Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Philly beer week, I love you, and a question

Philly beer week was fabulous. Next year we will definitely try to talk as many friends as possible into going with us. The saddest part was that we had to miss the vast majority of the events taking place in Philly during the work week.

As soon as we arrived, we went straight to a tasting lunch with Stone and Dogfish Head beers to drink and brewers in attendance. How often does the CEO of Stone Brewing sit at your table, with just you and your husband, to chat about beer and such? I will tell you: not very often.

After lunch, I'm a little embarressed to admit, we took a nap.

The only other official event we attended was the jazz happy hour at TIME restaurant. There was nothing that made it seem like an event, unless the place is normally empty on a Saturday night (unlikely). And the kids we saw playing New Orleans-style jazz on the street were way more fun than the jazz being played at the restaurant.

We went to Zot for dinner, a Belgian restaurant we noticed in the old town the last time we were visiting. There was no official event going on, but we wanted to check it out. They serve mussels with 50-some varities of sauces and they have a fabulous selection of beers. The end of beer week coincides with foie gras week, so I made the questionable decision to have two of the foie gras appetizers for my meal. It was, I believe, due to this divinely delicious but incredibly heavy meal that I was barely able to move after dinner and we had to forego any more beer week activities for the evening.

For brunch on Sunday we went to one of our new faves, the Belgian Cafe. The eggs Benedict on a Belgian waffle was truly inspired.

And now, a question.

Last night I went to a pilates class at a tiny studio in Jersey City. I have been searching for just such a class in just such an environment for years. They also offer yoga and various other classes. I was pretty sure going into last night's class that unless there was something really horrible about it, I would be joining this ... what do you call it exactly? Hold on, that's not the real question.

The more you pay for at once, the less you pay per class. The pilates classes are $12 each and the yoga are $18. If I buy a 10 pack of each, I pay $10 and $15 per class, respectively. So, if I take one of each per week, that's $25. Or, I could pay $99 for an unlimited monthly membership. OR, I could pay $269 and get 3 months of unlimited. (Or I could pay $719 for a year of unlimited, but that seems really crazy at this juncture.) This seems a little nuts, taking one class, and then handing over $269, but it's not that unreasonable, is it? Hold on, that's not the actual question either.

It's not that I can't afford this. I totally can. It's just that gyms don't typically cost $88 a month and only include classes. Although, to be fair, Maximum Motion does include a few classes per week that involve weight use. But the other thing is that I don't like gyms and so if I join one, I'm unlikely to ever go to it. If I work out, I run. But I would really like to be able to do pilates and yoga and maybe another class now and then. Is it ridiculous to pay that much for a few classes per week? (That's the real question.) I should note that because of the studio being small, everyone gets personal attention and is on a first-name basis. The instructor told me that yoga on Thursdays usually only has 2-3 people in attendance.

My mind is pretty much made up. I'm just curious what others think.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Eau de Penn Station

There is a hallway in Penn Station that has always smelled like cheap lemon yogurt. I don't hate lemon yogurt (although it's not my first choice). But smelling it down there is so disgusting that I breathe through my mouth when I walk by. Of course, I am often compelled to take a quick whiff to check that it still smells like lemon yogurt. (It still does, as of an hour ago.)

I used to think the smell came from the ice cream stand that was on that hallway. But the ice cream stand is long since gone and now there is an Auntie Annie's there. There is no reason for a pretzel stand to smell like lemon yogurt.

This weekend is the end of Philly beer week. There is so much going on that we are having to make difficult decisions about which events to attend. Do we go to the 3-hour seated prix fixe lunch (with beers from Dogfish Head and Stone) or do we go to the pay-as-you-go session with River Horse (one of my fave brewers) and classic Philly foods, such as fried Tastykakes? We finally chose the seated lunch. It's only $35, too.

There is a jazz happy hour (with Moinette Brune, Saison DuPont, and Scaldis Belgian Strong) and a special Sam Adams release party (for Double Bock, Imperial White and Imperial Stout with matched chocolate and cheese) and a beer brunch on Sunday...

We are going to be so full of beer by Sunday afternoon we are going to swear it off. For at LEAST a week. (Now Jeff is telling me he already has those Sam Adams beers, so maybe we don't need to attend that one.)

Thursday, March 5, 2009

You can say you knew me when

Apparently, I have a thing for foods that are more than one thing. Not foods that satisfy more than one food category (such as pretzels covered in chocolate -- that is WRONG). I mean foods that are two things at once, such as the amazing Flip Sides Townhouse crackers, which are a cheesy cracker on one side and a pretzel on the other side. Pure genius. Pure delicious, as well.

Another example of this brilliant food combining technique would be Tweeterz, which are candy-coated Twizzler nibs. Why stop with just delicious Twizzler nibs when you an make them even more delicious by giving them a candy coating? You don't need to answer that. I already know the answer.

The new exercise sensation that is soon going to be sweeping the nation was invented by me. This is how you do it. You put on some good dancing music. I went with a new wave station that I created on Pandora. And then you start dancing. While you are dancing you think up the next thing you are going to do, such as: lifting some weights, or doing some crunches, or some stretches, or some stretches AND some weight lifting, or some jumping or some running in place or some jumping jacks, or some pushups. Then you stop dancing and do one of those other moves for 15 reps or a minute or a song or whatever you like and then you start dancing again until you have decided on your next move.

I'd better patent this right away. I need to figure out a name first, though. Craigercize? Crexercise? Aeorcraige? Craigobics?

Sunday, March 1, 2009


I made the following dish for lunch. I call it: What's in the fridge that can be combined?

I was going to broil the eggplant, but I stupidly put it in 2 pans instead of the broiler pan that came with the oven and they would not both fit in the broiler. In the future I would definitely broil the eggplant and do the tomatoes, separately, in the oven.

I brushed the eggplant slices with a lemon olive oil we got at the Fancy Food show and which we had not yet used. I am definitely a fan of this for veggies. I have some asparagus that is begging to be roasted with this oil now.

When I flipped the 'plants, I added the sliced cherry tomatoes, which had been tossed with the olive oil, s&p. I sprinkled the 'plants with cumin and jalapeno powder and s&p.

I cut into triangles 4 corn tortillas, sprayed them with Pam, sprinkled salt on them, and put them in the oven, too. Setting off the fire alarm when they got crispy was not part of the plan.

When the tomatoes were bubbly and the eggplants were browned, I put 4 rounds on each plate, topped them with tomatoes and sprinkled on some grated sharp cheddar. Chips on the side.