to my screener and so then I did....and guess what...a big fat DISQUALIFIED. I can't donate until 12 months have passed since our trip due to the chance of me having contracted malaria.

Seriously, why are my acts of kindness so hard to complete?!

Friday, March 1, 2013

So I started early...

Today at Giant Eagle this cute little old lady asked if I could help her reach a bottle of Pantene Pro-V shampoo that was pushed back on the top shelf.  It is not often, being short myself, that I can help someone in this type of situation, but thankfully I was just tall enough to reach. This woman was so grateful.  My first thought was 'damn - too bad my birthday week of kindness didn't start yet' and my next thought was 'well, that really couldn't have counted anyways since she asked for the help - what was I going to say - "no, figure out a way to reach it yourself" - what I did certainly didn't seem to qualify as a random act of kindness, but rather just something anyone would do in that situation. I continued on my way but couldn't quit thinking about how appreciative she was.  And so four or so aisles later I turned back - let me go buy her a flower or something I thought. I ran back to the shampoo aisle, but she was gone.  Darn - a missed opportunity. And then...

Suddenly I saw her - she was in the 12 items or less lane checking out.  I raced up to the counter like a lunatic and told the check-out boy I would pick up her bill (she had the shampoo, a conditioner, and a bag of cough drops).  I was on the opposite side of the aisle from her and I vaguely heard her say something about a book of stamps.  No biggie. Next thing I know the sales boy, Michael, turns to me, points to the total displayed on the register and says, "you still want to pay".... what could he mean, how much could it possibly be - and then I looked...


It wasn't one book of stamps, it was 11!!!!!  

Panic set in.  Holy shit, I just paid that much at Marc's for my grocery shopping for the month. What do I do know? Do I look like a total ass if I try to back out?  But I can't afford to give someone $114 and still do the other 32 acts of kidness on my list (strangely enough it was hard coming up with kindness ideas that didn't cost at least a little money).

And then, spoken like a voice from the heavens, Michael gave me an out.  He said, "I'll just charge your card for the groceries ok." And so that is where we left it.

Anna, the lady who I ended up only buying $12 of groceries for was still very grateful.  We got to talking when I asked if I could take her picture to post on my blog and she told me the reason she needed all of those stamps was that she had spent the last 24 years writing her own poetry and sending it out to friends and family.

She asked for my address so that she could send me a birthday wish, an Easter poem, and a picture of baby Jesus for Olivia for Christmas. (She said 'Olivia will like it because she is just a baby too). Too cute!

Note to self- before doing any more acts of kindness  I must remember to put some makeup on and do my hair.

Well after all of this I was feeling very generous toward Michael who just saved me 'a benjamin' (now I'm thinking back to my old high school days with the likes of Puffy, Biggie, and Mace blaring in the background).  So I get in Michael's express line which now had what seemed like a gazillion customers in it.  I saw a $15 itunes gift card I was going to get for him, but then I wondered if it was presumptius to assume everyone owns apple products so I put it back.  A candy bar - no that's dumb.  An amazon card - lowest gift card denomination $25. An Olive Garden gift card (okay people - don't judge - my choices were limited to whatever was in reach at the checkout counter).  And then it dawned on me, just get some cash back and give him money.  What teenager can't use money. For what - I won't think about :) Does the below ring a bell old high school friends?

So it is finally my turn to check-out and at first I tell Michael I want $15 cash back, but something about the $15 sounded cheap so I changed it to $20 (it was a little less painful to up the 'tip' when I was using my husband's debit instead of mine). As I am in the process of paying, one of Michael's friends comes up and asks him 'how's the baby' to which Michael responds 'she comes home from the hospital tommorrow'.

Well, that just sent my do-gooder high into overdrive (and hearing this I was happy I increased the $15 to $20) as I created a whole storyline in my head about this nice young man who was trying to support his baby in the hospital. And then I blurted out, 'you have a baby' to which he responded, 'no, it's my girlfriend's sister's'.

In any case, I still gave him the $20 and walked away smiling as he kindly protested....

Michael - if you are reading this leave us a shout-out :)

He was this friendly and happy before he even knew he was getting a tip.  I just told him I wanted to take a picture of the guy who saved me money.
Check out the 33 Birthday Acts of Kindness Tab for More

Fake foodie

Why the 'fake' you ask?

Well, I like to think of myself as a foodie...but I have no formal culinary training, no real knowledge of the inner-workings of owning and/or managing a restaurant (unless of course my former career posts as waitress at Waffle House and Spirited Scooper at Handel's Ice Cream count), no refined palette that can automatically identify the difference between a white onion and a yellow one - hell, I can't even pronounce some of the items on the menu at the fancier establishments I have dined at....But I do know good food when I have it - and when I taste something I love I feel it is my calling to talk about it incessantly to anyone who will listen.

I'm pretty sure that if I actually took the time to use one of those budget calculators online that turn your spending into an easy to read pie graph, that the biggest slice of pie after my mortgage and daycare bills would be attributed to food. Most of my free time is spent on perusing urban spoon, researching menus, and reading endless online reviews in search for that next 'foodie' hot spot.

Unfortunately, I am learning that I tend to be hard critic where food/service is involved.

And thus the reason for the blog (and a special shout-out to a good family friend for suggesting it) - I want to provide real raw no bull shit reviews of where I eat, what I like, and why. Don't expect reviews full of words such as acerbic, brackish, and caustic - I don't want you to have to refer to a dictionary to know if the local neighborhood restaurant is worth your time, your money, and what can seem like the, at times,  impossible task of lining up a sitter.

Just think of me as a friend, one that is obsessed with trying new food at new places, throwing out some suggestions on where you might enjoy a 'delectable' night out :)