Thursday, June 01, 2006

Thanks for Treating Me to Lunch

Some people get a kick out of knowing what kind of underwear their friends have on. But I get a kick out of knowing what my friends have for lunch. Since today is my birthday, will you indulge me and tell me what you had for lunch?

Larry: Annie's downtown has been around for nearly twenty years, I think. When we remember to go not too late, cause they tend to run out, we go (like today) and I got a falafel sandwich, it's on pita naturally, and I always eat as much of Barbara's food as possible, so I also got several spoonfuls of hummus from her plate. Also, I had fresh-squeezed unsweet ice tea. They have just about the best falafel south of Knoxville and great tea also. But that's all I had even though I didn't eat any breakfast this morning; it is verry filling. Annie's is run by the guy, who we think is the owner, and his wife, and two smaller older people who we think must be a Mom and Dad. It's cafeteria style, and naturally, Annie takes the money, and he serves, and the small older people run in and out behind the serving line bringing new things to eat out of a secret place in the back. It's cavernous and darkish, right beside the downtown Mini dealer, and has a band deck on one side and a bar on the other, so they must have drinks and music at night, but we've never been there at night, because I get indigestion if I eat falafels while I'm listening to rock music. Besides that, they run out of falafels by 1:10pm or so. But the other food is also good, sort of Greek, like lemon soup and chicken kababs (I've resorted to those and they're really delicious). For dessert they have ice cream and pastries.

Sal: I had a zillion pistachios just before and after lunch. I had a veggie burger with spinach and soy cheese and dijon mustard on multi-grain bread. Water to drink. But you know me; I kind of just graze all day. Apples and an orange and raw veggies await for the afternoon. Mid-morning there was half a cinnamon raisin bagel. I just can't pack enough food in my lunchpail.... have to munch while I'm working on the computer....

Susan L: Today was the last day of school for the year so the principal had our lunch catered from a hamburger place. I ate:
hamburger with lettuce, pickle, mustard, cheese slice and onion on white bun.
baked beans that were just out of the can.
lay's potato chips..the thin kind.
1 can of pepsi
peach cobbler, which was the best thing about the whole meal.
I would have indulged in my usual after lunch snack...York Peppermint Patties but a mouse got into my stash and I had to throw it away.

Barbara: I had a falafel platter, 2 falafels, lettuce and chopped tomatoes and sauce on it, grilled vegetables ( broccoli , cauliflower and carrots, delish!) and hummos and pita (pita was not grilled), but I am on a diet - gaining weight just by looking at food, menopause.... - so I ate only 1 small piece of pita. Plain water with ice. Larry had part of my hummos. (I did go the the gym this morning).

Ken: I had a half of a pimento cheese sandwich, homemade (by me) with white cheddar cheese, on Pepperidge Farm Soft Oatmeal bread (one slice). This is the most perfect bread, by the way. Three slices of overripe cantaloupe and homemade iced tea with a squirt of lemon. And I ate at my desk, in front of the friggin’ computer. Sounds sort of healthy, doesn’t it (except the computer part)?

Our Franklin: Lunch I purchased at my favorite (only favorite) spot in East Lake, J&C's Quick Stop--open from 5:30 am till 2:30 pm.--a convenience store sans petroleum. For $4.78 I had a roast beef sandwich (hot) on toast with lettuce tomato and mayo with a V8 Splash (Strawberry Kiwi). I bought it on the run coming back from Howard High School where I had just dropped off some case files for new 9th graders. I consumed the lunch in the school psychologist's office as we brainstormed the missing report from one of my case files.

J&C's is a throw back to some other time warp...a bunch of middle age ladies with high school or less education cook the best quick breakfast & lunch menu in chattanooga. This is the star of my otherwise cloudy year in this community. Lots of hard-hat types frequent the place along with bros from the hood.

Cheryl: Lunch ok...that's easy, I just finished having it at 2:30 in NYC:)

I made it myself...A sweet vidalia onion sautéed in a wee bit of olive oil with an orange bell pepper, mushrooms, Trader Joe's Italian Sweet Chicken Sausage cut on the bias til carmelized. I added tomatoes, tomato paste, garlic, basil, kalamata olive tapanade and a splash of some red wine cooked in; Ca del Solo- Big House Red- California 2003, from Santa Cruz. (I bought it at the Trader Joe's down the street on 14th St in NYC:) I'm happy it's here, it reminds me of shopping there in SF).

I had this over whole wheat couscous with added trail mix and spices, I doll up my couscous when I make it. Had this instead of pasta cuz I ain't got no pasta right now:)

Had a two cups of french press Arabica Bean Dark Roast coffee with Equal and 2% milk.

I'm buzzed, full and happy:)

The sauce will be even better tomorrow as leftovers:)

Janet: In honor of your birthday, I had a small glass of Tropicana Grovestand (lots of pulp) orange juice and two slices of Oroweat Honey Wheat Berry bread (no trans fats) with Jif crunchy peanut butter (reduced fat). That was at 10:30 am so we may be having another communal lunch soon!

Roger: Today I had a hot dog for lunch, but not a regular American hot dog, a Parisian hot dog. See, my boyfriend and I were on the Champs-Elysees, and I was so hungry. Here's what makes French hot dogs super special: They -- "they," those French people -- they take a baguette, cut it in half, then stick it over a thin metal rod. This super special French technique smooshes all the bread against the sides of the interior. (You have to admit that this sounds sexy, as all French things do and should.) After a minute or so, while the French hot dog seller is sitting there thinking something like, "We were so right not to join the U.S. in the invasion of Iraq," his arms folded smugly, he removes the hot dog from a pot of water, sexily. He then removes the baguette, now metamorphosed into the "bun," squirts mustard and/or ketchup into the bun, and finally gently slides the hot dog into the bun. I have no idea what this action resembles, but my hot dog lunch, a double (that's two hot dogs squeezed into that baguette, a tight fit), was delicious, consumed beneath the cloudy, regal skies of Paris.

Dorothy: I slept right through lunch today. Got up and had breakfast and worked for a couple of hours and then went back to bed because my cold was bad. Next thing I know, it's 4:00 pm!

Georgia: For lunch I had: a Healthy Choice Salmon w/ broccoli meal and some chocolate chip cookie dough that I made. The best part of the meal was an ice cold Thomas Kemper Rootbeer.

John: Chicken on whole wheat with baked garlic chips.....oh well

Deb: Okay, it was a work day. I had a slice of a leftover quesadilla with an added piece of roast turkey stuck in for good measure, a sliced carrot (it was very yummy) and a cup of bengal spice tea. That was it. However, later I had a hershey's carmel center whatever those things are called and a tiny mounds bar (bite size)...........We talked about work, Virginia wines (apparently its the fifth largest wine producing state?), and the Inn at Little Washington. That was it. In the lunch room at work cause no time for the picnic tables (down five flights and a little walk). Going down for the Red Sox.

[[TvD]]: I must admit that while Elaine was working, I napped through our birthday luncheon date. So when Elaine finally came home we had an early supper [neither of us had any lunch]. Since I was too tired from napping and Elaine was too tired from working, we decided to make it easy on ourselves and have a Dutch smoked mackerel on toasted NeoTuscan bread, with unsalted butter and a sprinkle of French sea salt; each a navel orange, quartered into 8 sections, rind left on. I had a diet Mountain Dew over crushed ice and elaine had water to wash away the nice, fat smoked fish taste, so this fish could swim a little longer. To complete the "meal" we had a piece of rhubarb and raspberry pie, homemade including flaky, sweet pastry that the man of the house made, and was left over from the holiday weekend, saving the last pieces in celebration of your birthday! The location of our dining experience was held at the counter of a gourmet kitchen overlooking the stormy waters of Watts Bar and Thief Neck Island in Roane County, Tennessee.

I've enclosed some pictures of the process. Photo 101, first we removed the head and tail (what a tale this is...) and look inside its belly. Photo 106, removing all the bones and skin, but making sure that the green fat stays behind. Photo 110, the meal is ready: Dew, fish, orange, butter, toast.

What more could a Dutch person want?? (Chocolate, licorice??) Photo 112, ready to go after the gentle touch of salt from a salty old woman. Photo 117, all that to make a salty old man happy. Care for a bite? Yum, yum!! Photo 124, with the spoils in the background, the left-over homemade rhubarb pie.

Well, Linda, I hope you enjoyed it. Later tonight I will light a candle in your honor while we indulge in elaine's homemade cinnamon-vanilla bean ice cream. Yum, yum!! No wonder we put on the pounds.

Em: i bring my lunch to work from home, unless there is a special occasion. today, i had a chicken sandwich with all the trimmings (lettuce, tomato, pickles, and mayo) on wheat bread. i had a pear, and a banana, a bottle of water, two bulls eyes, and a chocolate/peanut butter candy. oh, and a butter cookie from a co-worker.

Tom: I had the same thing that you had only not as much.

Susan E: I ate lunch at 1:00 at SEA in Petaluma. Its a Thai restaurant. I had salad, "holy basil" with chicken and rice. Very spicy vegetables. iced tea with equal. It was hotter than i really wanted, even though I asked for spicy. It made me want some chocolate afterwards, which i had at around 2:00. the garlic on my breath bothered me all day.

Lynn: Why couldn't you have asked me on a day where I really ate an actual lunch!? Damn. My friend wanted me to help her rearrange her furniture so really all I ate in the middle of the day was slices of goat brie cheese that I squished inside of an Austrian bread roll. And water to drink. And two Toffifay candies. Not very exotic!!! I'm sorry! :(
What did YOU have for lunch?

Me: What did I have? I had half a container of Chinese Peanut Noodle Salad from Greens take-out, and one stuffed grape leaf from Trader Joe's. Some cherries. I drank 1 part Country Peach Passion Celestial Seasonings Tea, 1 part Trader Joe's Gravenstein Apple Juice, 1 part h2O. I had to eat fast because I was late for criminal court.

Caroline: My lunch was a hard-boiled egg with Trader Joe Organic Mayonnaise (the best!) and a little round pitta bread from same vendor. Wish it had been eaten with you in person. Hard-boiled eggs are a favorite – and I guess I eat them about twice a month or so. Not that often.

Aggles: Well, for lunch on the day of your birth I was taken to Copelands and had half an oyster po’ boy and a little Caesar salad w/ water to drink.

Lee: I had a traveling lunch for your birthday:
At home, standing at the counter, telling Alexander to hurry up and get his shoes on so we wouldn’t be late for school:
A bowl of soupy pinto beans (cooked with garlic) and rice
Half an ear of corn was on my plate, but I didn’t eat it
In the car:
A delicious, juicy, sweet and tart nectarine
Walking down the street:
A perfect almond biscotti that could have been no other than a Semifreddi’s
A 16-oz. single-shot decaf vanilla latte

For dinner I cooked:
Teriyaki chicken (delicious! ok, I bought it prepared, ready to cook)
Spinach (mediocre; I made that all by myself)
Basmati rice (perfect; it ought to be because I make it 3-4 times a week)
Fruit salad of strawberries, nectarines, cherries, and blueberries (oh, oh, oh; summer’s here!)

Spots & Scott: As for the lunch question, that is easy for me–I don't eat lunch. Granola & yogurt for breakfast and whatever for supper. Haven't made a practice of eating lunch for so long I can't remember when I did. Spots is pretty much in the same boat.

Gwen: On the 31st I don't think I had lunch. That was my last day at work and we were off at 10:00 and I ran around doing errands like picking up my new lenses. I can at last see!!!

friends continue treating me to lunch:

Me: Cheryl, thank you so much for your GREAT reply. (and the other nice things you said) It's funny how many people mentioned Trader Joe's. We buy Big House Red! But we actually drink it instead of using it to cook. We've been to their winery--Bonny Doon in Santa Cruz. All their wines have a great sense of humor. When will you be back this way? Janet and I miss you.

Cheryl: When I started reading your blog about lunches it made me hungry so I had to have a Lemon Ginger cookie from of course Trader Joes! The Big House Red was pretty good! Cool that you visited the winery! I added the leftover wine I had to my sauce, yumm! I have some BV Coastal Merlot I'm gonna have tomorrow night with dinner.

Today I had chicken curry for lunch:) I made it last night and it is all yumm good from marinating overnight. I learned to cook it when I was dating a guy from Trinidad 10 years ago, I can thank him for inspiring me to learn how to cook Caribbean food:) Curry, calliou, peas and rice, jerk chicken and the island's deelish version of mac and cheese! Now I cook it for myself and I'm happy I have a recipe and NOT a relationship with Mr. Trinidad!

I haven't seen "Insatiable" by Gael Greene but I will check it out! I love reading travelogues with food details like Under The Tuscan Sun! It made me want so bad to visit there! I wanted to go to Italy for my 50th birthday on August 18th! Instead, I'm having a bacchanal up in Harlem, bringing Italy to me! Wanna come?

Roger: Jose and I made it safe and sound to Barcelona, Jose's favorite city. (I'm serious: He would probably sell an organ -- one of the less vital ones, something vestigial, an appendix, say -- to make our annual pilgrimage.) Sunny, sunny skies, people walking everywhere. We just had a delicious lunch at the Boqueria, a huge market off the Ramblas. Here is a picture (not taken by me).

We had a torta de patata (an omelette-quiche-fritata thingie, very delicious), freshly squeezed orange juice, coconut juice, a squid (or was it octopus?) omelette with a fried egg and garlic, and, for me, a beer. We're having some of our clothes washed now; I'm at the Internet cafe (obviously; I LOVE these places), Jose has wandered off and is probably window shopping, looking at jewelry.

Jean: (forgot lunch on my birthday, so she wrote what she had on her birthday, a few days later) I didn't have lunch on my B-day because I had breakfast with a good friend and then, after a long nap, dinner with a different good friend.
But the breakfast was crab cakes benedict (yes, very slimming!) and the dinner was risotto with artichokes and shrimp, also sauteed sand dabs with tomato and the odd black olive--shared.
no cake or candle or crowd of any sort.
which is how i like it.

Milton: Hope you are doing well and happy birthday. Sorry I was not in the office on your birthday, but today I had dim-sum and tea in Chinatown. I guess that is my belated birthday lunch.

Roger: It's early morning in Prague, chilly and grey. Yesterday Jose and I had lunch at McDonald's (yuck!) and dinner there too (!). I'm actually embarrassed to admit this, but you must understand: Nothing here is in English. We went to see "Carmen" at a beautiful theater, and when the opera let out, nothing was open, except McDonald's. You have to pay for catsup there, and mayo, too! (But they give you free water.) We sat next to a man who had diamond earrings in his ears, jewelry on his fingers and around his neck. He got up every so often and took some thrown-away food from other tables, returned to his seat, and ate it (usually fries). Jose said to me, "This guy is creepy. Let's get out of here." So I got up quickly and headed for the door. Some change fell from pocket, and the bejewelled garbage eater snatched them up with his paws. Prague!

Leslie: And happy belated birthday!!!! I fear my lunch that day was most uninspired. It was a pick-up lunch from Target. Yep...the old standard....a vanilla yogurt power bar and a lukewarm bottle of water, digested in the romantic setting of my Saturn, somewhere on Rt. 411.

Roger: One of the most pleasurable lunches Jose and I had was during a trip to Sitges, a beach town about 30 minutes south of Barcelona by train. Slowly you depart Barcelona Sants station in an upper car, waiting for the moment when you can see the turquoise blue water of the Costa Brava (the "Brave Coast"). After a visit to the nude beach (no photo link, there, missus!), we walked around the winding little streets, looking for something to snack on. We found this little tapas place and took our places at the bar. In front of you are several glass cases, with three sections: top, middle, and bottom. On all three sections are plates of snacks, usually meat or vegetables on small pieces of bread: a bit of sausage with some sauce on it, or anchovies and peppers. My favorite was the jamon serrano, some dried ham, with a bit of manchego cheese. A small toothpick holds the tapas to the bread; you take out the toothpick to eat the tapas, leave the toothpick on your plate, and the barman counts the number of toothpicks to find out how much you have to pay. I've heard that they're called tapas because people used to put them on the top of a beer glass to keep the flies out of their beer, but I'm not sure if this is true or not. By the way, most of the tapas are salty -- the better to quench your thirst with a beer (I had 2!!). If you want to see tapas, here is a link.