Monday, July 18, 2011

Restaurant Review: Riley's

We had a nice meal here recently.

Let me start by saying that much of what I've seen of Alexandria Bay consists of gimmicky tourist trap sort of seasonal places. It's kitschy in a semi-endearing sort of way. I haven't seen most of it so maybe there are more nicer places.

Riley's was one of the nicer spots. There was a view of the water in the distance, lots of windows, pleasant, roomy, clean surroundings. The service was fast and friendly. There were two vegetarian options.

I had the following (quoting from the menu):

A rainbow of grilled peppers, sweet onion slices, portabella mushroom and zucchini mixed with goat cheese loaded onto flatbread accented with a French onion dressing, folded and grilled; served with sweet potato fries. $9.75

It was so hot when it arrived that I had to wait for it to cool down. Between the cheese and the dressing, it was too messy to eat with my hands, so I ate it with a knife and fork. Ingredients were fresh and tasty. The fries were actually wedges of very lightly battered sweet potatoes which were done to perfection--tender inside and crispy outside.

Mr. Bean had a meat-based sandwich which he thoroughly enjoyed.

Verdict: Highly recommended.

Restaurant reviews: Denny's

Slumming it yesterday! We were really hungry so we took a chance at Denny's. I should have stuck with toast and fried eggs, but I thought--wrongly--the Bacon Avocado Burrito Wrap with Hash Browns might be good.

Wrong. Wrongity wrong wrong wrong.

I ordered it without the bacon of course, no problem there. It was billed as a burrito with avocado and chipotle sauce with scrambled eggs and cheese. There were maybe 2 tiny cubes of avocado with some tasteless salsa [similar to what you'd get out of a store brand jarred salsa], and an excessive amount of flavorless cheese (which I removed because there was too much of it and it was cold).

The's really hard to mess up scrambled eggs. You actually have to try hard to ruin scrambled eggs, and they succeeded. It was as if someone poured eggs into a tube, microwaved them way too long, and put the cylinder-shaped result into a burrito. They were tough. I removed most of the egg as well, leaving me with crappy salsa and a burrito.

The burrito itself looked nicely grilled. I chose the hash browns as my side. I admit I know all about these hash browns; I worked at Denny's 80 or so years ago. They came in a carton of powder. The cooks would add water and stir it with a giant whisk to make them shaped like grated potatoes. They are actually not the worst thing in the world and I just felt like it would be funny to have a walk down Bad Memory Lane. They were exactly as I expected. I recommend the grits.

I don't know about the credibility of the author, but this guy claims this breakfast (with the bacon) exceeds 1000 calories and provides nearly 60 grams of fat.

Verdict: Stick with 1 egg and dark rye toast. It will be tastier and healthier.

My life is bananas. B-A-N-A-N-A-S.

It's been a very difficult month for me health-wise, and I'm happy to see it nearing its end. Good riddance to June 2011!

Interestingly, vegetarian food was freely available in the hospital. I had veggie burgers and was offered grilled cheese, elaborate salads, hot vegetable side dishes, and a hummus plate.

Not only that, but the food was good. It was really helpful to get me on the road to recovery.

Happy Meatless Monday!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Ode to soy creamer

I've crossed a threshold I didn't think I would ever cross. I had a line drawn in the sand between me and "those extremist vegetarians", which I placed right before soy creamer.

Now, I am still not an extremist by any means. I don't like seitan. I eat eggs and dairy. I didn't throw away my leather shoes. I wear glass pearls and glass coral beads, even though some think it will increase demand for the real thing.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with doing any of those things, and in fact, I find them admirable in my logical mind. But apparently I've retained some sort of prejudice from the whole 1970s McDonald's soy Communism fiasco. (From what I recall, it was discovered that McD was putting soy in its burgers. People were outraged, as though we were all victims of a subliminal brainwashing plot to make us all Communists.) Mea culpa. That is just silly.

So I thought if I stopped using cream in my morning cup of espresso, somehow that put me into a wholly separate category of vegetarians--those who had forsaken flavor and common sense for militaristic goals. Again, totally silly!

I've been having trouble with dairy due to some bona fide health problems I have, so I decided to give the "soy creamer" that "those vegetarians" kept talking about. I couldn't find it though, despite the hugeness of my grocery store's natural foods department.

I kept using dairy creamer for a while but it kept giving me problems. I realized the solution was right there in front of me--nondairy creamers in the dairy case. There they were, and lots of 'em. Every flavor imaginable. Hmmm.

I tried out this flavor. I am chagrined to admit it does not taste any better or worse than dairy cream!

The only possible critiques I have? It contains corn syrup, which is not marked "non-GMO". There is also a high proportion of sweet flavor to creamer, higher than what I prefer. I compensate by using less.

I don't like flavors in my coffee. I buy good espresso because I like its flavor. Masking it with hazelnut, vanilla, or anything else seems pointless to me. If I was going to do that, I'd just buy cheaper coffee. That's why I settled on this "flavor" of non-dairy creamer--Italian Sweet Creme--it masks the flavor less than the others.

Another prejudice crumbles!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Shouldn't be good, but is

Simple can be great. Yet sometimes I get caught up in thinking something really shouldn't taste good, and am surprised that it does. (The other slice just has margarine.)

Case in point is today's lunch--multi-grain toast with garlic bean spread. It's so good it feels like I'm having junk food.

Monday, July 4, 2011

A sinister celestial cake

Today I've got one thing on my mind and one thing only: FOOD. All I want to do is eat, eat, eat.

Here's the ginormous lunch I had:

Grilled portobello and pepper on a roll with garlicky bean spread, sweet potato salad, grilled corn, and fresh tomatoes with salt and pepper.

Then for dessert:

Angel food cake topped with homegrown strawberries and a leaning tower of Pisa style blob of whipped cream. I actually bought fresh blueberries too so the dessert would be red, white and blue in honor of Independence Day, but I forgot to add them.

I can't stop eating the angel food cake. It is truly one of the best things on the planet. I have eaten so much I think I may qualify as having committed one of the Seven Deadly Sins--gluttony--which isn't very angelic. I am powerless over its mesmerism.

If only there was a device whereby one could lock up a dish and be unable to open it until a preset time. I must invent that.

This morning's healthy breakfast

In preparation for what I knew would be a long day of eating, I had a nice bowl of high-fiber Kashi cereal with blueberries, pecans and a few sunflower seeds. I washed it down with a double espresso with nondairy creamer. mmmm