Archive of ‘Eating’ category

Respect Yourself


A re­cent Los Angeles Times busi­ness col­umn looked at a new com­pany called ReviewerCard that is­sues IDs to “pro­lific on­line re­view­ers” to pre­sum­ably help them get bet­ter ser­vice from ho­tels and restaurants.

According to the snake-oil sales­man “en­tre­pre­neur” be­hind this ven­ture, peo­ple who “post lots of re­views on web­sites such as Yelp or TripAdvisor don’t get enough re­spect from the busi­nesses they write about.”

Um, what?

A le­git­i­mate re­viewer does not ask for re­spect. They as­sume it will be given to them be­cause they are a cus­tomer. And if it isn’t, that will be re­flected in the re­view they write.

A le­git­i­mate re­viewer will not de­mand good ser­vice – they will ex­pect it. And if it is lack­ing, this too will be cap­tured in their review.

And a le­git­i­mate re­viewer will not an­nounce their pres­ence by wav­ing a card and de­mand out­stand­ing ser­vice or free up­grades. That’s not what re­view­ers do. It’s what ass­holes do.

I al­ways thought that the point of a good re­view is to re­main anony­mous so you DON’T get pref­er­en­tial treat­ment. That way, you can write a re­view that ac­cu­rately re­flects the ex­pe­ri­ence that every cus­tomer will get.

What the ReviewCard of­fers, in my opin­ion, is the op­por­tu­nity for sub­tle black­mail. By waiv­ing this card in a staff member’s face, you’re im­plic­itly say­ing “Give me pref­er­en­tial ser­vice or I will write a nasty re­view.” That is not how this re­view thing works.



The OMG Diet: WTF?


I’m break­ing my self-imposed but en­tirely un­in­ten­tional blog­ging hia­tus to com­ment on this OMG Diet. I will prob­a­bly start blog­ging again be­cause as I get older, the more things piss me off. Instead of be­lea­guer­ing my boyfriend with my rants (and be­cause Twitter only al­lows for short an­gry mis­sives), I’ll pour out my rage here.

To re­cap: Some douchey per­sonal trainer, who has no med­ical or sci­en­tific back­ground, wrote a book called Six Weeks to OMG: Get Skinnier Than All Your Friends. In it, he gives some stu­pid tips to lose weight, like blow­ing bal­loons, tak­ing cold baths and skip­ping break­fast. Seriously. Not mak­ing this shit up.

The sad part is, pub­lish­ers are beat­ing down his door to pub­lish this tripe be­cause — fuck you, young girls and com­mon sense — this will make them a ton of money. Because there are peo­ple who want to lose a lot of weight in as lit­tle time as pos­si­ble and with min­i­mal ef­fort, and they are des­per­ate to try any­thing — ex­cept, you know, eat­ing bet­ter and ex­er­cis­ing — and will buy this book. They will buy it, and they will try to ad­here to its crazy method­ol­ogy, like chug­ging black cof­fee and shun­ning broc­coli (se­ri­ously?). They will then tire of it be­cause tak­ing cold baths is not plea­sur­able and smooth­ies are very de­li­cious. They will con­sign the book to the cob­webby bot­tom shelf of their book­case, nes­tled be­tween other stu­pid books about the Atkins diet and the mas­ter cleanse. But it doesn’t mat­ter, you see, be­cause the au­thor and his skeezy pub­lish­ers will have taken their money. Suckers!

Perhaps I’m be­ing harsh on the guy. After all, for as long as woman have been shamed by the la­dy­mags for their thighs and eat­ing and what­not, there have been weight-loss books. Lots and lots of weight-loss books. For every “How to get a flat stom­ach in 6 days to get a man in bed” Cosmo ar­ti­cle, there is a fad diet that makes you drink your own pee or give up air. The au­thor, who goes by the alias of Venice Fulton (I’ve rolled my eyes back into my head so se­verely they’re stuck that way and I’m now typ­ing blindly), is just the lat­est in a long line of mod­ern snake-oil sales­man who claims to have the so­lu­tion to quick and easy weight loss.

Here’s why the OMG Diet makes me ROTFCMAO (rolling on the floor curs­ing my ass off, in Internet-speak — be­cause every­body likes acronyms!):



Stay Classy, San Diego


Ah, San Diego.

Prior to vis­it­ing the city, the only things I as­so­ci­ated with San Diego were the zoo and Anchorman. But af­ter my (too short) va­ca­tion there, I would not hes­i­tate to rec­om­mend it as a Nice Place to Visit.

I was pleas­antly sur­prised by the clean streets – Toronto’s a pig sty com­pared to San Diego – al­though there was a dis­tinc­tive lack of waste/recycling re­cep­ta­cles. You wouldn’t even know there’s a jail in the cen­tre of the city (al­though that ex­plains the plethora of bail bonds services).

I won’t list every­thing I saw and did while I was there, but will high­light some of my favourite places and activities.

The San Diego Zoo
During the golden age of Johnny Carson, Joan Embery, the am­bas­sador for the Zoo, was a fre­quent guest on The Tonight Show. She would al­ways bring a cou­ple of the an­i­mals from the zoo with her when she was on the show. As a kid, those made for my favourite episodes.

I loved watch­ing Carson’s re­ac­tions to the cute (baby mon­keys!), the scary (taran­tu­las!) and the un­pre­dictable (watch his re­ac­tion when a Burmese python gets a lit­tle too intimate).

So the Zoo was a must-see for the kid in me. The place is enor­mous and the ex­hibits are well-organized, and even with the aid of a map, I got lost twice. The ad­mis­sion price wasn’t cheap ($40) but it was def­i­nitely worth it!



Eating: Croatian Goulash


Nothing would be more tire­some than eat­ing and drink­ing if God had not made them a plea­sure as well as a ne­ces­sity. ~Voltaire

I love food. You wouldn’t nec­es­sar­ily know that if you went solely by my blog post­ings. I rarely blog about food. Well, that’s about to change.

I’m not go­ing to make my blog only about food — there are oth­ers that do a great job of that and they can be found in my links. But given that I make it a rule to en­joy the finer things in life, I’m go­ing to start shar­ing them with you. And noth­ing can be finer on a cold winter’s day than goulash.

My mother has made this dish for as long as I can re­mem­ber. Derived from the well-known Hungarian va­ri­ety, the Croatian goulash (gu­laš) is more of a sauce served over pasta, gnoc­chi or po­lenta. We’ve al­ways had it over pasta, with some hard goat’s cheese grated on top. I started mak­ing goulash years ago, but can never truly repli­cate my mother’s recipe. Perhaps it’s be­cause she sea­sons it dif­fer­ently each time. As the beef and onions are cook­ing, and be­fore the tomato sauce is added, she takes every sin­gle jar of spice from the cup­board and adds a pinch from each in the pot. We’re talk­ing Italian sea­son­ing, pa­prika, salt sea­son­ing, Vegeta, Mrs. Dash and god knows what else. I’ve tried my own blend of spices but it never comes out like hers. I think the se­cret lies in the hap­haz­ard­ness of it all.

So, I cheat. Instead of adding spices, I add pre­pared tomato sauce. My pre­ferred brand is Olivieri’s Arrabiatta Sauce but any other brand will do. I like arrab­bi­ata be­cause it gives it a lit­tle kick. (Recipe below.)