Good evening, loves!  :)  I hope you had a Sunday that was the complete opposite of mine.  By that, I mean totally relaxing.  ^_^  Oh, and I’m only half-kidding here…

I went grocery shopping (happiness-inducing!) at my favorite Korean grocery store last night after dinner.  I was honestly planning on only buying one or two items, but I ended up buying three bagfuls.  Yes, I am a compulsive buyer… but that doesn’t automatically make me a stupid one, hm?  ;)  Cheapness 4eva!

Goodies galore!  :)  Such as…

fresh persimmons

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orange blossom honey

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pickled plums, though it says apricots in the ingredients list?…

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PANEER!!!  Gosh, I just love this stuff.  :]

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And parts of an old Whole Foods haul…

Awesome-smelling cheese <3

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and dried turkish apricots (to replace my beloved calimyrna figs)

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Breakfast was around 7 AM.  I even had to turn on the light to take the photo… on a weekend?!  O_O

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Peanut Butter Puffins with cherry vanilla granola, dried banana slices, black sesame seeds, and coarse sea salt.  Made delicious with unsweetened almond milk.  :)

My mom just keeps buying PB Puffins.  Okay, I love them and all, but honestly, I’d like to branch out into other cereals…

Lunch was another adventure in my quest to taste different ethnic foods.  Today, we went to a Persian restaurant called Shamshiry.  No pictures of the decor, since the waiters were already staring at us, and I was already pretty uncomfortable, but it is a really tiny place that looks ten times bigger because of a single, completely-mirrored wall.  It was a little strange watching myself eat from my peripheral vision, but who cares about how messy/weird I look when I chew when there’s food to photograph?!

My dad ordered the house salad to start.  Nothing special—just some iceberg lettuce, tomato, olives (blech), red beans (kidney?), and goat cheese, which I stole with some of the greens.  It came with a runny, sour lemon-yogurt dressing.

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I was pretty intimidated when I saw the portion for my dish, the shirin polo, which was “sweet rice” with spices, sugared orange peel, pistachios, and almonds.

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It’s impossible to tell from the photos, but trust me—this was enough to feed a family of four, at least. The sad thing is, the description on the menu made it sound so amazing, but it really wasn’t that good.  The rice was nice and fluffy, but it just wasn’t very well seasoned at all (I expected a TON more spices), and the flavors just didn’t mix well.  Instead of a heavenly combination of flavors, I tasted each one individually, one after another, as I ate it.  The candied orange peels were also much less fragrant and citrus-y than I expected.  :(  At least it looked good…

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Oh, but the crusty rice cracker-like thing (tah digue) was pretty awesome.  :)  So darn crunchy!  I should cook rice in a pot just for this.  ;)  I was eating it in quite a barbaric way (with my hands), and my dad scolded me for it.  Then, he proceeded to do the same and munch and crunch on it just like a cracker.  Mmhmm, I’m just that brilliant!  Also, I can’t believe they actually sell this stuff.  I saw it at the Korean grocery as “scorched rice,” lol.

Perhaps the size of these meals is better reflected in this picture?  Possibly?…

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My dad ordered the mahi kabob (salmon), which came with baghali polo, dill rice with fava beans.  There was salmon there before, I promise.  ;)

I also ordered the a pot of “Persian tea,” which was basically nice, piping-hot, bitter black tea in a jug that came with a cute teacup and tiny straw.  Oh, and sugar cubes.  :)  I never knew such a small amount of tea could be drunk so slowly until today…

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Dinner was a bit of a different story.  We went to a local chain restaurant called Clyde’s, and my dad immediately proclaimed that he was craving junk food.

The phrase “junk food” means different things to different people.  To my friends, it would probably be McDonald’s, Burger King, deep-fried foods—the obviously not-too-healthy foods.  But for a DE-ravaged mind like mine?  I’ve gotten my definitions confused and/or mixed up.

Junk food, to me, once meant carbs.  It once meant dessert and sugar; even my beloved nut butters were stuck under that label!  It meant eggs and creamy sauces and butter and red meat—basically anything that wasn’t a vegetable or fruit.  Actually, if DE deemed a fruit too high in sugar/calories (WTF), it was also considered “junk food.”  Maybe I didn’t call it junk food in my mind, but from the way I was treating those foods, they might as well be as nutritious as a McDonald’s cheeseburger.

I asked my dad what he meant by “junk food.”

Burgers.  Fast food.  Soda.  Deep fried foods… like french fries. I really need french fries today.”

His reply was so simple and damn obvious, and yet somehow, it cleared my mind of the DE fog and pulled me closer to normalcy.  I asked myself, Is this bread “junk food” because it’s white and has “no” nutritional value?

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No.  Nonetheless, I didn’t eat it.  It was cold and tough.  :(

Am I only allowed to drink water and calorie-free drinks?

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No, but I needed a hot drink that night, and peppermint tea sounded good.  *shivers*  Plus, unless they are at room temperature and flat, sodas/sparkling fizzy drinks make my stomach hurt like hell.  They don’t really taste that good in that state either…

Should I order the winter vegetable platter or the jumbo lump crab cake dish?  Did I eat too much meat during the day?  What if the sweet potato gratin it comes with is too cheesy and delicious and I finish the whole thing?  What if there are too many carbs in the veggie platter?

What if what if what if I just ordered what I wanted?

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Don’t get me wrong, the winter vegetable platter sounded delicious (and I could taste acorn squash that was maybe done the right way), but everything about the jumbo lump crab cake dish just sounded perfect.  And it was.  :)

1. Jumbo lump crab cake. Biiig clumps of delicious crabmeat, little to no breading, definitely no mayo, and perfectly seasoned.  Oh, and no food poisoning is a plus!

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2. Chipotle sweet potato gratin. This was coated with a cheesy sauce rather than being smothered in real cheese, but it was certainly better than my first time having “sweet potato” gratin.  100% sweet potatoes, yay!  They were really sweet.  :)

3. Brussels sprouts + blood orange vinaigrette. This was my first time trying brussels sprouts, and they were yummy. I don’t understand why it has the reputation it does?!  I think these were steamed or boiled, and boiled is apparently the yuckiest way of preparing them, but they were good!  The blood orange vinaigrette was a little less citrus-y than I would have liked, but it wasn’t overly sweet, which was nice.  (Still need to buy blood oranges!)

All this while my dad chowed down a giant bacon cheeseburger with fries and a coke.  Is there anyone who thinks that “bacon cheeseburger” means a burger made out of bacon with cheese?

… Didn’t think so.  -_-

The moral of the story is: Not every food is “junk food,” and no junk food is off limits. I will say it: Life is a balancing act.  What if what if what if I just did that?

2010 Goal #3: BALANCE.  BALANCE.  BALANCE. It’s pretty self-explanatory, but so much easier said than done…

Q1: What’s your favorite type of cereal?
Q2: What do you consider “junk food”?
Q3: Do you like brussels sprouts?

Off to… finish my homework!  :D

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… with my aunt’s family.  :(  At least it was a memorable one—for them, at least!

We went to Kobe Japanese Steak and Seafood House for dinner yesterday, one of those places where they cook the food right in front of you with fancy tapping and flipping.  Oh, and huge fires.  I was almost afraid to whip my camera out in fear that it would get burned or something!  But when I saw my cousin begin to record the procedure with his digital, I couldn’t resist…


I split a hibachi scallop dish with my sister.  It came with soup, salad, stir-fried vegetables, and steamed/fried rice.  We agreed on steamed, but it was still fun to watch the cook flip the fried rice around.  :]

I was expecting miso soup, but this turned out to be ramen noodle soup (as in, the stuff that comes in the instant noodle bowls) flecked with mushroom slices.  This was the first time in a looong time that I’ve had instant noodle soup, so it was a pleasant-ish surprise.  ;)

The salad had a peanut dressing that wasn’t very Japanese, but was pretty darn tasty.  Otherwise, it was quite uneventful—my share consisted entirely of iceberg lettuce swimming in watery peanut sauce at the b0ttom of the bowl.  Oh, the sacrifices an older sibling must make…


I ordered a hot tea, which turned out to be genmaicha, my favorite type of green tea.  The toasted brown rice adds such wonderful depth of flavor to the plain green tea.


Cooking the veggies + scallops—look at the onion volcano!


My veggie portion was pretty lame after I split it with my sister… and perhaps munched on a few pieces before the camera.  ^_^;


This isn’t the most appetizing picture, but it’s the only one I took of the scallops.  :/  I actually ended up getting a piece of shrimp as well :D  Lucky lucky~ x)  These were, again, amazing scallops—really juicy and tender, and of course, extremely aromatic.  *drool*  Maybe I really don’t hate scallops after all!  <3


I loved that the steamed rice was actually a wee bit sticky instead of the hardened, loose stuff they serve at Chinese-American places.  It smelled really good, too—I adore the smell of fresh rice.  :)  (Yes, I’m a weirdo who sniffs rice.)  Also on my plate are random fried noodles that I honestly have no idea where they come from/who ordered them…  Lucky again?  They were pretty greasy and not too different from your average fried noodles.

Perhaps the weirdest part of dinner was watching the cook carve off pieces of shortening from a giant ball of the stuff.  I’m sad that I didn’t take a picture of it—at first I seriously had no idea what it was.  My cousin had suggested they were mashed potatoes.  o__o

For some reason, I honestly was not very hungry tonight.  I just could not finish my rice and mustered only about half of the noodles before I felt bloated.  Now, seeing as that I only had half an entrée in the first place, I did not eat very much.  My family began to voice their concerns, and I tried to tell them that I was honestly full, but the more I talked, the more it sounded like I was lying.  Begin freak-out on the inside.  What do I do?  How do I tell them that I’m truly full?  How do I make them believe me? etc.

Pft.  And to think that my disordered voice thought that they thought I was a fatty for finishing my food the other night—what a load of BS.  My sole question today is: What would you do in this situation?

Good morning!  Yesterday was just *boom boom boom*, going everywhere with my aunt’s family before they leave tomorrow morning.  :/  Then it’s back to the grind for me, really—aka finishing up all the homework due after break.  Boooooooo.

I’ve been going to a hell lot of restaurants lately, even eating two meals out in one day.  o_o  Lunch yesterday was at the Eiffel Tower Café (again).  My dad suggested it—he wanted to bring his friend from China to a “European-style” restaurant.  And me?  I’m all for it, man.  They even put us in a little corner this time!  It was super cozy and awesome.  :]

After a few “issues” (“I couldn’t understand a word he said”) with the French waiter’s pronunciation and fast-paced run through the specials, my dad and his friend started off with a special arugula and endive salad with gruyère cheese and anchovies.  I had a taste—pretty tasty sans olives, which I despise, though everyone else in the world seems to love them.


This was the first time in a looong time that I had anchovies, and I forgot how salty they were!  Solution?  Stuff mouth with warm, crunchy-on-the-outside-doughy-on-the-inside baguette.  Never fails.


I told my dad’s friend that he had to try the baguette, and though he didn’t give me his opinion on it, he kept going back for more pieces throughout the meal… so I’m guessing he liked it.  ;)

I snapped a picture of the baguette, and then the nice British waitress commented on my camera.  I was completely thrown off guard—actually, I expected people to eye me weirdly for bringing a big camera into a teeny-tiny restaurant and snapping tons of photos of my food.  We had a little discussion about cameras, mostly lamenting the quality of most digital cameras, and she eventually asked me for the model.  Of course, I happily told her :]

(They recognize us probably because it’s our third time going, and we’re probably one of their few, if not their only, Asian customers.  lol.)

For the main course, I was originally going to have la crêpe du jour, chicken and vegetables, but I decided I had to get the chicken chausson with couscous after hearing the waiter’s description (i.e. finally understanding what a chausson was).  I’ve never had a savory puff pastry dish, so I knew I had to try it.  :D

Voilà.



Hmmm, not bad.  Salad = good—not too oily, and a little sour from vinegar.  Couscous = fluffy and fantabulous—I think this was cooked with chicken broth or something, because it was delish.  Puff pastry = omnomnom, flaky and buttery and amazing.  The chicken inside was yummy, but a wee bit too salty.  I drank about 5 wine glasses of water throughout the meal, building up quite a tankload without realizing it.  ^_^;   The orange sauce was a fruit-based (citrus?) sauce, I believe, to go with the chausson. The combo of sweet and savory was fantastic, and the sweetness of the sauce helped tone down the saltiness of the chicken.


My dad’s friend was a newspaper photographer at one point, so he gave me some helpful photography tips.  :]

Dessert could have been the only-at-Christmas bûche de noël, but I was stuffed, probably from the buttery puff pastry.  Ah, well—there’s always next year, right?  ;)

Dinner was at a local restaurant, Willow Creek Farm.



It was, no doubt, warm and toasty inside.  :]  The decor is apparently supposed to emulate an “American-style inn” from colonial times?  It has a really earthy, rustic feel to it.  It’s a good reminder that I’m technically in the countryside, haha.

We started off with some bread with two kinds of butter, regular and strawberry.  I’ve had strawberry butter before—it’s pretty damn tasty!  I LOVE flavored butters, almost as much as I love flavored (sweet, not savory) cream cheese.  :D  I didn’t have a slice, though, because I was still kind of full from lunch!  :|


No offense, but I don’t think this can beat baguette.

Everything on the menu looked tantalizing.  *_*  I wanted to get everything!


There was actually a big sign in the front advertising the filet mignon, but I didn’t take a picture of it.  :(  It was amusing in a weird way…

Drinks:

That water jug was so heavy! o_o

After much contemplation between gnocchi, butternut squash ravioli (MUST TRY NEXT TIME), and pulled duck salad (!!!), and other goodies, I chose the seared sea scallops.


I’ll be perfectly honest here—I didn’t choose this dish for the scallops originally.  I was intrigued by the various sides (besides spinach, lol), which included pancetta, parsnip purée, and sweet potato gaufrettes.


I consulted with my cousin about gaufrettes, and he described it as some sort of “little cake”?  Anyway, I wasn’t expecting sweet potato crisps.  But they were delicious anyway, and I ate all of ‘em.  :D


Oh, and I just looked up pancetta on Wikipedia, and am delighted to know that it’s cured pork belly.  That stuff is incredible, seriously.  Actually, everything about this dish was incredible, sans the spinach, which was just… spinach.  To tell you the truth, I never really liked scallops before.  I always found them tough, rubbery, and virtually flavorless, but now I realize that they must’ve just been prepared in an unappealing way!  The waitress told me that the chef recommended the meat to be medium-rare, so I went with that, and boy am I glad I did!  These babies were juicy, savory, tender, and transformed my outlook on scallops entirely.  I’ll still be wary of them because of the tendency to overcook them, but OMG… I was totally not expecting to adore them.

The parsnip purée was surprisingly delicious, too.  I don’t know what they put in it (I should’ve asked…), but it was freaking amazing—buttery (well, I wonder what one ingredient was) and just a tad sweet.  I’ve never even eaten a real parsnip before, but if this is what they taste like, then I need to go buy some.  Like, now.  And purée them to a pulp with my new blender.  :]

Good things aside, I can’t deny that this dinner threw some disordered thoughts into my head post-meal.  I finished everything on my plate, and my mom and aunt commented that I could eat a lot, that I finished my whole meal, etc.  That old voice started to talk to me:

Look, you finished the WHOLE THING, you fatty!  You’re going to get so fat from this.  Even your mom and your aunt noticed!  FATSO!  Why didn’t you leave a few bites on your plate?  We should have a three-bite rule—at LEAST three bites must be left on your plate when you finish eating!

I thought about that last bit twice, and then I told the voice to f-off.  It can’t pull me down anymore.  Just going over those ridiculous thoughts makes me realize how truly stupid they are.  I encourage all of those who are struggling with these same thoughts to try to replay them in your mind and really try to listen to what ED/DE is telling you.  For example, leave three bites on my plate for every meal I eat?  WTF?  What if I’m hungry?  What if the portion is small, like tonight’s?  Why the hell should I institute such arbitrary rules?  Why should I take away my own freedom?

So I ate three damn scallops.  So I ate some spinach and a thin layer of parsnip purée and three 1-centimeter cubes of pancetta.  So what? It’s not like I’m stuffing myself till my ribcage explodes or eating so fast that my stomach hurts (poor cousin).  I’m treating my body well.  I can eat out during the holidays—I can eat out, period, and not worry about calories and fat and weight.  As long as I trust my body, I can do anything.

Sorry for the little speech there—I’ll get off my soapbox now.  ^_^;  Alright, ladies, I’m off—I hope you guys have an amazing day!

Q1: Do you like olives?  If so, is there a food that most people seem to like, but you don’t?
Q2: What’s your favorite type of cuisine?
Q3: Have you ever disliked something the first time, but liked it the second time?


It’s CANON that we’re in love.  <3  Too bad I can’t take a beautiful self-portrait (of Mr. Canon, I mean, hehe).  Here’s another pic-heavy post coming your way, although I love that you guys care for the words, too.  :]

When were unshelled sunflower seeds so beautiful?


When Canon took them.  My mom was amazed… looks like she got her money’s worth :]

Christmas dinner was like Thanksgiving dinner without mashed potatoes.  We had turkey, because apparently, my aunt has never had a real turkey before.  O_o  Sounds pretty crazy to me, but I guess they just have Chinese food (for the Canadian Thanksgiving)?

Pics~



Turkey, salad, corn, and canned cranberry sauce.  Stuffing came later. :]

Let me reiterate how much better this is than my old camera, as seen by their performances in low-light settings (looking at the kabocha pie pics should give you a valid comparison).  Let me reiterate how much I freaking adore this camera.  Let me reiterate how much I freaking adore this camera.

I’m in the process of clearing out my memory card, because the SLR pics take up a LOT more space.  Around 3 MB per photo! Maybe I should ask for an 8GB memory card for my birthday… kidding, of course.  :P  How weird would that be?  “I want a memory card for my birthday, Mom/Dad.”  Then again, this is coming from the girl who asked (and received) for a blender for Christmas.  o__o  A creative solution to this problem would be to change the image size on the camera.

Oh, and those cookies I said I was going to bake?  We ended up not baking them :/  We had just finished watching It’s a Wonderful Life on TV (damn commercial breaks…), and then we opened presents, and then soon enough, it turned out to be 1 AM!  O_O  And we. were. pooped.  Pooped, but happy.  :D  I’ll think up something else to make with those ingredients… somehow…


Oh, and since the raindeer came, it was icky outside today.  :D  I basically stayed inside all day, watching movies, playing video games, and of course, practicing with my new camera :]


And now for a side of funnies…

I’m less inappropriate than my mother thinks, honest.

Yesterday was my first time making a real, traditional snowman—as in, packing together snowballs and rolling them around in the snow, stacking them atop one another and decorating with hats, scarves, carrots, and apples (eyes… they were small apples!).  We went a little un-traditional with the mouth (though I really have no idea what you’re supposed to use) and used a banana for a big smile.  At least, that was the plan. My cousin went in to get the banana and you know what my mom and my aunt (her younger sister) thought it was going to be for?!?!…

… Yes, you’re right.  Three kids building a snowman.  Can anything in life be more innocent?!

*sigh*

Anyway, I hope you all are having a lovely, holly jolly Christmas :]

What do you do on a Saturday morning?  I’d like to say that I lounge around eating and doing blog-world stuff, relaxing and enjoying the sunshine…

Okay, I don’t have it bad.  But last Saturday was pretty bad.  Not only did I not wake up to brilliant fall sunshine and chirping birds and a warm bowl of oatmeal, but it was just like the school week—opening my eyes and wondering why it doesn’t seem like I’ve opened them at all.  Good morning… 5:30 AM!

Why 5:30 AM?  Because I had a brain-a-thon from 8:00 AM until 12:30 PM, which required me to wake up at 5:30 AM… and oh. my. Lord.  x_x  Who dares to say that sitting on your butt doesn’t take effort?!  I was exhausted from head to toe—parts of my body that hadn’t even budged for the past seven hours were tired!  And don’t even get me started on my hands and feet.  Twirling pencils and swinging feet is totally sweat-inducing stuff… phew.

… Uh, yes, I was testing for four and a half hours.  Yes, I woke up at 5:30 AM on a Saturday morning to take a test for four and a half hours.  Yes, I am a nerd. o-o  That’s a topic I could go on and on about, but that’s a ramble I’ll save for another day… Because like any other athlete, a nerd gets hungry too, yes?

Well, I was positively starving by the end of this test.  Seven hours awake and four and a half hours on my butt equated to six hours (!!) without food.  Six hours?  No food?  That’s just bait for cranky Candice. :(  I think my brain cells were so malnourished at the end of the test that they were eating themselves.  Pity the poor souls who had to listen to me spout incoherent (cranky) nonsense before I got something into my tummy!  To hold back the demons, I pleaded with a fellow nerd to please oh please give me some of your cracker I’ll love you forever just please… SHARING IS CARING!

“. . .”

Yeah, I demolished her with that line.  :P

I’m aware that lack of food + a few hours = hungry, but I like to say that I got hungry because I got the “brain munchies.”  ;)  i.e., stomach is empty, brain is shriveled, brain robbed stomach.  I suppose there’s a different cure for this for everyone, so I ask: How do you cure your brain munchies?

My cure was a lunch at Fire Works Pizza, a small establishment neighboring Tuscarora Mill serving (some? most?) local fare, and not just pizza, either.  It totally sounded like my kind of place.  Ironically, pizza doesn’t show up anywhere in this post…

To start off, we ordered a Fire Works salad to split three ways—but I ended up eating most of it ;)  If I can remember correctly, this had mozzarella, parmesan, cherry tomatoes, roast chicken, pepperoni, salami, and proscuitto on a bed of greens.  My opinion?  Well, I did say that I ended up eating most of it… and just look at that mozzarella <3  Maybe my short-term memory is failing me, and it wasn’t mozzarella?!… It was so fresh and creamy—kind of like feta cheese texture + mozzarella flavor.  Love.  The saltiness of the cured meats added a delightful savoriness, of course.  You just can’t go wrong with salty meat and creamy cheese.  :)

And, going against the name of the restaurant (and this post), I ordered a non-pizza item for my main course, the wood roasted vegetables with vidalias over creamy polenta.

Errrr… what?

Unfortunately, these vegetables, which included eggplant, vidalia onions, mushrooms, and tomatoes, were not very roasted at all.  In fact, the bottom half of the bowl was filled with an oil-sauce soup—it honestly seemed more like a sautée if anything, and not a very delicious one, either.  If I had a say in the names of the dishes, I would rename this one drowning in oil vegetables with explain what this means over ball of mashed corn. Mmmmm.

By the way, what does “over” mean again?  I may be blind, but I can see that the polenta ball is clearly over the vegetables, not the other way around?

Fire Works Pizza, you lied about a completely useless characteristic. :(  Regardless of what was over what, this dish was bad.

This failure of a dish is the reason why I ended up finishing off the salad, which was ten times tastier.  I couldn’t eat more than a couple bites of the vegetables in this—they were so strangely mushy and saturated with oil. When I think “roasted,” I imagine crisp, charred edges and deep, toasty flavors… and I was sorely disappointed.  The super-tart, squishy tomatoes added a uniquely unpleasant flavor to the whole mess, and the rest of the veggies all tasted the same.  No individuality, boo.  :(

On the other hand, the polenta was pretty good—buttery and rich—but it wasn’t very creamy.  If something is creamy, shouldn’t it be able to melt in my mouth and give me a mouthgasm?  Well, not this ball o’ butter.  Oh Fire Works Pizza, why can’t you just make things mushy when they need to be?  Why torture my poor “roasted” veggies???  :/

At least it looks yummy…

What was your most disappointing restaurant experience? I’d have to say the ones that made me throw up: Macaroni Grill (some cheesy pasta) and Ruby Tuesday’s (crab cake).  ><  I won’t let this one bad dish ruin my enthusiasm to return, though!!  There’s still lots of tasty-sounding fare on their menu :)

Ohhh… and I have to ask…

Are YOU a nerd? o-o  Come on, don’t be shy!