Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Cheap tastes good

Sandwiches are ridiculously expensive in NYC. Even a simple turkey, Swiss, lettuce and tomato on a roll costs at least $6. At my company cafeteria, I can get the same for $3.50, but the rolls are always stale. I cannot enjoy this favorite sandwich of mine unless the roll is soft and squishy.

I was getting this sandwich several times a week from a deli near work and paying the approximately $6 price (it varied, depending on who made the sandwich).

And then one day, when walking home from the train in Jersey City, I stopped like I always do to give change to the homeless guy who stands in front of the Paradise Deli. (Jeff and I are his "favorite couple!!" or as we like to refer to us after we pass him, the people putting his son through college, most likely.

It was a particularly cold night and he asked for a sandwich, so I thought what the hell. "Turkey and cheese, please!" he said as I went inside. (He's the nicest homeless guy I have ever met.)

I watched the guy behind the counter pick out a nice squishy roll and slice some Boar's Head turkey. All the meats and salads were wrapped in plastic. I tried not to think about why they must be carefully wrapped, but wrapped they are.

The sandwich rung up at $3.50. Bargain! I took it to the homeless guy who thanked me profusely. I said, "that's my favorite sandwich, too" as I handed it to him. "Really??," he said, "turkey and cheese??" It then dawned on me that he probably prefers American cheese, not the Swiss that I selected for him, but oh well. Free is free, buddy.

And from that day on, I have been stopping at Paradise Deli a few mornings a week and picking up a turkey and Swiss to bring to work. I skip the tomatoes so that it won't get soggy. I look forward to it all morning and as soon as it's noon, I can't wait any longer. It's a damn good sandwich. And no, not just because it's cheap.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

I'm just gonna say it

Unless you're having an affair or you're in high school, please don't make out in public. Everyone else -- I believe there is somewhere else you could go to make out.

Plus! Do you honestly want people to watch you making out? I am probably an old fuddy-duddy, but I think it's kind of a private thing and I would rather not have it be witnessed. But that's probably just prudey old me.

Holding hands, kisses hello or goodbye, hugs -- these are all permissable in public.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Honeymoon is over.

We lived here for 6 months before anyone moved in above us. We were spoiled. We were cushioned from noise of any kind. Our only neighbors were two floors up and no one was below us. It was incredibly quiet.

Now we have neighbors directly above us. They test the pocket doors constantly. Do they still open? Yep. Do they still close? Yep. They clomp around in boots. They talk. Oh my god, the talking. It's a constant hum. This is a problem because they aren't yelling, they're just talking.

When we do sell this place, we're going to have to ask them to be very, very quiet, or else no one is going to buy our apartment. I wouldn't, if I heard how thin the walls actually are. I thought they used to make walls so thick! Anyway, now I understand about the rule they have in apartment buildings about putting down rugs in 80% of the apartment or whatever.

Would it be out of bounds for us to say, "let's all agree to take off our shoes at home"? I think not. I'm not saying there needs to be a rug rule, because the hard wood is nice to look at. And we don't have any yet.

But the 4th floor peeps have a big rug in each room and they don't wear their shoes inside, so 3rd floor peeps probably don't realize how loud it could be.

Jeff is watching a concert on TV of a band called Metric. Their sound is okay. But I'm guessing that a lot of their appeal comes from the skinny lead singer wearing a short white dress and no bra.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Bye, London

Did I mention yet that the UK has an amazing array of crisps (potato chips) flavors? Worstershire, roast chicken, Thai sweet chili, beef of various sorts, prawn, cheese & onion (my fave). There don't appear to be too many in the way of pretzels or cheesy snacks.

We're at the airport, trying to figure out where our gate is. There's a sign saying our gate will open at 14:45, which also happens to be the boarding time. So it might be helpful if we could find out which gate it is before then because there is also a sign saying the walk to gates is from 10 to 20 minutes.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Italian restaurant in London

me: What does this mean
"risotto to your choice"?

waiter: You can have it however you like.

me: Okay. I'd like artichoke hearts...

waiter: (shakes head) No.

me: Um, okay. What are the choices?

waiter: Mushrooms...
(long pause)

me: Uh huh, what else?

waiter: Vegetables.

me: What kind?

waiter: Mixed vegetables.

me: Okay, you know what, I'll just get the tagliatelle with mozzarella and fresh tomatoes.

waiter: I'm sorry to be difficult, madame, but artichokes, they do not go with risotto.

Whatever dude. Then have a list of options. The dish I received was delicious, but it was linguine.

We are now winding down our tour of London's pubs that serve cask ales. We went to one particularly famous one today where I was told I could sit on the last empty stool next to the governor. I then heard someone else address him as Mayor. I asked him what was his beer of choice and he said he prefers a light one when on duty. Duty for what, I have no idea.


Again we nearly missed a meal (lunch today) by getting to it late. I would have gotten a fish & chips, but we're in the quite posh neighborhood of Belgravia (near Kensington) at a hard-to-find pub on a mews (the fact that it is quite hidden has no bearing on the price, just the complete lack of tourists in an otherwise touristy area). So I instead got the fried fish sandwich. And it was delicious.

Some British names that amuse us include: Cockfosters, Tooting, Turnham Green, St. John's Wood, Wapping, Cockspur. I mentioned Turnham Green to my British coworker and he did not see the humor.

Every time I see the letters TO LET, I think ther is a letter missing from the space.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Stop means stop

There really is no better french fry condiment than malt vinegar.

A lot of pubs serve food, but only during the day. This has made finding dinner frustrating two nights in a row.

Coming into the tube station this evening, Jeff had hit a big red button that read STOP in hopes of it working in reverse and making the non-functioning escalator spring into action. It did not. A red light turned on and then a Big Brother voice came over the PA saying, "To the persons who just turned off the escalator to the Jubilee line, why did you do that?" We both yelled out, "It was already off!" and then we ran down the stairs and hoped we would not get arrested. (We were not.)


I have just heard about what might be the most disgusting food combo in the world.

Gamon (some sort of ham), fried egg, pineapple, peas, chips (french fries), mayo.

I would much sooner eat a fried Mars bar or a package of shrimp-flavored crisps.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

From London, with dread

I'm here for work and I can't say I'm having a ball (too much work stuff). Jeff has arrived so I should perk up for his sake.

In London they call all Indian food curry (which I knew already). I was told that a curry is anything in a sauce. And tandoori is just dry curry. British business people go out to drink and then for a curry. I am intrigued by this because if you took a group of coworkers in the US, half of them wouldn't like curry and at least one would probably never have had it.

Also a big thing now is Thai food served in bars. A coworker here said that it's because it was cheaper to hire Thai cooks and they cooked what they knew and then it became a fad. That soesnt seem like the soundest theory to me because there are plenty of cooks in restaurants cooking food that is not from their country. Anyway we were running out of options tonight because it was 9pm, so we opted for bar Thai. It wasn't half bad.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

More about London

I have noticed this before and am still intrigued by it. Europeans seem to have nothing against wearing brown shoes with a black outfit.

London has delicious yogurt. Hooray for European yogurt. This morning I had a pear one. For a long time I was disgsted by fruit bits being in my yogurt, but I appreciate it now -- in a good yogurt.

There are no express trains. We are spoiled in that regard, I think. Do any other cities have them?

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Some things about London before bed

I hate English water. It all tastes like Volvic, which I hate for its taste and its name.

I ate mushrooms both nights I have been here. Willingly. I know. The world has probably stopped spinning.

My hair likes the rainy British weather. My boss said, "you changed your hair!" I bet she thinks I got a perm.

I really realize what I miss by not having any immediate colleagues in my office -- or my country. Makes me a bit sad to see the commraderie in the UK office.

I went to a pub for dinner by myself tonight. I sort of hoped I'd meet some nice people to chat with (like Jen always does). And I did! Also, I ate Isle of Wight crab on toast (delicious, by the way) and thought of Stuart.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

#43 Betty

You lived across the street from me when I was growing up. You gave me a pretty brass hook when I graduated high school, which I have hung in every residence since.

Friday, January 4, 2008

#42 Beth

I forget we met online two years ago since I know you so well in real life. So much has changed for you lately, I'm not sure how to define you now.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

#41 Beth

You are tall and brassy and you have that Northern Virginian accent I somehow escaped. You told on me to my boss once regarding something petty, but I've forgotten what it was.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

#40 Beth

You moved away when I was a teen. I still get wistful when I walk past your old house. You baked our fabulous wedding cake. You stopped driving when your license expired.