Posts tagged ‘food ‘

Drinks anyone?

I just watched the first two installments of the remake of Mildred Pierce, and a particular scene caught my attention.

Bert Pierce was offered a cocktail by his daughter, and Mildred dutifully went into the kitchen to fix the drinks. Except she poured four scotch and waters—one for her, one for her estranged husband, and one each for their young daughters! Really? The youngest one was barely nine years old, if she was day.

So that got me thinking….What was my first “official” cocktail? The sloe gin fizz my cousin Faith and I—we were 12– shared at an older cousin’s high school party doesn’t count, nor did the countless red cups of beer years later.

My first real cocktail was a Manhattan. I was 21 years old, and out to dinner with my parents and their office staff. Wanting to feel grown up and mature, I ordered something other than my usual Diet Coke—or was it a Tab? I had just finished reading Catcher in the Rye for the umpteenth time, and recalled it was Holden Caulfield’s go-to drink.

It tasted horrible, sickly sweet, and so strong you could smell the alcohol before the glass was placed on the table. The only consolation was the cherry plopped in for garnish. I gamely finished the drink, as my parents’ eyebrows raised in disapproval.

My second drink was a Tab.

What was your first official cocktail?

5 comments March 29, 2011

Communal Tables: Jump right in

Communal tables, common at many popular Chicago restaurants, make me uncomfortable. I found myself at a dreaded communal table while dining with my family at Little Italy’s newest offering, Davanti Enoteca. How can you carry on a conversation within your party, comment on your food, and eat with gusto, knowing your opinions and eating habits are within sight and hearing distance of a group of strangers? Or do you edit yourself?

Usually, I find myself sitting up straighter, a little more careful with my table manners and servings, and more reserved with my tone—not the makings of a comfortable evening. Tonight was a little different; the restaurant was noisy and everyone had to speak up to be heard. Or perhaps because the waiter pointed to our side of the table when our fellow diners inquired of the evening’s special. Maybe because I had a BiG glass of wine with dinner. But probably because the conversation at the other end of the table was so freaking interesting…I couldn’t resist but, “excuse me,” jump in.

And I’m so glad I did. We talked about a soon-to-air remake of the classic, Mildred Pierce (Joan Crawford vs. Kate Winslet!) and traded stories about their craving for a particular thin crust pizza, which by coincidence is less than a mile from my parents’ house. Conversation was short and sweet, and after the bill was paid we said goodbye. However, the outcome was exactly what restaurants desired from a communal table–interaction.

Communal tables are still not my first choice of seating, but next time I’m in the same situation, I’ll skip the self-editing, and jump right in.

2 comments March 21, 2011

It tastes like chicken.

 I ran into a list of the top ten grossest foods available in the world, as compiled by, and was tickled (or should I be offended) that #8 and #9 are found in the Philippines. My fellow Filipinos probably already know which foods I’m referencing, but let me get my non-Flip friends up to speed on these two delicacies….



#8 BALUT. A street food, balut can be purchased in the Philippines from vendors singing out “balut!” “balut!” while carrying woven baskets filled with these duck eggs. There are no such vendors found in the United States, so I’m not even sure where to buy balut. But every so often, usually during a party, my Uncle Deo will bring some in a heavy brown paper bag, along with a bottle of Chivas.

These boiled, fertilized eggs seem harmless enough…until you crack one open. Inside, nestled in its eggshell, is an embryonic chick. With eyes. And a beak. And if you’re (un)lucky, feathers. Some prefer to season their balut with salt or a chili vinegar. There is also an established method to consuming a balut. First you slurp the embryonic juices—the louder the better. Then you eat the chick, chewing and cracking bones the whole way.  Afterwards you throw the shells into a pile, as your friends cheer you on.

Why would anyone eat this? Because it’s delicious, or so I’m told. Many Filipino men swear eating balut improves their vim and vigor; a kind of Viagra protein. My kids and I do not eat balut. We like our eggs unfertilized, refrigerated, and arranged in neat cardboard cartons from the local supermarket. My husband, on the other hand, loves balut. Does he see a change in his virility? He’s never been able to test this theory since I don’t let him come near me at the first sound of embryonic juice slurp. I also make him brush his teeth, floss, and gargle with mouthwash. Not the flavored kind, either—we’re talking industrial strength blue Listerine.

Balut = ducky abortion. It’s just gross.


I’ll tell you about #9 in tomorrow’s post. But here’s a hint: it comes in one way, and then out another. Can you guess what it is?

3 comments March 5, 2011

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