My First Thanksgiving: A Novella

DSC_1498

I come from a large family of adventurous eaters. For the great majority of us, excluding myself, there is no such thing as too spicy or too aged. I’m generally the only one to abide by the old “When in Rome” mentality of ordering fish and chips at the fish and chips joint- my mom will have the moussaka, thanks.

Except for holidays. On holidays our preferences run more toward the fiercely traditional, almost militant, idea of what turkey dinner should look like. Particularly if certain uncles are invited. There are no variations, no substitutions. For it to be truly pure, my grandmother, Kay, must prepare the bulk of it (or at least all of the things that aren’t just boiled vegetables. And they can only be boiled.)

Over the last couple of years my diet has presented a number of challenges to our holiday table that have really rocked the family to its core (I’m talking to you  Uncle G). The contents of the stuffing. The thickening of the gravy. The flake of the pumpkin pie crust. Changing them? What are we all doing here? What is the meaning of life? At first we were making all separate stuff just for me, to preserve the integrity of the Official Turkey Dinner for the sake of the rest of the family. But it was just too much work, so we had to switch everyone over. Sacred side dishes were now being altered on my behalf; suddenly no one was safe from my soggy stuffing.

But then my mom and I figured it out and it’s awesome again and nobody knows the difference.

I am a big fan of trying new recipes and cooking techniques. Especially when I’m entertaining. Unknown result + guests? So fun! I’m pretty sure Kay has actual nightmares about this. But seeing as I was in charge of Thanksgiving this year and was feeling emboldened by my Uncle Gord’s absence, and the fact there were only going to be 13 victims at the table, I thought I would switch it up and try some all-new recipes to see if maybe there were some traditional items that could be tweaked.

DSC_1364DSC_1368

My first ambition was to brine my turkey. This initial compromise of the main event itself, a bird I christened Ted Baker (after the host of my favourite food network show, Chopped) was immediately met with resistance from the team. At least three times, my dad begged “don’t do itttttttt,” when I mentioned my big plans. I finally asked him why and he said “… because my mom never did.” Huh. Leah took a more aggressive “NO, Al. NO.” but couldn’t give even a reason as legit as my father’s. I was partially stalled by this opposition, and by the fact that the brine required 72 hours soaking time (my personal hesitation was more to do with poisoning the whole family than breaking with tradition). I knew my grandma would just drop dead if she knew. She has poultry paranoia. But I was more curious than scared, and soon Ted was well on his way to brine-dom.

DSC_1370DSC_1383

The The Menu/Verdict:

Ted himself turned out very tasy. I didn’t notice a very different flavour in the meat from having soaked it with the vegetables/herb/seasoning mixture, but other people said they did. For this reason, I probably wouldn’t bother with the 3-day brine again, but I will do a dry brine next time or just a 24-hr one. What did make it worth it was that I got incredible gravy out of that thing. I was a little worried when Ted came out of the oven and it didn’t look like I was gonna have a ton of dark drippings to work with, but it was seriously flavourful. So I’d brine again just for that.

DSC_1386

Showtime!!! Unfortunately somewhere along the way I lost a bit of Ted’s skin.

DSC_1424Cornbread Stuffing with Bacon, Onions, and Apple (Food52)

The reason I chose it over the 4,350 other cornbread recipes on the internet is because the recipe for the actual cornbread didn’t include flour, so I knew that my final product would be the same as Food52’s. I was hesitant to rely on my old cornbread recipes because then I would need to sub out regular flours for gf and I didn’t want my little cornbread croutons disintegrating into mush once I combined them with all the other ingredients. It was pretty well received but if I made it again I would reduce the bacon and increase the apple. I was going for that Kraft Stove Top vibe and it didn’t quite hit the mark for me. I missed my gran’s Irish potato/bread stuffing that we usually have so I whipped some up the next day to supplement our leftovers (potato stuffing is great if you’re a celiac, and if you’re not. But especially for celiacs. I wonder if it was invented because so many Irish people are celiac and they can’t have Stove Top? Not sure why I’m still so obsessed with boxed stuffing?)

DSC_1397DSC_1428

Grilled Brussels Sprouts with Chanterelles (Bon Appetit)

I was excited by the prospect of thick-cut applewood smoked bacon on our Thanksgiving table, so naturally I took it too far and decided to work it into another recipe in addition to the stuffing. These dirtballs (as my family calls them) were a big hit. I sautéed instead of the prescribed grilling, because I just had too many irons in the fire to be running outside tending the barbecue. The mushrooms were beautiful and an exotic addition to the meal. We never have mushrooms at Thanksgiving! Wild.

DSC_1412 DSC_1508

Cranberry-Orange Relish with Mint (Bon Appetit)

Those mavericks at Bon Appetit were just a little off with this one. Thankfully I made our traditional cranberry sauce to accompany the experimental one (I’m brave, but not brave enough to face the mob without the classic cranberry sauce that is a nonnegotiable requirement of any turkey dinner at my house.) I thought the relish got luke-warm to positive reviews (I always know when people refer to my cooking as “interesting” or “different” that I’ve missed), but next time I would rather put my energy towards elevating other basic dishes and stick with the recipe on the back of the bag for this one.

DSC_1465

Roasted Cauliflower with Parmesan

Because this Thanksgiving was as much about Leah being home for the weekend as it was the holiday, I thought I’d do some fancy cauliflower in her honor. I broke down two heads and spread them out on a cookie sheet to roast away with some sliced onion, garlic cloves, olive oil, S&P, and parmesan cheese. Another unorthodox thanksgiving vegetable! She approved.

DSC_1442 DSC_1476

Old Standards

Rounding out the meal we had “Sweet Potato Supreme” (mashed sweet potatoes and yams with a topping of maple syrup, brown sugar, and toasted pecans), carrots, peas, mashed potatoes, and black olives (don’t know why these need to be on the table… they just do).

DSC_1486

DSC_1494Dessert: Pecan Pie with Cream Cheese Crust

This was delicious, however at this point we were all dying from such a heavy dinner. The filling was super rich and syrupy and sweet. I had to convert the crust into gf using my trusty Cup4Cup flour, and I thought it could have been a bit more pliable. The dough was very dry when I was rolling it out and I should have known to add more liquid, but I went along with it anyway and it still turned out okay. I would totally do this again and eat less dinner so I could fit more pie.

DSC_1445DSC_1510Bonus Desserts

Kay brought her classic pumpkin pie, which I probably still prefer to, well, pretty much any other food in the world. I also made one batch of buttermilk pecan fudge, which I’ve made several times and is indescribably good. Have you tried crack? It’s crack.

DSC_1362 DSC_1452

Success! Overall it was a success. Nobody died from trying new stuffing, or from eating a three-day-thawed turkey, for that matter. I just got my Thanksgiving issue of Bon Appetit and am already planning out my Christmas menu (stay tuned for a spatchcocked bird).

IMG_1242DSC_1466

Note: This was so much work! I think about my gran doing it single-handedly with 30+ people coming over… a huge undertaking. As we got closer to sitting down to eat, I had more and more things on the go that needed to be cooked and garnished and steamed and rested and carved. It was a bit of a circus. For this reason, I enlisted the help of Jaime and Daniel to take all photos of the meal and its prep for the blog. I hope you enjoyed their artistic, at times downright avant-garde eye for food photography.

Some of my favourites that didn’t quite make the storyline:

DSC_1405 DSC_1409 DSC_1440

Advertisements

Saskatoon Round 2: Bottega Trattoria

IMG_0887

Last weekend Saskatoon really won me over with its sunny open skies and green parks and their zoo that had two cougars in the same cage (that’s nuts right?). It helped that this time I stayed in Leah’s nice apartment in University Heights (and not the hotel that we stayed last month when we dropped her off, which was apparently the ‘hood of Saskatoon and a place my mother reacted to like one might react to having lice poured on their head. Combine that with daytime highs of 10 degrees in August and we didn’t get the nicest first impression of Leah’s new hometown. And my parents and I bond over nothing if not our shared obsession with Leah’s happiness, safety, and well-being. Often to the detriment of all three.)

Anyway on Friday night we went to Leah’s Coating Ceremony. It was at a nice hotel by the river and there was a big banquet for all the new vets and their guests to eat before they (the vets) got led out of the room and then led back in again by a guy playing bagpipes and then handed their stethoscopes and embroidered white lab coats (not by the bag piper… by some other people). Leah actually put so much food on her plate that by the time we got to the carving station she had no more space and I had to ask the chef for two pieces of roast beef and then wait for her to eat her way through a couple inches of real estate so I could put her share on her plate. It was a fun evening. Another vet student at our table, this real Saskatchewan cowgirl, kept asking me why I wasn’t eating any of the fancy cupcakes and making fun of me for taking fruit for dessert. Those crazy BC girls and their fad diets!

IMG_0863

On Saturday we ventured downtown, where you would think many businesses should be open and busy, but we couldn’t find a place to eat lunch. If there is a street where all the good restaurants are, we couldn’t find it. The places we did duck in to, just to scan the menu for gluten-freeness, were completely empty. Turns out this is pretty off-putting when deciding whether or not to eat somewhere. We left a place that boasted a 100% gluten-free menu for this very reason (and also for the reason that they had chili in a bread bowl on the menu, which obviously intrigues me. Turns out the “bread bowl” component of this particular dish isn’t gluten-free at all, it’s just regular old wheat bread carved into the shape of a bowl! A funny trick. So really it was like a 98% gluten-free menu, as Leah pointed out. We read on to find their page of sandwiches, which listed a gluten-free bun as a potential option, which suggests not only that there are other options at the 100% gluten-free restaurant but that gluten-free is not the default option, which is what you might assume in a place that says it’s 100% gluten-free. It was more like 72% gluten-free. The hostess did not understand why we were asking her about so many obvious things.)

Sadly this was not the most disconcerting restaurant experience we were going to have that day. We eventually chose to sit down at a place called Bottega Trattoria, which was basically empty but looked nice-ish and new-ish, and not cave-ish. We were sold when the waitress confirmed that they “offered gluten-free options” (not giving away the farm with a “100%” guarantee. Get it? Giving away the farm? We’re in Saskatchewan!), and that they had gf pasta and pizza. So we sat down at one of the very crowded tall wooden tables, and our super beautiful waitress gave us menus (“Ugh she’s so pretty…I want to punch her in the face”-Leah).

We both ordered pasta and hoped for the best. The urban spoon reviews were pretty terrible, only scored 56%, but most of the complaints were about the service, and we really weren’t in the mood to keep searching for what was sure to be a similarly average meal a few blocks away (feeling quite cynical at this point).
While we sat there drinking our waters the owner came over and opened up the big glass garage door beside us, letting in not only the sunshine, but three drunk guys wearing what can only be described as shorteralls, into the restaurant.

Why they were wearing identical hick-costumes, and why they were blind drunk at one in the afternoon, we still don’t know. But we certainly had time to find out, because once they procured the necessary beverages to keep the party going, they swarmed our table and wouldn’t leave.
So just to review: inside the restaurant you have one manager, one server, two paying customers, and three drunk guys in shorteralls. What happened next is as follows:

Guy 1: Hey ladies, what’s up, are you from here? (or something like that) (looks down at empty chair) Can I sit here?
Me: Vancouver, and no!
Guy1: (looks hurt) Hey don’t judge me, gargle blah blah blah, something indignant.
Guy 2: Sorry about him, he’s got no social skills. I used to be a runway model!
Guy 3: And now he’s the king of the rigs! He makes a lot of money, you know.
Guy2: So do you guys want a casual night out, or like a party night? Because I would suggest _____bar for dancing and ______lounge for just like, hanging out. Which one do you want to go to?
Guy1: Are you a redhead?
Guy2: How old do you think I am?
Guy3: Can I sit here?
Leah: I don’t want to eat lunch with you guys…
Guy 2: Let me guess, you’re a teacher.

And so on.
It wasn’t as if anybody was going to mistake them for our friends who just ran into us and were saying hi. We were two normal people, in normal clothes, waiting for our food. They were three hammered guys in shorteralls, standing way too close to our faces. The service staff, which made up the only other bodies in the building, watched this happen and didn’t do a thing about it. When one of them asked again to sit down with us and we again said no thank you, they sat down at the table that was right beside ours. At this point we had been waiting for our food for 40 minutes and there were NO OTHER CUSTOMERS in the restaurant. Leah proposed we exit out of the front window, just like our visitors entered. But we were too tired to find somewhere else to eat. When our food came and we were ready to just be alone and eat our pasta and get out, guy 3 said, a la Kanye to Taylor Swift, “ok I’m gonna let you enjoy your meals, but I need to ask you one question… I have a food truck called “Disco Dogs” and it’s like, doing, really good. Do you think I’d make it in Vancouver?”
Like how would I know? So we didn’t go out for a casual or dancing night, we stayed home so we wouldn’t have to try to find food again.

IMG_0916

Wanna go for a picnic? Alpaca lunch! (My favourite joke)(At the zoo with the two cougars)

And Now, a Terrible Review About a Place You’ll Never Go (The Firestick Cafe in Saskatoon)

It’s important to first put out there, that the food at the Firestick Cafe was pretty good. Not great, but pretty good.

That’s the end of the positive portion of this review. Thanks for stopping by.

I have a million places to put on the blog (like a years worth at least) that I have had on a list, just waiting to be addressed (probably never gonna be addressed though). Haven’t been feeling it. In the back of my mind, for at least a week, was the thought that I would write a comeback post about a fancy/weird 7-course meal I whipped up for Leah’s Vet School Send-off. And then, after that (’cause I’d be on a roll), I would do a snappy little summary of the places we ate while in Saskatoon.

But then we went to the  Firestick Cafe tonight, and my fury (disbelief?) at the terrible service we had just received inspired the end of a good 8-month blog drought.

So the place is only open Saturdays and Sundays, and it is part of a weird little art-farm-“tasting studio” thing. Reservation only. No kids allowed. The menu online looked very good. I thought, hey, here’s an unusual dining experience for the whole family! After a long day of shopping for hangers and windex we all really needed an enjoyable dinner. We Priers live for enjoyable dinners. The last seating is at 6 oclock, which is a bit early, but we were even down for that.

The fact that it didn’t exist on Google Maps should have tipped us off. That fact that is was a good 20 minute drive out of Saskatoon should have tipped us off (because there is nothing… in any direction.. outside of Saskatoon). The fact that, once you arrive, the place is decorated like an Art Knapp’s/that weird magical garden place that Rosie O’Donnell takes Harriet to in Harriet the Spy.. should have tipped us off. That sign on the gate that said their dogs would kill us if we brought our dogs on the property should have tipped us off:

photo (2)

It was not overly welcoming outside, or inside, the gate. And that is a sign that begs to be photographed.

The first issue (besides that fact that no one greeted us and there is no clear signage as to where the restaurant even is on the property and that when you do find it, it is in an un-heated greenhouse) was that they have no liquor license. You are allowed to bring your own booze, but it doesn’t mention any of this on their website. This wouldn’t be a big deal if we hadn’t all just spent the last 48 hours locked in a car together. Fortunately, the table of 8 beside us knew the drill and had brought with them 8-10 bottles of wine and a 40 of (homemade?) vodka. So we had entertainment.

The previous night for dinner I had selected State and Main, a Browns Socialhouse facsimile for the prairies. Although I initially felt I had let everyone down by making this somewhat pedestrian selection, the food was quite good and our server was very accommodating of my various requests. I believe there is a certain balance that needs to be maintained in order for the diner to feel that they have had a good experience- if the service is impeccable, the food can be slightly sub-par. If the food is amazing, the odd faux pas or rude exchange can easily be forgiven.

When people complain about bad service, I often think to myself, how bad can it be? Their job is just to bring you your food. Why do you need to take it so personally? After over 6 years of serving it is probably remarkable to a lot of people (most likely past coworkers that are consummate professionals) that I still have this stupid opinion. I can usually sympathize with a harried server, as I have been a bad one myself.. for over six years. And I can tell you, the reasons you are mad at your server are usually well out of their control. But then every once in a while I’ll have a really terrible service experience, and it truly does make your food taste bad because the whole night out has been tainted by some server’s indifferent ineptitude.

In my opinion, this was bad. Next-level bad. This was her opener: “are you ready to order?” Fine, we can all handle that. I ordered our appies (pork lettuce wrap things), and then asked for the Santa Fe pizza on the gluten-free crust ($5 extra). To be sure, my dad asks “are those toppings gluten free?” She bluntly says no, only the crust. I said “Yes, I know the crust is gluten free, but are those other particular ingredients also safe? Do you know which toppings are ok?” To which she replies, “No, I don’t know, it says in the allergy part of the menu that we can’t guarantee anything, so, I don’t know which ones are. Do you still want it?” How useless is that? What is the point of offering the gluten-free crust if it is a mystery to everyone that works there whether or not any toppings are gf? I was miffed. But I did still want the pizza.

photo (3)

It was pretty good. Not $20 good, but still very edible after a long day of Walmart and Sleep Country. While we were eating I asked our server if she could please turn on the space heater that hung over our table. She looked at me blankly and said that it wasn’t plugged in… so she would need someone to help her. Apparently that was a long version of “no.” She eventually came back, but only to give us our check when we still had food in front of us. We were ready to get out of there because we were freezing anyway, she must have known! So that was thoughtful. We practically ran to our truck, we were all so confused and amused and annoyed. I found out my dad tipped $15 on a $90 bill and then I was extra mad. It makes me SO MAD when a 15% tip (or more) is just a given, regardless of your heinous personality. How will she ever learn how to live in the world?

Anyway we drove back into Saskatoon to look for some milkshakes. This is what it looks like outside of town:

photo (4)

Kind of like Dawson Creek! It’s pretty. Very flat.

If anyone from Firestick should ever read this- the young guy was very friendly. I’m sure if he was our server he would have turned our heater on.

And I know the sign said absolutely NO photography, but I had to. I mean who do you think you are?

Solar Gardens Firestick Cafe on Urbanspoon

Amrikkos in Nanaimo

Amrikkos in Nanaimo

Last friday my mom, Leah, and I decided to go out for a little girls dinner after doing literally nothing for the whole day. First we went to Michael’s (craft store), for like an hour. That was our big exhausting errand. Then we headed to a tiny Indian restaurant (also the only Indian restaurant, and therefore the best Indian restaurant) on a Friday night at 7:30, which in a lot of cities would be pointless but it’s Nanaimo so we walked right in and got seated. Amrikkos is my favourite Indian food, bar none, although Jolly’s in Kits is also good but their butter chicken can’t hold a candle to Amrikkos (shout out to Jolly’s for making me chickpea naan bread that one time though, that was really nice of you.)

I usually don’t even feel like eating Indian food in this day and age, because about 3 years ago my family hit that HARD. We were cooking up butter chicken and eating naan from superstore like every weekend. Those were the gluten days. After that, I started making my own chicken korma with cashews and peas in it (obsession was re-ignited because BC Ferries temporarily offered a butter chicken entree, which was my favourite freakin thing and they TOOK IT OFF THE MENU. I will never understand them. First the baked potato, and then… Anyway their butter chicken had cashews in it, and came with little naan triangles, and I could polish off one of those babies before we even pulled out of Horseshoe bay.) So after my year of putting cashews into every kind of sauce I could find, I was really off Indian food for a while there. But Amrikkos is a whole other story, and I often forget I even have such delicious options when I am home in the land of no restaurants.
We ate: calamari (possibly the best I have come across in my celiac life), pakoras, veggie korma, butter chicken, rice, and there was naan and the little cheese block thingys for my mom and Leah. I’m back on the train.

photo copy 9

Il Terrazzo, and some other places in Victoria

Il Terrazzo, and some other places in Victoria

This is a post about Il Terrazzo, my family’s number one favorite restaurant in Victoria that we go to every time we go to Victoria. Sometimes we go to Victoria just to go to Il Terrazzo, wandering around downtown aimlessly wondering why we made our reservation for seven when it’s only four and we really want to eat now and WHAT WILL WE DO FOR THREE HOURS UNTIL WE CAN GO TO THERE???
On this particular day, we wasted time before our reservation by:
-going to Mayfair mall, where I made the mistake of purchasing some kind of rice dish with prawns from a booth in the food fair aptly named “Rice,” which I am very thankful I didn’t die from.
-shopping around the downtown/waterfront area until Leah announced “no more shopping time,” so we just walked around and ate some Rogers icecream until it was…. 4:30 (dinner was for 6:30), and then she realized that gee, maybe we could have shopped a little more, only now all the stores are closed because it’s sunday so we have to continue wandering around doing WHATEVER IT IS she thought we were supposed to be doing when we could have been shopping.
-took a picture with Sully
-had a nice bellini on a patio called “il Forno” (I think), which was the reasonable thing to do because we still had an hour to go before dinner and if someone didn’t lay down the law we would have gone back and forth up the same block 9 times, because that’s what we do as a family when we’re on vacation (even on just a day-long one, we panic when we run out of things to do between meals).

photo copy 5

So finally we got to go to Il Terrazzo, and sit in the beautiful outdoor courtyard thing, and be civilized. A side story: one time, I went to Il Terrazzo with my mom and her best friend Louise, a few months after I had been diagnosed with celiac. I had a seafood risotto, which, upon delivery, appeared to be covered with real actual crispy calamari and other amazing crispy seafood things. Obviously I sent it back to the kitchen twice, trying to explain that I can’t eat anything crispy or good ever again, and the waiter just kept bringing it back to me, trying to communicate that it was a rice-flour batter. So I ate it. And it was sooo delicious. Been chasing that dragon ever since.  They don’t have it on the menu anymore. Their single fault. End of side story.

photo copy 7

So this is the bread and tapenade concoction that they bring you while you’re waiting for your appy. If there is ever a time when I feel simultaneously sorry for myself, but also like the luckiest person ever, it is when I am at Il Terrazzo with my family and they bring out that freakin bread. It will bring a tear to your eye, that bread. You just have to sit there with a stiff upper lip and wait for your soup to come, because your family certainly is not going to forgo that bread in your name. If you think your family would? They wouldn’t.

photo copy 8

My soup did come, and it was very tasty. The holy trinity of tomato-basil-olive oil never fails me. I know it’s weird to order soup in the dead-centre of summer, but everyone else is having something and I have already made a scene about the bread and all the other good appys are gluteny and there’s no way I’m gonna order a caesar. Plus, I sometimes like soup. Last time I had the fisherman’s, and it was nice too.

photo copy 2

My choice of entree was very out of character, I had the short ribs with an apple-gorgonzola-walnut risotto. I’d normally have seafood but I’m glad I didn’t. So good, so deadly rich. The meat pretty much comes pre-digested for you, it is that tender.

So that’s Il Terrazzo, a magical place that I never worry about anything, much less gluten (unless they bring me calamari). Our waiter was a gent, there was a tiny fireplace burning beside our table, and we were actually all too grossly full to order dessert (very unusual- see My Dad, PF Changs, “I Still Eat a Lot”).

I Still Eat a Lot

Image

It has been a month since WAC was last updated, and this is probably misleading to some people. It probably makes people think I am on the straight-and-narrow now, not risking my health by eating out all the time, and maybe I have even adopted some semblance of a healthy diet. All of that is false, the truth is I have eaten maybe more crap than ever this month, and mostly it has come from restaurants. Off the top of my head, May has consisted of:

The Sandbar (again): My grad dinner. Was glorious. Ate calamari (truth), and some kind of seafood pizza that I split with my Gran. Really excellent crust.

Dario’s (in the Italian Cultural Centre): Daniels grad dinner. Had very delicious risotto, accommodating (albeit mostly non-English) staff. Was surprised that they had rice pasta, which changed my whole night right when I was about to order (I hate when that happens, by the way. You are all prepared to try something different because you are in this situation where nothing on the menu is described in english and you are pretty resigned to being doomed by gluten any way you look at it so you decide on some veal because hey, when in Rome, and then right when you are about to announce your typically-gluten-free, meaty, adventurous choice the waiter informs you that they have rice pasta! And then you are back to the drawing board because you can’t not order the pasta once you know it’s there.) Anyway, I had the pasta with some spicy-tomato seafood business, and it was very nice. Still wondering about the veal, though.

P.F. Chang’s (Seattle): Don’t even need to comment. Everyone knows how I feel about it. We ordered 6 dishes for 4 people, ate it all. My dad tried to order 6 desserts.

Mexico Cantina (Seattle): Again, no comment. Ate approx. 28 corn tortillas if you pieced them all back together.

The Shady Rest (Qualicum): There are a lot of gluten free things on this menu, so it is hard to narrow it down and pick something when everything sounds good, but eventually you pick something, and it is average. But it is hard to resist the patio on a beautiful sunny day. I had a half rack of ribs with vegetables and mashed potatoes (for lunch). Whatever.

Kaya Malaysia(n?): Better than Banana leaf. Get the ginger beef thingy.

So you get the point. This is just a sampling. There was also a Las Margs somewhere in there. And a stop at the Templeton. And Fairwinds. And Delicados. Assume that I had nachos at most of these places and then I don’t have to write about them.

The lack of photos for all of this is due to the fact that despite my continued unemployment, May has been hella busy. I moved. I graduated. Daniel graduated. My best cousin Meg got engaged. My girl Tawnya got engaged. My girl Kelsey continues to be engaged. A bunch of other people got engaged (I know that none of these engagements actually involve any actions on my part but it’s been a lot to digest. Particularly Megan.) I helped some sick people vote. I went to Seattle with my fam. I painted my nails. I don’t know how I’m ever gonna find the time to get a real job and be a person.

Italian Kitchen on Alberni

Italian Kitchen on Alberni

This is a picture of the food that Leah and I ordered on the night before her last exam, which would mark the completion of both of our undergrad degrees. We were feeling celebratory and sad, nostalgic and relieved, all at the same time. Obviously this meant we had to eat our feelings. And we did, with a veritable feast from Italian Kitchen downtown. We started off with a caprese salad (not pictured… hard to believe there was actually more food involved than is pictured), and Italian sodas (Leah had one more exam to write, at this point we were still “on the wagon”). What followed was the “pesce piatto” – grilled salmon, ahi tuna, tiger prawns, veggies, and the crowning glory of the meal, a gluten-free penne in a creamy citrus fennel/lobster type sauce (usually not a fennel fan… I dealt with it). This was topped off with a hunk of lobster that had obviously been pickled in butter prior to serving. If we had ordered a plate of just the pasta and lobster (the same size as the platter we got, of course), we might have finished it off. So. Good.
So good in fact that our waiter felt compelled to compliment us on our ability to consume enough seafood for a family of four. We let that one slide. He had crazy Twilight boy hair.
It felt good to be freshly done school. Leah is on to become a vet now, and I… am gonna just keep talking about the food I eat.